Issue 25: Strange Fruit

Here in The Welsh Marches, local tractors and combine harvesters shake the lanes on their way to and from harvest. The last of the blackberries are fattening on the  hills. Further over the mountains, those who take a touristic interest in magic mushrooms are eagerly awaiting for a frost to fall. But the sun is shining, refusing to let winter arrive. In any case, we’re anticipating a Covid roadblock on the usual psychedelic incomers, any day now.

Meanwhile, #BLM protests continue around the world. Black and brown voters are being dissuaded from voting in the run-up to American elections by queues of over eleven hours. The most unexpected fruit of this painful summer has been the collective rising of rage. Despite crushing blows to our finances, artists continue to create as best we can, while people who didn’t realise they could revolt are learning to protest in the streets. It’s tough. But the river is flowing. The banks have burst.

This issue, we give thanks for the fruits of a change so bloodily wrought, with a mixture of difficult conversations and sublime music.

Creativity is powerful because it allows us to imagine a different world to the one we’ve been taught to accept. Talking together is powerful because it breaks years of waiting patiently to be recognised. At The Demented Goddess, we’ll be take our conversations online and share more of them with you in the coming months.

Our conversations in this issue, whether with disruptive international feminist and survivor of brutal police sexual assault, Mona Eltahawy, computer folk artist Anrimeal, or Black Lives Matter agitator and songstress, Sans Soucis, articulate discoveries born of this strange time of introspection and communal rebellion. You may be alone, safe in your home, panicking about your livelihood, or a key worker suffering the daily State abuse of having no decent healthcare for yourself. But you are not alone. Our resident DJ and writer Caoimhe Lavelle continues this mood with a mix of fuck-you dark electro that climaxes with Soft Cell’s Torch song for the definitive singer of the ultimate anti-racism anthem, ‘Strange Fruit’, Billie Holiday. Caoimhe also interviews MJ Guider about her experimental dance and shoegaze album, Sour Cherry Bell.

In my essay on Billie’s relevance to today’s feminists and Black Lives Matters Activists, I explain why she’s the forerunner of Hip Hop queens & punks alike, yet still rarely credited as a blistering song-writer and band-leader. Beauty that does not conform must, according to patriarchal society, be tragic. Billie’s estate is so much more profitable that way.

In an essay combining art and memoir, Kathleen Farmilo unpicks the conflicts within the myth of feminine attachment to the home. Since it’s so hard – and getting harder – for younger women to buy a place, should culture abandon our fetish for ownership? Autumn, we’re told, is a time for nesting – yet a nest, however grandly feathered, won’t withstand the roughest winters here on my mountains. But, here’s a sad-funny thing: in this time of extreme uncertainty, love and solidarity are alive. In fact, it’s the very destruction of our so-called norms that have revealed what we can be to each other.

Love on ya,


Soma Ghosh


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Main photo of Sans Soucis by Nina Caspari. Sans Soucis’ new single ‘Air’ is out now.



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