Expression, Therapy, Revolution. Disclaimer; China’s brain is full of lacewing flies completing life cycles, she doesn’t know shit about shit and all opinions are her own.
The world is bleak. There is a palpable tension and greyness that has enveloped England, exacerbated by the actions of the Conservative government: an enormous spike in food banks, poverty and homelessness, the tripling of student fees, a complete disregard for the issue of climate change, the most mentally ill generation ever, a gigantic flow of wealth away from the working class and into the hands of the rich, and Brexit.
People are more disenfranchised than ever, and nobody seems to know how to even begin to address the slew of problems we’re facing as a country right now. London is one of the only places with a thriving queer scene that resists the norm and fosters hedonistic creativity and Dionysian abandon. However, that scene has been eroded as young people are priced out of the capital and luxury apartments shoot upwards like sunflowers from the bones of old LGBT safe spaces and queer venues. These spaces that were so necessary as a sanctuary of self-expression and escapism feel more needed than ever, making the sting of their closing particularly sharp. Outside the capital, it’s even harder. There are far less queer venues, there are far less art spaces, there are far less resources to access.
Many of the customers at my home club in Birmingham see my self-expression as a form of bravery (or stupidity) because our heteronormative capitalist society doesn’t encourage creativity. But I value my work greatly because I’m simply trying to create an ephemeral experience for other people, and bond with likeminded people. It is difficult for some to see my work in the same way because it’s not a tangible object that can be evaluated like a painting or sculpture.
In this climate of austerity creativity seems like a frivolity. Self-expression is something that can be done away with, hence why the conservative government slashed funding for the arts. So many institutions, queer venues included, are rarely likely to see the benefits of harnessing a creative force, and even less inclined to pay artists. It is difficult for all artists to have their work seen as something valuable that equates to something worth actual currency. Interns are expected to toil for free, freelancers are expected to feed themselves with experience or exposure. But we are vital. The creative’s hand is present in everything from the movies you watch to the furniture you sit on. We are always present. We make political statements, we push society forward by forcing people to consider socially conditioned modes of appropriate behaviour and instill that punk questioning into those we encounter. Creativity allows us to define ourselves as individuals, it gives us a sense of self-esteem, it enables us to think divergently in all aspects of our lives. It gives us everything from self-care to protest, it enriches us.
As queer people we need to continue to invest our time into creative pursuits, everything from painting your nails to watching a cabaret to admiring art in galleries (that are rapidly haemorrhaging funding as money is poured into nuclear armaments and the pockets of corporations). We need to seek out likeminded people, we need to forge connections, we need to support other creatives, we need to invent and create and push forward together because honestly, society is stagnating. Take any moment you can to allow yourself to do something that excites you and challenges you, take any moment you can to express your feelings, because it will benefit you, and your community. It is only by engaging with ourselves and those around us that we will ever achieve change.
Words // China Dethcrash
Header Imagery // Emily Rose England
Photographer Emily Rose England, known for her erotic editorial and documentation work, will be showing a selection of photographs from her up coming project “You Make Me Feel Mighty Real” including the header used here at Be Mused at The Queen Adelaide. You Make Me Feel Mighty Real offers a unique insight into the queer scene of East London through the eyes of someone within the community involved, documented on 35mm film over the past 6 years.