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Friday, 5 April 2019

Boyfriends: Ghosting

Boyfriends: Ghosting

The ghost of ghosting still haunts my present when it should be buried in the past, it wasn't that you were a bad boyfriend in fact you were great or good as maybe that's an overstatement either way you didn't suck but something did. You were charming in the right places, good looking, honest and a pretty decent fuck. You laughed at my jokes and made some passable ones of your own that would incite a giggle, you had a job that wasn't a career but none the less you cared about your customers and was skilled at your craft, you were good looking, had style and a mind that raced and was socially active, politically involved and creatively analytic. Your looks o wow those looks that perpetual tan, those vibrant green eyes, full luscious kissable lips and that pearly smile.

On paper you sound fine, but it wasn't fine, when you touched me I didn't burn, you kissed and I didn't disappear, we fucked and I didn't lose myself to you. Something, somewhere was off, it caused me to cause arguments, create scenes and act a dick, only in those moments and scenes did I truly feel the passion whilst you hurt, your pain was my joy.

It was just that it was boring, you had everything mapped out from when I saw you, you knew somehow I'd dance with you and in my drunk and your sensibly sober state that I'd give you my number, you knew I'd reply and that I'd meet you at the spot where you saw me pass your shop everyday, you knew that I knew you before you broke the ice and said hi. I had seen you everyday on my way to work whilst you were at work cutting keys, mending shoes and hanging out with the skaters in their shop next door when I left the office late.

You were comfortable with comfort, whilst the repetition of normality scared me, an existence of a house, kids, two pets and a 'Eco farm'. I couldn't take the mundane routine anymore, it was just so dull and boring, I loved you and I knew you cared for me deeply, Which made it hard yet at the same time easy.

You asked for a little and I asked for a lot, you gave all you could, whilst I presented you with my most valuable assets, time, presence and youth. A worthy yet not full exchange.

You revelled in Simplistic simplicity, you were great at doing nothing but making it feel like everything, showing me that grand moments can be still ones, that the journey is the destination and travelling isn't just physical, you don't have to move your body to refresh your energy and revitalise your soul, it was a way of thinking that led to a better state of being. The road walked you can walk for yourself, by yourself in the same place at your own pace. Each day is new and things can be done differently even when they're the same, you were hardly bored and I envied you for being that content. It was hippie as fuck but it worked for a time for me and I saw first hand for beautifully it worked for you.

opposites are supposed to attract but where does the difference make a whole, where's the room for deduction and what if the difference is the goals you feel you need to achieve, I should've known to not listen to prerecorded bullshit, written by some fossil.

I felt like I was making a mistake when I left and it's that which still burns, you were everything I ever wanted, an answer to youthful prayers on my knees in a bedroom lonely and afraid that I wouldn't be accepted by anyone, wishing wilfully with my entire being for another to open my eyes and mind, take me to new heights and show me what living was. Lesson learned that answered prayers aren't always a gift.

My friends told me I was crazy, my parents hushed me and you, you'd always pull me back in. I'd be ready to leave but you'd do something so endearingly sweet that I'd stay for a month or two and so the train chugged on.

You buy me a fashion magazine that isn't a fashion magazine as no fashion magazine needs fashion its title, you thumb through and it amuses as it amuses me that you're even bothering to pretend to care about LK Bennett dresses or whatever brand they put in those low scale rags,

How simple it is to please you and how hard it is to please me, am I cursed is that and if so is there a spell to counter this? You look at me adoringly and I cringe, your soppiness can be too much most times but tonight it's over the top. I look out the window and wander over, a view I've seen a million times I guess equal to your face, your body, your dick and ass, all the same landscapes and shapes that I've travelled well.

Every moment you offered there was an absent space that didn't allow it to be whole, it stopped from disappearing and losing myself to it, I was always present in your presence and never lost


Sent from my iPhone

Jaiden James
Editorial Director
RE-BEL Magazine
Re-belmagazine.com

Friday, 22 March 2019

Class Act (2017)

Class Act (2017)

He looked dumb as fuck, mouth open with a wide eyed gaze, someone who was simply never here nor there, in any case he had a brutal sort of beauty that fed into his simple look. There was an air of otherness something in there wasn't right and was kind of unsettling.Tormented that was true, exhibited in the way he talked to teachers or when bored got off and left the room. He was like a beast you wanted to capture, hold tight. Something to tame, take from the wilderness, offer a new life and name.

I didn't like him at first, he was that cliche kind of guy, mostly making noises that meant nothing, saying foolish things for the sake of it - the only way it seemed to show people he was present. He hanged with the big boys, the ones that dominated and commanded respect, yet he differed, his power wasn't as simple as their's and in their presence you were forced to acknowledge his difference.

I didn't need respect as I already had it, my name was known and with it a legacy of ' The Barry boys' flowed. Everyone knew I was smart, sharp and slightly nerdish but I could still beat fuckers who fucked with me up. I preferred to drift between the geeks who were honoured I gave them air, talking about Dragon Ball Z, Pokemon and Harry Potter or hanging with the lads listening to them talking about finger banging, rap music, football and all that other bullshit.

He was always there, Kyron, but I didn't speak to him and he didn't speak to me, we grunted, nodded and occasionally fist bumped. But beyond that there was nothing else just a mutual kind of acquaintance, I guess that was the thing with the boys, we banded, made light extended small talk but not much else.

It was when he cut his hair, moving on from the awful gelled do, that I truly saw what I'd see in the future, captivated by his otherness. His new style framed his face, highlighting his features. Vivid blue eyes, soft luscious lips, he was a babe and I couldn't help but stare. It also seemed with a new image came a new being, softer and smarter, talking, laughing and finally joining in on the conversation. He was witty and adaptable, his words were cutting and balanced. Suddenly I wanted to get to know him.

We first spoke when he laughed at me, I asked what was funny and he said 'the reality of life' a line I'd never expect him to say 'And what is the reality of life?' I snapped, his reply was swift 'Belonging to this really weird fucked up generation that has seen so much dangled in front of them that it's ruined the reality of life, all we really ever do is try and replicate the reality of reality of tv, wandering the earth for salvation, to feel fully, a lust for life even though we haven't even lived!' The others laughed 'Crazy kyron' they chanted. When everyone had dispersed and it was just us sat on a bench, I asked him what he meant. People think I'm thick as fuck, crazy, looney, my mother says the vacant stares will scare others, my dad says I'm dopey and thick. I've heard it all, yeah I'm lost but to somewhere else as what the fuck is this? We all fucking hate each other and I can't wait to escape to find friends and a real life'. Then he left leaving a lingering presence, he in my mind, his words stinging.

After that we laughed and talked and fell into our own world,surrounded but away from the others. I invited him round to hang out and we played games, read some comics and discussed X-men and it's alternate realities, he loved storm 'a bad ass chick' and I rogue for equal reasons, we then bantered if our adulation was sexism or feminism and if equally the characters fought stereotypes or encouraged them. We never settled the argument or came to a conclusion. Either way the silly little disputes defined the thing that would become us, clawing as each other to entertain, engage or educate to state our point, sometimes heated yet never bitter.

We first kissed in a drunk haze, we were bored and beers were left lying around from my brothers 21st and I thought like I thought about most things, why not.... we didn't know what we were doing but it felt right, like the simmering tensions had been solidified, this was the reason why, the soft touches, the hard punches, things that made us feel something from one another, an exchange.

We didn't know what it was, what we were but why define it and how could we when no one around us discussed it. Gay, faggot, poof, queer off hand insults easy to say but hard to really know what they meant and why they were offensive anyway. I enjoyed him and it seemed he enjoyed me and that was that. No closets needed to be aired, grand statements needed to be made, we were what we were and no one seemed to care, we didn't hide away or even bothered to try to.

Everyone knew there was an odd air about us, our 'friendship' bright, intense and loving. They saw the lingering looks, the long hugs, hands slipping into each other's ... we slid into the lives of those around us, as simple as we did before except we were no longer him and him we were they, us, them... plural and never singular...


Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Wtf is Racial Paranoia?

                  


                 Racial Paranoia 


I had never heard this phrasing until a post on Facebook brought it to my attention, a former friend commented on a friend of his posts that stated that 'we' were paranoid about Beyoncé being snubbed at the grammy's and summed it up as racial paranoia, to me his response was the definition of white privilege. 


Racial paranoia exists in acts we do, in the thoughts that fill us with doubt and like black clouds dampen moods, reminding us or making us think we're different and therefore feel other. It's constantly  asking questions trying to understand and decipher another misfortunate, was my last name too complicated? My hair too untamed? Was my skin too black? Was it my accent? What must I do to feel less like us and look like them?  


Apply chemicals to to look less like us, roots conditioned, hair straightened, skin lightened, conforming to societies perceptions, pressure to look like what is deemed beautiful. Hollywood stars with hair that flows like the river Nile, in this act we've already lost a piece of our identity,

fractured divisions, religion where no icon or no idol resembles my reflection, leading men and women the ideals of beauty, Celebrations and all round applause but not for my kind. 


It's funny that people can say things like 'racial paranoia' when they sit in a seat of privilege. Individuals who don't understand what it's like to exist as a citizen of colour in a whitewashed world. They wonder why we cling to the Beyoncé's and Rihanna's, they love the sass and caricatures but won't stand up when we're snubbed or hardly seen in places of prominence. To be celebrated is to be seen, to be seen is to be recognised and to be recognised is to be accepted and acknowledged! 


Sit down, take a seat and remain silent if you're not for the cause just here for the party and the hair flicks!






Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Always on the outside looking in?

I’m more than sick of being reduced to a colour or my sexuality but they are two defining pillars to my posts of existing. In any case the truth is I’ve never fully understood or been able to relish them. I’ve always had a cold/cool distance from my being, seeing myself as one of but not necessarily apart of. 



Nonetheless that doesn’t mean I won’t fight for the advancements of queer/ black rights but I will also speak out on the injustice & segregation within those communities. Nothing & nowhere is perfect but unity is key to ensuring that as we move forward no one is left behind due to not fitting the overarching narrative of the community, such as how feminine they maybe or how dark the tone of their skin is. 

I know I have the privilege of being male and identifying as cisgender, of holding a British passport and speaking English on a native level, of having a curious mind that wanders and wants to understand the world we/ I inhabit. In any case I want to unlearn something’s that a British/ Nigerian catholic upbringing has imposed on my being, I want to feel freer, less judgemental and without bias both conscious and unconscious yet I’m not uncomfortable in revelling in the truth that every mind no matter how liberal has borders. Walls created in childhood, by lived experiences or from the society you were born into.  It’s only when we begin to understand this as minorities and communities that we can band together and educate one another on collective causes that fits a wider width than what’s presently presented. 

In truth I don’t align with the gay community as a whole, I’ll be called out for shaming if I say that hook-up culture isn’t for me that hyper sexualisation of my body isn’t something I indulge in. The level of Vanity, narcissism, adoration of certain body types, devaluation of minority races and the idolisation of our oppressors is simply shocking. I honestly feel less attractive every time I see the white washed utopia that presents itself through the pixels on my phone screen, movie billboards and parades itself around clubs where overly toxic masculinity rules supreme in spaces where femininity and queerness ideally should be celebrated is often excluded. 

I don’t align with the black British community that existed as I was growing up, one that laughed at my femininity, derogatorily dismissed my sexuality and failed to understand why someone may like art/culture that differed from hip-hop, basketball, football. I understood the films such as Bullet Boy & Kidulthood they represented an experience I experienced but didn’t define my own, where was what was meant to speak to me or was I simply that much of a minority it would be deemed too niche to consume? 

For an age I’ve felt like I was locked out looking in, no representation, a minority pushed out and not fully excepted by the communities where there should be a seat at the table. Alienation leads to frustration and then to rage but I’m not angry just sad at the state of two marginalised communities that in theory I care so much about.


Thursday, 21 February 2019

The ballad of boys



At some point I learned that this world may have been built by people like me but it wasn’t built for me. When young in age and youthful in thought, the world was a wondrous place, people were a passion to be observed, learned and lived yet when it became harder to walk up to someone and simply say ‘let’s be friends’ I felt disconnected and discouraged. Until my late teens I lived mostly a half lived life, living through others, feverishly devouring books about culture when I discovered I was creative, pouring myself into creating clothes, blogging and editing a magazine.



In this time I was dating but somehow with a yawn and isolated distance, looking back to protect myself mostly or maybe I just didn’t know how to be emotional or open, I mean I still ask myself do I now? I’m still in training in that area, consciously aware I’m undeveloped. 





In any case the first man worth a mention has to be he who I dated from 16-19, 30 years my senior (daddy issues? Maybe). I left my mothers house at 15 and to be honest he offered security and knowledge from a life lived, he also served abuse both mental and physical but when you learn to live with someone you swallow all parts of their being and somehow accept what’s on offer. I left after one extreme episode where I was left bloody, naked and lost. My self worth had plummeted to the point of thinking ‘All he can do is kill me’ as he smashed my belongings to pieces an Ikea cupboard he brought for me to furnish my bare council flat, reminding me of his level of ownership over my life. With one last burst of dignity I fought back only to be hit with a hammer cutting my eye, he then proceeded to tear my clothes from my body.... after I was left naked, his rage subsiding mine increasing. I agreed to visit the house of my friend who he believed I was having an affair with and we left my house. Fresh air brought fresh thoughts and as we made his way to his car I ran, I ran around the block and back into my house locking my door, he knocked and knocked and knocked but I knew this was it. He continued knocking for months before finally fading away. 




After that there was a brief fling with a marketing executive 28 to my 20. I needed what he offered, showing me how to live a life simply and enjoy moments made, from hanging with friends at dinners, planning dates and drinking, as boy did we drink. It ended as he needed or wanted something more stable and I started to feel that it only fizzled when it came to sex... After that I danced, drank and slept my way around, cautiously cool and never really that open with my sexual being but still falling into people and out of their beds. 


My first real boyfriend, someone I can say I felt a certain sort of love for, I met on an off chance in Manchester. I was there on a  whim after a friend invited me on a trip booked last minute. He arrived as my friend and I were overly bored from running across town with our host, he was drunk and confused yet brightened up the evening. We slept together that night and I didn’t expect much but that, yet somehow we kept in touch. We talked over Skype and he decided to plan a trip over to London, one of many. He had graduated from law school, but didn’t really know what he wanted and in truth didn’t really understand me but we had something. Young and in love he was dazzled by the big city he wanted to live in and I was appreciative of a feeling I’d never felt. In any case he just wasn’t enough, he didn’t understand me and was quite cold and unsupportive. My anger and resentment came out in mind games and verbal abuse, I hadn’t healed from my previous encounter in truth. It ended just before Xmas a holiday I hated, he didn’t understand why I wanted to be alone on that day and decided that I was attention seeking and called it quits. 




A year and half passed before the next at 23. I met him on the dance floor of G-A-Y Late, his eyes captivated me most, they were large and searching and I found them/ him so goddamn cute. He was with someone we mutually knew but who hated me as he blamed me for the demise of one his relationships with one of my friends. I begged my friend to distract the guy so I could talk to him. He was cold and dismissive and I left it at that. I met him a week later and we exchanged numbers. Before long he was living with me, attending all the fashion events/ launches I was invited to, partying with my friends etc. There was many reasons why this soured, he told me things like I should I get a normal job as clearly my creative work isn’t working.... (I did, selling coffee in a supermarket, I left after a month). He was mostly jealous of my creativity, my friends and my decision to not to live a 9-5 life. He had no passions except watching tv, he allowed my life to become the dominant life, barking if I wanted alone time with my friends yet gladly excluding me from his circle. He relied on me to plan all our dates, book all our holidays yet still belittled me. Before long we were simply nothing more than flat mates, a sexless relationship, he openly flirting with others in front of my face, and found on more than one occasion touching others in a club. We began to resent one another with the final straw being me called to New York by one of my close friends, distraught from a distance at the effect this relationship was having on me. He left as I was on holiday and I returned to an empty flat and a job offer from a high street retailer to looking after their menswear marketing wise. 




This was my last relationship defined in the word and also depth of feelings after him there’s been others but I’m yet to define the flings. 


There’s been: The teacher in training who cheated on his boyfriend with me, then dumped him and ultimately used me as his rebound. He decided single life was best for him. Then there was the writer who applauded my talent that I had put to bed and unblocked my passion for writing. He was cute but anxious and very dramatic, always making problems bigger than they need to be if there was one at all. 


After that there was the actor who was rather intense but still a disconnect, I ended up ghosting him on Valentine’s Day after I posted a status about being single - he begged to differ. In any case he proceeded to hang with my friends and even ended up sleeping with one of them... a lingering presence. 


The Irish boy I dated while I was living between London and Dublin, he introduced me to the world of drag pushing me into The George to watch his favourite, Angelina, a Brazilian drag queen perform. I fucked that one up by being a dick but somehow salvaged something as we became friends. 




Then there was he who I met through another, his good friend. I met the friend of one of the apps and he called me late at night saying hey come to my friends house party which was 10 minutes walk, it was late at night but I went along. When there his friend popped up, I found him hot and charming - an art photographer. We openly flirted in what I must say was a dick move but I couldn’t help the connection. After the party we ended up talking more and more and slowly started dating. It was a soft and sensual something, I look back fondly and favourably of the experience. I’d met someone right at the wrong time, we dated for 6 weeks before I departed for Berlin. 


Berlin so far has two chapters: 


The Russian who I met on Tinder, I proceeded to meet with him in IRL. I knew he was different from the off set, his words and warnings and the way he expressed himself reeled me in. Odd, intense and different. I had never experienced something like this it was extreme and somehow made me anxious, I was usually the one giving more, saying words being that odd ball, here the tables had turned and I didn’t know how to deal. The phone would ring and I wouldn’t answer, I’d be distance in their presence. I was scared of being able to read for once to have someone give something I could take and grow with. It ended due to me not being able to be present. 




Finally it concludes with the German lawyer who found me living in Berlin jobless, mourning the loss of my Nan and confused about what to do and who to become. He was sweet and charming but not my type. He begged to buy me a beer at cocktail’d amore and finally after the fifth time I said ok cool. I shared a cab with him as he dropped me home, there was no allusion to sex or anything along those lines and all I could think was ‘how sweet’. We exchanged numbers and talked, he called me on my birthday to wish me well despite knowing me a week. He also helped me file unemployment papers and translated letters, when I thought I couldn’t continue in Germany who he made it easier, Depression was heavy burden to carry and Honestly he took care of me. He was patience and caring and I believed in him, I thought hey he’s different from the fuck boys of the past. He would get me up and out of my house, introduced me to his friends, planned things to do. As I came back to myself he told me he was seeing an ex still and that he still felt feelings, he dangled me along for a while, me grateful for him being so nice and helping me heal, before I decided that behind the mask was a man that was quite ignorant, bull headed and actually dismissive of my lived experience. A privileged/ sheltered cis-gendered white male. I walked away bruised.  


Now I’m here, hoping for a rounded experience. Growing tired of the tinder and Grindr experience, yawning at being praised in clubs simply as a way to get me into bed. A romantic in a community that values thrill over persona, quick fixes over long long-lasting experiences. I’m trying to navigate choppy waters and land on pure shores. A rounded experience from a kind, cool and understanding man.







Twenty-nine:

Twenty-nine:


28 was by no means easy, I struggled hard and fell far, depressed over the loss of a family member, being ultra broke, feeling worthless, loveless and numb. I spent most of the year not feeling much at all. Friends, family & strangers came to my aid and helped pull me through. I bounced back and began to remember who I was and what I want. I realised the corporate structure of a 9-5 isn't right for me, bosses want you to perform like a machine with no cares about your mental health or about nurturing your creativity, I learned that money doesn't always make you happy going from the poorest I've ever been to earning the most I've ever earned working two jobs & flying across Germany, I learned who I can trust and count on and most importantly I learned to love not just who I am but what I do! Rediscovering and understanding that I'm a creative, I'm a writer, a poet, a journalist, an artist, I yearn to create and not for companies but myself. I long to make sense of my self, my race, my sexuality and my identity as there's always answers to be asked in relation to myself, society and others and that's what I want to do, create honest work that hopefully resonates with those who consume. 29 is one step closer to 30 and I hope to enter the new decade (20's) & my new decade (30's) with passion and grace. I aim to work super hard this year to make sure I see the visions in my head a reality.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Remember your name...

After meeting a beautiful Russian soul, who happened to identify as queer, who lives in Moscow, a world where his love is deemed unworthy meaning a world of hostility and constant uncomfortable chaos, I had to ask myself: what really matters? 


I used to believe in living a life of passion, only doing what makes me happy or near content. I worked in culture and fashion up until 2018. A zombie of sorts, the fashion world I entered into in 2007 wasn’t streetwear savvy, pro black or anywhere near as woke as it is today. It was openly racist, ageist, classist, elitist and ableist etc as the list goes on. 

As a naive 17 year old I endured but at 28 I can no longer simply swallow that pill. I’m an activist, I’m black and I’m from a lower working class background, I shouldn’t have to grovel to exist in these spaces where so often one vision, one view largely from one race is promoted. I don’t want to be a token or trend, I want to be accepted, appreciated and acknowledged for my talent, what I do is create from my experiences but that doesn’t mean its automatically ‘black art’ ‘black fashion’ ‘black writing’, I’m more than tired of being reduced to a colour. 

At any point I will no longer run from who I am - an artist. I deserve like any other to be able to create without filter, to be seen, heard and read. That’s my new year declaration, reclaiming my creative self and unpoligetically saying what I want to say when I need to say it via what either medium I deem worthy. 

It took me a long time to get to this place and admit that I was burned out. I’m currently recovering from from creative burnout that lasted 4 years. From 17-23 I worked on the label Jaiden rVa James, praised by the style press from dazed to I-D and worn by Gaga and Scissors sisters. Then I also launched a magazine Re-bel,  I was 20 and honestly I can say on reflection it was launched in admiration of those I loved - interview under Glenn O’Brien and fabien baron, Dazed under Nicola Formechetti and I-D, but did it have a loud enough unique voice? Nonetheless 
the magazine went on to profile everyone from Hedi Slimane, Juergen Teller, JW Anderson and had fashion imagery and styling form Daniel Sannwald, Rankin, Matt Irwin, Robbie Spencer and Simon Foxton. But what was I really saying? 

In any sense after being too fragile for high fashion I took a creative role at a fashion high street reTailer, doing marketing for their menswear for 2.5 years, a comfortably uncomfortable position and then moved on to a leading streetwear publication, a fit that wasn’t right with an audience that was openly homophobic. In any case both roles required creativity yet still something wasn’t right I wasn’t serving my creative self. 

Thankfully somehow and someway in the past few months I’ve been coming back to myself. Blogging about topics I care about that are honest to my being, launching an Instagram to promote my poetry with no shame in putting my words into the world. Now I’m thinking of relaunching Re-bel to be that place that bridges the gap on the things I hated in fashion above, I also want to build a queer community online platform and promote artists that are often ignored in places across the world. I guess this is a self declaration to be kind to myself and do what I love with no apologises.