Saturday, March 26, 2016

Fame, what's the same?

Stencil from Unknown Artist Street Art over a Sign for Selling
Visual from the show Naked Food and Takeaway Truth - The Second Stage of Love
first performed at Garnet Station's Tiny Theatre - Raewyn Alexander and Rene Harrison 2016

"I love you, and because I love you I would sooner have you hate me for telling you the truth, than adore me for telling you lies." Pietra Aretino

Poetic license enables us poets to tell the truth in countless ways. 

This below is from Naked Food and Takeaway Truth, The Second Stage of Love, a recent show Rene Harrison and I did in Westmere, Tamaki Makaurau Auckland at The Tiny Theatre, Garnet Station Cafe. 


Her Love bangs a gong with a glad stick,

scares away lemons and honey grabbers,

with many hands like an Indian God, Her Love.

She noses him as if they're as close as paint and canvas

or gunpowder inside a firework.

But stately quite different noises

from separate graces,

and rumours play roulette with blank looks.

Those who think they own them fish out glory,

for their fates to follow and colour inside the lines.

Struggling not with each other but hum-drum else,

and all those meets and muddle turned into cake,

with the plain story icing, (lemon probably).

Bitterness suits the warp anyway.

Interference arrives in a white limousine,

steps out as if it bones the road and sky,

and it breaks off a dice of the landscape

tosses that into the luck of the nearest photographer.

Him and her, they represent sheer obstacles

for Interference's open game,

as tall as possible to maybe get swept up

and shovelled down-time with hopeful mirrors.

Mixing sharp metaphors,

because Interference cuts almost everyone,

into a moat of moaning.

Lonely without inventing robots,

approximately the size of do love,

and yet appearing as plastic taste,

choking winged things and ruining swims,

a pungent mix of reckless and electronics.



their riddle to believe they could land so near,

and then this peddling fear,

this falalala,

this hunching from the inside.

Bobbing through realising he's jived that way for volumes,

and here they both bar now,

whispering locks together

hoping they find a stray out.

When all along

they're in hearing




nowhere too.

So now their doves know....

- - -

Relationships matter, we need to read about how people get along, or don't, and study how we can best communicate. Do discuss relationships critically and strategise them, for your survival.  Ask experts for guidance, too.

Human beings depend on relationships for support, sharing information, protection, and understanding, a sense of belonging, and far more. 

Families and friends help each other day-to-day in countless ways when they're functional, well, and decent, in agreement for the most part too, perhaps. Healthy neighbourhoods work together socialising and swapping information, or just offering some support at the least - just saying hello to people next door promotes a friendly atmosphere. Then, in business and organisations, the most successful build strong, well-connected, flexible, finely-resourced communities, sometimes world-wide. 

Fame can result from when you're known to be helpful, or talented, useful in some way, fame within your own family, neighbourhood, or wider community.  Fame may also grow mega, with moola and magnificence to match.

A relationship with someone famous, or association with them benefits all parties. Fame creates an isolating glamour in some ways. Welcoming people in from outside any usual circle of renown provides fresh ideas, a new outlook, and an outsider's view which may be agreed or disagreed with, to benefit everyone. Dialogue is the only way we progress, the philosopher Buber said. Obviously too, a celebrity's milieu affects the newcomer's status, as if by osmosis, or magic, or accident.  This may or may not be welcome, (some people dislike glamour and attention from strangers who appear to be fascinated with them, all of a sudden).  Obscurity has its own rewards, too.

But sycophantic behaviour, where slavish people agree with the powerful or famous no matter what they do or say, or dominators controlling and virtually imprisoning a celebrity, those situations create a cultish, dangerous, and eventually an ill culture.

Agreement at any cost destroys beneficial behaviour to a large degree. Blind obedience denies open and honest discussion, this removes many possibilities which could more likely lead to improvements, and surviving well due to a range of choices, not a limited bunch of them. If it becomes more important to agree than to find the best solutions, if it seems more important to go along with whatever's happened usually, without question, we're perhaps not being careful enough. How may we be sure not to harm or hurt others in light of new developments? We sadly may lose the awareness that we need to respect each other, properly. If we encourage group think, or yes-man behaviour, we lose so much. 

True dialogue results in genuine swapping of views, ideas, solutions, and information, in a dynamic, lively manner. Dialogue may include some arguments or disagreements, dialogue can be puzzling or odd at times, but a to and fro discussion is a natural and absolutely vital part of any healthy relationship.

Think of dialogue as like a road to someplace you've never been. You take bends and rough bits at different speeds, the smooth straights you take more easily, road signs need attention too, the features of this road are unexpected but go with them as you feel best. You want to get to where you're going. But if you grow tired or confused, stop, rethink things, try to see the best way to continue. This illustrates what a worthwhile discussion may also involve.

Road to the Coromandel from Highway One Aotearoa New Zealand

Enjoying strong relationships with honest, dependable, talented and/or hard-working people, we could say life's usually going to go well insofar as day-to-day projects appear. Mistakes and errors may be allowed for here too, and redesigning or changing as needs be. 

A communication breakdown can happen then, when something goes awry. 

It's best to leave things a while before reconnecting so all parties have time to figure out what happened. Later, people are more able to go on as a couple or group in future, after a pause, with the new information gathered and understood.

Everyday or ordinary communication is more easily managed, perhaps, since it usually includes only those directly involved. Fame however is about glamour, an
d that's tricky, an enhancement and somewhat false, difficult to live with, at times, if you've grown eccentric with all the extra attention. Fame can magnify your ego, a sense of self may swell and overwhelm your reason. But we need will and discipline to function properly, even if a glamorous successful life is involved. 

A hand-book for the famous could provide those who have to work with them with some light relief, and a few laughs, if nothing else. Fame may also be a light thing, someone's well known at work or within their family, or local area, for good deeds, or a skill or talent. In any case, fame's a curious upbeat mood-maker, a heightener of atmosphere, maybe making some people involved more excited and expansive, and more curious, more envious too, and so on.

Some people grow famous for being themselves, personalities so charismatic, or they tell great stories, or they're extraordinarily kind, lovely, amusing... but it's their works or actions that attracted the fame, in part at least. Ego makes us feel confident or able, but fame's not all about our sense of identity; the ego, grows to include fame, but allowing renown to completely overwhelm us is unwise. We can then too easily hide the fact we have some serious self-development to do, that fame is masking or making up for other vital qualities we lack and could anyway find and nurture.

We may start to seem monstrous, even to ourselves. So do we then only have relationships with other monsters, other strange and difficult people? What issues may appear then?  And what does our PR expert tell us about having to appear fine to the general public? How does a person seem acceptable to the everyday person, while believing they are also a monster, or strange? How does popularity work?

It's fascinating to look into other people's celebrity lives, perhaps, but what does that teach us about ourselves? And what do they know, in their rarified hideouts and headquarters, about fair human behaviour, day-to-day, to stay healthy, to feel good, to enjoy their status in the best possible spirits, genuinely, with love?

Book cover by Raewyn Alexander - a visual from Naked Food and Takeaway Truth poetry and music show

He Painted Himself as a Monster 

and someone gave him a movie about almost extinct animals

then on his birthday stated no one cared about him

while I wondered if poachers could arrive

treasure hunters on safari

taking souvenirs to prove they saw a shadow in habitat

fluff from room corners or books this man read

before the trouble

and I sat there and sit here suspended

swinging away from bruises I guess

I painted myself as a woman made of shadows

and also appear monstrous

(told throughout my life to stay light and smiling

don't notice too much - never think deeply)

but my shape is more realistic than his

wondering what saves how we want to live

together in our treasure house of ideas and pain

with other valuables and setting ourselves alight

nobody escapes some kind of taming

no matter what gallops across every dream

living things often twist or buck in some fashion

but surely we may parlay around kindness?

this large blue cloud we exhaled

pieces trail after us like we're mountains

however moving across landscapes of what we wish

trying to escape the envious with their gusty weather

privacy an enemy to the crowds grabbing snapshots

they demand clear views of when we fall and cry

those who find killing wild things a pleasure

swarm across the world with bleach and concrete

power held inside like another organ

gradually their hearts cease anything but pumping

every pulse closer to more money

but we build ourselves without them

he and I find gardens from nowhere

using nothing but a little fire and threads we think

understanding belief in our plans keeps water fresh

even if someone's stomped through here with noisy dirt

refusing to understand our language or hopes

but he shall stride over the ruins and appear where I am

with his love translated


Book cover by Raewyn Alexander - also a visual from Naked Food and Takeaway Truth

But the title of this blog is, Fame, what's the same? The easy answer to that is you are, people stay the same when famous, at least at first. It's the way other people regard and treat you that changes, but you're the same person you were beforehand, more or less. You who brought yourself here, there, and over there, and in a few places you didn't realise you'd ever be, as well.  Then those other people take their ideas of you away to yet more places too; talk travels, and writing about your work and you, and reputation builds and changes, sometimes not for the better but hopefully, usually, with fair management, this unfolds well.

A curious anomaly also can appear to different genders, in different ways, experiencing fame. The way their culture views whatever gender they may be is heightened and exaggerated. Fame magnifies and distorts so much. A woman may be reviled, even if she is famous, for showing off what she's done, more than a man would be, in some places, for instance, for the same amount of boasting or promotion. Famous women have more said and written about what they look like, how they dress, and what their weight may be, than a man would receive such comments. Someone trans also would too often, I'd say, receive in the west, quite different treatment by the mainstream media, than a man or woman would notice in reactions to their own publicity.

I've noticed a woman discussing her relationship, in a famous context, (or not), is more often expected to include many more people than just herself and her partner. A man discussing his female partner would not be criticised for only mentioning her, and no one else, by the same media, I believe. There appears to be an expectation that women discount themselves in favour of others, too, while men are permitted to discuss relationships as they wish, or not at all, and that's fine.  This is because of a gendered difference in communication. But we may also take on masculine or feminine ways of communicating, as we find necessary, and this needs to be more widely accepted.

Relationships for those who're famous present a different choice than for everyday people, however, surely? Some famous people are kept isolated by those who care for them, like Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, or grow isolated due to issues of their own like Howard Hughes. But in order to feel humanly happy, connected to the community and to more creative possibilities, the famous also need to step outside their usual comfort zone, or they may atrophy, (freeze into sameness), and can lose what they felt at the outset, their own excitement and joy for life, for example.

Orchids, photo by Raewyn Alexander

One of the reasons I create shows and perform poetry is to make myself read work aloud to people, live. An audience who do not know me, in new places, often changes the work I do, and usually improves it at the least with a fresh approach or new word play. This stepping outside my everyday work helps my creativity and builds confidence, increases the amount of people who see my work, and develops new relationships, too.

A writer usually seeks to develop and improve their work, if they're dedicated, in my experience.

So, fame's a curious atmosphere to inhabit and communicate in, and relationships still appear vital there. At first you're the same person you always were, but fame colours everything whether you realise it or not, and the glamour, the trickery, the strangeness, and the expectations of others putting on the pressure, plus much more can make someone long for what they had before, when life wasn't such a public business. It's healthy to seek outside views, to be flexible, and to realise your limitations, admit mistakes may be made and learn how to say sorry and mean it. 

Life is change though, and we need to embrace that with all love and care possible.

Your comments are welcome, and thanks for reading. 

<< More artwork follows >>

Collage book cover, an Inspiration Book, by Raewyn Alexander

Page from my comic, Nothing and Nowhere (but Love), black ink & coloured pencil

The King and Queen of Kindness - black ink drawing

drawn to illustrate one of Rene Harrison's poems from Naked Food and Takeaway Truth
The drawings that follow are also in Naked Food and Takeaway Truth, and in the zine we've had printed too, some of them. These are all by Raewyn Alexander, and in the show are enormous poster-sized pieces of work.

Illustration from our show for Auckland is a Cat
- inspired by riffing on the idea with Geneva Alexander-Marsters in the car one evening