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, 18 July 2019

Captcha Image

What's On This Week

My Latest Posts

June 09, 2019

Dark Phoenix, John Wick 3, Godzilla: my reflections

Three fantasy movies within three days: X Men: Dark Phoenix; John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum; Godzilla: King of the Monsters The Lacanian feminist Kaja Silverman says about cinema, we go because we need the affirmation, to see the things we hope to see and fail to see in the real world. In Lacanian-speak, Silverman says we go because 'the desire ...
June 02, 2019

Personal Reflections on Transgender: Intersectional/International

Personal reflections on the conference Transgender: Intersectional/International (28-29 May) ​​Note: these reflections do not represent anyone else who contributed to Transgender: Intersectional/International I got involved with Transgender: Intersectional/International in order to create an LGBT/queer space that accommodated discussions on racism,...
April 28, 2019

Gina's Moving Castle

Saturday afternoon 27.04.19 Enough with marking papers. Enough about conferences. Outside is a blue sky. There's a book shop nearby, my temple, its owners are trying to remove stickers of transphobic messages pasted on their door. Yesterday I met a guy who'd been set upon by a group of 17-year-olds. He still had the scars, and the trauma. They saw ...
Girl
April 14, 2019

Girl

April 14, 2019

Girl

It's a film I watched weeks ago, uncertain that I wanted to review it, the gruesome, horrific ending overshadowing anything positive I was able to take from it. Girl (2019), a Belgian production directed by Lukas Dhont is apparently inspired by the life of contemporary dancer Nora Monsecour . It's a film I had hopes for, really wanted to like, and ...
March 09, 2019

Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi

in Books

Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi The author, Akwaeke Emezi, calls herself trans but also Ogbanje, a spirit depicted in Igbo culture as inhabiting a newborn baby soon to die, though possibly allowing it to live. These are dark conceptions already, embracing fatality and negotiating both intrusion and malevolence, and they contribute as themes to Emezi's ...
March 02, 2019

The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein

in Books

The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein This may be one of the most important books on the 21 st century state of the world, an analysis of the global socio-economics that makes sense of the chaos of post-9/11 Iraq, of the collapse of democracies of Latin America since the 1960s and 70s, and the democratic false dawns of Russia and South Africa since the...
February 17, 2019

Alita: Battle Angel

Alita: Battle Angel A week has gone since I watched Alita: Battle Angel . It's a film that left me feeling similar emotions to the cyborg-driven techno-fireworks in Ghost in the Shell (2018), the emotion of 'almost.' Visually, there's a lavish sci-fi splendour to the film, bearing the wonders you desire in a mixture of escapist sci-fi and fantasy: ...
February 03, 2019

A Brexit Feminism That Fears And Excludes

This article follows a number of events that shook me this week. First of all, the filmed harassment by two Trans-Exclusionary-Radical-Feminists (TERFs) of trans woman Sarah McBride at McBride's workplace. I watched it online and thought: that could be me, caught out, disoriented. How do you respond to the equivalent of door-stepping, as out of the...
Vice
January 26, 2019

Vice

January 26, 2019

Vice

Vice A lukewarm reaction from critic Mark Kermode and a condemnation from political writer Simon Jenkins are a strange way to start this review of the Dick Cheney biopic Vice , given that I really enjoyed it. Jenkins's is peculiar, believing it reduced the U.S. invasion of Iraq to the work of a few shady men in the U.S. administration. But wasn't i...