Margate Queer Writers present Memory 2021 marking 50th anniversary of Bernadette Mayer journal project

Memory 2021 Image Liam J O'Driscoll

July 2021 was the 50th anniversary of the creation of Memory by poet Bernadette Mayer.

Memory is a journal of the month of July 1971 based on notes and writings and a series of 1,116 slides (36 pictures shot every day).

Throughout July 2021, the queer collective Margate Queer Writers recreated their own version of this “emotional science project.”

Margate Queer Writers participants were invited to choose a day in July 2021 they wanted to record. On that day, they wrote text and took photos reflective of themselves and the world around them.

Image Alexandros Haros

The result is an archiving of the queer lived moment in all its unpolished immediacy. Fragments of the text and a selection of photos have been designed into posters.

There will now be an exhibition of the text and photography and an audioscape of readings for the Private View from 6pm-8pm on Friday, July 1 at The Margate Caves.

Following the Private View, the works are going to be exhibited in public venues across Margate throughout July.

Image Hayley White

Margate Queer Writers Founder Liam J O’Driscoll said: “I wanted to celebrate Bernadette Mayer and her seminal 1971 work Memory, so I set myself the task of doing my own version of her project exactly 50 years after she did. Margate is full of queer creatives who are open to collaboration and fun projects, so I thought, why not ask Margate Queer Writers to get involved too?

mage Lennie

“This project has proved to be a time capsule of that awkward moment when we stuttered out of some of the worst of the pandemic and started to interact with the world and each other again. It also coincides with a queer renaissance that’s happening in Margate right now. We have a vivid drag scene, regular music events like country music themed Queer Cu*try, and a brand new queer venue called Camp Margate.

Image Tom Wilson

“For this project I asked the contributors to follow their instinct as we’re not all writers. Some chose to write traditional diary entries. Others wrote poetry, song lyrics, captions, tours, lists. Some wrote down found text and overheard conversations. We have it all!

Image Jen Scott with Shelly Grotto

“The images are beautiful. Photographing everything from the magnificent to the mundane, the photos give a peak into the lives and perspective of Margate’s queer community.

Image Mia

“Recording our days at that point of the pandemic gives us an insight into how COVID affected this seaside queer community at that time. Isolation, bereavement, fear and loneliness are themes in the works but then we also have the excitement of coming back together- reuniting with friends, dancing, being creative again, the hope of sexual encounters. And obviously this is Margate, so there are a lot of pictures of sunsets too!”

To follow the Memory 2021 trail, go to @margatequeerwriters and @margatepride


      • Tut ! tut ! Mr Checksfield – I don’t think you are allowed to use that phrase unless you are a member of the fraternity yourself.

        If one is queer then one can use the word in respect of one’s self and one’s compatriots but if anybody else uses it then it is an insult.

        Please rest assured that I do not make these rules – and I certainly do not understand them !

  1. It was always my understanding that “Queer” came from the term used frequently in the past “As someone who is as queer as a clockwork orange”, remember the film? Over recent years it seems to me that homosexualists have gained a prominence greatly in excess of their numbers! I would prefer it if they got back in the closet!

    • I’m GLAD they/we don’t have to hide away as much as they once would, though if anyone believes things have 100% changed – try (if you’re male) walking into a pub holding hands with another man, and see what happens!

  2. A few years ago a local man dressed as a women, took a pee in the Ladies of a local pub, dressed as a women, but made the mistake of standing up in the stall! He was badly beaten up, by women! I won’t name him, but he did some work for me, as a plumber!

    • I haven’t seen him for some years, although perhaps he is woman now, so may have missed him. As a a plumber he could be identified as someone who uses copper a lot, geddit!

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