Speak to Strangers was a blog consisting of 100 hundred-word short stories, one story for each day, based on random encounters with Londoners. Gemma wanted to find a way to record her numerous social interactions, and share these weird and marvellous experiences with readers.
The book was launched through a series of guerilla-style book drops, leaving copies and 100 handmade scrolls (each containing one of the stories), in the exact locations mentioned in the blog including Spitalfields Market, the Wellcome Collection and the Southbank Centre. Many of the books were picked up by strangers!
You make dresses for musical theatre and we are completely captivated. Your boyfriend disappears into the crowd as we ask about sewing, fabric, sweat, tutus and your thoughts on the updated designs for Les Mis. You have salt and pepper hair, and hold the lead for your dog all evening. I encourage you tell us about the time you dressed up in a corset, you do and then lament the size of your waist now. We grip our own bodies self-consciously. I could dive into your world and breaststroke my way somewhere else, head elevated above the current, mouth pinched.