28 Lava La Rue: BUTTER-FLY

You know that I ain’t blind

I can feel the tension, even when we’re not together

Even when we talk on facetime

Tell me it ain’t wishful thinking

Tell me, girl, I’m not wrong

You know that we more than get along baby


Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaw shit. That song… hits… Shit. It’s actually borderline difficult to listen to.

No no no, it’s not difficult because of the phenomenal Lava La Rue, silly! La Rue has absolutely become one of my favourite things in 2021! I love her more than many of my direct family members! I definitely love her more than at least a portion of the people I’ve been married to! In fact, she’s the official winner of the 2021 Necessary Evil One to Watch™ award! Do I have a logo for that? I feel like I should have a logo for that. Hang on a second…

Yes, I know I have beautiful eyes, try saying something original we all don’t already know every now and then, yeah? Lava La Rue now officially has the same accolade awarded to her by Necessary Evil as she did by the Grauniad way back in July 2019. But did that Grauniad award come with such a beautiful logo? No. So sit down, your nonsense didn’t mean shit.

The thing that hits hardest about G.O.Y.D (‘Girl Of Your Dreams’, because, fuck, it couldn’t be more fitting) is that it’s now been pretty much a year long reminder of idealised lives that I’ve built for myself in my head based on opportunities lost. I’ve got to be careful here, because there’s a (tiny) chance someone who knows The Person Involved might read it, or even – horror upon horrors! – The Person Involved themselves might actually read it. I’m going to cloak all the information so well that even if The Person happens to read it, they will still have no idea it’s about them. Haha! This is amazing! You could be reading this article now and have no idea it’s actually about you! You are such a fucking idiot! In your face, Winston! Oh, erm, sorry, I mean: in your face, Person Involved! Ignore that ‘Winston’ part, that was a typo. Winston, if you’re reading this, I’m no talking about you, get over yourself. Even if The Person Involved does happen to come across this entry, they might consider the possibility that it might be about them, but it’ll be vague enough or them to just assume they’re being big headed. It’s a wonderfully devilish scheme. Hey, but if you know me, just come up to me in person when everything’s quiet, ask me nicely and I absolutely will not tell you! Fucking hell, you think I’m falling for that??

So, we’re going way back to early 2020, before the Global Bastard had properly hit, back when all we were getting was reports about these poor Chinese people and thanking our lucky stars that stuff like that only ever happened to Asians and Africans. I met The Person Involved and we clicked on levels I hadn’t clicked with a fellow clicker for a long time. They were funny, their heart and politics were in precisely the correct place, they were cool, our interests aligned and even if they didn’t I wanted to hear more about theirs and they mine. They had the uncanny ability to make everything and anything fun and interesting, they very quickly became an actual reason to look forward to leaving the house, which was especially impressive considering The Last of Us Pt.2 had just been delivered. Then, a dry coughing and no taste disaster struck, and the biggest consequence of this was that The Person Involved and I could no longer physically see each other, The Person Involved living in… a place, and me living in… a separate place. Still we’d often send each other messages and voice recordings, and make plans to visit each other’s house ‘when all this is over’. Around this time, I started writing my Rumble in the Bumble series as a bit of a lark (while also aching to salve my crushing loneliness, y’know, as a bit of a side hustle). I met Meghan. Next time I saw The Person Involved, I was engaged to be married, and I might have seen them a handful of more times before I was actually wed.

I think this is the one photo I’m legally allowed to show. Don’t do any of that CSI ‘enhance’ bullshit looking for names, OK?

My marriage was a near traumatic and miserable experience from the start, something I knew it was becoming long before the date came. Meghan assured me that all of her worst qualities would disappear once were married and all of her trust issues and insecurities would therefore dissipate. I can’t remember if I truly believed her, or if I just dearly wanted to in order to avoid the painful reaction than me cancelling the wedding would inspire. Also, I was a fucking coward. Mainly afraid of my own fiancée/wife. I never attempted to turn to The Person Involved in the hopes of igniting with them the sort of loving and compassionate relationship that I was missing at home, because that’s obviously a shitty thing to do to absolutely everyone involved. But I thought about it. And I wondered. Hey, wouldn’t that at least be some sort of get-out…?

Oh, and before you bestow on me any sort of praise for my mature reasoning, know that I absolutely would not consider other people’s feelings in a relationship for about fifteen years before I got clean. I was a stone cold scumbag for years, which was the reason behind my first marriage failing, and I still wonder whether that shittiness is at the true core of my being, so I’ve got a lot of mealy mouthed suggestions of properness before I make enough cosmic reparations to even bring me back to a balanced human being!

Instead, I didn’t even tell The Person Involved about my marital problems (I didn’t actually tell anyone, and only my Mum was even slightly clued in through the stuff she saw with her own eyes), as I worried that would be taking a step too far into intimacy. Seriously, who knows where that could lead?? One minute you’re complaining to your neighbour about the area’s WiFi signal, the next you’re both engaged in a lustful and sinfully debauched expression of debauchery on their kitchen table. True story. I didn’t tell The Person Involved that I’d left my wife and had to move back in with my Mum. I didn’t tell The Person Involved that I had filed for an annulment. I didn’t tell the Person Involved that I’d spoken to my wife on one occasion since April. Perhaps there was a perfect time for all this, even after the marriage. A time after the separation was official where stars could align and we’d be able to further a relationship that’s been ‘Written like a haiku‘. But somewhere along this timeline The Person Involved got a partner, one that it was quickly evident that they were quite seriously into. They’re still together now. I officially wish them all the best. Off the record… I, erm, yeah, I have similar feelings… of course…

And, fuck, can I ever feel the tension even when we’re not together…?

Lava La Rue, though, is everything you’ll ever need in your life. ‘BUTTER-FLY’ is only five tracks and 19 minutes, but the standard is so high and the official BPM (Bops per Minute) so off the fucking chart that I had to feature her this high. Musically? We’ve already discussed that, big tick. Stylistically? First of all, just look at her, she’s an absolute goddess who manages to dress like closed eye visuals from the greatest mushroom trip ever, so tick there as well. Philosophically and politically? Fucking mega tick! She’s a founding member of he ludicrously beneficial NiNE8 Collective, an underground art group that self-produce everything from the music they make to the clothes they wear. She also takes a welcome (uh-oh) Marxist stance on art and creativity, as a person in foster care as a child and cut off from many of the privileges her peers in the arts community, has called for fairer representation and increased opportunities for people to create and realise artistic fulfilment. Sorry to bring race into it, and by God this pot is long enough already, but I’m reminded of a wonderful article this year by Bertrand Cooper about who gets to create black culture.

A decade of unprecedented interest in Black arts and letters has now passed—the greater portion of it bought with footage of people possessing Floyd’s particulars lying dead on the tar—and still you cannot walk into a bookstore to find a shelf named for Black authors raised in poverty. That category of experience remains absent amidst the dozens of shelves now labelled for Black authors of every other identity and intersection.

Cooper also casts a Marxist view over the current cultural standings, and those people unofficially ‘elected’ to speak for al of black culture. Arts and culture are still being helmed with the upper middle class spokespeople and those brought up in the comfortable surroundings. Occasionally these black creators are assumed to have real understanding of poverty simply because they are black, “as if all Black Creators are assumed to have the same insight”. We need some intersection here – nobody is denying any black person’s validity, but the diversity across the socioeconomic scale sometimes seems like it’s nonexistent. Cooper uses a particular magazine’s claim of allyship as emblematic of the issue:

By January, #OscarsSoWhite was issuing a clarion call for popular culture to do something, and six months later, the culture’s victories were being tabulated. Essence Magazine dedicated its May issue to five Black women who were said to be “changing the game” in Hollywood: Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy), Ava DuVernay (When They See Us, Selma), Debbie Allen (A Different World), Issa Rae (Insecure), and Mara Brock Akil (Girlfriends). Between them, at least three attended private high schools, at least three had parents with college degrees, and all of them attended college themselves—Stanford, Northwestern, Dartmouth, and UCLA are on the list. Had the Essence article come out a few years later, Courtney A. Kemp (Power) would have assuredly made an appearance; Kemp received her bachelor’s at Brown University and her master’s at Columbia, attending not one but two Ivy League schools.

But, fuck, as a pasty fat white idiot I’m in dander of entering extremely problematic territory here, I just get excited when things go a bit Marxy. Read Bertrand Cooper‘s article, it’s amazing, buy all of Lava La Rue and NiNE8’s stuff, they’re fantastic.


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