Hello, and welcome to here and this and Spring! Mostly spring. Because I've been hunkered down a bit the last couple weeks. And, so, even though there's several swirling masses of thought and indignant anger and things I want to shout and wrestle with and point to and grin a lot about...I haven't quite picked one and written through it all the way yet. (Included in these are: the endings of stories, art gallery curation, safe spaces and headphone marketing, queer visibility vs. activism...and so on.)
So, I'm going a bit out of order and I'll begin with a short story-kind-of that I wrote, which has a lot of my recent thinking in it anyway.
As usual, if that's not your thing, feel free to skip down to things made by smarter artists than me and music by people who know how to properly play an instrument and/or make cool noises.
In Progress Thing
Q. E. D. - Queer Existentialism Datamap
Dany was a boy who was not very sad, and he did not want to die.
Everything was a shadow to Dany. When he realized his mother loved the idea of him, like an eggshell, he would wake from sleep crying, petrified she had died. And then that stage passed. Since he had known the time before his siblings were dead, they were never really alive to him. He learned to love by mourning handsome Charlie, while he lisped through his multiplication tables. Dany was petrified. Charlie was not dead yet, and so Dany had the hardest time speaking to him.
Soon, Charlie began to remove the meat from his sandwiches. Dany developed a crush on all the animals that were not quite dead yet anymore. He mourned the sacrificed slice of turkey for Charlie by swapping it for the small sweet his mother packed him. They developed a ritual by which certain death was not wasted and through which they made a pact together not to waste away.
Birthdays were beautiful to Dany. And they petrified him. That was the only time he could see the ghosts of finite time dancing spent breath above wax-splattered frosting. Sometimes guests who had not conspired in his animation sung in tribute. He didn’t take it personally. Dany thought they were mostly confused and astounded that any two people could exist at the same time. He still wasn’t sure they could.
After they were too old to count off the years left behind on their fingers, Charlie started a new birthday. He fashioned it out of syringe caps and small pills and various adult signatures below the same
story: jagged and precarious and haunted with gaps, like a Jenga tower.
He had a shadow that predated his lisp. There were small scars on his feet from where Charlie had tried to cut it off because he feared he would never meet the earth. On Charlie’s new birthday, they carved his name into places he had been and things he had touched and listened to the light dancing in the crevices.
On these days, Dany watched the dead things and the dying things ricochet like fireworks beyond the pull of gravity.
Charlie’s parents yelled at him for burning things they could never get back. Charlie did not hear. His eyes were flickering with the buzz of a crowd that had just evacuated the stadium. Charlie grappled with opponents that spluttered narration into electrified microphones every time they came up for air. They taunted him with LIVE WIRE living, in strange tendrils unfurling beyond his grasp. Charlie kept returning to the template ring because that was the only place he could find them.
Dany hated himself for mourning Charlie, then.
On a summer day, Dany watched the sun whirl round the planet, from the middle of a field. Heat and glare gave way to
trails of backlit pollution to
traces of the galaxy, expanse and contract and contradiction to
remnant glow speckled with bird calls.
And in the day he listened for animals low to the ground. Beetles shimmered like chameleons. At night, he sung soft phrases to clouds passing under the moon.
Before either of them is alone, Charlie captures the space between the repelling atoms of their palms while they are holding hands. He seals it in a vial. They break into Cape Canaveral in Brevard County, Florida. The next day, the vial will detach from the vessel, duct tape burned up in the ionosphere. It will stay traveling, propelled by its own inertia and caressed by gravitational waves.
It does not matter whether it will ever be forgotten.
It has always been gone.
Other People's Things
“None of Us is Yet a Robot” podcast - Emma Frankland. Emma is incredibly gracious at being simultaneously host and revolutionary. The podcast is set up as a conversation between two transwomen, and though gender and feminism have been strong threads so far, she and her guests cover everything from robots to 15th century plays to drum-playing siblings. This podcast is so, so needed, and Emma carves the space for it boldly and brilliantly. [So far, guests have included Maeve Devine, Jo Clifford, and Rhyannon Styles]
“Performing Sculpture” - Alexander Calder exhibit, Tate Modern. Although curated appallingly, Calder’s force in connecting loose ends of science, sound, audience, interactive installations, abstract art, mechanics and engineering, and so on vibrates tangibly. I don’t remember the last time I’ve been quite so angry and calmed by something at the same time. Sadly, none of the machines are turned on, many of the mobiles are sidelined so you can’t walk around or under them, and you can’t take photos (????). However, if you can afford it (also not sure why it needs to be a paid exhibit…) I’d say it’s worth the £17. It ends this Sunday, 3 April, so if you haven’t seen it and you have a bit of spare change, get cracking.
“Machete” - Amanda Palmer
“Padraic My Prince” - Bright Eyes - Letting Off the Happiness
“It Never Changes to Stop” - The Books - Lost and Safe
“Letter from an Occupant” - The New Pornographers - Mass Romantic
“All the Umbrellas in London” - Magnetic Fields
“Australia” - Amanda Palmer - Going Down Under
“Grand Old Paris” - PigPen Theatre Co. - Bremen