Go together, so well. I had a very short flash fiction short story The Torn Soul published over at 101 Words this week. It’s a very sad story, and inspired in part by a song. I do this a lot, take a couple of words or a sentence from a song or poem and play around with it, turn it into something new and mine.
It does mean though that I live in a quiet terror that I’ll be found out, especially with smaller groups and songwriters and poets who might stumble across what I’ve written. But I haven’t had any angry responses so far; most people take it as a compliment, I think.
I hope so anyway.
In Liverpool, we have a bar called The Bumper. I don’t know who writes the witticisms on their sign each week, but they’re bloody wonderful. It just shows what can be done with so few words:
My denim jacket’s hung in the wardrobe since October, northern winters are too much for it.
Or should I say they’re too much for me?
At the weekend I wore it into town for the first time this year. My denim jacket turns me into a cowgirl, I’ll be gallivanting everywhere in it from now on.
I have new button badges to pin on, they’ve been waiting for the first sign of spring too.
I wore my jacket and badges to the recording of the 52% TV show this week but not on air, sadly. (I feel like I’ve let my faithful old jacket down. Next time, maybe…)
Also this week, I wrote about the resurgence of zines and fanzines for GetIntoThis, which you can read here. Next Thursday 24th March, I have a new flash fiction short story called Torn Soul published over at 101 Words. It’s a sad one, as the title suggests. I like it, though; it’s one of my favourites.
52% is broadcast on Bay TV (Freeview Channel 8 on Merseyside) at 6pm Thursday, repeated 9pm Friday, 7pm Saturday and 1pm Sunday.
Despite my whinge binge over at Get Into This earlier, I actually like International Women’s Day. It’s one of the few official “days” that doesn’t have the gift and card industry attached, which makes a change. To celebrate IWD this year I compiled my list of women who inspire me the most right now. Here goes.
Hillary’s going to be the first ever female POTUS, and that’s amazing. She’s been called a witch, a bitch, a murderer, evil, ugly, a dumb/big c*nt (much like myself, you can read about that here) and a lying whore – and the rest – over and over again yet she keeps on going. Every lunch hour I log onto her Facebook page to see what’s she’s been up to. Her accidentally on purpose wanderings into bachelor parties are a favourite of mine, but above all, it’s her bravery that inspires me. One foot in front of the other, no matter what, she carries on. And I think that’s great.
Women cleaners.Cleaning is a largely feminised profession because of low pay. I’ve worked in the business and I probably will again; I’m no job snob. The fact is, most of those who clean and pick up other people’s rubbish are treated as if they are the rubbish. The wages are terrible. I bang on about this a lot, but if a cleaner is going into someone’s house each week to work, even for just a couple of hours, and she doesn’t get maternity, sick and holiday pay, then she’s being taken advantage of. And not many people understand that. I wrote about this and more in my essay THE HOUSEWORK ISSUE : THE OTHER ONE for I Hope You Like Feminist Rants, which you can get here.
Jess Phillips MP for Birmingham Yardley.
Says what she thinks, and I respect her for it. I don’t always agree with her, and thank god for that. I don’t want to live in a world where everybody nods along with politicians, and I don’t want them to pretend to agree with me either. Plastic smiles, glassy eyes and unquestioning devotion? Not for me, thank you. Jess is so bloody refreshing. And I get the feeling you could have a proper barney over politics with her and she’d still be ok with you afterwards. I hope to get to test that theory out some day.
Women from my old boxing gym.I had to stop going when it started getting dark in the evenings because I don’t find it comfortable walking 30 mins on my own there and back as I describe here, but I’ll return when it gets a bit safer, in a few weeks’ time. Recently, I bumped into one of the women who is a regular. “You’ll love it in Spring!” she said, beaming. ‘When it starts getting light, Sean (the instructor) takes us outside and we get to drag his van across the car park.” BRILLIANT. How I miss those women.
Another woman who plugs on regardless, despite the abuse. Put together all the things Hillary and Jess get called and multiply it by at least a hundred and that’s what gets flung at Kim.
From my perspective, Kim can do what she wants to her body and put whatever she wants on it. She’s allowed to fall in love with whoever makes her heart go boom. What she calls her babies is down to her and her husband, not people on the internet.
As my feminist hairdresser and friend Alison says, ‘Someone took Kim’s sex tape and made it public without her consent. She turned it all around and made a multi-million dollar business out of it. If that’s not feminist, I don’t know what is”.
Cleaners, Hillary Clinton, Jess Phillips and Kim Kardashian on a list together? Hell yeah!
Jenny Pepper.I was originally going to compile my top five, but Jenny is too ace to leave out. She’s the protagonist in the novel Vigilante, written by Shelley Harris. Jenny is a middle aged woman who turns invisible to all around her – her husband, family and society don’t seem to see her anymore. So she decides to get herself a superhero costume and fight crime. When girls in her fourteen year old daughter’s class at school are being attacked, she decides to do something about it. The book is BRILLIANT.
I know some people won’t love my list, and that’s ok. Whether you do or don’t then why not head over to Twitter, and name your selection using the #inspiringwomen #IWD2016 hastags?
I did an interview with former footballer Paul Gascoigne very recently. It was for a brand new lifestyle magazine Hooked, aimed at those in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, and their families too. I was initially unsure whether to do the interview or not, something I wrote about here but now that Hooked is out I’m so delighted with it.
I wrote “Perfect Skin” a piece of fan fiction for Geeked magazine’s Sexy issue nearly two years ago now (beautifully illustrated by Lily Rose Beardshaw), it was initially a digital release but is now available in physical format.
I spied a copy in Foyles in London last weekend, in the front window as part of an impressive display of zines.
It’s always nice to see things I’ve worked on and contributed to, getting around!
Issue 1 of Hooked is available now, for Android here and Apple here.
Liverpool’s Royal Court Theatre has come a long way since its “Royal ourt” days, the C dropped off the sign out front and never reattached. I’ve often wondered what happened to that lonely C – one of life’s little mysteries, I suppose. The quality of Royal Court productions has rarely been an issue but the once grand building has badly needed refurbishment for a while.
Now, thanks to European Regional Development Fund grant and a loan from the council plus a £1 levy on every ticket sold for Royal Court performances, the place is elbowing its way forward to stand alongside other cultural buildings in Liverpool city centre.
I went to the unveiling of the Royal Court’s new foyer last week, if you’ve been inside or walked past you can’t have failed to notice the beautiful new box office.
Behind that is an extended foyer, a lift to all floors of the building and a sizeable terrace upstairs on the first floor.
Late last December on the bus on the way home from a night out, I got talking to a lovely couple. Proudly in their eighties, they were fizzing with delight after a night watching the Royal Court’s Christmas production Pharaoh ‘Cross The Mersey. A young woman sitting across the aisle had just been to see it too and I’d caught it the week before so basically half the bus ended up having a good gab about what a great production it was, and raving over the bossness of the Royal Court’s plays in recent years.
And that’s it, you see. Why the Royal Court works so well is because everybody goes there, and loves it. It’s not known as “the people theatre” for nothing and I for one am made up it looks so beautiful again.
It’s only Tuesday and already this week is turning into a busy one for me.
In November last year I wrote a personal essay on the politics of cleaning, and housework. It’s not part of the “why don’t men and women do their equal share of household chores” debate because I think that’s discussed enough already, and very well. I wanted to explore our attitude to cleaners as paid employees, and how we view what is essentially physical labour, but from a feminist perspective. It was inspired by a Facebook conversation about memes like this:
The essay is published this week in new feminist publication Rants, edited by the fabulous Abigail Tarttelin, author of the award winning YA novel Golden Boy. I’m so pleased to have my work alongside top class writers such as Shelley Harris and Kit de Waal in this zine, and I feel privileged to have my opinion in a publication that offers writers the opportunity to express a wide range of views. I find the current trend of no platforming dissenting voices very disturbing, and akin to censorship. Bravo Abigail for allowing us the opportunity to speak so freely and honestly.
(I spent my lunch hour today working out which of these bottoms most resembles my own)
Yesterday I was invited onto the sofa of 52%, a TV show here in Liverpool, hosted by the brilliant Claire Simmo.
It’s a programme presented by women and it’s ace. We talked about women and food, entrepreneurism and home baking plus what’s trending, news wise. We spoke about the north west band Viola Beach (I wrote about them for The Guide) ; their deaths over the weekend marked a very sad day for the local music scene.
52% will be broadcast on Saturday in the Merseyside area on Bay TV, Freeview channel 8 at 7pm.
Today, a teeny snippet of the crime novel I’ve working on, is published over at Paragraph Planet:
In addition to that, my interview with The Trouble with Goats and Sheep author Joanna Cannon is now online over at Urbanista, a preview to her appearance here in Liverpool next week.
As a girl I found Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass frightening. I preferred Enid Blyton. But on reflection, I guess the Land of Dame Slap and the like appearing at the top of the Far Away Tree isn’t a million miles away. And don’t even get me started on Dame Washalot.
I mentioned my Alice wariness to another writer at the press launch of walk-through theatrical production The Alice Experience at St George’s Hall in Liverpool last week. She lowered her head in embarrassment and whispered, “Me too! It freaked me out! Still does.”
As I’ve got older I’ve read the books with a new eye and enjoy the weirdness of Wonderland. I even took part in a day-long reading of the first Alice novel at The Bluecoat a couple of years ago, people reading a handful of pages at a time in front of an audience. Having rows of people mouthing the words back at you in a silent echo is other worldly in itself.
The Alice Experience, quite a trip. The White Rabbit was my favourite. He looked like furry eared Bill Oddie. We had cake at the Mad Hatter’s tea party; so much cake. (The Alice Experience is on until 9th February.)
In other news, Get Into This who I now write about music for, was this week included in this rather prestigious list. We are at number eight!