Monday, 27 June 2016

If I Could Turn Back Time


Like many bloggers who chip at the humourous/cultural ramblings edge of the blogging coal face, it's been a bit hard to put pen to paper this week. I don't want to ignore the diseased elephant in the room that was the EU Referendum, neither do I want to pretend to be the political commentator that I'm not (there's enough of those crawling out of the woodwork with adding my two euros worth) but a lot of the stuff I normally witter about seems a little trivial.


I was going to go down the analogies route and do a divorce piece (trust me, I have good material on that) but I'm suffering a sense of humour by-pass none of you need be party to and I fear trolls/ex-husbands (possibly the same?) may go in for the kill. I had also thought of a witty diversion on hairdressing centred on Boris and Donald until I realised a page of expletives and a few dodgy pictures are a law-suit not a blog. So, along with far more of the UK than that spineless prat of a PM who has fled the sinking ship with a speed that puts the shadow-cabinet to shame had the wit to realise might not be thinking straight (yes it's a long sentance but go with it, read it twice), I'm going to take a bit of a departure from business as usual for this offering. Not a wander through history or a recast but a bit of a spotlight on some of the women who have emerged from the last few weeks looking pretty damn fine and a celebration of some of my favourite bits of European culture. While we still remember what that is.

Let's start with the women. First up are the BBC's political editor Laura Kuenssberg and journalist Emily Maitlis who did such a great reporting job on the night of the Referendum. Yes it was billed as Dimbleby's show, it always is, but these two were total professionals for a ridiculous amount of time when most of us had reached the dribbling stage, were constantly brimming with pertinent questions and, in Kuenssberg's case at least, seemingly everywhere with the best scoops. And both, unlike Mr Dimbleby, have recently weathered dreadful personal attacks which has done nothing to diminish their determination to a great job: a stalker in Maitland's case and a sacking petition against Kuenssberg which released a torrent of vile abuse. Forget all the graphics, the leaping about and the old-boy cosy chumminess, these two were the safe hands - here's to them being the anchors for the coming general election, the Scottish referendum and all the Article 50 madness yet to come. 

Talking about women who are everywhere - how many Nicola Sturgeons are there currently in existence? She's been unstoppable and, unlike the rest of the 'leaders' she's actually been leading. Calm, visible and passionate - she's been the exception among politicians these last few days and I hope she's a blueprint for politicians to come rather than the ego-driven flavour that has clearly sickened too many people. As the UK becomes increasingly petition-obsessed, it's fascinating to see that currently only 65 people have signed the one asking Sturgeon to step down. Oh Mr Corbyn, how that must be smarting the wound. Three women who are acting as great role models for professional behaviour amidst a sea of backstabbing, stupidity and self-interest. There's a fourth: Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Tories. She and I are politically poles apart (except on the EU issue) but hats-off, her contribution to the referendum debate has been exceptional. She's one of the few people (and I don't know how she does it) who manages to consistently point out Boris Johnson's inconsistencies while not falling into the personal insult trap. To use a good northern phrase, she brought some real welly to the argument and gave us a new Scrappy Do now that Arya Stark is off our screens again. And perhaps that's my cultural reference point: where Game of Thrones was once all about the men, now its about the fearsome and fearless women taking control of the divided 7 kingdoms. Forget 7, we've managed to drive a wedge between 27 - it may be time for dragons.

So, an end to the rant (it was inevitable) and let's celebrate some European culture. I'm limiting myself to one film, one book and one icon or I'll be here all day and you'll have long gone off to apply for an Irish passport.

Let's start with the film. There is some amazing stuff coming out of Germany at the moment but my favourite has to be Victoria - it's a one camera, claustrophobic chaotic film of a heist gone badly out of control that you'll think you're part of. Our heroine is Spanish, it's set in Berlin and it's in 3 languages. All boxes ticked. Go see it and then go for a lie down.

  video

For my novel I'm going all magical - and yes, I know the author is Mexican but the novel was written in Spanish, by a woman and it's about women so it meets my very loose criteria - with Like Water for Chocolate. It's magical realism, it includes recipes and it's set against the backdrop of the Mexican revolution and the first waves of Mexican feminism. Buy chocolate, throw a sickie (this is probably a good time to do it as everyone's eye is off the ball) devour it in one sitting and wallow in its beauty. Just don't watch the film. Ever. Some things are better left in your head - perhaps someone could pass that thought along to Cameron?

And finally, an icon. Where to start, except I decided it had to be female and I couldn't plug my novel (the heroine is French, here's a link), so here are my criteria: feisty, a bit eccentric, great clothes and/or jewellry, ploughs their own path, opiniated and dark secrets. To plagiarise a football chant: there's only one Sarah Bernhardt. She slept in a coffin and wore Tiffany jewels - I realise there's a bit of a Spongebob riff to that but by any standard the women was a star.

We are living in interesting times and it feels, at the moment, like a curse. I'm an optimist, I hope common sense will somehow prevail and the voices we hear going forward will be reasonable, rational ones. Let's hear it for the girls.

10 comments:

  1. To interesting times. (We have a spare room in Spain. Want to join us?)

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    1. Interesting indeed - lovely thought but I think Aran will be easier!

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  2. Your post Catherine is so refreshing after all that's gone before. I must admit I'm not brave enough to get my head above the parapet for fear of being shot down.

    Thanks for linking on #TalkoftheTown

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    1. Understand that - I really just wanted to fly the flag for some of the women who've managed to remain dignified throughout!

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  3. Wow, you covered some ground in this post. I too am praying for common sense and rational thinking - two qualities not usually found in politicians.
    Yay, to the girls :-)

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    1. Yay indeed - sadly I share your view!

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  4. Absolutely right, only the women give us hope. Returning to our villa in Portugal soon, before they throw us out because of Brexit. #WeekendBlogShare

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  5. I love the way that you have approached this issue - instead of more hate and name calling, you've found the positives. Thanks for being level headed and also for joining the #weekendblogshare

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  6. Thank you, I was trying to follow Nicola's lead. She made us proud up here in Scotland!

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