Wow – an awesome list painstakingly compiled by Kajzh Hamm (fb.me/brambleroots) of many examples of the cultural phenomenon of locked hair across all six inhabited continents of the world:
> Indians (called jata, seen on sadhu and sadhvi; also seen on fakirs)
> Rastas (called dreadlocks)
> Polish (called kołtun)
> English (Shakespeare called the early stages of freeform knotting fairylocks)
> Gaels (called glibbes)
> Cree (Chief Pitikwahanapiwiyin/Poundmaker, Chief Little Bear, Baby Jack, and He Who Shows His Blood had them; exact name for it unknown)
> Mojave (Chief Inétabe had them; they were called hair rolls)
> Himba (called ozondjise)
> Nazarite (as per the Nazarite Vow in the Bible)
> Egyptian (Tutankamun was discovered to have had them upon his exhuming; many wigs show locked hair)
> Tlingit (a shaman named Tek’ic was photographed with them)
> Mbalantu (called eembuvi)
> Hamar (called goscha)
> Contemporary diasporic Africans (called locs after the 1990s)
> Aztec (described in the Durán Codex, the Codex Tudela and the Codex Mendoza)
> Chilean Pre-Inca Waris (had no writing system, so we don’t know what they were historically called — though mummies survive)
> Nyamal (name unknown)
> Tibetans (called “ralpa changlocan,” part of tantric Vajrayana practice, seen on ngakpas)
> Pima-Maricopa (Chief Tashquinth “Sun Count”)
> Sicilian (Gna Vanna’s locks were indisposable to her witchcraft)
> Bishari (name unknown)
> Aboriginal Australians
> Mongolians (shamanic practice)
> Maori (loose freeform locks called “rino makawe”)
> Ethiopian Tsemays
> Papua natives
> Fiji natives
> Angolan Mwilas
> Rarotongas of the Cook Islands
> Ni-Vanuatu of Tanna Island
> Kwaaymii (Wa Amaay Kwakas aka Paints the Sky Yellow, aka Yellow Sky had them)
> Drokpa Nomads (located in Tibetan Plateau and Himalaya)
Not that anyone asked, but Leonard Cohen was a kindred spirit to me for the following reason. I felt that he was someone who had a predator spirit, but was clearly self-conscious about it, just like me. I felt that his songs spoke to those like me who are susceptible to making other humans their muses, to deriving ‘inspiration’ from humans they find beautiful, to roving and waiting like hungry wolves. Sometimes I see what I am and I say that I and my kind are a pestilence upon the innocent earth (Radiohead’s ‘creeps’ and ‘weirdos’ lol). But Leonard Cohen taught me to meditate on my objectifying instincts to make them into self-aware acts dignified enough to be shared with the muse, in principle or in practice. ‘We are ugly, but we have the music,’ he said. I guess he took this sublimation to its logical extreme in ‘If It Be Your Will’, making an act of admiration into a form of totally submissive worship. At the other end of the spectrum, he taught me not to overstate inspiration (‘that’s all, I don’t even think of you that often’). To me, the same thread ran through all of his lyrics about desire – a painfully strong intention to say, and to only say, something true. His comments on the mundane and the sublime are cut from the same cloth.
I’m not entirely sure what made me start writing this but (and now I apologize for possibly turning this into another boring-ass 2016 socio-political facebook fart) it might be because I believe it’s easier for me as a woman to be confessional about my predatory spirit (I’ve never been chastised about ‘the female gaze’), and I do like to speak up (if and) only if I can say something I think other people aren’t saying. Of course, I can only speak for myself. But I think what I mean to say is that Cohen, among others, has helped me deal with my masculinity, and for that I’m supremely grateful.
My job means that I’ve regularly worked with (mostly male) photographers and artists for most of the last decade, so the male gaze has, for better or worse, ended up being one of my primary objects of casual study throughout my adult life, haha. ‘Let me see your beauty broken down,’ it says to me during my typical working day, ‘as you would do, for one you love’. I’ve learned to deal with this request with more compassion as I recognize with increasing sensitivity that the roving poets and I are the same creatures. It dawns on me anew every day that, despite what people like to say about male desire being ‘simple’, which perhaps it is, I’ve nevertheless been fortunate enough to discover the sheer variety in the relationships men have with their desire – one of the most complex and fascinating things I’ve come across in nature. I’m grateful that Leonard Cohen shared this aspect of his nature with with such clarity.
So thank you, Mr. Cohen for teaching me to handle inspiration with dignity, to take my subject matter seriously and not myself, and to strive for truthfulness at all costs in my ongoing attempts to convert my human desires and longings into something worth sharing.
My pink polka-dot jumper is sadly no longer with us – although its remains do live on in tiny pieces, for example in the form of some home-made buttons for which I was on the receiving end of cruel teasing from at least one of my siblings (though not as cruel as the teasing I was subjected to over the actual sweater, during its heyday). These photographs from 2013 by Ronnie The Dux Medal are special because you can see here the origin of the item’s demise – the fraying armpit (which, at the time, provided a convenient viewing window for when I wanted to show people my armpit’s first hairstyle involving the presence of hair).
images © The Dux Medal | May 2013
model, hair, make-up, styling by me
© The Dux Medal | May 2013
© The Dux Medal | May 2013
© The Dux Medal | May 2013
© The Dux Medal | May 2013
At this point, even I thought I was pretty weird. One morgen I woke up and saw the need to make a Rorschach-style monster shadow-selfie around the vertex where the cups cupboard met the fridge – as one does. I saw it as as disembodied type of yogic sunrise meditation.
Today it reminds me of an earlier point in my life when I was only able to express myself through shadows…
I would simply like to make the following casual comparison observation regarding two different photo composites by different photographers at different times.
These are ‘Blue Moon’ by Max Operandi, 2012, and ‘Moon Worship’ by Thornback, 2014.
I suppose I’m happy to be typecast as the disembodied melancholy blue bottom.
‘Moon Worship’ (c) Thornback, 2014
‘Blue Moon’ (c) Max Operandi, 2012
During a sweeping visit back to Blighy in July 2013, I went to Wiltshire and experimented with taking video footage on a Canon 5DmkII with a Lensbaby Muse. Consequently here’s a little atmospheric semi-narrative music video for my friend Eigenfrequenz’s song ‘Frequenz 18: Zeitgeber’, starring Gestalta as (according to my ad hoc analysis) a “romantic but morbid girl, a bit of a loner, lost in her own world and somewhat obsessed with death” floating around in the swelteringly hot rural English summer meadows thinking dark thoughts. Continue reading
This is the trailer for ‘Models. Der Film’, a documentary by Leif Allendorf about four different models living and working in Berlin – Jenny Jane, Melanie Unrau, Nadya Wendt and me. The movie involves interviews and some footage of each model at work. In this version my voice is dubbed into Deutsch. Continue reading
In case you’ve ever wondered where some of my stranger image titles/captions in various places around teh web come from, I’ve decided it’s time to let you all know – and I’ve mentioned it before but you may not have gotten that memo – that they don’t come from my deranged imagination fully formed, not at all – they’re only based on the contents of my brain. They are in fact Markov-chain generated, based on one- and two-word units from everything I’ve ever written on Facebook. It’s all thanks to a brilliant piece of software developed by some nerds at Princeton, who created http://www.what-would-i-say.com for the benefit of mankind. It’s great fun, fascinating if you’re into statistics, linguistics or algorithms, and of course a very useful resource for a lazy absurdist.