Among other things: need a haircut, need to eat more greens, need to work on my new song, need to stop watching television, need to finish two stories and need to stop wondering how you're so horrible all the time.
San Francisco nightlife never fails to disappoint!
And everything tastes exactly the same everywhere you go.
On Christmas day, a tiger named Tatiana escaped from her grotto in the San Francisco Zoo, and attacked three teenage boys. She followed a trail of blood to where one of the boys had collapsed, and slashed his throat.
I do not understand the aesthetic of Irony, and I'm only saying this because I've had some new buttons made. they're purple an have blue words and they read JE M'AIME. I'm not being ironic, exactly.
Feel pretty sad about Benazir Bhutto's assassination.
"You can imprison a man, but not an idea. You can exile a man, but not an idea. You can kill a man, but not an idea."
Reading Lorrie Moore's Birds of America and found this bit particularly apt. Thinking of dictatorship and freedom. Political coups. Writing a song. Escaped tigers. Learning to make love to someone.
"Talent. I don't have talent. I have willingness. What talent?" As a kid, she had always told the raunchiest jokes. As an adult, she could rip open a bone and speak out of it. Simple, clear. There was never anything to stop her. why was there never anything to stop her? "I can stretch out the neck of a sweater to point a mole on my shoulder. Anyone who didn't get enough attention in nursery school can do that. Talent is something else."
-- Magay and I performed as Aries Heiress. We both wore purple (I made him). Magay performed a song called "Silver Dagger". We began by playing the opening lines from Ike & Tina's "Poor Little Fool" through a loop peddle. So it made Tina the drums of the song.
I want to tell all of you, that ain't doing nothing for me, and can't do nothing for me, yous attend to YOUR business. And leave mine alone.
Then in between songs we made a loop of Janis saying same fucking day, man. I sang Laura Nyro's "And When I Die". It was pretty gorgeous.
-- Watching a movie about early 1990s "Dance" music culture. I'm getting a lot of fashion tips. Or, as Dimitri from Deee-Lite says in the video: "It's not really fashion. We don't do fashion, you know? It's just, like, having style." The movie makes me think a lot about wearing necklaces. Generally. And wearing clean clothes. they say in this movie that Kylie isn't "rock n roll" enough. which I think is a) true and b) wonderful.
-- Okay I hate these haterade-sipping motherfuckers in my life. Not even in my life. Just around, trying to bring me down. Y'know? It feels like HELL. And I know what HELL feels like. DEAR ASSHOLES YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE (and are probably reading this, and acting like you're not). IT'S ALL GONNA BE OKAY. I'M TOTALLY COOL. BECAUSE YOU'RE ALL HATING ON ME AND TALKING SHIT ABOUT ME AND MY FRIENDS, ACTING ALL NASTY AND POWERFUL WITH STUPID LIVES, HANGING OUT IN BROOKLYN RIGHT NOW WHERE IT'S FREEZING, AND YOU NEED TO MOISTURIZE YOUR FACES CAUSE YOU'RE GETTING WRINKLES FORM BEING EVIL AND NASTY, LOOKING ALL LIKE:
AND I'M CHILLING IN CALIFORNIA WITH MY GIRLS, HANGING OUT AND BEING MAGICKAL, ALL LIKE:
(I'm the blond one. Y'know, the one with wings.)
-- I am having a flash of that kind of panic that happens in the spring time. I'm feeling very anxious and nervous. i sort of wish this winter was over already. I have had enough.
ok happy holidays
so I have two choices: worry about it or don't worry about it.
I mean, why wouldn't these awful, boring, so-sorry-about-your-face, gay bar five nights of the week, drinking because they hate their corporate jobs and they're only 23, personality of a can of tuna fish boys hate me? Why wouldn't they resent Miss Thing? I'm well over a foot taller than any of them, always show up with some modicum of self-resepect (very small bit) and don't depend of toothy drunk blowjobs to know who I am. I'm fucking fabulous, apparently. I wear nice shoes and clothes and my hair is messy but at least I have all of it. I don't need to buy records and then talk about the records in order to carry on a conversation. How could they not resent me?
alright fuck this shit I'm going to California for two weeks.
You think you're a loser, babyAnd I totally agree with the sentiment here. Kim and Julia are talking about a kind of narcissism, swagger, cockiness and machismo that presents itself as self-hatred. Beck and Radiohead and Nirvana and stuff. Songs from the early 90s about "I am so bad I am so awful how creepy and misunderstood and unreachable I am". This is a way to brag without looking like yr bragging. Nine Inch Nails is totally part of that. I get that.
But you drive all the girls crazy
You're not too screwed-up punk
You're a total Cali hunk
You say yr head's like a hole
But yr tune's have so much soul
Stop bringing back the bitch who screwed you
There's a million who would do you
But Trent is different, and part of that difference is why he is my Perfect Dream Man.
This is different than what Kim and Julia are singing about. Beck and the other fake self-hating boys are fiishing for complements. They say "I'm a loser" then a chorus of girls across America says "No You're Not! We Love you for who you are!" Trent hates himself for what he has DONE not who he IS. NIN is music about what happens between people. Marilyn Manson works towards a mythology of the self (see: 'The Reflecting God'). Trent stays at home picking at old wounds. Rock Star Men look outwards for confirmation. Trent looks deep inside and fingers the parts that hurt.
Trent's whole shtick in NIN was the fusing of industrial music with dance music. He's often credited with working with Marilyn Manson, producing his earliest records and helping to mainstream Industrial music. Manson's primary influence in terms of instrumentation was Big Black. He only really used a drum machine because it was easier, y'know? He still had his horrible kiddie wonka factory Black Sabbath violent pervert thing going on. He used electro elements, yeah, but mostly his concerns were with subject matter.
NIN, however, was dance music from the get-go. Pretty Hate Machine is heavily influenced by Chicago industrial dance music. Trent totally loves Depeche Mode. Manson wore eyeliner because of the shock value, but Trent wore his with fishnets and leather and raver boots. He was able to make it seem like metal, just angry enough for the jocks to get into it. Just this side of acceptable. But still there was a definite effete vibe to Reznor's presentation. His anger isn't violent, the way Billy Corgan's or Marilyn Manson's would be. Trent broke instruments on stage yeah, but he didn't even play the guitar! He broke Korg SYNTHESIZERS. Even Courtney Love was more butch than Trent.
He always came across as ambiguous, just slightly, in his gender presentation. At 13 I got a VHS copy of the video collection Closure, which pretty much constitutes my sexual awakening. Trent is sort of girly, but still a dude. In hot pants, fingering himself onstage. He is not, of course, like other boys. His sex isn't named or discussed or even really enjoyed (he never smiles).
Trent was a sex symbol to his male fans. Boys at school who were otherwise totally scared of being called a fag could admit a sexual attraction to Trent. This was somehow acceptable. Trent was almost above or outside of the realm of queerness. He was up for grabs. This was a popular sentiment among a certain type of straight boy at my high school. I don't know if they are a specific type to the Bay Area. Boys who wore all black and doc martens and were sort of stocky. The boys who got facial hair really early. They shaved their heads except for one long section at the front, which they wore slicked back into a ponytail. Sort of like a mow hawk if you gelled it down. These boys were pre-Trench Coat Mafia. Sensitive, but behind a wall. Awkward. They had goth girlfriends. These are the boys who would always work on the stage crew in the drama department. Strong, husky, aloof guys. Vaguely threatening boys. Perpetually smoking clove cigarettes. And admitting, timidly, that they would go bi for Trent.
Part of being queer is that we have to map our desires onto a largely heterosexual culture. I have to pretend that when boys sing about love on the radio, that maybe they're singing about loving another boy. Trent Reznor sanctions this ambiguous desire. The object is probably female, but the expression is female too. There is so much in the slavery, power play, and false masculinity in Trent's songs. Nearly every boy I've ever kissed has had something in common with Trent Reznor. Either superficially / physically, or some other reason (junkies). He is my TYPE. My Dream Man. Trent shows us the pain and power in explicit desire. To articulate our sexual wants is the most dangerous thing we can do. The only thing more powerful, more dangerous than having our desires, is actually getting them.
It makes me sound like a crazy person, I know, but Sweden is sort of ruining my life. Every time I've been dumped, it's been either so that the other person can go on to date a Swede, or because I do not measure up to the person's Swedish former lovers, or they're leaving for Sweden or something. The phantom of Stockholm has been ruining my love life and emotional well-being for almost ten years. I'm not kidding.
Which brings me to the fact that I FEEL LIKE SWEDISH POP MUSIC IS RUINING MY LIFE. Everyone who name-checks these Swedish bands is participating in what I see as my downfall. Anniemal was a great record. Yes. But for me, it was also the soundtrack to the singularly worst times of my life so far. Swedish music inspires a very real panic in me. As anyone who has had the good fortune to go out nightclubbing with me can attest, the opening bars of "Bubblegum" come on and I start running.
Similarly, I was sort of the Knife last year, but more than a few nights spent at the bar elicit a sort of Pavlovian response to 'Heartbeats', where I can taste cigarette smoke and stale beer and feel like I'm going to punch somebody out. Right then.
So whatever, I won't belabor the point about how nearly all unfortunate things in my life somehow connect to Sweden. Suffice it to say that in my opinion, Lykke Li is the only thing of Swedish origin (in terms of pop music for American kids) that doesn't make me want to speedily and messily kill myself, in public.
I wrote yesterday about 'Little Bit' and it's video, as well as Leif's brilliant cover of it. I was thinking last night about cover songs and trying to sort of subvert a song when you cover it, like, if it's a disco song do it as a punk song or something. So then I found this video. It's Lykke Li doing an acoustic version of 'Little Bit' on a street corner in what I imagine from my nightmares to be Stockholm.
So, a really sparse, staccato, post-Bjork pixie-ish song. Definite nods to New Wave and Reggaeton. This version totally refigures the song as a, like, folk sing along. Seems kind of cointerintuitive. Here's the thing: IT TOTALLY WORKS AND I LOVE LYKKE LI AND CANNOT SHUT UP ABOUT THIS FUCKING SONG. SOMEONE DUMP ME SO I CAN MOVE ON.
(actually no don't really dump me)
But oh my god, Lykke Li.
This is the song that I am going to remember as the song from the winter of 2007.
Anyhow, thinking a lot about the continuous present as a tool for queering language and making gay ideas. The thing about trying to "get my life together" is it revolves around a continuous present. I cannot depend on my upcoming vacation to fix everything. Nor can I blame the boyfriend who broke my heart at sixteen for everything bad about me. I'm trying not to smoke cigarettes and I forgot the thing about quitting.
The thing about quitting is that you have to keep quitting.
I read a really inspiring quote from Wynne Greenwood a long time ago about coming out, and coming out again and again. The thing about getting my life together is that I have to keep getting it together and I will not, in fact, have anything to show for it. That I have to make a better decision, and then I have to keep making better decisions. Make decisions all the time.
This is on a list of songs that:
a) I know all the words to and
b) Will always make me feel better
How to finally get out of bed, after seven false starts. Drink sour bad coffee from the bodega near the train. At work in the morning, your boss keeps threatening to fire you, via e-mail. Take it personally. Eat a small salad for lunch, with cashews and resentment and cucumbers. Think long and hard about sleeping pills vis a vis Winona, Britanny. Fail, utterly, at your job in the afternoon. Work as hard and as fast as you can, and still don't finish on time, still with mistakes and still without having alphabetized all of the entries because you were iworking as fast as your blithe little fingers could carry the paper. Leave in a huff. You run home mid panic-attack and you worry how come your jobs make you feel so scared and hurt. And you worry about no one ever liking you, that maybe you fail at everything because you are a basically deficient person. You think long and hard about the words "Personality Disorder" and about how you don't really have many friends, let alone the guys you're dating who you alternately idealize and plot to murder. You get into a screaming match with your mom on the phone. You change clothes into your party outfit and you run out the door.
You're running because you've accepted an invitation from your gorgeous friend Jiddy. You meet her in the West Village and you both look fabulous. You go into what appears to be a church but is in fact a luxury condo, where a gigantic bouncer asks your names, but doesn't check them against the list. You take the glass elevator up to the penthouse, where a young socialite who reminds you a lot of that television show 'Gossip Girl' is snapping polaroids. It is an insane "art opening" with guest list including international fashion moguls who made it big in the early 1990s, and their adorable daughters. It is a room full of adorably / obscenely wealthy 14 year old girls and they have all the best shoes.
A woman wearing all black, with long Japanese-straightened red hair and high heels that put her well above your own stately 6'2" offers you Pernod in a cocktail. You have two since Jiddy can't drink. You eat hors d'oeuvre and the private photographer eyes you suspiciously because you look famous (and in some respect are, if only because you say so). You are wearing tight black pants just like the ones your ex-boyfriend used to wear when you would go to interminable SoHo wine bars and he'd regale you with tales of growing up next door to republican politicians. You just wanted the pants. And a blue and purple sweater (you're the only one wearing color). And bright green John Fluevog shoes. You finish your drink and go back downstairs, where the bouncer isn't letting anyone else in.
Jiddy and you scrounge for cigarettes and go out for Japanese food, fulfilling your most beautiful ego edification fantasy in a long time. You kiss her goodbye and walk through the village, smoking, looking gorgeous and feeling Pernod-loose, listening to Sarah Cracknell.
You come home and gab with your room mate. take photos on her new computer. Marvel at your own face, after all. Sometimes you need to act, or presume, a life of an égoïste in order to not throw yourself in front of the train. Think long and hard about the performance piece you're doing on Thursday. Eat a vegan chocolate cookie and read a Diana Ross biography in bed.
That's how you do it.
My life feels very painful today and it is not as easy to live as Sontag said. It is, in fact so unbearable, sometimes. I am worried that it will always be like this, that my inability to enjoy anything might be a permanent defect.
Three hundred and sixty five days ago (give or take), I drank a bottle of wine with you in your living room. It was our second date. I put on Stereolab and we laid on the floor. Carpeted and comfortable, but it was freezing this time last year. You had only lived in that apartment, way uptown, for a few months, but hadn't decorated anything. We argued about your parents' politics. You said how relieved you were that i was a good kisser. Instead of saying 'thank you', I said "Well, I've had a lot of practice". In the morning it was too cold to get out of bed.
So unbearable? Maybe.
In black platform shoes and green sunglasses and her purple leather jacket, Miss Thing walked her chapped-lips to meet Grey. When Grey moves to San Francisco, Miss Thing is going to take over his job as a cat-sitter on weekends. Grey showed her the apartment building and Miss Thing met the cat. Went to brunch, where they drank cocktails made of rum and lemon juice and and maple syrup and they had coffee and Miss Thing only ate toast and butter, for her stomach. And for her head, they both hurt.
Grey walked with Miss Thing down Bedford avenue and they got to Grey's bike, which he can't take with him to San Francisco when he moves in two days. He unlocked it from the streetlight, took the chain and Miss Thing hugged him and they said goodbye. She walked towards the sun and towards the record store to buy psychedelic records.
She has felt sick and broken and stupid for a little over a year. Pretty ugly, nothing really gets her out of it. And after everything, every muscle pulled and every phone number. After the alternating tastes of someone's spit and someone's soap in her mouth, Miss Thing is starting to feel her own little drum beat. She's sick from smoke and drinking and chemicals. From junk-food and insomnia. She smells like cocoa butter and patchouli, which she burns in a little Santeria cauldron in her room. Religious but not optimistic. So now as December begins and she puts the duct tape on her windowsill to keep the whistling cold out of her bedroom, Miss Thing feels the smallest bit of freedom for the first time all year. Walking through empty parking lots, Miss Thing can see or feel the sad part of good. Or not crazy. These things take time and they hurt and they make her free. Or at least make her feel that way, and who could begrudge her that?
Her mouth hurts, she puts on chap stick.
Saturday, Bobo and I went to the open studios in Long Island City. I saw some interesting work but want to talk about it later. I feel very strange today.
Think I'm getting a cold.
Billy: I feel really lonely.
Billy: I feel like I don't even know what intimacy is. I don't know how that is supposed to feel.
Grey eats his noodles.
Billy: Like, I want to have sex with the same person more than once, you know?
Grey: You mean, twice in one night?
Billy: That's not what I was referring to, but now that you mention it, yes.
Grey: Or, like, four times in one night?
Feeling so totally frustrated this morning. In one of those rages, when everything offends me. Every phone call, e-mail, and paper clip is an affront. I guess it helps to sort of realize it, then try to stop it. wish it were as easy as that. I think it is a distinctively Leo tendency towards this kind of resentment. Coming from the "Do it best or don't do it at all" school of thought. Feeling as if I cannot change my circumstances or attitude, I don't even bother.
Okay, now I'm bothering, I guess.
I wish I could just write some dumb song / story / porno / performance and just get on with it, you know? Just get it out. Procrastination is only the word for it if you know what you're running from. I'm avoiding my entire life, everything about it (even --especially-- the good parts). It's been working, I got away from myself, but now I'm really bored.
Last night, went to an amazing event for Maggie Nelson's brilliant book, Women, the New York School, and Other True Abstractions. Nelson gave a really inspiring presentation and read some poems (though not her own). Wayne Koestenbaum, my idol, read from his new book and suggestively held the microphone. Yvonne Rainer read sex stories from her diary of her teenage years ("No momma, I didn't have an orgasm") from her memoir Feelings are Facts (the title being, as anyone with a personality disorder can tell you, a debatable and thrilling notion). Carolee Schneeman shared reminiscences of her early years in New York, managing to both inspire and completely intimidate me (She did all that when she was 23? Really?). Schneeman also gave a brief and scintillating presentation of her 1995 Vulva's Morphia. Bernadette Mayer read a few hilarious and heartbreaking poems, gorgeously giving us some context for swear words.
One obvious highlight was the characteristically taciturn Kim Gordon, who began her segment at the podium with "Um, this isn't a poem". Gordon read an old written piece about observing a man playing a guitar, then she picked up her own guitar, and played that same sexy guitar performance. Her swagger, prefaced as such by the previous "male" designation of her introduction, was amazing. She managed to recapitulate everything she found so fascinating about the anonymous guitar wanker, and by enacting the same performance, destroy him. She wheeled around in her designer dress and boots, got down on the floor of the auditorium and literally fucked her guitar into shrieks of orgasmic feedback. Eileen Myles read at the end, some really amazing portions of her novel. She spoke specifically about the process of making poems, "being in" them rather than writing them. Two points she made stuck with me: one, about having loved someone, lost them, and then realizing that the former person she was, who had felt that desire, was also lost. Having to let go of the person who felt that desire, and learn to be a new person with new desires. Second, the inherent good of proclaiming one's heart's desire. This is something I've had an inkling about for a few months (various crushes on co-workers, people on the street, postal workers, pets). That simply to proclaim what you want is the point. Whether or not you "get" the object of your affection is ultimately so much less important that the articulation of your desire. Myles quoted someone to whom she had proclaimed her love.
After telling the woman everything Myles felt for her, the woman replied "That's sweet."
And I'm sure it is.
Friday I spent most of the evening alternately napping and worrying. Mordecai and I went out dancing where this photo was taken. I wish I could take photos of me making out with myself. Saturday was our huge house party. I didn't exactly have what I would call "fun", but I enjoyed myself thoughout the evening. Sunday was spent much like the last few months of Sundays, trying to get a hold of myself. Cleaning, resting. Reading Marjane Satrapi and David Wojnarowicz and Joan Didion and Diana Ross biographies. Gardening, almost.
The point is: it is autumn and I am feeling flexible. So social, in fact, that my memory doesn't serve me so well.
So friendly that my lips are chapped.
Loved the rain in the morning.
I feel really weird about my place in the world. I sort of need a new way to be.
I think I've inadvertently hurt some feelings. But my horoscope says that if I didn't break it then I should just be nice and helpful, but not worry about fixing it. Some egos (mine included) are so ornately fragile. Whatever.
This is making me feel calm, cold, anxious and excited. Totally virginal.
Just like it did when I was 15.
Friday I went to a birthday party with my room mates. We all looked great. Jennifer and I drank Sake on the subway and danced our little butts off. The "arts community" and the "queer community" in New York overlap in ways that make me question the word "community". At once claustrophobic and inspiring. Makes it difficult to make out with strangers. (But not, I should add, impossible). Saturday I go-go danced at Cake Shop for QxBxRx Halloween party. Fantastic. Jonny Darling and JohnJoseph and I spent the night hanging out in the back room, putting on make-up., drinking free drinks, and chit-chatting as showgirls are wont to do. I felt good dancing. Still working on my "WHY I'M A GO-GO BOY" Essay. I wish I could go-go dance more. Pansy Division was wonderful and I'm amazed I made it home in one piece. Sunday, Sister Pico and I went shopping at Pearl River. Treasures from the far east, miracles, universality. These are some themes of the last weekend.
My jobs are starting to stabilize. I'm interested in writing a lot more, since that little thing got published on pequin.org and I got some positive feedback from my friends. Encouragement is rare, so I need to hold on to it. I'm curious about writing in the continuous present, and how to affect formally pornographic writing, without necessarily being violent. Does that make any sense? I'm interested in how my language can fuck, even if I'm talking, about, say, deep-sea life. You know, baleen. Creatures living with a minimum of sunlight. Bacteria. Hibernation. I want to fuck like feral cats. Bio-luminescence.
Also thinking of singing less. I hate feeling competitive. I want to tell more stories. I know exactly where I want to go but I don't know the fastest, cleanest, prettiest route. Oh, by "where I want to go" I mean:
- The heart of the boy
Jungle Creatures, I'm thinking about. Listening again to house music and thinking a lot about forms of art and writing that circle back on themselves. Loving someone is so painful. To really love someone and be locked out of their heart is just unbearable. So, my thinking is that the art we make should reflect that. We need to make hermetic spaces, like house music (is a hermetic art form-- it exists for it's own purpose and obscures itself). Andy Warhol's factory is hermetic, even to Warhol. We need to make art works that breathe for themselves. I am of course taking about Mary Shelley and when I talk about Mary Shelley I trace this lineage to Marianne Faithfull and then I hope to trace it forwards to myself. If you get my drift.
I believe in the radical possibilities of pleasure, babe. I do, I do, I do.
Today is day five of sobriety (including caffeine). I don't feel much different, maybe a little clearer. Tonight I'm breaking the rule though, it was just sort of a test. Also, I can't deal with being able to remember my dreams, all of a sudden.
Two nights ago I dreamed I was locked away in a castle in Germany and the wind was howling through the windows. My friend tried to get me out of there, to prove that the wind wasn't so scary. He stuck his arm through the window into my little prison and waved it around and it horrified me. I woke up in a cold sweat with the windows to my room predictably open, with the wind howling through them, obviously.
I sat down to my computer, dazed, and found out that a really cool website has published my short story. Check it out.
Last night I had a nightmare that I was at a barbecue. I wanted to hang out in he house, where all the cool girls were, but one of them had a tiny rottweiler puppy on her lap. He was asleep. when I walked into the room I asked the name of the dog, and the girls scowled and said "He's sleeping, okay? So that means that you need to leave." I went out into the backyard, my feelings hurt. Also at the party was a boy I used to go out with. In the dream I kept trying to avoid eye contact with him (I have only a vague idea what he looks like now), but we kept winding up standing next to each other. It occurred to me that he was avoiding me as well. Which also scared / hurt me, for some reason. So in the backyard, we look over to the neighbors' backyard, and they're having a party too. They, though, have a Ferris wheel. In the dream the wheel started speeding up and everyone on it started screaming. I figured it was all part of how it worked until people started flying off of it, one of them landing in our party. It was horrifying.
Prior to that I had a dream that I asked out the boy I have a crush on and he said yes. We work together, so it's politically difficult for me to really ask him out. But I want to. I am thinking of inviting him to the party we're having at my house next weekend.
Also, I somehow got to the conclusion last night that if I were to write a book about dinner, it'd be called Dinner: Worth The Wait.
I feel okay. No thanks to you.
"Do you think I am an animal? Am I not? Do you like fur?
Do you want to come over? Are we captive only for a short time?
Is there splendor? I'm not ashamed."
The next morning I left a note on his desk and sneaked out of his apartment, ravenous and bleary and in my party clothes. Covered in sweat, spit, and cider. I noticed, walking toward the train, that the blood on my finger had been sucked clean.
- Peanut Butter
- Salad Dressing
- Frozen Okra, Kale, Spinach, Collards
- Don't flip out when you run into that boy you saw at the nightclub in the dairy section
- September 11th
- Being empty inside
- Flipping out when I ran into that boy I saw at the nightclub in the dairy section
- The sex I had last weekend
- Never sleeping
- Shannon Wright
- Nick Cave
- 8 Eyed Spy
- Sarah Cracknell
- Crowded subways
- Text messaging (unless it's about money or making out)
- People acting rude and bragging because they are insecure
- Doing the dishes (I hate it)
- Being broke
- Almost every interaction with another human being at the gym
- Boring people who only talk about themselves
Jessica gave me a new haircut and I like what I'm seeing.
Mercury being in retrograde, it seems only fitting that I blast Laura Nyro on the subway. To me, Nyro is all about revisiting things. Coming back, re-thinking, etc. Her songs are so fucking bizarre, it takes a long time to figure them out. My favorite record of hers is, of course, Gonna Take A Miracle, the 1971 covers record with fucking Labelle singing insane back-up. It was one of the records that I stole from my parents' collection as a pre-teen. Even though all of the songs are covers, Nyro's were the first versions I heard, and are therefore definitive in my mind. So today I'm revisiting Laura Nyro, and revisiting her as she revisits songs from her own teenage years.
Growing up, whenever my parents listened to that record, either my mom or my dad would remind me that Nyro died very young. So part of my experience of her music, and that record in particular, is that it's always bound up in dying young. It seemed to me that the sad songs on that album sort of foretold her own death. I know that's not true, but looking back through Nyro's whole catalog yesterday, it's totally all about dying. Her first big break was when she sold the song "And When I Die" to Peter, Paul and Mary at age 18. Kind of a weird folk / soul / goth thing, which is exactly where I want to be.
The last time I was home in California, my mom put on the album while my parents and I were stuck in traffic. We listened to the entire first half in silence, while I was quietly grooving in the back seat. My mom said "You know, I always forget that Laura Nyro is really only great to listen to when you're very, very stoned." Then, pausing to look at me in the rear view mirror, she continued "Good thing for you, huh?" Which is pretty right-on.
Recently, my friend Lola and I were trying to explain to how fabulous Laura Nyro is to Sister Pico. I think Pico was interested in her because of the Patti LaBelle connection, but Lola and I jumped all over each other trying to describe her.
Lola: "She was Jewish!"
Me: "She was Puerto Rican, wasn't she?"
Lola: "Her mom's name was Gilda."
Me: "Yeah but I think her dad was Puerto Rican."
Lola: "She was both."
Me: "She was a lesbian."
Lola: "Yeah, she was gay."
Me: "She was a total lesbo."
Lola: "She's dead."
Me: "Yeah, she totally died."
Lola: "She died really young. Like 49 or something."
Me: "She committed suicide, right?"
Lola: "No!" (pause, shocked that I wouldn't know this) "She died of cancer."
Me: "Same thing."
I have a job interview, which would normally not bode well, except that it's a second round interview. We'll see. Money is kind of a pressing concern for me.
Communication is difficult. Now is not a good time to meet Mister Right. Or start writing that novel. But, I am good at editing. Cleaning up. Catching up with old friends. Clarifying the message I want to send, sort of. My alarm didn't go off this morning, mor or less as I expected.
Thinking about when Mercury went into retrograde last summer: talk about communication breakdowns. I really wanted to keep kissing you then except 1) i hated you and 2) i think you were already in love with someone else. But still, on an almost moral level, I felt slighted. Even though there were a few colorful reasons not to make out any more, I think we would have, were the planets more surreptitiously aligned. Too bad. Drink a glass of orange juice. Comb your hair. Take the bus. Write a zine, story, song about it. Move on, check (summer sucked but don't worry-- you're not the reason why).
Revisiting old wounds. And also revisiting wounds that are not old. Future Wounds. Thinking about my health. I'm turning almost all of my attention inward. Anyway.
Something I'm really connected to is this picture that Aura Rosenberg took of her daughter. Mike Kelley styled her.
When I saw her speak a few years ago, she talked about this photo and how horribly misunderstood it was. It was the photo she chose from a whole set of her daughter done up like this. There was one moment where Carmen, the little girl, got upset, and she took a photo. Children's advocacy groups got all over Rosenberg, maybe rightly so. But it is an interesting photograph, especially given that it was taken by the girl's mother. I like it, because it shows a girl who is just fed up, even though she has all this glamorous make-up on. And she can't even cry about it because then everyone just assumes the worst. So my lesson to myself today is that it's okay to not feel great about your circumstances and it's okay to want to cry about it, regardless of what everyone will think.
Saw the Blow on Friday with the Soft Butches.
Continue to make extraordinarily bad decisions on the weekends. Up to and including cigarettes. Feel like my heart has been in a bucket of ice for the last year. It's thawing, and it hurts.
Performing a ukulele set tomorrow night of all new songs. Terrified. Completely.
Finished one new song (two more to go), titled "Cat In A Tree".
Feel pretty shaky but okay.
Something that makes me feel better:
I woke up and the entire back of both of my legs are covered in very painful spider bites.
And the living is easy.
You gotta call that love, man. That's what it is, man.
If you got it today you don't want it tomorrow, man, 'cause you don't need it, 'cause as a matter of fact, as we discovered in the train, tomorrow never happens, man.
It's all the same fucking day, man.
Yesterday I went to the gym in the morning, and had the distinct pleasure of riding the L-train during rush hour when I wasn't really in a rush. I ran into my friend on the train who made fun of me, saying "Oh, on your way to work? As a gymbunny?" Which kind of makes sense. I felt very indulgent and vindicated. 'Well, sometimes I use my body to make money, and in order to feel good doing that i need to spend a little bit of time exercising. So going to the gym is work for me, okay?' Resist Psychic Death Jigsaw Youth.
Began working on my first new song in years. Feeling excited. Writing some ukulele songs. Playing at Sugarland on Wednesday night. I have a lot of people to get back in touch with and a lot of appointments to keep. I'm more than a little apprehensive as to whether or not I can make this work, but I'm hopeful.
Feel a little nasty at certain aspects of my situation.
On being nasty:
Are we MySpace friends that have never met in real life? Or don't really know each other that well? Maybe we know each other and you want to show me what you're listening to. Maybe you're reading this and we went to college together and have been out of touch.
I feel romantic.
I have an embarrassing crush on that MisShape boy, and a more embarrassing crush on an intern at the office where I'm temping. One of the precious few things that make corporate hell at least interesting is the intern pool. Specifically, the shoes thereof. I don't know what these girls are supposed to be doing, but what they are actually doing is blowing my fucking mind with these insane high-fashion get-ups and elaborate, impractical, and undoubtedly painful footwear. Imagine a swarm of perfectly coiffed NYU co-eds carrying empty manila folders, teetering around the office in $400 Marc Jacobs stilettos. I, for one, appreciate the effort, girls.
One intern, whom I suspect is the only boy, is pretty cute. At least, I think he's an intern, I sort of just noticed him around the time the rest of the interns showed up. I have an elaborate fantasy in which he is not 19, but 24 (he took a couple years off of school because he got a Fullbright to study experimental writing in Osaka). I manage to make up excuses to walk by his cubicle throughout the day. This morning when I passed him on my way to the mail room he stared at me while eating a banana. Adjusted his posture and rolled his eyes like he wasn't just checking me out.
My feelings are best summed up with the following video, for "You" by Lloyd. Jennifer and I stayed in on Saturday night and watched him perform this song live on 'Showtime at the Apollo'. I generally love top 40 pop songs anyway, but something about this song, including the Spandau Ballet bit, is just gorgeous. Clean, and sad, and pretty.
ALL GIRLS TOGETHER; The Spice Girls are the biggest, brashest girlie group ever to have hit the British mainstream. Kathy Acker is an avant-garde American writer and academic. They met up in New York to swap notes - on boys, girls, politics. And what they really, really want.
Fifty-second street. West Side, New York City. Hell's Kitchen - one of those areas into which no one would once have walked unless loaded. Guns or drugs or both. But now it has been gentrified: the beautiful people have won. A man in middle-aged-rocker uniform, tight black jeans and nondescript T-shirt, lets Nigel, the photographer, and me through the studio doorway; then a chipmunk-sort-of-guy in shorts, with a Buddha tattooed on one of his arms, greets us warmly. This is Muff, the band's publicity officer. We're about to meet the Girls . . .
They are here to rehearse for an appearance on Saturday Night Live. Not only is this their first live TV performance, it's also the first time they'll be playing with what Mel C calls a 'real band'. If the Girls are to have any longevity in the music industry, they will have to break into the American market; and for this they will need the American media. Both the Girls and their record company believe that their appearance here tonight might do the trick. There is a refusal among America's music critics to take the Spice Girls seriously. The Rolling Stone review of Spice, their first album, refers to them as 'attractive young things . . . brought together by a manager with a marketing concept'. The main complaint, or explanation for disregard, is that they are a 'manufactured band'. What can this mean in a society of McDonald's, Coca-Cola and En Vogue? However, an e-mail from a Spice fan mentions that, even though he loves the girls, he detects a 'couple of stereotypes surrounding women in the band's general image. The brunette is the woman every man wants to date. Perfect for an adventure on a midnight train, or to hire as your mistress-secretary. The blonde is the woman you take home to mother, whereas the redhead is the wild woman, the woman-with-lots-of -evil-powers.' So who are these Girls? And how political is their notorious 'Girl Power'?
Even though I have seen many of their videos and photos, as soon as I'm in front of these women, I am struck by how they look far more remarkable than I had expected, even though Mel C is trying not to look as lovely as she is. I had intended to say something else, but instead I find myself asking them: 'If paradise existed, what would it look like?' Geri speaks first, and she is, I think, reprimanding me for being idealistic. 'Money makes the world what it is today,' she says, almost before I have time to think about my sudden outburst, 'a world infested with evil. All sorts of wars are going on at the moment. Everyone's kind of bickering, wanting to better themselves because their next -door neighbour's got a better lawn. That kind of thing.'
'Greed,' Victoria adds.
Mel C: 'Instead of trying to be better than someone else, you have to try to better yourself.'
In a few minutes, they are explaining to me that the Spice Girls is a type of paradise, Spice Girls is a lifestyle. 'It's community.' That's Geri again. She and Mel B - one in a funky, antique Hawaiian shirt, the other in diaphanous yellow bell- bottoms and top - do most of the talking. Mel C, in her gym clothes, is the quietest. Geri: 'We're a community in which each one of us shines individually, without making any of the others feel insecure. We liberate each other. A community should be liberating. Nelson Mandela said that you know when someone is brilliant when having that person next to you makes you feel good.''Not envious,' adds her cohort, Mel B. These are the two baddest Girls. At least on the surface. I suspect otherwise. 'It inspires you.' Geri again. 'That is what life's about. People should be inspiring.'
I can't keep up with these Girls. My generation, spoon-fed Marx and Hegel, thought we could change the world by altering what was out there - the political and economic configurations, all that seemed to make history. Emotions and personal - especially sexual - relationships were for girls, because girls were unimportant. Feminism changed this landscape; in England, the advent of Margaret Thatcher, sad to say, changed it more. The individual self became more important than the world.
To my generation, this signals the rise of selfishness; for the generation of the Spice Girls, self-consideration and self-analysis are political. When the Spices say, 'We're five completely separate people,' they're talking politically. 'Like when you're in a relationship,' Mel B takes over, 'and you're in love, you feel you're only you when you're with that person, so when you leave that person, you think 'I'm not me'. That's so wrong. It's downhill from then on, in yourself spiritually and in your whole environment. In this band, it's different. Each of us is just the way we are, and each of us respects that.'
'As Melanie says,' adds Geri, 'each of us wants to be her own person and, without snatching anyone else's energy, bring something creative and new and individual to the group. We're proof this is happening. When the Spice Girls first started as a unit, we respected the qualities we found in each other that we didn't have in ourselves. It was like, 'Wow! That's the Spicey life vibey thing, isn't it?'
Geri turns even more paradoxical: 'Normally, when you get fans of groups, they want to act like you, they copy what you're wearing, for instance. Whereas our fans, they might have pigtails and they might wear sweatclothes, but they are so individual, it's unbelievable. When you speak to them, they've got so much balls! It's like we've collected a whole group of our people together! It's really, really mad. I can remember someone coming up to us and going, 'Do you know what? I've just finished with my boyfriend! And you've given me the incentive to go 'Fuck this!'
At this, the Spices cheer.Giving up any hope of narrative continuity, I ask the girls if they want boys. 'Some of us are in relationships.' Mel B. 'I live with my boyfriend. For three years now, yeah.'
I tell them that I've never been good at balancing sexual love and work.'Of course you can. It doesn't make me a lesser person; to be in a relationship makes me a better person. Because I can still go out and . . . flirting is natural.' I'm listening to Mel B, but all I can think, at the moment, is how beautiful she is. 'I can stay out all night and come in when I want. Your whole life doesn't have to change just because you're with somebody else.''It depends on the individual,' says Geri.'I think whoever we would chose to be with should respect the way we are . . . and our job as well . . .' Mel B. 'The way we are together. None of us would be interested in a man that wanted to dominate, wanted to pull you down, and wanted you to do what he wanted you to do.'
I wonder what man could handle all this.'If one of us was to go out with a dweeb of a man,' says Mel B, 'he would probably feel threatened by the five of us. Because we do share things about our relationships, so it's like a gang. Like a gang, but we're not. We can have relationships, but they have to be on a completely different level.'
Emma talks only about her mother, and Mel C is very quiet. What hides, I wonder, behind that face, which appears more delicate and intense than in her photos? Victoria, I learn later, is upset about an ex-boyfriend's betrayal of her confidence; throughout our discussion she looks slightly upset. Several times she says that, above all, she wants privacy. Perhaps paradise is not as simple as it seems.
I know that, to find out more about these Girls, I must change the subject, but instead, I just blurt out: 'Let's stop talking about boys!'
'Yeah,' agree the Girls.
Do they think the Spice Girls will go on forever? And if not, what will they do after it ends? What do you really want to do? 'We talked about that the other day, didn't we?' Geri, sitting on the floor, turns around to the three girls sprawled on a black sofa. Emma, in a white from-the-Sixties dress, perches on a high chair. Their hair has been done, their faces powdered, and they're ready for the photo.'I want to own restaurants,' Victoria takes the lead. She wears a skin-tight designer outfit, perfectly positioned Wonderbra and heels seemingly too high to walk on. Unlike the other girls, she never lets her mask break open.'The entrepreneur,' remarks Mel B fondly.'Restaurants and art,' Victoria continues. 'I've always liked art. Ever since I was . . .' She pauses. 'And I'd like a nice big house, and to fill it with, you know . . .'
'Sculptures!' Mel B.
'Nude men.' That's Mel C.
All the girls are laughing. Victoria admits - and her emotions finally start to show - that's she's always fancied doing art. A few years ago, she and Geri were going to return to college, but they didn't have the time. Now the others are teasing her about her shoes.
I like these girls. I like being with them.
'I don't know what I want to do.' Mel C.The Spices who haven't yet said anything are now talking. 'At the moment I am completely into what I'm doing, and I find it hard to think, right now, what I want to do later on.' Mel B.
'I want a big family, like the Waltons,' Emma admits. 'I like taking care of people, I love kids.' 'You can look after mine.' Mel C.
Everyone's saying something. Victoria wants to live with her sister, and maybe her brother; Emma's thinking of her mother. I'm beginning to realise how different from each other the Girls are. Mel C says she likes living alone, but wishes she were geographically closer to her family.
'Me and Geri,' pipes up Mel B, who's rarely silent for more than a minute, 'come from up north. It's like living in a little community, isn't it? And moving down into London, it's like moving into the big wild world. I don't even know my next-door neighbour, do you?'
'No,' answers Mel C.
I like these girls. They're home girls.
'I'd be in a cult, or join a naturist camp or something, and just live there, like back in the Sixties in the hippy days,' Mel B is gesticulating, 'where everything's just One Love, everything's free, and there are no set rules, where nobody judges you…'
Geri tells me that she is a jack-of-all-trades. After speculating whether she might do her own TV show, or go into films, write a movie script, she announces that her model is Sylvester Stallone.
I think of Brigitte Nielsen. 'I'll tell you why.' He couldn't get a part in Hollywood, she explains, so he wrote, directed and produced Rambo himself. 'I just think that's what it takes; I always love it when the underdog comes through.'
The Girls have been in show business for years. Emma started when she was three. All of the others were professional by the age of 17 or 18. I'm beginning to understand why these Girls have been picked, consciously or unconsciously, by their generation to represent that generation. Especially, but not only, the female sector. In a society still dominated by class and sexism, very few of those not born to rule, women especially, are able to make choices about their own work and lifestyle. Very few know freedom. None of the Spices, not even Victoria, was born privileged nor, as they themselves note, are they traditional beauties. Christine, a student of mine, watching them on Saturday Night Live, remarked to me: 'They're not even slick dancers or exceptional singers! They're just the girl-next -door!'
And they are; they're just girls; as more than one of them remarked to me, 'We never really had a chance until this happened!' They're the girls never heard from before this in England; look, there are lots of them; ones who've known Thatcherite, post-Thatcherite society and nothing else, and now, thanks to the glory and the strangeness of British rock-pop society, they've found a voice. Listen to the voices of those who didn't go to Oxford or Cambridge, or even to Sussex or to art school…
Geri: 'I didn't really know that much, you know, history, but I knew about the suffragettes. They fought. It wasn't that long ago. They died to get a vote. The women's vote. Bloody ass-fucking mad, do you know what I mean? You remember that and you think, fucking hell. But to get back to what Victoria was saying about us, that we never got anywhere, you know, the underdog thing. This is why I feel so passionate. We've been told, time and time again, you're not pretty enough, you're too fat, you're too thin . . .'
All the Spice Girls are now roaring.'. . . You're not tall enough, you're not white, you're not black. What I passionately feel is that it is so wrong to have to fit into a role or a mould in order to succeed. What I think is fan-fucking- tastic about us now is that we are not perfect and we have made a big success of ourselves. I'm swelling with pride.'But you are babes.They all protest.
'We were all individually beaten down . . . Collectively, we've got something going,' says Geri. 'Individually, I don't think we'd be that great.' 'There's a chemistry that runs through us and gives us . . . where I'm bad at something, Melanie's good, or Geri's good at something at which the rest of us are bad,' says Victoria.
Look, I say, I'm feeling stranger and stranger about these politics based on individualism. There are lots of girls who have the same backgrounds as they do, right? 'Right.'
So what is holding those girls down? Keeping them from doing what they really want to do? They start to discuss this. I can hardly make out who's saying what in the ensuing commotion. I hear 'society and conditioning'; another one, Emma perhaps, is talking about being in showbiz, receiving job rejection after job rejection; she's saying how strong you have to be to keep bouncing back. Geri mentions Freud, then states that parents' beliefs often hold back a child, parents and then the child's reception in her school.
'When you go and see a careers officer,' ponders Mel C, 'and you sit down and say, 'I want to be a spaceman', instead of responding 'Go study astrophysics', they go, 'Yeah, but what do you really want to do?' That is so wrong. I think there should be a class in - what do you call it? - self-motivation. Self-motivation classes, self-esteem classes.'
I still feel that a bit of economic realism is missing here, but I can't get a word in edgewise. Not in all the girl excitement. These females are angry.
'I think it all goes back to everyone wanting to feel that they're part of an ongoing society,' Geri tries to analyse. 'The humdrum nine-to-five, you know what it's like . . . What do you do when you leave school? You go and get a job to have money to pay off the mortgage, you get a flat and have a nice boyfriend, pay off your bills, you go to work with your briefcase and your suit, and that's it. That's people's normal, everyday thing, isn't it? And if you branch out from that, it's . . . well, what does she think she's doing? It's going against the grain a bit - which not many people do. It's not even going against the grain; it's just clinging on to the bit you want to do and thinking I'm going to do it, who cares?'
The Girls, including Geri, tell me that they've got an American philosophy, an American dream. 'But me,' says Mel B, 'before I was in the band, I thought I'd like to be a preacher. I still do. Something like that. They've actually got this place in London which is called Speaker's Corner. You get up on your stand there; you can speak about anything. I'd like to speak about people, the emotional or mental blocks people have, especially regarding other people, things like that. That's what the tattoo on my stomach means, 'Spirit Heart And Mind', because that's what fuels me; communication fuels me. You learn about yourself, about other people and life in general, through communication.' She says that's she's been writing since she was 11, writing everything down, 'why the world is this shape, what would happen if everyone on earth died . . .' 'Stoned questions . . .' murmurs another Spice.
'I'd love to go back to the Sixties,' Emma says in her clear voice. 'I'd love that. I wouldn't wear headbands though.'
What about some of the politics of the Sixties, I ask. Malcolm X? The fight against racism?
'The other day I watched The Killing Fields.' Now Geri's doing the talking. 'That was in the Sixties, Vietnam. I think it's very healthy that there's an element of that today. Through the media today we can see people demonstrating for human rights. In Cambodia, on the other side of the world. I think it's brilliant when you see people standing up, when they have a voice, it kicks the system, a little bit, into touch.'
But what about in England today? I mention that in the US, racism is still a big issue.
Mel B and Geri start talking about racism. Geri tells me that she's learned about racial prejudice from Mel B, who says, 'The thing I find really bizarre about America and England . . . You say that the racism thing is worse in America, yet if you look at television here (in NYC), they're really scrupulous about making sure, for instance, that they have a black family in an advert. On the adverts in England, you wouldn't find that.'
Suddenly all the Spices are talking among themselves. I can't understand anything. Then we're on the subject of Madonna, of people who have inspired us, and Geri starts speaking about Margaret Thatcher. Why she admires her. 'But we won't go down there!'
'Don't go down there!' advise the Girls.
'We won't go down there, but . . .' and Geri, who never seems to listen to reason, begins. She says that when politicians discuss the economy, they're just talking about shifting money from one spot to another, and someone always suffers. This is the same distrust of government that so many Americans, both on the right and left - and especially among lower and working-class people - are feeling and articulating.
Mel C says softly, 'We talked about suffragettes and getting the vote to women, and all that. But a lot of women don't vote; a lot of our generation doesn't vote. I don't. I don't feel I should because I don't know anything about politics . . .''That was what I was going to say,' adds Emma.
They blame the lack of political education in schools. Whether they like or dislike Margaret Thatcher or Tony Blair, they distrust both the political industry and the related media. 'Intellectual people chatting in bathrooms,' comments Mel B.'We are society,' exclaims Geri, 'so really . . .' ‘We should be running it,' Mel B finishes the statement.
'I'd like to run it for a day,' says Victoria, looking directly at me.
'But Victoria, who's going to let you do such a job?' Geri reminds her.
'The only way to go is growth,' says Mel B.
'I think everyone's turned a bit to the spiritual life.' 'You know,' interjects Victoria, 'if you believe in evolution, we only use 20 per cent of our brain . . . if that. So it's natural that we can evolve to the next level. We've got to, really.' 'Nowadays, people do sit down and ask themselves 'Why am I doing this?" Mel B continues. 'They question themselves and what they've got around them. I know I do it, and you find your own little mission. And you fucking go for it. A lot more people are like that now.' Do they all feel like that? There's a general quiet, then a 'Yeah' all around me.
I ask the Spices to describe themselves. For a moment, they're lost for words.Victoria: 'I love what I'm doing. I'm with my five best friends, and I've seen some great countries. I'm happy, I'm very happy. I care a lot about my family. Regarding my personality, I'm private. There are things for me to know and no one else to find out.' She hesitates. 'I just accept the way I am. You have to make the most of it, make the best of yourself. I'm a bit of a fretter. If I'm going to do something, I want to do it properly. I want to do the best I can. I'm a perfectionist.' Emma: 'Me, I'm definitely a bit of a brat. I worry about what other people are feeling, that sort of thing.' Geri: 'I have quite an active mind.Quite eccentric, really. A conversationalist. I believe in fate in a big way, a very big way.’
Mel B: 'I'm always asking inward questions about things. I live off the vibes, I do, that people give me. If I don't like someone then I won't speak to them, even though something might be coming out of their mouth that I should listen to. I like to think I'm a bit of a free spirit. I don't run by any rule book. I live on the edge a little bit. I always think, well, at least I'll die happy today rather than worrying about it tomorrow.' Mel C: 'I'm very regimented. I really enjoy my own company, although I love being with other people.' I'm watching the Spice Girls perform Wannabe on Saturday Night Live, but not seeing them. In my mind, I'm seeing England. When I returned there in July last year, lad culture was in full swing. Loaded was running what had once been a relatively intellectual magazine culture.
Feminism, especially female intellectuals, had become extinct. 'Where have all the women gone to?' I asked. Then came a twist named the Spice Girls. The Spices, though they deny it, are babes - the blonde, the redhead, the dark sultry fashion model - and they're more. They both are and represent a voice that has too long been repressed. The voices, not really the voice, of young women and, just as important, of women not from the educated classes.
It isn't only the lads sitting behind babe culture, bless them, who think that babes or beautiful lower and lower-middle class girls are dumb. It's also educated women who look down on girls like the Spice Girls, who think that because, for instance, girls like the Spice Girls take their clothes off, there can't be anything 'up there'.
The Spice Girls are having their cake and eating it. They have the popularity and the popular ear that an intellectual, certainly a female intellectual, almost never has in this society, and, what's more, they have found themselves, perhaps by fluke, in the position of social and political articulation. It little matters now how the Spice Girls started - if they were a 'manufactured band'.
What does this have to do with feminism? When I lived in England in the Eighties, a multitude of women, diverse and all intellectual, were continually heard from - people such as Michele Roberts, Jeanette Winterson, Sara Maitland, Jacqueline Rose, Melissa Benn. Is it also possible that the English feminism of the Eighties might have shared certain problems with the American feminism of the Seventies? English feminism, as I remember it back then, was anti-sex. And like their American counte rparts, the English feminists were intellectuals, from the educated classes. There lurked the problem of elitism, and thus class.
I am speculating, but, perhaps due to Margaret Thatcher - though it is hard to attribute anything decent to her - a populist change has taken place in England. The Spice Girls, and girls like them, and the girls who like them, resemble their American counterparts in two ways: they are sexually curious, certainly pro-sex, and they do not feel that they are stupid or that they should not be heard because they did not attend the right universities.
If any of this speculation is valid, then it is up to feminism to grow, to take on what the Spice Girls, and women like them, are saying, and to do what feminism has always done in England, to keep on transforming society as society is best transformed, with lightness and in joy.