“Hot on the Heels of Love”
I think Satina had enough the day I slagged her student film. It’d been a difficult year between us. She was so independent so different than the Cuban girls I knew from home. Clingers. They wanted to know where I was at every hour — EVHA’s, I said to Sven one day at the radio station: “Every Hour Accountable women,” I said.
It was our running joke.
If I told Satina I was working on my radio show production with Sven at the station — or off shooting footage for my films — she accepted it, never questioned it. Sven and I usually weren’t doing any of those things. Satina expected the same from me, but I was socialized in a different manner. My fawning often turned into control, and Satina wouldn’t have it.
The final meltdown came at the end of our first semester senior year. She was working on the first half of her senior thesis film, and I’d convinced her — well, maybe, I browbeat her into using Throbbing Gristle in her soundtrack. She thought the energy was too dark for her film — a tone poem about the second wave of feminism. Frankly, I though her entire concept sucked. Dark, turgid, disjunctive — a mess. And this section of the film was particularly bad. I still don’t know why she caved in to me in that one instance.
The day before the film was due Satina was finishing the final edit of the film. I told her: “‘Hot on the Heels of Love’ is the worst Throbbing Gristle song you could have chosen. It’s so unrepresentative and it’s sung by Cosi Fan Tutti. It has to be a Genesis P. Orridge song!”
“Tadeo! Listen, back off,” she said. She rewound the A and B rolls of film but I pinched the soundtrack reel on the Steenbeck machine and the roll snapped, and flapped wildly off the side of the editor.
“Now you listen to me,” I said. “I know this fucking band! This group is changing the sound of music as we know it. God damn it, they’re responsible for an entirely new subgenre of music —“
“Oh fuck off,” she said. “You’re going to fix that magnetic track. You’re going to splice that back together and you’re going to reset the Steenbeck. I can’t afford any more delays on this.”
She was glowing red, small blood vessels reticulating on her temples. “And furthermore you don’t know what you’re talking about. A lot of what Throbbing Gristle is doing was done in music concrete: James Tenney, Pauline Oliveros, John Cage — hell, even your hero William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin were doing this in the early 60’s. So don’t give me any shit about what goes on. I know my shit, and you’re not going to tell me otherwise.”
I told Sven she didn’t know shit. Sven and I spent a lot more time together that winter.
“Any form of human creativity is a process of doing it and getting better at it. You become a writer by writing. There is no other way.”
— Margaret Atwood