Those New York ’Nineties—Interviews (pearls of wisdom)

This entire menu here above called Those New York ’Nineties is just for fun—a frisky little soufflé laying no claim to profundity, presented for moral instruction alongside The Imagination Thief. My presence in the 114 film/TV projects and other items of footage in the menu probably adds up to something like one full B-movie’s worth of performance, as a rough estimate. Here on this page is just the “Interviews” component in particular, but a more general introduction and an insufficient apology for Those New York ’Nineties as a whole is at Those New York ’Nineties – Introduction.

The following snippets are a bit randomly snipped, so get ready for some fast-forwarding with the video-player, because not too much coherence or deepness should be expected here. Meira Moët’s interview on my sofa at 190 Norfolk Street on the Lower East Side was for her TV show Culture Up; the network talk-show host is Maury Povich; Caeser Pink’s interview in front of the brick wall was for his Imperial Orgy online show; the unintentional corporate sponsorship constituted by the rudely camera-hogging carton of Tropicana Orange Juice occurred at Koji’s apartment in Greenpoint, Brooklyn; and the other two set-ups were in 1997 and 1999 with my friend Julie Zale, shot by her in her Long Island house in Huntington NY.

Rohan Quine - New York - Interviews 1[Crapping on about New York.] (47”)

 

[Text:] It’s a place that you can never exhaust it, you can never beat it, it will always be cussedly and grindingly moving on and doing its own thing, as a town, and it’s very unforgiving and unaffectionate in many ways, and yet it’s got its own lovable logic to it, too. I love the running around through the subways, I love the endless to-ing and fro-ing and looking at the watch and planning things and running here and running there and getting to know the same steps here and there or at stations around town, and the intersections and the bustle and the people and the talk and the parties and the frenzy, you know.
(See video here.) (read more…)

Rohan Quine - New York - Interviews 2[…And crapping on about moving there from L.A.] (2’23”)

 

[Text:] When I left college I thought, “I’m about to leave all these people and I’m never going to see them again, so I think I’m gonna go round and say a slightly emotional goodbye, not too emotional but a slightly emotional goodbye, at least register the fact that I’ve known them.” And so I went into a few rooms—and everyone’s milling about ready to leave, you know—so I went into a few rooms and said, “So, may not see you again, but, you know, good luck—have a nice life.” And I only had to do this about four times before somebody, you know, in that very English way that you just described (where, you know, you’re not allowed to be so emotional), said “Oh I think I’m gonna cry in a minute!” And I immediately realised that I was perhaps being a bit “radio talk-show”. So I shut up and didn’t bother doing it any more; I just said “Bye!” Which is always the best way, because when you leave somewhere and you say a beautiful goodbye to someone, you know that in five minutes’ time they’re gonna come round the corner again, and you’re going to bump into them again. And the people you really want to say goodbye to, you know, they’re gonna drift off and you’re not going to see them, and that’s just how life is. So—how did I get onto all that?
(See video here.) (read more…)

Rohan Quine - New York - Interviews 3[…And about emotional developments.] (1’44”)

 

[Text:] [Julie:] You seemed to understand what compassion was, as an idea, but you didn’t feel it.

I felt it in a vivid sort of generalised way, but the compassion that comes from a direct feeling of the humanity and the vulnerability and the humanness and the smile in the eyes of the person I was with—that had taken a while to filter its way through to me. An early stage was when I did a week and a half of door-to-door sales. And this was of course a horrendous job to be doing, for just about anybody; and I came away from that week and a half, feeling (1) that it had felt like a month and a half, and (2) that all the people I’d gone and knocked on the door of were, very many of them kind of, I must admit not very bright, but—nice. And I wasn’t expecting that. I guess I had vaguely been expecting, without intending it, people to be kind of cunning and mean; but they’re not.
(See video here.) (read more…)

Rohan Quine - New York - Interviews 4[… And the death/fear/horror side of things.] (3’07”)

 

[Text:] [Julie:] D’you think about death ever?

I don’t think enormously about death, no, I’m more interested in what I can do and what happens while I’m alive. There’s some slightly strange junction in me between what goes on in there [head] and this [body], as seen or experienced by what’s in there [head]. There’s some oddness with regard to my inhabiting this body, it feels so sort of naked and vulnerable and damageable and almost as if I’m wondering, from within, how the hell I contrived to imprison myself within this body—I think I mean a body. How did I end up in a body? It’s as if I’m some kind of spirit, and “Oh, I’m finding myself in this? And this is susceptible to such pain.” Sometimes when I’m walking along, I imagine “Oh my god, how bizarre and strange, the way these components are moving themselves along, how bizarre and odd. Not exactly horrible—it’s not that I hate being in it, it’s just uncomfortable somehow to be in a body, although … this body’s given me pleasure, but there’s something precarious about it. Certainly I feel very electrical and very sort of wired and highly strung. It feels the opposite of padded and puddingy and comfortable and insulated; it feels the opposite of that.
(See video here.) (read more…)

Rohan Quine - New York - Interviews 5[…And screen-related stuff.] (2’04”)

 

[Text:] [Caeser:] You mentioned the film stuff. Are there any films you’re involved with that you would like to mention?

Well, I would like to give a little mention to Zoo. It has Debbie Harry and Paul Bartel and David Carradine as the three names that are involved. And they had me playing Goatboy—my lover is a goat, believe it or not, in this movie. And it’s kind of a bestialists’ who-dunnit. There are all these people: there’s Pantherman and there’s Dalmatian Lady and there is Horse Man and all these animal-lovers. And the funny thing was that although I was employed as Goatboy and my goat actually had a name—Gemilla the goat—I never actually met Gemilla. And I think it was an oversight: in the hurly-burly of filming, you know, someone forgot to give me my goat, and I kept very quiet about this (now it can be told) because, after all, given a choice of ten hours of filming lugging a goat around (or rather being lugged around by a goat) and ten hours of filming just waving a stick of celery, which is what I did instead, you’d pick the latter, you know, for ease and enjoyment. So I did, and we cavorted around in the hay bales, and there were donkeys and chihuahuas and llamas. And getting a llama to hit its mark for ten successive takes is very very tricky, but they did it, they pulled it off. And so yeah, I wore this sort of little faun-coloured bodysuit and lots of glittery eye-shadow and waved my stick of celery.
(See video here.) (read more…)

New York - Interviews 6[This is me wittering about my U.S. immigration travails, and about an electronic music duo that I was half of, named Apricot Feline. The two of us did record two or three demo tracks in small recording-studios, but it never quite got off the ground because the other half of it, my friend Shigar, had to go back to live in Japan because of his own immigration travails. He’d have been the half with the talents to write and play the actual music. Since I lacked all such skills, my own contribution would have been more of the floating-about-on-stage variety, I suppose, though the specifics of this never quite had time to become clear. Fortunately the couple of vocals of mine that we recorded did manage to hit the right notes, and if you squint a bit then they even sound kind of halfway decent—though I’m sure this was partly because I was well “tweaked in the mix”. So that’s the somewhat abridged history of Apricot Feline: a fey and lovely little electronic pop duo that was never quite destined to come properly into existence, and for me a unique and very self-contained chapter-ette that I hold in affectionate memory.] (1’21”)

The immigration thing is a little bit more of a hassle, potentially, because I’m always here on a kind of thread, immigration-wise. I’ve had to jump through various burning hoops to stay here—complicated, boring immigration law requirements. And I think that this coming year 1998 I’ll be able to renew my visa for two more years, to last until the end of January 2001. But what happens then, I don’t know.
(See video here.) (read more…)

Rohan Quine - New York - Interviews 7[…And mentioning the paintings I’d done.] (25”)

 

[Text:] [Meira:] And we are now sitting in front of one of your paintings. Tell us about the art that you do.

This is a profound painting called Fried Eggs by Moonlight, and its profundity I’ve not yet myself worked out, I don’t know what it means. I think it’s basically some kind of exploration of fear, because the guy’s looking pretty fearful, at the moon with this claw on it. And the fried eggs were a little homage to Dalí, who does notable drippy fried eggs.
(See video here.) (read more…)

Rohan Quine - New York - Interviews 8[…And tattoos.] (32”)

 

[Text:] I’m not putting down the art of tattooing but for me I didn’t look at my actual image designs as art—but yeah, the fact that they were there, the fact that they were placed there was kind of part of an artistically conceived situation. That’s partly why they are so emblematic and so separated and so poisedly placed here and there, rather than being, rather than being organic. I wanted to be “uncanny and unnatural” in the placement and the simplicity of them, as if they were emblems or labels—I didn’t want them to melt into me, I wanted them to be slightly alien in that way.
(See video here.) (read more…)

Rohan Quine - New York - Interviews 9[…And modelling.] (1’20”)

 

[Text:] [Meira:] You modelled with Tyson [Beckford], and you were in an Absolut Vodka ad.

Yeah, with Tyson; that was for OneWorld magazine. We were modelling clothing by Epperson, and I think that was the last gig that Tyson did for free; you wouldn’t catch him doing that now!
(See video here.) (read more…)

Rohan Quine - New York - Interviews 10[…And gender.] (2’27”)

 

[Text:] [Caeser:] An element of your image is androgyny. Is there anything philosophical or political behind that?

Yeah, partly. Following on from just its being natural, there is also a political element which is that I think that macho and masculinity or masculine behaviour is responsible for so many wars and so many killings and so much disaster around the world, that—this is a cliché but I think it’s true—if more women were in charge, fewer people would be killing each other; I think it’s very obvious that that’s the case. And so if I can help to assail the structure whereby there is such a powerful concealed set of instructions for each person to go by, a set of boundaries that they must not transgress: being as I naturally transgress them anyway, yeah I enjoy inhabiting that. And that’s part of the reason I’ve never done drag, really. Because drag is a fabulous thing and there are fabulous drag queens (some of whom would be very fierce to compete with), but that’s a whole thing that’s put on. Whereas I don’t want to put on; I want to inhabit from within and push out, within the androgyny, rather than have it as a layer that I imprint on top.
(See video here.) (read more…)

Rohan Quine - New York - Interviews 11[…And wittering about having won a Sinéad O’Connor look-alike contest in the East Village, an unexpected and spontaneous occurrence, but bizarrely fitting since I loved her music.] (1’32”)

 

[Text:] [Meira:] You played a Sinéad O’Connor look-alike.

That was the easiest $500 I’ve ever earned. I turned up at one and a half hours’ notice to this Sinéad O’Connor look-alike competition, which was a publicity stunt pulled for a music magazine. And there were only five other contestants: and (I kid you not) one of them was a guy with a beard; another one was a guy without a beard but with long dark hair; another was a woman, so that was a good start, but she had long blonde hair; and there was one other contestant only, who had shaved his head, but he didn’t look anything like Sinéad O’Connor. So there was no competition.

[Conversation on Maury Povich TV show.]
(See video here.) (read more…)

Rohan Quine - New York - Interviews 12[…And about writing.] (1’02”)

[Text:] [Meira:] You’ve got so many rave reviews since your book came out. NYweb says about you that “it’s one of those seminal works that goes on to be accorded the status of a classic,” and the New York Press said that “Sometimes Quine succeeds with things that you don’t think language can do,” and you were even compared to Anne Rice. That is so wonderful. How did all those reviews make you feel as a first-time author?

Very happy, it was sweet of them to write it.
(See video here.) (read more…)

Rohan Quine - New York - Interviews 13[…And about smoking. Until quitting in 2001, it was a daily average of about ten painfully super-slim Capri cigarettes—a fierce little lifestyle in themselves, these things were, each packet like a chic little array of size-double-zero fashion-models.] (21”)

[Text:] And at this point I’d like to say thank you to our corporate sponsor, Capri—a satisfying smoke and a way of life. They look like joints; I’ve had more than one bartender say to me, “Could you step outside and smoke that, please?” because they think it’s a joint. And I’m very flattered because my joints are not this professional, I can tell you.
(See video here.) (read more…)

Rohan Quine - New York - Interviews 14[…And about my boyfriend.] (1’51”)

[Text:] [Julie:] How does it feel to be in a relationship for six years?

Oh, very lucky, very lucky. Our surface has been very calm through the years, there’s not really been apparent ups and downs. I’m vaguely aware of sort of concealed jaggednesses here and there, but they’ve really been very small over the years. You know, hardly ever have we shouted at each other, it’s hardly ever happened, and it’s just been a great companionship and sensuality and… As he once said, it’s not been “hot and messy”. He said this with a trace of an idea that that might, that’s perhaps in some ways a shame, but also I think he knows as well as I do that there are many good things about not being hot and messy in a relationship. For one thing we’ve survived. It’s been very rich and sort of adult … and very cool! Just a big, rich gift, basically.

We had a bunny, my boyfriend and I had a little rabbit, for a while, a little white bunny that was discovered on the street, on Avenue A and Seventh Street. I like bunnies too, bunnies are wonderful. [Name of rabbit:] Nemesis!

I just don’t like the sort of bouncy masculinity of dogs, I like something sleeker, more catlike.
(See video here.) (read more…)

Rohan Quine - New York - Interviews 15[…And previous relationships.] (4’29”)

[Text:] Well, I remember the first boy that I was infatuated with was called […]. I was six and two-thirds and I began to get really interested in this boy and to think about him a lot, and I plucked up all my courage … and I sent him a Christmas card, oh my god, that was the most daring thing I could do! Because the headmistress of that little primary school had instigated a post-box, a mailbox in the big assembly hall, and this was meant to engender a spirit of goodwill towards all men and women, and nice feelings and caring and sharing; and of course, children being children, all it really did was engender a nasty Thatcherite sort of sense of competitiveness over who got the most Christmas cards and whether someone got more Christmas cards than somebody else, you know. So that didn’t quite work, but anyway it was a nice idea. And so there was this mailbox and I used that mailbox to send him his Christmas card. And then of course didn’t hear anything back whatsoever! He was sort of shy and probably wondered simply for about two seconds why I’d sent him a Christmas card.
(See video here.) (read more…)

Rohan Quine - New York - Interviews 16[…And children—a strange phenomenon that I’ve heard about but have encountered little and thought about less.] (17”)

[Julie:] Do you ever think about having children?
No, I really don’t enjoy the company of children! [Mirth.] Children are a great thing and it’s kind of a good thing that they happen, I suppose, but I think I’ll leave them to others.
(See video here.) (read more…)


 

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The above “Interviews” videos in Those New York ’Nineties are also here:

And in the Vimeo playlist Those New York ’Nineties—Interviews:
Interviews 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16.

And in the YouTube playlist Those New York ’Nineties—Interviews:
Interviews 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16.