I haven’t blogged for a while. Over recent months, my life has been complicated and messy and just staying upright has been a challenge some days. My soundtrack has drifted along with me & candlelit #KitchenDisco-ing has, on many occasions, been a more necessary solace. Life’s losses have caught up on me, and there has been [an enormous amount of] stufF to deal with. But, within my gloom there has been a constant light, something to truly celebrate. And that is you, our #Discoteers…an open community of warm and loving and vibrant folk. Folk who want to save the world every bit as much as me.
Some of you have been asking for an up-to-date precis of who we are, what we do, and what we stand for. So I’ve dusted off my typewriter, and here is a short #TwitterDisco retro-bloomin’-spective…with a bit of hope for the future thrown in for good measure…
A few years ago, wondering how to navigate Twitter whilst still adhering to the GMC’s expectations of doctors who brave the social media landscape, music created a safe space. Emboldened by Enam Haque’s mutual love for Boyzone, I started to share my love for the 1980’s with the world. I refer you to my earlier missives.
Thankfully I am not alone in this 1980’s love, or the love of leg warmers & other ridiculous fancy dress paraphernalia. And in no time at all, I had met my musical soulmates, Louise Brady & John Walsh…each of us equally honoured to be The Three Discoteers. I have no idea where the inspiration for having a #TwitterDisco came from but I am assuming you like it too, either that or you unfollowed me long ago or have me safely positioned on ‘mute’. As for the rest of you, Three became Many & that is just how we like it around these parts.
Lou & John & I could never have anticipated where we would have come to in such a short space of time. And we will be forever indebted. “Who’d have thunk it?” as a great woman once exclaimed.
For any newcomers, the rules are non-existent and the structure as simple as it gets. All you need to do is get yourselves onto The Twitter and follow #TwitterDisco. We aren’t about false promises but most days of the week something unanticipated & marvellous is likely to transpire. If you want to Go Big[ish] and have a disco in the safety of your own home, then we guarantee to give you that too. Wobbly bits are de rigueur and there is no auditioning of your musical tastes or dancing ability.
So what are we and where have we come to?
We are radical in many ways; most definitely a fringe event. But we’re aligned and united in our desire for a different culture for our NHS. One that allows us to give our Professional Best whilst retaining our human-ness and right to be cared for too. And we have found an amazing group of colleagues, patients, carers and friends who also believe that this is an acceptable aspiration for the 21st Century NHS. So many amazing people, my eyes brim with tears just writing it down, and we feel truly blessed. Collectively, we have nurtured and created a safe & compassionate space where we can explore our thoughts and ideas about our working lives, and the world at large. And most splendid of all…we know how to have a blimmin’ good disco.
It’s almost exactly a year since our first live dancefloor…since Lou gave #TwitterDisco form & purpose and since our adventure truly began…
And what have we done with that year?
We have held a monthly #TwitterDisco. Usually on a Friday night, from 9pm until, well, basically, whatever time we feel like. We are grown-ups afterall. With the odd ‘pop-up’ moment in between…who remembers the Space inspired Bank Holiday adventure?
When we take to the dancefloor, we always trend…and, in actual fact, spent one memorable night safely nestled under the shenanigans of a certain President.
We’ve had over 192.5 million impressions, 2735 participants & 41,520 tweets in the last 12 months.
I’m still entirely hazy as to what any of that actually means but it is, apparently, quite some reach!
We have fundraised…Sepsis UK, The Cavell Nurses Trust, British Lung Foundation, Manchester Arena & Grenfell Tower created natural allegiances and inspired generous giving.
We hit the decks for a night of anthems from powerful women on #IWD17.
We have supported survivors of Child Abuse and Child Sexual Exploitation and remain extremely proud to have been brave in this respect.
Last Spring, we wrote and recorded a song which we later performed live on The Bridgewater Hall stage. We’ve a tram station to our honour…’Wythie Park to light your spark’ will never make it to Number 1 but it was a life-changing experience for those of us lucky enough to be involved.
We have gathered together on more than one occasion. Lou & I even tried our hand at Fame last summer.
Shortly before Christmas, we had The Best #TwitterDisco Party Evarrrrh.
Live from my Fairy Glen.
And then…just last week…we only went and won a bloomin’ award.
I have never won an award before!
If that wasn’t enough to be getting on with, we even made it into the GP National Press. I am still blown away by being heralded as a GP Hero…but have tried my best to rise to the challenge and the requisite costumery has been moSt fun of all!
Amongst this structure and activity, there has been enduring support, interest and concern. On-line, off-line and [my favourite and my best] in real life, and I for one have met some of the most inspiring people I have ever known. And it is the Who We Are that is everything that matters about #TwitterDisco. Highly professional professionals who know how to share that little bit more of themselves with the world, whose ability to be vulnerable allows others to feel that they might succeed in their wake. An early morning call of love and inspiration for the day, a night-night after a long, hard day, and sO many other things in between. Megathreads that have lasted days and covered topics as serious as Moral Leadership and as earthshattering as Mankinis. Tony even helped me fix my downstairs toilet! And we love each and every one of you for what you bring to Our Party.
It’s okay to ‘just be’ with #TwitterDisco but we have ever more exciting plans for 2018 and we hope that you’ll continue to abide with us, challenge us, have fun with us and revive with us.
So what next?
On Thursday 8th March, we’re collaborating with #DivaManc, sharing in a celebration of #StrongMcRWomen for #IWD18. Then on Friday 23rd March we’ve a 1990’s fuelled Friday night curated by Manchester Medical School teaching staff [what were we thinking?].
We’ve DJ’s lined up for every month until 2019. We’ve plenty more tricks up our sleeves including a live #TwitterDisco at my Fairy Glen to celebrate #NHS70 in the summer. And there are some pretty big ‘reveals’ to share in the not too distant future.
#TwitterDisco ain’t going away anytime soon. With an established community of our many incredible & fantastic #Discoteers, how can it possibly be anything other that our gift that keeps on giving?
And so, with a mahoosive thank-you for everything that has gone before, and a sense of impending excitement at what is yet to come, all we ask is that you continue to watch this space!
Go Forth & Go Big,
Your Three Discoteers x