There are no stairs at Dagenham Heathway Station just a long cuboid ramp. Passengers are squeezed either side of a thick yellow railing from the street to the platform etc., squirted down/up the ramp, lubed by a bit of classical. Music. Blumen it comes, wafts of generic romance in gufts. On the way to meet Sandra for coffee my Mum says my Dad said it’s to stop the heroin users hanging around the ramp (not that anyone ever seems to have seen them there) because It Gets On Their Nerves, this particular kind of music. I thought at least it was for sure an exercise in control, another generous F R E E dom, both the thing and the effect of everything for which we are to be thankful: it gets on my nerves, bloody joke, therefore I am… They use music like this too at Euston Square-Alight-Here-for-University-College-Hospital. Of course they do.
But enough, enough, enough of these false starts from places I or anyone else found ourselves in against our will. Let’s START:
First up I can say that I wished I was in the room when, FINALLY, A Gay won the Jarman Award. He is A Gay I love like how on ‘Upstairs At Eric’s’ when after the room was lit by e-lec-tric lights I am the artificial sound of smashing bulbs. I was happy to have seen Michael Clark at the Barbican with this Gay and other Gays, and others of course. Because there was also love, which wasn’t really because of The Gays, or not all of them, my point perhaps is that it so rarely is, but when it’s shored is when it is… lit… so, there we were and there it was… shattered…
Which could be read as:
I’m not a Michael Clark veteran. I am a fan. I stood and clapped for this work and I was not alone. Its clarity was a dead clean ravishing. No faff, just the most astonishing establishing of a vocabulary in its own time that of course was always there but I never saw it like I saw it. Like all that work with Stravinsky was necessary to get to this that looked independently neo-classical. It was not apologising.
What move can be made, what cannot, which line, who is together, how, why march, what must be stopped, what dragged, drawn, sucked, statued, fucked, what must be spoken, that being strong enough is worth it. I mean, some of these dancers were bionic, like the past to look at with a mesmeric sort of buzz around their edge.
And then this vocabulary explodes, implodes, it is yours, you are the imploding, being thrown out, the whole place is emptied by a screen that’s lifted for the inside, the reflection of mirrors and every gag that would have been a gag was so absolutely, so unapologetically nothing to do with stand-up but so clear and assured to be nothing other than something much more there, totally on it, stark in space, as any body CAN BE. Because we are there. I mean, the gag with a prop was no more the ha-ha toilet seat around Someone’s neck of old, but so straightforwardly the means and the mechanism for a movement to happen that it was, well, just straightforward and there is thanks, there is my body too, here. Maybe it always was but I saw it and it was massive, getting that.
We will not apologise. And we can say this precisely. We are people. There are things. There are things that we want, there are things that we are subjected to. There is resistance, form. It can be strict – must, even. There are places you can go to and you can come back with stuff. To make. It is strength. Yeh. Backing dancers. And? Come on. Roll over, sit, spread, grind, grind, fall. Stand up. Stand up. Stand up.
Now, another place I don’t mind being is the UCH Macmillan Cancer Centre and the reasons aren’t that complicated. It’s an alright place to sit. By which you might have already guessed that the flooring on chemotherapy level 2 isn’t designed by Antony Gormley. A Gormley hangs on the wall. Just for us we can call it Gormley’s Balls and put an end to that gag [on the statues he makes which are based on a cast of his own naked body, they say that the older he’s got the bigger he’s told his assistants to make his cock, though I never measured it myself]:
The floor on chemo 2 is by Rob Ryan. I don’t mind it, I sort of knew him once, though I’d say pretty much for sure that I don’t need to be told anything by any bloody paper doily style faux cut-out bells framed by hetero-normative love birds, flowers and vines on one of which it is written THIS BELL WILL RING… and on its partner WHEN WE DREAM A DREAM OF GOOD. Where exactly do they think they are, these bells? Who do they think they are talking to? Everyone here has cancer. What dreams do you think we are dreaming exactly? Oh yeh, that’s it, it’s just that we need to change our dreams. It’s not you, cancer, it’s us, dreams. Of course. On the one hand the bell is not going to ring. On the other if it did then it wouldn’t be for fear of death that we’d stop ourselves from asking for whom, because we don’t fear death and that, Rob Ryan has absolutely nothing to do with you.
Rather, the reason for this is that whatever void you walk into this clinic from, whatever kind of stuff or nothing is outside of this building, it is left there. Here is the present tense that is not there outside; the body as a fact and it is something like definite and these other things/nothings dissolve. Massive amounts of void become entirely irrelevant. There is not only your own body there are the bodies of everyone else too, and you see them, these others also having stepped out of the voids from where they’ve also come into this building, to where their body and your body are equal facts and it is on this level that you can feel them, information to information. And there are many – it’s, like, really busy this place, really busy, my god it’s busy – and here is like absolutely everyone. Everyone’s got cancer. And I have this feeling that between us it is just direct. There is something like a clarity that does not need to be spoken, but that can be and to speak is a simple, physical relief such that even scant words waiting for the lift cut through the bloody flesh that ordinarily pads us out as spongey egos. Which is another way of saying that it’s a leveller and that I like it, so (as) to speak. Ha. Is this what they call institutionalised?!
Or the reason for this, on top of this, of course, is that someone might turn up to keep you company there like Bambi L. the Student Doctor. Oh Bambi, Bambi L.! Let’s greet him. Bambi!, oh Bambi! BAMBI L.! BAMBI L. IS HERE!!!