"Everything gonna be ok. If it is not ok, then it is not the end."
Captain Phillips tells the story of the first US ship to be hijacked in 200 years on the Somali coast.
The film offers a multi-layered portrayal of the crew and the pirates. The pirates are first introduced to the audience while on land, planning their departure. The poverty which drives them into piracy is clear to see and whether their character is seeking to appear hard or softened, the audience empathises with them throughout.
The handheld camerawork, often associated with the work of Director Paul Greengrass, adds to the authenticity and thus the suspense; a suspense in which you are gripped from start to finish. As well as this Greengrass is said to have kept the American and the Somali actors apart until filming began, creating a genuine tension. As expected Tom Hanks gives a fantastic performance but he is undoubtedly overshadowed by the gritty debut of the Somali actors. The amazing acting skill of each actor has you simultaneously scared of them and fond of them.
Forgetting the fact that the true Captain Phillips was not liked by his crew and forgetting that, due to him sailing the ship dangerously close to the Somali coast despite his men begging him not to, Maersk Line and the Waterman Steamship Corp are now being sued by all of the crew for almost $50 million.
If you look past this and the expected America-is-amazing-esque portrayal of any “true story” in Hollywood, the film is amazing and has you holding your breath and biting your nails up until the last five minutes, when it has you in tears.
"Everything gonna be ok. If it is not ok, then it is not the end."
Periods and Wanking
It’s been done.
This is what I was thinking throughout the first part of Caitlin Moran’s book, How To be a Woman. First periods seem to be the go-to funny story for female comedians.
Yes it is hilarious that at 13 years old Moran thought she could “opt-out” of the monthly bleed, and yes I do believe women should talk more openly about their periods, but I still feel like it’s overdone. Let’s not make a joke out of it let’s make nothing out of it.
Women do not feel uncomfortable talking about their periods to women. The only reason it is ever taboo, you ever have to whisper or you ever make an excuse, is if there is a man about. So the sooner men get over it the sooner women, when asked if they want a tea or coffee, can say: “Neither, but would you fill my hot water bottle up my uterus is hurting from all the bleeding it’s done today. Cheers mate.” (No laughter necessary.)
As with many of the feminist issues throughout Caitlin Moran’s book she quickly skims over it. The main content of her chapter ‘I Start Bleeding!’ is about her discovering masturbation and this is great stuff. Don’t fanny around with periods; title the chapter ‘I Start Wanking!’ or ‘I Discover my Clit!’ and challenge the real taboo at hand – female masturbation.
Knickers and hairy muffs
When Caitlin Moran discovers her first pube she shaves it off. I am with her. I plucked mine out.
Before girls even want to have sex they know they don’t want pubes. What they don’t know is men don’t care! It’s the biggest myth of all. It’s exactly the same with ‘sexy’ knickers (i.e. tiny knickers). Men don’t care.
Some women learn these lessons quickly, some take a little longer. It took me six years of shaving and two tiny scars to finally love my bush, which now I regularly and proudly display to my friends. As for tiny knickers, I’m not saying no to thongs. As an aid to VPL thongs are my friend. But after spending money on super sexy undies only to have them quickly removed, without a second glance, I never again wasted money on something that covers up the only thing that men want to see – some skin.
As Caitlin Moran so eloquently put it: “THERE ARE MEN OUT THEIR HAVING SEX WITH BICYLES.” They certainly don’t care about your knickers or your bush, they’re just happy to be getting laid.
Another taboo topic and in my view Caitlin Moran handles terribly. She is right that women should be entitled to an abortion if they choose and in no circumstance, whether it is a ‘good abortion’ or a ‘bad abortion’ should they be judged. That doesn’t mean, however, that Moran need be so flippant.
I read this chapter and I thought to myself: “Yay for you for having a completely guilt free abortion.”
When Moran says, “Abortions are never seen as positive things” she is right! Abortions aren’t positive. A positive situation would not be getting pregnant in the first place.
I am in love. Christ, it’s miserable.
Caitlin Moran dedicates a chapter to being in love with (for serious want of a better word) a dickhead. He insults her, he has no motivation or money, her family hate him and he continually lets her down. She dedicates an entire chapter to this relationship and so I spent an entire chapter waiting for her to make a feminist point, but she never does.
The point is this: most women seek self-justification and self-worth through men and their relationships with men.
From a young age women scramble to have boyfriends. We need to verify our beauty and attractiveness. As teenagers we don’t want to fall behind the pack - we need to get the first kiss, the first blowjob and the first shag ticked off the list at the same time as everybody else. As adults we need boyfriends to spend Sundays with, to go to dinner with and to go away with. In my mind it comes down to this – women don’t have enough hobbies.
Men play football, rugby, golf etc. They watch the football, rugby, golf etc. They spend a lot of their free time talking about football, rugby, golf etc. Women, on the whole (due to never being encouraged to do sports and take up hobbies from childhood) talk about work, other women and men. Boring!
I honestly believe the majority of women would benefit hugely from taking up a hobby; to give them something else to do, to think about, and to talk about.
Not only, as Caitlin Moran states, have “women been shafted by the simple fact that men fancy them,” but we are also being tricked into thinking we like men more than we do simply because we don’t like enough other things! We need a bit of retrospect, desperately.
Don’t do this, don’t do that
Half way through How to be a Women it stops being funny at all and becomes hugely prescriptive. It goes from Moran laughing and ridiculing her young self and the constraints placed upon women from an early age, to adult Moran saying ‘This is dumb, so you’re dumb,’ and ‘I don’t like this, so you shouldn’t like it.’
She devotes an entire chapter to marriage, which one would usually find quite fitting to a modern and quirky feminist(ish) book. However, the chapter is mostly whiney and judgemental and you’re left feeling more like she is bitter about her crappy wedding than about weddings. She then dedicates two chapters to children: one titled: ‘Why you should have children.’ The other titled: ‘Why you shouldn’t have children.’ These chapters are similar to two sections of any GCSE essay where the author is desperately trying to present a balanced argument but, alas, failing. Moran is pro-motherhood, she shouldn’t try to pretend otherwise because she doesn’t do it well.
This is where much of my qualms with How To Be a Woman lie – I find Caitlin Moran excessively prescriptive and overly self-involved.
How To Be a Woman is overly autobiographical with too little feminism to be placed alongside the suffragettes (which the back cover of the book does). I often found myself left wanting more as Moran commonly rushes a good feminist argument at the end of a chapter, as if explaining why her story is relevant to feminism rather than why feminism is relevant to her story.
Whereas now fashion starts on the catwalk and trickles down to the high street, the shape of 80s fashion was hugely different. Designers found their inspiration from the streets and the clubs.
From Club to Catwalk celebrates this phenomenon in fashion, and so it should. If fashion were the same today I hugely doubt the shops would be filled with baby pink!
The exhibition is small but still manages to encompass all you would expect. There is denim, leather, shoulder pads, PVC, Lycra, woollen clothing and Diana-esque evening wear. A few of my personal favourites were Rosemary Moore, Wendy Dagworthy, Joseph Tricot, Edins Ronay, Kay Cosserat, Sarah Dallas, Antony Price, Helen Storey, Bruce Oldfield, Timney Fowler and Christie Walsh - ok so I had more than a few favourites!
The 80s have such a bad rep! It was not all skintight, fluorescent getups but an array of goth, punk, sexy and chic. Don’t believe me? Go check it out.
"Let’s have the debate about who hates Britain more, it isn’t a dead Jewish refugee from Belgium who served in the Royal Navy, it’s the immigrant-bashing, woman-hating, muslim-smearing, NHS-undermining, gay-baiting Daily Mail."
Natalia Kills - Problem
Iggy Azalea - Work
James Franco in drag for Candy magazine. (Quote from Ian McEwan’s ‘Cement Garden’.)
Spending my Saturday night at a pop up chicken ‘restaurant’ has opened my eyes ever wider to the foolishness of London scenesters.
Five years ago Kentish Town was a total dive but now London’s trendy folk flock from all around (blaming the downfall of Camden). As a result Lucky Chip has opened a pop up restaurant, Lucky Fried Chicken, on the first floor of The Grafton; for a limited time only you can get overpriced fried chicken in a fancy venue. Hurrah.
KFC equivalence aside, the staff were very friendly and, of course, very trendy. The location was typically chic with candles aplenty and empty bottles along the windowsills. Between three of us we paid £30 for nine pieces of fried chicken and a side each. I love fried chicken so unsurprisingly it was good but only marginally better than my local chicken shop and that’s the clincher! Fried chicken is fried chicken my friends!
Yet what a hypocrite I am for travelling all the way from Walthamstow to Kentish Town with my flatmate despite having TWO KFCs within a five minute walk of our place.
Perhaps I’m a foolish scenester. Or, even worse, perhaps I’m living with one.