Monday 20th Nov 2017

I’m drinking a coffee I ordered by mistake in Prague airport. I thought I asked for an espresso but instead I have a really tall coffee with a bouffant of whipped cream. The coffee tastes like it’s exhausted / two men sat at a nearby table.

I sit and watch planes taxi on the wet, autumn morning tarmac. The big sign that I saw from the bus; the one that said “SkyPort”. Is that what they call it here / sat very close together.

Because the sky is the destination and our jets never come down / their legs are almost touching.

Reverie interrupted by the waiter. He has one of those barbell facial piercings that go through the upper-bridge of the nose. Brings me a ham and Emmental cheese panini on counterfeit bread. Places it on the table before me. Avoids making eye contact. And walks back towards the bar / one leans over to the other.

The scene is soundtracked by characterless dance music made by an Italian robot w/ dick-head haircut + rebellious leather biker jacket / they go for this kiss.

Bad coffee. Worse food. But not bad myself / hands clutched chastely beneath the table where I can see it.

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Sunday 12th Nov 2017

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17 year old secluded + closeted teen in suburban Telford. The Smell Of Our Own by The Hidden Cameras: frank, homoerotic lyrics paired with ornate choral arrangements (meandering viola, vaporous organ). It smelt (still smells) musty to me: like dried bodily fluids in a Thoreau wood cabin, nesting under a clear blue sky. Tied to a burgeoning and unrealised desire, the songs have stuck to my psyche like crumpled-up tissues trampled underfoot ever since.

Returning to these songs on the 09:38 Virgin Pendelino from Liverpool Lime Street to London Euston, seat A02 in the QUIET COACH, experiencing full acceptance of the body and a sensuality that extends beyond the urban self, which moved (still moves) via Oyster Card from A+B in search of instant, Pret-A-Manger style gratification. Off-the-shelf. I have taken myself off the shelf. Or become ‘sadly circumscribed’ as one supposedly liberated man put it this week.

Anyway, sense of release and renewal despite / or because it is nearly the welcome death of another year. Slightly fewer, less-immediate and dispersed work commitments plus quite a bit more funding so less ARSEtistically constipated. And with it, space to consider how things could be done better. Namely: the muscles moving, epidermis gilded w/ sweat, saliva + fresh non-capital air, someone’s teeth clamped round scruff o’ the neck.

I read this really lovely and fascinating interview with AA Bronson, formerly of General Idea, on butt massages. The more I read and research this topic, and a lot of it seems to be falling in my lap, the less…uhh, outside of everything I feel. The ass: site of squirreled-away-shame and untapped power. The gluten, strongest muscles of the body, foundation of civilisation. Stand up bent.

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Also, was nice chat last night with a producer on the rooster-tail butt plug: male flamboyance and display. Keep with it. Should really have a chat with Wellcome at some point.

Liverpool because I was up for work. Saw we hold where study by Wu Tsang, a hypnotically circular and evasive video choreographic work where the drone becomes an active participant (observer, surveillance, predator), and two different projection frames overlap so the work shifts through synchronicity and dissonance. Something inherently sad and anxious in the work, these two couples unable to rest or escape, to travel and commune between worlds, their race and gender expressions foregrounded. Wish I had a copy to keep.

Saturday 4th Nov 2017

Year of the Butt. Men From Behind. Naked Boys Reading: B*ttmunch. Haunted Butts. Butts, butts, butts. Why butts? Salacious homo-smut or earnest body-positive crusade? Might have manifested in either / multiple way(s). Simply quite fascinated in this ‘blind’ spot of the body and its associations. Also, I like them. Get a fair amount of pleasure from them.

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Discovered: gastromancy, the Victorian-belief that spirits entered the body via rectum and spoke from the stomach (see also: ventriloquism) . Daisy Campbell speaks eloquently and enthusiastically on subject. Also, the crystal ball as surrogate belly. Listen: it growls. Historic precedent for ghosts and butts made me feel marginally less insane when creating Haunted Butts, queer performance party which was a lot of fun and work.

Mouth voice, intangible emanations from the self, polar opposites of the anus and ordure. Words escape us. Relevant to Lacan’s quilting point: language pins down a meaning like a stud in sofa upholstery; remove it and meaning unravels through a butthole aperture. See Jonathan Kemp’s ‘The Penetrated Male‘. The generative possibilities of both openings. More control over one than the other.

On digestion and eating: “all spiritual pleasure can be expressed through eating”, because “the physical assimilation is mysterious enough to be a beautiful image of the spiritual meaning” (Novalis). Also, “to love without wanting to devour must surely be anorexic” (Derrida).

[Well aware I might sound like a nob quoting philosophers whose books I’ve not read, thanks for pointing that out, let’s proceed.]

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Tooth-torn and ground-down on Grindr: chomp! chomp! chomp! Oh insatiable urge. Locusts turn cannibal. Stop here for agricultural apocalypse as depicted in John Maus’s The Combine (“I hear the combine coming / It’s going to dust us all to nothing.”)

Fundamental experience and divisive subject eliciting embarrassed laughter or wide-eyed agreement. Carries sense of dirty joke around with it. Which is fine. I’m happy to laugh along.

Laptop interjects: NO BACKUPS FOR 67 DAYS | CLOSE

 

 

 

 

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.

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”

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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.

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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.”