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Craig Puranen Wilson

Recollections and A Tribute To An Amazing And Sadly Missed Friend Craig AKA Sheena Revolta

By Mike Singleton - MikeydredPublished 2 years ago Updated 2 years ago 6 min read
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Craig Puranen Wilson AKA Sheena Revolta

I am updating this to include it in the Vocal Home Town Heroes Challenge. Craig was an amazing person who brought so many people together, encouraged and helped people who need it , and is the subject of and upcoming film aimed at promoting a positive , caring image of Newcastle. I have been interviewed for the film , and will possibly be performing a song I wrote unspired by Craig / Sheena when we lost him / her. The challenge is sponsored by The Mentor Group.

All monies that this article earns will donated to St Oswalds Hospice who cared for Craig and his partner Krista who has advised and helped me on this.

This is not a history of Craig Puranen Wilson , and may not be entirely accurate but is my direct experience and interaction with a wonderfully inclusive friend.

When I started thinking about this , I realised just how many friends that I gained because of either introductions by Craig or events Craig put on at the Tyneside Cinema. The impact he had on my life was hugely positive and this is going to be a series of vignettes mentioning friends I gained and their alter egos and the pure joy that it brought into my life.

My friend Lynn Campbell (sister of David Campbell proprietor of The Mean Eyed Cat and lead singer with the Coyotemen - big in Spain - alter ego Helmut Bruiser) , had been telling me to get myself to the Funky Butt Club a soul night run by Krista (Lady Koo) and Craig , which I never got to but then I believe that Craig in his alter ego as Sheena Revolta with his band Women In Revolt were playing the old Star and Shadow near The Tanner's in Shieldfield , where I used to live, and that gig I did get to.

Women in Revolts line up was

Sheena Revolta (Craig) vox

Rosie Palmer (Jonathan Wells-Lee) guitars

Sadie Retox (Sarah Hall) - Bass

Drummers were many but one is Mitch Mitchell who is now male from a communication from Sadie.

I was impressed , feminist garage punk , and that got me hooked on Women in Revolts music.

The next time I saw Women in Revolt was at the Central Bar in Gateshead , also known as "The Coffin" because of its general shape , and located just over The Tyne Bridge and High Level Bridge. The WIR YouTube playlist is here.

Sheena in a Suit

Again the gig was excellent and this time they had a dancer leading the audience Lady Annabella Marczewska of Jesmond , at the time a student. I was impressed with her contribution to the gig and offered to buy her a drink. She was a bit reticent at first , old man offering a young girl a drink , but we chatted about Women In Revolt and how we loved the whole ethos, and although we don't see each other often , we are great friends , though I have yet to see her DJ.

Craig organised many varied events , I think one was Pauline Murray of Penetration doing an acoustic solo gig at The Tyneside Cinema. This resulted in me meeting my friend Joan Hewitt who was a little perturbed when I asked her if she liked Penetration. She was unaware that was Pauline Murray's band until later in the night. By extension I also became friends with Mark Husmann who volunteers for the Tynemouth Seal Hospital as well as being an excellent photographer.

Joan and Mark are great friends and we have attended political and anti racism events , both also close to Craig's heart.

I apologize if a lot of this is self cantered , but everything in here would not have happened if it weren't for the incredible compassionate force that was Craig Puranen Wilson.

Craig had many strings to his bow and another was as a photographer , and in a series he actually took me as a subject including it in his Friday Portrait Project in 2015. You can see the result here.

He (and I) are fans of Rubenesque women and I introduced a couple of friends , to him who he also photographed. When I started my current job , there was a colleague with the amazing name Elvira Pavlova. I told Craig about her and he said "I have to photograph her, just because of her name", I knew what he meant , but unfortunately that never happened. She is definitely not Rubenesque , just very pretty and a lovely woman.

Craig and I were both fans of American Trash culture incorporating the film's of Russ Meyer and John Waters (with Divine) plus bands like The New York Dolls (Women In Revolt covered "Trash") , and for on of Lady Annabella's birthdays he organised a screening of the original John Waters "Hairspray" featuring Divine at The Tyneside Cinema. A great time was had by all.

Craig organised markets, and at one of these I bought my only Women In Revolt vinyl single and met my friend the goth model and dancer Peachy Russell.

As you can see , it's not really that Craig's bow had many strings , it's more like Craig had many bows and they were interesting and varied.

He organised quiz nights usually with Lindsay Nicholson as co host and as I always went alone , I joined up with any team that would have me which resulted in more friend connections. I was never on a winning team but it was a wonderful atmosphere and met lots of friends including the lovely Katie Knowles who gave me a gig at Oxfam Jesmond when I left EE , and while I enjoyed it , it convinced me that retail was not for me.

I met Katie at the same event that I met Joan.

Like me Craig was left wing and we attended a rally with Jeremy Corbyn , where my friend Bethany Ellen Couple performed on stage.

I first met Bethany at a Nick Cave night organised by Craig at the Tyneside Cinema where she duetted with Jonathan Wells Lee on "Where The Wild Roses Grow"

Women in Revolt continued to write and perform and I caught many songs on video on my YouTube channel. Their sound was as challenging and pro Feminist as The Slits but I loved getting to their gigs at many Tyneside venues

One of the last installations of Craig's that I attended was a photographic exhibition at Arch16 in Gateshead with another friend he introduced me to another wonderful friend Nicky Black, who has continued working in this area after collaborating with Craig.

I said goodbye to him singing "Sheena Is A Punk Rocker", sad but so privileged to have been associated with such an incredibly amazing force for good.

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