Friday, March 04, 2016

Doing, Reading, Listening

IT'S GODDAMN MARCH PEOPLE! Thank. The. Sweet. Baby. Jesus. 

I wrote that thing after Christmas about January and how great and restorative and blah blah blah it is and yeah, it was fine, but February, man February was a total downer. That it is the shortest month is literally all it has going for it and knocking back vitamin D tablets like they were tic tacs, counting down the days until friends visited at the end of the month and spending long (really long, interminable) evenings in the bath with the lights turned off was the only way through it.

But it's over! Yay! A weight, a 28 29 day weight has lifted and I am feeling sparklings of what's that? Optimism? Woo! 

Doing: this week in Doing I have been writing but not as rigidly as I was. I have worked on my big thing and I've worked on a few shorter things and for the first time it has been enjoyable. I have also been doing a lot of thinking about my What Next? and if that is getting a job or going back to college or throwing myself into starting a new business. None of those things are imminently achievable but neither are they petrifying, like they were a month ago.

Reading {paper}; still Game of Thrones, the first book. It's terrible, I can't stop. Also The Official DVSA Guide To Driving 2015 (the technique changes annually, who knew?). 

Reading {the internet}; Aside from the dresses I couldn't give two shits about the Oscars but I enjoyed this piece in  The Pool on Disney-esque dressing, whether would be be as interested in watching if the women involved didn't dress like celluloid princesses and if there a princess gene that makes some kids want to dress in mountains of pastel satin while others would rather go naked than wear a princess dress? From my small study group of two, I would say that she might be on to something there. 

Do I think Alicia Vikander and Cate Blanchett wanted to look like Disney characters? Do I think that two highly intelligent and accomplished women woke up and asked their stylists to make them into fairytale princesses for kicks? In terms of a brief, “just do whatever it takes for me to avoid the worst-dressed lists, so that I can block the sexist, racist farrago that is the Oscars out of my mind for another 364 days” is more likely. 
The Disney princess analogy, and our willingness to invoke it, says far more about us than it does about any individual actress. All they’re doing is playing the game. They know that if they dress up nicely, Hollywood will reward them for playing their part in a pageant which, let us not mince words, feels as dated as most things that originated in 1929. Laura Craik, The Pool.

Also on the Oscars and fashion and women and feminism, these pieces in the Guardian and again, The Pool about Jenny Beavan, the genius costume designer behind Mad Max who deigned, deigned to turn up to the Oscars in jeans and a leather jacket, with unbrushed hair and NO MAKE UP (how very dare she) and the frankly horrifying reactions of the fuckwits, I mean men, who she walked past to get to the stage.
Alejandro Iñárritu glowered as if a woman in a leather jacket was somehow more repulsive than DiCaprio chomping down a raw bison liver. One man, bless his heart, all but leapt into the arms of his companion as she sauntered past, in the same manner that a housewife in a 1950s cartoon would if a mouse suddenly crawled out from under the skirting board. Stuart Heritage, The Guardian. 

c. VW Golf advert

Reading {the internets} cont. 

Everything by Emma Lindsay, whose piece about what she learned from dating rape victims went viral last week but who is interesting and articulate and moving on many issues.

There’s another annoying thing that often comes up when I date people who aren’t down with their bodies: I often end up feeling like shit about mine. My ex and I got in this fight once where I said “Do you feel like I accept your body? Because I don’t feel like you accept mine.” She was shocked, and told me she did feel like I accepted her body and was upset that it didn’t feel reciprocated. And I asked her, with all the negative things she said about herself, how could I ever feel safe? She was clearly capable of putting her own body through a fucking ruthless judgement, why would I expect she wasn’t judging mine just as harshly? Emma Linday, Medium. 

This interview with John Irving, who I continue to adore, despite it being years and years since he's written anything I enjoyed reading, because he wrote two of my favourite books ever, a handful more of my almost-favourite books ever and knows how to wrestle a bear.

The bear is almost blind but one thing he will see is your eyes,” he says, in best shiver-making, frontiersman-mode. “So you must never make direct eye contact. Avert your gaze.” He suddenly transforms into a cringing courtier and adds: “Retreat slowly from the bear and allow him gangway. Above all, don’t run. A bear will outrun a horse over a short distance. They chase and kill deer. Look at the way they’re built, with a powerful upper body, like a sprinter’s.” Somehow you can’t imagine picking up hard-won backwoods tips like these from Julian Barnes. Stephen Smith, The Guardian. 

The Pool (again) is running a series on Motherhood, Sali Hughes on Post Natal Depression (but really on all depression) is wonderful.

'I wasn’t exaggerating. I genuinely felt insane. Since the birth of my much-wanted baby, and the death of my father a few weeks later, my life had felt like an interminable movie I was watching from behind a thick sheet of tracing paper' Sali Hughes, The Pool. 

Listening; I haven't been doing a lot of listening, I've been adoring silence where I can get it, but yesterday Lyra and I walked into the moors and I listened to the latest episode of This American Life, it was heartbreaking, and a stern lesson in believing people when they tell you stuff, even if they are not telling you stuff in the way you think they should tell you stuff. 

There are two songs playing in my head constantly (three if you include that godawful Adele one that won't get off my radio); Hozier's WorkSong which is absurdly beautiful and Lukas Graham's 7 Years, which also won't get off my radio and which I can't decide if I actually like or if it's just catchy like flu.

What doeth, readeth and listeneth you this week?


  1. I read a long piece the other day about the Lynwood rape (I can't remember where? Did you link to it, even?), I held my breath the entire time.

    1. No, that wasn't me. I pretty much didn't breath throughout the podcast episode though, it was horrendous.

  2. I just listened to the episode of This American Life you mentioned and I'm absolutely appalled! Even that her foster mother could still look to blame her after everything she has learned and been told. Gripping stuff...for all of the wrong reasons.

    1. That bit was really shocking, just awful. how could she not hear herself? Jesus.

  3. February is always a struggle for me, as well

  4. Hello - I know I'm late but thank you so much for sharing the article on PND. I needed to read it this week, though it doesn't directly apply to me right now - if it existed formally, my condition might be called Mid Toddler Desperation - but I was reminded that its ok to feel you're ballsing it up, and of the simple fact that it is hard. Thanks :)


play nice.