Spill Writing

Spill Stains: No where // Now Here (The Palimpsest of FK Alexander and Lydia Lunch)


 

by Natalie Raven

 

She’s a warrior.

 

FK Alexander’s I Could Go On Singing was performed at Spill’s National Platform in Ipswich. It was a four-hour durational piece exploring ‘song as self harm, sound as wound’. As glittering front woman, part Garland, Minnelli, part Winehouse, Holiday, Alexander belted out a bitterly earnest rendition of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’,

 

Over and over again.

Over and over again.

 

*

 

She displays raw, impassioned energy.

 

She straddles those trembling lines drawn between strength and suffering, poise and pain.

 

(And, there is always great, great pleasure in the pain).

 

She stands tall, open gaze, present. She is fighting a his-tory of female representation from his perspective, his his-tory, conservative, patriarchal order, regulating every-thing, every-body, every-action that has ever failed her, is failing her.

 

This ought to be fought.

 

*

 

The performance is intimate in proximity; so close you can feel the sweet sweaty caress of breath on face. And yet, is remarkably distant; this is Alexander The Showgirl, showing us what it takes for the show to go on…

 

(And, the show must go on…)

 

It was loud.(Really loud). All-encompassing. Offensive.

Art shouldn’t be easy, or comfortable, or polite, or safe.

It should reflect the crap that’s wade through day after day after day. And it does just that. Relentless.

(The poet needs the pain).

Absolutely, Fabulous.

 

*

 

In I Could Go On Singing, Alexander is significantly situated at the centre of the performance, both physically and metaphorically. This powerful, referential staging of the female body, confrontational, up front (upfront) and central is followed up in No Where//Now Here.

 

We filter in.

 

A meditative walk encircles space that is claimed, owned. Alexander absorbs the tension, the anticipative energy.

Lying in wait, we watch, watching, settled, but restless.

A single light, suspended.

Black cord, shining. Choke. Hold. Throw.

 

Red beams fly amongst us casting shadows, in shadow, a multiple of selves, dancing in the dark.

 

It was loud. (Really loud). All-encompassing. Offensive.

 

Lunch appears; the cut-up-flick-flaring-eighties-TV-montage transports back to the pierced-punk-periods, the angry

“FUCK YOU”s.

Furious then, desperate now; lessons not learnt.

Thatcher, Cameron, a right-royal-Eton-mess.

Flaming-fifty-pound-fellatio-pig-fucking-fucks.

The Swines.

 

Darkness descends, the coal is lit.

And so it begins.

The torturous journey begins, hot, red, glistening wet sweat, trickling, trails.

 

Shovel, scrape, shove, push, project, punish, please, pleasure, pain.

 

*

 

No Where//Now Here marks Alexander’s movement away from the theatricality of I Could Go On Singing toward something more guttural, earthy. This new work feels grounded. Not simply because she is working with coal as medium, but because it moves toward something more physically experiential. This work is sensational; it is experienced physically, uncomfortably. Bodies sit, stand, and sway, absorbing the heavy, rumbling bass which throbs around and within, in space, in time, in side. Both physically and emotionally we are quaking in our boots, awaken, shaken, affected.

 

Alexander and Lunch.

The Female Artist.

Divine Creator, crafting her own counter-culture, self-styled image.

Self-staged.

Her Own Self.

Birthing brutal, butchered beauty, determinedly defiant.

 

Alexander and Lunch.

Re-presenting a radical female voice that says nothing and absolutely everything all at the same time.

Stylishly assured

Re-assuring

 

For us all.