Abandon Normal Devices Podcast
Abandon Normal Devices Podcast
Ep. 15 \\ Uma Breakdown and Johanna Hedva talk LA Noir Part 2

Ep. 15 \\ Uma Breakdown and Johanna Hedva talk LA Noir Part 2

Big emotions, spirituality and 90s Noir. Part two of a conversation between Unseen Futures fellow Uma Breakdown and their mentor, artist, writer and musician, Johanna Hedva.

Welcome to episode 15 of the Abandon Normal Devices podcast, and part two of a two part conversation between Unseen Futures fellow Uma Breakdown and their mentor, artist, writer and musician, Johanna Hedva. 

Unseen Futures was our first ever artist-led fellowship programme that ran from September 2022 to January 2023 and if you haven’t had a listen to part one of this podcast, we recommend you go back and have a listen. 

Please note that there is strong language used in this recording that some people may find offensive. 

Ruth McCullough 0:14

Welcome to Episode 15 of the Abandoned Normal Devices podcast and part two of a two part conversation between unseen futures fellows Uma Breakdown and their mentor, artist, writer and musician Johanna Hedva. Unseen Futures was our first ever artists led fellowship programme that ran from September 2022 to January 2023. And if you haven't listened to the first part of this podcast, we recommend you go back and have a listen. Johanna and Uma have a number of shared interest including horror movies and a fascination with California as a location for a occult strange occurrences. They also have a similar aesthetic defining as disabled goth queers, whose complementary interests are bound up in big emotions and spirituality as well as heavy metal and horror films. Uma and Johanna's artistic connection were cemented during Unseen Futures and the bond between them is joyfully evident in this recording. At the moment, they are both producing pieces of work that are influenced by La noir, which they refer to during the recordings as 90s noir revival and speculative Los Angeles. Please note that there's strong language use in this recording that some people may find offensive.

Johanna Hedva 1:29

This like goblin came into my life. And that's why I'm now interested in pro wrestling and Queens of the Stone Age. I was never into Queens of the Stone Age because I was into Kayas maybe you know who that is?

Uma Breakdown 1:42

Yeah, I was, I mean, I was the same in that like I was very much into Kayas and then I was, I really enjoy Queens of the Stone Age and basically what happened is like MTV, I lived at a house that had MTV, just as Songs for the Deaf was released. And it was just on all the time. And I was like, I can't I kind of phased out and I've like listen to other stuff they've done afterwards. And actually this really good but it ruined it a little bit. But the first two albums I absolutely loved. Because it was just like this is this is welcome to Sky Valley. If for people that really liked Grand Funk Railroad and Can, but im really into that. Thing with Ross Robinson is like because Indigo Ranch where he recorded like for Deaf times and recorded first couple of Corn albums. So it's out in the middle of nowhere. And he's, his mum is like I hesitate to use the word like a cult leader, but quite close, in a kind of like a very new age, quite abstract spirituality but also kind of like sort of Silicon Valley mindfulness stuff and Ross Robbins is very, was very into this and in fact took the band's, so these new metal bands coming over like Corn coming down from like Bakersfield and stuff like that. And there taken out to this ranch in the middle of nowhere, all of whom with, all of whom are massive drug habits and then they're taken inducted into this like kind of mindfulness guru kind of philosophy and like taken out into the into the scrub land and stuff like that and then it's like quite weird approach to recording and it's something that I've really wanted, I've never found would be like a really thorough kind of like documentary on what it was like in like 1994 to 1996. Indigo Ranch and what he did to these people?

Johanna Hedva 3:35

Oh my God, well, yeah, well, somebody needs to make that immediately. The rural LA. Yeah, because I was gonna say there is a documentary like a YouTube one and I'm gonna try to find it of the other guy. And they go out there to that weird place. Rancho de la Luna that's it. Yeah. Yeah. Eagles of Death Metal. Yeah, this guy here. I'll put it in the chat. His name is Dave Catching. Right. Yeah, but it's called Rancho de la Luna. And like, yeah, like, here's the little documentary of it. I haven't seen it in a long time but but like yeah, he's like out there with like rifles. And this like awful like, because the thing about the desert out there is it's just like flat. You know? Like there's just like these like squat little like suburbian houses, suburbian. Suburban. And there's like, probably like wall to wall carpeting in there and like stucco walls and it's like a like a shithole. You know, like, it's not like a nice it's not like Palm Springs, where there's like bougie shit. It's like, like mess and you know emptiness. And so that's also like I have this like image of like in the early 90s like Kayas just like hooking up generators out in the desert with their, like orange amps. Like, I love it.

Uma Breakdown 5:14

Yeah, I mean what like it's such a that was like an image that, there's a lot of like, American DIY scene band things that like absolutely ruined reality for me and one of those is watching early YouTube videos of like one of their desert like gigs and like this is just amazing like this is so much there's so much more like to this experience than anything I've got playing, playing in like pub venues in Luton. And like that as well. You know that and watching like the Fugazi documentary Instrument is probably like the other half of it. That's like the urban bit. But yeah, that, that stuff's really amazing. Kayas is such weird band like they're so, it's so remarkable that they turned into well, they produced like, probably one of the biggest stadium bands in the world. Because they seem so not like that you know, the whole thing was like militantly aggro and,

Johanna Hedva 6:19

Well, and let me say this, like, I find Josh Homme. To be like, weirdly articulate and smart. Like, like, there was another YouTube show. They fucking took it down. I was trying to find it the other day. There was Matt Sweeney, who was in like Flint and stuff. He's a guitarist. He's like a, he's like a studio guy now. But he's like a really weird little freak. Like, like, you know, the legend is that like, one day, he was like, I'm gonna learn finger picking. And then he just locked himself in his room for two years. Only use finger picking like, but he had this show, like 10 years ago on YouTube. I watched fucking every episode, it was called Guitar Moves. And he would just go like to somebody's place and like, ask them how they play the guitar. And it was like Josh Homme, Keith Richards, like Annie Clark, like, like, Lenny, like from Motorhead. Like he would just go to these incredibly, like famous, famous people. And they were like edited into like, 10-15 minute episodes where he would be like, okay, so like, what's your move? Or like, what do you do like, and he knows their work really well. So he's like, you know, that one song? And the Josh Homme episode, I watched multiple times. Because Josh Homme is explaining everything because Josh Homme as a guitarist is like a wonky guitarist. Yeah. And he explains. He's like every guitar solo that I do, I'm trying to make fun of guitar solos. He's like, so at some point, they just become cabaret and stupid. And they're like, they're like making fun of scales. They're making fun of the rock guitar, God moves. But then, you know, he's like, but they have to be really articulate about it. Like he has this whole like theory. And it made me really respect him.

Uma Breakdown 8:11

Really? I wouldn't. I mean, I know that he's like a really, he's obviously a very interesting person and smart, there's a bit of like, kind of reactionary thing about him. I remember reading an interview when first Queens of the Stone Age album came out, and then there was this big thing about how like he cut his hair short, deliberately because he didn't want to be, he didn't like the fact that his fans liked Kayas wanted it to be a band, the whole idea of the Queens of the Stone Age was like to have the name of a band that would be not the kind of macho fans of like, of Kayas, people that wouldn't like it and like, I really liked the kind of the oddness of it. And we've been talking about kind of like weird, a weird image of LA I think the kind of the artwork in the line of stuff for the second their second album, the blue one. It's got all these like all these images inside that look like they're shot in motels. But they could be at any point between when that came out and like 1963 or something like that it's a really really sleazy, and

Johanna Hedva 9:16

yeah, the sleaze elements of it, I think it's really fascinating honestly. I'm also a huge fucking fan of Joey Castillo in the best TV episode of all time. I don't care what fucking show the best TV episode of all time. Episode Eight Twin Peaks the return when the Nine Inch Nails are playing in the Roadhouse. You know, Joey Castillo, who like is not in that band is in the band.

Uma Breakdown 9:45

Yes, yes, he is. Because, yeah, because he's one of those drummers like, like the guy from Helmet where they just look like such drummers that you, there's not many drummers are like that kind of performer and he looks amazing.

Johanna Hedva 10:06

Yeah, well that's the thing is like the Nine Inch Nails drummer is like literally the best drummer on the planet right now he's like this young guy his names Ilan Rubin, he, like, you know, they couldn't play The Perfect Drug for 25 years live, they could not play it because they couldn't they didn't have somebody that could drum do the drums. And then they got along Rubin and he, like worked on it for 10 years and like now they play it live. Like, I'll send you links like, like the live Perfect Drug is like, like, you know, it's like transcendent. But anyway, he's like a nice looking, you know, nice man. Like he's not who you want in the Twin Peaks. Roadhouse moment. Yeah. So they get Joey Castillo to do and he looks perfect. He looks so fucked up. They play She's Gone Away. And apparently like Trent Reznor has said that David Lynch asked, like, hey, I want you to play, you know, for this one episode, and like what song you know, do you want to do and so they sent him a couple things from like, the new record, and he was like, no, it needs to like make your hair stand up. It needs to be like really scary. And they were like, oh, okay, we can do that. And then he like, they gave him this other song. So that's my little Joey Castillo like happiness.

Uma Breakdown 11:32

I'd forgotten that he was even in it. That's, yeah, he's just amazing. Yeah, he just like, I don't think there's anyone that looks as much like a drummer, when they're drumming as him. Like. He just looks phenomenal. I just remembered when he joined Queens of the Stone Age, this guy's like an absolute monster.

Johanna Hedva 11:51

Because I would also say that Josh Homme does not look like a rock star. Like he's like, kind of got this odd body. That music video where he's like dancing in the white room. Like, it's really not what you like, he's kind of like too big and tall and kinda like, I don't know, you just think like, this is not who I would have imagined would fill stadiums. Yeah. But then he did you know, good for him.

Uma Breakdown 12:18

Yeah, he's, I mean, that's part of the thing, isn't it? That's what makes that band like quite interesting is he is quite weird. I mean, because in Kayas whats the guy, the singer from Kayas. I forget his name. He's done a series of bands after Kayas that all sound like Kayas, his Hermano and Slow Burn and some other ones. And they just, he just, basically, he just kept firing bands and then starting another band that started that sounds like Kayas. Yeah. He's really, he really has that, like, he has that frontman charisma.

Johanna Hedva 12:54

Yeah. Yeah. Anyway.

Uma Breakdown 12:57

Okay. I felt like we've talked around. We've talked around Catherine Keener and maybe the Catherine Keener, the Oracle the unattainable girl is Joey Castillo, he should have his own movie

Johanna Hedva 13:16

I think that the next thing on your list of for Catherine Keener studies this you really should watch all the ones where she's in the Nicole Holofcener movies.

Uma Breakdown 13:23

Yeah, I've not seen a single one of those. She's great in all of them. Yeah, I'm gonna go and I'm gonna go and look through those. I mean. There's like at least three. Her character, so her character in Brand New Cherry Flavour. I don't know if I'm retconning all of that other stuff, but I feel like there is there is some like logic to what she is in like Being John Malkovich, and then the character that turns up in there, like there's a similar kind of not aloofness, but like someone who is so cool. And like so magnetic and that there is nothing you could do that would make them less magnetic or like make you ever feel like you're on an equal footing you will never be on the same like level. But I want to know like just I don't want to talk about this like all night, but I wanted to know what you thought about Brand New Cherry Flavour.

Johanna Hedva 14:19

I loved it. I loved it. I wanted to fucking call people during episode four.

Uma Breakdown 14:25

Which ones episode four? I binged it. I watched it like two days.

Johanna Hedva 14:29

It's like the vagina in the ribs that gives birth to kittens and like, like that whole sex scene. I was like leaving deranged voicenotes on my friends phones being like episode four Brand New Cherry Flavour and like people nobody I know I seen the show except for you. Because like the whole episode, it's like growing on her and it hurts. And she's like, holding her side and she's like, ah, and like she's in pain and like, I just like have never seen such a fabulous body horror, like scary moment, like become sexy, in the same way because like the whole episode, she's like doubling over and she can't walk and like this thing is growing and like, oh, no, you know. And then in the end, they're in that hotel room. And she's like, in the bathroom looking at it, and like, she tries to touch it. And there's that really odd moment where like, she touches it, and she's like, oh. And then like, he puts his whole fist in and like, like, goes up to the elbow. And I was just like, This is what I want to see. Like.

Uma Breakdown 15:37

Yeah, it's, that's brilliant. I mean, because the film never comes down on either side of like, it doesn't ever go, the TV series doesn't ever go, like, this is a thing that's inflicted on her and she can't do anything about it. And it's not like it's neither like a gift or a curse. And it sits on both all the way through because she makes that point of like, she tells. What is Catherine Keener's character called? She's got a really nice name.

Johanna Hedva 16:05

It's like a weird name.

Uma Breakdown 16:06

I want to say Jarbo, yeah. Boro. I keep thinking like Jarbo the singer from Neurosis. Yeah, he's like, yeah, I can go back to vomiting, tell you, the guy come to the thrawl comes through the door takes the cat. And she's like, tell her can go back to vomiting because obviously it's this thing that she doesn't really want. But at the same time. It's just like, but it has this other, this other property to it and the kind of bringing the, the Hollywood a-list actor like completely corrupting him. In that way

Johanna Hedva 16:39

Yeah, well, I thought that was great. I thought like, like, I was like, like, honestly I was like, see? That's what, that's what disability stuff needs to talk about. Like, honestly, like, I was like, where is the like manifesto around like crip sex because like, there's this whole thing, right? Like, this is this new injury she has and it hurts her and there's pain. But then oh, maybe it's not just painful. Maybe there's like a new capacity in the body because of it. And I was just thinking like, this is like, like some of the most radical, like politically radical things I've seen. And I know, like, I was like, immediately on the internet and everybody like freaked out during episode four, about this, like, rib vagina. And I was just like, what this is the coolest thing? I mean, I thought the whole show was great. Like, I loved the vibe of just like, I loved the idea in that like, first, I think it's still in the first episode where she's like, breaks in and she's like, you know, like, like, these little like, like detours that happened, where she like hires those guys and the Chinese restaurant that they just turned out to be whoever like, and they like, go in there with her to like, steal and then they just like, leave her there. And the son wakes up and he's like, oh, yeah, like my mom's home and like, we try to keep dad's proteges from like seeing her and she's like, I'm not fucking your father I need his pubic hair because I'm trying to curse him. And the son is just like, oh, cool like the bedrooms in there. Like, there were these moments that were nice, like little droll. You know, like, I like these like little comic moments in a show that's otherwise quite, you know, kind of camped up in its in its like horror moments. Like some of the horror stuff, I was like, that's cute, but it's not scary.Yeah. But yeah Catherine Keener is incredible.

Uma Breakdown 18:37

I like how it, it has the thing that I've seen in a few other like horror shows, and it's something that I always like, which is when horrible stuff is happening, and it's just characters are so overloaded and like burnt out by the stuff that's happened that they stop questioning it. Yeah, they acknowledge that it's happened. And it's not a thing where it's like, the plot is not going to fill this in. It's just like, I don't have the capacity to work out, what, whether these people are living or dead. I don't. I'm like I'm through. I'm through like working out why there is a hole in the floor. I'm just gonna put something on it for now. Yeah, I don't have the energy for the stuff and I'm just gonna i i really like that. I like that idea of like, horror that becomes just exhaustion and people haven't really got, they haven't got time for this. Yeah. And that seems to happen quite a lot. And then including stuff like their, her weird relationship with the producer, where it's not that she's just like out for revenge against him forever. It's always a really complicated thing. And sometimes this, I can't, I'm too, I've got too much other shit going on my life to maintain this grudge. So I'll just talk to you normally for a little bit, and it does that quite a lot as well and I really, I really like that.

Johanna Hedva 20:02

That's exactly right. Like that's the tone I guess that I'm talking about that I really like thought was well done like also like these moments where she's like, there's this fucking scary thing coming to me and like fucking my dreams and Kevin, Kevin's just like, don't look at it maybe don't worry about it and I just thought that these like moments were really. I was really, I liked them a lot. I love that the girlfriend eats her own eye

Uma Breakdown 20:33

Yeah, I mean, the foreshadowing of that is beautiful the whole, all the way through with like, the thing that like people are how do they do that? How do you and you don't know what it is? Like, what is this thing and like I thought the whole show until that point, I was assuming it was some kind of some kind of like cosmic, like, transcendental kind of thing happened on the screen and they couldn't understand how something happened like that. Literally, just body horror. Like yes, snuff. And

Johanna Hedva 21:02

Yeah no, the body horror was great. Like it was like a really good body horror show. Which was like nice, because it's not really built that way. Like you don't expect it because it's more of this like, kooky, spooky supernatural thing, like for a while, but like all of the best moments, like when he pulls that worm out of his eye, or she does or whatever, like, and it's just coming out and coming out and coming out, forever. Like they that they just like milk that forever. I thought that was great. You know

Uma Breakdown 21:31

I mean, the thing in it, that kind of binds a lot of this up together is that people are in like people have made like bad decisions. And a lot of it feels like the morning after staying up all night. And you're like I've done some stuff that's really bad. And I'm just hoping that it works out alright, so that thing of like, yeah, don't look at it. And the thing with the the, she has to take the, do some kind of like, take some kind of medicine, lick the toad, lick the toad to see who your enemy is and she doesn't really, she hasn't really paid enough attention to know how to do it. But then the response is not like panic, oh, no, this is what you need to do, is just like oh well, you just got to, you're gonna have to do the rest of the the sex magic now. Otherwise, you know, you're gonna die. And it feels like that, that kind of like, the decisions you make when you've come back from a club and you're like, I'm not quite sure, I've done this. It's like, well, you probably need to do this now otherwise, you're probably going to die. And like I really liked that. That kind of, and everyone just like quite casual about it. Because like you're so exhausted at that point, so well. Well that would be really annoying if I died, but it's not really any more. It doesn't ever seem to be any more than like, that would be really annoying. No one panics.

Johanna Hedva 22:48

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. No, I thought it was great. I thought it looked great. I loved like, I thought the writing was really like yeah, there was like a lot of little clever moments. Like little nice lines. Yeah, I thought it was great. I've been telling everybody about it. I mean, nobody I know is really watched it, but like a friend of mine, who you may know, --- they're like trans artists. That does a lot of stuff with sound. I tried to get them into it, and they were like, they were like, bitch, this is cheesy. And I was like, talking about like, yes. And like so what, you know?

Uma Breakdown 23:27

Yeah, I think it's one of those ones where I'll be having to come back to it. And like thinking more about it and I don't it makes a lot of other stuff like. There's a lot of other things it does that, so I mentioned before that it reminded me a little bit of like Map to the Stars. And then it also like with that like rib vagina. It's like Rabid and but these feel like fairly one dimensional like the body horror seems to be like just abjection and this is this is all horror, whereas it's not it's not it's not really horror. It's like a curse it's like you get both of these things and like you just have a different way of doing stuff.

Johanna Hedva 24:13

Yeah yeah no that's what I was like I was just like wow, I don't think I've really seen like a body horror moment turn into, I mean except maybe in Crash or something but like, where it's just not horror actually. It's like something else. Yeah. Or it doesn't it's not going for like yeah, you can get grossed out about it or whatever. But that's kind of not the point, you know.

Uma Breakdown 24:37

Yeah. Like it's, it's a thing that requires less of a like creative reading to make it into something other than horror is like normally it's something, something like the brood or something like, or Existenz or things like that you have, it makes you, it makes you go like are you a sicko? You have to be a sicko and like want, want this to be sexy and yeah, Brand New Cherry Flavour is not asking you to be a sicko. It's just saying you do, you do find this sexy. The question is whether or not you're going to admit it.

Johanna Hedva 25:10

Exactly. Yeah. Okay, I think we. Wait, can I say this is a perfect segue? And then we'll get off the phone. But this is a perfect segue to say that my month has been psycho and I know like that word you're not supposed to use, but as a clinically diagnosed psychotic person I am reclaiming it for us. So like, I got on Field. Do you know what that is? No. I think it's like not really happening in Europe. It's the app that people use in America. That's like the kinky queer one. Right. Okay. Now, I have some thoughts on what has happened to queerness since Jose Munoz died, like we have passed through the horizon. Kind of new singularity, because everybody that's on there, like there's like 75 different options that you can pick for your gender or sexuality. Uma, listen, 10 years ago, these people were straight. Now, everybody is like hetero flexible, bi curious, gender questioning, other. And I can just tell you that all I've been doing all month is screen capping, anthropological comedic gold. And I've learned I have a term for it. I think we are in the age of the alt-het.

Uma Breakdown 26:41

Oh, that's, I think that's probably the most offensive thing since someone came up with the idea of straight

Johanna Hedva 26:52

Because, not like, you know, not all these boys with their rock climbing photos. And they're like, fuckin like photos of them at a wedding or whatever, like in here saying, you know, gender questioning, like, and I swear to God, all of the profiles, like have that kind of subset, which is like 50% of the app. It's like men, who like like, to be quite honest when a profile shows that's it just a straight man on it. I'm like, refreshing, you know. Because of all these people on there ostensibly cis men, but they're now, their gender questioning. But all of these profiles say the same thing, which is. New here, naturally a Dom, but looking to explore my submissive side. And then there's the emoji of the monkey like covering his eyes. Oh my gosh. Okay, so, what do you think I have discovered in this age of the alt-het that my kink is, so right, my kink is to troll these people. I am just like, trying to match with as many you know, of these like, people as possible. And I like get in a chat. And I'm like, so like. So like, does your penis come off of your body? And they're all like, I gotta go. And then they like, disconnect for me. And I just feel this rush. I have now in my profile, like, last week, I added the line, sext me if you look like a mythological creature, especially a sick one from the underworld, and the most hilarious results are coming in. I have a bitch up in my DMs self identifying as a sick elf.

Uma Breakdown 28:51

Oh. I mean, that's really nice.

Johanna Hedva 28:56

It was great. Yeah, very good, very good at sexting. Like, like, like, like, wrote me a novel essentially. Like, like, I like looked at my phone. It's like 100 not joking. 100 notifications, a 100 notifications.

Uma Breakdown 29:11

That's really nice. That's really beautiful. That's absolutely beautiful.

Johanna Hedva 29:18

I'm just saying it's like been, it's been like, you know, it's just been an interesting couple of weeks of just like kind of seeing I think it's also an American specific thing, because every profile on here is like Vax, like, acab, like interests, you know, like, like, abolishing the patriarchy or like, eat the rich or whatever. So everybody is like that. Everybody's saying the same thing. And then they have a bunch of rock climbing photos or wedding photos in their profile. So it's like eat the rich, here I am at rock climbing. It's very confusing.

Uma Breakdown 29:56

That's, yeah, that's a really, that's a really interesting combination of aesthetics. I mean, it kind of, does kind of make sense. But like in a, I don't even know. I don't even know what but no, I'm really glad that you're doing this like serious ethnographic work and like, compiling this interesting data set.

Johanna Hedva 30:17

I mean it honestly it just started out and I was like, this is so confusing like my wig was snatched off. I did not know what the fuck, because I matched with this goblin they did not self identify as a goblin. That's me like saying you're like a goblin. They're listed as a queer man. They're like, first profile photo is them dressed as Carey. So like, covered in blood and a white prom dress and a wig. And I'm like, you know, swipe right? Yes. Yeah, like, like, like, you know, like a democratic socialist of America flag behind them in the photos. That's like the Bernie Sanders crew here. It's like the abolish prisons crew. Um, you know, like a Satanist from Iowa.

Uma Breakdown 31:15

I mean, this sounds really good. I mean, as, as like a departure from the normal like, kind of headless torso of like Grindr and stuff like that. This is really nice.

Johanna Hedva 31:26

Well, I was like, I was like, at some point, I had to be like, I'm trying to use this app like Grindr kind of because I don't. The other, the other thing that everyone says, I mean, I think this is like meme, meme memed now is 'connection is key'. Like in the kink community, connection is key is like what everybody says, good at aftercare. And I gotta say, I think I'm just old and unliberated. Because, you know, I think I came out in 98. So I was 14. And I think that that's like, one of the last years that one could be queer before the internet, could consolidate your identity or, like, help you out with it at all. And so in those years, you know, like, to be queer with still like deviant, and like, unknown and unknowable and mysterious and dangerous maybe and dark, and like you had to go on the right day of the week, to the right place, you had to know that that was there. You had to like go into the basement where it was dark and smelly, and like you couldn't see people and you like reached through the fog to find a body part. And there was like this element of deviance like real societal, political material deviance. And now, you just go on this app, and rock climbing, you know, connection is key gums. And they're all, everybody is like honest and sincere and wholesome and like, like earnest about it, and they're like, you know, like consent is a must. I have to be quite honest with you. I'm like, this is awful. Like, like, this is what happens when a small see, we have to cut all of this out of the interview. Like, this is what happens when a second subculture gets into the water supply. This is like Harry Styles, like, the industrial complex, is like now we have the they/them's everywhere. You know? Like, I'm like sexing with this thick elf. And I call him a boy. And he's like, not a boy. And I'm like, okay, sorry, like an elf like, sorry. Like, how do you want to be?

Uma Breakdown 33:42

Yeah, I mean, everything gets I mean, this thing is well known, like, capitalism flattens everything out so that it's just, it becomes just surface and like meaningless. And, I guess, you know, that's part of thing I do, I mean, I, I do feel really happy for people who are younger than us now. They have like access to like, a different kind of, like, set of languages. But then there's, it comes with as they get that as like, young queer kids get that also huge app developers also get that and it becomes like a means of, you know, like, you said that yeah, Harry Styles if cation. And yeah, then it kind of, like it kind of hands it to the kids at same time as like devaluing it. Because yeah, it's yeah.

Johanna Hedva 34:31

I don't know. I don't know how to reconcile this. Because I know what I'm saying is like totally cancelable and terrible. Like, right, like everyone should be liberated. I get it. Yes. Like, clearly I'm not liberated. And that's why I'm like an old hag, but I do find it very confusing. Like I I'm like, what exactly like, because I also think it's an American, it's like a particularly American kind of thing that if you're like a weirdo, and you're into like, games and like horror movies in Iowa. And you have your Saturn Return during like me to, you know, like Trump era in America I feel like the discourse is is like it's hard to separate, like a kind of Marcuse sociality of just like this is determining sexuality from like a virtue signalling, like hashtag, like, it's good for me to say I don't like men, even though I am one. Do you know what I mean?

Uma Breakdown 35:33

Yeah, I totally do. I mean, there is a thing, we have, like the kind of the kind of the second wave of Tumblr, in that, you know, like that, that kind of that kind of like the worst kind of stuff seem to happen. What I often see people disparage, I've never used this as a slur. But other people disparaging using the term the tender queer

Johanna Hedva 35:58

Oh I hate tender queer

Uma Breakdown 36:00

Apologies and, and like, oh, just would you mind and stuff like that, like just shutting everything down. You can still be nice to people while not doing that, passive aggressive. Yeah, you know, everything becomes just, that's it, all it becomes is, you don't even get to say anything, it becomes just about endlessly debating how one would say something if one was to say something. Yeah, just being a bit less serious is maybe good.

Johanna Hedva 36:34

Like I would say, so it's the goblin thats been taking me to professional wrestling. And I am just having fun. And like, I was at this wrestling thing. And I was like, wait a minute, I did not get it. See, I'm really into the UFC. Yeah, and I don't like I really love it. Like, I don't know, literally anybody else who loves it as much as I do. I like watch every thing I like, you know, know who everybody is. And with the wrestling, I was like, I didn't know anything about it, I was like, that's like the ridiculous kind, right? That's like, fake. And then I was like, why don't you send me a video so I can get the vibe. And the goblin sent me a two minute clip. That's eight men in a ring with their like little hot pants and their booty shorts and their costumes and their hair and their makeup, you know, and they're like boots, and they're like, thighs and the whole thing. And they're all of them simulating fisting each other in the ass in a human centipede. And I was like, oh, okay, this is like, this is great, you know, like, and then the goblin was explaining it to me. He was like, it's like masculinity drag. It's like a drag show about masculinity. Because when we went to this thing, bitch like life, music, some people come out all they do as a song and a dance. And then they leave, they don't even fight. You know, like everybody is there in their full like, it's like the ceremony and the music and the costume and everything. It's just like a drag show. It's the same as a drag show. And I cannot tell you, I have never been in a more supportive, enthusiastic environment. Like there was this one guy who came out on stage and everyone immediately in this 17,500 people start chanting, welcome back. Welcome back. This bitch had an injury. He comes out he's like, had an injury. He's like been sick for six months, like doing rehab. He's, he's not even there to fight. He's just there to give a little speech to say, you know, it's been really hard for me in the hospital, but you guys support me and I'm not well enough to come back yet. But I will as soon as I can. And like thank you, goodbye. And everyone is just like yay go you and I was like that is just what happens in like our community.

Uma Breakdown 38:53

I guess the thing is, like, it's so like, it's easy to forget that it's like a collaborative thing, isn't it that you can't, it's not like a UFC or whatever, where you're literally competing against the other person, the whole thing is about choreography. The two together, you don't, if one of you does, each every person is holding the other person like it's like built on the idea of support. Yeah, I've been it's been on my mind for ages. There's a very big, well big, there's like the local circuit here. So like the the UK wrestling is particularly established in the Northeast of England. We regularly have like, it's like a really regular thing here. And something I keep thinking about keep seeing advertised on that I could go, I could probably get really into this. Really into the theatrics of it.

Johanna Hedva 39:47

Okay, so at some point, you know, we're like the Goblin and I are like watching the wrestling and I'm like, wait a minute. How do all the straight people reconcile how gay it is? I mean, it's gay as hell, I've never it's like the gayest thing I've ever seen. Like drag, and this are the gayest things I've ever seen. Right? And the Goblin is like, yo, dude, like don't make assumptions like they're like a tonne of gay wrestlers or trans wrestlers, all of like his friends are trans they go, now that I've been talking about wrestling with my friends, so many of y'all are like, oh, I could be, yeah, like, like several I have like three trans friends that I've mentioned wrestling to this month and they're like, oh, I love wrestling, I've always loved it. Okay, so then, as an example, like correlatable like of this claim, he explains to me like, oh, like the so and so, so boys are gonna play, perform tonight or whatever, I forget their name, which is a shame. But there's these two guys, they work as a tag team. They're both gay. They wear like fuchsia, like glitter. Like, like, like, licra costumes. And their slogan, which the entire arena erupts chanting when they come onto the stage is scissor me daddy ass. People have made scissors like cardboard with aluminium foil on those blades. Like as they're like, going crazy. Like there's so many people in this arena wearing T shirts that say scissor me daddy ass and, and like, you know, then like the other thing that happened that I was really like, wow, this is like a vision of political utopia. It's like, these, like this other tag team were coming out. They were gonna do a little song and dance before they were gonna start fighting. And you know, it's like pyrotechnics and lights and the music and like, here's I go, welcome to the stage, you know. And they come out and they start doing their little singing. And then one of them messes up the lyrics. And he's like, Oh, fuck, I messed up. Fuck, sorry, we got to start it again. And then he's, like, runs off. And it's like, reset. And the whole crowd, happily, and with care starts chanting, you fucked up. You fucked up. And it's very, like, endearing. It's like, try it again. We're gonna do it again. No. And I was like, can you imagine if somebody fucking said the wrong thing on Twitter, and everyone was just like, you fucked up, try it again. That's not what we say anymore. Good for you.

Uma Breakdown 42:27

That is amazing. I would just love that in any context. Like if you, imagine if you like you were doing like a lecture or something or you were doing your performance. And you. I know. I've got it. I've done it wrong. And they chanted that and then you restarted. That would be the most affirming thing. It's so much better the second time.

Johanna Hedva 42:48

It was so, it really put my wig back on. Like, I was like, Oh, this is how things could be.

Uma Breakdown 42:56

So weird. That's so much more like chaotic and interesting. Than they kind of the stuff you're talking about, about the app and things like that. This seems like it's become queer by like, some kind of freak accident.

Johanna Hedva 43:10

I mean, listen, like the goblin. I mean, this is just like, I'm just like, let the healing begin. You know.

Uma Breakdown 43:16

I love that you've got like your own Catherine Keener and your own guide. In the goblin.

Johanna Hedva 43:25

Oh, you know, and like this, like this goblin. He's, he's really like, I really like him, like, he like just spent $350 to go see Madonna alone. This is not the first time he's seen her. I am just like, let the healing begin. Because, you know, I would have had all of these presumptions about this kind of like white cis man in America, who has like wrestling action figures in his room, you know, I just would have assumed a lot. And like, I'm just happy to be wrong. Like, I'm wrong. I was wrong about everything. I've passed through the horizon of queerness into the new singularity.

Uma Breakdown 44:15

Sounds you've found something, yeah, something even more depraved. No, this is really.

Johanna Hedva 44:20

It's so depraved. It's psycho, I was like, I was like, what is the opposite of hetero pessimism because I'm not having heteropessimism. That's like what the straight women have. And it's no fun. They're like, oh no, I like sucking dick I must not be a feminist. I'm not having this. I was like, what is the opposite like for people actually, in the under comments, like what is the opposite of heteropessimism? And I'm just gonna say it's like, it's psychosis. That's what it is. And it's really fun.

Uma Breakdown 44:51

It's exemplified by professional wrestling.

Johanna Hedva 44:54

It's just stupid. Sexy. Fun. Yeah. You cannot over intellectualise It is just a good time

Uma Breakdown 45:03

I've been meaning to go and look in because obviously like if you've limited yourself to like WWF and like, that's been running for ages, like as a it's like an epic poem that's run for decades with all of these stories that run these characters that change that, like turn into something else is like, important events sometimes like transcending out of narrative into the real world when like, some actor, some wrestler dies or something actually happens and like, it's really important. It has like a large impact and it's changed all kinds of things and like, yeah, it'll be the next thing after my like, character actor studies would be like to start looking at, you know, the grand epic poem of the attitude era of WWF

Johanna Hedva 45:52

you could, you could I think it is worth some time you can start with the dark side of the ring show which is like these it's like 45 minute episodes. That's like

Uma Breakdown 46:03

I can't believe, have you not seen glow though? Have you seen glow, fucking watch glow, I'm not gonna talk about it. Okay. It's beautiful, like, Alison Brie. I, I just absolutely fell in love with Alison Brie as a result of that. And I'm like she is one of the greatest actresses of our generation. She's so fucking good in it and it's a really, really wonderful a really wonderful show. It has a normal thing where everyone has to be mean to Alison Brie. That's what happens when she's in a show. But yeah, it's really really amazing. Just thats it, its' all about care

Johanna Hedva 46:39

Okay, that's the next thing on the list

Uma Breakdown 46:41

Thank you so much. We'll turn this into some, we'll turn this like two hours of gold into some kind of

Johanna Hedva 46:50

as long as I'm on the record talking about Joey Castillo I'm okay with it.

Uma Breakdown 46:55

Just be that it will just be that and then a long beeped out bit as you just your cancelable offences.

Johanna Hedva 47:03

Yeah redacted

Uma Breakdown 47:07

All right, you have a lovely day Johanna.

Abandon Normal Devices Podcast
Abandon Normal Devices Podcast
Conversations and highlights from Abandon Normal Devices, an arts organisation devoted to promoting digital culture and new cinema.