Here’s a short story that was first published in CXR’s fanzine distributed at the London to Gaza show I played with Thurston Moore.
It appears with a selection of poems in my new limited edition, handsewn book available on my new Bandcamp shop:
Ghosts of St. Leonard’s
by Kirsty Allison, 2018
I don’t know when I started seeing ghosts but the new ones
all have cancer. Skin putrid, shoe carcass-in-the-desert faces. I
see them, black bruised glinting, gasping for fags: in shopping
lines, they lock my psyche, smiling, deep-lined, eaten from the
inside, knowing the secret to life is death. And flash frame
gone. Where the fuck did they go? In cars, I’ll sidle up aside,
look in, passengers looking all morgue, mouthing incantations of
mutilation. Fast absconding. Edited out of time.
Fucking meetings. Full of naï ve, desperate, used-up Blame on
everyone but themselves. I don’t want to bring it up here, in
this church dedicated to the mentally ill, that cancer causes
cancer. All of us are living on borrowed time, in this 17th
century yard of Shakespeare, amid the graves of the Burbages.
Our pyramid temple, wrapped around the tomb of Leopold
Hapsburg, our Keith Richards meets Lil Richard, born in Austria
in 1612, 999 miles from here, prancing through Europe with his
opium pipe, arriving as Leonard. Saint Leonard.
There are only eight of us in the 10am. It’s why I come,
there’re fewer people looking for answers. Less ego-soaked
lives. But there’s a new girl – a victim, to drugs, to life –
walking in, her heels unfashionably tall. Her days are most
definitely numbered. She rolls back on the metal legs of the
institutional chairs, retreating from Posh Charlotte, who says:
“‘I’m not going down to see that festering cunt today.”
We look to the stairs that lead to the crypt. Every time we
become the death cop dissenters calling satan for our
Necromancer downstairs, the reeking spirit infects us.
Hippy Frank keeps his mouth zipped, but can’t quite help himself
from peeing out words like he’s wetting himself: “‘We are just
fractals of ourselves, man. Saint raped me in my sleep again last
Leonard gets me in my bed too. I’d do anything for my prince
of death, deserter of the house of Hapsburg; he’s so hot for a
goth without a band. Night terrors are easier to ride than his
lucid dreams. He pulls me into the darkness of night. Chemo sun
won’t save us.
“Dead cunt stealing my energy,” sneers Dodgy Dave. “‘He
manages to get his end away with all of us, every fucking
night.” Dave dips a fifth chocolate Hob Nob into five-sugared
Nescafe, “We’re obsessed, why can’t any of you think of me when
you’re wanking yourselves of?”
“We’ve done our deals,” I mumble.
We call the meeting to an end. Three smokers retreat to
the honey-tone limestone steps outside. Rest of us traipse
down the crumbling damp flight to the crypt, over the plague
bones and air-cooked splitting coffins. Metal and wood splinter
with phantasmagorical crunch. Bone-conjuring jakeys hide in the
warmth of the basement, sleeping on bombshelter pews, catatonic
dreamshakers, covered in the dust of crushed bodies as the
sacrifices howl. Their fears sonar around us. Morbid. I spark up
New girl slams up all black-patent behind me, light on her
cheeks, translucent as the moon-marble grave slabs behind her. I
see cocaine caked around her nose, leather jacket soul, heavy
from the bullets heading straight towards her. She’s a fashion
So in this subterranean vault, a slaughterhouse cellar,
decent girls not encouraged to walk past at night. Footsteps
disappear in vibrations of the bells above. Swallowed in the
shelter of our Lord. We kill for him. We consume corpses. We
take out the stupid lil marketeering PR influencers. Drunk on
their highlife blood, as if their stupidity could sanitise us
from the growing divide of the planet. Smashing their faces
of bullshitting – finally not lying. New girl. She’s so about
to get it. It’s gone on for so long. Backdoor bodies, plague-pit
chop chop chopping of meat – of experimental flesh, learning how
the veins joined up the maze of bodies. Serving Saint Leonard.
We say our little spell, and feel the haunting.
“We will grow rich, b’neath the bells of Shoreditch.”
Starworshipping this soul-feasting disease. Kill. Kill. Kill.
“From the dwellings of the dead, we offer you the haunts of the
living.” Fashion ghosts. Fashion ghosts fly.
The PR we sacrificed last week: screecher. She’d had a long
millennia 20 years in. All the up-all-nighters, none of us can
catch up with their young years. We suck their neg vitality on
this confluence of fermented grape juice, unleavened black bread
and Roman pentangle sewers, and lay out all the engendered, the
strippers, the whores, the heroines, nurses, fishwives, beer
slags, gin drunks, the artists, the PRs, the marketing cunts, the
dicks of social. They all fall into our meetings, dragged in by
legacy, stories of old Shoreditch and rumours of our spiritlicking
ghost, his tomb adorned with talismans in the shape of
sigils, draining the streets with our slaughters, “We are
bonemasters to the church, and the church is me.” Our Romeo,
who flattened protestantism. As long as we energise Hapsburg
in the dark ark heart of Shoreditch – we will all kill.
Kirsty had her first show on Portobello Road as a teenager.
CONTRIBUTION: Pure Has Nothing To Do With Clean, Paul Sakoilsky, Cedric Christie, Geraldine Swayne, Gavin Turk etc group show, Angus Hughes Gallery, October 2018.
Cameo in Grace Rider, the Kelli Ali feature film and album project: Ghost Driver, completing 2018.
DOUBLEPLAY, collaboration with GIL DE RAY, premiere in NYC, 2018.
LIMINALITY, group show, GALLERY 46, August 2018
2018: POETRY PERFORMANCES: PIKES, IBIZA. 8MM, BERLIN. RUIGOORD, AMSTERDAM. BAR SATURN, NEW ORLEANS. LONDON: NEW GUMS. SHACKLEWELL ARMS. PAPERDRESS VINTAGE. GALLERY 46. UNDERGROUND ENGLAND. SANCTUM HOTEL. LOCK TAVERN. CURIOUS ARTS FESTIVAL. STOKE NEWINGTON LITERARY FESTIVAL.
Various poetry films, 2015-2017.
2017: BERLIN: WHISKY + WORDS. PARIS: VARIOUS. LONDON: BOOKSLAM. FACTORY DE JOIE. WINDMILL, BRIXTON. COLD LIPS II launch, April 22nd: supporting Doctor John Cooper Clarke with Dave Barbarossa (Adam Ant/Bow Wow Wow). DOC N ROLL FESTIVAL HOST. BYLINE FESTIVAL. GRINYGOG FESTIVAL. OUTSIDERS FESTIVAL. Women In Art discussions at Shoreditch House x 3: Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, Sharon Kivland, & more
2016: 40 years of Punk Fashion, 100 Club/ Converse with Viv Albertine, Skinny Girl Diet. Doc N Roll Festival, Arthouse N8 with Nina Antonia. Fashion & gender identity with Louie Banks at Shoreditch House. Residency with St Leonards Horses. Cultural Traffic, Colchester Arts Centre. Unedited tour, November, with film: Geoff Nicholson at the Horse Hospital, Outsiders Art Festival, Stoke Newington Music Festival, In Yer Ear. Kulture performance with Daniel Avery remix of Beyond the Wizard’s Sleeve, Soho Radio. Band of Holy Joy soundscape collaborations, Resonance FM. DCHA, University of Brighton, Our Machines with Vesna Petresin, panel host. DOC N ROLL FESTIVAL HOST
SLEEVE NOTES, 12×12, group show, ArtFix, Soho, London. 2015.
October 2015, founder of Sylvia Plath Fan Club, anti-literary night. Performers include: Sue Webster (Tim Noble & Sue Webster), Gail Porter, Lisa Moorish, Murray Lachlan Young, Dave Randall, Dave Barbarossa, Rushika Wickramasinghe, Stuart McKenzie, Mat Lloyd, Tim Wells, Emily Harris, Sogul Sol, Nina Antonia & many more.
Host and founder: HEARTS VS MINDS series of discussions exploring tech, creativity and industry, Searcy’s Urban Coterie at M Hotel, Shoreditch.
KISS ME CLEOPATRA: pop film for Kelli Ali, 2013, starring transgender superstar Munroe Bergdorf. Co-ordinated the launch event at W.
MY FAMILY IS A NIGHT OUT ALONG BRANCHES IN A STARLIT GLADE, Tate Britain (curated by Tracey Moberly), Label, 2012
AUTOMATONIKA E-GO E-ROTIKA DEMONIKA, Tate Modern, 2011.
AGENT TAMI FLEW October 2008 – June 2009. KATALOGUE group show. Sao Paulo, Oscar Niemeyer Museum.
Art donations: VOGEU, ArtBattle/Stretch, 2016. Medicins Sans Frontieres: CHANEL FIGHT 2015. TV EYE, Art Saves Lives, 2012. BILLY WAS A DANCER, Muck Rock 2008
SLACK ALICE FILMS: various projects inc. TANTRIC TOURISTS. Co-producer. Awards include: East End Film Festival Best First Feature, 2008, Kahuna Burger, Hawaii Film Festival 2009, Best Documentary, Mexico Film Festival, 2009, and other awards at Nevada, Fort Lauderdale and more. Distributed by Independent.