Thursday, 10 June 2021

There Will Be No Finale

There Will Be No Finale.



I knew and loved Chris for six years before he died. That is a lot shorter than many, many people who knew him. And also he shared many things with me that I did not realise until after his death were incredibly deep secrets to him.


There are also many, many things I could say about Chris. But I am not his biographer or his keeper or his dramaturg. He was more than capable of being all those things and more for himself. Even, to an extent, after his death.


The thing about harm and shame and terror and abuse is that it has a way of building a very harsh kind of dichotomy. Fighting or silent. Or, as Chris liked to recall saying to a childhood friend when he was six, "You can be in my play if you take your clothes off. And if you don't want to take your clothes off, then you can just go home."


Living with that inside must be immensely painful. And I know how painful being on the receiving end can be . And we've seen so much damage from it, those of us that knew Chris. Both to himself and others. So I'm not convinced those are the only two options. That I have to either paint a comprehensive and defensible narrative of him and us and all of this, or stay silent.


Here are the important facts around his death. This won't be the whole story. Because some of that story is inherently very personal and cannot be explained in a blog post. Because some of that story is still under active police investigations. Because some of that story died with Chris and none of us will ever know it.


-


Chris was sexually interested in children. He was when he was a child, he was when he was a teenager, and he was when he was an adult. He shared this with me the first weekend we spent away together, at the start of our relationship. He downloaded, discussed, and shared images and films of children of all ages and genders being abused and assaulted for over 20 years, up until his arrest on 5 May 2021.


This is technically separate, but it's important to my experience, so it goes here: As many people know or have seen or have guessed or have experienced first-hand, Chris could be immensely coercive and abusive. He would and could threaten to kill himself if I didn't stay quiet about things that happened in rooms with him, including serious crimes.


Of course, Chris could be other things, too. And those things are still true. Those things are recorded in reviews and tributes and things his collaborators and I have done and said about him throughout the years. However, they do not go here.


When we moved in together, Chris and I talked briefly about my discomfort living in a house with illegal content of child abuse. For a number of reasons, Chris began therapy and, as far as he told me, he was discussing his attraction to seeing children harmed there. Shortly after, a hard drive of his crashed. Because of what it contained, Chris opted to completely re-write a play he'd been working on for a year and half instead of having it fixed. After that, the few times we discussed it, Chris told me he was no longer watching those videos at all. That anything he still had would have been destroyed with that drive. And Chris had a number of medical problems that strongly affected his libido and energy, all of which progressed fairly rapidly during the last few years.


Chris returned from hospital in early March this year after his toe amputation, clearly still unwell physically and mentally. He and I fought for a few days. He would step on a needle he'd left on the floor and quickly spiral into telling me we should both kill ourselves. It quickly became untenable.


I was unable to get through to him and I decided to leave. He went to sleep one night and I packed a bag. He woke up to go to the toilet. I panicked about him finding out and made an unwise decision to drink a fair bit of gin in about 30 minutes to calm down and gather my courage to leave. I vomited it up. Chris called an ambulance. The paramedics team cleared me immediately. But they called the police. The police interviewed me for over an hour and a half in the ambulance. They decided it would be unsafe for me to return to the house and filed a domestic abuse report on Chris. They also began an investigation into a crime that occurred during the work done in the Ponyboy Curtis company.


I returned home after around 10 days and am still here today.


The Friday before Chris was arrested, the police called to schedule my video interview for the police investigation into the crime related to PBC. Chris wasn't the prime suspect, but I still told him I would be doing the interview. Chris was livid.


For a fair number of months, Chris Goode and Company had promised to give me the pictures from the show during which the crime occurred, so I had the option to review them and/or share them with police if I wanted. 


The Monday night before Chris was arrested, he left to go away for work for a week. After our conversation on Friday, I realised he wasn't going to give me the photos I needed for my police interview on Friday. Tuesday morning, I checked the top hard drive on a stack he kept on his desk. I knew that stack would have had archival footage from PBC and should have had the photos I needed.


The first folder on that drive contained a large amount of illegal content, including video footage of young children being sexually assaulted by adults. It was not hidden or protected by a password. I found more content on the next two drives before I stopped looking.


That day, 4th May, I spent trying to get in touch with the charity Stop It Now and speaking with a close friend. What I learned was that there were no options for support or rehabilitation unless Chris was arrested. My choice became a binary one again. Silence or reporting Chris to the police.


I'm a fairly passionate advocate against police systems and carceral justice. And I also would not stay silent about a child being hurt, even if there was only the smallest chance that the content I turned in might help them be found or bring them or their families some justice.


The police arrived at my house around 2:30 am on 5 May, only a couple hours after I filed a report via 101. They confiscated over 20 hard drives, most at least 1-2 TB and a number of old computers, usb drives, and phones. The forensics team ran out of evidence bags. They arrested Chris by 5am at his work accommodations for the week. Most likely, Chris will not be charged posthumously. The investigations will continue.


In cases like this, the primary/reporting witness is also treated as a victim. For safeguarding reasons beyond my control, the police set Chris the bail conditions that he was not able to contact me in any way or come back to the flat.


Chris was due to be charged by 2nd June. However, the case detectives let him know that his bail would most likely be extended by at least three months, due to the time it would take to go through so much material.


Chris died while the application for his bail extension was in progress.


Early on the morning of 1st June, he ended his life.


The last time I saw or talked with Chris was the Monday night he left for work. We kissed, I told him I loved him, I told him I'd make one of his favourites, Dal Makhani, the night he came back


For many, many reasons, I still loved him when he died. 


And, also.


It is because of everything that happened--


 Because of the shame and the secrecy and the quiet and the immense pain, at nearly black-hole-infinite-density, and all we've seen it can do--


That is why I've decided to set out here what happened. I don't know how else we grieve. Not, I think, all trying to hold down the dark. 


I don't know how else we move on.


I'm done now. Not with grief or pain - that will take a very long time. But I'm done telling Chris's story for him. He's done a lot of that himself, sometimes beautifully, sometimes very misleadingly, sometimes both, sometimes neither.


But you can go and see that story elsewhere. If you want.


We now continue with our lives. Immensely interwoven with each other's, with Chris's, with the past and now and with grief and still breathing and finding what comes next.


Chris liked to say, "We'll find out by doing it." I don't know. But even if we don't find out, we continue.


There is no simple end to his life or his narrative or his legacy and there is no way to tell the whole thing. And I'm not here to even tell you my whole part of this story. Because his death doesn't make that story everyone's business. 


There will be no finale. As much as he may have wanted it, there are not a cast of players in his show to come out now and do the curtain call and -maybe, maybe if we're lucky- an encore. There was no show. There were just people.


And we continue.


- - -

G.xx

- - -


Stop It Now is a brilliant organisation that offers anonymous advice to anyone who wants to stop abusing children or watching/downloading illegal content of children. They also support family, friends, coworkers, etc, of anyone struggling with the use of images of children or sexually abusing children.


Refuge is a brilliant domestic violence charity, and they can be reached 24/7 for free on 08082000247


Galop is a fantastic organisation that supports any LGBTQ+ person experiencing violence from a partner, family members or friends, at work or school, or anywhere else. They can be reached on 0800 999 5428 10am - 5pm Monday, Tuesday, and Friday and 10am - 8pm Wednesday and Thursday


The Samaritans are available 24/7 on 116 123 for free, for anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts or planning suicide - or to talk about anything else that might be difficult for you at the moment. You do not have to feel suicidal to call.


My immense thanks to the above organisations for their support during the last several weeks.


Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Ghost.Static.1. dance music . [Remix] . transcription


Lean in close to my little record player on the floor so this is what the volume knobs for i listen to dance music

Dance

Indications that there's something wrong with our new house trip down the wire twice daily im in

Music

Straight at her head


Dance music


So look I'm 17 years and you're the last best thing I've gotten going BUT then the special secret sickness starts to eat through you what am i supposed to do


No way of knowing so i


follow you down the twisted alleyways find a few cul de sacs of my own there's only 


ONE PLACE THIS ROAD EVER ENDS UP AND


-sing it-


(the audience joins in, loudly, but muted in the stage mic in the recording)


I DONT WANT TO DIE ALONE


let me down let me down let me down gently when

the police come to get me 


listening to


d a n c e m u s i c t m g 2 0 0 8

- - -

Hackney Tunnel Change (for two actors one versatile voice)


it is the tunnel between Hackney Downs and Hackney Central. I skip down stairs because I'm going to meet


I'm walking quickly and it's cold and I'm just going to miss the train and my therapist thinks I do this on purpose she thinks I


skip down the stairs because i feel young and i can and it's warm and i feel cool like hot like get me even though it looks like I'm acting like a six-year-old


Walk into this place called a diner the diner the American diner no just the diner and look at - i see - sitting at a booth hasn't seen me yet


my therapist says being seen is also seeing and some people can't bear to look at anyone anymore even themselves that's what she says and across from her flat is now a pub a fucking pub not the diner that's what the pandemic did i guess


I'm walking up the stairs and even though I'm walking up the stairs two at a time because I want to get home, something is heavy in my shoes because I'm going


the way you walk down the platform at hackney central from the tunnel is like it's people look at you and you look at them at these compressed angles I don't think exist anywhere else on the London Transportation Network I see eyes and sightlines and shoulders fuck -


Home is a long walk and a car ride and a bus ride and three train rides and two tube rides and an overground ride and a walk away except right now all the homes i see are on a screen on his lap all lined up thumbnails /and did i ask for no i don't want this/ in a cottage in the middle of the woods in


- i forgot I'd turned my service back on but my phone dings and I smile and the spikes and the weights disappear and i decide as I walk between rays of sun glinting flashing between slats in the walls I'm going to enjoy it because


Winter again, going to a show and the cops two cops walk down the long tunnel - you see them coming the whole way and i clutch hands and we stand up taller and we have beaten them forever forever forever and ever amen and we are unconquerable, we are


it was raining and i am soaked and it's so far from therapy to where we live now and i didn't want therapy i thought I'd learned a final lesson from the ways i could not fit into the infinite world you'd made it's like when its the opposite of when


Looking into the eye of my phone so the screen unlocks so I can see the text that popped up and I smile I smile through my mask and no one can see and I hope everyone can see because I am radiantly happy and for a moment i get a break and I feel like music is my neurons and veins and tendons and again and for a second i am not sorry that even though you are dead



I am so very alive


7 June 2021

- - -

"You know, there's a moment in a Greek tragedy where everybody on the stage realises that they are totally fucked, right? [scattered audience laughter] And it's this moment where everybody thinks they've been acting independently and just deciding what they were going to do. And then--then they all look at each other. And it's this great moment where, you know, Antigone looks at Creon and Creon looks at Antigone and both of them realise it's all going to come to no goddamn good no matter what anybody says."


- Prelude to "The Recognition Scene" at The Mountain Goats concert in Paris (pirate copy on YouTube) 07/02/03

- - -

"Unconditionally yours..."

I Will Never Forget, by Kimya Dawson

- - -

Much love,

G.xx


Saturday, 5 June 2021

Ghost.Static.0

Over the last few days, I've realised that my usual approach to any of this doesn't work. Not really. 

Harm and terror and pain and love and generosity and immense trust and sudden knives have all lived like loud and vibrant and the most exciting ghosts in my house for a long time now.

They have not completely gone. But they live here very differently now. The last few days.

And when I speak to friends, when I go to work and when I talk to the press and when I try to carve out space for myself and when I have the kinds of conversations about death no one ever knows how to have:

 See, I am used to taking in the whole night sky and then imagining constellations. Knowing what I want to say, knowing the system of things, and then beginning. 

As I've told a couple friends, this feels much more like being a child, naming the colour of the sky, then the colour of the grass, then trying to name what each is for. Or a new navigator in a hurricane:  finding a star in a stormy, cloudy night sky, hoping it stays bright enough to write it down on the navigation chart, then moving on to the next one, gasping air when I can.

This is a space of naming, of communicating, of grief, of vibrant love, of care always and no shame or terror, anymore, at all.

I'm sorry, but this will not be a document of Chris or an appropriate eulogy or a coded guide to what he left behind. This is just the next stage of my blog. Grief and live and timefuck words.

It might look like nothing when it comes together. And I can't and won't worry about it.


Anyway. Enough of that. Let's begin.

- - -

I had a dream, too. Your voice came on the radio and it was so, so, so too loud. It was a recording that doesn't exist from a poetry reading at CPT in 2002. No one else could hear it except the audience, which was also me, and I could not turn it off.

"Rejoice despite the fact this world will kill you. Rejoice despite the fact this world will tear you to Shreds. Rejoice despite the fact you're trying your best. And rejoice. The bed you sleep in is burning. Oh, rejoice. The sky's fucking falling. Oh, rejoice... Rejoice although this world will penetrate you. Rejoice although you will not survive. Rejoice. You'll never make it out alive."

"Getting naked and playing with guns...now I can see the playground for the trees. We'll kill the neighbour kid; show what our love actually means"

"No one will no how evil I really am. No one will know how evil I really am. 'Cause I like to wear disguises, and I like to disguise my plans. ... And no one will know just truly how I feel. And I can no longer differentiate between what is fake and what is real. ... To die with honour and comfort and dignity."

- The May 24, 2020 performance of the "Live from Quarantine" series by AJJ

Songs, in order, are "Rejoice," "Getting Naked, Playing With Guns," and "Evil."

https://youtu.be/XBbscxneoUs

-  - -

Griffyn reading (click to listen)

After Suicide, Matt Rasmussen, from the book Black Aperture, 2013



Tattoo finished 13 February 2018 by Matt Hunt at Modern Body Art

- - -

"Dear Christopher. It is 8:01pm on May 28th 2021 as I write to you. I am sitting in our front room and it is once again filled with boxes. Your instruments are in the corner. The bookshelves still tower over me along the walls.


I'm packing up your things. I always imagined that if I did this, it would be because you had died. The scene looks very similar from the outside. Me perched on the edge of the couch or sitting on the floor, surrounded by a maze of piles and bags. Sometimes pushing through until late, unable to sleep. Sometimes sitting kind of frozen, too full of too many feelings and memories of you. But I didn't imagine it would feel like I had killed you"

...

Every instant, I've wished I could lessen the harm. There was never a good outcome to this."

...

"If you've gotten this far, I'm impressed. And thank you."

- A letter written from GG to CG following his arrest, on 28 May 2021

- - -

03 June 21

Poem - Bruised




everything is     bruised today


I do not want to be alone but

       I want to be loved


and I scarcely bear anything in between 


I did not think you would hold me again


      But I thought I would feel you vibrating in the world



Like a spider,

                         Feeling the wind at the edge of the web 



Knowing. It is not a fly or a frog or a bird


But finally something gentle, other 


      unknowable and resonant


           go back to bed with something new


You lived in my bones

You will live in my bones

Which means you will be dead in my marrow


And death was heaviest for you but


      Longer for me


I want to dream of you

I will never want to dream of you ever, ever again.


Last night I dreamt (AND THIS IS TRUE)


Last night I dreamt I heard your voice on the radio, so, so loud and from years ago, something I’d never heard


And it was / always had been dead in the way your eyes


Had decided to go in the last picture of you

 

But even in my dreams 


In our wedding in our first date in the first time

I took my clothes off for you because

What else did I have did anyone have and

And

And

you are gone


You are always already gone 

every


Second per second per second


Per square millimetres of capillaries burst


         a spattering of transient cells blossoming

Thursday, 3 June 2021

Hello/Goodbye

 Dear Friends,


Hello. In a world of screens and distance and a pandemic, I’m sorry we have to gather like this. But here we are. 


I’ve reached out to as many people as I could directly. Friends have helped by contacting people they know, etc. If we missed you, then I’m immensely sorry. But I have some difficult news to share, and I don’t think word of mouth is really equal to it.


Early in the morning of Tuesday, June 1st, Chris Goode decided to end his life. I have been told he died painlessly.


I will be in contact with friends and colleagues regarding arrangements for a memorial as soon as I have made them. If any close or long-term friends of Chris's are hearing this news here for the first time, please get in touch if you would like to talk. I will do my best to respond to you as soon as I can.


I don’t have many words or certainly the right words yet. But it is clear that Chris was loved deeply by many, many people. The world cannot and will not be the same with him no longer living in it.


With love and grief,


Griffyn Gilligan