Saturday, January 31, 2009

Halfway To A Half-Dressed Stage

Last night at The Cochrane, I saw a preview of a brand new piece by Nicola Chalmers. Staged in a manner reminiscent of a radio play, four speakers, surrounded by physical, sculptural, and sometimes cryptic extrapolations from the text, attempt to tell, retell, or maybe even foretell, a very black love story.

The atmosphere is tense and even threatening from the start, as the speakers vie for control in the telling, interrupting, contradicting and occasionally bullying each other. Lines of text circle each other through a schizoid power matrix, seeing themselves laughed off and rejected only to reemerge later, as proof positive in the sad and beautiful tale of our heroine's watery grave.

Rather than fragment though, the act of creation and dissection witnessed makes the text stronger and richer, as if it were being told from four vantage points at once (which of course it is) and the whole affair comes off as a sort of Stenian parlour game. Witty, poetic and yet strangely logical, Halfway To A Half-Dressed Stage is a bold and loving wrestling with language that takes its four sharply shaded speakers further than they seem comfortable with, revealing thoroughly good writing and brilliant characterisation.

It's as though Ms Chalmers tip-toed through a private collection of ceramics late one night and in the darkness knocked a priceless vase from its pedestal, horrified. Upon kneeling down to inspect the damage, the jagged fragments look to her, in the weak moonlight, more beautiful then they had ever done for the last 2,000 years. So she spreads them out, rearranges them like a puzzle in reverse, and leaves the pieces of the vase scattered on the floor, now a mosaic.

Time Out NY: What’s the secret to putting false eyelashes on right?

Liza Minnelli: I don’t know. I just slam them on. I have trouble sometimes. I think that the trick, after you put the glue on, is to round it to the shape of the eye so it has a little bit of a curve in it. Then, you look down—you don’t close your eye. And just try to get the first part in the middle at the eye line, okay? Then you work on everything else. I start on the inside, but it’s too hard for most people. Work from the middle. Right in the center, and then make sure you pull it out enough to get it over your own eyelash.

TONY: How did you come up with your hairstyle?

LM: You know what happened? Mia Farrow and I were best friends and we still are great friends. She had long hair and I had long, long hair, and I was doing the first nightclub thing that I did and they would put it in a chignon and they’d pin it and cement it to your head, put lacquer all over it, and if you waited too long before you took your hair down you couldn’t get the tangles out without hurting yourself. One night, people came backstage, so by the time I got home I was so angry at the pain I was going to have to go through, I picked the thing up and took scissors and cut it off. Then I immediately burst into tears for about three seconds.

TONY: What did you do?

LM: I thought, Daddy said there’s always a way to make something work. So I called my friend Mia. I had to tell her. I said, “Mia, the damndest thing just happened,” and she said, “No, I’ve got to tell you something—you know what I did? Listen to me! I cut all my hair off!” I said, “No, no —that’s what I was going to tell you!” She said, “Stay with me, we’ll figure it out.” She had done the same thing out of frustration. So we meet up and we go at each other with fingernail scissors and we just kept cutting. And I’ll never forget the first time she and I walked down a New York street—people yelled terrible things at us: “Dykes! Boys!” Because we had this short hair and nobody else had it. Zizi Jeanmaire’s hair was long. It was really funny. Isn’t that something? This was 1965, 66? ’67? Right before Twiggy. Actually, Vidal Sassoon was a very nice man and he saw my hair and said, “You know something? This can be great. It’s just a little chopped up.” So he got me in there and cut it properly.

Friday, January 30, 2009


"Night terrors plus wet dreams equal La JohnJoseph" - Max Steele.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A conversation

"I'm going to my Mother's place this weekend to finish my damn novel. You shall appear, in the final chapter, in a forest full of parrots."

'I'm flattered.'

"You may be eaten to death."

'I should hope so.'

"You might have parrot sex, I simply don't know. Maybe both."

'Yeah, have my cake and get eaten too.'

Sunday, January 25, 2009

This Is How I Spend My Time

When I am not pacing the floor in my pyjamas in the throes of novel writing, or presenting avant cabaret shows in the art capitals of Europe and America, I can be found socializing at some of the chicest soirees around, and girl, I'm talking Capote's Black and White Ball realness.

For instance, my niece (Squidface) turned two this week and I was there, with the great and the good to wish her a happy etc etc. The cake was excellent, the company so-so. With thanks to the Duchess of Wesham for the photographs.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Friday, January 23, 2009

They say it's been two years now.

"Salman Rushdie says it better than I:
What is unforgivable?
What if not the shivering nakedness of being wholly known to a person one does not trust?"

Try as I might to tell myself that it is an impossible and thankless task to love a person who has nothing but objectivity running through their veins, I often fail.

Having Apollo in your life can bend you like Dionysius, deprive you of any rationality so all logic is lost to panic and passion. When you go on shouting over the edge of a cliff and no longer even hear your own echo, when you can't even find your reflection in a perfectly placid pool, when you press down on your wrist for hours and can't find a pulse, then you know it's time.

Or rather you should. I went on dashing my own hopes like so many little lost sailboats on a carnivorous, storm ridden sea, until I went down with them through the inky, murky darkness.

Drowning is not a peaceful death, it’s slow and painful, it’s not poetic, it’s not dreamlike, it feels like suffocation and panic, terror terror terror, the kind you can only ever experience once in your life, after which you’re broken. Dying is easy, it’s living that scares me to death and drowning is not a peaceful death, ask the sailors, they know.

On dry land, with wet eyes, I saw Salman Rushdie at a cocktail party and he was dancing to I Will Survive . My Mother made a lousy joke, saying; "Well he did survive didn't he?"

"I don't think that's very funny, Mother," I said as fellow guests surreptitiously drew out their cell phone cameras.

I saw you in the streets of San Francisco, yes, outside of Phil's. You blanked me and I blanked you like a pair of fucking school kids, only you did it better, outright and in the open. I hid my ignorance behind sunglasses and a phone call.

I had the feeling right then, that if I were to drop my phone and drop my glasses and call your name, you'd come back to me, but like so many times before and so many times since my mouth became a graveyard and all those sentiments died on my tongue.

I write you into shows you know, parts you'll never play, but I get to say everything I want to you onstage, and you can't turn away. In a way you belong to me, because I have forgotten so much about you, and really there wasn't so much to know (you were handsome, you were free-love, you hated your Mother, you had a swimming pool in the garden). Because I have forgotten so much about you I have filled in the blanks for myself, whatever time and the wind have eroded I have replaced, and so we sit like Mrs Bates and her son ("Who's who?" I hear you ask), or rather like Ms Havisham sat in the folds of her wedding dress.

It's such a joke, a worse joke than any of my Mother's, that since I have never learned to say what I feel all of my emotions trickle out in products, and all of my most truthful words are taken for fiction and wisecracks.

I spoil you, I really do.

An extract from Episode Twelve of my new novel,"Everything Must Go".

Returning from the patio, with a little bit of a suntan, Candy Bar tip-toed in and sat besides me.

“You should see the garden, it’s full of flamingos, hundreds of pink flamingos.”

I had often dreamt of flamingos, which in sleep symbolize the beginning of a new community or conversely an overdependence on one’s looks. Shortly after pushing out Baby, I dreamt that I gave birth to a flamingo and then promptly devoured it, devoured my own good looks by proxy ("Eat Yourself", that’s always been my mantra). I’d do very well as a cannibal, if only I weren’t one of a kind. If you go killing other species it’s merely murder, and that has been done to death; I thought, briefly, back again to the walk of fame dedicated in its entirety to Elizabeth de Bathory, in cold blood, and I mused on Truman Capote, such a faggot.

I imagined Capote, always a gentleman, entertaining the Countess for a weekend and then fiendishly, immediately scribbling down all of her mannerisms, anecdotes and peculiarities at the typewriter, the moment she left. Capote, waving the Countess off, Capote in his silk dressing gown breaking the top off a boiled egg and giggling to himself, Capote in a sport’s jacket, cravat and an open shirt hammering it out, Capote with a mid-morning scotch fretting over his hairline and his deadlines, Capote screwing up the typewriter roll and starting all over again, and somewhere in Forest City Andy Warhol dreamed up this entire scene.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Here in London, busy London.

I'm taking my show to the West End! Come and see it.

Flier by Elana Schlenker (

National Anthem

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Follow Me

Click the link in the top right corner to follow this blog.
I have only just figured out how to do this, but now feel very much empowered for having done so.
Thank you.

Father of Hermaphroditus

Mercury is in retrograde again. Mercury is my ruling planet. Ergo my life is a shipwreck.

But do let's try to see the positive; here are some fascinating bits of floatsam relating to the celestial pull of Mercury and the children he guides.

They never remain still for very long and cannot be "pinned down" on anything. The Mercury character has a young, almost "Peter Panish" quality.

Mercury is also associated with merchants, commerce and mental pursuits. "Wheeling and dealing" fall within the jurisdiction of this do lying and cheating. It has been said that individuals born under the influence of Mercury are experts at "bursting the bubbles" of others, pricking the pretensions of those around them and forcing the re-examination of personal attitudes.

As a planetary influence, Mercury is neutral, displaying neither feminine nor masculine qualities

It symbolizes fluidity overcoming rigidity and is thus the champion of new beginnings, upsetting conventional attitudes and blazing trails for invention and change.

And lest we forget, one of Mercury's offspring (born to Venus) is the legendary Hermaphroditus, child of all sexes. I rest my case.

Friday, January 16, 2009


Pictures by Anna Lewenhaupt

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Let me get one thing straight!

A) I am not "confused about my gender identity", thank you very much, though I know a lot of other people are.
B) I don't dislike you because you're successful, I dislike you because you're terrible.
C) I'm an excellent babysitter actually.
D) I believe in the power of love and I can prove it.

He said, She Said

I remember when we came to the town in the middle of nowhere that was entirely populated by models. Since no-one was buying clothes, because all the fashion houses had fled to Vichy with the rest of the collaborators, and advertising was banned, fashion models were now entirely useless. Some of them had successfully integrated with the robot population, they hardly noticed the difference (so used were they to an entirely inhuman way of living) but most of them became radical anarchists and set up their own radical communities.

It’s too bad that we lived in a world where dissent was as expected and necessary as death and taxes, except no-one paid taxes to a nonexistent government. To want anything other than total destruction, now that would have been radical. To walk amongst them we had to put on plastic cat masks, we didn’t want our faces to be seen, we didn’t want to be signed by an agency. As you put it; “Those who can’t, model, right?”

Stop The Wedding!

Friday, January 9, 2009

If there's any justice in the world.

Yves Saint Laurent's Jonny boot.
US 10, UK 9, European 43.
Thank you.


Oxfam, Cleveleys, at 4.25 pm Thurs Jan 8th.

"Well what happen's with recyclables? Do they go in a landfill?"

"No, that's the point, they get recycled."

"Well what about when people get new bathrooms? Are they recycled?"

"No, well I guess they go in the landfill."

"And what about when people get new kitches? Do they get recycled?"

"No, they probably go in the landfill too?"

"Oh, how terrible."

"Oh, I don't know, I don't mind landfills really. Some of the nicest places I've seen are landfills that have been landscaped."

"A lady that I knew, that I was friendly with, well she lived in this lovely bungalow. Oh lovely it was, you know, just about twelve bungalows in a row and all old people, so you know, it was lovely. Well anyway, they had rats in the bungalow, lovely bungalow it was, so they got this rat catcher in and he got rid of them, but then they got more rats. Well, the rat catcher came back to the bungalow, and it was such a lovely bungalow, only a little row of twelve or so bungalows, and he says 'I'm not surprised you've got rats. You've got that river at the back there' (a little brook they used to call it) 'and the whole place is built on landfill.' The lady I was friendly with moved to a little flat by the sea."

"Well, you would do."

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Berlin in Revue

A still from my performance Seven is the Holy Sex with Stevie Hanley at Gallerie Studio Saint Saint in Berlin last month. More to come.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

My advice to you.

I fucked the future.

This is an extract from chapter eight of my novel "Everything Must Go" (working title).

We ran around the streets of Los Angeles, from thrift store to bath house, looking for clues. We had our names tattooed on the inside of our wrists so that when we held hands our names made out.

Candy Bar and I thought things over, what would two single girls do, alone in the world without any savings? Candy Bar suggested we go into policing or politics, but I have always been averse to concealed cash transactions, I have always wanted to live exposed with the wind blowing right through me and the sun bleaching my bones. Living in spite of myself, and spitting in anyone’s face if they even dare to doubt my absolute right to brilliance, to sparkle and reflect and dazzle and keep myself clean of all the scum that coats everybody else in this bog of a world. Candy Bar understood, her eyes misted somewhat, but she was butch enough to hold it together and she said that she would go out into the world and make money for us.

Candy Bar used to work in a department store, before the effects of late nuclear fall out forced everyone out of the cities and all the merchandise there became totally worthless.

At her counter Candy Bar would select colours and crèmes for her extravagant clientele and slap their faces with it. She’d take the lonely spinsters, and the doddering Mothers of preeminent Nazis, and the mousy secretaries and make a whore of them all, with just a few flicks of her palate. She drew on grotesque cavernous, carnivorous mouths that dripped hot, wet blood like a cunt shedding itself, like an abortion, like a botched hysterectomy. Mouths that no man would ever approach with an erection, mouths that would devour with nothing but hunger. Candy Bar drew on eyes, huge omnipotent eyes in green, the eyes of a monster that hung out in dungeons, waiting. Candy Bar gave them cheeks like welts from chemical burns, so their jawbones had the appearance of breaking the skin, so these women’s skulls appeared to tear through their own flesh and eat their own faces.

With a final flourish, Candy Bar would spritz her client in a mist of some mysterious, potent pheromone that only attracted cobras and hyenas, and sigh with joy. Stunned, as a person on the receiving end of a sharp blow to the front of the skull often is, these women would inevitably shriek in utter, utter horror and then buy everything. And Candy Bar would wrap it all meticulously and tot up her commission as she did, and as an extra something, would sprinkle crushed glass into each vial of the cosmetics. Often Candy Bar would hear cars break and passersby scream and the occasional gun shot, as her clients left the department store, and she felt proud, and she would daydream of those bloody faces, those disengaged eyeballs, those lacerated cheeks in front of mirrored dressing tables all over Chicago, all thanks to her.

Of course now all of the department stores were abandoned, only the lowest of the low, nuns and priests and missionaries lived there now. Taking shelter from the hollow sky and the relentless assaults on street walkers from long range home made missiles launched out of sentry towers and designed to keep spirituality where it belongs, in the supermarket.

Department stores where now ghettoes for the holy, inside stood great big gleaming altars made from endless shirt boxes stood end on end and decorated with an eternity of cut glass perfume bottles. Crying out to a God who had forgotten them, or who never knew them, His servants called for deliverance for or acceptance into the next life, the afterlife, life after death, instead of this death in life of abandonment.

The Church had officially denounced all practitioners of the faith as heretics, after undoing the existence of every saint whoever preached peace, justice or consideration to either man or beast. They excommunicated Christ for being a faggot, Mary for being a whore, and Joseph for being a paedophile and a rapist, then systematically euthanized every Bishop who voted not merge with Hinduism to reduce overheads (as it turned out the rights to Lord Shiva where already owned by Disney, the Church’s rival theme park, so the deal went to shit).

The Catholic Church now existed solely to promote its line of watches produced under license wherever they could be manufactured for free. They all bore the face of Pope Alexander VIth who was now commonly regarded as the only person fit for the position as head of the Church, being that he was undoubtedly one of the most debased serial killers of all time.

Attempts to bring His Holiness back from the dead at first looked good, it was thought he could be revived as part cyborg at least, if nothing more suitable could be arranged. However, those of us who remembered the Pope’s first 14th century rampage, were quite adamant that this did not happen, and we plotted against him. For the second time, Alexander was sent back into the ground, when somebody switched his carburettor for the cooling element from a fridge freezer and he blew up at his coronation.

His face on a sports watch was a fitting tribute thought the Cardinals, shortly before they were knifed in the stomach, as they signed over the Church to the exclusive control of IBM. They would never have been in this situation, they sobbed amongst each other as they sold off the Vatican for enormous personal profits (shortly before they were castrated and garrotted) had they retained the support of the magical beasts and beings on whom the power of the Church had always rested. The Cardinal from Antigua sobbed, “If only we still had the transsexuals on our side.” Then somebody from IBM ripped his guts out with the claw of a hammer.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

We kiss in his room, to a popular tune.

I found a Suede record in my Mother's attic this evening. My word, wasn't Brett Anderson just the hottest?