Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Is a clitoris a fish in the Amazon?

I was recently asked by Labour Uncut to write something for them about women under the ConDem government.

I asked them if I could write something about sex and relationship education and how the academies act will screw over the next generation of young people (no pun intended).

They said ok.

So here's the post. Your comments are always appreciated...


Saturday, 14 August 2010

How women respond to advertising

I’ve just seen an offensive advert. I know, I know. I rant about advertising all the time. But this one has infuriated me.

A cereal company has launched something which is solely aimed at women. And perpetuates so many stereotypes that I don’t know where to start.

Ok, how about here:

1. It’s set in a shopping centre. Because that’s where all women congregate. As if we were under the influence of George A. Romero.

2. Fronted by a woman from a soap. Because all women love soap operas. Gives us something to talk about.

3. When given any opportunity, women in a crowd adore shouting ‘Woooooo!’. And waving our hands about. We get special training.

4. It’s all about getting enough fibre. Really? How about encouraging women to eat a balanced diet?

5. The only way women are capable of doing this, is if it’s covered in chocolate. We can’t eat anything unless it’s covered in chocolate. FACT. We’re like babies. And we obviously need guidance.

6. O M G!!! It’s low fat as well? But it’s covered in chocolate (see I remembered!). Are you saying I need to eat low fat? How did you know I’ve been thinking about a diet? That was what I thought about yesterday. The day before it was aqua aerobics. The day before that it was that vampire from True Blood. We can’t handle more than one thought per day.

7. We can all try the bar at the same time? Oooh I love feeling like I’m included in something.

8. Mmm, it tastes like sawdust but it’s good for me. A scientist told me so, and who am I to question a scientist? If the hairdresser from that programme says it, then that’s practically the same as a scientist right?

9. I’m so happy that I’ve found this miracle. I’m now going to go and buy Tampax Pearl and get that hair dye that the other woman off the telly says is good.

10. Oh where was I, oh yes mocking this stupid advert. See, typical woman, can’t concentrate on anything…

Ugh. Why can’t we have a little bit more respect for women than cheap, outdated ad campaigns. Did they commission Sterling Cooper on this one? If I’d been one of the women in the crowd, there’s no way I could have waited until being told to eat. Plus, if I want to cover things in chocolate before I eat them, I’ll dip kitkats in nutella, like I did when I was younger, which consequently ended the presence of both items in our house.

What the hell do any of these former soap stars know about the products they are promoting? Yoghurt that’s good for you, a premise I can accept. Tiff from Eastender telling me that she cares about my digestive system is one step too far. Why does she care? I don’t really trust her medical knowledge on this one.

To finish on a high note, have you seen the advert with the cow running down the beach? Makes me die laughing everytime.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Walk Towards The People

When friends or family members are in a band, you have to go and support them at gigs. You have to download their tracks. You have to vote for them in competitions. You have to act as if you are their biggest fan, even if you're not. There's a certain pride that comes from seeing someone you know up on stage, putting their music out there for judgement and appreciation. Having many friends who are as fanatical about music as I am means that I have a lot of bands to sit through. Some of these bands are rubbish.

If you are friends with me on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter, you can't have failed to notice that I've recently been supporting a band called The Jons in the Live and Unsigned 2010 competition.

Sometimes, the band turn out to be good. Sometimes you find yourself singing their songs in the shower; songs you weren't even aware you knew the words to. And on very rare occasions, your friends surprise you by writing a song that grows in your esteem until it joins your top 10 favourite songs of all time ever. Walk Towards The People is one of these songs. What started off a big-sisterly pride is now fully fledged fandom.

You can check out the video on YouTube here, but before you do that, let me tell you the top three things I love about the track. Firstly, it's a sing-along, as most of The Jons songs are. I'm never happier than when I'm singing, especially in a big crowd. When the crowd (and band) proclaim 'But we absolutely love to shout', there's not a louder voice without a microphone than mine. That one line has made me stop and think. I'm proud to announce that I have come to the conclusion that yes, I do indeed love to shout (and don't do it often enough).

My second reason for loving this song is because the music truly is superb. The guitar and bass lines wind around each other, building to one of the best guitar solos to be recorded in recent years. The song writing is truly solid. The band understand how to create atmosphere and anticipation, juxtaposing passages of hands-in-the-air, head-banging craziness, with subtle, beautiful quieter moments. It really showcases their talents as musicians.

Finally, my third and final reason for recommending you all buy a copy of the single (on vinyl, no less, exclusively available from the band), is that I still can't find a way to describe the song or the band without reverting to cliche. Yes, they are a rock-beat combo, as my nan would say. Yes, they are a bit like the Faces, a bit like the Libertines and a bit like (insert name of other guitar-based all male indie/rock band here). But more importantly, they and this song in particular, gives me goosebumps. Still. After hearing it probably a million and seven times.

So join with me, and together, let's walk towards the people...