Someone uploaded a portion of the KAGBB pamphlet Bryony and I made which is very cool, thanks very much for doing that. Maybe we can upload the rest at some point, it’s not very long. Currently working on KAGBB#2
Katie: I think physical displays of anger, like the performance of anger is extremely gendered. Men derive power from the physical performance of anger. I don’t like violence, objectively I guess, but it’s weird how once you get in touch with that stuff it gives you a boner or something. Like I am imagining what it was like when you smashed the guy with a beer can and it excites me. Like straight up I am excited by it! I always think of that Black Eyes song where the lyrics are like “I didn’t like it/I was excited by it”, I’m taking the lyrics out of context but just thinking about that conflict of learned notions of “right/wrong” versus the very primal feelings we all have sometimes. I think about how perhaps unlearning limiting or destructive patterns maybe involves getting in touch with that deeply rooted intuition that tells you what feels right rather than what is right. So yeah is it objectively cool for me to punch people in the face or pee on their rugs, no, probably not, but let us say it was some total scumbag loser who totally fucking deserved it. Um, I’m not suggesting that I’ve done either of these things. I just think in the mean time, until women and non-men feel safe in their daily lives, let’s get in touch with performing aggression and being physical. Not to everyone, but to directed targets. We were not taught these behaviors are ok but other people were, so perhaps we must teach ourselves.
Bryony: Completely. I guess I am also interested in how this all relates to the spectacle, who makes a spectacle of themselves vs. who becomes one for others without their consent. How one looks while we are doing these things will always be foregrounded when these primal rage-feels are swirling around inside vessels that present female externally. If women had held the reigns on what went down at shows in a more overt sense from the start you can bet that slamdancing would contain more options for those us needing to avoid constantly bruised tits. This sense of being more seen, though, more visible as a body but not as a force, is hard to reconcile. Especially as a fat woman feeling sometimes clowny and clumsy and outside looking in on all this performative abandon, this has at least been my experience growing up with so precious few to no women ‘up front’ at the gig. This has changed and as a comparative old lady (in London, anyway) at the show, playing in bands has provided props to counter all this.
Katie: We (as women) are constantly reminded to consider what we are foregrounded in: our bodies, our knowledge, our sexuality, the commodification of our identities and sexuality, I guess. I think we are always fighting a voice trying to whisper in our ear, “You are outside of this, you can watch if you are lucky, but it is not a part of you and you are not a part of it”. All of us experience this in varying degrees, I think the burden of this experience on trans*women must be enormous. But, it is an enormous burden for all of us. Any time a woman is looking at her self (often) and seeing that she is not looking how she is supposed to look to make it through the gate, because the way to “make it through the gate” is to look a very specific way, she has to wonder if performative abandon is even possible? I think of what those words might mean and what I could do in my everyday life with more performative abandon.
Bryony: To return to the dildo, though, Good Throb is completely in thrall to the lude joy of base innuendo. It’s a vector of camp, no doubt. The reception to having songs about ‘grooming your twat’ or lines like ‘there’s a supernova up in my dark matter’ was surprising. It seemed to REALLY freak people out… like interviews being ‘why are you so …DIRTY?!” I am desperately interested what happens when sex and sexual pleasure, when female and queer desire rubs up against (lol) punk and hardcore worlds.
Katie: I would love for this to happen! I think that’s where our joking stems from, too. We aren’t making fun of dildos. We think dildos are awesome. We’d like to talk about it. We are celebrating them, and other apparatuses of sex and desire. I often feel very preoccupied these days with wondering how to incorporate my sexuality into my everyday life. I’d like to know how this can be a thing that I don’t have to shove in a drawer all the time for my own safety and for others. How can I be sexual and acknowledge how much I like sex without people turning on me? It seems like the answer, a lot of times, is to un-sexualize ourselves in public spheres because like, ‘don’t wanna offend anybody’ —- This seems true in a lot of punk/diy/hardcore communities. But how can I communicate my sexuality truthfully without offending you? And can I turn you on in performance with you enjoying it and still controlling yourself, and without you feeling cheated? Is there a truthful expression of sexuality in a community way? Because, to be fair, I might be emotionally 13 years old but sexually I might be only like 15 or 16, I am constantly thinking about sex. I didn’t really like sex when I was actually that age it was just this weird mystery I didn’t understand, so I feel like maybe I’m lagging behind.
Bryony: It has always interested me how ’77 punk, at least in its most exposed NY/London postcards, all felt so rooted in that world of sleaze, bricolaged camp and nihilist pleasure, oh bondage, up yours etc, an acceptance of ‘made-up boys’ (like, both eyelinered and invented) gender fluidity jarring with that unreconstructed ‘70s sexism, how so many London punk clubs were in the red light district, and so many iterations of first wave urban punk being founded on the lax approach of owners of queer bars, from LA to Chicago. And this is before you even delve into punk sex work and its attendant realities, from 53rd and 3rd to something more liberatory. I wonder if we got separated from all that by the hardcore turn… it’s such a puritanical thing these days, the figure of a writhing body on the floor that is so anti-sex, in a funny way. When you compare punk to (at least in subject matter… if not the social world/codes) of say rap or hip hop for instance, that exuberant pleasure seeking needs to return for us.
from: A Conversation Between Katie Alice Greer and Bryony Beynon, zine available on the Good Throb/Priests spring 2014 tour