I’d slept badly the night before, and the terrified joy I felt at getting to meet and talk with an artist I had so much respect for was almost crippling. I’d seen Garside rip up many a stage, flailing in broken glass half naked and screaming surreal nightmare poetry; without the safety net dynamic of a stage barrier between us, I was dizzy with fear. She turned out to be just as dark and electric as I’d imagined. Piercing eye contact at times, head bowed and eyes hidden at others, she spoke with a wisdom that can only come from having one foot in other realities.
I thought her tired, ancient and vulnerably young, and what I intuited from her was a long-seated frustration at having to condense gigantic inner passions into a language that simply isn’t big enough. I also uncovered – perhaps not unwittingly – a then-cause of much emotional fidgeting. The self-confessed solipsism and hermitage that she’d fed off “for a very long time” was no longer offering her the habitat and sustenance she’d needed, and the journey away from it was one she was facing with characteristic equivocation.
Staying above water in her rhythm of tangents, metaphors and theorising required constant intellectual pacing, and though I was keen to keep the focus on her, the interview was a “process filtered” by myself – as she herself pointed out. Like some kind of pagan ceremony, I was required to sacrifice a portion of my own secrets to earn hers. It made our conversation a kind of dance, dangerous and thrilling, and not without a shiver of personal parallels. Garside was weird, challenging, staggeringly enlightened and yet still seeking answers.