Interview with Thomas Moore – Elizabeth Victoria Aldrich
August 3, 2020
Thomas Moore's new novel Alone was released early last June by Amphetamine Sulphate, as if surfacing from the suffocating confines wrought by Covid-19. These conditions, as if simultaneously emblematic of deeper societal ills and limitations, brought with its birth a sense of perennial resilience. This book was an emergency. Not one defined by talking heads or the World Health Organization, but necessitated and heralded by the renegade spirit of a living movement of artists and iconoclasts. Here we are born. Here we will die. Here we will crash into bodies and make flames. Alone is a place. A survival mechanism. A clarion call. Alone is the other side of the boundary. A transgression. A forfeiture. A hope. Alone is where people will not go but always are. A name you are called when God is taken away. In Alone, Moore's prose once again gracefully permeates the shadows of human interiors and timelines. Its poised execution recalls the filmic transitions of Harmony Korine, woven with the teeth of David Wojnarowicz. Alone is a scream, whispered from the terraces and galleries of solitude. Dennis Cooper called it "immaculate," deadly," and "febrile." You call it what you want.
– Evan Isoline
Alone is a dope fucking book by Thomas Moore. Yeah it’s going to remind you of The Sluts. Maybe it’ll also remind you that you have interviews of yourself too on the internet if you’re like me! Either way you’re probably lonely sometimes or have felt you yourself able to objectively laugh at the chaos of your life. I read it in a day and now it’s one of my favorite books.
Naturally, I asked him questions on instagram and he typed out his responses on his computer within minutes. This went on until we needed to go eat and stuff.
Books are always so relevant and psychic–in the first chapter he talks about how sex is so beautiful and maybe that’s why some people make such a big fuss out of it, and like, four people over the past few days have just grinded me down because they were like “omg fetishes and sex and nudity is bad” and I just want to say if you feel that way keep it to yourself!!! You know what I didn’t keep to myself? The fucking machine when someone said something about teeth and blowjobs and told me to fuck myself or something. This is irrelevant, let’s get to the good shit.
Okay before that, again one more thing, I was reading his book Small Talk at the Clinic when I was writing “Cocaine Doom: Meet with Video on Zoom” with James Krendel-Clark and on this very sparkly pink meth that looked like fairy dust. And the person who introduced me to Amphetamine Sulphate isn’t talking to me right now and I don’t know why which is lame because I don’t even care that he does heroin. I just miss the fucker. But much like this one part in the book, I kinda realize.. Well it’s like.. What am I supposed to say, hey I know I’m an awful person who has done shitty things but hang out with me anyway? Like hey I hurt you, wanna hang out? How the fuck does that work. I guess I just need to accept when I’m too shitty to be around people. I’ve been self-isolating before Covid though so whatever.
When I got Alone in the mail, I was alone the next day for two weeks. It sucked.
The purple text is me, Eris. I mention my love for Amphetamine Sulphate in Eris X Eris but let’s shut the fuck about me and move on to this conversation two people had. One at work and the other in bed with her partner asleep. The night belongs to those who take it. Thomas Moore is like me in the way that we both have really old email addresses we’re embarrassed of but still use.
Why do you write? What’s your favourite thing to explore? You’re not scared of grit or realness.
I’ve never known why – I just feel this compulsion to do it and so I do it. I imagine it’s the same with a lot of artists, maybe? My instincts tell me that I don’t need to try and unpick where the compulsion comes from. I think I have a few themes that I write about a lot – sex, death, the failures of language, the internet, communication, hyperemotional states, altered states … I write about things that I obsess over – things that are always in my head for some reason. With art there shouldn’t be anything that you’re scared of – the mind is a free space, you know? Just go with it and go with what the ideas are telling you to do.
Sex and death being intertwined is brought up. Jame Nulick mentions it in an interview too so I thought that was cool.
Yeah – they’ve always had that link in my mind. In the book I talk about the AIDS public awareness advert that I saw as a child in the 80s. As a queer kid, it very much felt like the message from the media at that time was sex and death went hand in hand. It was a weird time to be a child trying to understand that stuff. And then as I grew older I managed to find writers like Georges Bataille who wrote these books where sex and death were linked and explored in this really serious way and I suppose it felt like it really started to legitimise a lot of the ideas and thoughts I had to do with writing. Oh and yeah, I love James Nulick’s writing. I think we probably have certain themes in common. We have very different styles and other stuff but I definitely feel a kinship with his work. His most recent book, Haunted Girlfriend is fucking great.
Do you like Samuel Beckett? You are both 22 Aries suns. If that matters.
I read a lot of Beckett but not for years and years and years … I liked it when I read it. What does the Aries thing mean? I like hearing that stuff but don’t know much about it …
Didn’t you use to interview people? I think you told me you interviewed Daisy Chainsaw/KatieJane Garside.
Yeah I was talking about doing fanzines. It was a really big thing to me as a teenager. I started making them in the late 90s. I haven’t made a zine since 2003, I think. But yeah, I used to make them and write about stuff like riot grrrl bands I liked, I’d write about Bikini Kill or review Le Tigre or Sonic Youth gigs I’d seen and write about the queercore bands that I was into and all of that kind of stuff. I used to love it – posting zines to people in different countries and swapping with them for their zines and all this stuff that was very pre-internet.
And yeah I interviewed Katie Jane Garside for my zine and Crispin Gray from Daisy Chainsaw and QueenAdreena. I was so excited at the time … I did email interviews with JD Samson and Jon Ginoli and The Need and all these queer artists – it was a really important thing for me back then. I suppose in recent years I’ve done the occasional bit of journalism and interviewed writers I like and stuff like that but it feels very different to back then – zines always felt kind of magical to me.
And if you have any specific astrology questions I’m happy to answer them but like. Your book is way more important. I grew up hooking up (and falling in love with) people I met through MySpace, LiveJournal. And Grindr is amazing. I’ve known so many people who have had like spiritual PNP experiences. To just casual blowjob on the stairs kinda things. Am I allowed to ask if you’re alone/single now?
Hmmm … I don’t think I have any specific questions but I always find hearing about Aries stuff kind of interesting. Thanks so much about the book, by the way. That’s so nice of you. Yeah I’m single at the moment – happily so. I think I’m very much made to be single. Definitely. Or at least, single in the heteronormative idea of what that is, you know?
Oh also the finger. Tell me everything about the finger. There is no way I can’t not ask you. It’s amazing. It looks so real.
The finger! It’s definitely caught my attention. The finger belongs to the great artist and filmmaker, genius and one of my favourite people in the world, Michael Salerno. He runs Kiddiepunk and he made the cover artwork. He does the covers for all of my books and has published a load of my stuff. He did remind me the other day that he does have nine other fingers though, and they all have talents. I hope they don’t feel forgotten.
I love zines!! God I loved selling mine in San Francisco and Berkeley and going to Portland and it’s so alive there. Zines are magical.
I still try and buy interesting zines when I see them but I’m kind of out of the loop.
God I love fanzines, my favorite ever was Cherryfuck Fanzine. If anyone has a copy floating around for the love of blonde Swedish girls who love Hole email me.
Yeah I used to have a bunch of Hole zines.
Yeah, it’s hard when you don’t live near a zine store (or one with a section) and you just see a lot of boring tumblr stuff on Etsy. Microcosm is cool, Evan Isoline is on another level… I love the anarchist zines a lot like no gods no mattresses. Hole zines? OH MY GOD that’s so cool. I am kind of full of an insane amount of Courtney Love knowledge. Was there anything in the zines about the whole Skittles being thrown at Lollapalooza thing? July 4th, 1995… what a day.
I guess a lot of the zines I see these days are art zines and stuff like that. There is some really cool stuff happening. I need to order the Evan Isoline stuff – it looks great from what I’ve seen online. I love that you’re so into Hole and Courtney Love. Hole are such an incredible band. All of their albums are so fantastic. I was listening to My Body The Hand Grenade again the other night and the scope of stuff on there is just phenomenal. I read that Eric Erlandson was working on a Hole rarities boxset or something a while back – I really hope that happens.
I love Aries people. You aren’t passive aggressive it’s the BEST.
Single like with a cat and friends with benefits? I don’t know. I can’t exist single, it’s a huge weakness of mine, but also why I related to your book so much. (Grief)
I just don’t see monogamous one on one relationships as a thing for me. I don’t see them as things that actually work that well or that healthily, I dunno. It’s a personal thing though – it’s not a judgement on people who are in those kinds of relationships. Everyone should just go with what works for them.
I feel like being queer has helped me get my writing out there. I feel like there is an audience for it. Do you feel the same way or is it way different for a man?
I’ve definitely never sought out anyone who just wants to have queer voices heard or whatever, but I’ve definitely been published just because I went to lesbian camp LOL
I don’t know. A queer press did publish my first two novels, so I guess so in that way. I don’t know though. I’d probably have to think about it some more.
Also why do you say you’re meant to be alone? That’s such an impossible concept for me to grasp. But I don’t want to get too personal. Eh, you can always tell me to fuck off. ❤️
Oh, you can be as personal as you want, it’s fine. I just mean exactly that. I love my own company. I’ve realised more and more that I’m very comfortable with myself and my own brain and that stuff. I get on with myself very well. I don’t have an urge to want one person there romantically or anything like that.
I totally regret not greeting you by saying hi daddy. [ETA this is a book reference] Anyways, tell me about the cult. I love its ominous presence. Maybe love is a cult (or it’s the drug and I want to OD—I love that song if you’re into BJM) and you’ve just broken out of it.
Haha, I’m kind of relieved you didn’t call me daddy! Over the last two years of so I’ve had that a lot on Grindr – younger guys looking for older. I don’t like being called daddy at all. Yuck. I don’t think I know that BJM song. I find cults super interesting – and the one in the novel is a kind of composite of different things I was looking at, at the time. I liked having it lingering there in the background because I think it kind of has this paranoid thing happening – something rumbling under the surface all of the time or something.
Oh my god yes. Eric made Hole Hole.
Oh totally, of course. Whenever I hear all the bullshit about people writing Courtney’s songs for her I always think that, well number one – there’s just a lot of sexist bullshit and number 2, it’s like they forget that there are other musicians involved in Hole – Eric especially! I love his guitar stuff.
Oh I’m a serial cheater. I thrived in the poly Bay Area until I slept with everyone and left.
There is definitely a part of your book that seems to not want to hurt others after having done so and feeling so much regret
I guess I don’t put myself in a position where it’s possible to cheat – I just have hookups and then some people here and there who I see from time to time.
Yeah that’s certainly a part of the tone of the book. This kind of regret that comes with all of that stuff, sex and loneliness and confusion.
I love that Jonathan represented so much to you too
Poor Jonathan, right? Yeah, I think a lot of that stuff is about obsession and this really intense early yearning. I think when you’re a child and you first experience certain emotions they are so overwhelming and huge, like these mountainous things or these tidal waves that just hit you and leave you swirling. It’s the same with teenagers – people like to make fun of teenage angst and just treat it as this silly thing when in reality, the pain that young people feel is so raw and real and intense – the sadness or the lust or the desire or that confusion – when you first feel those things and don’t have the emotional reference points that you do when you’re older – it can feel impossible. I’m super interested in those emotional states and validating them.
Pretty on the Inside is my favorite album and god yeah the demos are amazing… Burn Black, Turpentine..
Yeah, the adoption stuff is kind of what it is really. I’m more interested in the impact it has upon attachments.
I don’t think it’s the same but yeah I wouldn’t want to have everyone judge everyone who lost a parent at age 9 based on me
Ah yeah I totally have BPD
Exactly – everyone has their own experiences that make them who they are. That must have been really hard, I’m sorry.
Thank you, I got to the point where I feel lucky to just have known her so that’s pretty cool!
Do you have any riot grrrl stories?! I’m so curiousss
[picture of wall w/ riot grrrl stuff]
I love your haikus too, do you have them as a daily goal?
That’s a really positive way of seeing stuff. Stuff with parents is always so weird and complicated.
I love that Hole poster!
No, I’ve not done any riot grrrl stories. I suppose I’ve got poems about punk kids and that kind of thing so maybe.
It’s the vinyl cover for “Retard Girl” which has a picture of Kat Bjelland 😀
That’s so cool!!
No I just do the haikus when I feel like it. They’re a really helpful writing exercise actually. I had a book of them published by Kiddiepunk called Skeleton Costumes. It’s about to be reissued for its third edition.
It’s so ..something to be asking you this because you’re you but what was KatieJane like??
Oh fuck yeah I need to buy that thank you for letting me know!
I met Kat Bjelland once but she wasn’t in the mood to talk. I felt bad for asking her to sign my CD. I love Babes in Toyland. I was listening to some of Spanking Machine just last night actually.
KatieJane was really lovely. Kind and friendly. She had a really calm vibe and was very thoughtful about the questions and stuff. And then she goes on stage and just transcends into this amazing thing. Queen Adreena live we’re just incredible – I saw them play a lot.
Ahh that’s so cool!! Thank you for indulging me with those kinds of things
I was playing “Vomit Heart” earlier
No, I’m the same. I was talking to Philip Best the other day and asking him about different musicians he’s toured with or knew or whatever. I love hearing about artists I’m into.
She’s such a brilliant lyricist
Oh he’s so great to talk to!!
Philip is just amazing. He’s been so good to me. I’m so thrilled that he wanted to put Alone out. And he’s so supportive.
I have a bunch of Whitehouse and Consumer Electronics stuff along with his books so i was so happy when I heard he was into my stuff.
The world is magical like that sometimes isn’t it??
[picture of alien existence]
It’s so nice when you get to connect with other artists. I’m so excited about your book – very much looking forward to it.
Manuel who is publishing my book said something like why work with people you don’t like? So it’s awesome to hear other people being appreciated.. yay
Omg thank you
Appreciated by their publishers I mean. Which would seem to be the default lol
I feel extremely lucky to be working with both Amphetamine Sulphate and Kiddiepunk. They’re both a dream to work with.
Oh my god, do they know you’re gay?
(I love them too)Yay!!
Thanks so much for doing that
I better disappear and start making some lunch
And what time is it there?
Where exactly are you in the US?
Los Angeles. The Valley. Like omg type of valley
I have to visit LA one day
Yeah so you have your cool voice and I’m like.. YES perhaps the sex shops of Sherman Oaks
I’ve only been to New York and Austin
I’m going to ignore you so you eat lunch (lovingly)
Cool. Thanks again – let
Me know when it’s online or whatever
But talk soon anyway I hope
Farewell for now! 🍉🍩☕️❤️🎃🥙🌯