Will you be my Bride, McBride

bride

‘Will you be my Bride, McBride’ is an extract from the latest chapter being written from the novel ‘Casual Nexus’ from Alison Little:

Will you be my bride, McBride

Jack was around his best friends house, Huxley McBride, they have finished school for the day. It was early September and they had just started in the upper school. Although neither of them showed any real interest in academic work or any of the subjects they had selected to take, they preferred things as the teachers were more relaxed and there were no more detentions. They were playing Atari against each other, although Jack was more skilful, Huxley always beat him as he owned the games console and had more time to practise. Jack only had a cheap version which his Dad had picked up at a car boot sale which only let you play simple games like tennis and golf. He had tried asking for one for his Birthday but Mum had said that it was ‘Too expensive’. He’d always got bigger Birthday presents before Callum and Sal had come along. When he had talked over this with Mum and claimed it was unfair she had explained that money for presents had to be split around all of the ‘Kids’ in the family so there wasn’t as much to spend on him individually. He had a solution for Christmas, he’d get Callum to agree to a joint Christmas present then he would lay off any fight games until after the New Year when he had his Atari in place. He usually got Callum to go along with what he wanted. He’d tried Sal many times to get her to go for what he wanted but she always said ‘No’ and went along with what she wanted. She was such a selfish little girl and he wished she had never come along. He swore she always got more clothes brought for her than he did, when he asked Dad about it he claimed that it was because she was a girl and couldn’t really wear the boy’s clothes that had been handed down.

Huxley always had everything, all the latest consoles, new release videos and designer brand trainers. Their house was the largest on the Private Road next to the Council Estate where Jack lived. Had Dad was a drummer in a top band which had made it big in the seventies, they were still selling out gigs now over a decade later. They could afford everything, the latest models of whatever came out, they even had a dishwasher. Jack had actually used it a few times, just for fun to see how it worked. The one thing that Huxley didn’t have which Jack had was a Mother. She had left the family never to be seen or heard from ever again before Huxley had even started school. He said that he could remember her but rarely talked about her or why she left. Jack thought that not having a Mother around would be fun. They had the run of Huxley’s house most of the time as his Dad was rarely there and he basically let Huxley and any of his friends have the freedom to do anything they wanted.

Huxley’s younger sister Caitlin came into the front room after entering through the back door, she had just started their secondary school this September. She was late back as she had stayed for she had stayed for the compulsory ‘Must go to netball practise’ session all girls attend when they start secondary school. She was full of energy and life, laughing as always. Unlike Huxley, she missed her Mother not being their greatly, but she made the best of things, ensuring she was always giggling and joining in with games.

She had her jumper tied around her waist, Jack looked towards the blossoming buds of her breasts. He noticed how they had developed further since the summer, they were becoming more than a handful. They were in fact much bigger than that of many of the girls more his own age, three years older. Although she wasn’t a particularly beautiful girl she wasn’t unattractive either. She was a little flabby around her belly, although he talked with the other lads about all the hot girls he fancied and how he often ‘Wanked off’ while listening to Madonna’s ‘Like a Virgin’, he actually prefers girls with more fat on them. Yes, her ripening breasts will do nicely he thinks to himself.

Caitlin asks Huxley if she can play the winner of the game, he says ‘No’ which he has a tendency to do with everything she requests. Like Jack, he has little time for his family members and would prefer it if they were not there at all. Huxley asks Jack if he is coming outside for a cigarette. Although they had virtually a full run of the house it was still better to smoke outside, his Dad didn’t like the smell of nicotine. Jack ponders over the offer but decides to decline, choosing to remain in the sitting room with Caitlin.

As Huxley lights up Jack tells Caitlin she can come and play Atari with him. She sits down beside him Jack watches her skirt rise above her knees. As the game starts Jack shows little response to the grid form defenders dropping down the TV screen. Jack begins to prod Caitlin, again, the rhetoric:
‘Will you be my Bride, McBride?’
As the Packmans on the screen munch forward, Jack clasps his thumb and forefingers into Caitlin’s bosom,

‘Get off,’

she responds and pushes him hard away. Huxley hears the commotion and looks through the patio doors to observe Jack fondling Caitlin. He laughs to himself and looks the other way as he finishes his cigarette. Inside Jack continues to pester Caitlin, he runs his hand inside her skirt. The muscles in his groin strain as his hands touch the gusset of her pants. Caitlin now battles with him and punches his hand away as she shouts;

‘Get off, get off.’

She manages to break free from Jacks grasps and runs upstairs at a full pace almost falling over the top step as ascends. Into her room, she slams the door then pushes the bedside table against the framework. She sits on her bed, heart pounding with her knees tucked up to her chin.

Alison Little

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Small Steps and Art Activism

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Last Thursday saw Small Steps events take over Make on North Liverpool Docks.

Small Steps runs events to highlight social issues through the arts. Last Thursday saw an eclectic mix of performance, a breathtaking visual arts exhibition and engaging workshops drawing attention to Mental Health.

Cork-based artist Ann Mechelinck showed us how craft-based practice can highlight mental health issues with several pieces she exhibited at Make. Mechelinck spent many years living and working in Belgium as an administrator. On her return to Ireland, she decided to re-engage with her creative passions and began a body of study Crawford College in Cork. The most prominent of her works in the exhibition was ‘Release’. In this, she explores the restrictions we face in life by materialism, relationships and expectations. Using a knotted structure which she allows this to
‘Release’ free onto the floor. An exceptional fibre artist using structuring techniques to explore mental well-being.

Rebecca Hancock brought some intensely scratched text art to the exhibition. Hancock is a recent graduate from Central St Martins in the Capital. She uses her work to express; fantasies, hopes and dreams, but equally, vulnerability, anxieties and fears. The work exhibited ‘March 2016-Present Day’ presents hand scribed re-writing of eight months of diary entries. The period covers changes in medication and severe depressive episodes combined with panic attacks and anxiety. Raw, unmoderated, expression of coping and not coping with evolving cerebral turmoil.

We were taken on a journey by Moscow based film-makers Diana Galimzyanova and Artem Gavrilyuk-Bozhko. Galimzyanova’ rapidly expanding collection of award-winning short films have been shown at more than sixty festivals and fifteen countries. ‘Painting the Abyss’ came to Make last week stunning its audiences. The actor begins to paint his face with a light reflection of a cross central to the screen. As black is added the face paints formate into a type of warpaint, a kind of camouflage. As this progresses, old-dated, black and white train travel scenes are superimposed onto the footage. The narrative climaxes as the actor drops his head back and looks towards the ceiling. He marks a cross on each side of his neck indicating where to cut was an assumed knife. This progresses into the removal of the paints from the face. Powerful use of moving image which confronts us with the grim realities of ending one’s life.

Painting the Abyss

Not forgetting the painted works of Philip Chandler identifying with long-term depression. Gender roles were challenged by the embroideries of Jonathan Beavon. The floor space was occupied by another showing of Alison Little’ SV: Sex by Violence in Liverpool.

A remarkable exhibition, a fully engaging evening and evidence that art activism can make a real difference.

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Small Steps

Make

Ann Mechelinck

Rebecca Hancock

Diana Galimzyanova

Augustus: Head

Augustus

Augustus: Head is a flash fiction works in response to the Meroe Head of Augustus which was exhibited at the Victoria Museum and Gallery in Liverpool earlier in the year.

Augustus: Head

He stands above us
Looking down
Piercing eyes
Looking through us to a greater existence
Baby-faced, framed with cropped curls
Winged ears arch out
The emperor to become God

‘I am your leader
I will conquer
You will support me’
Head of Augustus

Ruler, the time of Christ
Mediterranean made Empire
The riches of Egypt conquered.

Trophy head taken
Conquering Sudan
A one-eyed queen
Buried beneath Temple steps
Walked on
Trodden over
Belittled, degraded
The Conqueror was conquered

August is still August
A God he remains
The Empire has crumbled
But the Head still stands tall

 

Alison Little

More about the Meroe Head of Augustus

 

All the Fun of the Fair

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Last week saw the ‘All the Fun of the Fair’ installation take over at Bold Place. This weeks blog shares the original fiction works which was the intial sourse point for the installation.

All the Fun of the Fair

She felt low down, sank down, fallen through into a space only six foot by two foot. Crammed into a recession, three similar sized walls behind her to head height, two long stretched walls either side of her tapering off towards her feet with a small final surface encasing her body. Her weighty box-like cell, mahogany Formica panelling, lined with a thin cushioned faux silk, imitation gold handles surround the outer casing of the coffin.

As she begins to regain consciousness she raises, lying flat, floating upwards in a gravity-defying motion, out of her prison. The coffin was not real, the mahogany panelling on the walls of a cheap motel room. The handles belong to the dresser, the faux silk is the bed sheets, but they are not sleek and satiny, they are rough and bobbled and begrimed with the spills of what had occurred. Unable to move fully she can feel the presence of a body beside her, a giant of a man, not fat but colossal in size. Although he seems to be moving slightly as he breathes he appears to be unaware of her presence on the tiny mattress space she is embedded upon.

What had happened? She thinks, her brain encircled by storm clouds from being unconscious, she begins to place last night’s activities, her short term memory had been shredded into a thousand pieces, the sections still there, but only making sense when entwined together. How had she got to the tiny mattress space she occupies? She had been out drinking with one of the girls she had been working with for her summer job. They had been around a few bars and were really quite inebriated. Approached by a man, her friend first, then she remembers kissing him on his direction. Next, he grabbed her arm, almost dragging her, plucked from the bar, a predator choosing his prey; not being hauled through the doors, but not fully consenting.

To the unbeknown, nearby motel room, he took her, unsure of what to do she kept walking with him, still quite tipsy from the evening; should she try and push him off her? From entering the motel room he lashed her down on the bed, in a frenzy, he was on top of her, she was morphed like a giant lobster engulfing her, its claws gripping her down as she was smothered by the body. The antenna’ worming over her face and the walking legs combatting the struggle of the body. She couldn’t move and she couldn’t breathe, his chest pushing in around her throat and nostrils. She struggled with an inward thrusting motion like the crusher claw had reached down from its front line position, forcing its path with no care for the flesh it rips open. Her groyne muscles were trying to fight it, clenching together at their full will, trying to push out in conflict. No oxygen, no more strength, then black.

As she begins to come round she cannot move, in placing together what had happened she couldn’t fully understand, not then, not for many months, then many years later she would be able to accept what had taken place. She found some safety in the fact he seemed to be asleep and unaware of her presence. She still could not move as she lay there for what felt like an eternity: static and unreactive.

ceiling tiles

wall panels

carpet

eyes moving

body still

motionless

over and over, rhetoric

unresponsive body

thoughts, idea’s, existence

Then salvation comes: a feeling like water rushing through her body starting at her head then zigzagging across her form, over her spine and down to her feet, she could move again. Purity flowing through her being, release from deadlock, allowing her muscles and head to function in sequence. From this she managed to get up, moving as quietly as a semi-functional person could. Unsure of her clothes and her bag, she seemed to have most of them on, she began to look for the door but she couldn’t find it. Fumbling over the mahogany panels as they engrossed the space, she tried them all looking for an escape hatch, her vision blurred, only capable of seeing a few feet in front of her. One must open, but which one, then he spoke:

‘Doors over there’

He had been awake the whole time not asleep as she had imagined. Dismissive in the way he casually said the words, like nothing, had happened, dis-guarding the girl after she had been stripped bare to her skeletal form. Oblivious to what he had put her through, no remorse, no sorrow, no regret, nothing…

Alison Little

A Letter to Fat Fiasol’ Mother

Fat Fiasol env copy

A Letter to Fat Fiasol’ Mother is a flash fiction piece from Alison Little. She created the prose as an exercise while writing her novel, Casual Nexus. The piece adopts the point of view of the main character of the narrative: Sal and is directed towards the Mother of an undercover Police Officer who failed her through his role as a detective. The Mother is shown to be deluded in regards to the warped characteristics of her only son and unashamed of his conduct. All characters and events are fictional and not based on actual occurrences.

Explicit Content Warning

Fat Fiasol

A Letter to his Mother

Why your Son was not good enough for me!

So who was Fat Fiasol? He was an undercover copper sent to me to see what he could decipher, to find out, to gain knowledge of and to obtain answers. A rat, a serpent, a man with no boundaries, a man who was not good enough for me. A man who seeks to manipulate women, to lie, to misguide, and to get them to play along to his warped agenda. While all along his real goals are for the respect of men: touching their balls, laughing at their jokes too much and playing the suck up. Overweight, unfit, poorly presented, egotistic, over talked, over domineering and a man who was not good enough for me! A man who regretfully I engaged in a brief relationship with, a minor interlude, a brief fling, a bit on the side, a non-committal affair. Something which I deeply regret to this day, as he was not good enough for me!

So, back to Fat Fiasol’ Mother

Reasons why he was not good enough for me!

  1. He talks to much and he refuses to listen to reason. When we were together for a brief period, a very brief period, he was told by one of the other girls in the year above us at Uni that I had slept with one of his former House Mates Goth. As in the case of all student houses everyone is boxed in like caged hens, one goes and another one comes in. And the chickens collude with who is there and then who comes along after, there is no long-term commitment, no promises are made and the monogamy of adulthood is yet to take shape after your University days. However, in this case, I had not slept with his former room dweller, it has been one of the other girls, Kate, the mistake in being that she also had red hair. When I tried to explain this to your son, he would not listen, take it in, or recognise that a mistake had been made. His head stuck in his idea of what had happened, no notice of my words was taken. Only when Goth had come to visit I had asked him to explain did he actually listen to what he was being told. Finally, I had got through to his thick head.
  1. He is over domineering and he aims to control women. Again, on one occasion there was no reasoning with him and he went over the top using some of the most degrading language any woman should have to endure. In this I walked out in tears, found by my friend Kaz, she then suggested we go shopping together to cheer me up. I agreeing we walked to town, she didn’t ask what has happened but it was obvious, managing to stop crying we went in to look around River Island. As we went around looking at the clothes my phone began to ring, which I ignored, then a second time which I ignored again, then on the third time I answered the phoned and told your son:‘Just Fuck Off, al-right’

    This was to the delight of all the women in the store as it was really obvious what had been going on. Kaz then had a great idea, as Anne Summers was next door, she suggested we go and look at the vibrators, my response being

    ‘Yes lets’

    As we discussed which one to go for all the women that had been shopping in River Island gradually came into Anne Summers as looking at the vibrators also seemed like a good idea. So somewhere between retail therapy and the discussion of dildo’s I forgot any feelings I had for your son.

  2. His warped interested in internet porn. In hanging out around his share house my self and one of my friends Gay Tigger had been getting stoned together, I was starting to think there might be something going on between your son and Gay Tigger so I pretended I had passed out and let them get on with whatever was happening. I heard then start up Fiasol’ PC and worked out they were looking at what he had ‘Stored’ on his hard drive. I realised that this was porn and held back, I heard Fiasol say,‘Wait for it, it’s about to come out’

    In this I was imagining some sort of gay porn where the man was about the ejaculate, I sat up very slowly to look at what was going on without them becoming aware of my presence. What I actually saw was worse than I had imaged, it was a woman shitting slowing, he had been waiting for the shit to start coming out, it had been turning him on and I had been with him…. I felt sick and left. I found some sanctuary when I bumped into the girl he had gone out with after myself and she also felt sick about ever having been in a sexual relationship with the man.

  3. The bazaar sex life we shared in which he was overly dominant. The main activity seemed to be turning me around cuddling up behind me, placing his minuscule only ever semi-erect penis between my bum cheeks, but never fully inside. His kind of moving it to and throw for a very short space of time followed by some sort of mini ejaculation like a toddler sneezing producing very little substance. This was then followed by a Police report about how I enjoyed anal sex because he wanted to boast to everybody at the Police station. 

     

  4. The ultimate reason why your son was not good enough for me; his interpretation of an attempted rape case. Through his only real desire to listen to his own voice, he decided to forget the reason the Police had sent him to form a relationship with myself was to find out what had happened between myself and a serial rapist and didn’t bother to ask in regards to the incident. When asked at the Police Station what had happened he made up his own version of events, leading the Police to believe I was unreliable as I had changed my story about what had happened. He was not remotely interested in doing anything about a rapist then managed to turn the angle of the investigation into how badly treated by myself he had been as this gave him the opportunity to whine on and on. Your son, the ultimate example of Police incompetence.

So Fat Fiasol’ Mother, the reasons why your son was not good enough for me! He talks too much and he won’t listen to any of the girls. He seeks to manipulate, he works to warped agenda’s, he loses sight of right and wrong. He his sick fetish tastes in porn, bazaar sexual desires, he is sexually inadequate, he is unable to get a proper erection. He was incompetent as a Police Officer in every way and most of all he was more interested in the sound of his own voice and getting his little end away than he was in doing anything about a Rapist. So Fat Fiasol’ Mother those are the reasons why your son was not good enough for me, his next girlfriend or any any other women. So instead of sitting there in defence of your offspring, I suggest you hang your head in shame.

ED

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ED

Erectile Dysfunction

‘ED’ is the latest conceptual based sculpture from Alison Little identifying issues around impotence.

In the works, she utilises similar techniques of constructing a polythene outer shell then simply ‘Stuffing’ the form with shredded paper. A concrete base is used to engage with a free standing frame, approximately 1 meter tall in height. The use of red tones to show the rush of blood to the groin area, grey papers filling the sex organs to indicate a lack of response. A black cord is lashed around the foreskin area then brought through the scrotum, finally being attached to a traditional style weight to emphasize the lack of ability to gain an erection.

The main lower body of the sculptural piece to be filled with printed statements of relevance to impotence. A range of colloquialisms such as lame and limpet, moving towards more scientific terms such as infertility and erectile dysfunction. The progressing to the psychology behind the issue: masturbation from much before the teenage years and the extremes of men who are unable to perform in normal sexual circumstances but can gain an erection in a sexual violence situation.

The weight attached to the end of the penis highlight how it cannot become erect, on a secondary note it is bell shapes and echoes the popular English Pun where the term ‘Bell End’ is used in reference to the glands (Head) part of the penis.

On the surface level an entertaining piece, on deeper inspection a thought-provoking collection of statements informing us of the darker side of human nature.

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Artist Talk: The Female Suspension

Legs one image copy

The Female suspension is an installation which addresses a world of sexual violence. The lower bodies and limbs of numerous women who have been raped are suspended by chained, hooks penetrating their groins. Meat like, a waste product, violated then disposed of like an animal carcass meat still to be stripped from the bones.

This will be the fourth installation to take over at 5 Bold Place as part of the art in windows project. Art in Windows is a small organisation that works with landlords and artists to commission and curate temporary and permanent artworks for display in empty windows in and around Liverpool. Windows have varied from those in empty shops in the city centre and on local high streets, to empty units in shopping centres and even in houses on residential streets. Art in Windows’ displays range from a single installation for two weeks, to a series of different installations across many months.

The form is a female abdomen and legs extending down to the feet. Each represents a rape victim, The World Health Organization (WHO) estimate:

Global estimates published by WHO indicate that about 1 in 3 (35%) women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.

(WHO, media centre, Violence against women, fact sheet, updated November 2016)

The charity Rape Crisis England and Wales respond to an average of 3,000 calls per month from women who have been raped. In April 2017 there were 422 recorded violent and sex offences recorded in Liverpool alone. It is estimated that only one in every ten incidents of rape are reported to the Police: the actual figure is projected to be much higher.

Polythene and shredded paper are used to create each of the sculptural works, red toned papers are used around the groin area to reflect the pain suffered from the attack. Wire wool is used to represent the pubic hair, this demonstrates resistance from the violation. The lack of upper body and stones in the feet show a woman who was unable to oppose the onslaught. The hook is driven through the groin area, this enables us to reflect upon the extreme violence used in sex attacks. We view to forms suspended in a warehouse environment, infinite in number and we are given the impression that more will simply be added to the collection.

Alison Little, the artist behind the Female Suspension, she has been North -West based for the last decade and worked on commissions from the Superlambanana trail to the Penguins. Her most recent conceptual works are SV: Sex by Violence, a series of four animated sculptures which show the different stages of a sex attack. They were exhibited in a solo show at zauhause gallery, Gostins Hanover Street (Liverpool City Centre) in July of 2017. In the months prior to this, she curated a group show ‘Shatter the Silence, Violence against women’ held at the Quaker Meeting House, School Lane (Liverpool City Centre). ‘Life from the Waist Down’ is the fourth of the series, representing the recovery process it was exhibited at Unit 51, Baltic Triangle (Liverpool) for 2016 Mental Health week. On the previous year she showed Brainscape as similar human head form and in 2014 Bipolar B was created for the celebrations at the Williamson Gallery in Birkenhead. In 2016 she worked on a commission for the race equality centre in Derby where a polyethene figure and a broken wheelchair were created to draw attention to race hate crime. Her first work relating the sexual violence was in 2014 for the Speaking Out exhibition at Embrace Arts, University of Leicester. The work was exhibited and Alison attended the Speaking Out conference where she addressed the delegates on the thought processes behind her work. Prior to that, she ran a successful funding bid and project managed the prospering ‘Rags Boutique’ as part of the ‘Shops up Front’ scheme from Liverpool City Council. This was an exhibition space and workshop venue was the use of found object was utilised to maximum effect. Alison helps Organise the Reclaim the Night March held in spring in Liverpool annually. The intentions behind the exhibition as a means of activism against sexual violence and to play its role in her campaign work.

The Female Suspension which will shock, inform, evoke debate and lead to social reform in direct regards to Rape crime.

Exhibition runs from the 5th of March, 5 Bold Place, Liverpool, L1 9DN

Free view from Street location.

Artist Talk to be held on International Women’s Day, Thursday the 8th of March from 6.30-7pm. Talk starting at Bold Place then either being held inside or to be moved to another location possible to be provided by John Moores Uni. Details to be confirmed, to book:

Free Ticket

Art in Windows

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