B-Side Nelly Furtado track?
It’s officially been a year of Free Fall.
We last spoke to you in July, using the ensuing two months for ourselves. But, shortly came the 21st night of September, do you remember, the 21st night of September? Love was changing the mind of pretenders.
My memory is always a bit shit, I do not remember things well and I often look at the photo gallery on my phone to remember what I did upon certain days. On the 21st: I had dinner with a friend who’s VISA is expiring (borders, hey); I talked about moon cakes with another friend as we both tried to scourer London for some; and I saw Jupiter and Saturn in the sky with a full moon. Seems like the 21st was a good day. So, honouring Earth, Wind & Fire: what did you do on the 21st of September?
We last left you saying we were taking some rest. We are still resting; but with changes. A lot of ground work we put into our personal lives has seeded, sprouted and is doing well. Reflection helps us mark the pride we should have for ourselves, but an overt and crippling sense of humility can’t release it from its grasp until we can mentally process achievements. In less words, we are just doing the work and showing up - as we always do. We’ve enjoyed new projects, closing old ones, returns to full time work, holidays, defining things we’re gonna do, growing avocado seeds and giant slices of cake. Shimi is looking forward to her birthday 69780 months in advance. We’re going to use our new website as a soft think tank: the thoughts won’t be soft; but we won’t be over asserting or pushing. Content speaks for itself in this day and age. Engagement and conversion doesn’t really mean anything, but we aim to write about things you need to read; thoughts you oughta pollinate; lines you’ll be left lingering on. We want our thoughts and essays to run alongside our free writes in tandem: paralleled between cover sheets of doodles and typography.
If you are in a position to donate, please consider contributing to Shiri’s studio space fund. It’s a fantastic South London run organisation providing taught artistic structure and guidance for studio holders too. https://gofund.me/138679d5
As we wind into Autumn, enjoy Earrings. It’s a piece that traces through heritage, wanting it, rejecting it: all the banal purposes it comes with. Enjoy the play of narrative and perspective. Enjoy us writing on gender. It entwines nostalgia with the shit realisations of present day. Notice how South Asian girls always have their ears pierced?
Anyway, ciao. Shimi.
(just realised § is a “double S” and wish we knew that a year ago lol)
Sit on a shitty plastic throne. She would have a pair on either side of her head weighing about a pound on each side, wrapped in colourful satin, demurely attempting to miss tripping her feet on the trailing fabric all around her. At weddings the bride is part decorative, part productive. More decorative than anything. Like, all she would do is just sit on a shitty plastic throne in front of everyone for them to undress her with their eyes. It felt perverse. All teachings of modesty thrown out the window for this one event to parade her slowly dwindling virginity. That’s so fucking humiliating.
I was born to be a woman in a family which is haunted. I met her when I was a few months on the shelf, he replaces stock quite regularly. Actually I wasn't even on a shelf, like most jewellers he keeps us in little plastic baskets under the glass cabinets, in drawers out of sight. They wanted something simple: for a baby. She was about 8 or 9 months old I think. It was summer, I think. Or maybe she was younger, I don’t really understand babies. Mostly indian faces I see, for pure gold options - only. She was getting her ears pierced. I sat in my holding cardboard, a small piece of white card that I poked my stalk through. Well, be both sat like that, I don’t just talk for myself. I’m symbiotic: I come as one but I am part of two.
Sit on a shitty plastic throne. I used to cringe at the idea of women being purely decorative. So I would reject the adornment of my body. But my fondest memories would be my mothers arms around me and hearing the clink of her gold bangles I’ve never seen her without. All the women before me toiling away stooped cleaning floors mixing herb and water plucking crop from group agile flexibly pirouetting around domestic space magicking ambiance would have been adorned the same. It wasn’t humiliating for them, but I remain suspicious of the dowry that can dictate where a woman can traverse in the future.
I was born to be a woman in a family which is haunted. Small and golden like the way the sun hides behind distanced californian clouds. I’ve never seen California, but I heard about it on the radio. Sterile for me, means ready. Sterile for you? Means barren. I DON’T HAVE A CHOICE. I am going to be used now, I thought, as I saw the sausages reach into the drawer to grab me. But equally so? Not her choice too. We will be bonded now, without choice. An arranged marriage. A ceremonious becoming of femininity she doesn't choose: I penetrate her ear lobes and I remain there as she screams out in pain. I remain as her hair begins to grow longer and gets caught in my fastenings.
Sit on a shitty plastic throne. It became a prostheses, not like, a badge of honour, but an extension of the body. Pure gold around ankles and wrists and wrapped around the neck and weighing down once dainty and supple ears to reveal a window into the next dimension. One time my aunt took her earrings out for Hajj and I saw a picture of her. Without the earrings her ear lobes hung as low as my old bob cut did, long black slits resting perfectly in the middle. I joked and said you would be able to see heaven if you stretched them out a bit but it wasn’t a joke. I think concepts like paradise and permanence are often found on the site of the body of which we associate pure temporality anyway. This is because everything around us is made up of a series of everlasting contradictions.
I was born to be a woman in a family which is haunted. A cycle permits. Fashion becomes conscious in your mind and you change the decoration you spend pointless pounds on. Lost again behind a sofa, lost again behind the bed you fuck on. Stretch your ears. Adorn your ears. Renegotiate your earrings: get a tragus, you cool bitch. Everyone has one - we are just all so cool. Don’t get me started on that goddamned nose piercing. What is a tragus anyway. Your earrings have no idea. Mad, that we decorate ourselves so much. George Michael did it so boys, you can do it too. All for queers and queers for all.
Sit on a shitty plastic throne. Furthermore, it’s a risk accepting the dowry of another family because what if they give you earrings that clash with the shape of your face? I have a long face with big features, so the chandelier-like earrings dazzling the shops of Southall look out of place when taking on the task of framing my face. Hoops or a simple long-drop shape is best. How can someone you’ve never met make that call for you? Madness. But then again, it’s my relationship with femininity that dictates this because I haven’t seen anyone else look terrible in those earrings.
I was born to be a woman in a family which is haunted. I remain for her passport photograph. A baby, but with earrings. She has no idea. She won’t feel me in 10 years, nor in twenty or thirty. Again, I think… hmm. Not her choice. What a joy it is to not have choice as a woman, especially a woman who isn’t even a year old yet. One who couldn’t even tell you her name. It’s already predetermined for her. Customary for her. Expected of her - to have her two ears - pierced.
Sit on a shitty plastic throne. It’s like an indication of gender fluidity. Certain things look good on my girl face whilst others look good on my boy face. It’s impressive that the gold wearing ancestors just took these gifts upon their body as forever. I once asked my mum what she would do if she one day decided to take the bangles off and she just laughed. In a marble box that’s propped up with gold feet in a closet somewhere, you can open it and find red tissue paper. If you unwrap it you’ll see loose bits of gold jewelry surrounding various tiny brown boxes with more gold in them. They mostly consist of earrings and anklets.
I was born to be a woman in a family which is haunted. The cyclic burden continues. I was born to be a woman in a family which is haunted. Haunted by hate, haunted by death, haunted by caribbean stories created by ancestors which deserved more from this shit world we all crawl in and out of. The burden of indians becoming something important under a construct they didn’t choose or create for themselves - how the fuck could the dutch or british understand what we needed? And why in the name of fuck sake is it so god forsakenly sad that we still remained under their tight control. They let us out; kinda. They let us travel; kinda. Badly, without support or help - but we moved, we migrated, we dispersed. Maybe that’s why indians are so tight on tradition. If your name’s not on the tradition you’re not getting in: OH. How this is repeated to any westindian indian by any indian indian. I hate the “indian indians'' who live to make anyone from diasporic indian communities feel less than. Krishna sees your karma, hoe. Just like how he sees Karma Chameleon. I always thought that was a Hindu song, because I thought karma was only a concept related to hinduism when I was small. I mean, it is a Hindu concept. Fuck you.
Sit on a shitty plastic throne. It’s tradition for a mother to leave her daughter with some financial security. When women had to leave abusive husbands in the middle of the night they would only take the clothes on their back and maybe another pair of shoes. It makes sense that they would carry their wealth on them. It’s a secret rite, an indication that the world isn’t safe, that no world can be safe when powerful people place arbitrary value on lives, but there’s a culture of us who know how to work the game. Our most powerful survival tools can be the most benign ones, a door to another dimension.
I was born to be a woman in a family which is haunted. Oh the mind of the child, oh sweet child of mine. I wish you a life that isn’t burdened with the pain I taped over. You’ll have your own burdens. Your own sets of earrings to accessorise the situations of turmoil you’ll navigate. Just chop and change them, as you like, as you need. You’ll lose some along the way, but you’ll always have room for more. Maybe we shouldn’t pierce our daughters ears. Maybe it could protect them from the pain we set them up for. I wouldn’t know.