Monthly Archives: August 2010

Day 5 – Some of my Favourite Adverts

The John Lewis one with the girl wearing red and growing up.

The Waitrose one for last Christmas.

The Honda one where there’s a choir perfectly imitating the noise a car would make.

I’m sorry if the first two made you cry and hope the brilliance of the last one cheers you up a bit. In the same vein I also like the one about jumping over a gatepost because you’ve always eaten Flora, and the one about Hovis bread which runs through apparently the entirety of the 20th century. But I can’t be bothered to find any more videos because I’m actually about to go to bed now; my next post will probably be actually posted in real time again.

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Day 4: Assorted Comedians Including My Cousin

Tim Minchin’s Storm – a nine-minute beat poem about annoying hippies.

Sarah Millican, live at the Apollo.

Newport (State of Mind) – to which my cousin wrote the lyrics.

Ross Noble talking about putting a blanket over an owl. I don’t know why.

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Day 3: Things I Loved From Childhood

SuperTed, of which here’s my favourite episode; and Old Bear. I didn’t ever watch the show, but I loved the books.

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Day 2: Things that Make My Sister Laugh

Day 2: things that make my sister laugh.

Literally, what it says on the tin – the Harry Potter Literal Trailer. This is perhaps one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a while. You should also watch Laddergoat if you feel so inclined. Although not all the way through.

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Day 1: Stoned Student Humour

The OOglies – just to throw you in at the deep end of utter surreality. Is this really for kids, or is it aimed at stoned students and just broadcast on CBBC because it would look bad if The Beeb was programming things specifically for people who are off their faces?

And here is Part Two.

P.S. I’m sorry if, over the next few days, you click on the link to a video and I’ve linked to the wrong thing entirely. I don’t think I have at any point but it is the kind of thing I would do.

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Why I Don't Think I'm As Feminist As All That

This is likely to be the most poorly expressed collection of thoughts I’ve ever written. Apart from a couple of my drunken journal entries. Those are excellent. But no, they’re not likely to ever make it up here, sorry.

Anyway. This is one of those few posts that has made it into my drafts folder. It’ll take the form of a disjointed kind of a list.

Firstly: rape jokes. I sort of feel like I ought to find them inappropriate because, you know, rape is a terrible, terrible thing, without any hint of non-seriousness there whatsoever and no, I mean it. But, for crying out loud: Dead Baby jokes. Madeleine McCann jokes. The Bunny Suicides. A hell of a lot of the sense of humour of (primarily young people and probably mainly students) revolves around some seriously terrible things. Perhaps this is how we process those things, perhaps it’s just that things are funny when they really shouldn’t be – why else would Jeff’s Giggle Loop be such an on-the-nail description of that kind of laughter you laugh when you’re at a funeral or your spouse is breaking up with you? We laugh at inappropriate, terrible things, perhaps because we’d otherwise cry, or perhaps they’d make us angry, or perhaps it wouldn’t, but we have to react in some way.

No, I’m not getting into the psychology of what makes us laugh. Bother that. If it’s OK to laugh at dead babies and Madeleine McCann and so on, then sure, if you think of something genuinely witty to say about rape, say it. If it’s not OK to laugh at rape jokes then dead babies and Madeleine McCann are out too, OK? Good.

Secondly: I like cooking, I like doing things for other people, I love it when you create something edible and it makes someone else happy, or you pass your plate over at a restaurant because the portions are, as ever, huge, and you get to watch someone you love slurp white wine sauce out of a mussel shell whilst looking as happy as Larry at you. I like knitting things, it’s only a matter of time before I do actually kidnap a small child (no, not really, I’m not utterly daft) and I hope to goodness that someday I get married and have children and don’t have to work so that I get to spend lots of time at home bringing them up. I get a bit gooey about little boys in school uniform or choirboy outfits or whatever and I’m already eyeing up the Hornby. I don’t think this is incompatible with the fact that I do want a really interesting research career first/later in life and I am quite independent and would like to do a number of things first.

Thirdly: I really would rather not walk home alone late at night. I know, technically, that if I was a Good Feminist I’d carry a rape alarm and learn how to poke someone’s eyes out with the heel of my DMs or something (not that I own DMs), but actually, I’d rather get a taxi, make someone walk me home, or be home before it gets late. I will walk home alone, and I’m not scared to do so, I just can’t help thinking that it isn’t a good idea.

Fourthly: Women’s magazines are full of airbrushed, long-legged beauties who look decades younger than they should and impossibly perfect. They wear clothes which are pedalled to us constantly, bags we must have in order to fit in. Personally I don’t tend to enjoy those magazines much – I get all the fashion I need from the various newspaper supplements in the Times or the Guardian, and I really don’t care about celebrities. Furthermore I think very few people actually are made to feel inadequate by the terrifyingly unattainable role models and examples set in these magazines. Perhaps one is as a teenager – I know it certainly angered me at the time that even in magazines aimed at teenage girls one is constantly told how to diet and all the rest of it when really we should be getting the message that, actually, you are who you are, and that is wonderful. But I don’t think anyone once they reach a certain age or level of maturity is made to feel inadequate by the frank mythologisation of womanhood in women’s magazines and basically everyone just enjoys them for what they are. I don’t think they’re massively damaging.

Fifthly, a slightly different point: the norm for women at this point in time is to shave their legs and their underarms and pluck their eyebrows and get rid of (I don’t know how, this isn’t a problem I have) any trace of a moustache. And so adverts telling us to buy razors and feel like goddesses obviously appear on television. Again, I don’t have a problem with this. I am happy to fit in with a cultural norm that dictates that I should either shave my legs or keep them out of sight. And I know there are a number of women who don’t want to shave their legs or remove their moustaches or whatever and they just bloomin’ well go for it. I don’t think adverts telling you that using a certain razor will make you feel like a goddess are saying you can’t feel like a goddess if you have hairy legs – that’s as odd a proposition from the advert in question as saying that using that razor will actually turn you into a goddess.

So, while in other countries women are denied education and many other basic rights, whilst in some places life is an awful lot harder if you are a women; whilst there are undeniably people who we may well encounter every day who think less of me because I am a woman than you, because you are man; whilst domestic violence and rape and things occur all the time and that is utterly terrible, I still wouldn’t say I was a capital-F Feminist. I can’t see what is wrong with the media  as it is commenting on the way Mrs Cameron dresses, say (heck, they also comment on the dress sense of Mr Cameron and all the rest), or telling me that I should use this razor to shave my legs. I think we are awfully lucky in the UK today to have the choice to be and dress and sleep with whoever we want, to be able to marry who we like and when we like and only if we like. I like dressing up and wearing lipstick and playing the role of a woman in society. I like being a woman, I like being a girl, I like being a lady, and conforming to those stereotypes. I like it when some of the men I know patronise me a bit for being a bit of a girl. I will laugh at rape jokes, I will shave my legs and feel like a goddess, I will stare in wonder at the new seasons capes and jersey dresses and boots and I don’t mind in the least that the vagaries of fashion want me to buy new things each season because, when I have the money, I like buying those things.

This is what I’m concluding: I am not a Feminist. I believe in equality and freedom for all people in all places and while I care that women get raped and are denied basic rights to education and divorce and the right not to be stoned for adultery after having slept with someone new after becoming a widow, I also care that men are fighting wars and battles and gunfights over who they are, who they believe in and the colour of their skin; that children are dying every day from a lack of clean drinking water; that it’s harder to get into a good university simply because you’ve grown up on a council estate and gone to a state school; that our economy is in real trouble and I do worry that Osbourne is cutting too much, too fast, and that that will spell trouble in the end. I am a feminist insomuch as I am also a childist and an andronist and an environmentalist. It should surely all come as part of a package – part of being a decent human being is, surely, caring about others, no matter what or who they are.

This post was originally meant as a lighthearted riposte to some shocking allegations thrown at me in the pub a week or so ago. Whoops.

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Nota Bene

I’m going to Towersey. I will be away until Tuesday. I don’t know when I’ll blog next because I wouldn’t be surprised if I spend most of Tuesday asleep in front of the television. However, keep checking back here – I’ve got one actual post scheduled to go up, and also I’m going to give you random gems from YouTube each day. Oh the joys of post-scheduling tools. Hope you all get rained on rather less than I expect I will be, and have a wonderful bank holiday!

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Towersey (II)

For some reason, I have just ironed everything I own. There was a good reason to do some ironing as I’m going to put some stuff on eBay; and that done, I just couldn’t stop, so I ironed all the dresses I’m taking to Towersey and even some of the shirts.

That was yesterday.

I’ve just written a packing list. This is to put off the awful moment when I have to dive into our garage. Due to the building works, it contains – apparently – half the furniture we own. There’s  a very high possibility that I will never emerge, that I’ll get swallowed into some kind of furniture-based wormhole and go gallivanting with fawns and lions and ice queens. Or, let’s be honest, knocked out when a shelf falls on my head.

This packing list features spectacularly middle class who-takes-THAT-camping items such as ‘cafetiere’ and ‘PILLOW!!!’ as well as the mysterious FMGFN – fizzy-make-good-feel-nice, or Alka-Seltzer to anyone unfamiliar with Black Books.

It also includes some ‘well, duh’ items such as ‘TICKET!!!!’ and ‘toothpaste’ because those are the kind of stupid moronic things I always forget.

I am also taking my knitting, a sudoku book, and some novels, because you never know what might happen and you might find yourself stranded without entertainment within seconds and thank goodness you had that knitting there to do. I expect I won’t use any of those things but you have to be prepared, don’t you?

I am mainly fretting, though, because I have yet to buy a filter for my camera lens. I gather there’s a photographic shop in the nearby town so I will google this later and then promptly forget where it is.

And it’s going to rain constantly. Don’t try to tell me otherwise.

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MOAR…

Erm, yes, pictures *sensible face*. As usual, click to see full-size. And, because you’re all nice people, please credit me if you want to use these photos for anything and don’t go making any money out of my artwork…!

Plants, see? And, like, focus in ALL THE RIGHT PLACES. I’m sort of quite proud of myself. Bother sensible-face.

What I’m not so pleased about is the fact that I don’t know the names of any of these plants.

Sorry, yes, I think in their camera-owning lives everyone takes at least one photo of a rusty chain to show off how clever they are.

I don’t know why I really like this one, but I do. Ditto the following.

Now, for some knitting. The photos aren’t excellent, mainly due to the lighting situation (poor). The project in question will be a shawl, hopefully sometime within the next few days. I’d like to have cast off before I go to Towersey and preferably, depending on how long it takes, blocked it too, so that I have the option of wearing it at Towersey. It’s quite a festival-chic thing, actually, ideally. I started off knitting it in a soft peach wool I found in my mother’s knitting bag. Obviously I ran out of that well before I thought I would; so I added in some yellow which personally I think works really well because it sort of clashes, but then I would say that. I think it’ll work better if I work the last few rows in a browny-grey colour I also found in the knitting bag, just for extra added clash. If I wear it with fairly plain, simple colours it should work quite well. In a kind of gypsy/hobo kind of a way. Preferably with fingerless gloves and a brazier made from an old oil barrel.

I’m quite pleased with how it’s turning out given that I originally expected to screw up massively and make a rather lopsided generic knitted Thing – I didn’t buy wool with which to make this because it genuinely was meant to be a prototype, so if it does turn out to be something I actively want to wear that is, really, a massive bonus. So it sort of doesn’t matter if I decide I don’t think the colours are right after all (I’m mainly not convinced they’ll suit my skintone. I can’t really wear yellow, much to my chagrin). But we’ll see.

When it’s finished, there will be more photos, don’t you worry. Perhaps even modelled by me, myself.

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Picture Spam

Basically whilst all you boys are fighting it out on my last post, here are some pretty pictures for everyone else… I got a new camera for my birthday – a Canon 400D for those who are interested – and took some pretty good photos. I even got a few (not so brilliant) photos of my knitting project, which I’ll talk about a bit more later. I believe (and you all know by now how hopeless I am at all this kind of thing) that if you click on the image it will link to a full size version on a page of its very own – and please do click because they’re rather good, if I do say so myself, but lets be honest that’s mainly due to the camera. Which, before you ask, I love, fiercely and a little bit maternally.

Basically we went to Kingston Lacey. I drove, I ran a red light, everyone managed not to have a heart-attack and die, my sister managed to simultaneously have a minor panic attack and constantly mediate between Dad and The World, and actually I think I drove reasonably well under quite difficult circumstances.

I fell in love with this little man and his twin and took billions of photos of which this and the following are two of the best.

Everybody likes sewing machines.

Plants and knitting picture spam to follow but for now I have a game of Scrabble to play!

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