What IS it about Fashion these days..?

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Idle blogs of an idle fellow

Ooh fashion
We are the goon squad and we’re coming to town
Beep-beep, beep-beep

David Bowie. Fashion.

What do our clothes say about us? I don’t mean when they’re crushed together in the laundry basket wondering who’s next to be washed, and cursing the current favourite top that barely lands before being whisked off to be cleaned – although I can see that as the next Pixar movie. No, I mean what do they announce about ourselves to the world that might otherwise stay silent. I don’t just mean band tee-shirts that marked some final tour in 1978, the one that’s not had the good times rinsed out since.

You can complete character profiles based upon little more than the type of sandwich someone habitually eats, so clothes are a dead giveaway. That there’s more hashtags for yoga pants than there is for yoga itself tells you all you need…

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Unrepentant

Somebody who follows me on Twitter – no idea why since they object to pretty much everything I say on there – asked me yesterday why I was always angry. Well, I’m not ALWAYS but it’s inevitable I should sometimes be in the current climate since, you know, I don’t go through life like a mindless robot.

No apologies for that.

I’m definitely too old for the number of Brainy t-shirts I own, but: I identify – I can be as annoying as he is but I’m unrepentant about using my brain.

Upgrade

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Someone said today
I should upgrade iOS
but no way,
it’s the world that’s due an upgrade
not my phone
I’m not even asking for anything difficult,
(Ok, I kind of am)
not demanding we get rid of all evil,
just
reality TV, most stupid people
political correctness
terrorism and fucking candles
victims cards should be abolished —
play the game properly
without constant tears and whining
if you can’t handle it
for fuck sake, don’t play
why make everybody miserable
every time you stumble
fall
and blame, always blame
everyone but yourself
has nobody
got any sense of responsibility
anymore?
don’t answer that, don’t tell me
I used to be filled to the brim
with feelings and empathy
these days my finger is on the trigger
of a metaphorical gun
I’m all out of patience
no I haven’t got a license
to carry
neither do the jihadists
come to think of it
yet they kill
with impunity
in a war we’re not fighting
as we’re not even allowed to admit
it exists
if you think I’m angry
too right, I’m often fucking seething
and not just because of ISIS
or the refugee crisis
I’m applying lipstick
I bought in Paris
it’s bright red, it’s Chanel
and what I see in the mirror
is the colour of blood
on my lips
I taste nails and excuses
acrid smoke
rusty razor blades
bitter flavours
requesting a whisky chaser
so yes, I need an upgrade
to wipe out the horror, the terror
I’m not going to get it from Apple
though
or a society so goddamn brittle

Image credit: Apple Vortex on deviantart.com

Individuality vs Conformity

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Conformity is a drug: the shopping centres filled with Starbucks qualify as pushers, catching the still malleable teenagers and the increasingly desperate middle-aged hipsters (and everyone in between) with promises of easily attainable happiness – oh, how eager the prey is! – and only the chosen few can see that underneath the sparkly wrappers is candy no less deadly for being utterly tasteless.

The lobotomy companies are selling “brain death” to the sound of plasticky pop Britney, the smell & taste of caramel skinny latte and the sight of shiny logos fabricated for pennies by sad-eyed children in China, before being sold in the West for an exorbitant amount of money.

Folks are running, racing with glee, to go on meaningless sprees, paying – going into debt – diving into the red for the privilege of being turned into sheep.

I live in a society where the real luxuries are time and individuality, the first one can’t be bought and the second comes at a heavy price although it’s not monetary. Refusing to bow down to pressure and the majority, insisting on utilising your mind, refusing to blindly accept and daring to contest — therefore standing apart from the crowd, can be bloody hard sometimes, and it takes real strength to hold on to your personality, and sanity.

That said, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Let the sheep wallow in blatant self-deceit if they wish. I – now and to my last breath – choose depth over superficiality.

*Okay, so those familiar with this blog and/or me will know that this a recurrent theme. I don’t particularly like to repeat myself, but this was written after a birthday party I went to last saturday that didn’t quite go according to plan.*

Image Credit: “The consumption of Individuality” by Tyler Reitan @deviantart.com

Perceptions of beauty

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One of my readers, who shall remain anonymous, messaged me yesterday via the Facebook page associated with this blog and said: “how could things be difficult for you, you are a beautiful French woman – life doesn’t get any more generous than that. You are the envy of the world, both male and female. You are so fortunate.”
Well, I can only say I was genuinely baffled. Gobsmacked is probably a better word for it. This reader — kind as I’m sure he is, and meant to be — made a whole lot of assumptions and came up with a picture that couldn’t be further removed from the truth.

Let’s start with the fact that I am indeed very fortunate in many ways, not that I’m going to go into it here because I believe in keeping personal details private on a public site. Still, I am not and never have been “the envy of the world”, why should I be? I am really not that special that the world should be taking notice, and that’s absolutely fine with me. I have no desire for fame or glory, I just really want to be happy.

Beauty. Well, that’s a question of perception, isn’t it? We all have a different definition of it. It might sound really lame but physical beauty is not something I seek or cherish. I love fashion and have always cared about the image I project, but only because I think someone’s personality can shine through their style. I never look the same on any given day: I’m either very feminine, all dresses and killer heels, or rock chick dripping with leather and chunky jewellery, or girl next door in a pair of jeans and t-shirt.

It all depends on the mood, my look accommodates all the different sides of my personality. I have a lot of clothes, own far too many pairs of shoes, I’m well aware that this aspect of me is not exactly deep or particularly flattering but, it is only one facet of my identity. I have never sought validation based on my looks. Ultimately, I care far more about intelligence, passion, ideas, thoughts and kindness than I do about physical beauty. Make my mind reel or my head spin with your personality and you will become physically beautiful to me, even if your physical self is not necessarily up to conventional beauty standards. Similarly, if you look like a Greek god but have nothing to say of any interest, any physical attraction I may have felt will instantly disappear.

Does it really need stating though, that beautiful people (I’m not putting myself in that category btw) are not immune to pain and tragedy? Apparently, it does, which is strange since the corridors of history are littered with tales of such people.

It just really shocked me that a reader could be so bold as to assume they know about me and my life just by looking at a photograph. I do believe that when people put their heart and soul into their writing (as I often do) you glean plenty about them, about who they are as a person. I do passionately believe this. However, unless somebody tells you exactly what is happening in their life, how can you possibly know? And a picture may be worth a thousand words, but they’re not always the right words.

I am still now, as a grown woman, struggling to deal with the fact that my mother is unloving, selfish and cruel. I’ve been battling with insecurity and anxiety since I was a child as a result of it. I have long accepted that her failure as a mother (and human being) has nothing to do with me, that I am not responsible for it…and yet there are still occasional bad days when I feel (totally irrationally) that surely there must have been something wrong with me. She certainly told me exactly that as a child, ad nauseam, and still does now, when she gets the chance which is rare these days as I refuse to put myself through anymore unnecessary grief.
I was unwanted, unloved, emotionally abused and I have the scars, some of there barely healed, to prove it.

No, it doesn’t take a therapist to explain this need I have to help people, to try to repair the damages of the world, to fix things, why I cannot stand injustice, unfairness, nastiness and bullying, why it hurts so badly (and makes me so angry) when people take advantage of me.

I have, so far, been as honest as I wish to be, this is not meant to be a story of my trials and tribulations, but let me just add that I had to fight for everything I have now (cliched as it sounds) that I’ve suffered loss, that I’ve given so much of myself to too many people throughout my life only to be betrayed. . I have been through shit, like lots of others out there (and most of them had it far worse than me), I’m hardly unique…

…but, yes, “things have been difficult for me” dear reader, at various times in my life and more recently in the last few months. You are right though, I’ve also been fortunate, only it has nothing to do with this beauty you speak of which is not real: it is photos with flattering lighting and good angles, it is the magic of makeup and everything it entails.

However I like to think there is beauty in me: I’m not perfect and I have no wish to be. (Perfection doesn’t exist and if it did it would be terribly boring)
I have many flaws: I have a hard time dealing with stupidity and ignorance, I struggle with small talk and connecting with people on a superficial basis, I am sometimes too argumentative, stubborn, I can be too honest, but I’m also incredibly generous, loyal and compassionate. I really am the textbook case INFJ, there is a reason why we are so rare: it’s because we give so selflessly, and that is true beauty.

One additional thought: “If a man does not embrace his past, he has no future.” – Ardeth Bay

Image: Yesterday, in London: very interesting and productive day in many ways…& good lighting 😉

Context, Sophistry and OJ Simpson

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Is anybody else watching “The People v OJ Simpson”? It’s really well done and does a great job of showing how crucial the context was to that circus of a trial. Coming so soon after the Los Angeles riots, it was obvious the trial was going to be hugely influenced by those (then) recent events. What I find fascinating, is how Justice in a court is anything but. It’s about the money, and the power, and who “can tell the better story”. Never mind about evidence, never mind what’s “fair” or “real”, what matters is which side is clever enough to win. The Sophists of Ancient Greece would be proud of their legacy. What did the Sophists do according to Plato? Make a weaker argument overcome a stronger argument by means of clever rhetoric. Aristotle and Plato’s influence have led us to the meaning of Sophistry nowadays: the term has come to signify the deliberate use of fallacious reasoning, intellectual charlatanism and moral unscrupulousness. It is of course a bit of a generalisation and not exactly accurate. Still, it is a fact that tribunals and courts have seen their fair share of “Sophists” over the centuries. 

O.J. should have been convicted, I don’t think there are many people who still doubt he was guilty. Yet, he was acquitted, the trial was a media circus and conducted in a manner that, to this day, is an utter embarrassment. All due to context, the “race card” that played such an important role in both camps, and the fact his lawyers were obviously well-versed in “Sophistry.” Plato would have had a field day with this story if only he’d been able to witness it.

Image credit: Hollywoodreporter.com

Monday Journalistic Moment

Bees

I don’t really use my blog for anything but my personal writing these days, all “journalistic” activities are kept to various different places. However, there are times, like now, when I break my self-imposed rules because I care very much about a particular cause. I am not an “environment freak”, but I do care about our planet and the state we are going to leave it in for our children. I won’t even get started on Monsanto because this is not the place…so let’s just say that I have written at length about it, and that in France in particular, we are virulent in our opposition to this “monster” of a company. 

If you want to know more about Monsanto and the real harm it has caused (and is still causing) the world, you can do so over here: Millions Against Monsanto 

But the real point of my post today is the huge threat facing the world’s bees and other pollinators. So few people seem to really care about this and I’m wondering if they actually realise what the ultimate disappearance of pollinators would mean for the planet. In any case, here’s a very good Washington Post article about it: Unprecedented scientific report says bees and other pollinators are in dire need of our help 

I don’t usually do this, but if you are in any way interested and willing to help a little bit, here’s a link for you: Help Stop Bees From Going Extinct 

Image credit: Sumofus.org

Just shut up!

Sam-Smith-Oscar

I haven’t done one of those little “opinion pieces” on my blog for a while but this, I had to say…although I’ll keep it short.

Sam Smith, I don’t like your beige music and I don’t like your voice. You wrote THE worst song that’s ever been written for a Bond film. You won an Oscar for it. Good for you. I have no problem with the fact that you were given an award for something I consider atrocious, I really haven’t. I accepted long ago that my taste differs vastly from most people’s idea of taste so there are no issues here.

My problem is this: the fact you’ve won a shiny statuette does not give you the right to a political or moral platform.

My problem is that pretty much nobody but you cares about your sexuality, so WHY on earth are you bringing it up?

My problem is that if you are going to try to “make a statement”, then surely you should educate yourself before you do so. Sam Smith, you clearly have no knowledge of music history, film history, or LGBT history so why on earth did you have to open your mouth?

Well, that’s easy enough to answer, it’s because his head is far bigger than it should be and because everything has to be about him. 

It’s not the first time Sam Smith has got in hot water for opening his mouth on subjects he knows nothing about, you’d think he’d learn…but he’s clearly not intelligent enough to do so. His publicists, whoever they are, should be fired for this latest über embarrassing story. After all, it is their job to make sure their client avoid those kinds of “faux pas”.

Poor little Sam Smith has left Twitter for a while, as he usually does when he makes an ass out of himself – he retires to lick his wounds in private.

I just hope he serves as an example to all the people out there who have to keep banging on about their sexuality. Nobody cares, stop letting your sexuality define who you are. Stop trying to be a victim. Stop claiming the LGBT community is discriminated against on a daily basis: they are represented in every area of the media, they have been written about more than any other community in the last 5 years. Stop, stop, stop!

I have said it ad nauseam but the only way to show everyone that something is “normal” is to just be it, live it, and not talk about it constantly.

Just keep your mouth shut in future Sam, I would never have to talk about you if it wasn’t for your utter stupidity and arrogance. Just sing for fuck sake, you have every right to do that, just as I have every right to switch off when your voice comes on air.

Flowers and Salinger

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She first walked into the manor, in her denim skirt and old leather, sucking on a cigarette, carrying a painting, a nude no less…a distinctly unladylike pose…she’d clearly been the model, but who was the artist? That’s the question they all want answered.

She doesn’t go into raptures at the sight of all that money, doesn’t listen to them when they try to tell her what’s proper. She’s got all those books piled up everywhere, she goes to the theatre for the sole purpose of watching the play!! Not to be seen, or so she can casually mention it in conversation later. She actually eats food, eats like she enjoys it, like food isn’t the enemy. They couldn’t believe this impossible fact at first and concluded it must all come back up at some point later. They’ve even tried to catch her at it, but so far with no luck.

She smokes, she drinks (not in the privacy of her own quarters but in company!) although perversely they don’t actually mind it, since her accent consequently becomes more pronounced and they can shake their heads in confusion and pretend not to understand her. There is no end to the pettiness of women when they feel threatened.

That accent is positively whorish, quite apt since French women learn all the tricks of the trade practically from birth, it’s a known fact. It’s in her showy eyes, the movement of her hips when she throws herself on the couch, that raucous laugh. It doesn’t occur to any of them that calling her a slut might be considered ironic since they spent years using daddy’s credit cards while actively looking to marry into even more money — irony is lost on them. What they understand is shopping, designers, gyms and mingling. She refuses to play the game, doesn’t mingle, eschews small talk and walks in the woods rather than get a personal trainer. Their frozen faces would look offended if they could — you know, if frowning wasn’t an impossibility.

There she is again, talking about…Salinger? They’re not sure, but think it’s a dirty word. She doesn’t come from good stock, swears like a shock, horror, sailor. What is she saying now? Urgh! Meritocracy, now that, they know is a dirty, ugly word because they’ve heard her elaborate on it before – it’s one of her ludicrous pet ideas.

Why did he have to leave the circle and, of all people, choose her? He looks at her like she’s a rare flower. It’s sickening, disgusting, if flower she is, she obviously grew on the compost heap.

She’s looking at them now, like she knows exactly what they’re thinking, and she smiles…the bitch smiles at them, so they smile back…only not with their eyes, their eyes are full of rancour. They know better than to voice their real feelings. The first time they tried, she replied with far too much candour. She’s not well bred, she clearly hasn’t been taught that women should hide barbs under a semblance of niceties. He thinks it’s charming, loves her honesty, but they know she’s just really helplessly vulgar, even if he can’t see it. So now they content themselves with nasty talk when she’s not around, a thousand knives stabbing her in the back, but to their infuriation and their frustration, she walks among them and their barely veiled hostility with a calm face and a confident pace.

What really gets to them is the knowledge that she might judge them, as much as they judge her. And of course they’re right, she does judge them. She wonders at a world of inherited privileges, cannot comprehend how, with the means to live such an interesting life, they barely scratch the surface and never explore anything deeper than the superficial. They’re all raging anorexic, they live for the gym, shopping, parties, status and money…They lead utterly vapid, boring lives. The thought that she could ever have been one of them is suffocating, she’d rather die than live like they do. She knows they dislike her with the natural visceral instinct of their particular class, yet she mostly pities them.

So they stand outside the manor, in the fragrant beautiful garden on a glorious British summer day, ravaged by hunger, embittered by anger, while the fucking working-class foreigner (never mind that she’s just from across the channel) laughs and smiles, daring to look happy, looking like she thinks she belongs, when the sad reality is that she’s invaded their world while refusing to be made to feel inferior.

Image credit: fabri66.deviantart.com

 

Amy

 

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I watch the mess you made, the mess they made of you. From the very first, you were a damaged little bird. When you think about it, the reasons — daddy, then druggy dandy — were so fucking absurd. Yeah, you created a stir, threw tantrums, you were obviously disturbed as well as stellar, you really needed someone to be stern with you. Then maybe, just maybe Amy, this slow decline into squalor and horrid emotional torture wouldn’t have occurred.

I watch you on the screen, through my fingers, feeling intense sorrow mingling with growing horror.
I see you, Amy…
trapped,
unheard,
so hurt,
slurring
your words.

All that potential, annihilated by your own sorry self…and others, greedy vultures.
The jazzy smoky voice.
The rowdy dirty laugh.
Everything you could have been. Everything you already were – your myriads of colours.

People, what do they know, say it was your bloody vices or even evil curses that precipitated this disaster…whatever! But what really ruined you, Amy, was the fact that nobody ever thought of saying, and meaning, no, no, no to you. It wasn’t a dark love that destroyed you, it was the utter and shocking lack of tough love from your dearest and closest.
So, one day, your heart stopped beating. Way too early. Maybe you got tired of waiting for things to get better. But it’s not the end of your story, how could it ever be. You went back to black, Amy — but you left forever behind that fragile little girl, who just really, only, wanted to be heard.

*I watched “Amy”, Asif Kapadia’s documentary about singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse at 3am today after a fantastic and joyful night out. Was it the alcohol still flowing in my veins or the extremely well-made film? Probably both, but I found it incredibly poignant and was in floods of tears by the end of it – I just had to write those few words when the end credits had finished rolling. I love Amy’s voice, but even if you’re not a fan, I heartily recommend watching the documentary.

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Image credit: pevansy.deviantart.com