Interview with Venus Bogardus: On Ohle, Punk, Smart Resilience, Kaspar Hauser, Art Rock, Repoman, P. Gabriel circa 1975, Blade Runner, Repatriation and Utopia, Texas
Venus Bogardus is this band out of the UK that has taken it upon themselves to put David Ohle's words to music. Their latest album, Motorman, is in fact a collaboration with David Ohle. To the left is a video of them peforming the title track. Venus Bogardus is composed of the husband/wife duo of James Reich (guitar/vocals) and Hannah Reich-Levbarg (bass/vocals), and drummer Obaro Evuarherhe. I conducted this interview with James (JR) and Hannah (HL) over the past couple of weeks via email.
DW: Why Motorman? Why Ohle? Which came first for you, Ohle (and literature in general) or music?
JR: A poet friend named Owen Ames turned us on to David Ohle a few years ago, by giving us The Age of Sinatra. Hannah read it first and loved it. She was really into the perverse gourmand aspects, and I would read over her shoulder, and it reminded me of Nova Express. We decided to write a song based on it as an exquisite corpse, but I had a quiet hour without customers in the bookshop we used to run, and inadvertently finished it. Basically, we're writers who make music that is called post-punk, artrock, what-have-you, that is intertextual and where there is a lot of collision between punk, dadaism, feminism, abstraction, certain aspects science fiction, whatever, because that is how our lives are. As artists, we’re interested in allusion, intersection, and confusion. Hannah wrote lyrics for a Motorman song, as a beginning to our second album, and we decided to contact David Ohle about it. We corresponded and asked if he would be interested in recording some readings that we could create music around. Hannah suggested the Moldenke radio announcement as a great beginning to the album, and so David read that passage and more onto a cassette that he mailed across the Atlantic to us. It's treasure.
DW: Your music embodies most if not all the tonal elements or driving forces of Motorman. You mention abstraction and confusion and punk (though Ohle wrote Motorman before the advent of punk, he’s punk without knowing it). For me, the main forces shaping Motorman are oppression and persecution. There are various ways to cope with these forces that stem from our innate fight or flight mechanisms. Do you think punk rock (and post-punk) can be characterized in the same way? In the case of Moldenke, it would appear there’s more apathy than there is fight, would you characterize your own music the same way? Not that I would want to stereotype Venus Bogardus or Motorman as “apathetic,” but there’s a certain smart resilience that disguised apathy can carry depending on the situation.
JR: Moldenke is a kind of Kaspar Hauser figure. Motorman, the novel, deals with bizarre confinement, disrupted language, arbitrary power and fractured comprehension of menace. The narrative of Kaspar Hauser, and things like Huysmans' Against Nature are part of my own understanding of the idea of 'my room.' Moldenke, Kaspar Hauser, and Des Esseintes illustrate the paradox of that room which is a simultaneously liberating and debilitating artifice. The rooms of teenagers, perhaps in particular, are snapshots of all of the things they see themselves as, or want to be but cannot express and punk plays an essential role here. Everything in these rooms is lurid and mute. And Duchamp was right on in suggesting that taste is the conscious repetition of something already accepted in the unconscious. I regard Venus Bogardus as a wildly introspective band, but I think of what we do as being engaged in the world in a radical way, by presenting a different version of the world. Introspection is resistance. Our music is not utopian, by any means, because we know that what we do is inherently marginal. There's a strength in that, like a gang mentality. For me, punk embodies many forms of resistance. The first time I listened to punk with any seriousness, I was really excited by the modern introspection and the atmospheres that I got from US punk and No Wave, the way the ideas of the songs and the music resisted dominant aesthetics, sexuality, and notions of quality and what the predominant culture allows to be called art. As writers, in our room, we also resist by turning our introspection into loud music. Maybe that is our 'smart resilience' - introspection at very loud volumes. We write with a specific vocabulary and underground in mind, and it happens that the underground is always under threat, but resisting in some way, even if only with its memories. There are lyrical references to Steve Reich's 'Different Trains' in a couple of the songs ('Birds' and 'Autoclave') which I think amplify that sense of threat, and the riff for the song Motorman began with my wanting to write something minimalist, repetitive, and claustrophobic with small shifts in it, here and there. We're always louder than people expect us to be when they come to our gigs.
HL: Right: that’s a really nice compliment. I haven’t ever consciously analysed our music so closely along this line of comparison… but doing lyrical composition about these books was just great. I often think that The Age of Sinatra is wonderful but was also much more of a tangential piece of art that feels substantially different to the novel, compared to Motorman, which I think is more immediately or directly resonant with the book. James’ entire approach to music and poetry has a lot to do with digestion of the inspirational – it is why we always call ourselves art-rock, or art-punk – not because of a sonic element but because of our sonic or lyrical references to existing art, whether just our own or something external. We write differently, and I may be more likely to write up more everyday things, but ultimately I agree with James, and neither of us are particularly interested in knowing about the pathos of someone’s sneakers, text-message dramas, what it's like to be in a band, or whatever the fuck people write songs about these days. I don’t know about how the whole album hangs with the novel, tonally, though I think that we made the perfect compositions to accompany Ohle’s cassette-tape readings from the book. But come to think of it, the Ohle passages oppress the record subconsciously, and provide a sort of dogma around the rest of it. Like, it’s superior to everything else, not qualitatively as sound or song, but more conceptually: in the end, you aren’t quite indulged the fantasy that you’re listening to a rock record. I like disquiet. I don’t think of Moldenke as apathetic, actually… I like about Ohle’s various books the constant and chronic moral totalitarianism that changes from moment to moment. The uncertain relationship with neutrodynes and stinkers, in Age of Sinatra, and with Jellyheads in Motorman, the slippage of fascist class definitions, in the context of utter irreality. But back to apathy… We actually had a teeshirt that said, ‘There is no knife like diffidence’, under a sexy lesbian pulp-fiction lady, which line comes from the song ‘We Should Kill Nature’, which we recorded on ‘iii’, which is inspired by JK Huysmans among other things. So there’s something to the disguised apathy thing. Our music often contains oblique or direct references to adolescence, infancy, periods of fury and mutation and indecision, I guess, plus unwanted control – oppression even – by other people or circumstances of the body or mind. We also end ‘Epoch Zero’, which was lyrically inspired to a large degree by John Rechy and is the b-side to our Jacques Rigaut single, with the refrain, ‘So this is the modern world: thank you very much’, which is one of the more direct phrases we sing, probably, but which never fails to rile people up, and which will always be gratifying to sing as long as we are a gigging band. The first time we played Motorman in practice, Obaro put down his drum sticks and said: "This song is going to make people take off their clothes and rub mud all over their bodies!"
DW: And can you comment on the difference in American and British punk in this context (of fight or flight, aggression or apathy), both back in it’s advent and now with post-punk?
HL: I know next to nothing about what post-punk actually is. I think that the difference between British and American punk is considerable, from a cultural or social stance. It isn’t something I fully understood till I moved over here. There was much, much more white middle class suburban angst in what most people would now identify as US punk – because there’s so much suburbia? – and originally British punk was of course notoriously more working class aggravation. In America, people were also constantly and chronically much more afraid of ‘punk’, so people choosing to ‘be punk’ were making a different – and often really annoying – kind of social statement. Is this because Americans are idiots? No, I think we just have had a much more restricted media and a much worse sense of humor, overall… I see all the fighting shit and romanticized violence in either scene as just a recycling of what 99% of humanity always resorts to. I think that a few intellects behind bands in both countries made less obvious, continual, completely unacceptable-to-the-main-stream oblique challenges through diffidence and insight that have permanent resonance. And 70s New York punk was I think obviously the root of that... As a child in the 70s and 80s I would catch pieces of what’s commonly understood as American punk from my brother – you know, like the Repo Man soundtrack and stuff – and I always felt really drawn to knowing what was in the ‘underground’ – but in fact these scenes were SO obscure in America, it’s no wonder it was largely tangential to me till I was older – wasn’t exactly easy to get a hold of for a kid. I also think that localized ‘scenes’ are generally way more relevant in the US, though I’m sure people would argue with me. In England, which is in SO many ways like a giant small town – London perhaps especially – everything is visible, and it is easy for anything to become visible. There is also a fast ingestion and excretion of anything in the popular (or sub-popular) culture. Yeah, there was the ‘indie sellout’ of 93/94 in America, but that’s old news when compared to late 70s UK. In America, I saw Riot Grrl appearing in activities of some friends who were a year or two younger than me, and then barely knew about Bikini Kill and the actual original bands, but did immediately recognize a couple of years later that a load of ‘lifestyle’ stars clearly aimed at appealing to ‘my demographic’ had appeared overnight who were accompanying these ignorant magazine articles and becoming this capitalized mockery of something that was obviously going on at a grass-roots level and not about superstardom. But over here, Riot Grrl and the main UK Riot Grrl band, Huggy Bear, were everywhere, instantly, and everyone here has known all about it for years and years, in a much more mainstream level of saturation than in the US. It’s not because they’re more clued-in, it’s because it was picked up and broadcasted as a major trend. But plenty of people here do not actually know about the manifesto, the meetings, the original points of it as an unofficial movement.
JR: The two worst things to happen to punk on either continent were Jocks and Marxist critics, who still pretty much ruin everything that they touch in art and always have done. The best punk is imaginative, radical, dangerous and retains some mystique and difference. Then, there are these forces of reductionism that I mentioned, that marginalize imagination, women, ideas and difference. US punk, in my experience, is less self-conscious about its relationship to some of its origins in other undergrounds, whether that's poetry or painting, film or theatre. It was more ambitious and international, in fact. A lot of British punk struck me as too London oriented. It's no shock that London developed what became know as 'postcard punk.' London is a postcard wonderland, hysterical memorabilia is everywhere. The cliches of British/London punk were just made for tourism and export in a shitty form. In New York or LA, for example, there was codification of the styles and sounds and rip-offs, but I don't think it was of any interest to the tourist industry as iconography. In terms of influence, US punk punched above its weight, but it didn't send a nation, or even a state, into paroxysms of fear and astonishment. As Hannah says, the UK can feel very small, and success and notoriety are magnified by a very incestuous media. The music press is all about consensus. When I first heard about the magazine Artrocker, I thought that it might be something that we might relate to, but actually it's not. Magazines like the NME and Artrocker drive the consensus, but their combined circulation is under 100,000 copies, if memory serves. The influence of these magazines on the music scene and industry is disgusting in that sense. It's kind of hilarious to see bands that you have played with in a small club to a dozen people in the NME, the Guardian or the Times within a week or so. But, then they're gone. In England now, the consensus is with what is known as 'Twee-core/Tweexcore' which is a distillation of kitsch/cute infantilism from Japan, retro-electronics and toy instruments, very postmodern, mixed with post-punk guitar music and these kind of white-boys-yelping songs. The songs are very aware of the media, the scene, but also deteriorate very quickly into 'you love him better than you love me' complaint pop. Actually, it's like teenage boys tantrum pop. It's unremittingly awful to me.
DW: There’s also a lot of precise calculation to your music, “math rock” I guess you could call it, something I’ve always thought (perhaps ignorantly) more prevalent in American music in the past, but now seems more prevalent in the UK (I’m thinking of Foals, and other UK bands that seem to be sprouting up). Can you comment on the influence of math and science on your music?
JR: I don't think we really qualify as math rock, because we don't change time signatures or have so many stop-start moments in our music. That's how I think of math rock, anyway. Although that's the second time we've been described that way this week, which is interesting. Maybe we don't know we're doing it? I'm certainly interested in and influenced by the tonal experiments going on in free jazz, no wave and modern experimental composition. It's why I use detuned guitars. It's that, and not Sonic Youth (who I do love) but there are other reasons for finding alternate tunings besides having heard some astonishing Sonic Youth records. But, of course, consensus in journalism screams "Sonic Youth!" whenever they hear any alternately tuned guitar music. I haven't heard Foals, actually. There was a brilliant math rock band from Bristol called Ivory Springer, who were just fabulous, but have split. There are bands in town that are influenced by them, but it's a tough act to follow. Maybe I misunderstand what math rock is. Throwing Muses, when they began, were amazingly good at reversing beats, or signature and tempo shifts, but I don't think they're regarded as math rock in retrospect. It's really stupid the way in which it has been decided that post-punk/independent music (whatever!) particularly via the Pixies and Nirvana is characterized by loud/quiet dynamics as if that only happened in music in the 1990s. Art-rock, which gets applied to to all of these spiky punk and post-punk bands from Television and Talking Heads to whatever the fuck Artrocker magazine are writing about this month was originally applied to bands like Genesis. Many hipsters here would be appalled by that idea, but have you seen pictures of Peter Gabriel touring the states in Genesis in 1975? He looks like a Ramone with a slight glam-rock hangover. Television opened for Gabriel on his first solo US tour. My mother saw Devo support Genesis on a bill in 1978. According to the guy who produced PiL's Flowers of Romance, John Lydon and Phil Collins got on "like a house on fire," and of course, they all shared that drum sound that originated in 1980. According to the media, however, the only connection between punk and that kind of music is via Roxy Music and David Bowie.
HL: I’ve never thought of us as mathy at all – but we are getting this more and more, I think perhaps because of the song ‘motorman’ – though we always thought that song was no-wave – but maybe that’s not a strong point of reference for people anymore. But listen to Forward, Russia!/ - or We Are Scientists – those are the mathy bands in the UK – we’re nothing like that – signature changes, sudden stops. Meanwhile, our drummer likes some very mathy stuff, is close to a prominent Bristol band made up of postgraduates that I finally decided was math-punk-calypso! – called You And The Atom Bomb. James is kind of not a math and science guy, really – he’s ultra intuitive but incisive. I’m much more into that, and Obaro is actually a neuropsychology PhD student. But as far as music goes, I don’t think any of us are that calculated – we’re all seeking out the intuitive (...see Obaro's reaction to playing Motorman, for example). We’re all three looking for the moments that make our hair stand up. Lyrically, James and I won’t do anything that is not a poem that we value.
DW: Wow, so many directions to go with these responses! Roxy Music, rubbing mud all over your body, Throwing Muses, no knife like diffidence, Repoman (speaking of apathy in American punk .... ‘”there’s this, like, lattice of coincidence,") I’m not sure what math rock is either, but I definitely meant it as a compliment. I was thinking not so much pacing and tempo/volume changes, but pitch intervals, tunings and the complexity and preciseness of your music strikes me as mathematic or scientific or analytic, which to me is the same as calling it art rock, or just calling it smart or thoughtful. I’d consider Motorman in the same vein, mathematical in an Escherian sense and also rooted in at least biology (a perverse form of it at that), without being “science fiction” but more akin to conceptual art. And wow, neural psychology, some of that bleeds through in the beats. Art rock is an apt term, and I only wish we had such an apt term in literature or fiction. You mentioned Genesis (yes, Peter Gabriel’s getups during this time were, um, extraordinary! I wonder if he ever read Motorman?) What about Yes? Do I detect an influence? Rush? Those concept album bands of the 70s...
JR: The less extraordinary was the more extraordinary –the leather jacket, jeans and sneakers, the punk persona that Gabriel created for that tour, a tough half-Puerto Rican street kid spraying graffiti who descends into a sort of lurid psycho-sexual nightmare where the kid is castrated and so on. To me, that doesn’t sound too far from the authentic punk personas that emerged a little later, particularly Patti Smith and Richard Hell. I’m not saying it was an influence, but rather it’s an interesting confluence of supposedly antithetical streams. Hey, wasn’t Richard Hell’s transvestite alter ego Theresa Stern supposed to be a half-Puerto Rican prostitute? That’s funny. Wow, Repo Man…that came out in the same year as that Suburbia film. Suburbia really informed my ideas of what punk was when I was young, for better and ill, more than anything British, like Jubilee or the Pistols’ films. But I was so enthralled by Suburbia. It fitted right in. That’s what I wanted to be at a certain point…By the way, I should hasten to say that I really can’t bear Rush or Yes. I’m not into prog rock in general, especially the ultra-noodlers with singers with high voices. Anyway, back to Motorman and perverse biology: I think the elegiac stuff about Moldenke’s childhood is great, like it has more reality for me than Twain or something. The section that David Ohle read for our album is beautiful. Moldenke, as a romantic anti-hero is physically frail, or at least his body throughout Ohle’s work is in flux, where organs, valves and viscera come and go. I’m fascinated by art that concerns metamorphosis, deracination, sexual revolutions, rather than the myth of character development. Sometimes, Ohle’s work strikes me as being one fantastic sprawling biological system, built on medical interdependencies. Have you read ‘Blade Runner,’ the William Burroughs book?
[DW: No, but I've read and loved Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, and the movie is one of my all-time faves.]
HL: Everyone in the band has different sets of references, but we think they all compliment, which is nice. James and I bonded early on over mutual love of [certain] Prince, Adam Ant and Psychedelic Furs for instance. While I’m less into theme albums (and I really detested certain bands in this vain, like Rush), I’m definitely very much into albums in a way that I’m not sure is as prevalent any more. That is, mix tapes and CDs are great, but I mostly was always addicted to entire albums – I want to hear the next song, you know… I nearly went bananas with mental itching when James made a wonderful DJ compilation for one of my birthday parties that had Girls and Boys from Prince’s album Parade – but DIDN’T segue into Life Can Be So Nice… But of course musical influence is predictably wide-ranging… as far as 70s music goes, I was embarrassingly hung up on Little Feat and Blind Faith for a long time from about 11 – 20, and have remained very much into Bowie and Roxy Music. Also a kind of big Creedence fan, though with the caveat that I’ve of course heard way too much of it. I think lots of our core sounds come from James, with regard to guitar chords and melody lines, though everything is collaborative. But I think more of his influences may come through more. At the risk of sounding totally uncool, another thing James and I bonded over was learning about Paul Bowles and The Sheltering Sky directly because of ‘Tea in the Sahara’ on the Police’s Synchronicity album. I have pretty much only nasty things to say about the Modern Thing that Is Sting, but I had use for him when I was 9 or whatever, and I think getting things out of music and literature that kind of live well beyond the original piece and absorb you and change you is one of the best things in life, perhaps especially when you’re in that adolescent sea of hormonal charge. I dunno. The Bowles thing eventually led me to discover Jane Bowles as an adult, and Two Serious Ladies which has got to be one of the best and most overlooked books ever written. I think that might wind up carrying a song some time…
JR: I remember that before Hannah and I met, I really wanted to know if she had read or seen The Sheltering Sky, because if she hated it, then there was no way were going to make it, ha ha. We later decided we should set up a website called Sting, Where Is Thy Death? to monitor the absurdities of Sting ruining the Police. Sillychronicity was another name for it. It was going to have a graph plotting the number of “ee-oh’s” that Sting unleashed throughout his career.
DW: Hannah kind of answered this without me asking, but to me Motorman and Age of Sinatra are kind of like Godfather I and II, it’s hard for me to say one is better than the other as they are blend together in my mind as two equal parts of a cohesive larger work. How do Motorman and Age of Sinatra size up in your minds? And since you’ve had the chance to read Pisstown Chaos and I haven’t, how do you feel about it? Inspiring enough to make an album of it?
HL: Well at present I haven’t finished reading it yet, because of a soul-sucking day job. However, I’m enjoying it a lot. Ohle asked if we might write an eponymous song (in a kind of joking way, mind), and I am sure I probably will, even if only in title. We wrote a song and named it New *Glam* Underground after the ‘festival’ that [our now friend] Cid in Frankfurt runs once or twice a year, for which we drove all the blinking way to Frankfurt and back last November (uh, it wasn’t a tour). It ties in for me. It’s about ‘art, poverty, desperation and resilience,’ I told him. As to Motorman and Age of Sinatra – I think they’re fascinating as a duo. The distance in time between when they were written makes for an almost glacial gap between them, so the connection is all the more chilling and ethereal. Like, Ohle writing as a young man was writing almost a prose poem, something actually far more dream-like than Age, if you had to compare them. But also I think the later prose reads better to me – I think I prefer what maturity did to it. But I also think they’re both inexorably better for being linked to the other. Bless his bananas soul.
DW: Another thing I wanted to ask about was the idea of ex- or re-patriation and more generally sense of place as it affects your work, as both Hannah and Obaro seem to have repatriated themselves, as will I in a few months so it has been on my mind. Moldenke’s world appears confined and the luxury of repatriation doesn’t exist (besides being absorbed into the jelly). I’m curious as to how your relocating to the UK has affected your art? Do you admire or relate to Moldenke’s allegiance to “remain,” to persevere in the world he was born into? You say your music is not Utopian, but do you believe in Utopia, or at least greener pastures? Had you been to Texas before your recent trip to SXSW, and if not, how did you perception of “Texaco City” change before and after being there?
HL: Oof, what a lot of things to address: First, I was born and raised in Austin, and after college moved back and wound up living on a ranch in the Texas hill country next door to my mother for three years before moving here. James has been to the States with me several times since we were together – be interesting to see his answer to all this. In the nearly 5 years I’ve lived here, including the time James and I ran a bookshop, we have been victims of ‘petty’ crime at least once a year, and if you include things minor to serious crimes that our friends have been victims of, it’s very much in my face how randomly vicious England can be – and this is a specific condition compounded by much heavier, much more widespread drinking (…think, ‘everyone gets the fratboy mentality when it comes to booze’) and hardly any police, none of whom carry guns. Which is good, but then maybe not so good when a gang of 18-year-olds burns a house down and then kicks the shit out of a cop car while the cops cower in the shrubbery. So ‘greener pastures’ is a very apt and interesting question – the answer is ‘always and never’. And this isn’t to say that the US is safer or better – it’s absolutely horrible in many ways, of course. England’s way funnier and friendlier, most of the time, and it also doesn’t expect women to be obsessed with how to avoid eating and be skinny. This is partly because no one would dream of depriving anyone else of a pint of ale or cider, of course. There are also a shocking number of obscene rich middle-aged middle-class bastards who have no shame announcing their disdain for Americans and America, even or especially to an American. Go figure. Anyway, I’m fascinated by the variety of life in the world, and torn between cuisines, always. Obaro moved here with his family when he was 14 or 15. I know he adores Bristol and he also has interesting things to say about this whole question. My comment here is just to say that he didn’t pick up and move here as an adult – though he has decided to stay here as an adult. I moved here the year I turned 30. I basically got rid of everything I owned and came to see about living with James. I learned to play the bass that year and my creative life kind of opened back up fairly dramatically, though I think it would be fair to say this had more to do with personal change than being in England. But I do think the cliché of a change of scene being good is generally true… I’ve always had the latent desire to be a resident of as many places as possible, and when I spent a year in Europe in University, I found the subtle exercise of fading into different cultural and physical landscapes to be incredibly transcendent, mundane, satisfying and surreal. I feel sharply aware of the fundamental sameness of places and people, and the weird familiarity of strange places, and yet I’m also perpetually fascinated by differences in language and culture. England’s pretty interesting, politically, coming from the US, and some fundamental approaches and perspectives are so different it can make you laugh – whether in amazement over the Orwellian absurdity of the television license or in disgust at the US for never having figured out that, no matter how libertarian you might want to be, it is just the FACT that health care should be as free as public schooling (not saying the NHS isn’t in a right state – but still, no doctors bills for anyone is a pretty major societal condition, especially when people are going bankrupt over medical bills in the States)… I’m not so sure about it affecting my writing and music, but it certainly affects experience.
JR: Yes, I had been to Texas several times before, and always look forward to being there. I’ve spent time in LA, San Francisco, Seattle, New York and spent some weeks in pre-Katrina New Orleans. In general, I feel very comfortable being in the States, although the unexamined anglophile tendency can be disconcerting. However, a little unexamined anglophilia is far preferable to the unexamined anti-American racism that is so common in the UK, as Hannah mentioned. It’s shameful and so fucking stupid. It’s the racism that allegedly educated, post-Imperialist scum indulge in here, and they think nothing of it. As for Utopia…There’s a Utopia, Texas, of course. I was there briefly, and it didn’t seem too Utopian to me, but maybe it is if you’re a dog, rescued and taken to Kinky Friedman’s dog sanctuary, which is there, I think. And there’s another supposed Utopia in Texas, also: the 1,700 acre compound of The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is currently under investigation, and of which we are certain to discover the most grotesque accounts of child abuse. No, I think Utopia, as a conceit-state, is not a place to which one should accept an invitation. That is not to say that we should not believe in the possibility of making the conditions of the world more equitable and peaceful. The thing that I struggle to deal with in the US is the way in which the word ‘liberal’ is misused. To use the word ‘liberal’ as a derogatory term in political discourse in the US should be tantamount to shitting on the flag and wiping your ass with the Constitution. The great thing about the US is that, at its heart, are profound liberal ideas. Even though the UK is still nominally hung-over with remnants of the divine right of kings, the entangling of church and state, and lacks a written liberal constitution, it is striking to me how much more conservative much of the US feels. It’s an interesting paradox. There is much that I prefer about the US and I would certainly settle there, if possible. Our families are on both continents, which is hard for us all. I think that, for us, movement is the luxury that we crave, not necessarily ex-repatriation. I hope that we can achieve it.