all the people i can remember sleeping with … day 14

Xuan said to me, over lunch, “I never dream I’m an …”, makes little creeping tendril extraterrestrial fingers, “alien …”, “Oh, no”, I say, “Alien like foreign, not …”, pointing at sky.

Yesterday I have a blood test at the doctor’s, for hormone levels. Three vials taken and three biscuits in return. I thought that was a great exchange. And alleviated my plummeting sugar levels too.

Now thinking of going to the markets. Eat maybe, sit in Cibo and let my brain fray on its own, entertaining itself while I get to be passenger for a while.

I’m feeling rather exuberant after rehearsal today, and commenced enjoying the kick I get out of apprehension, that maybe this time I couldn’t pull it all together in two hours, make the Alptraum scene respectable, do something with the Rape of the Sabine Women stuff we haven’t visited for weeks, and go from start to finish when we haven’t done that for some time either.

Everyone has been slightly delirious today, not just end of the week tired-silly, but that with the jump-up-and-say-yeah energy usually only visiting when sustained by exhaustion. I think this was the right enthusiasm to suddenly shuffle it all together and miraculously plop out a finished piece.

I said something like, “Can you do that, but with your heads facing that way … (points at back wall) so this is front … (points to side wall) even though I’m sitting at the corner … here …”. It possibly is as self-evidently stupid as it sounds, nonetheless…

We got through making sense of Alptraum and pulling it into something like a scene so quickly I thought the clock was going slow. And I love it, possibly my favourite scene in the entire thing, along with the geniunely creepy Throbbing Gristle, it has for me a believable nightmarish tinge. I get uncomfortable and twitchy, like I want to swim in this mess and also get far away.

Sabine Women though after all that work has been reduced to perhaps five berserk attacks and none of the accompanying phrases. I’d love to see this section done properly, ten minutes of hysterical rapacious clawing madness, and assembled in such a way that it was both visually coherent, and not perilous to do in the way it can easily be when there isn’t time to make it that. I’m sad this has become one of the deceased. Though admittedly it was one of the founding ideas for pestilence, so perhaps better it stays where it belongs, with plagues and insanity.

So, to running the whole thing.

Xuan says, “Sometimes I have rape fantasies …” Everyone stands there bewildered. Tara says, “What are we doing?” Daniel says, “This is a disaster”. We fumble through quite beautifully. I’ve never seen it all together, and never seen it knowing this is the thing it will be, minor adjustments aside (major ones also unless I’m taken by weird compulsion). I said to Xuan, “Oh, I have to change the script again”. She is perhaps thinking I’m doing this to torment her.

I was really touched by them all, doing this peculiar un-performance.

It’s only fifteen minutes too.

all the people i can remember sleeping with … day 13

So after last rehearsal, I was variously meant to watch all the video on Friday, but too busy with Melbourne stuff, then Saturday, but was alleviating incipient symptoms of a freakout by having Daniel pour half a bottle of Vodka into me (the word for missing out on Absinthe: disappointment), Sunday, but recovering from said alleviation through a prolonged stretch of doing nothing with Tara, Sandrine, Alex, Daniel, Alison and sundry others, Monday, but forgetting to bring in both video tape and “six-pin to four-pin FireWire cable for a DV camera”. So Tuesday when I only have an hour for lunch to do the requisite watching and editing, foiled by my often-mentioned In-Out-Error-corrupt-drive-Bad-Sector madness. Laptop equals frisbee.

It’s like an old person with Alzheimer’s, and you give them too much to think about … or a really bad ice-cream headache. My poor old laptop really doesn’t enjoy much more than simple lines of text these days, preferably not formatted either. Anyway do you really care about my excuses? No, neither do I. But sometimes this harried approach causes things to happen in much the same way as if I spent the previous four days picking and scraping at it with a small needle.

We are only using the first of three ten-minute improvisations that came from my nightmares and vivid dreams, and then maybe only a couple of minutes of bits and pieces, plane crashes, kissing and the white-headed monster, Japanese rope bondage. It was quite a lazy approach from me, read the dreams, improvise on their content while Throbbing Gristle blares, video, cut the good bits out, learn them, and then …

Occasionally in rehearsal, I manage to make myself really quite uncomfortable. I used to be, I suppose, wary of this, or would shy away from what I’d made. In blowup a short piece I made while still a student, there was what now I would consider very tame, lots of writhing and gyrating of girls in underwear to The Yardbirds. I was really concerned that perhaps I’d gone too far, and also that I was somehow opening up some lasciviousness within that would not be easy to account for.

In hell, the strangling, going so far as to see faces turn hideously red and eyes go black, I was so disturbed about what was within me that would want to imagine this, and make it, and ask others to participate in what, honestly when it comes down to it every piece of performance made in some way is your own personal fantasy.

Daniel and Tara … not so much kiss, but nuzzle each other’s heads, hair brushing over their face neck, arms and hands the skin also nestling sleepily into each other, Daniel’s fingers contort and search out Tara’s head, his mouth a toothy maw, she oblivious still fondling him, he is about to eat her brains. It’s like a midnight Hammer House of Horror demon movie, but also something personally disturbing for me, I’m not sure why. I like though that I can find things that make me cringe or recoil or upset me, and that I can stumble on them without knowing they are there.

I only have one properly usable rehearsal left, and I’m so far from having either something coherently finished, or – more importantly from a production opinion, less important for me – having suctioned it into an eight-minute vacuum-pack. I feel though that today’s rehearsal, concentrating solely on the Alptraum stuff was completely worth it, despite whatever anguish my lack of attention to schedules may later elicit. It feels now somewhat finished, that is to say, no more making, no more tiny scenes or ideas to play with, this is all and now the time is spent on stitching it together, what scrap or shard sits best next to what other, and how to arrange them all so there’s something there.

Slightly conceited to say it’s even somewhat finished. The Alptraum stuff need to be made to something not just disconnected blobs, the Rape of the Sabine Women hasn’t been exhumed for weeks, and I have a queasy premonition when it’s all done I’ll have something closer to twenty minutes than eight, no matter how much I plead, “Can you do it faster?”

But it feels like something now, I can recognise it. Also I think I may have managed to not reiterate all the tricks I’ve done before. It’s become what I imagined, even though I had no idea what that is. Or … it’s become something that the feeling of which is right, no gaps in the teeth, no clunks or moments of “eeeeew!”, though it still exists at that stage in my head and somehow I have to do an amazing contortion act tomorrow to get it there, and although it’s only meant to be a short work, and has variously appeared on two previous occasions, I’d somehow like to see it grow … hours of me me me.

I’m watching Tara and Danny, who have told me I have to dance to Britney, or mime her words, or something equally scary. It’s been almost two months here and somehow the performance season is dragged across most of October so there’s maybe another month to go, but I’m going to miss this strange little family.

all the people i can remember sleeping with … day 11 & 12

It was Throbbing Gristle. Though I need to go into town and try and find a record shop in this town of superlatively bad shopping that has Mission of Dead Souls, otherwise … I was surprised at how much of TG I must have listened to, sampling various tracks from their albums on iTunes, not that I could say I could sing along to any, there was though a strong memory of place, being in Auckland living in squats and various stark concrete, rising damp soaked buildings and warehouses near the wharfs. And I’d forgotten both how unfriendly and anxiety-inducing their music is, and also their musical genius. To listen to them is to hear clichés, that’s how profoundly influential they have been.

I like the German word for nightmares, alptraum, not being particularly etymological, I see both ‘dream’ and ‘trauma’ there, and I like ‘alp’ like dying of hypothermia high in the mountains as the sun departs. I’ve been writing down my more memorable dreams this year under this name, not all terrifying, though all have something that caused them to remain. The last scene I’m making was to give Daniel, Xuan, Paea, and Tara five that had something in them for no especially coherent reason I thought were appropriate for this work.

Deciding to continue humiliating and embarrassing myself, one of the dreams starred Daniel, Xuan and Tara amongst others with a heavy implication of smut. Then there was the Nepalese plane crash and subsequent militia-versus-peasants gun battle in which I was shot in the arm and Gala found me bleeding in a sluggish stream and knowing it couldn’t be plugged or tourniqueted. A thug who burst into my house in Toronto and dug his fingers into me so deeply until I again knew I was dying. A poolside adventure in Italy or similar with a period like a bleeding torrent … Japanese rope bondage suspension …

Late last night at Cibo with Alison, I impulsively showed her the three-page script. I was then just as suddenly taken, like a rabbit startled in a car’s headlights, by what I’ve made over the last couple of months, and just how personal it is, and got quite scared by the reality of people watching. I wanted to pull it back from her, but also to try and read some trace of a response in her face. We five have been in our little world, like a strange unknown tribe deep in the Papua New Guinea interior, it’s very easy once I, once we all start to feel comfortable with each other and what we are doing to venture tremendously far from familiarity and safety. I talk about how in my work I try to imagine possible worlds, how I take this from the philosophers I admire, and then to realise perhaps it’s not so imaginary or theoretical, that we can make something livable, that the world, our lives, we are far more malleable and open to suggestion that we suppose. And now to be discovered … a momentary freakout.

I was thinking while reading over this, daydreaming too, “I hope I like it”.

It’s too late to change anything though, and anyway, it’s far more interesting for me to put myself in these situations that I don’t know what will happen. But I am now quite nervous and apprehensive about this. I guess my attitude towards myself right now in response is somewhat of, “Oh shut up and deal with it, you knew what you were doing,” though I’m not sure why I was doing it, (I’ll blame it on Garry-the-theme-this-year-is-gender-studies-Stewart), or that I do know what I am doing. I suppose I’m also worried about the others, that we could all wake up having found ourselves wondering what on earth we’ve done. It’s probably just me. I need to get trashed again this weekend.

We were going to read aloud one dream each but Xuan decided she was going to read them all. Yes I adore listening to someone trying to comprehend a language that is not really their own. I love too, what English becomes when it falls in love with another place. It is alive and always becoming something else, it really delights me, Chinglish in all its varieties, how one language adapts another in order to I guess to be understandable and in turn changes, and maybe also it’s not all practical, maybe sometimes too play and fun and games make the flowering.

I’m feeling slightly lazy in how I want to choreograph, and watching Paea rehearse I thought maybe what I do isn’t really choreography, and maybe I don’t really know how to choreograph, like an architect who has no idea of the engineering needed to establish a structure. After sitting around airing my dreams I just wanted them to improvise, that catch-all word for ‘do something’, while I filmed it.

This is the first time in this work I’ve brought the camera in. temperance and hell variously were entirely choreographed through the lens and editing. So being lazy, instead of feeling anxious that I have no steps to give, I just watched them and later will watch them again on film and cut-and-paste the bits I like and somehow assemble it. More minutes and seconds. I need to do some cutting myself, or … “actually guys, can you do it faster?”.

rotten and minus some neurons

Lucky I’m not a Calvinist or I’d know for sure the last few days earthly torment was God’s punishment for having too much fun last week. Personally I suspect a kind of annual Bird Flu or SARS, as it was almost this time last year I found myself going from fairly normal to hospital in a matter of hours. Oh sickness, malady, feebleness of my body, what a crappy few days it’s been.

Normally I’d say, “Hence absence of blog”, but you all know how tardy I’ve been at this lately.

Anyway. Much expectorating of lungs and tightness of jaw, so … Tuberculosis. Or SARS. I thought maybe Ebola but my viscera didn’t seem to liquidate fast enough. However in keeping with the lucky small fraction who survive that virus, my brain has been drastically reduced. Mostly I is zombie. I have to think to walk. … So … this is what it’s like to be stupid … or average.

Finished Harry Potter though, and cried. My favourite is still Prisoner of Azkaban, but Deathly Hallows is really very good. I feel I should read them all one after the other now.

Lots of profoundly odd dreams populated with close friends I’m attributing to flu hallucinations. I’ve been writing down the more disturbing, striking or just naggingly remembered ones since the start of the year, a little collection of alptraum.

they are not my dreams

After coughing myself into sleep deprivation over the previous couple of weeks, it was a blessing when dreams returned last week. My dreams tend towards the strange, bizarre, grotesque, occasionally nightmarish and often more peculiarly real and meticulously detailed than my waking world. Besides the singularly terrifying or lucid dreams that I remember with no external help until senility will steal my memories, I make no record of them.

Suzanne G. variously known as wurzeltod, Thee Temple ov Psychick Blah, is one of my favourite though not frequently updated blogs, who accompanied by the most sublime photography of Gregory Crewdson (which is really what this post is about) said, last night, I dreamt about being kidnapped by the guerilla troops of London’s underground system.