Friday 31 October 2014

Kiki and Kitty

Happy Halloween folks! It's going to be a doozy because there's a double header coming at you - right between the eyes - from Fox Spirit Books: Drag Noir, edited by Kate Laity, and Wicked Women, edited by Jan Edwards and Jenny Barber. What's more, to add the welcome insult to the joyous injury, there's a story by yours truly in each. Pick yourself up off the floor and check the links below to purchase yourself some anthology goodness. Both volumes are packed with excellent authors who I'm bloody chuffed to share space with. Prepare yourselves for a link fiesta and then a little explanation.

Fox Spirit announcement:

Wicked Women, featuring my story "How to be the Perfect Housewife":

Drag Noir, featuring "Kiki Le Shade":

My sources for these stories couldn't have been more different. I'd spent countless hours berating myself for not being able to come up with something for the Prof's third instalment of the Noir series (you can find Weird Noir, featuring my story "A Kick in the Head" here and "Madam Mafoutee's Bad Glass Eye" is in Noir Carnival which you can acquire thusly

Then, although I can't remember where, I saw the Scissor Sisters' video for their song "Let's Have a Kiki" The opening image of the story suddenly popped into my head - not that it had anything much to do with either the song or the video, but Kiki emerged, sitting on a plastic chair in the arse end of nowhere, two inches of ash on her smouldering cigarette, wig askew, waiting. I had no idea what came next until it twitched out of my mind and down my fingers like an unstoppable electric current. Who was I to say no? The question of masks is always raised when talking about Drag, but for me liberation is what's accessed via this art form, not concealment. It is an opportunity to reveal, to revel and to rail. Seeing it as a veiling negates its power - or it would if Drag Queens stood for that kind of nonsense. While Drag Queens have fascinated me since I was a child, I've never given much thought to Drag Kings and I don't know why, possibly it's because there has been so much more exposure for the former. There's a tickle at the back of my mind for a story.

As to Wicked Women, I pretty much embody the antithesis of the "perfect" housewife and I pity anyone that aspires to be such a thing - not because I think housewifery is beneath me or trivial, but because traditionally it's one of the most thankless jobs in the world. In all my narcissistic preenings (don't worry, I mostly do them in private), that's not for me. Any quest for perfection is fraught with pressure and unreasonable expectations because perfection simply does not and cannot exist in the splendour of human subjectivity. That way lies madness, friends. Just look what poor Kitty has to deal with. In my mind, juxtaposed to this idea of the perfect housewife is the keyword "wicked". It's been bastardised into meaning good in modern parlance thus lightening its severity but, by definition, something wicked is something evil, something sinful, something unjustifiable with a bad attitude. So I googled "Wicked Women" and found an absolute glut of atrocious ladies with a side dollop of inspiration. Not your kickass badasses - I figure they're becoming as stereotypical as the time worn tropes of Madonna and Whore - instead I wanted your demented, your callous,  your truly "wicked" women. I won't tell you who struck me (not with a blunt instrument) during my research, I wouldn't want to spoil the fun.


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