We went to see Pulp at Exeter Phoenix at the weekend. Here’s what we thought…

Brave! Courageous! …words I’d use to describe Sam Lockwood of Hitchhiker Collective. His autobiographical account of losing his dad and finding his feelings covers the topics of men’s mental health and toxic masculinity. Writer/performer Sam’s one-man performance is as intense as it is raw.

Charting unguided territory:

  • the practical – impacts of major life events from the age of 11
  • the cerebral – learning from society about what it means to be a man
  • and the emotional – what that is and how to express it.

Regret is also a prominent and poignant feature – not connecting to feelings and not communicating them… representative, perhaps, of many men who’ve left words unsaid male-to-male, as it’s not the done thing. These missed opportunities are not only sad, but have their own emotional consequences such as isolation, depression and suicide.

Sam speaks candidly of expectations society places upon men and soon-to-be-men. One of these is having a thick skin, and how he learned that whilst men may be seen to have this, we are all a ‘messy pulp’ on the inside – the learning it takes to move from the realm of boy to man.

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