Thursday, 6 December 2012

December 6th: I am feminist. That wasn't hard, was it?

Traipsing back from work with my housemate, we spent our forty minutes together having a nice chat. This is not unusual behaviour, and nor was the content that entailed. Working for a (decent) celebrity magazine, we are used to finding out "the gossip" first and generally not batting an eyelid. However, the information I heard today clearly fell of my radar. I would have punched a hole in my wardrobe otherwise.

"So, Katy Perry scooped the Woman Of The Year Award today," said my flatmate.

"Oh really? I think she seems like a decent sort, I'll give that one a thumbs up," was my response.

"Well, she won the award, and then informed the entire crowd that she definitely wasn't a feminist," explained my counterpart.

"She isn't a feminist?"

The terms Feminism and Feminist may be two of the most misunderstood terms of current debate today. I am undoubtedly, ardently, proudly, unabashedly a feminist. But worryingly, who isn't?

I am an incredibly opinionated individual. Not one to shy away from a debate, I am more than happy to stick up for and promote my beliefs wherever possible, both in my public and private sense of lifestyle. Once receiving a series of emails emblazoning me as an "embarrassment" to my student paper when referred to as "our staunch feminist editor", I have even been subject to one malicious individual's perversions to "try and piss that feminist bitch off" in seminars when I wasn't even aware of his name. But this is where I struggle. I believe in equal rights between men and women. This should not be a groundbreaking concept in a purportedly democratic society. Not one to go and impose my opinions on others, I am still amazed on a daily basis at to how many people I am acquainted with who shirk off the label "feminist". Are they confused? Are they ashamed? Where on earth did the meaning of the word "feminist" go wrong?

She may be held accountable to her recording label's big guns, but Katy Perry is not one to shy away from expressing her opinion. After hearing her on the One Show talk incessantly about her love of meat and lack of comprehension of vegetarianism, I believed that the singer was not one to shy away from offering her opinion. Rather than advocating, considering or not even mentioning the cause, the singer decided to offer her outright disapproval of equal rights between men and women. Upon denouncing it to her public, the singer promoted the idea to thousands of her fans that equality Is A Very Bad Thing. As well as leaking that pungent sentiment in the same air space as her fan base, Katy basically negated the movement that allowed her to be onstage in the first place.

For those who are interested in human rights 101, I have provided an apt and official definition of the term below. Cheers for making us feel like a plastic bag Katy.


The advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

December 5th: I want to be nice to someone

Although we should do it more frequently and throughout the year, Christmas brings out the charity in all of us. As I heard people discussing their stints in the soup kitchens, donations to the homeless and simply offering money to a needy cause, I realised that I had been a bit slow on the uptake this year. Luckily, I am one of those souls who finds it incredibly exciting to find the right present for that VIP member in your life, but I generally cry at the end of it when I find they already have it in blue. Ready to widen my span of generosity, I was stumped as to what events were specifically for those in need during the festive period. Thinking back to my childhood, I began to trawl through websites to find Operation Christmas Child.

My Catholic primary school consisted of 200 children in a tiny building enclosed in a Victorian structure encircled with bricks of mortar. Known to be one of the best primary schools in Hull, I thought nothing of my experience there at the time. I had made friends, been studious and enjoyed and failed an embarrassing series of extra-curricular activities (remedial football, anyone?) Although we were known to skip Red Nose Day, to pretty much every child's dismay, no one ever informed us of exactly what we were putting into. So today, when I found out that the Evangelical Samaritan's Purse is an Islamaphobic conversion mission I was rather dismayed.

Be a believer or non-believer, like plenty of people on this planet, either choice is respected by me, especially considering I am sure unclear as to what I think myself. As a environmental Catholic, I have been imbibed with the Catholic teachings in ways which I never thought would make a difference. Thrilled to find I have a greater source of Biblical contextual background to a text at University, and somewhere beautiful to congregate at Christmas and Easter has always been of great comfort to me. But yet again, it's the unity, the atmosphere, not exactly God, that takes me there. As a believer of religion as a force of good, I am scornful of those who refuse to believe in choice, freedom of sexuality and women's rights. Furthermore, I am absolutely incensed that a charity could deprive a child of a toothbrush because they do not share the same God.

Keen to pursue alternate methods to the incredibly successful appeal, I found that the ones that had begun were rendered defunct, or meagre substitutes could only be offered. I donate to Christian Aid because I was heartened by their mosquito net campaign, I have baked buns for CAFOD because they were my school's in-house charity, and even donated money to the Catholic institution in itself. Charity is a fantastic thing to do, but I only opened up the shoebox when I heard Pandora knocking, three years out of faith school, turning sentiment into segregation. Being brought up a default Catholic is no excuse for ignorance- so as well as keeping my Christian Aid donation alive, I just might get a goat for someone. Just someone who needs it.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

December 4th: My day in five bullet points

  1. It is now fourteen days until I go home for eighteen days for Christmas.
  2. I ate a potato the size of my forearm today.
  3. My boyfriend announced he is actually going to use his Twitter account, and is going to frequently embarrass me on there henceforth.
and in more important news...

     4. FHM looked like the complete bell ends they are today by attempting and failing to do the exact opposite of what a "lad" should be defined as, resulting in them describing females in the general sweep of "mum, girlfriend or victim."
    5. The "beat them down" mentality of Britain got underway as people attacked a woman having a baby, proclaiming that she "just had morning sickness". I got a bit worried as I googled her actual condition myself to find that people have died from it. 

And PS (because we all love a rule breaker)

6. JK Rowling's A Casual Vacancy is being turned into a BBC series. I'm sure I'm not the only one who really likes that.

Monday, 3 December 2012


I cannot believe it. I cannot believe it still. There I was, absent mindedly minding my own business having a lark on twitter laughing at some local comedian. Then before I knew it, Hadley Freeman had popped up, with a YouTube video attached to the comment "Kate pregnant." I looked further up the screen. Was it something from Reuters? Something from a freelancer? Frankly, I just do not know. But I was giggling, and before I knew it, I had proclaimed "hey everybody, there's some stuff on Twitter about Kate being pregnant." Little did I know what I had just done.

"WHERE'S MY BOSS?! KATE IS PREGNANT!" I bellowed at the top of my voice, frantically running as fast as my chubby little legs could take me around the other side of the office. "Damn my legs," I declared to my internal self. "Blast my eyes, for not being able to find my boss." Before I knew it, another member of the team was calling him to let him know the news, at 5pm English time. Never could I find a less likely time for a monarch to declare that they were carrying the future heir to the throne.

I understand for most people, this does not determine itself "newsworthy", but I have been on placement at a fantastic royally orientated magazine for four months, and for better or for worse, I have become indoctrinated. High on the rush of scrambling for info and trawling through news sites, I could not get enough of lending a play-by-play to the site that owed me so much. Even if my followers didn't want to hear it.

"UPDATE: Kate has not completed her first trimester," I chanted, lending myself to the #royalbaby hashtag.

"Come to us if you want all the insider information", I whispered, using the hashtag soI'mkindoflyingaboutthewhisperingthingaren'tI.

There were plenty of people ready to curse and debase, but like anyone who is sad enough to take a pop at someone who has just announced some of the happiest information they've ever had and ever will have in their lives, I couldn't help but feel sad for them.

"Guys, I think I love Kate," I admitted, two hours over my shit allocation.

"I think I just might be ready to defend her to the death, and I am just not exactly sure why. God I love journalism," I grunted, high from the caffeine.

The food baby must just have been sisterly solidarity. I love my job. I love life. And right now, I really fucking love wine.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

December 2nd: I knit feverishly and procrastinate

The one Christmas present that I now rely on getting every year is my annual organiser. Frequently losing my so-called "journal" of adolescent years, I spent year nine being cursed by my science teacher for forgetting the football team clad notebook that contained my mindless doodles of boredom. Noting that this is the year I lost a shoe, a coat and a pair of tracksuit bottoms in the place is only further proof of how much I rely on the beauty of pen and paper to happily survive as a human being. Since university, my organiser has become a thing of frantic to do lists. Feverishly demanding notes of sweeping my floors and washing my computer screen used to bid me good morning, only for me to tick off "go to friend's house" on the list. Aware that only a third of us in fact tick off a third of our projected tasks, there have been periods of the academic year when I have pushed the ringbinder aside when I have needed it the most. Opting to use the final month of my calendar as a time of reconciliation, I took once again to writing in my tattered notepad to find that I am a very disgusting creature. Feel free to peruse this excerpt at your own peril...

1) Sort out feet
2) Wash sheets
3) Knit (yet another) scarf
4) Hang clothes to dry
5) Arrange bookshelf
6) Clean laptop screen
7) Sort out nails
8) Get your secret santa present

I only completed one of those tasks. Oh, how I love to watch House in my Sunday filth...

I kicked over a wine bottle to share this with you.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

December 1st: The party where a series of minor events happened

I have concluded that there are no better means to incinerate your taste buds than to sip on a series of fruit-flavoured spirits all night. Waking up the next morning from the evening's exploits, I was disappointed to find that the salty scrambled eggs before me carried a pungent and bizarre raspberry vodka aftertaste that was not in the least desired. Complete with Spongebob Squarepants in arms- TV characters have a longer shelf life in Spain- my friends and I ventured to our first December event of the holiday season- a house party for someone who did not live in the house at hand.

ERASMUS connections are intrinsic to year abroad survival. As well as providing the much-needed attention that stops one watching Friends reruns whilst eating cheese by the mouthful is always a good reason to associate with others. Furthermore, the people you meet, cynically and admittedly, provide connections that have the potential to come in handy later on in life. Take Señor Party Time, for example. Deciding to use his position at the Embassy to full advantage, the cheeky chappie decided that his current dwellings were not up to scratch for smooth house party success, so opted to persuade a mutual friend to host his leaving party at the palatial mansion that wasn't his home. My own friend, who was lucky enough to live in the abode, was left fraught with confusion, whilst my other friend, also his current flatmate, wondered why on earth their flat wasn't up to scratch in the first place. This was perhaps not as delicate as the fact that we had decided to turn up to the event, having met the person in question for a brief introduction the previous night. With two bottles of table wine red in tow, I was surprised to find not only a DJ, who had far too much of an attachment to the dubstep genre for sober guests- but a free bar, staffed with an unimpressed waiter and a series of infallible spirit choices. As well as being assigned to his swanky and unexpected station, the waiter seemed to have secured an advertisement deal with a very popular beverage company.

"Raspberry vodka and lemonade, please," I kindly requested.

"Raspberry vodka is okay miss, but we don't have lemonade," said the waiter.

(I veer at the bottle of Sprite standing to the left of my poison of choice)

"Raspberry vodka and Sprite, please," I said.

"Coming right up."

I am too cruel to the man who relentlessly served me alcohol to the brink of collapse all night. As I began to wave my arms and brutally fashion my hips in a manner that at a stretch could be referred to as dancing, I realised that I had left my non-Spanish speaking housemate at the helm of toilets without loo roll, as well as three very obnoxious Americans, hitherto referred to as VOA's. 

My other flatmate was out of range, as she began to dance solo.

"Hannah, open the door, I am worried for your safety!" I (think I) bellowed.

As I brazenly knocked for a further two minutes screaming words of comfort and anxiety, the door swung open to reveal the unimpressed waiter, with his trousers down, happily enjoying his shit until I walked in.

"Oh shit, sorry! Not literally!" I barked, as I found my flatmate waiting at the door. 

"I hate the VOA's who just walked in," we said in unison. Neither of us wanted to admit they probably had more claim in attending the party than we did. 

Averaging a 5 " 11 height and the decibel strength of a common garden banshee, the girls paraded the party in their Clark shoes flats to get off with any guy that they saw. Unluckily for them, and for me, another Very Obnoxious Person with short man syndrome was left unattended. Vodka, being a generally angry person led me to point out the golden rule of a house party to someone in his own home- snide remarks can never be acceptably aimed at volatile and unwelcome guests.

My flatmate continued to dance solo. 

"So, hasn't your friend left already?" said the person in question.

"Yeah, she went out, why?"

"Don't you think it's a little weird that you are still here, when she's gone?"

"No. I think you're being incredibly insulting actually. I happen to be very good friends with Señor Party Time (lies) and plenty of other people here (lies), such as my dear friend..."

"I also live here, you know."

"Well, I've been here a lot, and you've never been around. I'm not sure if you're lying."

"Name one person you know here."

In perfect timing, one of the three people I was in common parlance with at the event appeared.

"Melissa. Meet this guy!"

I decided to rescue my flatmate, who continued to dance solo. This may have been the point when there was only four of us still dancing. 

The DJ no longer wanted to even listen to me request the Spice Girls, and had made a swift exit. People began choosing who would make the drunken liaison cut, and others began shoving dorito bowls into the sink. The VOA's, the only people left standing, began to hurl unwelcoming looks in our direction as we criticised their thinking that Rihanna was even considered to be a "music option".

As I began to think about throwing their iPhone into the direction of their overworked faces, we realised that we were slowly being edged towards the door by the Very Obnoxious Person. As I realised that my flatmates had lost the ability to speak, I decided to shed my fruity ways to get them home in one piece. It still pains me to think that I did not get the last word.

My dear friend then went on to vomit out of the taxi door whilst I ranked up a list of the many people I would like to give a vodka-induced telling to. What can I say? Santa by day, Scrooge by night.