April 13th, 2013

Fork the Binary – 29th April, The Zephyr Lounge

After our long period of quiet, the Cutlery Drawer is ecstatic to announce the next show – as promised in the last entry, we’re finally getting together with our friends at Rolling Head Promotions for an event in the Midlands!

This event is the companion to the DIY conference ‘Spotlight On: Genderqueer‘ held at Warwick University earlier in the day, and will showcase genderqueer performance. While we expect to incur more costs than usual with this event, any profit we do make will go to Prism, the local LGBTQ youth group. (This information can also be found on the official conference page.)

Rolling Head Promotions and The Cutlery Drawer present… FORK THE BINARY!

WHEN: 29th April, 8-11pm (doors 7pm)
WHERE: The Zephyr Lounge, 2A Spencer Street, Leamington Spa, CV31 3NE
FACEBOOK: click here
TICKETS: £3 on the door


Bad News Everyone – lovely folk-rock

CN Lester – haunting voice and piano

Kat Gupta – queer performance: meditation on a queer body

Hel Gurney – gender-/genre-busting poetry

Wild – acoustic songs from the wild

Alex Hilton – queer poetry

… and stay tuned for more acts to be announced!

LOCATION: The Zephyr Lounge is conveniently located next to the main bus route from the University of Warwick campus, and within minutes of the train station. To get to the venue from the University: take the U1 or 11 bus to Leamington Spa, and alight from the bus at the Parish Church bus stop, which is at the bottom of the Parade. Cross the road and walk onto Spencer Street, passing Vialli’s on your right. The Assembly lies just ahead: it’s the building with a statue on top holding a gold sphere. The Zephyr Lounge can be found just underneath the Assembly

ACCESSIBILITY:The front door has a wheelchair ramp and hand-rails. There are four toilets, which we will gender-liberate – two single stalls, one set of toilets with urinals, and one wheelchair-accessible toilet (which is up a lift). There will be no flashing lights. We regret that the venue does not allow for a dedicated quiet-space, but if you have needs that necessitate this, please get in touch and we can try to arrange something.

THE CAUSE: Prism LGBTQ is a Coventry-based organisation that is dedicated to providing services, information and support to LGBTQ young people and their friends and family.  Prism’s services are completely free, and funded entirely by donations. Their current focus is the youth group, which meets weekly and is open to young people aged 13-21. Founded in the summer of 2012, Prism is the successor to GYGL, which provided LGBTQ youth services in Coventry for 20 years.

Fork the Binary poster

Our eye-burningly lovely poster, made by Hel Gurney and Ruth Pearce


February 15th, 2014

It’s official: we’re on hiatus!

As has perhaps been obvious for a while – The Cutlery Drawer is currently on hiatus until such a time that the organisers are able to dedicate an appropriate amount of time and resources to running events smoothly and keeping them accessible (both financially and in terms of accommodating people who need e.g. step-free access and quiet rooms). Unfortunately, poor health and other commitments mean that The Cutlery Drawer needs to continue waiting on the back burner for now. We ‘ll hopefully be back eventually – we look forward to seeing you on the other side!

In the meantime, if you’re looking for similar events, why not check out these?

Transpose - organised by CN Lester, Transpose takes place every few months at different venues around London and showcases trans and trans-allied musicians, poets, writers, filmmakers, and artists! The most recent Transpose was the Valentine’s Day edition, ‘To Russia With Love’ at the Lumen URC, which raised money for IGLYO; the next one is April 6th at the Tate Modern.

Quiltbag Cabaret – taking place every month in East Oxford Community Centre, Quiltbag Cabaret is a queer and feminist space with performances (poetry, music, comedy) and collaborative arts and crafts taking place at each event. The most recent event was on the 8th of February and raised money for PACE; the next event will be on March 15th and raise money for Oxford International Women’s Festival.

FemRock – FemRock is a monthly queer and feminist community event featuring Brighton’s best female-fronted music, plus spoken word from performers of all genders. The latest event was on January 7th and raised money for LaDIYfest Brighton; the next event is on February 19th and will raise money for Mind Out.

And finally, if you’d like to follow the adventures of Cutlery Drawer founder Hel Gurney, their blog can be found here!

January 9th, 2013

New year, new plans

Happy new year, everyone!

In 2012, we moved away from the London focus of 2011 and took two awesome fundraising shows to Brighton and Cambridge. So what’s in the pipeline for the coming year?

  • Gigs in Brighton, London, and anywhere else in the UK that wants us – in aid of amazing causes like Albert Kennedy Trust and local rape crisis centres.
  • We’re hoping to finally collaborate on an event in the Midlands with our friends at Rolling Head Promotions – stay tuned!
  • We have a recording of the Cambridge show, and are still working out the best way to use it (ideas include selling it as a DVD and/or download, putting clips on YouTube, or maybe even using it in a Kickstarter project!)
  • A new sibling project is on its way – it’s been on the back burner for a while, but now we’d like to start turning up the heat! Accessibility has always been a cornerstone of our events, and in the process of running The Cutlery Drawer, it’s become clear that finding fully accessible venues (particularly on a budget) is nigh-on impossible. So we’d like to fix this. If you’re interested in helping with a website aimed at promoters, private event organisers, and venue owners/managers that provides accurate acccessibility information for venues across the UK and guidance on making events/venues accessible to all, please do get in touch via comments, email, Facebook, or Twitter!

Thanks for reading! As ever, if you’re interested in performing at our events, would like to invite us to fundraise for you, or have any other skills/resources/information you’d like to offer, then please contact us. I’d like to publicly thank everyone who has done so in the past year – from performing to flyering, from catering to offering performers crash-space, from inviting your friends along to inviting us to fundraise for your LGBT+ library. You’re all amazing, and you make The Cutlery Drawer what it is. I can’t wait to spend the next year changing the world with you, one step at a time.

October 8th, 2012

Two links!

Busy times, busy times – I’ve been quite ill, and embroiled in the final stretch of my MA. But even though I’m once again taking a breather from organising Cutlery Drawer events, we’re still hitting the blogosphere elsewhere. Two links, for your delight and delectation:

The long-promised review of Political: A Gender from Tom Wein – which, I can attest, he wrote very shortly after the event – finally goes online, as Mr. Wein at last gives up on trying to find the password to his old blog and sets up a new one.

Wayward_Tapper from Brighton Feminist Collective interviews me on feminism, activism, and running The Cutlery Drawer here.

Enjoy – and stay tuned for future shiny events!

August 14th, 2012

Moulin Rage III – numbers announced!

Well, having counted up both Moulin Rage III‘s ticket sales and the generously-contributed-to donations tin that Survivors’ Network brought along, the results are in – £189 is going straight to help them in their valuable work! We took £279 in total, meaning £90 went on fees/expenses.

I’ll admit I was initially a little dismayed at the comparatively low final figure: but although these events are fundraisers, they have never just been about the money. The event was an joyful space with powerful performances and a true sense of community. The representatives from Survivors’ Network were able to make new contacts, publicise their search for new volunteers, and deliver a moving and inspiring speech about their mission and history. Even if we didn’t hit the high monetary total of some previous events, I’m still calling this event a resounding success.

July 7th, 2012

The Cutlery Drawer money drawer

In this blog entry, I’m going to talk a little bit about how the financial side of things here. It’s really important to me that The Cutlery Drawer is transparent and accountable in terms of how we operate, so I’d like to open the door on how the money gets managed. If anyone has ideas or suggestions for how we can do them even better, then please get in touch!

1. All initial monetary outlay comes from my own pocket (or, in small amounts, that of other volunteers) – there is currently no ‘Cutlery Drawer money drawer’ where we keep surplus funds between events. This outlay usually includes a payment or deposit for venue hire and the costs of flyer printing, and can include hire of equipment or security staff. For the first Moulin Rage, it also included things like getting a good quality secure cashbox, and there are likely to be other one-time purchases of a similar nature. I record all outlay in a spreadsheet, and when the money from the fundraiser comes in, I take back exactly how much I put out (and reimburse any volunteers too).

2. Performers, organisers, and volunteers usually pay for their own food and travel, and sleep on floors and sofas rather than in hotels or B&Bs. The Cutlery Drawer has a policy of offering ‘enabling funds’ to performers (and volunteers with skills necessary to make the night work) – essentially meaning ‘if you need the money, please have it’. Usually, transport expenses are taken up only by performers who travel a very long distance and/or needed to transport instruments and equipment, and so far we’ve never needed to find paid accomodation thanks to kind friends with space in their houses (although paid accomodation is of course a possibility if performers need it for whatever reason). In any case, everyone works for expenses-only or less: as such, I am inexpressibly grateful to all the incredible people who donate their time and talents to The Cutlery Drawer in this way.

So. This is very much a labour of love, done by volunteers in the time we make for it and with the money we can spare for it. It’s not always easy to get the balance right – the long gap between the Gendered Intelligence holiday fundraiser and Moulin Rage II was not what I’d planned, but the demands of my life in a new city with a new degree to complete meant that scouting local venues took a backseat for a while. Now, having two events a month apart in the run-up to handing-in the final third of my degree isn’t ideal either! But I’m trying very hard to keep The Cutlery Drawer ticking over, and I’m exceptionally grateful to the people who have been stepping in – I’m thinking particularly of Alex here, without whom Moulin Rage II would certainly not have taken place. A separate and appropriately grateful blog post about this is probably forthcoming.

Back on the topic of finances – one thing that Cutlery Drawer followers might have noticed is the fluctuating prices of events. Entry for Moulin Rage was £6/£4; Political: A Gender was £7/£5; the GI Holiday Party was the most expensive at £8/£6. With Moulin Rage, as a completely new venture the biggest priority was making it financially accessible to as many people as possible. We charged more for P:AG because the venue deposit was higher and it was a considerably more ambitious event in terms of scale. As for the GI Holiday Party, it was another very large-scale event (the bar and catering was all volunteer-run, as was the art auction) and the price was set on the advice of GI. With Moulin Rage II, we tried a new tack – slightly cheaper tickets online (£6/£4) than on the door (£7/£5) to encourage more advance purchases, because online pre-bought tickets are a wonderful way of reducing our stress and faff on the night. As one attendee pointed out, however, with the 50p online booking charge it only saves the buyer 50p, while being a whole £1 less for the cause. So for the next event, we’ve gone back to basics and the £6/£4 structure, and will see how that goes now it’s a year later and The Cutlery Drawer has more of an established audience.

As you can hopefully see, working out the best entry price is an ongoing experimental process. I like the idea of having cheaper online tickets, but the booking fee makes the £1 difference useless (or even actively unhelpful) – one idea that might work for future events is pair/group discounts when bought online, rather than instituting a greater gap between online and door prices. I really want to strike a balance between keeping the events financially accessible, and raising a significant amount for the causes. As ever, suggestions are welcome!

One thing I’ve been pondering recently is, in fact, the creation of a ‘Cutlery Drawer money drawer’ – something that, rather than taking money out of a particular fundraiser’s total, exists to fund further one-off purchases: rubber hand stamps, maybe another cash box or two, spare tech equipment for emergencies, proper badges (or even t-shirts!) for volunteers…  Alex also informs me there have been requests for a DVD of Moulin Rage Cambridge – if such a thing went ahead, producing them would most likely require some form of monetary outlay from me. Would the money from such DVDs go straight to the LGBT+ Library (my immediate thought), or would it fund The Cutlery Drawer itself (something that occurs to me as I write this)? Or would it be best to split the profit somehow?

I hope this has been a useful insight into how we run things, and where we might go next – transparency is important, and so too is opening ourselves up for comment and suggestions. Is this how you’d run a fundraiser? Is there a better way we can keep records of everything? Is getting together some Cutlery Drawer-specific funds a good idea, or is it best to keep doing the outlay myself? As always, suggestions are welcome!

June 25th, 2012

Moulin Rage Cambridge – the final count…

After re-counting all the change and doing a little bit of rounding-up, we are pleased to announce that we took £316 for the Harry Harris LGBT+ Library! With venue hire and performer expenses, this amounts to £244 going straight into more books and resources for this amazing project.

If you’d like to donate anything (money, books, zines, DVDs) to the library, please contact lgbt-librarian(at)cusu(dot)ac(dot)uk!

I’d also like to make a public and heartfelt expression of gratitude to the heroic Alex Brett, without whom neither the Library nor this fundraiser would have happened. Alex invited The Cutlery Drawer to come to Cambridge, and took on work that would have been very difficult for me to do without spending significant time/money coming up from Brighton, such as finding a verifiably accessible venue and sourcing sound tech equipment. Alex was also able to recommend and book a number of the excellent local acts who performed, and generally shouldered a lot of administrative work. Thank you so much, Alex!

Finally, there have been a few edits to the pages on this site, and a brand new page to collect all our flyers – let us know what you think.

June 13th, 2012

Update on Cambridge

We’re sorry to announce that Not Right are no longer able to play at this event! But fear not, fans of angry political feminism – we have an extra-special DOUBLE SET from Lashings to make up for it, with a particularly political twist!

We can also confirm that vegan and gluten-free food will be available from Clancey’s catering service: if you want gluten-free food, or have other dietary requirements you need met, please tell Clancey beforehand to make sure we have enough!

We are very grateful to everyone who has volunteered to assist us on the night: we PROBABLY have enough people, but there is one role that has yet to be assigned, and we’d especially like to know who can do it: a volunteer to supervise the safe/quiet space we will be providing. This role means that you are likely to have restricted view of the stage, and may need to have your attention elsewhere: if multiple people volunteer for this, we can organise shifts to make sure you don’t miss your favourite acts.

Some of the team are still looking for places to stay overnight in Cambridge – if you can help with these, please let us know.

Keeping a record of this sort of event is a very important thing to do: if anyone with a camera would like to film it, again, please get in touch.

Finally, given the size of our volunteer team for this event, we would LOVE if anyone with access to a badge-maker could make us some shiny and official-looking badges to help attendees identify volunteers on the night!

Thank you all  – can’t wait to see you there!

[cross-posted to Facebook]

June 13th, 2012

Moulin Rage III: Sedition on the Seafront – 18th July

A mere month after venturing off to Cambridge, the Cutlery Drawer comes down to the seaside for what we hope will be the first of many Brighton gigs! Reuniting a number of performers from the original Moulin Rage a year on, it’s sure to be a fantastic night – and all proceeds go to Survivor’s Network, the rape and sexual assault support service for Brighton and Hove.

WHEN: 7-11pm, 18th July 2012
TICKETS: £6 (£4 concs/unwaged) – buy here!
VENUE: The Brunswick, 1-3 Holland Road, BN3 1JF
FACEBOOK: click here!


The Mechanisms – immortal space-pirates on the run from their mad creator: blending steampunk, dieselpunk, folk, rock, and more than a dash of the theatrical.

Lashings of Ginger Beer Time – radical queer feminist burlesque collective: luxe Victoriana drag, thigh-high fetish boots, Broadway optimism and 21st-century political rage. Song, dance, stand-up, and sketches: titillation for the brain.

CN Lester – soulful and sensual musician: heartbreaking vocals, haunting piano, stripped-down alternative sound.

Sally Outen – hilarious transfeminist stand-up comedian: unpicking gendered expectations with the aid of velociraptors, moles, flies, snails, and cardboard cut-outs!

… and a selection of local poets, to be announced shortly!

ACCESSIBILITY: The Brunswick is wheelchair-accessible. The gig will take place in a room adjoining the main pub, which can be found through a door to the right of the bar area. Our room has its own toilets, which will be gender-liberated for the duration of the event. There is also a wheelchair-accessible toilet in the main pub, to the left of the bar area. We regret that there is no designated quiet space available: however, if someone requires supervised quiet space for access reasons, please contact us beforehand or approach a volunteer on the night and we will do our best to arrange something for you.

THE CAUSE: Survivor’s Network provides support in the Brighton and Hove area for female survivors of sexual abuse (whether recent or childhood), as well as the partners, families, and other supporters of survivors. They welcome trans women and are currently in the process of working out policy on survivors with other trans identities . They are currently seeking more volunteers, particularly those with relevant experience with LGBT issues.


June 4th, 2012

June and July are go!

Ticket sales for Moulin Rage: Cambridge Edition are now live! Buy yours now – they’re more expensive on the door.

We also have another date for your diaries, which we may as well announce now – 18th July, The Brunswick, near Palmeira Square in Brighton and Hove! Confirmed acts include CN Lester, The Mechanisms, and Lashings of Ginger Beer Time, and we’re on the lookout for more (preferably Brighton-based)!