Friday, 26 December 2014

The Eternal Round

In December 2004 I was living in a converted cotton factory on Shacklewell Lane. I was drunk mostly and when I wasn’t drunk I was working in a job that I hated beyond measure, doing market research for an IT magazine that no one wanted. I was drunk, unable to change my situation, dissatisfied and aimless- with a vague notion that I was a bit like someone from a F. Scott Fitzgerald novel yet much less interesting. Quite frankly, I was bored- the kind of gnawing boredom that permeates everything. I would cry when I watched musicals and on one particularly terrible comedown felt like killing myself while watching an aeroplane fly through the dawn.

Modern malaise. So what? The Tsunami passed me by the same way September 11th did, I had no grip on the world around me. I saw the images and they went through me, I couldn’t connect with it- depression is a different kind of horror. Living in a permanent state of crisis makes it hard to be empathetic, my immediate life was far enough away. 

 It was in this state that I was watching TV one morning, and saw a programme that was asking different religious leaders what meaning the Tsunami had, how could we make sense of it? They started with some Bishop talking about how we can see it as an opportunity to love each other more, to help out neighbours in times of hardship. Another guy came on to talk about perspective. One by one these big shots came on, telling us how to feel. I watched with one eye, the other in my cornflakes, until one particular man spoke. He was a Buddhist and when the presenter asked him the question he just said:

 ‘None. The events are entirely meaningless.’

These words changed my life. And it wasn’t so much the content, because I’d read all that- we all do, when we’re 15. It was the way he said it, and the contrast between the other answers and his. It was the calm in his voice, the lack of posturing and his matter of factness that got me. The events are entirely meaningless. 

I started going to the Buddhist Centre in Holloway Road to do a course on Buddhism and to take part in group meditation. It was OK, not my thing really- a lot of the people there were pretty annoying if I’m honest, but it was a shift. I learned about the Eternal Round and saw my situation more clearly that I had before. I slowly gave up drinking and started to look for people who didn’t rely on booze to become who they thought they were. A few years before I had made a song with a friend that I thought was pure and good so I went to a payphone and called him, with the wind rustling the trees.

Well I hadn’t seen Danny for a long time but we decided to try and make some more songs. He was getting better too and this common ground was a tenet for us as well as a difficulty, but what came out of the story was beautiful Flora. Our daughter made me a nicer person, more real and connected than ever before. Flo and I have lived together for nearly nine years and she has taught me how love works, that I don’t live in a film or a book but in my own meaningless life- which is so much more interesting than either of those could ever be. 

Monday, 15 September 2014

Next Gen Thread Memes

I made these after reading a very snarky Facebook thread about the Next Generation Poets. All those commenting were poets themselves and not at all bitter in any way. 

Thursday, 4 September 2014

women and their secrets

i found this picture of me breastfeeding in the hospital- such a strange time. i think this was probably the loneliest i've ever been. no one tells you how difficult it's going to be. well, anyway- i think this picture is art actually- for lots of reasons. look how hard i'm trying. i didn't know what was happening- i was entirely out of my body. people think sad stories are unacceptable in some way- perhaps it has to do with pulling your socks up, or not taking things too seriously. i don't know, drama right. but this was a sad story. and that's not to say that happiness didn't come from it. but all i really remember is how alone i felt, in all of it. women and their secrets.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Next Generation Poets 2014

1. Emma Hammond
2. Emma Hammond
3. Emma Hammond
4. Emma Hammond
5. Emma Hammond
6. Emma Hammond
7. Emma Hammond
8. Emma Hammond
9. Emma Hammond
10. Emma Hammond
11. Emma Hammond
12. Emma Hammond
13. Emma Hammond
14. Emma Hammond
15. Emma Hammond
16. Emma Hammond
17. Emma Hammond
18. Emma Hammond
19. Emma Hammond
20. Emma Hammond

Thursday, 27 March 2014

under the skin

jonathan glazer said that he did not intend for his film under the skin to be a gender experience but a human one and i can absolutely see what he means. however i came out feeling that overall this is a film about women- to the point where i actually felt quite hurt by it.

this is not a bad thing though. the theme was hugely subtle- a little like a girl’s experience of misogyny itself. the film mirrored this feeling perfectly.

the man on the motorbike is the patriarch. he is the one who finds the alien a body in the first place (a dead prostitute?), he monitors her throughout the film- she appears to be working for him, using her sexuality to attract men, against men- and literally capturing them through desire. 

she is stealing men for him, he is in charge. it is a woman’s job to be desirable.

men are painted as easy to deceive, or in thrall to women- the man on the beach goes back into the waves to save his drowning wife, losing his own life in the process. scarlett johansson’s character is an alien, she is a predator and devoid of emotion, she literally empties men.

it is only when she becomes more human that the man on the motorbike becomes menacing toward her. being real instantly makes her fallible.

she can no longer empty men, she has no power because she has seen herself, she has inspected herself in mirrors. although she had no maternal feelings for the child on the beach, she feels for the man with the deformed face- who in some way becomes the child, wandering exposed in the grass.

she tries sensuality, first through food- which she can’t bear. she is ‘safe’ when she meets the man at the bus stop yet safety still leads to sex. the sex scene is perfect- what does she see by the light of the lamp? having a vagina, or not having a vagina- both things are construed as horrific.

so she runs away, we see her curled up in the tree tops- cosy. she is woken by a rapist, who pursues her through the woods. it’s like watching a deer getting run down- her clothes are ripped and it’s a truly terrible rape scene because it unfolds exactly in the way a woman imagines a rape to. 

the rapist rips her, he literally rips her up. then as she comes out of her skin we see she has always been an alien- she is not a human. women are something else, other- black underneath. he sets her on fire and the white snow turns to ashes.