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Posts Tagged ‘words

Vera Chytilova

vera chytilova

I am a slave to lists and I am a slave to my own reflection. I save links to articles on female directors, thinking I’ll read them later, then forget. Or if I do read it, and make a mental list of my own, films I should see, should seek out, and then…forget. I procrastinate when I should be evolving into the well-rounded, culturally informed entity I pretend to be. We’re all frauds, after all.


And I’m vain. I want to see film about people like me, with my point of view, or my accent or shape. I try to buy cinema tickets for worthy films, to support films that mean something to me, or to the film industry. Maybe my ticket is the one that lets it cross the line from breaking even to bone fide hit, and allow the filmmaker to get funding for their next endeavour. I want films about women, written by women, made by women. Films with women who have characteristics beyond stripper, prostitute or perfectly tolerant love interest. I’m at the point where I actively avoid films about young white men, even the good ones. I don’t want to see Boyhood because every film is Boyhood. The same experiences, tone, perspective, beats, moments. And it’s not that every film demands a strong female character in its place, or even to pass the Bechdal test. It doesn’t make sense to have a dynamic lead female in The Revenant. But when all we have are Revenants and Boyhoods, you get tired. They get tired. We explore the male psyche so much that it becomes white noise. The homogenisation of cinema hurts everyone.


#52filmsbywomen came at the right time for me. I need to do more than grab the opportunities when they arise, or berate and dismiss the work of others just because they happen to come from white, y-chromosome privilege. After all, a man’s voice is no less worthy, just because it’s louder. But until all voices have equal resonance in culture, we must actively seek out work by female and female-minority filmmakers. The film industry won’t believe these voices should be heard until they realise we’re listening.

A little overdue self-promotion: I wrote an article for the November (I know) issue of the spectacular Pop Bitch Magazine app on K-pop, J-Pop and a little madness therein. Focussing mostly on idol culture and the pressures felt by young popstars, and the press hysteria over even the most minor “scandal”. It was a really fascinating topic to research and also incredibly grim. The Pop Bitch app is available from all good app stores, and if you’re not already subscribed to the weekly email, you are seriously missing out.

A brief extract:

Girl group f(x) got in trouble in July for burning a book in the opening shot of their video Red Light, which was immediately identified as the Bible, presumably as it’s the most flammable text in the world. Other fans suggested that it was a telephone book, in keeping with imagery later in the video, but that’s exactly the sort of thing the Illuminati would want you to think.

small things ghosts

Having somehow managed to survive a hectic year that revolved mostly around a hospital stay and various other levels of madness, this blog has been neglected in a way that so many blogs have been before. Life and writing and existance in general have been put to one side as I tried to get myself back in one piece. But there are two achievements that make everything seem very lovely indeed. I’m very happy to have pieces published in two rather wonderful titles.

Firstly, I have a story featured in the fabulous charity collection All The Small Things, with an international group of writers presenting diverse tales of childhood in aid of Right To Play UK, an organisation which uses the transformative power of sport and play to teach valuable life lessons to children facing poverty, conflict and disease with the delightful aim of “bulldozing the world with a bit of love”. Many thanks to Pia Hansen, Obi Iheme and the rest of the team for involving me in this project. The book is a real treat, and it’s an honour to be included with such talented storytellers for such a great cause.

Secondly, after 2011’s wordPLAY presents A Flock Of Poets as part of the gorgeous Ghost of Gone Birds exhibition, Bloomsbury very wisely preserved the beautiful artwork by Ralph Steadman, Sir Peter Blake and Billy Childish among so many, many others in a wonderful coffee table book. I was thrilled to hear that some of the pieces written for the event would be published alongside the artwork, including my piece “The Last Free Bird In England”. In addition, there is a photograph of me mid-flow, looking like a goddamn human monster (beware of those plosive consonant, spoken worders…). I’m thrilled that our work could be included in the printed record of Ghost of Gone Birds’ fantastic project, and big thanks to the perfect Rebecca Fenton for too many things to list.

As a mere scribbler who chokes when referring to myself as a “writer”, it is a genuine, stomach-twirling delight to have my works not only published, but in books with ISBNs and available for purchase on Amazon. It probably seems like nothing to non-writers, and something totally minor to actual writers, but for someone in my position, I can barely express the excitement. I appreciate that luck often has more to do with such things then talent, and in that case, I’m the luckiest person in the world. Happy new year, team.

Our friends at wordPLAY have done it again. As part of the Poetry Parnassus, a week of international rhyming goodness, wordPLAY will be hosting 7 of the most exciting and unique poets and spoken word artists from the Pacific islands (all 10,000 of them). The diverse line-up features artists from the Cook Islands, Guam, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Samoa and Tonga and I shall be giddly swinging my legs in the audience to hear them all.

The magnificent featured performers are:

Tusiata Avia

Audrey Brown-Pereira

Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner

Selina Tusitala Marsh

Karlo Mila

Craig Santos Perez

Teresia Teaiwa

wordPLAY London presents Pacifica
White Room, Southbank Centre
Thurs 28th June, 7pm
Hosted by Ms wordPLAY
Free Entry

I was never good with poetry, because, for all my fine qualities, I lack discipline. I always thought my attempts had their own rag-tag charm, but there’s something about a well-constructed poem that can be dazzling. And I know for a fact that I get five page views a day, so I am setting a challenge to anyone who dares make beautiful words.

A pantoum is a poetic form without set length, subject or rhyme scheme. It is comprised of quatrains. The second and fourth line of each stanza reappear (with some variations) as the first and third line of the next stanza. The first and third lines of the first stanza return as the last and second lines of the final stanza.

For example

Milltown Auspice by Ben Jahn

How to explain his death – with humour
The best jokes start serious:
He fell asleep on the beach with his pockets full of bread
Seagulls carried him away –

The best jokes start serious:
The Governor went north (the mills full of men) God knows
Seagulls carried him away –
It was a thick-fog day, and still

The Governor went north (the mills full of men) God knows
How to explain his death – with humour
It was a thick-fog day, and still
He fell asleep on the beach with his pockets full of bread*

God, it’s dreamy. Send attempts to bronaghfegan[at]hotmail[dot]com and I’ll write you something in return.

*from McSweeney’s 31