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What can I do?

5 May

My last post was despairing.  I ended with the statement that I didn’t know what to do about the awful ways that people treat each other.  Since then I have carried on, continued living my life and letting that question sit unanswered in the back of my mind.

Sometimes, when something disastrous happens it seems clear what we can do.  The recent Nepal earthquake has been devastating, and yet I know that there is no blame to be laid for the horror, this was a natural disaster, and I can donate money to the excellent organisations that support people in disaster areas, like the Disasters Emergency Commission.  I can help in some tiny way – but it is people like me donating in a small way that lead to millions of pounds of support being raised.

When it comes to a situation where people are causing the suffering, and the origin or rights and wrongs of the conflicts are tricky to trace through historical accident and grey areas, it is much harder to know what to do.  Yes, you can give money to the organisations that support the misplaced, the refugees.  You can even support the work of organisations that support refugees or asylum seekers that make it to this country.  You could definitely start by NOT demonising people who try to get to safe countries to seek asylum, unlike most of the UK press (I’m looking at you Daily Mail and The Sun).

But that doesn’t stop the suffering, that doesn’t end the conflict.  There is no neat way to resolve the power struggles, corrupt governments, rebels who are also terrorists, externally funded militias, the interests of other preying nations or corporations.  How can we make any kind of change to these underlying evils?  How can we do that without martial intervention, invasion, drone attacks, more and more death?

I don’t know.  I still don’t know what I personally want to do, which ways I can best make an impact.  So instead I have started thinking about the means by which I might make an impact.  As a free person in a largely democratic country, earning a living that makes me relatively very wealthy compared to far too many in the world, I have two powers.  I have the power of the consumer, and I have the power of the vote.  In other words, the only thing that those who hold the power really want from a plebeian like me is my democratic support (VOTE!) and my support as a consumer (MONEY TALKS!)

First off: money.  This is going to take some time.  The concept of shopping ethically is not new, for decades people have been compiling lists of providers and their ethical credentials.  I want to buy from suppliers who pay a fair wage for labour, support a minimum wage (a living wage) in the countries they buy from, don’t harm animals, limit the environmental damage their business causes, and who obey the law and pay their taxes.  It shouldn’t be as difficult as it is to check those criteria.  Most of the shops and suppliers that sell to us do the bare minimum in terms of informing us about the ethics of their business.  They think that what we don’t know doesn’t hurt us, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t hurting someone.

Top priority to move on with for me (I’m already vegan and try to buy from independent businesses and locally where I can) is to stop spending my money with companies that support the arms trade.  The UK has merrily sold arms to all sorts of dodgy regimes, including Syria, in the past.  Even now, British companies with the support of the UK government are selling weapons to countries with appalling human rights records, such as Saudi Arabia, and countries which are illegally occupying lands not theirs, such as Israel.  The UK’s flagship arms company, BAE Systems, not only sells to murderous regimes but has also had to buy its way out of corruption allegations.  Who knew arms dealers would be so despicable?

So after the money, the vote.  This Thursday is the UK’s general election, and a chance for the UK electorate to make its voice heard.  I swear now that I will never vote for a candidate who supports the UK’s role in the international arms trade.  Arms for defence are one thing, selling weapons that have any risk of being used against civilians is another.  It’s only a small act from me, but my conscience won’t let me do otherwise.

The UK government fully supports the UK arms trade, with UK Trade and Investment Defense and Security Organisation (UKTI DSO – a non-ministerial government department) hosting and sending people to international arms fairs such as this one in the Gulf.  This organisation is tax payer funded and exists to support private UK businesses to sell weapons overseas.  What part of that is okay?  Particularly in a so called capitalist system, where private companies should be sorting out their own damn commerce, not being supported by un-elected government officials.

I know that my little vote won’t lead to the end of such dirty hook ups between our government and companies who value profit over humanity, and that my little money won’t be enough to instill ethical practise in global corporations, but it’s all I can do at the moment.  Maybe one day enough of us will use our little bits of power, cash and the ballot, to make a stand against warmongering and corruption.  Maybe not.  Either way, for me its a start, a way to try to feel like it isn’t all utterly hopeless.

Make sure you vote on Thursday if you are entitled to do so, our power is small but we must use it when we can.

Getting better

7 Jan

Practise. Practise hard. Don’t just visualise or plan, or list or fret or anticipate… practise.

There is an energy around you and it can only reach actualisation through your activity. The words are there, but you have to write them, the colours are there, but you have to paint them, the evidence is there, but you have to find it. You can imagine the results every minute of every day but that will not bring them into reality. You have to achieve them.
So practise.

Practise singing in the car. Practise poetry on the back of receipts on buses. Practise drawing in the condensation on windows. Practise drumming on… anything. Practise your lines. Practise your perfect side swept half-updo with curls. Practise your sewing. Practise your serve. Practise being friendly. Practise love, by loving yourself.

In your mind’s eye, the opportunities are there for the taking. So why aren’t you taking them? Often, we don’t put ourselves forward because we don’t think we are good enough. There is only one way to get better.

Practise.

 

Try again

Feminine and practical…

25 Jan

Like many ladies’ toilets, those at my work place have special bins for sanitary products – used pads and tampons.  Flushing these things is bad form, as it troubles the plumbing and adds to an already massive amount of (literal) crap being sent through the system.  So these bins are used to collect used menstrual goods and are then emptied by specialist companies focussing on hygiene.  I think because menstrual fluid is a biohazard, or something.

I could bang on here about how much better for the environment the mooncup is than disposable cotton wads of varying shapes and sizes, and how once you are used to a menstrual cup it is much more comfortable and it also makes you get over the whole “argh! period! I am a monster!” feeling.  But then equally I could bang on about how The Pill I’m on at the moment has stopped me from having periods and that no, I don’t miss them.  Not one iota.  No PMT (I was pretty much the stereotypical hysteric) no cramps (I used to have to go home from college take painkillers and lie on the sofa crying for two days a month) and no need for tampons.  So yeah, I could write pages and pages about how much easier life is without periods, but just know I am very, VERY smug about it.  Almost as smug as a man.

ANYWAY, none of the above is the reason for this post.  What I want to share with you is the following: the cute little paper bags hanging on the back of the toilet door for in which ladies may wish to deposit their used unmentionables, if you please, before putting them in the sanitary bin:

For your used unmentionables m'lady

For your used unmentionables m’lady

Well that’s very considerate, and I do like to package up most things that I soak in blood, especially that which comes from my vagina, it is only polite after all.   I do, however, find this helpful piece of paraphernalia to be most amusing, not because of what it is but because of the dainty one-legged lady-about-town printed upon it.  I wonder sometimes, when perched on the porcelain throne and facing the above image, what the designers were thinking:

“We need to do something to jazz up these disposal bags.  They look too sterile and useful.  Women might not want to use them – women may not even realise they should use them – if they look boring and functional and just say ‘disposal bag’ on them… come on people, think!”

“Ummm… we could put a flower on it?  Women like flowers”

“It’s been done – how about a kitten?”

“No, kittens don’t say “menses” strongly enough… let’s think about how women feel… what do women feel on their periods?

“Disgusting?”

“Fat?”

“Tired?”

“Miserable?”

“Fed up?”

“No no no… okay, let’s try a new tack.  What should women feel – all the time?”

“Oh!  How about pretty?”

“That’s good, but more…”

“More…”

“DAINTY!  Yes that’s it… we need a picture of a WOMAN being DAINTY… let’s make this happen!”

I imagine them all as male marketing execs in shirt sleeves sweating at the thought of uterine linings being shed across the country.  But I commend the sentiment: periods are a lady problem, ladies want to be feminine, let’s put a really feminine lady on the disposal bag!  It makes so much sense!  I’m assuming the one legged thing is an artistic accident… presumably the other leg is hidden somewhere in all those frills and skirts.  But something isn’t right… something just doesn’t make sense to me…

How is this woman going to reach her knickers, let alone a tampon string, past all those skirts?

Any attempt to even wee in this outfit is not going to be ladylike.  Even if she’s wearing a pad, it is going to be a mission to find it under her bloomers.  This woman looks like she is of an era where having a heavy period probably meant staying in the house and hiding from the rest of humanity.  Or is she rich enough to afford servants to assist with her feminine ablutions?

In summary: this daft image, on what is ostensibly a practical paper bag, is worth taking the piss out of because it shows the inability of some people to just let women’s things be practical.  It would work just as well for what it is without a poorly realised image of Lady Lah-di-dah on it, it is after all going to be thrown in the bin with a used tampon in it… why not supply a pretty ribbon to tie it up with as well?  Have another look at the Duchess of Disposal Bag, and if you have any suggestions tell me what you think would be a better design!

"Jeeves! Be a dear and yank this tampon out for me won't you?  Do mind the french lace - AND BRING ME A HOT WATER BOTTLE BEFORE I SACK YOUR WHINY ARSE!"

“Jeeves! Be a dear and yank this tampon out for me won’t you? Do mind the french lace – AND BRING ME A HOT WATER BOTTLE BEFORE I SACK YOUR WHINY ARSE!”

 

 

The Radical Notion

18 Jan

There is an old slogan from feminism that explains the movement simply as “Feminism: the radical notion that women are people”.

I’ve found myself thinking about that ‘radical notion’ as 2013 has rolled into motion.  I have often said that I’ve got one guiding principle in terms of sharing this planet with others – people are people.  It therefore follows that women, and men, and those who don’t fit in either category, are all people.

Now why is stating the obvious like this so important?  I think it is important because once you start to see another as less than a full person, you can start to treat them as less than a person.  You can deride them, you can dismiss them, you can deny them their rights.  This is a process called dehumanisation, and once a person or group of people is seen as less than human, it becomes easy for some to treat them very, very badly.

Historically this method of categorising other people as subhuman, lesser, or simply “other” has been the justification for despicable actions.  It doesn’t matter if you wipe out an entire group of people if they were not really people anyway.  Genocide, massacres, religious persecution, slavery, torture, conquest, oppression – all of these actions are reprehensible but they are made more sanitary or acceptable by portraying the targets as an inhuman threat or an aberration.

One thing that humans develop in childhood is empathy, and how their actions affect others.  I’m aware that different people feel different levels of empathy towards others and that some conditions can cause problems with social interaction due to lack of empathy, but empathy itself is a quality that allows humans to live and work together.  Yet we are able to lay this empathy aside, and as a species have done so again and again and again, allowing the kinds of atrocities against other people that I have already mentioned.

So it may be an obvious statement, that people are people, but I want this mantra to be at the front of all our minds, when we feel ready to slag off people who dress differently or eat different food.  I want this statement to be there, ready to reach for, whenever we start to feel violently towards “them” and the threat we perceive that “they” have to “us”.  Whoever “they” are, they are people, just like us.  What starts with cruel words is one end of the spectrum.  At the other end lies the unspeakable cruelty of which mankind is capable.

Coming back to the “radical notion” that women are people, I think that the rape apologism that oozes out even after such an horrific attack as that which killed a young woman in Delhi needs to be directly challenged.  There is a dark road that starts with “if she hadn’t been…” out after dark, out with a male friend, outside the house at all… and serves to focus on the victim of the attack as the problem rather than the attackers.  A woman, just as any other person, should be able to go and see a film and board a bus without being gangraped and tortured and beaten.  The perpetrators of the crime did not see her as a person, they saw her as a target, an object, a game.  They felt no empathy for her suffering or the struggle of herself and her companion against the attack.  They did not think of her pain or her dignity.  They had dehumanised her to the point of feeling justified and entitled to use and abuse her body however they wished, because her feelings and her response did not matter.  Perhaps it made them feel powerful, who knows.  Fine, we can all say that the perpetrators committed a terrible crime but I would like to add that those who seek to excuse the perpetrators from responsibility because of actions ascribed to the victim should not be allowed to do so.  No one, NO ONE, causes themselves to be gang raped and beaten with a metal bar such that their body falls apart and they fall into a coma and die.  NO ONE asks for that, not by where they go, how they dress, what they say.  Even in a violent case like this, there are people who wish to blame the victim, and that saddens me.

We cannot dehumanise the victim just because we want the crime to seem less terrible, less scary, and less of an indictment of the prevailing culture.  Apportioning blame to the victim is easy, and makes it easier to believe that it would never happen to us or our friends or family, easier to feel some sort of control – that by our actions we can prevent being raped or attacked.  But you can do everything ‘right’ and still be raped or attacked.  Victim blaming avoids the true cause of such crimes: the belief of the perpetrators that they could do what they wanted with total disregard for the humanity of the victim, and that is why they, and everyone in India and across the world need to get their heads round this ‘radical notion’ that women are people.  Women are not objects, their bodies are not public property, and raping women is a crime, as is raping any person.  There is no excuse.  It is perfectly possible to live a life without raping anyone.  It comes down to respect.  So I’ll say it again world.  People are people.

People are people.  Treat them well.

Spirit in Motion

17 Sep

After a summer of becoming an instant expert in every sport I watched, the Olympic and Paralympic Games are over. A summer of cheering on every team GB competitor no matter what their chance of success was brilliant, but now the summer is over and presumably telly has gone back to whatever dire state it was in before all the games started.

I definitely have the post-games blues.  I rollercoastered from sneering disdain and cynicism over the entire 7 years after the bid was won to fervent sportsfan revelling in Team GB’s success, humility, hard work and humour.  I was won over by the Olympic opening ceremony, unsurprisingly since I am probably exactly the type of person the ceremony was designed for: affectionate towards children’s literature and the NHS, able to appreciate both Mr Bean and modern dance, and fond of this green and pleasant land without being ignorant of its historical misdeeds and flaws.

From then on I was hooked.  I find it hard to even think about which sport was my favourite, some I enjoyed from familiarity (judo), others because I had no clue what was going on (fencing) but what they all had in common was something so endearing and powerful: people trying their damnedest.  My cynicism about the games and the corporate mega-sponsors and the political grandstanding melted away as I watched these people from all over the world stepping up, trying, failing, winning.

Sometimes hearing the stories of the competitors and their personal journeys was almost overwhelming.  Examples of the “triumph of the human spirit” abounded and I felt proud not just of the UK or Team GB and Team Paralympics GB, but of all of us.  All of the people, just being people.

I was proud that it was the London 2012 Olympics which was the first to host female competitors of all partaking nations, I was pleased that we are part of the progression towards women globally being treated as whole people.  The UK does better than a lot of places in terms of women’s rights, worse than a few others, but this Olympics had some fantastic moments for women from around the world.  I look forward to the day, however, when MEN get to compete in every Olympic sport.  Currently men are not allowed to compete in synchronised swimming or rhythmic gymnastics, I hope to see that change, I would be interested to see how male competitors would approach those stereotypically “feminine” sports.

The games definitely demonstrated that people do want to watch women’s sport.  They gave truth to the lie that women’s sport isn’t televised because no one is interested in it.  Men and women watched women competing and men and women were thrilled by it.  Just ask Jessica Ennis, or Nicola Adams.  The support for Team GB’s and Team Paralympics GB ladies was no less than that for the gentlemen.  It was fascinating to see mixed gender teams in some of the Paralympics sports, including wheelchair rugby, which was immensely popular.

One of the great things about sport is that is about what a person can do, not where they were born or what colour they are.  Mo Farah, Somali born Muslim (the Mo stands for Mohammed), is now Britain’s most successful middle distance runner, the right wing newsrags conveniently forgot their anti-immigration stance to celebrate his two golds.  The idea of sport for healing and rehabilitation was the origin of the Paralympics, and I am absolutely thrilled that this year’s Paralympics were so successful.  I actually went to the Paralympics with my Dad, we saw some amazing races, and the men’s high jump final for single leg amputees… the 3 medallists all cleared 1.74m – I can’t clear that with a ladder!  It was amazing.  That was also the day George Osborne got booed, we were in the stadium and it was a very loud boo, but that’s a topic for another time.

I’ve heard people say that after the sportsmanship of the summer, with even the devastated Jody Kundy coming back to apologise for his outbursts, the behaviour of some prima donna footballers in the moneyed leagues is shown by contrast to be puerile, petty, and poor.  I can’t help but agree, I wish I could say that this summer’s games would change the way sport is reported.  I wish I could turn to the back of the paper and see women’s sport discussed and reported, I wish that headline courting millionaire footballers and WAGs would be treated with scorn or at least with indifference,  I wish that football would learn from rugby: play fair and respect the ref or you’re off.  My cynicism has unfortunately returned to such a degree that I know this won’t happen for a long, long time.

I hope however, that some spark of the spirit of this summer’s games will continue in the national consciousness, inspiring people of different ages and backgrounds to indulge their inner Olympian/Paralympian.  It will be interesting to see how the new sporting heroes of the UK are celebrated – who, for example, will be Sports Personality of the Year?  Ellie Simmonds, Bradley Wiggins, Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah, David Weir… it’s going to be a tough choice!

Kittens and glitter and lipstick and SCIENCE!

22 Jun

Well there I was wondering if there was anything I felt passionate enough about to break the blogging lull I had fallen into, and as if hearing my prayers the gods of “you couldn’t make it up” and “if you didn’t laugh you’d cry” dug deep into their storage of Utter Unalloyed Bullshit and gifted the world with this:

Well reader, this video teaser for the “Science: It’s a girl thing” campaign aimed at getting non-sciencey girls into science, provoked some interesting reactions from me.  Firstly, acid flashbacks to adverts for The Clothes Show 1993 accompanied by a vague sense of self consciousness, and a memory of the book “Are you there God? Its me, Margaret“.  Secondly, a wildly oscillating ambivalence between bemused giggles and the kind of disgust I usually reserve for comments about Kate Middleton on the Daily Mail front page (people’s fucking princess, do you hear yourselves?  DOES NO-ONE REMEMBER DIANA??? Ahem… sorry… off topic…).

Anyway, what’s so wrong with it?  Surely girls are put off by science being a male-dominated area?  Surely showing a “girly” side of science will go some way to counteract that?  Well aside from the fact that open-toed shoes are a hazard in a lab due to the risk of extreme pedicure by broken glassware/heavy objects/undiluted hydrochloric acid, and that LOOKING PRETTY has FUCK ALL to do with being a good scientist (if you happen to be both, yay for you, but the two characteristics are not causally linked), this advert is massively patronising.  As has been pointed out by many of the twitterati and other bloggers, a study has recently shown that overtly feminine science and maths role-models demotivate young girls interested in these subjects. The women in the vid above are further examples of the unattainable perfection which women are trained from their youth to strive for, but with the added dimension of being clever scientists to make your average gal’s inferiority complex that little bit sharper.

I don’t have a problem with talking about how science affects women via the products and principles they use: I once toyed with the idea of writing about the science involved in the lives of women like myself who wear make up and heels and dresses because we rock the femme look. I’m interested in why good quality mascaras don’t clump, how wearing heels might be affecting my spine, and how much research and development actually goes into a “clinically proven” moisturiser. However, I’m also interested in how language evolved, how planets were formed, and whether or not a grand unifed theory might someday be achieved: science is just the way we understand the world around us, from predicting which direction a penalty will be struck to working out how the universe started. That is why I’m always drawn to science, it’s the why and the how of everything we do and everything we are.

I can’t stand the premise of this video, because it fields the idea that science can be re-gendered, from a masculine discipline to a feminine one. In my opinion (and I’m living this, not just talking about it) science has no gender. As a teenager, I grew to love science, particularly physics and maths, because in these subjects you either have the right answer, or you don’t. Your gender has no influence on how you derive an equation, if you follow the rules of algebra correctly you are right, if not then you are not. You don’t describe the action of gravity from a gendered perspective. It isn’t like reading novels or poetry or looking at art and identifying with the themes and characters as a woman or as a man. Your personal experience of sexism, the expectations you feel weighing on you due to your gender, have absolutely no bearing on whether or not x=y. There are no “girly” and no “macho” fundamental particles, the matter we are made up of has no connection to this society’s stereotypes of gender, race, sexuality, whatever. It just is what it is.

Oh yes Ms Mongrel, you say, fine fine, but why aren’t there more women in science? IS IT BECAUSE LAB COATS ARE NOT PINK? Ah, the question, how do we make women like science? How can we mould the subject to fit their delicate lady-brains? Well reader, I’m about to blow your mind with new information. Are you ready? Sure? Okay:

WOMEN ALREADY DO SCIENCE

Woah! What a shocker! Am I serious? Yes I am. There are women microbiologists, geologists, astrophysicists, particle physicists, sociologists, neuropsychologists, electrical engineers, astronauts, medical physicists, earth scientists, the list goes on and on. Guess what? I personally know a lot of women who fulfil these roles. They weren’t dragged in to science by a frilly pink advert based on an ad exec’s labcoat fantasy, they just liked science. More importantly, they weren’t turned away from science by people who thought it wasn’t for girls as happened throughout, you know, ALL OF HISTORY. Luckily some of those who were told such bullshit just rolled up their sleeves and said “I’ll show them”, and became the trailblazers thanks to whom most of the younger women scientists I know were actively encouraged by their schools, peers and parents. They developed the confidence to try something that society thought (still thinks?) they wouldn’t be any good at because they are equipped with baby-growing apparatus.

This is the worst thing about Science: It’s a girl thing! the idea of interviewing female scientists and showing that they are ordinary women with fulfilling work that they are passionate about is excellent. The idea of saying to girls “guess what, science isn’t all socially inept men in labcoats wearing their brown sandals with white socks, actual women work on this stuff too” is also excellent. Heck, that’s an excellent message to send to boys! This whole programme is based on a good motive and a positive idea. It’s just a shame they wrapped it up in tired old marketing bullshit and a great big tacky pink bow.

“Oh I get it, you’re a feminist…”

7 Mar

Damn, you got me… what gave it away? I thought I’d hidden it so well by having long princess hair and not wearing dungarees. Oh well, it’s a fair cop. I’m a feminist, run, run before I start singing I Am Woman and flashing great swathes of armpit hair at you!

It was Saturday night, and I was out with some of my friends, and some of their friends. The very inebriated hostess of the house where we started drinking has divulged to me her suspicion that she might be a bit bisexual because, as she slurs “women’s bodies are beeeeauuutifulll!”. Now, I think that lots of female bodies are beautiful. But I also think that lots of male bodies are beautiful. I want to suggest to this woman that finding women beautiful doesn’t necessarily mean that she is bi, though more power to her if she is, but that a lot of straight women find other women beautiful, because we have been taught to see them that way.

“Our society trains us to see women as beautiful…” I start, wanting to talk about painted nudes and advertising, and about how backwards it is that women think other women are beautiful and hate the way they look themselves, but a male friend, let us call him “F”, immediately adds his point of view.

“That’s because women are designed to attract men, men are designed to be providers, and women are designed to attract someone to provide for them”

I turn to F and I say “F, I’ve never tried to attract a provider, I’ve never gone out with a provider”, to which he responds “so you’re not attracted to rich, strong men?” to which I say “er, have you met my boyfriends?”

I’ll be honest, F and I view the world differently. I think he is a bit blissfully blinkered, and he thinks I overcomplicate things, and yet we don’t argue, we coexist each thinking the other is charmingly wrong.

However, the next one into the fray is F’s friend, whom I shall call “A”, for acquaintance. During the subsequent discussion A seems less interested in discussing my points and more interested in attacking my style of argument:

You’re personalising it
You’re making generalisations
Why are you being so defensive?
You’re being emotional

So, after being too personalising and generalising, simultaneously, I made every effort to speak calmly and rationally until I realised that he was making me jump through hoops in order to QUALIFY for an argument with him. I am a passionate speaker, but if I was showing emotion my argument must be invalid. I wasn’t allowed to comment in a way he could paint as personalising, or generalising, or to defend my point despite being attacked, even though it wasn’t my argument being attacked, it was me. He didn’t once answer any of my points, he should probably get into politics.

Now, I don’t mind a good argument, a good ruck. I find them interesting. Everyone who’s talking has something to tell you, even if you don’t like what they are saying. The truth is, at this point in the argument, neither of us were saying very much. A was arguing along the lines that because ALL WOMEN ARE EMOTIONAL, any argument of mine must be wrong. I couldn’t even track myself back to my original statement at this point.

But after being opinionated and answering his authoritative statements and his comments which I might have said I found “defensive”, he suddenly looked like the mystery of my outspokenness was solved. “Ah, I get it” he said “you’re a feminist”.

“Of course” I answered “why wouldn’t I be?”.

Later when I asked, “what’s so bad about feminism?” A replied with this gem: feminist arguments make sweeping generalisations. Ah, you’re right there A, I’m just like the feminist you met once who made sweeping generalisations and ignored any other arguments, I must be, because once you’ve spoken to one feminist you’ve spoken to them all. They’re like men, THEY’RE ALL THE SAME!!!

Now some of the comments he made I’m going to address in later posts, so I won’t go into them here. Suffice to say, F and possibly-bi-woman and the others in the group were a little anxious as loud discussion/arguments often make us British a little nervous, as if we might end up duelling at dawn, or racing a hot air balloon around the world. So to alleviate this feeling we both made noises of ‘ah we just love a good row!’ and ‘no hard feelings!’ and genuinely that’s how I felt. You need to meet people who don’t see the world the way you do. You learn nothing of spots if you only talk to tigers.

“Anyway” he begins as he rounds off his carefully constructed artful oratory in a display of gentlemanly honour towards his sparring partner “she’s probably premenstrual”

Ha. Ha bloody ha fuck you.