Picture by Eliza Goroya
There’s been this charming queer weekend recently where I wandered around the city and ended up in random situations with loveable creatures. My lifestyle in a nutshell.
I left my house on Friday night with my toothbrush and fresh knickers in my handbag, because I knew it would be one of those anything-can-happen weekends. As I was getting ready, I felt that delicious rush of passion in my veins. Drowning in the urban unknown with its infinite possibilities of encounters and situations. I live for this.
I normally get lost in the metropolis when I travel. Away from home, adrenaline and novelty make me go through days and nights without sleeping. It is always more difficult to do so in the city where we live, because we get caught in repetitiveness and fatigue. Too often, I forget to look up and around in London. It is such an incredible human landscape, though.
On Friday night, I met up with friends and we talked and giggled till late. I had sex till the dawn of Saturday was breaking. I was simultaneously super intense about the present moment and outside my body, miles away from what I was doing. It was an unusual sensation. I am not sure why?
The day after, I was invited to a leaving party in a flat attached to the Barbican (a famous London multi-arts centre). I didn’t go back home to wash away my smell of sex. I went straight to the art centre and hanged out there, aimless, to kill time. I stayed in the bathrooms for a while. They make me happy because each door has a different colour. I just wanted to pee a million times to try out every shade of paint.
In the main hall people were resting, working or having coffee on the big fat sofas. I lay down to watch them and nap intermittently. It reminded me of my youth, of my first life in London back in 2004, when I moved here and found it so tough that I gave up after six months. I was struggling with money so bad that on my days off, I was going to the Tate Modern gallery which has free entrance and I was napping on the sofas to feel surrounded with the murmur of the crowd. It was soothing me. It had been a long time since I hadn’t napped in a public place (except for airports). My bohemian side is getting pale. A man sharing my sofa suddenly starting puking his guts out. He wouldn’t stop. I went to get him a glass of water and left to my party.
I was the first guest to arrive. The flat was stunning, seventh floor with an amazing view of London from the bay window. I told the host that I wouldn’t stay long because I was behind in sleep. I didn’t know anyone apart from her.
And then, the hours passed by and I got dragged into joyful extravaganza with the queers/butches/fems/creatures/etc. We put some wigs on, I got the long blue one. I took off my top to cover my breasts with the long fake hair, like a queer Venus being born. A very pretty creature whom I was referring to as ‘he’ but I was told to use ‘they’ borrowed my Chanel lipstick and my leopard print fur coat. They looked better in them than I did, but I was excited rather than jealous.
We had the key to the garden of the Barbican Centre so we went in the middle of the night with wine and blankets. We must have been a beautiful procession of extravagant people in crazy outfits, about twelve of us. We sat down under the stars, near the water. I was familiar with that place by day, as it is a public spot where I come once in a while, but it felt extraordinary to have it privatised at night with a handful of attractive total strangers. I suddenly felt very much in the moment. Someone launched the idea of passing the bottle of wine around in a circle whilst telling stories about our respective life. Most people didn’t know each other, so it was an interesting exercise. One of us had just been randomly picked up from the street and dragged to the party just like that. I hate speaking in groups, but I made an effort. We went around the circle several times, and we went deeper at each round.
We all exposed our relationship to London, and it broadened my perspective on why I landed here and why I am staying after all, despite my love-hate relationship with it. Like often here, almost none of us were British. We were Greek, Canadian, German, French, South African, American. London in all its splendor. It is unique in the world to have that level of peaceful diversified cohabitation. We all moved here because we were suffocating in our countries or we wanted to live harder, faster, deeper. To embrace our different selves more. Everyone had incredible and different life paths to London. It seemed like all the awesome people’s roads lead to London. One person said that their visa was expiring soon and that they didn’t know yet whether it was going to be renewed or not. I was suddenly grateful for being part of that crew of human beings. The queer-landing-in-London-in-search-for-more crew.
We went back inside when our ass was about to turn into a block of ice. I finished the night in a big bed with three other lovely people. We took off our clothes just to hug and cuddle, to feel our super soft skin. Why not? Two of my bed partners woke up early on Sunday morning to go sing at a church choir. I wish I had had the guts to sing too, but I don’t like my own voice, whether it sings, screams or speaks.
I went back to the Barbican instead, to try new colours at those funky bathrooms. I went to see an exhibition by a Pakistani artist. The gallery was completely in the dark and there were fake blood stains on the floor. It really impressed me. I thought of the November Paris attacks. I think I had a different perception on art after two sleepless nights.
I finally came home on Sunday morning, tired, but bubblying and happy, reconciled with the city where I live. On the way back, I was singing the Nouvelle Vague cover of The Specials, ‘I go out on Friday night and I come home on Saturday morning‘, but I replaced Saturday with Sunday.
I took a shower.