Saturday, 31 May 2008


Evidently, we are demolishing and redecorating. Earlier today, we went into town to escape the plaster dust and meet our friend Jemima from Firesuite and her new (and adorable and generally well-behaved-except where coffee chains are involved) dog (she peed on Cafe Rouge's alfresco area, which was kinda funny and no one got hurt).

On the way back, I saw a lonely maxipad on the pavement between a bus stop and a building.

I spent an amused few minutes on a mini stake-out (ok, I pretended to be waiting for a bus at the bus stop - but it was totally a stake-out) and saw that no one passing by acknowledged it or appeared to notice it or react to it, but somehow no one stepped on it. It was spooky. Like a ghost pad that no one sees but everyone can feel its presence, like a little shiver of social stigma up the spine. Only one guy of about 20 passersby actually visibly took an extra big step around it, but that was it. Even the guys holding heavy boxes of computer equipment they could barely see over missed it. So that's a 5% acknowledgement quotient by my count, with a 1% margin of error allowing for human spatial awareness on the city streets which helps us navigate by some kind of jedi mind trick anyway.

At the same bus stop, this charming piece of eye pollution was also on display.

Let me break it down:

First of all, it's a patronising South Yorkshire transit ad operating under the misapprehension that it gives a shit about affordable and convenient public transport, so, you know, totally fair game.

Secondly, the 'artiste' cleverly (or serendipitously) uses the 'together' tag line to urge us into collective action. So far so adbusty. But the message derails here, I feel, in that the writer goes on to urge the gentle reader (in words and universal symbols) to defecate. Not on the bus, not about the decline of affordable and convenient public transport, just, ya know, kind of in general, it would appear. There is an acknowledgement that this would be a taboo act, in that we should 'miss behave', so it's not a complete non sequitur. The public installation concludes with a recent addition to the English slang canon which onomatopoeically namechecks the sound machine guns make when they are shot off into the air in celebration. I absolutely hate that this word has fallen into common use, particularly among school-age boys, and I challenge it every time I hear it as normalising gun violence and casual gun use.

Thirdly, I feel there are mixed messages I must reconcile and address the following contradictions to our mystery author: we should misbehave and defecate publicly, but not be so vulgar as to call it anything other than a 'poo'; we should use preschool terms instead of anything so crude and fricative as 'crap' or 'shit', but the extremely violent and plosive 'brap' sound effect simulating a machine gun salute is fair game; the handwriting, terminology and bathroom-wall-humour aspect point to a probably young probably male-identified writer, but he urges us to 'miss' behave (is the message only for women or is it an unfortunate spelling error?); and we're discussing poo, but the pen is red - don't you feel you've missed a trick here?

And finally, also to the artiste, if you have a permanent marker in your hand and you're on a city street, do something beautiful or at least spell correctly.

Sorry, end of rant.

When we got in later this evening and trudged our veggie gyoza-ed asses up to bed, the first thing Sarah said as we walked upstairs toward the partially de-wallpapered corridor was, "Oh, it looks like a bloodstain on underwear."



Monday, 26 May 2008

Hélène Cixous quote

And why don't you write? Write! Writing is for you, you are for you; your body is yours, take it. I know why you haven't written. (And why I didn't write before the age of 27.) Because writing is at once too high, too great for you, it's reserved for the great - that is, for great "men"; and it's "silly". Besides, you've writtena little, but in secret. And it wasn't good, because it was secret, and because you punished yourself for writing, because you didn't go all thw way; or because you wrote, irresistibly, as when we would masturbate in secret, not to go further, but to attenuate the tension of it, just to take the edge off. And then as soon as we come, we go and make ourselves feel guilty - so as to be forgiven; to forget, to bury it until next time.

Write, let no one hold you back, let nothing stop you: not man; not the imbecilic capitalist machinery, in which the publishing houses are the crafty, obsequious relayers of imperatives handed down by an economy that works against us and off our backs; not yourself. Smug-faced readers, managing editors, and big bosses don't like the true texts of women - female-sexed texts. That kind scares them.
-Hélène Cixous summer, 1976

Sarah just read me this from some research for a paper she's writing and I was like...yeah.


Friday, 9 May 2008

Dum dum de dum...

So...we thought we'd manage to make it to Ladyfest London at least as spectators, but if we're gonna make honest women of each other next month, we've gotta get down to business here with the insane amounts of planning going on.

Charlotte in Sheffield said that Annie Sprinkle in New York said that lesbian!weddings were shockingly traditional, even when deconstructed and undermined at every radical feminist angle. Or something like that. I'm paraphrasing. And I think it was Annie Sprinkle...

In any case, we're on hiatus til the end of July, and then hoping to head to the US until the end of August. We're finally planning to get to the west coast, so if you're gonna be there, give us a bell. I'm hoping to get Adventures #4 out by then...should I be putting that in writing at this stage? I'm reminded of what Douglas Adams said about deadlines.

Cork was great - can't say that enough. Hope Ladyfest London is just as awesome - I can vouch that the film programme will be, and Saturday night's band lineup is pretty inspired - get down there if you can, if you haven't already, and to our pals that are working it for the festival - you know who you are - hope you're having a wicked time and that it all goes according to plan.

Ladyfests have become a bit of an addiction for us, I think - there are holes in my mental map for the ones we haven't been to now. I've just done a tiny comic for Il Pleut des Gouines #10 all about that - and that was the last official activity on our radar for about six weeks.

I'm still on the email, and we're still 'at home' to visitors, and we totally need to do coffee with the Cartwheels, and I'll probably blog a bit more instead.

Have a good one.