Wednesday, 21 December 2011

The Christmas Menu

Menu 1 (meats & fishes)


Toasted prawns on a bed of crushed cheese & onion crisps with bread sauce

Deep fried bull's eye with melted eggs


Baked horse and mashed pasta with banana gravy

Roasted ram covered in pickled herring with mayonnaise


White rolls with chocolate, jam and tomato fondant

Caramel cheeses

Menu 2 (vegetarian)


Kelloggs variety pack (one per person)

Squashed squash and nuts with a spring onion


Onion curry with salt

Two pieces of bread with margarine, cheese, peanut butter and spinach on them with one piece of bread on top of the other one. Side dish of tofu. On a bed of peasy chips


See Menu 1 (if you're vegan you can have a soya latte)

Menu 3 (other)


A selection of carpets

Some skin


Some road works and a massive argument

Quentin Letts, Richard Littlejohn and Melanie Phillips


A dog


Saturday, 10 December 2011


The Anger Hatch



Bad Vibez

Cafe Eggs & Tea

Solitary Confinement

Fashion Statement

Colin's Crunchy Citchen

No Way

Maggie & Django's Organic Front Room Cafe, Yoga Studio and Rebirthing Rooms

The Gallows

Sunday, 4 December 2011

5-7-5 #3

Ten gracious fingers
Doze on blades of foolish bone
And bid clemency

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Right to Reside

G is a Dutch national, originally from Somalia. She came to live in the UK in 2003 to exercise her right to work here. Since arriving in the UK, G has always worked full time. The only gaps in her employment have been as a result of a work contract coming to an end and the time it took for G to find alternative employment.

G has worked as a cleaner, in factories, for the National Health Service and local authorities. She has paid tax and National Insurance.

As an EU national, the rules about G's benefit entitlement are very complicated. The law about who has the right to reside in the UK for the purposes of welfare benefits is complex and ever-changing and they also vary depending on what benefit is being claimed. In general, EU nationals are only entitled to benefit in the UK if they can show that they are 'workers' or 'work seekers'.

G would be entitled to Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) because she would still be seen as a worker or a work seeker while she was claiming this benefit. But if she were to make a claim for Income Support as a single parent, the law might not be on her side.

Nine months ago, G became pregnant for the first time. She carried on working but her employer decided not to renew her contract when it expired despite the fact that she was a hard and punctual worker and did a lot of overtime. G made a claim for JSA while she was seeking other employment. Her claim for JSA was successful as the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) was satisfied that G was still a worker / work seeker for the purposes of her claim.

In October 2011, when G was 29 weeks pregnant, she was told by the DWP that she was no longer entitled to JSA as she could no longer meet the qualifying conditions, namely that she was available for work. This was because she was seen as being too heavily pregnant. G immediately made a claim for Income Support on the basis that she was heavily pregnant and that she would soon be a single parent. Her claim was not successful because it was decided that she did not have the right to reside in the UK for the purposes of her Income Support claim.

G made her claim for Income Support at the beginning of October. The decision about her claim was made on 25th November. She has had no income since her JSA was stopped.

G is being assisted with an appeal against the decision about her Income Support claim. However, appeals relating to the right to reside are notoriously slow. G is due to give birth at any moment. If she was in receipt of Income Support, she would also be entitled to certain maternity payments from the Social Fund which would benefit her greatly.

Also, because G's JSA was stopped, this will almost certainly result in the suspension of her Housing Benefit meaning that she could lose her home.

G's only option while she is in the process of appealing the Income Support decision is to try to make a new claim for JSA. She will find it very difficult to convince the DWP that she satisfies the conditions for this benefit as she will need to show that she is available for work which is a very hard thing for a heavily pregnant woman to prove.

The fact that it is only women who find themselves in this situation is wrong. A male EU national who has a child can carry on working or make a claim for JSA thus enjoying his worker status for the duration. G, however, is being penalised and discriminated against because she is a woman; the law says that women who become pregnant and who can not work as a result, do not retain their status as a worker and therefore no longer have the right to reside.

G has worked solidly since her arrival in the UK. She has undertaken challenging work and she has paid her way and made a positive contribution. She slept with a man nine months ago and became pregnant. The father of the child continues to claim JSA and receive full Housing Benefit which, of course is right. But what cannot be right is that fact that, as a result of her pregnancy, G has lost of all her income and all of her rights.

The case continues. G may be referred to social services for assistance under the Children Act when her baby is born.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Eavesdrop #7

A man is waiting to order at a coffee shop near Paddington Station. The young woman at the counter speaks with a strong Spanish accent. She's been working very hard.

Man              Latte. Half strength

Woman         I'm sorry?

Man              (louder) Latte. Half Strength

Woman         What is "have streff"? I'm sorry, I don't understand.

Man              A half strength latte. What's the problem here?

Woman         I don't know what you mean. Can you say it another way?

Man              I don't know how else to fucking it say it, love. I want a latte, ok? But half the strength of a normal  one, yeah?

Woman         I make you a latte, yes?

Man              What is the matter with you people!!!

Another customer tries to intervene

Customer       (to woman) I think he means that he wants the coffee to be weaker than normal. Less strong.

Woman         Ah, ok.

Man              Stupid bitch

The young woman makes the latte

Woman         Here is your weaker latte. I think you are a shit and really a bastard.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Eavesdrop #6

A man is outside making a call on his mobile telephone:

Alright Dave, it's Dave. No, no Dave. No, Dave, it's Dave! No, oh for fuc..


Tuesday, 8 November 2011


S is an 18-year-old woman. She lives in a safe house with her baby.

S ran away from home when she was 12 years old. Her step father was sexually abusing her without her mother's knowledge. S says that her mother would never have believed her if she had disclosed the abuse. She slept rough for two or three months before being picked up by Social Services and placed in care.

S had a bad time in care. She was placed with a foster family but was sexually assaulted by one of her foster father's friends at a party one day. This friend continued to come to the house to abuse her. After a while, S stole £60 from her foster mother's purse and left the house. She got on a train and went as far away as she could.

S slept on the street with some other rough sleepers. She started taking a bit of speed. She liked the way it made her feel; 'like floating and sinking at the same time'. By now she was 14 years old. Some of the older women kept an eye on her. Most of them were sex workers. They weren't all rough sleepers but they hung out in the same area.

There was a man called Jo who would come by in his car and talk to the women. He was the boyfriend of one of the sex workers. S's first memory of Jo is watching him kick one of the other rough sleepers repeatedly in the head for a laugh after the rough sleeper had overdosed from snowballing (injecting a mixture of crack and heroin).

S wanted to impress Jo. She would snort speed in front of him and insult passers by when he was in earshot. She wanted him to think that she was grown up and fearless; that she had done things. Jo started to acknowledge S. He would tease her and give her the odd cigarette. Some of the other women told her not to talk to him.

S was offered heroin by one of the rough sleepers. She was told to smoke it at first. After a few months, she was injecting nearly every day and smoking crack regularly as well.

One night Jo came by to look for his girlfriend but she wasn't there. S was standing away from the others trying to hide from some nearby police officers. She was high on crack and she'd just stolen a handbag from a cafe. Jo told S that her tits looked nice. And then he took her to his car and raped her. After he'd raped her, Jo told S that she wasn't getting paid for it because she was too young. And then he said he was joking and he gave her £10. S was sick in her lap. Jo gave her a cuddle and told her he was sorry but that he couldn't help himself because she was so pretty and so grown up.

Jo's girlfriend found out what had happened and beat S up. S left the area and hitched to a different town.

By the time she was 15, S had a regular crack and heroin habit and was having sex for money to fund it. She would tell punters she was 17. Some would guess that she was underage but would have sex with her anyway. S would sometimes be approached by outreach workers who would try to encourage her to engage with their services. She would sometimes talk to them but she didn't let things go any further. She didn't trust anyone.

S found out she was pregnant when she was 17. She was fairly sure that the father was one of her regular punters who insisted on sex without a condom. She decided to get clean and ask the local authority for help with housing. She was placed in a B&B and referred to Social Services.

S's baby was born addicted to heroin and crack because S wasn't able to get clean during her pregnancy. The baby stayed  in hospital and S returned to the B&B.

The baby's father had seen S around while she was pregnant and had asked people where she was staying. He paid S a visit one day. He asked S if he was the father of her baby and she told him that she was almost certain that he was. He raped and beat S to within an inch of her life. She was in intensive care for three weeks.

S was placed in a safe house. She is still there. She has not used crack, heroin or speed for nearly three months. She says that it's early days in terms of her recovery but that she's determined to get clean and lead a better life for her baby.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Comment is Free

A recent article by Barbara Ellen in the Guardian's Comment is Free focused on Eamonn Holmes' clumsy interview with rape survivor Hannah Cant on an episode of This Morning. Ellen writes that Holmes repeatedly made references about the fact that Cant hadn't taken a taxi home and that the inference was that she should have done in order to avoid being raped.

At the end of the interview, Holmes offers some advice to Ms. Cant and says, "I hope you take taxis now, everywhere you go, coming home at night." Ellen, quite rightly, goes on to argue that, "taxi or not, it is never the victim's fault that a rapist strikes. Odd how, even now, rape victims are perceived as somehow enabling their own attacks, in a way that would seem ludicrous when applied to other crimes? "Why did you buy a nice car – when it could be stolen?" "Why were you wearing that expensive watch – you must have known you'd be mugged and knifed?"

And lo, the comments stream in. A great deal of them are, at best, depressing. Most of them rely on the all-too-common argument of, 'Don't get me wrong, I hate rape as much as anyone but, you have to admit that, while no one has the right to come into your house and steal your belongings if you leave your door wide open, you do make it more likely that someone will if you do.' Many of the comments defend Holmes and argue that he was simply offering some 'common sense' advice to Cant and other women.

These arguments are offensive, lazy and meaningless. We have got to get away from the ridiculous notion of rape as something that only happens at night, in dark alleys to tipsy women who are walking home on their own. Rape happens everywhere; it happens in broad daylight, in nice houses, at the office, at weddings, in bed, in front of other people. It happens in taxis too. And it does not happen because of anything that women do.

It is men who are most likely to be attacked (by other men) when walking home alone at night. Also, (why don't we know this by now?) most women who are raped know their attackers. So, knowing this, what 'advice' should we give to women? 'Don't, whatever you do, get to know any men'; 'don't go out in broad daylight'; 'don't go to work if there are men there'.

Women don't need advice about how to behave or act in order to 'avoid' being raped. This is because rape has nothing to do with a woman's behaviour and everything to do with the misogyny of the perpetrator.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Eavesdrop #5

It's a Thursday. Two men are having lunch together.

Man 1          I'm not a big fan of Thursdays, to be fair

Man 2          Right

Man 1          It's like a non-day, Thursday, isn't it?

Man 2          Ummm....

Man 1          Like, all the other days seem to have a purpose, like. But Thursday's just bang in the middle of the week

Man 2          I thought that was Wedn..

Man 1          Like, Monday, you're like, fair enough, it's Monday, I know where I am. And Tuesday and Wednesday are cool cos you're just getting into the swing of things and then it's fucking Thursday. I don't know.

Man 2          Yep.

Man 1         And then you've got Friday, Saturday and Sunday and then it's the weekend.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Eavesdrop #4

Two teenage girls are sitting together on a train.

Girl 1    Have you spoken to Danny?

Girl 2   No


Girl 2   I groped him the other day though

Saturday, 1 October 2011



Smoked cheese

Smoked ham

Smoked jam



Avante Garde

Special Juices






Sunday, 28 August 2011

Eavesdrop #3

A couple have just arrived home. They are in different rooms of their house.

Man                Hey, would you like a tea or a coffee?

Woman           Err.. I dunno, what are you having?

Man                Well... there's... ummm... it's... I dunno

Woman           Maybe a tea?

Man                Well, there's basically one coffee.

Woman           I'll have a tea.


Man                I may as well have a coffee then.

Friday, 26 August 2011


O is an Iraqi man in his late 30s. He came to the UK some years ago and made a claim for asylum which was successful. He had been systematically tortured in Iraq and had witnessed family members being raped and murdered. He approached the local authority in 2007 to make a homelessness application after he had been evicted from his privately rented accommodation. After living for one year in B&Bs and temporary accommodation, he was given a one-bedroom flat.

O suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He experiences vivid and violent flash backs and also has seizures. His mental health is fragile and he often cannot cope with simple, every day tasks. His sleep is very poor and he often cannot sleep for days at a time because his mind is racing. He has attempted suicide in the past but has not done so for over one year.

In mid 2010, O's wife and four children joined him in the UK as part of the family reunion scheme. O informed all the relevant departments as soon as his family arrived; he contacted the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Housing & Council Tax Benefit department to confirm that there had been a change in his circumstances. Because O was now responsible for children, he also made a claim for Child Tax Credit and Child Benefit, both of which he will be entitled to.

Shortly after his wife and children arrived in the UK, O approached the local authority's housing department to ask if he could apply for a larger property; he now needed a three bedroom property (one bedroom for him and his wife, one bedroom for the two boys and one bedroom for the two girls). Living in a one bedroom flat with four children would not be manageable. O went in person to the housing department and explained his situation. He took his wife's passport and his children's birth certificates. He also submitted evidence from the UK Border Agency that his wife and children had entered the UK. He was given a form to complete. O completed the form with a friend whose English was better than his and submitted the form in good time.

Two months later, O received a letter from the local authority informing him that he could not be considered for a larger property because he was not in receipt of Child Benefit. According to the local authority's policy, in order to be offered a larger property on the grounds that an applicant is responsible for children, the applicant needs to show evidence that s/he is in receipt of Child Benefit. O was not yet in receipt of this benefit; Child Benefit claims are notoriously slow, especially when they involve people from abroad.

O tried to call the Child Benefit office to ask how long his claim would take to process but he did not pass the security questions because he did not understand them. He tried again with a friend to help him and he was told that it was uncertain how long his claim would take to process.

O came to the advice centre. He was highly stressed and anxious that he had done something wrong. His caseworker explained that the local authority's policy was different from the law and that there is nothing in law that says a housing applicant needs to show evidence of Child Benefit to 'prove' that s/he is responsible for children. O asked his caseworker to call the Child Benefit office to hurry his claim up. The caseworker was reluctant to do this as she knew that it would not work. Instead, it was agreed that the caseworker would write to the local authority to challenge its decision not to offer O a larger property.

Some weeks later, O came back to the advice centre. He told his caseworker that his children were scared because one of his neighbours kept trying to spit on him and his wife. The caseworker asked him if he had called the police but O said that he did not want to do that. O also told his caseworker that he had been having black-outs and that this had been happening in front of his children. His caseworker told him that she was still waiting for a reply from the local authority about his housing situation.

Nine weeks after she had written to the local authority, O's caseworker received a response. The letter stated that all applicants who were responsible for children and who were applying for housing on that basis were required to show proof of Child Benefit. The letter did not address any of the points the caseworker had raised in relation to the law around this issue.

O's caseworker wrote back to the local authority and included a copy of her initial letter. The caseworker urged the local authority to consider the law rather than its own policy in this case and reminded the local authority that the family in question was a family of six , sharing a one bedroom property, that they were being harassed and threatened by another tenant and that the main applicant's mental health was very fragile at the best of times.

Nearly seven weeks later, the local authority responded to the caseworker's second letter, saying that it sympathised with O's situation but that it had to adhere to its policy. This is emphatically untrue.

O's caseworker is considering referring this case for judicial review on the grounds that the local authority has fettered its discretion.

The case continues.

Saturday, 20 August 2011


1. Snow / Tender

2. Lists / Others

3. Motorway / Shy

4. Jay / Nap

5. Watch / Shrink

6. Share / Share

7. Bed / Back

8. Sir Gawain / Tantrum

9. Cello / Wait

10. Food / Help

11. Tension / Speechless

12. Freeze / Break

13. Lungs / Shame

14. Birthday / Blood

15. Books / Letter

16. Relief / Push

17. Confession / Theatre

18. Name / Nerves

19. Drip / Visit

20. Heart / Stop

Wednesday, 3 August 2011


BBC Radio 4's Feedback gives listeners the opportunity to air their views about the station's programmes.

On last week's Feedback the new controller of Radio 4, Gwyneth Williams, was invited to respond personally to some of the listeners who called in to make comments.

One listener called Feedback to raise his concerns about the gender imbalance on the airwaves. Ms. Williams spoke to the listener personally and was then questioned further about this issue by Feedback's presenter, Roger Bolton. Her response to this issue was flimsy and depressing and, as a result, this happened:

Dear Ms. Williams

I felt compelled to write to you after I heard your comments about gender imbalance on air during Radio 4's
Feedback last week. I was deeply disappointed by your response to the comments made by the listener who contacted the programme about this issue and I felt utterly depressed by your lack of understanding of and commitment to positive discrimination.

I had hoped that, as the new Controller of Radio 4, your
first priority would have been to begin to actively address the very worrying gender imbalance that exists on Radio 4. Instead, your response to your listener's concerns on Feedback lacked any real substance and, I'm afraid, implied that your knowledge of how to remedy this issue is limited and out of date.

In response to your listener, you said, 'what we want on Radio 4 are the best presenters ... we go for quality, that's the thing that matters more than anything'. This comment can only imply that, given that there are very many more male presenters on Radio 4 than female, you think that men are better than women at the job. However, you then said that 'of course' women can give equal quality to men. So, my question is, what is your argument exactly? And, more importantly, if you truly believe that women
can give equal quality to men (which of course they can), what are you going to be doing to recruit more women for presenting roles at Radio 4?

Of course you must know it is
only because of inequality of opportunity that there are far less female presenters than male presenters on Radio 4. There is no other reason for it.

Positive discrimination is necessary. And it works. Your tone on
Feedback and your lack of a constructive answer to this very serious problem seemed to suggest that the notion of positive discrimination made you uncomfortable and embarrassed. If this is the case, then any hopes I had about how you would be taking advantage of your new role to address the gender imbalance at radio 4 have been dashed.

Kind regards


Dear J, Thnk [sic] you for your note. I am sorry to have disappointed you. However, I am genuinely proud of the volume and calibre of R4's female presnters [sic] . We have so many and they present key prgrammes [sic] - such as Kirsty Young, Jenni Murray, Martha Kearney, Ritula Shah... and many more. Be assured you will continue to hear women presenters on Radio 4. Best Wishes Gwyneth Williams  

God help us. God absolutely help us.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011


Rosehip & Tobacco

Lemon & Ginger & Tobacco

Tuna & Mayonnaise

Everything's Fine

Everything's Fucked




Panic Time!

Angela's Ashes

In Vitro


A Woman's Place is in the Home 


Monday, 25 July 2011

5-7-5 #2

An ex army boot -
Like a worn out boxing glove
With five weary blows.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Saturday with Mum

I love my new table. If I'm totally honest, I think I love it a bit more than I love you.

Sometimes when I'm at work, I have to do a quick cough straight afterwards to hide it.

Oh look, there's a wasp having a drink out of the bird bath. That always makes me laugh.

I'm not disagreeing with you; you're just wrong mate, do you get me?

Fuck it, I'm just going to go to my girls' night in my pyjamas.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Case Study

A is a young woman who lives on her own in a council tenancy. She relies on Housing Benefit to pay her rent and is in receipt of Income Support on the basis of incapacity. She suffers from schizophrenia, depression and agoraphobia, all of which are aggravated by stress. She also mis-uses alcohol and self harms regularly. She is often bullied and threatened by the other tenants in her building and has had people breaking in to her flat and stealing her post.

As part of the government's welfare reforms, A was written to by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and told that she was required to attend a medical assessment with a view to assess whether or not she would be entitled to a new sickness benefit called Employment & Support Allowance (ESA) which is replacing Income Support on the basis of incapacity. A did not receive the letter and so did not attend her medical assessment. As a result of this, her benefit was stopped altogether. The Housing Benefit department noticed that A's Income Support had stopped and so suspended her Housing Benefit award due to this 'change of circumstances'.

It took A a little while to notice that her benefit had stopped; she was already in substantial debt when her benefit was in payment and she wasn't in the habit of checking her bank balance very regularly. She knew she was in trouble when she went to withdraw some cash to put some money on her electricity meter and her card was declined.

A came to the advice centre. Her caseworker called the DWP and asked for another medical assessment to be arranged. The caseworker was told that this was "impossible" and that A would, instead have to start the (lengthy) process of appealing the decision to stop her benefit. An appeal form was completed and sent. A was told that while she was appealing, she would need to apply for a Crisis Loan from the DWP and that if she applied for one and it was decided she was entitled, she would be paid that day.

Three days later, A came back to the advice centre. She said that she had not applied for a Crisis Loan as she had no credit on her phone. Her case worker asked her if she could use a phone box but A said she couldn't do that because they scared her and that she didn't have any money to use one any way. A said that she hated using the phone. She said that mobile phones put messages in her head and made her mad and that other people were always listening. A's caseworker said that she could help her apply for a Crisis Loan at the advice centre but that A would have to be there while she made the phone call. A agreed.

The Caseworker called the DWP with A present. The caseworker explained to the member of staff that A could not use the phone easily because of her health problems and so she would be carrying out the bulk of the phone call on A's behalf. This was not accepted and the member of staff at the DWP insisted on speaking to A. After a couple of minutes on the phone, A became incredibly distressed and said that she could not carry on because she was too scared. A put the phone down and walked out of the advice centre.

One month later, A's caseworker called the DWP to check that A's appeal had been received. The member of staff at the DWP said that there was no record of an appeal on the system and it looked like it had not been received. The caseworker explained A's situation and asked to speak to a Decision Maker in the hope that A's benefit would be reinstated or, at least, a new medical assessment could be arranged. Again, the caseworker was told that this was not possible and that the appeal process had to be followed. The caseworker sent a copy of the original appeal form along with a doctor's note and a letter to the DWP explaining that A was clearly very unwell and requesting that her benefit be reinstated while A waited for a date for a new medical assessment.

A couple of weeks after this, A came to the advice centre in crisis. She had a black eye and could not stop shaking. She had still not received her benefit. She had managed to apply for a crisis loan of £70 but she said she had had to give this to various people she had borrowed money from. She had not eaten properly for two weeks and had run out of medication and had been too afraid to leave her flat to go and get more. She also said that there was no gas or electricity in her flat because she had no money to pay for them. A showed the caseworker a letter she had received from the council telling her that if she did not take steps to repay her rent arrears within five days, she would be issued with a notice of seeking possession.

A's caseworker tried to help her apply for another crisis loan but the lines were busy and the caseworker did not have time to wait for very long. She invited A to wait on her own but A said that she could not do this because people were following her and then she left.

Two weeks later, A's caseworker called the DWP to check on the progress of the appeal. She was told that the appeal had been successful and that A would be paid shortly. The caseworker called A to tell her but there was no answer.

One week after this, A's caseworker called the DWP and was told that an error had been made and that A's payment had not been issued. She was assured that a payment would be issued within five days.

After ten days, A's caseworker called the DWP to check that a payment had been made. It had not. A letter of complaint was written with a request for a consolatory payment for hardship and suffering.

After ten more days, A came back to the advice centre. She was confused and frightened. Her caseworker called the DWP and was told that A's payment had been made the day before. A was encouraged to go to her doctor for medication and support.

One month later, the DWP responded to the caseworker's complaint. In the letter, the DWP acknowledged that it had handled A's case badly and apologised for its failings. The DWP also stated that, in this case, a consolatory payment was not appropriate. The caseworker wrote back, urging the DWP to reconsider this.

A first approached the advice centre in March of this year. She was eventually paid what she had always been entitled to in July. She was penalised and ignored because she was unwell, unable to cope and inarticulate. Her case continues.

At the Conservative Party Conference in October 2010, the Chancellor, George Osborne said "fairness means creating a welfare system that helps the vulnerable". This was echoed by David Cameron who said, "yes, fairness means giving money to help the poorest in society, people who are sick, who are vulnerable, the elderly - I want you to know that we will always look after you ..... that's the sign of a civilised society and it's what I believe".

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Eavesdrop #2

A man and a woman are waiting to cross the road.

Man              I'm just saying I don't like it when you haven't shaved your legs for

Woman         Does it make you fancy me less?

Man              Only a bit


Man             Oh, for fuck's sake. I didn't mean that in a bad way.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Text Templates

I am late. I will be there at..

I will be arriving at..

I'm at home. Please call

I'm at work. Please call

I'm at KFC. Please call

Meeting is cancelled.

Wedding is cancelled.

Funeral is cancelled!

I love you

I really, really like you

I like you

I quite like you

I hope I can grow to like you

I don't think I like you but I can't quite make up my mind

I don't like you

I hate you

Do you like me?

Monday, 27 June 2011


Richard D North or, 'RDN'  is a right-wing writer, broadcaster and commentator. He is media fellow of the Institute of Economic Affairs, the free market think tank, and fellow of the Social Affairs Unit, the home of conservative cultural thought.

This week, Mr. North appeared on the BBC's Sunday Morning Live; 'a series of moral, ethical and religious debates that invites the audience to get involved'. One of the topics up for debate this week was Should Women Cover Up? As a precursor to his appearance on the programme, Mr. North posted this on his website:

I would almost prefer to see more burqa and less thong on our high street. And there is something in that poor Toronto policeman’s view that women ought to consider dressing modestly. They have of course a right to dress like sluts, and there’s no evidence that I know of that tarty dressing gets people raped. Still, whether in dress, drink or general deportment, women would be sensible to be, er, sensible. 

After his appearance on the programme, the following exchange ensued:

Hello Richard
My sister and I would like to know why you would prefer to see women moving towards a more covered-up state of dress, particularly when you admit yourself that you know of no evidence that suggests that there is a correlation between instances of rape and what a victim chooses to wear. You also said on Sunday Morning Live that do not enjoy looking at “acres of blubber”. We hate to jump to conclusions but we feel that this comment was directed solely at women rather than women AND men. Could you explain yourself with regard to this?
Also, you contradict yourself when you say that women should be free to dress as they please but that they should also cover up more as a “precaution”. So, which is it? And, if it is the latter, why is the onus on women’s behaviour when it is men who do the attacking? Are you saying that you think a woman’s dress provokes rape? You can’t be saying that though, because you’ve aleady admitted in your post that you know of no evidence linking dress with the likelihood of being attacked – and you’re correct here, Richard, because there is none. Do you understand that a sexual attack has nothing to do with the victim and everything to do with the perpetrator?
Finally, we would like to let you in on a little secret: rape has absolutely nothing to do with sex. I know! It’s weird isn’t it!!? Please contact us if you would like us to explain this further.
Best regards
J and C

 Dear J and C
Thanks for that. Yes, I do think too many people of both sexes display too much flesh in the wrong places and at the wrong times – as a matter of my taste. And I do think the current trend for provocative clothing by women during the day (tight, short, skirts; cleavage etc) is weirdly unprofessional and unfeminist. And you’re right, I did say that I don’t think slutty dressing gets women raped. (Indeed, I can imagine modest shrinking violets being horribly exciting to some nasty men). And I do think it’s unwise of parents to let young teenage girls dress tartily, not least because it promotes a trend, I think, whereby young girls wrongly think they are streetwise.
Actually, I don’t think all rapes are the same, and I don’t think all rape victims are equally free of some responsibility for their predicament. And I do think that when some women bang on about their right to dress any way they please, they may need reminding that almost always when one claims a right, one is wise to consider one’s responsibilities. In this case, I’d say young women might be wise to remember that they need to be sensible in matters of drink, drugs, dress and deportment – and be very careful with whom and where they let themselves go.
I would say – and I didn’t and should have – that my feeling about sluttiness in women’s dress is that it is sometimes a joyful expression of freedom (the Slutwalks, the trend for Burlesque, Goths etc). But I do also feel that it is sometimes curiously a matter of women being disrespectful of themselves. So women have a perfect right to go about semi-naked, but I would prefer they had more sense of their own dignity.
I hope that helps.

Yes, it did help, Mr. Richard D North. It helped to birth a cracking new game called Spot how Many Things are Wrong With What You Just Said which has produced hours of exquisitely angry fun.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

5-7-5 #1

A strict, silent drape -
Your coat is Solomon's Seal
For all your seasons

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Eavesdrop #1

Two young women are standing in line at a cafe. Their conversation goes like this:

Woman 1 - I'm so gutted I'm not going to Glastonbury

Woman 2 - I know! Me too!

Woman 1 - I feel like the energy really changes in Bristol over the Glastonbury weekend.

Woman 2 - Yeah, yeah..

Woman 1 - There seems to be a sort of drop in the creativity; like, something happens to the spirit

Woman 2 - Yeah, I know what you mean

Woman 1 - But I suppose it makes you realise how lucky you are to live in such an amazing place; there really are some beautiful souls here

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Choice Cuts

Oh look. Here are some things actual people have said on Channel 4's Come Dine With Me.

Never wrap a baby in foil

I don't expect them to come dripping in leopard

Oh my actual God!

She's a Liberal Democrat? I don't know what they are

I love the Queen Mum so much I woke up one day and felt I had to write it down

They're just baby nappies and I just make a hole for the tail

I hope it's not just a glorified chocolate mousse, to be fair

It's strange coming on something like this when you can't eat textures