Archive for May, 2011

In The Frame

Posted: May 28, 2011 in Letters From An Alien, Writing

I was thinking what it would be like if I had to be in the frame. Centre stage. For whatever reason. And I didn’t like the feeling I got, somewhere between a shiver and a cowering, and a blush of shame.

Then I remembered how one of the readers on here mentioned a while back, how I rarely write anything personal. About me. And I came back with a retort, a little defensively if I look back on it, about how I am always writing personal stuff, especially in my fiction. That this blog is an expression of me. But I know what he meant.

I am always a little bit out of the frame, off -camera. Standing behind someone else. Or looking up to them and asking you to do the same.

One of the many things I am scared about in finishing/publishing my novel is I will have to stand in front of it. I saw some quotes that people had written – you know to go on the ‘dust jackets’ (or whatever the ebook equivalent is) of some other writers’ books. The kinds of writers who would write a quote for my dust jacket if I asked. And I suddenly just thought I can’t do that. I don’t even want to ask someone to write something about me to publish for others to see.  I want them to tell me in private, in whispered missives, how much they like my book. Or in a comment hidden below a blogpost, an email, a phonecall. Not in the glare of the flashbulbs and the spotlights. Not in broad daylight.

Every so often someone manages to manage my ‘maladjustment’ my malaise. My modesty that is the opposite of false. And somehow to find it not irritating but endearing. And then I am so relieved I just want to live under their cloak forever. Don’t hide your light under a bushel. Well why ever not? I thought that is what bushels were for.

The thing is you see, even the most craven fame-hungry, camera-loving confident  people, they still seem pretty vulnerable to me.  David Beckham, Katie Price, Mikey Sorrentino. They are no shrinking violets. But are they comfortable? Really? In the camera’s constant glare? They don’t look it. I am just being honest about my discomfort right from the upshot.

So excuse my shyness. I can’t promise I will  get over it. I can’t promise anything.

Except these words.

 

 

If this man is a soldier I will eat my DVD Box Set of Dad’s Army.

 

Camille Paglia tells it how it is. A sister in arms, when there are no sisters left.

UPDATE: I am pretty sure this is from an interview on a TV show in the early 1990s. That is the context.

Waterfall

Posted: May 24, 2011 in Mark Simpson, Metrosexy, Uncategorized

I just posted I Wanna Be Adored by The Stone Roses, on Metrosexy, the promo-site for Mark Simpson’s forthcoming publication of the same name (Metrosexy, not ‘I wanna be adored’, though that would make a fitting subtitle). It is a Metrosexy Anthem all right.

But, The Stone Roses for me are all about a pub in Moseley Birmingham where I am from (as are some of UB40 and The Beat and Roland Gift from FYC and Toyah Willcox and John Taylor from Duran) and the lock-ins we used to have in 1992/3. It was being on the boat going through the rapids, about to approach the Waterfall that led into the abyss. Like we could still just about tell ourselves, if we got drunk enough, and locked-in long enough, that there were still alternatives to what we knew really was inevitably encroaching, in the bright, buff, scary shiny world outside.

Her Anger

Posted: May 20, 2011 in Feminism

Without feminism to endorse it, I don’t  always know how to justify my anger. If I am not angry with ‘men’ who or what am I angry with? Because sometimes I am still fucking angry. Maybe even more so, now I realise all that time I wasted, all those lies I bought, all those pages I wrote. For the sake of something I don’t believe in or value any more.

Dorian Lynskey has considered angry women, after one or two such creatures criticised his recent book, 33 revolutions per minute (an inspired title), for omitting the story of women’s role in the history of protest songs, to a large extent. He asked for people to suggest ‘feminist’ songs by women to redress the balance. Or at least to draw attention to the question of ‘where are the women’ protest pop singers? This made me a bit…angry. Because I don’t want my anger to need feminism for it to exist or make sense. My anger is a loose canon, that sometimes erupts from me for no apparent reason at all. But there is always a reason really.

I told Dorian that PJ Harvey, one of my favourite angry women in pop (yes she has ‘toned herself down’ like a good ‘mature artist’ should, and suddenly gained unanimous critical acclaim when she used to get such mixed reactions, but she is still angry), has never publicly identified as a feminist. This used to irk me. I thought she was denying the obvious feminist message of her music. Now it is something I am very glad about. I hope it is because she genuinely isn’t a feminist, and not because she just doesn’t want to be pigeon-holed, as pop artists, especially women, tend to be.

I think Polly Jean would understand some of my anger, when it flies and floats and pierces the sky but without words or reason or a political ideology to back it up, to give it form. I think she’d be able to give it form, with the power of her voice and the urgency of her music. She does. She has.

Sheela Na Gig is reminding me, not only of my anger, but also of how I have been treated since leaving the ‘sisterhood’. Whenever I express a strong opinion, these days, instead of being applauded and encouraged by the feminist ranks, as I might if I were agreeing with them, I get accused of being an ‘attention seeker’ a ‘troll’ a ‘self-obsessed’ individual. So the lines:

‘Sheela Na Gig, Sheela Na Gig- You Exhibitionist’ are ringing particularly true for me.

Polly Jean found her anger without feminism. And I am damned well going to find mine.

http://33revolutionsperminute.wordpress.com/2011/05/13/where-are-the-women/#comment-333

Feminism Explained

Posted: May 20, 2011 in Uncategorized

David C and Ed M have got nothing on us. Claws at the ready, it’s a feminist/ex-feminist bitch fight:

The thing is, this does remind me of my 70s childhood, and Suzanne could be my 70s Mom- well, not my Mom. My Mom was nowhere near as glamorous as Suzanne. But one of the many feminist women I knew throughout the 1970s and 1980s.  But it is 2011 now. What have we done to move things forward since then?

http://uk.jezebel.com/5802115/barnes–noble-censors-cover-featuring-androgynous-male-model

This image of the male model Andrej Pejic was censored by the bookstore chain Barnes and Noble, because it could be mistaken for a picture of a topless woman

As the Jezebel article states, other magazines featuring covers of shirtless men have been stocked by Barnes and Noble, but the men in question have been muscle-bound metrosexuals.

What does this tell us about gender anxiety and attitudes to ‘obscenity’ and nudity in the 21st century?

I think it is interesting, in the light of that recent photoshoot for Abercrombie and Fitch in Paris, where over one hundred male models got their tits out for the whole of Paris to enjoy. Because in some ways, muscled up pecs look more like women’s breasts than a skinny androgyne’s ones.

I also think this serves as a reminder that the feminist campaigns in the UK by organisations such as OBJECT, to cover up lads mags and to put them back on the ‘top shelf’, may lead to similar incidents of censorship here.

Jezebel decides that the thorny issue of how feminists simultaneously bemoan ‘double standards’ of how men and women’s bodies are perceived in our culture, and also campaign for the censorship of images which ‘objectify’ women but not men, should be left for ‘another day’:

‘Why it is exactly that women’s toplessness is considered inappropriate for magazine covers in this country is a question for another day, but this debacle does call into question the general ridiculousness of these standards’

Very wise, Jezebel, very wise. But on this or any other day, I could point out how contradictory and full of its own double standards, feminist dogma about gendered bodies is. I’m not going anywhere…