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Case Notes, Memoirs, Open Letters,

Jon Langford, Chicago, Illinois
I just remember that I was always scared when Kathy [Acker] called ’cos she was always cross with me about something & I had to spend a lot of time pacifying & coddling & explaining how we didn’t do things that way, how the Mekons were different, how it would all work out. Kathy was as intense & demanding as we were careless & lazy-fair. Our hand-made school play approach to performing Pussy, King Of The Pirates must have spooked her, but once the lights came up & we manned our stations, she was master & commander, relaxed & immersed, perched on her stool, drawling & growling her filthy pirate talk, a bad little girl at the centre of her own perfect world. When we recorded her Growly Bear monologue at Kingsize Sound Labs in Chicago in 1995, she came into the control room after a take & asked if there’d been any improvement in her performance. Yeah, that sounded great. Good—I was masturbating & I think that helped. Would it help if we joined in?, says Trumfio the engineer. Oh yeah, it would says Kathy, taking him very very seriously. I have to growl along onstage when she reads this passage in the live show & as I do, Kathy turns her head slightly & gives me a weird approving smile & under my floor-mop wig & pancake make-up, I feel the blood rush to my cheeks. Around me, other Mekons dressed up as milkmaids, cabin boys & buccaneers smirk at my discomfort. I’ve never really done orgasmic animal impressions in front of a paying crowd before & I don’t really know how it’s going down... — Jon Langford

Judith Steel, Darwin, NT, Australia
I’m sorry, though not surprised, to hear about the horrors of work. Yes it is evil. And no, it would not be better here. At least it might be better for a while, because not so far down the track of ruthlessness & contempt for the underclass, but it IS on that track, & I do not know what would turn it around. The dreadful thing is that our silence/or public silence about it keeps encouraging the little turds & demons, & the vomit-faced lies get more & more blatant, being said with a grin of triumph & derision, not even any bothering to yell & scream like Hitler, just the foulness carrying on & on & on. Ugh. Friend was telling me about a job she’d recently been in, where they had to go to Melbourne for "training." On the cold squashed Virgin aircraft in the middle of the night & ditto back again in order not to "waste" any time... And they sat in a room from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.—including lunch, during which someone was giving a power point presentation on Communication...! Anyway, my friend was able to leave the job, as she has sufficient (many) other qualifications & experience, but as she/we said, there were all those young ones who had never experienced any other way of working, & who would be undoubtedly giving a similar power point presentation in re. Communication in a few years.
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