Monday, November 9, 2015

Top 5 quips: Penny Arcade

I love a quip, an anecdote, a bon mot. I believe that in their brevity, they contain not only the soul of wit, but a summary of a thinker's style and philosophy. Penny Arcade is the reigning queen of the one-liner, and in her new show "Longing Last Longer", she served up a plethora of them. These were my top five lols.

On fashion cycles:
"People today hate history, but love vintage."

On deceptive marketing:
"Perpetual youth, a concept which is both impossible, and tacky."

On censorship, and the 't' word:
"We're burning books, one word at a time."

On British rage:
"When people here are in a bad mood, you just go charging into people on the High St."

On cupcake eating airheads:
"Sex and the City taught them to walk four-a-breast, even if there's eighteen of them!"

"Longing Lasts Longer" is on now at The Soho Theatre.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

On Reflection: Malediction World Tour

In March, "Malediction", the third single from my identical twin brother, Alexander Geist, was released, and promptly set our hero on a circular tour of the globe. From nightclubs to museums, from festivals to gay pride, it was seven month's of airports, drinks tickets, crappy dressing rooms, crotch grabs and beautiful suits from Beau Homme. Here is a pictorial essay on the subject, a record if you will, of this magical time, spanning March to September, which took Alex from Rio to Istanbul, including a weekend stranded in the Netherlands and a tear gas attack. Who said the music biz is dead?

The Garage, London, UK

Cruise Control, Utrecht, Netherlands

La Mutinerie, Paris, France

Cue, Istanbul, Turkey

Yo Sissy! Berlin, Germany

Queerest of the Queer, London, UK

Pictures by Amnon Friedman, Manuel Mancayo, Fennec Jackal and Paul Grace, used with thanks.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

What Alexander Wore.

This weekend I accompanied my twin brother, Alexander Geist to Paris, where he was performing, as he insists on doing. Having followed him as far as Rio de Janeiro and Istanbul this year, I am quite immune to his signature cocktail of last minute sartorial hysteria and almost crippling egotism. His lack of preparation is always astounding, yet somehow he comes out of every near disaster looking always so unruffled (though unfortunately those around him are much worse for wear). As this was the penultimate show, in what has been seven months of international gigging to support the release of his third single, “Malediction”, I thought I ought to document it. I’m not a photographer, thank goodness, but I do enjoy catching an image in words, so here I shall try to catalogue all of his vestiary triumphs as best I can, in prose.

Heading off on Friday afternoon, amongst the malaise of office workers on piss-up trips and second honeymooners, Alexander boarded the Eurostar to Paris resplendent in a sea of greens. The tourers were two-tone, lime green in the front, with a contrasting navy in the back, giving a most structural silhouette to that universally admired dancer’s arse of his. These magnificent pants, uncuffed, rising slightly higher than one might expect in the waist, were of course cut in the studio of Beau Homme, the design duo who have been dressing Alexander for the majority of 2015. Complimenting the pants, he wore a soft cashmere sweater (Paul Smith) borrowed from his boyfriend in a color which had always proven impossible to precisely describe, until a Parisian friend hit upon the perfect term, pois cassis (smashed pea). For an extra dash of pizzaz he tied an orange Hermes scarf (well we were travelling to Paris) in a knot and tucked it below the sweater, so that only the loop could be seen. The rest of the wardrobe was accommodated in a Paul Smith weekend bag, emblazoned with a mini minor print, which I think is a little tacky, but he loves, and who am I to deny his simple pleasures?

That evening, for his performance, Alexander changed into another Beau Homme look, a deep purple suit with a print of illustrated eyeballs, paired with a navy blue shirt. He took that unruly mop of curls to task, and parted his hair, shaded his eyelids green (a lime green and an emerald green from MAC) and slid a tube of Kate Moss for Rimmel lipstick (the best buy in Superdrug by far) across his comically oversized mouth. The jewellery came from Berlin’s own Zabo Chailand, two silver rings, one in the shape of a void, one decorated with the imprint of a Japanese shift key, and a thin leather bracelet with a magnetic fastening. In addition he wore a crucifix of Tibetan silver, given to him at Christmas by our dear Mother, all in all it was quite an impactful ensemble.

Since he had Saturday off (as did I by proxy) Alexander slept until 5pm, awoke in a flurry and bolted out of the door desperate to visit Dammann a Freres, Pain de Sucre and Palais de Thes, to stock up on those essentials he simply couldn’t leave Paris without. Yes, it takes a true Englishman to shop for tea so insistently in Paris….For this shopping trip, Alexander braved the rain in the very same eyeball print trousers from the night before, a pair of somewhat battered commes des garçons sneakers, a black Raf Simons turtle neck, and a blue trench from Beau Homme, this time illustrated with a slightly surreal combination of classical busts and ladders. The crucifix looked quite stark and resplendent against the turtle neck, there was something almost Jesuit about it, and above it all he held a turquoise fold-away umbrella, purchased sagely for €1.99 from DM. As luck would have it, after grabbing those teas he so desperately needed, and catching his breath briefly over a citron pressé, he learned that he was indeed on the guest list for Roisin Murphy’s sold out show at Le Trabendo! Fortuitously he had met Whitney Weiss, just the night before, which was something of a shock to him as he had been convinced she was an alter-ego of his pal in Berlin, Jared Abbot. Not only was Whitney a fully actualised human being, she was also a DJ and opening for Ms Murphy - et voila. The surprisingly small venue was terribly humid, so Alexander wisely slung the trench over the banister in front of him, and peeled off the turtle neck to cool off in a plain black Top Man t-shirt, stuffing the other layers into a blue and orange pixilated reptile print rucksack, from Marc by Marc Jacobs.

Sunday was a day for serious cultural endeavours, a trip to Musee Cognaq-Jay, the Instituit Suedois, and the Palais de Tokyo, with just a small pit stop for a three-hour lunch at Les Philosophes. It was here, at the restaurant, in the company of the experimental photographer Malik, that the color “smashed pea” was designated to the cashmere sweater Alexander was once again wearing. This time it was on the shoulders, worn against an emerald green silk shirt (once again by Beau Homme) and those two tone trousers which had become the corner stone of the weekend’s wardrobe. Later, for dinner at Le Zephyr, as a slight chill had descended and he was seated outside, he added the blue trench and the orange silk scarf, and enjoyed the company of Stév, the fellow who had in fact brought him to Paris in the first place.

Monday came as Monday will, and in spite of promises made and plans projected, the scramble to Gare du Nord unwound like clock work. Barely making it in time to check in, after a ludicrously last minute stop at the billeterie to reprint the tickets, Alexander darted onto the Eurostar and threw himself down in the seat next to me. I have been flipping through Metropolitan, the onboard magazine, and slugging a bottle of apricot juice in an attempt to cure my hiccups. I am refusing to give him the window seat, and so he is sulking next to me as I write, looking still quite chic, I must say, in his petulance, and a long sleeved t-shirt with Oscar Wilde’s face emblazoned across the front and the legend, I have nothing to declare except my genius, trailing down the arms. He has on a pair of tortoise shell sunglasses, and is emanating both waves of simmering resentment, and wafts of Voyage by Hermes. The weekend bag, the rucksack, and a transparent carrier bag full of tea and rose marshmallows have been thrust onto the glass shelf above my head. I wonder, if that luggage rack gave way entirely, would I die instantly? And if so, would there be a more glorious (and naturally hilarious) way to go, than to be crushed by all my brother’s suits and shopping on the 11.13 to King’s Cross, like a Morrissey lyric?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Yo Sissy!

I can hardly believe this is happening! Berlin's first international queer music festival is LANDING. And look at that line up! CRYSTAL WATERS? Aerea Negrot? David Hoyle? Jonny Woo? And they just added Peaches - her first show in Berlin for 5 years no less. Natürlich, my brother Alexander Geist, will be playing on the last day of the festival because it wouldn't be a party without him now would it?

The festival is brought to you by Pansy and Scout, two of Berlin's hardest working, most relentlessly ambitious scene queens who have lit up the city's nightlife with their presence. It's wonderful to see such a homegrown initiative like this scale such giddy heights, and come out swinging on an international scale. Kudos to them for their immense work, here's a chatette with them up on the blog of our dear pals at Out There magazine.

And here's the timetable for Sunday, where you can see Alexander Geist play live. It's a homecoming show, the first gig in Berlin of 2015, after shows in Brazil, Istanbul, London, Utrecht and Paris. Simply cannot wait.

Friday, July 10, 2015

What do writer's do all day?

So here I am, seemingly endlessly nailed to this lap top. And what is it exactly that I am hammering out? Well, quite a lot actually.

I've just made my iD debut with a piece on Pride in Istanbul, a fairly horrifying affair replete with rubber bullets and tear gas. Writing about it was strangely uplifting because it gave me that almost euphoric feeling which often descends once you have made it through an ordeal like that. It's here btw.

Pride, before it got ugly

I am of course working over the script for "Practically Royalty" which premieres on August 15th at The Southbank Wonderground Festival. I think it's a really great script, a sort of psychedelicized Alan Bennett, via David Hoyle, similar in tone to my novel, "Everything Must Go". Phil Bartlett is going to direct it, and I have a good feeling about this partnership, so please do come along! Tickets are here.

Having a billboard moment

Also, I am now a regular contributor to the new high brow pornographic compendium that is Dandy Dicks. Alongside babes such as Max Steele and Walter Crasshole, I will be supplying profound pieces on contemporary culture, to help you to recharge between engaging with the boy-on-boy actions on the multitudinous videos interspersed throughout the site. It's the new Playboy basically, the new gay Playboy. My first article, on Fashion Icons is up now, right here.

A fashion icon

And finally! I'm working on the script for "The Last Night in the Life of Alexander Geist", which will have it's first full read-through on Nov 19th at Toynbee Studios. This little beauty is the biopic of my identical twin brother and occasional lover, Alexander Geist. The full piece will be a tapestry of video, music, scripted drama and archive footage to be directed by Robert Chevara. But first things, first, come to the read through and we'll see how it goes from there!

Alexander Geist themselves

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Practically Royalty, 15th Aug 2015

I'm excited to share this new show with London, this Summer. It's going to be a totally unhinged mixture of songs and spiel, working a very acidic character angle into a satirical froth. I shall unveil a new vision for England, guided of course, by voices from the other side.Don't ask, just come and bear witness.

Photo by Bruce Atherton and Jana Chiellino

It's 2015, take a look around; the country is in tatters, barbarians are at the borders of Europe, and you can't get a decent soy latte for under £3.50. The only person who can save us from ourselves is cabaret starlet and neoliberal sweetheart La JohnJoseph. Half despot-in-waiting, half hostess trolley and all glamour, La JohnJoseph is the thinking man's social climber. A toxic mix of the Empress Agrippina and Hyacinth Bucket, prepare yourself for a blisteringly satirical, deliciously malicious political agenda, as La JohnJoseph takes the welfare state in-hand once and for all, and makes Britain great again! More delusional than Nigel Farage and more duplicitous than all the members of the cabinet combined, La JohnJoseph is here to better you, whether you want it or not.


‘Surely the artistic love child of William Blake and Penny Arcade...what is very clear is that this is a star is in the making and he knows it’ The Stage

‘An icon in the making’ Time Out

‘A non-stop explosion of individual personality’ The List

Thursday, March 26, 2015

You Are Boring!

Here's an extract from Vika Kirchenbauer's film, "You Are Boring!" in which I cement my status as an icon of underground European experimental art house cinema. The full meisterwerk should be unveiled any minute now.

YOU ARE BORING! - Vika Kirchenbauer (2015) _2D excerpt: Mysti + La JohnJoseph from Vika Kirchenbauer on Vimeo.

I had the most wonderful time rehearsing and filming this, everybody involved was adorable and inspiring, and I really felt the reverberations of working on this for a long time. It was such an intellectually rigorous, emotionally sensitive production, and we were all spoilt terribly with incredible food and a fair amount of cuddles throughout the proceedings. I can't wait to see the whole film!

Friday, March 13, 2015


He's done it again! The third single from my identical twin brother, Alexander Geist, came out this week on New Pangea Records.

Rather uniquely, the single is released as a handwritten love letter, to be mailed out to fans across the globe, complete with a photograph and download code. Naturally the press are just wild about it!

Out There write that Geist, "Seems to have truly come of age, bringing a slick sound and arresting video," and have a tasty little interview with him here.

Lujon claim that he, "Inexorably manages to conjure an incredibly visual soundscape," in their feature, which you can read here.

Queer Music TV are also showcasing the video here.

But the icing on the cake is really this piece from QX magazine, which goes as far as saying, "With a broken heart and a panther's growl... 'Malediction' is a queer pop ballad for the mephedrone generation." And even I get a mention in the article above Geist's review - how nice!

You can order your handwritten love-letter from Alexander via or get the download from New Pangea.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

LAMBDA Literary nomination

Oh my good Garfield! My debut novel has been nominated in the Best Transgender Fiction category at the Lambda Literary Awards! I'm really thrilled, bemused and flattered to be nominated, I don't know quite what to do with this picnic of feelings. But rest assured that should I win I will be taking that Oscar to bed with me FULL JOAN style!

Congratulations to the other nominees :) You can see the full list of nominations here:

Monday, February 23, 2015

"Malediction" single release, 9.3.15

“Malediction”: New Alexander Geist single released March 9, 2015 on New Pangea Records.

After a series of successful European shows throughout 2014, including opening the David Bowie exhibition at Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin and supporting The Irrepressibles in London, Alexander Geist returns with his third single. An emotive and immediate track, “Malediction” continues the dandyish lineage of provocative pop, compounding on Sparks, The Smiths and Fosca. A dreamy and conflicted love song with a wry lyrical outlook, the Italo-tinged ballad showcases a new poignancy in Geist’s arch vocabulary. Following the tune’s popularity in their live shows, bandmates Joey Hansom and Ben Jackson produced the song in Berlin this winter, providing an icy aura that almost captures the condensation of Alexander’s breath as he sings.

After the 7″ vinyl of “Bad Language” and the poster single of “A Woman’s Right to Choose”, the physical release for “Malediction” arrives as a handwritten love letter from Alexander Geist himself, mailed out to fans across the world, with an enclosed photo shot in collaboration with photographer Adrian Lourie. The image was inspired by discarded and rediscovered family snapshots, imagining scenes from the song played out for the camera. A video for the song is underway. To celebrate the release, Alexander Geist will be playing shows in the UK, France and the Netherlands this spring.

Malediction will be released as a handwritten love letter and audio download on March 9, 2015, via New Pangea Records.

Written by J.J. Bibby & Joey Hansom
Produced by Ben Jackson & Joey Hansom
Saxophone by Matthias Mann
Recorded by Snax
Mixed by Justin Merdsoy
Artwork by Adrian Lourie

Friday, January 23, 2015

The mask

There's something most definitely post-Guantanamo in the air, or I should say, post-Guantanamo scandal, because this is the Guantanamo era. Surely one of the most iconic images of this new century, the hooded prisoner, arrested without proper cause and imprisoned indefinitely, has become the emblem of how power works today. Whatever stories we invent to justify it, it can't be vindicated, and so it has mutated into an omnipresent vision which both flags up the ongoing horror of the situation and simultaneously expresses our collective desire to hide our faces in shame for allowing it to happen.

It intrigued me to see how the image was circulated on the catwalks over the past two weeks. The two most poignant examples for me where Christopher Shannon and Margiela Artisanal (now under the direction of Galliano).

Christopher Shannon


Shannon's collection is all about faking it and making it, and it both brilliantly desirable and utterly hilarious, touched with a deft charm and wit. Margiela's couture collection is practically the polar opposite, bombastic, gothic, jagged and some how gory. The designer's P.O.V's are in fascinating conversation, being break-out-wunderkind and grand-dame-on-the-comeback, respectively. The houses, one emerging and one seminal, are light years apart. Yet, the masks was for me, the central image in both collections.

And as always, the discussion sends me into a reverie, centred on this image.

Cate Blanchett for iD

Shannon's corner shop and supermarket plastic shopping bags on the head talk to me of burning the candle at both ends, in a Homerton studio, of pressure-cooker routines punctuated with trips to the off-license and the Turkish grocery store. It was a resonant detail which gave the collection a note of realism and of course, self-depreciating, self-reflexive humour. Margiela's masks are of course iconic, but the final look, a bejewelled skull of a piece, took it into new territory (very Galliano territory one might say).

Pat McGrath handled the maquillage at Margiela, and Issamaya French (2015 nominee for coolest girl in the universe) did her duty at Shannon. There's perhaps a feminist perspective to consider here, how the culture wars over the hijab (as short hand for non-Eurocentric female (in)visibility), but that doesn't seem to be the most pressing point. Rather it's the mask as concurrent revelation and concealment that has caught my attention.

The way a mask calls our attention to the face whilst obscuring it, in the horror movie tradition, it's a process of writing a horror on the surface which images a horror even greater beneath. In the contemporary cultural matrix masks don't flag up any creepy psychotic outsider as someone to be genuinely afraid of, but actually symbolize the horror we're all living in. We are the monster, and we are ashamed.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Espresso Martini

I'm not much of a drinker, alcohol makes me too morose, or perhaps, even more morose. I also have to be extremely disciplined with my coffee intake, as caffeine makes me wildly over-excited and borderline psychotic. So maybe you wouldn't immediately leap to the conclusion that combining booze and java would be a good thing for me; but it is, in the form of the espresso martini.

If there is a promotional campaign to be launched for this velvet conduit in a glass I would like to front it, if there is a magazine advertorial to be shot, I would like to be smirking front and centre. They say you shouldn't mix your uppers and your downers, but what do they know? Have they considered how the caffeinated rush in the cocktail allows me to confidently hold forth with all those profound realisations the alcohol within helps me elucidate? With an espresso martini in my hand I feel bold enough to decide on tiling my bathroom in marble, and drunk enough to do actually do it.

Not that I'm suggesting we rush into things wildly, certainly we should talk things over, over a few of these frosted, creamy alcofrolic tipples! I'm the kind of person who lives life, or tries to. Maybe I've been too timid previously, but the past is the past, you know? So let's talk and see where we are and then just improvise from there, cocktail glass in hand, and just go with it.