The first bath clip was shot in a homely squat in south east London and the others all within a stone’s throw. It was around the time that I was organising Enough Is Enough, Everything Must Go in 2010. I was living with a man who kept telling me I couldn’t speak properly and made no sense. This tripped me back to my infancy and the speech impediment I had and also caused me to film myself to see and hear for real if these accusations were true. Furthermore, I wanted to fully submerge myself into the realms of complete and utter transparency and cleanse myself of any given notion of normality as the older I get, the more nonsensical normal represents.
I’m not sure that I ever meant to show it anywhere but had let a couple of friends have a glimpse when asking for their feedback and input regarding Enough is Enough, Everything Must Go. Mark’s an artist and he had paid very little attention to any of my efforts until he saw that piece and instantly declared, ‘Now that is art’, and promptly left again. It’s possible it was shown during Enough Is Enough, Everything Must Go in the Anarchist Bookshop in Whitechapel. I’d have to ask Mark about that, I think he hung some plaster dolls’ heads I made years back there too.
Anyhow, it was not until 2013 that I made the film public on Youtube and by that time, I’d been inspired to further the piece into a series, as often happens with my art work. The final clip was deleted from Youtube but more about that later.
Shocking. Well, not really. It’s a slightly wacky woman taking a bath and talking about life. Hyper-normality perhaps. I put it down to all the Mercury retrograde action in water signs we’ve been through in 2013 as I realised the other day that all of my radical film movements this year have occurred in sync with this. There was the mirror masturbation moment as Mercury was retrograde firstly in Pisces, about which my Mum has her opinions although she’s never watched the film as far as I know. This was followed by the bath series onslaught as Mercury was retrograde through Cancer and my whole life really was turning upside down, round and round. This was then more recently followed by Ketamine, Popcorn and Everything Really as Mercury was retrograde in Scorpio. Another film I just couldn’t resist releasing even though I knew I shouldn’t but also knew I had to. I seem to have this primeval urge to do everything I shouldn’t do and continously shoot myself in the foot throughout the process too. That’s partly why I’ve continued this AbuseNumberNine scenario, because so many people keep telling me not to.
I can’t actually remember what I babble on about now and I’ve not got the time or desire to watch them all over again but reckon I’m most likely to be wittering on about human atrocities like war and environmental destruction, drugs, slavery and injustice, Mother Nature and humanity and probably a load of twaddle about little old me and various occurences in my life sphere.
There’s so much focus in today’s age about looks and celebrity culture and quite frankly, it drives me insane. All this made up media bullshit, false and unnecessary standardizations and shallow expectations brings out the wild woman in me. I know I’ve been blessed within the structure of society by having a good set of legs and teeth, pretty blue eyes and a fit physique, an educated mind and of course, fine white skin. How lucky I am. What I refuse to accept is why these notions exist. Luck and good fortune shouldn’t be a matter of the colour of one’s skin or the postcode that we’re born and bred in. It shouldn’t be based on height or waist size, leg length or hair type. Man, one of the only things I’ve ever wanted is an afro and peace and equality.
And then there’s all of these over enforced insecurities driven into us, perpetrating paranoia and segregation, fear and aggression. It’s utterly absurd. We’re all, each and every one of us, divine beings with a God-given right to thrive and be alive, not merely struggle to survive. Grappling with jealousy, the fear of inadequacy and the feeling that something’s constantly missing or not quite right. Ridiculous. How I’d love to re-structure the education system, welfare state and common sense in general.
I get the natural essence of taking pride in one’s appearance but it niggles me that so much emphasis is put on these external facades and in the process further classification and with it potential degradation exists. Of course I’m happy to be complimented and recognised for my looks but I’d much prefer my inner facits to be taken into consideration first and foremost. Looking good doesn’t simply constitute actually being good and likewise, seeming bad isn’t the equivalent of really being bad.
What is more is that I’ve even got a spotty botty, miniature breasts, a nobbly head and feet and blazenly admit to bodily excretions and my fascination with sticking things up my nose. Hey, even Nigella Lawson does that and she’s a TV-Kitchen-Goddess.
And then there’s the notion of honesty and transparency when it seems we live in a current age of society in which far too many people are content to completely gloss over the truth and act like everything’s ok when it’s blatantly not. Starting here in England, the thousands of elderly people who die each year from the cold is a crime and there is us convincing the world that our streets are paved with gold, what a sham. My list of examples would go on a long time if ever I were to write it. I thought it was in Victorian times that we swept things under the carpet but how dangerously we’ve relapsed I believe.
Absurd? Me? In comparison to what exactly? I figure the whackier humanity gets, the more reason to reflect such strangeness. I’ve just been attempting to make sense of it all, enjoy myself along the way and cause no harm or destruction.
I recall the first ever idea I had to make a film which was around the time my instinct told me to keep hold of two sheets of used Daler board which then became known as, ‘Illuminating Education From The Inside Out; I Have Done My Lines Now’, the starting piece for ‘Hoardwork: E.R. My Arse, Everything Really’.
It’s a good job I never made the film as it didn’t have a happy ending scripted in. The opening scene begins with the camera panning into me sat at a desk drawing in a journal. The room is sparse with a high ceiling and tall window. The light is grey that day then nightime comes heralding a bright sunny morning but not a positive outcome. The camera continues to look into the journal and an animation begins. This is then the main duration of the film and I draw and narrate all of the too many atrocities Mankind has levied down on Mother Nature’s creations and the reasoning behind my ongoing depression, confusion and sheer frustration of the way we live and treat each other worldwide over. Towards the end, the camera comes back out of the animation into real life and you see me killing myself, unable to tolerate anymore.
Fortunately, the practicalities of editing such a piece seemed impossible and I took to collecting discarded items to make gifts for influential people instead. Which for the record, they’re never going to actually receive as I decided to give them away to other folk who mean the world to me and are grateful for my creative efforts and pursuits however seemingly random and mundane they appear. I think the films I’ve been making since 2009, over a decade later than the extreme character acting suicide scenario I scripted in my mind have proved to be a much safer bet.
In the midst of releasing the bath series Cleansing, I happened to ask my landlady what her interpretation of access is. ‘Thirty days notice, no one likes you and nobody wants you around here’, was her reply. This prompted me to blag a lift to Glastonbury and actually spend time with my friends in a field having fun, something I’ve denied myself too much over the past few years. I mentally scripted a pre and post Pilton dip but on my return was too tired to take a bath and the room involved too much alcoholic debauchery for my working limits so I came back to the yard instead and opted for a non-psycho shower scene to round things off. That got removed from Youtube a while later and I think I know who by, but do you know what? I don’t really care. I also received more feedback from folk who admitted to not actually watching it…fascinating.
It was really a uneventful film in which I recall my leg resembling a shoulder of lamb hung in a butcher’s shop and I whistled whilst I washed and shaved.
Having it banned, as has happened numerous times with my work only serves to highlight the notion of censorship even more and is a topic I’m quite curious about experimenting in. It seems to come naturally to me to keep prodding and asking why, but, and…
Two ongoing misconceptions about me and my art have been that I’m a self-centred attention seeker and that I hate the English Royal Family. How can I hate them when I don’t even know them and don’t even hate my own enemies…in fact, I don’t even have any enemies, not in my mind at least. I pity them and happen to have an aversion to what it is they represent and adhere to, that’s all. As for the self-centred attention seeker reputation, I guess there are elements of truth in it. I am centred and I am my self. I have also brought a lot of attention to myself. Not out of wanting to however, but out of sheer frustration of this state that we are in.
As I said in Stamp Duty: E.R. My Arse in 2009, I just crave a simple life and to swim more. Anonymity suits me just fine but it couldn’t have got me where I need to be. I’ve merely wanted to raise awareness about our severe need to make radical changes to the way we treat our planet and people, it’s got little else to do with me other than I’m a model who is always available for my own photo shoot and shows up for free.
As for the censored Post-Pilton Shower Shot, I’ll attempt to insert it here if ever I find it again…