ME SPEAKING ON THE ABSOLUTE NECESSITY OF LGBT COMMUNITY GROUPS(and the history of them in Liverpool) for “THINKING FILM’S YOU ARE HERE” PROJECT. THANKS TO DANNY KILBRIDE:)

PROUD I DID THIS, AND MY ROLE IN LGBT+ COMMUNITY IN LIVERPOOL AND ELSEWHERE

Advertisements
Posted in "Pride", gay, gay affirmative writing, gay hermeneutics, memory recherche little green bu journeys poetry, queer, Re-envisionning, Rememberances, Section 28 protest traces memory reportage, Self-actualisation, Uncategorized, Utopia, working outside hegemonies | 1 Comment

MASCULINITY AND ME.BY STEVEN BENSON.

CATALYST: “The Descent of Man”(Grayson Perry, 2016)

I am (mainly) a social construction in regard to gender roles.

Whilst I am a PSYCHOLOGICAL  androgynite (identifying-emotionally- as neither ” male” nor female”, since these alleged “masculine” or “feminine” psychological traits are NOT biologically, but societally/culturally constructed,assigned by mass, controlling powers of male heteropatriarchy); whilst this is so (and I am in line with Perry here):-

I am-very definitely (Steve said, in a very defensive male manner)PHYSIOLOGICALLY/PHYSICALLY male. I have a penis and WANT to have a penis. I have  deep need to be-physically, at least, cis-gender. I own to want be SEEN as physically male, sometimes-confession time!- as “masculine{as constructed} -acting”(though, interestingly, albeit it is a specious distinction-as sexism underpins sexual orientation discrimination- “effeminate”{ie pertaining to “female” attributed}men  are seen as negative “female” weak versions of women, cf campophobia}). I am a bit ashamed of that desire. Should I be? Probably, yes and no….

Which, of course, means that, though I love camp-in all its variegated manifestations-as performative and creative,I am not sexually attracted to “effeminate “/”camp” men.. I outrage myself… that is sexist, no bones about it. It is, at least, honest…. Some extenuation: what are SEEN as psychological/emotional qualities which are the purview of (biological) women ARE sexually attractive(as well, more clearly as very EMOTIONALLY attractive: gentleness, fey, empathizing. Omg , MORE stereotypes of psychological characteristics commonly/hegemonically ASCRIBED to women, the key word being “ascribed”/engraved on the bodies and minds of women)

Going round in circles here; but societal conditioning is so mistaken/controlling, it is natural to be conflicted…….

Anyway, I feel raw: I have placed my masculinist cards on the table….

Positionning myself within/without/athwart this maze and morass of floating signifiers/signifieds is, more or less, automatic now (though that does not make it right or not a position from which to grow). But the healthier bits were NOT learnt from peers in youth: (all the constructions/ the societal and control-of-women-and-thus-of-gay-men baggage WAS learnt). It has been a process/journey of SELF-education (with help from later, healthier peers!), one I have still further to go….

At school, in the 60s and 70s, I was never (knowingly) “suspected” of being gay (positively straight-acting, darling!) I was, instead, put firmly within another bracket(because kids, like everyone else, in dominant models of society and self,need and like to label and box off): it was the clever, academic boy who helped other kids with their homework and had a briefcase ( a rare and, thus, blatant phenomenon of academic leanings in this particular-fairly rough-school). Physically non-“camp” or not enough so to be derided/bullied(can only remember ONE occasion and that was taunting re the the briefcase:P))- I was the geek. The overtly (hate that word!) “camp”/”gay” boy ended up tied to the cloakroom railings (he did actually turn out to be gay; I met him about 10 years later in a gay centre)….. I was lucky to a degree (because it twisted me {see the above angst re positioning}).The academic “type” has often had this bastion, where he/she is saved from homophobic taunts of “queer”, “puff”, “lezza”.

“Attitude” mag devoted its  December 2017 issue See the source image

to masculinity (with a particularly illuminating article by the fab David Hoyle, to whose thrusting off of the shackles of socially-constructed masculinity I can only aspire!); some of the material is very poignant: gay and trans peoples’ struggles against this heavily repressive “straightjacket”(the name of a book by another “Attitude” writer, Matthew Todd). It makes me angry; it makes me sad…

One especially complex arena is around “self-definition” as transman or transwoman of ANY person who feels born in the wrong body, whether they have adopted physical changes in their body or not. Second wave style feminists say it is offensive(” it erodes women’s identity and safety”/” it marginalizes and invisibilizes lesbians” {I don’t get that one; its about gender identity not sexual orientation}). Jeremy Corbyn, however, is the most prominent figure (I am not interested in Germaine Greer’s mad views) to say ANY person- born in the opposed, biological gender and wanting to correct that by re-identifying-is a transwoman/transman (this was in regard to all transpeople shortlists for parliamentary/council candidates). I feel it hard to agree, definitively, with either: instinctively, however, I STRONGLY, to be honest, tend towards Corbyn’s view:on the grounds of “do no harm”; one person’s identity CANNOT erode another’s unless they are invalidating that other’s rights (eg. established religions’ often discriminatory and offensive views on sexual orientation and gender). Transmen do not make my sense of self, as a (gay) man under threat. They are separate issues.

I speak now-with PRIDE:(as opposed to the shame of my conflicted need to present as PHYSICALLY male, and , in a few ways, as having psychological/emotional “masculine”{as constructed} traits) : before the laid-bare angst above, I started by “announcing”(hate that word; let us say enunciating) that I was a psychological androgynite, viz as possessing-or allowing to come to fruition LATENT genderqueer emotional traits, hidden, for years, under the rocks of heteropatriarchal construction and constriction. I am “female” (as constructed-so-to-be, emotionally) in that I see myself as empathic (largely), kind(mainly), gentle (unless dealing with a dysfunctional corporate behemoth); I am “male”(similarly constructed) in that I view myself as strong-willed, persistent/determined… blah, blah, blah…You see the absolute MESS words- and the societal/cultural meanings ascribed to them-get(s) us in. It is a constant process/journey of unpicking and (literally re-writing). In other words, I can say-glibly/simplistically/somewhat disingenuously- I am a human, a person; it is all about our “universal” traits, our common humanity. Well, I am glad to say that, ultimately, it IS; but ONLY ultimately because the most we can hope for/work towards is Towards Gay/Transtopia in this insecure, masculinist, territorial, bellicose and labelling/stereotyping world… So, deal with all the stratas of discrimination and we might get to your universalist position( which is, as things mainly stand, a sine qua non for ” I am a masculinist/”left behind”{used disingenuously} insecure{insert word!}.

Even tho I have had to resort to slippery words, made-up words, to describe my psychological androgyny, it is, at least-as actions can be ABOVE/across/trans words-a good start. Of that part, I am Proud 🙂

 

 

Posted in alterity, ecriture cuir, gay, gay affirmative writing, gay hermeneutics, heteronormativity, Jeremy Corbyn, Masculinity, Phenomenology, psychological androgyny, queer, queer hermeneutics, Re-envisionning, revolution, Self-actualisation, Uncategorized, Utopia, working outside hegemonies | 1 Comment

WHY DO I WRITE?. FOR MERSEYSIDE LGBT CREATIVE WRITING GROUP.JUNE 2018.FREEFLOW. BY STEVEN BENSON

QUESTIONS

  1. Status angst? (A bit; see below)
  2. Do I (linked to above; other reasons?) want to be published; in what format?
  3. Is(n’t) a blog enough?(well, one mainly defunct, in decay, “Decayetude https://decayetude.wordpress.com/ and the hopeful one more active:THIS one!)

These are all fairly negatively framed questions/justifications/explications… More positively, I FEEL MY WRITING CRYSTALLIZES MY EXPERIENCE AND LIFE.

It firmly articulates ( I probably privilege writing above speech, pace Derrida!) what would-otherwise- be half-formed, murky thoughts/beliefs. Lays them out (the corpse of the now, as every moment passes into yesterday, but, queerly, remains concurrent in the present and the future). Also, I suppose-ok, I own it!- I want to get these ideas and thoughts OUT there, to be read by like-minds or even-rare!-to CONVINCE people of my beliefs; but NOT at the expense of selling-out to marketing exigencies: “too gay(not enough gay??:P)”; “too academic”. Tiresome accomodations to heterosexual desires to control; and to their whims and fancies of what a gay man should and shouldn’t be (“why do you always feel the need to announce it?”; “quite like the camp but uncomfortable re lgbt equality, aka having HUMAN rights”). These are tiresome, offensive and BORING comments. So, ok , go for a gay male/lgbt/radical press? Ultimately, there is also a feel of “I can’t be bothered: as long as I got my constructively critical LGBT Creative Writing Group{which I am,in addition, very proud of as giving a safe space and an opportunity for this heavily and historically marginalised and invisibilzed loose grouping to SPEAK ALOUD and be heard). …So, we made a group anthology; it was even CALLED “Made Up”:)!; we were made up….(Liverpool for “happy/pleased”)…….

Whoah, Steve, this exactly the kind of off-on-a-tangent, longwinded writing people don’t wanna read… someone called it “wordy shite”{thanks:P!!!!}. Well, I know a few want to; not many , a few stray followers…

The rhizome serves a purpose: I am unentangling a rich web of:-

“people’s expectations”{which people?which  readers? agents? publishers?}

my desire to write: for ME AND to get my views across

not to put publishing (especially in NON self-published form) above integrity/selfhood: I mean I definitely do NOT want to make a living(even a part one) out of writing.

____________________________________________________________________________________

So, IN PARTICULAR, why do I need to write this solipsistic, auto-fictive meandering{or is that the way to write which is more redolent of emotional truth and wholeness? (thanks to Catherine Cusset,”The Limits of Auto-Fiction{2012}). Well, I have, citing Cusset’s ideas, answered this-partly, anyway-for MYSELF because: We THINK in layers (though music is more suitable for reproducing contrapuntal processes, but, being more meta-referential, is diffuse/EVEN more relativistic in “meaning”/ meaning; so writing, which is more signifier/signified-rich CAN be clearer in communicating meaning, personal or TOWARDS the universal.)

We THINK in parallel lines (polyphonically), sometimes the voices are in harmony with each other, sometimes in dischord/incongruence. SO, I should like to try and loosely mirror that thought process, via digressions/rhizomes/clauses-within-clauses, sometimes even losing myself (and the reader, when there IS one:P) in the process.

{OMG, this is meant to be max 500 words; no panic: I can gloss and truncate}

 

I have digressed… to ” why my especial writing STYLE” not , prima facie, “Why I/ Steve write”.

————————————————————————————–

 

Is it all just a load of (self)wank? What is wrong with wanking?!

In writing,referentially, re myself do OTHER people see (aspects of ) THEMSELVES? ; do I care?{Hegemonic society says I SHOULD care; it’s all about communication, and even I believe there is some truth/necessity in this!)

___________________________________________________________________

Nina Simone sang “I sing just to know that I am alive”; there is some truth/resonance in that for ME re writing: as I spent most of my formative years self-loathing, without a context to be a whole gay man, and -STILL- surrounded (outside my queer family of lgbt and lgbt-affirming friends), in a world of subtle and not-so-subtle marginalisation: as this existed/exists (to an extent) I will, and do, repeatedly NEED to write and LIVE myself back into my own (stolen, often) reality. I have just got it: THAT is the biggest reason I write………………………………………………………………………………………….

 

Posted in "Pride", alterity, art, ecriture cuir, gay, gay affirmative writing, gay hermeneutics, heteronormativity, life mirrors art, queer, queer hermeneutics, queer theory, Queer wrting, rant stream-o-consciousness;likes; dislikes; hates;writing workshop, Re-envisionning, reader response theory, revolution, Self-actualisation, Uncategorized, Utopia, wordcount, working outside hegemonies, writing exercise | Leave a comment

BOOKSHOP STORIES. PART 3.YARBOROUGH HOUSE:A MANIC MEDITATION. BY STEVEN BENSON

There is a place called Yarborough House. It is a bookshop-cum-record-and café entity. It is in the struggling, slightly decaying town of Bishop’s Castle in the lorn lostness of Shropshire (“Clunton, Clunbury, Clungunford and Clun”).

The town-if such is not too grand a nomenclature- is full of artshops: creative people trying to make a living in this internet age; some of the shops are closed down. There is a tiny, ruined castle. Inaccessible(post Beeching) by train, it has to be attained by bus/car.

See the source image

How quaint…. orange.

I have been there: twice. An elderly couple run it, but the real boss is, apparently, a cat…

There had been about sixteen years betwixt the two visits, and the couple had got noticeably older…

Short of time(as we ALL are), I realised I needed a whole day, not a snatched panic book/record/cd drop. Such luxury is for another time….

Riches galore… such finds:

rare, inexpensive classical cds (Marco Polo, Michael Ponti, Vox Boxes)

See the source image

esoteric LPS (I remember Shostakovitsch Symphony 8 in a Melodiya very Soviet box)

Wondrously, a classical music booksale(£1 each)


On an (even!) deeper level, this Utopia ticked all the boxes: including the (slightly spectral) psychogeographical ones:P 🙂

The café and the couple looked tired; the former a tad delapidated. So many metaphors: for life/death and all in-between; the passing whims of the market economy(but for the command economy-produced Soviet LPS!).

________________________________________________________________________

There are so few of these shops around now (“Henry Bohns”, in my home town, is one; but it is just plain tatty and inauspicious. )

I need/crave the emotions/frenzied weltschmertz of the time/space of these emporiums: different in some ways to the new bookshop(see THE BOOK SHOP, in earlier posts https://towardsutopia.wordpress.com/2017/04/20/bookshop-stories-part-2-re-invention-a-meditation-by-steven-benson/ ), but similar in others:one inhabits solace, excitement, (book/record) lust/porn, joy and plain mania. But, regarding Book shop time, it elongates AND lengthens, somehow: slows down AND, concomitantly, speeds up, (especially in the increasing velocity of  febrile browsing for {elusive, “I have always looked for that and wanted it”}purchases). So, in that quest for the ever-evasive “hit” (“I found it: that original missing Ponti!”) time collapses on itself; when the frenzy is over, comfort is sought in a cake (home-made at Yarborough House).

I wish I could go to Yarborough House every week, like I do-most weeks- to the Liverpool Bookshop…

“the land of lost content”

 

Posted in a la recherche Benjamin gay queer archive assembalge, a la recherche gay little green bus psychgeography, alterity, cafes, ecriture cuir, Hauntology, Phenomenology, Piano music, psychogeography, psychogeography urban life village life village in the city, queer geography, Quirky captures, Re-envisionning, Rememberances, Uncategorized, wordcount | 1 Comment

TWO YOUNG MEN TOGETHER SITTING. BY STEVEN BENSON.

{Hommage to Walt Whitman, celebrant of male beauty}

Two Young

Men

Together

Sitting.

Green top,

Orange pumps.

 

Good

Eye

Contact;

Probably

“Just

Friends”

(But you

Never

Know!).

 

Conversing with

Phones and

Each

Other

 

Glimpsed

Moments.

 

Am I a

Voyeur?

Yes, cos

I  am
Looking at

Two lovely

Young

Men

(one with

Orange shoes)

In a

Café:)

Posted in alterity, blurred captures, Cafe, gay, gay affirmative writing, gay hermeneutics, my poems, queer hermeneutics, Queer wrting, Uncategorized, Utopia | 1 Comment

“WHO AM I TO WRITE ‘US’?”.”HOMO-HISTORIAN”. REFLECTIONS ON “SOHO”(SCOTT):LOOSE BAGGY, QUEER MONSTROUSNESS. BY STEVEN BENSON

Quotations(above) from Richard Scott:”My Soho” in his new collection of poems “Soho”, 2018)

Read this collection: Scott: self-styled(but insecure) “homo-historian”. I love that phrase:). He evokes-in his multi-layered, Whitmanesque (replete with long lines/enjambement) semi-poetry/semi-prose- the aporia of a gay man trying (and managing it!) to write, contrapuntally, the melodic threads (lament and celebration) of our gay male history; so it is trans-historical, trans-hegemonic; lying athwart, it has been there all the time. Like (parts of ) these blogs, it unearths our covered history-which some would LIKE to REMAIN in a grave- and brings it to life/light. Perhaps it is influenced by Bartlett’s early classic parallelizing of Wildean homosexual London with the present(as it was then) in his groundbreaking “Who was that Man”(1988) or Bartlett’s Baroque splendour of “Ready to Catch Him should he Fall” (re-issued 2017). I am not sure.

To me, a “homo-historian” tries to elucidate the (semi/obvious to those in the know/covert) homosexual/gay/queer metatexts/parallel texts in often textually occluded pre-Woolfenden(UK) texts; healing readings. Its an act of re-claiming and re-ownership by the gay male and his gaze. I have written many blog posts on this. https://towardsutopia.wordpress.com/2012/08/04/reparative-gay-readingnothing-to-do-with-gay-reparative-therapy-the-word-has-been-twisted-to-mean-its-opposite-subjectiveidentifying-with-the-characters-reading-and-deconstructionist-reading-co/ and

https://towardsutopia.wordpress.com/2012/10/31/queerin-its-sense-of-not-solely-relating-to-sexual-orientationin-literature-a-creative-explorationclarification-of-what-it-means-to-me-by-steven-benson/ and{BITTERLY political} https://towardsutopia.wordpress.com/2018/02/07/straight-hermeneutics-and-beyond-some-of-this-is-irony-by-steven-benson/

Beyond the bitter, the pain and the hurt; this is Scott’s task and mine…..it will also help heal these gay male authors’ spirits: longdead now, they lived a life of angst and fear…

Who am I, Steven Benson, to “write ‘us'”? Well. A 58 year old gay man, who came out(finally, after earlier attempts) at the time of scapegoating of men-who-have-sex-with-men during the AIDS crisis(leading to the nasty Clause 28); who has read, against the hegemonic grain and rampant heterosexism-leaking into sheer homophobia- of dubious Englit classes in a local Uni, where students got away with saying “That text cannot possibly be homoerotic”{hence the bitter anger}; who has transmuted and repaired those texts, bringing them back to their true GAY GLORY: for example “Le Grand Meaulnes” and “Maurice” here https://towardsutopia.wordpress.com/2012/12/22/the-hegemony-in-action-and-forsters-maurice-the-presentation-that-never-was-by-steven-benson/ and

https://towardsutopia.wordpress.com/2012/11/15/deconstructing-and-therefore-queeringmainly-in-second-broader-sense-see-earlier-differentiationsle-grand-meaulnesalain-fournier-by-steven-benson/

Ok, I cannot speak for every gay man. Not every gay man likes reading/literature. Not ever gay man feels able to work against Clause 28. That’s how oppression works: people just give in/ignore/”I am not political”{well, sista, gay is DEFAULT political;if people hadn’t fought for lgbt rights, it would be harder to exist/live fully, and there would be EVEN MORE(than the vast amount there already/still is) in the way of mental (dis)stress for lgbt people}. But, a better template: to help each other, in the ways each of us can, playing to our own, varied strengths:)

So I, to purloin a phrase, am also, a homo-historian: in the august company of Neil Bartlett, Richard Scott and all the lgbt/gay/queer theorists and fiction writers, writing in code or not, from/for all time.

Rampant chroniclers of the marginalised, march on….

Posted in "Pride", ecriture cuir, gay, gay affirmative writing, gay hermeneutics, gay literature, life mirrors art, Phenomenology, poem gay love personal mixed genre little green bus, psychogeography, queer, queer constellations rememberances straightqueer, queer geography, queer hermeneutics, queer theory, Queer wrting, Rant, rant stream-o-consciousness;likes; dislikes; hates;writing workshop, Re-envisionning, reader response theory, Section 28 protest traces memory reportage, Self-actualisation, Uncategorized, Utopia, working outside hegemonies | Leave a comment

THE QUEST FOR THE ULTIMATE LOOSE, BAGGY MONSTER;BOOKS, MUSIC,BUILDINGS.BY STEVEN BENSON

Just bought “The Magus”(Fowles)…..

I am entranced by these epic leviathans, what James called “large, loose, baggy monsters”. Episodic travails and traversals, digressive,rhizomatic, multiple (sub)plots( some need a dramatis personae, a la Tostoi!); postmodern; contrapuntal narratives; you get my drift: they are BIG, they are sometimes messy, be they classic(and prolix) Victorian novels or the massive tomes of stream-of-consciousness that populate literary fiction now. (my erstwhile favourite loose baggy- Edmund White’s “Farewell Symphony”-I recently reread and I thought it messy and tritely sublimatory of the AIDS crisis and its victims and survivors {but perhaps I have, grossly, missed the point; they had no choice but to sublimate into recherche dinner parties; the horrors were BEYOND mentally assimilable}).

I do not want to get over-concerned here, with the merits (or otherwise) of the gargantuan entities in question; it is, rather, the  CONCEPT of a certain otiose decorativeness, size; the sheer folly.

I have seen cd box sets of the complete works of Haydn…. Haydn; he wrote some good, occasionally great, music; but the complete (including juvenile) works??!!… HUNDREDS of cds; listened to, if it is not a late symphony or quartet, it is just musical wallpaper; but it is sexy (what my friend called  a “mind orgasm”), it is big, it is limitless; here is the point: limitless: aka a stab against mortality, like possessions/collecting-mania; it can be a beautiful, much decried occupation( unless you end up in a Channel Five documentary) but it is, ultimately a vain attempt at building a bulwark against death: Tutankhamen-like.

Yet, as I say, I do not want to knock it; it has its own joys, if (approximatively) managed(today I bought a 1300 page novel by Murakami: it beckoned; I LIKE the little Murakami I have read- a queer {in the broad sense and, sometimes, in the narrower one!} writer if there ever was one- but it had to be the epic one:P.)

It is not just cry-against-mortality acquisiteness(sorry, joy of collecting/completism)- it is, also:

  1. size for size sake (ok, Beethoven is more clearly of use, some early stuff apart)
  2. the folly; size and decoration (the same performance on different varieties of the same LP label: Vox/Candide/Turnabout: all Michael Ponti, but different covers and, sometimes, couplings). Buildings come, vaguely, in this category:BIG buildings; (semi) desuetudinous but not necessarily; necessarily, ramshackle. For instance, Hen Coleg(Old College), the original building of the University of Wales/Coleg Prifysgol Crymu at Aberystwyth.See the source imageinside and out: See the source imageI was privileged to study English Lit in the last two years the department used this old building(built-you have guessed it!- originally as a hotel, for the Cambrian railway, but only used as such for a very short time). It was a cornucopia of hidden passageways, leading to… nowhere; turrets outside, cast iron tiny stairways inside. The Classics Professor lived up his OWN iron stairway, a door in mid air; accessible by a further secret route, a SPIRAL iron staircase. Lectures were often up four storeys(no lift). This was some beautiful yet monstrous, baggy, Gothic folly. I LOVED that building. I still do; the way it is PLONKED right next to the sea(by a half-destroyed pier).Unlike a lot of its contemporaneous buildings, it survives, and is even, currently, being renovated and brought back into increased use.
  3. The epic: not (always) size for its own sake: you can (well) argue that Paderewski’s sprawling “Polonia Symphony”, with its  30 minutes finale, and battles and victories over enemy occupation, is OF NECESSITY of the length and grandeur it is: it deals with one of many of Poland’s epic struggles for survival and independence; it is thematically interlinked; no “ragbag” this; similarly, Mahler’s vast panoplies, mirroring the vastness, variety and complexities of life; Busoni’s 7 movement Piano Concerto; and the uncut-seven movements also- version of the unjustly neglected Anton Rubinstein’s “Ocean Symphony”. with its stereotyped but musically effective storms and calms. But, then, as I said, they don’t HAVE to be good/great. I am trying to think of a musically more challenged example:Garofalo Romantic Symphony: “parlous loftiness” if ANYTHING deserved the term; striving for the ineffable, and just missing it, or, sometimes, falling flat on its face; but IT TRIED:) (lovely tunes and epic the way the obscure Eastern Euro orchestra wrestles with it lol). It is the ATTEMPT that counts!————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-I am tempted to read back this post to myself to check for coherence; yet, at the risk of making a cheap meta point, I don’t WANT to: I want to leave untied ends, rhizomes,  labyrinthine sentences of a dubious endpoint… just like Yr Hen Coleg

 

The doyen of recorded piano music completists-Michael Ponti- recorded(allegedly) ALL Scriabin’s (?Piano Sonatas; complete piano music) by sleeping overnight in the (Vox) studio; and he did it all on a tinny, clattering upright piano: the frenzy, the vastness of the enterprise: it accurately renders the composer’s frantic, massively synasthaesic vision; it fails (or wins, depending on your predilection for camp contrapuntal layers of taste/comprehension/interpretation) on its own terms: the interminable (but not really), the otiose, the fragrantly (to the point of nausea) decorated… like the buildings, like the novels…..See the source image

 

________________________________________________________________________________

Posted in a la recherche Benjamin gay queer archive assembalge, Aberystwyth, Benjamin a la recherche spectral psychogeography bargain LPs Hatto Barrington-Coupe Assemblage Constellation, ecriture cuir, gay hermeneutics, life mirrors art, memory recherche little green bu journeys poetry, Michael Ponti, parlous loftiness, Piano music, psychogeography, queer, queer constellations rememberances straightqueer, queer geography, queer hermeneutics, Quirky captures, rant stream-o-consciousness;likes; dislikes; hates;writing workshop, Re-envisionning, Rememberances, SPECTRAL PSYCHOGEOGRAPHY, Stream-of-consciousness, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

THE HOTEL IS RE-BORN. DOCU-FICTION(OR WHATEVER!). BY STEVEN BENSON.

You might think the following essay- connected to this-  https://towardsutopia.wordpress.com/2018/04/14/the-hotel-a-ghost-story-by-steven-benson/

is fiction; you might not….

What is fact/what is fiction?…”fake news”… blurred lines…disingenuous narratives.

In the following case, it may not matter; but then it MAY, because I would like to save this ailing hotel………

_____________________________________________________________

So, the Station Hotel had been abandoned(except for Network’s Rail using a tiny ground floor section)since ?2012/13/14? (dates on the fickle internet vary). Most likely, it had existed, for a short while, in some sort of eerie, liminal condition; half-emptied, many of the rooms boarded off. The “Buildings at Risk” register spoke of part useage (as reported by a zealous member of the public) for the final year, with no license for the bar and the ancient lifts closed, owing to safety concerns; they also observed sections of the roof hanging off. The station had had to protect its hotel-side platform from falling debris, as trees grew, ostentatiously, on the side of the struggling old building {you MAY be able to ascertain the ACTUAL hotel and station;yet it does not matter}…………….

……………………………………………………………………………………

I {interpellating, auto-fiction style(WHO am I? a sort of ersatz sebaldian narrator?)} entered the hotel. It was 2014. I had read about the hotel, assiduously, wading through the vagaries and dead-letter entries of the web: vestiges of now defunct sites rated and reviewed the hotel. I actually managed to book a room on one site….

I arrived at the station, whence I entered the hotel: there was a very small reception desk (for a 70 bed hotel), with forlorn-looking, faded, fake flowers{I observed in alliterative frenzy} See the source image

An electric fire was plugged in, just below a patch of damp. There was a desultory collection of leaflets of “local attractions”. After ringing a bell, a weary, elderly woman eventually appeared and booked me in. There was no-one else in sight. She said, sadly, “Apologies, sir, but we have lost our alcohol license;the lift is broken and we are only using parts of the hotel, the ground and first floors.” Whilst not boding well for the longevity/business structure of the establishment, I liked this idea in a somewhat morbid, (psycho-geographically) spectral way:) A half-used,semi-desuetudinous hotel fitted the (sebaldian) bill. I, like the narrator of “Austerlitz”(or so it is implied) was comforted-in a melancholy fashion- by this parlous news; it reflected back to me my frail psychological mood and slight physical malaise. { and to go off on another one- a rhizome, that is!- I like my insistence, PACE criticism, of this repetitive mood/building trope/emblem}. Anyway, I liked it {the hotel, my(meta)writing https://towardsutopia.wordpress.com/2018/01/12/hotelwhat-is-it-a-free-extemporization-by-steven-benson/ }

_______________________________________________________________

I was partial to the thin layers of dust everywhere, the half-closed bar, serving only coffee and tea; the 5-dishes menu in the restaurant. Apart from the minor matter of the dust, the hotel was clean and the service, whilst plein de weltschmerz, was good. I only ensured I avoided ordering kippers for next morning’s breakfast, remembering, with anxiety, Sebald’s image of the “entombed fish” he enjoyed at a rundown B and B in Lowestoft (in “Rings of Saturn”){another intriguing link:Lowestoft station, as confirmed by a photograph of only one week’s provenance from writing, now, is still at the edge of life, as it was in Sebald’s narrative, STILL sporting the only remaining B.R blue signage(“Lowestoft Central”{sic}). I

 

I thought, next of my hero, WG, as strained/ filtered through his narrator in “Austerlitz”, staying at the half-vacant Great Eastern-another railway hotel- and meeting Austerlitz himself, in a forlorn bar, the very bar I had visited, and where I had breakfast, in 1983, in a roughly parallel, though possibly synchronistic, universe, of London malaise. {This REALLY was ME-albeit in earlier incarnation- not the ME/”Me” of this (sort of) narrative…}

Oh, these (ex) railway hotels, former British Transport Hotel behemoths, stranded and breathing their last gasps: The Adelphi, Scarborough Grand, Burstin Grand(Folkestone), hanging by a thread: perilously parlous. All, of course, owned and “managed” by the callous quick-buck empire that graces itself with the nomenclature of “Britannia Hotels”; renovated just enough to be occupied (in homage to Pontins/Butlins “hotels”;  in fact, many had been owned by these other failing monopolies); neglected and dilapidated enough to get many “terrible reviews” on Trip Advisor(tho I am sure “I”/I would like them)

{what happened next? what about the story/docu-fiction or whatever you call it…}

Well, he stayed just two nights in the dinosaur; and , reports tell, it really DID, totally close down soon afterwards, when some traveller turned up only to find the doors locked…. Truth told, his/my stay was not all that different to “his”/his (the eponymous guest); make of THAT what you will (or won’t); suffice to say reality and whatever-is-not-reality are misted

{DOT DOT DOT}

In my primarily Utopian, non-realpolitik mindset, re-invention would be nothing but the complete renovation (with a few spooky bits left as a living museum) of the building QUA hotel; not apartments/retail. I know a 70 bedroom hotel in a midsize (at best) town makes this unreal, or at least unlikely. Sadly- because it goes against (my nuanced) ideological beliefs,-I would rather Britannia bought it and did their usual, cyncical thing on it, than embourgeoismented apartments, offices and a “shopping experience”.

Like this (but Swallow went bust)

Lets see… as you become older, is re-invention more difficult or just different? ….

 

THE END{ or IS it?}

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in a la recherche gay little green bus psychgeography, alterity, blurred captures, life mirrors art, Malaise(sebaldian), parlous loftiness, Phenomenology, psychogeography, Rememberances, SPECTRAL PSYCHOGEOGRAPHY, tropes, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

THE HOTEL: A GHOST STORY. BY STEVEN BENSON.

{C.F. https://decayetude.wordpress.com/2012/05/05/the-hotel-and-the-guest-a-story-of-sebaldian-malaise-and-an-essay-in-psychogeography/  and

https://decayetude.wordpress.com/2018/02/23/residuary-body-by-steven-benson/

and

https://decayetude.wordpress.com/2013/02/20/6th-march-1967-the-jolt-a-story-of-spectral-geography-and-uncanny-architecture-by-steven-benson/

The guest booked on one of those endlessly replicating internet sites for hotel reservations. “Booking confirmed”(date, time details)

The time came. He arrived. The hotel formed the grand frontage of a railway station. “Somewhat grandiose; decayed splendour; just my thing”, he reflected, with melancholy joy.

He entered and was checked in by a disconsolate staff member (aged about 75). He was shepherded, by this elderly retainer, upto his room; which turned out to be in a turret; ecstasy upon joy! His route was by way of an apparently unending series of conference rooms, all a little fusty and dowdy, downtrodden like the retainer {he hadn’t studied psychogeography for nothing:P!}; there was a ridiculously huge ballroom, the largest he had ever seen in his lifetime of hunting out such semi-desuetudinous spots. There were slightly dusty chandeliers and well-chosen, elegant paintings.

{This was the same guest who had stayed at the now-a-hotel-under-the waves in Scarborough many years previously; though traumatising him, the cataclysm had not halted his remorseless quest for (semi) decayed hotels and piers and railway stations.}

He noticed the lift-of the ancient, New York , gated variety- was out of order, a detail he noticed, aslant, in his subconscious brain.

After a traditional meal in a largely empty restaurant, ressembling a cafeteria(any denizens being of some age and frailty), he ascended upto his room to sleep for the night.

____________________________________________________________________________

It was morning. The guest awoke to the sound of running water; or was it a dripping sound?. Bemused with residual sleep, he located it to a gaping hole in the ceiling. With increasing angst-nay, with horror- he noticed thick layers of dust on everything, even some debris, from the ceiling, on the floor. There was scaffolding outside the window…….

In growing panic,he dressed and descended the stairs(the lift was still not working). Carpets were torn, there were damp stains on walls; all in all, an air of part dereliction.

At the bottom of six flights of stairs he found the (now) roped-off restaurant. No humans anywhere. Again, bits of rubble and general disarray; yet, at the same time, an air pervaded of the hotel having been suspended in time; as if- like the common trope-the inhabitants had left with a moment’s notice, leaving a Miss Haversham layer of dust, as the sole indicator of any time having elapsed since this juncture.

Beyond panic now {an eerie silence having descended on his thoughts and perceptions, just as, to belabour the psychogeographic figure, it had fallen on the building itself}, he found the boarded-up main entrance; luckily, it was flimsy and he pushed himself into the outside world.

He saw a bright purple Scotrail sign-“Ayr Station”,-on the guarded-off entrance through the heart of the ground floor of the hotel. The portal led to who knew what Stygian depths…. in reality, to a bright entrance lobby, a Booking Hall, with turn-styles, bustling with busy commuters. He tried to wake up -and get a grip- with an espresso from the tiny buffet.

Eventually, he garnered the courage to approach a member of the station staff. The guest told his story: of the booking in the day before and what he had found on waking. The attendant looked at him, askance and bewildered. “Sir, the Ayr Station Hotel closed in 2015 because of disrepair, lack of safety and under-useage; the lifts didn’t work for years before that; on the platform side of the station, you will the see the netting and scaffolding to prevent passenger injury from falling ironwork and masonry.”

See the source image

See the source image

___________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Posted in a la recherche Benjamin gay queer archive assembalge, alterity, blurred captures, ecriture cuir, ghost story, Hotel, Malaise(sebaldian), psychogeography, queer, queer geography, Queer wrting, Re-envisionning, Rememberances, Sebald, SPECTRAL PSYCHOGEOGRAPHY, uncanny other, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

3 INTERTWINED ROOTS. PART 3. OPEN READING/OPEN WRITING/OPEN SPACES. BY STEVEN BENSON.

With thanks to Dr. Christopher Madden for being the catalyst for this reflection.

 

I read (perhaps just a few lines/ a paragraph)

I think:
“That needs a personal construct”

I write: my OWN take on what I have read; verbal peregrinations thereon; rhizomes; adventures; attempting to make sense of the world/my world.

I STROLL, like a flaneur, through my own prose/(ersatz) poetry, with no plan/no direction(or a vague one):a derive; purposefully purposeless.


That is, apparently, the modern condition: fragmentation, self-referentialness/meta/All usion/Illusion; mix of modernism and postmodernism.

But, then, I have self-unknowingly, constructed an (apparent?) aporia: purposely purposeLESS/deliberately aimLESS; but seeking a personal overview/way of looking at the issue(or the world/worlds)…..

There is a tempting tome in THE book shop(oh oh, its in a sale!):”Epic Negation: the Dialectical Poetics of late modernism” (Blanton, 2015); a scurrilously brief glance came up with my “take”: Eliot in “The Waste Land” was applying negative dialectics, ie his version of modernism was “shoring up the ruins” of the past (specifically, culture) against historical attrition and invisibilisation {particularly pertinent to marginalised cultures/histories} amidst the blown-to-bits {literally} reality of the present (I write this as Theresa May seems to be, unilaterally -without Parliament’s involvement- preparing for action against Putin’s alleged chemical weapons in Syria). So, I suppose Eliot’s vision of what was going on was fragments and more fragments: bodies,histories, cultural {hegemonic} assumptions. But he had to have that dialectical synthesis,albeit a negative/non-positive/realistic one that EVERYTHING was deracinated. So, it is an aporia and it is not; or is that, itself, an aporia.. { clever, clever:P} Oh my… my rigorously dialectical analysis of Blanton, after a brief to-buy-or-not-to-buy frenzied reading….. (Bit of an issue with tone mixtures here}

__________________________________________________________________

Modernism/postmodernism(pomo)/queer/hegemony/anti-hegemony : wow, it s all going round in one big self-completing circle……leading to POST postmodernism? postqueer?(these are now schools of academic research in themselves). Sort of Schnittke style!

____________________________________________________________________

Forsooth, where art thou, thread(to this post)?…..

Well, I hope/suppose its obvious: finding my place/space/opening up my thought and writing process, as I seek, in a parallel fashion, to (re) locate my self in a world which has tried to write gay men out of history and gay women out of herstory; I am shoring up my own fragments. So, I piece together the shattered: via

LGBT safe(r) spaces, including cafes and bookshops (especially THE BOOKSHOP:)), my flat of campa aesthetica (melancholy and joy conjoined)

_____________________________________________________________________________________

where now?

 

 

 

Posted in a la recherche Benjamin gay queer archive assembalge, alterity, Death of Author, ecriture cuir, gay affirmative writing, gay hermeneutics, heteronormativity, life mirrors art, memory recherche little green bu journeys poetry, parlous loftiness, Phenomenology, psychogeography, queer, queer geography, queer hermeneutics, queer theory, rant stream-o-consciousness;likes; dislikes; hates;writing workshop, Re-envisionning, reader response theory, self-reflection haiku poem Illuminated cafe psychogeography, SPECTRAL PSYCHOGEOGRAPHY, Uncategorized, Utopia, working outside hegemonies | Leave a comment