Wednesday, 16 June 2010

MOTHER AND DAUGHTER (A short story by Princess Julia published in Sang Bleu 2008)

It was like any other day, she took the turning that led to her mothers house. The sense of returning home was the familiar feeling she felt as a child coming home from school. Things had changed though, new signs had gone up, people passing seemed the same but different… she trod the pavements she had trodden all those years ago, remembering the familiar cracks in pavements, crumbling cement in the walls of passing houses, the taste or the air and the smells of other peoples dinners.

Her dress clung to her thighs as the wind whipped across her body, ‘ummm’ she thought and shivered, somehow, secretly she felt like crying. Her journey had taken her full circle, she now lived in a place of her ancestors, and as she sensed their lives far away from her mother she walked silently in their ghostly like shadows tracing daily routes she thought they may have taken. Somehow she had fixated on her ancestors etching a direct memory into her present. She strode in their footsteps and remembered stories told to her by her very own mother, wanting very much to feel as they did. The compulsion drove her to near distraction.

The mother laughed and carried on much the way she always did, chatting on about people she wasn’t sure about. “Remember Elaine? You went to school with her… well she had a baby, he’s three now”. She couldn’t recall an Elaine, must have been in the year below her as junior school. Still the mother chattered on obscurely. ‘Do all mothers chatter in a such fashion?’ she thought as something caught her eye, a glint of something. The mother rolled up her sleeves and carried on with a current chore… her arms were etched with symbols of her life, inky lines engraved with the pictorial evidence of her catharsis. Why she had chosen this form of embellishment at her age remained a mystery to those on the outside of her experience, but choose it she had. A personal crisis had entered into the mother’s subplot, hence she had taken up with the tool of permanence, the needle that inked deep into her skin and marked her with indelible lines. Symbols of her existence, a story of her own making, exposed outside out for the world to see. Remarkably these doodles that had emerged over a period of time marked a chapter of change. The daughter could identify the moment they started appearing. Small symbols at first, the name of something or someone, a rose or a character of some sort. They seemed to multiply covering her virgin flesh with some haste. The mother proudly exhibited her stains; they marked a newfound freedom in her life. A life that, although somewhat bohemian had up until a certain point been a straightforward existence. The mother you see came from a line of haberdashers and furniture upholsters. Good with their hands, craftsmen who stitched away the hours creating fine damask chairs. Working folk of the Eastend of London. The mother was engrained with a work ethic of the old fashioned variety and so her life had taken a structured format. School, university, a degree in law and finally a job in the city. She fell in love with a fellow don and her legal career stopped short. One child came then another and she resigned herself to the role of motherhood moving from the city into the rural hills of Kent. Of course and predictably the relationship floundered, it fell apart in the most heartbreaking way, the mother yearned for her freedom now and when the kids grew up enough she threw caution to the wind and left with her teenage girls to find her self. This was exactly when the fleshy adornments appeared. Like ornate hives erupting over the gaps on her body and in her mind. Every time the tattooists needle drilled over her flesh she sighed a sigh of relief, the hum of the needle, the stains of evidence that made her feel alive resurrected her inner being that had been lain dull for so long. The pulse was numb in her as she longed for this stinging sensation afresh; the process of scaring and healing symbolised her own inner hurt slowly repairing, it was the only thing that could push her demons out resulting in a compulsion that literally marked her apart. The feeling was so good and the markings so proud she set upon exalting the craft and duly practised the skill on folk needing the similar sensations she now proudly displayed.

The daughter sensed all this, and relished the eccentricities her mother took on. Nevertheless endless separation was tangible, the gulf between them now took on a new form since the daughter’s had now left home and were finding their own way in life. The mother had become quite eccentric, she brought a monkey, a shy little thing that attached itself to her shoulder. She had become quite outrageous after all those years of playing the dull and dutiful wife, she laughed out loud with a vigour that would frighten the local wolves. She would nowadays more often than not storm into situations dressed in the armour of her tattooed skin pronouncing a formidable presence wherever she went. The daughter was somehow amazed by this, secretly shocked and would giggle nervously as she toyed with the image of her ‘new’ mother.

There is the theory that daughters are destined to turn into their mothers or some such codswallop. The daughter considered her fate at length, weighing up the pros and cons of this event occurring. It seemed unlikely but then again the daughter; an artist herself had lately become attached to the tool that splattered the eternal ink. She herself had etched pictorial images into the skin of friends and harboured a fascination with her own kind of skin art.

The chain of events were now merging, the mothers journey and the daughters, inextricably linked by inking. The trail of etchings carved indelibly into their skins seemed to smile as the two women now sat mulling over their unsaid circumstance, a silent knowing between them that was as old as time itself.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010


One of the most hysterical trips I've had for a long time, Steve Strange is a legend, the front man for 80's band Visage and host of numerous clubs from The Blitz onwards. This trip was for a personal appearance at Italian club 'Decadence' in Bologna.

First of all we missed our afternoon flight-derailment in Cardiff? Leisurely beauty bath while Steve's sister Tanya tried to bang the door down? Who knows and who cares! We got the next flight in the evening, Steve managed to forget his shoes, he turned up to the airport in flip-flops... Upon arrival in Bologna we were greeted by this fabulous lot, club kid Kichman (left), promoter Midge (center) and drag entertainer Naomi as his real self Orinocho (right). Midge pointed out the club Decadence enroute from the airport. 'I thought it was in a Castle', I said, 'That looks like a shed in an industrial estate!'

After supper we decided to go to the local gay rave set in the grounds of a park, lovely location and a very lively crowd of topless boys!
Ok, so after an exhausting rave-up we decided to sample the delights Bologna had to offer, i.e. a vintage market, a search for some onstage footwear for Mr. Strange, and of course the sound check! Here's Steve getting ready for an airing... note new tattoo on neck, it's an interpretation of a leopard scratch.
The club itself was full of 'toys' er, shackles and stretchers... what kind of kinky sex club is this? Steve wasn't fazed! 'Echo, echo', he said at the sound check, more reverb on the voice! Echo in Italian means every thing's ok... still it got sorted in the end! Very professional, here's Steve with a lot of 'echo' at the sound check.
Yes, yes so we got some suitable footwear, a very nice vintage pair of sports shoe. Good to see the night being promoted with a poster, Steve looks happy as well, even though he said his voice was about to go. Luckily we found some throat spray at the local Pharmacia...
In homage to Steve, Kichman did the poster look, can you tell the difference? He turned up to the hotel like this below.

So the club was some sort of kinky sex club it was revealed while sharing a pizza later that evening... sorry Steve, i couldn't stop laughing when Drag Naomi and Kichman told us! A lot of fetish going on, fan DJ Mouse (below) got a signing on his original pressing of Fade To Grey, he looks well happy with it as well! P.S. he had a spare mask in his pocket!
And these two below, Francesca and her bf from the local piercing shop look very loved up in the crowd!
So Steve Strange comes on to an ecstatic crowd and really does put on a show... All the hits, Mind Of A Toy, Night Train, Fade To Grey plus a new one... 'Click, Click, Click'...
A lot of devoted fans turned up including this one Carlo, he runs the Pete Burns fan site...
Here's Drag Naomi and friend below, backstage... I wasn't lined up to dj till 4.45 (who's idea was that!) So i hung out with the most fabulous drag queens of Bologna instead!
And this lovely lady Federica, what a glamour puss! Still, you'll be glad to know we managed to get the flight back to London!
Not sure how this video is going to turn out... SS doing Night Train for 30 seconds!