Friday, September 26, 2008

Speech!


My earliest memory of Nicola, is she and I ages 8 and 5 respectively, stood on top of a rabbit hutch in the garden, huddled together for dear life and screaming, because our very unfriendly dog was snarling at us. I don't remember how long we were stuck there before we were rescued, but I do remember thinking; "We're in this for life, girl."

I can't think of a better way to open this celebratory speech in honor of my sister, than to talk of her loyalty, compassion and kindness - wherever I've been in the world I know that she's always been there with me. We've been booed off-stage together in Paris, we've been accused of shop lifting from the Cathedral gift-store in New York, we've convinced people in San Francisco that she was the Duchess of Wesham, and we've been stranded in London with no place to sleep and only a fiver between us. Usually this is all her fault, she's not very organised, but since she's my little sister I've always forgiven her. Well, except for the time she ate a multi-pack of Cadbury's creme eggs and put the papers in my room.

I say she's my little sister, because she's so short, but actually she's seven years older than me and as such she's taught me a few things over the years. She taught me a mnemonic to help me spell the word necessary; never eat chips eat salad sandwiches and raspberry yoghurt. She taught me that most important things to look for when buying diamonds are the three c's; cut, color and clarity. And she taught me (and all my friends at university in Berkeley) that if you light the bottom of your glass of booze you can inhale the fumes which really, really messes you up. It's called freebasing, isn't it? And honestly, all that advice has been invaluable to me.

Like every older sister should, she has been there for me since that day on top of the rabbit hutch in the back garden. When we were in High School, she kicked a particularly mean boy in the shins on my behalf, she played a chain smoking chambermaid in our Halloween show when she was six months pregnant with Isabelle, and one night a couple of years ago, she somehow saved me from getting arrested for underage drinking in Florida, when I insisted we walk down the freeway to TGI Friday's and order strawberry daiquiris.

That's not to say that I haven't been an equally incredible sibling to her; I have helped her disguise her outlandish Dorothy Perkins bills as necessary expenses. That is to say, whenever she spends more than she should she simply tells Michael; "Oh, it was JohnJoseph. He must have bought it all on my card, in my size, in my favourite color, without telling me. How strange, but you know what he's like."

But we're not here today to talk about my sister's impulse buying or personality disorder, sorry disorders, no. We are here to celebrate her as she becomes Mrs Nicola Dawn Euphrates Ypsilanti Darlington the Third. I remember when she first met Michael, well actually I don't because she had just taught me the trick about inhaling alcohol fumes, so that whole period is a blur, but for the sake of this speech "I remember when she first met Michael". The only other boyfriend I remember her having before him, was during her final year of junior school, but Michael was different. He was tall and knew how to fasten his shoelaces and didn't wear grey shorts everyday. Maybe this is what first caught her eye, I couldn't say, I wasn't there. I remember that she ditched the other boyfriend after a week, at age ten, because she said he was; "Sexist and racist and every other ist". She's always been strong-minded. Some people say hard-faced, but I say strong-minded. Famously, as a little girl, she would start debates with anyone and everyone, leading my poor old Grandad to decry; "You'd argue with Our Lord, you would."
"No I wouldn't," she said.

And so, in conclusion, I would like to toast the bride for her endless, loving nature, her incredible sense of humour, her loyalty, compassion and kindness and her horrible taste in music. I hope she takes these talents and qualities that have made her a somewhat above average sister, and uses them in her quest to be a suitably, quite alright, wife. If not, all I can say is that, she still doesn't really like dogs, and that rabbit hutch is still outside in the back garden. God save the Queen.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Fabulous Riviera


When I lived in Brooklyn I would see this lady all the time on Bedford Avenue, and I thought she was fabulous, so I nicknamed her Fabulous Riviera. I was always too shy to speak to her though. Last year she was in New York Magazine's look book section, and here she is on the face hunter blog from Sept 2006. I was lead there after I saw a picture take by old FH, of a girl on Brick Lane (my new 'hood) in the dress Legs Malone bought me! This reminded me of my initial meeting with FH when he took pictures of me and Gigi at a Klaxons gig in Brooklyn, where I also met Sia, who is the featured vocalist on that record Our Lady Steele is currently crazy about. Full circle realness!!!!!

These Days

These days all my friends are very young children and very old ladies. The situation is complicated since I can't hear with my right ear, and none of my friends can really communicate in linear, legible paragraphs. Sometimes we all end up talking concurrently out of impatience, incomprehension of social graces, or forgetfulness.

Our conversations are like circles within circles, optical illusions that lead nowhere, they get messy quickly, loose threads of conversation sticking out like our chatter was a frayed ball of yarn, wound up in a hurry. Dialogues that look like baby's first wall painting, done in very berry lipstick all down the hallway, looping back on itself with the occasional recognisable symbol appearing startling, at random.

I thought about a starling, sweeping over the pond in my childhood, as the train rattled by, at the bottom of my garden making the fencing wobble.

At tea time, when we all come together, it's like the Mad Hatter's tea party, only we don't say the 'm' word, it's a little insensitive, and more over everything's relative and more over everyone's a relative, and people shouldn't go pointing glass fingers in glass houses. The web of kinship that sews us all together is not exactly clear, since she can't remember who I am and I can't hear her mumbled explanation, and nobody knows who invited her in the first place.

As waitresses multiply and come and go and extra plates are continually ordered and continually disappear down the table, I take the time to look around at this collection of women, staggered like the evolution of man, an illustration over tea cakes. There's a tragedy etched into them. They're unaware. They went through the war and came out the other side, the other side where everything looked the same but everything was different. Different from how they had been told the world would look in the capital 'f' future, that capital 'f' future of space travel and self-cleaning fabrics and endless technology. Endless technology they don't understand, though they try to get a grip on mobile phones, and try to respond to text messages which always read garbled, and try to understand computers but it's hard to understand computers in one hour a week at an underfunded library a bus ride away from where you live.

Where you live, is just around the corner from me isn't it? Oh, you've moved have you? When? Really, that long ago? And there was me saying to whatshername that we were practically neighbours, you know whatshername? You do. Lovely girl, tall, dark hair, goes out with that fella from the pub. Nice lad, shaved head, looks the spitting image of his Father. And you, you look just like your Mother, you do. Same eyes you see, same long face, I think you're very handsome. Is she your Mother? Oh, she's your sister? Oh well you look nothing a like. Well, I can't see it.

Older women do have sex, sex in their heads at least. They find gentlemen friends at the charity shop where they volunteer, who come and take their hand and remind them of what it felt like when they were nineteen and blushing on the promenade, talking about a certain handsome chap just as he strode over, looking dashing in his dress uniform, epaulettes glinting in the sun. A gentleman friend who makes her remember how she felt when she got a letter from him, far away in India, and how she felt when he came home on leave on tore her skirt in a fit of lust and how they rolled around and broke a vase in her Mother's little house on the Wirral, and how she blushed to herself and smiled uncontrollably the next day as she picked up the pieces and mended that ripped seam. And how she felt when she got that telegram.

A gentleman friend she maybe met at the supermarket, she's an independent woman still, who approached her at the deli counter to say what lovely eyes she had. A gentleman friend she introduced her friends to at the Church social, they all said he was a real catch, and she blushed. But blushes turn to bruising on the heart, I hear of an elderly lady arranging her wedding (nothing much, nothing special, it's her second time) who learns the day before the service, that her gentleman friend dropped dead that morning. And so she enters another fifty black years.

Sometimes, in the middle of the night, at about 2am, it must be the mail train that comes by at 100 miles per hour because everything shakes. We've had things fall of the wardrobe before, and I always say to Bill; "Bill, did the Earth move for you? No! It was just the wardrobe." Have you met our Bill?

You will live as long as it takes for you to really learn pain, until you can speak it like your native tongue, until it's your first thought, your initial reaction, primary response, your frst answer to every question. They say the Lord only gives you what you can handle, it's just that some people can handle too much.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Learn It!



The Hot Peaches seminal theme song; performed by Java, lyrics by J. Carnicia.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Rhianna rings like a bell through the night.



Watching Rhianna do Madonna's seminal pop hit, "Vogue", at "Fashion Rocks" prompts several trains of thought doesn't it? It's fascinating how when a performer pays homage to a more powerful icon, it confers legitimacy to their own legend. Madonna doing Marilyn is a good example, and before that Marilyn doing Clara Bow for Avedon. On one hand it's a humble, "She's my inspiration" on the other it's a sly announcement that there's a new queen in town. "The new Madonna" - every female pop star who has been landed with that moniker has, since 1988, limped into cultural obscurity; Paula Abdul through Gwen Stefani.

Do you remember when Gwen Stefani was all anybody could think about? I never even bought her records, but all those hipster faggots were pissing their pants over her, and little girls the world over sang the refrain, "Take a chance you stupid ho," like a hymn, at recess.

Rhianna however, has managed more than one successful album, and seems bizarrely to only grow in popularity. She was smelted from the forge of perfect pop perfection thus her every move is both, well, perfect and entirely unsurprising. She's a hip Beyonce (which is to say she doesn't wear her Mother's dresses, looks emo and probably totally loves The Ramones) just as she's a square Britney/Winehouse (which is to say she keeps her sex life to herself and doesn't throw up at award ceremonies). She is not reckless, but her skirts are always short enough; her deeply unsexy career satisfies everyone. She is responsible, but she can be naughty, but she's not a drunk, and she's beautiful but in no way provocative and has a hairdo that makes fashion people think she's stylish.

She is proficiency personified and as such her performance of "Vogue" was a marvellous example of Madonna-by-numbers. Every theme of the elder stateswoman's career was there. She threw the Hollywood sexpot look in with some vaguely avant garde silk dancing and the traditional, confused post-feminist boys-drool-girls-rule attitude, garnished it with a few baroque gestures, and lip-synched flawlessly from behind the iconic headset microphone as she recreated the choreography from the original video. She was even dressed like Kylie Minogue on her last tour; and if that is not conclusive proof of robbery from Madonna's tomb then I must surely surrender my case.

I am not averse to a bit of appropriation, obviously Madge yanked the whole scene from some broke uptown queens and laughed all the way to the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards. On one of her previous tours though ("Re-Invention" I think) Our Lady of Perpetual Cultural Aggrevation in fact re-created her famous Eighteenth Century powdered wigs and frilly drawers "Vogue" performance, but ladies and gentlemen, she updated it. Yes, new choreography, backbends and headstands, and video screens that merged Antoinette and Hitchcock. Madonna doing Madonna, fifteen years later so to speak, whereas Rhianna gave us a bootleg Madonna karaoke dvd filtered through "High School: The Musical 3". Her attempt was less of an homage and more of a not terribly special recreation, which in fact revealed that, like it or not, Madonna is the new Madonna.

But it's also kind of sad because Madonna's previous work in the popular musical genre set the bar so high for pop stars (qua pop stars, not 'musicians', 'artists' or any of those other elusive mythical creatures) that it's pretty near impossible for anyone else to match it. Even herself. So, wildly, since the standard has been set we must bear witness to every other pop star aping Madonna, until someone presents a better version of Madonna than Madonna - who as previously concluded is still the best Madonna impersonator around. As my dear Mother would say; "It's political correctness gone mad."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Everybody's Doin' A Brand New Dance, Now.







My Mother and I are both mortally afraid of bees and wasps.

This evening in Blockbuster, whilst trying to avoid paying the late fees, the creation at the register announced; "I don't want to alarm you but there is a rather large bumble bee just above you."

And so there was, it was huge, half the size of a tennis ball, and what it was doing in Blockbuster in late September I do not know.

My Mother and I, being that we are both mortally afraid of bees and wasps, ran screaming towards the door only to find ourselves headed off by Mr Black and Gold, at which point we ran back to the cash desk.

The creation at the register could not have been less interested in helping us out of this pickle, so you can imagine our relief when a dude with tattoos entered - "Surely he will save us," we thought.

But, no. He was a scared as my Mother and I, and so the three of us ran about the store, knocking over the cardboard cut-out of Paris Hilton and sending the low hanging sale signs into disarray.

It should be added that my Mother strained her groin last week and that I was wearing my pyjamas. The sight of the two of us flailing around, she staggering and me ready for bed, would have been hilarious if anyone with a sense of humour had been around to witness it. The creation at the register was unmoved and still insisted that we pay the £18 late fees, miserable cow.

For the record my Mother chose 27 Dresses and I chose Inland Empire. In retrospect the bee should have been interpreted as an omen.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Question?

"Were you ever happy?"

Once, in 2003.

"Do you ever think about faking your own death?"

Everyday.

"What's your secret to homemade porn?"

I keep the lens cap on.

"What are your politics?"

Filth are my politics, filth is my life.

"Do you remember a time in your life you thought about suicide?"

I don't remember a time in my life when I haven't.

I used to, now I don't.


There was a time, not so terribly long ago, when, paralyzed as I was by my feelings for you, I was a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown. I understood crimes of passion and knew what it was to break a person with a table leg, out of sheer frustration, desire. I knew chloroform, I knew kidnap, I knew rape, I knew involuntary suicide pacts. I knew fucking you from behind with a gun in your mouth, one bullet going off like an orgasm, through your brain, through mine. I knew threesomes with a Smith and Wesson model 40 and two unrecognisable corpses, two faceless, bloody bodies in flagrante on the bed.

Then I left and I knew nothing.

I woke up, knee deep in snow, shell shocked and I began to forget, to unlearn; so when I see you now you're the kitchen sink, the price of jam, mid-afternoon, Sainsbury's. You bend too easily to yesterday's news and ignore the pull of the moon, your mind is limited at best, lumpy, univestigated, buttoned-down. You're fearful of addiction (which is to say experience) and evolve with the enthusiasm of a grave digger; it's true now that I run circles around you. It's true now that you'd be hurt if you read this, but it's unlikely that you ever will because you exist solidly within your own life. Not for you electronic stalking, technological wanderings, online explorations for solice, social investigation or anything as silly as the news.

In that fleeting moment I would have considered going straight for you, buckling down for you, wearing pants and going to work and monogamy and soap operas and 5-a-day. I would have beaten my own body into obedience (yes, with a table leg), polished my face and travelled on the Eurostar. But now, oh the truth is so grimy, and I have been around the world for two more years and I can't help noticing that you're just a person and your bathroom ceiling is filthy.

(Pic by Inbal Sivan)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Have ribcage, will travel.


Today Anna and I sat around for four hours (in the coffee shop that we were kicked out of on Friday) decrying how modelling had damaged us.


Strangers on a Train


"Would you like some supper, my love?"

'Well, whatever suits you. I'm not ravishing.'

"Ravenous, my love."

'Yes, Ravenous.'

"Did Sheila cook for you or was it bought in?"

'Bought in, very good steak pies actually.'

"Well, this is very good quality Marks&Spencer, which we don't get at home. It's very good."

'I'm not fussed.'

"Mmmm."

'I'll take your word for it.'

"Well, I don't suppose you'd like anything else? I have a yoghurt if you'd like yoghurt."

'Yes, I'll have a yoghurt, but I'll wait five minutes. What's that?"

"Oh, I only got one of those - I just didn't think you were into jelly."

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Traitor's Gate



At least the Tower of London had a library.

Tea Shop


"I used to work up here, in the offices at the Robertson's jam factory but it closed down."

"But you still see Robertson's jam on the shelves."

"Oh yes, but it's made elsewhere now."

"So, you're just visiting today? You and a group of ladies is it?"

"Yes, just a day trip for the sake of memory."

"Well at least you've got some nice weather for a change, bit of sun. It's been nothing but rain."

"Oh, yes, it's been a terrible Summer."

"Now do you remember that pub, The George?"

"Oh, it's dead now. Empty."

"It used to be such a popular place, you'd go from there to The Beehive and off down the High St."

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

She's a 28, so just back down.


Today at the tailor's, where I was being fitted for my sister's wedding by the world's least qualified suit pusher, I got into something of a tiff. I had sent them my details two weeks ago, stating that I am a 28" waist, wear a 34 jacket and a 15 1/2 collar. Apparently these measurements are entirely impossible and obviously a figment of my admittedly warped imagination. When I arrived I found myself faced with pants in a 32" waist and a jacket in a 38, which the salesman assured me I would need in order for it to; "go around." Around what? Me and my inferiority complex? Lord above. After negotiating my way into the correct jacket I began to tackle the trousers, much to the annoyance of the pusher who wanted to know if I was sure I knew my size. I have been buying horribly outdated slacks for a very long time now, but apparently his eagle eye overrules my own life experience. Throwing just a little bit of Hollywood bitch realness I snapped, "Well I am a 28 at Dior so I expect I am a 28 here!" So now I have a suit that fits. He wanted to debate my collar size with me but sadly couldn't find his tape measure.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Regrets, I've had a few. But then again, too many to mention.



I didn't want to say good bye like that, I didn't want to part with you on a dirty street corner. On the phone, on the other side of the Bay. I didn't want to say good bye to you like that, waking up and finding you dressed and in the doorway and on your way out. I didn't want it to be bleary-eyed, panicked and half-kissed; I wanted us to all sit around a table and reminisce, tipsy but not plastered. I didn't want to say good bye to you all covered in baby powder and half-dressed, hugging, clinging in a public space with a spotlight on us, choking me. I didn't want to say good bye to you like that, via email, text message, voicemail, two missed calls. I didn't want to face the truth, I wasn't capable of taking responsibility, so I let technology do my dirty work and act as an intermediary. A flimsy membrane between you and me, pressed up against a glass wall mouthing wet-eyed heartaches. I didn't want to say good bye to you like that, so casually, almost vindictively, as though it were your fault. To just throw that "So long" at you and leave you, holding it, shocked. I didn't want to say good bye to you like that, so unprepared, so disorganised. It wasn't supposed to end in a line at the post office, weighed down with boxes and a $300 shipping fee. It wasn't supposed to end under mundane fluorescent light with you all planning to get tacos afterwards and me feeling like I'd been boxed up myself. No. It was supposed to end with a midnight drive to Canada or a sunburnt haul through Mexico, not with a trip to the post office. I didn't want to say good bye to you like that, I never wanted to say good bye to you at all.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Dublin

After a deliriously chaotic flight and a l-o-n-g bus ride through Ireland, I made it to Dublin with Spooky. I feel as though I am coming off the longest speed jag of my life; oh wait...

Today watching street theatrics on St Stephen's Green, I heard an Irish granny say to her pal of the underwear clad acrobats, "Ah would you come on now Mary? When you've seen one you've seen 'em all."

Mercifully I have found myself in the dysfunctional arms of Spooky, Saori, Baby Brook and John Moran who are all here being wildly famous at the fringe festival. In between their techs and their TV interviews they are helping me to forget that my life is in fact in tatters.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

This one gets his mug everywhere!


So said the wise old owl that is Earl Dax. And as if by magic in the week of my return to the UK I have finally made it into the British broadsheets. In The Guardian today, journalistic dreamboat Ben Walters (cousin of non-other than choreographer to the stars Vanessa Walters) mentions me favorably in his write up of Joe E. Jeffrey's Drag Video Verite. He also spilt the beans on how I spent my time at Marina's apartment this Summer, details I probably wouldn't have shared had I known he was a filthy hack. Oh, who am I kidding? Had I have known I'm sure I would have told him even more lurid details. You can read it all here.

Furthermore, those darlings over at anti-mag have just put up the interview I did with them a few weeks ago, the feature includes a lovely little gallery too.