Punching The Sky: GENESIS




In 2013, my 11 year old son came to me and told me he’d watched some brutal online pornography after a lad at school sent him a link. My blogpost on the subject was picked up by the Independent newspaper, published and re-published and discussed across the globe. I was invited to Westminster and on to Newsnight to discuss the issues raised. Nothing prepared me for the tidal wave of support, opinion, spin and accusations that were to rain down on my head.

Not wanting to sink under the pressure I decided to find my way back to where I felt able to speak, and so started to write Punching The Sky. So here we are now, preparing to tour the finished piece in Leeds, Bradford, Manchester, Gateshead, Hull, Barnsley, Halifax, Doncaster, Harrogate and London.

It’s been a hell of a journey, everyone has an opinion and I’ve learnt so much along the way. Pornography goes to our very core, no one is unmoved by the subject. It’s about sex and pleasure, pain and exploitation, morals and freedom of speech, innocence and control. It’s about our boundaries and our devils, and it’s about how and where we draw a line – for ourselves and those we are responsible for – in the face of something always skipping one step ahead of us… laughing over it’s shoulder.

I’m not a politician, I’m a theatre maker, so that’s why I’ve developed Punching The Sky. Below is a collection of links showing the global reach of my original article, written and posted on the Leeds-based Culture Vultures website. You can also find the audio of my son talking about his experience on the Today programme.

Perhaps the most important thing I’ve learnt is that I don’t have to have all the answers to protect my son, I just need to be willing to ask the questions and really listen to what’s possible.

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