Wonderlustre

I’m not quite sure why I decided to review one of my guilty pleasures in the public forum, but I seem to be something of a glutton for punishment, so I’ll go with it.  Skunk Anansie, the soundtrack to the angriest of my teenage years re-formed earlier this year for a tour after a spate of unsuccessful attempts at solo careers, in September (perhaps misguidedly) releasing Wonderlustre on the back of the nostalgia.

The opener, ‘God Loves Only You ‘ conjures the unsavoury atmosphere of 70s porn in the elevator of Hotel California, complete with jazzfunk bass, a moustached drum machine, and smooth over-produced vocals.  ‘My Ugly Boy’ notably revives Stoosh‘s ‘We Love Your Apathy’ to the letter before making the uncomfortable transition to ‘Over The Love’ which made me realise that I definitely am.  ‘Talk too Much’ tries to recover the angst-ridden cool of Post Orgasmic Chill when it would have been much better left unsaid.  ‘The Sweetest Thing’ is bearable.  The stomping and pouting ‘It Doesn’t Matter ‘ is a little too like a glamrock refashioning of Scissor Sisters for my liking.  ‘You’re too Expensive’ takes this a step further by adding a splash of mockney EMO for our listening displeasure, and ‘My Love Will Fall’ reminds me of late Alanis Morissette, which isn’t intended as a compliment.  ‘You Saved Me’ is insubstantial and largely inoffensive.  Then, one may be ‘Feeling the Itch’ of abrasive distortion, but it is perhaps the best song on the record.  Perhaps they should have followed their own advice in that ‘You Can’t Always Do What You Like’ – they did, and it clearly wasn’t a good idea, although it could provide Britain with a marginally edgier Eurovision entry.  Finally, ‘I Will Stay But You Should Leave’ should be repeated to them, with emphasis.

Buy the record if you have no regard for taste, originality, or honesty and simply wish to unsatisfactorily indulge misguided nostalgia.

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Sexual Assault Prevention Tips *Guaranteed* to Work

This has been doing the rounds in radfem blogging circles for some time, but for those of you with jobs. lives, etc.:

1. Don’t put drugs in people’s drinks in order to control their behavior.

2. When you see someone walking by themselves, leave them alone!

3. If you pull over to help someone with car problems, remember not to assault them!

4. NEVER open an unlocked door or window uninvited.

5. If you are in an elevator and someone else gets in, DON’T ASSAULT THEM!

6. Remember, people go to laundry to do their laundry, do not attempt to molest someone who is alone in a laundry room.

7. USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM! If you are not able to stop yourself from assaulting people, ask a friend to stay with you while you are in public.

8. Always be honest with people! Don’t pretend to be a caring friend in order to gain the trust of someone you want to assault. Consider telling them you plan to assault them. If you don’t communicate your intentions, the other person may take that as a sign that you do not plan to rape them.

9. Don’t forget: you can’t have sex with someone unless they are awake!

10. Carry a whistle! If you are worried you might assault someone “on accident” you can hand it to the person you are with, so they can blow it if you do.

(ripped from Nine Deuce)

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The Good Natured

The first thing I found myself wondering when I visited the myspace page for The Good Natured was why on earth every aspiring “alternative” artist lists Japanese Pop as a generic descriptor for their music which bears little to no resemblance to such oriental greats as Shonen Knife.  Perhaps I was biased from the start, but it really didn’t get any better once the audio began.  She sounds like a characteristically insubstantial jelly wobbling around in the mould of Bat for Lashes and Florence + The Machine with the vocal capabilities of a toddling Lily Allen/Kate Nash hybrid.  Reading the reviews of the Your Body Is A Machine EP, it is difficult to conceive that Rory Carroll is anything but deluded in the assertion that ‘we may finally have a female artist who exists in a land without gimmicks, affected Mockney accents and gigantic quiffs,’ since that appears to be precisely what she delivers.  Alright, so perhaps she is actually a Londoner, but that doesn’t mean that her Cockney isn’t to be mocked.  The bizarre ensemble of instruments is little other than gimmicky, although it is difficult to tell (and largely irrelevant) whether or not she has a quiff.  Her lyrics are, on the whole, dire and tautological.  Rose is by far the best of a bad bunch.  I’ll give her a few years to grow a pair… of lungs, that is.

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Boris, keep your promise!

Funny the way politicans have a habit of mis-speaking before elections, isn’t it?

Take BoJo for example. Before he was elected Mayor of London in what could pessimistically be described as a laboratory for the nation after the next general election (it doesn’t need to happen, people! Vote Green!), he went on record as saying Ken Livingstone’s PR department was eating up far too much money from the public purse, and that if elected he would syphon off 20% of this amount to the woefully under-funded Rape Crisis Centres. For which budgetary breadcrumbs all feminists understandably rejoiced.

A year and a half later, the reality is that potential  and actual victims of rape who live in London have one solitary Rape Crisis Centre between them. Which, for the fact fans, is one small centre for 3.9 million people, and even the future of that centre is constantly in the balance. Yes that’s right, not even two Rape Crisis Centres to rub together, despite BoJo’s promise of £744,000 in extra funding. In our fair nation’s capital of all places.

All these good people are trying to do is get Boorish to keep his promise. You can support them by donating money, or checking out their YouTube video (which is worth it for the feminist eye/brain candy alone).

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Feminism and comedy: the good news

To take away the unpleasant yet inexplicably popular new Carr smell, here‘s a slice of good news: Channel 4 has commissioned an all-female sketch show, to air next month. Members of this troupe include the comedic luminary Josie Long, and other people who I haven’t heard of but am assuming are brilliant by association.

Thank you, Channel 4. This almost makes up for ten years of Big Brother.

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Feminism and comedy: the bad news

Right ladies, I won’t lie, the bad news is that Jimmy Carr has been opening his mouth near a microphone again. In this article in today’s Guardian he attempts a defense of one particular instance of his oh-so-dark, so-edgy-it’ll-cut-your-ears-like-a-hungover-barber, like-totally moronic ironic sense of humour. The joke which has rankled Middle Britain to its Daily Express-reading core (and believe me, such an offender would usually be awarded 5-star ally status) is about amputee soldiers making a good paralympics team, a punchline which apparently didn’t translate when some journalists rang the parents of the said soldiers and recited it down the phone. Funny, that. Carr’s defense essentially consists of ‘well I say plenty of other awful things and noone seems to mind’, and ‘I was trying to make people laugh’, the latter being a bit like the designer of the Titanic saying, ‘I was trying to build a ship.’

Carr does say plenty of other awful things, though. And now he’s been taken to task on offending the soldiers upholding his right to say them, the interviewer deigns to question him on another of his favourite jocular hot potatoes: rape. An example of his utter hilarity and rapier wit on this subject: ‘what’s the difference between football and rape? women don’t like football.’  Geddit? Geddit? Do you see what he did there? Yes that’s right – expose himself as a misogynist asshat! Not that the interviewer makes this intergalactic leap, though; he notes that because there are women in the queue for the after-show signing, no harm has been done. And Carr himself is even less troubled: ‘I do a lot of jokes about rape, but it’s not a discourse on rape. I do jokes for laughs.’  Call me a humourless hairy feminazi, but a joke that’s truly funny is one which could be recited by anyone with half a modicum of comic timing to an audience who want to laugh. Any joke where you have to hope a certain set of people aren’t in the room when it’s told is clearly based on somebody’s expense. Now ask yourself how many female comics would ever use that joke, either on stage, or even with friends. Now imagine Jimmy Carr doing that joke at a women’s refuge. Now imagine Jimmy Carr having a reverse-Midas problem whereby every microphone he ever touches melts into some sort of rancid liquid marshmallow and we’ll all be happy.

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Beautiful Star

Have you heard of Odetta? If you’re a fairweather folkster like me, chances are you probably haven’t. She was an American singer, actress, guitarist, songwriter, and a human rights activist, who had Carly Simon weak at the knees and Maya Angelou waxing cosmological. You’ve probably heard of some of the acts she influenced, though: Joan Baez, Mavis Staples, Janis Joplin… she is even indirectly responsible for the career of Bob Dylan, but don’t hold that against her.

Her music is joyful, playful, pissed-off, regretful, angry, and has the power to tie your bowels into knots. The folks at Wears The Trousers Magazine have had the good sense to organise a tribute album, Beautiful Star: The Songs of Odetta, featuring a selection of Odetta’s finest songs sung by a range of established indie artists (Marissa Nadler, Liz Durrett) and up-and-coming, hot-out-of-the-studio new talent (Haunted Stereo, Katey Brooks). Released on November 30th, all proceeds will go to women’s charities (The Fawcett Society and The Women’s Resource Centre), so there really is no excuse not to buy it. Needless to say this tribute to a great under-acknowledged female singer, organised by a feminist music magazine, whose proceeds are being donated to charities aimed at helping women, gets a big feminist thumbs up from EYS. Head on over to their Myspace page and pre-order yourself a good old slice of ear-nourishing feminist do-goodery. Sail away, ladies.

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