Kathy Dudding

I just learned that Kathy Dudding has died. Old news, but still : death never goes out of date, there it sits, a full stop. I met Kathy at Auckland University in the middle part of 1978. Red Mole had gone to Mexico, thence to New York; we were going to follow but not yet. Meanwhile the band, Red Alert, played around; and Kathy and her friend Sarah (?) were fans. They edited TWTWTW (That Was The Week That Was aka titiwiti), a newsletter that went out on campus and they always noticed RA gigs, to which they also invariably came. They loved Tony McMaster, the bass player, particularly and he will recall more about that time than I do. When we left for San Francisco I gave Kathy my kauri writing table that Stanley Palmer had given me; and when we got back in 1980 she returned it, along with a few nail holes and other deficits. Next time I ran into her was in Sydney, she was living up in Paddington with her French boyfriend and they came to gigs sometimes. I was translating Andre Breton’s poems and showed my clumsy versions to her boyfriend, who said : Why would you want to do this? or words to that effect. C’est vrai. When they moved on I gave Kathy my Imperial portable typewriter that I’d bought in Wellington and carried all over the world through the Red Mole years. A long time after, probably in Wellington, probably in the nineties, I ran into her again at a film event. That was the last time. What I remember about Kathy was the way her wild surmise about everything showed through the very skin of her face. She radiated. There was clearly a possibly pathological side to this but in those days we were all more or less disabled in our selves; yet no less committed to enabling our deficits through the things we did, the works we attempted. Kathy’s radial heat is now recorded in the films she made which, without having seen them, I know will have the clarity, the purpose and the aletheia she reached through her passionate engagement in the task of living.

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