2022, the year my thrill-seeking appetite settled on something anchored in stillness and silence: mountains. Since moving to Georgia in January I’ve hung my heart on a frequent bolthole deep in the Caucasus mountains, an hour from the Russian border, where I repair to read, write, imagine, dream, heal, get lost and found.
I received a small grant in the summer in support of recording a new album, and much of the lyrical and musical composition of this record took place in a state of silent hypnagogia after trekking through the Khevsureti wilderness until my marrow coarsed with pagan electronics and my bones sang bel canto Bardo dreams for Jesse and Patrick; the silver-blue-eyed assurances of Hachiko’s slender maw on my lap, and shepherds’ jeepside tales of their monstrous sheepdogs tearing up three wolves in one lunge to shield the flock; the 200-year-old city of the dead at the Chechen border where the afflicted went to die away from their loved ones; the young goat cut on a sacred day and served with home-brewed beer as thick as diesel; demon-smote tricolore lakes; mountain-loopy hallucinations of bears cast in the nooks of cloud shadows; lightning storms across eternally-receding trompe l’oeil in blue and black; hiking boots choked on alpine marsh; those yellow flowers pricking the 16mm gauze of twilight vision. Khevsureti mon amour. To Gigi, and Beqa, and Oliver, and Kostya and Dinah, to Shota, Marina, Giorgi and Berdia - this album is for you. To Carolynne, Maj, Tobias, James and James, Ellie, my mother and father, Blue and Wolfie: thank you. To my Tbilisi miscreants: thank you.
I also traveled the breadth of Turkey via train this autumn, hacking space-time into easily surmountable chunks with each protracted leg as the trickster-desert hypnotized and time zones melted away in the sun; the email from Tarkovsky’s son during my relic-hunting birthday jaunt across Italy (I’ve nearly collaged an entire saint from scraps mentally looted - Hail Saint Golem); hiking to the Salo villa in 8am Bologna mist having woken up in Pasolini’s childhood bedroom; Olafur Eliason in Florence, and the San Miniato truffle festival; the Argento retrospective in truly witchy Turin: cinema is my religion and mountains are my rosary.
To have broken a poisonous codependency with my ailing birth country and sense my cellular self becoming re-cultured and vicariously patriotic of my adopted new land; being grateful for the cab driver’s excessively scented Prius as I smuggled a pig’s head back to my fridge from the bazaar to star as every oligarch in a delirious film shoot under the bridge; I did twelve strong, diverse shows this year and wrote twenty songs and blogged a bunch of non-fiction; released a film score; had an essay published on Coil: nearly finished a screenplay and have six horror short stories outlined on which to superglue some rancid flesh as we move into 2023.
Blood is not an argument and laughter does not have an accent. Power to those that have gone up and over. Fuck Putin. Fuck empire. Molotovs into flowers. Line the Tories up against a wall. Kindness is sexy. Silence is intoxicating. Look after yourselves and each other. Love. Love. Love xoo