Friday, 30 December 2011

Shoes

          I have always hated high heels and I think I always will unless they come like this:


           Just because I like the bows and the shape of the shoe in general.

         But I think it would really require this pair to make me wear them out:

          I think though we tend to forget that we do all need shoes. It takes a special skill to make shoes and to make them into things that we wear. I love practical shoes like these as a selection:





           Shoe makers I salute you all for making great footwear that we wear. Big shout out to those who make our lives all the more comfortable.

          I want to add that from January onwards the recommendation of the week will come after the main post not before, I think it'll make it easier for everyone to find the posts. Anyway Happy New Year! See you in January.

Books and more books

          I wanted to share some books that I've read in the year some that I've really liked and some that I've not liked so much.

                 

         So to being North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell. I was in two minds about whether I actually liked the book but I think overall it was good once you remove the expectation that it's a romance it's not. My sister was the person who pointed out that this is a novel about the English experience in the 1800s, and Gaskell's view point is stamped over this book. it is a interesting read and I would say keep an eye out for all the death, it almost rivals Wuthering Heights in the death toll, but overall a really interesting to read.



          Eragon by Christophe Paolini I could not even finish. I think the thing that I couldn't get past was how predictable it was and how the tale of the quest had been done by far more interesting means.



           Which leads me to The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I loved this book. Everything about it was really good. I know that everyone has raved about it, but it turns out for good reason. A real departure for me to like a book that is all about violence but it hooked me with the protagonist Katniss. She is strong and resilient, and for me a very strong feminist girl character. I tend to hate movie or TV adaptations of books. I hope the upcoming movie will be good but I loved the book so much that I highly doubt that I will like it as much.  



           The End of Mr Y, by Scarlet Thomas. I liked how it begins but then it completely failed for me. I just couldn't get past my instinctive dislike for the main character and her for me fake poverty. The End of Mr yY, is a book within a book and the book within is supposed to be cursed. I wasn't hooked. If I don't the voice of the author for me things are lost.





         I wanted to recommend both Garden Spells and The Sugar Queen together. Sarah Addison Allen is an author whose voice is amazing for me. The books, both of them mentioned have amazing characters and the magic in them is so thoughtfully done that I am now avid for more books from her. I think The Sugar Queen is probably a nose in front for my favourite as the lead character is beautifully painted as well as the town and the people who live in it.



         The Three Weismann's of Westport by Cathleen Schine I did really like. I loved that this is an adaptation without being a slave to the original. I liked the characters of Annie and Maranda in particular as well as the mother Betty and the humour in this book really carried it.



          I want to finish this by talking about Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer. I love this book. I love the humour, characters and the setting. I love the voice. I love how the book is set out. I love the cover. I even love the type. What shines in this book for me is Agnes herself and Shane (the hitman of the title). A protagonist (in this case I think both of them are) that really hooks you from the start that is amazing. This book is amazing, please read it wherever you are.

         So I hope that 2012 means more reading for all!

         

Friday, 23 December 2011

The Pipettes

          I have their first album, We Are the Pipettes, and I love all their songs. One thing that I really love about their songs not just the fact that they are really good songs, is that it follows a female voice, and a female point of view. I think for me the music is honest and for me powerful. 

            Oh and since it the holiday season this is why this post is on a Friday and there will be another next Friday but after the New Year it will be back to Sundays. Hope everyone has an awesome time!!!
                                                                                                                                                                                        

Resolutions

          This isn't a post about resolutions for the new year, this is a post saluting those who kept their resolutions for the whole year. My first proper resolution was made at the beginning of the year, this one I really meant (not to talk to or have contact with one person), and I kept it all year!
          I was thinking about resolutions about how we all have good intentions at the beginning after all it's a fresh start, but I think the real test is to see if you still kept it in December. I like to have positive (I know that not having contact with someone seems negative but the effect was really positive and made me feel empowered) things that will make you feel good in the long run. So I think having had a successful resolution I will make a few more in the new year that I will feel like I want to keep when it is winter again.  

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

          I wanted to recommend a specific Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, I feel that the version that people love the most is the version they were first introduced to and for me its this one...


          I am just happy looking at that picture. I love that jokes can now have visual representations, I think my favourite is the effect of a drink is like being hit with a brick and a lemon. Then you see the representation of that joke. To me the voice of the guide belongs to this series, Arthur Dent to me is that guy in the robe. There is also something so British about the whole thing that makes me laugh. I haven't seen it for a while but it does hold up.
           Again I think the version that you are wedded to is the one you were first introduced to, so to me this is the one that defines it and keeps on being funny and really good every time.
         

Masturbation: A love Story

          So masturbation. I love doing it, it kind of seems naughty just to admit that. I wonder why? Is it that the media barrages us with the idea that sex is heterosexual with the emphasis that it has to involve two people? Maybe the real cause of this kind of seedy reputation is that we define sex so rigidly. That sex with yourself is somehow a default option, a thing that we do when we can’t get anyone. Or is it a threat? That women and men can have an orgasm without anyone else means that a penis in a vagina is under threat.
          Well sex without anyone for me is freeing. There is no one to please but yourself. Not to say that I have not had moments where I was frustrated at myself for not getting there, or just not feeling in the mood. When I am in the mood, however, there is no one else that I am concerned with and the thoughts that I have are not governed by anyone else. You know what makes you turned on, you know how to touch yourself. I know what fantasies get me there faster what I like when I touch whatever it is that I am touching. It also means for me that you can take as little or as long as I like.
          That is not to say that there are not advantages to having sex with someone else. They can surprise you, or do something that you didn’t know you liked. There is the other person being able to please you and that is hot, whatever sex they happen to be. Masturbation also precludes kissing, one of my favourite sex related things to do. It’s so wonderful, the feeling it gives. Experiences of mutual pleasure are awesome.
          I think though that masturbation really makes you better at mutual pleasure, and also really has nothing to do with whether or not you want another person in bed with you. It means that you know how to come on your own, there is incredible power in that and it also makes you independent on the idea that you have to rely on other people to get you to come.
          I also think that masturbation for me is the realm of fantasy. It gives you the freedom to create whatever you want. No one is going to condemn you for whatever it is that you fantasise about. We all masturbate and what goes on in your head is private.
          I don’t think people should be threatened by that idea that it goes against heterosexual sex, because there are plenty of people doing that. It not as if that needs to be proved. I wonder if the idea of independence from the pleasure we get is threatening. Of course that idea is threatening to patriarchy, but it shouldn’t be. Happiness is not a threat. Women owning their pleasure should be a huge turn on. They are getting what they need for themselves, respecting that is a huge turn on for me at least.
          In the end masturbation is about practise. It takes a long time to know your body and importantly your own head. There is a reason that people say the most sexy part of the body is the mind. That goes for self pleasure too. You can create whatever fantasy you want, go to all the weird and odd places you have. There is no reason for there to be a stigma about it. To quote Woody Allen: You shouldn’t dismiss masturbation, it’s sex with someone you love.
          That is why it’s a love story, it’s a love story with only you at the centre. That’s amazing and awesome. Masturbation as a word isn’t that great I confess but self pleasure to me encompasses what I am doing more fully. I am giving myself pleasure and feels fucking great!              

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Whip It: Soundtrack

          The soundtrack to this film is amazing. In particular I love Jolene by Dolly Parton and Dead Sound by The Ravonettes. It's a great soundtrack with a lot of female lead vocals which I am always in favour of, I can't recommend it enough. 

The Question

The Question

          You know the question that people have asked me since the age of 14? It’s not what do you want to be when you grow up? It’s not which Superhero do you identify with most? (If anyone wants to know it’s Wonder Woman minus the weird sexualisation). It’s not even what’s your favourite colour? The answer is in two parts but mostly the question has been do you want to have kids? Running a close second has been are you doing to get married?
          I have had no desire to have children I am now 27 and haven’t changed my mind since I was first asked that question at 14. I also want to add that for women who actively want children are just as great and equal to me in their desire to procreate, if that is their choice then I say go for it.  
          A person’s role, however, in life is not to propagate the species. Many women do not have a choice in that question, they are forced by law or society to have children. They were given zero thought into whether or not they wanted to get pregnant and have kids. I feel truly sad and angry that this takes place.
          There is always a risk in sex (that might lead to pregnancy) of that actually happening. There is that gamble that sex with men can lead to me becoming pregnant. That is a huge risk to take for me, as I have said I have never wanted to become pregnant, but having a sex drive does mean that I wanted to sleep with people.
          I often feel in discussions about sex, pregnancy and abortion that contraception is the ugly step child to all this. It is both people’s responsibility to make a decision about something that will affect both of you. Becoming a parent is for life, that is a thing that never changes.
          In a passage in Eat, Pray Love the comparison is like having a tattoo on your face. You better be damn sure before you do it. Also the fact that the woman’s body is of discussion when talking about pregnancy makes my head explode. Patriarchy should leave women’s body and women’s decisions to WOMEN. I would also say that in the discussion of easy women and oh no high teenage pregnancy, what about high rates of teenage fathers? Is that the message? Get as many women pregnant, have as much unprotected sex as you like, because the blame for this is going to fall squarely on the women. There still seems to be this for me completely mystifying attitude towards the responsibility of children and parents, being completely one sides towards women.
          It makes me so mad when talking about child care, it seems to be the domain of solely women. What makes me laugh about that, when did the definition of woman become engraved with a chisel that by the way by virtue of your sex you are the better parent? More than that you are abnormal or somehow not a woman if you choose not to rear your kids. All that shitty talk about maternal instincts and depriving your kids of your nurture. Insert cough here, what about the fucking fathers? Going out to work is that not depriving your kids of your nurture as well? And when was it decided that going out to work as a mother was somehow bad and wrong whereas being a father and working, well that was fine. So fucked up.
          Going back to contraception. It’s important first to know how this shit works, and it’s your health that we are talking about. First my own sex education was my parents explaining what sex was, and at 6 my thoughts were ew, people do that? My parents felt if you were old enough to ask, you were old enough to know. But I felt grateful for the knowledge because my curiosity was appeased, and had no interest in engaging in that till to be honest at about the age of 19.
          My school education was odd at best. Basically it was if you touch someone you will get gonorrhea, herpes, chlamydia, or genital warts and have to go to the clinic and explain. First that isn’t true, and second do not scare people into thinking that you can’t prevent this. Condoms, the pill, the diaphragm and IUD are all forms of birth control that we need to be discussed. I also think kids need to know that bodies are not to be scared of and knowledge is sexy and informative. Knowing where the clit is and where the prostate is, this is all good information to have.
         
          I have had no desire to have kids. I used to be really strident about it, but I then to get people off my back said that I would say never say never. Thinking about this I decided a long time ago that I would not want to be mother, surely the worse thing to do for all involved is to be a parent to someone we did not actively want. Literature is bursting to the seams of parents who are not great people let alone good parents.
          Its something that’s impossible to live up to, being the mother or the father. No one tells you how to do it, how to make the really hard decisions and what’s normal for one kid may be completely wrong for another. I suppose fear is a big part of not wanting to be a parent. For me the other root of this is I know myself well enough that I am selfish. I want time to myself to work out how to grow and do all the things I have wanted to do. I do not want to be responsible for another person the weight of that is immense.
          My other funny answer to this has been it would take immaculate conception to get me pregnant at this time and I think God would definitely be picking the wrong gal for that mission (for starters I am not religious in any way, have no absolutely no desire to a mother figure let alone to everyone, and I also lost my virgin status a while back).
          I want also to say to mothers and fathers who get it right and make the choice they made because they love their kids, you do something that’s incredibly hard. You have so many obstacles and hardships and that you can get through it is incredible. I don’t know how you do it, and it’s an experience that other people who are parents can relate to completely I’m guessing but I salute you all.  

         The question of the desire of children, this is a serious question, I do not think we should be asking girls this question let alone repeatedly, but I do struggle with it and the ideas behind it. I have often thought maybe I’m not a woman as I don’t have maternal instincts. I have thought often about what the definition of woman is, and somehow this parenthood debate has been tangled up in it.

         
          I don’t know anymore what woman is or what man is, but I do know that even though I carry the necessary equipment to carry a child this does not define me, nor does my decision to not have children define me as being less. More than that I can be confident in my decision as I know that my decision is the right one for me.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Pens

          I know it seems a strange thing to recommend and I have specific tastes in pens (for those interested I don't like ball points but prefer soft tips), but they are essential things. When I make lists or have to put something in my diary, or make a note of something, or fill in a form I use pen. Pencils are good but pens are better. I like all sorts but we all use them and I think they deserve to be recommended, from the bic to the fountain pen.



          Pens I salute you all.

A Short Post

          OK so I've now put up 3 posts including this one. and will try and keep my promise of posting every week to myself. I wanted to very briefly talk about choice. A small word but a big concept for me.

        I have been thinking about the extent to which we all have choice. Whether what we all do is action or reaction and the choices involved are limited. It's a beguling concept that we can have the freedom to choose something or not. I don't know if this is another word for blame in a way laying it on you, that this is the situation that you find yourself in because you choose it. The more I think about it, I think it comes down to decisions. You choose the type of milk you buy, the film you watch on the weekend. The bigger things, however, the relationships we belong in, the work we do, the people we depend on those for me are murkier in the land of choice.

          Again it's beguling state to be in, that we all can choose our destiny that we can take responsibility for the failure and the success of what we seem our lives to be. 

          I am still thinking about it, I am leaning more and more that the choices we makes are not entirely goverened by what we want but what we can do. That we have accept that sometimes we are not the only person we have to consider, after all no one is an island alone. That the responsbility is not ours alone, that for me makes me feel freer, in that we all have to live in a world of what is and what we can do. I am still thinking about the concept. 

Abba

          I really like Abba their songs are very much pop. I like pop a lot and it's done well. I love the weird costumes and their exact rhymes. Their songs are still listened to and their are a great band. I like Mama Mia, S.O.S., Take a Chance on Me, and Super Trooper but all their songs have something to recommend them. A great band.

Bits that I love

          So I have a habit of watching just bits of films, and i wanted to share some favourites of mine. I know that film buffs are probably shrieking with horror, but I love watching my favourite bits, many a time I have been up till 1 in the morning (one of the joys of living alone) laughing. So here we go:


Mooonstruck: for the scene at the end I just crack up. I love the line about the red dress. Cher sparkles in this as Loretta one of my favourite films of all time.

Catch and Release: 'It's Marakesh Mystery.' still makes me smile.

The Railway Children: if only for the iconic scene in the mist, it still makes me cry.

Howl's Moving Castle: the visuals alone are worth watching it. I love the scene where they have to travel up the steps and where Sophie cleans the castle. Gorgeous through and through.

The Proposal: I know for many the end is really annoying but i really love it. Especially the scene where Margaret gives a list in bed, a really touching connection between the characters. It also has Betty White in it so I'm in.

The Lady Vanishes: visually great. I love the romance between the leads combined with menace.

Made in Dagenham: I really like that this is film about equal pay and focuses on the female characters. Sally Hawkins is wonderful. I like the small moments where Rita and Lisa talk.

Singin' in the Rain: so good. I love the weird stuff in it, like there is a fashion show in the middle of it for no reason. The Broadway number with Cid Cerise. She is an amazing dancer. The songs I love in it, and actually funny.

This Film is Not Yet Rated: a great documentary about the rating system in America. I liked that it talks about the sexual references and the violence in films. It really is an interesting take on what is really going on with the rating system.

Hairspray: I think the remake I like a lot, as well as the original. Just for the fact that Tracey is heavy heroine. I love the songs and the dancing. Also Christoper Walken is in it. Win.

Cry Baby: a very young Johnny Depp in a great John Waters film. The beginning is great and the songs and the clothes and just how inventive John Waters is as a director makes it an interesting film. I think my favourite scene is the one in the prison where the women are singing to the men.

The Goonies: 'Andie you Gooooooonie!' Love it. It's a film that I watched as a kid so it has that nostalgia. Hence...

The Mighty Ducks: I know it's about ice hockey and more than that it's Emilio Estevez coaching a run down children's team. It's a film that I sill watch and it has the great Joss Ackland in it who elevates anything he's in.

Stranger than Fiction: Something about this film makes it something I watch every Christmas. I love the leads in particular Maggie Gylenhall. I love the scene where she joins in to the lyrics where he is playing the guitar. I love the scene where he gives her flours. So beautiful.

The Station Agent: just great. I love the leads. It's a quiet film but for me Peter Dinklage stands out as a great actor and in this he shines.

Robin Hood: Ahh Disney you for better or worse have a lot to do with the stuff that i watched as a child. As much as I don't like the company this film for me really reminds me of rainy days watching it. I love that all the animals are represented. A great film about a story that has been told again and again. The thing that makes me love it all the more now is that fact that Peter Ustinov voices the villain wonderfully. It is film that makes me happy.

Stick It: Forget the rather corny message the gymnastics in this are amazing, I love the beam routine by Wei Wei.

The 39 Steps: Ahh Hitchcock you genius. He is one of my favourite directors for his aesthetic. This is a film that for me is about the core relationship between the hero and the heroine. In particular I love the scene where they are in bed handcuffed, the connection between the two and the performance of both actors makes it wonderful to watch.

Death at a Funeral: i love it so much. Alan Tudick is great as is the rest of the cast. Matthew Macfadyen, Rupert Graves, Andy Nyman, Daisy Donovan and Kris Marshall and all wonderful. I love the end speech Matthew Macfadyen's character gives and it is a really funny film.    
         
          So these are films that I watch and they are great in bits as well as the whole.

Buttons



          Almost no words needed. I love crafts and buttons are so versatile. Just looking at that hoard makes my mouth water. I love that they come in all shapes, colours and sizes, and they are so cheap to get for stuff that you can make. Buttons equals awesome in my book.

Missing

          I've not been posting for the past 3 weeks, so I'm really annoyed at myself, as I promised myself to blog every week. This is a project that I set out to do for me. I wanted to post about anything and everything. The thing that I set out for myself was that no topic that I wanted to write about was out of bounds. If I wanted to talk about sex, abortion, equal pay, films, books, hair cuts or The Muppets then that was what I was going to talk about. The best thing for me in writing this is the freedom it gives me, no one was going to censure me. 

          Then as I thought about it more, maybe I was the one censuring me, by not talking about myself as I wanted to. Writing about me is not going to turn people off. I want to talk about me too. I wander if there is a voice inside saying to myself that it's selfish to talk about me, that people want to read about stuff I am commenting on. Then I had a weird realisation, it's going against what I originally set out to do. This is for me, the person I want to speak to is...me. If I want to talk about me then I shall without thinking about what other people want to read. The spirit to which this was intended was to write because I like to write, it's one of the few things that I have that I want to do, and a lot of the distractions that I have fade because this is something I love to do.

          I am a perfectionist it's one the reasons I rarely do any art any more. It doesn't some out how I thought it was going to. That however you have to get over if you want to do any art at all, it does not have to match what is on your head. A lot of the art that I still keep was from stuff I did when I was 16, I had been doing art pretty much for 2 years for 5 days a week. I still remember that I would be late to history every Friday because I was in art doing it in my lunchtime, I was wanting to get my work done, but I love doing something that gave me so much pleasure. I was always the last person running across the concrete open plan and covered in paint. The thing that makes me like the stuff is yes i like it it, but it comes down to the fact that I practised, and that is what makes anyone good at something partly is enthusiasm and practise.

          I don't think you can judge what is good if you have not done it for nearly a decade. What makes me better is practising what I want day in and day out. And getting rid of your inner critic. Or of there is not way of doing that accepting that it takes time, and to be patient.

          This does not mean that in conclusion that I am not frustrated at myself, but it does make me understand. And I will keep trying to do art, and keep my promise that I will write this blog and the stuff will be for me, even when I slip up.   

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Swimming

          One of the best things that I can't recommend enough is swimming. I think because it's a solitary thing and it isn't competitive against yourself. I love to swim, it makes me feel free and safe and it's a relaxing thing to do.


          That's not me but I love that picture and I love how big that pool is. Oh and by the way you get two posts this week as I didn't get my act together last week. But I will totally post next week. I really want to go swimming now!  
          

Martin Amis is a sexist twit

          I was recently reading an article in the F-word and this particular article referenced Martin Amis. For the full post go here:

http://www.thefword.org.uk/reviews/2010/02/living_dolls 

         The quote that really made my head explode was this: '...sex wasn't in their nature.' He is talking about women in this context. I just don't understand why anyone would think that.

          First of all are we really going down the route that we have natures? Psychologists are still having the argument about nature vs nurture. I think we can all agree that it is both, biology and environment.

          Second, you are idiot Mr Amis for sweeping an entire 3.5 billion of the population by their sex. Is it also true that sex is automatically in the nature of men? That for me is very problematic. I think we all know that he isn't saying that, he probably means the women he has met, that still calls into question that you are speaking for people who I am sure like sex and want sex, you entitled, privileged idiot.

          Third what kind of sex are we talking about? Is he saying that women don't masturbate or enjoy orgasms? Or is he saying from the male point of view that penis inserted into vagina is sex? I personally would like for people to rethink what the idea of sex is. It is entirely too independent on whether the male is satisfied, whether the women is satisfying to a man.

          I don't think that aids sex at all for either people involved, or five if that floats your boat. Can I just say it can be fun, awful and hard all at the same time. We all want to please the other person, and communication can be extremely helpful and it isn't scary. But enough on my sex advice (just have a good time and talk to each other or yourself for self pleasure). 

          The comment that sex is different for men and women may be valid, but I don't think it's the right question to ask, nor is it relevant. I want to have discussions about why rape culture is still with us and to bring equality to how women are paid. I want to talk about vibrators, and what are the best books to read and how to reclaim the night. I want to have long talks about feminism and to talk about how to answer sexism. 

          I wish most of all that people would stop dividing us by sex lines. It is archaic. I wouldn't have been so angry if this view hasn't been taken over and over again and given credence. The most important thing is that people keep challenging it and that we keep having books and blogs written about feminism. In conclusion Martin Amis is a sexist asshat, and feminism and logic rules.

          

Terry's Chocolate Orange

          Orange and chocolate two things that were made to be together. And this is examplified in this:


          Just looking at that, yum. It is added theraputic value that you really do have to smash it in the foil that it comes with to get to break apart. It also personally reminds me of Christmas as we all had these in our stockings, and not oranges. The main thing is that it is delicious to eat.

Ruin

          There is a quote from Eat, Pray Love that appeals ‘ruin is a gift.’ Lucy has talked about being Towered before and it is linked (Lucy March from the Bettyverse). The idea of ruin spoke to me because of the thought that it leads to transformation, it is awful but eventually you accept ruin.

          A thing I believe in, or did believe in until I realised that I am just in ruin. The book discusses the idea of staying with someone and being unhappy because the alternative is too awful. The idea of being together and making it work despite the fact that both of you are unhappy shows a logic. The underlying emotion that is guiding you to that decision for me is fear.

          I think I just realised that I do this not that I am in a relationship but that my life has halted. I am afraid of taking risk, and don’t want to fail. That is the real fear of taking a step into something different that alters my behaviour. I am stuck in behaving in the same way as I am scared of what happens when I do things differently. It’s incredibly difficult to admit when you are scared, fear can be good but fear of what others think of you can be the most dangerous as it prevents you from doing anything.   

          I don’t want to be miserable, I want good things for me. It’s just hard. I am tired, so tired, from the struggle. I know that the only solution to this is to try and go for new things, to accept that I can. I have a part of me that doesn’t want to. The death drive in me that likes self destruction, that wants to lie in bed and not engage in the world.

          I think the reason that change is so hard for me at this time, is that the reference to when I was happy seems a long time ago, not only that but it’s almost a denial. I need to be what I was before as that way leads to happiness. This really is the route to self deception. Doing the same things, having the same behaviour does not make the past come back it just means you not giving yourself a chance to succeed or fail.  

          I cannot be what I was before, I have changed and the world around me has too. I am a different person, and I think that is the key issue here. I am different and in order to exist in a world that has changed I have to have change the way I am.

          In the end ruin is a gift. A gift to myself to show that I am strong enough to rebuild my life. It shows me misery is not a default setting, that I can do things. It really is a gift once I stop being mesmerised by the carnage and rebuild.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Creating Your Own

OK I have written my own poetry and what i want to do, is show you how creatively satisfying it can be. I wanted to show you two I have written:

Shadows, crawl in the cloak of night.
Slithering, seeping, and adjusting to
The dark. Defenceless, with all the might.
Failure eats into the bones. The few
Live in the dark. Blackness engulfs, invades,
Swallows all that is there. Nothing seems there
In that place, that never blinks, for shades
Of light are past. Withheld, there is no care.
Pieces lie. Unable to see, to feel,
To know beyond the consuming depths. Sight
Touch, smell lost in the mist. Where? There to kneel
Bow, surrender, be consumed whole. No fight.
Absorbed into the black. None there survive.
Surrender lingers. Nothing left but to dive.

And this is my favourite that I have written, and I want to say that it's dark. It isn't for the faint hearted and also didn't happen. I also wanted to write a poem that joked about sex and then it got away from me. But I loved writing it (I don't know what that says about me!):

I never understood sex, I mean what’s
The fuss about? All that heavy breathing
And sweaty hands clutching me, that and lots
Of drooling. In the dark. Am I being
Unromantic? It’s not you know. The act
Is more like a comedy or tragedy.
I think the breathing and screaming all packed
Into the space, I remember. Baddie
Of the piece, his mask off, his teeth bared. My voice
Gone. I can still feel that damp clammy breath
On my neck. His tongue wet, taking my choice
Away. Eventually I think death
Would have been better. Sex and I, have lost.
I found out what my friend wanted at my cost.
I loved writing them for my own pleasure and loved playing with the words and forms. So poetry it's super fun to create. (For people who want to know what type they are they are sonnets).

A Post to Poetry

          So poetry, a form I really like. Poetry really forces the artist to be imaginative and think about the words that are put into this form. Now as ranty as I have been about Shakespeare I love his Sonnets. Beautifully formed. I love John Donne I think my favourites of his are The Flea and Elegy on His Mistress Going to Bed. I love the way he twists the meaning and the imagination he uses.

         Elizabeth Bishop I really like and her poems and the way she juxtaposes images and in general her voice. 

         Poetry I think is hard to really get into. It's got that mystification of am I reading right? Is there something that I am not picking up on. I think the reason for this, is that people don't allow you to to read it over and over. To look at it for your own pleasure. I like to read poetry aloud, I am reading a huge book of E. E. Cummings (it's over 1000 pages long and have got to 140) but reading it aloud makes a huge difference. And I am reading it for my own pleasure. Carol Ann Duffy I find helps when you read her aloud. I also do like to look into the meaning, but reading it more than once really helps with that. 

         I wanted to end this by recommending spoken word. Sarah Kay (who did a brilliant lecture for the TED conference) her poetry for me really leaps from the performance. Taylor Mali is also a really talented spoken word poet. I also wanted to say that poetry is a really diverse form. It can be about anything and take so many forms, so sometimes it takes a while to find something that you like, but I think the effort is worth it.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Mazzy Star

          I love this band so much. So much talent and their songs are so good, so wonderful. I love the album She Hangs Brightly, in particular.
                                                                                        
         
        I would like in particuar in songs to reccommend Blue Flower and Fade Into You the rythym and the vocals make me happy when I listen to them. Amazing music.

The Funny

          Ah humour the uniting force of people we are lead to assume, but i wonder if that is really true. Surely different humour appeals to different people. I recently watched a programme about comics in general, and what struck me the most was the sexism.

           So many comics were saying that they liked a particular woman despite the fact that they talked about stuff that wasn't relevant to them. Now instead of steam blowing out of my ears, I thought about that statement. Why is it that they don't say that about the material of other male comics? Surely some people talk about things that you don't necessarily like regardless of sex? I would also like to point out that male comics say stuff that I don't particularly agree with or think of as funny, a lot of the time. I don't think it's the fault of their sex. This, however, is a post of the stuff that I do find funny, so I'm going to talk about that. Still it's an argument that makes me angry

        I particularly like surreal humour, stuff that you would not have thought of yourself the angle is shifted. One of the many reasons that I love Eddie Izzard so much (I've already talked about him so he isn't in the list. He is one the funniest comics out there for me). There are a lot of comics that I like for different reasons:

          Kathy Griffin: for her sense of the outrageous and her style. I like how she pokes fun at anyone. I do have some objections to how bought in she is to the world that we live in (but I think she's at least aware of it).

           Josie Long: ahh how I love her. I love her enthusiasm for the world (and her entry to The Atheists Guide to Christmas is both charming and really helpful). I love her sense of humour, in the UK I think we all tend to get bogged down in the idea that only irony and sarcasm are true forms of wit. Someone who is legitimately enthusiastic seems not to be given any credit. Josie Long proves them wrong, you can be funny and positive, (I also love the fact she loves to read, I am a veracious reader too so our passions collide).

          Joyce Grenville: what a talent. I love her voice and her appreciation for the absurd. I also think her songs are both relevant and tinged with a sense of fun.

          Tom Lennon: now if one wants irony in the bucket load he is the man you want. I love his songs about war, so beautifully done. I'm almost angry at how good his songs are as just songs, but what a talent. If you only listen to one of his songs, my favourite one is National Brotherhood Week, just so good.

         Red Dwarf: I think this tends to be forgotten as a series that happened (I remember watching a programme about how Friends got to be the huge success it was, and that partly this was because the series in the UK were really bad, er really?). I love the premise and it really is about 4 people, only one of whom is human on a space ship. Admittedly I didn't like the later series as much but it does stand out as something that really defined my teen years. It doesn't have any women in it, which is annoying, but still funny. 

           French and Saunders. I like them very much, Partly because they seem not have boundaries about what is grotesque and what isn't. I also liked the Comic Strip, the recent one that doesn't have Dawn French which is a shame, but does have Jennifer Saunders playing Margaret Thatcher which I loved. As a side note the Tony Blair character was played beautifully, by Stephen Mangan.

          Margaret Cho: I really love her blog as well as her stand up. She is a really forceful comic, and really powerful in what she says. I love how honest she is about her struggle to find out who she is, and in general how funny she is about stuff that is often raw.

          Whoopi Goldberg: I like her in many of the films that she is in. Jumpin' Jack Flash is probably my favourite. I like her stand up as well. Her characters are really well crafted.

          Victoria Wood: she is amazingly talented. Her songs alone are great. I like the famous ones as well as the not so famous. She talks about stuff that I really enjoy. She also does amazing sketches that always make me laugh. I think she is an acute observer, which makes a lot of the stuff she does even more funny. I really love her stand up as well. Just a great comic.

          I wanted to end with these are people who I like, my taste is not going to appeal to everyone, and I think that's what I like about humour. People can find lots of different things funny, and I think that unites us more that saying one style of humour suits us all.

               

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Trisha Ashley

           i wanted to recommend Trisha Ashley this week. The thing that i love love love about this author is her humour, it's the thing that always comes through in any book she writes. I can't decide which ones that I loved the most. Every Woman For Herself is wonderful and I liked the heroine is older, I also think that the family in that book is really well drawn. Good husband Material I love the sense of community and also the chapter haedings always made me giggle. Overall though I think I liked Singled Out the most because it talks about the dark side. I think probably it's the darkest book that she's written, but I loved it. I was also really interested in that the heroine is a writer. I love all her books but those are the three that I re-read the most. 



     

Canons

          I wanted to talk about the fact that people study classics and why we call them classics. I did English as a degree and especially in poetry classics are not women. So why do we call them classics? Well it is because everyone has heard of them? (I am not talking about all of the several billion people who live on the planet) I don't think everyone has to start with, but classics seem to endure after you're dead at least.

          Classics are everywhere there is classical music how many of those composers are men? I can tell you off the top of my head about Beethoven, Mozart, Britten, and Rachmaninoff. None women I'm afraid.

          Staying on theme with music there are classic forms of rock and roll, Elvis, Bill Haley and the Comets, but there are women when it comes to rock and pop music, but how much credence are they given in the industry? Or maybe I am asking the wrong question why is there are cannon in the first place? Why should women want to be involved in a thing that seems to be dictated by dead heterosexual white men?

          Cannons they indeed do blow things up. Dickens (I am going to make a confession I have never read him, and until I want to then I will, but enough with the whole he understood Victorian life thing, in my case trying to make me do something produces the opposite effect, especially as he is a 'classic') but I can understand why he is there.

          Shakespeare, now there's a name for the cannon. I have a beef with him. I had to study him since I was twelve. Does anyone understand Shakespeare when they are that age? I get it. I live in the UK, he wrote 37 plays, and they are good writing I am not saying he wasn't good. Enough with the whole he understood life and theme so well. Yes he did, but they are plays, that means seeing them. Did I really have to get subjected to nine that's right nine years of study? I am still scarred by Macbeth I studied that play for 5 years, really I think that's enough for anyone, and I think without once seeing it, well done education!

          Yes I'm bitter but I wanted and still want to read about women or other people who wrote in that era without being beaten over the head with Shakespeare, and my theory? He wrote 37 plays, 37 plays that importantly survived to present day and everyone has heard of him, and he was a successful playwright. That means we have 37 plays that everyone gets to hate when they are young as we study them so much.

          I think thought that is a whole other discussion about teaching, I had some great teachers especially English teachers but education is a double sword. You have to stick to the passing exams and can I just say I use my knowledge of Charles the 2nd like all the time. The only thing that I remember distinctly is that he dug up that's right dug up all the people who had signed his father's death warrant and had them hung (or is it hanged?). Yeah that's really gross and disgusting hanging dead people. Well done Charles. This is for another time, possibly when not so annoyed at my education. Back to canons.

          When I say canonical literature people may not know what I mean. I think if I say classic texts, then I think that makes it clearer. The stuff that people tell us is classical, I am talking about you Shakespeare, all the stuff that I studied in my GCSEs. I looked at Brighton Rock by Graham Green, Lord of the Flies by William Golding, Macbeth by Shakespeare (and some other plays I can't remember but that's burned into my brain which isn't surprising, yeah I know let go of the bitterness but suck it Shakespeare), a bit of 1984 by George Orwell. We did some poetry by Carol Ann Duffy. The stuff we did by rote though was the Romantics and well as Wordsworth and I think Blake. I remember doing Thomas Hardy for my A-Levels as well as Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (I have always hated that book and will evermore, but I did have to do it for a year, oh the joy, suck it Heathcliff). Kate Bush, however is a genius.

          I can understand why this stuff is taught but the stuff that excited me and made me really think was One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey really wonderful book and have never seen the film. It's one that I can't read again though. The poetry I read by John Donne. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, and when I first read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and is still one of my favourites to this day but then again who doesn't like it?

          Some of the authors that I have mentioned I like and like still. It's not women the majority of the time. I really do think its because they are talking about things people deem to be important. Let's face it in general people don't think Hardy and Bronte are comparable, and it's not the writing it's who wrote it. More than that it's what they are talking about. The issues that Green talks about religion, faith and violence women discuss that too but are still undervalued.

          Many feminists have said the same thing before me, and will too again. It is still sad that this exists. Why do we have to fight for people to look beyond the author's sex? The issues that women talk about, are they so very different from men, are we so very different? Is this not just a clever ploy to create a big wedge between men and women? Why did I even write the sentence women's issues?

          The stuff that people write, decide whether you like it or not based on something as equally irrelevant as sex, decide you don't like Grahame Green because his last name is a colour (that horrible E. B. White, he's rubbish). Decide that you like John Grisham because he was born before 1959, and hate all writers after that Ruth Rendell, as well as Virginia Woolf are great but Marion Keyes is bad as well as Neil Gaiman. Decide you hate people with initials, their writing is stupid, that E. B. White is still bad as well as P. G. Wodehouse. Decide you'll only admire people who are dead (okay that one is a little close to the bone as a lot of people seemingly do this but it's still a pretty stupid way of defining whether someone’s writing is good).

          As weird as this seems my advice: like who you want to like. I have authors I like most of them I admire their writing. Though I do get hooked by a good protagonist I am in love with Agnes from Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer, that book though is beautifully written. I like Matilda by Roald Dahl. I like Elizabeth Bishop's poetry as well as Pope's. I like what I like because it is my opinion. Is that not all we can do? Say we like it.

          There are reasons why I like the stuff I like, they do not have to be your reasons, even better than that you don't have to like the stuff I do, because I am understanding, and that people are different in what they think is good. It is as far as I am concerned it is always subjective. Now that I think about it there are many things that people say are good and I don't care for at all. Dan Brown I don't get, doesn't mean that people can't like it for good reasons I, however, don't. Citizen Kane I cannot sit through, others think it's a classic. I like lots of things that people don't think are good and not for kitchy reasons but because I genuinely like it, Tremors is a great film and the plot is really good and suspenseful, the structure and the acting is really enjoyable.

          I really cannot dictate what others do but you know what? Put all that stuff you were taught about books and poetry aside and look at it read it and decide simply if you enjoyed it or not. You do not have to look at theme or structure or what the author was trying to do, or do if you want to but decide whether you like it. I enjoy reading things and whether they are classics or not I don't care about. So frankly I think the canon can suck it too. I am sure it'll love it with Shakespeare and Heathcliff in that corner, as long as it does not bother me again.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Cheese cake

           Ah Cheese cake how I love you. Creamy filling, chocolate base, and if it's lemon cheese cake then it combines three of my favourite things: lemon, chocolate and cheese. I say have cheese cake and all things become better.


          That is what I am recommending this week. Now look at that, yummy!

A short post


          So it's short post this week as I'm not here tomorrow. I've always liked this picture of Wonder Woman. First she is sexualised, which is depressing to me. She is also incredibly thin. There is other other stuff that makes me happy when I look at this picture.

          She is full of purpose, He expression is full of anger and strength. Just like her hands that is holding that lasso. That lasso is something that she can definitely use. I love the neon colour of lasso. She is also muscled. It's her face, however, though really that makes me drawn to this and Wonder Woman is her own woman in this picture. I also love her hair and the crown, this is a woman filled with purpose. Purpose is what makes me like her, and the fact that she has magic bracelets just makes me happy!

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Desperately Seeking Susan

           This week I'm recommending Desperately Seeking Susan. This is a film that I have loved since I was in my early teens. It's about finding identity and it's linked by the two women, with a villain thrown in and a pair of missing earrings. 

         I love the music in it, especially the song that introduces Susan (Madonna's character). I have had a crush on Aidan Quinn as a result from the time first watching this film. The film really showcases a time period as well.

          I think the thing that keeps me going back to this film is the performances. Mark Blum as the husband is terrific. Laurie Metcalf as the sister-in-law is fabulous. What really shines for me is Roberta (Rosanna Arquette) and Dez (Aidan Quinn). I love that Roberta gets good as magician's assistant, I also love that Dez likes his job as a projectionist

         This is all drawn together by the theme of identity. For me it's a film that I watched when I was younger and totally upholds today.  

Female Porn

         I am on and off writing a book about romance novels using a feminist back drop. I have been writing this for years and the research that I have been doing is still on going. I kind of got a little sidetracked by porn. Not watching it, but the debate surrounding porn, is what really interested me. The debate surrounding sexuality in women and men. I’m have looking at this in relation to the book I’m writing as a lot of romances have been compared to porn (which historically meant let’s remember means a prostitutes writing, which may or may not be directly true to romance novels who knows!). This has led down some interesting side alleys since my primary focus has been romance novels.

          So my personal history with porn: I have watched I think about two soft core ones. This came about as when I was still living where I grew up channel 5 had just started out (for those not living in the UK, channel 5 was added as an extra channel you could automatically have and not have to pay for, free view which I think it’s now called as memory serves) and as a new channel it had some dodgy stuff on, presumably to get people to watch it. So this new channel had erotic dramas on or erotic thrillers. I was sort of intrigued about what that meant (by the way not in any way related to Body Heat or at a pinch Basic Instinct which I would say at least live up to that description but these were more like Benny Hill than anything else). They were both by Ross Meyers, and I think one was called Superstars and the other Emmanuel 4 or 5. Both it seemed to me were silly, and just plain strange. It kind of mystified me as to what anyone would think was erotic about it or indeed a dramatic or a thrilling. The plots were confusing and completely nonsensical, now I can forgive that as it’s not trying to implement that. The stuff, however, that happened again was strange including a scene that just made me laugh of a large breasted women putting a phone between her breasts and saying some strange stuff. Now I’m all for the surreal but that’s just so pointless. I think that was the overwhelming sense I had, the films seemed seedy and overall pointless.

          I like surreal stuff I saw in a film of Beauty and the Beast in black and white and I think it was French. The thing that I love about that film was that all the candle holders were actual hands that moved, and the shots of the house in general. The story I could take or leave, but the visual stuff was really beautifully done. This I think is surreal done well. I’ve always thought that Sirens was a beautifully sensuous film in the visuals. There is a scene where the English women is floating in a river in a white dress and the other women rise from the water. I personally think that is a much more erotic and visually interesting scene that any other that I’ve seen in a porn film.

          Having said all this, and why I wanted to write this post, I recently viewed some other porn, one by Erika Lust called The Good Girl, and Female Fantasies by Petra Joy. Now these are by women, and I was intrigued by this. This was not just a woman being penetrated by a man, and I was interested in what the visuals would be like.
          So I’ll start with The Good Girl, first I was surprised a lot of the film (it’s about half an hour) takes place in the inner monologue of the women, not to say that there isn’t two naked people going at it, but what I thought was the most interesting device was this was a woman fulfilling her own fantasy, and turning a whole concept of a man seducing a ‘good girl’ on it’s head. The angles were changed up quite a bit, which I thought was interesting, also this isn’t a hard core serious thrusting race to orgasm, this is a couple (who have never met before) trying different positions (but by usually silent consent) and laughing at times.
           The overwhelming thing that I would say changed my mind about this particular porn was that the longer that you get into it the woman gets more sweaty, more into the positions and more and more excited. It takes longer 2 seconds of thrusting for her to come. What I didn’t like was the whole thing ends with his orgasm and in particular around her face. That pulled me out of the whole experience, but overall not what I expected. What also made me like this was that her voice comes to it, this is a woman fulfilling her desires and getting her orgasm, and personally hearing things can make me just as excited as imagining them or seeing them.
          Admittedly this piece has so far been pro this film. It still has the actors fucking for money and for others pleasure. Something that we can never fully get away from. This is an industry that makes a lot of money, the people doing this are they really doing this out of choice? A question never fully answered to my mind, even with this. We are still looking, being the gaze upon these people.

          I do want to talk about the other porn I saw. First this isn’t just one scene there are several. Including a lot of scenes that are not about penis in vagina. The first scene was the scene that kind of intrigued me most of all. One woman being touched by other people. What I liked was these people had various things going on, and had masks on, a whole kind of surreal theme going on the whole time (maybe surreal is the way to get me to like porn!) and there is a lot of kissing, ice cubes, leather and stuff going on. Nothing kinky or hurtful just a lot of things going on around a body.
          The next scene was I think several women striping in silhouette which was fun but not really my thing. Various other scenes including one scene of a man masturbating in a shower, not much talking going on really but a lot of naked people going at it, in general. I liked that this was about several scenes (oh and by the way general note to anyone trying to make something sexy can we all agree that someone licking their fingers of food is not arousing, it just feels forced to me when on film or a book) and various things to see. The whole thing was sort of a theme of exploring what people find sexually stimulating, which I thought was cool.

          I don’t know overall. It was interesting, but maybe that’s not what turns me on, or you on. I like reading about seduction, about really focusing on the mind, what connects and gets people to the journey. Slow (I know it’s a cliche but it’s one for a reason) for me is really better in most things.
          There were a few other things that I wanted to mention. All the women were all shaved, which I know that a thing in porn but that makes me feel a bit sad. Is pubic hair really all that scary? They were also uniform in what they looked like. Not one had anything like stretch marks, discoloured skin, hair places other than the head, and they all performed perfectly, no changing stuff as it was uncomfortable, no real communication. No one was fat, or anything other than white, or really different from one another as talking was out.

          Difference isn’t scary and to me a lot of misconceptions about getting it on naked is that there are expectations involved, a lot of which has to do with watching stuff. Also let’s not have a stigma about masturbation all people do it and it’s great, orgasms that you get to give to yourself. Score!
          I think what I really would have connected to was seeing these people not just doing positions but at least communicating, having a connection.

          It was a good experience to see this stuff as I'm interested in what these things being made means for sexuality being viewed and the porn debates in general. I think I didn't really get excited by watching this. I really could not relate to the people I was watching, I want to see people who I can relate to, maybe that's one the things about romance that I like it does not exclude and a lot of stuff is going on in your imagination.    

          So overall I will still want to read about the discussion about porn, but not really interested enough to watch it. I am intrigued by what other people find sexy (I hope that I didn’t alienate anyone by saying licking food is not sexy, to me it isn’t but maybe I’m just the exception). I’m always going to be inquisitive by what the whole thing says about culture, and people. That is the stuff that really excites me about human nature. 

          This is just my experience, I would say watch it for yourself and see what you think, or not if this doesn't interest you! I would like just to end this piece by saying there are a lot of places I thought were interesting talking about sex and sexuality from a female perspective like: www.cherrytv.com and there is a podcast called Sex Nerd in itunes that I would say thoughtfully discusses sex in a positive manner. I really liked that Cherrytv isn't about competition but about women discussing experiences that they have had.