Do You Hear Voices?

Thank you to the amazing Daisy for making the amazing “Hearing Voices” trailer for Year Zero Live, which kicks off the Year Zero Thirteen Shadows tour on Feb 4th at Rough Trade Records, Brick Lane, from 6pm.
That’s the two of us reading, by the way, Daisy & Dan.
So we have a trailer. And we have one of the coolest tour posters on the planet, courtesy Sarah E Melville, based on the cover for Thirteen Shadows Waiting for Sunrise, the anthology we’re touring.

We also have a confirmed second date: 23rd February at To Hell With Books in Woburn Place. And the Oxford event will be held during the Oxford Literary Festival – 20-28 March. And we have notice that Jenn is going to be reading in New York in February too!
So what can you expect if you come along to Rough Trade?
Well, the whole gig is FREE, for which you get:
5 writers
me reading SKIN BOOK
3 amazing musical acts
You’ll also be able to buy a whole load of books and CDs and Year Zero merch, any and all of which we will sign.
Most of all, I’m excited because we get to perform together, and in a few cases meet each other for the first time!! And I’m hoping we’ll get to meet some of you!

~ by yearzerowriters on January 23, 2010.

82 Responses to “Do You Hear Voices?”

  1. That’s what we’re talking about here at Year Zero.

    Voices demanding to be heard.

    Expect more communiques

    Brother Number 6

  2. Jaysis. ‘Nuff said.

  3. And you both have such lovely, radio-friendly voices. Amazing.

    • Thank you. I’m truly blessed in the radio department – people are always telling me I have the perfect face for it 🙂

      • Ah, well at least you have something. I have neither a face for a television, nor a voice for radio, so newspapers is my only chance of a job in news.

  4. What an amazing trailer! I wish I could be there (I’ll tell my son to instead, he lives in Lundun).

  5. Excellent stuff – I’m looking forward to the event even more now.

    • We’re lokoing forward to meeting you! There’s going to be a “writers’ snug” area where you can all come & natter with us 🙂

  6. A textured painting. It does an artful job of blending the visual and aural input.

    Wish I could be in London for this.

  7. That is just perfection. No other word for it. It’s going to make a massive impact.

    (Is Kenneth Anger an influence Daisy?)

  8. Fantastic trailer! Well done!

  9. It won’t play on Facebook — Penny says we got reported.

  10. I played on facebook after she sent her message.

  11. Yay! Maybe it just won’t post anymore, but you can still play it?

  12. It’s probably the deer. People just don’t want to know where their food comes from any more.

    • I don’t se it as about butchery at all. The deer is such a central image in classical love poetry – the wounded/dead doe is such a powerful archetype for the way we sacrifice our sould on the altar of love

  13. you guys are amazing. The Year Zero collective is such an inspirational group. I wish I live in London so I could join you guys.


  14. Remember to visit the page on YouTube and leave comments for Daisy, and rate the trailer – that way people will see her work on YouTube!

  15. Nor did I see it was about butchery. But that’s what the censor’s going to see, along with a description of a suicide attempt.

    • yes, I have a feeling it may be the suicide attempt that stirred things up. Some people have no clue. The less it’s OK to talk about these things, the more screwed up teenagers are going to feel isolated and alone and lie there’s no option. If they see there’s a whole world of people out there who “get it”, who’ve been there and are able to talk, or even take them inside that pain through stories, they can begin to stop seeing themselves as freaks and start seeing themselves as huamn beings, albeit ones with a whole load of problems.

  16. Like Daisy says, I think it is kinda cool our first trailer gets reported, albiet on the lame stage of FraggleBook. At the same time, I was really annoyed, actually. Brings to mind my sister who won’t allow her kids to utter the word ‘SEX’. The word.
    But it highlights the power of words, tiny bombs. Yeah!

    • Yeah, I’m pretty furious too. Given the racist bile tha Facebook allows to flourish, I find it pretty offensive that we get reported – but we don’t get a comeback on it.

  17. I enjoyed that, very powerful, especially at the end. Great job! So cool to be affiliated with a banned video.

  18. Ha! Just posted it to my FB wall via youtube share.

  19. I’m still getting the trailer on FB – the one Daisy posted at 15.20 yesterday?

  20. Maybe they reinstated it? FB are very twitchy – shoot first and ask questions later. They stopped me uploading the video I made for Glimpses last year and said if I offended again they’d remove my membership. That was because I had a Charlie Parker soundtrack though. It was part of the War on File-sharing.

  21. I can post my suicide fiction here and see if we can get banned by WordPress if you like?


    • :p It’s actually a serious debate that needs to take place about themedia and its coverage of suicide – whether it can be helpful to have things in the open, or whether it’s liable to lead to copycat behaviour. Obviously there’s no way we would want to be responsible for the latter, and it would be irresponsible of us to glamorise suicide (and certainly not something anyone would do on a collective site), but – and this is a debate I’ve been having over at Authonomy – it’s so important when people are feeling at their very lowest that they have access to voices that understand them, can make them feel less alone. Sometimes a book can be the thing that keeps you alive till morning.

  22. it’s a similar debate to that of is there any subject not capable of being tackled in comedy? Literature in print form is obviously a matter of an active decision to purchase or take out of lending library. Online, it’s a different thing as it’s free to view in the main. However, presumably the same parental vein that monitors/limits any child access to the internet, I don’t believe there is any need for further restrictions. I acknowledge that such parental controls in practice are liable to be lacking, but then it is not the responsibility of a literary site to make good such negligence. There is enough artistic self-censorship extant as it is. As to adults coming across such material, ultimately adults have to take responsibility for their own actions. A suicide candidate will either be actively searching out resources on the Net, in which case a literary site I feel ranks pretty low, or they will be too cut off from reality and in a deep despond to sit themselves down to surf the net.

    I have some experience of this subject, having cleaned the blood up off the kitchen floor of a family member after a very serious suicide attempt. That’s why I wrote several pieces of fiction on the subject, trying to get to the bottom of it. In real life the person lived. In my fiction they died. Is that incitement to the act for any ‘vulnerable reader’? I think what i wrote is actually the opposite, a truthful dealing of the subject, trying to get inside the mindset which has far more chance of resonating with a reader experiencing such feelings, than driving them to commit the fatal deed.


    • It IS interesting the different media, Marc. It’s also wort pointing out that this video isn’t tagged for suicide anywhere, so people looking for that aren’t going to find it.

      I agree wholly with what you say about a truthful telling – and like I said over at Autho – it’s impossible to get the stats on this because you’ll never know how many people have been brought back from the brink. It’s like when people moan about spending on safety – it’s pretty hard ever to quantify lives saved – all to easy to quanify lives lost. And for me that difficult/easy divide makes sloppy science very likely.

  23. The suicide Daisy describes is a failed one. I guess the trailer doesn’t show that irony.

    The idea that this trailer would convince someone to kill themselves…i don’t see it. It might make people want to contact Daisy though.

    Daisy and I are writing a joint book about suicide [at least i think we are.] Hers will be an expansion of ‘Billy’, and mine will be me trying to save the life of that Korean model who hung herself last year. I wonder how that’ll go down.


    • Well you’ve sold me already!! It’s interesting – one of the reasons Atomised came in for so much stick was the frequency of suicide (and it was accused of being misogynistic because the victims were all women). There’s also more than one in Norwegian Wood. When I’m really depressed – and certainly as a teenager I’ve been suicidal – I NEED to read about people going through it.

      seriously – the book sounds incredible.

  24. Stunning video, prompting a classic knee-jerk reaction. I believe the impetus for their removal may be the US-based case of the girls whose FB-based harassment of an individual caused her to kill herself. So naturally, you can blame the lawyers.

    Sounds like a great program. Wish I could be there.

    • Jenn’s doinga gig in NYC, Pete. Not that that’s your doorstep! We’ll take lots of footage, though, so you can see what we get up to!!

  25. Yeah, Oli and I are working on a book — and I think it’s gonna be fantastique.

    Suicide — I’ll tell you what I find offensive: being told that I can’t write about how I feel and what I’ve done; being told that if only I’d look at cheerful art, I’d feel much better. Is that why all my suicide attempts have been at Christmas? Good old cheerful Christmas.

    • Yeah, just talking about this over at Authonomy – being surruonded by happiness and reminded of the 101 reasons I have to be happy – when the chemicals in my brain make it impossible for me to be so – you don’t have to be a catholic for that to pile on the guilt and the self-doubt and the utter alienation.

      • It’s not art’s job to make you feel better. It’s art’s job to reflect the truth. Whether that truth makes you feel better or worse is irrelevant.

      • Beautifully put, Daisy. That’s why I DO have a prioblem with people who glamourise mental health problems (the urban myth aboutmadness and genius for example). It’s why I also havea problem with people who glamourise happiness in its most saccharine and unrealistic form. And it’s why I don’t have a problem with Tracey Emin and confessional art.

  26. hiding subjects and making them something that should not be uttered in public is dangerous, far more dangerous than most people realise. For example – it is not the rape that is the most devastating thing but the feeling that you’ve done something wronge – that it needs to be hidden. And this supression of our emotions and the darker parts of ourselves and society allow festering that often leads to the desperation. So a discription of a suicide attempt being banned – makes the desperation that lead to it seem dirty and therefore others who feel the same desperation will not be able to express themselves in the open – creating a nasty cycle.

    However there is the issue that people who self-harm or attempt suicide can sometimes be triggered by imagery of say other self-harmers injuries etc… and there is the risk of things being seen as akin to the cutter blogs and the suicide pact sites.

    Of course weather you should try and stop someone commiting suicide is a question philosophers have argued about for along time and something that has been dealt with very differently by different cultures though out human history.

    Art for me is about expression – of ideas, emotions, events so why hide things? The darker things are often what needs to be brought into the light. If you hide it away it grows.

    I know there is this view that you should not write anything that doesn’t leave the world a better place but I believe hiding issues is making things worse – I had a writing tutor who heartily disagreed!

  27. Sometimes to make the world a better place, you have to invite the pain involved in stripping away a few of its illusions

  28. This is the same argument that has been used for music before. That Marilyn Manson was to blame for Columbine, that Judas Priest were to blame for the suicide of their fan. And all the real factors are swept under the carpet, waiting to converge on yet another human being in pain. Let’s just blame Marilyn Manson?

    Maybe there is no way to leave the world a better place, and the only thing left to do is tell the truth.

  29. The trailer is very powerful…but, to me, it does seems seductive and there is no context. True – at the end it does mention the event, and giving a voice to people, but before that it is a graphic description of suicide, and how it might be done, interspersed with Dan’s visceral descriptions which deepen the atmosphere and draw you into it more. Of course, this is the intention, and artistically it works very well. However, someone (a teenager) close to me has felt this way recently and I would feel concerned about him stumbling across it and watching it. I very much support open debate about suicide/mental health issues, and have no problem at all with books about the subject as here you would have context and character and storyline and this, I agree, gives a voice to people who feel this way. But as a trailer for a London book event…it doesn’t feel right to me. I do not, however, believe FB should have banned it, that does seem knee jerk, and no, I’m not the person who reported it. 😉

  30. The FB response to the Year Zero promotional video was knee-jerk, not mention inconsistent; I note they haven’t banned Sylvia Plath or removed the link to the Lady Lazarus video.
    However, as a member of the YZ collective and a clinical psychologist engaged in work with children and adolescents, I feel the need to clarify my position on the video.
    My own view is that we need to carefully consider our responsiblities with regard to the material which we produce and how we put it put there . Gathering information relevant to considering media influences on suicide might provide a useful starting point. I’ve attempted a brief summary of the main findings to date, although the usual caveats about the difficulties inherent in conducting research in this area apply:

    Reporting and portrayal of suicidal behaviour in the media may have potentially negative influences and facilitate suicidal acts by people exposed to such stimuli.

    Evidence for the influence of media on suicidal behaviour has been shown for newspaper and television reports of actual suicides, film and television portrayals of suicides, and suicide in literature, especially suicide manuals.

    The potential for “suicide sites” on the internet influencing suicidal behaviour remains to be proved, but anecdotal evidence of negative influences is accumulating.

    The impact of the media on suicidal behaviour seems to be most likely when a method of suicide is specified—especially when presented in detail—when the story is reported or portrayed dramatically and prominently—for example with photographs of the deceased or large headlines—and when suicides of celebrities are reported.

    Younger people seem to be most vulnerable to the influence of the media, although limited evidence also shows an impact on elderly people. Another factor is similarity between the media stimulus or model and the observer in terms of age, sex, and nationality.

    An important aspect of the presentation of suicide in the media is that it usually oversimplifies the causes, attributing the act to single factors such as financial disasters, broken relationships, or failure in examinations. The most common factor leading to suicide, mental illness, is often overlooked.

    The more easy/palatable/seductive the suicide method is portrayed to be, the more likely it appears to be that it will be emulated. I have to say I felt uneasy about what seemed to me to be the seductive tone of the opening of theYZ video. I accept that my gut reaction may be influenced by having 4 young people on my caseload (aged 13 – 18) who have recently made very serious suicide attempts.

  31. I’d talk to people like NSHN if I were you – they will probably at least know where to ask.

    And I think it is only dangerous to people who are so near the edge they really need to be looked after and watched anyway and cutter blogs do most certainly exist and we recently had a su in the village which was all planned via one of the su sites 😦

  32. As much discomfort and unease people have felt by watching this, I am currently feeling about their reactions. As soon as I stop feeling quite so angry about it, I’ll be able to articulate a little better.

    • Hey, Daisy. I was talking about this with my wife this morning whilst we were sitting waiting for her appointment with the shrink. We weer saying how society falls into two camps on so many things – introverts and extraverts; people who need to talk about their problems and those who need to have them not talked about. And we were saying how in every case society’s norms were weighted vastly in one direction. It’s always the noisy people who are the troublemakers in society’s eyes, for example, whilst the passive aggressives are always seen as teh innocents. And it’s always the people who need the lack of something who are catered for, and not those who need its presence. In this context, we agreed there are people whose lives will be saved by things being out in the open, and those whose lives will be lost, yet it’s always the latter to whom people cater. Like you, that made us pretty mad (not the state to go to the shrink’s in :)) I am very much for Year Zero being a safe place for people who need to speak teh truth about the bad places in their lives to hang out. Like you, I feel very strongly that’s something worth protecting.

      • I would not want to upset or anger any one. People who ‘know’ me know that I do not deliberately stir up bad feeling, I am usually a peacemaker. I do believe though that if you feel strongly about something you should speak out. This is what I did in the full knowledge I was going against the grain here. However, as you so rightly say, it is important these things are out in the open. I do not have a problem with that, I just thought that the trailer lacked context and therefore could give an unintended impression. Perhaps this is because I do not know either of your books well. But then neither would the average person viewing the promo. As I said, I thought it was artistically excellent, just rather ambiguous. You have your right to your opinion, and to post whatever you feel is right, but you should respect other people’s opinions too and allow alternative voices. I have had experience of mental health problems in several people close to me. I think the issues are well worth airing, but how this is done is open to debate. People’s opinions will naturally differ on how this is done.

  33. What angers me is not the debate itself. It’s the idea that art has to have context, and that art must have psychiatric responsibilities. Grayson Perry’s pots had no context, and yet I feel his message on child abuse was put across very strongly, that message being — it happens.

    As someone with a history of psychiatric illness and as someone who has managed to kill themselves successfully (if only dead for a few minutes), I’m not looking for context as much as meaning. It happens. It happened. It happened more than once. It happened to me and it happened to many people that I know. And, I want to look at it.

    The idea tha the trailer itself is “seductive” I feel is worryingly misogynistic.

  34. I’m not going to comment any more at this point on the content of the debate – I’m going to blog about it soon because it’s a really important discussion. It IS good that so many people feel this is a safe place to air their opinions freely, though – that in itself says something for the community we’ve built.

  35. Daisy, first: I love the sound of your voice and wish that I could be there – all the best to you and to everyone else on the tour.

    Second – I am baffled by the idea, as you put it, that art must have context or psychiatric responsibilities. There is a moral difference between artistic endeavor and the demands of popular media (i.e., the reporting of suicides). I can’t articulate this any better than you and other posters have. It seems ludicrous, if not psychically damaging and destructive, to tell an artist that she needs to express feelings about suicide or suicidal tendencies (and yes, I have been there and still go there) in a way that makes it easier for an audience to consume or that provides a moral lesson to the audience (“don’t do this”). That is just another way of denying the authenticity of the artist’s feelings.

    And not to speak on behalf of anyone except myself, the reason I struggle with artistic expression in the first place is that it is the only domain in which I do NOT have to suppress or deny depression or suicidal impulses. Tricia notes that “People’s opinions will naturally differ on how this is done”: really? So what? Let “people” produce their own responses. But don’t deny anyone his or her own mode of expression. It has taken me more than twenty years to arrive at even the possibility that I have the right to articulate anything related to my mental illness. And now I have to do it in a way that makes other people feel comfy?

  36. This whole thing strikes me as ridiculous as the supposed debate about gay marriage.

    It was a well-executed and touching piece of work.

  37. It is very timely that I happen, as many of you are probably aware, to be speaking at a conference on Monday specifically about the media’s portrayal of mental health. The debate around this video has certainly given me something to talk about and I’ll be very interested to get feedback. Having said I won’t discuss content, I will. Breifly. After saying first – Janet, like you my writing is the one place I am free to talk about my struggle with mental health issues; second – PD – you are such a serene influence on things tht it’s a joy to have you around and 3 – for all the vigorously expressed opinion,it’s good to see that debate has remained respectful. Tricia, I know you well enough to know it took a lot of guts to speak up, and I’m very glad you felt able to do so. Daisy, I know how you felt – the fact that you didn’t respond in anger speaks louder about your integrity than any response could have done.

    OK, so what I want to say is this. On Monday I am going to be sharing a platform with the BBC’s head of diversity. I will be intrigued to hear their take on the portrayal of suicide – in the light of Daisy’s video. I will then grill her on the BBC’s coverage of the Bay P case, in which Baby P’s mother’s boyfriend was described as “addicted to violent pornography, obsessed with nazi memorabilia, and suffering from depression”. For me, a statement talking about depression like that is utterly reprehensible. Yet I have a feeling the BBC will stick to their guns, and at the same time say they wouldn’t screen Daisy’s video. That really IS disturbing.

  38. I took time out of a busy working week to put together a brief summary of the key findings of the research that relates to the subject of media influences on suicide. I did that for two main reasons: firstly, to make my own position crystal clear and, secondly, because I hoped that such information might be helpful to those making decisions, for which this research has relevance, on behalf of the Year Zero collective. I also expressed my personal responses to the Year Zero promotional video. I make no apology for doing either of those things.
    I am disappointed that my contribution did not lead to a well-reasoned debate. The reactions appear to be defensive and to eschew voices of dissent, at times, descending to the level of insult. One person’s ‘passive aggressive’ is another’s active assertive. This is a writers’ collective. Surely the views of all of the members of that collective should be listened to and afforded equal respect.
    I am familiar with the work of such organisations as the NSHN and have links with the UK equivalents. I am a ‘scientist-practitioner’ and, as such, I look to the best available current evidence and theory. The summary points I made in my response to the video are not my ideas, although some of the findings have ‘face validity’ that chimes with my experience – 2 decades of clinical and academic work in psychology. I have listed below the sources from which the summary points were extrapolated. The two articles that I would recommend, to those interested in exploring the complexities further, are listed at the top.

    Influences of the Media on Suicide
    Researchers, policy makers, and media personnel need to collaborate on guidelines
    Keith Hawton, director
    Kathryn Williams, researcher
    Centre for Suicide Research, University Department of Psychiatry, Warneford Hospital, Oxford OX3 7JX
    BMJ. 2002 December 14; 325(7377): 1374–1375. PMCID: PMC1124845
    © 2002, BMJ

    The Cultural Dynamics of Copycat Suicide (Mesoudi, 2009) carried out by the Biological and Experimental Psychology Group, School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary, University of London

    1. Pirkis J, Blood RW. Suicide and the media: a critical review. Canberra: Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care; 2001.
    2. Baume P, Cantor CH, Rolfe A. Cybersuicide: the role of interactive suicide notes on the internet. Crisis. 1997;18:73–79. PubMed
    3. Alao AO, Yolles JC, Armenta W. Cybersuicide: the internet and suicide. Am J Psychiatry. 1999;156:1836–1837. [PubMed]
    4. Phillips DP. The influence of suggestion on suicide: substantive and theoretical implications of the Werther effect. Am Sociol Rev. 1974;39:340–354.
    5. Hawton K, Simkin S, Deeks JJ, O’Connor S, Keen A, Altman DG, et al. Effects of a drug overdose in a television drama on presentations to hospital for self poisoning: time series and questionnaire study. BMJ. 1999;318:972–977. [PubMed]
    6. Stack S. Celebrities and suicide: a taxonomy and analysis. Am Sociol Rev. 1987;52:401–412. [PubMed]
    7. Fishman G, Weimann G. Motives to commit suicide: statistical versus mass-mediated reality. Arch Suicide Res. 1997;3:199–212.
    8. Department of Health. National suicide prevention strategy for England. London: Department of Health; 2002.
    9. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute of Mental Health, Office of the Surgeon General. Reporting on suicide: recommendations for the media. Suicide Life Threat Behav. 2002;32:vii–xiii. (accessed 24 Oct 2002).
    10. Samaritans. Media guidelines. Portrayals of suicide. Ewell: Samaritans; 2002. (accessed 24 Oct 2002).
    11. Michel K, Frey C, Wyss K, Valach L. An exercise in improving suicide reporting in print media. Crisis. 2000;21:1–10.
    12. Etzersdorfer E, Sonneck G. Preventing suicide by influencing mass-media reporting. The Viennese experience 1980-1996. Arch Suicide Res. 1998;4:67–74.

    • Thank you so much for compiling this. I absolutely agree that everyone’s opinion should be respected equally – I thought the discussion had been carried out with remarkable equanimity given how strong the feelings on each side evidently were.

      It seems to me there are two debates to be had – one about what the affects of a video like this one are likely to be; a second about what the implications of those affects are for artists. I am not sure that any of us except Anna is in a position to argue from expertise on the first topic, other than to offer brief comments on methodology and anecdotal evidence. So the meaningful debate has to focus, I think, on the second question – what the implications are for us as artists. Should art have psychiatric responsibility, as Daisy framed the question? Do we have the right to be truthful about issues as we see them? Do we have a duty to be truthful? To what extent should art be confessional?

      These are vital debates for artists to have. I would always hope we can have them without descending into personal attacks, and without people taking offence, but as Anna rightly intimates, one person’s reasoned argument can be another person’s personal affront, so that will be difficult. If we are not able to conduct the debate without letting tempers run high, then it is probably best that we declare this a space where we can air our opinions, possibly our grievances, and commit ourselves to not letting them spill out of this thread and into our wider lives and relations with each other.

  39. I’m sorry if I came across as putting down the research you had done – I was just trying to help. I knew of a resource that may not have been known about and I probably shouldn’t have added in the personal stuff about incidents I know of etc…

    I also thought what you’d done was sort of the start of the research and so was just adding stuff. I thought NSHN were UK based? Though obviously the charity has a global membership – it’s just they have helped with research before.

    Dan – they have also talked to people like the BBC etc… so might have so tips and stuff for you. I think they got annoyed about a ccasulty episode so got called in on the next one.

    One more thing – am I actually supposed to comment on here or is it only for the writers in the collective?

  40. I agree with Dan that we want to make this a safe place where we can discuss complex, challenging but important issues, such as the cultural representation of suicide, or violent behaviours, or alcohol and drug use. We may not reach agreement, but we can advance our understanding, and perhaps arrive at a more nuanced view.

  41. Anna, you say “secondly, because I hoped that such information might be helpful to those making decisions, for which this research has relevance, on behalf of the Year Zero collective.”

    The collective element is, of course, very important – and we take our collective responsibility very seriously – which is why everyone with access to the backroom and the ability/capacity to say anything on our collective behalf has signed up to our articles of association. Whether something breaches the collectives articles is a very different matter from debating artistic freedom. I will confess that it never occurred to me for one moment that this video would breach any of our articles – and I know some will say I am totalitarian in this regard: I HAVE raised severe doubts about material in the past. Of course, if you feel the video breaches the articles then that is a discussion that needs to be had separately from any debate about artistic freedom.

    To clarify the second part of your statement – no one makes decisions on behalf of the collective; the exigencies of a collective do mean that we have to get on and do things sometimes. Our articles are there to ensure that this doesn’t have negative impact, and that there is always the opportunity for redress.

    A final point: I’m only making this comment because I think, having read Anna’s comment through in detail, and seen her reasoning, the different debates we are having need to be clarified. I really don’t want to appear to be “stepping in” – I’m NOT a moderator in this place, I’m just keen to see peace break out, any issues that need discussing be discussed amicably, rationally, and in the right context, and an incredibly exciting and successful event not be scuppered by argument or ill-feeling

  42. Sorry I haven’t been able to see/listen to this before. I think it’s great. I love the voices. You both sound fantastic. I will make one of those events all goes well.
    Anne LG

  43. Okay, I’m going to weigh in a bit more.

    What bothers me most about this debate is that the idea that Daisy’s video will lead to suicides in rife with logical fallacies. No one can say this video will lead to suicides. You can say studies have found a statistical significance, but you can’t take it any further than that without making logical fallacies.

    Does anybody know what triggers will lead to what behavior? There are too many variables: environment, atmosphere, personal psychology, stressors, et cetera. Ultimately it is an individual thing. Could Daisy’s video lead someone to commit suicide? Does smoking marijuana lead to hard drugs?

    Do we know what a person’s trigger might be? Would anyone have been able to predict that Nietzsche’s trigger would be watching a man beat a horse? Loathsome as his outburst might be, should the man beating the horse be blamed for Nietzsche’s breakdown?

    Should people be prevented from watching this video because it might trigger a suicide? Should people be prevented from reading Naked Lunch because it might lead to heroin abuse? Personally, if I knew someone who was experimenting with heroin, I would try to get her/him to read Naked Lunch. And if I knew someone who was contemplating suicide, I just might offer him/her a copy of Babylon. It is a very honest account, and does not glorify suicide, or anything else.

    If viewers are disturbed by the video, fine. That is an honest emotional response. But if people call for something to be banned because it could be disturbing, that is wrong.

    We need to be very careful when we consider limiting any of our liberties. Freedom is hard to gain and easy to lose.

  44. When I viewed the trailer, I was expecting an advert for an event. To me this made me view it differently from the way I would have done if it was in a gallery as an installation for example. But, of course you will say that art is not just confined to galleries. I totally agree, and love to find art in unexpected places. And no, Janet, I don’t want art to be comfy or to be surrounded by comfy ideas and find it surprising and frankly, insulting that this is what you take me to mean without knowing me at all. I didn’t think it was clear that this was a book extract to start with –the trailer talks directly to the viewer.. As for seductiveness, I am not sure what you mean by misogynistic, Daisy, I support women’s rights, gay rights and the rights of every person to stand up and be heard. No – death itself seems the seducer here to me. And once I understood you were reading from your book it made sense: of course people feel like this and it should be expressed, but that was not clear to me to begin with.
    YZ is a collective. In a collective you are likely to have a collection of people striving toward the same end, but each will have their own opinions, and these will be filtered by their own experiences. I cannot tell you much about my own experiences, as they are not only ‘mine’ although they affect me deeply, but other people’s close to me; mental health issues affect many people in many different ways. Yes – speak out about your own in whatever way you like, but respect the rights of everyone to do the same, and to respond in different ways. Yes Dan, I trusted this site, and you in particular to respond in a way that did this. When people disagree with particular points, or putting another point of view, I find that intellectually stimulating and healthy. I do, however, object when people respond with generalisations, and when their feelings about the whole of society get dumped on an individual who has dared to express an alternative point of view about how things are done. Collectives which only cater for one viewpoint – the view that everything is fine here – we’re all wonderful and of course, right about everything, and let’s never question that is not my sort of collective. I have never suggested the video should be banned as you will see if you read my posts carefully. I absolutely uphold the rights of others to have and express other opinions. Everybody has the right to speak out and the responsibility to do so when they feel strongly about something – including me – and art should examine difficult issues. Just wasn’t sure the trailer was the best place for that, as I felt the purpose and context were unclear.

    • I apologise if you think I dind’t respond in a way that respected everyone’s opinion. For personal and work reasons I have had very little time to respond in the last couple of days, and have tried to do so in the very best and most balanced way I can in the time available, even if that’s meant not always giving my own opinions. I genuinely thought it was a good thing that people were able to raise both sides of the argument, and that, compared to debates on other sites, the back and forth had been lacking in vitriol and personal affront.

      • Yes – compared to other sites where I might have been accused of more than misogyny, oh and censorship, and feeling that I’ve set myself up as a fall guy for everyone’s railing against society… People who know me will be wondering if you have the right person at all.,,No – I have a lot of respect for you, Dan and I’ve had a busy week too, and know how time consuming these debates can be. I shall weigh out in a minute. I just wanted to say – Marc’s point about what is the purpose of a trailer – that it should last beyond the event,be art, not just be disposable, doesn’t fit with my idea of what a trailer is. Yes – I wondered if it would put people off, but then I’m just a simple person, not an artist. If you all want to turn this into a debate on censorship of art, go right ahead. But that wasn’t what I was trying to express, I was expressing a concern for vulnerable people and a personal reaction to a trailer for a book event, and one I was looking forward to very much.

  45. The use of trailers to promote books is a relatively new phenomenon (and as far as book trailers go, leave a lot to be desired IMhO because they are so lame). The use of a video to promote a live reading I suspect is even less a developed form. It is very plastic at the moment as the medium tries to find its expressive range. In addition we are a Collective that prides itself on trying to break with bromidic artistic representations. A promo trailer’s primary purpose is to promote its content, be it a book or a reading. So on one level it would have to be judged as to its success in that. But it can be a work of art too, as Daisy’s vid undoubtedly is. It stands alone as an aesthetic in its own right. One might criticise it if it turns people off from attending the event, as therefore failing in its primary purpose, but other than that I don’t feel it needs to have any context other than its own interior aesthetic. In this disposable world, why not make a trailer that is strong enough artistically to live beyond the term of the event it’s promoting?

    The whole censorship debate is very simple to my mind. If an artwork isn’t breaking the laws of the land, then it must be allowed its chance of public exposure no matter how reprehensible to most minds. Now you may well query the laws of the land as being foolish and unrepresentative of the public will, but then that’s what much art is tussling with in the first place and also rather than be passively led by media outrage on such causes celebres, people might want to get active and campaign to change the laws. I ask again, is there any subject a comedian cannot make comedy out of? If the answer is no, then the same must hold for other forms of artistic expression.

    marc nash

  46. I’m not saying trailers have to have an artistic life beyond the event they’re promoting. If anything those that do are the absolute exception to the norm.

    It seems quite a few people who have commented here have direct experience of suicide. To me the variety of responses from such people back up the notion of how hard it is to enter another individual’s psyche, (pain is only ever uniquely experienced, no one else can get inside an individual’s precise pain) making it very hard to legislate an across the board behaviour, across the board remedies and across the board guidelines for society.

    marc nash

  47. If the trailer has put people off coming to the event, then it has failed in its job as a promo trailer. For that, I apologize to the collective.

    As a piece of art, I apologize for nothing. I stand behind it, as an individual artist.

    If my wok makes other members of the collective uncomfortable and upset, and feel the need to place restrictions on what we post then I’ll go. Because I’m not about to change my work for anything or anyone.

  48. I think the trailer has succeeded in providing an indication of what people will find at the event; presumably if they prefer not to go, that is their choice?

    My earlier point wasn’t to insult Tricia (or anyone else), or to suggest that a collective – that graciously permits non-members like myself to post comments on its blog – needs a uniform mode of thinking. I was, however, upset by the intimation that art should restrain or modify itself out of concern for its audience’s response (even if we do not know who that audience is). I might count myself among those “vulnerable people” witnessing the trailer. And the trailer (like other elements of Daisy’s writing, film and photography) reminds me that I am not alone in my thoughts, and that instead of letting them throttle and choke me for the rest of my life, I can find ways to fight back and force them to let me go. I haven’t found those ways yet, but it is very moving to me that someone else has found the courage to do so.

  49. It has been a very bad two days for me so I haven’t been on top form. I won’t go into why, because I’m not making excuses. My concern is to see debate flourish and animosity die, but of course I also have opinions. These are they – many time pressures mean this’ll have to be my last word until after the gig (aside from anything else I have 20 eco bags to paint up, 100 programmes to assemble, & fifty SKIN BOOKs to make – and a story to rehearse).

    1. To explain out of fairness to Tricia – a comment was made on Authonomy about the seductive nature of the video that referred to Daisy’s appearance. She was quite rightly incensed that it be implied that how she looked affected what she could say. The word seductive came up again in the debate here. Tricia has explained that she meant the death itself and nothing to do with Daisy – the earlier remark explains why the comment was taken the way it was.

    2. There’s always online a certain amount of what one can call the MacPherson gap – after the Lawrence enquiry’s ruling that what matters in offensiveness is how something is perceived not the intent. Remarks were taken as being offensive that I genuinely don’t believe were intended that way.

    3. Is this a great work of art? Yes

    4./ Is it a good trailer for the show? Yes. Absolutely. Daisy and I discussed the format, the feel, and the approach in the video. I think it gives a very good idea of teh feel of the event people will come to.

    5. Is there a psychiatric responsibility on us? That’s an important debate, and the facts Anna has very kindly dug out are very important to it.

    6. Is the video inappropriate for Year Zero? We have articles of association in place that mean we ARE responsible for self-censoring. Is this video in breach of those atricles? I don’t think so. At all.

    7. Where I personally stand on the question of how the video relates to vulnerable people is with Janet – I need to know I’m not alone. I need other people who feel like I do to tell teh truth about it – in non-fiction and in art. I knwo there are others who are vulnerable who react differently. I can only tell it from my point of view.

    8. My writing this year is about aiming for just some of teh truth that Daisy conveys.

    9. The fact I agree with Janet and Daisy in no way means I don’t take Tricia and Anna’s points on board and defend their right to speak up

    10. For fuck’s sake, Salinger just died. That’s bigger than any of this (as well as being the fuck related to everything we’re talking about). Can we all dedicate the gig to him and get preparing to make it the event taht changed the way people see literature?

  50. Agree with points 1 through 10, but 11 Dan? Salinger was not about T-shirts. Of all writers, he defended his privacy more than most. He must not be memorialised through anything but his work and people’s reactions to it. He is not to become a commodity/brand image in the way that say Che Guevara was.


    • point very well put and taken – bullet point 11 removed, and a post set up for people’s reactions as the most fitting way of doing SOMETHING

  51. It saddens me to hear Daisy apologising for this. A trailer for an evening of read-aloud extracts is nothing but a very small sample of what the audience can expect to hear. If some have decided not to attend on the basis of this clip, it has still succeeded in its function.
    The danger here,is merely that lifting a section from a larger work,be it a trailer or the reading itself,entails a shift in focus, and in this case the shift has been to something that is susceptible to become an issue: suicide.
    As writers we must know that Daisy’s book contains a lot more than this single’issue,’and that the significance or otherwise of the whole work provides justification for the inclusion of this one episode. Can we not put it in perspective?

  52. […] Dan Holloway is an author and the founder of the Year Zero Writer’s Collective. Learn more about the upcoming Year Zero live reading tour here. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: