Move (Pt 1)

I moved carefully as a child. Doctors would now class my body as dyspraxic; a parent nicknamed me awkward-annie and every morning at secondary school, a classmate called me a ‘spacer’–a moniker I deeply resented as I thought it had something to do with science fiction, a genre I despised. There was nothing or nobody I couldn’t bump into.

I repeated my school-leaving year and on Friday evenings I would escape to the back bar in Sir Henry’s, a nightclub in my home city of Cork. Through resident DJ Stevie G, I first heard the music of Lucy Pearl, Nas and Outkast in the bowels of the club. My friends often remained with Nirvana but you needed an aerial fluency in order to mosh: upper body strength, long hair, flag-pole arms and I did not possess this trinity. The moshers wanted to propel, while I sought the chthonic, to go under the earth and move my hips, my pelvis, my ass without a name for it from the mouth of someone else.

In the case of Stevie G, he was the embodiment of a permission slip that existed nowhere else in my life: the freedom to wear what I wanted (baggy, masculine clothes with my pierced belly showing), to move intuitively not obediently, and to remember that inside these pockets of cloth, floor and sweat, I had a fucking body. 

Because I spent a great deal of time preparing how I navigated a room, my connection with Stevie G still seems spatial. Up until this year, he remained a stranger; we had never spoken despite the fact that I danced just feet away from him for twenty years. We were strangers and yet I’ve lied to him; I’ve told him many times it was my birthday so he’d play a track for me. He’s lied back and told he’ll play it later and never did. 

There was another reason I went to the back bar in Sir Henry’s. It was small and dark and I wanted men to kiss me but I never met anyone who I wanted to stop dancing for. The only reason to stop was when the lights revealed the steamed walls and from somewhere, a voice called people let’s go.

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