Being part of Extra Extra, I feel privileged to pursue that luscious life, a journey driven by the grace of generosity and encounters. Over a hundred individuals have usedExtra Extra as a place to invite us into their minds, their sensations and embrace. Sugar Rush explores once more the pathways and crevices of the past issues. I have imagined the unnamed archetypal city that is evoked by the contributors and each paragraph is a nod and tribute to a number of my favourite entries. I wondered what backdrop they collectively conjure and who are the creatures that could give life to these sites. Architecture and flesh is the unlikely pair that captures most cities’ desires. The name Extra Extra might allude to the sensational but it should not be mistaken for a definition of the superfluous. Nothing here should be extra or additional to our lives. We all deserve to revel in curiosity, to long and to seek for the unknown.
It’s my conviction that exploring sensuality is one of the most generous acts we can engage in. When you are able to completely and utterly give into that moment of caress, there is a knowledge that comes with the intimate, knowing the exact spot of a freckle on the skin, its contours, and texture. This knowing is more connective and fulfilling than any textbook knowledge and knowing one another like this is integral to our humanity. You may never know someone completely, but let’s attempt to know each other in detail.
Dani sits at the far end of the bar: a strong angular chin sticks out by grace of the blue, neon glowing above the bar. HO is flickering, offering the cheesy statement a rather romantic, melancholy touch (HO)ME IS WHEREVER I’M WITH YOU. The bartender with the sallow face morbidly polishes the glasses; the hour of boredom has struck. It’s too early for the night owls and too late for the good folks. Dani scrolls though an iPhone that should have been replaced ages ago; the screen is cracked, sometimes shards of glass stick to Dani’s fingers. Dani rather enjoys being in touch with this slowly collapsing, deteriorating piece of technology. The experience brings a sense of something organic to the cold, metallic gadget, a calming effect while flipping from one dating app to the next. Undecided which platform caters for Dani’s lust, what guise Dani will don, who Dani wants to embrace tonight. Dani has just one desire, to be and breathe the most Dani that can fit into this body.
Elouise giggles as she examines Andrew’s sweaty brow, which is partially visible as it is slightly elevated above her pubis. Cunnilingus makes her nervous, although she enjoys it. Andrew’s brow is tensed into a slight frown, a facial expression someone might draw while reading the morning paper and stumbling upon some mindboggling article or when tasting a complex wine. Now and again he looks up, his gaze just reaching over her pelvic bone, his loose brown curls framing his grey eyes that instantly transform from pensive into hopeful, a puppy wishing for a treat. He mistakes her giggles for the onset of a possible orgasm. He seems eager for her to burst.
Luo Yang / Sam Steverlynck / Playlist #5
Jo smokes a cigarette from her window. The apartment is on the fourth floor of a modernized residential building that was first erected in the late nineteenth century. The window peeks out over the tiniest courtyard, maybe not more than a few square feet large, and only at midday does the sun reach the ground of the interior. Jo’s attic apartment is blistering, even as dusk is setting in, and the hot day is locked up within the walls of her studio. Jo is craving a breeze, but the wind will not yet share its caresses. Perspiration glistens on tanned skin, trickles down Jo’s neck, she feels sticky and absent-mindedly she compares the clamminess of her different body parts. She can peek into the neighbours’ windows from here, it’s a perfect little panopticon. Jo frequently enjoys espying half-undressed morning rituals, she likes to see how Jon from the second floor always immediately sheds his office attire, or inspects Clarissa and Neve having their evening whisky. But above all she likes to treat herself to a good wank when the sounds of her invisible neighbour from the fifth sets their old wireless to nostalgic tunes from their home country.
Now it’s Andrew’s turn to become overwhelmed with nervous laughter. Almost simultaneously with his climax he erupts in a warm, joyous roar. A double release brought on by reality coming back to him, looking over the elaborate and slightly absurd interior of the cheap motel room Elouise booked them in. The decoration alludes to luxury but can’t quite pull it off. The space is coated in deep forest greens; tapestries and needlepoint of nature images adorn the wall, a bronze chandelier presents as wannabe gold. It’s all kind of flaky, it’s very much Elouise. It was her call to meet, he had been crushing on her for months now and could not resist. He feels sad about this, but the fake surroundings are soothing, they make the rendezvous feel at ease. The room is aspirational but unpretentious and he allows himself to be engulfed in this lo-fi hyper-reality. It’s like looking at an HD film on a fifties tv, the discrepancies of temporality create a new space and time of its own. Andrew travels along her body down to her toes and starts inspecting and nibbling on them. He knows it’s a temporary paradise; in a bit they will go downstairs for a drink and that will be it.
Dani sits on a park bench, shoes kicked off, toes twiddling the wood chips and dirt. There is always a strange tension when designating the ideal place for a hook-up; settling on this space of constructed nature feels like a compromise. Dani isn’t convinced that artificial greenery like this is an improvement upon the truthfulness a city has to offer; it feels more like embellishment. It’s like a soft-focus lens; its appearance may seem more appealing but it comes with a loss of texture. Dani loves the roughness of surfaces that live in the city. It’s why a city is synonymous with sex. Dani appreciates all these materials and their different consistencies, cold and smooth metals, the rough grain of concrete, unkempt wooden beams that prick and stick out at you.
All these facets, no matter how industrial, turn this thing – the city – into one big living breathing thumping thudding membrane. Everything is touch and everything asks to be touched.
Why feign a bourgeois fantasy of comfort. The city and what it’s made of is rude and boisterous, it’s unpresumptious, it’s in your face and it wants to be tasted. ‘Let’s get the hell out of here,’ is the first thing Dani says as Jo arrives.
Andrew drags his legs as he follows Elouise to the stairwell. Back in the boudoir her seemingly stylish bob has lost its shape to the sheets and he notices it probably is a grown-out pixie cut. She is wearing shorts under a long-sleeved tunica with a long V-neck, but it hangs back so that her shoulder blades are revealed. It’s just three more flights to the motel lobby and Andrew cannot let this moment go yet.
He takes three giant leaps and pushes her through the emergency exit to the external stairway.
Jo and Dani have escaped into the deserted pool area of a grungy motel located at the far end of the river cutting through the city. You can tell there once was a hope that the city’s expansion would lead towards the west and the entrepreneurs who started this shindig might have thought they made a world-class real estate investment. But the pool sits empty, mosses hugging the deep end where a bit of rainwater rests still, murky and stinky. The pool is still advertised as one of the amenities of the motel, the staff has simply given up paying attention to adding luxury to the pragmatic requirements of its guests as the rooms’ rent changes from nightly to hourly rates.
Jo settles on one of the stretchers and kicks off her sneakers, laces still tied. Dani sits behind her and breathes heavy with excitement close to Jo’s ear. Air tingles. Dani’s fingers are strangely soft and large as they coast over Jo’s shoulders, along her arms to her elbows. That’s where they pause. Bold fingertips resting on rough patches of skin. Jo is thankful she neglected her beauty regime; she is thankful she fails to be the crisp pristine girl she feels expected to be; now the cracked skin gives Dani a reason to linger longer. Dani is enjoying the stickiness of the sunbed’s plastic against their legs. It is this encounter with the textures of the city that gets her off. Breathing skins on clammy skai leather, soft peach-fuzzed legs against the ragged pores of concrete, warm curves pushed against cold marble. Contrasts melting into each other, feminine and masculine energies losing their definition. Dani slides their arms over each other from the back, grabbing hold of Jo’s wrists, moving both their hands towards their groins, tongue trailing from Jo’s shoulder along her neck to her ear lobe, then fingers entering warm, wet, inviting tissue.
They scramble up onto the rooftop and Elouise let’s out a few more giggles, but they are no longer charged with the electric nerves like before. There’s a sense of release and intent surrounding the two lovers. Andrew’s soft, inquisitive glances have changed into a focused stare. Elouise stretches out and pulls her tunica over her head and slides her shorts down to her ankles before she gracefully steps out of them and takes two steps back, creating a distance between her and Andrew that allows him to observe her in the fullest – the city at dusk stretching out in the background, smog offering a disgusting pinkish-yellow hue to the horizon. Andrew unbuttons his shirt but leaves it on; he follows the same protocol with his chinos, which easily remain clinging around his muscular ass and slim waist. He takes another few giant steps and holds Elouise close to him, allowing his penis to grow against the tension of her body before he grabs her hand to bring it closer to her. With the distance disappearing between them, she turns away, offering him her ass and her shoulders and as they melt into each other Andrew’s eye finds a birthmark behind Elouise’s earlobe, which becomes a magnet to his lips. As they experience their last moments of desire together, Andrew has difficulty identifying if their moans are only their own; the grunts and sighs seem to cascade and bounce off the walls of the buildings surrounding them, echoing, resonating and multiplying throughout the city.