So here we are, Deep Cuts edition 14, Stand Up, with its prompt question: 'what music channels your political beliefs?', suggested by my friend and collaborator Sarah Kuhail, whose local community were being violently oppressed at the exact time that we published out last Deep Cuts article, Sexy. At that point we didn't have any contributions that had been written for Stand Up, and I wasn't sure how the article would work, but it quickly became clear that our team were feeling fired up, particularly Hannah, who wrote a contributio intended for Sexy that immediately, instinctively veered into the political issues that were were pressing upon her.
Thank you to everyone who contributed, it's amazing that you managed to take these heavy issues (trigger warning: this article deals with sexual abuse, racism, police brutality, systemic abuse, suicide), and respond with honesty and music. I hope you enjoy the piece, and continue to be yourselves.
As always, tracks from each contribution are gathered in the mix below, their timestamp highlighted in this colour in the article, and all Spotify-able tracks are gathered here. Thank you to everyone who contributed, to Trav for the artwork, and to all the musicians out there. Also check out previous Deep Cuts articles here. Much love.
So... when Will and I initially discussed the theme for this piece, I was thinking of issues around race, borders, and feminism, and I already had a few songs in mind to showcase. Since then, I have moved back home to Ramallah, Palestine, where these issues became even more pressing. In the past few months, Palestine has witnessed a tough period politically. Israel is about to ethnically cleanse families from Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in Jerusalem. This situation has unraveled into an uprising by the Palestinian people all across the West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem, and historic Palestine. It’s been intense on so many levels, from worrying about family under airstrikes in Gaza, to facing the inhumane force of the Israeli Army during protests. I write these words then, in awe of Palestinians who have inspired us and kept us going the past few months. All the songs I have chosen were released in line of recent events, and continue to inspire as well as help me make sense of a surreal reality.
When the second intifada broke out in the early 2000s, I was still an 11 year old. Having lived my whole life in Occupied Palestine, discrimination and injustice were sadly the norm. I really had no reference to what “normal” life would be like. I’ve experienced checkpoints and encountered Israeli soldiers who would not hesitate to shoot me almost on a daily basis. I still remember living for months under curfew, we were not allowed to leave our homes. We were kids, and we were simply happy we could skip school. Quickly our days were filled with play across the neighbourhood. We would roam the streets, chasing each other around, but we were also playing hide and seek with Israeli military tanks that have invaded our cities. I guess, as children, we never really realized the seriousness of it all. We’d watch the news constantly, and hear of deaths, of bombings, of injuries, but when you’re this young, it just doesn’t make sense to you... Yet, it stays with you…
Experiencing an uprising as an adult now, fully aware of settler colonialism, racism, occupation, surveillance, discrimination, and ethnic cleansing, it just hits differently. I was surprised to learn my body has held onto previous traumas for this long. The past few months, I would wake up constantly, from nightmares that bore with them the sounds of military tanks invading my city at night… What we were experiencing the last 2 months has revived long buried memories. I could see again the tanks pulling over in front of my building and soldiers coming out. They bombed the doors and invaded our homes. One of them has pointed his gun at me and my younger sister while others took all our phones so we couldn’t communicate with the outside world. They locked us up for days as they took over the rest of the building. They set up camp at there for a while. The tanks, parked instead of the cars at the front door, became a typical view... And this was happening across the West Bank at the time.
I thought I have survived this, but it apparently survived within me, resurfacing now…
This time around, things are different… For the first time Palestinians from all around the West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem, and inside occupied Palestine came together. We roamed the streets, calling out ethnic cleansing, calling out settler colonialism and occupation, and demanding freedom, justice, and equality. We felt the power of Palestine united, calling for the same values, calling for freedom, fully in pain of the injustices we experience on a daily basis, hopeful for a better future. Despite the pain, it was inspiring to see change in the making…
Ok, so, back to music.. If we take a look at Palestinian history and revolution, we can trace music alongside it as an important tool for motivation and mobilization. Songs were used to inspire people, to communicate hidden messages, and to document the movement… More on this here. Presented below are some of the amazing productions that came out the past couple of months as a response and reflection to what’s happening, as motivation, as political statements.
These two months, we joke that Daboor’ & ShabJdeed’s Inn Ann has become the new national anthem, you can find it circulating across social media with loads of content documenting Israeli violations and crimes, but you can also find us dancing to it, singing its lyrics, emphasizing the need to stand for Jerusalem, celebrating the power of its people, and demanding an end to ethnic cleansing.
Daboor also released Sheikh Jarrah, documenting all the ethnic cleansing taking place in the neighbourhood. It’s kind of hard to remember the first time I listened to these songs, it feels like they’ve always been there, accompanying us in different aspects of life, quoting their lyrics in random convos, dancing to them at the pub, or just riding around to the beats.
00970 created Zero Hour as a way to critique social media censorship of the Palestinian narrative. He first sent me the rough cut, asking me to write something to go with its release. I was immediately mesmerized by the sounds that reflected our chaotic reality at the time, and the images that rolled of my screen. Experiencing this for the first time somehow made me feel dissociated and distant; it felt like a distant dream rather than a reality. Oddly it helped soothe my soul and filled me with rage both at the same time.
Fi Mi’ad’s by Dakn & Muqata’a has also been a great release, with brilliant footage and lyrics that speak to the soul, full of defiance of structural injustice and systems that fail us, celebrating the power of youth and the people. My friend had sent me the link, and I remember that watching the video was like watching a summary of everything that’s been happening, a time capsule, and then the lyrics were telling a different story, one that looks to a future of justice. I continue playing it every once in a while in my head, and it always makes me hopeful.
Nane Matok’s STILLALIVE is an expression of rage, frustration, sadness and hope, entangled together to portray the intensity of emotions we’ve been experiencing; an attempt to make sense of an unjust world. Nane played it at the end of an amazing hardcore techno set for Deep House Tehran. With everything that’s been happening on the ground, Nane and I shared many conversations that carried within them confusion, worry, rage and hope. Perhaps we were always at a loss for words, but music was there to help us heal. I remember tuning in to listen to the set live, and by the time this track came along I found myself dancing to its tense beats, better able to understand the turbulent emotions I’ve been feeling. Listening to it as I write this now still gives me the same sense of tension: barely capable of wrapping my head around it and all the thoughts/ emotions that arise, but kind of able to trace the energy release within my veins, and I think that’s all that music should do..
Sarah recently finished her degree in Digital Culture and Society at KCL, and moved back to Palistine.
This song is the obvious and first choice that comes to my mind. Sly and The Family Stone are my favourite band, ever, I also think they are one of the most important bands in history for so many reasons. They were pioneers. They all shared in singing lead and or harmonies, they were the first mixed gender, mixed ethnicity and psychedelic funk band, and most importantly they made amazing music!
Stand! [2:20] is timeless. It has such a positive, hopeful and inspiring sound to it which is complemented by brilliant and brave lyrics for a pop song of that time. Not forgetting that infectious groove! It's a song for all ages and types of people. A perfect pop song with a punch.
Another huge track and the soundtrack of a generation. This is probably the top track in this theme for me. Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler) still resonates now and is another timeless track you simply can't deny or you must be dead. The way Marvin delivers the lyrics is mind blowing. A religious experience that pierces your soul, and meanwhile the smokey club feel, reverb-filled rhythm and funky bass show you early hip hop and sends your mind into space.
Another soundtrack for a generation and also my generation as I was actually at school when this came out. At the time I totally got Brick in the Wall, most of us at school got it and it was chanted in the hallways and playgrounds. Watching the video again while writing this I noticed a shot of kids on balconies just the same as the ones I grew up on. It was one of those songs that seemed to capture how many people felt at that time. It’s another timeless track which also straddles that Rock and Funk divided with its heavy rock and bluesy guitars with a funky bass.
This game changer of a track blew up across the world which is no surprise given how revolutionary this track was in terms of the message, the fresh and new Hip Hop sound and the presentation of this military style group with marching dancers. I remember being gutted that I was too young to go to their concert at the Hammersmith Odeon which is now hailed as legendary, I had to gather any recollections I could about it from all my older friends who were all blown away by it. Some still say that nothing has ever touched it in terms of a Hip Hop concert in the UK and although I've seen many amazing Hip Hop concerts in the UK, I am inclined to believe them.
I started DJing for Spiral Tribe party in 1990. It was an amazing and hugely inspiring time. I remember when they were starting to make music and I was talking to Mark and Sebastian about ideas for tracks. I was just Djing at that time but I was also wanted to start making music in private. I was a huge Kate Bush fan (still am) and suggested that it would be great idea to sample Waking the Witch and other bits from Hounds Of Love. They were really into it and there you go! Every time I hear the track, Forward The Revolution [12:07], it reminds me of that special time and also makes me smile to think that some of my ideas contributed to such an awesome track! Seeing them set up their studio and release records back then was hugely inspirational and helped confirm how much I wanted to start making electronic music myself, something I still love doing until this day. I have to thank Spiral Tribe hugely for all the amazing experiences, the inspiration, the hope and sense and freedom they gave me during dark times of poverty and the lack of opportunities of inner-city life as a youngster. They are a huge inspiration to generations of ravers and this track encapsulates everything that I think raving is about.
The tracks above have shaped mine and so many other people’s lives and will continue to inspire future generations. They contribute to understanding and coping with the dark side of the human condition. They remind you that other people feel the same way. They are a vehicle that can help express how you feel and make you think about life. They can also inspire people to take action and to try to make positive changes to their own lives and others. These types of tracks may reflect on darkness but also have a cathartic effect of facing those injustices, acknowledging them and educating people who are unaware of those justices in the world. They help people feel that the injustices they face are being taken notice of and that the message is being spread.
Kim Cosmik is a fantastic DJ and bonafide rave legend and Deep Cuts team member who provided the mix mix for Deep Cuts: Euphoric Apocalyptica. Check out her Rave Memories piece for more of her 90s rave yarns.
Ifeoluwa (in conversation with Will Soer)
WS: So I knew I had to invite you to contribute to this article, although I don’t want this to just be you educating me and our readers about your beliefs, they can turn to your Resident Advisor Black Minds Matter podcast for that, hopefully this should be more about music that’s made you feel empowered, or angry in a way that’s not detracting from you. So you set up Intervention, these inclusive DJ training sessions which have developed into a collective, gathered by the fantastic Intervention x V/A 001, were there political motivations in the choices on that compilation?
I: I reached out to people who have supported me, I definitely wanted to show how actual meaningful solidarity along all racial lines, gender lines etc, I guess that since I’ve always immersed myself in dance music from various sounds, naturally there’s music from all genres, which is illustrative of my own experience with dance music, but black music as well. And although some of the people on there are white / cis / het / middle class, their willingness to learn and do better, to push things forward and contribute art that is really personal to them, I find that to be one of the symbols of progress, of attitudes starting to shift.
WS: I was wondering that about Bruised Skies (aka Matthew Heywood), is he one of those people?
I: I don’t know if he’s middle class, but yeah!
WS: Yeah his track Renditions does have a really intense, emotional, kind of utopian feel to it. And yeah, I love how the compilation has such an amazing mixture, going from ambient through through to a ukg Summer Walker remix to more intense, experimental stuff, do you have any particular listening favourites?
I: The compilation has represented different points of lockdown for me, there were times when it was really hard, and the first couple of tracks spoke to me, and then later on when things were getting more hopeful, opening up, the weather was better, then I was listening more to the later, Housey, Garagey tracks, and then when I didn’t even know what I was feeling, the Lorraine James and Lee Gamble track spoke more to me, it’s not really a static sound or anything.
WS: At different points in time there have been sounds that are obviously political because of their intensity, I wonder if that’s partly why you’re drawn to some of that kind of stuff. I know my best friend - who is queer - a lot of the music he sees as queer now, like Lotic, it has that intense chaos to it, or like you said, not knowing how you feel, it captures that feeling of uncertainty, which maybe speaks to double consciousness, or the feeling of being politically homeless. With the kind of high tempo, intense music that typified your 404 NTS radio show, do any artists represent that sound for you?
I: Definitely Lorraine James, also more recently Tygapaw. Tygapaw’s music is familiar and homely, but also resistant, if that makes sense. It’s a House track or some other type of track, but it also has a resistance within it. Like a lot of artists feel the need to get away from that, because they know what reactions black, trans artists get, artists who are inherently being political; people minimise the political aspects of it, it’s a survival tactic and technique. In recent years people are more outward with it, like I always look up to people like LSDXOXO, who are always so sure of themselves, in the way they present.
[Track one of the Ode to Black Trans Lives Tygapaw release that Ifeoluwa shared, Scene 1: Unseen, appears at 5:09 in this month's mix]
WS: Yeah and again, LSDXOXO is in that Tygapaw element of also making functional dance music that you could play to people on mdma who are new to dance music and they would have a good time, whereas if you dropped Lee Gamble or Lotic it would be a harder sell. It’s interesting talking to you, as I’ve consumed a lot of political content from you, it’s so intense that you’re at the intersection of racial politics, sexual politics and gender politics, not to mention the politics of art and marginalised communities, which can be its own thing. Is that part of the reason why you want to do music, is it as important as the pure enjoyment of music, in and of itself?
I: I think I’ve never separated the two, even when I was younger, because it was either me trying to exist, or it became like a necessity, I couldn’t consume music without thinking about the racial or gender elements, you can’t separate yourself from those spaces, it felt really important do try and make things a little bit better for people, or at least push things forward. I was into protesting since I was young, I was into music since I was quite young, so the two have gone hand in hand, and then when I went further into academia, it became apparent that I was fortunate and unfortunate to occupy that specific position; not many people do, being black and in academia, and also being into music, and also coming from a working class background, and also being non-binary.
WS: I remember Josey Rebelle talking about how she hates being put on lineups top to tick boxes, like a booking agent could be like, fuck, that’s it, let’s have an all-white lineup and also Ifeoluwa, and we can still claim we’ve got a representative lineup.
I: Yeah and people forget how damaging that is, because, like, I had to be a lot better than everyone else, to do more to get here, so for someone to minimise the hard work I’ve done, despite the barriers, I’ve survived things that others haven’t, so for someone to tell me I’ve got this slot because I’m black, obviously it’s racist but it’s also really damaging, and it also detracts from what dance music is about, the people who literally gave their lives for us to be able to consume it, to have fun, to go on the sesh, to enjoy life, how we got here wasn’t by chance.
WS: Yeah looking at the movement from sound system culture into rave and then into club culture, it’s easy to take that for granted, to just think we’ve got out mainstream clubs and our edgy clubs, and at an edgy club you can take drugs and talk to anyone and not be bothered for doing those two things, that this isn’t part of our history at all. The last time we talked for Deep Cuts, we talked about emo music, which has a really difficult relationship with gender, the lack of respect the scene has had for women at points, the lack of agency that women have in emo lyrics… You’re non-binary so I’m not about to ask you ‘as a women, how do you feel about that?’, but did you already see that music in a political sense, as a child? Or as you were going through the journey of finding sounds that felt like it was talking to you, not just as an emotional person, but as someone in the intense situation you live in.
I: Yeah I started to fall out with emo as I started to unlearn internalised mysogny, when you’re younger you can’t quite put your finger on what’s wrong with the lyrics, as a lot of it is ‘pick me’ stuff, ‘I’m not like other girls, blah blah blah’, you can tell that all the guitar genres fall into that space of male domination.
WS: Like how Paramore stopped playing Misery Business.
I: Yeah yeah yeah it’s exactly that, this process that I hope we’ve all gone through. But I never felt comfortable when I was into bands, because of the lack of anyone who wasn’t a white men, going to gigs was horrible, it was hell, back when even if someone called me the n word, if I tried to talk about racism it was all ‘no that’s a nice person.’ And obviously that logic and rhetoric has been passed down into dance music, ‘this person apologised, they didn’t mean it’, when we already understand the origins of this kind of behaviour, so it doesn’t matter if someone meant it or not, it matters that it happened, no one’s taken a stand on it, that’s why it continues and alienates people. I still don’t feel that included in dance music to be honest, I kind of have to make my own space, and include myself.
WS: Yeah, I guess you didn’t magically find your scene after your emo phase receded.
I: Yeah, my next scene was like Dubstep, Indie, Dance… it took me basically until I made Intervention, to be honest.
WS: This interview is kind of turning into a story of how counter culture develops, it’s a cliché but it’s true, you had to make your own space to feel comfortable and safe, at a very basic level.
I: Yeah, and even now, when I hear the word ‘race’, all I hear is society is constructed in this way, and we are participating in that, but other people hear ‘I’m a bad person’, and that’s the biggest issue we’re facing at the moment, half of us are like, yep, social construct, cool, we need to push things forward, the other half is like ‘nooo, but if you’re participate- no no no, not me’ especially as Britishness is rooted in superiority.
WS: Yeah we haven’t had the conversation that Germans have had to have, what does our history mean. I mean, tell me if this feels crass, have there not been any nights, or times when you’ve been in a black-curated… but I guess I really can’t think of many black, queer, or non-male curators who have made a night where you could feel safe, has that happened for you?
I: Since 2016 yeah, like even seeing… but to be honest, not really, because we haven’t reckoned with the space properly, I think, and as I unlearn more, I’m not expecting less than I should, even events that I’ve put on, I don’t know if clubbing is where it’s supposed to be.
WS: Yeah pretty much all clubs and gigs are still terrible for disabled people.
I: Yeah, and I am technically disabled, although I’m physically able-bodied, I have that privelige, it’s pretty much the only privelige I do have, so I have to think about what I can do with it. Because I’ll put on sick events, but they’ll not be accessible because of stairs, there isn’t anywhere for people to go if something happens without leaving the venue, which tells people that they shouldn’t have been there beforehand.
WS: Like a chill out room?
I: Yeah one of our events had a chill out space, but it was upstairs. And people are happy for me to talk about like mental health, or certain kinds of disability, dyspraxia, dyslexia, adhd all that stuff, but if I want to talk about the pstd I’ve experienced from being in music, that’s too much. If it isn’t a gentle version of disability, people are put off it.
WS: Yeah, when it’s disability that isn’t just genetics, it’s the effect of other’s actions. It can be a privilege actually looks like, it has lasting effects, it doesn’t end once the discussion has been had and the apologies have been made.
Ifeoluwa is an absolute hurricane of a DJ, perhaps the only selector to have dropped Britney Spears' Toxic at Corsica Studios, a frequent writer for publications varying from Vice to Wire magazine, and the founder of the inclusive DJ workshop organisation Intervention. Aside from Renditions [0:00] and N19 [18:58], this month's mix features one other track from the recent Intervention compilation; Utah? [10:20] by Void.
It’s been an interesting time musing on this topic. Music in itself – for the most part – is one of the best catalysts out there, the good stuff can stir up the deepest of emotions, provide connection in times of loneliness, give voice to experiences that often go unnoticed not to mention give fuel to your feet so you can wile the hell out. Many great examples to choose from, for example Rage against the machine’s ‘Killing in the name of’, written in response to the beating of Rodney King by Police in Los Angeles in 1991, the brilliant and immense Sons of Kemet with ‘Field Negus’ a beautiful searing diatribe about racism and hypocrisy in the UK, 1 in 10 by UB40 [15:43], an unflinching account of what it meant to be unemployed and powerless in the Midlands in the 1980s.
All these songs deal with the effects of prejudicial, hard line, corrupt governance upon those powerless to respond. Then there is music that deals with what I call ‘state of being’, roughly meaning when the very business of being human is problematic because of colour prejudice, economic disadvantage, sexual preferences, cultural beliefs, religious observations, social stigmas and the list goes on. The subject matter isn’t even overtly political but the fact of being present, visible and thriving can be enough to call others to action or even just to the front of the crowd (see Dreamwife’s call to all Bad Bitches, F.U.U) and be seen.
It’s this idea of that’s influenced the track I’ve chosen – from an artist whose main subject matter centres around what it means to be human, to be other in some spaces, attacked from within, whether that be in the confines of their origin cultures or physically in domestic spaces. These tunes might not scream take to the streets, or disrupt spaces but they do call on you to open your eyes to what you don’t know, be brave enough to see past your own experiences and challenge what you think you might know. The author of this track makes it clear; they are staying, will remain present for as long as they choose to do so and will do it anyway they damn well please.
The track is by an artist with whom I’m steadily falling deeper and deeper in love with- and am still only at the start of this love affair and it already runs deep- and has a collection of rich musical bangers that reflect the talents of a musician who can mix styles, ideas and genres so effortlessly and fully embodies this idea of presence so well; Tribe Mama Marykali, also known as Anna Katharina Valayil,. Of Keralan descent, raised in Nigeria and studied abroad, you can hear the influences in the music. This mix of cultures is reflected in her sartorial style too, putting a modern spin on traditional Indian fashions that reflect a sensual connection with her body and spirit resulting in abuse and criticism she has faced from within the Indian (mostly male-from what I can tell) community for daring to be herself rather than conforming to a colonialist, traditionally old skool, patriarchal narrative of what an Indian woman should be.
The visuals for her latest single Bless Ya Heels [22:02] puts this on display, the track is a sultry, sensual beauty of a composition driven by dance beats, infused with electronic melodies, tinges of Indian classical music forms and all held together by a poised, affecting vocal a musical force of nature. In the video a group of Indian women are dressed in sarees, adorned in jewellery, dancing but not for consumption, they stare down the camera daring to engage, not looking away, powerful and poised without apology. In a couple of scenes she smokes a joint, while another woman has a shaven head, another sits atop a motorcycle.
These women are not subjugated, oppressed and do not seek your permission or approval. The very nature of daring to be and refusing to be quiet has brought criticism, online harassment, trolling and all the other lowest forms of cowardly behaviour given voice by internet anonymity, ignorance and, I imagine, a large degree of personal self-loathing. In the face of all at she continues to stand with grace whilst giving as good as she gets - follow her on IG for some hard comebacks - and still producing spine tingling beautiful music. So, the offering is Kiss You Goodbye [available on streaming services, but not youtube/soundcloud] from the 2020 EP Tribe Sessions, and you will not be disappointed. This track showcases not only her vocal skills but her ability to take genres and make them sound like they always make sense. In this case a classical Raag type sound arrangement mixed with a Nu-Soul/Funk blend that gives it edge. Along with all this - if that wasn’t enough - the track highlights her vocal range, especially the lower register of her voice. Traditionally female vocalists in this genre sing in the upper end of the vocal register, in some cases its almost bird-like, but here you have something deeper and bassy, all the while crooning out this beautiful, heart-breaking love song. Valayil sings in English but also in Malayalam and Tamil. On Kiss You Goodbye she only breaks into English right at the end, which adds to the sweet, agonising ecstasy.
Proving that there are so many ways to Stand Up and more importantly to keep going, continue to chip away at oppressive systems and looking them straight in the eye. Just being a body in a space that has told you are not welcome, this is and continues to be a powerful force for change. So, listen to Kiss You Goodbye on excellent speakers and, if you can, adjust your lighting to match. Exquisite, infectious and affecting.
Nana works as a tv producer, taking initial ideas and seeing if they have legs. She is also our Sunday Jams writer, just go to our blog section to check out the mass of rich bangers.
[context: this piece was initially written in response to our previous theme Sexy, ‘what music makes you want to get dowwwn/sounds like getting dowwwn?’, but we agreed that it was better suited to Stand Up.]
Unsurprisingly, my sex drive became massively depleted over the past year and a half. Uninspired by both the death of my local-born father (a decade since his passing), the passing of a feminist friend to underfunded systems of health care within current government systems, entwined with living around substance abuse in a trap house for lockdown number one - whilst studying. The recent Sarah Everard case, highlighted by Sisters Uncut and the LAD$ Zine ensured I was able to contextualise intersectional stigma toward mental health through creating this article. I was spurred to shave my hair off. Triggered by both past and present incidents, I turned to bury my head in music and readings brought to me via the TFT course (focussing on community development), once again I have been studying and working out how to pay off student loans… just like a 10,000 other students living within the UK -some even stranded here still.
Once our closing ceremony with TFT commenced- Alicia Keys began to sprawl and play out through my art into my localised community action project(s).
Feeling sad once the TFT course finished, I listened to BBC Radio 6. As HairCut 100’s Favourite Shirts (Boy Meets Girl) [20:00] blasted out, actual memories of fire alighted, from the music in my past- My first experiences of ‘love’ or as others might call it- A flame of creativity and self-worth reignited inside of me- remembrance of more innocent times; at a far too ripe age I listened to this music with an older guy I attended Secondary school with. This New Age Groove inspired and reminded me of my naivety. As someone who divulges in poetry and lyrical wordplay, the process allowed me to unravel the lyrics, considering my unspoken trauma. In the shadows of hectic MSN accounts let me unravel the track…
‘Carino dime’, the lyric at 0:44 is the rejigged Italian phrase for ‘Carpe diem’- to seize the meat regardless of he who may or may not keep his promise… Seizing meat is a pleasure for all of us straight, bi or cis whatever- But when you’re told this in comparison to someone or something else, the other or another, that’s when people need to start questioning who they allow into their personal space… For example, our friend who passed, The Kinks were played at Georgia’s Humanist funeral.
[Georgia's name has been changed]
The thing is, what assists us in seeking self-purpose or actualization? What makes us chase the sunset rather than the sunrise? Art and Music is my therapy. How does homelessness develop our identity when our identity was fucked already?
At what point will men stop telling us to 'grab the meat' when they meet us, rather than treat us with gratitude, peacefulness and respect entwined by honest communication? Are you out there or will I have to meet my next love on Tinder, Hinge, Porn sites… for new forms of connection. Popping blue pills to bring your true ‘inner kundalini’ to me when life has suckled your soul [editor’s note, copied from Wikipedia; ‘In Hinduism, Kundalini, or 'coiled snake', is a form of divine feminine energy (or Shakti) believed to be located at the base of the spine’]
I learned true love and trust this year- my transformative connections with nature and spirituality contrasted to painful reconnection to my inner struggles and expressing them within this journal for all to read. That being said, the most revolutionary place I ever “carnio diemed” was in Waterloo in front of HMS Belfast when I was 15… that and on the steps of St Pauls when Occupy London was fully-fledged … grab the meat has since replaced the usual ‘can I buy you a drink’, contrasted by actually buying it…from there people were homeless at the drop of a hat. of who wears the trousers but doesn't “walk the walk".
^ the Sisters Uncut Vigil, Copyright me. “Feel the pain” 0:49
The truth of the matter is, we have become brutalised by the barbaric systemic oppression, dominating our current existence as hedonistic freedom fighters. Experiencing first-hand systemic violence when having my safety ‘guarded’ by G4S [the self-proclaimed ‘world’s leading integrated security company’] was painful and destructive. Stigmatic, linguistic, verbal and physical overuse within systemic care both physical and verbal received when suffering severe trauma was brought to light by those words, “feel the pain”.
Violence breeds violence- with both intervened on by male negligence, insensitivity, I have found myself sheltering myself from overt judgement. I feel safe writing this excerpt for ‘Deep Cuts’ because I feel I am safe, and in some way wall flowered amongst the other amazing writers herein.
My experiences of violence at the hands of G4S has not gone unnoticed from within my own ‘innergy’ [urban dictionary: Jonathan: “Wow Dominic, those new Nikes you have are super fly. You must have a lot of innergy!”, Dominic: “Yeah I try keeping it real.”]. Constantly, feeling the pain of the male hands which have (in some way) placed ownership over my mind, body, and spirit (my late and local Tottenham-based father included). It is something I am working on harnessing. Yes, I do feel the pain of memories when you guys call me ‘love’, ‘Madam’, ‘darlin’ because I serve you a pint, or walk past you in the street . Or place your arm around me in front of the girlfriend you are trying to rid or avoid... I know how it feels and how it makes other women feel. I have experienced how men can and continue to abuse their positions first-hand. To the point when those who should 'protect' become ’“safeguarded" by friends or 'prevented' so please… stop coercing me and other female associates through sadomasochistic practices as a normalized human ritual…
Now back to Haircut 100, “WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?!”- 0:55, lead singer Nicholas Heyward’s whales, repeatedly throughout the track. Men have turned to all kinds of resorts if you say no to their sex drugs or rock and roll in my experience… if you resist the dance floor, don’t want to copulate or want to copulate they kick up a fuss. Wear the wrong thing, here come the pressurised why’s highlighted by toots on trumpets. Looking at the artwork shared below at our event last year, I feel Tessie Orange-Turners’ relaxed, chilled out beauty (portrayed below) expresses the reproach and welcome that other ‘tribe members’ privately hear, over and above the fear observed and sighted around us. Or rather how we should observe the whyyys from the patriarchal dance floor.
[the artwork was created in 07/02/2020, check out Tessie's studio here]
Comparison between us and them runs thick in these solitary, socially pressurised times. Women feel they must become more male, sexier, curvier, skinnier…every 'er' and in between to attend to the whailing “whyyyyyyyyyys” of the boyfriend you just want to be yourself with. I have found myself committing to my ‘sexy workaholic’ vibe. This form of matriarchal misogyny appears at a ground level too- but also within a wider social context. Highlighted by social isolation, stronger than ever, on reflection of how unspoken adultery, police brutality and Sarah Everard cases entwine and intersect the numerous other females and marginalised groups who suffered and continue to, at the hands of personalised and nationalised intersectional prejudice.
“Why, feel the floor?
Sweets for my way”- 1:06
These lines, drew attention to the intervention of drugs and parties within my sexual relationships with men. I spent most of my time blissfully unaware of how drugs and jealousy could entwine their way into the lack of shared memory between my ex(s) and I. I'm still unsure if the feelings are or were ever even mutual… Not only that, but the lack of memories that the 'sales' theybrought into my presence, this lack- suffocated other cultural resources and existences surrounding the hedonistic field that we found ourselves in (access to green spaces, a window, a place of peace and quiet, accessible cooking spaces). The thing is- drug dealers are a marginalised group themselves.
I often found myself questioning why or how I might “feel the floor” on a Saturday night after four weekends on the trot of the same thing. “Sweets for my way” implies sweets as drug use, females as drug use- in this context, to coax female appeal or to get one's own way: “Get my way”. The ever-unravelling gives and gets- to take, or not to take sweets from the person you trust surrounded by… Just as Mum advised when we were kids, Don’t take sweets from strangers… or rather, partners demanding ‘fun’ on the regular-especially if that becomes an excuse to continue to consume chemicals.
Feeling sexy? No? Me neither! What you can do is be very clear when distinguishing boundaries with those you want to be with. If you care for someone, support them and harvest each other's true talents and needs - together. Keep busy with own paths too but always find the bridge, go on dates (even if there is a lockdown, we are still able to create fun at home or go for walks outside, if you're in a steady partnership. Try spending ‘sober time’ together- it will be truly revealing. It will make or break your paternalized patterns…
Domestic violence: "Do a somersault on your head"- 2.34
To end on a real 'unsexy' note- to combat the “get dowwwn” theme, this month highlights our collective experiences of domestic violence, homelessness, substance misuse and systemic failures. I say 'our' because this not only relates to me, my mum but the single Dads too- all “domesticated humans” (Ruiz. M) under nationalised abuse toward women of all kinds. And what about the youth!?
When we take a flight or a journey internally, it is called ‘Domestic’, so if violence is domestic, then I have been somersaulting on my head since prenatal birth. I will never understand how the police are doing this to man, woman and child. I will not stand down, get a grip, shut my mouth or have it shut for me anymore. I am angry, I am vigilant, and I am Hype Woman Raggamama! Hear me roar as you shove your hydrochloric injections into my skin again… Injections of false egoic love, injections of “fake facts” (thanks Trump), injections of smack chic clique, wet blankets in 'doctors shirts' or hoodies who want to turn you into their man bag and have you ‘take the wrap’, injections of sneers by unjustified judgement- because I wear the wrong colours, have a certain story, have wild woman hair and might not want to paint my nails for a change (because your mum would have liked it)…
RANT. OVER…. Now I feel sexy.
Hannah is an artist and organiser, whose efforts have been poured into the upcoming #welovewoodgreen community event, happening in North London on the 24th of July, be there if you can, midday-midnight!
And so here we are, the editor of the piece and the token straight white male is here to give his two pence, to explain politics to everyone. I always put my piece last in Deep Cuts, as I don't want this collaborate project to be about me, and boy what a theme for me to not centralize myself. I considered not contributing at all, but I also want to give my all to each Deep Cuts piece, to respond to the other writings contained within. Centering yourself can be a bit of a manipulative social media technique to justify demanding others' attention - 'as someone who xxx, of course I have an opinion about this' - but fuck it I'm going to do it anyway, as I also think that being totally honest and open in response to others honesty can demonstrate absolute respect. I hope I can pull this off.
What are my political beliefs? What political beliefs could I have, a privileged straight white male whose toughest experience in life was being bullied in school. It was tough returning to the uk for me at age 11, but my parents were accepted back into their home country with open arms by their peers, I had a bedrock of security to return to every day after school, a place where I could explore new worlds via comic books and video games. I started writing this piece shortly after the passing of my grandmother, - Nanny, as we called her - a Polish, Jewish refugee who witnessed Kristallnacht, who lost both of her parents to the Holocaust, who moved her aged 9, not speaking a word of English.
She passed away on a Sunday morning, on the 30th of May 2021, and that evening I did my monthly Threads radio show, and found myself talking about the quality that this sweet woman represented to me, kindness, the opposite of abuse. I had planned on doing a relatively chilled out show, a ‘calm before the storm’ themed show as this was a month before lockdown was supposed to end, but I packed a couple of tracks that are only superficially calm, Sault’s Wildfires and Billie Eilish’s Your Power. Wildfires addresses police brutality with such a powerful, intense metaphor for bravery and resistance that it reduced me to tears, simultaneously amazed and aching, thinking about the strength that Nanny needed to face life with anything other than anger. Both tracks contrast beautiful, soft, sweet music and vocals, with confrontational lyrics, like cold, angry eyes staring out of a calmly poised face.
This kind of music sparks an odd kind of intensity within me, partly because it plays into one of the most important political issues of our time, #metoo, something I feel very close to having witnessed the effects of sexual abuse. Ted Coward wrote a great article for Loose Lips about a pair of tracks addressing abusive ex-partners, one released before #metoo (Taylor Swift) and one after #metoo (Phoebe Bridgers), and the different ways that their singers were received, I recommend it thoroughly. But yeah, is that my political belief, abuse is bad? Can I make an article out of that?
The day of finally putting the different contributions for this article together, the 17th of July, 2021, it occurs to me that I do have a political belief that is separate from those that I see repeated over and over on Instagram, or rather one that is a little more specific than what I have read over and over. I believe that one of the biggest factors that contributes to the political issues around us, in this country, is the fact that our culture is build upon a rejection of nature, of natural emotions, of natural needs. My understanding of this actually sparked from an essay of J.R.R.Tolkien, who said that Victorian clothing was a reflection of Victorian culture, in its quality of being grossly unnatural, uncomfortable. My grandfather, the English man who married Nanny, he was a sick man. He was ill, things were not ok inside him. He wanted to be kind, he tried, he once reminisced that when he met Nanny he thought ‘someone is going to have to look after her’, he was not a bad man, but he was sick. The whole time that I knew him, he was incapable of showing affection in almost any form, he was divorced from his emotions.
I’m currently reading a great book called Humankind by Rutger Bretman, a powerful counter argument to various theories about the inherent cruelty of humanity. It describes how bullying is not a necessary occurrence within all human communities, but the evidence shows that it almost always occurs in communities that sociologists describe as ‘total institutions’; places where everyone lives in one place and is subject to a single authority, activities are rigidly scheduled, and there is a system of explicit, formal rules imposed by an authority. This type of existence is totally separate from the nomadic lives that humans enjoyed for 95% of our history, but now it feels inescapable.
An obvious example of a Total Institution is a traditional school, another is a country such as the United Kingdom with a royal family whose colonial past goes unchecked, a country with a rigid class system, a country where the rules are explicit but everyone breaks them, a country filled with unaddressed shame. English people always say sorry haha! A great subject for a comedian to play off, a horrible way to live your life, swinging between shame and the brutish rejection of shame, be it through kneejerk responses like ‘I should be allowed to say what I like’ / ‘we’re not racist!’, or surgically removing the shame with alcohol. Fuck that. I also believe that this is part of the reason that people like me love music made by non-white UK citizens who draw upon their various cultural backgrounds, because deep down we feel that these artists are our saviours. We know that, for someone from a culture that the UK has brutalised, to come to this country and access the emotional strength needed to look us in the eye and still share their emotions with us, anything is possible.
[Will's last selection, Hold On by Popcaan appears at 25:13 in the mix]
Will Soer is Loose Lips' creative editor, and Deep Cuts' Mama.
Renditions - Bruised Skies - 0:00
Stand! - Sly & The Family Stone - 2:20
Scene 1: Unseen - Tygapaw - 5:09
Inn Ann - Daboor & Shabjdeed - 8:20
Void - Utah? - 10:20
Forward The Revolution - Spiral Tribe - 12:07
1 in 10 - UB40 - 15:43
N19 - Lee Gamble - 18:58
Favourite Shirts (Boy Meets Girl) - Haircut 100 - 20:00
Bless Ya Heels - Tribe Mama Marykali - 22:02
Hold On - Popcaan - 25:13