My Strange Affair with Lydia Lunch

Lydia Lunch from Afraid of your company
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Saturday evening. Sixth day after I met her the first time. She is on stage already, with Joe and Kamil, projections on the wall behind her back bringing us a digitized version of her words. In Czech, of course.

In a few minutes she, following the goal she decided upon twenty years ago, opens all the wounds I (everyone here) carry inside. 

And also the ones that I will have, but I can't see them clear yet. It is an amazing pain session with spoken word, written word and musical communication. 

To paint the picture of her for you I am inviting you to read what she said when it exploded.

THINK: Some years ago, when I started to listen to your music, or to Diamanda Galas, to Jarboe or to Kim Gordon, I realized how much did you "guys" affect me with your work. I wouldn't say that you have been my idol…

LYDIA: Good. I am nobody's idol.

THINK: And I don't have any idols.

Exactly. You should be your own idol.

 I always had a big respect for you and I always wanted to talk to you, so, finally, it happened…

LYDIA: Perfect…

 Which women do you have big respect for?

Karen Finley; American performance artist dealing often with abuse and AIDS and people's lack of passion.

Wanda Coleman, who was an African American professor and was a member of The Black Panther movement in the sixties and wrote incredible books of poetry, published by the same people that published Charles Bukowski in America - Black Spiro Pres. 

And I love that Diamanda exists.

My idols are anybody that does what they wanna fucking do. And doesn't care if it's gonna sell. And doesn't care if anybody likes it. That's my idols. It's the average person that just goes: Fuck you, I am doing it anyway. And not I am doing it to be on MTV or I am doing it to get this painting in the gallery, but I'm gonna do it whether you like it or not. That's my idols.

 In your career, I really do not like this word - but let's use it: In your career you have been working together with many personalities, for example I know about Clint Ruin, Nick Cave, Rowland Howard, Bargeld … Co-operation with whom had the biggest importance for you?

LYDIA: Well, since I lived with Clint Ruin for seven years, he gave me the most. I don't know when in a collaborative sense but he certainly gave it to me. I think every collaboration is unique. I love collaborating with people, because if I have a vision, I know that certain people can bring their creativity, their energy to elevate this concept to another plateau.

So, this mirage of collaboration is very important to me. Very important to me is also doing solo work, doing solo spoken word, writing books - but it depends on the project. And when I decide the project needs a certain collaborator, I have always approached everyone I have collaborated with.

No one has ever come to me and said: Oh, I would like to make a band with you, oh, I would like to make an album with you… Rowland Howard: I stocked him. I heard The Birthday Party, I stocked Rowland Howard, that was it, I ran off to London. 

Clint Ruin: I met him and we said: "OK, we have to do the project." And then we lived together for seven years - that was a big project. So everyone I worked with, I think I approached them, because I had a vision of something that needed their input. I would love to work with Rowland Howard again. I love working with him because his soul is so gentle.

He is very opposite from me but we meet on a very unique plain. He is more feminine inside. And so that's a very beautiful "marriage". And it is very easy to work with him - he is the best guitar player in the world. So, I mean, why not? Every collaboration is different, is unique and is important for that time.

 Happiness… What do you think about yourself, are you a happy person? What is your imagination of the personal happiness, is it love, work?

LYDIA: No, being left alone, just like Garbo. I think I am very happy, even if I take on every miserable subject, even if I know the depth of misery. My model was thirty years of pain, thirty years of pleasure. I am over thirty… It's time for the pleasure. I was tortured from the age of six at least until the age of thirty. 

But I made a conscious decision as a victimized human being - victimized not only by the fact that we all are born to a family - perhaps the Czech families are happier that the American families, none could be more miserable, but we all have misery… 

Victimized as a woman, victimized in society by the global politics, ruled by men, which the world IS FUCKING RULED BY MEN and ruined by men and there is a choice: you either continue to be victimized or you understand your position and like most victims you then become the victimizer and then you gain the higher knowledge and you just say: OK, enough!

Personally I am very happy but it is because I am very Zen, because ultimately I have a lot of compassion and a lot of passion, but underneath it all, I don't fucking give a shit! I don't fucking care.

I care immensely, I am very passionate, everything fucking annoys me, I hate the way the world is run and ruined for thousands of years by men, but when I am home and I am divorced from the bullshit and because I've been screaming in every form that is possible for twenty fucking years, I think, I have done a lot of public psychotherapy for myself and others, I should be the happiest fucking woman alive with this. 

So, personally, I am very happy. The world is miserable. But that's the world's problem. I can only do what I can do. And my goal is not to make happy music or happy art because there is enough idiots doing that. 

My obsession with creation is to understand our darker tendencies, to understand our obsessions and to understand what drives us. Those are taboo topics. But it doesn't mean that after I dissect them I can't sit down, have a cigarette and go: Yeah (she smiles, looks very satisfied - exactly like an angel in a baroque heaven. With red hair and red lipstick, of course).

 Me, you, everyone here living in a civilization of television and advertisements, where top models are politicians and politicians are top models, is daily attacked by "official version" of beauty, by "official version" of sex-appeal or success. What is beauty for you?

LYDIA: Beauty is passion and that's why I don't understand how can this spate of anorexic Ausschwitz victims be paraded as the ultimate form of feminine beauty. Men don't really want Kate Fucking Moss. They don't. She is almost dead. If she loses two more pounds she would die. It's not men's idea of beauty.

That is Madison Avenue's idea of beauty. Calvin Klein's, who is a queer, his idea of fucking beauty. And notice respect of queers! I don't know when this contorted especially American version of beauty, when the sickness started. 

They want to sell you whatever you can not afford. You can not afford to weigh 90 pounds. You can not afford a Lexus automobile. You can not afford all this bullshit they parade and part of it is to make you greedy, like the fucking capitalists that run the world are. 

Tyranny is based on greed. So, we assume, we also want this endless hunger for that which we cannot attain, whether is it to weigh 98 pounds and look like Kate Fucking Moss or whether it is to buy this new car and to buy these new clothes.

All of these products are manufactured just to steal your time. That's the government issue - to steal your time. To make everything so expensive. Even in a cheap country. And to keep wages so low, that your time is their time. So you have no time for yourself, because you are fucking tired from working. 

My idea of beauty is passion. Kate Moss cannot have too much passion in her 90 pound frame. I'm sorry to say. And I think the women should revolt by gaining ten or twenty pounds. All women should revolt. And gain weight. And gain strength. Here you go… 

(I am sorry we cannot bring you report about physical strength of L. L. but her muscles are minimally so dangerous like her mouth. I checked it. Joe - 50% of Pseudo Pseudo was interested in the muscles as well, but he wasn't accredited. Maybe next time).

THINK: Another task, very interesting for me and connected with what has been said before is the beauty in art. Many people are convinced that contemporary art is finished.

That it is only a confused reaction of daily frustrations and fears. That everything had been found out long ago, so there is no future and no beauty in art anymore. And the beauty is what they are looking for in artistic expression. What's your opinion?

LYDIA: Passion is not a commodity they can market. So then they market things that have little passion, and that are pleasing and that are pacifistic. Because passion terrorizes the government, Wall Street, the commodity brokers, because they don't know passion.

They know greed and greed is no passion. And as you said to me: What is your idea of beauty, my idea of beauty is passion. In anything, no matter what it is. If you paint the painting, even if it's horrible, if it looks like it's done out of urgency, then it's good. That it's elevated, then it's gonna mean something to someone, even if it doesn't mean anything to me.

THINK: Are you optimistic about this world?

LYDIA: No. (She is laughing, but now I know, she is serious. FUCKING SERIOUS). Sadly our discussions couldn't finish. It is hard to meet someone so open and strong. She breaks the walls in your mind, takes a picture of your naked soul and exhibits it for you in incredible performance…

That's why she probably did more work for women than any of the feminists, fighting for their place on Wall Street, fighting for to be equal part of the system, that slowly destroys our planet.

And you know what else she said?…that pornography is an elevation of women. THINK ABOUT IT!

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