This Is How We Die


Originally written for Exeunt

It’s Halloween and I have a perky pseudo humorous intro to this all planned out when I sit down in a room possessed of a remarkably oversized bed (I am disappointing and sit on the available chairs) to speak to Chris Brett Bailey. Because being pithy is easy and lazy and Chris’ hair does make him look like a Tim Burton character. But fuck that. Now we’re talking about form and death and meaning and feeling lost in a mire of popular culture and I know, inside I know, that I’m here to be sandblasted in an hour or so – and I give over to it.

Because it is a big ask. Turn off your laptop. Travel across town in the rain. Give me 12 quid. Be on time. Turn your phone off. That’s a lot to ask. 

Did you know Doritos can be used as kindling Like look I re-drew all the Disney princesses but with normal waistlines Fave look at my Halloween costume someone stole our pumpkins what bastards COME TO MY PARTY NEXT WEEK PLEASE Going have you seen that Richard Ayoade interview yet LOOK AT MY LUNCH here’s why I think you should see Horns it’s really not that bad LISTEN TO THIS SONG gamergate gamergate ebola ebola spreading ebola appeal ebola fears humorous riff on news depiction of ebola Like ebola costume is it too soon WE BARELY KNOW EACH OTHER BUT I’VE INVITED YOU TO MY BIRTHDAY Read 18:43 no reply don’t you know what this meme is it’s been around for at least a day I FAVE ALL YOUR TWEETS puppy video yes Farage is still racist look Benedict Cumberbatch is wearing a feminist t-shirt doesn’t the world feel better now COME SEE MY PLAY Maybe

A desk.

A chair.

A glass.

A light.

A boy a man a person a mic a voice a stack of papers a buzzing.


That deep breath you know the one right before you leap off something so tall right before you say it those three words right before you realise this moment is the one the beat too late and you’re in the middle of the road and you can’t move fast enough and it’s hurtling towards you a breath away a hair and then

And that’s why I’m seated at a desk and not moving around, and yes it is easier to read it than do it memorised, but I can do the whole thing now, I can do it without looking down at the page, and there are sections where I am doing it off the page, but in that chapter specifically when I’m doing the stuff that is narrative based, I’m doing it so you don’t look at my eyes, so you don’t see my facial expressions, so that you can experience it like a sort of film that happens two feet in front of your face in the darkness. 

And we’re on a road in a house in a car on the edge of a glass on the edge of a knife on the edge of wondering what colour teacups you have if you are a bodybuilder and your husband is a human swastika. And I hate these people, I love these people, I am these people, I’m with these people, who are these people, are these people?

So. I didn’t ever sit down to intentionally write a thing. I kind of write compulsively anyway. And I kept a journal of short notes and a computer document of long notes. Of every idea I had. And I did this for 18 months, maybe 2 years. And I went on a couple of writer’s residencies. Various theatres and places and sat in offices and basements and tapped it out. Eventually it became quite clear that it was a show. Eventually it became quite clear that it was a monologue. Eventually it became quite clear that it was asking to be read, not performed. 

And I want to be the only damn person who writes about this and doesn’t make cultural references and I desperately want to think of anything but anything but Ginsberg all I can think of is Ginsberg and Howl and how everything about it is a cry not of anger not of resignation but a scream of absolute rapture at the ferocity of being alive at how utterly beautiful this language is that we’ve made for ourselves and here is this show that has sacrificed itself utterly to that language that’s all it is surrounding, enveloping, encompassing and lapping at us with a thousand tongues and






we declare this language dead and we are all about to die a little death

I am very, very nervous tonight because it’s the press night, and I’m a very nervous performer anyway, and I start to sort of go into energy saving mode about 10 hours before the show and none of my friends want to be around me, and I am normally much calmer than I am now, I’m very tense.

back in the road and those headlights are right there right there and they’re growing and growing you close your eyes a thousand of them are burned into your retinas everything is thudding and pounding we have only seconds and all we can do is quiver in the knowledge that we are alive right in this moment we are pinned

So being interesting or being cute or being fun; it’s not enough

And it needs to be harder faster louder longer brighter it’s not




and we’re body slammed into silence and fuck it hurts so good

neurons already craving the next cheap thrill

the next overload the next flight from the sensory dilution of language the next

step towards you being able to interpret it how you want and the kind of visceral experience of it or the sensory experience of it being more important than what the meaning is.

the sensory

the sense

the non-sense of it

the feeling

this prism of performance through which we see and feel and understand and baffle ourselves

the prism…





rhymes with… (anyway)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s