Kim Gordon – leading lady of noise punk legends Sonic Youth – on
making mud huts, junk email and post-election blues…
When I was younger I used to hate Monday mornings. I suffered from school anxiety. I hated school. My elementary was a laboratory school at UCLA where my dad taught. It was a very ‘learn by doing’ school, like we used to make mud huts when we were studying about Africa and we skinned a cow hide once. It didn’t prepare me for the bigger school, which was a real disappointment. So I skipped school a lot.
Since the election, I don’t know what to do with my Monday mornings. I’ve become such a news junkie; now I have this big gaping hole. I’m not a natural morning person. I’m a reverse insomniac: I fall asleep and then I wake up at two or three in the morning and toss and turn. But I’ve gotten out of the habit of sleeping in late. Sleeping late for me is eight-thirty these days.
I live in Northampton, Western Massachusetts but yesterday I was in New York. I don’t have such a constant schedule; the only constant thing is my daughter Coco. Thurston [Moore; husband and band mate] and I take it in turns as to who gets up with her. Coco is 14 years old now and just started high school. This morning I got up at seven. It used to be six-thirty but they start later at her new school, so that’s better.
Sometimes, if there is nothing really that exciting going on, then Monday is hard. If you travel a lot then when you come home you feel disconnected from your life. I’d like to just go away and do a couple of shows and come home. It’s hard to leave one child all the time. In the summer we can take her with us, but she doesn’t want to tour that much: it’s not that much fun plus she’s not the one who gets to play.
The first thing I do is go downstairs and feed the dog and let him out. He’s called Merzbow – like the Japanese noise artists. He’s an Australian sheepdog and very photogenic; he’s either just turning five years old or he’s six. Then the cat wants to come in and go out and come in. I have to put the dog in the crate because he chases her. He likes her but he’s overly energetic and freaks her out.
I have to constantly go up and see if Coco is getting up. I’m back and forth up the stairs. One of the ways I try to wake her up is by asking what she wants for lunch. We’re trying to get her to make her own lunch but she is a hopeless morning person. For breakfast I’ll make Coco some oatmeal. I like that too. But lately I’ve been getting into a fried egg on toast with olive oil and a slice of tomato. And I’ll drink earl grey, green or black tea.
I usually take a shower later in the morning, before I go to the gym. If I’m lucky I go three times a week. I try to time it to watch The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. During the election I would read the New York Wall, the New York Times and I’d be checking the Huntington Post and Tina Brown’s new blog on the Daily Beast at the same time.
On the weekend I don’t really get that many emails. Mainly penis extension or extra orgasms, that kind of stuff. But I check my email every morning and I look at all the homework I have to do; I sift through and see how the things I have been procrastinating about are doing. That’s sort of a good Monday morning thing to do. If I’m really feeling organised I mentally plan out what I’m going to get done. But lately I’ve really been busy because I have all these projects. I’m starting a clothing line called Mirror/Dash and I’m working on an art book for Rizzoli, which is a combination of some of my recent watercolours and some photographs. We’re working on a new record, I have equipment set up in my basement and a studio in Hoboken, New Jersey. And I have to make a lion costume for my daughter.
I don’t have a regular lunchtime. Sometimes, like today, I’m going to go to Wholefoods to buy food and maybe I’ll grab some sushi or I’ll just grab a sandwich. We have a big Victorian house but the room I paint in is kinda messy, the ceiling is falling down and needs to be fixed. It used to be the servant’s kitchen and it has a sink in there. So I sometimes work in the kitchen because the light is really good and there’s a big table. It’s one of these typical things: hardly anyone leaves the kitchen.
In the evenings at the moment Thurston is trying to catch up on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, he’s way behind, so we’re re-watching it with him. So sometimes we’ll watch an episode of that, or I’m really into Mad Men. I’m really behind in watching TV, I’m behind with Entourage and Weeds, and there’s a new vampire show, True Blood.
I go to bed around midnight. I usually read, usually fiction. I’m reading this pretty good suspense book, called “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.” Although I have “My Sister Madonna” next to my bed by Christopher Ciccone. Sometimes I get my best ideas at night. But then it keeps me awake, like I really have to force myself not to think. I can really become a worrier about myself. I don’t dream as much as I used to. I had a really weird one the other night about Thurston’s mother; that she was pregnant. She’s an incredibly youthful woman for her age, she’s very vital. It was pretty bizarre.
Photographer:: Andrew Kesin
A full version of this article first appeared in Wonderland #16, Dec/Jan 2008/09