New Bella Basura YouTube video
Words, images and voice – Bella Basura
Original voice recordist – Bob Kemp, with Maxine Mackenzie
New Bella Basura YouTube video
Words, images and voice – Bella Basura
Original voice recordist – Bob Kemp, with Maxine Mackenzie
In the 1990s one of my favourite small press publications was the seminal Unlimited Dream Company series – Towards 2012 – it’s editor – Gyrus – produced a stable of beautifully themed cutting edge factual anthologies at the end of the twentieth century.
In 2006 Gyrus started a new journal – Dreamflesh, which he subtitled “A Journal of Body, Psyche, Ecological Crisis and Archaeologies of Consciousness”. The list of contributors was an impressive roll call of writers working in marginal spiritual and philosophical paradigm, the whole was a smorgasbord of the strange and the alluring.
This month (August 2017) Gyrus has been posting the whole journal online, reprinting the articles and drawing out ideas that have persisted and flourished in the intervening 11 years.
In the web reprise Gyrus summarises the project: “Dreamflesh Journal documented an eclectic range of ideas, investigations and experiments informed by this complex ecopsychological framework. Essays, interviews and art ranged over many facets of human and non-human life that seem to be important to this transition: dreams, altered states, visionary media, occultism, sexuality & gender, animism, collective intelligences, psychosomatic healing, bodily symbolism, cognitive linguistics, new materialism, creatively disciplined prehistorical and anthropological studies, images & spirit (iconoclasm, idolatry, anthropomorphism, fetishism), death & dying, depth psychology, ecology… to name a few.”
Back in 2005, when I first heard that Gyrus was planning to edit a new journal I wrote a piece specially, my concern was female facial and body hair and I enjoyed myself writing a selected history of hirsute women. Then I sent in off to Gyrus.
A few months later I heard it had been accepted. I was delighted to have my piece included in Dreamflesh, it gave me the biggest readership I had ever had, I felt like I’d arrived, more than this, I felt I’d been accepted into a publication so inspiring that it left me in awe. And the Journal was certainly well-received, The Guardian called it “a bastion of the esoteric”, and not long after the Journal was released it was reviewed in Fortean Times “There is a dimension way, way out where flesh and dream coalesce, explored by people with names such as Orryelle Defenstrate-Bascule, Gyrus, Bella Basura, Pablo Amaringo and Lars Holger Holm, not to mention the formidible Dave Lee”. And that wasn’t all, wonderfully, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, the transgender founder of Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV, wrote of Dreamflesh “I felt EXCITED as I read. No mean feat. I truly was inspired”.
In the original introduction to the Journal Gyrus evaluated the role of traditional publishing in an increasingly digitized world, “The existence of the web can goad us into a sharper awareness of how print media impact the environment, in turn encouraging us all — in both writing and reading — to try to make every piece of paper and every drop of ink count. ”
A revised Strawberry Fair Armpit Hair was reprinted in March 2016 Novelty Online Magazine in their Under The Skin issue, the magazine website now seems to be down, but they still have a facebook presence.
I recently found out that the 100 word flash-fiction/micro-stories I have been working these past three years have an actual name – “Drabble”.
The term is derived from a 1971 Monty Python book. ’nuff said!
There’s even a website to prove it.
So, ever at the rebellious cutting-edge, my newest piece – a seasonally appropriate monologue – is a variant-drabble form I’ve just invented.
It’s called a “Faux-Drabble”.
That is a piece that could pass for a drabble, but is actually 15 or so words out.
And so, I present to you Bella Basura’s First Faux-Drabble.
My winter consciousness feels bound within cold edges.
I am double-thermal long-johns.
And still my ankles are frozen blue.
They descend into hypothermic dysfunction, squishing like icy jelly when I stand on them.
My knees feel chilly. And my elbows.
I can’t leave the house, enraptured in my unnatural attachment to a radiator. “I love You. I want to envelope you. I want to lie all over you”. I say the same to my fur-covered hot water bottle. Hot chocolate and fleecy throws seduce me. Candles and a ‘real’ fire screen-saver on my laptop too. Hygge hygge hygge my arse.
Green and pleasant, England’s winters are mild, but still my consciousness always feels bound within cold edges.
Bella Basura January 2019
Okay! So Facebook tells me I have 486 fans who haven’t heard from me for a while…Hey There! I’m going to make it up to you with this dinky little flash fiction I wrote on X-mas Eve…
Short Change Short Bread
It would be wrong to say that I hate Christmas. It’s Xmas that I hate.
I make this distinction based solely on the evidence of one article on the internet which may or may not have been written by enthusiatic christians, or even xians. They define Christmas as a celebratory festival for the birth of The Christ. They call X-mas – the X-kiss of Mamon.
It’s pitting mercy against greed, Jesus versus Santa, like in the South Park Episode.
So, I say it’s X-mas, the knee-jerk consumerist spending frenzy of kiss-mamon-mas that I hate.
I seen it when I go into town in December, I see people herding the streets in viral catatonias, bleeping out their data, maxing out their plastic, all sightless under the glamour of a single minded compulsion to engage in monetary exchange.
And if I’m honest, I seen it start with Black Friday and now Cyber Monday, and then January Sales throughout December. Elongating the whole sordid orgy into a slow panting panicked climax lasting several months. I seen people filming themselves in wide-eyed apoplexy as they clasp black boxed electronic trophies to their heaving breast, their mind’s eye fixated on X-mas. Mamon kiss my arse.
Rage. I seen them wander the halls of Grand Arcade Shopping Mall shedding psychic 50 pound notes, like autumn trees shed leaves. I seen it all, worse than the Night of the Living Dead.
So, I am writing this on Xmas Eve Morning contemplating my ill-advised quest into the city centre to use some gift vouchers on some new underwear (solid big knickers from M+S). I am standing stuck in an hour long queue in Marks staring at their Definitive Short Bread Collection, incidentally curated by some half-has-been you-tube culinary star. My eyes jerk among the Skottie Dog shaped gift boxes, floribundances of tartan and stags horns, the wobbly Ben-Nevis-picture-postcard topped tins, the basics economy line wrapped in vegetable-derived bio-degradable cellophane. I feel transfixed with confusion. I feel like I am falling forward into an infinite vortex. I am torn by the urge to spend all my money and a fear of debt that tugs at a cellular level. I am experiencing a strange psychic dissonance. I feel high. I feel high, like maybe a compulsive gambler feels during a horse race, like a sex-addict hunting out ever more repulsive porn, like shrodinger’s cat crouched in the gloom waiting for dinner time. The queue for the check out unfurls ahead of me, endless to a far unseen horizon. I haven’t mentioned the seasonal music pumping out. I will not mention the in-store music.
When suddenly a bell-clear voice, my own voice, rings out pristine inside my head. “But I don’t need any Short Bread”. I am swept back to my queuing reality. I feel sucked at and plucked at, unsteady as I realise that – No! I don’t need any fucking Short Bread. There will always be Short Bread, there will always be more Short Bread. Every Aunty in the UK brings Short Bread at X-mas. My mum brings Short Bread, in fact my Mum doesn’t leave the house in December without a tin of Short Bread tucked into the bottom of her Bag-For-Life. There will always be Short Bread. I don’t need to buy Short Bread.
It feels like silence falls around me, mouths move but no sound comes out, the queue to the checkouts, the altars of the mass of Mamon, surges and undulates like a mexican wave of wealth, a John Carpenter film in real-time. Except now I know I don’t need no Short Bread, I am freed from that spell.
Fortified with my newly realised knowledge I leap out from the queue, flinging my packet of over-priced knickers to the floor, witnessing aloud, let the spirit flow through me that I am a just conduit for the voice of his love, I call out loud in my favourite voice-“No! I will not kiss my arse with the Mamon-pants of Yule! No! No! I will not!”.
Saturday 8th December sees the launch of the Edgewords Renewal Anthology.
At The Edge Cafe on Mill Rd.
Doors open at 6.30pm, contributors readings start at 7pm. The cafe is open through out the event, selling hot/cold drinks (TIP: Ask Jacob for a Wild Encounter) and cake.
Copies of the chapbook anthology cost £5, proceeds to The Edge Cafe to support their recovery work.
Plus, it’s Simone’s birthday…
Come along and enjoy an evening of creative writing in Cambridge.
5th December 2018
The final list of contributors to Edgewords Renewal has been announced on the Edge Cafe website – HERE –
Back in June we put the callout for short pieces of less than 300 words or poetry of less than 30 lines for the second chapbook in the Edgewords series. Over the long hot summer the pieces began to come in, at first a trickle, then a deluge, then there came a storm of last-minute applications. We enjoyed receiving the submissions and spent many hours happily drinking coffee and discussing the wonderful writing we were being sent.
In September we closed submissions and got down to the business of sorting and collating them. We finalised our listing last week and are ready to get the chapbook printed.
More than that, we’re looking forward to hearing the pieces read aloud at the Edgewords renewal Chapbook Launch Party at The Edge Cafe on 8th December.
Entry to the launch is free if you reserve and pay for a copy of the chapbook in advance.
The Edgewords Series was initiated by Creative Writing workshops run at the Edge Cafe in partnership with Oblique Arts and Cambridge City Council. You can read our 2017 blog on the Oblique Arts Website Here
I have recently started posting on Instagram. #bellabasura
I am re-photographing the whole of the Skull Collection for this first project.
Over time I will be gradually updating the photographs in the Skull Collection archive on this site.
One-off performance in the Cambridge festival of Ideas
of Mosaicked with Swimming Horses
19th October, Upstairs at Waterstones Sidney Street
I have been performing this story for about two years, and now seems like as good a time as any to finally post it up on my site –
The Recall of Cthulhu
The trinket in the charity shop window snagged at my eye. It’s shocking familiarity transfixed my gaze and threw my thoughts off into stark memories that had only just been forgotten.
The tiny statuette was Art Deco in flavour and gleamed with a dull gunmetal sheen.
I knew the piece well, it was part of a popular collectible series. A few years ago they’d been everywhere, ubiquitous in new age shops, tawdry fairy-tat fit only for St. Audrey’s fair.
They came with different gemstones inlaid, different cute poses, different blessings – fertility/protection/love/peace – or with different curses – disappointment/hubris/self-pity/solitude.
The little pewter love fairy, pretty but anodyne, with a ruby red inlaid heart,
had been given to me and my husband, I mean ex-husband, as a wedding gift from a relative stranger. Although it sat on our “wedding blessings, shelf”, enshrined for many years,
truth to say I never really liked the thing. It wasn’t my cup of tea, no.,
No, it offended me actually, it was a Lady Cottington fairy, a Flower fairy, a fluffy-bunny new-age denatured, deracinated post-ironic anthropomorphised cherub-fairy.
A Walt Disney fairy.
Not the fearful fulsome fae in the ancient tales that I have heard whispered in the places hereabouts.
Traditionally, we humans fear the fairies, we lay devotional altars to beloved land wights deep in out-of-the-way places,
we beg the unliving for permission to live,
if they call at our door we dare not invite them in,
yet must not turn them away,
we avoid treading on their fairy paths
or jumping in their fairy rings,
and we never ever eat a single morsel of food at faerie feasts in the Hollow Hills. For fear of enchantment, lest we never return home for hundreds of years.
The Fae are dark, and among us still.
More than that, and I’m going to speak my mind now, the gemstone at the figurine’s heart laid waste to the spell of unconditional peace promised by the fairy talisman. The cut ruby was a product of murderously cut-throat gemstone mining, human rights abuses and land-rape par for the course and if you think about it, if you think about such things, that’s a very heavy karmic charge to be carrying. The piece was, in its totality, an enduring damnation of the vanity and disingenuousness of New Age commercial pretensions.
No wonder it all ended in divorce.
I scrutinised the trinket through the plate glass window, I could swear, I really thought, it was the same, it seemed to me, the very same.
But it wasn’t. I knew it couldn’t be, because after the Decree Absolute, just before I moved out, I buried that love fairy, upside down, anointed in cat shit and toxic toad spit, leaving Tinkerbell forever in sprite-ish torment, under the offering table to the unspeakable, beneath the onerous shrine of Cthulhu – blasphemous, swooning,
Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn,
at R’lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming.