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
Thursday, 06 May 2021

Captcha Image

What's On This Week

My Latest Posts

May 02, 2021

When Renata Carvalho spoke at Edinburgh Transgender Intersectional/International (2019)

In 2019, I was part of a conference that invited the travesti actress and activist Renata Carvalho - star of Jo Clifford's 'The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven' on its touring production in Brazil - to come over from Brazil as our keynote speaker. We originally uploaded the speech on our conference website, but with that w...
December 22, 2020

Lacanian Icarus: when Gina flew too close to the sun?

On the recent experience of nearly being no-platformed There are two identities in one when it comes to being part of a disempowered minority. The first is for yourself: all your failings, your insecurities, your doubts, and connected to this, your curiosity and quirks. Let's be Lacanian analysts for a moment: what we're talking about is the transg...
November 17, 2020

Trans Hell-thcare

The picture accompanying this post is important to me. I took it yesterday, 16 November 2020, unsure what I'd find. It's been nearly eleven months since I came off oestrogen for reasons I'll get into in a moment. Undoubtedly this has had an effect on me, bodily and therefore psychologically, but the accompanying selfie gives me a reassura...
July 01, 2020

Silenced by The Scotsman

Update: in view of my recent shift towards a more sympathetic and supportive position with Gender-Critical feminism, this blog post might seem incongruous. It does represent my distress at the way the media portrayed the JK Rowling furore at the time. However, since that time, and in further studying the statements and positions of JK Rowling ...
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...