Well, Goddeseses and Godex, the shitshow continues. Yet we can choose to turn away from the roaring tribalism. Somehow, amid pandemic, war, the ban on abortions in America, the exciting, if suspicious deposing of deadly blonde dingbat Boris Johnson – we might, possibly, gather, reflect, find a moment for inward listening.
In this 29th Issue of The Demented Goddess, Caoimhe Lavelle listens carefully to the immersive sound creation by Li Yilei, Secondary Self. We first encountered the subtle, painful and dreamy navigations of this non-binary artist living with Aspergers two years ago and were struck by their ability to hover on the frontiers of sound experience. This has been developed startlingly and sometimes delightfully in the new album, placing you in a ‘birdbox’ of song, for example. Secondary Self has the power to take you out of yourself in its sheer demand on your attention.
It seems to me that we’re not very happy being distracted. We want to be absorbed, yet we also want every moment to feel fresh. A trick known to artists for some time is to combine juxtaposition and disruption. This feeling of newness and depth accompanies the work of collage artist Joan Pope, in her interpretations of this issue’s theme: deliciously vile frontiers.
There’s a continuing trend in books of a form of literary collage, at the moment, telling stories in fragments and vignettes. We talk to Caitlin Davies about her Queens of the Underworld, an entertaining, probing dip into the histories of professional female criminals. [In passing, I must mention how much I enjoyed Selby Wynn Schwartz’s After Sappho, recently, interweaving quick-read snippety histories of rebellious queer womxn like Sappho, Josephine Baker and Colette in an immediate and sensual fashion.]
The two most seductive books I’ve read so far, this year, on the subject of wanting to be absorbed, or obsessed, by love, are I’m a Fan by Sheena Patel and Briefly, A Delicious Life, with Nell Stevens, both of which feature in this issue. You can also hear my recent discussion with Nell of the televised drama of Sarah Waters’ novel The Essex Serpent, about a woman using her obsession with sea monsters to run from her abusive past, at What Goddesses Watch.
Jaime Acker and ALXCUR join us in probing bedroom intimacy – or rather, the tensions in its performance, since real intimacy feels increasingly like a vanishing human frontier. And lastly, pulling on her black latex gloves in her capacity as our Resident DJ, Caoimhe Lavelle has curated a sweet rotten funk trashbag of a summer playlist for you, spanning Eartha Kitt, Princess Tinymeat and the glorious, sex-positive funk pioneer Betty Davis, who ascended, early this year, to the peace she once found while climbing Mount Fuji. RIP and thank you, Betty!
Till we next roll around again,
Love on ya,
Soma Ghosh, Editor, The Demented Goddess
Follow Soma @calcourtesan
Main image, by Joan Pope, Temple Ov Saturn