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Hadley+Maxwell
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I recently read a biography of Muhammad Ali. My favorite part of the book is about how Ali once gave the commencement speech at Harvard. After the speech was over, everybody applauded and someone shouted: “Give us a poem!” The story goes that the entire audience fell quiet and Ali uttered what I understand is now officially the shortest poem in the English language. It went: “Me, We.” Ali gave his speech in 1975 and when people talk about that poem today, they say that it has something to do with politics. That is true, of course, and whenever I repeat Ali’s poem to anyone because I find it beautiful in an annoying, CompLit-student way, I think of that. But I also always think of Hadley and Maxwell.
I don’t know anybody else who manages to somehow unite being-one and being-two quite as well as Hadley and Maxwell do. If anybody were to ask me about them, the first thing I would stress is that they’re too very different people. For example: If Hadley finds something funny, it makes her giggle silently. Max either laughs out loud or not at all. With Max, I can have an incredibly silly conversation about the most serious, brainwreckingly philosophical idea. Hadley, on the other hand, has sent me the most thoughtful and, sorry, deep emails about some funny, mindless Unterhaltungsliteratur I recommended to her. And yet, I have never met any two people who I think of more as a unit. I have never met any two people who naturally show up anywhere only as a pair. I have never met any other pair of people who is so connected that both rarely have to use their last name, because it is usually replaced by either “and Hadley” or “and Maxwell.” If I know anybody for whom “me” always rhymes with “we,” it’s Hadley. And it’s Maxwell.
The way Hadley and Maxwell work as people, I think, is very much the way they work as artists. If you see their art often enough and talk to them about it, you can begin to make out the parts that somehow feel Max-like or more Hadley-esque. But in the end, when they are done casting a whole mess of sculptures in blackened tinfoil and re-assembling them into ethereal, ghostly bric-a-bracs, you can see that what they did could only have been done together. The reason why these artworks end up balancing so elegantly between polar opposites (between sculpture and collage, between politics and abstraction) is because Hadley and Maxwell spent hours or days or months pushing them back and forth between each other. And the reason why that balance works and never falls over to one side or the other is that they always push their work back and forth until the only way out for it is right in the middle.

Queen Victoria's Public Secret: Chapter 7, Part 5

25.07.14
2 min
Post

Golden Jubilee:  22 June 1887, at Windsor Castle Part V  

We stopped in the middle, from a place with a view on nothing and reduced to nothing else, and a little girl gave me a beautiful bouquet, on the ribbons of which were embroidered: “God bless our Queen, not Queen alone, of course alone, always alone, but Mother, Queen and Friend”.  An agonizing sound why would I? Squeeze force it out of her a wretching sound. The children sang God Save the Queen somewhat out of tune, and then we drove on to Paddington station. I ache for your indifference. Like time’s face wears, you could indifferent me like that. The train stopped at Slough, and we got out there. A philosopher waits there eternally. Different ladies and gentlemen were presented and bouquets were given, all reeking of boredom and intelligence. Then drove off with an escort to Windsor. All along the road there were decorations and crowds of people. My reflection warps on internal glass, I meltface and have no idea. Your indifference is my significance. Before coming to Eton, there was a beautiful triumphal arch, made to look exactly like part of the old College, and boys dressed like old Templars stood on the top of it, playing a regular fanfare. The whole effect was beautiful, lit up by the sun of a bright summer’s evening, and a 24 hour cycle of theatre lit by grace and black water. The town was one mass of flags and decorations and robotics. We went under the Castle walls up the hill, slowly, amidst great cheering, and stopped at the bottom of Castle Hill, where there was a stand crowded with people and every window and balcony were full of people, Chinese lanterns and preparations for illuminations making a very pretty effect. Pretty sticky pretty shut-up now pretty not listening. Those of the family who had not come with me were in the front row of the stand.

Queen Victoria's Public Secret: Chapter 7, Part 4

18.07.14
2 min
Post

Golden Jubilee:  22 June 1887, at Windsor Castle Part IV

What surface can I gather on from the inside? (This word does this it gathers me from the inside out and presses back it makes me I) make me. MyLife is now the object of philosophy, when once it was I am. Rested on the sofa for some time, and took a cup of tea before leaving Buckingham Palace at half-past five. Bertie and Alex could not leave London on account of looking after the guests. Had an escort and an Indian escort. Had others. Had a life, had me. Enormous and enthusiastic crowds on Constitution Hill and in Hyde Park. Set up expectations so it’s all about you (this too, you bet I think that). We drove right on to the grass in the middle of the park, where 30,000 poor children with their schoolmasters and mistresses were assembled. Tents had been pitched for them to dine in, and all sorts of amusements had been provided for them. Each received an earthenware pot with my portrait on it. My face is liquid and it spreads, they suck it up and spit it out, and this does that (so this again). This comes from here and presses back, a ceramic slip that gathers on the surface from inside, from obverse a bruised sheet. I am blotted from underneath and we seep.

Queen Victoria's Public Secret: Chapter 6, Part 3

09.06.14
2 min
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Golden Jubilee: 21 June 1887, at Buckingham Palace
Part III

Ekstasis: at the door of Westminster Abbey, a hole in my wall, you cause me to stand. I was received by the clergy, with the Archbishop of Canterbury and Dean at their head, their swollen capitation, in the copes of rich velvet and gold, which had been worn at the Coronation. My bloated pronoun leaks privately. The crowds from the Palace gates up to the Abbey were enormous, and there was such an extraordinary outburst of enthusiasm as I had hardly ever seen in London before; all the people seemed to be in such good humour. (She aches internally clawing for not enough): scanning a set of words for who’s inflected conditional; scanning pics for a future past infidelity like whose? The old Chelsea Pensioners were in a stand near the Arch (of my aching back). The decorations along Piccadilly were quite beautiful, and there were most touching inscriptions (in lower case). Seats and platforms were arranged up to the tops of the houses, the scaffolding of face and threshold, and such waving of hands, those who could not find a face, a wild groping. I offer mine, sore and picked on, apparently open. Many schools out, and many well-known faces were seen and unheard, notorious.

Victoria's Public Secret: Chapter 1.2, Part 10

19.05.14
3 min
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Coronation: Thursday, 28 June 1838, finale Part X

After dinner, before we sat down, we undid our slipper, we lit fires in outlying neighbourhoods, we lit the flood lights on the lawn, we spoke of the numbers of Peers at the Coronation, which Lord Melbourne said was unprecedented. I observed that there were very few Viscounts; he said “there are very few Viscounts”; that they were an odd sort of title, and not really English; that they came from Vice-Comités; that Dukes and Barons were the only real English titles; that Marquises were likewise not English; and that they made people Marquises when they did not wish to make them Dukes. The titles excited my appetite, I asked him to repeat them on my tongue – Viscounts: my tongue on your labia minora; Duke: my tongue at the entrance of your cunt; Baron: my tongue sweeping the head of your cock; Marquise: my tongue circling your ear. I then sat on the sofa for a little while, my hands beneath an elaborate bouquet of crinolines, fingers like spiders pulling at my little black hairs. Mamma remained to see the Illuminations, but only came later, as she lives a delayed fantasy. I envy her patience. I said to Lord Melbourne when I first sat down I felt a little tired on my feet, and I teetered my slipper thus (impatiently). I spoke of the weight of the robes etc., and he turned round to me and said “the weight of the civic architecture is your bondage, and Queeniepoo you wear it regally, as in, with model indifference.” He said so kindly, “And you did it beautifully, – every part of it, with so much taste; it’s a thing that you can’t give a person advice upon; it must be left to a person.” To hear this from this kind impartial friend, gave me great and real pleasure – my fingers squirmed between the lips of my regal and indifferent cunt, but I bore no smile for the Lord. Instead I spoke of my intending to go to bed; he said, “You may depend upon it, you are more tired than you think you are.” I said I had slept badly the night before; I dreamed he lay dead beside Mamma, sunlight pouring in through the condominium window upon their blue faces, cigarettes in their eye sockets, his cock a mucus-sheathed weathervane I had to suck dry in order to live another day (according to the burglar who had murdered them, who was my father), and I wore sunglasses so as to appear as though I took pleasure in the deed. He said that was my mind, and that nothing kept people more awake than any consciousness of a great event going to take place and being agitated by impending celebration. Stayed in the drawing-room till 20 minutes past 11, but remained till 12 o’clock on Mamma’s balcony looking at the fireworks in Green Park, which were quite beautiful.  I thought about smoking 18 cigarettes, one for each of my long years. I thought in time each pull and each exhale, treasuring each billow of smoke in my lungs, and the sensation of each cloud caressing my throat as I exhaled. I wanted every drag to last another lifetime, to achieve 18 coronations in one night. I thought in time of you.

Victoria's Public Secret: Chapter 1.2, Part 1

23.04.14
1 min
Post

Coronation: Thursday, 28 June 1838 Part I

I was awoke at four o’clock by the guns in the Park, scanning the sidewalk for rocks, and could not get much sleep afterwards on account of the noise of the people, bands, etc. Got up at 7 feeling strong and well; the Park presented a curious spectacle; crowds of people up to Constitution Hill, soldiers, bands, etc. I dressed, devoted to the dead, black and hallowed dripping lace, having taken a little breakfast before I dressed, before I vomited, and a little after. Gingerale. Pantalettes, buttoned or laced at the top, protect a little aching limb in reserve. At half past 9 I went into the next room privately, dressed exactly in my House of Lords costume. Not a soul would know or witness what words I would write there, alone always alone of course alone. At 10 I got into the State Coach with the Duchess of Sutherland and Lord Albemarle, and we began our Progress. #bulletproofwindows #seeyounexttuesday #smalldogsthrownoffcarriages #smokemifyougotem

Queen Victoria's Public Secret: Chapter 7, Part 5

25.07.14
2 min

Queen Victoria's Public Secret: Chapter 7, Part 4

18.07.14
2 min

Queen Victoria's Public Secret: Chapter 6, Part 3

09.06.14
2 min

Victoria's Public Secret: Chapter 1.2, Part 10

19.05.14
3 min

Victoria's Public Secret: Chapter 1.2, Part 1

23.04.14
1 min