Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Goodnight Mr Tom

One of my favourite books of my childhood. I've read every year since I was 9, and have the same affection for it since then. This was one of the first books that made me passionate about reading this and Matilda by Roald Dahl. Goodnight Mr Tom is all about the relationship between Tom and Willie, who is an evacuee. That is the core of the book that hooked me from the age of 9 and still does, and it has a huge emotional pull, the forging of family. It's a great book, so I highly recommend it.      

100 wishes

     To keep my promise of posting every week, I'm posting today as I'm away for a while, instead of this Sunday. So the next post will be on the 2nd of October.
     But this week I am going to brazenly steal an set up used by Adam Savage in a speech he used at Dragon Con. He set out 100 wishes, which made me think and laugh so I am going to steal it. Here are my 100 in mo particular order:

1.        To fly like superman.
2.        To walk on a tightrope (this is pushing it, I am deadly afraid of heights but would love to do it once).
3.        To own my own house and paint it with murals, a mermaid one in the bathroom and probably a mural of things that inspire me in my bedroom.
4.        To laugh at the silly things in life and often.
5.        To memorize the whole of a long poem, something by Cristina Rossetti.
6.        To have a library in my house that I would paint with quotes, authors and pages.
7.        To own a lightsaber.
8.        To have my own swimming pool.
9.        To make love in a field.
10.     To go skinny dipping.
11.     To dance in my underwear more often.
12.     To read the whole works Shakespeare.
13.     To go out to dinner with a big bunch of feminists.
14.     To paint for a whole day.
15.     To read for a whole week.
16.     To make dinner for all the betties.
17.     To make a dress from scratch.
18.     To make a velvet skirt.
19.     To make a corduroy skirt.
20.     To go out with a bunch of happy women and go dancing till the dawn and laugh.
21.     To meet all my idols.
22.     To try and sing at karaoke.
23.     To cry in someone’s arms.
24.     To see my sister and I do a project together, I wouldn’t mind the activity as long as we did it together and enjoyed it.
25.     To write a whole book (I’m working on it!)
26.     To write a screen play and direct it.
27.     To play the piano really well.
28.     To listen to Dance Hall Crashers all day.
29.     To meet Bob Marley (I know he’s dead but would have liked to meet him).
30.     To meet Nelson Mandela.
31.     To sing in a stadium.
32.     To walk barefoot alone on a coast.
33.     To go back in the past and meet some cool people. Like Christina Rossetti, John Locke, Elizabeth 1st, Einstein, Mary Wollstonecraft Craft, Georgia O’Keefe. And lots of others but those would be amazing to meet.
34.     To work in a soup kitchen.
35.     To go into space once.
36.     To be painted and/or drawn.
37.     To not have to wear glasses (have 20/20 vision).
38.     To die my hair blue.
39.     To go to New York and stay there for at least three months.
40.     To live in London for a least a year.
41.     To make up a crossword in a paper.
42.     To be in or create a podcast about film with a feminist bent.
43.     Never to be shouted at in the street again.
44.     To read all of Jane Austen’s letters.
45.     To see a production of Pride and Prejudice in the theatre.
46.     To write and direct a play.
47.     To swim a good amount (like 100 lengths in a day).
48.     To read and understand philosophy.
49.     To have a message.
50.     To paint my sisters nails.
51.     To paint a man’s nails.
52.     To meet and have dinner with Josie Long.
53.     To knit a dress.
54.     To knit various projects well.
55.     To see the Northern lights.
56.     To make chocolate treats.
57.     To make an apple cake.
58.     To make jams and chutneys.
59.     To dance in a production with other large women.
60.     To be known.
61.     To be mysterious.
62.     To not cry when extremely angry.
63.     To say what I really mean.
64.     To know about all the things I want to know.
65.     To meet and have dinner with Kathy Griffin.
66.     For the UK to have a leader that I respect.
67.     To climb a mountain.
68.     To walk along the coast of Scotland.
69.     To own and work in a second hand bookshop.
70.     To create a window with a design on it.
71.     To do a handstand.
72.     To do lots of cartwheels.
73.     To own a bicycle.
74.     To read a lot more science fiction.
75.     To easily find and get all the romances I want in the UK.
76.     To write a romance novel all the way through.
77.     To participate in Nano.
78.     To write a really long book about films.
79.     To not tire when I want to do stuff.
80.     To not be depressed.
81.     To not have insomnia.
82.     To build my own house.
83.     To have enough books that I would need my own library.
84.     That libraries were treated better, I love them and have spent a lot of time in them.
85.     To read Random Harvest.
86.     To go back so that I wouldn’t know the plot of Random Harvest.
87.     To paint nudes.
88.     To be alone for long periods without people thinking this was strange.
89.     To be truly ambidextrous.
90.     To be able to spell.
91.     To have all my friends all in one room.
92.     To be fitter.
93.     To read lots more.
94.     To see more around me.
95.     Camp.
96.     To sleep one night under the skies.
97.     To have a life supply of galaxy (it’s a brand of chocolate).
98.     To be able to play pool well.
99.     To have really long red hair.
100.     And finally I think I would really like to be invisible for a day, just to see what it’s like.

          So there are my 100 wishes. Have a good weekend!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Eddie Izzard

This week I am going to recommend Eddie Izzard.

Ah Eddie how I love you. One of the funniest people on the tv set. He's hilarious, So very very funny. My favourite specials of his are Definite Article and Dress to Kill. I like all of his but I think those are my favourites, In particular his sketch about waiting at a petrol station in the early hours, as well as Cake or Death, and the NRA and the clarinet and the loaf of bread and...well you get it. A truly amazing talent. Eddie Izzard I salute you and recommend anyone to watch his stuff.  

Why I think douche is the best insult

     I wanted to talk about the stuff that I go through as a woman walking around. And why I think that douche and douche bag are incredibly good insults. I wanted to list some of the things people have said to me (mostly men but not baring women). I am also not going to give the context.

Things that people have said:

*How much do you charge?

*What size are your breasts?

*Will you come home with me?

*You look like you’ve lost weight

*Get out of the way you fat cunt

*I had to eat something after I fainted in Science because I hadn’t eaten in 3 days.

     Amazingly enough all of these things have been said to me, by and large in the street. Most of them by men. Now why is it that men think it is ok to say this kind of shit to me? Because I’m a woman admittedly, but this does not excuse it or even in my opinion justify it. They are all douches.

     But what I want to discuss here is my reaction to them. I used to specify the story with being mistaken by being a prostitute was that I was being silly by walking alone at 3 in the morning. I also used try and put some humour in it, there is no humour in the fact that this douche kerb crawled me and I felt real danger. Now, I want to say stop saying that it is the woman’s fault. I also had to stop thinking that this man found me attractive. I also think that this anecdote says much more about him than me.
     This is something that I really believe is embedded in our culture and soaked in privilege that men have the right to say this kind of stuff to me.

     I also wanted to specifically address the weight questions and this is stuff that abounded in my school. Not as much as I think that we could try and ignore it, but particularly among young girls weight is one weighty (it’s a terrible pun that I’m not above) issue. I also remember an instance when I was round a friend’s house and she forced me to weigh myself in front of her. And then told me I was fatter than her. Factually true at the same time, but what kind of friend does that? An insecure one looking back but didn’t reverse the fact that she made me feel like crap. Boasting about not eating for 3 days is just strange.
     Eating is something that we have to do. It is not morally superior to deprive yourself of something that your body demands that you need. There is a passage in The Fat Girl’s Guide to Life by Wendy Shanker, where she describes a plane crash where people ate the dead to keep alive, that is the lengths that human’s go to survive they eat each other. They have to, in that instance eat people or die themselves. That is a concrete fact you die of starvation unless you eat.

     My personal history with food is slightly fraught. I have a history of not eating, and when I don’t eat my hunger cues get messed up. I’m better now, I do have to force myself to put things on a list to remind myself that I need to eat three meals a day otherwise the whole system gets fucked up, and I in turn have no idea when I’m hungry or indeed what to eat. This is really born from habit, if this is what you do to your body for a number of years then you have a hard time to form different patterns. This may seem trivial but believe me it isn’t. I also dare you to find someone who hasn’t had a relationship with food at one time or another and whether they acknowledge it or that wasn’t fucked up. We are all in it.

     Calling me a fat cunt. Strangely doesn’t make me feel that bad. I know that fat is a synonym for the worst thing you can call a woman, it has the connotations that you are lazy and stupid. I don’t personally feel that. Not that he wasn’t trying to say that to me, but for me taking that out of it helps me. I am fat, just like Naomi Campbell is thin. It is a description of me that happens to be true, just like I’m a brunette and wear glasses, I also have size 5 feet. None of those things truly describe my personality. I can list ten things:

1.     I hate high heels and have not worn them consistently since I was about 14.
2.     I love romance novels. All sorts.
3.     I don’t understand the word existential, explaining it to me, makes me eyes cross.
4.     I am a bear in the mornings.
5.     I need to read to get to sleep and to wake up.
6.     I tend to get nervous when I meet strangers and tend to make up for this by being extremely vocal. Bad tactic on my part, but there you go.
7.     Ska is probably my favourite stuff to listen to.
8.     I miss letters. Handwritten letters, they make me smile.
9.     I have never liked to wear shoes. I used to take them off when I was kid and walk on the pavement, occasionally I still do.
10.   My favourite colour is purple.

These things describe my personality much more than fat does.

     The word cunt, I know that it is one of the worst insults. Again, for me it depends on the context and for me the power you give the other person. In no way does that excuse his behaviour, what he should have said was: could you kindly step out of the road. I don’t think also that people should call people that. I kind of like the word cunt and not just because of The Vagina Monologues. It seems so misused, so misunderstood. Cunt, to me makes me think of soft sheets, red and bunting. It makes me like the word. I have a soft spot for swear words. Fuck, so misused, also another one I like in specific usage. I also like that one for its versatility. But back to cunt. If you call me that what are you really calling me is a vagina. Something I have great affection for. Something we all come from. Calling me that actually made me laugh.

     Which is kind of a good place to get to why I think douche and douche bag are good insults. What are douches for? To make the vagina cleaner? Smell better? Fuck that. My vagina, my cunt smells just fine thank you, and it is clean enough. This to me is a pure patriarchal act. Trying to make women think that this is a good thing. I also want to know what the fuck it is anyone else’s business what my vagina and all of the pubic area around it looks or indeed smells like. Mind your own business. I don’t care about other women’s vagina’s it is their own business.

     The douche use it or not use it I don’t care. What I do care about is why the advertisers have thought this was a good idea. To make women worry about something that yet again patriarchy wants to clean up. I wonder maybe I should have an ad campaign for men to wash their dicks with a special solution, as women think that their penises are gross and need to be cleaned up. Maybe that’s the real message of the douche – clean up your vagina as no man will fuck you otherwise, and we all know that’s women role in society to be as amenable to the fuck object as we can. To that end I would ask men to go buy a plastic doll instead, you can clean it yourself and bonus no talking! Joking aside I don’t want to participate in that kind of behaviour.

     So this is all leading to why douche is a good insult. What I am calling you to my mind is a patriarchal appliance that I have no time for, and is truly offensive to me. And there are a hell of lot people who fit that description.

     Let’s hope eventually that people in the street or anywhere else have the good sense to realise it not their inherent right to say stuff to other people and if that does not happen, I have the best insult at the ready.                


So this is Spinster in the Wilderness, a new and shiny blog that I now have.

I love the word spinster and to me is a jolly word and kind of makes me happy!

This is going to be a mixture of serious stuff and light stuff, and in general things that I want to say that day. I hope to post every week, one post and one recommendation post.

Anyway that is my intention starting today. I am really excited!