Monday, December 28, 2009
Perhaps not my favorite years of all time, 2009 was a year of highs and lows - mainly lows. I did have a rather amazing birthday out on a Greek island, a blissful night of rolling around in the Summer rain at the Latitude festival and a beautiful trip to Berlin, plus I earned my MA, so it wasn't all bad.
Now, then here's a look behind the scenes of my internationally celebrated performance art career for you to enjoy. It is dedicated with much love to all the marvelous people I've been lucky enough to work with this year, with much gratitude and admiration. Here's looking at you, 2010.
Promo shoot at the School of Fine Art, Athens
Singing back-up for Max Steele and Chantal's House of Shame, Berlin
Arriving for a writing residency on the island of Hydra, Greece
En route to Heathrow, London
Backstage at the Leicester Sq Theatre, London
On set for the cover of Boyz magazine, London
Pre-show at Bios, Athens
Rehearsing at Latitude, Suffolk
Dress rehearsal for "Infinite Variety", London
On set with Ulli Richter at CSM, London
Post-show at the Royal Opera House, London
Preparing for a show that never happened in a Dalston squat, London
Sunday, December 27, 2009
As a child the world was nothing to me but a bleak row of inadequacies, humiliations, petty defeats. I had few pets. I was scared of dogs because they represented the snarling, unpredictable realities of the outside world, a world that spat in my hair. I hardly ever left my front garden. We had cats sporadically whom I tried to love, in the possessive manner children have towards objects in their ownership, but inevitably they died or were given away, with the same frequency my Mother’s boyfriends appeared and disappeared. In the end I stopped even noticing if they were around. Our rabbit escaped her hutch and tunnelled away into next door’s garden, right into the bitter and joyless grimace of our neighbour’s rottweiller. For a while I had a snake, who I cared for very badly. I forgot to feed him, I forgot to handle him, he died of neglect, and I decided against pets, or children for that matter.
Shortly before I went to college, my Mother bought a dog, to see her through the dull months between relationships. He was a boxer, caramel in colour and sleek like the 1930s, with the softest manner of anyone I’ve ever met, and I loved him. He loved me too, for once in my misguided life, it was requited. He and I found a grassy little outcropping amongst the barren rocks, the arid moonscape of so many so longed for loves. I let him follow me around, we fell asleep together on the sofa, he hopped up on my bed, and through one deep, springtime depression we watched Hedwig endlessly, simply because it was all we could manage. Charlie. He was big for such a young dog, he was all green shoots and joy, he had just been born and he was glad of it. He was naïve, for him everyday was dazzling, awash with possibilities, he feared nothing because nothing, no experience, had ever taught him fear. When we walked the block together, me broken hearted and he so full of life, he so stout and strong and me waist deep in self-starvation, we must have seemed like any other couple on the street. He dragged me behind, straining at the leash, barking with massive, abandoned, flirtation at everything and everyone, pouring out unbounded desire to comingle with the world, and even though I’ve always imagined myself to be more of a cat person, I never had a better friend than Charlie.
I did go to college, and Charlie served his time out bridging the empty time in my Mother’s life. In the middle of the night, in the middle of a tortured tangle of my body with another body in fact, my sister called. She was sobbing and I couldn’t quite distinguish the details of what she was saying, but I knew what she was telling me, just like you know now, as you’re reading this. I pulled the quilt around me, I turned on a lamp. I would have lit a cigarette if I were a smoker, it was that cinematic. I asked her to calm down and she whimpered. My Mother’s new boyfriend, not the worst of the lot but certainly not the best, had killed him in a temper. He said it was an accident, that he had taken him into the garden, slipped, and in the fall broken Charlie’s neck.
My Mother has a new dog now but I have no patience for her.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
The line that is my spine,
Becomes a curved,
And all that is left to me then,
Are the sharp shapes of my hand,
And the landscape,
That is your torso.
With joyous machismo,
I express myself,
In hot, now cooling jets.
And you tell me;
"Yeah. You really do cum more than anyone else I've ever met."
Sunday, December 20, 2009
A Brooklyn branch of Target was invaded last week by elderly peace activists protesting children's toys that promote violence-as-play. You can read the full story at Common Dreams. I think this is a really inspiring statement to make, not only anti-war but anti-consumerist too, right as we are approaching the high holidays of greed. It makes me think of my dear pal Stevie Hanley and our conversations about old ladies as the highest form of cultural liberation. He's making a huge drawing full of grandmothers freaking out in spiritual ecstasy which I have been lucky enough to see a several steps along the road to its creation. It's wonderful to see such a loving and holy reworking of a figure by which we are so manipulated, so insidiously, by commercial powers.
The image of the Nonna in the industrialized West is a horrible corruption of a great lineage of cult Goddesses, spiritual and magical figures. In Europe and the US the power of the female, nourishing, life-giving, eternal, wise Gaia has been bent purely to sell things. In an emotionally mean-spirited manner, and through the horrible and perverse powers of personalization in mass-marketing, grannies sell us foodstuffs galore; from yorkshire puddings to hot chocolate, all wrapped up in the good sense comfort to which it runs counter. We have taken the Virgin Mary, and neutralized (and desexualized) her with age, diminishing her powers further even than the Catholic Church managed, and we have made of her one of the icons of capitalism. It's a horrible irony, one which feeds off and re-routes genuine emotions and spiritual desires, callously, in the name of commerce.
To see a group of organized elderly women come together in a political action so opposed to the role assigned them (benign, silent, peace-keeper) is an image that lights up our current self-satisfied apolitical landscape. And I think that it's about time that that other bunch of smugly castrated outcasts (the gay "community") took a lesson from these ladies, and broke the contract they made with mainstream marketing executives (acceptance/tolerance in exchange for high visibility consumption in place of political dissension) in favor of a more radical manifesto. People before products, intensity before image, spirituality before sales.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
And so we come to the final episode of series on of my hit radio show "Special Guests". This week we look at contemporary art! You can download the whole series (for FREE thank you very much) on itunes. Just search under J.J. Bibby et voila, the whole season on your laptop/ipod. And there'll be more "Special Guests" next year! Thanks for joining us.
Bishi is one of London's most special jewels. She always looks as glamorous as a whole box of quality street, she emanates positivity and she's releasing a new single. She describes it as "electro-punk, with a folk song b-side", so really ladies there's something for everybody. Here's the video.
I'm very excited to be a part of the new group show from Hysterical Women, a collective I admire very much. I will be showing a brand new art piece called "What About Matriarchy?" which I will install during the private view and which will be on display for the duration.