Beautiful Like A Camel

My brothers were given the names of freedom fighters and I got one that means something like ‘beautiful’ or even ‘beautiful like a camel’. Fuck being a girl.

On Thursday night I performed something as part of the performance-based research for my solo at London Topophobia at a space on The Oval.

I wanted to do something autobiographical. I didn’t want to be cool or distant. I was obsessively reading Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, probably as some kind of weird attempt to connect with my dead estranged father who also, instead of spending time with his family, seemed to prioritise The Struggle.

I went to the studio and felt a bit lost – how to compose something from material so painful and uncomfortably close? I thought about the feeling of my father’s hand on my three-years-new belly.

I thought about having to stand up in front of people and tell me them things about my life. My private life. I thought about the song Private Life by Grace Jones, a song that Mira said I remind her of at a certain point in Laura Laura. I thought about my mother making a me a Josephine Baker costume to wear to a fancy dress party when I was six. I thought about famous black women. I thought about my dad’s obsession with Claudia Jones.

J’en ai marre with your theatrics, your acting’s a drag. It’s okay on TV but you can turn it off. Your marriage is a tragedy but it’s not my concern. I’m very superficial, I hate everything official. Your private life drama, baby leave me out.

I managed to think about Me and begin composing something that is close. It is a beginning, I think.

My score so far:

It starts.
It goes on.
I say something.
I dance.
It ends.

I did two performances and in-between I drank a bottle of prosecco. The second one was better.

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