One moment you’re revelling in being able to use your garden furniture for more than two weekends on the trot, the next you’re overhearing the word “Christmas” pop up in conversations like the awkward dinner party guest who turns up half an hour early, just as you’re switching your hairdryer on.
Also, you become another year older. Or I did, earlier this month. And as a result I’ve been thinking about time passing and I guess, more explicitly, ageing.
But here’s the thing – I’ve been thinking about it in a positive way.
Today I watched a video of a 22-year-old woman being smacked in the face by a stranger after she briefly reproached him for sexually harassing her and it made me feel so exhausted.
I’m tired, guys. Really tired. And I know I’m not the only one who feels like this. It’s impossible not to when you’re a woman and you read, watch and experience sexual harassment every single day.
Last night, as I was coming back home in Paris, I walked past a man who sexually/verbally harassed me. He wasn’t the first one and I can’t accept being humiliated like that, so I replied “shut up”. He then threw an ashtray at me, before rushing back to punch me, in the middle of the street, in front of dozens of people.
– Marie Laguerre
This is a subject I’ve wanted to write about for a long time but I’ve always talked myself out of it because I feared how it might make me look. I thought people might think I’m a man-hating drama queen or that it would attract exactly the kind of unwanted attention I’m going to tell you about.
But I haven’t talked myself out of it this time. Because I no longer care. I don’t care if men tweet me explaining exactly why I’ve got it all wrong. I don’t care if you secretly think I “put myself out there” and therefore deserve criticism. I simply don’t care.
Before, I was tired of the fear of being judged but now I’m just tired.
That’s probably because it’s draining, being constantly angry.
If you follow me on social media you’ll know I don’t take crap from… well, anyone. So why do I, along with so many others, take it day in, day out in the real world?
Reading Marie’s story woke something up inside of me, something that started around the time I was a student myself and was one day cornered on the street by a man who began masturbating in front of me. I was in utter shock and ran into a nearby shop and told the staff what had happened.
Yesterday I went to see A Quiet Place at the cinema with slight trepidation. Not because it was an absurdly sunny day to be going to the cinema but because I’m pretty shit at watching horror films.
Don’t get me wrong, I do love a scary movie. I’ve completely geeked out over many of them, from the masterpieces (The Shining), to the divisive (Paranormal Activity) to the pure unapologetic (Drag Me to Hell).
But as someone who has been known to jump ten feet in the air when the person I live with unexpectedly walks into the room, I have to be in the right frame of mind to take on a horror, otherwise I’ll end up watching the entire thing through my fingers.
So, being stuck in a cinema seat with no escape made me slightly nervous. But as it turns out, it was the best film I’ve watched on the big screen in a long time and I couldn’t tear my eyes away.
Usually when a movie finishes and the end credits roll everyone gets up, eager for fresh air or a toilet break. When A Quiet Place ended, everyone in the theatre remained seated for a while, having to compose themselves for a bit. Then all around I could hear conversations confirming my own thoughts. It was bloody fantastic.
It tells the story of a family trying to survive in a world that’s been ravaged by an alien invasion. It sounds like a pretty generic formula but what makes this film so interesting – and terrifying – is the fact the monsters are blind but have an acute sense of hearing. Therefore we see a mum, dad, teenage daughter and young boy living life as silently as possible, padding barefoot on sand-softened ground, communicating via sign language and the merest of whispers. The mute life is such a killjoy, they even have to play monopoly with soft felt pieces instead of metal dogs and handbags. Ludicrous.
And without giving too much away, there’s an absolute gut-punch of a first scene which shows exactly why they don’t want to be making any noise whatsoever. These creatures do not mess around. They hunt by sound and they hunt fast.
This Sunday is the London Marathon and one of my best friends Laura is running it. She’s never done a marathon before and I hope she doesn’t mind me writing this here but to put it bluntly, she’s terrified.
Here she is. One of those people that looks disgustingly beautiful even when exercising. But don’t hold that against her.
I’m writing this because I’ve been getting frequent freak-out messages from her and I get it. I ran the marathon for the first time two years ago and I know exactly how she feels. It’s a big deal. It takes over everything – your body, your mind, your work and social life – and you do wonder if you’ll survive it. Seriously, as a former PE-dodging, current day prosecco-swilling miscreant, I did think about drawing up a will halfway through training for mine.
It’s been 34 years today since the world’s most angsty detention, with the iconic 80s film The Breakfast Club set on Saturday March 24, 1984.
This just so happens to be the year I was born, so I wasn’t overly familiar with the movie until I chanced upon it about a decade ago. But from that moment, it earned a firm place in my top ever movies list, so when I was asked by Rich Nelson to be a guest on his podcast Betamax Video Club, I jumped at the chance, suggesting we discuss John Hughes’ masterpiece.
For want of a more positive term, you could call me a rock wag, instead. Or some people just like to use the term groupie.*
Whichever way you put it, I’m dating someone in a band.
In short, this means I’m irritating the shit out of everyone who follows me on social media right now because the band in question – Black Palms – have just released their first track. And I REALLY want everyone to see it.
It’s a difficult one though because the problem is, when you’re in a band or ‘with’ the band, no one else really gives a fuck. Sure, friends and family will give it a obligatory Facebook like and maybe a share but will people actually sit and watch the video and listen to the track? Download it? Subscribe to the mailing list? Tell their friends?
If you’re anything like me, when someone asks you to check out a video on the internet your immediate reaction is to think “maybe later” and then completely forget about it. Videos are hard work. You have to get your headphones in or make sure your sound’s turned up and then actually invest minutes of your precious time.