I’ve been following Roman’s exceptionally inventive and intelligent illustration work for a few years, so I’m delighted to have had the opportunity to collaborate with him on this series of digital ‘postcards’ for Catapult magazine.
I drank one for the first time this summer. It was an uplifting experience. It’s a difficult drink to track down: a kind of Martini made with Maraschino and violette liqueur. Clear and oily as airplane fuel with a pale tinge of violet sky, it’s the colour of the future seen from 1920. I could get hold of the ingredients, perhaps, but I’m afraid a home-made replica would disappoint. When I finished the first one, I went right on and had another. Sadly those are the only two I have ever drunk.
I was in Mexico in September with the British Council, as part of their UKMX 2015 lit exchange. Walking through the centre of Mexico City, I came across the 4th Street protest I’d seen that morning: about fifty men gathered by the crossing of a multi-lane city-centre road began to strip off. They started to dance, wearing nothing but fake designer underpants stuck with photographs, to music coming from five-foot speakers parked on the central reservation. Then I noticed the women dancing next to the speakers, wearing only jeans and sombreros. The traffic stopped, cars hooted. The police began to arrive in ones and twos . . . In a country where the body on the street is policed – and self-policed – for religious as well as political reasons, and where there is much to protest sadly and seriously, it was an extraordinarily joyful action, utterly unlike anything I’ve seen in Europe.
Eley Williams’s first collection of stories is out with Influx Press next year. I’ve published her work twice at 3:AM magazine. It’s exciting to come across a writer playing with language so experimentally. There’s no one working in the UK quite like her.
I started listening to them again after I heard of the sad early death of Carey Lander from osteosarcoma. They play the sweetest tragi-disco, and they made the break-up album that answers all the questions.
Photograph © Omar Landeros, 400 Pueblos, 2007