Dreamscrolling before The Great Reset:
Film, poetry, unity
My world’s got smaller in the last year. Everybody’s has. You have my heart for anyone you’ve lost, for sufferance, and I hope this finds you well and finding beauty wherever you can.
I’ve traded nature, travel and friends for iPhone memories. It’s a bizarre anthropocene reality that we entered the hippy dream of the Age of Aquarius on winter solstice, and now we’re in the dark ages of digital, before true equality can be realised.
I wanted to be in Berlin, but the British government are charging £500 for the PCR tests (tests which are 100E in Berlin), so the expense is insane if we ever wanted to come back, plus isolation stays in hotels to keep their side of hospitality industry vaguely breathing. This is an innocuous war. My eyeballs have wanted a rinse for a while, I’m from London, and have spent most of my life here. Brexit is an embarrassment. But I don’t want to get in a plane - they’re filthy. Nor do I want Covid. Regarding the vaccination, I’m wary, but understand many need it.
And I do want to be here. My debut novel’s coming out later this year, so yes, I do want to celebrate with as many of you as possible. I am plotting. I began talking about wanting to write something about the 90s in the 90s. In 2009, I read an excerpt of the book that has become Psychomachia (taken from a 5th century Latin poem by Prudentius about the battle between vice and virtue, or war of the soul, which I found in the British Library) atop Antony Gormley’s Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square. I had a few agents totting up my past DJing with Irvine, Howard Marks and Kris Needs, but that wasn’t enough to get major publishers confident in a female writing brutally about drugs, music and fashion. I drafted Psychomachia before MeToo, and it’s a totally feminist take on the 90s fashion and music industry. I’m just finishing a major project, so can clear my mind to start thinking about the audiobook. Such a delicious joy.
After meeting Gil, he suggested I send the book to Wrecking Ball Press, weirdly, we’d met at a reading for Tony O’Neill, whose first novel was published by them. And in October 2017 I was lying in bed after a Cold Lips party in Berlin, and there it was, an email from the publisher, Shane Rhodes, saying he wanted to take it. HAIL.
It’s snowing here today. Everyday I try to seize some childhood wonder, and enjoy the beauty of the Zen within.
In lockdown 1, I lost Youth Culture, DJMag no longer had enough advertising to maintain me as arts editor, after five years, and I applied for a Society of Authors Emergency Literary Grant. Which I received. I enjoyed saying No to events and everything that arrives in my inbox begging for attention. Instead, I was left with my own experience, and had time to reflect on my own life, which I began writing.
I received a grant from the government, as have been paying self-employed tax forever, then my ceiling fell in. I asked Facebook for a builder. I knew the guy who arrived on my doorstep from The Griffin in Shoreditch. We had a million mutuals, and off we began on an adventure which resulted in sawing a bath to fit into the wall he’d built, with an extreme lack of glass bricks to let natural light in. Insurance covered most of that, but I could sense change, and applied for the position of Managing Editor at Ambit, and to my surprise, the conversation began.
We left Everything. Went to Berlin. Had a ball. Lost the fear.
I was on a residency at the Neurotitan Gallery in Berlin, Lias from the Fat White Family did a secret show with author Rob Doyle on percussion. I was putting him on at an event as part of the residency. We have good friends over there. I miss them.
Returning for Lockdown 2, 3 and 4, I now have a ceiling and a bathroom, glass bricks and new kitchen, which evolved in a dub playlist to encourage the Rasta builder and electrician through days. There is nothing left. My earnings have decreased hugely. I’m lucky to have been able to perform in Berlin before they locked down again, and then be part of an incredible show in Woodbridge, Suffolk in December (keep an eye out for the Noise Of Art film). But that’s why I began this blog, because the perks I get from consultancy with the UN, or whoever it is, have always been international, as has the professor work I’ve been doing a few times a year with US students studying over - all trade has ceased. So I’m left, somewhat poetically with my own desires. I am now the proud Managing Editor of Ambit, and I have my novel coming out.
Communally-minded, at Christmas I began helping out a new zine in Berlin, RISIKO, and learnt InDesign better, can now call myself a designer, having pulled together their 58 page zine.
In this spate I have also added to the circular economy by paying to get my music mixed - I’m happy to share this single with you:
Lyrics: @kirstyallison. Music: @GilDeRay Synth magic: @MalikAmeer0 Vox recorded with: @kelliali. Mixed by: @B_A_M__________
This film was where the collaboration of Vagrant Lovers began. Gil and I were in New Orleans, I chalked up this poem, he made music to accompany. We premiered this at Cold Lips’ New York correspondent, Jeffrey Wengrofsky’s Secrets Film Festival, aside a film he’d made with Jim Sclavunos, and Doug Hart also showed his collab with Sam Morton.
We later played the film at the Liminality II show at Gallery 46, and played a set of what we’d worked on till that point. It was one of our first shows.
Lockdown’s been weird, because I was just getting good at performing, but the shows I have done under Covid have been extra enjoyable, because it’s not just banging out gig after gig.
Finally, come to this, to hear what the brilliant team of Ambit editors have selected for the 242nd edition. There are some great poets, and I’m making some little films for social this week. x
Thanks for reading, and any other support you’ve provided. Love. x