To write through a character called Fantômas would be laughable. Coming from a 42-year-old novelist, and a lesbian at that. Infantile, also ill-advised. The self-infantilisation of the butch lesbian is proverbial as it is. (Picture a bale of butches watching a rerun of Back to the Future (1985), the science-fiction adventure comedy film.) I might boycott boy fictions like Fantômas. Already I have the appearance of a boy cusping the age of consent (from afar). I pass as a boy or a young man in Sutton. Only yesterday I accessorised my rolled up carrot leg type of trousers with orange socks. I came in for suburban abuse (verbal, poof). Despite a recent resurgence or renaissance of all things butch, I am transgendered. I descend from a pretty genealogy. Between 1911 and 1913, 32 Fantômas classic volumes were published in France. I have not read them. Not one. They are available on Project Gutenberg and, elsewhere on the net, as audio files. Amazon UK lists 24 available copies of The Daughter of Fantômas/La Fille de Fantômas (1911) alone. Condition: Used – very good. Allain & Souvestre, the original authors, wrote: “‘Fantômas.’ ‘What did you say?’ ‘I said: Fantômas.’ ‘And what does that mean?'” (1911, p. 1) I don’t know. I don’t know what that means. Of 32 classic volumes I have yet to read one.
Reading or not reading Fantômas is not a question of age, nor gender. If reading Fantômas were a question of gender (which it is not), I would be your man. I have previously owned and listened to the self-titled debut LP of the experimental metal supergroup, Fantômas. Fantômas are vocalist Mike Patton (Faith No More, Mr. Bungle), drummer Dave Lombardo (Slayer), guitarist Buzz Osborne (Melvins) and bassist Trevor Dunn (Mr. Bungle, Tomahawk). Fantômas are American and testosterone-fuelled. I had the T-shirt. Having listened to Fantômas’s LP in the past, repeatedly, I no longer invest in it. At 42, I have learnt not to invest in misogynist forms of masculinity as reproduced in the avant-metal genre and the avant-metal subculture. Quentin Crisp, Patricia ‘Bunny’ O’Rooley, Peggy Shaw, Moj of the Antarctic, Campbell X, The Divine David, Bird la Bird and Lisa Blackman, as gender nonconforming role models, outperform Fantômas’s band members hands down. In many respects, Sutton outperforms America hands down. Quentin Crisp (1908-1999) grew up in Sutton, for example. I wrote my novel Gaudy Bauble in Sutton (as well as in Cambridge, Clerkenwell and Crystal Palace). Like most Londoners, I am no longer in a position to live in London. I live in Sutton now. [read more]