The Sunday Seven

I’m going to start writing proper blog posts again soon – promise! – but here’s a list of 7 things that have been making me feel proper feelings this week.

David Bowie. Obviously. Also: Rickman. But mainly Bowie. Mondays are hideous enough, without terrible news breaking on Twitter at 6.30am. I spent the rest of the week doing a post-work trawl of his body of work, marvelling again and again at the songs, the life, the man. I have more to say about what happens when famous people die, but that’s for another post.

Lissie’s new video – look, a female musician wearing actual clothes. No, seriously, a coat and everything! Joking aside, it’s utterly criminal how underrated Lissie is – with her stunning vocals, guitar-driven songs and Fleetwood Mac-y vibe, she could really show HAIM a thing or two about having, y’know, actual talent (it made me hiss with rage when HAIM got big a couple of summers ago and everyone was all “look, women, with guitars, amazing!” Lissie’s been doing it for years – and way, way better).

The film Room. (Not to be confused with cult ‘classic’ The Room. Different kind of psychopath in that one.) Based on the 2010 novel by Emma Donoghue – and with the screenplay written by the author herself – Room is the story of Ma and her son Jack, imprisoned in one room by a man known only as ‘Old Nick’, who abducted ‘Ma’ seven years previously. As the book itself was inspired by both the Fritzl case and the Natascha Kampusch case, this isn’t a lighthearted watch. But it is perfectly executed – at no point is it too bleak, or too sentimental, or too anything, and the film owes almost everything to its two leads, Brie Larson and nine-year-old Jacob Tremblay. The moment when Jack opens his eyes and can see tree branches against blue sky for the first time in his little life had me in floods (and the minutes that followed nearly triggered a panic attack, but I don’t want to spoil it for you).

Brie Larson for Best Actress at this year’s Oscars, please and thank you.

John Frieda Luxurious Volume Shampoo (no link for this one, but Boots or Superdrug will sort you out). ShampooIf this were a beauty blog, this stuff would merit a 500-word post on its own. As this is an odds-and-ends sort of blog, I will just say this: if your hair tends towards the flat and lifeless and likes to plaster itself to your skull if you don’t spend 10 minutes every morning blow-drying it with your head upside down – then you need this stuff in your shower.


Cinnamon buns. This recipe in particular. I’ve made and eaten so many of these in the last couple of weeks I’m starting to resemble a bun. I haven’t always bothered to make the frosting, as that would rather tip things into heart attack territory. If you like cinnamon (it seems to be the Marmite of the spice world), and want a super-easy, Saturday morning baking session that will, if nothing else, make your kitchen smell amazing, give them a go. Just don’t do what I did and smugly decide to ‘improve’ the recipe by using wholemeal flour without first checking if that will have an effect on the dough. That was a dry, dense dough-saster (sorry).

I’m not entirely sure why I watched Reggie Yates’ Extreme UK: Men at War. Drummer Boy had caught a few minutes of it when it was shown on TV the other night, and mentioned something about it to me, and when I said I might watch it out of sheer curiosity, he warned me not to. “Don’t come crying to me when you’ve combusted with outrage” was the gist of his advice. I find the whole “men’s rights activism” thing oddly fascinating, and also really hard to believe in. Are there men out there that genuinely hate women that much? Real, human men? It might just be that I’m extraordinarily lucky – all the men in my social circle are lovely, clever, liberal types who would no sooner hurt a woman – or anyone, for that matter  – than they would kick a puppy.

The programme was quite the eye-opener, and could have done with being an hour longer, to fully explore this “movement” – which seems, to me, to be based on nothing but wilfull stupidity. These men are “against feminism” which, if they bothered to look the word up in a dictionary, means nothing more than women achieving equality. Women being treated as legitimate human beings. That’s all feminism is. I’m not really clear on how you could be against treating all human beings with equal respect and giving them equal rights. That’s quite a hard case to argue, surely? So, it follows: if you do know what feminism means, and are still against it, then you’re against basic human equality, and that’s a much larger problem entirely and you’re probably on some sort of psychopath spectrum.

I could be wrong.

To bleach my mind after that, I downloaded some of the 5×15 podcasts, and had a reasonably happy journey back to Brighton in spite of the fact that I was using the Devil’s own mode of transport: the rail replacement bus service. Highlights came from writers Jon Ronson and Matt Haig, Everyday Sexism founder Laura Bates, and the brilliantly funny Viv Albertine.

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