30 Sep 2009

And i wasn't alone in thinking Strictly Come Dancing attire is 'trashy'

Look what I've found:

One of the two professional costumiers that supplies dresses to Strictly is DanceSport International in Croydon. DSI hires the dresses to the BBC, and then sells them to anyone who could possibly want a half-dress made of fringing and feathers in some eye-burningly luminous shade. Twenty-five dresses worn on Strictly are being shown on the DSI website as I write, prices on application. Every dress is based on a leotard; some of the celebs choose to wear something under the leotard, others don't. Even the virtual nudity that features in so many of the Latin routines is fake, although the grotesque bump and grind is real enough.

I know. Anyone would have thought I had written that, but it was in fact Germaine Greer.

Read the rest of her article in which she whole heartedly agrees with moi here.
Great minds think alike.

29 Sep 2009

He's Back...

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into your living rooms Chris bloody Hollins rears his ugly sexist head.

You may remember Hollins for the sexist remarks he made last year to innocent news present Sian Williams. I of course stepped up to the challenge and made my thoughts known to the BBC (aka the Basically for Boys Corporation), but they refused to meet my requests and Hollins is still allowed to run wild of licence fee payers televisions insulting the female race.

And now he's managed to worm his way into Strictly Come Dancing! I can't believe he's been allowed to set foot on the set for this 'family' show. Bruce Forsyth presents it for god's sake, although I'm sure even his hands are not clean from the putrid stains of chauvinism.

Look at this video of him yapping on about himself:

Quote: "I can't wait for the tight outfits..."

We all know ballroom dancing is pretty misogynistic anyway. Those gaudy dresses are terribly revealing and remind me of that awful debutant's ball I was forced to attend during my late teens. I of course spent most of the night alone in the toilets writing poetry, a pass time more worthy of my creative talents. Apologies, I digress. But what's more even shocking is my concurrence with the Daily Male when they criticised the skimpy 'dish cloth' dresses for 'cheapening the show'. I was of course one of the angry viewers who called in and made my thoughts KNOWN to the BBC. You just can't get away with skirts that short before the watershed. I refer you to said article. And then of course there was the sexist ageism evident in the dismissal of the lovely old biddy Arlene-what's-her-name.

And just when you thought it couldn't get anymore sexist... Chris Hollins is a contestant!

<"TAKE YOUR HANDS OFF HER!": sexual harrassment on live telly.

Lady readers, I would urge you not to vote at all, but if you must know that I am officially endorsing Natalie Cassidy (aka Sonia from Eastenders). I admire her courage for appearing to national television despite being extremely overweight. Her winning might set a positive example to other young fat girls.

We fight on and we fight to win! Toodles!

22 Sep 2009

'A Virgin's Tale' after Bridget Bardot

Bridget Bardot, French existentialist sex kitten, has just turned 75. Retrospectives of this formidable blonde's life have caused me to reflect on, well, my own life. Like Bardot, I was at my prime in my youth. Before I discovered barbiturates, before booze, long before I discovered men, my first love was writing. I was a prolific writer even before my earliest memories, when Aunt Lily tells me I would scrawl nonsensical letters up the walls of the family house, convinced that I was a new prophet after having been given a Good News Bible by a well-meaning Popish cousin. Christianity would not hold my formidable imagination in thrall for long.

I finished my first opera Thebes, A Virgin’s Tale: Parts 1-9 by aged eight, then began to experiment with higher artistic forms including drama, mime and philosophic dialogues. One of my most precocious works from this period with which you may be familiar, Persephone: Pythagorean Musings of a Woman in Perpetual Despair, won Little Miss Brain Award, Hampshire in 1993 - past winners include Philippa Gregory, Marie Curie and Diana,Princess of Wales.

Having exhausted the genre of Socratic Discourse at the ripe old age of twelve I turned my talents to poetry, fiction and historical writing. You may be familiar the historical biography Eleanor of Aquitane: A Life in Haiku and my later work The Tears of the Wood Nymph which won the Marianne Keyes prize for Creative Writing. And now let me treat you to Greek Tragedy I composed on a holiday to the Lake District aged 11 in the style of Handel's Aces and Galatea.

Thebes: A Virgin’s Tale

ACT 1 Scene 1

The Temple of Apollo, Thebes. A CHORUS of Humming Birds stand centre right.

Chorus: The Oracle The Oracle The Oracle!

A Virgin steps down from the Temple of Apollo in Thebes. She is followed by a host of wild animals, including finches, mice and rabbits. She holds a basket of wild oats which she begins to symbolically sprinkle on the ground.

The Virgin: Hail! I hear a new morn dawn in Thebes
What can it mean? What can it be?

The Rabbit: This is a new context.

The Finch: I feel like I’ve been pecked.

The Mouse: Oh an Oedipal effect.

Chorus: The Oracle The Oracle The Oracle!

The Virgin: Philomena I am called and my tragic tale applaud
For now I share with thee how cruel the world can be!
I was born alone

Chorus: Alone Alone Alone!

The Virgin: The mother was a whore

Chorus: Whore Whore Whore!

The Virgin: To the temple I did come.

Chorus: Attention!

The Army of Zeus enters stage left. Step forward ZEUS disguised as an attractive athlete.

Zeus: I have come to Thebes to find a Vir-------gin!

Chorus: Hap Hap Happy!

Zeus: What’s this?
A little girl to pillage.
Best looking in the village!

Chorus: Run Run Philomena!

Zeus: To make her mine
Will be no crime
Cause she’s so fine!

Chorus: Rape Rape and Death!

Virgin: Nay I shall not relent
My will cannot be bent
Although a maid of humble offing
I shall not be pushed into boffing!

Chorus: Apollo Apollo save her save her

Virgin: I am scared as Laius
When screwed up and cursed us
Poor me like Antigone
To an underground home shall flee

Chorus: Zeus Zeus is in your house!

Virgin: Ay me so I see
But he shall not steal my chastity!


Zeus: To pluck her virgin’s tooth
I’ll have to use a hoof
Disguised as a fine horse
My plan shall surely take its course.


Chorus: Yes we’ll make a killing for there’s no chance of Zeus wining!

The Rabbit: Poor Philomena!

Chorus: Zeus will surely woo her!

The Finch: She’d love to ride a pony!

The Chorus: And Zeus is just a phoney!

The Mouse: Nay she cannot fail!

The Chorus: For it is called a Virgin’s Tale, a Virgin’s Tale!
Oh Oh Oh it is!
The Oracle The Oracle The Oracle!

14 Sep 2009

The curious case of the Bluestocking Pony and a warning to us all...

Can you believe it? ANOTHER one of my great ancestors has been written about AGAIN in terribly important historical work. This time it's about the bluestockings and my great great Auntie Polly Constance Rider.

She features in a wonderful book by the author Jane Robinson called Bluestockings - The Remarkable Story of the First Women to Fight for an Education. I read about it on the F-word. Although my great great auntie is not directly mentioned a dear anecdote pointed me in the right direction:

... the story of Constance Maynard, for example, appears across several chapters and eventually the mention of her name is like rediscovering an old friend. That Maynard’s father tried to bribe her out of accepting a university place by offering her a pony seems to tickle Robinson in particular, as she brings it up repeatedly. You can almost see her eyes rolling.

Well indeed, because my great great Auntie Polly Constance Rider, was indeed that very Constance! She later married a Maynard and dropped the Polly (she went on to work for Mi5 in Moscow and they thought it was a bit of a giveaway). But what Robinson doesn't know, and what history books won't tell you, is that she accepted that pony with eager joy: and do not roll your eyes Robinson! For she used that pony to become a highway robber, which gave her financial independence, the kind an education could never buy.

Indeed as feminists we must step outside of these pre conceived 'notions' of 'education'. It's very small minded. The whole of life is an erudite force cleaning the tunnels of our minds like a lavender-scented aromatherapy candle (divine!). In this respect one has to conclude that you are either born highly intelligent or just plain dumb, and I think we all know what category the Riders fall into.

Hugs and Pugs!

13 Sep 2009

Posie Rider: My life as an Activist

Now as you'll all know I am descended from a long line of female activists dating back to William the Conquerer's consort Matilda de Ridier IV, so after reading said article in the Observer today, which considers why women are better campaigners than men, I feel that, as an obvious voice of authority in such matters, I am total liberty to extrapolate.

Lady readers, we all know that women make far superior campaigners because:

a) women have and still shoulder the burden of man's prejudice: "we are the Jews for all seasons" as my Aunt Lilly used to say. As a result we are forced to take to arms in order to defend our lot and thus demonstrate our skills.

b) women represent the future of humanity.

c) (the obvious) women are better than men.

d) the media trust women more than men, mainly (and this is scientific fact) because we have longer hair.

e) most women are too stupid to understand anything, rendering them incapable of activating against anything compesmentus. As a result any female initiative seems more impressive than in really is. In fact sustained female efforts to effectively act in unison in the name of politics is extremely rare when you consider the woman:political cause ratio. Of course many women have attempted to master the group dynamic but often land up lost in large out of town supermarkets, or in cat fights over what colour paint to use on thier activist posters. Some can't even open their own front doors.

I personally am dead set against violence - "the pen is zen, the sword is fraud,'' as my Aunt Lilly used to say. You'll be able to see from my letter writing campaigns against the very sexist Ricky Gervais and the bigot sports presenter Chris (I can't even remember your surname) something from the BBC, that these campaigns have indeed proved most effective and will no doubt go on to change the course of humanity itself.

In the mean time I have a lovely afternoon planned making a courgette tart. Melody is coming over later and we're going to play scrabble. Toodles xx

9 Sep 2009

Why Women Are Really Afraid of Psychologists

Last week's news coverage of a would-be psychologist's proof that women are 'genetically predisposed to be socially conditioned in certain ways', aka to be afraid of spiders, while men are less likely to fear spiders, has to be the most depressing thing ever. EVER. Here are some highlights from the Sky News coverage.

Why Women are Really Afraid of Sexist Spiders

Psychologist Dr David Rakison from Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University tested 10 girls and 10 boys, all aged 11-months, with pictures of spiders to see how they reacted. He showed them images of a spider next to a fearful cartoon face and a spider next to a happy face. Dr Rakison's report, published in the New Scientist, states that the girls looked at the picture containing a happy face for longer than the scared one. However, the boys looked at both images for an equal amount of time.

He concluded that the girls found the happy face puzzling as they were expecting to see the spider paired with a frightened face.The psychologist said these tests show that girls have a genetic predispostion to fear the arachnids in contrast with boys who do not ... He linked the difference in results to our hunter-gatherer ancestry when he says women had to be wary of dangerous animals to protect their children, whereas men used more risky behaviour in order to be successful hunters.

Let's ignore the obvious - that 20 individuals tested is not representative of ANYTHING - and have a little look that Dr. Rakison's conclusions.

Firstly, I must ask, why didn't they monitor the amount of time the girls looked at the image of the spider? I had to delete the tarantula image from the article just to write this blogpost! There's every chance that they just enjoyed looking at the happy face. People are cute like that.

Or perhaps the girls, by the age of four, have learnt that spiders are often frightening, and were intrigued by the mixed messages being sent by scientists. This would have nothing to do with their innate predisposition for fear, more to do with their enhanced sensitivity to social mores in the abstract, which the silly (or 'indifferent') boys lack.

Another technical problem with the research is that Rakison doesn't seem to have used a control. In this case, I imagine an image of something innocuous like a circle or triangle next to a happy then scared face would demonstrate whether the amount of time the children looked at the image had anything to do with their enjoyment of the expressions thereon, or sheer confusion of the object and expression being put together.

Rakison's 'social' conclusions don't make sense either. I'm sure any mother would willingly mash a spider or fling a snake out the cave door to save her precious little ones. Otherwise she'd have to stand on a boulder or something squealing until a Manny Man came home, by which time the kids would all be dead.

More convincingly, maybe women in this day and age are allowed to indulge their fears more in infancy, and are encouraged to take delight in the attention of others (a nasty tarantula on my pretty pink dress, eek!) whereas men are encouraged to overcome them in shows of bravado. Social construction of gender anyone? Oh nevermind.

Anyway, none of these musings on the sexism of spiders matter anyway because


7 Sep 2009

Back from the brink of marriage and alive - just!

Lady readers, I can only apologise for my absence. Yesterday was clearly the worst day of my life, but I awake renewed and refreshed for, thank god, I'm not married!

Things went from bad to slightly better to pretty bad again on Saturday, as Ann was placated by her pizza, but soon high and buzzing from the Cherry Coke I served her as an accompaniment. She came as close to being drunk on sugar and E numbers as any woman I have ever seen over the age of 12, reminiscent of a childhood summer I spent in Portugal trying to get drunk on Malibu ice cream, and then just Malibu. Attempts to entertain her were fruitless as she babbled half incomprehensible nonsense about her family and childhood and the difficulties she faced as a worshipper of Sappho (who she's never read, I ask you!) in the blustering North. It was all rather too moving for me, and I accidentally fell asleep picturesquely in my bio-form Habitat beanbag, to be unceremoniously awoken 7 hours later by Emmeline. Morning had come, and Ann was already in her dress.

Now, we'd kept our dresses a secret from one another so that it would be a lovely surprise. Just to clarify, mine was this one.

As a feminist bride, I'd thought long and hard about what to wear, critical as it is to uphold one's political principles while doing justice to one's admirable waist (cf. the Suffragettes with their great hats). Having decided that my virginity, soul, modesty and so forth were decidedly un-'white', in the bridal symbolic spectrum, I decided to opt for a revolutionary black. Obviously it had to be vast and puffy, and cinch the waist to the vanishing point. I mean I was bloody well getting married. You can't tell from this picture but I also wore an enormous boat shaped black hat based on a Elizabethan design after the defeat of the Spanish Armada. This represented feminism's defeat of patriarchy (and my love of QE1).

Anyway, knowing me just a little bit (enough to be my wife) I thought Ann would have picked up on my fierce, yet feminine, yet feminist, yet fashionable, tendencies, and swapped her frock for a frock coat, top-hat and little cane like the gorgeous Marlene Dietrich. How else would we achieve the desirable and chic gender-bending irono-androgene feminist-couplage I've always dreamed of? Sort of like...

The desire to flout gender conventions through revolutionary dress was clearly the last thing on Ann's mind. From nowhere, hundreds of bunches of white lilies had appeared and filled the house (symbolic of death, surely? Poor stupid Ann, she should've paid attention at the Waterhouse exhibition). White bows decked the staircase, sugared almonds in grotesque pink were boxed up and patterned with love hearts. LOVE HEARTS. There were love hearts everywhere, all over my potato stamped (U+26A2) symbol recycled crepe paper table cloths, filling up my mooncup shaped vases, and all the dead roses I'd put out in ironic reminiscence of the Miss Haversham bits from Great Expectation were destroyed. Ann thought they were depressing.

And her dress.

I don't know how to explain it, I don't have the words, or the stomach. I've looked all day for a picture that approximates its horror. This is the closest one I've found.

That really finished it off. I couldn't marry Ann. Ann was clearly a maniac. I mean, what's the point of marrying a feminist if you're going to wear a dress like that? Getting rid of Ann was harder than deciding not to marry her. At first she didn't understand, then she didn't believe me, then she wanted to kill me. As she came at me wielding the phallus shaped pinata I'd planned to destroy during our vows, I had little choice but to let Emmeline pounce. She's always very defensive of her mistress. There was blood everywhere, like in Carrie.

After the attack, I ordered Ann a cab. I was feeling generous and pretty guilty about everything, so I got it to take her to the National Express depot, not Megabus, which is pretty awful. I only hope she could afford the fare. She doesn't know London very well.

And what have I learnt? Perhaps that relationships, either with women, or men, are not my strong point. Perhaps, as Emmeline often advises me, I need to pursue the solitary course, concentrate on my writing, develop my many undeveloped talents. A woman's way is hard, but only alone can she enjoy the self-expanding freedoms of solitude.

And Ann, this is for you. Though you are uncultured, this may help you formulate your grief. I'm so so sorry!

I have not had one word from her
Frankly I wish I were dead
When she left, she wept
a great deal; she said to me,
"This parting must be
endured, Sappho. I go unwillingly."
I said, "Go, and be happy
but remember (you know well)
whom you leave shackled by love
"If you forget me, think
of our gifts to Aphrodite
and all the loveliness that we shared
"all the violet tiaras, braided rosebuds, dill and
crocus twined around your young neck
"myrrh poured on your head
and on soft mats girls with
all that they most wished for beside them
"while no voices chanted
choruses without ours,
no woodlot bloomed in spring without song..."

5 Sep 2009

Really worried about Ann...

I've just managed to get away from Ann for a moment and readers, I must confess, I'm extremely uncomfortable. I had of course realised that Ann was something of a 'diamond in the rough' - I'm reminded of Moll Flanders, or the winkle-picker one from Tipping the Velvet - but her behaviour today has been less picaresque and more...dare I say...'pikey'.

Now that's a horrible term, I know, and I wouldn't dream of using it normally. The Riders, as I have mentioned, have a long socialist history - my Great Aunt Geraldine famously donated all but one of her five country estates to the National Trust (she kept Scotland, it was the biggest). I have read widely in Marx and really identified with Tess of the D'Urbevilles, poor duck. But Tess didn't have a Sony XBox. Or a Lacoste sleep suit. Or cold sores. And she probably knew what risotto was (Ann thought it was rice pudding).

I don't mean to complain, it's just the weekend's not going how I thought it was going to at all. Ann "wasn't hungry" this morning when I produced my celebrated Eggs Posie (Eggs Benedict but with garlic mayonnaise instead of Hollandaise - yum!). She wolfed down a Bloody Mary only to sick a little in her hand and scream at me for 'feeding her ketchup', and wasn't calmed until I made her a Nesquik from an old packet I once accidentally bought for Emmeline. And she was palpably uncomfortable at the J. W. Waterhouse exhibition I took her to this afternoon. She didn't even find all the little nymphs pretty - I'm worried we don't have anything in common!

What shall I do? She's busy playing Street Fighter now but she'll have finished this level soon (oh god, I can tell by the music, what's happening to me?) and will be coming out to see if her risotto-replacement pizza is ready. The wedding's tomorrow. Oh god...what if Melody was right?

4 Sep 2009

Ann is here...

Ann is here and I must say I'd forgotten how 'boisterous' she is. Can you believe that she doesn't know what a artichoke is? She saw one in my organic vegetable box and thought it was a toy character from the film 'Alien'.

I've managed to steal away to my (non-pink, yet feminine) laptop to write this while Ann plays on her Sony X-box. She brought it with her, all the way down from the north on the Megabus via the M4. Not my chosen mode of transport, but the Riders have been noted for their socialist tendencies in the past so I shall not gripe.

3 Sep 2009

4.48 Psychosis

Now as you know I've been feeling pretty down lately: finally I discover happiness as a lesbian and the world seems to turn against me! But at least homophobia has provided me with the kind of dour inspiration required to write 'A Year off the Ward' which looks set to be a tribute to gonzo journalism meets earl grey tea meets illustrated children's book.

However in spite of some irregular, whimsical journeys back into the 'ward of my mind', I have been experiencing withdrawal symptons: I'm missing those soft lined walls, the smell of surgical spirit, my slightly damp mauve pillows, and the lavender soap Aunt Lily used to send me. So cue my old dear friend Sarah Kane and her prolific work of the stage: 4.48 Psychosis. It transports me right back in the mental turmoil of insanity as fast as you can say 'sectioned'! Why it's a modern master(ess)piece.

Sarah was an inspiration to us all. RIP. We once met briefly at a Jackie Kay poetry reading in Waterstones in the mid 90s, but she was from Essex and failed to see things from my point of view. I was in the haberdashery department of Peter Jones when I found out she'd killed herself. I made a vow right there and then, in front of the fuchsia pink wool I had selected for Aunt Lilly's winter scarf, to never do to the same. It's the responsibility of lady writers, such as myself, to preserve our prolific talent to enlighten ignorant women across the world. Poor Sarah. (However, one has to remember that she was AWFULLY sad at the 'end')

This adaptation might be of particular interest to you readers. It's an incredibly profound adaption by those budding young TV film makers at Lincoln University. It really brings back all the pain and confusion I felt last summer.... but NO MORE! Ann in coming to stay this afternoon and I have laundered my cath kithson sheets and even bought us matching floral dresses!

2 Sep 2009

Melody disapproves of my lesbian wedding

Melody has just left after a very long and very 'honest' tea party. I had prepared a delicious spread of cucumber sandwiches, lemon tarts and vagina cakes, alongside a pitcher of Irish coffee, to break the news about my civil partnership with Ann.

Melody reacted badly. She claims that I'm not taking my lesbianism seriously and that its just a 'phase' I'm going through. She obviously doesn't care about my feelings because actually, as it happens, Posie is very much in love and wounded to the core! Ann is coming down to stay with me this weekend and I'm insisting that Melody button up and be civil. I'm going to have a supper party to celebrate our engagement on Saturday, I'm going to make Raclette, and be happy and be a lesbian forever!

1 Sep 2009

my REAL feminist wedding

Ann (my new lesbian lover) has come crawling back to me in remorse, begging to be taken back. Of course I always have my head firmly screwed in the love department of Store Posie, but when it comes to Ann I just don't know what to think. She's an artist you see, and tres passionate, which probably explains why she's asked me to marry her. At first I thought she was mad: sending an engagement ring by courier pigeon is a touch bizarre, even if the diamond is too small to be taken seriously. I was determined to say decline, but then I came across this article in The Times by that stupid Ellen Levenson (poo-head). It's called 'My Real Feminist Wedding' and it's about her maintaining her feminist tendencies during the nuptials. Let's take a look shall we?

"The first feminist thing about our wedding was the nature of the proposal. I do not believe that men have to propose to women, but neither did I feel comfortable proposing myself. If he had said yes, how would I ever have believed he wanted it as much as me, rather than saying yes to keep me quiet? After many conversations about whether we would get married, and, in fact, after we had provisionally booked our venue, I insisted on a proposal. He duly went away and planned my nonsurprise, popping the question on a hill overlooking our beloved London, followed by a fancy dinner."

So you basically bullied your man into marrying you? You need a 'fancy' dinner when there are people dying in the world, when there are people even dying in London??

"Asking my dad for my hand in marriage was not going to happen either. My dad, whom I get on with brilliantly, advises me on many aspects of my life, but I am a grown woman and he does not give me permission to do anything, just as I do not give him permission to do the things he wants to do."

Well my Dad's dead you silly bitch (both he and my mother were killed in an unfortunate punting accident when I was a wee sprite). How insensitive.

"Nor did my fiancé and I spend the night apart before the wedding. We already lived together, so, as we were about to make a big public statement, who would be more comforting to be around than each other? We went out for another fancy dinner, walked along the Thames and congratulated ourselves on being so clever. The next morning we got a cab to the register office; we walked into the marriage room along with all our guests and took our seats at the front."

Another 'fancy dinner' hey? Smug bitch. And what if one's a raving Catholic and doesn't want to use the registry office? I'm not a crate of bananas entering the country you know. And worst of all she remains convinced that she's not a Fumbie:

"Fumbies are those women who forget about their feminist ideals the minute they get a ring on their finger and become a simpering bride, given away, obedient and letting men speak for them. Of course, no wedding can be truly feminist. In our own feminist wedding, did my husband and I check that it wasn’t only women making the food, or cleaning up the venue? No, we didn’t. Symbolically, at least, we felt our wedding was as feminist as it could be."

Well of course it's not! You can't marry a man and call yourself a feminist! I was furious. And then I realised, marrying a woman, well THAT would be a real feminist wedding, wouldn't it? And if I went through with it well maybe I'd be published in the Times too?

I'm still pondering the dilemma over a cup of mint tea and a platter of home made flapjacks. The pigeon only arrived a few hours ago and Emmeline Pankhurst (my cat) soon had its eyes out. The little minx even hugged the ring, which I had to exchange with her for the latest copy of The Economist.