My train was delayed today because it was A Bit Hot. Like, by hours. I had finished my book. So I re-listened to Tracey Emin’s Desert Island Discs.
I adore Tracey. I have three of her prints up in my house, including one super-limited edition one that I couldn’t really afford but inexplicably had to have.
Listening to her talking, it struck me for the first time that - over and above all the usual observations about her - in all of her work, she is so open about WANTING. It is all suffused with unadulterated wanting, yearning, disappointment, fury at the injustice. Maybe that’s what makes people feel so uncomfortable. At its core: Wanting.
I’d never noticed this theme before. One of her works I have a print of is called I WANT IT ALL. I used to think it was a joke. It’s not a joke.
She is the opposite of the cool girl.
I was bred to be the cool girl. Yeah, I’m fun, whatever you want, I don’t mind really. Yeah, it’s cool. Don’t worry about it.
Wanting is ugly. Wanting is embarrassing. Shameful, even. Unladylike.
Wanting may even be disgusting. I realise, lately, that I am never more myself than when I am at my least attractive. At my most disgusting. Home alone, sweating in the heat, slumped on the sofa in my pants, pasta-filled belly out, watching that George Harrison documentary AGAIN.
I want to be disgusting and stupid and very clever and sexy and ugly and fucking glorious.
I want to not be ashamed of wanting.
I want everything.