Friday, December 16, 2011

Ru Paul's Christmas Ball

Oh how I love this! I love that there's a whole new generation of people discovering Ru Paul thanks to her TV show. Those of us who missed out on her full force in the early '90s get to dive in to a whole back catalogue of elegance and hilarity thanks to the wonders of youtube. This Christmas special is really amazing, with cameos from a fake Liza, a real Elton John, Nirvana and the Queen with a Jersey accent, plus NY drag leg-ends GALORE (Linda Simpson, Sherry Vine, Tabboo) it is a seasonal must for the whole family. Oh, and try the tic-tac diet, it really works.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Highlights

Alexander toured the magical lands of Portugal and the Czech Republic last month, and here's the proof. If this was art I would say "documentation".







Pictures by Jakob Frey, Charlotte Thiessien and Emilie Gouband.

There is a new interview up on Glass Magazine, in which such fascinating things as, "I don’t see any reason why pop music has to be apolitical or vapid, and that is not to say that it has to be didactic either," are said. You can read the full thing here in full.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

New Text


You’ve gorra laugh with Dot though, she’s always been a bit barmy. She tells people we’re sisters. I don’t mind because over the years she’s been better to me than me own sister was, and that’s for sure. She’s always going on about Joe, ‘er ‘usband who she’s been married to for forty years, saying that they never have sex anymore and how she needs it, and though she might be a grandmother but she’s still a woman. She got it into her head last Christmas that she was going to divorce him and she dragged me down to Southport crown court to get the papers. We went into Debenhams for
a coffee first of all like, her Tracey’s behind the Chanel perfume counter there so we get a discount in the café. I prefer M and S I must say, but Dot’s a pretty determined sort of character. Anyway, after a bit of a wander in Debs, we get to court, and she storms up to the registrar like a woman possessed - I’d told ‘er not to have two shots in her latte. She says to the poor woman behind the desk, “I want a divorce!” and the woman looks up and says, “Darling we’re not even married yet,” which I thought was quite amusing but Dot chose not to hear. She said, “I’ve been married to him since 1969, I’ve served my sentence, I want my freedom!” like she’d rehearsed it, which she probably ‘ad, and the woman at the desk said, “Oh. Oh,” she said, ”And
whose fault is it?” “HIS,” said Dot, “I haven’t had sex in five fucking years!” Well, now, the woman at the desk took it on the chin, but the old fella behind us who’d come about renewing his vows turned a terrible shade. She said Joe had been suffering from erectile dysfunction for the past few years, which was hardly surprising given that he was playing in a Status Quo tribute band. It’s not the music that does it she told me, but all the drinkin’ at the shows, you know?

I said to her, “Dot, what on earth are you gonna do without ‘im? You’ve been together for a very long time.” And she just said, “Get meself a new man, from the internet.” And I said, “Dot you can’t just put a bid in on ebay on new fella.” And she said “I know that, I’m joining E-harmony. I’ve already started on me profile.” An’ I said, “Dot! At your age?” And then, do you know
what she said? The cheeky cow, I could’ve murdered her! She said, “Elayne, I only look the same age as you!” Well, I could not believe it! She’s 67, an’ I’m only 48, she’s twenty-years older than me the cheeky bitch. She said, “An’
I’m a size 12 an’ all now, like you.” She’s a bloody 16-18 if she’s anythin’. She said, “I lost all that weight off me hips in pilates, but I didn’t loose anything of me chest. I’ve still got great tits Elayne!” Well what do you say to that? In British Home Stores during the Chrsitmas rush of all places? I just said, “Dot I think you’ve spent too much time on the sunbeds, girl” and I ‘ad a root on the buy one get one free underwear rail. Well, she decided not to divorce Joe for time being, she said they’d got the kids and the grand kids to think about, and the e-harmony membership was £15 a month.

She does look good on it for 67 though I’ll give ‘er that. Well she should, she won the lottery, you know, secretly, about five years ago and never told no-one. But I guessed. She started shopping at Sainshurys, when she’d always been devoted to Morrissons and then she went on a couple of cruises an’ all. And then, she had a face lift, she went to Poland for it and ‘ad
to stay there for four weeks. She’s never been to Poland before and I thought, what a funny experience. To go and visit another country for the first time and all you see is hospitals and waiting rooms, and when you do get to go sightseeing your face is all bandaged up, with surgical tape and compression masks, in case your whole gob falls off. She said, “Our Tracey didn’t even
recognise me when she picked me up at the airport when I got back,” and I said, “Well Dot, that’s because your Tracey’s got astigmatism and she won’t wear her spectacles in public. She doesn’t know what she’s lookin’ at half the time.” It’s true. She went and picked her son up from nursery once and it wasn’t until she got halfway up the Formby bypass that she realised she
had someone else’s child in the back of the car. A little girl, called Britney as it turned out, and it’s only because the mother was manic depressive in an upswing, that Tracey didn’t end up with a suspended sentence.

Anyway, long story short, I do not look the same age as Dot, and we are not the same size. I’ve lost two stone this year, working this new job and living a generally healthier lifestyle. I’ve always had quite a sweet tooth, and I used to eat all kinds during the day, I was always snackin’ on biscuits or crisps. But now, I just have a piece of toast, with a tiny, tiny bit of marge on it
at breakfast and then I’ll have the same again, about six o’clock once the kids have ‘ad their tea. An’ I do ‘ave some coffee durin’ the day like. If I’m honest I found it really hard in the beginning, dietin’. But then Jessica, my second oldest girl, told me that she ‘ad this slimming powder and she said it really helped her not to feel hungry all the time. So I tried that and it really worked, it gave me terrible ‘eadaches, but I lost weight dead quick like. And it wasn’t for about a month that I realised I was actually taking speed. Our John, my eldest lad, said “Mother, what the Hell are you putting in your five alive?” And
I said, “It’s just that stuff our Jess gives me, it’s a weight loss powder.” Well, he snatched the bag off me and gave it a look over. It was a really cute little bag actually, tiny with little red lips on it, and he said, “Mother! No dietary
preparation on the market is called pink champagne – this is speed! You’ve been taking amphetamines!” And so I was. But I tell you what, it didn’t ‘alf ‘elp with the weight loss, and the whole house was immaculate.

Well, I didn’t mention the speed to Dot, she’s got a thing about drugs, she used to be a traffic warden you see. She wouldn’t even take HRT when she went through the change, which might explain why she’s so sex crazed now. You know, when she came up here last time she was going on and on about this bloody rampant rabbit of hers, and our Jessica’s sitting there,
mouth wide open in shock. Of course I thought she was talking about a pet, and it wasn’t until we were in the café – Tiffins café it was, where we always go because I’m obsessed with the egg custard – it wasn’t until we were there that I realised that Dot was talking about a bloody sex toy. I just thought, “Here we go again, Dot’s having one of her post-midlife crisis pep
talks,” and I ordered me egg custard. Only when the waitress comes by, she doesn’t shut up about her bloody vibrators like anyone normal would, she just keeps rabbitin’ on – so to speak. And the waitress is all agog trying to write down our order but really just too entranced by the rendition of the Joys of Sex Dot’s delivering to our Jessica, who looks like she could die of shame at any minute. So, off the waitress goes, desperate to tell all the girls in the back what she’d just heard, I could just tell from the look on her face, and Dot starts off about love gels. Well, now our Jessica, who’s 21 mind, so she’s not a
baby, is tryin’ her hardest to pretend she has no idea what Dot’s talking about in the vain hope that she might shut ‘er up, only Dot doesn’t take the hint and tries ‘er very hardest to overcome the communication barrier. She says to Jessica, “You know, you put the gel on before you use the vibrator. You know, on your bits.” And Jessica just looks at her blank faced though I can tell she’s imploring Dot to say nothin’ else. And of course, just as the waitress comes over with the tea an’ my egg custard, Dot goes, “Oh for ‘eaven’s sake Jess! You rub it into your clitoris to give you more sensation in your orgasm!” Well, our poor Jessica nearly fainted. I thought it was all very funny meself, well you’ve got to laugh aven’t you? Especially when Dot’s around.

Anyway, all that sex ed , it must be working because she has left Joe. She was having a fling with some fella from Texas she found on a Bay City Rollers message board, and they’d never met but she was all for flying off to Texas and leavin’ Joe and ‘is erectile dysfunction behind for good. Only before she could leg it there, her virtual online lover who she’d never met, was stolen by her virtual online best friend who she’d also never met. So she blocked them both - and I thought, well that’ that, she’s stuck with Joe for good now. She put a few more of those big plastic butterflies up on the wall outside her bungalow to cheer ‘erself up. Our John says the place looks like it was done up by Jeff Kooks, and I said “Well she is a bloody Kook isn’t she!” But then
clear out of the blue I get a message from her, on me facebook wall, I don’t think she really gets the difference between sending a message and writing on your wall, but anyway, I get this message that just says, “Hi Elayne, met a new man called Mark online, fell in love, and moved to Brighton with him, for good! Text me.” Text me, just like that. Of course what lover boy doesn’t know yet is that, although in her mind Dot may look the same age as me and be the same dress size, she’s actually 67 and a size 16-18 if she’s anythin’.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Cute


Mimzy playing with Dean Wareham and Britta at Casa da Musica (and wearing Versace with her Alexander t-shirt, no less).



Myself and Dita Von Teese babeing it up in Time Out.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sunday Girls


Come one, come all to this star studded early evening of performances at Ovalhouse featuring home made baked goods and starring the talents of:

Scene queen JONNY WOO

Malevolent Maestro DAVID HOYLE

Tranny with a fanny HOLESTAR

New York City´s ENYA BUTTOX

The acerbic and astute MYRA DU BOIS

Chanson Icon DUSTY LIMITS

Perennial pervert OPHELIA BITZ

Reigning Miss Alternative World FANCY CHANCE

Transdrogynous globe-trotting starlet La JOHNJOSEPH

Contemporary composer JORDAN HUNT

Surreal Sex Bomb ANNA LEWENHAUPT

Dark Dramaturge JEFFREY GORDON BAKER

.....with more acts to be announced!

Funds raised go towards staging the upcoming "retrospectacle" of my solo theatre work at Ovalhouse in Spring 2012.

Tickets are £10 and can be bought on the door or via the theatre - 020 7582 0080 |www.ovalhouse.com

Picture Credit: Anna Mimouni

You can RSVP here: http://www.facebook.com/events/170118349748166/

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Alexander Abroad

Alexander goes to Portugal this month for three shows, culminating at the Casa da Musica Festival in Porto.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Some things that have pleased me this week

Inexplicable heap of trash that I walk past each morning at 4.30am on my way home. Quite beautiful in a way.


My band mate Mathi looking like a total babe backstage this week.


Sophie's birthday party.


A cardboard cut out of Dracula decorating the window of a liquor store.



Count Chocula cereal commercials

And also, an amazing demo that Joey played me which I wish I could link to but I can't because he'll kick my ass.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Podcast

Electroqueer Berlin 2011 is the title of this hit mixtape from the cultural pump house that is Expatriarch. My disco alter-ego Alexander
is very pleased to be sandwiched in there between Aérea Negrot and Steffi. Hit it!

#MIXTAPE016 - Electroqueer Berlin 2011 by Expatriarch by Homoground on Mixcloud

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

You´ve got lip synch on your teeth.


I watched Cher´s hit film "Burlesque", needless to say it was dreadful with the only real narrative action coming from Christina Aguilera´s arsenal of Halloween store wigs.

But, it really got me thinking about the fine art of lip synching. As in all movies, the singers lip synch their parts to pre-recorded tracks to make editing easier, only in "Burlesque" we´re watching two of the paragon´s of lip synch culture at work, that is to say the ladies lip synchers the world over move their mouths too. And both of the leading ladies, it must be noted, are really working a high drag look. Pop will eat itself. The supporting cast in the movie lip synch onstage to the voices of other legends (Marilyn Monroe et al) which gives the movie a cute sort of cut-price glamour, but really it could be said that the whole movie lip synchs.

I mean isn´t it the most blatant "Cabaret" re-do? Scene for scene, theme for theme shot for shot, move for move, Fosse´s ´70s masterpiece is bled dry. Rakish millionaires, sexually ambiguous room mate love affairs, chorus line pregnancies - it´s all rented. (And what isn´t taken wholesale from "Cabaret" comes bit by bit from "Showgirls", itself a compression of a couple of decades worth of low rent cinema). Alan Cummings in his role as door host is the most clear example, reprising as he does his role as the Emcee in the stage version of "Cabaret" with more than a dash of Joel Grey in the movie version. In effect our dear Mr Cummings is lip synching his role too.

Sadly though the movie´s budget is so astronomical and obvious that there is never room even for a moment for any amount of magic to happen. That beautiful gap between the body and the voice is barren, there is nothing at work in that no-man´s land to suggest that the movie is sitting all the way through. Where every good lip synched drag show goes is to a place of deliberate suspension of disbelief, into a place where the pleasure is choosing to believe in the sorcery you see onstage, to revel in the Emerald City and not reveal the mundane nature of what is behind the curtain.

"Burlesque" however is a wonderland so woefully heavy-handed in explaining every minor, irksome plot detail that a person cannot help but feel insulted and deprived of the wonder of projecting themselves into the story. Surely half of the thrill of a movie is feeling as though the circumstances onscreen have some definite impact on your own well-being? For me "Burlesque" is all about the lip synching, and the knowledge that as yet I have not been so decimated by Hollywood tragedies like this one, that I can no longer crowbar my way into the horrors of contemporary culture and find a way to explore.

(With thanks to Joey Hansom for the title of this post).

Monday, September 12, 2011

"Fuck what you heard - she´s a vegan!" - Max Steele, 2008




During a conversation on language with my polyglot boyfriend he informed me that whilst in English pronouns (and some nouns) are gendered (he/she, actor/actress), and in German the articles are likewise (the notorious der, die, das), in Hebrew the verbs actually are too.

That is to say, the parts of speech that refer to the actions of a person or that person´s state of being, are also gendered. For example הוא רץ, היא רצה (he runs, she runs) with "רץ" representing the masculine running and "רצה" the feminine. This, I found fascinating, if at first a little bleak and inescapably essentialist - as if it wasn´t bad enough being referred to by one´s assumed gender, one also has to literally "act"accordingly.

I was however further informed of the possibilities in Hebrew to move beyond the limitations I had so quickly assumed, in that it is possible for you to deliberately say "היא רץ", ie, "she runs (in the masculine)." It hardly sounds poetic in English but can be very innovative in Hebrew, in a slangy subcultural way, which let´s face it is the only way. In English one can of course deliberately "misuse" the pronouns to come up with phrases like, "David is late, she is such a lazy bitch," but that is hardly an equivalent.

Then I thought about the high queenly habit of referring to oneself as "she", as in "She likes a heel" (where "She" replaces "I" - excuse me if I am over-explaining this). It counts as a refashioning of one´s own sense of self, almost outside of one´s self, sitting alongside one´s self and in dialogue with her. The interior personality refers to the exterior socially coded, gendered persona as "she", another person apart.

Obviously it´s meant first and foremost as campy and grandiose posturing, but I think that it also represents a definite and ironic strategy in resisting fixity, and furthermore mocks the strategy by which people are forced into gender conformity. It says "That which you make of me, is not me." Another identity is created out of nothingness, to house the personality, projected onto the air, called into being by naming (if we´re going to get all Heidegger about it - and frankly why not?) all of which refutes any notion of the naturalness of gender. Gender can´t really be sealed up in nature if it can simply be fabricated with a few words at any given moment, you see, it is always fabricated, that´s why we need gendered language, to keep pushing us back in line.

And isn´t it interesting that the only real way to regender English is to put it in the third person? The third person for the third gender - she loves a lingustic theory.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

It's a hit

This is the first footage from Alexander's studio Session at Orange Ear last month, and it is a duet with the Boobalicious Mary Ocher.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

On The Cover of a Magazine



So there you go, fame at last.
Alexander plays Trou aux Biches in Paris on Sat Sept 2nd and the Queer Noises Music Festival in Berlin on Sept 7th.
See you there lovers.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Queer Noises

Alexander has been invited to play the Queer Noises festival in Berlin on Sept 3rd, which is very exciting indeed. As part of the run up to this I shot a cover story for Siegessaeule with the other bands from the festival. The shoot took place at a tranny brothel in the ever so elegant neighbourhood of Charlottenburg, and was as much fun as you might imagine. I was also upto my eyeballs in cold and flu medication, as you can witness in this behind the scenes video.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

In This Shirt

My dear friends The Irrepressibles are going international with the release of their first single outside of Europe, tomorrow August 8th! There´s a new set of remixes form Hercules & Love Affair, and Zero 7 too.

Here´s the video, it´s been everywhere for the past six months, and interestingly enough was made without the band´s input. It´s a meeting of minds or some such.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

On the RECORD


Amazingly my hit disco alter-ego Alexander now has a full record "demoed" as "they" say in "the business", and moreover all 13 songs will be performed this Saturday in Berlin for the first time ever. It´s the album´s debut and I´m really quite excited about it, so excited in fact that I traipsed the length and breadth of Germany to day to find a dry cleaner that can press my suit in time. You can find the event details here and then tell me if you think the cleaners did a good job.

And in case you haven´t seen it, here´s the video for "Bad Language."

Sunday, July 31, 2011

New Favourite Genre




Currently I am really feeling Fin de siècle sexy social climber novels, the kind of tale that focuses on young women facing social disadvantage who turn on the charm and scramble up (and sometimes back down) the hierarchy of late nineteenth century fortunes.

Edith Wharton´s "The House of Mirth" is the funniest, Theodore Dreiser´s "Sister Carrie" is the saddest, Emile Zola´s "Nana" is the filthiest. All three are fascinating, and give a intriguing look at unattached women trying to strike for independence, personhood and financial stability in the pre-emancipation West. They talk about the economies of sexuality, the hypocrisy of heternormative society, the overwhelming drive that is desire, and the impossibility of being everything one is required to be in an industrial, consumer focused, sexist and sexphobic, puritanical, duplicitous landscape.



All three are by turns tragic, amusing, raucous and sardonic, and figure into a long lineage of novels that explore a women´s place in the world in very graphic terms, a lineage that runs on into novels like "Breakfast at Tiffanys" and "The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Else." If you are any kind of feminist they are essential reading, and if you´re any kind of mentally functioning humanoid you should chuck out your summer beach bonk buster and get stuck into the great tarts, villains, aristocrats, and social climbers of these works because really you are missing out.



You better work, nineteenth century naturalistic novels.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Sophie in her own words


My friend, Berlin based painter Sophie Iremonger, just did this little audio interview for ArtStars - check it out!

Off-the-record: ArtStars* interview with Sophie Iremonger - artstarstv.com by ArtStars*

Thursday, July 7, 2011

CASINO: a piece by Max Steele, extracted from SCORCHER


Max Steele's zine Scorcher, has just come out in its sixth incarnation, and this is my favourite story from it, reproduced with kind permission of Max at www.fagcity.blogspot.com

"It’s early summer and friend my Lola and I are going out. Lola’s sister Sophie is visiting from out of town. Suburban blonde soft femme lesbo softball player, and just 16. Lola and I are taking her to a queer glam dance party. We tease our curly hair and put on eye makeup, drink warm underage vodka with sweet diet cola and put on bright tight outfits. New in town our slutty little hearts beat hot wet and fast underneath neon spandex.

(RINGRINGRING)
“Um, hello?”
“Hello?”
“Luck? Is that you?”
“Yeah, hi. Billy? What’s up?”
“Luck? Let’s be ladies tonight.”

Stomping through the West Village, pausing to smoke weed and check our reflections in store windows. Lola is a condescending, salty, sage and sarcastic older sister to Sophie. Rolling her eyes, calling her “kid” and secretly protective. I’m so jealous.

“But Lola,” Sophie whimpers, trailing behind us, “do you think they’ll let us in? I don’t have an ID or anything.”

“Sure.” Lola says. “You just have to… go in. Just show them that you know that you belong inside.” She nicks a breadstick from an outdoor table at a bistro, and chews on it like a cigar. Waiting for a stoplight, Lola absent-mindedly fingers her breast through her bodysuit. She catches me staring at her.

“What?” she asks, “I want my nipples to be hard when we get there.”

Outside the nightclub, Lola flirts with the girl at the door, a fat goth dyke in crusty pink pigtails, braces, acne and a spiked dog collar. “How many are you tonight, Lola?” she asks.

“Just three!” Lola bats her eyelashes and takes me and Sophie by the hand. We make Sophie go check our coats while we buy rum and cokes. We like the sugar and caffeine, it helps us dance. We each slam the first and sip the second, force little Sophie to do the same, and head to the dance floor.

We dance in circles, facing inward. Real furiously not caring if anyone sees us, Lola and I are just getting in touch with our own bodies, together, to the beat. Eventually I get distracted, through, the mirrored ceilings make me excited, nervous. I spy a bleach blonde boy in a tight black t-shirt dancing by himself, and I see he notices me too and we smile. I wanna go dance with him but I don’t want to be rude. Sophie whispers something to Lola, and puts her hand over her mouth like she’s gonna puke, and Lola rolls her eyes and leads Sophie outside, to the bathroom line I guess. I lean against the wall and stare at my shoes. I’m drunk all of a sudden, and out of breath. The boy is staring at me and smiling and still dancing by himself. When the song ends, he comes over to say hi.
“What’s your name?” he asks.
“Billy, what’s yours?” I say.
He says “Charlie.” and “Can I buy you a drink?”

We get more rum and cokes and are dancing together this trendy song about math called “Love Is A Number” it’s fake retro-sounding, synthetic and sick. I have a tummy ache. I think I might be hungry. Or else it’s anticipation. He’s sweating, but he smells like expensive deordorant. Something not human, but wet and exciting. He’s wearing a little bit of black eyeliner and has glitter in his hair and on his face. Fat pieces of gold foil. We’re dancing really close, pressing our pelvises together, I can feel his cock getting hard through his jeans, rubbing up against mine. He stares deep into my eyes and then looks down to where we join, where we’re rubbing up against each other, and then back up at my eyes and he smiles.

“You’re a really good dancer” he says. I’m so flattered.

Huge black radical drag queen MC steps onstage getting ready for the show, dancing to trendy house music and waiting for the DJ to turn on her microphone and turn the lights on. Lola appears on the dance floor and commands the Queen’s attention. They know each other and she invites Lola to come up onstage and dance with her. The lights on the stage come up on Lola and the MC.

(KIKI is a word for when two drag queens are attracted to or hook up or have sex or fall in love with each other. It is also a word for MAGICK.)

“Is that your friend?” Charlie asks.
“Yeah” I say. Lola and the Queen are doing the freak.
“She’s crazy.” Charlie says. Lola is humping the floor, making sexy faces. The crowd is egging her on and the Queen is spanking her as she humps the floor.
“Yeah, I know.” I say. I want Charlie to know that I am friends with the craziest girls. We’re wild, out tonight, looking for trouble. I’m just trying to impress him cause he’s cute.

Charlie runs his hand down my chest. Feels me up underneath my tanktop. He has rough fingertips. I inherited this tank top from my girlfriend Cotton when he stayed with me last summer. It’s falling apart, there’re holes in it, but he said it was lucky and he’s right. I’ve been wearing it every day and I’m gonna keep wearing it until it falls apart. Don’t take off my luck. Charlie asks me how old I am, and when I tell him he rolls his eyes and says “Figures. I always like the young ones.” I ask him how old he is, and he’s only a few years older than I am. Odds, stacked up.

It’s time for the show! The MC asks for volunteers, and brave drunk punk boys to come up on the stage, strip naked and have a dick-size contest. She judges their bodies and invites Lola to help her, introducing her as: “My fierce, cunty girlfriend Lulu!” Everybody on the dancefloor cheers. “Lulu’s LUCKY. She’s gonna help me pick a winner TONIGHT!” Everybody goes wild.

I’m super-focused on my new date. In it to win it. Chris is dressed like a rock star magazine ad, fake poor tight ripped cotton. Distressed. Man-handled. He’s such a poseur. I appreciate the posture, though, and take it personally. He hangs an arm around my neck and starts kissing my cheek, all sweet. “Do you wanna go somehere” he asks, “more private?”

We go upstairs to the lobby. Red plastic couches in low lighting near another. Charlie sits me down next to him and starts rubbing my hip bones. Across the room from us, in a slimy unlit corner, I see Lola’s little sister, Sophie. She’s making out with a man in a business suit. She’s straddling him and grinning. She’s in big trouble, she’s getting in trouble right now. Lola and me are in trouble too, for taking her here and letting her get drunk.

Like church, people go to a casino to confirm a hunch. The thing about going out, and gambling, is that you never know what is going to happen. You never know this, really, in life, ever. But you go to a casino to be reminded that the world of possibility is gigantic, that chance is infinite, you never know. It’s almost four a.m., Charlie asks me where I live and asks if I want to hail a take a taxi there right now. He’ll pay.

Lola stumbles downstairs, her curly pontytail coming half undone. She grabs Sophie by the wrist, out of the lap of the guy in the suit, and drags her to the door. I leap up to kiss her goodbye. Lola is wearing a green lycra bodysuit. “It split!” she says, “Onstage. Right at the crotch.” She bends over and shows me. I can see her dark curly pubic hairs. “Can you believe it?” She asks. “Everybody totally, like, saw my pussy or whatever.” She catches her breath, “Plus: Sophie was making out with a guy! We’re leaving, do you want to come?”

“No,” I say, gesturing behind me to Charlie. He’s sitting on the couch staring at me and biting his fingernails. Lola chuckles.

Charlie and I get into a cab, it’s getting late. He and I both feel excited, we’re in on an adventure, but the ride home is taking it feels like forever. We don’t even know each other. Being in transit is unlucky. Gambling is an indoor crime.

In bed Charlie and I strip, kissing hot fast and desperate like we’re dying. He’s wearing a bunch of ball-chain necklaces, and one blue rabbit’s foot, damp with sweat. He drops them in a pile at the foot of the bed and takes off my lucky tank top and his tongue is rolling around my mouth. I’m thinking about how high-rollers get pretty girls to blow on their dice. It’s a sweet ritual. I bite Charlie’s left nipple.

Charlie asks if I have a condom, and he unrolls it onto me and starts jerking me off, staring at me real hopeful, optimistic and I think superstitious. There’s a moment of calm, silence as I squeeze into him, but then suddenly we’re fucking really fast and hard, athletic, to prove something. Charlie says, smiling, straddling me “Whoa, you’re even better at this than you are at dancing.”

I blush. “Shut up” I say.

“Wait” Charlie says, “get behind me”. He gets turns around, sticking his ass in my face.
crouching on all four. Petit four in my face. “Do it,” he says “like this”. I start fucking him from behind, slowly at first, smooth like cards up your sleeve for the right moment. “like this…” Charlie’s voice trails off, in a groan.

“I want you,” he says “to really feel it”.

TWO POINTS HERE:
A) VYGOTSKY’S THEORY OF THOUGHT AND SPEECH: Words and their attendant meanings (THE LAW, WHICH IS LANGUAGE) do not exist apart from the physical acts thereof. Words have no meaning until we can conceive of saying them. Imagine how they sound coming out of your throat, being articulated by your pretty chipped little teeth and tongue. Then they are alive, animated and exist. Every thought word feeling is empirical, generated by the body. It’s where language comes from.

Thought is not merely expressed in words; it comes into existence through them.

B) Here is who wins at slot machines: only good people win slot machines. People who deserve it. Here is who else wins at slot machines: everybody, sometimes. Here is who loses at slot machines: only good people lose slot machines. People who deserve it. Here is who else loses at slot machines: everybody, sometimes.

To say it makes it real. Give it a name, like a casino, a dedicated space, in which to gamble. A casino is safe, actually, cuz at a casino you always lose, eventually. The house always wins. Gambling is what you do when you don’t care about what you’ve got. Besides, who ever got rich by gambling? The language of chance gives birth to chance.

Charlie and I are fucking even faster. He wants me to really feel it. And I want to know what it feels like to say that We’re fucking and in between kissing the small of his back I mouth the words “really feel it” silently behind him. He pulls me out of him and flips onto his back, we jerk off together and shoot onto his stomach, kissing furiously and breathing hard through our nostrils. We cum really hard happy and clear. Having narrowly escaped something and the thing which we have just avoided is losing. A result. I pass out next to Charlie having gotten lucky.

In the morning he wakes me up, to ask if he can use the shower. When he comes back, he puts on a pair of clean underwear, which I guess he’d had with him in a black backpack that I didn’t notice before. He was prepared, I guess, for any eventualities. Charlie apologizes for having to leave so early, but he has plans to go horseback riding, he says. At the racetrack."

You can order your very own copy of "Scorcher" from the Birdsong micro press, here http://www.birdsongmag.com/zines.php

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Eroteme


Genius stylist and art director Oleg Mitrofanov created this outrageously beautiful new set of tarot cards, as recently featured on AnOther Magazine's site. Co-starring myself and a whole slew of beauties including Sue Tilley, Velvet D'Amour and Anna Lewenhaupt, the cards where shot over two days in London earlier this year and investigate the theatricality of opera as a metaphor for the function of fashion in contemporary visual culture. Word is the US Vogue will be featuring the cards this Fall, so big things are on the way for Mr Mitrofanov, who is also junior editor at Acne Paper.

PLUS! Today is his birthday, so happy birthday to you old darling!

You can see the full set of cards here, before the world goes crazy for them: http://www.olegmitrofanov.com/info/eroteme.html

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Alexander meets Max Steele

Alexander met Max Steele on behalf of Out There magazine, for the fifth in what is becoming a deeply compelling interview series. See for yourself.

The unbearable glamour


Here's a clip from the Tranny Hotel project, with thanks to the Exchange Radical Moments Festival

Friday, June 17, 2011

Chat

Alexander has a new interview up now, with UK queer zine Out Spoken. Here's a brief extract:

What achievement are you most proud of?
I won a Blue Peter badge when I was a child, that was really something. The only thing that I am more proud of is reading The Sound and The Fury all the way through without even throwing myself out of the window once.

What advice would you give your younger self?
Just because Madonna does it, doesn’t mean it’s cool.

And here's the full thing: http://outspokenuk.wordpress.com/2011/06/13/behind-the-scene-alexander/

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Köln

L-R Mandy Romero, Joan Crawford, Regina Fiz in Köln

Literally, just back from Tranny Hotel in Köln, which you can watch back at http://11moments.org/live/ in fact. There were many challenges in presenting English language texts to a German audience, in what transpired to be a Catholic guest house adjoined to Church - St George by coincidence. The hotel insisted that the art come off the walls at specified times when the priests would be in that part of the building, and some of the less open minded members of staff threw out the fliers.

Of course it wasn't just the kind hearted Christans, the local trans community were apparently horrified by the publicity images (previously posted on this blog) especially of Regina Fiz slumped next to a urinal, and Bridge Markland's taped nipples. The community felt it didn't represent the image they wanted to project - but, honestly who ever said it should? The images represent individual artist's and their output. None of us ever said we stand for anything other than our own opinions. So, yes, controversy.

Local magazine "Flash" wrote us up under the gorgeous headline "Hollywood meets Freakshow!" which is sort of amusing and sort of makes me want to take up arson.

Aloysius and I read the evening news


I did however have a great time performing, it was very inspiring, very challenging but very fulfilling. The tech was bare bones, there was very little preparation time and the performance space itself was a touch unsuitable but nonetheless it was a very worthwhile experience. The feedback was so incredible, really touching, I think people really got something from the stories and songs, I can't express the relief I felt when I realized that people were actually enjoying it! Even after so many years of doing this, I am still so deeply nervous when it comes to presenting work in an unfamiliar context, but I am so glad I did.

One final thing, organizer and performer Mandy Romero said something that really caught my imagination during the final show. She said that in a digital age everything is 0 and 1, that that is the basis of computer language, something is either on or off, apparently. She argued that trans people and trans art was a way of rebelling against that either/or mentality, and resisting a potentially dangerous binary in which everything is either compelled or forbidden.

Yes, lover, we are the last vestige against fascism.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Jesus has no gender now.

This is a new monologue which I will debut tomorrow in Köln, as the end segment of my performance. I thought I'd share it with you.

Picture by Joshua Kristal from Notorious Beauty, NYC, 2008

UPDATE: http://11moments.org/live/ will stream the performance at roughly 8pm (C.E.S.T) on Sat 11th June and for a short while afterwards it will be viewable on their site.

"I wake up sometimes and it’s on my mind, I think about it all of the time, my failure to surrender, my victory sustained at such cost, 'Kiss Me Hardy.' I remember lying next to you in bed, early in the morning, not long before dawn, and kissing you, and you saying to me, 'I don’t think I want this anymore, I don’t think I want this. I need someone who is more of a man.' More of a man, then? Less of a woman, then? And I remember other times, other lovers who have embraced me, whom I have embraced, and I hear their voices played back too. How often have I been told, 'I’m really sorry but, I only really date real girls.'

What is a real girl, what is the measure of reality anyway? Some miniscule chromosomal difference, some reshaping of nerve endings, some designated parking area. I can’t be that, I have no fixity, I am only a person.

And did I ever say I was anything else? No. It was you who imagined me a gender, and it is you who have disappointed yourself. I never said I was any kind of man, I never said I was any kind of woman, I barely claim to be human, I hardly know if I exist. But you somehow believe that because I am neither exhibit A or exhibit B, that I am less than a man and less than a woman, without realizing the tragedy of your logic. I am not less than either, I am more than both. I am the interface, Ich bin Zwillinge, I am all of your strengths and all of your weaknesses, so if you want to slander me then go ahead. I can take it, and more, I am a saint coated in the filth of this world, which has given me a radiant sheen, and all of your ignorance is washed away with the rain. You are no more than poster paint on marble, you wipe clean, I am immortal. I was here first and I will be here last, because we are God’s people, Jesus has no gender now.

Get up, go home, be gone. I don’t meet the expectations you want to force on me, I’m too tall, my breasts are too small, I don’t smell right, well I don’t apologise for any of that and as the door closes behind you, all I have to do is leave my physicality behind, on the shore, and step into the boat. 'Hello Charon.' "

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Gary Farrelly of New Obsessive

Art and culture movement New Obsessive have a new interview with Alexander up right now. Interviewer Gary Farrelly is something of a right-wing sex bomb, so the results are, interesting. Here's a highlight:

GF: Do you remember our first encounter? What was your first impression of your interrogator?
A: I remember it well, you had an erection. Actually, so did I.

GF: How are you liking the 21st Century? Do you feel at home in 2011?
A: To put it bluntly, no. I can’t help feeling that all the interesting people are either dead or have gone into hiding. Wilde put it perfectly when he asked, “Why was I born with such contemporaries?”

And the rest is here: http://newobsessive.blogspot.com/2011/06/interrogating-alexander.html

Köln

I'm excited to be off to Köln on Friday to take part in the Exchange Radical Moments Live Art festival, as part of Mandy Romero's project, Tranny Hotel. I'm showing extracts from my three solo shows, a preview if you will, of the theatrical retrospective I'm putting up in Feb 2012 in London.



Full details on Tranny Hotel are here: http://exchangeradicalmoments.wordpress.com/about/

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Alexander and Light Asylum

The fourth interview in an occasional series for Out There Magazine by Alexander, this time with the darkly incroyable Light Asylum. Enjoy.

In Sedes



Alexander has a 4 week residency at The Silver Future in Berlin, throughout July with special guests Mary Ocher, Nikolaj Tange-Lange, G-dmother and Ralf Thießies.

The artwork "Portrait of Alexander as a Faberge Egg" is by Stevie Hanley and the full dates are here: http://www.thisisalexander.com/live

Friday, May 27, 2011

M and M

Well, lovers, I had to share this captivatingly odd conversation between scouse sex bomb Margi Clarke and Morrissey because it's so charmingly morose.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy DRAG Mother's Day


Since it's Mothering Sunday I thought I would celebrate the wonderful tradition of drag mothering, as a way to say thank you to the fine ladies who taught me how to tap into my inner glamourpuss. Unusually perhaps, my drag mothers were real gurls, sparkling cis-gendered ladies from whom I learnt a lot of amazing tricks. And all yanks too.

My first drag mother was Gigi Giuffre, who was the first person to ever shave my legs, and it took FOREVER. She dressed me up as Lucille Ball once, and was the first person to play me Judy Garland Live at Carnegie Hall. Canonical.

Ready for The Glammy Awards

New Years Eve in Times Square

When I lived in New York my dear friend Legs Malone helped me broaden my horizons and helped me distinguish the good quality drug store cosmetics from the bad. She bought me my very own liquid eyeliner too!

The Golden Pasties Ceremony

Backstage at Galapagos

And then there was Darlinda Just Darlinda, who was probably more of a drag sister, but STILL. She kept the old Cockettes glitter and tits aesthetic alive, and introduced me to iridescent cream powders as a base for glitter.

Late one night on Hope ST

Theatre for the New City

And a special mention of course to Enya Buttox the mother of The House of Box, whose eternally disorganised cupboard kept me clothed through many cold nights in the gutter.

Boxing Day in NYC

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Make Out

Alexander plays the Make Out Magazine benefit on Friday lovers.


Saturday, April 30, 2011

Queer Zagreb!




Alexander is in Croatia having a wild old time at the Queer Zagreb festival. Last night the infamous Pussy Faggot! party rolled into town with Earl Dax, Penny Arcade, Joel Gibb and A Man To Pet . It was a cosmic evening, I think we were a spark to the powder keg of something wild and wonderful.

I really felt that I was seeing something happen, there was no cynicism only enthusiasm and a real joy that something as mad and beautiful as this could happen in a country in which being gay is HARD WORK. People are afraid to be themselves, attacks are not uncommon, I heard several sad stories about homophobic violence last night told with courage laced through them and the hope that together we can change our world.

Here's a little pre-show chat from the opening night of the festival (video one) and another clip which shows the ABSOLUTE INSANITY the party descended into (the last 2/3s of the second clip.



Also, and quite bizarrely, there are Alexander pin badges on sale here for a rather modest 10 Kuna. Cheap at 'alf the price.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter


In celebration of Easter there's a new Alexander track streaming for the rest of the weekend. It's called "Raised a Christian" and it's a collaboration with Snax, you can hear it below:
Raised A Christian by thisisAlexander

Poem


The phosphorescent gleam
of
Supermarkets in summer.
When the shelves are silent and the air is welcomingly cool
And one can almost swim
through the aisles.
The relief is palpable,
lebensmittel amiable
and coins seem to roll so much further.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Alexander in Berlin PT.2


Here's an interview between Alexander and Stevie Hanley for the culture blog at Out There Magazine.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Anna Lewenhaupt



Amazingly a moment of spare time was just gifted to me by the universe, and I decided to spend it musing on the multitudinous talents of Anna Lewenhaupt. She's a visual artist, a performer, a model and a speaker of five languages, why she hasn't written her memoirs yet I don't know. Maybe she's still too young, that must be it, she certainly has enough stories to tell.

Once she and I went out on a rampage in ball gowns and fake blood only to end up completely lost and wandering the streets terrifying passers by. Eventually we found a party, neither of us were sure if it was the party we were actually looking for but by that point we didn't care. We entered what looked like a derelict brothel, walked about calling out to anyone who might show us in, but the only person we saw was a rather robust and panicked looking tranny who burst out in the corridor from a locked door insisisting, "No, no, nothing's going on in there!" We didn't argue, or look for evidence to the contrary, but rather continued further on into the bizarre labyrinth we had stumbled into. On the top floor we finally found signs of life, in the form of a purple lit room with a man asleep in a sex swing and another collapsed on the bar. In the background the tranny from the corridor was slow dancing with a dowager, generally the whole scene had us convinced we were on the set of a David Lynch film.

So maybe that's where she gets her influences, for her cinematic, sculptural, psychosexual illustrations. But I say, see for yourself lover, http://annalewenhaupt.blogspot.com/

Monday, April 11, 2011

Back in Town



Lovers, Alexander plays his next show this Thursday, April 14th at Südblock in Kreuzberg, alongside UhOh. Come along, there'll be two new songs debuted.

Also, there's a new interview with Alexander on Catch Fire this week. Here's an extract:

If “Alexander” were preceded by an article in German, would it be “der”, “das” or “die”? How does the concept of gender fit into your art, or life in general?

I think gendered articles and pronouns are tiresome, it’s like constantly being squeezed into a corner with every sentence. My friend Theo (Adams) came up with the great idea to say “tree” instead of he or she – isn’t that great? As in, “Tree looks great in that Ryan Trecartin video but tree still owes me five euros, and tree’d better cough up SOON.” My own attitude to gender is basically, “must we?” I feel like I’m humoring the less capable by playing along, so I don’t.

My artistic output is always about gender in one way or another, from lyrical references to adopting a somewhat satirical, pose on stage. Stage shows require you to be a little Heideggerian I think, you chose one thing to be to the exclusion of all other things, and become it. Onstage I have a specific gender but offstage I have many.

And the full thing is here.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Billy Cheer



You can read the desperately exciting conversation between Billy Cheer and Alexander at the Pussy Faggot website. Here's a little snippet:

Alexander: Pizza or ice cream?

Billy: Pizza, but that’s like choosing a parent, or something. Cats or dogs?

Alexander: Cats—no contest. What’s worse to be kept awake by: someone snoring or lousy music?

Billy: Lousy music, ugh! What’s your favorite color?

Alexander: Lavender, with duck egg a close second. Showers or baths?

Billy: Showers solo; baths are for lovers. Favorite smell?

Alexander: I love the smell of rose, it’s so grandiose. Favorite porn star?

Billy: Carolee Schneemann. Favorite city?

Alexander: I couldn’t chose from any of the places I’ve lived, so I’m going to say the Emerald City. Faith or Listen Without Prejudice?

Billy: Faith, weirdly enough. What’s for dinner?

Alexander: I wish it were avocado something, but none of mine are ripe yet. THEN or NOW?

Billy: Always. Did you see anything you liked at the Fall fashion shows?

Alexander: Andrej Pejic.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Hop on over


My dear friend Alexander has taken up a post as blogger for Out There magazine, reporting from Berlin on cultural events. His first assignment was to cover the opening of Iwajla Klinke's "Ritual Memories" at Styx gallery. He spoke to the artist about grave robbery, Liz Taylor and of course, her work, he tells me it was fun. You can read the full interview betweeen Iwajla and Alexander here.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor




An incredible woman died yesterday, and I am missing her already. As a small but very well intended homage I wrote this piece for The Guardian film blog:

"Elizabeth Taylor: the icon's icon: Her tenacity, adventures in immorality and profound talent made Liz Taylor the star other stars wanted to be associated with.

Elizabeth Taylor died on Joan Crawford's birthday: a wholly fitting date. The two leading ladies met on the set of Torch Song in the early 50s, a movie Crawford was filming with Taylor's second husband, Michael Wilding. And they did not hit it off; Crawford could see the future, and it was Taylor. When the younger actor declined to treat Crawford as the movie queen she was, the star branded her "a little bitch" and threatened to teach her some manners. Taylor rebuffed her with typical nonchalance, saying how lucky Wilding was to play a blind man in the movie and therefore be spared the horror of looking at Crawford.

If anything sums up Taylor's personality it's probably this meeting of minds, for it perfectly encapsulates her fierce independence, her rebellious nature, and her complete acceptance of her magnificent good looks. In refusing to kiss Hollywood arse, in throwing caution to the wind and her white-hot sexuality in the face of a public often as aghast as they were thrilled, Taylor bucked and redefined modern movie stardom.

She was a child of the studio system, making her debut at 10 years old in the golden era of Hollywood, but she was by no means ruled by it in the way that a generation of stars who came before her were. She lived through the collapse of the old system of movie-making and came through it as the last bearer of its glory and simultaneously as a gloriously liberated standard-bearer for independence and a newly emerging feminist politic. The first woman to be paid $1m (£618,000) for a movie (Cleopatra, 1963) Taylor was representative of the swinging 60s, of female emancipation, of sexual liberation. Yet at the same time she was the last great movie star, a role that traditionally came with a very different set of values.

While some movie stars (perhaps Garbo or Hayworth) may have rivalled her for glamour and looks, and some for that "don't give a fuck" attitude (Bankhead and Hepburn for starters) no one did it so well and so simultaneously. It was exactly this mixture of glamour and "so what?", this incomparable work ethic combined with her legendary party-girl spirit that made her what she became. Liz Smith, the famed gossip columnist, wrote that what excited people about Taylor was, "her vulgarity and her arrogance [as well as] the money". Taylor was a monarch and a rebel at once, this was her unique streak, she rewrote the rulebook and became an icon to icons.

Most famously perhaps, Taylor's lifelong friend Michael Jackson spent his life changing his own looks in imitation of the Hollywood beauty. He also made her the co-star of his hit 1989 music video Leave Me Alone. The video featured vintage footage of Taylor inside a funfair of tabloid rumours, sending up the insane scrutiny both stars had faced during their careers, and positing her as the avatar of celebrity itself. Likewise, one of the 20th century's key iconographers, Andy Warhol, was an avid Taylor fan, drawing on her persona for one of his most famous silk screens, 1963's Liz, which sold for £11.4m in 2007. Warhol used Taylor just as he used soup cans, as shorthand to re-evaluate popular culture, because she encapsulated it.

Throughout her life, Taylor was the star stars wanted to be associated with. When David Bowie first met her in Beverley Hills, in 1975, he was quick to pose with Taylor for Terry O'Neill in a series of suggestive and deeply charismatic pictures. In doing so Bowie conferred some of Taylor's legendary sex appeal on his own personality, and staked his own claim as a superstar equal to the legend.

Things are no different today, as countless Facebook profile pictures and Twitter tributes prove. Everyone from UK glamour puss Paloma Faith to reality TV star Kim Kardashian is claiming her as an idol of beauty, longevity and strength. Nor is it solely mainstream starlets who pay homage to Taylor today, tributes come from the underground, too (including her first posthumous interview on Max Steele's fagcity blog), from artists who respected her dedication to Aids fundraising and her position as outsider on the inside.

What is truly fascinating about Taylor's persona is that in spite of what seems an endless run of ill health, the image that remains of her is that of a virile, devastating screen siren, not that of the frail, bloated old lady unable to walk she has been for the last two decades. The true strength of her iconic image is exemplified by the fact that even the wheelchair-bound reality of her situation could not undermine it. Attending hospital in sunglasses and diamonds, she remained to the last a glamorous symbol of selfhood, a woman who didn't care for convention, who played it as it came and accepted the consequences. Her tenacity, her adventures in immorality, and her profound talent made Elizabeth Taylor the icon other icons mimic, the test they must pass, the bar they must raise if they are to be acknowledged in the same breath as those who were truly great."

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Joan Crawford at the airport, 1968



I MEAN COME ON! I spend a lot of time in airports and I am never as glamorous as Joan though I strive everyday, I really do. Isn't she just the best? Accompanied by random children, drunk as a skunk in a great big pink hat, gawped at by bubble gum chewing teens and photographed by proto-paparazzi. FULL JOAN. It's her birthday on Wednesday, and may God rest her soul.

Friday, March 18, 2011

House of DJB

There's a nice little bit on this blog today about Alexander with the fantastic pul-quote "reminiscent of pop music's greats, Regina Spektor, Lady Gaga and Pete Burns." I quite like that actually.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Interview

Here's a hit interview I did for So So Gay

Alexander by Cezary Zacharew

For the past few years the musical press has been gurgling about ‘the return of women in pop music,’ heralding the rise of the likes of Florence, Marina and Jessie J as though it’s been one big feminist takeover from a male-dominated music industry. But if you think about it, that’s a load of balderdash. While it’s fantastic that the leading figures in British popular music at the moment are mostly women, there wasn’t exactly a male popstar monopoly to break.

Despite the efforts of Patrick Wolf, Frankmusik and (maybe) Mika, there hasn’t been a really preeminent male solo artist since Robbie Williams and before him, arguably, Morrissey. This is because mainstream society still doesn’t know how to market heart-on-sleeve male sexuality. That’s not even considering anything other than heterosexuality: the fact is record executives find it far easier to package an attractive woman singing about love than a bloke. It’s about time for some style and sex under a male persona. Enter performance artist La John Joseph under his new moniker, Alexander. Promising ‘part Morrissey, part Giorgio Moroder, melodramatic and wry lyrics sung baritone over a late-Seventies disco soundscape’ it sounded like just the kick up the backside that male-fronted music needs today. We decided to give him a ring and find out more.

SSG: What are you up to right now?

La John Joseph: I’m busy in in central London, shooting a deck of Tarot cards for a friend. I’ve been dressed up as all kinds of creatures, my favourite is probably Caesar as he’s the most serious out of all of them.

Do you believe in Tarot?

I believe in everything! If you believe in something, it makes it real.

Tell me about your childhood

I never wanted to be a performer as a child - I wanted to be a priest. Until I left Liverpool aged 16 I seriously considered it. But soon I was dating a guy and moved…a tale of ‘hitch a ride on someone else’s credit card’ if you will.

So were you encouraged to be creative from a young age?

We were definitely encouraged in our reading, there were always lots of stories of dragon princes and ice queens – and Catholicism. My personal favourites were reading Greek tragedy and Shakespeare, and there was pretty much no television. It was all about the lyrical .

What kind of performer would you describe yourself as?

Laurie Anderson says that the best kind of performance can be anything, and to me the definition of performance is a genre that allows you to do anything so long as you contexualise it – and that’s what I’ve done. Until now, with my music project, Alexander, I’d wanted to make music but never played music. I was always fascinated by pop personas rather than movies when I was growing up. I first started performing when I moved to London around the same time as being signed to a modelling agency. I hated modelling so much, it made me feel like a piece of furniture, not a person. I like to be a human being, not a mannequin! Performance casting, on the other hand, gave me kicks.

Gender identity features strongly in your work – what do you have to say that is unique as a performer around this subject matter?

My stance on it is deconstructionism. I don’t think anyone comes into this world as a man or a woman. It’s a fabricated notion about whether you should or shouldn’t wear a dress. You’re not born a man or a woman, you’re made a man or a woman. True performance can show just how much of an experience gender is and if you can construct it, you can deconstruct it. On the new EP (Dandylioness) I feel more like a drag king! I’m wearing suits and ties which feels lot easier than performing in dresses, where you feel like you’re exposing yourself. There’s something more sponanteous, as you’re not worrying about your clothing slipping off or possibly being unflattering. It feels sexy in a different way. When I did more female roles or personas I felt like a demanding Joan Crawford diva, now I feel a bit more sleazy. It’s good.

What music by other people do you enjoy listening to?

I like a bit of old Bowie, Roxy Music and Dusty Springfield. I also enjoy listening to soul music, glam rock and some techno. And of course Morrissey! In terms of newer material I like Paloma Faith, as we’re from the same background, and a fantastic band called Rambunctious.

In what direction can you see the arts evolving?

At the moment it’s definitely going to be about surviving the cuts, which are absolutely ridiculous. I was at the State of the Arts Conference the other day and one of the things I learned was that for every one pound invested, six pounds are returned from our arts. It’s catastrophic and idiotic: arts have been around for as long as humanity has. On the other hand, when times get hard people get more creative. In a time of economic instability, when people are pushed to the limit, it can be more innovative. Look at the Lower East Side of New York in the Seventies and Eighties

Asides from being a performer, what other jobs have you done?

I’ve had many jobs, but never a bad one. Aside from modelling, I was a stripper for a bit. I’ve been mostly lucky. My main job since I was 16 has just been doing what I’ve wanted to do. I’ve been pressed for time and money but I’ve always made the work I wanted to do a priority. If a job doesn’t inspire me I’m happy to starve instead. I’m a bit of a stubborn and determined person!

Which city or venue have you found the best to perform in?

That’s a tough one! At the moment I’m really enjoying Berlin. It’s such a classy city, and although the Germans aren’t known for being great dancers they’ve got minimal techno, which is great as I’m making a dance record. New York also has the most over-the-top people in the world. They’re permanantly over-emotive, which is better than performing to a dead room - something I find soul destroying. But it’s never like that in New York: everyone wants to be entertained. Alexander has been nearly around for 2 years but I’ve been dipping in and out of other projects. But now we’ve mixed the tracks and come up with a feasible live show and done bookings at festivals since September.

With Alexander it’s been entirely different to anything else I’ve done before. Less ‘dictatorial’ than previous projects as it’s an ensemble effort. It started when I met one of the collaborators, Malcolm, in New York who said, ‘Let’s make a disco record.’ So I gave him some lyrics and he programmed it. I then met a friend of a friend in Berlin who was a dancer who got involved. And then I met a friend who was a painter who became involved in our make up. Someone else became a backing singer. It all just came together organically. Everyone fulfils their role and we’re all very invested in it. What’s great is, for every show we do we get to do another. I really enjoy singing baritone as a sort of Morrissey and Georgio Moroder combination.

Who do you like and dislike in mainstream popular culture today?

I don’t pay much attention to contemporary culture. I was in Berlin for a while so tabloid culture was lost on me there. I’m definitely a fan of actresses like Fiona Shaw and Tilda Swinton. I met Tilda at a party held by AnOther Magazine and it was like meeting the Archangel Gabriel. Who else do I like? Vivienne Westwood…Julianne Moore. Basically glamorous redheaded ladies! And my nieces. They range from one to five years old and give me style advice whenever I need it.

What achievements are you most proud of?

I’m proud of still being in one piece. Nobody’s shot me yet! I’ve had so many hair-raising moments. I’m proud to be both still alive and not in jail. I would like to be free to have the time and resources to fulfil myself with the projects I want to do in 10 years. I’d also like Alexander to still be going in 10 years – it’s the archetype of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited. Posh English boy morose and Edwardian with a touch of melodramatic celebritiy. Being an archetype is something I’d always tried to avoid. I never felt like a quintessential Brit but now I’ve decided that if you can’t beat them, join them.

What upcoming projects do you have planned?

Most importantly I’m concentrating on Alexander. The EP is currently streaming and will be for sale in the spring. It’ll first be available at shows and further bookings. I’m talking to several labels at the moment, but I don’t want to get screwed over by some leviathan. A friend of mine just signed a deal, it was a lousy deal but she signed it anyway. I would like to avoid that. It’s been good to see The Irrepressibles, a 10-piece baroque pop orchestra, do well for themselves on their own terms, so I’d like to be similar to them as all their hard work has paid off. I did the same course as Paloma Faith at Central Saint Martins and look where she is now.

As always, I’m collaborating with other people on their projects. I would like to write a full libretto and I’m talking to a friend about that, hoping it comes to pass. There’s something marvellous about overcoming reality shows. I’m interested in opera as a bombastic genre. Nobody has used it to capture the spirit of the time since Benjamin Britten and there’s definitely a vacuum in the art form. Maybe that’s because over here it’s just for the rich. Over in Germany opera is so much more affordable, which we should definitely adopt.

For more information and to stream the Alexander EP, Dandylioness, visit www.thisisalexander.com Alexander performs at Eastern Bloc in London on March 17.