The Story of Water

A performance after Godard, where “straying is the subject”.

 

Performance for two dancers according to a sound score with spoken word.

 

Words:  (from Lady Sings the Blues an autobiography by Billy Holiday and William Duffy)

 

I read -  from 15 seconds into the soundtrack -

1.  Without me thinking anything about it, he took me by the hand and I went along.  When we got to the house, a woman let us in.  I asked for my mother and they said she would be along soon.  I think they told me she had called them on the telephone and said she would be late.  It got later and later and I began to get sleepy.  Mr. Dick saw me dozing and took me into a back bedroom to lie down.  I was almost asleep when Mr. Dick crawled up on me and started trying to do what my cousin Henry used to try.  I started to kick and scream like crazy.  When I did, the woman of the house came in and tried to hold my head and arms down on the bed so he could get at me.  I gave both of them a hard time, kicking and scratching and screaming.  Suddenly, when I was catching my breath, I heard some more hollering and shouting.  The next thing I knew, my mother and a policeman broke the door down.  I’ll never forget that night.  Even if you’re a whore, you don’t want to be raped.  A bitch can turn twenty-five hundred tricks a day and she still don’t want nobody to rape her.  It’s the worst thing that can happen to a woman.  And here it was happening to me when I was ten.

 

You read –  from 7:50 seconds into the soundtrack -

2.  During my years at Café Society I got taken up by some of the people the joint was named after.  They tried, anyway.  I met a lot of nice people.  But I met a lot of drags too.  I became a celebrity, and when that happens, watch out.

 

I found out the main difference between uptown [Harlem] and downtown [57th Street] was people are more for real up there.  They got to be, I guess.  Uptown a whore was a whore; a pimp was a pimp; a thief was a thief; a faggot was a faggot; a dike was a dike; a mother-hugger was a mother-hugger.  

 

Downtown it was different­–more complicated.  A whore was sometimes a socialite; a pimp could be a man about town; a thief could be an executive; a faggot could be a play-boy; a dike might be called a deb; a mother-hugger was somebody who wasn’t adjusted and had problems.

 

I always had trouble keeping this double talk straight.  And sometimes when I messed up, the fur and feathers would fly so you’d think nobody around there ever called a spade a spade before.

Edy Ferguson for The House of St. Barnabas London - June 18, 2016

Score 
00:00 / 16:40

Sound collage sources:  BBC, soundtrack from Godard's film Weekend, soundtrack from Fassbinders' film Maria Braun, John Lennon, Sky and Sand by Paul and Fritz Kalkbrenner, Russel Brand and Amy Winehouse, I'm no Good by Amy Winehouse, Back in Black by AC/DC, Sweet Emotion by Aerosmith, Kiss with a Fist by Florence and the Machine, Sensimilla by Seeed featuring Denyo, and Stormy Weather by Billy Holiday.

All images and video © Edy Ferguson 2020