Valentine's Day Message
I was always subtle about this: there was posture or the way her legs looked in nylon, skirt and heels, when crossed. The eyes, their colour, what they convey - humour, mischief, mystique, occasional genius, joy, loss, or sorrow. Even spite - now that
was something - just NOT blank, bored, or self-serving. Charisma contained like a secret revealed in body language and movement - for example, the way she walked down the street, flicked hair out of her eyes, or smoked a cigarette. The feel of clear skin or a cold body warming up.
I was overtly romantic at some point, and still there seemed to be a problem. Well, yes, apparently there was a problem. I just wasn't told. You think that
could mitigate it? Her desire was mobile, moved continually, or died. To be left standing still, or to be caught, or trapped, was to be left in silence with her own thoughts. To be left with nothing. In the end, it came down to this:
vanity. In retaliation I learned to love it and so revenge its covert form; I admired its extremes. The best dressed and the mirror-struck. I began to afford them the simple respect they deserved. They would be judged on personal taste, self-obsession, or detachment. I knew where to stand and there would always be reflected glory. There was also The Image all over the rest. How words betray us, for in saying your image I did not want to make you believe I saw you. No. If only I had! I sometimes tried desperately to see you, by shutting my eyes or just the opposite, by opening them very wide upon the darkness of the room.
There was also "my eye for the ladies," twitching like a maniac, with insane industry, converting someone on the street into something
as flat and fleeting as a bus stop Versace poster. (George Melly said that losing his sex drive was like being untethered from a wild beast!)
images and bodies but every material: metal, glass, plastic, fibre. So tactile! The connection between Guy Bourdin's early slides of LA doorways and curbs and his later fashion photographs make exact and perfect sense now. He made connections that would come to define the link between lust and consumerism. He realised this subtle intimacy between things
, how it would, in the future, finally determine reaction and response, undercurrent and contours. This is more to do with blank and obtuse visual dynamics, the awkward and cruel pose of bodies, the sheen of skin glossed into a plastic (fetishist) desire, the sharp colours and angles of concrete curves and corners, corrugated iron doors, road signs, and the discreet order of rock formations (Bourdin's early photos of cliffs and granite structures, and his Kodak slides of LA buildings and road patterns set up the visual lexicon of his fashion photographs - a tactile and textural language is worked out before and directly informs these pictures). Bourdin creates an impersonal visual world (coldness and cruelty) that remains glacial and grotesque in its distance and distortion, and is therefore necessarily and inescapably seductive. A cold eroticism that freezes LA sun.
It's the distance that compels a desire to touch, or be absorbed. Which makes lust a little sick, or sickly - a total glut, and only those with a taste for the suffocation of hardcore pornography can bypass it completely. But it is human to search, from lure to lure, for a life that is at last autonomous and authentic.
Otherwise you are caught; and not caught
because disgust is inescapable, yes, and also, with luck, there can be personal and physical rapport. Contact of bodes is an escape from image and cloth; the obscure magnetism of smell, touch, humour, empathy, desire. The unraveling. Something mortal and mortifying. Love is a tangle of physical reactions and mental telepathies and a spark of laughter. That's why it fades, or comes undone. Then it leaves the obtuse impression that wrenches
Dear Darling. Damn your enormous eyes.
This is the short story of our loss, what a fucking waste, or waste of time. It still makes me angry. Incensed, I should say! Speechless! I still blame you, totally. You probably blame me, finally. The one I loved, no I wouldn't go so far as to discuss her again.
Soft answers. The good things of life - caviar, plovers' eggs, champagne - it seemed to me it was all as if he had never heard of them, but had discovered them all by himself.