Keep Cool, Stay Warm

My dear fellow citizens of Brixton and the Brixton-loving diaspora. It is with some sadness, but also that kind of zingy, butterflies in the tummy, excited and nervous, feeling – that I have to tell you all; the time is fast approaching for us to wake up. 

This dream, this age of abundant energy from the ground, this age of whizzing around with too much to do as one million things are made and put on a conveyor belt to landfill, has reached its twilight. This linear economy, resource input at one end, the bin at the other: well it is beginning to run out of inputs. We thought we could gobble up the whole world into our combustion engine of growth. We thought we could turn every, single, tree into money. But nature knew better. There’s not enough coal to temper enough steel, to build a big enough machine, to process every tree. We find ourselves at the beginning of something new.

Yes! You are right! I’ve discovered a brilliant new podcast. People who make stuff have been trying to explain to people who write stuff in spreadsheets, that you can’t actually fit the complexity of everything that’s made onto a spreadsheet. And they just sighed and acted like they were doing the hard bit, and carried on with the sums. But finally a brilliant Australian miner has broken through and added it up (‘it’ being all the world’s resources, and all the world’s energy, and all the world’s people) properly, this time, and I’m sorry to tell you – the results are scary but I’m glad to tell you, they finally make sense.

Many of us will feel the beggining of this shift in the coming months, as we leave our boilers switched off til November, or maybe longer. We face the helplessness of our situation in a tangible way. We will finally have a tangible experience of the fragility of a global supply chain. We finally have to admit, that there are other people in charge, they’ve decided to sell us out, and at this point there’s nothing we can do about it. We face the choice – to be miserable and demand that the world is different. Or take heart and create the world differently.

I’m begging you- don’t be miserable. Come on this journey with me into the warmth of possibility. Its time to wake up. Time to radically accept that the world always changes, we cannot stop the tide from rolling in (like – we tried that one in Viking times!). This is another transition as ageless and normal as the sea. Time to wake up and realise that the person most capable of creating a fun and brilliant future for you, is you! You are a HUMAN, we are crazy and special and full of ideas and we have opposable thumbs. Let’s not waste the blessings even a moment longer. Time to wake up and get to work. There’s a lot to do.

We have cool stuff, but that cool stuff all runs on exploited labour and sunlight from a million years ago that’s trapped underground. The maths on just switching that stuff to run on ‘renewables’ is, I’m afraid, bad maths. For a while they didn’t do the maths and then when they did it added up to like minus one trillion. So we need to make the stuff even cooler. We need to think carefully about what makes a cold winter’s day feel wonderful, and how we can make that happen, with this new evidence in mind. 

Of course I’ve got loads of ideas because I’ve always been a broke artist and I lived on a boat with two solar panels for a bit, and I have been sewing underwear in an enormous two story railway arch with literal holes in the windows for 8 years. And I’M NOT MISERABLE. I’m a very joyful person, so I got this. But I can’t be happy, wondering if you are miserable.

Wondering if someone is going to get so miserable that they turn on my beautiful friends to let out their frustration. Wondering if people will get so miserable that they’re willing to believe lies, and vote for false promises from fascists.

I think we need to work together. I think we need to share ideas and look after each other. I think we have the skills between us to have beautiful lives, without giving all our money to electricity companies. I’m calling it ‘low energy luxury’ it’s good for you, it’s good for the planet. Join us at a special event on the 12 November to get together and face this new future together! Book your free tickets for Brixton Windmill, bring your creative ideas for keeping warm and your skills for making life beautiful. See you there!

Alice Holloway has been beavering away in the Sustainable Fashion space since graduating from Central Saint Martins in 2008. Its not an easy space to work in. The skills and expertise of makers and practitioners has been really degraded by the rise of fast fashion and neo-liberalism.

Last year Alice completed an MA in Design for the Cultural Commons where we was energised by rediscovering her peasant ancestors who were so skilled, so resilient and tbh, having such a good time. Alice is on a mission bring us back into conversation with a way of life in balance with nature, and in balance with our own brains – which seem to really crave a deeper connection to each other and to nature.

Alice is the founder of Brixton-based bespoke lingerie brand Little Black Pants Club producing little handmade garments with big post-capitalist dreams.