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Performance redux

3:AM: The other element that comes out of your book is the social class mix – there are kind of the toffs and upper middle class types and then there are the working class guys and the mix is part of what makes the sex and violence seem so palpable. Fox playing a working class gangster whilst in actuality being toffish – was this part of the mind gaming that brings out such great performances, do you think? The swinging scene always seems to hide these class distinctions but here it seems one of the things the film is doing in recognizing it as another source of explosive power – sex and violence – so the relations of power in the film take up this, don’t they?

PB: Whilst the Swinging Sixties does seem to hide the class divide, in other ways it extends it. David Bailey, a cockney lad, was noticeably a working class photographer. Michael Caine too was working class, and he played on it right from the early days in films like Alfie, and also in some of his press publicity. And indeed the model Twiggy. Bailey did a book that mixed in this new world of pop stars with a few other icons, and topped it off with the cherry on the cake, the Krays, which caused problems for the publishers. The Krays as we all know were keen to collect photos of themselves with toffs and celebrities, whether Lord Boothby or Judy Garland. And of course this mixture is there in the film. What I do not point out blatantly is the mixture of those involved in the film and their relationship to the counter-culture. I do cite, frequently, that the King’s Road is more or less the main artery for this film. Many of those involved in the film lived in or just off it, or not far off. The production company was just off it. And I do note that the Royal Court is at one end of the King’s Road, and Granny Takes a Trip at the bottom end. And the Pheasantry where Clapton, Greer and Martin Sharp lived, where Litvinoff was connected, was right in the middle. Bindon too lived not far off. Jimmy Evans was chanced on and picked up on the King’s Road by Robert Fraser. And they even filmed on the road in the Chelsea Town Hall. But the implication for this film is that it is a counter-culture film, and it is noted that Powis Square is Notting Hill Gate etc, though of course that location site is only the outside of the famed house, the interior was shot elsewhere, closer to the King’s Road, in Belgravia. But was the counter-culture based on the King’s Road? It was certainly part of it. Swinging Sixties and the King’s Road were certainly synonymous, but the counter-culture and the King’s Road only tell part of the story. To draw a map of the key places of counter-culture, and where these people lived, worked and played, would spread across more than the King’s Road and its vicinity. But this film that seems to be steeped in counter-culture is certainly pivoted on a King’s Road aesthetic. So you can draw your own inferences.

I like the way Jagger had a mock cockney voice, that he played with not only in public, but apparently with his new friends from the upper class. They wanted to be part of the new scene, rub shoulders with this vibrant rock scene. You see it currently in Poliakoff’s new film on television, Dancing on the Edge, the way that royalty and the toffs of the 30s want to be in on where it’s happening, in this case with jazz and ‘negro’ musicians. Whilst one might not want to make a big issue between the rich and the poor, as always those with the money and the lack of need to desperately work for a living have the means to help finance and control the activities. Nothing changes. But since those times with more of the working class gaining wealth through opportunities often connected to the arts, or media, or culture, the funding can be different. Taking one example from this period, McCartney using his means to help International Times financially at one moment. Performance was made right at the time of that key social/class change, that pivotal point. So to point out, as you have, that Fox indeed came from a wealthy acting dynasty, whose family lived in Eaton Square, and who then played a gangster, researched well, convincingly, and Jagger coming on as a wealthy rock star, though one who has gone through his income, creates that frisson. One that was explored on and off set.

3:AM: With the violence there’s also the sex. Jagger’s image has always been locked in to a kind of ambiguous sexuality and the gay elements in the film are pronounced in the film, aren’t they? I laughed at the bits where you say that the real hard-man James Fox’s character was based on reacted to seeing the film years after by emphatically denying he was a ‘pouf’! Straight/gay categories are breaking down in the film aren’t they, along with other simple binaries?

PB: The homosexual and indeed the bisexual nature of those involved, whether in the film itself or aside from the film, some of which I note clearly, others not so much, is central to the film. And one of the issues that they wanted to point out was that whilst everyone bangs on about Ronnie Kray being a homosexual, the implication is that many other nattily dressed gangsters were homosexual, or had homosexual tendencies, whether they recognised it or not. Hence Jimmy Evans, nattily dressed, reacted appropriately when he saw the film many years after its release. And indeed his release from prison, if I recall, which is one reason why he hadn’t seen it until late in the day. The explicit or implied sexual relationships and combinations throughout the film was what helped that film to mark the period and which at the same time made the film feel ‘dirty’ to the Hollywood financing scene – particularly as the film was paralleling big businesses and the criminal world and implying that they were as crooked, as perverted, as they were showing up there on the screen. But what they were also saying was that this is the new world, this is a liberation that is occurring. No one burns their bra in the film, they have already discarded them. Anita’s breasts come and go casually throughout, as does her arse. Jagger too is free to expose his body, you can see his cock beneath the bath water at one point. No one is coy within the film, there is no feeling that they are strategically placing objects in the sightlines, or the camera has to shoot from one angle or another. It is of course partly an illusion, because there is no full frontal nudity either. There is a naturalness to the use of the naked or barely covered body, with Anita at the forefront, looking like she’s enjoying it, even if later she half-joked that Donald was manipulative.

Given the nature of the homosexual aspects of the film, particularly in terms of the gangster element, I thought it was telling that Cammell didn’t overstate that knowledge to those actors involved, whether it was John Bindon, who is more deeply tied up to that milieu than the others, or Johnny Shannon who plays Harry Flowers, the boss, who lived and worked in a world where shady characters were woven into his daily movements, a world of the ‘chaps’ as he said. The others were regular actors, not from any shady world, though you often think that everyone in that part of the film came from that criminal milieu, partly because the talking up gives that idea, partly because they seem typecast. Cammell could have given some sources to these people if he’d chosen. I use examples like Genet, not only the writings, but his film Un Chant d’amour, or Cocteau’s films, like The Blood of a Poet… or underground movies, I use Flaming Creatures as an example. But if Cammell had opened up too much he might have run the real risk of freezing the film. Jagger and James Fox were party to these resources. They knew what was happening to quite a large extent. Jagger notes you couldn’t fail to when you casually dined or spent evenings with Cammell and the others through every stage of the film’s development and fight to get it under way. I’m not saying Cammell was calculating, in fact far from it on many levels. I suspect sometimes he was unaware of some of the things he was doing, was not always handling the situations right. But that was all part of it. The film making process was quite violent. I make that clear. Indeed everything about the film was violent.

3:AM: You look at the scenes involving the sexuality of the characters with a wide lens so we get the scenes fused with the way the shots were set up and the way the performers were manipulated into finding them – this again meant lines were being crossed between real life and fiction, didn’t it?

PB: I think there was a very tangible relationship between what was happening on the screen and what was going on in real life. Ideas and events that occurred in Cammell’s life, or those around him, from big to small matters, were slid into the narrative. Whether things were true or not they could go in. The mix was so rich, like a Christmas cake, that who was to know if it was true or not. Things became fictionalised in the process. It left so many details open to acceptance or denial after the fact. All these stirred the publicity machine then. And since then. And now. We love to think that the characters on the screen and what they are doing is really as it was.

3:AM: The sex scenes didn’t all end up in the film – cuts were nicked and redistributed – and this all adds to the legends surrounding those scenes, doesn’t it? Like the violence, the shots were often developed through incredibly intense mind games played by Donald Cammell and Roeg on the performers, weren’t they? In your book we get the sense that everyone was on the edge of a crack-up. Is that right?

PB: The tensions were exploited on all levels. And people played games. That the producer Sandy Lieberson took a compilation of ten minutes of out-takes to Suck’s Wet Dream Film Festival in Amsterdam, that a few frames were in turn snipped out in the projection room and displayed in OZ #32, reminds us that you can’t always know what will come to the surface. Did Sandy expect this to happen? I doubt it. But they were doing all manner of things to get publicity, so it can always be at the back of your mind. How many events are concocted and the media brought in to give publicity and it all backfires. Or backfires in one sense, because you might get fame and fortune out of it, but the personal or family life suffers, disintegrates. It’s about rolling the dice. You can’t control the media. The News of the World tried to stir up Redlands and clobber the Stones. It did damage, and collateral damage, but it also made them famous, infamous. But Marianne Faithfull with the Mars bar concoction has had to live with that intrusion. It has become part of her story, part of her myth, and she does periodically comment on it and its sordidness. She knows that each time she comments she is effectively prolonging the story. It cuts both ways. It’s all part of the game. How to understand what is real and what is not? Again I can only touch, speculate, sometimes blur the edges, because one doesn’t always know who is playing and who isn’t. I liked to find cross-referencing to verify points, not just follow one remark or fact out to the tip of the branch. And that has always been part of the myth around the film. So many tips of the branch facts that are repeated until they become the believed notions. I had a wealth of this material and had to chose and paint my own picture. I wasn’t going to be pedantic and note everything, with footnotes.

3:AM: And again, your version of the whole Jagger/Pallenberg/Richards/Faithfull relationship is the best one I’ve read and puts it in a context that is full of genuine dark energies it seems to me. The tension and the whole nervous power coming out of the processes you discuss – processes of getting the performances and filming them – this is clearly something that drew you in. Reading it, it’s a wonder someone didn’t get really damaged.

PB: People like to summarise the film by listing its protagonists and saying what became of each, and suggesting that this particular film took them on the road to ruin or death. It’s very easy to say that. Or to say that Jagger came out best. As if it was about a competition. Undoubtedly some things didn’t go so well for some of the people involved, set some of them off in a direction that didn’t seem so fruitful. But to trace everything back to factors within Performance as being responsible for someone’s demise shows what a strong myth this film has developed. Why is life always viewed as going upwards? We really are fixed in religious notions of a stairway to heaven. Climbing the ladder. Lives go in all manner of directions. It should be about whether interesting things occur to a person, whether you enjoy your direction.

3:AM: You have details of production, design, post production, distribution working alongside psychological and biographical details of the people involved alongside your reading of the plot of the film. This gives a depth to your interpretation of the film that other takes lack, even the great book on it by Colin MacCabe. Was this something you deliberately hoped would happen – that by placing all the elements in front of us you’d expose the depths in the film better than if you’d just treated it purely in terms of one of these elements. It’s very rich, and suggests that you’ve taken one of the things the film seems to be about – the breakdown between reality and fantasy – and shown how the theme self references the making of the film itself. Am I in the right territory with this thought?

PB: I always thought that to try to fathom this film it might be a good approach to place oneself back in the time itself and to try to understand what each was doing prior to the film, and what were the cultural references that were feeding the film. I had meant to say this at the start, but one digresses, and forgets, but here it is now. Because this is a film of the interests of those involved. To put it another way, all those who contributed to the film were interested in learning, or education, let’s say. But it wasn’t education to further one’s job prospects, it was education for the sheer pleasure of it. That is one thing that aesthetes like Christopher Gibbs brought to the film. He wasn’t the only one. Most of the people had not had formal higher education, universities etc. They had plunged into the youth world with a keen interest and just read and devoured culture in whatever way they could. I sense that because this was a film built up from personal interests and references, each brought to the film ideas that nobody from above was to control. I don’t just mean the Hollywood system, I mean the accepted and acceptable education system. Whatever whims or fancies they had, these were injected into the weave or mosaic, the motif I use. These threads from each were woven together, but it wasn’t a tight weave, it was loose, there were flaps, there were holes, there were conflicting oddities, they weren’t academics, they were pleasure seekers, riders into the fields of knowledge. And so they created a weave, a mosaic, that didn’t quite mesh. And because nobody was coming along and copy-editing it, making them edit it in a conventional fashion, (indeed they managed to basically fight off those editing manipulations or use them to good effect), they allowed the mistakes, the contradictions, the rough edges to shine in some cases, to disturb and unnerve in others. That is why I said somewhere else that you couldn’t remake this film, not in today’s environment where the team would need to tidy up everything, bring logic and rationale to everything, maximise the profit margin.

This film is about slippage, fault lines, where ideas come at you and which might not be quite right. Others might say there’s some bad continuity, for example, a duck that moves within a scene from one side of the bath to the other. We don’t actually see a cigarette go from stub back to just lit, or similar, but we see other things. Knives in doors that defy logic. Or again, you see Jagger and Pallenberg in the bath playfully say ‘her’ for ‘him’. Even the published script has it corrected as ‘him’, but it wasn’t, and it was kept in on purpose. I’m sure there were out-takes where they say ‘him’ correctly, but the chosen sequence was the mistake. You can see it in the eyes of Jagger, it shows on both their faces. Okay, I’ve seen the film many times, and today I can run a DVD at my own pace. But there are such circumstances that you catch consciously or subconsciously, and they create this unease within the attentive viewer. That is what I think adds to this film. A weave of disjointed parts, slightly askew ideas and facts, things that we feel are not quite right. Of course this happens in totally improvised films, or various underground movies, which is why I cite Flaming Creatures as one film to look at. But you expect those aspects with those films, and you take them within your stride automatically as you watch, whereas with Performance you are disorientated, you find you are reading it as something it is not. That use of shifting time and space notions, that disorientation, however it is achieved is not important ultimately, is what makes it a special film, a one-off, and that seems to me to be one of the key factors that makes Performance such a great film experience.

3:AM: Your approach means your book takes on the intricacies and depths of the finished film. Was it the puzzling, strange, Borgesian nature of the film that originally intrigued you about the film?

PB: I have always had an interest in the labyrinthine nature in art. I love weaves and interdisciplinary entwinings. To take film, Citizen Kane bowled me over from the very start, it set the ball rolling, let the snowstorm reign. But you see it is films like Bertolucci’s The Conformist too. And Performance joins it because from the very start you are hurled along and play catch up at every scene. Some people think it’s just that fast edit of the first part that is breathtaking, but for me that’s very physical, very superficial, the second part, which is not actually half in measurable terms, of course, hurls along even faster because though the action dimension is not present, the mental activity is. You are being asked to leap through your encyclopaedic knowledge and at the same time to remember the first part of the film and draw the parallels, recall the dialogue echoes. Echoes are so important. Why do you think the jacket of Borges’ A Personal Anthology is chosen? The image of Borges on the cover and its echoing is relevant. The South appears in Fictions too. They could have used the Calder edition cover as that has a photo of Borges too. No, the echo was seen and noted and became a motif. The film is full of echoes of dialogues, and ideas. You have to keep up. You reach the end of the film and you need to start again. Haven’t you been to an exhibition and been so amazed at the work that you go straight back to the start pushing through the oncoming crowd and begin right over again? Or finish a book and start right over immediately. Let alone a poem. Let alone a song, or an album. Performance does the same for me. I remember spending the afternoon in the deep seats of the Academy Cinema in Oxford Street in the 60s and watching films through again. You could do that once, no one turfed you out of the cinema because they had no idea who came in halfway through the film and needed to watch it through again. And then when video appeared we could tape programmes and watch them again instantly. And well, you know where technology has taken us today. An excess of orgasms. No wonder one is tired, completely fucked at the end of a day of cultural activity.

3:AM: I guess the end of the film is the moment everyone still wonders about – what the hell has happened. I’ve read and heard so many different interpretations but you have your own, don’t you?

PB: Yes, in spite of everything that has happened in the film, despite all that time and space shifting (I noted the duck above, but we could pursue the shifting polar bear rug, which I cite as another example), people still seem to want the film to end neatly. And when Fox becomes Jagger they want to find all manner of reasons for it. Ultimately to tie it up and pop it back on the shelf. Where is your imagination? And of course some people go back to the start and watch again, see more things, and offer themselves other conclusions. And the more references one starts to build up, the more possibilities of endings rise up for grabs. There are ideas that stretch into the film, ideas that stretch into real life, ideas that have intriguing psychological, or religious readings, etc. But there’s no one reading. There is your reading from that particular viewing, your state of mind at the time. I don’t subscribe to closure. I think I drop in at one point the influence of Last Year at Marienbad, and not only the impact from its time and space shifting, but the way in which Resnais and Robbe-Grillet read their film differently. When I was teaching in the early 80s I ran classes around the new horror film that was developing. I used, as examples, Carpenter’s original Halloween, and also Nightmare on Elm Street, The Night of the Living Dead, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and, another that I can’t recall. The end of Halloween shows Michael fall backwards out of the window, but when Jamie Lee Curtis looks out over the balcony he is gone. He should be dead on the ground below. That’s silly the students would say. So I asked them to watch the first few minutes of the film again. They didn’t see that it was one tracking shot, that time and space were contracted, that the boy and girl go upstairs, get undressed, have sex, finish and he’s down the stairs and out the door, the whole procedure taking 1 minute 28 seconds, or something like that. That raised a laugh when I pointed it out. Seriously, they didn’t see the little boy reach ‘down’ for the blade in the drawer. And lots of perspective manipulations. They hadn’t equated the possibility of it being akin to dream or nightmare sequences. And then when you start to understand this opening scene and start looking through the film, recalling how a kitchen knife pins a lifted body to the wooden shutter, how skewered bodies produce no blood spillage, and various other anomalies if you are running with logical thinking, or that the number of people who actually see Michael is probably just one, Jamie Lee Curtis (it’s ages since I saw the film), the evidence accumulates to the degree that the ending is quite acceptable. This is treating the film as its own entity, not the way things started to develop so that sequels became feasible, particularly in terms of Halloween, or those with Jason in the Friday the 13th series. The first Halloween was truly another extraordinary off the wall work.

3:AM: Obviously you can’t read real life directly from the art – but after reading your book it is tempting to look at the post-film life of some of the key people involved through the lens of the film, if only in terms of identifying elements that help explain what happens next – the suicide of Cammell, subsequent projects of Roeg, Jagger and so on – is this a temptation that makes sense to you or would it be a mistake?

PB: I purposely try not to run with hindsight references. I do mention Roeg in terms of a shot from The Man Who Fell to Earth, as it was helpful, but I wanted to keep Roeg to pre-Performance films so that we could help to bury this whose-film-is-it? distraction. I also wanted to pursue, as best I could, the notion of casting my mind back to that period in the 60s and what was available then. I didn’t want to think of Burroughs in anything but that period, what we knew then. It helped that I was a fledgling at that time too, a few years behind some of those involved. I wanted us to know what books by Borges it was feasible for them to have read. Or what Artaud books. Particularly Artaud, because I noticed no one had ever checked that line, pursued the Van Gogh text, notions of Mad Cyril, and the whole Tourneur possibility, not only of his play The Revenger’s Tragedy, (as he was still credited with it then), but his life, with its quite vague information, which might include being a government assassin. Or that the 60s had started its film fascination with government assassins like James Bond. Or indeed, in Donald’s case, with him living in Paris through the 60s it did not mean we had to assume he had access to all the current French intellectual thought or was involved in their circles, particularly looking back now and highlighting who rose to prominence. There were Brits in Paris. There were Americans in Paris. Again, they did not necessarily mix. There were circles, different café cultures. Let’s explore that. Again, not to look back and say that just because someone had written a book in Paris that everyone had read it, or that it was talked about. These are interesting questions. The same as whether Beckett, for example, who was in Paris in 1928 read the book that Gallimard published in translation, The Maimed by Hermann Ungar, an extremely nihilistic work. Did he read it, did it have an influence? When I discovered it myself at a writer’s house in Paris on its re-edition in 1987, it took me over a decade of telling people and publishers, as well as asking after the original editions, because even the German edition had vanished effectively, and it was only by chance in 2001 that I intrigued Dedalus into investigating and subsequently translating and publishing it. I’m still without knowledge on whether Beckett read it. I mean one day to access his archives to find out, but no one as yet has come forward in the right position to offer any proof one way or the other. As you can see there was so much to ponder that to follow what happened next, and read it with hindsights, would have made it a very long book. I wanted to let it happen as a biography of the film itself.

3:AM: What your book does (alongside loads of other things too) is give a fascinating insight into a slice of the underground scene at a certain point in time. There’s a kind of backlash against the 60s – people saying it wasn’t all that great really etc – but I guess you’d disagree. Your book makes a pretty solid case for saying that this was a very creative and important time?

PB: Well it was good and not. If you were in your formative times, as I was, then it was exciting. I believe that any period is exciting if one has one’s antennae switched on. I lived in Notting Hill, in Stanley Gardens, the wall of my room I now discover, if I was to step through, better if it was a mirror, to use a Cocteau image, or a Lewis Carroll one (another thread I left out really from Performance) would put me today in a room on the first floor of the Portobello Hotel. It was feasible to walk back from the centre of town at night, I couldn’t afford taxis, as the city was hardly a 24 hour city. If you see back copies of International Times I think you’ll find that they commented, perhaps even demanded, that London become a 24 hour city. UFO, where I worked on friday nights, stayed open until the first transport started, so that people could flake out in the corners after the music ground to a halt around 4. As I worked in Better Books, I went down the road and, having the keys, would stretch out on a bench and sleep until Bob Cobbing turned up, or whoever else was working that day. So there I show it, I was working in key places. I wrote a bit for International Times. It was very exciting for me, though it sounds more romantic I guess now. I noted some of it in Sinclair’s London: City of Disappearances, the longer version online in the Visions of the City website. And I trace aspects of it in A Public Intimacy. It was feeding me on so many levels, as it was feeding others. The hippy aspect blew itself at the end of the decade, which is why Marianne Faithfull refers to Performance as ‘a film that preserves a whole era under glass’. I moved out of town, but I was already supping at the works, my wires were plugged in, so I had no need to live in the centre. I was ready to start the weave. I just needed to buy as much time and space to start venturing further into what interested me, to venture further into the Parisian literary worlds, start the magazine Curtains that I ran through the 70s and which opened me into another world altogether. And has never stopped. I like to think that, in one sense, it was a film like Performance that presented me with a whole dish of glass fragments that I pieced into the mosaic on my desk, the mosaic that was to expand and become my personal adventure, my personal anthology.

What I think Performance does, and what I think is at the heart of my own story, is to highlight risk and passion. Of course it is one thing doing it as a team, a bunch of travellers, in fact it is hard that way too, but as a soloist, you’ve got to have a certain amount of confidence, and more, nerve, and you have to be able to give total concentration, and then you have that possibility to push further. Performance was part of the gleam that gave me the will to risk all. Both risk and passion are essential to writing for me. I think Keith Jarrett works at the extremes I talk about. I suggest Jarrett because I’ve been listening to him regularly for some years. I could instance Andrew Hill too, but Jarrett is known enough to example. Derek Bailey was another. Of course it would be good to see Jarrett in concert, to see the creation at the vital moment, not always to listen to him after the fact on a recording, but I weigh that against the nuisance of a visual distraction, whether from the stage or the audience. I know it’s all part of the performance, but at this point my interest is about focussing on the music, the sounds, so I’m content to sit in a room here with just the music, listening in whatever form of meditational state I chose. I’ve always thought that writing for me, as indeed performing, is about tightrope walking with no safety net. You might think that with writing you can tidy up after the session, but that is not the point. It has to be about 100% concentration, nothing less is acceptable, and finding depths and edges, knowing that something might occur there and then, whether it does or doesn’t you might never really know, or to what degree it happens, other than what you think you feel because you are in the flow, you are inside the text, working with it, as one. That’s why the idea of failure or success is meaningless on one level. They’re not really part of the equation. It’s not really measured in those terms. It’s impossible to expand here. Someone like the philosopher of literature Roger Laporte has made such contemplations and explorations into his life’s work, a dynamic oeuvre. Or closer to home, David Barton has wrestled with this problem both in the continual series of drawings he makes and the texts he fights onto the page alongside.

Anyway, that’s what I was doing very specifically in the two main chapters of Performance, writing from within the film, feeling it as it proceeded. It almost becomes fiction in the process, but a fiction that is real, that is my reality. In fact there is a book that I am writing that is a fiction where I’m working with films essentially, using them as the loaded paintbrush. I want to see how far I can push some of these other concepts I’ve in mind. Indeed pushing at the limits is what I do with my books. Always have. Something like Walking into myself was perhaps too much of a leap forward, creating a textual matter where the gender of words wormed in further than I’d expected and took over the whole process. And I have another that I’ve never published, Marthe, Dear Marthe (Nakedness), which takes its premise from Bonnard at work, painting with the glimpse of the subject rather than staring at the posed model. I think there is still so much to be done. But whether I will go much further I don’t know. It’s a matter of whether I can maintain the daily struggle to do what I see is right. It gets harder, the support you think is there is barely there. It’s not a conspiracy, it’s an indifference, a general resignation to accept the status quo, sometimes without realising it. I can understand when people just give up writing, or painting, or creative activity. Or when they reach the point where they just sit back, do the work and then file it away. But I’d rather grind to a halt while trying to push with it in the public space. It’s not a matter of failing better the next time. It’s a matter of standing up from the piano halfway through the number knowing there was nowhere else to take it at that moment. That echoes back into what I would have said about Jarrett. That is not failure. That is success, if we have to use those terms. Or another way is to say it is showing your stance, showing that your passion is the issue. I’m not afraid to put down the pen one day. It will not be a crisis. For me personally it will mean that I’ve followed the right to do what I want to do until I can take it no further. You might think I’m exaggerating, or that it’s okay to write poetry with that kind of stance, because poets can do that, can’t they? But I would say that writing the essay, even a book like Performance, particularly the two chapters I noted above, is on the same plane when one comes down to it, at least if one wants it to be.

Richard Marshall is still biding his time.

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First published in 3:AM Magazine: Monday, April 1st, 2013.