Tumblin’: Tag Savage, Writer of Sexpigeon
Sexpigeon’s voice is painfully, jealousy-inducingly unique. It’s something William S. Burroughs might have written if he’d been given the reigns to Vice’s “Dos and Donts” and an unlimited supply of that spice from Dune. Or maybe it’s nothing like that. Maybe paeans like this just play into the larger joke on writing that Tag Savage—its author—is constructing throughout the pages of Sexpigeon.
Either way, Sexpigeon is a work of actual, bullshitless genius. It’s simultaneously an ode to New York’s infinite beauty and irony, a semi-autobiographical toilet filled by an invisible, unknown narrator, and a weirdly beautiful experiment in what idiots like me might wrongly call “ekphrastic poetry.” As far as words on Tumblr go, it’s the best damn pile of ‘em around, and if you don’t love it then I’m not sure there’s any hope for you. Behold: the curtain parts, and Oz speaks.
Sexpigeon seems like a pretty logical response to living in the city, but was there any particular moment or idea that propelled you to start it?
I basically ripped off this guy Jameth, who was some kind of LiveJournal troll-star and an accountant for a dildo factory in San Francisco. I guess he used to write-write stuff but by the time I was hip to him he was just taking cell phone pics of dongs and iced coffees. His style was repetitive to the point of being ritualistic: every picture of him peeing was captioned “Streaming media.” Over and over again, with only minor variations. It was all very textural. No particular post mattered in itself, but sung hourly, daily, continuously it formed into a kind of ballad.
Anyway, I ripped that guy off. Except I go out of my way to not copy myself. Should I ever discover that I’ve written the same thing twice: instant suicide, for sure.
You pop up occasionally on the blog, but without much fanfare or self-indulgence. With no particular constraint or direction, what would you care to say about yourself?
I am Easter-colored and have small ambitions.
For me, the strangest thing in SP is still your foray into boiling fruit. Please elaborate.
I…uh…I just started wondering if fruit skins could stand the increased pressure of a boil. Like, they are porous, yeah, but maybe if they got hot enough they wouldn’t be able to handle the expansion and they’d just blow up. Thinking on it now, by choosing boiling as your heating method you probably distribute the pressure pretty evenly across the inside and the outside of the fruit…
I don’t know. It was pretty stupid. I clearly should have been microwaving the fruit. But then I would have to go and buy a microwave, and my kitchen is crowded enough already.
Are all of the photos in SP self-produced?
Very nearly. There is the occasional reblogged item, and certainly my girlfriend deserves a bit of credit for a few of these. If I am seen at a middle distance and am plainly not gripping a camera, that is the work of my girlfriend. Survey it as such.
I think it’s fair to say that SP starts from a satirical or even sarcastic place, but often dips into a kind of self-deprecating (or at least self-aware) poetry [e.g., “a swampy sweatsock of the imagination: where blisters of men get made and popped, where everything turns to crust”]. Is this oscillation intentional, or am I taking your blog way too seriously?
Eh, it’s somewhere between an accident and an intentional act. On the one hand I just write like a major fruit loop, all dips and pronouncements and lilts. On the other, well, sometimes the joke is sitting there blunt and plain before you, and all you need to do is tell it already.
Better/more terrifying spectating: subway or sidewalk?
Entirely dependent on time of day. In the morning the subway is a pudding of miserable faces, buried under headphones and dead in the eye. There is little to say about these faces except for that aggregate observation, and you can only make that once and then you’re done.
The sidewalk is much groovier during the day. People tend to be exactly as unguarded on the sidewalk as they are guarded on the subway. They shout freely and gesticulate with gusto. They hoist small dogs into the air and they armor themselves in shopping bags. Sidewalk people are hilarious and wonderful during the day.
Sidewalk people are difficult to discern at night. It is dark out.
Subway people are good/terrifying at night. Slow-eyed and dripping all over each other, emitting a boozy musk, wearing flouncy clothes that were supposed to find them company but which apparently didn’t work. The subway is compelling at night.
On a scale of zero to twelve, how jaded is your dog?
Hmm. Jaded isn’t the word. He’s more of a neurotic. He’s definitely not interested in your independent film about a young man stalling about and then finding his way again. He expresses little interest in fine food. But he worries and shakes and wallows a little in his anxieties. He acts like you are always about to sit him down and break up with him. Sad little guy. We love him.
Is SP some way of forcing hope upon the numbed Tumblr populace? What would you like people to take away from the blog? And, as its grown, do you feel it changing in any particular ways?
Forcing hope! Are those my words? Ah, yes, they are. I see you provided a link and everything. Sorry, I’m doing this on my phone.
To your first question, then: there’s nothing especially deliberate about this project, nor any strong guiding principles. It’s just a thing, just some jokes. I take a small pride in it being original content. I love Tumblr, I do, but the slog of reblogs is, as you put it, numbing. If these cruddy pictures and their attendant captions make for pricks of feeling in that ice, then, well, I’m happy about that. But it’s really just jokes and things.
To your second question: yes, it’s definitely changing, and I feel a little sad about that. I used to feel much more okay about releasing unloved, unreacted-to posts into the stream. Now that people pay attention I feel a little more wary of flotsam and trash. Which is a shame, because trash and texture are sort of the same thing.
If you had to live in a Nicholas Cage movie, which one and why?
Good question! Let me look up his filmography.
Man, I don’t know. This is hard. Raising Arizona makes me cry in a happily confusing way, Con Air is one of the greatest entertainments of the ’90s, Adaptation is fine and flawed and finer for being flawed. Amos & Andrew would be a “funny” answer, but also a pointless lie and…I don’t know, why kick a thing that’s already down?
Also, this is about living-in, not appreciating-about, which muddles matters up. Which of these worlds offers the best long-term prospects for living out the life I want to live? I am engaged, now, I need to think about these things.
Moonstruck, then. Cher seems like a good friend to have in New York City.
Tag’s only breadcrumbs lead straight back to Sexpigeon, so send him fan mail with a link to your livejournal or something.
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