Transgender Life

I don’t want this site to be solely about being transgender. From my experiences so far, it’s not even something I could write about every week – being in the closet is far more intense and frustrating and writeable. However, there are moments when things happen, unique to trans people. I’d like to share those moments with you, and let you into the mystery.

Gruff Rhys: Resist Phony Encores

Gruff-Rhys

Gruff Rhys: Resist Phony Encores

Haunting, disarming, his voice trembling then strong and soothing. Gruff Rhys played and talked for an hour, songs sometimes in Welsh, sometimes English, occasionally mixing recorded sounds, adding voice over voice or gentle squeaking bird calls from a tiny machine. This performance was a rare and intimate pleasure with one of rock and roll's most interesting and enduring talents.

I've known about Gruff Rhys for decades, since the early 1990s and his Welsh language rock band Ffa Coffi Pawb (a Welsh play on words, meaning either Coffee Beans for Everyone, or Fuck off to Everyone). He talked about the band here, and briefly his experiences in Wales and in Bangor Normal College where the Beatles once met the Maharishi, and whose vibrations he still felt there decades after.

I never appreciated Ffa Coffi Pawb at the time, or his later more commercial venture Super Furry Animals; I was too into heavy metal – arguably the opposite of Gruff Rhys's trippy, stoner persona. Now, I'm way different, more relaxed and his acoustic set and meditation on crowds is absolutely my thing, especially in this dark, midnight setting. Rhys talked of his interest in holding up different messages to audiences: Applause – Louder – Ape-shit, and Tax The Rich, the latter apparently not going down so well in one particular concert in a prosperous London area.

I wish he'd recorded this live, acoustic set. Some of the songs that struck were Iolo and Colonize the Moon, the latter in 'tribute' to the Brexit experience: Colonize the Moon, Colonize the Moon, With All Those Bad Ideas . . . With All the Warring Factions, They'll Fight It Out, They'll Fight It Out, They'll Fight It Out Until Extinction . . .

The one-hour show ended at midnight, Rhys having left the stage without any time for encores, phony or otherwise.

I walked home, along a street-lit cobbled lane while Sunday evening revelers stood outside bars on either side to me, enjoying the dying embers of the weekend. It was then I was stopped by a man from France whose name will remain unspoken. He asked me about places to drink, and soon noticed my transgender identity and asked about me. I told him I was a serious student and that I never went to bars. He asked if I never missed intimacy, or sex, and I said 'yes, sometimes, but not enough to let it bother me.' It aroused me to speak with him in this way, my body responding in ways that felt unfamiliar, or nostalgic. I wanted these bodily responses of mine to stop. So I gave him a suggestion for some places he could go to for a final evening drink, then I blew him a kiss and continued on my midnight journey home, looking for the moon of Gruff Rhys's song, but failing to see it behind the thick night time clouds.
Forbidden Androgynies
What Lies Behind the Smile
 

Comments

No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Guest
Monday, 13 July 2020

Captcha Image

What's On This Week

My Latest Posts

July 01, 2020

Silenced by The Scotsman

​ On 11 June, The Scotsman published a deeply hostile article against transgender rights and activism in an opinion piece about the JK Rowling furore by its deputy political editor Gina Davidson. After much distress, I wrote a counter article which The Scotsman quietly ignored, after they had offered to pass it on to their Comment Editor. I experie...
May 11, 2020

The Book of Queer Prophets, curated by Ruth Hunt

in Books

  The Book of Queer Prophets: 24 Writers on Sexuality and Religion The historically fraught relationship between Abrahamic religions and LGBT+ identities provides the backdrop to The Book of Queer Prophets , a collection of twenty-four meditations by public figures who identify as both religious and LGBT+. The book's curator, the for...
May 09, 2020

Queer/Transgender short film: Mesmeralda

Joshua Matteo's short film, Mesmeralda , merging horror with esoterica, is now out on youtube . As with his previous work Metanoia , we see youthful trans actors racing through the empty streets of a moonlit New York, haunted by symbols and stalked by a masked figure of violent intentions. Mesmeralda , as described by Matteo, is the companion ...
March 08, 2020

Sterile like the moon: the joys of transgender healthcare

Sterile like the moon: the joys of transgender healthcare Summer, 2016: Gina's Big Bang, as transitioning begins A bureaucratic question in a sun-lit room. My medical practitioner asks me if I intend to have children. The question lingers, but the self-loathing is instant. No, I won't be having children. The practitioner nods. She moves on to the n...
November 10, 2019

General Election

General Election 12 December 2019 I spent the last election in an office, alone but for the company of a colleague. We watched the BBC's coverage while I drank wine, downbeat and expecting austerity and the absence of hope to triumph. Then we saw the exit poll and hung around, disbelieving at the sight of the kindled embers and lukewarm glow of a f...
Joker
October 05, 2019

Joker

October 05, 2019

Joker

Joker The trailer did its work, flashing images of anomie and fury perfectly pitched for these unstable times of precarious working conditions, grievance and institutional indifference. For these same reasons, Joker , directed by Todd Phillips and starring Joaquin Phoenix as the protagonist, has attracted pre-release criticisms like few other recen...
September 29, 2019

Resisting Whiteness event 2019

Resisting Whiteness one-day event, Edinburgh Returning for the second consecutive year, Resisting Whiteness came yesterday to the Pleasance Theatre in Edinburgh, providing an intense and inspiring series of panels, as well as a wonderful spoken word section, and a final segment based around the documentary short Invisible by internationally-acclaim...
August 21, 2019

Hearty by Emma Frankland

Hearty by Emma Frankland Raw and dripping with punk aesthetic, this one-woman-show's one-woman emerges in ripped tights and a T-shirt that paraphrases loudly the words of anti-trans theorist Germaine Greer: Lop Your Dick Off. My first impression of Emma Frankland is edgily uncertain and in awe, her Lady-Gaga-looks combined with Heath Ledger's mesme...
August 21, 2019

Pronoun, Pass, & Amnesty International

Transgender drama: Pronoun To be clear at the outset, this was the production of a youth theatre group, not a highly resourced team of experienced, professional career actors – although some of the performances left a powerful impression, and the show as a whole achieved some remarkable moments. Pronoun , written by Evan Placey, follows the transit...