Thursday, September 27, 2007
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
The thing is - I'm not sure that frightening women is going to prevent anorexia. I mean it now seems that the message is - don't be fat but don't be too thin either. I think women already have more than enough messages about what they shouldn't look like and what they should find disgusting about themselves. I think the approach that would really help is if fashion houses showed a real range of women, old, young, fat, thin, etc. And I mean a REAL range - not one token super-photogenic black woman and one stick-thin white 40-year-old alongside half a dozen Kate Moss-alikes.
Actually I have a theory on this. I think if your advert is going to use the term "all" or "everyone" - like the GAP ads - "everyone in khaki" or even the "we all love clover" adverts for that, err, butter-style spread (? mmmm...) then for every two models put forward by the advertiser an independent board (me) will provide a third model. And I'm REALLY going to push the envelope. So if you say "everyone in khaki" and your size range only goes up to a 16, I'll be sending a size 28 model along and then we'll see if your products look good on everyone.
The other advantage to my plan is that it will provide an extra source of income for that weird relative you always try to avoid inviting to parties. Creepy Uncle Neville? No he won't be able to come to Jenny's wedding - he's off on a £1000-a-day modeling contract for butter-style spread in the south of France.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Now one thing that bugs me about the story is - why would you want to have surgery in your lunch hour. I know modern women are supposed to be busy. Hence the need for all that "juggling" but how busy do you need to be that you can't have a little lie down after surgery. It's all a part of the on-going push to make women forget that this is an operation, not a suitable gift for a mate's birthday... As usual there is no mention that surgery can reduce the sensitivity of your breasts (in some cases to zero), that the operation can go wrong, that it can affect your ability to breast-feed your children, or that anaesthetic can kill you.
On top of this they quote John Tebbetts, the surgeon behind this particularly vile publicity drive as saying "Women have got to get out of the mindset that they are going to be ill after this procedure". Yes, that's a direct quote. How patronising is that? Silly, silly women, eh? Getting all worked up thinking that being knifed in the tits might sting a bit.
If there's a mindset women need to get out of it's putting up with patronising twats like Tebbetts. Bear in mind this man wants to be allowed near your naked unconscious body with a range of sharp instruments. Shudder.
Monday, September 24, 2007
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Also please please post the Cru-blog link on your site, this will schmooze me no end...
Surely the experts will know "Experts said many young women can worry unnecessarily while older women do not realise they are at risk." So are they saying older women SHOULD worry about breast cancer? And their concern that women over 70 don't demand screening as often as they could? How many of those women are unable to get to the doctors? If doctors standardly offered screening - preferably via a less unpleasant method than the mammogram that I certainly avoid (ultra-sound would actually be a safer way to check breasts, but more expensive) then take-up might be a bit better.
And maybe older women have enough else to worry about with pathetic pension provisions, unheated housing, loneliness and isolation all big issues.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
The argument for legalising prostitution is generally that it's going to happen anyway and by legalising it you bring it out into the open and thus make it possible to regulate it and to protect the women involved. That may be true at one level - as the union De Rode Draad points out "If the windows close down, women who are being exploited will be hidden somewhere else where union representatives and health workers can't make contact with them"
But re-read that again - they're talking about health workers being unable to reach women who are being exploited - they're not talking about women who are not being exploited. And while prostitution is legal it must also be harder to get hold of and prosecute those who are exploiting women. At the same time one would hope that legalising prostitution broke the ties between sex work and other criminal activities - human trafficking, drugs and money laundering. Clearly not - Job Cohen, mayor of Amsterdam says "the trade involved exploitation and trafficking of women, and other kinds of criminal activity".
The other problem with legalising prostitution is that when you announce to the world that prostitution is legal in your city, you invite sexual tourists to visit your city seeking prostitutes, increasing the demand for sex workers and thus drawing pimps and human-traffickers to your city. This earlier run of basically the same story says that De Rode Draad (The Red Thread in English), the Amsterdam sex workers union, has 20,000 members. Now Amsterdam's population is only 743,027 (needlessly precise data from Wikipedia!) so 2.7% of the population is involved in sex work - and that's just the ones who are in the union.*
I'm sure that illegalising prostitution in a way that punishes the women participating is pretty ineffective, since the kind of people who are comfortable trafficking people into the UK and forcing them into prostitution are hardly going to worry about their subsequent well-being. In the UK it is effectively legal to be a prostitute. Running a brothel, soliciting on the streets and kerb-crawling are illegal. I'm not saying the UK has got it right, far from it, and I particularly think the way we throw trafficked women out of the country without so much as a cursory health check is disgusting.
Where I think both here and Amsterdam miss the point though is in taking the problem seriously - and that applies to a range of sex crimes, not just prostitution. It takes me only a few minutes on the internet to find evidence of illegal sexual behaviour. But the enthusiasm for pursuing these criminals - rapists, kerb-crawlers, pimps and human traffickers - is sorely lacking.
*Further note - assuming a prostitute needs an average of five clients, five nights a week to survive, that would require the men of Amsterdam - all of them, including children - to visit once to twice per week. Clearly that isn't happening - proof that the industry is being supported by sexual tourism.
Friday, September 21, 2007
Sunday, September 16, 2007
There are a lot of kids who hang about in my street and I'm pretty used to shoeing them off climbing on my fence, playing knock-down ginger (ringing doorbells and running away), hassling cats and fighting with each other. So I fling open the front door and shout "Oi! Don't spit in the street! That's disgusting!", to which he replies "I'm fasting, I'm not allowed to swallow anything".
"I don't care, carry a bag with you and spit in that if you must, don't spit in the street"
Then his Dad gets out of the car and shouts at me, "It's not your street, he didn't spit in your garden"
"It's everybody's street, no-one wants to walk in his spit"
"Exactly it's everybody's street, he can do what he likes"
At this point I thought about asking for his address so I could go and defecate in the end of his driveway, but I thought better of it and was about to try to explain something about communal responsibility when a total stranger to the whole situation came across the street to join in, announcing "Yeah exactly, it's everybody's street, spit where you like mate."
By this stage Mum and, ten to eleven year-old, sister, both dressed in full headscarves and floor-length robes, heads bowed, had climbed out of the back of the car. Everybody headed off in their separate directions and I went back indoors feeling a bit like I'd become the new Mary Whitehouse of the anti-gobbing-in-the-street movement.
And the thing is, it's still bugging me. For a number of reasons:
1) Normally the kids I see being a nuisance in the street know they're doing something wrong. Usually when I stick my head out the door they apologise and skulk off, or at very least look guilty and run away. This kid actually believed he was being "righteous" spitting in the street. He had his Dad backing him up, encouraging him to behave that way.
2) Is it really fair to insist that your young teenage children fast, just when they're really growing? Is that a healthy thing for a boy around puberty to do? While we're on the subject is it fair to insist that your daughter and wife sit in the back seat, dress like ghosts and don't speak in public?
3) Is it safe to drive a car when you haven't eaten anything, nor even drunk so much as a sip of water since sunrise? Which affects your concentration more - two pints of lager or ten hours without any food or liquid? It's against the law to drive after two pints of lager.
This brings me back to an old point really. Religious tolerance is often lumped in with tolerance for people from diverse ethnic backgrounds, women, gay people and disabled people. It's not the same. Human beings, all of us, have rights, human rights. One of those rights is not the right to gob on the pavement because your imaginary friend told you to.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
"it ... made my boyfriend Danny ... incredibly insecure. As one of my friends, he could view my profile page, my friends’ list and my ‘wall’"
"Reading my ex’s flirty messages, however innocent, made him insanely jealous. He hated the fact that I was in touch with men I’d once slept with and that some of them had posted up old pictures of us together which I had no power to remove."
Hold on - that's not internet addiction - that's having an unreasonable, controlling partner. How insecure is this guy that he can't bear to look at a picture of his girlfriend with an old flame? And of course he doesn't HAVE to look at these pictures if he doesn't want to - he only looks at them because he's snooping through her site, digging for dirt. And it's quite frightening that the article totally glosses over that, acting as though that sort of behaviour is normal.
Makes you realise how lucky you are - at the end of last year Mr Cru and I went away to a music festival with an old flame of mine and his new partner and, err, we all got along great. In fact I know she reads this blog, Hi Abi!
Friday, September 14, 2007
Over on Feministing there's lots of discussion of what share of the housework is a fair share. I'm sure that 50% is the obvious answer assuming that both partners have a balanced relationship in other areas. And also on whether men should get extra praise for doing housework since it constitutes a break-out from traditional gender roles. Well I'm happy to give them extra praise but I want it right back for me when I get a job, wind up as primary breadwinner and manage to unscrew tight jar lids on my own.
What bugs me more though is the other end of the deal... the idea that women will (sub-consciously mind) trade sex for housework. This rather assumes:
1) The woman doesn't actually want sex.
2) The woman, despite not wanting sex, is prepared (sub-consciously anyway) to do it in return for other things.
3) The man wants sex all the time.
4) The man wants sex with the woman even if the woman doesn't want sex and presumably therefore even if the woman isn't enjoying it.
5) The man is comfortable (consciously to his mind) trading other things for sex.
If any one of those things was true of my relationship, I would be seriously worried.
Monday, September 10, 2007
I only knew one gay student at my school (although there may of course have been others who weren't "out" - either because they were afraid of the response or because they weren't yet sure about their sexuality). We were good friends - I'll call him Jim, not his real name, in case he doesn't want to be identified whatever he's doing now. Jim was definitely on the receiving end of some homophobic nastiness. And I think his parents more or less threw him out too, certainly I remember he lived with an aunt or granny, who I believe had taken him in sympathetically.
I suppose I was bullied at school too. Though I find it hard to really see what was and wasn't bullying when I was at school. I was being bullied and abused so aggressively at home that whatever happened at school paled into insignificance. I was certainly called a lot of names (various people), kicked a lot (Tim), punched a lot (Julia) and pushed into dog muck once (Bradley) but all I ever thought about was how much trouble I would get into if/when Dad found out (usually a couple of hours of being shouted at for having "handled the situation wrongly" - apparently I was expected to fight off my bigger, stronger assailants with some weird martial-art-style super-powers and of course I shouldn't have brought it upon myself by being so horrible/weak/lacking in confidence)!
Now I know not everyone has parents as horrid as myself and Jim but then I know some people whose parents were much worse. Here's my point - when we see bullying in schools we are rightly horrified, we insist on intervening. If bullying from our peers is so unacceptable how much worse for a child to be bullied by their own parents - who they look up to, trust and hope to be protected by. Yet we almost never intervene in families home lives. We don't even go in to observe the scale of the problem, we assume it would never happen.
Yesterday Mr Cru and I went for a walk along the New River in Islington. Along came a guy with his (presumably) young daughter. He was teaching her to ride a bike. His teaching method was to be angry and exasperated. The girl appeared to be trying her best, her fingers almost too small to reach the brakes, clearly terrified of him more than of crashing her bike into the road. "Hold the brakes", he screeched, "The brakes, yes hold the brakes. Come on now, HOLD THE BRAKES." And then he concluded, disgusted, "You're just like your mother."
If I saw kids treating each other that way in a school I'd be straight in to the headmaster/mistresses office making sure the situation was tackled. But who do I report this guy to? As Mr Cru pointed out, unless you saw him hit her, you can't really call the police. Parents in our society report to no-one, but they are themselves the worst abusers of our children. I have discussed before what I think could be done. I also think if we give kids the supportive home-life they deserve, we reduce the impact that bullying has on them, and also the likelihood of them becoming bullies themselves.
Saturday, September 08, 2007
Anyway there is a great article about the trouble with Vegas over on Alternet. Have a read.
*And if anyone thinks it's unfair of me to group sex workers and strip clubs together - I would point out the evidence from YouPorn and PornTube that suggests plenty of strip clubs are effectively offering sexual services. The line is VERY blurred. Furthermore for all the insistence by those making official statements about Vegas strip club policies, the mayor himself has been going on about how good it would be to open a load of brothels. So it hardly seems likely that the existing policy is heavily enforced...
Friday, September 07, 2007
And of course they don't condone the wife spanking the husband - even if God made some of them such that they'd like it too. "The wife does not have authority to spank her husband.", which strikes me as odd when you consider that Jesus told us all to "turn the other cheek". Hmmm.
My other two favourite quotes from the site are:
"Welcome to Christian Domestic Discipline. Grab yourself a cup of coffee and make yourself at home!"
and "Loving Wife Spanking in a Christian Marriage"
The trouble with suicide bombing is that it's a profoundly anti-Darwinian exercise. The most successful suicide bombers die. So there aren't very many around and the ones there are aren't very good at it (Mr Cru refers to the Tiger Tiger and Glasgow Airport events as "attack of the knuckleheads"!). Despite the events of 7th July here in London the tube and buses are running normally. No bags are searched on the way in and I regularly see people riding the transport system in full Islamic dress, carrying bags and ruck-sacks. If anybody wanted to repeat 7th July, there is nothing whatsoever stopping them.
If this is who the police are trying to stop in Sydney, a simple bag search and a careful ID check on everyone going to the conference and staffing the building would be more than sufficient.
Or could it be that this isn't the reason half of Sydney now encompassed by a huge metal wall? Could it be that what they're actually doing is keeping away the protesters. The public who have voted for officials who no longer listen to their voices, politicians so afraid of and so in the pockets of these giant corporations that they allow human rights and the environment to be destroyed in the quest for greater profits.
They should change the entry policy for the conference (or "summit" as they like to call it), let the protesters through the gates and keep the corporate lobbyists out.
Thursday, September 06, 2007
(Pictured, one of the funniest women in reverse drag - Janette Tough).
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Meanwhile sat at the laundromat today I saw a BBC presenter (on the TV, not fishing socks and boxer shorts out of the spinner) boldly state that "military service veterans deserve more care and more facilities". Of course there are specific medical and social problems associated with military service and there may be those who believe that insufficient is being done to deal with them. On the other hand there may be those who believe that killing people in whatever cause is wrong and that special treatment for those who have done so is inappropriate. Either way it is an OPINION, not a "fact". It was given as a fact on the BBC One 6 O'Clock news tonight.
Meanwhile The Sun, I notice still STILL has a whole seperate drop-down page on their website under the heading "Maddie". Please!
Monday, September 03, 2007
The main comedy awards are the If.comeddies. They used to be known as the Perrier(s). There are essentially three awards, a main award, a best newcomer award and an award for "spirit of the fringe".
The "spirit of the fringe" goes to someone who's doing something very new and exciting, not a straightforward comedy show. This year it went to an art exhibition of works by comedians, last year it went to Mark Watson who broke the world record for the longest ever comedy show.
Best newcomer is for someone doing their first show - I don't know the guy who won the best newcomer, so I won't comment, good luck to him.
The guy who won the main award was Brendon Burns. His show "So I Suppose This Is Offensive Now?" was advertised with a poster which featured him "blacked up" with a grass skirt and a bone through his nose, then in a wheelchair, mouth open and arms curled up, then on a cross and in a dress (I don't really see what's offensive about a man wearing a dress, and I'm not that bothered by him on a cross either, anyhow tired of trying to describe it I've just put it up at the top of the post).
I've seen Brendon before and I find his material offensive. Nasty, aggressive and offensive. Here's a typical joke (from a video on YouTube so I assume not one he is bothered about keeping for his set any more) "Why do gay guys have so much more money than lesbians? Because they don't have girlfriends! ...see you thought I was going to be homophobic, but I wasn't, I was being sexist".
This year's show I didn't see, but some friends of mine did and reliably inform me that the first 45 minutes were plain unadulterated offensive stuff, attacking racial groups, disabled people, gay people and women. The last part of the show is a "clever twist" where he announces he's not really racist, homophobic or sexist at all and that it's all a big joke. The show also features semi-naked women dancing on stage.
To me that feels like those terrible "documentaries about the porn industry" shown on late night channels that aren't really supposed to be showing porn but know full well that no-one is watching for educational reasons. It doesn't really matter to me what the silly justification for the show is, the fact remains that the first 45 minutes are a frenzy of hate-mongering. Surely this isn't the cutting edge of modern comedy? One commenter on the Chortle website - who had loved the show said "...you get to see slutty dancers and not feel guilty". Why not just give the award to Jim Davidson - at least he has the guts to admit he hates women, disabled people, gay people, ethnic minorities...
All of which left me wondering how an awards system which should be there to highlight the great and the good, the ground-breaking, the innovative and truly funny could end up promoting this sort of thing. And the answer, thanks to painstaking hours of research over here at Cru-blog is (at least partly) - the judges! One of the judges is the programming director of Nuts TV.
Let me say that again in case you thought you were hallucinating...
ONE OF THE JUDGES (for a comedy award) IS THE PROGRAMMING DIRECTOR OF NUTS TV.
Nuts TV, which launches in a few days is the TV spin-off of Nuts magazine and the channel promises to offer: topless model Lucy Pinder reading a Book at Bedtime, a daily Rude New digest of ‘the least important global stories’ and a hunt for Britain's Fittest Barmaid.
In fact the channel has also recruited two circuit comics to be it's new presenters.
I feel as though MY industry is being co-opted in to the lad mags market. Soon people will be asking why I don't perform naked (sorry - I have already been asked that live on Sky Travel TV) and offered radio work only if I show up to the studio naked (that has happened too actually - no thanks, James Whale).
Well comedy doesn't have to be part of the "lad" scene, there is another way... watch this space for a gig list soon and hopefully a DVD coming out!
Saturday, September 01, 2007
Paul Kerensa (pictured) - "Menage a trois? No - I ordered a Stella Artois"
"Just updating my facebook status: Paul Kerensa is having a threesome"
Carey Marx - "Sorry guys the drugs have worn off, I'm going"
Chris Coltrane - "Six across, nine letters, german persecution of the Jews"
"Oh of course - holocaust, how stupid of me"
4th - Nikki from the Dirty Yanks - "Advert? What advert? I came round to read the meter"
5th - Mike Belgrade - "When do we start drinking blood?"
6th - Karl Edrick - "Surely at least one of us should be a girl?"
7th - Leanne Stott - "Who's dick is this and how did it get there?"
8th - Helen Terry - "Can we hurry up? My mum'll be here in a minute"
9th - Brian Lacey - "Can we hurry up? I need to get back to Madelaine"
10th - Luke McQueen - "Good news guys, my AIDS test results were positive..."
11th - Liane Ross - "Next time we do this can I bring my friend John Prescott"
13th - Debra Francis-White - "Oh you're David and Kate, I wanted David and Victoria"
14th - Lenny Peters - "Move over little fella, my turn now"
15th - Tomi Walamies - "Sorry David, for a minute there I thought you were the girl"
16th - Liz Carr - "Is it ok if my carer watches?"
"Can I go on top, I hope you don't mind tyre tracks"
17th - Jane Bostock - "Is it ok if MY carer watches?"
18th - Rob Tarbuck - "NOOO! I said G diminished seventh"
20th - Yianni - "You know you two look the same from behind"
21st - David Whitney - "Didn't we go to school together?"
22nd - poor Phil Buckley was ill so the job was filled by Andy the random audience member who managed to improvise the line "I knew you had a brazilian Kate, but David..." impressive!
23rd - PBH - "Is there a rota, I think it's my turn"
24th - David Meech - "Kate you can either hold the camera or you can go and make us some tea"
25th - Andrew Watts - "ok, why don't I show you how it's done?"
Long Time No Blog. Sorry about that, been away at the Edinburgh festival doing anything up to 6 or 7 shows a day so not really had time to do much. Got quite a few things to say about our experiences up there. Firstly- the reviews for our show Sing-Along-A-The-Joy-Of-Sex - we had some great audiences, some people came three times! These were the reviews:
"When you're given a song sheet at the start of the show, you kind of expect the titles of said songs to be themed around God, Jesus and tales of yore, and not threesomes, chat-up lines and sex accidents. Which means watching merry men have such a good time singing about the naughty business will make you either a, sing along, or b, crawl under your seat and die. Though if the latter is the case you probably shouldn't have gone to this show in the first place - the clue is kind of in the title. If the former is you, then you'll find this show good fun. It's a great hour to pass the time with, if you know what I mean - wink wink."
Fresh Air FM (The festival radio station):
"Comedians Kate Smurthwaite and David Mulholland present an hour of songs and laughs about sex, relationships and err..sex! David and Kate tell their tales and sing songs about cheesy chat up lines, things learned about sex after you leave school, threesomes and other such practices in a way that leaves you wanting more.
The songs are actually funny and truthful, and Kate’s ability to speak fast yet clearly (she does voiceovers for banks, insurance etc) is put to the test on the final song when they cram in everything they couldn’t fit into the show proper! Song sheets are provided for the audience and singing is actively encouraged: you’ll be singing along in no time.
Wonderful laugh out loud and sing-along fun. Go and see them and discover the song they cut out from ‘My Fair Lady’, you’ll never look at Audrey Hepburn in the same light again!****"And the public (on edfringe.com, everyone who reviewed us gave us 5 stars, these were a couple of the ones I liked best):