In the past few years, LGBTQ activists have tried to combat racism within gay dating apps, such as Grindr, where many profiles openly discriminate against people of certain body types and racial backgrounds.An entire website, Douchebagsof Grindr.com, is dedicated to screenshots of profiles telling black, Asian or more feminine men to move on.“There’s no place for me in the gay community because of entrenched misogyny where being feminine is shameful,” said Ylang Ylang.She sometimes speaks so slowly and carefully it’s as if she’s reviewing individual words before committing to them.But, as with the lyrics of the songs she writes as St Vincent – always inventive, always making disarming leaps between ideas – you can never predict where her thinking will travel next.Though her outfit today includes such exotic items as a leopardskin onesie and a pink blazer made of some sort of wetsuit fabric, Clark doesn’t have any outlandish piercings herself; she just has droll and strong opinions about them, as she has droll and strong opinions about a lot of things.“Didn’t it always make you laugh,” Clark says, already laughing, softly, in the museum in London where we meet one summer afternoon, “how people in the 90s who had, like, tongue rings? But then, I guess the challenge – because they were constantly fidgeting with this gross thing in their mouth!The strange comes via the writing and the composition, which on her four St Vincent albums since 2007 have tended towards the experimental and jagged-edged. And like twigs, who for many years has been in a relationship with the Twilight actor Robert Pattinson, Clark has managed to cultivate a shadowy, unknowable persona while at the same time dating a wildly high-profile superstar.Lyrically, she might choose a thing (prostitution, CCTV surveillance, prescription drugs) and then chew it over in repetitive, often anguished ways, before elevating the mood with a sudden joke. For 18 months or so, until a break-up made public last summer, Clark was going out with Cara Delevingne, arguably the best-known model in the world.
“There’s this chiseled, white and masculinized body that’s been sensationalized and it’s now become a norm for people to openly say on dating sites ‘no fatties, no femmes, no Asians and no blacks.' ”In a sense, Lucy isn’t wrong.But last Tuesday, unknown to any of the staff, there was a seven-foot transgender woman being photographed spread eagle on one of the church alters by a photographer named Latex Lucifer — or Lucy, for short.The model, Ylang Ylang, is one of a few muses for Lucy (he legally changed his name to the mononym last year).And I’ve been incredibly lucky, so far, that that’s seemed to correspond to external progress.” Where does she place herself right now in the music industry?“So far I’ve enjoyed the kind of success where I might get, like, a free appetiser sent to my table,” Clark says.