Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Cocks in Frocks.

It's so simple, such a glaring, screaming metaphor of the gender fuck up on this planet.
Voting against women bishops says that women are not equal in the most important arena of all. Never mind the economic bollocks which we structure our working lives on and have to accept the glass ceilings of and all that. Not to mention the violence. Not to mention the humiliation and fear from child to adult.
This action shows clearly that in the eyes of those who have licked, slithered and back handed their way into a position of power in the synod (tippety top of career tree for the men in dresses) view women as less valuable less intelligent less able and further from god than men.
That's all.
Then again, if you want to use your intelligence, ability, compassion and vision of a better life for us all, whatever our gender.....you might have more chance of being of real value by attaching all that love and well meaning to something outside of religions of any and all descriptions, as these arena are surely the ones from which we desperately need to evolve.

Monday, 15 October 2012

The power of We

Recently, I took the opportunity to talk to a beautiful young female in my life about the use of the word 'pervert'. I tried to gently explain that not every man who smiled at her, on the bus, in the cafe or at school was dangerous, predatory or suspect.
I thought this might help her to maintain a natural trust and open mindedness in her approach to the world.

But she's a young girl....growing up in a world dominated by, designed for and, on the whole, run by men.

She looks older than her age but is still more than young enough to imagine that all attention from the opposite sex is an affirmation of what she already knows absolutely.....that she is gorgeous and fabulous and only an idiot wouldn't appreciate her gloriousness, even though she finds the idea of anything like tongues and touching and sweat and genitals completely, hilariously 'disgusting, innit!'.
But this is a country where the heartbreaking and revolting details of Jimmy Savile's professional career of sexual abuse are revealed daily, by a press who judge and salivate and take a step back, offering their palms and claiming ignorance and innocence.
They promise to get to the bottom of it, while still publishing daily images of naked teenage girls for men's entertainment.
Stories of children being taken from their neighbourhood by friend's fathers, uncles, teachers....
More and more adults talking about the daily and ordinary abuse at work, hands inside jumpers, up skirts, humiliating and objectifying behaviour being suffered by people who know that to complain might injure their chance to earn an income or earn them a reputation as humourless or frigid or much, much worse.
I wonder if I have done the right thing by trying to enable a youngster to hold onto her youth and stay comfortable in her world, where the adults will protect her and explain it for her and see that she is safe.

She, largely because she is a 'she', is not safe.
The thirty year old woman waiting for the bus home on Wednesday night at 7 o'clock is not safe.
The older woman making tea before bed at home is not safe.
The employee who finds the courage to say that she is offended by sexist language in the office is not safe.

As I travel home across London, standing at a tube station decorated with mile-high images of women with parted lips and legs selling me phones, women's cleavages bigger than cars on my bus and all  exalting the image of a hairless, careless, free and materially empowered lifestyle while women are being systematically and increasingly targeted by this government of predominantly spoiled, inexperienced, spineless men who everybody knows only give a toss about their own well-being, their places in history, their celeb status, passing laws based on vanity, greed and criminality and I search for a situation where I would be happy for my young female friend to smile back at a man on the bus, in the cafe, the classroom, the hospital, the church....

Better safe than sorry, eh?
Better to encourage her to view all men as potential abusers, rapists, peadophiles and murderers.
Run as fast as you can from the ticket inspector, the teacher, the doctor, the plumber, the man next door whose cat you cuddle...

Most of the men in my life, not all.... but most, would be offended by that statement. Most of the men in my life are fathers and professionals and care deeply about the well being of their own and others.
Most of the men in my life rant passionately, over a beer, about how terrible this world is for women. They rage at the idea of an unimaginably brave young student being shot in the head for trying to promote the education of girls in a country where their sisters are stoned to death for stepping out of the house without a male 'guardian' or for making a decision about her own hair on her own head.
It deeply upsets them to hear the office banter about whose tits are the best or whose arse is tight or who's  got lumpy legs, tragic plastic surgery, a husband who bounces her head off the wall, contributing to the two deaths a week, in this country, of women at the hands of the men in their lives.....
But, they buy the paper......they just don't inhale.
They waggle the imaginary cigar and impersonate a monster, laughing because it's a bit close to the bone.

Men, you are right to be angry that you can't walk through your local park alone and smile at a group of youngsters hanging out, just as you did, in case someone cries pervert.
You are right to expect to be thought of as more than a lascivious, frustrated, dangerous prowler of women and children.
You are right to take offence when women label you and humiliate you and reduce your entire, beautiful, complicated being to the size or your penis or how much hair you have on your head or what car you drive, how much you earn, comparing you to impossible, airbrushed images of movie stars, footballers, so called leaders etc...

We are all horribly affected by the massive inequality being experienced by women of every age, every stage of their lives, from birth to death in all societies around the globe.
We are all marginalised and humiliated by sexual abusers, violent bullies, selfishness and greed and a distorted idea of power. All of us and all our children.

WE should expect more from ourselves, what ever gender. We should all be proud to call ourselves feminists, because we should all be outraged by injustice and inequality and the subjugation of women.
Knowing, as we all do, that women can't change society without men and men can't continue to collude with the fantasy of ignorance they resort to when they turn to page three or when a dangerous sexual abuser is handed the keys to a women's hospital ward and allowed to park a caravan in the grounds of a children's hospital.


Friday, 23 March 2012

coming home in late March.

flickering through the still naked, silhouetted trees and spokes of my wheels, the fat, orange sun, falling out of this early evening, early spring sky, keeps pace with me home and hangs behind the church on the  hill when I take a left.
Long day.
Long week.
March is a long month.
This is early morning of the year. Out of the cool, small hours of January, february,to the best part of the day.
All ahead, and my memory recalls summer, as the first blossoming sweetness,
an idea on the air, whispers past me on Silver Street.
Longed for.
For breezy skin and warm.
For light and water and sky-blue-big all over.
For the birdsong and buzz of it.
To run with arms wide open into the glorious, glowing life of it.
For the dying to be done.

Saturday, 8 October 2011


I was born with APS. ( not going to explain....you can easily find out all about it these days).
So, repeatedly, since my teens, I have had to surrender to a greater force than myself which is made by me, born of me, and has foiled my plans, tripped me up, held me back, cut me open to paddle around in my chest and then thrown me back up into the light.....reset and stitched up good enough for all those who love me and travel with me and worry for me to expect another miraculous, admirable exhibit of strength and endurance that they don't know they would have if they were in my worn out, cheap shoes.
I think i fought it hard through my twenties. Proud of what I achieved in a muscular, relentless state of denial. It's stunning what can be done in that reality. But it couldn't last.....
Thirties were harder. Lonelier. Poorer and more painful, but having been told I wouldn't get there, I felt grateful, thankful, blessed and tried to accept, accept, accept this wolf prowling around in my bloodstream, here for the long haul and so, so, ever so fucking slowly gaining on me.
Forty was a body blow that hit harder and earlier than I had thought it would.
Hot, stinking, lupine breath right in my ear and huge clawed feet bearing down on my shoulders. Getting stronger and more confident, gnawing my muscles and leaving it's tooth marks all over me,  scarring me up, outside and in.

I am lucky.

It will die with me, having made motherhood a terrifying impossibility, the nasty bastard won't be passed on. Thank goodness, eh?

I hate it. I have days where I can't see anything but it. I start and finish every day with the drugs that slow it down.......but what are they doing to me?..... who's side are they on, really?
I hate it.
I'm a good girl....bit fat, maybe. Bit arrogant sometimes, too proud.
Not mean, not violent, not dishonest or uncaring.
Jesus, I hate it.

There is something I can do that will make it all much, much better, give me and the people I love, the man I adore longer......
 and what the fuck am I complaining about with my two working legs and strong arms and a functioning brain and, though I say so myself, rather fabulous skin?

There is something I can do.

Stop bleating. I will not be a lamb to this wolf's slaughter.
Stop dreaming. We know, wolfie and me, that it's high time to take up real arms.
Stop waiting. There's no woodcutter's axe coming to free me from it's big teeth.....my, how sharp they are.

Stop smoking.


Thursday, 8 September 2011

It's later than you think.

Among the many reasons I decided to share my thoughts with the universe via this blog, is the fact that my mother, who lives in rural Shropshire with her husband and various guide dogs, has altzheimer's disease and is rapidly progressing into what the professionals call the moderate to end stages of it.

She wrote poetry all her life.
Brought up five children with fuck all money and mostly within a very unhappy marriage, dealt with losing her sight in her early thirties and found ways to work and play and satisfy her never-ending appetite for writing in whichever way she could.
I read Dylan Thomas to her when I was a child. Sylvia Plath. Stevie Smith. R.S Thomas. The newspapers, until she set up a talking one for other people with sight issues in the county.....then I read onto that into my teens, feeling weird about doing so alongside my school head at our dining room table.

Small pieces of yellow copy paper were all over our house for most of my years between four and fifteen when she worked on the local paper. I would hear the tapping typewriter when I got in from school. She might emerge with a new poem or a completed article ( for me to read, over the phone, to a very serious and efficient typist in the office, who slightly panicked me and never remarked on what a good reader I was or how well I spoke or anything! pissed me off  to be frank) or the day's labour brought forth nothing but a hacking cough from too many cheap fags, coffee and repressed anger at her writer's block.

A writer writes.......
She did.

She still would if she could only find the edge and swim out of the soup thats turning all her experiences to nothing.
The drugs make her sleepy and restless at the same time.
She sits with her head in her hands in despair at not knowing what the hell's going on.
We've just used one of those self-publishing websites to get a large part of her life's work together in one place.
62 of so many more poems.
None of the endless rounds of birthday ones she churned out for us and our children and her mates and our mates are in there. So many may never be found.
I spent a great deal of last year pouring over what we could find. Most of them so familiar to me and in a context, a time, place, mood that I remember.
I watched her performing her work on countless occasions, bored and slightly embarrassed about the unusual and talented and couragous way she walked onto stages (with a white stick before the dogs came) and talked out into a room of people she couldn't see and made them laugh, made them listen.
Love poetry for her second husband is in there. The love her life still, although now she calls him 'she' and has lost the ability to empathise with any part of his experience, while he kills himself with the effort of trying to make things work. He is watching  his feisty, clever, sexy, funny wife dissapear into a dependant, distressed, utterly selfish, utterly alone and unreachable stranger, who no longer eats his runner beans and who would save the new golden retriever before remembering that he exists.
She has all the support from local authorities that we can muster and various CPN's and proffs drop in to assess her and catagorise her development into nothing.
She's getting there.

She's being robbed of everything.

Bad enough to be unable to read a book for the last forty years. A writer who can't read anyone elses work alone, with her own voice in her head like we do......
At least she had all her own material in her head...........

She's being robbed of everything........

Her later writing ( it stopped for good about three years ago now) is poor and unfinished.
I cried when I read it to make decisions about what should be included in the book.
I cried when I read her previously private love poetry and heard her younger voice telling her lover that his name is a bell hung in her heart and how it rings through her veins.....
I cried for the little fat daughter who wanted to be in the school play so badly that her mum wrote a poem to show her that it didn't matter if Mary with the blonde hair had been given the part and introduced me to the word 'fuck' to ease my tears.
I cried when she fell down the stairs which have never lead to her bathroom in all the years....
I cried when she remarked that the bedroom door  had moved, become a wall, and again when I realised that she had forgotten how to clean herself after using the loo or what the shampoo was for on her hand as she stood dripping in the bath with the new seat he made for her.....

She wrote a poem that I didn't understand, called 'My day is Leaving', in her fifties.

Her day is almost gone.

Leaving her behind on a long, dark road to nowhere she ever wanted to go and from where she will never come back.

As we dance around the kitchen to music she pretends to remember, as we play the words out of cities names game again and I see that she is now only really repeating noble...noble....noble....
"Did you add noble?"
" Yes, mum, it's in....."
"What about noble?".........
I think about how fleeting our lives are, however impact-full or anonymous.
Time doesn't care at all. Far too big, far too deep.
Our lives are much about loss. Surviving it. accepting it. Loving it and living it like the precious gift it is.

The earliest leaves are falling outside the windows where I live, with the love of my life, and the sky is yellow to gold to blue with fishskin clouds.
He'll be home soon and we'll talk and make our plans and eat the Kumara pie cooking in the oven and laugh and forget all that time passing crap.
And as he comes up the stairs the bell in my heart will ring his name out through the cells of me.

Monday, 8 August 2011


forward moving, motion, the spirit of the thing and all that.
Deep breath....

Riots in Tottenham, Enfield, Peckham.... burning cars and hooded, angry men. Rows of darkly uniformed police men and stuff burning, looting etc
The day before my eldest nephew's birthday and  heading back to early morning Piccadilly after a week spent with mum on the hill.

Chocolate, Madam? (sigh)

Weather looks promising and sprained ankle on the mend.