The Sunday Post // The Sunday Poet #5

The Sunday Post // The Sunday Poet #5

This week has passed by in a blur of work and studying; I was determined to knuckle down his week and I feel pretty happy with what I’ve got done. Thursday and Friday were spent watching films (for research obviously!) and reading copious amounts of books on New Queer Cinema for my independent study module. I was in that groove where things click together in your mind, was feeling really energised and excited about my work so when I was trying to think of a poem for this week, wanted to find something that captured that feeling for me. Now, the poem that I’ve chosen is nothing to do with studying – however it reminds me of hours spent researching and reading. The poet, John Berryman, was the subject of one of my undergrad final assignments and after initially finding his poems infuriating – critically analysing them resulted in one of my most highly marked pieces of work.

This poem comes from a collection named The Dream Songs, and each poem within provides a fragmented glimpse of the whole. They combine baby talk, a minstrel show and a whole host of disembodied voices to be amusing and tragic at the same time. It is impossible to read them without being reminded of the events that marked Berryman’s own life: his father’s suicide , Berryman’s alcohol abuse, battle with depression and own eventual suicide.

The Sunday Poet #5

John Berryman – Dreamsong #14

Life, friends, is boring. We must not say so.
After all, the sky flashes, the great sea yearns,
we ourselves flash and yearn,
and moreover my mother told me as a boy
(repeatingly) ‘Ever to confess you’re bored
means you have no

Inner Resources.’ I conclude now I have no
inner resources, because I am heavy bored,
Peoples bore me,
literature bores me, especially great literature,
Henry bores me, with his plights & gripes
as bad as archilles,

who loves peoples and valiant art, which bores me.
And the tranquil hills, & gin, look like a drag
and somehow a dog
has taken itself & its tail considerably away
into mountains or sky or sea, leaving
behind: me, wag.

The Sunday Post #5

What I’ve read…

  • The Girl With all The Gifts by M.R.Carey: ok, so I might have been a bit keen with reading this one as it is for book-club which isn’t for over a week away! In TGWATG humanity has been almost wiped out by a parasitic fungal infection; those who are infected (‘hungries’) prey on the flesh of the remaining humans and are little more than walking mouths. However there seems to be a mid-way camp, infected children who retain all of their brain function and can talk and learn, yet still have the appetite for human flesh. It is up to a research team led by Caldwell to discover if these children are they key to a cure.

What I’ve watched…

  • My Own Private Idaho (1992) directed by Gus Van Sant: This film explores a friendship between Mike (River Pheonix) and Scott (Keanu Reeves) two young men who are living rough, and working as rent boys on the streets of Portland.
  • The Living End (1992) directed by Gregg Araki: I’m going to tentatively say that as part of my MA I am going to write about this one! It’s a brilliant pastiche of different styles of cinema, all delivered with a tongue in cheek attitude – that scarcely conceals the depths of meaning. Two HIV positive men go on a roadtrip, with a fuck the world attitude and a need to explore death.
  • Doomsday (2008) directed by Neil Marshall: Me and the boyfriend had a cosy Saturday night with a bottle of wine and this film – and it was bloody brilliant. Doomsday is like an apocalyptic sci-fi with a dose of grindhouse styling. Scotland gets hit with the ‘Reaper’ virus, aptly named because it cuts swathes through the population. In order to prevent the spread, the UK decides to wall off Scotland, and mine the coasts – effectively abandoning the people to the virus. Fast forward thirty years and the virus resurfaces in London. Meanwhile the government, who have been keeping an eye on Scotland, have seen evidence of survivors in Glasgow. They make the decision to send a team in, to try and find survivors and a cure.

And the rest…

To be perfectly honest, this has been a quiet week – apart from the reads and the films that I have seen listed above! One thing I have been enjoying is that autumn seems to have finally arrived here in Manchester and the leaves are turning to beautiful colours, meaning that it is soon to be Halloween and Bonfire Night – oh how I love autumn!

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All these autumnal photos I have unashamedly re-posted from my Instagram! 

Becqui

Film Review – Taxi Zum Klo

Taxi Zum Klo – Directed by Frank Ripploh

Now I’m not going to pretend that I am incredibly knowledgeable about film or even particularly well-versed in gay culture, but at the moment I am really interested in Contemporary Queer Cultures and as such am researching the rise of gay pride, the backlash against it and this new term “queer”. As part of this I am watching films that may be categorised as ‘gay films’ and learning how they fit into the representation of gay identity in contemporary film and literature, as well as how indicative they are to the changing gay movements.

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Taxi Zum Klo is a German film directed by Frank Ripploh and released in 1980. The lifestyle it portrays is late 70’s however, when a promiscuous life-style was not yet under threat from the AIDS epidemic. Within the film Frank Ripploh plays the main character; the bearded teacher Frank – who is sometimes referred to as Peggy amongst his friends. We are introduced to two sides of Frank; there is the school teacher who doesn’t socialise much, making minimal contribution to the social activities amongst the other teachers. However as Frank himself tells us – this is because he prefers to separate his personal life from his professional one.

His personal life is an erotic feast of men; he often frequents public toilets and parks where he meets them for casual sex. Indeed we do see his professional life intrude into this as he marks school textbooks whilst waiting in the toilets to meet someone. Frank/Peggy’s life is then altered by the arrival of Bernd, and what starts as a one-night stand turns into a relationship. However the contrast between the two soon becomes apparent and this, for me, was the really interesting part of the film. Bernd wants them to be able to assimilate with heterosexual norms; he pictures a house for them in the country, some land and the even possibility of children is mentioned jokingly. This stands in stark contrast to Frank who thinks that monogamy is outdated; he beleives that the role of a relationship should be reconsidered as he loves Bernd but can’t stop seeing other men. These differences come to a head and (spoiler alert) the film ends with them arguing and walking in different directions.

I feel like for some people this film will be shocking as the sex scenes are graphic, and the film includes quite explicit scenes of S&M as well as Frank urinating over a man’s face. I wasn’t expecting it to be so graphic – but I think that it was suited to the mood of the film. You gain a sense of the casual, varied, sexual encounters that gay men enjoyed without the fear and stigma of disease that AIDS caused. The relationship between Frank and Bernd raised questions for me about the assumed ‘natural’ or ‘normal’ model of the heterosexual couple, which is the basis for so much culturally – and yet there is a great proportion of people for whom this model fails them. Not only gay or lesbian couples, but for those who are happy being alone – or those who have a need for multiple partners.

Overall I really enjoyed this film – a lot more than I expected to! I felt surprisingly engaged as a viewer considering the amount of sex scenes included – but I think this is because the film does question cultural norms and traditional values which I enjoyed thinking about and considering as I watched it. Perhaps not one for a lazy Sunday viewing though. Have any of you seen this film? What do you think of my review? Would you be interested in seeing more posts like this?

Becqui