i keep getting requests for author photos & also for performance images. the whole thing makes me nauseous: as soon as anyone puts a camera in my face i “literally” i mean i seriously want to die. as is proven by the sour expression i wear in all but very few photographs. in this respect i am an old-fashioned author. in any case my author photo is not only three years old, it’s unflattering. and all the images i have of performances i just don’t want to look at. so i decided i’d just snap the WHEN I LOOKED AT YOUR COCK MY IMAGINATION DIED spread from mercury and be done with it, but then i found myself in a fairly unpainful selfie situation. i have always loved defaced iconography, as when the romans or whoever dug into what was painted on underground walls by the early christians. these are my homages to everyone who has sent me mercury selfies & portraits on mercury of the drugs they’re about to do, or the sunset and the like. i couldn’t decide which one was the best one. perhaps the first? i suppose these images were inspired too by the nsa’s kind attentions. if they can handle looking at me i should be able to handle looking at me too. still though, i think it’s unfortunate the only way i could overcome my complete lack of desire to be photographed/see myself photographed was to do it myself in the cover of my own (not even new) book, a feat of inversion so anti-blanchotian, so ourobouran that i’m sure whatever scruples/shame/attraction to some kind of tantric emission restriction fantasy when it comes to images of myself, or what the contract i signed for an arts institution yesterday referred to as “my likenesses, ” has now definitively (maybe?) been shattered.
What do I share, why, and for whom. My relationship to the Internet has drastically changed in the past few months, years, and I hardly noticed. I went from sharing everything, all the time, without hesitation, with very limited filtering for years and years… to overthinking, doubting, and just not feeling a need, or desire, to talk about myself online.
A handful of old friends have started commenting on the first Facebook photos of them, dating back to 2006, 2007. Most of them are photos I took, or at least uploaded, back when I uploaded almost every digital photo I took. This still exists? I found myself thinking. Yes, it still exists, and it is readily accessible to a whole lot of people, 24 hours a day.
Then, last night, I filmed myself playing a song for a friend, and when I went to upload it on YouTube I realized… I hadn’t done that in years. “That” being recording a video of myself with the sole intention of sharing it with as wide an audience as possible. What hit the point home so bluntly was that the platform had completely changed (what the fuck is with this Google + shit?), the interface was confusing, and it was easier than ever to see the surprising amount of shit I had shared there since I first made an account back in 2006.
I didn’t even notice these sorts of things happen; this constant accumulation, followed by a slow decline. Obviously it intersected with me working more, with being lest invested with what a large group of strangers may want to know about me. I remember shifting a bit when I moved to Quebec City, away from my family and friends, where I craved connection to anyone (to everyone?) and obsessively documented my warddrobe, my loneliness, my life. It waned as I found roots here, in mostly unintentional ways.
Did I shift to sensing some kind of power in limiting what I shared? Whether or not I did at all? Back when I was younger, did I think I was being more transparent, more myself, by sharing everything all the time? Was it because these spaces felt more like communities, where I was under the impression I knew the viewer, or could know the viewer if I wanted to, as opposed to this platform?
Things I’m thinking about. Documenting documentation habits. Ridiculing my own ridiculousness.
The Constantines formed in Guelph a bit before I moved there; I saw them play some of their first shows (I still have a set list from their show at the Grad Lounge, where the sound was horrible and they were wonderful), went to shows they put on in their basement, put up a few posters from them, etc etc etc. Bought the original, hand-assembled version of their first album at the show where they were still assembling copies when some of us showed up (at the old Ed Video). Went to a Royal City show at their suggestion (it was great). Interviewed them once, I think; certainly talked to them a bunch of times. Ran into them around the city, before they moved to Toronto. Got a voicemail on my old landline from my dad at the Hillside Festival, in a field at night after a few beers, telling me that he was listening to the Constantines and he suspected that they were the future of rock and roll. With my siblings, took my dad to see them at the Trash (or whatever it’s called now) for his birthday; the only show we’ve all seen together as adults? I wrote about them for Stylus, for the Village Voice, and for PopMatters (and I’m happier with those three reviews than with a lot of writing from those time periods). I saw every show I could in Guelph (I think all of them, from that first one to Bry solo at the Attic right before or after they announced they were done for the time being), and a few in Toronto when I could, and loved the last-show-of-the-tour, exhausted one just as much as the triumphant homecoming or the first time they played songs from Shine a Light and it felt like the whole crowd knew they’d fucking done it, made it, gotten to the next level.
I am as sure as I can reasonably be that I would still think they’re one of the great bands of their era, and one of the great Canadian bands of the last few decades, even if none of that were true. But because of all that, they mean something to me in a different way than a lot of bands that I love.
IAN! I have never seen the constantines but they are basically the reason I am with my person and MAYBE we can have an international love double date WHILE SEEING THE CONSTANTINES HELLO
V-Day 2014: CONSTANTINES
Okay first of all! Ian: I knew Anaïs wrote about beautiful about music but damn! Damn! I didn’t realize you did too!
I’ve often thought it was appropriate I lost my copies of Shine a Light and Tournament of Hearts to my ex. In 2003, I went to see the Constantines for the first time… it was one of the first ever shows I went to by myself, but I loved the band so much that my shy “straight edge” seventeen year-old self decided to bite the bullet and go. Cover couldn’t have been more than 8 bucks? At the Trasheteria? I was one of the first ones there (the kid from small-town Ontario where the shows would always start on time because we’d actually get kicked out of the hall we were renting). We couldn’t have been more than a dozen in the audience. I remember B.A. Johnson playing an extra long set in the hopes the crowd would grow.
Since we were such a small crowd, I remember spending a lot of time leaning against a wall and watching the other people who were there. A geeky guy wearing a Felix the Cat shirt who completely came alive when they played Nighttime/Anytime. Two months later we would become friends, and a few months later I’d fall in love with his best friend, Will, who had also been at the show.
At the end of their set, where they performed as though they were playing for hundreds - not a handful - of people, one of the band members took the mic and said, “Thanks! We’re never playing in Peterborough again.” I remember being so shocked, because you never would have been able to tell how pissed they were about no one showing up gauging by their performance. Not only that, I wanted more!
I had to wait 6 years for them to come back.
Both venues I saw them at are now defunct.
It’s funny, though. I don’t know if I’d go see them live again, precisely for the reasons Ian puts out there. I think they mean too much (in a way I wouldn’t have realized had they just stayed on hiatus). Another band I loved from that time, very different and much more short-lived, The Unicorns, are rumoured to reunite and tour but I can’t shake the feeling of how it would be too fraught with nostalgia for me to handle, or at least to enjoy.
Bry Webb puts it best himself: “We are not what we once were.”
modernistwitchery said: recently i have been looking harassers in the eye and just saying ‘no.’ or ‘fuck off.’ (if i feel safe enough to do so, that is.)
you’re totally right. even if you don’t say anything it can be super unnerving to look people in the eye when they don’t expect you to.
brainguts said: something i do in those situations is put my finger in my nose and just keep walking, usually it freaks men out so much they turn around and dont look at me again. anything blatantly “unladylike” always seems to freak a-holes out
fuck yeah! love this. i wish i could belch on command.
youarenotyou said: what brainguts said. also flashing my hairy pits since they are visible a mile away… that almost always stops the gross sexual objectifying stares, although then it invites a totally different chain of reactions…
it’s not warm enough for that yet, but that’s DEFINITELY a tactic i have employed in the past. usually more effective for one on one situations i find.
giraffegiraf said: i don’t have the energy to interact so i distort my face like i’m just about to vomit or like a friend does: just stop everything, stand still, and look them dead in the eye till they feel uncomfortable
i tend to think i can deal with harassment pretty well, but lately i’ve been realizing how i’m “out of practice.” i was telling morgan while visiting her in kelowna how i was so not used to strangers (of all kinds, but mostly middle-aged white suburban folks) saying hello and/or waving to me, because there is a strange culture of pretending to not even look at strangers in quebec city.
but now that winter is over construction crews are everywhere in my old beautiful - but crumbling - neighbourhood. two roads i walk on pretty much every day are being dug up. the apartment underneath ours has had two awkward teenage boys taking apart everything for the past three months, but now it’s speeding up since the weather is warm. they are literally jackhammering the floor right now.
to make matters even worse, the apartments to the right AND behind ours are being dismantled. so basically now that i actually step back and think of it, i have to interact with about twenty different men who don’t know me on a semi-regular basis. who think talking about a woman they don’t know who is within earshot in a sexual manner is totally okay.
anyone have tips on how to deal with these sorts of unwanted interactions?
so many people recommend just not engaging, but it’s not really an option when i cross paths with these people every other day. i cannot fucking fake it and will not be nice to people who just call me “belle fille” and i correct them and say “FEMME.” don’t fucking think you can call me girl.
i hear them whisper as i take out my bike from the shed. i see them fucking point. and i always assume the worst and wish i didn’t have to deal with it.
i was thinking about why it pisses me off in this context. i don’t mind if someone walking past me on the street smiles at me and says hello, but it’s more the two-three men or more sitting and all watching me that makes me feel uncomfortable, as if i’m not in control of the situation. i don’t know.
thinking about writing out how riding my bike makes me feel invincible, or at least like a really fucking great weapon against harassment. something about the speed, about being even higher up and taller, and showing that i’m strong? i don’t know. trying to understand it.
the thing i love almost the most about tsar being back on tumblr is that there is 100% more buster keaton on my dashboard.
also this gif pretty accurately reflects how i feel about life right now.
i feel like i need way more separation/distance between who i perform online and who i am in real life.
i’m constantly incredibly embarassed and uncomfortable when people i know in real life tell me they read my blog, or worse, follow my tumblr. it’s different from the days my roommates and i would be livejournal friends. a co-worker just followed me on twitter and i’m mildly terrified they might want to talk to me about some of the shit i post there in real life?
these negotiations are more complex and important than people acknowledge.
also, i’m doing well at my whole not being on the computer on weekends. we’ll see how my restraints hold up when work tapers off for the next few weeks…