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DANCING IN THE RAIN... Music, memory and reflections on the past

By (S)llew la Wulf | Llewella_love_wolf | 23 Jan 2021


I've been on a bit of a memory trip with music, and it has bought me back, way back all the way to the mid 90s... This song, Floot by Wagon Christ, from the album Throbbing Pouch, was a really pivotal moment song for me in so many ways... The whole album was. The video is sort of just my chosen wallpaper, but also somehow ties into it... Let me tell you a story...


It all began in my home town. I was 18. My dad had kicked me out of the family home when I was 17, which was traumatic but also a good thing; he was a violent and abusive man and I had finally escaped his clutches. Unfortunately, my mother and 2 younger siblings hadn't, and he threatened violence if I tried to contact them again - violence towards my mother. So... My mum then, after years of abuse from him, decided to file for a divorce. We had to see each other in secret though for a year or so.


I was quite vulnerable looking back, although didn't feel that at the time. Got together with an older man (daddy/security issues) who asked me to marry him. I said yes, because I thought that was the done thing, thought it was what I needed, but pretty quickly, almost as soon as I said yes, realised that marriage was the last thing I wanted or needed. With anyone really, and definitely not him. He wasn't right for me. He knew I wanted to spread my wings and leave my hometown, but he didn't want to and was nervous about losing me, which is what seemed to prompt the proposal. Said he couldn't live without me...made me feel in some ways, I couldn't live without him.


One sunny weekend in May, I travelled up north, to the city I now live in, to visit some friends who had moved there a few months earlier. This album, Throbbing Pouch, was one that we all liked. I had my copy playing on repeat on my Sony Walkman on the journey there... Excited to go and see my friends; one of whom was a gay man that I had somewhat of a crush on, and who had introduced me to Wagon Christ, and Aphex Twin ré my last post.


The weekend was so much fun. This city seemed so much more fun and vibrant than where I lived and the thoughts I had been having a few months earlier about leaving my home town (before my boyfriend proposed) came back... I understood that I'd been sidetracked. That my boyfriend didn't want me to grow, find myself in that way, had dissuaded me from moving, and suggested that what I needed was security and comfort, not to run off somewhere new and start a new life. Yes, he loved me and wanted to keep me close, and in many ways I regret my actions, as they hurt him, but I was young, knee jerk and actually quite a deeply troubled young woman. The last thing I needed was another man (like my father) to be controlling my actions and life.


My friends suggested I move up there, and in with them. So... On the train on the way home, listening to Throbbing Pouch, I thought some on that possibility. My boyfriend was away on a skiing holiday. I knew that if I was going to do it, if I was going to go, I needed to do it sooner rather than later; I needed to use the energy and courage I had then. I also thought about the reality that my mum's divorce had just come through and a) was it a bad omen somehow, the potential of me marrying someone (who I felt to be slightly controlling) at a time when my mother had just got out of her very controlling and violent relationship and b) was it selfish to leave and start my own life, at a point when she may need me? C) could I really justify breaking his heart, after all he had tried to give me? 


Floot is track 7 I think on the album. It was during this song (cos back in the day we listened to full albums, not just playlists :-)) that I had an epiphany of sorts... That marriage was the last thing I needed at this point, I needed to live. To grow. To find myself. I had gone from an abusive relationship with my father, straight into the arms of one older man, and then into another. Both whom (looking back) viewed me as a pet of sorts; pretty, vulnerable and in need of training, but not a sentient being in my own right. No, I needed to go... And as for my mother, I just hoped she would understand... But yes, all of these understandings and thoughts occurred during this song... I got home. Told my mum I was leaving. She was devastated, angry. Said she needed me there. I think she now understands why I had to go but it took her years to forgive me and we didn't speak for the first 6 months I was there. I wrote a letter to my boyfriend, explaining to him the decision I had made, apologising for not having the courage to tell him to his face, and attempting to express why. My landlord in my house at the time (who I lived with) was very easy going, didn't mind about me not giving notice and offered to drive me up north with all my stuff. So, the following weekend, I moved. And never looked back. 


My first few months in this city (where I still live) were tough. It transpired that one of the men living in the house, one of my friends (so I thought) had designs on me and when it became obvious I wasn't interested, he accused me of moving in under false pretences. That I had used my 'sex' to manipulate them all into allowing me to stay. It didn't matter that they had all asked me to come and stay. At this time I had started knocking about with a group of skater punk types, around an infamous in my new town pub, called The Old Angel. So when I, once again found myself kicked out onto the streets, by my 'friends' this time, I spent most of my time sofa surfing, spending time at people's houses, getting messy, drinking, smoking weed, listening to music. Technically though, I was homeless for about a month and spent probably 5 or 6 nights in that time sleeping rough outdoors, under bushes in parks. It was terrifying... I felt so alone and more vulnerable than I ever had. Obviously I reflected, on those nights I spent sleeping rough, on whether I had made a big mistake... Should I have just stayed in my home town and become the good wife, been the good daughter... Become a mother myself? Even though I knew I could just go home, and admit defeat, I was adamant I would somehow make a life for myself there... 


One night, I was really hungry and decided to ask people for spare change.  I made quite a bit... I was a pretty young thing, little, with big Disney eyes and also quite well spoken. I think people's perceptions of homelessness were challenged when they saw and spoke to me, so many stopped to talk and ask my story. One guy bought me a meal and told me his brother had a flat I could move into, and within a few days, he had sorted that for me. I sometimes think on how terribly wrong that could have gone... You hear of young homeless women getting lured in by predators, willing to 'help them out', but I was lucky. It was a decent flat, stayed there for about a year until I ended up moving in with a group of people and working at the pub I mentioned, The Old Angel... That city, very quickly opened up and became my home.


So much has happened in between now and then, that I don't really feel any need to go into here, but that album, and that song in particular always brings me back neatly to those last few teenage years, and how troubled but also vital they were. They shaped me. 


I lost my Sony Walkman, and all my CDs, most of my belongings actually, when I moved into that first flat, so for many, many years didn't listen to, or even think of that album, Throbbing Pouch. The video above, in which I'm dancing in the rain, is from just a few years ago. At the train station in my home town, about to come back to this city I now call home, with my kids. We had gone to visit my family. I was not listening to Throbbing Pouch actually, was listening to a song called The Look by Metronomy (here is the original video I made) in a pretty low fi way.... (starts from around 35 seconds in) 


 Music playing out loud, as I was dancing, opposed to me putting it on afterwards, as is my want now... There are also no effects, which somehow makes it more magical, the dark clouds, the bright evening sunlight and the rain... But also, I had a similar feeling, as I danced at this point, of something pivotal about to happen... I'd had 2 friends die in the previous year, one of whom was someone I met, and was close to when I first moved to this town, which had made me reflect a lot on my early days in this new city, and my feelings, the things I was running away from in this old town, that this particular day, I was leaving with my 2 children (one of whom can be seen dancing with me), were perhaps still things I was running away from... Perhaps I needed to stop running and attempt to somehow settle down a bit in life. As a single parent, working in a low paid job, with no thoughts for the future, I realised that much as life had in many ways moved on, a part of me was still that frightened little girl who got kicked out of an abusive home all those years ago...

I was also painfully aware that a man (THE man) I had not seen for a year now due to a break up that had nothing to do with falling out of love, whom I was due to meet up with for the first time, in a few weeks time, felt like home in the way that my new home town did... Despite my rational self, I had missed him dearly, still had strong feelings for him, my heart felt only at home when with him, but that called into question what home actually meant to me... He had caused me so much pain before, so what on earth was I doing going to meet him again? I loved him, yes, but i was aware that allowing him back into my life at that point was in some ways the opposite of what I needed, and was aware, thinking and reflecting back on my life... Standing, dancing in the rain on this platform at the intersection between 2 worlds (for me) that not only had I never lost that feeling of running away or towards something... Perhaps he was part of a lesson life was trying to teach me... 

I remember feeling exhilarated as it started to rain... People watching me with curiosity and in some ways disdain, because I obviously didn't care about their presence or thoughts (and people often feel threatened by that level of freedom in others). I remember crying, with a mixture of so many emotions, and feeling comforted by the rain because it drowned out and washed the tears away... I was thinking back on all that had come before and knowing that I felt slightly out of control, and in fear of what was coming next... Looking back now, and knowing all that did come next, I think those tears were more valid than I could have realised... This last few years has been pitted with an equality of severe highs and lows, and yes... That man has served as a lesson to me in many ways. Has taught me a lot about my own capacity to love, my own needs, drivers, as well as boundaries.  But more than that, I somehow have managed to move my life on and forwards, and although that traumatised girl, cast out into the world by an abusive father, is still in there somewhere, I no longer feel like I'm running away or towards anything. And I feel that my idea of what constitutes home is exactly where it should be - inside me. 



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(S)llew la Wulf
(S)llew la Wulf

Yet another artist screaming (colourfully) into the void. I like to dance. I write. I do self portraiture and i draw... I cover topics ranging from racial bias to female sexuality to capitalism to rape culture and of course, love ❤️


A selection of writing about love and sex, the pursuit of, the absence of and the midst...

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