Eleven Weeks

Tonight I will be in the moment,
I will enjoy the mindless,

Celebrate the unworthy,

And live.

Tonight a tiny person will sleep


His hand wrapped around the finger of someone who cares.

Soon there will be a space in the world,

And a debt of suffering will be repaid in peace.

Silence will take the place of fearful cries,

And a lifetime of terror will be erased.

Tomorrow will come as it ever does

And we all 

(bar one) 

Will start again. 


5am Story

Last few nights in this little old place,Sheets of rain on the window,

Half-packed boxes in every corner 

And your rolling snore beside me. 

Gathering together the last few memories 

Before we wrap them neatly in newspaper,

Stuff them into cases 

And sit cross-legged,

Waiting for the next part of the story to begin.


I Will Not Pray

I will not invoke the imagined power of my big bad invisible friend,

To tackle the reality of your suffering.

I will not paint my profile pretty colours,

Nor appropriate your flag for the day.

If I am able to help at all 

It will be done in person.

With hands and feet and time and money.

You will always have my sympathies,

But never the glib, false-promise of a prayer.

Dumbing Down is a girls best friend – how the Daily Mail is a sign that feminism is effective.


The Daily Mail make a habit of hiring female journalists who try to be controversial; by which I mean that they regularly spout opinions better suited to a 1950s Good Housewife magazine and praise Thatcher to the skies.

This article (see link) by Liz Jones however is the cheapest attempt at courting controversy I’ve thus far encountered. In the simplest possible terms, Jones claims that men make better bosses because they’re not obsessed with shoes or raising a family. She then goes on to back this up by using examples of her own career failures, pinning them on “being female” rather than taking personal responsibility. 

And I get it, you know. They want people talking about the paper to boost readership, so they print something so ludicrous that people can’t help but comment and share. 

What I don’t understand is how a journalist (who has clearly earned her position through knowledge and hard work) wants to willingly undermine herself like this. It’s as though the Tories have a secret university where they’re selectively breeding a generation of women with low self-esteem. A whole line of educated ladies who will come out in a neat blue suit, notebook in hand ready to write in favour of their powerful male overlords. 

Maybe it’s a good thing. Perhaps the advances made by feminism are now such that the ageing back-benchers are waking in a cloud of pipe-smoke and spluttering in shock…

“Women actually like themselves?!? What has the world come to?? 

Quick Boris, get the Mail on the phone! We can’t have this!”

I write in jest of course, but when the conservative candidates are currently having a fight more suited to the schoolyard:

“Well at least I’m a mum! Ner!”

You have to wonder how far an intelligent woman is willing to lower her standards in order to feel successful.

Perhaps I should publish more articles on the struggles of Motherhood and the perfect shoe. Maybe then the Broadsheets will hire me…

Clickbait and the Death Of Journalism

For the last year or so I have been endeavoring to write a performable stand-up comedy act. It’s part of my bucket list and I have just enough hubris to think I might actually not be terrible at it. For the last three (thousand) re-writes it has begun as a scintillating display of biting wit only to devolve into a ranty feminist TED talk by the end of the first joke, unsuitable for performing in front of anyone but my (much confused) cats.

Today was different. I woke inspired, with a character in my head and a character-based comedy act which seemed like a pretty good idea. The more I wrote, the better the idea got until (by lunchtime) it had gathered enough to momentum to have me investigating local open mic nights, confident that I had finally found “it”.

Two thousand words later and I am scouring local and national newspapers for suitable material, researching current affairs for their comedic potential. Naturally I head towards the Daily Mail, confident that their ineffable combination of right wing propaganda and 1950s moralising will provide me with the comedy goldmine I so sorely need.

What I find instead is a slow sad bell, desolately ringing to announce the death of journalism. For there, amid the opinion pieces on celebrity mothering skills (bad career-women! –don’t they know you should give up your life to have bubba??), political soap-boxing (Boris Bad, Farage Worse) and fluffy, Loose Women inspired gossip rag (Femail for those not familiar) are no less than two articles with unfortunately familiar click-bait titles.

From using your phone at the table to stuffing your napkin in your water glass: Restaurant staff reveal their WORST customers

‘All anyone cares about is the headboard!’ Proud new father shares a touching photo of his wife and baby online – but people are more interested in their BED

If these were printed as small, “and finally’s” I wouldn’t have an issue with them. Sure, it’s lazy but every paper has a man-bites-dog story somewhere. These however are printed as large, middle-of-the-page-with-full-colour-pictures articles, the headlines larger than those accompanying the surrounding stories about Isis and Brexit and all that other boring stuff that the other newspapers are silly enough to value.

So let’s take a look and see what wonders await me behind the enticing headlines. Who knows, perhaps they will contain some valuable social insight.

The first “article” is a collection of quotes taken from an AskReddit thread. For those not familiar, Reddit is a site comprised of varied subject threads (everything from pics of your fluffy pets to political discussion). The AskReddit thread is a place for users to pose questions to be answered by other users. This particular question was   “Waiters of Reddit, what are the worst people to have in your restaurant?” and a variety of waiters, bar-people and service staff weighed in with their own customer pet-hates. Somehow, the Daily Mail then decided that this was article-worthy and casually took random comments from the thread (generally out of context) and failed to so much as attribute them to the users, simply including them with “a waiter said…”  All of which was padded out with unrelated pictures of people in restaurants using phones and stock images of children crying/ covered in food.

And readers have commented in their droves. With a self-righteous fury that only the truly ignorant can muster, the middle classes have spoken and in doing so declared “I pay for my food, I should be able to treat waiters however I want”.

Thanks for that Daily Mail, I’m sure that without your ground-breaking journalism, those readers would have forever been forced to go through life not expressing their sense of entitlement.

The second so-called piece of journalism comes courtesy of man who posted a picture of his wife and newborn child, both of whom were ignored by Redditors in favour of discussing the unusual headboard on his bed. The Daily Fail once again enthralls, describing the father by his username (not even an attempt to contact him and make this into an actual article?) and wrongly attributing the Reddit comments to “trolls”.

Well I’m sure glad I read those two scintillating pieces of journalism. Really I am. What would I have done if it were not for your dazzling reportage granting me these heretofore unknown nuggets of knowledge??

Perhaps I would have been forced to read a proper newspaper, containing some actual news! Now there’s  a controversial thought.


No Such Thing as a Feminazi (on why we need to stop publicly hating Katie Hopkins)

c200170bc0b2f26f0d798701a31d9b3fAs a woman who was a teenager at the cusp of the riot-grrl movement, who grew up with a very definite sense of her place in the world, I find the term Feminazi problematic. Primarily because it is based on the accusation that women who seek equality wish to do so at the expense of male rights.
Even at the beginning of first-wave feminism this was not the case. All women have ever wanted is a level playing field.
Pro-women does not mean Anti-Men and if there are feminists promoting those views, they are in the minority. They are not Nazis filled with evil, man-hating intent to destroy the lives of men, they are simply ill-informed. There are ill-informed feminists in the same way as there are ill-informed people in all walks of life and it is hugely damaging to brand all advocates for all levels of women’s rights as “Nazis” simply because a few people get it wrong.
It is from this point of view that I approach the issue of Katie Hopkins. Speaking about the temp who was fired last week for refusing to wear high heels, she claims that
“I understand the feminazis love fighting and are always looking for the next scrap on their vagenda.”
Whilst I can practically feel her pride at coming up with the concept of a “vagenda”, I am not here to get into semantics. What I do want to address, is the bitter Twitter backlash from women who agree that heels vs flats is irrelevant, provided the shoes are smart. These women are completely right in their response, however, they need to be addressing their concerns to the male bosses who make/ enforce the rules and not a columnist with zero ability to affect the footwear policy of a random business.
In her tweets and columns of “anti-feminazi” vitriol, Katie Hopkins reminds me of the girls in school who claimed to only get along with boys. In reality, they had few female friends because their self esteem was so low they couldn’t take the (perceived) competition of other girls.
 Ms H takes this one step further- she actively goes out of her way to alienate women (and pretty much every other group of people) just to be seen and heard. Having moved through the army, the security business and the boardroom she has followed the Thatcher model of taking on previously male-dominated roles by matching her behaviour to that of the males surrounding her. Rather than celebrate and enjoy her femininity as something she can have alongside her successes, she has chosen to quash it. Referring to herself repeatedly as a “bruiser” and “tough”, I begin to wonder who she is trying to convince more, us or herself?
Her rant against so-called feminazis and the older statement that “if women had freedom they wouldn’t know what to do with it”, tells me less about her opinion of women in general and more about her insecurities with her own identity, which is what stops me from responding to her with a vitriolic outpouring of my own.
The one thing it is easy to forget when listening to her rant, is that she has absolutely no ability whatsoever to affect the running of the country. Yes she has a column in a big newspaper and a lot of Twitter followers, but that’s just her congregation of the converted. Unlike Cameron or Farage, she wields no actual power and can enact no real social or political change.
She is the journalistic equivalent of Bart Simpson, acting out because negative attention is still attention and every time you retweet her with a “look at this idiot” statement, you’re working for her.
If she was not famous and, instead of sitting at a microphone for LBC, she sat on the bus yelling her nonsense to whomever was nearest, you would probably move seats or refuse to respond until she shut up.
Social media platforms make it incredibly easy to have a knee-jerk response and, in this sense, we need to take responsibility for her fame. If her rubbish is being perpetuated it is because we are helping to spread her words. The best thing we can do for this woman is to stop enabling her in the hope that she finds another way to boost her shaky self-esteem, whilst at the same time devoting more time to sharing the thoughts, policies and ideas we do believe in. If you want to hate, then direct it at the people who are making the decisions because shooting the messenger is deeply satisfying but the messages will just be repeated until we vote them out.