12-Apr-2009

A Pansy for Michael Causer.....

For Michael Causer, 1989-2008, Tarbock Road, Liverpool
As previously promised I planted a pansy for Michael Causer this week. I spoke to Michael's mother Marie Causer the day before the planting, to get her blessing and to explain to her the nature of The Pansy Project. I devised the project nearly five years ago and this has been the most intense and emotional week. We met on Tarbock Road, Huyton, Liverpool where Michael's battered body was unceremoniously dumped by his killers last July, thought provoking and moving for me and surely harrowing for Michael's parents, we sombrely stood metres from where Michael Causer was discovered. The Causers revealed details about the case in hushed tones, and as we stared at the mundane corner of abandoned flower beds and undergrowth, littered with functionless posts and inexplicable barbed wire I selected a position for Michael's pansy. I knelt amongst the dirt and weeds and carefully placed it where I felt it would flourish. I stopped and we spoke a little more, we looked on, the tiny lilac flower zinged against the feral daffodils and wasteland. We looked on. We discussed our shared battle to combat homophobia, Michael's parents hoped that this would never happen to another family. I nodded supportively hoping for the same though knowing I had more pansies to plant; for others and myself. I took photographs, we looked on and I gave Marie a pansy the darkest of purple to plant in their garden, she had described the garden to me the day previously, a small corner for Michael. “He loved flowers”, she said. We shook hands, they thanked me and we parted, I turned back to see the pansy vulnerably nestled in the flower bed, and hoped it would survive, at least for a while.
"You Fucking Queer Cunt!" For Scally Dandan, Whitworth Street, Manchester
Though Michael's pansy marks the tragic death of a young gay man at the hands of homophobes, others planted last week celebrate the ability to survive even the harshest of attack. For Scally Dandan I planted “You Fucking Queer Cunt!” Scally Dandan was attacked last summer on the corner of Whitworth Street in Manchester he sustained multiple injuries. His resilience and positivity is a credit to him and to those that are victims of the harshest manifestations of homophobic hate crime. And for Daniel Taylor I planted a pansy entitled “Batty Boy!”, homophobic abuse accompanied by egg throwing, a comparatively minor crime though still completely unacceptable and committed by teenagers.
"Batty Boy!" For Daniel Taylor, Exchange Square, Manchester
So I persist in memorialising a whole gamut of hate crimes motivated by homophobia and each is marked in the exact same way. This potentially endless repetition a tiny horticultural ritual intended to encourage a culture to question the reasoning for the apparently ubiquitous homophobia that goes on and on. Of course I have more to plant for myself and have heard of more locations lately, I will update the blog when I have done so. In the meantime here are a few links to some comments and coverage of The Pansy Project that have recently come to light. On Guerrilla Gardening Queer Cincinnati Santiago's Dead Wasp City Life My thoughts are with Michael Causer's loved ones, having met his parents I could see that he was loved and embraced for who he was irrespective of his sexuality. My research and project continues.