The Musings of a Boho Girl

bōˈhēmēən (noun) 1. a free spirit ; 2. a writer; 3. an explorer of the Avant-Garde.

Tag: 1980s

Review: The Lonely City by Olivia Laing

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“Falling apart, falling forever, never resuming vitality, becoming locked in perpetuity into the cell of solitary confinement, in which a sense of reality, of boundedness, is rapidly eroded: these are the consequences of separation, its bitter fruit.” — Olivia Laing

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The Act of Remembering

‘Time Remembered is Grief Forgotten’
– Algernon Charles Swinburne

I have faint memories of the 1980s. I remember my clumsy attempts at roller skating and can vaguely recall seeing Ronald Reagan on television; perhaps the latter is an invented memory. The 1980s marked the beginning of uncertainty. I wasn’t part of the fear, loss, and tragedy that occurred; in fact I remained largely unaware of its cause. There was a silence around death, no one wanted to say how they died and some doctors chose to list underlining symptoms rather than the actual cause of death. I spent six months writing an elegy to the 1980s, the years that I was blissfully unaware and too young to understand. There were protests. People were fighting for their lives. I want to remember the protests but I can’t; those faces are ghosts now. Victims to a disease that the government refused to acknowledge. All of the documentaries never prepared me for the profound loss that began in the early 1980s, for the first time I couldn’t fill the blank pages with words, traces of death lingered in my notebook, and then there were my fragmented memories…memories that defined my story. There was only one question to answer.

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The Archives: Cataloging the Dead

The intersection between illness and photography has always fascinated me. Seeing pictures of cancer patients offering the photographer a weak smile while receiving chemotherapy feels voyeuristic, we’re meant to feel something. Sadness? Hope? The point is we’re meant to feel an emotion that evokes us to do something. A visual image that reminds us one day we could be receiving chemotherapy and wouldn’t we want the best drugs possible to save our lives. The intentions vary, but there are always intentions. The photography associated with the AIDS epidemic is different, even the images from professional photographers reflect a desire to be seen. Each picture attempts to capture a vanishing body and those fleeting moments before death. In the last few days, I’ve combed through images only to realise that everyone pictured was dead; each photo became a visual obituary of the young and ailing.

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