How Evalyn Parry Got Me to Pakistan

So yeah, I know. I’m late jumping on the bandwagon that is the love people have for Evalyn Parry. I’d been hearing about her for years from my friends (especially the Quakers), but had never had the pleasure of seeing her perform. Until this past November, when I went to see SPIN at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in Toronto.

And I was blown away.

Seriously, people. SPIN is awesome. Evalyn Parry is awesome. Annie Londonderry is awesome. Everything about this is awesome.

So naturally, my obsessive self bought the SPIN album on iTunes. (sidenote: you should all do this right now. Stop reading this blog, go buy SPIN, and then come back. I’ll wait.)

And I’ve been listening to it a lot. So much so that I (only somewhat) jokingly said that The Ballad of Annie Londonderry would be my theme song for this year and a half journey I’m on.

And while I did pack much more than just a pearl-handled revolver and a change of underwear, I have brought the spirit of Annie Londonderry along with me.

A young woman in her 20s (ok, so she was early 20s and I’m late, but who’s counting?), who travelled around the world on her own for over a year. Sure, she did it the entirely environmentally friendly way, via bicycle, but I like to think I can still be a kindred spirit.

Annie Londonderry set off from her home in Boston to stick it to the Man.

Would you take a dare, would you take a wager? What would you wear, would you wear bloomers? Would you care to change things, would you dare to change things? …. would you go alone?

I hope I can make a little change in the world as I go, as I write about human rights and LGBTQ rights in the various countries I visit.

Unfortunately, my crappy android phone had issues putting new music onto it so I hadn’t been able to listen to the album much in Toronto while I was out and about getting ready for the trip. But I decided to bring an old iPhone on my trip with me and put the album on there.

So, as soon as I got on the plane for the 12.5 hour flight to Abu Dhabi (and after watching that super horrible movie – see former blog post), I attempted to sleep with the songs of Evalyn Parry in my ear. And it worked – I was lulled to sleep (again and again, as I constantly wake up on planes) by her melodic tones. I especially loved Open Letter to Igor Kenk, Bicycle Thief:

Then, when I was in Abu Dhabi airport, wandering around and trying to find a bathroom so I could change into my longer skirt (with long tights underneath) and put a scarf around my neck for modesty before boarding the plane to Pakistan, Parry’s song “Amelia Bloomer Sings for Fashion Reform” ironically came on.

Listen ladies, you’ve got me to thank for
Letting you show a little more
of your leg, your legs! …
In my day, a woman couldn’t show her ankles
Not even the legs of a table could be seen
it would be deemed obscene to show the length of your leg
your leg, your legs,
your legs: your political legs

And here I was, about to put my political legs away! So thank you, Evalyn Parry, for serenading me on my journey to Pakistan (and now into India) and for making me smile. You’re awesome!!

Random fact: I couldn’t post this til I reached India as Pakistan has blocked youtube for blasphemy concerns. I’m sure there’s a way to get around that, but I figured I could wait a week 😉


About kbardswich

Writer. Photographer. Activist. Lesbian. Feminist. Traveller. Voracious learner. Part-time shit-disturber.

Posted on January 28, 2015, in Pakistan. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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