Madness, Freedom, Resistance: Three Stories

Personal, Politics, Rambles

This is a post about mental health, madness as a kind of resistance as well as a kind of suffering, and dealing with prejudice and oppression. I’m not going to go into particularly horrendous triggering territory, but I will be talking about prejudice and instances of prejudice around race and gender and mental health.

Also note: I’m talking about a lot of different oppressions here. These oppressions are not all the same. As much as I’m talking about the connections between them, these oppressions are not all the same, and I am not claiming all of them as my own.

* * *

Freedom is a Constant Struggle

The producers Arika just put on an extraordinary weekend at the Tramway called Freedom is a Constant Struggle: a weekend-long exploration and celebration of American black radical arts and connected forms, with performances and events from many extraordinary luminaries of that movement, including Sonia Sanchez, Amiri Baraka, and M. NourbeSe Philip. My jaw dropped when I saw the programme — to have these amazing people gathered together in community in Glasgow (Glasgow!) was quite wonderful.

One of the events was a discussion with Fred Moten, a poet, educator and academic in black studies. This event was an hour-long tour through critical race theory, a free-moving, explorative, extraordinary piece of education and discourse. Moten spoke personally and theoretically, linking the material and the discursive, moving through some of the key ideas in critical race theory: black sociality as criminality and resistance, art as an expression from black social space, the monumental horror of Passage and the fugitive state within that. Towards the end, he spoke, with a  sense of resignation, about Obama. “That other one,” he described him, after talking about Bush. “Yeah, welcome to the club of people mad enough to think they want to run the world. Because only a madman would think he wants to run the world!”

Well, that line got a good laugh and warm clapping, which it deserved, because it was a good line. But something upset me about it. There was a question session later, and I wasn’t sure if I was going to say anything, and then I did. I was terrified, feeling like a peely-wally wee scrote for bringing it up, which is not an uncommon feeling when doing a kind of calling out. I said something like:

“So, I see what’s happening with that line. It’s a good line. You’re giving some kind of claim to reality and thus sanity to the idea that the world cannot and should not be run. And that’s important. But, well… You’ve been talking about various otherings, blackness mostly, but also queerness and femininity, as fugitive spaces, connected to resistance and freedom. And to me madness belongs with those things. I mean… to me some madness, depression, anxiety are all quite reasonable responses to life under capitalism. So… I wondered if you’d like to speak to the material and theoretical connections between blackness and madness.”

He thought for a moment, and then he talked a little about Foucault’s Madness and Civilisation, which is probably the right thing to reference in these circumstances. Then he stopped mid-flow, and rethought, and said something really beautiful, some words that I will hold with me for a long time:

“Well. You just caught me giving them something I shouldn’t be giving them. We don’t want to give them anything we might want later, There’s that Howlin’ Wolf song, where he says, he says maybe we might want to hold on to evil. Yeah, we might need that.  So maybe let’s not give them anything. Let’s not give them any adjectives. Let’s just say there’s something wrong with them. Let’s just call them bosses, and leave it at that.”

* * *

Freedom is a Constant Moaning

I suppose I asked the question that I did, worked up my chutzpah in that way, because I’m trying to deal internally with ableist language — that is, language that makes uses of prejudices about disability. Particularly, I’m trying to deal with the self-hate and other-hate that’s entailed in the regular pejorative use of “crazy”, “mad”, “lunatic” and so on. (That’s by far the end of ableist language, so for more about it see discussions like this one in Bitch and this one at Super Opinionated.) I’m well aware that while I have a strong (but of course imperfect) sense of language that’s sexist, racist and homophobic, this is something I’m much less aware of in my daily practices, despite its closeness to me. So I’ve made a decision to get better at it, and asked for help, to be called out myself.

One of the results of this is that I am getting more aware of the presence of this language and behaviour around me, and more angry when I encounter it. This week America failed to pass gun control legislation. The Onion satirical newspaper was angry, and wrote a series of gobsmacked articles about the failure. In several of these, they brought up the idea that the most powerful argument in favour of background checks was that, without them, “mentally ill” or “mentally unstable” people might be able to get hold of guns.

Just in case you were wondering: mental illness is not why we need gun control:

As a group, people with mental health issues are not more violent than any other group in our society. The majority of crimes are not committed by people with psychiatric illness, and multiple studies have proven that there is very little relationship between most of these diseases and violence. The real issue is the fact that people with mental illness are two and a half to four times more likely to be the victims of violence than any other group in our society.

It is not only mad people who shoot people. Shooting people does not necessarily make you mad. In fact, countries with a gun culture and a military culture, like America, spend a lot of time and energy legitimising shooting people, making it necessary and desirable for people to be shot, making shooting people an entirely sane act — with sanity and madness, obviously, defined as binary by the state’s structures of legitimisation and discipline. And constructing narratives where mental illness is dangerous is a sure route to keeping mental health issues closeted, to keeping people who are suffering shameful and scared, to taking away structures of support. This is one reason why the language and behaviour of ableism is so destructive.

(Aside inspired by the people at Crash Course: the Federalist Papers, the wellspring of the US Constitution, made the argument for the Second Amendment that citizens should always have access to the same weapons as their government. Meaning that what’s frightening is not that mad people can get guns, but that the government (no adjectives, just bosses) can get unmanned drones and suitcase nukes and mad people can’t.)

And yet, and yet. What, then, does it mean to hold on to our adjectives? When do we get to use them and how? You’ll note that I’ve allowed myself to use “mad” in the previous paragraphs, because I think it’s important and not prejudicial in this context. Words, language objects, do not have an existence independent of their sociohistorical context — dealing with prejudice is not just a matter of learning the right word list. Understanding this fully, in an embodied way, is vital to ensuring that we can call each other out (as we must do) without becoming cops: ensuring we can call each other out as neighbours.

There’s a deeper argument I’m reaching for here, and struggling to frame. I have a suspicion of the word-list approach to overcoming oppression, not really because some people behave like cops with them (and I do think we must call each other out, and I do also know that often “you’re shutting down the discussion!” is used as an excuse by arseholes to stay arseholes, and I do also believe that sometimes behaving like a neighbour means getting really angry when you have to), but because I suspect that sometimes they’re just part of a liberal assimilationist discourse. That if we can just get enough people not to say “crazy” we can be part of the same society. That calling out is sometimes not a form of resistance at all, but a form of capitulation, a way of saying “I give up. This society will always oppress me. I admit it. So you don’t need to verbally insult me any more.” In other words: I believe we need the word lists, but what I want most of all is to make each of the words on them my own, to claim it for myself, and to not give them to the bosses. And yes, calling out is part of the process of holding on to our words.

* * *

Freedom is a Constant Dying

A while ago I was researching mental health practices in radical social movements. Ideas of the social construction of madness (Foucault, aye, and Laing, and more) are pretty common in radical politics, unsurprisingly. The response to that seems to come in two main forms. The first is work like Mindful Occupation: Rising Up Without Burning Out — practical guides to mutual support, to dealing with mental health crises as a radical community, to trauma and tranquility. The second is work like the Icarus Project, whose tagline is “navigating the space between brilliance and madness”. They do practical work too, especially on radical peer support groups for mental health, but they’re also engaged in celebrating and valorising some aspects of the mad experience. They seem to have begun by engaging particularly with bipolar, which in its manic phases can be extraordinarily creative; there’s an argument that there’s a kind of freedom in this, a kind of liberation, or at least something beautiful. That in mania’s rejection of standard routines of capitalist production, in its resistance to normative sociality, there’s something to celebrate.

Now, I’m not going to be too critical about that. But I was talking to a close friend about it once, and they called some kind of bullshit on it. They’re not bipolar, suffering more from forms of depression and anxiety. “I don’t have a phase where I’m a beautiful unique butterfly,” they said. “There’s nothing to celebrate for me. It just feels fucking awful.” True. One result of that is that when I read about things like Mad Pride, my first thought is to initiate something called Mad Shame. That is, pointing out what Gay Shame points out: that Pride movements are very easily co-opted by oppressive discourses of liberal self-fulfilment, that there’s something toxic in being given specific and legitimised places to be proud of yourself in when your life is delegitimised in every other spaces, that assimilation is impossible and not desirable anyway.

Talking first about trans identities in relation to similar issues, but with wider implications, Terre Thaemlitz, who appears in the next Arika episode in May, has this to say, worth quoting at length:

It is a preconception that trans-folk are “creative” and “talented,” whether it be a cliché MTF talent for performativity, or a cliché FTM talent for invisibility. This is not unlike the preconception that those in the autistic spectrum must also be savant. Or the preconception that blind people are inherently talented at music. Or the preconception that all physically challenged people can become Paralympians. Or the preconception that all mentally challenged people can become Special Olympians. Each of these misguided preconceptions relies on countless unspoken issues of mobility and access, on both social and subjective levels. Each of these preconceptions omits the home ridden and closeted. And each of these preconceptions demands of people a peculiarly optimistic brand of individual performance and self-actualization that is interwoven with the value systems of contemporary global humanism and capitalism.

Over the years I have written and spoken many times against the language of positivity, optimism, hope, dreams and PrideTM, as cultivated within the ideological mechanisms of globalization. In particular, I am concerned with how the cultural demand for positivity in all aspects of life enacts a reciprocal prohibition on negativity. This prohibition extends to critical discourses from the Left as well. I consider negativity an indispensible aspect of any cultural endeavor that frames itself as “critical.” What is “resistance” if not a negative push against domination? Conversely, what shame-based system of domination does not associate its own power with goodness, pride and positivity? Like it or not, the language of positivity is infused with an ideological desire for power-sharing, and not actual divestments of power.

from We Are Not Welcome Here.

Again, here is a claiming of negative space. Here, holding on to adjectives does not necessarily mean celebrating them, does not mean being proud of our adjectives, bur rather it means fully embodying their negativity and their resistance. This will sometimes look like joy and this will sometimes look like shame; mostly, it will look like both at the same time.

* * *

Oh lord,

so where does this leave us? How do we move from a world in which we are fugitives to a world in which we are free? How do we claim that criminal state hard enough and long enough until it collapses? What would that collapse look like? Is it even what we want? I don’t know. They say that freedom is a constant struggle. They say that freedom is a constant sorrow. They say that freedom is a constant dying. Oh lord, we’ve died so long we must be free. We must be free.

Three Rejections

Events, Personal, Poetry, Theatre

I do lots of self-promotion. This feels necessary. When I make work, whether it’s a theatre show or a poetry book or just a blogpost, I rarely have much of a publicity budget or team behind me, so I make liberal use of social media to help attract an audience. Being young, being new, I have to work hard to attract interest in my work. I figure that talking about it a lot on social media attracts more people than it annoys. I might be wrong.

But the result of this is that I do a lot of bragging. This makes me feel uncomfortable. When I see friends and colleagues talk about their successes, I sometimes get anxious, start comparing myself to them, start worrying that I’m not doing well enough. Professional jealousy is shameful, embarrassing, and, I expect, ubiquitous. I would not like to be causing others to feel likewise.

I was really inspired and entertained by Tracey S Rosenberg’s NaReLeMo, in which she attempted to receive at least one rejection letter in the month of November. She failed at that too.

I write many, many proposals. At least 60% of them get rejected. Probably more. That’s how this arty thing works. Some of them are ideas that I developed specifically for the proposal context, and I’m always a little sad that they’re unlikely ever to be realised, and that only a couplle of people everry know about them. With the kind of performance work I do, the hardest part is coming up with the idea in the first place, and the most fun part is actually making it happen.

For all these reasons, I’ve decided to expose my soft belly and post three rejected proposals here. Like all the texts on this site, they’re under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License, which means you can do what you like with them as long as you credit me and don’t use them commercially (click the link for the full details). If you’d like to help me do something with them, get in touch. They’re as I submitted them, except that I’ve removed the “artist’s statement”-type stuff, and I’ve occasionally removed bits to disguise where I submitted them. This isn’t to protect me, but to not seem to be slagging off the organisations: in each case I received a kind, professional rejection letter, and as an event programmer myself I entirely defend their right to reject me. If you work out what it was for, which you might, then just know that I wish each project the best and genuinely am glad for those who’re doing it. The professional jealousy gremlins can awa bile thir heids.

1. Tilting at Windbags

In November 2012 I (@harrygiles) began regularly insulting Donald Trump (@realDonaldTrump) on Twitter. It started because he made an off-hand comment about Scotland, and I joined in a nationwide tirade of broad Scots insults. I became fascinated by his own Twitter feed, with its statements veering between asininity and terror. I found myself daily coming up with new ways to be mean to him in 140 characters or fewer. He has never responded.

I would now like to engage more deeply with the broadcast insult as an artistic form. I want to know what makes me and others shout bile into the 140 character void. Is it motivated by a desire to pass on the trauma of childhood bullying, or the desire to undermine powerful public bullies? It certainly has no effect on Donald Trump, nor on any of the political campaigns against his businesses, but does it have any effect, positive or negative, on our minds?

Tilting at Windbags will be a free-standing insult booth, comprising vertical banner, table, chair, portable communication device and stack of feedback forms. Passers by will be invited to write an insult to Donald Trump (or the celebrity hate figure of their choice), using either specially-created Twitter accounts or, if they wish, their own. Having publicly insulted someone, they will then be asked a couple of follow-up questions: Did they achieve what they wanted to? Do they feel any better now? And do they think the insult had any effect?

download the full proposal

2. All I Want For Christmas Is The Downfall Of Globalised Late Capitalism

Participants will be guided through a simple one page form which will define their ideal strategy for an anti-capitalist revolution. They will be able to choose between immediate or gradualist, pacifist or militant, as well as many other options, including their own definitions, and a tick-all-that-apply list of tactics. They will also be asked to define a Mission Statement and three Strategic Objectives for the revolution. Finally, they will decide how the artwork’s £5 budget (defined as the usual budget for an office secret santa present) could be used to ensure the success of their revolution, including a breakdown of costs. The artist’s role will be to explain the form, offer prompts for stuck participants, and conversational guidance for subtle tactical points.

The following week, the participants’ suggested revolutionary strategies will be posted to a dedicated Facebook page and shared with all. The strategy which receives the most “likes” in that week will be deemed the winner, and so the artist will spend a £5 budget as suggested there. Thus a global revolution will be effected by democratic choice and on the smallest of possible budgets. A happy new year will be had by all.

The artwork (both 5 minute interaction and resulting revolution) is intended to be for all ages. The form will be written accessibly, and the artist will engage participants in conversation led by their own interests, knowledge and opinions (that is to say, rather than the artist’s). The aims of the whole are (a) to find helpful ways to talk about to anyone about revolution; (b) to satirise (i) form-filling, (ii) popular votes, and (iii) revolution; and (c) to effect the downfall of globalised late capitalism.

download the full proposal

3. Two Months (a sort of play)

The Promenade by Seafield Road East, Portobello.
Two middle-aged men in 19th century clothing are looking at the sea.

A: I expected more.

B: Portobello road, Portobello road / Street where the riches of ages are stowed / Anything and everything a chap can unload / Is sold off the barrow in Portobello road / You’ll find what you want in the Portobello road.

A: I’m not entirely sure that

B: Belladonna’s on the high street / Her breasts upon the offbeat / And the stalls are just the side shows / Victoriana’s old clothes / Yeah she got the skirt so tight now / She wanna travel light now

A: Really I don’t think that’s particularly

B: You don’t have to brave the crowds or the bad weather, or worry about stock availability. You can now have direct access to the great new design talent and quirky fashions available . . . all from the comfort of your own home or office.

A: I’m terribly sorry.

download the full play

What I mean when I say I am working as an artist

Personal, Poetry, Politics, Theatre

This is a post written mainly for non-artists, to explain what the hell it is I do with my time and how the money happens and why this is important. But it’s also a process for me to explain this to myself, and so I hope it might be interesting to some other artists too.

What a professional artist is

I write and perform poems, and I make performance/ theatre. Increasingly I site this as “experimental performance” or “live art”, which is industry jargon you probably don’t need to worry about – it basically means that my performance isn’t what you’d usually expect to find in a theatre. I also do quite a bit of organising and programming: I co-founded the spoken word organisation Inky Fingers, which has recently got public funding for the first time, and I co-curate the performance night ANATOMY. This is really working as a “producer” rather than working as an “artist”, but the lines are blurry: organising events is a good way of getting to know the geography of your sector and getting your name out there, to a point, and I also consider hosting or MCing nights an artform in itself. But that’s by the by.

I actually only call myself an artist in certain necessary contexts – when marketing myself and making proposals and bids for funding. I am queasy about identifying with the term, which I’ve written about elsewhere. I usually say “I write poems” or “I make performances” or something, talking about the activity rather than the identity. But let’s go with “I am an artist” for now. And when I say “non-artist”, I mean someone who doesn’t think or talk about themselves as “a professional artist”. Everyone is an artist, obviously.

I finished full-time education in May 2010.  I’m now in my second financial year of being a professional artist – I spent a few months after finishing education a bit lost, as many of us do. I’m what the industry calls an “emerging artist”, which means I haven’t been doing it outside of education for all that long and I rarely get paid. The general idea, currently, is that in a few years I should become a “mid-career artist”, which means I will make just enough from doing and teaching art to not have to have a non-artistic job. (The amount an artist has to work teaching or running workshops varies across artforms – poetry relies on it heavily, while theatre does much less so. Eventually I should become an “established artist”, which means either that I’ve been doing it for bloody ages or if I’m supremely lucky that I’m making pretty good money. Whether or not any of this happens depends on the economy of my sector; there’s much less job security for “mid-career” artists now than there was 20 years ago.

But, for now, an emerging professional. You become a professional artist when:

  • you spend more than half your work hours on making art; or
  • you get at least 1p more money for making your art as you spend on making it; or
  • you start calling yourself a professional because you feel like it; or
  • whatever other criteria you want.

The most telling criteria I’ve come up with is “You know you’re a professional when your art has been stolen or ripped off for the first time.” In any case, I’ve met all of these criteria for at least two years, and the first criteria for much longer.

But what does it mean to spend your time making art?

How my hours break down

Working predominantly as a freelance solo artist, I need to:

  • plan the art;
  • make the art;
  • organise places to put the art; and
  • find ways to finance the art.

These things can happen in any order, and which order they happen in largely depends on whether or not someone’s going to pay me and how much control they want over the product.

On average, each month (counting a month as 4 weeks, and a day as 8 hours), I spend roughly

  • 3 days writing poems;
  • 4 days performing or preparing for performances;
  • 4 days writing and answering emails, or doing general admin;
  • 3 days in meetings and interviews
  • 2 days writing proposals and funding bids;
  • and 2 days planning and running workshops.

This is a fairly conservative estimate of how much time I spend on the “hard work” bit of being an artist. You will note that of the 18 days of hard work each month, only just over a third is spent on what you might think of as the fun bit – or at least the creatively satisfying bit – of making art.

In order to make ends meet, I have a “day job”, or a non-artistic job. I am one of the very lucky few artists whose day job is actually in the arts industry, and who has a satisfying job which uses my training and talents. I work an average of 9 days a month on this.

The quick adders among you will have noted that we’re now on 27 days, which is 3 days over the UK’s maximum working week (48 hours, or six eight-hour days a week). That means that I work well over 8 hours most days, and have very few full days off. Could be worse, as I enjoy most of my work. But those were conservative numbers, and I’ve only included the “hard work”. Making art also involves a lot of “soft work”. To make good art, or at least to make successful art (by mainstream standards success), you’ve got to be constantly actively engaged with the world and the art other people are making. That means that I spend a lot of time

  • reading poetry;
  • watching performances;
  • reading / watching / listening / participating in texts and events about art;
  • pissing about on the internet and other communication and entertainment media; and
  • doing things like writing this blogpost.

I didn’t include this stuff because most non-artists (and probably most artists) are likely to sniff at the idea of it being called work. But I mention it because it is part of what I do, and because if work is, at least in part, the stuff we are obliged to do rather than the stuff we enjoy doing, then the work-attitude, the feeling of being at work, does infect me when I’m reading poetry and watching performances and all that. The flipside of that is that the feeling of being at play, when I’m lucky, infects the enjoyable bit of my “hard work”.

All of which is to say, this is why many artists will consider themselves over-committed over-workers.

How the money works

I’ve made £2723 from my art in this calendar year. There’s two months left, but not much art work coming up in it. That includes running workshops for others, but doesn’t include producing work, not that I made any money from that anyway. This breaks down as:

  • £1000 theatre commission for CLASS ACT
  • £1000 grant from Creative Scotland for This is not a riot
  • £150 for paid poetry performances
  • £355 for running workshops
  • £200 for giving talks
  • £18 from box office splits (I know, right?)

Though this is all personal income, the two big chunks do include the money I spent on making the work (including employing others to help), which was around half in each case.

I may have missed something off, but nothing big.

The majority of that will have come from public funding in one way or another.

I’ll earn around £9500 from my day job in around the same time. (I’ll say again that I am very lucky to have the job that I do, although I wish I didn’t have to say that, because it takes the combined education of two MAs and years of artistic experience to qualify for it.)

The quick adders among you will this time note that I’ll only just clear £12k in one year. This is half the average UK salary for people with 1-4 years experience in their industry. It is also £2-3k short of the Scottish Living Wage, and it might even be shy of the UK Minimum Wage.

How do I live off that? Especially considering I pay £200 a month in debt from my postgrad?

  • I share a room with my partner in a small shared flat. That helps a lot.
  • Our flat splits food bills and eat together. We are very frugal energy-wise.
  • I am also frugal. I spend very little outside of daily expenses, compared to others my age and class.  I don’t take any drugs (other than alcohol and coffee), I don’t drink much alcohol comparatively, I very rarely go on holiday to anywhere other than my parents’ house, I get all my clothes second-hand. I do drink a lot of coffee though
  • Sometimes we get food out of supermarket bins, but more out of principle than need.
  • I don’t have dependants, or any other debts.
  • I have middle-class support structures.

That means I actually have disposable income and a small amount of savings. All my disposable income goes on poetry books, event tickets, games and music, plus occasional nice food out, whisky, and one or two beers a week. I don’t feel particularly short of money.

I’m not putting my finances out in public to ask for pity, and clearly not to brag. I’m putting them out there to explain what it means to decide to be a professional artist.

What does it all mean?

I work, and I work hard, for vastly more hours than I’m paid for. For the very little public money I get for my art, I give a lot back: I organise two major performance projects voluntarily, I give around 20 hours a month as trustee of Forest, a local arts centre, and whenever I do get paid I make jobs for other people. I’m not trying to big myself up – I’m just trying to explain.

I am not doing art because it is easy, nor because it is easy money. I can only be doing it because I love it and because I think it is important.

I, along with other artists, get mind-bendingly furious at the kind of people who comment on articles about arts funding calling us “lazy” and “scroungers”. They have no idea. No idea at all. And I suspect one of the reasons that artists and the industry are really a bit rubbish at explaining what it is their work involves and why it deserves funding is that we’re too damn overworked to take on a major communications campaign.

My finances should look pretty awful to anyone outside the industry. But I do think that my peers mostly have similar balance sheets. I don’t have the feeling that I’m anything unusual. If anything, I suspect I’ve had a little more success than others with my level of experience, though I, like most artists, am constantly berating myself for my failures and for not succeeding faster. In short: I do not feel like my level of work and pay is anything unusual for an emerging artist. I don’t have a good sense from older artists and others in the industry about whether this is a big shift from past decades. I would like to hear from others whether my finances look appalling to them, or whether you too shrug and think that’s just how it is.

It should also be clear that I grab the work when I can, and that I have to be able to manage a lot of projects at once, shift flexibly between them, and be prepared to work strange days and strange hours. I do not have a weekend. This is called “precarious labour” or “cellurisation” or sometimes something else. Artists, or, more horribly, the “creative industries”, have been particular drivers of this economic shift in labour practises. There’s a lot of socioeconomic theory about what it means and I could talk about it for hours, but not here. Bifo’s After the Future and Fibreculture’s Issue 5: Precrious Labour are good places to start reading, and the Precarious Workers’ Brigade is good place to start doing.

I could say that I am only able to do art because I am frugal. But my class comes into it a lot: it helped me to get the education which got me the day job; it supported me while I was a student so I didn’t have to do much bar work, which meant could spend my time practising art and learning a lot of organising skills; it provides a support structure so that I can afford to be financially precarious, or at least so that I can feel like I can. I have much lower barriers to being an artist than the majority of the population.

I said that I’m writing this to explain to you (and myself) what it is I’m doing. But of course I have another agenda. I am very modestly successful, for my career stage, and yet this is how hard I have to work for this little actual employment. This is the basic reality of trying to be a professional artist. We cannot have a healthy arts culture, or a diverse arts culture, or high quality art, without  funding. Without more public funding. (The reasons for why it needs to be public rather than private can wait for another time, or for the comments if you want.) There are more precise, more subtle, and more wide-ranging arguments to be made. But I hope that outlining the basics of my reality adds to them.