Tammy’s Art and Beauty Salon

(There was once a place that used to be a spellbound crystal dream. Where civilization was now coming to an end. In houses made with paper words lived the last of the settlers for whom the only light left in the world was the glow of a projector.)

“I go on stage and say I don’t want to be here. So a friend is going to do it. I’m not a performer – I’m a writer. I count on other people to bring my words to life – with their own memory of beauty and their own imagination. So because I don’t want to be here, I think that you all shouldn’t be here either. So we’re going to go through the looking glass – all the way to Neverland. You know how to get there right? You don’t, okay all we need is some fairy dust and a little bit of happiness. So let’s say the window to Neverland is over there – the view is of ooh I dunno the beach. And over here – is The Shire. Oh and just in case you didn’t know we are in Far Far Away land. I need a few things – luckily I was born with two of them – and I have WH Smith to thank for the other things. My imagination, words and a piece of paper and a pen. I even brought a long a clapperboard – how cool is that huh? A real LIVE ART movie! Have you ever tried to drown in a film? Completely absorb the film until you can’t tell the difference between what you are thinking and what the film thinks or where you stop and the film starts and when the film ends you begin?”

I don’t know why but I’m thinking of you, I do this often and every now and again. I do know why, it’s autumn and it’s October and all the leaves are brown so I’m thinking of those days, those gloriously long days in capsules of live art. I remember it with more clarity than ever sometimes, I think because I’m rehashing it all, trying to get my movie to play, looking at those black and white photographs I took, trying to find the Prince song I so clearly hear your feet tapping to. I can still hear your words as you stripped yourself, bra after bra and the others too. The faint memory is like Soviet montage – of lizards, walls breaking down, tears in yolks, the air being sucked for toffs, smeared lipstick, us singing Oasis, peeling onions, fearing knives on our skin, sugared plums and all of us drowning in ourselves, me in film, me in you and you in me. All of us drowning and coming together and floating.

I’m wondering why I am thinking about you, I found some of those words I said under Mile End Bridge. It isn’t much now, shot lists, brief notes and a tranquil memory. Maybe because the US elections are upon us and I was suddenly reminded of how we cried out when Bush was selected for a second term, that day mingled with the smell of popcorn runs and Eminem ranting alongside Tammy or was she Lois then? I forget. That is what’s worrying me; I’m starting to forget things. Things I thought I would always remember – that I did actually sing the word cunt, eventually.

Where are you now? I mean that you, the you that made art with me, the me that made art with you. More than we needed each other we wanted each other, we wanted to know that art inside out and let it leave beautiful marks all over our minds, bodies and spirits. Muses. That’s what it was. We were muses, catalysts and vessels for sharing secrets, expelling heart break, accepting vulnerability and soul searching. We were exemplary in our self-indulgence and decadence, but it went deeper than a shallow swim, we dived into the deep end and were able to breathe, we gave air to each other. Calling our eyes upon that stage a metaphor feels so cheap, trying to describe that feeling seems fruitless, it is something we all know and feel and I don’t need to explain it to you. You get it, just like you got it then, we all got it and we’re all still in love with each other because of it.

Even I’ve moved on, but Tammy’s Art and Beauty Salon moves with me. It’s not Hamlet’s ghost, or the messenger Hermes, it’s just a part of me. Like your words and your beauty, feeding me, staying with me, reminding me to keep it real. I’ve tried to replicate that feeling, find it in the here and now, I can’t find you here, not where I am right now. I go back to it, that little book, you all wrote in it to me, telling me to make a movie, to do it, really do it and you believed I would so hard. In some ways it feels like I’ve betrayed you all, I’ve betrayed the goodbye kiss, the one on the corner of Soho, where you told me to be a director, to be a great director and believed I would be. Even the hot dog vendor shut-up and let us have our moment. My white dress and Malibu tan in a bottle. It’s why you left me and why I left you, because I had to do go and do that. Remember what I told you? Tammy’s Art and Beauty Salon was kind of like the Beach off the beaten track, so we re-wrote Danny Boyle’s opening to that film.

“You hit London, there’s really only one place to go. The courtyard is full of rude boys and students. Mild End road holds the east and west of Queen Mary. It’s where you learn to breathe car fumes and attempt to breath fresh air at the same time, or else you carefully rearrange your memories as you try and remember last night. Yeah it’s all here, you can phone home for money, have one night stands with strangers, watch movies, sip Red Beer, eat fried chicken, get your hair cut and drink tea. You could be anywhere in the world and you could only find it here. And what do they want? What are all these people looking for? Blue moon reflections? Secret island getaway? Venetian surprise? Midnight carnival? But for me it’s all about finding out something about a place, and something about yourself. And when you get off the beaten track, that’s where you find out what there is to find out.”

Remember what I asked of you?

Dare to be ambitious? In the chocolate factory – snort some charlie.

Dare to dream? Dip into your head – go to the beach.

Dare to be remarkable? Find your destiny and walk the green mile.

Remember what I told you about me? The elaborate alter ego I span out of my imagination?

“You know I’m a gangster right. Yeah I live life like a G. Got a code name. The name’s Retriever, Golden Retriever. Dejavu. Sorry. That shouldn’t have happened, must be a glitch in the programme. The ARCHITECT with have to sort it out, before ze germans get here. I am Jack’s favourite colour pink. I know what I came back from all my cocaine trafficking to do – sometimes I make soap and then I sell it. But that’s not today. You wake up in Ronaldsway. You wake up in a City. You wake up in some body else’s bed. There’s this guy I really like – he doesn’t know that I’m Gangsta, he thinks that I work for some guy called Charlie, as one third of an elite female dream team. Bless. Anyway, I have to write his name on all my underwear! But you can stay for this – no er – gangster business going down. Want to hear the ultimate truth?  Apparent motion, like critical flicker fusion, is a quirk within our visual system. To take advantage of these quirks and create the illusion of movement, inventors had to devise certain machines. Some of these go back before the invention of film. Film as we know it began when the images were imprinted on a strip of flexible celluloid. I didn’t always want to be a gangster. From as far back as I can remember, I wanted to be a film-maker. To me, working in films was better than being Barbie. Here’s looking at you kid…”

Then I sat down and started to write names on knickers. But it was this; that moved me the most.

“Once upon a time in Mexico, America, anywhere on middle earth. The good, the bad and the ugly had a fist full of dollars. 28 days later, two brothers were welcomed to infinity and beyond. I spy with my little eye, the birth of a nation, utopian sensibility inspired by a Dr. of Expression and Tim Burton. A matrix of thoughts. The French learned a new wave, the Italian their own brand of realism and then Colours had sex, reality went on holiday and orange alarm clocks died; all this splendour inside a palace of lights on a Roman Holiday like no other. Liberated by battleship Potempkin, look for a streetcar named desire and take it down the yellow brick road. The ride will leave you breathless. Step in to the looking glass through an aquarium between a knight and an angel. Discover the chocolate factory of your wildest dreams. Amusements include trainspotting, finding Nemo and seeing Gus Van Sant’s elephant. Or take up a new sport, bobsled with the Jamaican bobsled team, fall in love at Wimbledon and ride the biggest wave ever at Point Break. Live in Pleasantsville, our local newspaper, Pulp Fiction recently reported the Titanic hasn’t sunk, the bicycle thieves were not guilty, Rhett Butler went back to Scarlet, E.T found his home and Satine’s still doing the Moulin Rouge. There are no cruel intentions or sliding doors. You don’t need to worry, Bill is already dead. You could meet a little mermaid, the pirates of the Caribbean, a fairy or take a magic carpet ride to Neverland. Make peace with the apes. Have great expectations. Go around the world in eighty days, be the lord of the rings or an American beauty and dance with wolves. Go to sleep, be a good fella, meet Joe Black and gossip. It’s practical magic. It’s chocolat. Learn the rules of attraction. Nothing is irreversible. There are no virgin suicides. These are all secrets so don’t say a word. A city of angels with vanilla skies. The city of God.”

Remember the last words I held up on pieces of paper?

The sequel ‘The Killing Of Bill:Again’ went straight to video, Tarantino was ruined.

Our protagonist gave up the life of a gangster and immigrated to Australia.

She did all the things she wanted to do, became a deep sea diver, bought a vintage Lambretta vespa, made more than just one film, adopted a little girl and set up her own charity for children with the money she made.

She now lives with her daughter; their house is called ‘Camelot’ in Hawaii, between the sea and the jungle, is a hula dancer and still writes.

And has yet to fall in love…

And still wishes her dreams would look like a Terrence Malick movie.

And when the credits finally roll…


(in order of appearance)

‘The Girl With No Name’

directed by me

produced and written by me

cinematography by me

editing by fate

sound by real life

lighting by the sun, moon and stars

inspiration? the world

a good man once said ‘you are a star, don’t even go to dump your garbage across the alley unless you are dressed to you teeth.’

a neurotic girl once said ‘pies are evil’ (but they are)


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