Where Reason came to Die…

I’m two weeks in to my latest round of lockdown blues.  This one’s longer than the last few and harder to shake.  ‘We’re all going to die!’  I’m still thinking, only that’s my lines from an old script when we were all going to die before black lives mattered most urgently before black trans lives mattered even more before anti antisemitism was rooted out of the Labour party by a bloke that can’t tell the difference between clumsy criticism of Israel’s power structures and Jew hating.

Obviously, as a non-Jew, I shouldn’t have an opinion on what constitutes antisemitism.  I certainly shouldn’t conclude that conflating Israeli politics with the Jewish people is inherently anti Semitic, but there you have it.

It’s getting harder, though, to think for myself, and even harder to motivate myself to explain my thoughts.

Intellectual discourse is at an all time low, and the bar was never set that high to begin with.  It’s only a couple of millennia since we believed the world was created in six days by a judgemental maniac with a zero tolerance policy to disobedience – Abraham had to be willing to kill his own bairn, didn’t he?

We’re not savages, any more.  We had the age of enlightenment, hadn’t we?

But all that was so very long ago before the box in the corner, that our parent’s worried might lead us astray, and before the hand held devices we worry are damaging our children’s minds.  And before the thought police patrolled the corridors of every virtual group we dared to enter, in the vague hope of finding somebody, somewhere, that thinks the same as us.  And just like there was no room at the inn for the pregnant Mary, there’s no place at the table for the free thinker, and no donkey to carry them to the next best location.

And when I say them I mean plural and you can shove your linguistic mind games where the sun don’t shine.

And also your fear of science.  I’ve seen it before.  All ex Catholics have, assuming that there was such a thing as an ex Catholic.  ‘Coz religion and science can’t really co-exist, they are inherently suspicious of each other.  And if your gonna fly in the face of most reasoned people better hope your sources are better than Flat Earthers.

Or not.  Sources aren’t important.  Statement’s are.  Say it loud, say it proud, and whatever you do, don’t stop and think about what it is you are saying.  Curiosity not only kills cats, it literally turns women into human beings.  And nobody really wants a Mother, that is human, washing their underpants, reminding their information starved brains that they’re a lazy fuck.

And speaking of laziness, if you’re gonna sell conspiracy theories then at least buy the good ones.  To that end, any ideology with Trump as the end game is playing you for a fool.

Only I don’t say any of it, because there is no-one to listen.  Not really.  Sure, you can shove stuff on line, but what difference does it make?  We’re all going to hell on a handcart and my vague twittering ain’t gonna save us.

Or maybe, as per ‘The Good Place’ , this is hell.  We’ve all died in an event so catastrophic that we’ve wiped it from our collective consciousness and here we are in the afterlife, reaping what we have sowed.  An eternity of virtual self righteousness and out of context biblical memes, which is a kick in the face for the heathens who always reckoned God has no sense of humour.

 

 

 

The Shaming of the Shrew

Yesterday afternoon, absentmindedly, I tripped and fell into the comments section of a Edinburgh based social media group.  I’m okay, still a little shaky and following my doctor’s advice – to stay the fuck away from Community facebook pages.  You may think it’s extreme to call an emergency doctor because you’ve suffered a bruised ego, but that’s how entitled I am.

My website calls me Triona, but lately I’ve been called Karen several times.

I thought about putting up a copy of my birth cert, blanking out bits and showing enough for people to see I’m not Karen, and then I realised they didn’t mean it literally.

Like when a woman is called a whore or a cunt or a bitch, or in more recent times, a terf.  These words aren’t meant to suggest that a woman referred to in these terms is an actual prostitute, vagina, dog or feminist.  They are simply shorthand for misogynists who want to express the universal language of woman hating, in easily understood terms.

And every generation has their own words, but the millennia old tradition of putting women in their place continues.

It’s too late for me to avoid the Karen label.  It is as inevitable as the terf label that proceeded it.  Too mouthy.  See?  In my defence, I was born this way and despite the many successive attempts of the system and violent men to shut me up, I continue to have opinions and to voice them.  But it’s not too late for you. Here are my top tips to avoid being labelled Karen.

(1) Don’t ever express an opinion in a public setting, be it real or virtual.

(2) Whenever possible, avoiding leaving the house, as this will minimise your chances of being overheard, unwittingly, saying something no longer sayable.

(3) In the privacy of your home, stick to talking about stuff you know and avoid all controversial subjects. Most subjects are now controversial so try to keep conversation in the present tense around action words.   For example, you might say, ‘I am doing the laundry.  Do people mind gathering their stinking socks and stained undergarments and leaving them in the washing basket?’

(4) Avoid Mumsnet like it was a recently revived wing of the I.R.A.  Beneath those recipes for fruit scones and advice links to government benefits, there lurks an underbelly of resistance to the whole scale takeover of Womanhood.  Nothing gets you called Karen quicker than resisting the whole scale takeover of Womanhood.

(5) As some of you will have jobs that necessitate leaving the house and compel you to converse about controversial subjects (almost everything) try to be the listener more than the talker.  When you speak, acknowledge your privilege, ignorance and all round gratitude that you’ve been given a voice and then use it to amplify the experiences of people that aren’t you.  Never, ever, centre yourself in any discussion, even with your shrink.

(6) If, as part of your job, you are expected to research your discipline, be aware research has evolved significantly.  Where once it was a pre-requisite to have a well read, intelligent view of a subject, now less is more.  Knowledge will be a handicap and sharing it a surefire, short route to a new nickname.

(7) Woke words evole quicker than conspiracies about Corona, so best to always follow another’s lead.  Underpinning any work focused, compulsory communication should be the clear understanding that words kill, literally, and wokeness kills the meaning of all words, figuratively.

(8) Are you confused yet?  If not, I don’t think I can help you.  Confusion is good, use it to keep you off balance and fearful.  The more afraid you are, the more you will self censor and not add to the workload of the oppressed, who have to take time away from fighting big oppressors – the state, the police, the government, their parents – to explain to you the devastating consequences your micro aggressive behaviour – hogging the office heater- has on the life expectancy of the indigenous tribes of New Guinea.

To summarise, erase from your mind any pre-conceptions of your powerlessness based on your own life experiences.  You may never have been able to get the fucker to pay child support, but are so omnipotent that if you retweet a J.K. Rowling comment, a gender non conforming child loses their wings and the whole world becomes a shade darker.

 

 

 

Tribalism in the Digital Age

‘If you think in any any way differently than me about anything I choose to care about, in any given moment – Unfollow me now.’  I read for the eighteenth time, this morning, from people I sort of know and strangers on facebook.  There’s no danger I’m unfollowing anyone who disagrees with me politically because political beliefs are transient and facebook likes are forever.

It’s not easy being anybody, anywhere, right now.

We’re all scared, except those of us too young or too stupid to appreciate the fragility of human life.  We’re all frustrated.  We’re all worried about a future we can’t see or even imagine.  We’re stuck in the present and we are a people who have very little practice living in the now.  We’re all binge surfing, connecting with like minded people and consolidating our limited understanding of events by agreeing with those who agree with us, and challenging, arguing with, and eventually telling those who don’t agree with us to ‘Fuck off.’

In between this we sleep, in order to keep our energy levels up so we can repeat the cycle the next day.

This is our new normal.

That polarised lifestyle that social media sold us with our free subscription is all we have now.  You are with us or against us.  You are on our side or you are on the side of moral corruption and spiritual denigration and worst of all – you are in danger of losing followers.  There is only two ways to think about anything, our way or the wrong way.

The pandemic was the perfect breeding ground for our latest round of them versus us.  What were your priorities, economic or social?  Did you want to save lives or save the stock market?  Were you one of the ones stupid enough to believe there was a virus?

And I was and I am.  I witnessed capitalism beaten into retreat in the West, for the first time, in my life-time, and I witnessed the housing market (the cornorstone of inequality in every society) grind to a halt.  And I knew a vast and deadly plague must have been unleashed on humanity coz money doesn’t stop making itself for no reason.

And it was hard on everyone, but especially the media who found themselves selling less papers than ever with only one source for content and an unchanging narrative.  Those on the left championed restrictions of movement for the greater good, those on the right outlined the case for reopening the economy cautioning against the long term effects of increased financial insecurity amongst a stir crazy populace.

The closest we came to agreement was that Dominic Cummings was a cunt with 71% of us reaching that conclusion, after watching his press conference.  We were robbed of any resolution on this shared belief because Dominic Cummings is a well protected cunt.

But the fiasco that united us is but a fleeting memory, now, as dystopia moves on and kicks down the door that is racism and live streams it across the globe.  And it is uglier and more garish than anything we had previously thought it was, and we have more time to think than ever before.  And we also, now, have something to think about that isn’t endless boredom and death stats at the top of the leader board.

And before you could say ‘Stay Alert – Control the Virus’, a global uprising against racism was in full swing, and it should have been a euphoric thing for those of us who want a systematic end to racial oppression, but the pandemic loomed large over the gathered crowds and will now spread in the very communities it has already disproportionately affected.

And as I stay at home to save lives, I feel so very sad.  Nuance is dead and there is only one way to see things.  It is not possible to believe that black lives matter more than any cause, even the cause of their own oppression.

And who the fuck am I, with my Celtic complexion, to whitesplain racism?

The papers who, last week, told us to stay put under pain of death, literally, are now telling us to take to the streets in our thousands and chant the slogan ‘I can’t breathe’.

And, as I stay at home, I’ve slowly come to accept the only lives I’m saving are that of me and my boy.

 

 

How to make a killing on the property market.

Another day, another damning reveal of Tory priorities.  After the mayhem of the weekend, which saw Johnson’s re-branding of the virus as something controllable, as long as we #stayalert, we now have Wednesday Morning’s attempt to re-open the housing market.

This, it has been pointed out, sends a confusing message.  On the one hand, we cannot yet meet out loved ones ‘coz virus. On the other hand, we can have countless strangers sift through our property, determine its’ value and make us an offer.  So, to be clear, Grandpa is still out of bounds, unless he is in the market for a two up, two down, with charming views of the Thames.

One does not have to be a convicted cynic to see what is going on here.

The Tories are putting the sale and purchase of houses above the welfare of those living in them.  This is not a new policy.  This is Tory 101.  Money matters more than people.  It’s also housing policy 101, across the U.K., across Europe.  It is why people live and die in over the odds rented accommodation, so that others can live and die with a property portfolio.

One of the first and starkest casualties of the virus, apart from the dead old people, and the dead N.H.S. staff, was AIR B and B.  An industry completely reliant on tourists paying vastly inflated rent to cover mortgages and business models that had no get out plan for a world wide recession.   It was a very small violin that we played for these victims because, instinctively, we knew their retirement funds came at the expense of our children’s chances on the property ladder.

The property ladder that we all queue to join, coz you’re nobody ’till you own your own home.  That’s actually not true.  If you want lifelong, residential security, you are better off serving your time in the ‘homeless- will live anywhere for a few years’ property market, in order to gain the most elusive of things – secure, affordable, lifelong accommodation.

See, the most unbelievable plot line in ‘Friends’ was not how six white gorgeous people found each other, but how Monica walked away from a rent controlled apartment in New York City.  That would never happen.

People weren’t that stupid, then.

And people aren’t so stupid, now, as to buy and sell properties, willy nilly, during a pandemic.  Some will still try to buy and sell, but not enough people to keep the wheels of the property market, where they want it, spinning out of control.

Property rising without end only benefits the few.

Your refurbished bungalow, with a veranda that opens up on a lush back garden, complete with Granny flat, loses some appeal when we have to kill Granny to make the sale.

 

 

 

Eleven things I’ve learned in Lockdown

The longer lockdown goes on the more confused I become.  It’s not accidental.  In a time when data is worth more than gold, non bias information, that doesn’t come with a follow me caveat, is priceless.  Because of this, I feel like I know less, now, than I did when this shit storm began.  That’s not to say I am completely ignorant.  This much I’ve learned.

(1) There is a either a real virus or a pretend virus.  This possible virus is probably highly contagious and because of that we need to practice social distancing.  Social distancing means different things to different people and we have no consensus, as a population, on what two metres looks like.  The impact of social distancing is severely weakened if international travel restrictions aren’t in place.

(2) The only consensus we have is that we are deeply divided.

(3) If the virus is real, then we are reaping what we have sown.  We have prioritised wealth accumulation for the few, over basic social and healthcare for the many.  Most of us belong in the ‘many’ category, when stripped of our meaningful job titles and social status.  If the virus is real, we have been exposed on the world stage as the fur coat and no knickers, tin pot, sham of a democracy we actually are.

(4) We really hate old people.

(5) If the virus is real, many more of us are going to have to die, in order to convince enough of us to take action.  A probable virus verses an economic downturn is the false dichotomy we are all being sold.  The economy, in its current form, exists to make the rich richer on the back of zero hours contracts, a monopoly on residential real estate and the privatisation of public institutions.

(6) Demonising those on welfare and making poverty synonymous with idleness and a flawed character only works when the minority need state benefits.

(7) If the virus is pretend, then we won’t ever believe anything a government or media outlet tells us again.  If the polls are to be trusted, we don’t believe anything our government or media are telling us now.  If the virus is pretend, most of us will continue to be duped by the belief we have lived through a pandemic, if we do, for the rest of our lives.  If the virus is pretend, as we stay indoors, a global cabal may be planning to take control of our bodies and minds through vaccines and contact apps.  A sort of contemporary version of The Spanish Inquisition, with a celebrity angle, coz a cult without high profile influencers is just a group of people.

(8) The right to bear arms is making America more dangerous by the day.

(9) The closer we get to death, the deeper our understanding of the fragility and sacred nature of human life.   As a society, we have been duped into believing that we exist solely for the realisation of our personal desires.  We have been conned into the cult of individualism, where narcissism is a virtue and intellectualism is despised by a quick fix culture that doesn’t have time to think.

(10) Teachers should be given a fuck load more money.

(11) People dependant on food banks to survive.  Do not resuscitate orders flying out of doctors surgeries.  The elderly abandoned to a mass cull.   TV shows donating medical  equipment  to I.C.U. units.  Homeless, dying of thirst, on the gold paved streets of one of the finest capital cities in the world.  In an age where patriotism is enjoying a resurgence, there is very little about life on this island, right now,  to make us feel proud.

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Tips to held create rounded characters in fiction.

Creating believable, interesting characters is one of the cornorstones of writing any fiction, from a short story through to a series.  Like all writing skills, the ability to do so is as learned as it is in -ate, and practice always helps.

(1)  Picking a sex and a name are obvious starting points.  Names will be influenced by other major characteristics, such as nationality and job.  For example double bar names are more common among professional types such as lawyers and academics than they are in the service industry.  Artists often have quirky names, by both accident and design.

(2) Give them an age and root them chronologically.  After you have determined their date of birth you can create a rough timeline of their lives including all major events such as starting schools, starting collage work,  all their firsts that they have experienced from alcohol to sex to violent encounters.  When they married, if they did, or moved in with a partner or their current flatmate.

(3) Give them a look.  Start with the basics height, weight, nationality, skin colour, eye colour, hair colour, hair length.  Give them scars and tattoos and physical quirks, and dress them.  Are they attractive?  Or ugly as sin?  How confident are they?  Are they naturally beautiful or do they try to hard?  Are they conscious of their appearance or indifferent.  Their income will shape some of their style choices, but style itself does not belong to any class.

(4) Give them a family tree that traces their parents and siblings and off-springs and other relatives that are significant to the plot.

(5) Give them a personality.  Start out in broad strokes and then refine.  Are they an optimist or a pessimist?  Are they mild mannered and pleasant?  Or quite rude and abrupt.  Are they alpha or beta?   Are they good or bad?  Once you have determined the bigger traits you can start to add layers.  What about contradictions?  They may be notoriously mean, never buying their round in the pub, but have one person or cause that they lavish their money on?

(6) Give them a present.  What do they do?  What do they earn? Where do they live?  Do they have financial security?  Do they have emotional security?  Are they happy with their current lot.

(7) Give them a past.  Once you know where they are at the start of their story, you can figure out better how they got there.  A doctor, for example will have years of study in her background, if she’s young, she may have huge debt, if she’s older, she might have accumulated wealth.  A successful actor may have spent years moonlighting as a waiter.  People often tend to do what their parents do, or reject their background entirely.

(8) Make a list of their likes and dislikes.  What their favourite food, film, book?  What’s there guilty pleasure.  What do they do in their free time?  What are they passionate about, bearing in mind even the apathetic and cynical, have causes and people that matter to them?  Who do they admire? Who do they hate? Who do they envy and why? Are they authentic, or a hypocrite, or like many of us, a bit of both.

(9) Dig into their secrets.  What do they feel guilty about?  What are they ashamed of?  What do they hope no-one ever finds out about them? Who have they lied to?  Who have they lied for? Who do they trust? Who do they fear.  Broadly and more specifically.  For example a woman who has been subjected to a sexual assault may fear all men, but especially her attacker.

(10) What is their relationship to modern technology?  If a piece is written in contemporary times, the characters must interact with modern communication systems such as the internet and all its corresponding social media, in age appropriate ways and devises.  For example the young ones all have phones and communicate through them almost all the time, including to each other, whilst sharing physical space.  Many of your older characters will also engage with social media for work and pleasure.  At least some of your characters will access the dark web.

All of the above are just suggestions and should only be used if they prove useful.  There is no one way to write a character and the most carefully crafted protagonist can find themselves acting in an unexpected fashion as planning meets writing.  The important thing to remember is to enjoy creating characters and the freedom knowing them better brings to your story.

 

The Revolution will not be televised.

Of all the strange things I find myself thinking, reading, doing during lockdown, watching ‘The Crown’ on Netflix has to be my single most surreal experience.  Here I am, glued to a screen, watching a drama about how Old England dies as Old England dies.  I’ve got to confess, I’m loving it.  It couldn’t be any better if the B.B.C., King of Costume Dramas and Propaganda, had produced it.

I’ve started on Season 3, coz I can’t face any more death and there’s less of it, in Britain, as the century recedes.  So far, I’ve cried with Olivia Coleman’s Queen Elizabeth, as she buried Winston Churchill.  I’ve felt the pain of an ageing Prince Philip, as he recalls his Mother been taken to an asylum in his youth, and I have sympathised with a duty bound young Charles who must forsake his acting at Cambridge to spent a term in Wales learning Welsh.

Given that, spoiler alert, he goes on to be the Prince of the Country and to earn a tidy sum from his assets there, it’s not at all an unreasonable demand.  But he’s young, he’s got a lead role in a play, and he’s played in the drama by someone that looks less inbred than the actual Prince Charles.  It’s hard not to feel for his earnestness.

I could blame it all on the writing and the acting and the production values that pay astounding attention to period detail, but that’s only half of it.  As well as becoming emotionally attached to fictionalised versions of Establishment figures, I also went through a phase of worrying about the Prime Minister, back when he had the virus and wound up in I.C.U.

Seriously, I was up every morning, checking on his health on twitter.  Stealthy, obviously, I wasn’t adding #getwellboris to my search history.  Then, as soon as I heard he was back in Checkers watching ‘Withnail and I’ and ‘Love Actually’, it was business as usual #borisisawanker

I’m ashamed of my empathy with a potentially dying man because it makes me both weak and stupid.  Johnston has shown zero empathy for the sections of society most in need of humane governing.  His polices, his indifference and his previous career as a faux journalist all contributing indirectly and directly to countless deaths, and that’s  before the virus.  To wish him well is the political equivalent of wishing harm on others.

And for all that, I didn’t want him to wind up on a slate with some kind of pauper’s funeral, coz even the Tories couldn’t have spun a state affair.  I didn’t want his pregnant girlfriend bringing into the world a fatherless child, even though it’s almost certain she will fall victim to the very same sort of feckless parenting arrangement that drives less privileged women to benefits and food banks.  I didn’t want to think of how fucked we were as a Nation, if we couldn’t even keep the Prime Minister alive.

And so I wished him well and now he is, and I wish I hadn’t spent that last wish so carelessly.

I can console myself with the knowledge that I am a ‘good’ person.  By this I mean, I have reached some ambiguous state of morality devised in the distant past by mediocre men who couldn’t face their own darkness.  It’s the equivalent of the participant medal they give all the kids on sports day.  You have failed at an intelligent response but at least you tried.

And that’s the point, it’s all so very trying now, as time stands still and we find our minds racing, desperate to fill in the void that used to be the outside world.  Desperate to understand where our democracy went and what has replaced it. Desperate to predict what our future might look like even if these prophesies are dark and dystopian.  A bleak future is better than a blank one.

It might be helpful to consider that our democracy hasn’t disappeared, it never existed to begin with.  It’s an illusion that is crushed beneath the boots of every national emergency or every casual observation of an airport in action.  We have always lived in a pretend democracy with its implied freedoms for the many and its actual freedoms for a lot less than that.  But at least our democracy has widespread access to Netflix.  And thank God for that, and thank God for ‘The Crown’, the fictionalised one, obviously.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Quest for Truth in a Post Truth Pandemic

I haven’t blogged since this crisis began because I haven’t wanted to share my thoughts, largely ‘coz there are so many of them and most of them are depressing as fuck.

We’re all going to die. That thought comes and goes like a pendulum swinging, forward and back, on a six foot clock from some place in the past. The past is a foreign country, except it isn’t. It’s a series of actions and consequences. Individually.  Globally.

The future is a foreign country, right now, and that’s the closest thing to truth you are going to hear today.  When are we getting back to normal?  We ask, seemingly unaware that normal wasn’t normal, and that’s why we’re in this Orwellian nightmare to begin with.

Business as usual is where we were ’till the economy ground to a halt.  We were so busy buying and selling stuff, and working our asses off to pay for it, that we lost sight of the society we were all still part of.

‘There is no such thing as society’, Thatcher told us.  The Sunday Time’s expose on the Torie’s response to the pandemic is a damning indictment that she was taken at her word.  But you can’t trust The Times ‘coz it’s owned by Rupert Murdoch who everybody knows is a shady character.  He is not as dodgy as Bill Gates, though, who may be using this pandemic to further his evil plan of creating global vaccines. 

Global vaccines don’t sound evil, unless you’re a passionate anti vaxxer.  And they are a growing movement.  Mothers mainly, much maligned and mocked, because they don’t trust their governments and they are afraid of harming their children.  And yet, only a fool would trust the government and not fear they are harming our children.

At least the anti vaxxers believe there is something to vaccinate against, which is more than can be said of those who believe there’s no coronavirus at all.  It’s all an elaborate hoax to take down a global cabal of elite paedophiles trafficking children through a world wide network of underground tunnels, so they can terrify them, kill them and drink their blood, ‘coz it gives you a high better than, but comparable to cocaine.  Who knew?  QAnon.   And the blokes arming themselves and taking to the streets to protest their right to die. 

You’d have to be crazy to believe any of that, though?  Which takes us close to another truth.  We’re all a bit crazy, now. 

They built us houses and gave us toilets that flushed, and fashioned some garments for us out of other women’s labour, and we forgot the basic truth about ourselves.  We are animals.  Fancy animals that can talk and play Nintendo DS. 

And thank God for Nintendo and all the African kids that were exploited in order for me to have some peace of mind during a lockdown.  ‘Coz lockdown isn’t easy.

Obviously, it’s not as bad as the trenches, and we should grateful we have phones and we have fridges.  Except that’s a false equivalency.  This is our trenches and we are at war.  We have no idea with what or who, but these are not peaceful times.  You can tell that from the death toll.  Which is also a lie.  Not a lie, so much, as a fact, post truth.  Depending on where you get your information from, the figures are much higher or there’s no-one dying at all. 

It’s a plan to keep us in our houses to lay 5G, which will kill us, or else sell all our secrets to the Chinese.  It’s important to remember the Chinese started all this. 

And the truth is, there is no way to tell what the truth is, except it’s not all sunshine and flowers, and it’s not all apocalyptic horsemen, and those of us young enough will know a lot more, in fifty years time, when they release the information. 

By then I’ll be dead, or getting a letter from my local G.P. telling me they have signed a DNR on my behalf. 

Now, there’s a depressing thought and ain’t that the truth? 

 

 

 

 

 

Identity Theft

So, it’s International Women’s Day and in its build up, our councils and universities are figuring out the unique challenges of celebrating a sex class and a culture that no longer exist. Sefton Council waded, unwittingly, into a political scandal when they flew a flag bearing the dictionary definition of the word ‘woman’. It seems they had been hoodwinked by bigots into believing the definition of the word ‘woman’ wasn’t bigoted. Leicester University Student’s Union weren’t as easily fooled. Aware that the word ‘woman’ is triggering to trans peeps, they changed it to a word that doesn’t mean ‘woman’, or indeed anything.

It’s a formidable task, to raise awareness of women’s inequality without upsetting all the individuals, groups and brands that have a vested interest in destroying women as a sex class. To this end, I think U.N. Women deserve a special mention. In a sycophantic tweet centring transwomen, they got round the dichotomy, by redefining women as an entity without form or limit.

It’s bollox, obviously, though not literally. I sit here in my female form, with my limited body, analysing the implications of being without definition or shape within a political, legal and educational system that only serves that which it can designate meaning to.

It is reminiscent of when we used to put women on pedestals, keeping much out of their reach. You can call me out of touch for refusing to disbelieve my own existence and I will call you out for your hypocrisy.

Those of us older than ten can remember a time when the word ‘woman’ needed no complex definition. When everyone who was anyone, and all of the nobodies, could tell the difference between a guy and a girl. Co-existing with this period of history spanning all of history pre 2014, was an never ending list of gendered expectations placed on the sexed body of the entity that everybody knew was a woman. Be nice. Be Pretty. Be quite. And on it went, forever, creating the most bizarre expectations of how a woman might dress and behave, how she might think, if she could indeed think, and what her inner most desires might look like.

The most important thing you need to understand about this long list of non nonsensical bollox called ‘Gender expectations for a lady’ is that, like the Bible, it was written by blokes. Blokes telling you what she wants, what she really really wants.

Feminism, since its inception, has been about liberating the female body from the expectations of the male mind. Today, literally, we cannot speak the word ‘woman’ for fear of offending all the interlopers in our ranks, who find the word ‘woman’ coupled with meaning, exclusionary, phobic, even hateful.

And, as a woman, what the fuck am I supposed to do with that? Am I supposed to pretend that that I don’t believe in the material reality and commonality of the sexed body? Am I meant to swap my understanding of these truths for the incoherent ramblings of a morally vacuous media who present woman as esoteric?

We’ve heard it all before. Woman as Virgin. Woman as Whore. The Good Enough Mother. The fragrant Mary Archer. Woman as Thing so inexplicable as to be beyond the capacity of words to describe. Woman as Nothing.

My debut novel Nailing Jess re imagines womanhood in a Matriarchy.

Woke and Dagger

Why did Mhairi Black cross the road? To make derogatory remarks about women on the other side.

Obviously, I’m joking.  Nobody defames anybody on the side of the road, anymore.  Not since the advent of twitter.

It’s been a drag for Mhairi the last twenty four hours as she deals with the fallout of a her monumentally stupid decision to  bring an adult entertainer called flowjob (with a very adult public social media profile) to a primary school gig in order to promote LGBT+ history month, and her even stupider one, to defend the decision.

The woman famed in her maiden speech  for being in touch with, even the voice of, the ordinary person seems to no longer be able to read Jo Public’s mind.  She has fallen victim to a faith based ideology that demands a suspension of critical thinking and a psychological distancing from non believers, in this case, the voting public.

She has  been awokined.   Not for her the rational discourse of ordinary individuals with their mundane concerns, like their kid not being groomed in the schoolyard.  Not for her the hideous banality of the common woman with her ignorant insistence that she exists as part of a sex class.  Not for her the subtle distinction between being a gay role model suitable for children and an adult drag act.  Not for her the nuance of debate because the slogan says #nodebate and not for her to question slogans.

And any day now, she’s going to crash land in the nursing home of political irrelevance, where all the so woke they’re actually broke politicians go to die, and isn’t that a crying shame?

Not as shameful, though, as slandering individuals concerned with safeguarding, as if safe guarding wasn’t the single most important feature of any school activity.  Given that the council involved has since apologised,there can be no doubt that this was an ill considered visit.

The response, however, to tarnish the reputation and question the morality of those who disagree, that was measured and pretty textbook. But the good news is, it’s getting old, as more and more people wake up to the logistical and practical problems of wokeness without end.

I know I’m supposed to prefix or suffix this post with an assurance that I’m not homophobic, right wing or Christian.  I know I’m supposed to reassure you that I’m anti Brexit and pro a multi cultural, diverse society, but I refuse to play these games anymore.  The stakes are too high.

In and of itself, the decision to expose primary school children to a drag queen, with a hardcore public social media profile, was a gross error of judgement that reveals a council, a principal and a politician more concerned with appearing to do the right thing than actually doing it.