Trans Joy is Resistance:
Notes from the Newcastle Trans Rights Protest

The photos above were taken at a protest outside Newcastle’s civic centre, which was organised as a counter-demonstration against a #LetWomenSpeak event. Centred around the abundant egocentrism of mumsnet radicaliser Posie Parker, her long history of anti-trans activism, as well as her notoriety and reputation for harassment and general bigotry, has culminated in what has been dubbed an “anti-trans hate tour” across the UK. Below, I thought I’d give an account of my experience of the day she visited Newcastle, which has since been the subject of some media attention.

I first heard about the protest a few weeks back, via the North East Anarchist Group’s Twitter page. When the day of the event finally came around, I jumped on the bus to Haymarket early with that usual mixture of pre-protest nerves and an acute anxiety over the possibility that maybe no-one else would turn up.

I got off the bus outside the Five Swans, a pub in town, and could see a small group of women in their cringe “woman, noun, adult human female” t-shirts through the window. I was surprised by how funny I found the sight of them as I passed. It has always been a peculiar banner to gather around online and even more so in reality. Not only were the t-shirts almost like a uniform — bizarrely coupled with hi-vis jackets and body cameras (yes, body cameras), which made this odd gaggle of gender cops blend in appropriately with the overall police presence — the dictionary definition was also held aloft on a big black banner, in front of which the speeches were made.

As the protest took place right opposite the grounds of Newcastle University, it felt all the more like a lazy “Webster’s Dictionary defines…” start to an undergraduate essay. Nevertheless, it featured prominently among the ranks of these middle-aged weirdos and pensioners, who insisted to the contrary on the immaturity of their opponents. (Citations needed…)

The ubiquitous presence of this dictionary clipping spoke volumes from the start. I tweeted something about this not too long ago, considering how this “definition” hardly clears anything up. Each word used in the definition is no less complex than the word “woman” itself, as each is understood by all of us within a complex intersection of social norms, legal categories and shifting linguistic habits, not to mention general life experiences. But as @phendetta put it a few weeks ago, this reductivism does not work in their favour, only becoming a sign of an unfortunate anthropological tendency that has been responsible for so much misery throughout history: “Human culture is obsessed with striating liminality out of existence…”

The TERF overreliance on reductive dictionary definitions of all kinds puts them at the sharp end of this tendency in the twenty-first century. But the joy of the protest on Sunday morning was that the crowd embodied its opposite. This was a crowd that, against all TERF intentions, could not be reduced to a single social group. The very presence of trans joy humiliated their position.

On arrival, the crowd was small but quickly grew. Initially, I joined a group of trans and non-binary students from Newcastle’s various colleges and universities. There was an anxiety that led me to believe that this was the first protest for some of them — and it may well have been, considering many spoke of being new arrivals at university and had probably spent the last few years far away from large gatherings of people, on account of Covid. But I say this not to patronise. In fact, it was notable to me only because I realised that it was my first protest as well, of a sort. I had never been to a protest that was specifically called in the name of trans rights. I’d been to plenty of other protests and I’d been to many a Pride, but this was a first for me. I wasn’t sure if this was something to be affirmed or something to despair over. It felt like a sign of the times.

Realising this, I felt more attentive to the make-up of the crowd present, as well as the narrative usually spun by TERFs online about those normally in attendance. That TERFs lie about these things is a given, but to watch the tweets that followed later, making fun of those protesting their bigoted gathering, it was shocking just how wrong they were and how presumptuous.

Firstly, it is worth mentioning the ages of some of the protesters if only because, for all the TERFs’ assertions that they want to protect children, much of the mocking online that followed was directed at the young people in attendance, some of whom were barely out of their teens. Indeed, by the wonky TERF metric, chaperoning or facilitating adults were all predatory, whilst the young people supposedly in need of protection were other sorts of pervert or headcase. Just another sad binary. Accordingly, TERFs mocked dances, masks, styles of dress, but rather than this being an indictment of the “weirdos” fighting for trans rights, in truth they poured scorn primarily on the people they claimed to be protecting: young people, whom this gathering of mostly middle-aged and elderly men and women would never understand. I found that very sad.

What was heartening, however, from the other side, was the sheer number of cis allies in attendance from other organisations — particularly local anarchist groups — who were happy to protest fascism in whatever form, giving up their time to facilitate and build confidence on the day. Thanks to them, and having arrived early myself and felt the nerves shared, it was lovely to watch confidence grow over the course of the morning and into the afternoon. This was all encouraged by the cis allies, who led chants, liaised with police, and loudly declared support for their friends and family members who were trans or non-binary themselves.

A perfect example presented itself in the form of a cis man who shouted down a megaphone as a “proud father of a trans man from Gateshead”, and his impassioned support endeared him to everyone. Later, he also loudly quipped that “not even the buses agree with you”, after a Stagecoach bus draped in all the colours of the intersex-inclusive pride flag stopped at traffic lights behind the TERFs and their entourage, which brought a deafening swell of laughter to the impressively consistent four hours of racket used to drown out the TERFs.

Another cis woman leading the chants did an excellent job of corralling support. But this was also where one of my only pet peeves from the day emerged. I don’t want this to be a criticism of this woman in particular, but one chant she led often collapsed into confusion, partly in response to a counter-chant from one especially sad man.

“Trans women are women, trans men are men” was shouted repeatedly, from early on in the day until its end. However, one individual, who was the first to arrival and stand in opposition to the LGBTQ+ crowd at around 10am, would repeatedly and furiously shout back “trans women are men”. This seemed to function as an odd conflation between the two sides of the chant, so that chants of “trans women are women” were redoubled and any mention of trans men fell away. Somewhat ironically, all the trans men — and I would say that trans-masc and non-binary people were in the majority on the day — succeeded in passing so well they were ultimately forgotten about.

This forgetfulness was in part, of course, a response to the TERF inability to take off their own blinkers. Later, on Twitter, as I perused tweets sent from the protest, looking at the TERFs’ attempts to dox and humiliate those in attendance, they spent a surprising amount of time using the correct pronouns for a number of trans men I spoke to.

On recognising this, I was left with a very strange sense of cognitive dissonance. I wondered how many present felt about this gradual forgetting. Is it hurtful, as a trans man, to be fully erased from a protest attended to fight for your right to live in peace? Or is the average TERF’s inability to “clock” a trans man, as they say, in this context at least, something of a blessing in disguise? I imagine many were as confused by this as I was, but I hope in future this blind spot is overcome. From tampons in men’s bathrooms to inclusive language around midwifery and elsewhere, TERF hysteria assumes immediately this is all to accommodate trans women, which is nonsensical and is a symptom of their own forgetting that trans men exist at all. Suffice it to say, protest chants cannot be dictated by TERF reductivism, otherwise even your allies can gloss over your own struggles.

That aside, it was a wonderful counter-demo. Flags were flown, placards held aloft, music was played, we smoked cigarettes and laughed and danced, people gave out free snacks, encouraged each other to live and converse and love one another. It was joyful.

As a result, “trans joy is resistance” was my favourite chant of the day, and clearly the most applicable. It also felt like a truly Spinozist sentiment, emboldening the philosophy student in me. I’m reminded of the entry for the letter J in l’Abécédaire de Gilles Deleuze, which begins with Claire Parnet stating how “Spinoza made joy a concept of resistance and life”, insisting that we must “let us avoid sad passions, and live with joy in order to be at the maximum of our force; we must flee from resignation, bad conscience, guilt, all the sad affects that priests, judges and psychoanalysts exploit.” Deleuze follows up in the affirmative. Yes, he says, “joy is everything that consists in satisfying a capacity. You experience joy when you satisfy, when you effectuate one of your capacities.”

Capacity, Deleuze insists — puissance — must be distinguish from power — pouvoir. (Two French words that are often both translated as “power” in English; “capacity” feels like a slightly clunky alternative to me but will suffice.) He continues: “The confusion between powers and capacities is ruinous, because power always separates the people who are subjected to it from what they are capable of. That is where Spinoza starts. You said that sadness is linked to priests, to tyrants, to judges, and these are perpetually the people who separate their subjects from what they are capable of, who forbid any enacting of capacities.” Trans joy, in my view, is the affirmation of some of the most radical capacities we are capable of — not least our capacity for self-transformation.

TERF power, on the contrary, is stifling and it is partly why their own version of joy looks so sad from without. Deleuze continues:

I think that every power is sad. Even if those who have the power are overjoyed to have it, this is a sad joy. There are sad joys. It’s a sad joy. Conversely, joy is the enactment of a capacity. Once again, I know of no capacities that would be evil. The typhoon is a capacity, it must rejoice in its soul. But it does not rejoice in blowing down houses, but in existing. To rejoice is to rejoice in being what one is, that is, in having reached the point where one is. It’s not self-satisfaction, joy is not being pleased with oneself, not at all; it’s not the pleasure of being pleased with oneself. Rather, it’s the pleasure of conquest, as Nietzsche said, but the conquest does not consist in subjecting people; the conquest is, for example, for a painter to conquer color. Yes, that’s a conquest, that’s joy, even if it goes badly, because in these matters of capacities when one conquers a capacity or conquers something in a capacity, there is the risk that it is too powerful for the person who conquers.

TERFs do not understand joy, do not understand the power they wield, even if they may understand their lack of capacity and blame those who self-actualise for their own failings through ressentiment. It was all too predictable, in fact, with this resistance to power in mind, that the Newcastle TERF demo welcomed right-wing local councillors, members of the English Defence League, and even some sad detransitioners into their ranks — it was a crowd defined by sad joys and failed conquests of life and self.

This was taken to extremes, however, by one of the speeches over in the TERF camp, delivered by a crank hypnotist, brazenly affirming Hitler’s antisemitic “big lie” conspiracy, even citing Hitler’s Mein Kampf on the principle of “credit where due”. The gist is that Hitler believed Jewish people perpetuate the lie of their own marginalisation, when in fact they run the world. According to the woman Twitted dubbed “hypnoTERF”, trans people perpetuate much the same thing. After going viral on Twitter, this clip received a fair amount of mainstream press attention, although the most comprehensive article was written by Sophie Perry for Pink News. It was a shocking “mask off” moment, but again, there is room for some joy in all this.

Whilst the microphone for the speeches seemed primarily there for online broadcast rather than amplification on the ground, I am so happy that every moment of their bigoted speeches was accompanied by the constant drone of vocal opposition. The four hours of noise we managed to make, as well as the TERFs’ own relative quietude, felt significant. They had no interest in being heard beyond their insular audiences, both in person and online, but the whole of Newcastle heard those of us opposing their bullshit.

The Drugs Did… Something

The other night, at a birthday party in town, I was offered a pill on the dance floor. I’m generally not someone who is into drugs. A few experiments in my early 20s often resulted in awful comedowns and only exacerbated an already nervous disposition. But that night, after a moment’s hesitation, I said yes.

In hindsight, I probably should have taken half of it. After about an hour or so, the effects were overwhelming. I couldn’t dance but only shuffle on a stool at the bar. I was so excited to talk to just about anyone. The music playing felt like the best I’d ever heard. The storming set of weird techno felt unexpectedly harmonious, as if the rhythmic constancy and atonal melodies contained all the incongruities of the universe and bent them to its will in this tiny room through which everything flowed and nothing could go wrong. Energun’s “Impetuous” was when everything plateaued into an appropriate ecstasy.

So far, so predictable.

Then it all got a bit too much. With my brain completely flooded with serotonin, I felt like I momentarily went into shock. I walked calmly to the bathroom and was then quite violently sick. But it had this wonderful purging effect. Afterwards, I cleaned up and felt awash with clarity. It felt like those stories you hear of people who take ayahuasca — a violent unwellness that is intensely physical but also seems to alleviate all psychic blockages.

I spent the rest of the night talking to a new friend and having a lovely time.

The next day, I was exhausted. I slept for most of it. But there was no real comedown. Just calm. The blockage cleared didn’t feel like a momentary drug-induced euphoria but seemed to have stuck. In fact, having spent much of the last six weeks physically unwell with various colds and infections, I noticed that even the lingering sore throat I’d come to put up with for weeks had completely gone.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how my anti-depressants were no longer working for me. After a decade on and off citalopram, I was moved onto sertraline after a breakdown last year but felt myself completely numbed by it, suffering through a near constant brain fog and excessive tiredness, with my GP uninterested in my repeatedly expressed dissatisfaction. After a few weeks off the drugs, I felt better but like the last year had nonetheless taken its toll. Until now.

Having long been interested but skeptical of the therapeutic impact of drugs like MDMA, since my early experiments had done little for me, I’m profoundly struck right now by the clear improvement in my sense of self. Though I do not anticipate one night to be a cure-all — far from it — it feels hard to ignore this unexpected benefit from what was otherwise a night on the town. Rarely has a night out ever felt like a good idea for my mental health. Today, I’m left feeling like taking that single pill was the best thing I’ve down for my mental health in months.

New Tenderness 008

An hour of jazz, funk and a sprinkling of afrobeat this month. It started frosty but I think I was willing the return of the sun with this one.



Keith Jarrett — Birth
Joe Zawinul — In a Silent Way
Billy Gault — Mode for Trane
Alix Pascal — Determination
Charlie Haden, Jan Garbarek & Egberto Gismonti — Folk Song
Chick Corea — Return to Forever
Atlantic Bridge — Something
Ragnarok — Fabriksfunky
Barış Manço ve Kurtalan Ekspres — Ham Meyvayı Kopardılar
Gong — Flying Teapot
Basa Basa — Black Light

Nothings and Somethings, This and That:
The Fisher-Function Six Years On

Today is the sixth “uncanniversary” of Mark’s death, as Maya calls it. It is the first time since 2017 that the days have eerily aligned, with today also being Friday the 13th, as it was then.

Next week, there’ll be one of the For k-punk events at the Fox and Firkin in Lewisham, acknowledging not another year since Mark died but celebrating the publication anniversary of The Weird and the Eerie. The shift in orientation may seem strange. The two events are so synonymous with each other, there is little hidden by the illusion, as if we are simply switching from a glass considered half empty to a glass considered half full without changing anything about the moment under consideration. But I think there is nonetheless something gratifying about this refusal to attend to the lack any longer. That is certainly how I feel, as time goes on.

I think this is something that happens in Mark’s own work sometimes, including in The Weird and the Eerie. There seems to be this tension between his Deleuzian education and his penchant for (Badiou’s) Lacan. On the one hand, he always wanted to turn nothings into somethings — as he says to his students in his Postcapitalist Desire lectures. This question was itself a twist on that most fundamental philosophical question, going back millennia: “why is there something rather than nothing?” To invert this and suggest our world is nothing, in all of its impoverishment and artificial scarcity, is a nice little rhetorical flourish, but it also lends itself towards grounding a political statement on some sort of lack. As was Deleuze’s rebuttal to psychoanalysis, we needn’t always start from nothing, absence, lack, castration. It is a false foundation. From birth or the Big Bang to that new job you’ve got, we are always starting from within the depths of things. There are no clean slates.

Deleuze often used to ask a less provocative but no less interesting, perhaps even more actionable question: why is there this instead of that? It is a question I like more. Though less of a philosophical headscratcher, it grounds itself not on lack but on difference and contingency. It asks not for some kind of utopia of substance from nowhere, but takes as a given the pre-existence of alternatives.

Though he sometimes garbled his Deleuze and Lacan, I wonder if this isn’t what Mark always wanted. After all, in Capitalist Realism he writes that

For Lacan, the Real is what any ‘reality’ must suppress; indeed, reality constitutes itself through just this repression. The Real is an unrepresentable X, a traumatic void that can only be glimpsed in the fractures and inconsistencies in the field of apparent reality. So one strategy against capitalist realism could involve invoking the Real(s) underlying the reality that capitalism presents to us.

Is this useful to us? Are we best off thinking of our unactualized alternatives as multiplicitous voids on the suppressed underside of a totalizing capitalist something? I think this is the way that the system wants us to think, coaxing us towards absolutes and ultimatums. Capitalism is all there is. Nothing else has survived its march to victory. It is a totalising and insurmountable “reality”. But the Real of history, that space of traumatic fractured inconsistencies, is well-populated.

The Weird and the Eerie suggests a move away from psychoanalytic lack. Its contention with failures of presence and absence is likewise a contention with the absolutes of something and nothing. The truth is that we linger in a space of indeterminacy — which is not, in itself, an indeterminate concept, but a space of undecided action and potential — and so the question of whether we desire this or that becomes more productive and accessible.

Is promiscuous references aside, I think it is clear now that Mark always wanted us to reach this kind of position. And he succeeded in helping make it happen. As Aaron Bastani writes in a short essay on Capitalist Realism, published today, which speaks to this function of his writing explicitly:

Capitalist Realism is the most important document the British left has produced so far this century. This isn’t because of its conceptual originality, or its author’s ability for systemisation (this was his ambition for a later work), but because it provides a popular register for the torpor at the heart of our political and social life. Recognising this was, and remains, the first step to meaningful action.

Meaningful action was what all the old Warwick crew cared about — how philosophies of action are exacerbated rather than foreclosed by a sense of our own immanence to a systems that surround us, which replicate themselves constantly, often through us, but do not reproduce themselves as the Same. They are instead always different. Capitalist realism overlooks this — even its own capacity for difference. It constructs an illusory stasis, covering over not simply past alternatives but present contingencies, through which the system attempts to hide its own adaptations and failures. But the “reality” of capitalism (underneath its ideological “realism”) is a constant reminder that things can (and probably should) be done differently, if we really care about other people and the planet we all call home.

When Maya first spoke about the Fisher-Function — “How did it make itself real, and how can we continue to realise it?”; not simply “the intellectual contributions that we can appreciate, extend, take forward into the future”, but also “what we need to learn in terms of looking after ourselves and each other, right now” — I often think today that it needs little assistance from the rest of us. Perhaps it is no different to Foucault’s own “author-function”, in this regard — that impersonalised person all writers become once their work enters public discourse, taking on a productive life of their own quite distinct from the individual in actuality.

Foucault’s author function was a rebuttal to Roland Barthes’ infamous “death of the author” thesis. He argues that it is not the fate of all authors to “die” but rather than the author must welcome death in the very act of writing, as if therein the Lacanian split subject is pulled even further apart from itself, not simply alienated in language but “killed” by writing, in the sense that an author becomes a signifier or an object. But rather than a reduction of subjectivity to an inactive absence, just as the dead live on in memory for the living, so too does the writer acquire an agency all of their own, which far exceeds the bounds of our lives of drudgery and capture.

All the better, then, on this uncanniversary, when superstitions collide with hyperstitions and numerical coincidence assigns more meaning to calendric chaosmos of capitalist temporalities, to celebrate not Fisher’s absence but his final book that keeps on giving. This is not to champion something over nothing, but recognise how such an agentic object continues to question our ideological stasis, inserting itself into a lineage of weird fiction that unsettles the differences between this and that, and shows how that or this might well intrude on the space of its other. Not so much “if we let it”, but seemingly of its own accord.

The Fisher-Function is unalive and unwell, as it should be.

New Tenderness 007

The one thing I really missed over Christmas, which was mostly spent inside because it’s stupid cold and I’ve been sick constantly, is going on winter walks. I was thinking about this after a brief moment of Christmas normality. My Dad came to stay for one night to celebrate my birthday with me. We went out for steak, got drunk, and then stayed up very late listening to music at home — mostly his old records that I “inherited” and have lugged around the country for years. Lots of Lindisfarne, Led Zeppelin, the Beatles.

When it came round to doing a special pre-NYE Slack’s show, I still had both those things in mind — walks and records. Think of this as a two-hour “walk” through some wintry sonic memories… The Molly Drake record is one of the first records I remember buying for myself with Christmas money; Hoola Bandoola Band and Shit & Chanel were two records picked up on a winter trip to Copenhagen; some of these records I associated with crunchy leaf wanders; some are great for forgetting all about the cold altogether…

Anyway, I had fun, as always. Enjoy!


Molly Drake — What Can a Song Do To You?
Syntonic Research, Inc. — Dawn at New Hope, Pennsylvania
Deniece Williams — Free
Colin Blunstone — Caroline Goodbye
Bayou — Barcarole
Julie Felix — Clickety Clack
Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express — Marai’s Wedding
Don Cooper — Bless the Children
Hoola Bandoola Band — Hemmet
Shit & Chanel — Dejlig Dreng
Alan Hull — Drug Song
Anne Briggs — Blackwater Side
Jessica Pratt — Half ‘Twain the Jesse
Bert Jansch — Tell Me What is True Love?
Miriam Makeba — Love Tastes Like Strawberries
Pointer Sisters — Dirty Work
Taylor Swift — Invisible String
Fleetwood Mac — Only Over You
Al Campbell — Gee Baby
Carol Campbell — Everything I Love Seems to Die
Alton Ellis — Black Man’s Pride
Earth & Stone — Jah Will Cut You Down
The Uniques — My Conversation
Haruomi Hosono — 薔薇と野獣
Arthur Verocai — Pelas Sombras
Skull Snaps — My Hang Up Is You
The Eliminators — Loving Explosion
Donald Byrd — Dominoes
George Duke — Brazilian Love Affair
Rim & Kasa — Love Me For Real
Ellen Arkbro & Johan Graden — Out of Luck

For K-Punk:
The Weird and the Eerie

Over the last few years, the Mark Fisher Memorial Lecture at Goldsmiths, University of London, has been followed by a For k-punk party, organised by Natasha Eves and myself.

This year, Goldsmiths has commissioned For k-punk to organise the entire event. Over the past few months, Natasha has put together an amazing programme of talks, screenings and performances that will take place at the Fox and Firkin in Lewisham, south London, revolving around themes and ideas explored in Mark Fisher’s final book The Weird and the Eerie, celebrating the sixth anniversary of its initial publication.

The event is free, but space is limited. You can book your free ticket on the Fox and Firkin’s website here.

More information below:

For k-punk presents the 2023 Mark Fisher Memorial Event. Commissioned by the Department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths University.

Wednesday 18 January 5pm — 2am at the Fox and Firkin (free tickets available from

This January, For k-punk will be celebrating Mark Fisher’s final book, The Weird and the Eerie. These two terms were, for Fisher, two kinds of aesthetic experience. Common to tales of horror and the supernatural, he argues that the things we recognise as weird and eerie are not always aberrations to be expelled but rather problems to be solved.

An encounter with the weird might well signify the emergence of the new, for instance, whereas the eerie is encountered in those moments where our expectations are confounded and the givens we hold dear evaporate before our eyes.

Though aesthetic in its orientation, the implicit political message of Fisher’s final published works seems to be that this world of ours is unstable and our fictions consistently explore its many contingencies, opening portals to worlds quite different from our own. Five years on from the book’s publication, living in a world that is only getting weirder, we wonder where we are now.

Moving from the lecture theatre to the event space, this year’s event has a programme full of screenings, live performance, music and discussions. Curated by Natasha Eves, together with James Sibley, Zara Truss Giles, Olga Paczka and Matt Colquhoun.

We want to say thank you to the Fox & Firkin for generously hosting this year’s event. The Fox and Firkin is wheelchair accessible and on ground floor level, with an accessible bathroom. The garden is at ground floor level, but with some uneven flooring.


Incursions is a collaborative walking project based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, facilitated by Archie Smith and Kitty McKay. Through practices of psycho/socio-geography, collective research, mapping, archiving and friendship, they work to shift dominant neoliberal narratives of space and place, co-authoring counter-narratives for how we inhabit civic worlds and build active solidarities. Their weekly walking forums in the North East, drawing on social histories, pop cultures and personal experiences, form part of a broader project that utilises moving-image, radio and sound production, archival techniques and community cooking to deepen relationships between people and place.

Robin Mackay is the founder and director of UK publisher, Urbanomic. He has written widely on philosophy and contemporary art, and has translated influential works of contemporary French philosophy including Alain Badiou’s Number and Numbers, François Laruelle’s The Concept of Non-Photography, and Quentin Meillassoux’s The Number and the Siren.

W.H.Y. / Zara Truss-Giles is a cross-disciplinary artist and artist producer living in London where they have carved a name for themselves as a DJ, club night promoter, producer and  performance artist. Their project W.H.Y. is rooted in the hidden and untold histories of individuals and community movements, through extensive research projects and conversations with those with living memories, stories and experiences. They also run the Distribution of Power project, a modular synthesisers library/ learning programme.

Paul Rooney is an artist/musician based in Liverpool, who makes music with words “investigating the intersections of music, myth, memory and place” (The Wire magazine). His installations, videos, writing and records assemble the contrary, unpredictable narratives that haunt particular places, fabricating fragmentary voices that comically and unreliably spook the present from an unquiet past.

Nat Sharp really hit her stride in 2017 with the ever-mutating live performance piece Trifle – a mind-frying mix of film, performance art, live band, electronic hoe-down, make-up, prosthetics, inflatables and audience/performer interaction (or mass food fight). The sheer tactile and sense-defying thrills of Trifle elevated her to Queen of the uncategorisable DIY underground status in the UK and as such as she was interviewed for BBC Radio 4’s New Weird Britain series.

Her next full-scale venture was Body Vice in 2019, another ground-breaking multi-media live show dealing with the themes of pain and disability (Natalie has back trouble due to problems with her spinal column and constant pain due to osteoarthritis). The piece, in a typically thoughtful, inventive and funny way, combined the rave adjacent noise of MRI machines, body suits that made the wearers look as if they’d been flayed alive and banging grime/footwork interludes about medication, with synths made from haptic spines.

After relocating to Todmorden in Lancashire, her creative thoughts have turned to her family roots (her Dad is from Cumbria, her Mam from the Seychelles and their family home is in Wigton near Carlisle). Her newest project Marra! is an interrogation of endangered Cumbrian dialects and customs, from gurning to greasy pole climbing, via the mad world of competitive pipe smoking and livestock auctioneering.

Liza Dickson. Kernow born / London based. Graduate of Goldsmiths BA Fine Art 2022.

Psychedelic in form + function: cloaking the dreamer, alchemically patchworked together, a focal point for neurosis that transfigures obsessive tendencies into objects that balance comfort + overwhelm – quilts hum with acidic potency. When activated by audio-visual installation + performance, quilts generate environments of breakage, spaces for the thresholds of consciousness to be agitated – as emulation/invocation of the bliss found under rave – rapturous ecstasy brought on by overstimulation – a vibrational possession. Taken by rhythm, a moment of total (dis)embodiment.

DJ Gonz is a DJ and producer based in London. He co-runs the South-East London based label SELN Recordings with Conrad Pack. He’s previously played at nights such as People Drift and SCRAM (Ormside Projects). Predominantly working in Techno, his sound aims to capture a sense of urgency, longing and hope.

Natasha Eves is a textile artist and publican. Currently, she runs a traditional community-oriented pub in South-East London, and teaches constructed textiles to undergraduates and postgraduates at Goldsmiths, University of London (UK). Together with friends she has organised events ‘For k-punk’ since 2018 to celebrate and share the radical and irreplaceable energy of her/their former teacher Mark Fisher. In 2019, she completed her masters in Contemporary Art Theory at Goldsmiths and the California Institute of the Arts (USA), going on to participate in School of the Damned (2020-22), a free, self-organised alternative art school.

Dream #1

I dreamt I saw Agra and the Taj Mahal, suspended in the air like a mirage, impossibly haloed by the Northern Lights, from an abandonedment apartment near the top of a tower block on the border of Greece and Bulgaria.

The sun was low and the town’s golden hour made the room feel like a pharaoh’s tomb. The view made for the ultimate prize. I was surprised no one had taken possession of it. Perhaps it was because the building was in a rough part of town. But all the more reason to at least squat the place.

On the uppermost floors of a neighbouring tower, there was a birthday party. A Russian family were celebrating their patriarch. The father shared his birthday with Vladimir Putin and insisted on showing a flamboyant state-broadcast celebration on television to his guests.

As Putin greeted his generals and sycophants with stern handshakes, the father quietly sobbed and kissed the cheeks of those who had arrived for him. No one wanted to cause a scene and protest the showing, so most pretended that the televisions (of which there were about a dozen) simply weren’t there. Let the men have their rituals.

I arrived having just seen the mirage from the neighbouring building and quickly told a friend who was in attendance to leave the party and come join me. They did, and we raced through the streets, through shadows and the foyer of a bank, to climb the tower in leaps and bounds. I so wanted them to see it for themselves.

I was also desperate to get back to the apartment because I had not yet photographed the vision visible from its vantage point. Unfortunately, I woke up before we reached the top floor.

On waking, I thought about Hervé Guibert’s “ghost images” and took further significance from the fact I did not have an image of the marvel to share. Then, as my wits returned, I realised that Guibert’s images fantômes probably didn’t apply to the photographs you fail to bring with you from your dreams.