Dad Writes: About Happiness (aka Merry Christmas)

The few of you who I know read these posts might remember that a while ago, I did a writing exercise with my Dad. Turns out he’s a very good writer, and makes hilarious puns about quarries, which people like a lot. It ended up being one of my most popular entries last year. (2015 resolution: work on stone-based humour.)

He does a lot of driving around the country as part of his work, and offered to give me a lift back to my hometown on his way from a job recently. Packing the last of my things, I found him waiting for me, freewriting to pass the time. I didn’t know he did this (and have subsequently found out that ALL 5 of us in my nuclear family write; we’ve just never shared it with each other.)

It was about happiness. I asked him to email it to me. I had to share it, and to say that I’m very happy at the end of this year, especially to have my Dad still here. Big thanks to everyone for all 2014-related support. If you’re at all struggling, which is often the case for us at Christmas, I hope you find some comfort in the following. Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays.

Look Through Any…

In the van, home along the M27 near Portsmouth, and next to me a box of old tapes unheard for years. Let’s try this one. Small moments of elation come when familiar favourite tracks chase each other through the tape, in the vehicle that takes me to such enjoyable sessions in the planetarium…

Yes, it’s Look Through Any Window by the Hollies. Singing along. “See the drivers on the road; where do they go? Look through any…”

Ahh, the tape finished before the song did.

Elation cut short.

And in the big picture, the happiness we share and create in each other will inevitably end, with us, too; but unlike the Hollies’ voices, which leave not even a faint echo on that roaring road, we have also created images, writings, memories in others that will please down the years.

Happiness inevitably cannot last.

But its monuments are photos and letters, people taught and entertained, people helped and healed. Its monuments are Lydia, Elizabeth and John. And what happiness they achieve is in the same endless river as their children’s, our parents’, and ours too.

Dad and me in old family photos
Dad and me in old family photos

Russell Brand is less sexist on Question Time

I was very happy to watch Question Time with a bunch of friends last night as we had a pre-Christmas reunion, to share in some kind of rare political group engagement. The call to watch was the obvious draw of Brand vs Farage, though the fight never ensued – in fact, everyone behaved exactly as expected. Almost.

Pretty much all responses were business as usual; Farage was a barely-veiled xenophobe, Mary Creagh was a cringe-ily solemn mouthpiece for why the Conservatives are well rubbish and you should definitely vote Labour in the next election which is totally coming up you guys, and Camilla Cavendish fence-sat her way through a far more eloquent promotion of pseudo-liberal-and-kinda-righty values than the Tory MP.

Russell Brand said all his usual bits too – all the things people with screentime refuse to acknowledge and with all the vigour they should be acknowledged with – and he even threw in the most sincere fart joke I’ve ever heard. But surely the highlight was a first glimpse of humility from someone who, in all of his solidarity for those struggling against inequity, has previously refused to acknowledge his own continually misogynist outbursts.

While I was not convinced that by donning a NoMorePage3 t-shirt earlier this year Brand had officially come-out-as-feminist, I was glad yesterday to hear him not only acknowledge and chastise himself for calling Penny Mordaunt ‘love’, but to note “I’m working on it”. Shortly after, Creagh pulled him up on his fraught interruption, noting that men talking over women is perhaps also something he should work on – and his response was to apologise. Clearly, and without defensiveness.

People are far from perfect, and as much as I appreciate Brand, his brocialist attitude is painful. But if he is going to be the only mainstream mouth shouting about injustice and inequity in Britain, I’m glad he appears to be learning and working his way out of it. When we can admit and work on our failings, publicly, we can all actually turn up and work together. Here’s hoping.Russell Brand sexy pose

ALBUM REVIEW: Primus – Primus and the Chocolate Factory

Primus and the Chocolate Factory album coverDear Les Claypool, Larry ‘Ler’ LaLonde, and Tim ‘Herb’ Alexander, of one of the best bands still alive: Primus;

Prolific indie music mag Overblown have once again kindly asked me to write a review, and since it was for YOUR FIRST STUDIO ALBUM IN YEARS, I was more than happy to oblige. However, the album did bring back traumatic memories of nightmare propaganda piece Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, so excuse my whimpering take-down of one of my favourite bands.

I hope it doesn’t hurt for you as much as it did for me.

Yours always,

Elizabeth header, Primus and the Chocolate Factory album review

Oscar Pistorius

Reblogged – from Ellezed.

Gazzetta della Rum Fucker

Oscar Pistorius has the face of a spoilt little shit. From his thin, cat’s-fanny slit of a mouth, to his spoilt, faux, perma-sorrow murder trial expression, even your most impartial observer cannot fail to appreciate the deeply engrained sense of entitlement that permeates through his chiseled, permanently stubbled jaw.

But Pistorius, his wealth, his handsomeness, his fame, his disability and the South African justice system are not the fucking issue here.

South Africa is a country recovering from huge and unrecompensable injustice on behalf of the west. A catalogue of atrocities too enormous and monstrous to list, ranging from slavery to apartheid, all of which white people are responsible for. So, it’s an absolute piss-take when I’ve seen articles on the Pistorius case allude to the sense that the South African Justice System (racist implications of a pertinently worse attitude to women) is purely responsible for Pistorius receiving what is…

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Funny, how?

Ellezed on female comedians, power, and objectifying men. (That really doesn’t do it justice, just read the thing.)

Gazzetta della Rum Fucker

It feels like every couple of years, I’ll accidentally encounter a radio phone-in or daytime television debate about whether or not women can be funny. And let’s have it right the statistics don’t look good. The truth is that there aren’t very many successful female comics, and those that exist are either wildly self-deprecating, or hated. Often, both.

“Ooo, look at me, I’m dead old/ thick/ fat” she says, and the rest of the world either laugh along, or pour scorn on their over reliance on self-hate.

Yes, yes there are notable exceptions and – in the US especially – women comics are afforded occasional notable success, but this usually dissipates and is still infused with the idea that they’re working on a “token” ticket. So, is the truth that women aren’t funny?

Well, no. Of course, not.

Women are very funny. And if the political faux pas of people…

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