Friday, March 17, 2006

It's a tough life...

Just to let you all know I'm off on holiday to sunny Sri Lanka for the next two weeks. So no Cru-blog, no gigs and no chance of hearing me on Radio Jackie... When I get back the previews for my Brighton/Newbury/Edinburgh show - Adrenaline - will be starting. Have a nice couple of weeks.

Jealous? I'm going with Exodus, they do loads of cool trips all over the world, as do Explore Worldwide, with whom I went to Uganda last year and Vietnam before that!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Stealth politics

The legislative and regulatory reform bill probably isn't the sort of theing that has you rushing out to the newsagents demanding more copy. Ironically the Independent last week had an article on about page 47 about how the bill should be getting more front-page media attention! The Guaardian's take ont he situation is at least available on-line. There is also a decent explanation on The Times website.

Basically the new laws, which no-one is making a fuss about, not least because no-one has noticed it's happening, will make it possible for ministers to push new legislation through without parliament actually voting on it, just because they think they "need to". So for example Emperor Blair could decide that in the interests of, ooh, err, lets say "fighting terrorism", elections and voting are cancelled until further notice and everyone has to pay taxes to him personally.

But nice to know that the global balance is being maintained: Iraq is getting "democracy" it's not ready for and we're losing ours because we're all too half-asleep to even notice.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Baby panic

There's been a lot of coverage of Natallie Evans' now all-but-over case over the use of frozen embryos for IVF. I suppose it would be rather predictable of me to say:

1) Adopt.

2) Even with permission the likelihood of the proceedure being successful is pretty low, less than 50% even with three cycles on women who haven't had treatment for cancer. And there are only six frozen embryos so more cycles wouldn't be possible.

3) Why on earth do they insist on freexing embryos - why not freeze eggs? I understand at the moment they're a little bit better at the former, but the latter is still possible.

4) Why do we have a law in this country which says that Ms Evans can't draw up a legal document absolving her ex-partner of responsibility for the child. Surely if everybody in the situation is in agreement about who is responsible for the potential child, it should be possible to legalise that.

But instead I'll say this... What a horrible man Howard Johnston is. I can honestly say from all my ex-boyfriends (hundreds of them...), even the ones who never returned my CDs or went out the next week and tried to chat my sister up, if they were in the reverse situation I would let them use the embryos and be glad to help them out. She's had life-threatening cancer which has left her infertile. Doesn't that provoke a little sympathy in the man?

Friday, March 03, 2006

Local girls

An old friend of mine from when I lived in Bury St Edmunds has a band which - I'm ashamed to admit - I haven't gotten round to going to see yet (and I'm on holiday next time they're in London too). However The Guardian has picked up on them after they won the NME radar award for being the "next big thing". There's a big feature on them today with a very cool photo with my friend (also called Kate) looking fabulous (as she always does).

Thursday, March 02, 2006

School daze

Today's the day when kids all over the country find out which school they've gotten in to. My co-presenter Steve's daughter has gotten in to the school she wanted so he's over the moon. There's an article on the BBC about various parents and their experiences.

Thing is though, I thought the whole point of a nationalised education system was to make sure that all kids got a decent education, not just the ones whose parents were smart, well-connected and ambitious for their kids. What about the children in families who don't care for them or don't value education? Well of course they have the double curse of little or no home education and going to the worst possible school - since that's the one which will have places.

Strange that there is a huge fuss made about selection being on the basis of ability, despite the obvious advantages of streamed education*. Meanwhile selection based on parental interest is the norm.

*I was a bit horrified by the recent proposals to put kids younger and younger kids through academic tests. On the other hand I did spend at least 95% of my time at school either being taught stuff I already knew or being bullied for being a swot... I think you have to start streaming quite early based on small tests and tasks, but leave lots of space for kids to move up and down through streams as they get older.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Women in Comedy

Firstly I was really saddened to hear that Linda Smith has died. She's was a great wit, really dry and clever. She famously said "I sympathise with people trying to find WMD. I'm like that with scissors - I put them down, then search all over the house and never find them"! There are never enough women in comedy, we can't really afford to lose one.

Speaking of which, secondly, I am all in favour of Charlotte Church being given her own show. However I was a little horrified at the quote attributed to Channel Four director Kevin Lygo: "How fantastic if we could create this show around a woman rather than a male comedian." How about creating a show around a female comedian? (Comedienne even!) Charlotte Church is very charming but she's not a comic. One of two things seems likely to happen... either she'll be thrown off after a fortnight for not being funny enough and then they'll decide women aren't suitable to host such shows or she'll be given half a dozen mostly male writers. I'm going to sulk about it til I get my own chat show...

If you'd like to see women (woman singular actually, I am the only one on the bill) in comedy in action I'm in Fleet tonight (not the Red Lion, Soho as previously advertised, got to take the money job) compering at Propaganda Music Canteen 317 Fleet Road. Show starts at 8:30pm.

More on Jobs and Gender

Update from my last post on the subject: When women still aren't allowed to be bishops in the UK, why do we keep letting men into professions that involve poking around women's reproductive organs? Another one turns out to be doing a bad job of it. On the other hand personally I don't think IVF should be offered on the NHS at all. There are plenty of unwanted children in need of adoption or fostering out there. If you want to contribute to society by raising and caring for kids, there are plenty of ways of achieving that. Insisting that it must be in your own image, bearing your own DNA, etc, that just feels like vanity to me and has to be done at your own expense.

We like Arundhati Roy...

...this comment piece she's written in the Guardian about Bush's visit to India really made me laugh.

Do the courts have any idea?

This one was in the Metro this morning which isn't online but I've found the story on this site here. It's another case of a woman being raped (allegedly) while she was drunk. The case has been thrown out because the woman's memories are incomplete. The court seems to have forgotten that these days UK law says it's up to the accused to prove consent was given, rather than the other way around.

Also frighteningly the judge said to the jury that a conviction could not be procured unless they could prove "he [the alleged rapist] did not reasonably believe that she had consented". Hold on now - surely the question is whether consent was given, not whether or not the attacker THOUGHT consent was given... If he thought consent was given when it wasn't then he's guilty, that's how the law works. You can't get away with theft because you thought the goods you took were yours to take or being given away for free. You can't get away with speeding because your speedometer is broken and you thought you weren't speeding. You did it or you didn't.