the baggy trousered misanthropist

missives issued from the lair

An inexplicably popular daily newspaper published a piece about Millie Bobby Brown’s meteoric rise to the coveted plinth of Young Hollywood this morning. Accompanying photos of her body in size adjusted designer dresses and soft feet sliding about in high heels is much breathy prose about how ‘her parents sacrificed everything’ to help their daughter follow her dream, including moving from Bournemouth to Hollywood and not having enough money to eat.

In short, all the trappings of a traditional rags to riches story you can read with your lunchtime sarnie and imagine for yourself/your child before reality sets in and you realise you’re going to spend the afternoon trying to remove crumbs from your keyboard again.

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It’s been almost a month since the New York Times broke the story of Ashley Judd’s allegations against Harvey Weinstein. A month in which people have bravely stepped forward to break the silence and tell their own stories. A month of support and empowerment.

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Do I have a responsibility not to self-harm because of the impact it will have on those around me?

Not exactly a party starter, is it? But it’s because this is a deeply uncomfortable question with significant and numerous ramifications that we don’t engage with it – we try not to think about it at all – despite the vital insights it might offer.

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Creating images is Hollywood’s business, so perhaps we should be a little less taken aback by the allegations raining down upon Harvey Weinstein like Oscars used to do.

But then, the pictures they like best tend to be formed from bold colour palettes, semiotics, tropes and conventions to push us towards a resolution that while not necessarily satisfactory, is at least coherent. If the stories they told were as convoluted, confusing and messy as those we experience in real life, no one would watch them.

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Allegations that a very rich,very powerful Hollywood mogul behaved inappropriately with a number of women he worked with and paid some of them to keep quiet about it would have been revelatory ten years ago. Maybe even five.

Unless you’re a woman born before 1995. If that’s the case, the only revelation is that two female reporters were allowed to conduct an investigation into the matter which the New York Times broke yesterday.

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The crowded train carriage is rocking rhythmically. It might be accidental and you don’t want to come off like a screaming hysteric, but still. That leg, arm or pelvis pressed against you is uncomfortable and you’d rather it wasn’t there. Like when Mark from Peep Show put his hand on the bus seat and then Soph sat on it. He probably doesn’t even know and will be mortified if you were to call him out publicly. He looks alright. Not weird or anything.

Phew. You shifted and the contact is broken. That could have been really awkward.

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The English Football Association is representative of the people.

It’s a bold statement, but one I’m prepared to stand beside having witnessed their handling of the Eni Aluko allegations generally and spent time on football message boards yesterday after the story of Mark Sampson’s sacking broke.

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While true crime is enjoying something of a spike in popularity, let’s not treat it like a recently discovered, previously untapped mine of compulsive entertainment.  People have been getting their kicks from vivid descriptions of gory violence and proximity to psychopathy since the true crime section sprang up in WH Smiths.

I know. I was there.

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They were specks in the distance. He wouldn’t have spotted them but for the lone tern that drifted into his binocular sights, dipping with the air currents that clashed across the bay. Usually he wouldn’t bother focussing on a bird he routinely documented but this one’s insouciance caught his eye and he followed its progress until he saw them. Continue reading

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