Who… Am I???

Hello all! This post is my attempt at making the most of a huge opportunity, because I have been interviewed for a piece for a big fashion-y publication (one that had really cool covers in the olden times) which will be published on Friday, and I’m hoping it will lead at least a few people to this blog – but I’m not sure it’s totally clear who runs this blog at all yet. Many of you will already know me from glory years on the dark side of Tumblr (2016-2019), and some will know me from my art Instagram (2014-2020), and some still will know me as an elusive former Aesthetics Wiki admin. I’ve been around, and have essentially led double/triple internet lives for the past few years, so I thought it would be nice to write a proper unified introduction. Who am I actually? What do I want? Why am I in your house?

My particulars + interests

  • Ella (2001 – ?) British university student (taking a year off to write a book…)
  • After a three-year turn as a radical feminist*, I’m invested in reading/writing about the social value and meaning of sexuality, and its overlap with culture and art.
  • I am interested in film history: Josef von Sternberg, Joseph Losey, Czech New Wave, Weimar Germany, giallo, everything that happened in the 60s generally, late Fellini, lesbian boarding school dramas, vampires, Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Joan Crawford, Elizabeth Taylor, Lauren Bacall, etc.
  • I am also interested in languages, premodern poetry and translation: I am proficient-ish in Latin and Classical (plus modern) Chinese, and am learning Manchu (the script looks pretty). On this blog there are some translations of Tang and Song poems (see Farwll My Concubin, my recent E-less rendition of the Bai Juyi classic), and, if you scroll far enough, brief discussions of Ovid and Horace.
  • (This all probably makes me sound like a sheltered, private-schooled eccentric! I went to an old and slightly bizarre state school with delusions of grandeur – that’s how I learnt Latin. I only got good at reading poetry to impress my crush, and it didn’t work. I worked out how to read Chinese from apps on my phone, to start with. It was a random choice of new language and it stuck – I’m obsessed with Chinese characters, the way Chinese verbs work, and the idea of being able to bring two separate cultures with separate histories together in my writing.)
  • My blog name means just that: this is a page on the internet which has been charmed/blessed/nested in by fairies. I believed in fairies as a young child and was always ‘away with’ them. I also admire the girls behind the Cottingley Fairies hoax. My subheading is the best bit from Thomas Chatterton’s very beautiful ‘Ælla, a Tragical Interlude’ (which almost involves my name, and thus is my signature poem which means I can get it inscribed on things and recited at my funeral)

My ideas

  • Lesbian culture and gay male culture have more in common than we think. For more, check out this essay I wrote (my favourite) about the overlap between male and female androgyny, the infantilisation of lesbianism, and villain-MILF-worship, and how these things are unified in the shared cultural domain of camp.
  • ‘Queer’ theory and language is demeaning to those it claims to encompass, and makes a sideshow of a great gay artistic tradition (with homoeroticism a fundamental element of Western art). Read this essay for more!

My mission

  • To post more here – about language/literature, art/film, etc. Also possibly lighthearted writing about my daily life and playlists.
  • To replace the current knee-jerk, hyperspeed online climate with one of careful consideration, context and measured connection
  • To write and illustrate my book (currently in progress!)
  • To find and revive in lesbianism the fetishised, sleek aesthetic of the 1930s
  • To decide how films should look – to edit an entire magazine (an actually stylish and interesting lesbian periodical) – and many other pipe dreams I am now too old to have.

Thank you! Enjoy my blog! I will attempt to engineer a proper posting schedule for myself now I’m on a year’s break from my degree. Let me know what you’d like to read about…

*I’ve disowned the radfem view of society as being essentially shaped by power differences between men and women. I also couldn’t stomach its two-dimensional ‘depiction = endorsement’ analysis of art made by men. I’m still pretty anti-sex-trade, especially where it concerns the gig economy, and mostly anti-online-pornography. I remain quietly sceptical of ideas underpinning trans theory, but hope (in my analysis and experience of lesbianism) to find some respectful common ground.

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