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"Ex-Industrial (a trailer)": a poem by Helen Mort

Zoom in: near sunset in a town where everything’s ex-this,
ex-that, an artificial pond poured in to fill the gaps.
Just out of shot, your neighbour the ex-smoker smokes
behind the flats and feels ex-touches shivering down his back.
 
Interior: your ex-face in that photo on the shelf
is less than half the shadow of your former self.
Crowned with a plastic rose, the TV’s talking to itself.
A coat pools on the floor. Real shadows take the walls by stealth.
 
Zoom out: that man-made lake again. The fishermen
and geese have left, the sun slinks off towards the west.
The camera pans across the water, comes to rest –
and there: the sun beneath the surface holds its breath.
 
Helen Mort was born in Sheffield in 1985. Her debut collection, Division Street, was published by Chatto & Windus in September and has been shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award and the T S Eliot Prize. Mort’s poetry is informed by the post-industrial landscape of north Derbyshire, where she grew up (she is the current poet laureate for Derbyshire). Asked what inspires her work, she said: “I think a lot of poetry comes from a kind of greed – a longing for the lives you haven’t led, the places you haven’t lived.” “Ex-Industrial (a trailer)” is previously unpublished.

This article first appeared in the 04 December 2013 issue of the New Statesman, Burnout Britain

Sad13
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Meet the pop star who wants to show you that consent is sexy

“I say yes if I want to.”

If you’re familiar with Speedy Oritz, the band whose 2015 album Foil Deer made waves in alternative music circles, then you’ll already know a little about their lead singer, Sadie Dupuis. Dupuis is now striding out on her own, under the name Sad13, with a more bubblegum sound. She debuted her first solo single, “Get a Yes”, from the upcoming album Slugger, on NPR this week.

“Get a Yes” explores the idea of receiving enthusiastic consent before each sexual activity. She told NPR:

How many kids learn about sex from pop music? And how many fun-sounding pop musicians do a heinous job as sex-ed teachers? Like “Genie In A Bottle”, which characterizes sex as an internal conflict between the mind and the body — rather than something you should only do when the minds and bodies of all parties involved are synchronized? Or “Blurred Lines” in which the narrator presumes to know what his partner wants?

Instead, “Get a Yes” demonstrates how consent is sexy:

You can only get to that affirmative yes through a lot of dialoguing, and I think that process should be viewed as fun, sexy and not at all daunting. So I wanted to make a pop song that explores the excitement inherent in getting and giving consent.

As Dupuis sings in the chorus,

I say yes to the dress when I put it on
I say yes if I want you to take it off
I say yes for your touch when I need your touch
I say yes if I want to
If you want to, you’ve gotta get a yes
Can I get a yes?

Listen to the song below.

Anna Leszkiewicz is a pop culture writer at the New Statesman.