BPREVIEW: Action 4 M.E. Fundraiser @ Actress & Bishop 27.01.20

Words by Ed King

Genevieve Miles will perform as part of a special line up at the Action 4 M.E. Fundraiser gig – to be held at the Actress & Bishop on Monday 27th January. Also appearing will be Rhianna Keane, Echo Gecco, PJJ and Mr. K.

Entry to the gig is free, but with a suggested donation of £3 – or whatever you have left after the weekend (fiscally speaking). All proceeds go to the Action for M.E. national charity, which campaigns across the UK ‘to end the ignorance, injustice and neglect faced by people with M.E.’

Doors open for the Action 4 M.E. Fundraiser gig from 7pm, held upstairs at the Actress & Bishop. For more direct gig information, click here to visit the Action 4 M.E. Fundraiser Facebook event page.

In a healthy hodge podge of approach and style, this Action 4 M.E. Fundraiser gig brings an evening of live music and spoken word, embacing genres from neo-soul to indie pop. You might even find a little space disco in there… trust us, you’ll know it when you hear it.

But organised by Genevieve Miles, who’s sophomore Libra Rising EP was released in May 2019, the evening is being organised ‘to raise money and awareness’ to hep sufferers of M.E. – challenging the stigma of the debilitating disorder and helping to support the patient founded Action for M.E. charity.

Miles has suffered with M.E. since she was 14 years old, with the disorder altering the path of the formative years most of us take for granted. But through her music she was able to find both a platform of expression and the personal drive to challenge her M.E. head on, committing to performances even though ‘sometimes it was so refreshing and enjoyable, other times it was painful and really just horrible.’

In an article written for the Action for M.E. website, Miles explains: ‘I definitely feel like I missed out on a proper teenage experience. I remember in school thinking I would never get a relieved ‘Friday feeling’ again because Friday just meant a weekend of being wiped out stuck in the house before somehow dragging myself out for lessons again on the Monday.’

An often misunderstood disorder, M.E. can be hard to diagnose and as of yet has no cure – only the treatment of symptoms. But the Action 4 M.E. Fundraiser gig is hoping to help change and challenge this, as Miles continues: ‘I’ve recruited some of my favourite Birmingham artists for a gig to raise money and awareness for M.E. It feels so good to be organising this gig, it gave me a confidence to be more open about my experience of M.E. with my friends. I’ve always found it really hard to explain because there are so many different symptoms; I rarely explained to my friends how I felt, so this new confidence is freeing.’

But keen to keep music also at the core of this event, Genevieve Miles has programmed an eclectic line up from the local live music scene. Rhianna Keane will be bringing her neo-soul and R’nB vibes to the evening, whilst Echo Gecco will be wrapping their finely stitched blanket of prog, rock and jazz tinged genres around the crowd.

PJJ will be spicing things up/sleazing things down with a little bit of the aforementioned space disco, as Mr. K delivers a set of ‘genre-bending spoken word music that engages and impacts.’ And last but not least is Genevieve Miles, who will be performing her plucky-in-the-face-of-adversity indie pop.

But if our oh-so-clever descriptions aren’t grabbing you, never fear… there’s a handy Spotify playlist to help promote the show. Stop, look, and listen below:

Genevieve Miles will perform as part of the Action 4 M.E. Fundraiser at the Actress & Bishop on Monday 27th January – alongside Rhianna Keane, Echo Gecco, PJJ, and Mr K. For direct gig info and links to online ticket sales, click here to visit the Facebook event page. 

For more on Genevieve Miles, visit www.genevievemiles.com

For more from Action for M.E., visit www.actionforme.org.uk

For more on the Actress & Bishop, including venue details and further event listings, visit www.theactressandbishop.co.uk


NOT NORMAL NOT OK is a campaign to encourage safety and respect within live music venues, and to combat the culture of sexual aggression in the music industry and beyond – from dance floor to dressing room, everyone deserves a safe place to play.

To learn more about the NOT NORMAL NOT OK campaign, click here. To sign up and join the NOT NORMAL NOT OK campaign, click here.

If you have been affected by any issues surrounding sexual violence – or if you want to report an act of sexual aggression, abuse or assault – click here for information via the ‘Help & Support’ page on the NOT NORMAL NOT OK website.

NOT NORMAL NOT OK: Safe & Sound @ ACM Birmingham 28.11.19

Words & pics by Genevieve Miles

As part of their enrichment programme at the end of 2019, the Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM) in Birmingham hosted a special Safe & Sound event on Thursday 28th November – presenting a day of seminars and activities about safeguarding within the music industry.

NOT NORMAL NOT OK were invited to open the event, with the campaign director, Ed King, asked to talk to ACM’s students about the sexual violence, aggression, and manipulation they might face – with all of ACM’s students focused on a career in music, be it on stage of off, this was an opportunity for the NOT NORMAL NOT OK campaign (which champions the strapline ‘from dance floor to dressing room, everyone deserves a safe place to play’) to reach a directly relevant audience.

Talking about the ongoing sticker campaign, where NOT NORMAL NOT OK attend live music events and distribute campaign logo stickers to everyone playing or partying at the gig, King was keen to encourage ACM students to embrace a visible stance against sexual violence. The NOT NORMAL NOT OK sticker campaign has been prevalent at venues across the region, creating a clearly branded environment of ‘no tolerance’ towards sexual violence at gigs, and King was eager to see the message carried by those entering the music profession.

“If we can get ACM’s students, and everyone making their first inroads into the music industry, to start confidently having the conversation about sexual violence, manipulation, and coercion, then it can have a trickle up effect as their involvement in music increases,” explains King.

“There’s a long standing and embedded culture of sexual aggression in the music industry that we need to combat, one that has been quietly abusing people across the industry for decades. But if new music professionals embrace the idea of no tolerance towards sexual violence, that will hopefully grow with them and help to change the industry landscape as a whole. It also sets a clear precedent, from the start, as sad as it is that we might need to reafirm one, on what is acceptable to those who might find themselves becoming aggressors.”

Working with a range of music promoters and artists, some less supportive than others to the campaign message, NOT NORMAL NOT OK is hopeful that with a changing of the guards these dangerous and old fashioned views will eventually die off. It is worth remembering that rape within wedlock was only made illegal in the UK from 1991 onwards.

Christopher East, Designated Safeguarding Lead at ACM – who helped organise Safe & Sound alongside Vix Perks, the Wellbeing Mentor & Mindfulness Coach at ACM Birmingham – feels it is the institution’s ‘duty’ to offer these seminars and events: “it is our duty of care to raise awareness and equip our students as best we can,” explains East – further citing the importance of being “proactive rather than reactive when it comes to tackling the many challenges that we face in society and our personal lives.”

Mirroring the direct approach and attitude of the NOT NORMAL NOT OK campaign, East’s hopes were that ACM’s Safe & Sound events will encourage their students to be “assertive, empowered and vigilant,” which would, in turn, help prevent students from “falling into dangerous situations within their respective career paths.”

Also speaking at the ACM Safe & Sound event was Tanuja Patel from the Birmingham & Solihull Women’s Aid organisation – bringing the gender diverse audience into a strong discussion around safe spaces for women. Just as with King and the NOT NORMAL NOT OK campaign that preceded Patel’s presentation, it was encouraging to see such confident engagement from ACM’s student body. The day was rounded off with a Krav Maga workshop, demonstrating the combined fighting system and offering simple tips on physical self-defense.

I was also invited to perform a few songs from my own portfolio, taking the stage once the dust had settled from the two seminars that began the day – giving me a chance to represent the musicians who want to support and see positive change.

As a performing artist, it seems necessary that a campaign such NOT NORMAL NOT OK would be at the ACM Safe & Sound event; it is so relevant to these young music lover’s lives, the venues and promoters targeted by the campaign are where the students at this event will be punters or where those in the room who aspire to be artists will one day be performing.

But this doesn’t stop in the classroom – in recent years, well known artists such as Frank Carter have interrupted their own gigs in order to call out sexual assault from within the crowd. This absence of shame or shyness can only be empowering to the no tolerance movement, encouraging young people, such as the students at ACM, to be more vocal as they build a career in the music industry.

NOT NORMAL NOT OK is a campaign to encourage safety and respect within live music venues, and to combat the culture of sexual aggression in the music industry and beyond – from dance floor to dressing room, everyone deserves a safe place to play. To learn more about the NOT NORMAL NOT OK campaign, visit www.notnormalnotok.com

For more on the Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM) Birmingham, visit www.acm.ac.uk/courses/birmingham