Online Journal Archive

Intimacy of Death, Pt 2: Department of Ultimology

Intimacy of Death, Pt 1: Juliet Jacques, You Will Be Free

Lou Lou Sainsbury, ‘The Holes in My Bedroom in Space’

Interview: Patrick Staff

Warm Yourself By My Trash Fire, Vol. IX. Species of Spaces | 29th May 2020

Warm Yourself By My Trash Fire, Vol. VIII. Following your steps by Foivos Dousos

Warm Yourself By My Trash Fire, Vol. VII. How to Draw Hands by D Mortimer

Warm Yourself By My Trash Fire, Vol. VI. Part 2. The Viscous Interview

Warm Yourself By My Trash Fire, Vol. VI. Part 1. Who knew it would come to this

Warm Yourself By My Trash Fire, Vol. V. Huw Lemmey / Songs for the End

Warm Yourself By My Trash Fire, Vol. IV. SW15 FEM

Warm Yourself By My Trash Fire, Vol. III. Fires Burning in the Gym

Warm Yourself By My Trash Fire, Vol. II. Songs for the End: ‘Sexual Healing’

Warm Yourself By My Trash Fire, Vol. I. No Light Ever

Interview: Army of Love

Fires Burning in the Gym

Billions of animals incinerated as I did my first ever 5km. I’d been at the gym stuff for a year, but it was still new to me. Slowly discovering new things my body could do and how long it could do it for. A soft twinky body, slowly bulking up, betraying my gender. Do I really want to be a muscle femme? Needed to stay healthy tho. Death drive. I always enjoyed the feeling of going to the gym over anything else; that high. There was also a high from the response you got from a body ever-changing. Firming up, more defined and palatable. Men were also paying me more attention, which is almost impossible to ignore. I shouldn’t be affirmed by that type of shallow attention but you try and resist. I heard Kathy Acker used to bodybuild and wrote about it. She looked hot. I never read any of the texts of course but it was a significant motivation.

I want to know who thought it was a good idea to have four screens – three playing Sky News and the fourth daytime TV  – lined up in front of the treadmills. At the time it was non-stop coverage of the wildfires in Australia. Unprecedented burning, destruction and displacement. Firestorms. Fire tornados. Firebombs. Was this a new language for what already exists or are these entirely new phenomena? Environmental catastrophe finally matching up to the images of a lifetime of watching cli-fi. I never stopped running tho. I’d never been more fit, running faster and further every day. Whilst I broke through my second wind, 30 mins into the run, families took shelter in the sea, waiting to be rescued as their homes and the sky are engulfed in a luminescent orange glow. No one else seemed to notice. Kylie Minogue’s Fever album blared through my earphones, escalating into euphoric mixes at the end.

As a kid, I was a disaster movie obsessive. I would rewatch movies like The Day After Tomorrow, Armageddon, Independence Day... anything that involved the end of the world. It could have been escapism. I’m a meticulous planner, maybe I was prepping. That scene where Jake Gyllenhaal strips to his briefs after diving into the freezing water to call his dad in the New York Public Library could play a part. I would also only watch ‘history’ docs on National Geographic, History and Discovery about ‘lost’ civilisations, especially their collapse. I later learnt they were not lost and that the mystery was a colonial fantasy of the white historians who made these histories and stories scarce. A manufactured collapse. Many of these civilisations have persisted and their ancestors have held onto this knowledge for generations.

I also loved Air Crash Investigation but that could have just been a general moroseness as a child.

I finally moved away from the treadmills and into the weights section. “Shouldn’t get too thin!” There are no TVs there. Didn’t need to run from anything anymore. I got a kick out of seeing the gym bunnies, bursting in their muscled fleshy bodies stare in disgust and surprise as I lifted 120kg on the leg press with my crippled faggoty legs. This is when I first heard of Coronavirus in Wuhan, first from the news and then from my friend and ex-lover in China. He was teaching English to rich kids in Chengdu, about 14 hours from Wuhan. Before he found a good VPN, the only way we could chat was over Grindr, the only app not blocked by the Great Fire Wall. Everything was closing, even the gyms. I begged him to leave, he’d be safe in Europe. He could finally move to London, the perfect excuse. I’d find him a job and he could crash with me if he’d like.

The gym closed two weeks ago, anticipating the official lockdown. I cancelled my membership the week before, it was inevitable. Their desperate emails ensuring us that everything was being disinfected just put me off further. Maybe I could spend that £50 on food I couldn’t afford before. Get thicc and plump. It’s kind of a relief to think all those built, sculpted idolised gays will turn out the same. Unable to run away. As I walked past the gym on the night it closed, I saw a huge burly guy leave, perhaps for his last workout. Defeated, sullen but strangely heroic. Last man off the ship.

The only exercise I get now is walking in Abney Cemetery Park with the dead, looking out to see if it’s still being used as a cruising stop. My housemate once told me she got locked in Abney at night with some friends who were performing rituals. Stumbling through the dense foliage, they came across a naked young shivering twink on the bad end of a comedown looking for a fuck. Abney is that kinda place, full of spirits. 

Liquid explores expressions of intimacy in the private and public realms, in our digital and offline lives.