· Cosmic Vibrations // Foxygen
· Happy Idiot // TV on the Radio
· Lily For Your Pad to Rest On // Superfood
· Want Your Feeling // Jessie Ware
· Put Your Number in My Phone // Ariel Pink’s Haunted Grafitti
· Anthems for a Seventeen Year Old Girl // Broken Social Scene
· Hello, I Love You // Adore Delano
· Contact // Bridgitte Bardot
· So Fresh, So Clean // Outkast
· To Be Alone With You // Sufijan Stevens
Song of the Week:
· Lost In The Girl // Kwamie Liv
Paris is Burning
When one sits down to watch a documentary about drag queens in late 80s New York, one expects at most a bit of whimsy or wit to brighten up the daily grind. So, I found myself shocked to be more profoundly affected by Paris Is Burning than any other film I’d ever seen.
It swayed far from a fantastical ode to glamour, instead presenting, with a chilling indifference, the gritty reality of life for people who dared to be themselves within this setting. Dozens of drag queens from young to old are filmed speaking on everything from their styles and philosophies to their personal challenges, which were often almost too heartbreaking to think about.
On top of the standard issues faced by people of colour growing up in mid 20th century America, they face homophobia and transphobia at every stage, often even from their loved ones. The full picture is built from a series of collected moments; one queen speaking of an instance where his mother burned his prized fur coat with the same nonchalance as if he had been talking about the weather, or another older queen discussed how as a child he thought he’d wanted to be Marilyn Monroe but only realised later that he wanted to be Lena Horne. The true poignancy is found in the resigned indifference with which the queens talk about these challenges. They feel little passion or anger about it all; they have accepted the hatred they receive like they once had to accept that the grass is green.
Yet do not despair, as I have yet to mention what makes this film so inspiring. Despite having resigned themselves to their fate, they create a most glorious and beautiful culture and community, so pure and joyous that for a time it casts the shadows away. They thrive on acceptance and love, and treat one another like family. They ignore the mere trivialities of survival and focus on beauty, glamour and dance. Their lives and their records in this film show that no amount of hatred can ever kill what is truly beautiful.
how lovely we’re very fond of her too
· Hey QT // QT
· This Is Not About Us // Kindness
· Blockbuster Night Part 1 // Run the Jewels
· High Wire // Sinead Harnett
· So Long // Circa Waves
· Angeles // Elliot Smith
· Running // Jessie Ware
· I’ll Take Care of U // Gil-Scott-Heron and Jamie xx
· Where Did Our Love Go? // Diana Ross and the Supremes
· Velvet Goldmine // David Bowie
Song of the Week:
· Never Catch Me // Flying Lotus feat. Kendrick Lamar
At six years old I put my limited drawing skills to use and began designing my dream wedding dress; a frothy, ten-foot-train, tulle topped disaster. It never occurred to me that that dress would only be required on a day for celebrating my unabashed love for someone. All I wanted to do was play dress up. And if I’m honest, that’s all I still do.
At age ten, I watched my cousin walk down the aisle in a gorgeous white washed town on a tiny Maltese island to classical music strummed quietly on a harp, and knew it wasn’t for me. Not the extravagance or the expense, but the marriage itself. It put me on edge to think that someone would declare their love and commitment in front of everyone, both the people they loved and the people they were forced to invite.
And now at the ripe old age of sweet sixteen it’s becoming clear that I want no part of the murky world of relationships. My mother insists that it’s only because I’ve never had a relationship. Maybe she’s right; I mean I’ve never been kissed, never held someone’s hand, never gone on a date. But on the last day of my last year of ‘nerd camp’ this summer a boy told me of his feeling towards me and asked if he could kiss me. I had no feelings for this boy and the mere question sent shivers down my spine and not the good kind, so maybe I’m right.
Before moving to a new school, I asked the friends I would be leaving behind what they thought of the infamous ‘first kiss.’ They all said it was awkward, usually a tangle of braces and most of them happened at discos in the local GAA club, the five girls I asked are all in long term relationships ranging from five months to almost three years, so I knew they knew what they were talking about. We had talked about it extensively over the years and I always lied and said I had kissed someone. I provided very sketchy details but no one copped it until I told them in June that I had lied. I hated lying, but I hated feeling left out even more.
An English teacher once explained the difference between love and lust: love- ‘to have feeling of affection towards someone’ and lust- ‘to have a great desire for something or someone’. It was then, in my last English class before we broke for Christmas, that I had my eureka moment. The penny dropped. It was obvious that all the boys I said I loved to make myself feel normal was in fact a case of lust and not love, in much the same way I lusted after this season’s hand painted Burberry tote to be swinging jauntily from my arm. I love my family (most of the time) but I have never loved a boy. There were rumours that maybe, just maybe, I hadn’t come out of the closet yet. And while I do spend most of my free time in the closet, it’s picking out clothes and rummaging through stacks of material to make my own version of Hedi Slimane’s boxy blazer without selling my kidney, and not waiting to be outed by two friends that made a wager guessing which girl would be my first kiss.
My therapist once asked me if the idea of waking up next to the person I loved made me happy. When I said no, he stared at me for a few very long minutes looking incredibly perplexed and utterly befuddled. I got the same reaction when I vocalised my aversion to matrimony. After clearing his throat he wondered why I didn’t want a relationship like my parents. I said I didn’t know because, truly, I didn’t. I was told to describe my parent’s relationship. They’ve been married for eighteen years. Every anniversary is blatantly ignored and slips by like an ordinary day. There are no flowers, no dinners for two, nothing. I saw my parents kiss once- a blink and you’ve missed it kind of kiss from my father onto my mother’s cheek. Pet names, holding hands and any form of affection are foreign concepts to my parents. In sixteen years I have never ever heard my parents say they love each other. They very rarely fight and when they do it only last a few minutes and is quickly forgotten. There is no romance. I know they both love and like each other but I just don’t know if they’re in love with each other or if they ever were. It’s like they settled. People say you learn by example so maybe I have a warped sense of relationships on account of my parents, maybe I’m just cynical, but I know for certain that any relationship, certainly one like my parents would be my idea of hell. He informed me that I needed to experience it for myself and that every relationship is different and that I shouldn’t make decisions that would affect my entire life based on one example.
I’ve been thinking recently about whether I should kiss someone, anyone who was willing, just to get it over and done with. But even without putting feelings behind the action I felt paralyzed. On the very rare occasion I talk to people about this particular aspect of my life I always end up using adjectives that would usually describe nerves or uneasiness, which nine times out of ten leads people to the conclusion that I’m just nervous and that it’ll happen when I’m ready. I pride myself on having a rather extensive vocabulary, but for all the words I do have I don’t have the right ones to express how I feel. Then my friend gave me a word: asexual.
I like how it sounded, how it was concise and how it expressed all the things I didn’t have the right words to say. But not everyone liked it. Whenever I described myself as asexual people got angry, angry that I would chose to remain single for the rest of my life, that I would ignore any advances made towards me. They were angry that I would be alone. I soon found out that no one like the idea of people being alone. But most people didn’t know the difference between alone and lonely. They promised to help me find someone. Some even promised to make sure he fit my father’s strict criteria- good family, intelligent, play sport, earning capabilities of over eighty thousand a year. No one wanted to hear that I didn’t mind being alone especially being only sixteen.
Maybe my mother is right, it could be that my therapist is right, or maybe I’m right. I don’t mind being left alone. And I know for certain that I did not chose these feeling or lack thereof but I refuse to feel guilty for not providing my father the opportunity to walk me down the aisle. I may never get married but that doesn’t mean I can’t dress up in vintage wedding dresses, now does it?