Sunday 1st Oct 2017

The dirty black water waves against the white stone. The dirty black water glimmers in grey light in flashes of near white. The black rope tightens and slackens in the water.

Mist.

It flows like a sullen old man in a bombed-out European boulevard.

The dirty black water bears dark blue ships. I close my eyes. I feel the slime beneath my hands. The rough jetty surface, the scaly sea-wall surface. I feel it under my slime skin.

Arpeggio of emotions: doldrums of ecstasy doldrums of ecstasy. Your fingers stroke me as I lie sideways in your lap. The feeling slides off my cheek and the deck and my beach towel flutters in the wind. I pass through. Stages.

No, that’s OK, I don’t need any help thank you, I’m hurt already. And the thing is in pieces. So when do I cry if not now, and if so, at what? White chairs in a dark wood with fairy lights. I try to blank. The muscle-queens who wanted me to be a unified, non-contradictory being, singing these worm-songs.

Advertisements

Sunday 27th Aug 2017

On cocks and death:

“Similarly a multitude of sarcophagi are found with the rooster and the sacred cockfight with the understanding of striving for resurrection and eternal life in Christianity. This sacred subject carved on early Christian tombs, where the sepulchral carvings have an important purpose, “a faithful wish for immortality, with the victory of the cock and his supporting genius analogous to the hope of resurrection, the victory of the soul over death”

Persian_Cock

Wikipedia

I’m thinking about AA Bronson’s book of queer rituals, a text that was brought to Men From Behind the other week; one involves adornment with cockerel feathers (I think – taking this from memory). And I’m thinking about dawn as that liminal space between night and day, and how in Dracula, Jonathan Harker notes that its a time when souls on the cusp of death tend to release themselves from the body. And of course, I’m thinking about cocks and butts. If you’re reading this blog, you’ve been reading long enough to know that’s what I’m about at the moment.

A return to routine perhaps, this regular Sunday update.

International

In August, I’ll be taking an expanded version of LOAD to Dublin Live Art Festival.

CDS 27th 28th May-7

Credit: Ivan Denia, Chisenhale Dance Space, Fiver Friday

First presented at SPILL Festival in October 2016, it’s a TED talk that’s actually a yoga session that’s really a phone sex chat line about putting your body and life on display. I’m performing alongside some really great artists including Martin O’Brien, Rhiannon Armstrong, Robert Hesp, Umama Hamido, Reverend Billy and more.

And then in September, I’ll be notching up a few more air miles by following in the footsteps of Count Dracula on a pilgrimage into the heart of darkness.

IMG_20170720_231803.jpg

Credit: Gareth Cutter

Taking in a Whitby weekender, a 5-day research trip to Romania, and a concluding overnight vigil in London, this DIY+ led by Martin O’Brien, and supported by LADA and Jerwood Charitable Foundation, feeds into some of my own thinking into sick, queer bodies, gastromancy and buttholes, which I expect will be bubbling up sometime in October.

Over and out.

Sunday 23rd Jul 2017

There are three dancers in In The Mood For Frankie, currently being shown at Trajal Harrell’s performance installation, Hooch Koochie, showing at the Barbican. Trajal is one of them. We watch him and the others as we perch on piano benches, squat on the ground, or stand either side of the faux-marble platforms (really just overhead digital projections beamed down on plain white wood), small fish pond and kitschy straw mats that make up the runway. By turns languid and extravagant, taut and frantic, the dancers stalk the space and claim it as their own with nonchalance.

The variations are a long-time in coming, and I oscillate between fascination and boredom.

One of the dancers is holding an old oil lamp and prancing back in forth in what I would describe as a ‘Medieval courtly style’, his gaze leaping between the ground and the sky, leading his body with it. He does a little solo from one end of the platform the other and back again, joining Trajal and the other dancer as a trio.

They remind me of friends dancing in a club.

And like when you’re at the optician and they’re trying different strength lenses on to get the prescription right, a new ‘lens’ drops over my gaze on the scene all of a sudden, wiping out any attempt to fix meaning on it: they’re just three bodies dancing together. The set, the costume – doesn’t really mean anything. This guy holding the lamp? I find it intensely funny. Not disparagingly so. I love it. It makes me want to take an empty kettle to the next Knickerbocker and act fabulous whilst doing it.

In one of the adjacent rooms, there’s a slightly doctored version of Baudrillard’s The Conspiracy Of Art projected on the wall, where he argues ‘art has lost all desire for illusion: feeding back endlessly into itself, it has turned its own vanishment into an art unto itself.’ Trajal has changed ‘art’ to ‘performance’. As a gesture, its probably the least interesting one he makes in the exhibition, but one line from the original leaps out at me strongly:

“The poetic operation is to make nothing appear out of the power of signs.”

Sunday 9th Jul 2017

IMG_20170705_001906_471.jpg

In Telford there are a lot of occluded men. There is a grid of flesh. There is wet chest hair that looks suspiciously like a question mark asking “What are you looking for?” There are pink supply lips at the top of the frame. Instead of answering, you just place the screen of your phone over your face and slide it down reaallllllllllllllllly slowly. A moan escapes. Repeat the action and feel the smooth plastic against skin produce a friction you didn’t expect while a voice goes “Hello? Can you hear me? If you are a racist or do not like people from America then block me.” And if you replied, it would be something like, “No, it’s not like that at all, none of those things bother me,” but you place the phone in your pocket and grab your keys. Going out. Back later. See you in a bit. But you’re still walking through a grid that stretches much further than you’ll ever walk, even as you head to the lump of land called the Wrekin. A landmark. You don’t know the names of any of the plants. Nope. This place? Why would I?

New Fag Realism. A puce screed of tedious intention.

I set myself this target of writing a blog every week to be published on a Sunday and so far I’ve found it both funny and boring, and occasionally inspirational. Not much to report (yet) but I’ll tell you this: I walked down a forest path in Ironbridge gorge on my 30th and it stank of wild garlic and manure. My nose was rancid with the odour and I thought, ‘Great! This is exactly the smell I want for my next project, given that it will probably be about ventriloquism’.

IMG_20170706_203253_966.jpg

I’ve also been writing some poetry on Twitter that no-one seems to be paying attention to, which is just the way it should be because there are far too many poets and not enough Halifax adverts to go round.

Water. Coffee. No. No coffee. I love you. No I. I love you.

Sunday 2nd Jul 2017

Pink vague.

IMG_20170630_174807_884

Been working with Paul at Chisenhale Dance Space on LOAD for a couple of days this week. The pair of us have been pinching, swiping, pressing and gliding through a structure that does gentle hand-brake turns. The audience watches a punishing floor as two violins glide away from each other imperceptibly and Beckett disappears into a lacuna. Noun verb noun. August. That’s when I’m presenting it. Across real and imagined borders.

In December I go to a place to make some work as well but I don’t know how much I can say about this because I haven’t asked. What is an artist’s blog really for, then? Nothing. Absolutely fine.

ssssssssssssssssss  s s s s s s s ss      sh   s  s s s  h s h s          sh s h s  sh  sh sh s  hhh

sss   s s     s s s s       s s s s          ss s s s s        s s s s ss s ss          s s s s s s s ssssssss

s  h h h ssss s h  s s

IMG_20170126_191609_065

This morning the steady whine in my ear collapsed into a coastal crash and I thought I might fall out of my chair: man, laptop and Microsoft Word report overboard. Labyrinthitis (nowt to do with David Bowie). And I got up and felt the knotty left hip, and the collapsed, shallow right foot. The eyes, the disease and the body blasted by sex, inhibition, performance, the wrong limits, the recklessness of a rubber band flying from thumb and forefinger. This has nothing to do with turning 30 and everything to do with having been 20.

Apart from that, nothing extra-ordinary this week (except I discovered that the Shrek Is Love, Shrek Is Life video is soundtracked by Stars Of The Lid).

SUNDAY 25TH JUN 2017

Michael and I have matching lime-green bandanas wrapped around our necks. We lean against the pristine white colonnades of Tate Britain’s foyer, chatting about queerness, cruising and embarrassment.

IMG_20170620_221914_519

Every so often, my eyes dart to the right. I’m still listening to Michael – but I’m also conscious of the pose I’ve struck, left arm resting over my head against the white column, legs clad in indigo denim and scissor-crossed. I’m seeing whose gaze I catch over the upturned collar of my bleached denim jacket.

There’s a cute androgynous person with short dark hair, tanned skin and angular earrings leaning against the ornate balustrade by the staircase. Our eyes hold each other for a few suspended seconds, bolstered by wide smiles – then break away back to our companions. The bands of brightly-coloured fabric wrapped around our wrists and necks, dangling from our back-pockets and bound across our foreheads create a playful context to engage in something that often seems incredibly po-faced and serious. I think of the hate-stare of cruising guys, brows knitted in a ‘v’ of intense scrutiny, sizing up your cut versus the explosion of laughter that tumbles out of my body as I lay on my back, the fitted sheet crumpled like a tissue.

“What’s wrong?” they ask.

“Nothing! I’m just having a really good time.”

Belly-laughs during sex.

The cutie to my right crumples in a fit of giggles and hushed talk with their friends.

IMG_20170624_161347_613

I think of J. Halberstam in The Queer Art Of Failure talking about a ‘queer and fluid form of knowing, that operates independently of coherence and linear narrative or progression’, a ‘silliness’ which ‘leads…to new and different forms of relations and actions’.

I’m at a fancy function for a gay men’s mental health charity that is replicating the body issues it purports to address with a poster stuffed with chiselled white bodies, hairless nipples, gleaming teeth and a drag queen. The men here have all had their chinos and polo necks sprayed on, and a vogue troupe-for-hire slices lines through the air. I want to do a flailing, stumbling stage invasion in honour of this silliness. A queer silliness that doesn’t take OPULENCE and SUPERIORITY and FIERCENESS as its primary objective. It’s not that I don’t admire these things in some way, I love the Brooke Candy video; but I’m more interested in carving a vague, clumsy freedom for myself because I often feel very vague and clumsy.

Do you want to join my Boring Queer Collective? It’s not very interesting, and there isn’t very much to tell you. It’s essentially a loose assemblage of people doing pointless administrative tasks like making Google Spreadsheets and listing the composite materials of douche bulbs.

Michael and I continue chatting. We’ve been ‘Cruising For Art’, a kind of silly cruising at Tate Britain as part of their Queer and Now festival, where the erotic potential still-exists and the one-on-one performances are serious in the sense care has been taken over them, but it’s playful in a way that traditional cruising doesn’t seem to be (not that I would know, of course).

IMG_20170409_221911_601

Anyway, unrelated, I love this quote from Mark Fisher’s The Weird And The Eerie:

“We could go so far as to say that it is the human condition to be grotesque, since the human animal is the one that does not fit in, the freak of nature who has no place in the natural order and is capable of re-combining nature’s products into hideous new forms.”

With bare feet and obscene jelly on the furry floor.