A phrase I have often heard in relation to Peckham is that it’s a ‘melting pot’. But as a description of cities, it’s usually a false analogy, one that has globally given way to the metaphor of a ‘salad bowl’. And while some cities do better jobs than others of encouraging that salad to be fully mixed, in many cities we see fragmented communities segregated down lines of culture and interest, operating alone in the same space.
A few years ago, I briefly dated a man whose recent ex-girlfriend was the stuff of nightmares: an ethereal giantess and beauty, an artist and musician. He was telling me about one of their arguments. “And then came the baby voice,” he finished. Wait. What? What?
At the edge of a ploughed field sits a burned-out Smart car. Its squat dimensions make it appear as if compacted in a Thames Estuary wrecker’s yard, prior to being set alight. The carcinogenic hulk against a pastoral backdrop is a particularly Essexian sight, as is the detritus scattered around it: a chalky, transparent baggie and a discarded Durex packet — Es and sex.
In the video for her song Criminal, I watch Fiona Apple’s body and wait for it to tell me how I should feel about her, or towards her, and in this video, the messages are mixed. Her body says that something is wrong, but what she sings is more complicated and as the way she is filmed renders her as a thing, I come back to thinking that her body, in its communicating that something is wrong, is where the attraction lies.
Why did I want a child? I just did. My cells did. Like the writer Maggie Nelson says, “the muteness of the desire stood in inverse proportion to its size”. For all my concern about bringing another carbon footprint into the world, I couldn’t hush the yearning. It was my sehnsucht, as the Germans would say, my life-longing.
In this age of paradox around disability, how do disabled people juggle their internal desires for love, affection and yes, even sex, with external perceptions of desirability that actively ignore their existence and have remained unchanged for decades?
The Oilfield Allegorist: Dorothy Ellis — Drill Daddy Drill (1952) Thirty-six years before Dallas brought us the oil-centric Ewing family, there was Drill Daddy Drill, an ode to oil extraction that’s really an ode to sex, and is also not to be confused with the (Republican, therefore deeply unsexy) slogan Drill Baby Drill!
In the spring of 1980, when I was three years old, my father took me to my first Cubs game at Wrigley Field. Our family would be moving to Canada later that year, and my dad wanted my first baseball game to be a Cubs game in Chicago at Wrigley, not a Blue Jays game in Toronto at Exhibition Stadium.
No piece of famous-girl gossip has ever surprised me less than learning that the night before her Vegas wedding to Jason Alexander, Britney Spears watched The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.