Oh What a Time to be Alive! As I live and breath I never thought I’d bare witness, to the grinding wheels of the Tory machine, falling away quicker than a five year old’s milk teeth.
Oh What a Time to be Alive! As I live and breath I never thought I’d bare witness, to the grinding wheels of the Tory machine, falling away quicker than a five year old’s milk teeth.
As implausible as it may sound, I really did purchase the Classic Flap by pure and unadulterated accident. Who hasn’t popped into a luxury department store for a pint of (almond) milk and walked out with an iconic handbag?
You may recall that my heart belonged to the other star quarterback of Flap bag world; the Boy. Rest assured that my lust for Karl’s Kreation remains konstant and has not kooled as if it were a bowl of pasta left on a window sill. My purchase was one of circumstance, not premeditation (okay maybe a bit of premeditation).
But, I believe that even the great Confucius himself went into a temporary and short state of reverie before securing his first Timeless Classic.
Of late I’ve been on an all time high. Then, just when I thought the chance of life exceeding my present state of serendipity would be a fine one, I was like, totally, offered my dream job (bonkers I know).
And I thought to myself, I would never (ever) find a better excuse to hand over a prince’s ransom in exchange for a beautiful, but woefully over priced bag. I hope you can see my logic here.
So began my evening ritual of making many, (many) calls to the Chanel boutique at Harrods. I, along with half of the global female population, was in hot pursuit of a medium Boy bag, in the classic combo of black with gold hardware.
But, having been forewarned by YouTuber Sophie Shohet, that given its sharp corners the Boy, made in lambskin, was notorious for quickly showing signs of age; I of course wanted my Chanel shaped dream to be coated in caviar leather.
Alas, the Fashion Gods, did not answer my prayer; not even my devoted recitals of Buddhist incantations could alter the fact, that the bag in question was not part of Chanel’s permanent collection. I would have to fight tweed and nail if I wanted to make the Boy bag mine…
In terms of French fancies, it seemed my luck had come to an irritating and inconvenient end; and then I thought to myself ‘am I not skipping a beat here?’.
Hadn’t I wanted the Classic Flap, since I first saw its quilted, buttery deliciousness all those moons ago? Hadn’t it been the sight, that could always soothe my sore, sore eyes? My mind flashed upon images of the turn lock, the Mona Lisa Pocket, and the Flap’s supple Burgundy interior; there was no doubt about it, it had taken my heart (and wallet) all over again.
Sidebar: I was also experiencing extreme angst and dread over the prospect of Chanel throwing a surprise price increase; much in the same way an unhappy girlfriend dreads a surprise marriage proposal displayed over a screen in Times Square. There was nothing for it, I had to buy it.
Reader, I bought it! And really, I could not be more thrilled. Apart from the perpetual anxiety I have about using it/ taking it out/ scratching it/ losing it/ it being stolen I think it turned out pretty well…
Was I the only one, who reacted to Miley Cyrus’ highly nuanced and informed perspectives on the genre we call Hip Hop, with nothing more than a lethargic eye roll and a non-committal shrug of the shoulders? For those of you who thought the best response to the non-story, would be to carry on with your own lives; wordsmith Miley had the following to say:
‘… I love that Kendrick [Lamar] song [“Humble”]…because it’s not ‘Come sit on my d**k, suck on my c**k.’ I can’t listen to that anymore,” said she.
Okay, so valley girl, so good…“That’s what pushed me out of the hip-hop scene… It was too much ‘Lamborghini, got my Rolex, got a girl on my c**k’ — I am so not that.” Nope, still don’t care, in fact let me go hang my ‘drag a culture vulture cape’ right back up.
Miley’s comments should neither provoke outrage or surprise; Cyrus was merely copying the musical motif of Disney Star’s past. Mickey Mouse eared popstar with large fan base but corny image needs cool factor and credibility (cue black people). After attaining said desired level of success, said popstar throws said black people under, said bus. That’s how America was built right?
Despite the bitter history of the continual cultural and musical exploitation of African Americans, many of my people oddly enough chose to believe that Miley really was ‘ ’bout that life’. While those of us with brains knew all too well that the only thing Miss Cyrus was ’bout, was that paper, and of course that fame.
We should also take care not to forget those who took it upon themselves to hand Miley an access all areas pass to the ‘Museum of African American Life’ along with the illusive and proverbial ‘black card’. Yes, black people men I’m talking to you. More specifically Mike Will Made It, Juicy J and Pharrell Williams. I must also give a dishonourable mention to J Hov himself ‘twerk Miley twerk’ and to Migos who delivered the gift of hope to no ass having white women everywhere in their 2014 classic ‘Hannah Montana’.
For a former all smiles, no cerebrals child star, Cyrus certainly knows how to play a winning hand. Luckily for Miley, dignity among black men is pretty thin on the ground. Those around her were all too happy to contort and twist themselves into a human pedestal on which to raise a white, female popstar, remarkable only in mediocrity.
Our ire might well find a convenient target in ‘The Climb’ singer, but unless it can be proved Mr ‘Ear Drummers’ himself collaborated with Cyrus, as an AK47 was pointed at his head, it is certainly miss placed.
And now, Miley has abandoned the Hip Hop ship (and all who sailed in her) running back into the safe, beneficent and patriarchal arms of white society. They in turn have welcomed her de-grilled, de-twerked and de-ratchet self home. Cyrus celebrates her prodigal return with an ode to the blonde and the vacuous, entitled ‘Malibu’. My people, on the other hand, find themselves commiserating with a performance of the ‘white people done robbed me’ soft shoe shuffle for the 500th year running…
I watched the strangest and saddest little YouTube video the other night; entitled ‘I’m African, He’s Jamaican’. A more apt name for the disconcerting post would have been ‘Random crap on your feed, which you can’t unsee, but wish you could’. (Although I don’t suppose that has much of a ring to it.) Having seen close to a billion of this type before; ‘I’m black, He’s Jewish’, ‘I’m Muslim, He’s Hindu’, ‘I’m a Martian, She’s TransDimentional’ (you get the drill), I waited for the anthem of the love-sick and the deluded: ‘I got mushy with someone across the border. Let’s throw Racism a leaving party.’ What eventually transpired though, would turn out to be something of a far more dark and troubling nature…
Beating King Kanye, in order to be crowned ‘The World’s Most Psychologically Disturbed Black Man’ is a great feat indeed, close contenders Gilbert Arenas and Kodak Black fought an admirable battle, but I believe this year’s victor to be YouTuber Shakeel Romero. Throwing his audience a curve ball, Romero’s video was not in fact an informal chit chat about the slings and arrows of cross cultural relationships, as his title suggested; but more an impromptu and unsolicited rendition of the Beyonce hit ‘Why don’t you love me’ (sort of). Viewers quickly learned that the beautiful Somalian woman sitting beside Mr Romero, had so far resisted the ‘charms’ and clutches of the Muslim convert, much to his chagrin.
Any avid connoisseur of YouTube dross knows that you try your absolute damnedest not to make snap judgments in the opening moments of an upload; and Reader I tried, I really did. But, the mere act of witnessing Romero’s laboured interactions with Somali Muslim, Somaha, (don’t know if I spelled that right) was something akin to the sound of frayed fingernails dragged across a school room blackboard. Somaha, having spotted a band of rogue hairs deciding to make a break for it, noted the ‘frizzy’ appearance of her tresses on screen. Dim witted Shakeel’s antidote was one of enlightenment. On the off chance that Somaha had been absent from any small part of her existence, or never met her own parents, Romero reminded her that she was after all ‘East African’. And thus the riddle of the frizzy hair was solved. Embarrassingly for the YouTuber he had mistaken the word ‘frizzy’ as a synonym for the word ‘curly’ (It’s hard for some people). Romero unwittingly revealed himself to be hair brained, but like literally hair brained. His confusion was an example of the Freudian Slip if ever there was one. Somaha to him was not a woman, but a headful of loose curls upon which to hang his distorted and disturbed projections of beauty.
Readers will be happy to know that there was to be more horrifying hairbrainery; Shakky in all his wisdom thought it necessary to let the lovely Somaha know that Somalian women were of the kind, that men wanted to date because (and I quote) ‘ you have long beautiful hair, your skin is dark, but it’s still smooth’. Yes, I nearly dropped dead on the floor too. You’ll be alarmed to know that this is not the worst of it; Romero’s desire to visit the country (though it is a region to those of us who possess brain cells) named ‘East Africa’, was tempered by his fear that his hair, being of a courser texture, would make him stand out in the newly formed Republic. So much so that in his own words he tried to get ‘waves going’. Feel free to breath when ready. The crescendo of the monomaniac’s hair raising performance saw Romero dreaming of a future starring himself, Somaha and some ‘crinkly haired kids.’ A plate of hand rolled dysfunction to table seven please.
I wish I could say that dear old Shakeey improved on further watching, but like a prospective boyfriend who shows up late on a first date; he didn’t. In fact he began to err on the side of desperate, and dare I say it; creepy. With the uncomfortable spectacle taking on all the appearance of a silent and prolonged tango. Somaha attempted to explain the fundamentals of Somali parental expectations. Romero wanted to know why their expectations couldn’t be reconfigured to encompass a Jamaican shaped son-in-law. Somaha attempted to explain the intricate nature of Somali familial ties. Romero like a child of six, asked why said ties could not be loosened. Somaha explained that for Somalis being Muslim alone was not necessarily the only qualification needed to get the green light for a marriage to a beloved daughter. To which Romero replied ‘why won’t you accept us Revert Muslims?’.
And there it was! The apex of this excruciating dance. Romero could not bring himself to ask Somaha to reverse the curse of his West African heritage. Nor did he have the courage to admit his need for the love and validation of women opposite to his own image. He, like so many black men, desired a Beauty; in order to erase the stain of the Beast. I feel for my sisters descended from Africa’s Horn, admired and despised in equal measure for their perceived proximity to the European aesthetic. No woman wants to be fetishised and worse reduced to nothing more than a hair type. The ‘hair type’ that opens old wounds and rifts within African communities.
Of course Romero ended on a finale of deprecation, referring to long suffering Somaha as ‘Little East African girl’. Let us all hope that when he finally does take a trip to the small non-existent country of ‘East Africa’, a good pilot might be kindly employed to lose his way. If not; ladies you have been warned…
What in the name of Doctor Miami is going on with Kim Ks posterior? Unretouched photos of the shape-shifting star surfaced last week, in which Kimmy emerged from the Mexican sea, looking remarkably like an unidentified creature; thrown up from the bowls of the ocean. That was rather unkind of me, I’m sure if you squint Kim could pass for a nappy wearing, alternate life form, who took a wrong exit on to planet Earth.
You’ve most likely surmised that I will not be attempting to rouse furious and wrathful feminists everywhere into the sacred act of shielding the Good Sisters Kardashian; and my friend, you would be right! Kimberly will have to look elsewhere for a shoulder on which to pour her tan streaked tears.
Coverage surrounding the exposition of Kim’s lumpy and malformed bottom has been schizophrenic at best and patronizing at its absolute worst. The ‘We should all be feminists, or womanists or whatever’ camp in their bid to prop up the plastic surgery addict, sang to the tune of faux and fowl cries of ‘body shaming’. While the disingenuous, pot-stirring hacks seemed hopelessly concerned with asking us civilians to wrap our pea-sized brains around the riddle of Kardashian’s rapidly south heading rump.
I don’t mean to saddle us mortals with the brutal and honest truth, but let’s face it kids, anyone with two eyes and a couple of brain cells knocking about could draw their own accurate conclusions, given this horror- story picture show. Pockets of the mainstream (and I mean you Susanna Reid) seem hell bent on railroading us into the belief that our outrage over Kim’s dimpled and puckered rear stems from a societal dislike of female imperfection. Got that children? The problem here is us. As a people we just haven’t evolved sufficiently enough to embrace voluntary female bodily mutilation cellulite. Thanks Susanna.
What we were all in fact gawping at was obvi Kardashian West’s foray into the world of freak show attraction. She is now nothing short of being a human cut-and-shut job, having copied and pasted, African inspired curves onto her own tiny Armenian frame. What the star didn’t account for, was the incompatibility of the two distinct formats. (There is a donk to thigh ratio, you know?)
Kimmy has learned the short and hard way, that inflating your behind more times than a balloon artist at a child’s party, does apparently have its draw backs. With even the Michelin man raising an eyebrow at Kim’s blow-up backside. Perhaps matching your ass to your man, isn’t the same as matching your purse to you dress, Kimberley. Just a thought.
It’s rather fitting that K Dash has now become a curiosity for disgusted and excitable consumption. The age old adage of ‘being careful for what you wish for’ has come back around to sinks its sharp teeth into her pneumatic not so juicy doubles. Kardashian’s desperation to acquire the physical trappings of black womanhood, has landed her a king sized helping of unwanted extras. For Blackness, unlike her famed salads, does not come with a choice of sides. If it did, I’m sure that Kim would have plumped for something a little more palatable than, the bitter tasting; jest and ridicule.
So, I was sitting in front of my fancy Apple computer, when the volume on the office TV was suddenly whacked up to its maximum capacity. In an announcement that almost made me spit out my courgetti; the artist formerly known as ‘Big T’ proclaimed that the game of political musical chairs (in which the nation has played the role of long suffering fiddler) was not in fact over. We Britons, who have been dreaming of the illusive and distant hope of a ‘quiet life’, have once again had our hopes dashed, most cruelly.
Theresa May standing at the ‘plinth of shame’, (and looking every bit the demon headmistress) casually informed the nation of her intention to hold a last minute general election. Pretty much in the same way that you send out a group text to an impromptu barbeque being held in your back yard. Apparently May, wants to take Corbz outside for an after-school scrap; in which the victor wins the prize of steering home the Good Ship Brexit.
For want of more articulate and nuanced phrasing; this is all getting rather silly. I really am beginning to feel the withering effects of having to choose between catastrophe ‘A’ or ‘B’. Although choosing between wanker ‘A’ or ‘B’ is no fairer a prospect. And of course let us not forget the other course on today’s political menu; ‘Would you like your Brexit hard? Or soft Madame?’
Brexit has been the bomb, that just keeps on exploding. This little island has seen an endless procession of reshuffles, rearrangements and resignations. But, now faces the real (and gloomy) prospect of committing for the next five years to a conservative government hell bent on financially throttling Britain’s poorest; while simultaneously dismantling the NHS as though it were an ill constructed set of Ikea draws. In fact, I believe Theresa and Co have planned to sell off hospital fittings and fixtures in an hour long special of ‘Cash in the Attic’.
But never fear Corbz is here. We’ve only got to wait until the ‘end of May’ to get our hands on Labour’s manifesto. Perhaps the delay is in part owing to the possibility of Earth being little more than a stricken wasteland by late Spring, courtesy of DT. Things are looking up.
Lefties will be glad to know that the Labour leader has his shoulder pressed firmly to the wheel and is tackling this election’s big issues head on; declaring his unwavering commitment to the introduction of four extra bank holidays. You couldn’t make this stuff up – no really – you couldn’t.
Either way, I think it’s safe to say we’re totally screwed. It’s kind of a relief in a way, sort of like that feeling you get when you’ve made a total cock up at your dream job interview. You know there’s nothing you can do but endure the ride, holding on for dear life, however rocky the course.
For what it’s worth, I’d rather throw the country (and myself) into the power of a Corbin lead Cabinet. Corbz may have the disposition and delivery of a geography teacher who lets you call him by his first name; but I believe he operates from a position of fundamental concern for Britain and the people living in it. The Conservatives irrespective of their leader have clung to their age old mantra of standing for those ‘who want to work hard and get on’, never once acknowledging that their continual swift and silent pulling of the rug from beneath the feet of the vulnerable, makes this nigh on impossible.
Sadly, I’m now beginning to learn there is truth in the age old adage; ‘all the good ones are taken’. Though the saying should now be updated to include that all the ‘completely average’ and ‘just about passable’ ones have also been snapped up too. Leaving us poor singletons with a choice more dire than a ‘half off’ Tesco Value chilled cabinet. I’m dangerously close to stumbling into Carrie Bradshaw territory here, in terms of the ‘whiny bitch Richter scale’ but I am literally so over the legions of pasta-brained male narcissists, posing as the best their sex has to offer. *And Breathe*
‘So what’s his name?’ I hear you ask. Reader, knowing me, (as you do) to be nothing but an unshakable pillar of discretion, I won’t put this unidentified gentleman on blast by giving such a personal detail away. However, I will give you enough dirt to satiate your inner voyeur, or at the very least give your tired eyes a well earned five-minute rest from the torrid business of Instagram stalking.
After my hell date with ‘John’ my karmatic guidance system seemed to indicate that there were no new depths for me to plummet to, in the losing game of Love Russian Roulette. Apparently, much like Google Maps and Satellite Navigation devices, the Gods of Karma can also be inaccurate; or in my case completely wrong.
Technically my meeting with ‘Boris’ wasn’t actually an official date, it was more a chance encounter. We’d met the week before in Starbucks (where else?) after I’d asked him to babysit my MacBook while I visited the restroom. When I came back we did the whole you’re creative, I’m creative, let’s talk thing, and Boris seemed to be a nice enough sort. On my bus ride home, I sent him a text asking where I could learn more about his business. The reply for which came an unduly prolonged, hour and twenty minutes later. This to me, marked Boris out as a game-player of epic proportions, and immediately my interest in him waned. Just in case you were wondering, I did not respond to this last text, and heard nothing from Boris for an entire week. By which point I had sent him to the final resting place for failed paramours; ‘The Island of Lost Men’. But, our love for over-priced coffee was to reunite us the following Tuesday, and I was left to the torturing tinkering will of the Arabica Gods.
I joined Boris at the table, and being the chipper sort that I am, made light of his week long disappearing act, by asking him ‘which limb he had been in danger of losing’ and ‘if he had managed to find a cure for cancer.’ As Boris laughed along to my bespoke comedy routine, I first told him that I’d love a sip of what had been, in the now empty cup, that sat on the table. * Crickets * I then said that I’d love a coffee. * Crickets * By this point, I threw in the towel and bought the bloody drink myself. After schlepping to the counter and back, Boris was, I believe midway through a business call, okay fine. The call was proceeded by texting and a spell of business calendar organisation; all while I sat in silence at the other end of a table drinking the coffee I payed for. I flat out told him that the situation was erring on the side of weird and that I really did have better things to do with my day. To which he responded by asking me to show him pictures of myself (strange I know). As I scrolled through the pictures on my phone, little did I know that my afternoon was about to get weirder. It became increasingly and worryingly clear that dear old Boris, was particularly keen to see photographs that captured the image of my body, and not those that captured solely my face. Having now judged Boris to be a pervert, he confirmed my worst fears by making a comment about the virtues of my chest and asking if he could run his fingers through my hair. Wanting to put a swift end to my stay at Bates Motel, I accepted Boris’s suggestion of ‘going for a walk’. Which in my head went a little differently, namely with me doing an Usain Bolt.
Our walk contained horrors as yet unknown to me. Boris trying to hold my hand; me trying my best not to. Boris demanding a hug from me; me trying my best not to. The hugging thing was seriously perturbing as the lecherous Boris Kept asking me to hug him over and over again, as apparently I wasn’t doing it ‘right’. After several thwarted attempts at kissing my neck (revolting I know) Boris asked if I wanted to sit on a wooden stump in a children’s park, you couldn’t make this stuff up. He then invited himself round to my flat, saying that he could see me tomorrow before his meeting. Lucky me, just what every woman wants, a complete stranger in her home. By this point I was more than ready to ditch this bozo and marched off leaving Boris in my wake. He insisted on waiting with me at the bus stop, owing to the fact that it would be the only way he would get a goodbye kiss. Realising that his long awaited kiss, would be a ‘no show’, Boris tried to bully me into the promise of lip locking at our next meeting. Needless to say after waiving goodbye to him from the safety of a moving bus, I never want to see Boris again, despite his undignified texted pleas.
At this point, I’m completely ready to call it a day with men. Sign me up to be the old lady who wears pink everyday, who lives with a menagerie of animals and whose decomposing body is eventually found to have been grotesquely gnawed at by her gaggle of cats. Franky it would be less painful…
I don’t know about you, but I’m beginning to feel that Drake and I have a relationship that’s becoming more dysfunctional than a parent reading Valley of the Dolls, at bedtime. The inevitable peaks and troughs of a musician’s career, on the whole, tend not to shake the staunchest of fans. But Drake’s musical stock, soaring at one moment and plummeting the next, is causing a confusion only comparable to that of the Middle Aged attempting to use self service checkouts. Views, an album packed wall to wall with gems, marked Drake as a risk taker with an ear to the World. It was (and is) a delightful honey coated, African Diasporic infused serving – and then there was More Life…
Just in case you were wondering, this is not the bit where I painstakingly review each song. (I’ve already lost the best part of an hour thanks to Spotify ‘New Releases’, God knows I can’t lose another.) But, right off the bat, I knew that More Life and I would likely get off to a rocky start. Owing to its declaration of being not an album, but a playlist. Like the word ‘curated’ and everything else that seems to have trickled down from the world according to Hipsters; the label felt like a cynical attempt to hoodwink listeners into believing the project was anything but, an insubstantial and hollow offering. Or was that just me?
I believe I am not alone in wishing to unsee the horror of Madonna, gnawing at Drake’s lips like a rabid St Bernard. But, perhaps the pair’s lip locking was less of a kiss and more of a symbolic baton passing. Drake certainly seems to have taken on the Madonna approach to hit making. The approach being: when in doubt, seek out an underground black subculture hello Vogue and liberally sprinkle it over said album playlist, all for added cool factor. In his defence Drake has given Grime artists; Giggs, Skepta and Sampha an introduction to the world stage, and I give him kudos for this. But I can not help but think in songs like No Long Talk and KMT Drake’s aim is not necessarily to showcase the brilliance of British artists, but to let the world know he is now culturally evolved.
Six songs into the playlist, I began to think that scientists may finally have succeeded in their bid to make time travel a reality. Spotify repeatedly skipped past my song choice of Madiba Riddim taking me back to 2016’s Too Good. Nope, sorry my bad, they just sound exactly the same. Blem, too seemed to be woven from the tired fabric of rehashing, with its remarkable similarities to the 2009 hit Find Your Love. Another crushing let down were the opening lines of Gyalchester, which are as follows: ‘Hermes link, Ice blue mink’. The disappointment of a latte made with one espresso shot, and not the two you requested, sprang to mind. (And those were just the good bits)
I’m just kidding there were plenty of highlights, for instance Young Thug’s verse on Sacrifices and um… * Sound of crickets * Let’s just put it this way; if you’re looking to be whined to, intermittently then, look no further as Drake does this beautifully on Nothings Into Somethings. In fact, More Life sees Drake transform the monotone complaint into an Olympic sport, requiring nothing but persistence and dedication.
Sadly, they do not yet award championship rings for whinging, nor do they award them to those who struggled through Drake’s 22 newest songs. I know you won’t believe me, but I actually like Drake (all evidence to the contrary). Nothing will make me get up out of my seat faster than hearing the first notes of 10 Bands. Mr Graham in case you had any doubt, in the words of Tyra Banks; ‘I was rooting for you’. We were all rooting for you. But unfortunately, for me, listening to More Life, was a trying ordeal, to say the least. Sort of like going through the process of euthanasia, only to find that you are in fact, still living…
As a board certified, membership card carrying commitment phobe, I have in the style of the Police, adopted a motto, which perfectly sums up my approach to making any type of social arrangement. Unlike the integrity soaked, cuff carrying folks working in law enforcement, rarely am I called on to ‘protect and serve’ however the need to release myself from the cuffs of agreed plans does mean that on occasion I do have to ‘shirk and avoid’. It is not so much the fear of encountering the unknown that keeps me chained to the comfort of my grey corner suite. But, enduring the Hades like heat of the Tube, only to arrive sweat soaked to a function at which few faces are recognisable, and those that are, embarrassingly fell victim to a poorly timed spell of late night Facebook ‘spring cleaning’ is a torturous prospect, to say the least. Especially when you consider that the thrilling alternative involves a threesome involving myself, Ben and Jerry.
So it was, with an anxious heart that I chose to forgo the passive pleasures of sofa based vegetation, in favour of an evening filled with the terror that is ‘Putting yourself out there’, and on this occasion I am truly glad I did.
Last Thursday Women in Journalism in collaboration with City University put together a seminar promising to give the inside scoop on ‘How to be an Intern’, and boy did they deliver. So here is my ham fisted attempt at a breakdown of the tips, tricks and info imparted by the panel, who were like literally more knowledgeable than a thousand Yodas.
It’s all about the Benjamin’s (or lack thereof)
The clinking, clanking sound of coins is a melody that organ grinder and monkey must dance to. Leaving many young writers contending with the difficulties of participating in unpaid work, while trying to study, and most importantly live. The consensus of the panel seemed to indicate that taking on unpaid ‘Work Experience’ rather than an ‘Internship’ may well be the more financially viable option of the two. Given that Work Experience tends to last for the time bound period of two weeks, allowing aspiring journalists to avoid committing to what seems like an endless procession of days and months.
Like the closing arguments presented to a jury, the experts at hand suggested the tried and tested method of weighing things up. Is it worth working for long term spells of no pay? When perhaps you could gain valuable experience on a student paper. Is it best to privilege getting experience at a national paper, when all that you might do is make tea? A local paper, may be just the thing, in terms of direct hands on experience.
Pick me! Pick me!
With regards to gaining a coveted place within one of the national graduate trainee schemes the panel were adamant that you know the paper and its writers. They also mentioned making sure that you Twitter follow some of the journalists who write for the paper you are applying to. (Preferably not a couple of weeks before). When applying, it might work best to your advantage if all covering letters were addressed to the Editor concerned with this job, and not the previous. They also suggested that it was important for any prospective intern to show a commitment to journalism and not flippantly indicate to an employer that this is what you see yourself doing for, like today, or possibly until you, like make it as a conceptual artist.
I got the part!
If you are lucky enough to be taken on, the panel could not stress enough the virtues of not being ‘annoying’, and by this they meant not expecting to be ‘entertained’ or ‘babied’. A little bit of waiting around, and thumb twiddling was entirely natural in the life of an intern, working in a busy London office. What is most important is that you learn to thumb twiddle with a smile and a can do attitude. Another bug bear were the interns who would write disparaging tweets and blog posts about their internship experiences. This for obvious reasons is a big ‘no no’. Journalism is a tiny industry, and I have been told that Journalists are particularly fragile, so the chances of you ever re-gaining employment after this type of outburst, would be very low indeed.
Take me on
During the seminar it was intimated that one of the key strengths of those taken on after Work Experience or an Internship, is the ability to come in with ideas, whether for articles or features. It was also said that producing finished, pieces of writing (used or not) never failed to impress. So it is a case of keyboards at the ready.
The Blog is mightier than the sword
Finally, there was much positive discussion about Blogging. The panel talked of, how Blogging not only showcased writing skills, but showed an ability to produce and upload content, Edit, Market and Design. Can I get an Amen.
Kudos to the event’s organisers and panel, for attempting to clear the impenetrable fog of Internships and providing young journalists with a BuzzFeed worthy slew of hacks. Given all the confusion internships seem to cause, this seminar was certainly needed. In case you were wondering, I decided to reschedule my date with a tub of Dulce Delish for a different night, although this being me, there is always a possibility that I’ll be a now show.
Much has been made of Maria Grazia Chiuri’s appointment as the first woman to take up the creative helm at Dior. Chiuri, as artistic director of women’s couture, will now be a certified trendsetter and has wasted little time in putting an unmistakable female stamp on her debut 2017 Spring/Summer collection. The piece that’s got everyone and their parole officer talking is a t-shirt screaming the words ‘we should all be feminists’. It seems that feminism, like markets, sandwiches and food vans, has been repackaged by a pair of over eager marketing grads. Hoping to pounce on the vacuous masses, all too ready to trade in the burden of their own opinions for a little branded indoctrination. Chiuri’s designs are indicative of a West built on persistent assertions of self-manufactured delusion. A woman designing clothes for other women is ‘progress’. A $700 t-shirt means ‘empowerment’, apparently.
Since the 1960s, the West has meticulously tried to hammer home a sense that the material difference between the lives of Western women and those in the developing world lies in the idea of ‘Choice’. Apparently thanks to the West being the forward thinkers that they are, I am at perfect liberty to hold down a high powered job, while also being a full-time mother. I may drink as much as I please, with the caveat being that I must later willingly trot off to the gym for a work out. On the weekends I have the freedom to be a domestic goddess, and because I am such a deity, I do this all while looking good. Yes, we Western women are some lucky ladies! We really do get to have it all… Sorry I took a slight detour there, what I was actually getting at, is there is one choice I feel I’ve never been given; the choice not to be a feminist.
Now while I realise that this statement alone is enough to get me barred from the ‘International Ovary Committee’, it’s certainly worthy of discussion. For many years I unquestioningly (or perhaps naively) referred to myself as a feminist. I believed, erroneously, that feminism derived from the stand point of female equality and no other ideology (at that time) greater resonated with me. Joining the fight for the equal rights of women, seemed a no-brainer, and since this long and difficult war, seems so far from victory here in 2017, still does. The articles discussing the disparities in pay that still haunt women, along with those talking of our absence in fields such as Science and Tech are too numerous to go into. Paired with first hand accounts of the unfair weight given to our perceived good (or bad) looks, should provide enough confirmation to any sensible person that Sexism’s persistent and ugly head, has not quite been laid to rest.
But, I believe I first heard the sound of alarm bells ringing in my head, about the closeted cause of Feminism, in 2011, after reading Caitlin Moran’s How to be a Woman. Initially I felt the book would have been more accurately titled How to be a white woman, unhealthily obsessed with Lady Gaga. Admittedly the book is a patchwork telling of her own female journey and this being the case, would inevitably come from a Caucasian perspective. But the title of the book alludes to the shared experience of being ‘a woman’, which led me to ask if in fact Moran truly believed that her life as a white, middle class, journalist was in any way relatable to the vast majority of women across the globe? And worse could her concern for women, be extended to those, whose ethnicity and religion meant that they would automatically fail at ‘being a woman’ according to her own definition? My fears were later confirmed when she tweeted that she ‘literally couldn’t give a shit’ about the lack of diversity on the feminist favourite, television show, Girls. Apparently Moran, like many other mainstream feminists, adhered to the silent code, that the spoils of any women’s revolution, were not to be shared with the tawnier members of the sex. No surprises there then. The whole episode certainly ended any sepia tainted vision of ‘intersectionality’, and ‘women of all races uniting against the spectre of patriarchy’ that I may secretly have held.
I realised that I had been bullied, brow beaten and eventually co-opted into a fight that was not my own, I had been duped into supporting a movement that ultimately held no benefits for black women. Though cleverly concealed, Feminism is a symptom of the in-house, ongoing beef between the men and women of the First World. In short the facilitators of white patriarchy, want a larger piece of the pie. Feminism, it seemed to me, did not so much want to tear down male rule, it resented its continued exclusion from it. As Black women we find ourselves caught between the crosshairs of a foreign struggle. In allowing ourselves to become human buffers, through our continued participation in protests, marches and meetings, we enable mainstream feminists to use us in turn as a smoke screen, tattooed with the false motto ‘we are doing this for all women.’
A case in point, were the Women’s Marches that sprung up faster than a starving cheetah spotting its prey, in opposition of Trump. Apparently Big Ds comments about Blacks and Mexicans had been just about palatable to many women within the dominant society. But what they couldn’t stomach, was Trump’s breakdown of the art of ‘Pussy Grabbing’. I believe the words ‘Something absolutely must be done’ could be deciphered as the marching crowd stampeded over the abused body of Sandra Bland and the 13 victims of Daniel Holtzclaw. I am still awaiting the feminist outrage that should naturally have arisen from the blatant abuse of women of colour by the Police. Instead I heard only the painful sounds of crickets…
We should all be feminists… Really?