Microsoft Word – TRANSCRIPT Jan 2020.docx
Owed to Mundana – [Tran]script
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[00:00:00] Dave - Black - Psychodrama - London – 2019
David Orobosa Omoregie: Look, black is beautiful, black is
Black is pain, black is joy, black is evident,
It’s workin’ twice as hard as the people you know you’re better than,
'Cause you need to do double what they do so you can level them. Black is so much deeper than just African-American, Our heritage been severed, you never got to experiment, With family trees, 'cause they teach you 'bout famine and greed,
And show you pictures of our fam on their knees, Tell us we used to be barbaric, we had actual queens. Black is watchin’ child soldiers gettin’ killed by other children, Feelin’ sick, like, “Oh shit, this could have happened to me”, Your mummy watchin’ tellin’ stories ’bout your dad and your niece,
The blacker the berry the sweeter the juice, A kid dies, the blacker the killer, the sweeter the news, And if he's white you give him a chance, he's ill and confused, If he's black he's probably armed, you see him and shoot.
Look, black is growin' up around the barbershop, Mummy sayin', "Stay away from trouble, you're in yard a lot", Studying for ages, appreciatin' the chance you got, 'Cause black is in your blood, and you ain't even got the heart to stop, Black is steppin' in for your mother because your father's gone, And standin' by your children when you haven't proven karma wrong. Black is doin' all of the above then goin' corner shoppin', Tryna help a lady cross the road to have her walkin' off, Black is growin' up around your family and makin' it, Then being forced to leave the place you love because there's hate in it, People say you fake the shit, never stayed to change the shit, But black is bein' jealous, you'd be dead if you had stayed in it. Black is strugglin' to find your history or trace the shit, You don't know the truth about your race 'cause they erasin' it, Black has got a sour fuckin' flavour, here's a taste of it,
But black is all I know, there ain’t a thing that I would change in it.”1
Edward Elgar – Nimrod – Enigma Variations – London – 18992 Gail Lewis – ICA – London – June 2018
Gail Lewis: And it seems to me as well that we’re in a particular moment what I might call the l kind of three Britains that we occupy right now – there’s Brexit Britain and the fascists mobilise and every…and the appeal to white racism that Brexit Britain announces as both as a kind of social and cultural formation but also as a psychic formation. You know, this is a call to…or an attempt to…Brexit Britain kind of speaks to the need on the part of some, we’re told, some who want to want to occupy the space of whiteness to redeem themselves through a fantasy of wholeness and a fantasy to reclaim the wholeness that none of us can have – alienated subjectivity – but nevertheless there is a fantasy of that. And we know that that’s a fantasy located in a register of nostalgia for an imperial Britain.
1 Dave – Black, , Santan Dave, YouTube, 21st February 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDUPSNdmFew, accessed March 6th 2019.
2 Elgar – Nimrod (from “Enigma Variations”) medpiano, YouTube, 1st July 2007, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUgoBb8m1eE – accessed 28th September 2018.
We’re also, I think there’s another Britain, in some senses which generates Brexit Britain and that’s kind of global Britain the Britain that’s organised through the... particularly through finance capital and its mobilisations, its locations, the way in which finance capital creates the borders of the nation and also, that that is out with those borders while it goes around the world doing what it wants to, including, unfortunately, led by, premiere league football. It’s true – there’s a fantastic article in the Financial Times from a few weeks ago Liliana, you may remember when it was but - that really charts the way in which finance capital is using soccer to kind of...further cement its place. And that kind of global Britain is in some senses the very Britain that that those who’ve, some of those who voted Brexit were voting against. But there are alongside that and that’s perhaps the spaces that we inhabit much more, the multiple diasporic Britains – the Britains of the undercommons the Britains where we say maybe we can be something else certainly we’re going to live our lives in an ordinary way making claims to - perhaps not the state – when I worked in social policy I used to that often we were making claims to the state for a kind of citizenship and now I know- don’t know...I no longer know that that’s right or indeed is what we should do, but perhaps we can get into a conversation more about that...
But certainly, those diasporic Britains are the places through which we locate and navigate a kind of fugitivity. A fugitivity that sits in terms of saying: we will be this, we will do this, this is our lives and it is neither straightforward resistance but what it is certainly is a kind of refusal against the terms of normativity that you would inscribe our black and people of colour bodies through.
So, if I, and in some senses, I think this notion of Windrush generation is indeed certain people, is indeed a generation, but the notion of Windrush generation acts as the place holder for that struggle between these different capacities to be, and claims to.”3
Lord Kitchener - London is the Place for Me - London – 1951
Aldwyn Roberts: London is the place for me,
London this lovely city,
You can go to France or America,
India, Asia or Australia,
But you must come back to London city!
Well believe me I am speaking broadmindedly, I am glad to know my Mother Country,
3 Hortence Spillers and Gail Lewis at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, , ICA, YouTube, 25th June 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQ0ORQqSaWU&t=1835s, accessed 31st July 2018.
I have been travelling to countries years ago, But this is the place I wanted to know, London that is the place for me!4
[00:06:27] Hannah C. Jones - Owed to Diaspora(s) - London - 2019 David Lammy - House of Commons - Westminster - London - 2018
David Lammy: Can I say to the home secretary that the relationship between this country and the West Indies and Caribbean is inextricable. The first British ships arrived in the Caribbean in 1623 and despite slavery, despite colonisation 25,000 Caribbeans served in the first world war and second world war alongside British troops.
When my parents and their generation arrived in this country under the nationality act of 1948, they arrived here as British citizens. It is inhumane and cruel for so many of that Windrush generation to have suffered so long in this condition and for the secretary of state only to have made a statement today on this issue.
Can she explain how many have been deported? She suggested earlier that she would ask the high commissioners -it is her department that has deported them – she should know the number. Can she tell the house how many have been detained as
4 LORD KITCHENER – London Is the Place for Me, , bashwar22, YouTube, 16th September 2009, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGt21q1AjuI, accessed 25th June 2019.
prisoners in their own country? Can she tell the house how many have been denied health under the National Health Service how many have denied pensions; how many have lost their jobs? This is a day of national shame and it has come about because of a hostile environment policy that was begun under her prime minister – let us call it what it is! If you lay down with dogs you get fleas, and that is what has happened with this far-right rhetoric in this country. Can she apologise properly? Can she explain how quickly this team will act to ensure that the thousands of British men and women denied their rights in this country under her watch in the home office are satisfied?5
[00:08:24] Klein & Moor Mother - Barbican - London - 2019 Jacob V. Joyce & Hannah C. Jones - London 2019
Jacob V Joyce: I dunno, it feels like the kind of problems you’ve mentioned like you know children being put into concentration camps and, erm… y’know, and erm…y’know, all the detention centres that we have here and erm… … the continual exploitation of like…the global south…
5 Windrush generation being subjected to ‘cruel and inhumane treatment by UK government’, , ITV NEWS, YouTube, 18th April 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2q2dQlsywY, accessed 24th June 2019.
JVJ: …for our whims and fancies, like… I don’t really feel
like any of us are actually invested in changing those things
and then, it’s not like because we’re bad people, I think
we’re invested in changing these things in the sense that we’d
like to change them, but I don’t feel that any of us feel like
its within our capabilities of doing that…
JVJ:…and I think that we live in a world where it doesn’t matter how many like, erm…like, black kids, are like… feel able to do all the things that white kids are able to do, because white kids feel that, all the, what white kids generally feel that they’re able to do, is like, make themselves have a good life….
JVJ: Like, it’s not…we live in a society that’s not really very…empathetic…erm…towards erm…it’s weird, we’re not very empathetic towards problems that we don’t see as like, being directly connected to us and the problems that are directly connected to us are framed in such a way that they also seem like they don’t really, they’re not, they’re not really…
HCJ: Almost like it’s abstract…
JVJ: Yeah. Like, erm…Because it is abstract. because it’s like….it’s y’know, it’s very…I don’t know what the word is, but it feels like it’s, y’know like for example if you take something like a homeless person asking for money, it’s like yeah you can give that homeless person some money, but then,
there’s gonna be loads more homeless people and it’s like,
it’s not necessarily that…the problem doesn’t really seem like
that that homeless person doesn’t have money, it’s, it’s that
we live in a society that doesn’t have things systems set in
place to help people when they’re becoming at risk of losing
their home or when they’ve got mental health problems or
y’know we don’t live in a society that makes homes affordable
or like we don’t have like y’know there’s loads of things
around that you as an individual don’t really feel capable of
…so it just starts to feel a bit pointless…
JVJ: …y’know it feels a bit like putting a plaster on…
HCJ: On a gangrenous leg.
JVJ: Yeah, it’s like, well… and I feel like that is an attitude that is just applicable to like loads lots of other things, it’s like, well what can I do? I can’t really do anything. And the other thing is that government sets itself up in a way…so that people… it almost wants you to rail against the system just in a very like, like limp kinda…it wants you to go and stand in parliament square with a megaphone for an hour and scream some shit and then go home… it’s prepared for that and it doesn’t care, it’s like that’s what you should do…
Camae Ayawa (Moor Mother): God…
JVJ: …and the fact that when the Brixton riots happened, the London riots happened…
HCJ: Do you mean 2011 or the 80s? Or both?
JVJ: In 2011 – the fact that people got like 5 years in prison for stealing a bag of rice, that shows you like how terrified the system actually is of like real action…
JVJ: …like real kind of like…cos real action is messy and there will be causalities on both sides and erm that’s why they, I’m sure that’s why they lied about the fucking, the fuckin death toll at Grenfell.
JVJ: 77 people? I’m sorry, how is that possible in… an estate of that size? Erm…
CA: Praise her victorious plantations, oh god, oh god…
JVJ: Yeah, I’m sure they…they didn’t release the numbers because they knew there would be a riot.
JVJ: And they thought well…so I don’t know I feel like the system wants …it it’s just…
CA: Let her word, let her words…
JVJ: …it’s just like playing a game of chess and each person is like a child and the government is like a grand… a fucking compendium of grandads who’ve been playing this game of chess for like…I don’t…I mean literally like, what are we… unless…it’s not even necessarily about…
CA: Let freedom reign…
JVJ: …how much education you have or which school you went to it’s also about who your parents are friends with and like who you’re…like fucking David Cameron, Boris Johnson, all that lot, like, I’m sure their family ties go back quite far…
JVJ: …and Jeremy Corbyn is qualified to be the opposition, but he didn’t go to Eton.
JVJ: I mean…what I mean is that… it feels like, it doesn’t matter who you are…
CA: Savages, savages, savages…
JVJ: …it doesn’t really matter what your qualifications are or how well a strategy even you have to play the game of like, changing, changing things on a kind of policy level, and changing the country, erm, you… You are an individual and…and this system…. it’s a really old system… Their ancestors are with them –y’know?
JVJ: They’ve actually got their ancestral powers on lock because things like the royal family is a really good example of like, white ancestral reverence…
JVJ: D’ya know what I mean, cos like…it’s not necessarily like…
CA: Oh god, has the queen been saved?
JVJ: I dunno…. they’re on it too, they know all about it, but
they would just call it
CA: Oh god, have her plantations been saved?
JVJ: Well they wouldn’t call it nepotism, they would call it
helping out your kids, and
everybody does it to an extent, but…
CA: What say of Barbados or Jamaica?
JVJ: I dunno, it’s awful, just fucking, just catapult all
humans into the sun, that is the only way”
HCJ: Innit. 6
CA: If Europe is god, then everything else is the devil, the devil, the devil…”7
Tchenhoukoumen – Senegalese Percussion – Voyager Golden Record – 19778
Andrea Onkphra & Hannah C. Jones – UWI – Barbados – 2017
Andrea Onkphra: It is believed that the symbolism is hidden in our folklore because the stories could not be told or expressed or the philosophies could not be expressed freely,
6 Jacob V. Joyce & Hannah C. Jones in conversation, private residence, Peckham, London, 13th
7 Moor Mother & London Contemporary Orchestra, live performance, Barbican, London, 23rd October 2019.
8 Voyager’s Golden Record – Tchenhoukoumen, percussion Senegal, , Giuliano Bevisangue, YouTube, 13th December 2008,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FmUAk0hTaI, accessed 27th July 2018.
not within a society that was a slave society and anything that was seen as African was seen as bad, evil, dangerous…right, so I do believe, yes, these things were hidden, whether in the stories, whether in the may pole patterns, whether in the kite patterns and it’s kind of hard… HCJ: So, they had to, kind of, assume other forms in order to survive…?
HCJ: To kind of, supress their African-ness…
AO: Yes, and so… I suspect that, but you know, it’s kind of hard…
HCJ: Well cos…
AO: How do you excavate the imagine and the secrets of generations, y’know?
Angel Bat Dawid - What Shall I Tell My Children Who Are Black? (Dr Margaret Burroughs) - The Oracle - 2019
Angel Bat Dawid: What shall I tell my children who are black, of what it means to be captive in this dark skin?10
9 Andrea Onkphra & Hannah C. Jones in conversation, University of West Indies, Barbados, 23rd
10 What Shall I tell My children who are Black? (Dr. Margaret Burroughs), , Angel Bat Dawit – Topic, YouTube, 18th April 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhvAD8TFrIM,
accessed 24th June 2019.
Hannah C. Jones - Owed to Diaspora(s) - London - 2019
Dr William ‘Lez’ Henry - Goldsmiths - London - 2019
Dr William ‘Lez’ Henry: OK so, there’s something called the McCarran-Walter Act
- you should look it up - 1948, Senator McCarren, and basically what it was, was in America, they put it in to stop so-called aliens like...y’know what Trump is trying to do with the Mexicans...blah blah blah...
But what they did was they legislated against the people from the Caribbean because Britain needed people to come and rebuild after the war, so what they did is they curtailed and reduced the amount of people who could go over to America under this the McCarran-Walter Act and it went from something like 96,000 Jamaicans to something ridiculous like 400, annually, cos remember I told you they would swallow migrants: they would go in for the summer, do their work and then they would leave. So, one of the things you need to put in that...you need to frame this thing in its proper perspective is look at the McCarran-Walter Act.
There’s a book called Rasta and Resistance by Horace Campbell which came out in, I think it was 1996. In that, he explains
what happened to a lot of the people in the country areas, like where my parents come from, Clarendon in Jamaica, and why they ended up here, because they would have gone to the states, which is what I said before but they ended up coming here. So, I’ve been factoring these kinds of things into my teaching for a long time. What is really good, if we can take good out of this situation, is that the younger generations now realise that what we were basically saying to them, y’know, you wanna conveniently call yourselves “black British”, you need to think carefully about what that is and what it means, because for me, I’m an African, I am Jamaican and I’m South London - I’m not black British, only politically. I certainly ain’t African British - I’m nothing to do with Britain. I am the flip side of that coin which is what Paul Gilroy talks about, Prof. Paul Gilroy, in Modernity and Double Consciousness where he looks at the Black Atlantic - we are the flipside of that story and if you want to place it in, in a context, for me, think about African chattel enslavement. We were the flipside of that coin. We were literally interchangeable with animals. We were sold with donkeys, horses, mules, molasses. We were swapped like you would swap a cat for a dog.
And the reason why I say that is because if we are really shocked at the treatment that people have received from
Windrush, then I think we’ve got some serious historical blinkers on, because our position in this place has not qualitatively changed. A report came out last week, apparently, there is a 3.2 billion deficit between, say myself, and a white academic, same position, OK, we’re both professors, but there’s a 3.2 billion deficit in the money that is being robbed from black people who are doing exactly the same jobs as white people. These things are not happenstance, these things are deliberate and if we really want to overstand what’s going on with this whole Windrush business, then we need to take off these blinkers and look at the system and see how the system has been set against us from day one, from before we came here as the so-called Windrush Generation.11
Ladysmith Black Mamboza – Homeless – South Africa – 198912 Mahmoud Mahdy & Hannah C. Jones – Criterion Café – Peckham – October 2019.
HCJ: Y’know like what you were saying earlier how about y know the diaspora’s not rooted?
Mahmoud Mahdy: Yeah.
11 Dr William ‘Lez’ Henry, public talk, Goldsmiths Library, London, 30th October 2019.
12 LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO – Homeless, , Cheikh Tidiane NDAO, YouTube, 15th January 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxdKYcpGpFo, accessed 18th September 2019.
HCJ: But then I was like, oh, logistically no, spiritually
MM: Yeah, yeah…
HCJ: But like, the way I felt when I went to Johannesburg was like, more home than anywhere I’ve felt in my entire life as just like a feeling y’know…?
MM: Yeah, like an instinct.
HCJ: Or even Peckham I mean, the more I’m…the longer I’m alive, the more I realise…
HCJ: …is that my feeling of home-ness is related to how many black people are around – that sounds really basic – it’s obviously much more than that but then I, I don’t know – being places where, you’re not…you don’t stand out…
MM: Yeah but, then…
HCJ: …where you can blend in…13
Arvo Pärt – Cantus in Memorium – Estonia – 197714
Prince (taxi driver) & Hannah C. Jones – Shoreditch-Peckham – 2019
13 Mahmoud Mahdy & Hannah C. Jones, in conversation, Criterion Café Peckham, London, 10th
14 Arvo Pärt, Cantus in memorium Benjamin Britten, , Thomas Turner, YouTube, 3rd January 2010, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sp2oxWdRMuk, accessed 26th November 2019.
HCJ: So, 19 years…but before you were here for 19 years,
where were you?
Prince: I was in Nigeria, I was born and raised in Nigeria. HCJ: OK nice, nice.
P: 19 years here – it’s a long time …
HCJ: Yeah. Are you based south?
P: Err, west I live near Heathrow airport.
HCJ: Ok, cool.
P: Before I was in south, but I moved when I started doing this job five years ago.,
P: Yeah, I used to live in…Thamesmead.
P: I know Friary Road…
HCJ: Yeah, yeah…
P: my friend used to live there, my friend used to live there for a bit…
HCJ: Ha, there’s a good fish and chip shop…
P: You’ve lived there a long time?
HCJ: I’ve been at Friary Road about a year and a half but I’ve been in Peckham for nearly 10 years …
HCJ: I used to live on Lyndhurst Grove…
P: Yeah, you’re a Peckham girl.
HCJ: Well, I’m from Yorkshire, slash Barbados…
P: Yeah, but now, 10 years is a long time…
HCJ: But yeah it is I guess so, I am, yeah…
P: People call me Londoner and I will answer, 19 years is… HCJ: 19 years is solid Londoner, that’s solid, you can’t argue with that. It feels more like home…
HCJ: …than anywhere else I’ve been…
Mahmoud Mahdy & Hannah C. Jones - Criterion Café – Peckham – October 2019
Mahmoud Mahdy: In Egypt or like in a country… specifically
North Africa, the way it would work is that, you have an issue
of being like. psychologically like, really distorted of how
you relate to yourself and how you relate to the land, y’know?
And then you’ve got this other issue of like, being dominated
by different ideologies y’know, and a lot of them are kind of
like, the failed ideologies – you never get the ones that
work, you always get class B shit, class C…
HCJ: The hand-me-downs.
MM: Yeah. And that’s why when you deal with things in that part of the world, you’re literally like, picking out, picking out layers and layers of shit, and as well, some of them don’t
15 Prince (taxi driver) & Hannah C. Jones, in conversation, Shoreditch-Peckham, London, 9th November 2019.
make any sense. Then after that you realise that objective reasoning is not a tool, there, to make anything work, even if you are for, you are for that – for understanding and logically understanding or even dialectically understanding, you still...it won’t help you in any way...
HCJ: So, then what do you do?
MM: We need to actually treat like, time, as a non-linear thing, because the more you live there, you realise that there’s no such thing as cause and effect. Society is forced to live in this linear way, when it actually physically and spiritually and, even economically, doesn’t work in that way. Like, no-one, none of the capitalists in Egypt can actually invest in a future, y’know what I mean, because no-one knows what the future’s gonna bring at such an unstable time. No-one can invest in tomorrow, even the ones that run the country…”16
Prince (taxi driver) & Hannah C. Jones - Shoreditch-Peckham - 2019
Prince: Politicians – look at Trump…
HCJ: It does feel like it’s going backwards…
P: Yes. In the States and Boris Johnson here, unbelievable. It is unbelievable…
16 Mahmoud Mahdy & Hannah C. Jones, in conversation, Criterion Café Peckham, London, 10th November 2019.
P: People don’t know what is going on so they’re keeping whatever they have…
HCJ: Yeah, yeah, stockpiling, we’ve been stockpiling a bit… P: Yeah.
HCJ: I can’t, I don’t even…I can’t talk about Brexit right now…
P: Yeah. People have not been investing for a long time now, for about 3 years, because of this thing.
HCJ: It’s so ridiculous…
P: Yeah, and the politicians, they don’t care about anything. People are not investing in this country anymore, because they’re scared.
P: They’re scared because nobody knows what’s happening, if you put money here and then something happens, you lose your money and…
HCJ: Yeah, it’s a bit…
P: And still, they don’t want to deal with it so people know what is happening then they can start investing in it again… HCJ: Mmm. I’m glad it’s been postponed though…
P: Yeah, don’t vote Conservative because they don’t care about me and you…
HCJ: Yeah, of course, I’ve been…
P: …they don’t care about me and you…
HCJ: …that’s another reason why I’m extra tired tonight cos I
was just chatting to a few people in this party…
P: …they don’t care, they don’t care…
HCJ: …and we were chatting about, kind of complaining about the world, like we are right now, and I was like, well obviously I’m voting Labour…
HCJ: …and then, like, the other two were like, well I’m not gonna bother voting, and I was like, what?! Do you understand, like, what you’re…it’s like…you’re putting…by not voting you are like, nailing the coffin of like, the people who are the most…you’ve got a political responsibility…
HCJ: …to use your…
P: I just think they should make it illegal not to vote…
HCJ: …and I can’t believe people that don’t, it drives…it’s just like, what?! Like why would you not want to have an input in your society…
HCJ: …in any way that you can?
HCJ: It really frustrates me. But I think that’s another reason I’m worn out, cos I was just, like, basically Labour campaigning at the party, which is just, not a vibe – I’m tired. I tried though and I think I, y’know, got through maybe…
HCJ: But also like, I know I live in a…what do you call it…an echo-chamber.
HCJ: Cos all my closest friends and my housemates and my family, everyone’s kind of fighting for the same cause it feels like, and we’re certainly, like, are all voting labour… P: Yeah.
HCJ: Because we can see that that’s the only way to go…
HCJ: Like, I don’t wanna say common sense…like, it’s not like… P: Yeah. They reduce police, they reduce, erm, nurses, dentists…
HCJ: Yeah, they…it’s… literally, for the many not, not the few is the best slogan I’m gonna hear…
HCJ: …it’s the best thing out there….
HCJ: It’s not perfect, but it’s a chance to kind of like stop this…
HCJ: …extreme right-wing-ness…y’know, anyway…
P: Anywhere here, darling? Thanks
HCJ: Yeah, just here’s great, like, perfect, right here.
HCJ: Thank you so much – nice talking to you…
P: OK, Hannah
HCJ: Enjoy the rest of your shift! P: Cheers, Bye.17
[00:29:11] Hannah C. Jones - Owed to Selection - Manchester - December 2019
HCJ: Once a-pun a time, is now, today:
Election, selection, general, lieutenant, sergeant, corporeal, wait…
The corporeal weight,
Of forming, conserving our energy
For the labour,
Our work is never over.
This infinite austerity, normality, colonial tea – all shade! Boris had us Trumped,
He’s such a Johnson.
But humour is not our exit from the bullshit of Brexit.
What has happened to this cunt-tree?
Uproot it! Reboot it!
The fruits of our labour…18
17 Prince (taxi driver) & Hannah C. Jones, in conversation, Shoreditch-Peckham, London, 9th
18 Hannah C. Jones, Owed to Selection, live performance, BBC Media City, Salford, Manchester, 12th December 2019.
Nasser Hussain & Hannah C. Jones - Monroe’s Pub - Manchester - 2019
HCJ: Any opportunity I can, with any person in the street, erm, family members…fortunately, or unfortunately, a lot of the ones who would’ve voted Conservative are dead, soz, but that’s the truth…
Nasser Hussain: No, that works, no, I mean…
HCJ: Parents – Labour, Labour, sister – works as NHS doctor, her partner – NHS doctor, like, all his family…
NH: I’m wondering if there are people in the NHS voting Conservative, right? like..
HCJ: But you know that there’s…
NH: There, there must be!
HCJ: …you know that there are queer people who are voting Conservative.
Microsoft Word – TRANSCRIPT Jan 2020.docx
HCJ: I saw an article in the Metro about this, this guy who
was at, I think it was, maybe it was at Brighton Uni and he
was like, I’m the only out erm, gay Conservative…
NH: I’m the gay Tory in the village…
HCJ: … but it was harder for him to come out as a Conservative than it was for him to come out as gay, and I’m thinking about, oh my god, the layers of privilege around those statements are wild…
HCJ: …wild, but like, it’s like black Trump supporters, or…19
HCJ: The fruits of our labour, might,
might save us in this visage, the face of a new decade. 2020 visions of the future, or, a return to the past? His stories must become our stories.
Whilst we are here,
Whilst we are here,
Present, gift of the infinite moment now,
Gift of the infinite moment now,
Now is the time to put the work and labour to use.20
Arvo Pärt – Cantus in Memorium – Estonia – 197721
Nasser Hussain & Hannah C. Jones – Monroe’s Pub – Manchester – 2019
HCJ: It’s so weird, like, I was in Rio for the Bolsonaro
Nasser Hussain: Wow.
HCJ: So, I was there doing a workshop with these amazing, amazing musicians, like, women and non-binary musicians,
19 Nasser Hussain & Hannah C. Jones, in conversation, Monroe’s, Manchester, 12th December 2019.
20 Owed to Selection – HCJ – Manchester – December 2019.
21 Arvo Pärt, Cantus in memorium Benjamin Britten, , Thomas Turner, YouTube, 3rd January 2010, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sp2oxWdRMuk, accessed 26th November 2019.
mainly, erm, Brazilian, as in, “people of colour” but also all spectrums within that – amazing. And we did this choral work, and like, it was called 13, which was the number of Bolsanaro’s opponent (who didn’t get it) and this is on the eve of the election...
HCJ: …so I’m always…I’m used to being like, in the middle of like, music stuff somehow ,it aligns where I seem to be doing something musical on election time, erm, but like…that was something else, because, everyone had to go off and vote and we had to start the last day later, at like, 2pm, and the results were trickling in, and by the time we left, it was being disseminated that, y’know, that Bolsonaro had won. By the time we’d walked five minutes from the institution back to the hotel, people were like shooting their guns off in the street, like Bolsonaro supporters…it was wild. And I think that what I witnessed there through these amazing musicians, and how that came out in the music as well, like, it’s a completely different story here, even though things are fucked for people, it’s not like the government is murdering witnesses…well…well?22
22 Nasser Hussain & Hannah C. Jones, in conversation, Monroe’s Pub, Manchester, 12th December 2019.
Mahmoud Mahdy & Hannah C. Jones - Criterion Café – Peckham – October 2019
Mahmoud Mahdy: Yeah but those, those are like, the needs of the diaspora here, that are like, that live in, for example, London, they’ll live in like, the imperial metropolis y’know what I mean?
MM: It’s a very different set of demands and set of needs, set of desires that you’d have than someone, for example, born…who’s gonna live and die in an African country…
MM: …and the problem about the whole thing with the “African question” is that it’s incredibly diverse, like, more diverse than any other question on any other continent in terms of like…
HCJ: Course it is.
MM: …what, the amount of like, experiences of cultures, but it’s obviously treated in a colonial sense in the same way… HCJ: Mmm…
MM: So, then it’s very easy for diasporas to kind of still have that impression of themselves cos that’s how the West gazes at Africa anyway.
MM: After under-developing it so much. For example, in Egypt, you are connected to the land, you know, you have a land
you’re written to a land but you are very displaced from it, y’know, in terms of naturally, the way you use it, the way you consume it, the way you treat it, the way you dwell in it, y’know? And for you it’s a very distorted question, it’s not one that’s obvious, y’know?23
Tchenhoukoumen – Senegalese Percussion – Voyager Golden Record – 197724
John Blades & Hannah C. Jones – UWI – Barbados – 2017
HCJ: Yeah, the decolonising methodologies…
John Blades: Decolonising methodologies…
HCJ: …and that’s about…
JB: …Linda Tuhiwai Smith…where she talks about her experience bringing information about New Zealand, the Māoris… HCJ: Mmm…
JB: …and her process of going against the western notion of
presenting without the consultation with the people in the
JB: …so every bit of research she did she did work on… HCJ: Mmm…
23 Mahmoud Mahdy & Hannah C. Jones, in conversation, Criterion Café Peckham, London, 10th
24 Voyager’s Golden Record – Tchenhoukoumen, percussion Senegal, , Giuliano Bevisangue, YouTube, 13th December 2008, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FmUAk0hTaI, accessed 27th July 2018.
JB: …how people could contribute.
HCJ: Getting it outside the walls of the institutions, in the wider sense of the word
JB: Like when you were talking about speaking to a larger audience?
HCJ: Mmm, yeah, no, that sounds really…on point…25
[00:36:47] Hannah C. Jones - Owed to Diaspora(s) - London - 2019 Solange Knowles - Weary - A Seat at the Table - 2017
Solange Knowles: I’m weary of the ways of the world, be weary of the ways of the world, I’m weary of the ways of the world…26 HCJ: Ngixolele…27
[00:37:08] Jacob V. Joyce & Hannah C. Jones - Bullingdon Road - Oxford - 2019
Jacob V Joyce: I was, I was surprised to hear my voice…but then it’s like…it’s kind of, erm..it’s weird because it feels like…y’know…I’m happy that you used my voice because I trust you with my voice, like, it’s interesting, like, if it was
25 John Blades & Hannah C. Jones, in conversation, University of West Indies, Barbados, 23rd
26 Weary, , solangeknowlesmusic, YouTube, 29th September 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8Y5gk8J7XQ, accessed 1st December 2019.
27 ‘Ngixolele’ (Zulu) translates as ‘forgiveness’.
somebody else who’d used my voice and I didn’t...I wasn’t expecting it, then I’d be really like.. I’d feel weird about it....but...I guess it’s kind of like this thing like, erm, the way of speaking in it is very, erm, exhausted – I was in a state of exhaustion and I just like, I feel like what you captured there was me articulating a sense of, erm, just apathy and like, a feeling of erm, I think there’s a collective in Argentina, something like this, and they have a manifesto call politicising sadness and it’s like, seven different ways of erm, seven different ways that sadness manifests, or five different ways that political sadness manifests which they refer to as the feeling of nothing – you can’t change anything - and then they have strategies of how you can actually change things.
Erm…but I feel like, I feel like it’s interesting because
hearing my voice when I’m talking like, in a very just candid
way, just like, in, in, “the only way to solve the problems is
to catapult all humans into the sun”, like, obviously I don’t
think we should be building catapults!
HCJ: I know that!
JVJ: But no, no, I mean it’s fine, like, it’s fine that you used that because, erm, because I think it does articulates a state of exhaustion, and to have Moor Mother’s voice in the background, talking about empire and talking about, you know,
in this very cinematic way that she does, erm, it was a really nice juxtaposition and I felt like I was happy to have my exhaustion, kind of used to articulate something which I think lots of people are articulating in different ways, like so many black people and black artists and black, erm, and academics and activists, like, I feel...
Angel Bat Dawit – We Are Starzz – The Oracle – 201928
JVJ: …wrestle with this feeling of y’know whatever you do, and it’s a conversation that happens all the time that, y’know, your label will just be kind of used to justify, in a very tokenistic way an institution’s ability to just carry on doing the same things its always been doing but it’s like, well, we have a black person here now, so actually, it’s fine, and there’s so many different ways in which…exhaustion manifests, and it does feel y’know, I think that thing about…like I would be…in this situation…that’s the, that’s the other thing is that I guess because I’m present in this listening session it makes a big difference, because I think there is something strange that happens when…voices become disembodied, erm, and they’re not there to kind of like…y’know …
28 We Are Starzz, , Angel Bat Dawit – Topic, YouTube, 20th May 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Py1Z2kp_drA, accessed 24th June 2019.
JVJ: I’m an illustrator, my practice is in illustration and I think something I’ve been thinking about a lot is how making an image of someone is reductive, erm, even if you put text from an interview beside it, it’s still like, reductive because it shrinks this person down to this one thing…
JVJ: …we can use our imaginations and imagine that there’s more going on but it’s still in that moment that’s what you get, erm, and I like the fact that I’m here, erm, to be able to say… yeah, to be able to kind of contradict myself, erm, if I want to and I think that, it’s different I don’t know where the other things were recorded but I get the feeling that y’know Moor Mother is at a gig and she’s talking to an audience, like, Gail Lewis sounds like she was talking to an audience, like, a lot of people sound like they’re talking to audiences but… I was just talking to you so I like the fact that now there’s an audience present and I’m allowed to say like erm, yeah, but just… because I think like part of that exhaustion does come from the ways in which black people are disembodied and are turned into, y’know…things can that can be, erm, moved on easily, y’know, turned into… it’s a continuation of that same process of black people being cargo… HCJ: Mmmhmm…
JVJ: …instead of passengers, erm, and that’s what somebody
else I don’t know who else was talking y’know that we can be
swapped in and out for…
HCJ: Yeah, Lez Henry, in fact I’ve just emailed you all…”29
[00:41:29] Hannah C. Jones - Healing Meditation for Limitless Potential - London - 2017
HCJ: I’m Tired. We’re Tired.
This meditation came to me when I needed it.
As I inhaled, I conjured the name of a woman or non-binary diasporic person of colour who I love and revere.
As I exhaled, I conjured the name of a woman or non-binary diasporic person of colour who I revere and love.
I repeated the exercise until my head was filled with these incredible beings and there was no room for anything else. This meditation exits for whenever you need it.
I’m Tired. We’re Tired.
Alice Coltrane Sarah Amy Jones Angela Davis
29 Jacob V. Joyce & Hannah C. Jones, in conversation, Bullingdon Road, Oxford, 5th November 2019.
Grace Bokomoso Bell Evan Ifekoya Audre Lorde Umi Lovecraft Baden-Powell Angelina Lovecraft
Grace Jones Octavia Butler Gail Lewis Ain Bailey Billie Holiday bell hooks Nina Simone Rosalind Jones Arlene Jones June Tyson Jacob V Joyce Mattie Loyce Christopher Kirubi Jasmin Rai
Texta Queen Camille Barton Teju Adeleye Aditi Jaganathan Jenn Nkiru Zakia Sewell Heidi Mirza
Millie Brown Chooc Ly Tan Kemoy Jemmott Naeem Davis Tia Simon-Campbell Laura Minet Shawanda Corbett Libita Clayton Demelza Toy Toy Taranya Burke Erica Garner Chantelle
Ifeayni Carista Lakuti
Imani Robinson Barby Asante Jessica DeAbru Amaal Alaag…30
[00:45:58] Sun Ra - It’s After the End of the World - U.S. - 1974
30 Hannah C. Jones – Healing Exercise for Limitless Potential – produced for the podcast H.E.L.P. (in collaboration with Evan Ifekoya) for Serpentine Radio – October 2017.
June Tyson: “It’s after the end of the world don’t know that yet?”31
[00:46:00] Mahmoud Mahdy & Hannah C. Jones - Criterion Café – Peckham – October 2019
Mahmoud Mahdy: Yeah but, but the way you consume it every day is that there’s this climax where everything’s gonna break, and in some senses it’s a fantasy also, y’know what I mean? it’s like a fantasy – people love fantasising about it but no- one would like it to happen it’s kinda like how y’know, sexual fantasies work, y’know.
MM: But that’s what I mean, I think, even here, it’s the same solution people, need to just not buy into this Armageddon, end of the world bullshit, y’know, which is why the Extinction Rebellion is like a really white project when you think about it …
HCJ: Of course!
MM: Because it’s about, y’know, firstly it’s just like…
HCJ: Well think about people who have got the time to protest, who are off, like, who can actually show up for that – y’know?
31 Sun Ra – It’s After the End of the World, , Orfeu, YouTube, 21st December 2012, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3alIZ7llxQ, accessed 27th September 2019.
MM: Yeah, and it’s also about the people who are saying oh, well we want the opportunities and the hopes that our parents had, and we’re like, ok, but wait a minute, what did your parents have? Like, I’ve got a problem with what your parents had I’m not here so I can defend your right to have what your parents had because the planet’s running out of life, y’know what I mean?
HCJ: Well the planet’s not…it’s running out of life as we know
MM: Y’know in their view…Yeah, yeah, as they know it at least, HCJ: Mmm…
MM: …and also like even if they accept the discourse the third world’s gonna suffer more for it – what’s it gonna be like, Live Aid? It’ll be Live Aid politics y’know what I mean…? HCJ: Oh my god.
MM: That’s why extinction rebellion is part of the problem
it’s like the other end of the coin, like,
MM: Like, one side of the coin is like BP and Shell…y’know and Trump and shit, and then the other one is like, Extinction Rebellion, environmentalist politics, y’know?
MM: The only good thing about it is that people are actually thinking we need to do something about the consequences, y’know?
HCJ: And this is the thing as well, it shows that people can organise, much like, y’know, how quickly something like, erm, a smoking ban can come in to happen, but how slowly it takes for the law to change on other things like, I don’t know, for example, erm, custody laws, or how long you’re able to detain someone, like, they can change certain things, but they will not change…and they say that they can’t… so, it’s just kind of like, …I dunno it’s lots of layers isn’t it?
HCJ: I need to finish that tea…32
Joep Franssens – Harmony of the Spheres – Rotterdam – 195533
HCJ: The dominant western system of knowledge linked the universe to western harmony, so, the distances between pitches correlates with the distances between planets. So, this idea of the harmony of the spheres or music of the spheres, it’s an ancient concept, and it relates to Pythagoras, Boethius, lots of other kind of Ancient Greek or Late-Antiquitan Philosophers and Theologers and that’s a very western concept, not only that but it’s a male concept.
I’m now gonna play a lesser known interpretation of The Music of the spheres from a German-Jewish composer, Johanna
32 Mahmoud Mahdy & Hannah C. Jones, in conversation, Criterion Café Peckham, London, 10th
33 Joep Franssens – Harmony of the Spheres, , Dutch Composers, YouTube, 21st November 2012, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLkmMEEiNBk&t=1345s, accessed 2nd December 2019.
Magdalena Beyer, which is perhaps the first composition ever, by a woman, for theremin or “electronic instrument’ she writes in the score and this is from 1937/38 here is Music of the Spheres:34
[00:49:10] Johanna Magdalena Beyer - Music of the Spheres - Germany - 1938
HCJ: The, the nuances between y’know; melody, harmony, pitch, rhythm, key, structure, and then you’ve got other things around it, everything else like, who’s playing, the audience – this is stuff I’ve always said but I’m thinking about it in a slightly different way now, in relation to how I can smack out the really deep stuff of what I’m trying to get to. The deep stuff that I’m trying to get to is, is stuff that other people have been doing forever – Pythagoras, Boethius, this is not necessarily in fucking chronological order, err, and also I suffer from hyper-chrono-fantasia which is a delusion that I have more time than I think I do have, because time’s not linear and I’m also living in multiple realities simultaneously and I mean that through the Gemini-ness, I mean that through the punning, which is deeply-rooted, through the
34 Hannah C. Jones, live radio broadcast, NTS, The Opera Show, Dalston, London, 3rd September 2019.
“blackness” vs the “whiteness” in me, through different lovers, different partners, through, I guess, a feeling of fugitivity that I think is intrinsic to any form of “blackness”, which means you constantly feel as though you’re being… watched, analysed, consumed, particularly by “whiteness”… and then on top of that you have other things such as like, erm, well, let’s say female-ness, competitiveness, and other things that are human nature that are often pinned down to gender, sexuality, whatever…that are just human nature.35
HCJ: Johanna Magdalena Beyer, Music of the Spheres. Those loops, those oscillations within that work certainly reflect some sort of movement, alignment of rhythms. syzygy, which is one of the only words in the English language with no vowels, as well as ‘rhythm’, but that means ‘alignment’, so an eclipse is an example of a syzygy but, what’s happening rhythmically and melodically in that somehow seems to paint this picture of revolution…
But yeah, the western, male dominance of knowledge is something I’m constantly trying to renegotiate as part of the decolonization of my own mind and in my other work, but it’s against this idea of one narrative, which is in that word –
35 Hannah C. Jones, voice-note, private residence, Peckham, London, 8th December 2019.
‘history’ – his story – when really it should be our stories, plural.
Gustav Holst – Mercury – The Planet Suite – London – 191536
HCJ: But it’s this idea of, y’know, are we just repeating the same patterns in outer space as we did on earth, i.e. colonising this uncharted territory…
HCJ: y’know, so many people suffer under the his-story, white supremacy. Destroy white supremacy. Like why would anyone not want to do that? People get so personally offended that it shocks me (when I wear that t-shirt). Why would you want to… preserve white supremacy? Of course, everyone’s actions are preserving that, are attempting to kind of maintain that status quo…I don’t know…
Colin Matthews – Pluto the Renewer – London – 200037
36 Gustav Holst – Mercury, , HDclassical, YouTube, 7th October 2010,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkiiAloL6aE, accessed 2nd September 2019.
37 Pluto, the Renewer, , 46ariodante, YouTube, 17th July 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_T5BM_BE8iQ&t=312s, accessed 2nd September 2019.
Björk – Pluto – Homogenic – London – 199738
HCJ: You have just heard works which attempt to depict the two prominent celestial bodies the furthest away from one another, that are, or have been considered, planets. So, I played Holst’s Mercury, from The Planet Suite followed by Colin Matthew’s Pluto the Renewer.
When Holst wrote The Planet Suite, Pluto had not yet been discovered. It was discovered in his lifetime and he was asked to write an extra movement to The Planet Suite but he refused because he thought that The Planets eclipsed the rest of his compositional work.
And then in 1996 Björk comes out with a track called Pluto, and she says of this track: “It is about being plastered, that need to destroy everything so you can start over again. No extra baggage. It’s about death and birth.”39
So, Björk kind of anticipated that there was gonna be a shift, a rebirth, less than 10 years away from the release of that track. Skip forward to the year 2000, and that was the
38 Björk Pluto Homogenic, , Rj ism, YouTube, 9th June 2011,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-QNxD56p_U, accessed 2nd September 2019.
39 Genius, ‘Pluto Björk’, Genius [website], https://genius.com/2682386, accessed 2nd September 2019.
premiere of Pluto the Renewer written by Colin Matthews. Then jump to 2006 and we have the re-categorisation of Pluto as a moon. In August 2006 the International Astronomical Union downgraded the status of Pluto to that of “dwarf planet.” This means that from now on only the rocky worlds of the inner Solar System and the gas giants of the outer system will be designated as planets.40
So, this kind of Pluto demotion is about scale, perspective and proximity... The scientific definition of planet and moon – one is the natural satellite of the other...I mean, it’s kind mind- boggling, like, what can we learn from such an interesting abstract equation?
Daphne Oram – Pulse Persephone – Oramics – London – 196541
HCJ: And this I guess brings me back round to this idea of a sense of alignments that happen, between people, between thoughts, ideas, between…. Look, there’s like eight or nine planets, Pluto, are you a planet, are you a moon are you a
41 Daphne Oram – Pulse Persephone, , bonbonfabrik, YouTube, 22nd February 2013, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5aVgYILCnf0, accessed 2nd December 2019.
40 Library of Congress, ‘Why is Pluto no longer a planet?’, Library of Congress, [website], https://www.loc.gov/everyday-mysteries/item/why-is-pluto-no-longer-a-planet/, accessed 2nd September 2019.
dwarf planet, are you.... what are you? Where’s your ...centre of gravity? I think I fucking identify with Pluto! T hat’s, that’s what’s happening here. It’s like...I guess whiteness, blackness, queer...queerness isn’t something that shouldn’t ... I think it’s a lot to do with identity – are you a planet or are you a moon?
How can the solar system be thought of as a, a method of...I’m thinking about how ideas can align and it’s like, it feels like my job is to observe where they align and report back on that, so...my role has to be then more of the astronomer of the ideas, of the systems. Maybe the rest of the planets could represent something like, y’know, erm, the wider context like, let’s use PCO as a model again, the notes, the rhythm...b the melody, the rhythm, the harmony, the musical structure, the musical form of the thing, the wider social structure in which it’s being created, absorbed or consumed, and I’m the one that’s just there being like Ok this aligns with this, that aligns with that, that didn’t align...
Is alignment a good thing? I mean, we think about it in terms of posture, spine, yoga, alignment...when we align...and the stars aligned. It’s steeped in positivity (my favourite kind of tea, my second favourite kind of tea, tea.... but like...
I think I identify with Pluto….as…and of course, this is not just me being like…well actually, it’s so deeply rooted in like the quest for finding out this stuff that it can’t be separated because it cannot, it can’t be separated from ego because it’s…it’s selfish and it’s self-absorbed and it’s self-aware…but it’s very self-absorbed and like the real question is like how can this help beyond myself, certainly beyond the institution…and I feel like, I’ve got a lot to offer in terms of like saying: there are other ways, there are other worlds they have not told you about, there are other ways to express yourself and there are other value systems, there are other value systems, cos it’s just. It’s just like…42
HCJ: …and I think we can learn about the abstract in
itself…and also the potential for shifts in other kinds of
And when I first heard of this demotion of Pluto I felt so sorry! Lol, but in recent years I’ve been attempting to think through what this moon-planet means and how on earth do we go about categorising these bodies and who does so?
These questions relate so profoundly to systems of categorisation that we live under here on earth….and I’m going to leave it there – very abstract…43
42 Hannah C. Jones, voice-note, private residence, Peckham, London, 8th December 2019.
43 Hannah C. Jones, live radio broadcast, NTS, The Opera Show, Dalston, London, 3rd September 2019.
Sun Ra – Somebody Else World – U.S. – 197144
[01:02:43] Amyra Leon & Hannah C. Jones – Nunhead – London - 2019
HCJ: I basically imagine from the Earth’s perspective how peaceful it would be without us, but I’d never heard anyone say what you’ve just said which is that, the way I understand it, I was saying like, y’know, indigenous peoples, globally, if you look and make parallels, have always said, y’know, if the Earth’s sick, we’re sick, but you’re saying, like, yeah, OK, like…the problem is, =kind of, us, but the main problem with us is that we can’t fix ourselves, so we have to project Amyra Leon: Yeah
HCJ: Our sickness…
AL: And try to fix…
HCJ: …and be like we must save the planet, it’s like, no, no, no, we must stop… consuming and, and erm, fighting and killing and producing…
AL: I mean even less than that it has to be simple
HCJ: I’m gonna get the food.
44 Somebody Else’s World, , Pharma, YouTube, 1st September 2011, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4gx7pPAczw, accessed 27th September 2019.
AL: Yeah. It has to be simple, like, the reality is that all of these movements insist that the earth is dying when in reality the earth is transforming accordingly it’s assimilating to the way we’ve affected the world
HCJ: The earth is acclimatising to us.
AL: Exactly but we will not be able to…but also, we’re doing so much towards ourselves like we’re advancing much faster than ourselves in a way that’s not allowing our bodies to catch up you know what I’m saying
AL: And so, it’s like if we continue to evolve beyond ourselves the only way, the only thing that can happen is that the earth will also do so. Um…
HCJ: Thank you so much for that…45
13 – VOARÁ – Oi Futuro – Rio Di Janeiro – Brazil – 2018.46
45 Amyra Leon & Hannah C. Jones, in conversation, private residence, Nunhead, London, 1st October
46 Voará & Hannah C. Jones, 13, improvisatory vocalisation workshop, Oi Futuro, Rio Di Janeiro, Brazil, 28th October 2018.