23 Nov 2010

Pornography.

In my Religious Ethics class today we were having a discussion about Internet pornography and the moral implications of it.

"It degrades women."

Yes, it does. But let's not forget that it degrades men as well. This should not be a feminist issue. By saying that it's only women who suffer from the sex industry, we alienate men from the debate and seem to make it okay for them to enjoy and participate in pornography. What about gay porn, or straight porn? The man in those films are being taken advantage of, like the women. To be paid for having sex and being filmed or photographed is a decision that many people will take because of financial need. The men and women in this industry are being exploited at the basest level possible.

Men are also suffering from watching porn in the same way that women are. Their view of sex is being manipulated and altered in the most awful of ways. Something which should be about love and mutual pleasure is often being portrayed to young, impressionable boys as something violent and atavistic. These boys are growing into men whose early knowledge of sex has stemmed from images they have seen on the Internet, and they are projecting these false sexual ideals onto young women, who cannot and should not match up to them.

Pornography degrades people. Those involved and those watching.

20 Oct 2010

Politics has left me disillusioned, suddenly.

A few months ago I had a small disagreement with someone whose blog I really like and respect (http://jjbeazley.blogspot.com/ ) about voting. I was decrying people who don't vote, and I think (as far as I can remember - it was a while ago) he told me to wait until I was older and I might feel differently. He said that he doesn't vote because he felt there wasn't anyone worth voting for. Well, I think I understand a bit of where he was coming from. I am losing my faith in politics and it scares me. What if I get to 18 - only 10 months away - and I don't want to vote for anyone because each political party is as downright awful as the next.

I can't, I can't, I can't bring myself to imagine voting Labour. I may agree with some things they say but others are so contradictory to my views that I know I would not be able to vote for them with my conscience in tact. I don't and I don't think I'll ever support Trade Unions, for example, and so to vote for a party with such a link to them feels against my better principles. And it was partly them who put the country into the dire economic straights it is in now, and has meant the present government have to make such awful cuts now.

I have always thought I'd vote Conservative, but suddenly I feel let down by them. I don't give a fuck what David Cameron might say - he's squeezing the middle in all the places where it will hurt me and my family most. I feel betrayed by the decisions they are inevitably going to make about University - they are short sighted and mad. I don't like that they are investing more money into science and maths and are bringing the arts and humanities to their knees. As Benedict Cumberbatch said at the rally/conference thing to save the Arts Council - the NHS saves lives but it's the arts that enrich them. The government actually put more money into the arts during the war because they understood the importance of culture in dark times. And I think the Academy scheme is fucking ridiculous - my awful Grammar school is going to be the first in my county. All they will do is marginalise the humanities and continue with the elitism among science students. A little part of me wonders, too, whether private school boys who have grown up in a privileged little bubble can really understand the problems facing me?

And, Jesus. Don't even get me started on the Lib Dem's. Principles? Standards? Shame? Do they have any? I think it's clear what the answer to that is.

I'm sorry. This is not coherent and I've sworn too much. And I'm sorry if I misquoted you, JJ Beazley.

13 Oct 2010

My Faith in Humanity is Bruised but Never Broken.



All this news coverage about the miners rescue is one of those times when I feel extraordinarily proud to be part of humanity. This is the human race at it's very best - it's their survival instinct and their capacity for coping with terrible conditions. It's their perseverance and the way they won't give up without a fight. It's their technological advances and their compassion.





It's just bloody nice to feel proud of ourselves for once.


4 Oct 2010

Freedom Fighting.

In 1912 The Suffragettes broke every single window down the length of Oxford Street and Regent Street. Every single one.

That is passion. That is the depth of commitment and that is the courage these women had.

I told someone this today and they said "that's like terrorism. Didn't they used to put acid in post boxes and stuff too?"
My response was yes they did. "But I wouldn't call it terrorism." I said. "I think they were freedom fighters."
The person snorted. "You wouldn't call the people that crashed the planes on 9/11 freedom fighters, would you?"

Fair point, I thought. "No. I wouldn't. But I don't think the people who flew into the twin towers were in the same position as the Suffragettes. The difference is is that the Suffragettes were actually fighting for their freedom, they were actually being persecuted by a social injustice and they were actually being denied a basic human right."

And do you know what? I'll stand on my soap box and stick up for a 'terrorist' who has been pushed so far into a corner the only thing that they can do is fight for basic human rights any day.

11 Sep 2010

This says everything I would like to say but can't quite put into words as wonderful as this.

"Five years on
what false alarm can be trusted again?
What case or bag can be left unclaimed?
What flight can be sure to steer its course?
What building can claim to own its form?
What column can vow to stand up straight?
What floor can agree to bear its weight?
What tower can vouch to retain its height?
What peace can be said to be water-tight?
What truth can be said to be bullet-proof?
Can anything swear to be built to last?
Can anything pledge to be hard and fast?
What system can promise to stay in place?
What structure can promise to hold its shape?
What future can promise to keep the faith?

Everything changed. Nothing is safe."


- An extract from 'Out of the Blue' by Simon Armitage, written to commemorate the September 11th attacks five years on.

4 Sep 2010

"September, 1939."

It was one of those beautiful days that come in late September where the evening sun bathes everything orange and pink. Sylvia was sat on the back step outside her house with her blue tea-dress and big wooly cardie to keep off the chill. She'd just lit up a cigarette when her eyeline was obstructed by a tall, dark figure.
"Robbie!" She budged up to make room for him on the step and blew smoke in his face. He coughed, politely. They sat in comfortable silence. They'd been doing this for 18 years, ever since their respective mothers had had babies next door to eachother in the same month. Beautiful, noisy Sylvia and pale, bookish Robbie had grown up with and in spite of eachother.
"I've joined up." Robbie said it in a rush, as if he couldn't hold it in. He looked jangly and strung out, his grasshopper legs bouncing up and down. Sylvia dropped her cigarette and made a strange 'oof' sound, as if she'd been winded. She picked it up and tried to light it again, but her hands were shaking. In the end Robbie did it for her.
"You're joking, aren't you? I mean, who'd want a skinny little spec like you?"
He blushed. "The navy. I'm going to read maps and that sort of thing - navigation."
"The navy? The bloody navy! What on earth do you want to go in the navy for?" She was trying to laugh but it wasn't coming off. "I thought you were leaving me to be all la-di-da at University - not leaving me to go play boats!"
"There's a war on, Sylvie."
"And don't I bloody know it! It's all I've heard for days and it's only been three weeks!" er voice cracked. "It's all a lot of fuss about nothing." She rested her head on his shoulder, it fit just exactly in the space between his neck and his shoulder. "Will you wear those trousers like that film we saw? Do you remember that one? The one with the naval officer and his girl in the Congo?"
Of course Robbie remembered that film. He'd spent the whole picture trying to pluck up the nerve to kiss her, but had lost it when all she could talk about on the way home was the handsome lead actor.
"Robbie?" She moved her head slightly so the tip of her nose pressed into his neck.
"Yeah, I remember. I'm not sure what I'll be wearing to be honest."
"Oh Robbie. Why do you have to go? Couldn't you have just waited for them to call you up if they'd needed you?" Sylvia pulled her arms up and around his shoulders so the cigarette smoke blew through his brown hair.
"If I wait for draft - and draft's coming - then I'll get put in the army straight away. You know I'd be no good as a private, Sylvie. This way I can be useful and still make sure I don't get myself killed."
Sylvia began to cry quietly. "Shut up! Please don't say anything like that."
"You sound like mum."
She sighed. "When do you leave?"
"Two weeks."
She took another drag over his shoulder and he coughed again. "You'll have to start smoking if you're going in the navy. And you'll need tattoo's. Tattoo's and prostitutes - one for every port."
"Lay off it Sylvie."
They sat for a while like that, her arms around his neck and her lips and nose pressing into the skin between his collar bone and chin.
"Don't forget me. I don't care how pretty the whores are in Calcutta. You've always got to come back to me." He could smell the smoke on her breath as she lifted her head up and looked at him, very seriously.
"Sylvia Jones, you are the most beautiful girl I will ever see - even more beautiful than the whores of Calcutta." They both laughed nervously as their heads drew closer together.
In the end she kissed him. Everything was about to change for good. This last golden September of 1939 would be remembered as the calm before the storm of the next six years. It would be the memories they made in this moment that would carry them through the horrors they had yet to face, and Sylvia seized on this moment to make her own.
Robbie reached out for hand and held it tight. "I'm always going to be coming back for you, Sylvie."

"Homecoming."

This is another story. I imagine that the stories I will be posting at the moment could be organised into some kind of collection.

Life continued exactly as if a war had happened. Husbands returned to wives who had lived new, independent lives for six years. Pretty, quiet girls who liked reading and listening to the wireless had turned into beautiful women who smoked and drove vans and worked salvaging war-torn London. Whereas once they had been happy to practice recipes they had learned at a cookery class on their husbands, they'd got used to cooking meals for 10 families at WVS Shelters on rations. When they tried (and they did try, every single one of them) they discovered they couldn't go back to a life before Woolton Pie and careless talk costing lives and air raid sirens. They'd seen horrors too. They might not have been in Africa or Italy but they'd seen children lying dead in the street after bomb blasts. They'd spent nights sitting awake in Undergrounds listening to aeroplanes and doodlebugs. They had had their own war.
Their husbands, their men, their boys, their heroes - they were having trouble too. Blighty had been so idealised in their absence it could never match up to what it really would be; tired, grey, damaged and altogether older than it had been when they'd left. Some of them returned to houses without rooves. Others returned to houses without wives.
It was hard to explain why they had been changed irrevocably. When you are asked across the dinner table what's wrong, how can you tell your wife that the reason you feel sick and dizzy is because burnt pork fat smells exactly like a burnt man in a plan? How can you explain why you don't want to go to church and plays God's benevolence anymore? How can you lie in your marriage bed and admit the nightmares you have are about the man you killed?
It wasn't just the memories of war, either. It was the routine of civilian life. Men who had flown spitfires and left with a perfect record were rewarded by returning to bank jobs. Where were the card games, the dirty jokes and where was the adrenalin? Living every day for six years with the fear of dying had given many men an edge and a hardness that couldn't translate back to life in England. If boredom was depression then the whole of the country was suffering badly.
Yes. The war changed everything all over again when it ended. Life continued as if it had happened.

1 Sep 2010

"The Flight Jacket."

This is something new that I wrote. I'll share it with the Internet ether for your viewing pleasure:

She's wearing his flight jacket - and he's nearly as proud of that item of clothing as he is of her. It's standard issue in the RAF; brown leather and sheepskin to keep them warm out on the airfield or up in the planes. It's about as cold today as it has been on base, but he's more than happy to give it to her. His Marilyn, his best girl. He'll marry her once this damned war is over and she'll make him the happiest man in the new England they are all fighting for.
They're walking around Holland Park in the January drizzle and she's turning every head. London is gray and gritty, but Marilyn has got on her red lipstick and her best stockings and she's curled her beautiful black hair into ringlets. They make a handsome couple; the beautiful young WVS Volunteer and the boy in blue, the hero of the skies. They've already had a woman approach them and tell him that her son is in the RAF too, that she wishes him every will in the world. An old man on a bench has called "good luck, lad! We're all behind you m'boy!"
It's true, everyone is behind him, and when he leaves that afternoon the station is full of people clapping him on the back and telling him he's a brave young man. He kisses her through the train window and he ends up with her tears on his face as they are pulled apart by the train and by duty and another countries greed and ambition.
*
He died, of course.
He became one of the few to who the many owed so much. Marilyn got a standard issue letter telling her that Reginald Hythe had been gunned down somewhere near his base by a German plane. She wondered who Reginald was - her fiance had been called Reggie. She had a number of his posses ions forwarded to her. He'd been mad for Sherlock Holmes and she got back some well-thumbed Conan Doyle paperbacks. Inside A Study In Scarlet there was a photograph of her from the day of the engagement. His St. Christopher went to his sister badly grieving and heavily pregnant with a husband in the navy. Marilyn got his flight jacket back too. For some unknown reason he hadn't had it on when he'd gone up in the spitfire for the last time - had the alarm gone off too suddenly for him to do the buckles up? Or were his hands shaking too badly?

It smelled of cigarettes and cold weather and engine oil. Marilyn wrapped herself up in it and found a rollie in the left pocket with a playing card - the five of diamonds. In the inside pocket was her last letter to him. She told him how much she loved him and how she had heard on good authority Mr. Churchill had struck a deal with the Germans to end the attacks on British skies.
Bloody Hitler, Marilyn sobbed. Bloody, bloody war.

29 Aug 2010

Why I Sometimes Wish I Still Read from the Children's Section.

One of the hardest transitions to make from children's lit to adult novels is the simple fact that what you want to happen might not. In children's books the hero almost always wins; the shy, quiet girl who you're rooting for gets the lead in the school play or the cute boy. In novels written for adults this does not happen. The woman who desperately wansa baby but her husband isn't convinced remains childless. The man with cancer dies. Unhappy marriages continue, unhappily. You end up feeling angry, really angry, that the author hasn't done what you want. How dare he not? You get so used to authors writing what their audiences will like. Sometimes it's even worse - there is no resolution. You reach the end of a compelling, well written novel with characters that you care about and you don't find out what happens. You don't know if a marriage survives, if a man makes peace with his children, you don't know how the events of the book continue to resonate through the lives of people you feel you know.
Moving from Jacqueline Wilson and Roal Dhal to Christos Tsiolkis and Cormac McCarthy is very difficult, because the writer is no longer writing to make you feel better and relieved and resolved; they are writing to challenge and provoke you.

PS. I turned 17 years old yesterday. We went to Cardiff and Barry. It was lovely and pure.

23 Aug 2010

LONDON.

Last week I went to London with my friend Abi. Abi is a girl I've only met this year but I like her a lot. She's sarcastic and very funny and not really all touchy-feely which amuses me. Her parents drove us down and then they left us in our hotel room and we knelt up on the chairs and lent out the window and just kind of went "why has anybody left us on our own in London?" It was a crazy feeling. Then we got the open top bus around the city and it was just sun-setting time on a Sunday night and loads of church bells kept playing and I felt so happy and it was when we were on there, both grinning like loons, we looked at eachother and said "I want to live here." I've had cities do that with me before - New York, Chicago, Boston. That instant connection with a place that makes you feel so completely involved and alive.
We got the Underground all week (the first time for both of us) and by Friday we knew the lines like Londoners. The Tube is a brilliant place. I loved it. The smell and the bustle and the people and the escalators. And, there were lots of pretty gorgeous suited men on the tube, who I kept faling into and having to apologize too.
We did Oxford Street and Topshop and Urban Outfitters and saw Jude Law and Sienna Miller. We bought food from Tesco and ate it in our rooms. Abi tried to dye her hair and then nearly got an allergic reaction and I panicked about taking her to a hospital because the only one I know in London is St. Barts (and we were miles from that.) We had a fire alarm at half six where I panicked again and ran out of the room sans shoes, knickers, bra and room key. And then there were hot firemen (who knew they existed?!) Then we got ourselves so hyped up that night about creepy Simon's in our room and fires that we shat bricks and had to run down stairs in panic, and the concierge laughed and gave us new room keys.

We breakfasted in Costa with good-looking BBC employees and rang people up pretending to be their lesbian girlfriends (it's a long story.) We made bears in Hamley's and got leered at in Selfridges and gorged ourselves on Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
This one day we went to The Globe theatre to see Merry Wives and at the end all the actors were dressed up and dancing and singing around us and I wanted to cry because I just kept thinking "there's this. whatever else happens in my life there's this. there will always be places like this where I feel like myself." I was so happy.
It's hard to explain but it's moments like those where you realise that you have so much joy in your life and you can't bare the thought because you're so filled up with wonder at living.

I'm going to live in London. Everything feels dull in comparison and I want to go back there and start to live my life how it's meant to be. I fell in love with a city and a feeling.

FRANCE.

A couple of weeks ago I went to France with my best freind Alice. The place we stayed was this beautiful little cottage with goats and swings and chickens and a trampoline. We cycled for ages this one day and sat on this bench and it was calm and quiet. We had a gin'o'clock and we read books and Alice played Kate Bush and Frank Turner. We went to pretty little towns like Bar Fleur where I couldn't order food in French and we walked barefoot in the sand.
The room we stayed in had an opening sash-window where I would stick my feet out and read my travel books while she napped. There was fresh bread and cake and butter with salt crystals everyday and I ate and ate and I felt so healthy because the air was cleaner. We stayed up late into the night talking about crap and phillosophy and the future.

There was a beach called Glatigny and I think it was the most desolately perfect place I've been in a long time. The sun was setting and it felt like the sea was going to carry on forever and forever and I was with my best freind and I felt so happy and calm and peaceful.
When we jumped on the trampoline and then lay on it the net felt like it was going right up into the trees and it was strange and wonderful. We talked deeper than I think we've ever talked without things feeling heavy. We watched series four of Doctor Who and Sherlock on the BBC and we talked about Benedict Cumberbatch and David Tennant and I beat her little brother at Monopoly.
One night we stayed up late drinking cider and then her Mum and Dad were telling these stories from when her Mum was a nurse and went to biker bars with the Irish and Carribean nurses and her Dad was a trainee teacher. I laughed so hard and I thought they should write a book. I think everyone should write books.
Alice is my best freind, but I kind of feel like she's my family sometimes, too. I mean, she has her own sister and everything but sometimes I think she's my surrogate, the replacement for something I couldn't have. I always felt I was too strange, too different, too uncomfortable too find someone who would be like that but I'm dead lucky to find her.

24 Jul 2010

I love the BT Family.

I mean, they've been in my life since 2005. I've seen the begginings of Adam and Jane's relationship, the difficulties they've come through with her children, the problems with Adam having a job far away, the moving house, the proposal... and now mabye the baby!

You might see this as sarcastic, but I genuinely get warm fuzzies at the BT adverts. Now they're asking us to decide wether Jane is pregnant or not. Personally, I want her to be preggers. On the BT website that's how I've voted. I also quite like the suggestion made by 'Princessannie':

"Jane should be pregnant...then on her hen night (a weekend away in center parks norfolk) go into labour one-month early. Adam (who is in Newquay on his stag do) gets a flight from Newquay to London Stanstead and a taxi to west suffolk hospital (bury st. edmonds) keeping in touch by phone, and get there just in time to see his baby born!"

Maybe I'm to into this... but then again, 'Princessannie' probably is too.

18 Jul 2010

I've been to New York Three Times.

I firmly beleive that the best feeling in the world is coming away from JFK airport in a yellow taxi, with a cab-driver who is freindly and chatty and the map of Manhattan on the back of his seat. You'll drive through suburbs and past big billboard signs for Broadway shows, and then you'll go under a bridge and when you come out the other side you'll see it. It won't be for the first time, because it's everywhere. In films and TV shows and on adverts and in postcards. You'll see it all the time but when you see it in real life it's completely different. The Manhattan Skyline is a site you'll never get bored of seeing.
The first time I saw it, it had been raining for a week. The kirb was flooded. Out of the mist rose the sykscrapers. I thought I might cry.
The second time was about 4 months later. It was the hottest summer in 5 years. The street steamed. I had the window down and my head out and the sun was warm and the car fumes in my hair and then I saw them again, in the heat-haze. It was beautiful and magic, like the first time.
The third time it was Christmas and it had snowed. It was so cold the windows in the cab were frozen shut. The snow transforms everything and makes it better and that's what it did to New York, even though I didn't think it was possible. That time I really did cry.

11 Jul 2010

I'm making no apologies for not blogging in a while.

(Well, except this one.)

The last couple of months have been hectic. I had my AS exams, which went from okay to very badly. We'll see how that goes on August 19th. Then I've had The Four Week Plan at school, and endless university open days and lots of time spent discussing my future with my father. I've been doing a lot of shitfs at work - I need the money. My summer is an expensive one.

This week - I'm in Manchester doing work expeiriance at a top law firm. While I am looking forward to this I know I'm just going to be exhausted.
The Friday I get back - I'm working 8pm till midnight to prepare for the Next sale. Then I go back in at 5am the next day, and working till midday. The Sunday I'm doing a 10:30/4:30.
The Monday after - Community Day at school. Bleugh.
The Tuesday - Sports Day. I'll probably skive.

Then I get a few weeks at home, before I go to France with my friend at the end of July - which should be brilliant and relaxing and fun. I get back for half a week before spending a week in London with my freind Abi, where we're going on an English Lit course. They're taking us to the theatre and teaching us old english and we're going on the open top bus. It should be good, too.

I'm looking forward to my summer.

2 Jun 2010

The Family Playlist.

I listen to The Guardian Family Podcast, and each week they get this person (almost always a Guardian Newspaper contributer) to talk about 3 songs that mean something to them about family. So I shall do that now.

1) Frank Sinatra - My Way.
My Dad used to play Frank all the time, since I can remember. It's his voice that is car journey's of my childhood and it makes me feel safe. My Dad can't sing at all but he always tries and gets all the notes wrong, but we're always word perfect. And Frank Sinatra is, like, the bomb. This song in particular is my favourite.

2) Garth Brooks - Friends in Low Places.
Well, first off, this is probably the best song ever. And Garth Brooks can sing. This is also a song that reminds me of my mum and playing so loud in her car that the speakers broke. It's just one of those songs that makes me feel close to her because we just laugh all the time when we're singing it as loudly as possible, especially when we get to the low bit you can't really sing without testicles. She's passed on her love of country music to me and it kind of culminates in this song.

3) Gordon Haskell - Harry's Bar.
His album always used to be playing when my parents had dinner parties when I was a little girl. So I associate it with sitting on the top of the stairs looking through the bannisters at my slightly tipsy parents and their friends. It's a cliched memory but it's true. And his voice... you can tell he means what he's singing.

11 May 2010

Actually, scratch that.

"Not what are my entitlements, but what are my responsibilities."

Total rip off "ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country," but I still liked it a lot. I completely stand by that.

[We're watching it one Fox News, cuz we love America, and they've just commented that Samantha Cameron is "great with child." WHO SAYS THAT?! The Americans... they say that.]

Hey, David Cameron.

So, after days of not really having a government, we now have a coallition.
David Cameron is now our Prime Minister (a man who may be the poshest man in the country) and Nick Clegg is his deputy (he could well be the deputy poshest man). So, can a posh man who has been to Eton and Oxford and been a member of The Bullingdon Club and accepted honoury membership to The Carlton Club, which still does not allow women members represent me?

Do you know what, I don't think he can. This evening I have talked myself out of supporting the Conservatives with a man like David Cameron at the the head.

I want Gordon Brown back, who didn't go to a private school and who isn't Oxbridge educated. I think he knows what I want more than David Cameron does.

I have a lot of love for Gordon Brown right now - actually I have always said how I like him and thought he really cared about the country. Okay, he wasn't the best PM but he damn well wasn't the worst. He had really crappy situations to deal with. He wasn't smarmy and he didn't spend a load of time kissing the arses of the public, but it's shit that that means he wasn't liked. Yeah, okay, he looked odd when he smiled. Big frigging woop. He's a politician, not a page 3 girl. He was serious about his job. But he did mess things up. I think the economy is partly down to him, as he had been the Chancellor who claimed to have abolished boom and bust.

UGH. I don't know what to think about anyone. I am just distracted by David Cameron's I've-had-servants-all-my-life-what-the-hell-is-a-dishwasher babyface. It makes me distrust him.

6 May 2010

X.

I have twenty minutes before this post becomes not-voting day, and therefore void as a who-I-would-have-voted-for-if-I-wasn't-only-16 post.
Not a big fan of David Cameron. Not at all. I think he is a bit too posh and a bit too baby-faced. As a Prime Minister I would much rather have someone like Gordon Brown, who looks serious and as if her really, really cares about the country. Nick Clegg - I thought he did well in the debates but I can give or take him.
But.
I would have voted for the Conservative Party, partly because their policies most closely match mine, and partly because the man who is running in our area was a rather good and convincing speaker when all the representitives came to speak at our school. Also, he comes from what is deemed a 'minority background' and I feel that MP's in parliament need to be more representitive of the general public - more women, more young candidates and less of the white-midddle class sterotype. I don't like Labour's policies on taxation and I do feel that they have had 13 years in power in which they could have made the changes they now advocate. And I would not support the Lib Dem's because I do not want to go on the euro.
Maybe, altruistically, the best result for me would be a hung parliament/minority government that could hang on for 2 and a bit years untill I'm 18. That would be nice...

I'm off to watch more election coverage. Night!

2 May 2010

Why I Hate Being an Only Child.

Let's get this out of the way straight away: If you are not an only child then you will not understand.
End of. It's like, if you're a man you can't experiance anti-female sexism. If you're old you cannot experience anti-youth ageism. It's just not possible. And therefore, I can try as hard as I like to explain it to you, but you will never understand quite how it feels.
It feels really crap. Quite often it feels lonely. It leaves you as an insular child who is sometimes precocious (often described as being 'comfortable in the company of adults' by those parents who have only one child), difficult to form lasting relationships with and is hideously self-absorbed. I am 16 years old and I still feel entitled to everything because I always had everything. I had all my parents time and all my parents love and all my parents attention and I have had to learn the (very) hard way that I cannot have that from everybody else. In all fairness to me, I never had horriffic tantrums - that wasn't my style - but I was bloody used to getting my own way and if I didn't get it I would sulk. I still sulk today, any of my friends will tell you. And before someone points it out, I know not every only child is like this - but a fair few are.
Secondly, it can be really fucking lonely. Sometimes it hits me even today. Yesterday, my friend was telling a story about being introduced as their 'little sister' and yet again I have to acknowledge the fact that I will never have a sister, and nor will I ever be one. I will never know what it is like to grow up with someone and to share your nightmares and your holidays and your illnesses and your arguments with them. When my parents die they will not live on in anyone but me, and I will not be comforted at the graveside by anyone who knows exactly how I feel. I will never have any relationship more than a friend or a lover. I will never be bonded to anyone by blood and DNA. I am cursed to have an absense, eternally.
I struggle with forming deep friendships. I struggled with other children. I still do feel more comfortable with adults, which makes me uncomfortable among large groups of my peers.
Again, I am an extreme case. I feel that I have actually greived the loss of flesh and blood in my time. I have cried myself to sleep over it and it will be a wedge between my parents and I - because yet again they are more people who don't understand. Although, the benifits include the fact that we have a very close relationship.
And, if I hadn't been born an only, I may not have been a writer at all. My 'let's pretend' games where I created alternate families where I had older brothers and younger sisters and pets grew into stories, laboriously recorded in little notebooks that I still have somewhere. I got used to my own company - a benifit and a drawback - and I have grown to be able to detatch myself from emotions when necessary. Clearly there are the benifits, including my parents complete and total love, which I will be ever-grateful for. But, I still wouldn't choose it.

[This is poorly written, but I am sad and I am not at my best.]

17 Apr 2010

This Is What We Are.

I am an A-Level Religious Studies student. I have been studying the Problem of Evil and Suffering as part of the course, and did my mock exam on Friday. A day after the funeral of my Uncle, who died from a very rare form of terminal cancer.
I wrote partly about Irenaeus' Theodicy. He says that suffering is a vital part of God's plan for us. We are born in the image of God (Imago Dei) but have to grow into the likeness of God. Part of the way we do this is through experiencing evil and suffering. The philosopher Swinburne said that this is not a 'toy world' where everyone can always make perfect choices, but a real world where people are faced with real challenges in order to grow and develop as people.
I agree with this. I think grief and pain and agony are the essence of what it means to be human. I have just experienced my first taste of this, and it is horrible. It is hard and it is painful and I have only just begun a life where people I love will die and get ill and I will have to cope with it. But isn't that the point of life?
If I never experience the grief of losing a loved one, then I will never have experienced them in the first place. In the fifth Harry Potter book, Harry rages against Dumbledore after Sirius' death. Dumbledore replies that in feeling something that much, Harry is growing into a man. He says that this pain is being human.
This thought does not really help when you are watching someone you have known all your life disappear behind a velvet curtain. At that moment of course it doesn't help. Of course I thought that God was cruel and hateful and that he didn't care. But the next day I sat in my exam and I wrote about how I agreed with Irenaeus, how I thought that in order to become human we needed to feel the sting of evil and suffering. That's the point, I said. And really, I suppose that it is.

12 Apr 2010

Aaaa-whooo!

Werewolves of London!

I was just listening to the brilliance that is this song, when I remembered being slightly drunk on our last night in The Lake District, wandering around the caravan park in the rain and the dark, repeatedly going:
Aaaa-whooo! Werewolves of London!
Because it was a full-moon. And thinking I was hilariously, side-splittingly funny.

(And, if you are a certain girl with a name beginning with 'A', one of the tags is just for you ;) )

10 Apr 2010

PROTEGO!!


I really haven't felt up to blogging this holiday. My first real expieriance with the death of someone that I really cared about has not helped.

Anyway. This is what I did today:


I listened to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows all day in the garden shed, and then I wrote 'Protego!!' on my hand. And when my Mother was mocking me about me tripping over something I shouted "Protego!" held my hand up to her face and said "I'm protecting myself from your sarcasm!"

And now we're watching Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and my Dad said (about Narcissa Malfoy) "She's Malfoys wife isn't she?" and I said "Yes she is, and she's sister with Bellatrix and their other sister is Tonks' Mum Andromeda, but she married a muggleborn and got disowned." Then my Dad just looked at me and I said "Sorry, did I get an attack of the obsessives?" And Mum said "You probably know more about their family tree than your own."

Harry Potter Rules, Okay?

23 Mar 2010

VOTEVOTEVOTE.

This is one of my 'things'. I am so passionate about this, I got up and made a speech about the importance of voting and why I think we should bring in compulsary turnout to my English Lit class. I repeat that speech to adults who tell me that they don't vote.
In the last 2005 General Election only 61% of people on the electoral register chose to vote. Logically, it should follow that only 61% of people have the right to complain about the government, and yet I'm wiling to bet 100% of people in this country have sat at home criticising the Prime Minister at one point or another.
And there is nothing wrong with that. We have the right to free speech in this country, which is a brilliant thing, except that not everyone chooses to use it. The voting public have a responsibilty to to have their vote counted - and it should be considered as important to the harmonious and succesful running of society as paying taxes. Our country is a democracy, and to form a proper democracy everyone needs to have their say. Some will say a democracy is one where people can chose whether or not to vote, but to have 'equality of rights and privellges', everyone's voices must be heard and their votes must be counted.
Compulasary turnout has been working succesfully in the functioning democracy of Australia since 1924. There, voting has increased from 47% to 96% and the general public (particularly youth) are highly politicised. To complain that politicians do not 'do anything for me' is unfair when we are not doing anything for them either. How can they respond to us if we don't care enough to tell them what we want them to do? How can they represent us if we are too apathetic to be represented?
You tell me you don't know what any of the parties stand for - go onto the internet, look in a newspaper, ask your local MP. It's really not that difficult to find out that the Conservatives want to intoduce a United Kingdom Soverignity Bill that would keep ultimate authority within our parliament, and not Europes. The Lib Dem's, meanwhile, want to immerse ourselves in the EU, because there is 'safety in numbers'. Labour would like to form blanket policy with the EU on economy and climate change. They also want to reform the Common Agricultural Policy to improve farming.
That's just one issue. The aims of these parties do differ.
And, I do hate to bring this up, but people fought and died for our right to vote. Suffragettes were reduced to inhuman creatures by force-feeding in goals. In Afghanistan, people literally risk their lives to vote. And some of them do die.
So, if you're reading this, and you can vote but you don't, please do think about it. It is such an important thing - and your vote does count.

This place is made of our votes.

22 Mar 2010

I'm going to have your baby -

- just in time for the election, it appears.
Yes, Samantha Cameron is pregnant. Good timing? Good luck? Good PR? I'm cynical, I suppose, but I do have a feeling this was very well-timed (or at the very least well-released). Fits right in with Mr David I'm-a-family-man Cameron's image.
Interestingly, I wonder if it might just lose him votes. You know, new Father - up at all times of the night, lack of sleep, post-pregnancy hormonal wife...
Except, of course it won't. Because people don't assume these things will affect a new-father at all. MEN are NEVER asked at job interviews whether or not they plan on having children soon. Now, I'm not opposed to women being asked this question (within reason), but I see no reason men of a 'certain age' shouldn't be asked it too.
Well, as I am a politically aware 16 year old who is longing to vote in the election, and will therefore be theoretically casting my vote along with eligible people, this is something which will go into my considerations.
Oh, and, congratulations and all that.

15 Mar 2010

I got this new thing:

It's called a Tumblr.
I'm going to try and do a 365 - a year of writing or a phrase or a quote or a picture which means a lot to me that day. I don't know if I'll manage it.
http://likeawhoreunpackmyheart365.tumblr.com/

If you fancy it.

14 Mar 2010

I Love My Mum.

Happy Mothers Day!

I haven't posted in so long, I'm sorry. I have a lot of things going on right now and I wish I could post more but I feel consistently knackered.

Anyway, my Mum.

She's great. She cooks the best food, she loves me to bits and pieces, even when I get annoyed with her I know she only wants the best for me. We argue a lot too. A LOT. She also knows when to give me a really big hug. I just love her.

1 Mar 2010

I am a monster in other people's clothing.

"God made man in his own image, but what if that included his rage and his spite and his indifference and his cruelty? We're all his children, but God's a bit of a bastard."
- Toby Whithouse, Being Human, Episode 8.

22 Feb 2010

Mitchell the Vampire I Fancy The Pants Off You.

What comes next has nothing to do with the delectable Mitchell/Aidan Turner. I feel it is important to declare my longing for him though. :)

I found this on Facebook and I rather liked it.
10 things you wish you could say to 10 different people right now:
1) I really quite fancy you, and I'd quite like you to reciprocate that.
2) I know it's not your fault he likes you and not me, and I'm sorry that when I see you I can't help but think 'BITCH' in my head.
3) I really want to be here for you now. And I think you're doing a lot better. And you're still one of my very faveourite people.
4) Blow your nose, please.
5) If I had to pick, you'd probably be my very faveourite. Thankyou for being so wondeful to me. I'm sorry I was horrible when we were 13. I don't know if I'll ever properly forgive myself.
6) I'm ever so sorry that I couldn't be there for you when I should have been.
7) I love you very much, but sometimes I have no idea how we can be related.
8) Sometimes I get scared you're slipping away from me, but then you hug me and I know that you're not. You give the best hugs.
9) You're not as pretty as you think you are.
10) I'm sorry I havn't spoken to you since you were diagnosed. I just don't know what to say to you. I'm really, really scared that by the time I grow up enough to phone, it will be too late.

18 Feb 2010

It's a blue, bright blue, Saturday.














I went to Scotland for a few days. It was beautiful. Sometimes the sea and the sky were the same color and you couldn't tell which was which, like the vanishing point.





9 Feb 2010

I Knew Before The Invitation That There Was This Boy.

I twisted the Arctic Monkeys lyrics for that title.

There is this boy, you see.

I'd forgotten how nice it is just to fancy someone, and when you talk to them or smile at them your heart to do a pretty little trip over itself.

It's dead nice :)

30 Jan 2010

Mediation on Memory.

(How posh is that title?)
I was thinking today about how appaling I am at PE, and about how, at good-old Alcester High School I was always picked last when the teachers let individual students pick their teams.
BIG CONFESSION: It never actually bothered me.
I was 15, I think I'd realised that I was about as much use to my team as a stuffed teddy bear. I used to play a little game with myself when we played basketball: I'd see how long I could stand on the same spot on the court without moving before my team yelled at me. Even my PE Teachers used to take pity and let me sit on the stage and read my books during lessons of lacrosse.
My freind Alice wasn't much better than me, and so when the team-picking happned we'd stand by eachother like conjoined twins and say that we came as a pair and had to be picked as such. It was amusing to annoy other (sporty) people in that maner.
Hahaha.
Anyway.
Useless post.
PS: I'm going to see the last night of Arabian Nights tonight. I'm expecting greatness.

23 Jan 2010

I'm Feeling A Little Tipsy

DAVID TENNANT KICKED ALL YOUR ARSES AT THE NTA's BABY.

Marry Me? Maybe? Yes? Brilliant.
(He wasn't there with Georgia Moffat so there's still a chance.)

AND STEVIE-BABY GOT THE SPECIAL RECOGNITION!!!
D'ya think he'll overlook my lack of penis and marry me too?

20 Jan 2010

Okay.

I feel irrationally (and stupidly) stressed about the National Television Awards.
In my head I have a small list of things that MUST win in that category or the world will implode:
1) TOP GEAR MUST WIN. Because Jeremy Clarkson deserves to be Prime Minister, frankly.
2) DOCTOR WHO MUST WIN. Because it's the last year the the dream team will be able to go up and collect the award (even if most of them have been stolen by LA. If they win they better be back.)
3) DAVID TENNANT MUST WIN. Because he's THE DOCTOR. And he's AMAZING.

So. If they don't win, expect me to be very upset and angry. I think it's kind of funny I expect anyone to be interested in this =]

11 Jan 2010

Today I am feeling F.A.T

And so I read this. I have this saved as a document in my computer, for days such as today when I need a little perspective because... even though I'm not supposed to sometimes I do wish that I looked exactly like the waifs in the magazines who seem improbably beautiful because I can see their ribs. I shouldn't feel like this. But some days I do. And this is for those days. It's my idol again (dear old JK Rowling).

***

Being thin. Probably not a subject that you ever expected to read about on this website, but my recent trip to London got me thinking...It started in the car on the way to Leavesden film studios. I whiled away part of the journey reading a magazine that featured several glossy photographs of a very young woman who is either seriously ill or suffering from an eating disorder (which is, of course, the same thing); anyway, there is no other explanation for the shape of her body. She can talk about eating absolutely loads, being terribly busy and having the world's fastest metabolism until her tongue drops off (hooray! Another couple of ounces gone!), but her concave stomach, protruding ribs and stick-like arms tell a different story. This girl needs help, but, the world being what it is, they're sticking her on magazine covers instead. All this passed through my mind as I read the interview, then I threw the horrible thing aside.But blow me down if the subject of girls and thinness didn't crop up shortly after I got out of the car. I was talking to one of the actors and, somehow or other, we got onto the subject of a girl he knows (not any of the Potter actresses – somebody from his life beyond the films) who had been dubbed 'fat' by certain charming classmates. (Could they possibly be jealous that she knows the boy in question? Surely not!)'But,' said the actor, in honest perplexity, 'she is really not fat.''"Fat" is usually the first insult a girl throws at another girl when she wants to hurt her,' I said; I could remember it happening when I was at school, and witnessing it among the teenagers I used to teach. Nevertheless, I could see that to him, a well-adjusted male, it was utterly bizarre behaviour, like yelling 'thicko!' at Stephen Hawking. His bemusement at this everyday feature of female existence reminded me how strange and sick the 'fat' insult is. I mean, is 'fat' really the worst thing a human being can be? Is 'fat' worse than 'vindictive', 'jealous', 'shallow', 'vain', 'boring' or 'cruel'? Not to me; but then, you might retort, what do I know about the pressure to be skinny? I'm not in the business of being judged on my looks, what with being a writer and earning my living by using my brain...I went to the British Book Awards that evening. After the award ceremony I bumped into a woman I hadn't seen for nearly three years. The first thing she said to me? 'You've lost a lot of weight since the last time I saw you!''Well,' I said, slightly nonplussed, 'the last time you saw me I'd just had a baby.'What I felt like saying was, 'I've produced my third child and my sixth novel since I last saw you. Aren't either of those things more important, more interesting, than my size?' But no – my waist looked smaller! Forget the kid and the book: finally, something to celebrate!So the issue of size and women was (ha, ha) weighing on my mind as I flew home to Edinburgh the next day. Once up in the air, I opened a newspaper and my eyes fell, immediately, on an article about the pop star Pink. Her latest single, 'Stupid Girls', is the antidote-anthem for everything I had been thinking about women and thinness. 'Stupid Girls' satirises the talking toothpicks held up to girls as role models: those celebrities whose greatest achievement is un-chipped nail polish, whose only aspiration seems to be getting photographed in a different outfit nine times a day, whose only function in the world appears to be supporting the trade in overpriced handbags and rat-sized dogs. Maybe all this seems funny, or trivial, but it's really not. It's about what girls want to be, what they're told they should be, and how they feel about who they are. I've got two daughters who will have to make their way in this skinny-obsessed world, and it worries me, because I don't want them to be empty-headed, self-obsessed, emaciated clones; I'd rather they were independent, interesting, idealistic, kind, opinionated, original, funny – a thousand things, before 'thin'. And frankly, I'd rather they didn't give a gust of stinking chihuahua flatulence whether the woman standing next to them has fleshier knees than they do. Let my girls be Hermiones, rather than Pansy Parkinsons. Let them never be Stupid Girls. Rant over.

***

(Taken from the JK Rowling Official Site. I really hope this doesn't cause anyone any offence because it's not meant. It's meant to reassure others as it's reassured me.)

I'll go for the polite werewolf.

“I do not understand this. Again, its bad boy syndrome isn’t it? It’s very depressing...Girls, stop going for the bad guy. Go for a nice man in the first place. It took me 35 years to learn that, but I am giving you that nugget free, right now, at the beginning of your love lives…”
- J.K. Rowling

Oh, JK.
I LOVE YOU.
(and I'm sorry if you think this is weird.)

5 Jan 2010

Snow Day BABY.



Yeah, you heard it... SNOW DAY.

Got sent home from school so I'm all wrapped up drinking tea and eating toast and watching how beautiful everything is. And we've been premptively given the day off tomorrow!

So hopefully I'll be up to Alice's to sledge down her hills like we did last year.

I love the snow. It's unequivically magical.




4 Jan 2010

New Decade? Pah. Gimme The Old One.

Happy New Year faithfull viewers.
I thought I'd start by examining my Top 10 Things of the last decade because... I feel safer looking back than looking forward. This was the first full-decade I've ever seen, so it was pretty important. I grew from a little girl into a (I hate this expression but it seems fitting) young woman. I guess. So: My Top 10 Things.
1. Harry Potter and JK Rowling.
Thankyou for giving me a role model, and an ambition. Thankyou for telling me the best story and giving me years of going to bed and pretending I was in a Hogwarts dormitory. Thankyou for giving me and endless game of 'lets pretend' where I could be magic. Thankyou.
2. The Summer of 2007.
This was the summer that I stopped trying to be someone I didn't know very well or like very much, and became the girl who wears shoes with stars on and sits cross-legged at dinner and gets inky fingers. This was the summer I realised that I was a wonderful person in my own right and that I could be that person.
3. Alice Arnold, Lauren Rowley, Amelia Caffrey.
It seems unfair to lump these girls together. They could each have pages in their own rights, but I don't have enough numbers. These girls are my best friends, and the first friends who I feel that love me because of my faults and not in spite of them. They are part of the reason that I am who I am at the start of this new year, and shaped who I have been.
4. Young Rogues and Vagabonds.
My theatre group. I had some of the best weeks of my life there, backstage at the Civic hall putting on shows. I fell in silly teenage love there, which felt like the most important thing in the world. I made best-freinds there, and lost them too. I learned (as an only-child) how to be with other people and love it.
5. Alcester High School.
My secondary school, where I grew up more than anywhere and where I discovered that history was important and that I could write and that I could pass maths. The three best teachers that I will ever have in my life taught me there. I made friends and enimies and I cried and I laughed. Sometimes I hated the place and sometimes I cursed it. That school was amazing.
6. Writing.
Pretty self-explanatary. If you write, you know. I guess it gave me another language. And another way to play lets-pretend.
7. David Tennant.
Because he's my only MAJOR 'celebrity' crush, in that cliched teengae girl way of posters on the bedroom wall. Becuase I spent one whole, hot summer hanging around my hometown, struck down by the luck he was there too, and trying to catch a glimpse. Because when I did meet him it was the single most exhillerating feeling in my life. And because his Hamlet cemented completely my love of...
8. Shakespeare and The RSC.
I love The Courtyard Theatre and I love the actors and I love the words and I love the way that he changed the course of literature forever. I love the way that he captures real humanity.
9. America.
It opened my eyes to travel. The people and the places and the variety and the sheer wonder of a country not many people take the chance to explore like we (my mum, my dad and I) do.
10. Reading everything and anything and my Dad reading everything and anything to me.
Proabably the most important thing on this list, as if one thing has made me into the person I am is reading.