Making the Marginal the Pivotal |Bluestocking

Here’s one I wrote a few months back for a pretty wonderful blog about the artistic and intellectual achievements of women:

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 In the making – and writing – of history, women’s contributions have been overlooked. It is the same case in maritime history. Women have been the ones left behind on the shore looking wistfully at the ocean wondering when their husband will reappear on the horizon; always the supporter of a son’s or a husband’s ambition rather than the pursuer of her own life. There are accounts of exceptional women who have ‘set sail’ that aim to challenge this assumption, however, that is exactly what they are: exceptions.

Read the rest here …

‘My Life Without Me': Getting over you

You know, I still had designs on you. In fact, I still do. There’s some place inside me, having been too influenced by stories, that hopes and believes we’ll bump into each other in 10 years time, after living our separate lives for a while. We’ll go for a coffee, perhaps in that cafe on My Blueberry Nights. We’ll laugh. You’ll realise that I am the capable individual you always wanted me to be, and we’ll go back to your place. Or mine.

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That’s the romantic in me. The sucker for a story.

Slave to Nostalgia – is my official title these days. I’m going through every memory we ever shared together and processing it, sometimes torturously. Sometimes on the bus when I’m listening to music. Turns out this is how ‘getting over it’ feels. I really wanted Fleetwood Mac’s Everywhere to be about us. Some say that love is only playing out scenarios that appeal to you, like acting out a play requiring two actors. Joni Mitchell’s All I Want is all I have to say.

I’ve seen the life we could have had together, the life I opted out of. It looked wonderful. We looked good together. We did some amazing things, individually; together. I could have lived it if it weren’t for this question of ‘identity’. Niggling. You always knew who you were, whereas I – I have a grasp of myself but no command over myself.

There’s a whole playlist for you. It’s pretty much every song I’ve listened to since being with you. They’re all my favourite songs. And I listen to them in rebellion. I refuse to be overwhelmed and denied this ‘right'(?). I am trying to reclaim them, stick a flag in each one with my name on. However, there are some songs that defeat me, the ones which are painfully relevant.

I’m wearing your socks today and I still have a pair of your pants. I wanted you to have a pair of mine, but then, you always wore mine more frequently throughout the years. You were always cool with sharing, unlike I who was preoccupied with boundaries. You weren’t perfect, I suppose. But I loved you. I love(d) who you are, even if who we are means that we can’t be together.

I think you’re doing OK, and I’m doing OK, too. It drags, though. But even if I could let go like *snaps fingers*, I don’t want to. There were some moments there – during our final encounters – that were perfect. To me. The scent beneath your nose – like inhaling deeply the fragrance of fresh filter coffee still in the packet – above your lip, would still send me to my knees. It’s tricky, but; I’m beginning to accept we were … incompatible.

I will.

Life on the Streets with Greenpeace

‘Hello. Would you like to help save the planet!?’

‘Not today, thank you.’

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OK, so, over the past two months I’ve transformed myself from an inoffensive unemployed graduate into one of those people one tries desperately to avoid. Yes, I know that was a fake call. I shouldn’t complain, I’ve never bothered stopping for a ‘chugger’.

Definition: ‘charity mugger’. First of all, Greenpeace is NOT a charity. It’s an NGO. Secondly, ‘That’s right; I am a chugger, I’m a charity hugger.’ Actually, I’m not this at all. This clever little quip was just something I heard a colleague say once in response to a bit of commonplace slandering. Conflictingly, I have quite a suspicion of charitable organisations; in particular, registered charities, and charitable giving as an act in itself. When one signs-up to become a member of Greenpeace, the amount of involvement one has is completely up to you. You can opt-out of anything we send you, you don’t have to find out about local Greenpeace meetups. You can stop and talk to me because you’ve forgotten that you’ve actually been a member for the past 30 years. You can send your money and not think about us ever again, if you like. Guilty conscience? Sorted. This is my predicament with charitable giving. Surely, if you want to make a difference, you have to be involved? World hunger, homelessness, child abuse, exploitation of the planet, cruelty to animals, et-fucking-cetera? If you care, surely these questions keep you up at night every so often? But you know, throwing a bit of money at it means you’re ‘doing your bit’. Sweet dreams.

Conflicted.

‘One can only do so much,’ is what many people say if they’re already signed up to 20 different charities. ‘I have to draw the line somewhere.’ Unlucky, Marianna, you got there too late.

But you know, I actually really love my job.

p.s. I know that when you say you’re busy, all you’re doing is Christmas shopping.

p.p.s. I have a lot more to say about this but it’s going to take a lot more brain power than I have at this moment.

Review: Richard Walters – Regret Less | Oxford Music Blog

Here’s what I think of Richard Walters’ third album Regret Less:

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Richard Walters hits the ground running with ‘King of Leaves’; the first track, and my personal favourite, on his third album, Regret Less, recorded on his own Oxford-based label, Beard Museum. It sounds exactly like that – running, I mean – but running to something; a new beginning, a more liberated self, rather than from a past that’s hunting you down and holding you back.

Read the rest here

Capitalism, An Exercise In Forgetting | wordscover.me

Here’s one I wrote for a really wonderful blog called wordscover.me:

But really, the only reason why Neoliberalism has become so entrenched is because people are so afraid of alienation and anomie to the point they have stopped searching and exploring their identity, singularly and collectively, and don’t bother trying or striving for anything more (because, I hasten to remind you, there is more to life than a lucrative job). They, or we, just get on with it, and capitalism thrives, so that we might forget about certain death …

Read the rest here

Pussy Riot vs. Breakfast

We fucked Pussy Riot over for a good breakfast. But at least we sported our Weekday Pussy Riot t-shirts proudly whilst doing it. If it’s any consolation (more to myself than to you, Reader), it was a nice breakfast. I’d have done many things for that macchiato, which was probably one of the best coffees to have ever wandered down my throat.

This is a Pussy Riot t-shirt, all be it inside-out and in Spain and totally taken out of context.

That morning there was an international demonstration – the one in London taking place outside the Russian Consulate – to show support for Pussy Riot and lack thereof for their sentence, indeed, an unfair decision. And mine and E’s intentions were good and pure; we would eat breakfast and then wonder on down to Riot Town. Are you a real riot grrrl if you can’t go crazy without a bit of food in your belly?

Anyway, the time came and it went and we were still eating scrambled eggs and croissants outside of Rustique, The Literary Café in Tufnell Park, just enjoying the moment. We acknowledged our poor ability to plan appropriately and we said no more about it.

We went shopping instead.

When Oxford Can’t Quite Contain You …

To be honest, I just fancied a picture.

‘If I seem a little edgy it’s ‘cos I’ve done a liccle cocaine,’ he said as he picked us up, panting, from Tufnell Park underground station.

We edged our way into the ex-safehouse – now factory of all things cider (the product and the culture) – where his mates were more than accommodating. But we were dead, man. I’d looked at E on the tube and she looked totally fucked up; it was the product of a mix of tiredness and a worryingly silent girlfriend. And I’d seen my own reflection in the window, fading away. So we retreated upstairs, promising tomorrow and, ‘cheers!’ and pursued sleep. We were blowing up an airbed for over thirty minutes by mouth and bicycle pump, which seemed like the kind of ironic situation that only a pair of lesbians could find themselves. We swapped breaths until our heads were floating and our mouths were dry.

Sleep …

Then, in the small hours, the party people came back after trying their luck in the great outdoors of Friday Night Saturday Morning. I probably wouldn’t have noticed but girls were trying to force their drunken bodies’ into our room, saying, ‘sorry, sorry.’ Are we boring?

Well, this woke one up enough to realise the dryness of one’s mouth and fullness of bladder, both discomforts I had no eagerness to quell since the ‘en suite’ looked like a bathroom that had walked off a train. So, I dosed – or fooled myself into thinking I was – and, upon accepting that my discomfort would not allow me to block out the music, I succumbed to it. It was fairly pleasantly sedative, then, ‘I wanna be adooorrrreeed.’ I was happy to hear a familiar sound but random melodies would have been better to soothe me into a slumber, which must have happened at some point because I woke up – in the same state of discomfort – refreshed. It was light outside, at least.