Archive for August, 2010

Games Perverts Play is here!

http://gamespervertsplay.wordpress.com/

Games Perverts Play : stories and essays from the sidelines of pornography…

Games Perverts Play is a new and unique collaborative writing project, edited by Quiet Riot Girl www.quietgirlriot.wordpress.com

Games Perverts Play uses pornography and essays  to explore the less examined sides of our libidos, and to dissect our sexualities. Gender, power, pain and violence are all present in the background when we play. This project brings them to the fore, and enables us to look afresh at what it is we are doing when we write about sex, when we play sex games, and when sex gets serious.

First edition September 2010: OBJECTIFIED

We are told every day that women in particular are objectified in our culture, particularly by pornography. The word is supposed to have negative connotations.

But what happens when a bunch of writers take that word, and roll it round their tongues. What emerges from their pens? Their cunts and their dicks?

Here, writers Dan holloway, Marc Nash, Penny Goring, Mark Simpson, M de Winter, Arjun Basu and the editor, Quiet Riot Girl have objectified ourselves for your pleasure, and maybe your discomfort too.

We hope you enjoy the experience.

Men!

Posted: August 30, 2010 in Masculinities, Uncategorized
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I have removed my right to sit and sigh, and give my girlfriends a knowing look, and say, Men!

Because I have decided Men! don’t exist as a group that oppress women, that share similar characteristics, that always do that, that know no better.

I have given Men! more than the benefit of the doubt; I have given them faith.

I have been called a misogynist for my trouble. I’m stuck in the sisterhood without any sisters. And I can’t blame Men!

My love and empathy for Men! knows no bounds. It sails on into the horizon; it is my love for everyone.

But sometimes, just sometimes, my dear, precious, fucked up, confused and beautiful Men!

I wish you would do me the favour of  treating me like I’m not some kind of threat, like I’m not the one who’s come to spoil your Men! party,

That I don’t jeopardise your masculinity by finding you out. By realising it can sometimes be complicated, being Men!

I wish, sometimes, just sometimes, I could walk out into the night air and shout and swear and sigh, that old, comforing  sigh, and say, Men!

Slash My Marx Up

Posted: August 29, 2010 in Slashfic, Uncategorized, Writing
Tags: , ,

When I first started to ask what is this thing the kids call ‘slash’? Oh not very long ago at all, many years after it emerged into the popular (sub)culture, I said I’d love to write some Karl Marx slash. I was trying to be clever, and suggest that I am no populist, no Potterist, no Dr Who or Clameron type slasher. If I was to slash my heroes, I’d go for the top dog. And I knew no-one else would have been so clever as me.

But they have. And here it is. Marx and Engels in a tortured, homoerotic dialectic:

http://jezebel.com/5616009/marx-and-engels-slashfic-it-exists-oh-yes

But it is not only the great Communist philosophers who have been slashed up by the fic writers. Nazi slash is another popular genre: type ‘Nazi Slash’ into google or live journal and you will see just how popular it is.
In case Himmler and Goering getting a bit hot under their uniforms isn’t quite your cup of tea, I offer you this fictional version of Nazislash- a re-imagining of scenes between the characters of Inglorious Basterds. Hollywood Nazi Porn at its finest:
But what is going on here? Why have we taken to writing steamy scenarios for such nefarious characters from history and popular culture?
As if he had stepped into our rather surreal, slashed up postmodern world himself, Foucault had something to say that could well be applied to this contemporary phenomenon:
‘Power has an erotic charge. There’s an historical problem involved here. How is it that Nazism-which was represented by shabby, pathetic puritanical characters laughably Victorian old maids, or at best, smutty individuals-how has it now managed to become, in France, in Germany, in the United States, in all pornographic literature throughout the world, the ultimate symbol of eroticism?  … But what’s going on at the moment? Aren’t we witnessing beginnings of a re-eroticization of power, taken to a pathetic, ridiculous extreme…?’
Michel Foucault (1996) ‘Film and Popular Memory’ in Foucault Live (Interviews, 1961-1984), New York: Semiotext(e), p. 127. French original 1974
I don’t have an answer to Foucault’s question. I am drawn to slashfic, partly because I think it has the potential to subvert dominant power structures and figureheads. But, from his vantage point in the past – he certainly makes an interesting observation about our present day fascination with eroticising powerful and famous figures.

 

When you came to after the operation, you looked just like a newborn baby. Your hair was plastered to your face with sweat, as if from the heroic exertion of pushing your way out of the womb fully grown. So what if the blue nylon hospital gown made an ill-fitting swaddling robe? Or if the drip by your side was pumping you with morphine, not milk? I wanted to hold you in my arms all the same as if I’d delivered you myself. Some midwife I would be, though – all I could do on this joyous occasion was to sit on the side of your bed and weep.
I thought that the Easter story was all about how Jesus suffered and died for our sins, so that we could go on being flawed mortals without too much hassle. He did the hard work for us, what with the cross, and the thorns and the dying and all. According to your precious Bible (Romans, 6): ‘as Christ is risen from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in the newness of life’. But it didn’t work out like that for us. Anyway, noone asked Jesus what life is like the second time round; I’m betting it isn’t much fun. Nobody can erase what has gone before, not even the Messiah.

Ulcerative colitis is a bastard of a disease. I won’t go into too much medical detail here. To be honest, I can’t face going back over the definitions and diagnoses. Basically it involves the colon becoming infected and ulcerated so food can’t be digested properly. It comes in varying degrees of severity, and in your case almost the whole damn thing had to be taken out or else you would have died. The operation that saved your life also left you with a bit of your inside poking out, pink and tender – a lonely sea anenome washed up on the beach. The doctors put it into a bag and sent you home.

This was the moment where I was supposed to rise to the occasion; to be a devoted disciple. I think Mary Magdelene would have done a better job, but I was all you could find at the time. I wanted to run. To tell you I’m sorry but this wasn’t what I signed up for. That beautiful blue-eyed boy with the floppy fringe, the Bruce Springsteen collection and the love of Joyce, I want him back. Instead I bit my lip and tried to pretend it was all ok. Maybe there was something of the martyr in me after all. A martyr in a sulk. ‘It’s not fair!’ my inner teenager cried.
Inevitably our sex life suffered. We transformed ourselves overnight, from a pretty adventurous, amorous pair, into a Victorian married couple. Lights out, barely a word from either of us. The rustle of clothes coming off in the dark. The embarrassing elephant in the room that we didn’t speak of; we just heard it the slap of plastic against flesh and the slooshing of waste products inside. I think I used to hold my breath. I know I caught myself counting in my head: one, two, three, four… it never did last long before we turned over and went to sleep.

Sometimes life was kind of like how it used to be. We would drink endless cups of tea in the living room, or get pissed with your brother. I always had to shout to be heard over your voices and the wonderful but too loud music: Bonny Prince Billy, Nick Cave, Kraftwerk, The Fall. I’ve never met anyone before or since, that can hold forth on Derrida’s theory of difference, whilst simultaneously enjoying the might of ‘Leave The Capital’ or ‘Bengali in Platforms’ at full volume. But the night can’t last forever. In the end we had to make the long march upstairs to bed. Once you told me you were glad I was there, because nobody else would want you. What was I supposed to do with that? I locked it away in a box marked: ‘suppress’.

We broke up. But our relationship resurrected itself, only to die again, for good this time. I’m pretty sure Jesus is living for eternity as a single guy; I don’t know about you, or me for that matter, maybe this is our stint in the wilderness. I haven’t seen you for a few years and I don’t know how you are. When I bumped into your mate Ed at that folk festival a while back, he told me you’d had the ‘reversal’ procedure. I think that means you don’t need a colostomy bag anymore. This worries me a little, as you could get sick again, with your insides in instead of out. But there is a part of me that is purely curious, that wants to see what your body looks like now. Is it back to its former lithe glory I wonder, are you getting the girls and the boys like you used to? Show me, I want to see! Goes my inner five-year old.

You will of course have scars. But then so do I; it’s just you can’t see mine. They say that even after 2000 odd years, Jesus still has marks on his hands from where the nails went in.

Boy #2

Posted: August 24, 2010 in Desire, Identity, Masculinities
Tags: , , ,

In this strange period where I am reminded of my boy, and, more significantly, maybe, reminded of the fact I never did really grieve for us and our loss properly. I am left with a lasting fact about him, that I never really appreciated at the time, as it was all so bound up with some very complex relationships.

That fact is this: My boy had no truck with ‘sexual identity’.

His first love was an asian boy, a beautiful, pompous, dark-skinned creature, who spoke like someone from the Raj.  It’s hard enough when you belong here.  They both got beaten up at school for being ‘fags’.

But my boy didn’t retreat into the ‘safety’ of the ‘fag’ identity. Partly because there was nothing safe about it. As he was being buggered by Professor Yaffle.

And his second love was me, a gawky girl who didn’t seem like other girls seemed.

He always used to go on about how we are all ‘polymorphously perverse’. But the difference between him and the rest of us sexual intellectuals, was that he practised what he preached. He fancied who he fancied, he fucked who he fucked, and he loved who he loved, regardless of sex and gender identity.

I wish I had his bravery to do the same. He was my favourite fauxmo.

http://fauxmos.wordpress.com/2010/08/02/the-history-of-fauxmos-vol-1/

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2009/apr/16/bisexual-lesbian-gay-love-jake-arnott-stephanie-theobald

(Un)Natural Writer

Posted: August 21, 2010 in Writing
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When I was about nine, I wrote a poem at school.

The themes of our poems were to be the primary colours and this one was ‘Red’.

What would a child write about red? Post boxes, love hearts, rosy red apples, the sky on a summer’s night? Her favourite red dress?

This girl wrote about a dystopian  empty landscape, in which she was walking alone. She passed a huge red ‘Danger” sign but carried on walking, over barricades, broken glass, bits of rock.

The poem concluded with the line: ‘Boom, Blood, and The End’.

I don’t know where that poem came from. I had never fantasised or imagined about such horrors.  I did not grow up in Belfast or Gaza. I can’t remember having the idea; the words just errupted, violently from my pencil.

But I do remember wanting a reaction to what I’d written. And not getting it. My teachers and my parents may have found my words disturbing. They pushed them to one side, and hoped my next piece would be more ‘culturally accpetable’ I expect.

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When I was a child I was a natural writer. I may have been repressed, shy, a brainy gawky kid. But my relationship with language was free and unimpeded by expectations, inhibitions and thought. At infant school I got told off for my handwriting being ‘too big’. But that was part of my self-expression. I may have felt I didn’t really exist in the world, but on the page I was WRIT LARGE.

But education did for me. I remember being at Junior school and my teacher telling me she thought I’d make a good librarian. I did become a librarian for a brief while, and I am proud to say I was lousy. Every adult in my life saw me as an ‘academic’ type, a boffin, a student. As if they wanted to trap me in that detached prison I felt myself to be in. My writer’s heart got surpressed, to the point where I almost forgot it existed at all.

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The nadir of my writing life occurred at a peak in my academic career. I had completed a PhD, in which I wrote 80,000 words. Well I probably wrote at least triple that, but they were the ones that stuck. I am proud of my achievement, but not one single one of those words came from the heart, the core of me. Except maybe a few quotes from other writers who I love. I passed my viva with the caveat that I conduct ‘minor corrections’ on my thesis. ‘Minor corrections’ sounds like a psychiatrist’s report, or a prison-officers recommendation.  The examiners were clever, because although my corrections were ‘minor’ their ‘recommendations’ made it clear they were questioning and undermining the very basis of my research. I couldn’t ‘correct’ my ideas, my arguments. So I had to go and do penance instead.

That’s when it happened. I got home and sat at my desk as I had done every day for the previous four years. I looked at the computer screen. I looked at my text books. I looked at my hands. I could not write a word. The system had won. All those words and words and words, and all that ‘teaching’ and all that ‘study’ and all those ‘meetings’ with my supervisory team (even the language of academia is like a prison, or a rehabilitation centre). And now I could not write a damned thing. Because I didn’t want to write what they wanted me to. But I knew I would fail if I didn’t. The anger inside me boiled, and bubbled away. I went swimming and forgot to eat. I couldn’t speak to my partner, who had passed his PhD with flying colours. I wanted to scrawl ‘FUCK YOU’ all over that stupid book.

In the end I buckled down, I squeezed those words like blood out of a stone. I added the caveat to my original ideas, the excuses, the maybes, the ‘feminist theory says’… And I got my piece of paper. Never has a badge of success ever felt like more of a ‘failure’. Not a failure exactly. More like the outcome of a war. Nobody won. Or if they did it  certainly wasn’t  me.

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Someone has just told me I am  a ‘natural’ writer. It made me happy, and  a little sad. Because I am a natural. I think all children are natural at something: writing, painting, talking, singing, dancing, playing the fool. And more often than not, our whole education is all about beating that natural talent out of us, turning us into citizens. And if we are to have talents, they have to be the ‘product’ of education itself.

It has taken me a long long time and quite some pain and struggle, to reconnect with the natural writer that has always been inside me. I  think the person who told me I am a ‘natural’ writer is a natural writer too. But he is probably somewhere in that prison that I spent so long in myself, where writing isn’t really valued unless it fits a certain mould. His writing is at least if not more culturally unacceptable than mine, and will only be allowed through the social net if it undergoes ‘minor corrections’.

I don’t really have any advice for this writer. I don’t suggest he throws away everything by sending a big FUCK YOU to his ‘supervisory team’.

But I do hope he keeps on writing. For himself. From the heart and the cock. With his own voice that is so obviously unique, empassioned and articulate.

It can be scary sometimes. I scared myself, aged nine, with that RED poem. I have been scaring myself again recently, with some of the violence that has erupted from my pen, my hands, my cunt.

But this is who I am.  It can’t be wrong because it is true. I can’t be wrong because I am true.

Brian Patten knows what I am talking about. He, most definitely is a natural.

Dear Sir…

I am glad that the image of (me as) Scarlett has been invoked, standing at the door to the church in her crinoline, rustling and flapping and shouting and crying in that screechy but assertive and intense way of hers. It is suitably ridiculous, especially if we factor in you and your bride (or groom), walking past me in your wedding finest, embarrassed and annoyed as hell at the pathetic spectacle I’m making.

I know you’ll never give me such a platform for such unreasonable behaviour. And I am far too reasonable and demure to take the stage without a definite cue.

The thought of it though, is enough to make me feel decidedly mortified, even just imagining myself in such a role.

Our correspondance has really cheered me up but also stirred up some memories and aspects of myself I’d been keeping under wraps, or trying to. It is not every day I get to speak so frankly with someone who I know will understand everything I say. OK it is pretty well never. My understanding of friendship tends to be in terms of a conversation, and you give very good conversation indeed.

I am not like those ‘two fat ladies’ who write slash fic, imagining themselves endowed with great cocks to fuck the male characters in their fantasies. I am just a girl that would like to be ‘one of the boys’ and be party to that secret world, the one I’ve read about in Whitman and Isherwood and Foucault and Simpson. But I know deep down I am still an alien and I won’t ever gain full access to that planet. Sometimes I wonder if it actually exists at all.

So, rather than standing forever at the church door, getting more and more frustrated with my alien status, and feeling the unreasonable urge to flail my arms around and bury my fists in a man’s unyielding and unforgiving chest. Because it’s not FAIR.

I am going to get back in my spaceship and see what is going on on my own planet for a while. I know it will be mundane and possibly dusty and lonely at times but it is real. And it is probably where I belong. I don’t need to say goodbye to you because I will be bound to pop back and visit. Once you try space travel it is difficult to give up on altogether.

I haven’t met you in real life. But ‘real life’ these days is all a bit indistinguishable from the virtual. I do hope you consider me to be your friend. I certainly see you as a friend. I will keep in touch but I am going to stop tugging on your coat tails. You may not find it irritating but I find it undignified somehow at some level.

Thank you for your conversation. I still am surprised I got to talk like this again, after all those years. It means a lot to me. I feel sad but I think I am doing the right thing. I am, in spite of my lack of awe for reality, a realist at heart.

Take care. Please carry on being a semiotician. If Halperin has to be Foucault then you are my Roland Barthes and we need you now more than ever before.

Eleanor x