Washing machines live longer with Calgon

A little while ago I saw a campaign that really made me re-evaluate the way I treat homeless people. I have always been empathetic to the homeless and always wanted to be able to help them in some way, however, I used to look away as I would walk past because I felt guilty. I would never smile at them because I worried that they would think that I was smirking at their misfortune.

My eyes were opened by the ‘Make Them Visible’ campaign, which made me realise how psychologically and emotionally damaging it must be to be ignored every day. To be invisible to people as they walk past you, to feel as though you don’t exist, or that you are not worthy of acknowledgement. After I found out about this campaign, I decided to smile at the homeless man that I walked past every day; he smiled back at me and told me to “keep smiling”. That was Chester.

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Chester is a self-proclaimed rapper, poet, dog lover and Sagittarian, he is also homeless. A series of unfortunate events, starting with an abusive father and culminating with inhospitable hostels, led him to a doorway on Oxford Street. He is well known by sight in the Tottenham Court Road area; partially for always being accompanied by a plethora of miscellaneous objects which he takes everywhere with him and, of course, by Buster, his sweet and gentle pit bull. But mostly because, despite his situation, he never ceases to smile as he says “Good Morning” to the commuters who walk past every day.

We sat down together in the doorway which he had made his own with blankets and bits and bobs, and we chatted for about an hour. I learned a lot about him and I decided that though, it is not within my power to change his situation, maybe one way I could help him would be to give him a voice and, hopefully, help others to re-evaluate the way they treat the homeless. Here is some of what I learnt about Chester; that that he has been on television 3 times, namely on the BBC, that he has little love for organisations like Crisis and St Mungo’s, that he has a child who was taken away from him to Australia and that he has been rapping for 35 years. He even gave me a private show:

Chester came to mesmerise, open your ears and realise,

Lyrical words of wisdom coming from the wise,

Blink and you will recognise,

Physical stars or mars or material?

To exercise my fashion that is spiritual,

Not technical but reasonable,

Lyrics that are sensible . . .

And that was only part of the first verse (which I have attempted to capture the best of my ability!)

In the hour that we chatted, I was careful not to push Chester to talk about anything too personal, but he opened up naturally. “It makes me happy when people talk to me,” he insisted as I apologised for disturbing him. But not many people do stop to talk to him – our penchant to sit and chat with our friends, or family or colleagues about our lives and our problems is a luxury which we very rarely realise we enjoy.

People tend to avert their eyes when he smiles at them or says “Good Morning”, he told me. They don’t want to be asked for change but he insisted that he doesn’t want money or food . . . all he wants is acknowledgement. Some people refuse to recognise his existence, even with a nod of the head, or a smile.I asked him if this upset him and he responded by saying “I’m not a T-Rex or a King Kong, I’m approachable . . . I do cry” and he then went on to tell me about the truth of the well-known saying that loneliness is not when you’re on your own but when you’re surrounded by people and you feel alone. An all too harsh reality for Chester who, sitting on Oxford Street, is passed by hundreds, if not thousands, of people every day, few of whom stop to talk to him.

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However, he explained to me that he finds a sense of self-preservation from those who are determined to ignore him. “Someone can only completely ignore me if they’re deaf, blind and dumb” and what he means by this is that, through their resolute and pre-determined calculation to ignore his salutations, he continues to exist; to be. If you have ever heard the jingle ‘Washing machines live longer with Calgon’ at the end of the old Calgon ad, you’ll know that it’s catchy and it gets stuck in your head.“I am Calgon,” he said.


The world is going to shit

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If you  read my most recent blog post (the one that started with ‘We are all lost and we are all fucking terrified’), you may be getting the impression that I am a dramatic person.

I assure you that this is not the case. However, I really do think that the world might just be going to shit.

On top of the fact that recently the news has been reminding me of the history lessons I used to have in school – the ones where we analysed each event that took place in the run up to World Wars One & Two . . . seemingly separate events but entirely catalytic. As if that wasn’t shit enough, more terrible news hit us this week:

Jeremy Clarkson has been suspended from the BBC.

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Jeremy Clarkson has been suspended from the BBC . . . and the people are fucking outraged.

As I write this, there are over 900,000 people in this world that are outraged that Jeremy Clarkson . . . who supposedly punched a man in the face . . . has been suspended.

Supposedly is an important word. Supposedly degrades a fact to a speculation, a supposition even.

The truth of the matter is that we, the public, the 900,000 people signing the petition, will never truly know what happened between Clarkson and the producer. Yet we willingly, blindly, sign a petition to reinstate a man who is knowingly xenophobic, racist and let’s be honest, a bit of an all round twat.


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And when I use the collective ‘we’, I mean the accusatory ‘you’. Because I have played no part in this bullshit.

The petition to reinstate Jeremy Clarkson got more signatures in 24 hours than the He For She petition has garnered to date.

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The petition to reinstate Jeremy Clarkson has more signatures than the petition to end female genital mutilation (FGM) in the UK . . . a good 800,000 more.


Over 900,000 people were clearly too busy watching Top Gear that they forgot to sign a petition to make it obligatory for people working in regulated activities to come to the aid of children in distress e.g. they were too busy to protect vulnerable children.

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Almost (but not quite) 46,000 people signed a petition to push the government to work with other EU countries to try to put an end to human trafficking. Human trafficking? You know, the thing where human beings are coerced, abused and exploited? That means, that there are not even quite 46,000 people the care about other human beings, and 900,000 that care about one tax dodging human being who has been suspended from a job where he earned shit loads of money to drive nice cars.

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We don’t know the truth of what happened. We, most likely never will.

What we do know is that there is still a long fight ahead of us for equality between men and women. You need evidence of this? As part of an attempt to control the female sexuality, young girls are being forced to have their vaginas mutilated and . . . to put it bluntly, in varying circumstances, have their clitorises cut off, their labia cut off and their vulva closed up. Another thing that we know to be fact and not supposition: children are abused and workers are not obliged to stand up for them. More widely known facts for you? Human trafficking is a thing, and it’s a fucking awful thing at that.

Is it because these cold hard facts are mildly terrifying that they are so easily ignored? Or is it because they don’t necessarily directly affect the average person?

It is easy to ignore FGM when it’s just something you hear on the news. It’s easy to pretend that gender inequality isn’t a thing if you’ve never experienced it yourself. It is easy to forget about human trafficking when the most you know of it comes from a Liam Neeson film.

What is not easy to ignore, is an interruption to your own weekly viewing schedule.


Nothing to motivate an angry mob like a change in the BBC’s running order.

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A BBC presenter getting suspended, not even sacked, suspended, has rallied the nation more than issues concerning human rights. If you can read this post and still tell me that you are not at all concerned that the world might just be going to shit . . . well you are a very optimistic person.

Some might say naively optimistic.



We, The Lost Generation

We are all lost. And we are all fucking terrified.

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[I like to make a dramatic entrance]

This is a post that I have been wanting to write for some time; it stems from pretty much every in depth conversation that I have with a fellow twenty-something nowadays.

‘The lost generation’ was a term (if we are to believe the factual correctness of Wikipedia) coined by Gertrude Stein but popularised by Ernest Hemingway in The Sun Also Rises. It was, and still is, used to characterise the generation that came of age during World War One.

“Lost means not vanished but disoriented, wandering, directionless”

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I’m not exactly certain as to the definition of ‘coming of age’ but I am of the personal opinion (and most of my personal opinions are right . . . in my personal opinion) that in this society it’s generally the state of leaving education and entering the real world or, as I like to call it, becoming a grown up. And I would argue that every generation that is ‘coming of age’ is a lost generation.

“disoriented, wandering, directionless”

Sound familiar to my fellow twenty-somethings?

Disoriented – as we’ve left our respective educational establishments and are thrown into the world of professional establishments. Wandering – as we travel the world to put off our professional futures, as we bide our time in our jobs working out whether this is what we want for our future. Directionless – as we try to decide where we want to go, what we want to do, who we want to be.

We, the twenty-somethings, are in limbo. We are between childhood and adulthood. We are supposed to be working towards the ultimate goal of stability, career, mortgage, marriage, children. But we are in no way ready for it. We want to grow up and go for sophisticated cocktails and go to sleep in our own homes that we pay the rent on but we don’t want to let go of our care free past. The one where we could sit in our onesies and watch 10 episodes of House of Cards on Netflix in a day and not feel too guilty. Where we could get up at 12pm on a Wednesday because what is a job? Where we could go out on a Sunday night because what is a Monday?

We’ve always had a direction: work hard to get your GCSEs because you won’t get a job without them (what kind of bullshit is that anyway?!), work hard to get your A Levels to go to uni as you need uni for your future, work hard to get your degree because you need a degree to have any chance of a job in your future. Well all of a sudden that future that we’ve spent our whole lives working towards, it starts now. In fact, it’s already started. And that feeling is suffocating.

Suddenly we sympathise with this guy:

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If there is one thing I’ve learnt since I left uni it’s that being 22 is hard. And being 21 was hard. And I don’t have much hope for 23 being easy. It is a confusing and tumultous time. But the other thing I have learnt is that everyone feels this way . . . and it’s okay.

We are suffocated by the daunting prospect of our uncertain futures.

We don’t know what we want. But we want to be. Although we are not sure what, or who.

We are so terrified that we won’t be happy in the future that we aren’t happy in the now.

We are told by History that we are of a generation that changes the world. I can’t even change a fucking light bulb, how am I going to change the world?

We are reminded that we are the future. But what is our future?

We are trying to define ourselves. Attempting to understand and establish what our role in the world will be.

We spend a lot of time feeling inadequate because we don’t feel as though we are where we wanted to be. But then again, we are unsure of what our goals are. 5 year plan? I don’t even have a plan for the next 5 days.

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But, we are all in the same confusing position.

Trust me, even the ones that look like they have got their shit together. They too are carrying out that internal monologue. ‘Yes I’m so lucky to be on a grad scheme at KPMG, but look at the pictures Jerry keeps posting on Facebook of his travelling around South East Asia. He looks really happy, am I happy? Is this what I want to spend the rest of my life doing. Maybe I should just take up a masters, and then maybe I can go travelling, and then maybe I can get a proper grown up job. Or maybe I should go to Africa and fight ebola. I mean I have no medical skills, but maybe it’s not too late. Maybe I should just quit KPMG and go back to uni to study medicine.’

If you are anything like me, you’ll find that sometimes you feel like “yeah, this is going well. I think I’ve got the hang of this whole life thing”. And then at other times you won’t be able to sleep at night because you are so daunted and confused by the prospect of your uncertain future and you’ve got one question that rolls through your mind continuously. Which, in my case, is: ‘How can I use my (extremely limited) talents to improve the world?’

Just take a step back. Take each moment as it comes and try not to think too much about the future. You will never be able to know where you will be in 5 years time so don’t worry that you don’t have a 5 year plan, because you can’t predict the future and guaranteed something would come along that would fuck that shit up anyway.

So have a little read of this Douglas Adams quote –

“I may not have gone where I intended to go but I think I have ended up where I needed to be”

And just remember that we are all lost. And we are all fucking terrified. But there is solace in the we.


New Year, New Me

This time last year I published a blog post, it was titled ‘New Year, New Me’.

I’ll do a slight recap for those of you whose memory doesn’t stretch so far. It started with this picture:

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It went on to talk about how the ill-fated New Year’s resolution has almost become a societal ritual. People make resolutions they don’t really want to keep because they feel that they should. They feel there are things they should change something about themselves because society says they should. They should lose weight and get fit, because that’s a measure of how successful their life is. They should stop smoking because the doctors say smoking gives you cancer. They should do Dry January because everyone else is.

These resolutions are rarely successful because they are made with very little conviction. If you truly wanted to get fit, stop smoking, give up drinking for a month – you would do that at any time of the year.

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I then mentioned that my New Year’s resolution for 2013 had been my most successful resolution yet because it was something I had really wanted and because it wasn’t just a change in lifestyle but a change in mindset. As 2012 came to a close, I knew 2013 was going to be a hard year, because of this my resolution was to be more happy. Sounds ridiculous I know. But I had, and still can have, a tendency to over think and to focus on the bad things. And when bad things are over-thought it kind of seems like the world is ending.

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Pure laziness has led me to write a similar post, under the exact same title, analysing my 2014 resolution; perhaps my 2015 resolution can be . . . to be less lazy.

And I bet you have been waiting all year in intense anticipation to find out what my resolution for 2014 was. Well I shan’t hold the suspense any longer, a year is probably long enough . . . for 2014 I decided to be more open to new opportunities.

It was probably my best resolution yet.

Instead of saying no to things, instead of finding excuses not to do something; the idea was to start saying yes, to start saying what’s the worst that could happen?

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This means that in 2014, I went to 9 completely new cities, in 6 countries I had never stepped foot in before. I organised to go inter-railing . . . alone. Various delicacies were tasted from haggis to currywurst to goulash to Palinka (one of the foulest drinks I have ever had). In Budapest we went to a Sparty – a party in a spa – which was probably one of the creepiest but also really the funnest experiences of my European travels. (If you cherish your personal space, and don’t like being touched up in a swimming pool by random people, I probably wouldn’t recommend it).

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The resolution extended to the more personal aspects of my life; so that I aimed to be less guarded and more open to new people, especially in the dating arena. For these reasons I went on a slightly awkward Tinder date in which I was told by my date that he would throw me into the back of a van and kidnap me . . . awkward joke. And I went on a very awkward Grouper date – a 3 way blind date – in which I met 3 boys who clearly thought they had come straight out of Made In Chelsea but weren’t anywhere near good looking enough to be on TV. After much persuasion from a group of friends, I asked a boy on a date for the first time; how very modern and feminist of me. And thanks to those friends, I subsequently ended up inviting said boy on my inter-railing trip after about 7 dates and falling madly in love in Europe. (It may have ended in heartbreak but we can just overlook that for the purpose of this post).

Having never been to a festival (I know), I went to 4 festivals in the Summer and booked tickets for Glastonbury 2015. I went to a mehndi for the first time (thanks Omar!), to Harry Potter World (a dream come true) and the world premiere of X-Men Days of Future Past in Leicester Square.  A bucket list dream was ticked when I saw Rap God Eminem in Wembley stadium. An achievement objective was ticked with the completion of a tough mudder style obstacle course with my family and I had good intentions to complete another one when I signed up for the London Marathon (the bastards didn’t let me in). And this is only a taster of the things that I am willing to share on the internet.

I would definitely recommend this approach to New Year’s resolutions. Not necessarily making lifestyle changes, but changes in mindset. Changes that extend far beyond your appearance, or your physical health, or your actions. Losing weight, getting fit or smoking – these aren’t things that make you who you are, they are just things that you do or don’t do in life. For me, the things to improve are the ones that affect my overall state of mind and how I experience life.

So I guess, we will reconvene this time in December 2015 to analyse 2015’s resolution and whether it was as successful.

In the meantime, hope everyone enjoys their disappointing and overrated nights out and best of luck with your ill-fated resolutions . . . whatever they may be.

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Here’s a thought . . .

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A post came up on my Facebook the other day titled Why you should have sex with your husband every night.

Now I don’t have a husband, but my first thought was, interesting, why should I have sex with my husband every night?

I skim-read the piece and it was the opposite of insightful, the opposite of truthful and anything but objective. The nature of the internet fosters an environment in which any person can write down their opinions and spread them to the masses at the click of a button. Take this blog as a case in point – I am any person, writing down my opinions spreading them to the (not so much) masses.

Sometimes this can be a very good thing, giving the little (wo)man a voice and allowing it to be heard. But then again, some voices are better left unheard . . .


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What I am starting to notice, is that so many of these blogs or articles that keep popping up in my social media news feeds are being a little too didactic for my liking.

I fully accept that you could probably ask anyone who’s ever known me, especially my parents, and they would tell you that I don’t like being told what to do. So you can imagine how I feel about people who I’ve never met, infiltrating my news feed and telling me exactly what I should do and exactly how I should and should not live my life.

The article telling me why I should have sex with my husband every night was just too much. The lady who wrote it – assuming that it was a woman and not a man telling women to have more sex with men – narrated an entirely subjective account of her love life that was centered around a solely individual experience. There was nothing in the post that wasn’t hers: her adolescence, her marriage, her thoughts, her feelings, her experiences. I just finished reading the article thinking, I will have sex with my hypothetical husband, whenever the fuck I want to have sex with him.

Why you should never cheat

Why you should eat a healthy breakfast 

Why you should travel

Why you shouldn’t travel 

Why you should stay single

Why you should get married in your 30s

Why you should listen to me and do exactly what I say because I think that what applies to my life couldn’t possibly be irrelevant to everyone else as it doesn’t matter that my individual experience is my own and I know nothing of the circumstantial situations of the people reading this post. 


Perhaps that last one is slightly exaggerated. If you copy and paste it into Google, I’m not going to guarantee it comes up as a previously written article . . . I don’t know try it and see. 


I write a blog (in case that wasn’t self-explanatory) and if I want I can write about what is good for my life and how I should approach it. But I think it would pretty arrogant for me to assume that what I am doing with my life is exactly what you, dear reader, should be doing with yours. 

So many people get so confused with what is right to do in their life, whether it’s with career, relationship, friendship or even extracurricular activities. We are pulled in so many different directions all at once: being told what we should do by our friends, what we should do by our parents, our siblings, our uncles and aunts, what we should do by our other-halves, by our bosses, our hairdressers and cab drivers. Now we’ve got people we don’t even know, people who don’t even know us, telling us exactly what we should do and how we should be approaching our lives. Telling us that we should have sex with our husbands every night, because if they think that saved their marriages, it will definitely save ours. Because human beings are an equation with which you only need a generically applied formula to complete.

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We are not robots.

So here’s a thought, one of the few that I have had today:

Next time you are wondering what you should or shouldn’t do, maybe just do what feels right for you. Maybe just do whatever the fuck you want. 

But then again that’s just a thought . . . it’s entirely your choice. 

When you find yourself crying on the tube . . .

London can be a busy and selfish place.

You just have to get on the tube at rush hour to see a man in his mid-thirties pushing on old lady out of the way so that he can squeeze onto the carriage first.


I can’t think of any other situation in normal life where people are so physically intimate, yet so mentally and emotionally unconnected. Everyone, myself included, is stuck in their own world; intent on getting home, or getting to work or just getting to anywhere that isn’t the tube, train or bus that they’re on.



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That’s why when I found myself in the unfamiliar and uncomfortable situation, the other day, of sitting on a tube full of strangers trying my hardest not to cry and one of those strangers showed me a gesture of kindness, it was one of the most beautiful and uplifting moments I have ever experienced. Certainly the most beautiful moment I have ever experienced on the tube.


What I really don’t want from this post is any kind of sympathy, I certainly don’t want any of this:

awww babes, what’s up? DM me xxxxxx


I wasn’t exactly sitting on the carriage wailing with despair. I mean at the end of the day I wasn’t this girl . . .




I was sat back in my seat, with my head down, trying to attract as little attention as possible. The girl next to me got up at Holborn for her stop and as the tube doors opened she slipped a piece of paper onto my lap and walked off the tube without looking at me or saying anything. I don’t even know what she looked like.


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There’s really not much more I can or want to say after that.


In that moment I was so touched by the gesture, I was so moved by the beauty in the kindness of strangers.

As embarrassing as it is for me, I wanted to share this experience for the girl whose name I don’t even know who made a huge impact on my sadness, for everyone who thinks people are dicks (which is me much of the time; only the other day I was describing to my brother how working in London had made me realise that I hate people) and in the hope that anyone who reads this might be inspired to show the same kindness.


The only thing you have to lose from doing such a thing is a piece of paper and a small amount of ink. 

What you have to gain is a minor but significant improvement to someone else’s state of mind, and the right to carry on your day feeling like a good person.

In the, actually not all unlikely, event that I’m sitting next to a crying girl on the tube with a pen and paper in my bag . . . I know what I’m going to do.


If not you, who? If not now, when?

I write this post rather sheepishly, as I have now let 4 months go by without a single post, when the original aim was to be updating this blog with posts on a by-weekly basis. So here is my best sheepish grin . . .

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Truth be told, since my posts are generally developed on a foundation of anger, cynicism and sarcasm, I’ve been a little too happy and optimistic recently to do a post any justice.

However, the other day, I was pulled out of my optimistic shell and I came back ready to write a post as angry, cynical and sarcastic as ever.

It all starts with this . . .

If you haven’t seen this video, I don’t know what the fuck you’ve been doing for the past few days but whatever it is you’ve been doing it wrong. Emma delivered a speech which is both inspiring and honest. It isn’t radical but fundamental. In its essence it is based on a a rather rudimentary concept; gender inequality is a concern for men as well as women.

She goes on to say something quite out of the ordinary but just as rudimentary, that men are also victims of gender inequality. Something that is often overlooked, admittedly by myself as well.

In case you hadn’t guessed, I am a feminist. I always have been and I have never been ashamed to say it because I have always known what feminism is and what it isn’t.

What feminism isn’t . . .

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What feminism is . . .

“The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes.”

Certainly there is a spectrum of feminism and there are more extreme sects (as with anything from religion to autism). However, as a whole, feminism is not man-hating. Feminism is the belief that men and women can and should be equal. It is the belief that women are just as capable as men and vice versa. It’s the crazy, outrageous and radical idea that we should not be judged, defined or confined simply by the genitalia with which we were born. Simply by our physicality.

Obviously, this is so entirely outrageous that a group of men felt Emma Watson needed to put in her place for her offensive ideals. How do they decide to attack her? Exactly by threatening to expose that same physicality that sets her apart as a woman.

The trend of the female celebrity nude photo leak was transposed to Emma Watson with the link emmayouarenext.com and a picture of the feminist with a countdown until her nudes are leaked. That’s not at all fucked up. Not at all sadistic.

This, as you can imagine, was the original fuel for my post. However, the fucked up sadists that posted that link and perhaps plan to violate Emma’s privacy and body, have only done wonders for Emma’s speech. What better way to demonstrate that the He For She campaign is a societal necessity than men attempting to silence and punish a woman by threatening to expose her nude and personal pictures to the world? emmayouarenext.com has only galvanized the feminist community and for the first time I am seeing people proclaim themselves feminists because they are understanding that it is not a dirty word.

I have always always said that real men are not afraid to call themselves feminists. That real men are not afraid of women, real men are not threatened by female empowerment (just look at my last blog post). Any man that can publicly call himself a feminist has earnt my respect and my admiration, because I do understand that it is not easy.

That’s why the weird crush that I’ve always had on Joseph Gordon-Levitt escalated massively when I saw this . . .

"What [being a feminist] means to me is that you don’t let your gender define who you are—you can be who you want to be, whether you’re a man, a woman, a boy, a girl, whatever. However you want to define yourself, you can do that and should be able to do that, and no category ever really describes a person because every person is unique. That, to me, is what 'feminism' means. So yes, I’d absolutely call myself a feminist. And if you look at history, women are an oppressed category of people. There’s a long, long history of women suffering abuse, injustice, and not having the same opportunities as men, and I think that’s been very detrimental to the human race as a whole. I’m a believer that if everyone has a fair chance to be what they want to be and do what they want to do, it’s better for everyone. It benefits society as a whole."

“What [being a feminist] means to me is that you don’t let your gender define who you are—you can be who you want to be, whether you’re a man, a woman, a boy, a girl, whatever. However you want to define yourself, you can do that and should be able to do that, and no category ever really describes a person because every person is unique. That, to me, is what ‘feminism’ means. So yes, I’d absolutely call myself a feminist. And if you look at history, women are an oppressed category of people. There’s a long, long history of women suffering abuse, injustice, and not having the same opportunities as men, and I think that’s been very detrimental to the human race as a whole. I’m a believer that if everyone has a fair chance to be what they want to be and do what they want to do, it’s better for everyone. It benefits society as a whole.”

I was angry, cynical and sarcastic when I first wanted to write this post, but having been on Facebook and Twitter and witnessed with my own eyes the amount of support that it has ignited, I only feel inspired and optimistic. Girls that used to feel embarrassed to admit they were feminists because they didn’t want to be an unattractive man-hating dyke, feel empowered and confident. And my heart has been warmed by the male response to the HeForShe camapign that entirely undermines the emmayouarenext.com response .

You may ask what difference does a bunch of men writing #HeForShe on a piece of paper and posting it on twitter make? What difference does a bunch of men sharing the video on social media sites make? What difference does a bunch of men joining the He For She campaign make? Well I can tell you, it makes a hell of a lot of a difference to me, as a woman and a feminist, to see how far we have advanced in our hopes for equality and to see how willing the majority of men are to help and support and campaign with us. It makes a hell of a lot of difference to know that we are not alone.

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A Very Sincere Thank You

It’s been a while since I wrote my last post. This is partially because I’ve found myself pretty busy, but majorly because a blog about a banana is difficult to top.






However, I’ve found myself needing to take to the page or, more accurately, to turn to the keyboard, following an interesting debate that I had the enjoyment of observing from a distance on Facebook a while ago. The whole discussion was sparked by an article that one of my Facebook friends shared:


The spark of much debate



There’ s nothing like a bit of female equality to spark a fierce and impassioned Facebook debate.



One particular individual (I’ll let you make your own assumptions as to their gender) had the particularly insightful view which can pretty much be summed up in these words:



Yes, fine, I will grant you that rape is pretty bad, but men should not be condemned or targeted.




An honourable and open-minded point of view, no doubt you’ll agree.




[As a slight aside, I will state that my intention is not to target this individual. Firstly, I don’t actually know them and the likelihood of them reading this is substantially low. Secondly, I actually believe their point of view is grounded in fair intentions – the argument after all is for female equality, not superiority.]






Back to business . . . This particular individual felt that the #NotAllMen and the #YesAllWomen hashtags were targeting men, because understandably, any female voice that stands against the mistreatment of women is immediately threatening and antagonistic. Understandably.



They believed that men were being criticised for declaring that they weren’t rapists, to use their exact words:




Men were “fiercely criticised for declaring that [they] treated women well”.






Yes, I’ll repeat.




“fiercely criticised for declaring that [they] treated women well.”




Just to drive the point home…




“treated women well.”






Clearly, not raping a woman is synonymous with treating her well and I had no idea how ungrateful I was being, I think it’s about time I said a big old massive ‘Thank You’ to all those men that saw fit to treat me well and not physically force me against my will. How benevolent.



By the same standards, I treat puppies well by kindly choosing not to stamp on their faces, I treat babies well by nobly deciding not to use them as footballs. I have been treating my brother well for 21 years by resolutely and respectably making the decision not to carve his heart out with a blunt spoon.


 robin hood


This isn’t just about women. Thanks to anyone who, oh so kindly, decided to treat someone well whether man, woman or child by not physically abusing them even when they knew they had the potential to physically overpower.




I was always raised by my parents on the understanding that kindness was defined, not by kind acts, but by a magnanimous decision not to abuse the vulnerable and then to ensure their gratitude by letting them know that you could have abused them if you wanted to but you have chivalrously decided not to.




So there is my completely sincere and, not at all sarcastic, Thank You. It’s not at all fucked up that, in a debate where a young male individual was insisting his belief in equality, he unwittingly revealed his masculine understanding that to not rape a woman is to treat her well.



I want to point out that this was simply one person’s perspective and I am not applying it to all men. The point I am making is that these are the real men:


















robin hood




The Banana Selfie Phenomenon

I think we can all agree that the world is a better place with bananas in it.

Firstly, they’re a fruit. That’s never a bad thing.

They give you energy, they supposedly help you overcome depression, they’re high in potassium which helps lower your blood pressure, they aid with digestion, they can be used to learn how to apply a condom etc. etc. etc.

Lastly, they’re yellow and from some angles they can look like a big fat smile.





Lately, to add another point to their long repertoire of being fucking fantastic, bananas have become synonymous with anti-racism.


How, you might wonder, has a piece of fruit become a symbol against racism?



If I’m being honest, I don’t know who the fuck that guy is, I’ve never heard of him in my life. But the way he reacted to that passive aggressive racism was brilliant.


His next step of thanking the person who threw him that banana and gave him the potassium he needed to assist two goals . . . well that was even better.


But the internet’s response was the cherry on top (forgive my fruit related reference)….















Naturally there have been numerous reactions to this banana selfie phenomenon, and just as with the no make-up selfie, what has annoyed me the most is the bloody party poopers who have to elicit a negative response. The people saying, ‘who gives a shit about a load of people from all over the world taking photos with bananas, it’s not going to change anything’.


Perhaps it won’t change anything.


It’s hard to say but there probably won’t be any global legislative acts that annihilate all traces of racism within humanity.


The banana phenomenon has, for me, only emphasised the beauty of the internet. Everyone has a voice. Admittedly this is not always a good thing . .  .


But in this case, everyone from famous footballers to someone rather irrelevant like myself can have their say and it is for this reason that people all over the world that have never shared oxygen let alone exchanged words, can unite. Through the trending of a hashtag we can combine together to send one strong message and the message that the world is saying is #NoToRacism.

You can be a cynical cindy, a sulky susan and a negative nina. You can say ‘well it’s all very well, but nothing will change’. And you will probably be right: nothing tangible will change. However, when an act like one ignorant imbecile throwing a banana with the intent to racially insult makes me lose my faith in humanity, the act of thousands, maybe even millions, of people uniting to demonstrate that they simply use bananas as a source of fuel, well it kind of restores my faith in humanity. Say what you like, but without the banana selfie phenomenon, I might still be thinking that world is filled with fucking cretins.







My last blog post received the most views that I have ever had.  And I’m not talking beating my PB by 1 view, I beat my PB by a considerable amount . . . I believe the technical term is ‘a fuck load’. I’m not going to mention the number because I am sure it’s still pathetic in comparison to some, but it was certainly enough to put a big fat smile on my face and a buzzing little bee in my bonnet.


Billy Elliot the Musical curtain call


So, in light of this, I am going to do what every sensible person would do, and entirely change the tone of this blog post and try something completely new . . .  just to disappoint and piss off all of my new followers.


A friend sent a message in a group thread earlier directed to all the people that studied English:

“Today is Shakespeare’s 450th birthday, how are you going to celebrate english geeks”


Actually, today is the anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, his date of birth is unknown but 23rd April has been assigned as his birthday since we know that he was born between 22nd – 25th #englishgeek.  It is also St George’s Day. A pretty good day for England really.



In answer to my lovely friend’s question, the way this particular #englishgeek is celebrating Shakespeare’s 450th birthday is with a small poem (sonnet if we’re being pedantic) recognising my poetical inadequacy in the face of the celebrated Bard.

The trained eye will identify indications to Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18, Hamlet, The Tempest, As You Like It, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet and an extremely questionable and untenable reference to Othello. The critical term for this is inter-textuality #englishsnob


Oh and no, I don’t follow iambic pentameter, because I can’t be dealing with that shit #englishknob




Shall I compare me to the likes of Shakespeare?

The Bard who hypnotised the world with his ‘to be and not to be’s,

The Englishman who braved new worlds with his new words.

All the world is his stage

and I merely a player suffering from stage fright

waiting for tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow never comes.

Waiting impatiently for a mythical muse to fly to my heart’s service

And hear my soul speak the words that it will not put to screen.

My heart has the capacity to write that the course of true love

never ran smooth, if only the course of poetry did.

Not being true to myself, at all, I cannot try to pen my own heart for

My words bring chaos to the page, signifying nothing.

Shall I compare me to the likes of Shakespeare?

I am less loquacious and less articulate.