I just posted an article featuring details of the new book by spoken word artist, Henry Rollins. To read that post , click here.
The first batch of books, have been signed by Rollins. I purchased a copy yesterday and when I learned that some copies were signed, there was a slight twinge of resistance inside of me. It seemed rather odd to me that I would have any kind of physical reaction towards something so seemingly benign. It got me thinking about signatures.
Signatures are important to a lot of people who consider themselves admirers of someones work. Musicians, sports figures, authors, painters, and so on. I've never understood the value of signatures, or autographs if you prefer. For some, there is a monetary value, for others it's about status and pure relish. Some feel important when they can flaunt their merch, and tell the story of how they earned their squiggle.
"And so there he was. I asked if he'd sign my book and he did." Ta-da!
I think it's great that there are so many artists who understand that there are fans (I'm not a "fan" of that word) who would count themselves lucky to receive a signature on a piece of paper, piece of art, a sports ball or bat, or a shirt. Some value signatures so much that request signatures on a body parts, so that they can tattoo over it. Now, that's dedication. Frightening dedication, but dedication none the less.
Even as a child, I didn't see the value in signatures, nor photo shots. I remember boppin' around to Michael Jackson cassette tapes in my Walkman (remember those?) and thinking that I wouldn't want to meet the genius that was he, because he's met so many people, that he'd forget me almost instantly. It wasn't that I was yearning for a connection; I simply felt that I'd get no joy from a fleeting meeting.
I remember in college, I had a friend who shared my view, and he described out sentiments so precisely and humorously. He said; "What would I say to them? Hi, my name is _______. So...how about all those experiences we never had together?"
I imagine it takes a lot of energy for artists to pose for photos. I sometimes wonder if they ever feel like props. Smile. Turn here. Turn there. Can I get one more? Obnoxious aggression out of arrogance or because if you don't push your way through, you might not leave with a prized possession.
Not all fans behave so savagely; and not all have the finesse of a teeny-bopper or a metal head. No offense to teeny-boppers or metal heads.I dig pop, I dig metal. I digress.
Concerts are always magical experiences about me. After each one, I hit the little girl's room and then I make a b-line to the parking lot to find the needle in the haystack that is my car. I have never felt the need to set foot in the long lines waiting outside a bus.
My next concert experience will be Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes along with Sun-Ra, playing at The Hollywood Bowl. CocoRosie's new album drops soon, and I hope to catch a show when they tour. A few of my favorite artists; and I feel fortunate to be able to be present for a transcendent sense of community. Lights, speakers, and a large group of people who all have one thing in common. It is my hope that performers empathize with their audiences in that they think about their own pleasing experiences when they are the ones sitting in chairs.
So, thank you to all the artists who have impacted me and continue to do so. Thanks for energizing me, breaking me, and making me think. You are in my cd, book and movie collections, and it's great when I can see you spit it out live. I'll go forward with all you've offered me, but I won't need your signature.
How safe do women feel on a night out?
I love to dance, so I never wear heels. I like to make a statement with what I am wearing. As Oscar Wilde put it, you can never be over-dressed or over-educated.
There's a thin line between sexy and slutty. Cross that line and you won't be taken seriously, but you will certainly get the attention. But then again, who gets to define the borders?
It's almost impossible to walk in downtown Ramallah and not get hassled. [Some] guys take it upon themselves to make walking in Ramallah for women like walking through hell. I've had so many bad experiences, I don't even know where to begin.
I do walk on my own at night, but not without constantly looking over my shoulder, and sometimes even pretending to be on the phone with my father whenever I see a group of guys walking near me.
Jacky Kemigisa, 20, Kampala student
The clothes I wear depend on the mood am in, the company that I am with, and which transport I am going to use.
If it is a girls' night out, then I would wear a body-hugging dress, mostly very short, showing some skin and a pair of high heels. But that means someone has to pick me up in a car. If I am going out and using a motorbike taxi, I prefer to wear jeans and flat shoes.
I do think about the attention that I am going to get, both positive and negative. If a gentleman gives me positive and respectful compliments then I like that kind of attention, but if they are drunkards throwing negative insults, then I loathe it.
Some nights I go out wanting no attention whether positive or negative, just to sit and laugh and talk with my friends.
I have had hassles, guys throwing insults at me, calling me a slut and asking openly how much I charge for a night.
Men in Uganda expect you to be "decent" - their idea of decent is long skirts. Some have now adjusted to jeans [but] when young women wear shorts or skimpy dresses in some parts of Kampala market vendors can hurl insults like "whore" at you.
Jo Lehmann, 25, Melbourne youth workerA great night out means a good venue with good friends, listening to good music - lots of laughter and dancing.
I always wear a dress if I'm going out at night. I decide on how I'm feeling on the day. Am I having a "fat day" and need to hide my body? Or am I feeling confident and want to show skin?
I guess men look at me when I go out and am all done up. I have learned to showcase my assets. If I am in a place I feel comfortable around people I'm attracted to, then I don't mind people looking at my body. In other circumstances I would feel very uncomfortable. The way I dress definitely affects the way men respond.
I don't feel safe walking alone at night - I usually go out close to where I live.
A young journalist who wasn't much older than me was raped and murdered in a suburb very close to here. It happened in a place where I frequently go out and I have girlfriends who live there. So, in light of that incident, my girlfriends and I often discuss safety and security.
Overall, though, Australia is a great place to be a young woman.
Daniella Brasil, 31, Rio de Janeiro HR managerSaturday is the big night out. We rarely go to nightclubs. We usually go to parties with specific attractions, such as a band that's become a new hit and a DJ.
We mostly wear skirts or dresses - Rio is usually hot, after all. When the party is less sophisticated, we use flat shoes because they are more comfortable to spend long hours in, standing and dancing. When we do wear high heels, we choose the most comfortable kind.
When men are interested in us, they keep observing us, staring at us. If they realise that we are open to it, they start a conversation. It's good to be looked at, it makes us feel pretty and attractive. We don't consider it a lack of respect.
Nothing grave or serious [has ever happened to me]. At worst you get men that come at you grabbing you or holding your hair, but it's easy to free yourself. I've had cases where men are very persistent and spend a big part of the night bugging you. In these cases, we try to keep a distance and stay close within our group of girlfriends.
[When we go out we] always travel by taxi, because we can't drink and drive. Since we always go out in a group, we share the cab. On the way back, the last one to be dropped off has to let us know that she got home safely.
There's no doubt that Brazil is a good place to be a woman. There are lots of ways to have fun… the risks are small, we have freedom and it's easy for us to impose limits and to be respected.
Jillian Rae Greenwood, 23, Ottawa lobbyist
Saturday is my preferred night to go out. I go wherever my friends want to go - I am a sheep, not a shepherd.
Sometimes I get a glance here or there. I usually don't let the eye contact linger… even if it's an Einstein in the body of James Dean, I still feel absolutely dirty, and disgusted, when I feel someone's eyes looking at my body.
I have had great conversations with men at bars when I was dressed very conservatively. I personally feel the conversation is richer when I am dressed conservatively, but it may be that I am more receptive to having a conversation with a guy who I know isn't looking at my boobs.
It is common to see men at bars who prey on girls who are too drunk to have the clarity to think: "This guy is a creep, and his body language is aggressive - I know what he is after, and I need to just walk away."
I have always been very cautious when walking at night, especially alone. I do not feel safe walking at night, but I do not assume that danger lurks behind every corner. I just know that as a woman, I am at a greater risk. I always keep my hands on my keys in my pocket, just in case I need a weapon.
The five women's stories were featured on the BBC World Service programme Newsday. You can follow the Magazine on Twitter and on Facebook.