Friday, 23 September 2016

EXTRA EXTRA! ANXIOUS LONER BECOMES COOL KID?



I started my Masters officially on Monday. I'm studying Psychoanalysis and Creative Writing, and Creativity and Utopia this term. But I'm also learning that it's all about balance. I know that intellectually but when it comes to practice, it might as well be a brand new concept. I went to the last night of Freshers, and more then liberally lubricated with free wine from the English department, I managed to have a good time. A great time even. But on the Monday, after class, I went to the library and began self-flagellating for perhaps compensating too much for the loneliness of my undergraduate years. I had been introducing myself to everyone, laughing a bit too loudly in my opinion, being a bit too forward, again in my paranoid opinion. I am not a social butterfly in the least, but I felt I had to make an effort.

But I couldn't help wondering if I can keep it up, anticipating the day the energy might drain from me, with the newness of the year no longer fuelling me.  I couldn't help imagining the day I would feel inferior again, and crawl back into my shell.

So in the library, head still full of Freud, I analysed my thoughts and actions:

'Analysing my every move to find out exactly where I'm inadequate. The end result, I'm guessing, is a withdrawal into myself. Thanatos. Death-drive. The destruction of connections. Is my desire to connect, my libido, finally stronger? Is that why I can fight the temptation to flee, to get on the train and go home, instead of going to this poetry thing tonight?'

I bit the bullet and went to the poetry reading at a pub in Brighton. I saw a couple of classmates there, had a couple of drinks, the second of which was bought for me, made small talk, discussed the poetry and what we were reading, and then left and caught the train home. 

I didn't die. Nobody died. I may have nodded and um'd and ahh'd a little bit too much but not enough to make me a social pariah. I did it! I went out and wasn't completely consumed with fear and anxiety! *clink clink* Maybe I'll actually have a life this year!

Saturday, 17 September 2016

365

bill gates vintage microsoft advert


Written on 15th September 2016

Today was supposed to be a day of celebration, a day where I would mentally pat myself on the back for not breaking my writing streak for 365 days. But I've felt really lethargic instead, having the energy to to little else other than watch TV. And when I haven't been feeling exhausted, I've been frustrated. I wanted today to simultaneously feel like the end of an era and a fresh start but I feel ... stale.

I've been thinking about the future of my blog. It's been three years and it's changed quite a bit in that time, I've changed more than a bit in that time, but sometimes I feel like I want a space to express that. I know it's somewhat oxymoronic because of course the blog I've kept for over three years would be the place to view progression as opposed to a brand new blog. But the urge for a clean slate is so persistent and it threatens to overwhelm me sometimes.

I started a squarespace trial a couple of months ago, enticed by the responsiveness and clinical feel of their themes. I was also drawn by a desire to seem "legitimate". I am 22 and have never been paid for any of my work, in turn, I have rarely pitched to somewhere where I would be paid, because of my own insecurities. A squarespace site, with an About Me page, clips, and a new blog, I felt might give me even the illusion of being truly ready for "the freelance life". 

But I couldn't do it. I felt extremely uneasy about leaving my blog behind and what must be tens of thousands of words. I feel uneasy about leaving the community of Blogger, no matter how small it has become, for what seemed like the void of a "professional" site. I felt no matter how much I yearned for a clean new fresh blog, there was a part of me that loves the chaos of Blogger, I stopped the trial and tried to remind myself why I love this space.

I found myself scrolling through all my old favourite blogs (whether they used Blogger or not). Some defunct, some periodically updated, some where the writers had gone on to become successful journalist and writers, or some where the writers had seemed to disappear from the internet. Rembert Browne's 500 Days Asunder, Amber Humphrey's Nostomanic, Essine's Psychedelic Daisy, Kundalini's Space Age Bachelor Pad Music and, of course, Tavi's Style Rookie. For the defunct ones, perhaps one day they got tired or too busy to update their blogs, or they thought it had served its purpose. But I love that they are still there, not dead, not mausoleums or graveyards, but museums or time capsules preserving great pieces of writing, great photos, great discussions of moments in popular culture. Some of these blogs may no longer be updating, or updating regularly, but their spirit inspired me. These were blogs that were not afraid to go deep down the rabbit holes of whatever they were interested in, a concept that I've tried to keep the guiding rule for my own blog. And that's something I feel I couldn't do if I got a new website ad blog with the goal of  selling myself.

This blog may be messy, it may have things from three years ago that could do with a spell check at best, and are down right embarrassing at worst, but I'm not ready to let go of all that just yet. I don't think I've exhausted the possibilities of what I can express here. Viva Blogger!

Monday, 5 September 2016

Merely a Middle Man

Keith Haring mural

I watched this video piece about this social art project collaboration between City Kids and Keith Haring to put on this Brandywine Workshop and create a mural in the late 1980s.
One thing I love about Keith Haring was his deeply held belief and insistence that art be public, that art be as available and accessible to as many people as possible. I've been intermittently re-reading his journals and I came across an annotation I made the first time round:

Haring wrote (pgs 18-19):

Is art for self? Is art simply fulfilling an artist-ego relationship?

I wrote:

(13/02/16) Yes, for me right now it is. I have something to say, I want it to be heard and I want it to be understood. So that I'll have ... proof, that I can speak. I make things out of anxiety.

Haring wrote:

I am interested in making art to be experienced and explored by as many individuals as possible with as many different individual ideas about the given piece with no final meaning attached. The viewer creates the reality, the meaning, the conception of the piece. I am merely a middle man trying to bring ideas together.

I have nothing specifically to communicate but this: That I have created a reality that is not complete until it is met with the ideas of another human being (or, I suppose, animal), including myself, and that the reality is not complete until it is experienced.

I wrote:

Yes. This is where my anxiety about not being heard comes from? I don't feel like my realities are complete, are realities, because I feel they are experienced by myself alone, even though that cannot possibly be true.

I often have the desire to make public art. To write something that is as much for the benefit of others as it is for me. There's a film maker and photographer who lives two floors above me and who I have known for the majority of my life. A couple of months ago he was round our house to interview and film my mum for a film he is making about our estate and community. The are others in the estate: those who tend the community garden and go round the flats giving everyone some of the produce (Last year we got the hugest thing of lettuce. A couple of weeks ago we got the hugest courgette), those who run the youth club on what must be a meagre stipend or even voluntarily.

What drives them to do things like that? How do they reach out like that? I find that extremely hard to do. I care but seemingly not enough to be physically moved to action? Solipsism or some shit? Narcissism more likely. I don't know. But I want to be better.

Here's the video




Sunday, 28 August 2016

CARNIVAL

1994

It's Notting Hill Carnival this weekend! Confession: I have never in my 22 years been to Notting Hill Carnival. I've always watched it on TV.  I don't know why! I am a bad Londoner! It's the 50th anniversary this year as well, and I've been seeing some amazing photos from the carnival over the years. Gah! I'm itching. I can't make today but I think I might try and head there tomorrow. Here are some of the most amazing photos taken by Giles Moberly. I especially love the ones from the 1990s. It's so funny to see trends then that we went through too, like the girls with the dummys. I didn't have a dummy but me and my friend used to go to Boots to buy Cow & Gate baby juice.

I've had this blog for three years but I don't think I've ever made a post about Notting Hill Carnival before or even any carnival, like Hackney One Carnival which is in a couple of weeks. But I felt compelled today after seeing some ridiculous twitter comments. There was an article about systematic racism in the UK, and someone in the comments had the audacity to say "We bend over backwards for these people" and cited Notting Hill Carnival as an example. Are you fucking silly????  Anyway. good vibes, good vibes, everybody! It's bank holiday!


1995


1990
2009
1993

1994

Friday, 26 August 2016

I'm Not Perfect But I'm Perfect For You


I was watching Grace Jones music videos and I realised something about my two favourites I'm Not Perfect But I'm Perfect For You, and Slave to the Rhythm: they both show artists at work. Slave to the Rhythm opens with an artist making the famous image of Grace with the elongated neck that would eventually became the cover art. I'm Not Perfect shows Keith Haring painting a massive piece of material that would become a skirt that Grace goes on to wear in in the video. (There are also great cameos from Andy Warhol, Nile Rogers, and Timothy Leary)






I think my favourite pictures of Keith Haring are ones that show him working. The same goes for Basquiat. I don't know what it is about watching people work, watching people create. Beyond fascination and voyeurism, there's an intimacy about seeing how the sausage is made. I find it really motivating too because no matter how talented and genius an artist or writer is, seeing them work emphasises that yes they are humans, and they worked with their hands, for hours and hours, often making mistakes and starting again, crafting something beautiful.