'EVERYTHING IS MATERIAL.' The late Nora Ephron. www.clarecatford.co.uk twitter: @catfordc
Welcome to my blog....
May 17th 2014....Why this 'gal' will NOT grin and bear it anymore.....
...and I LIKE to laugh. I LOVE colour n' clothes n' lippy n' pink n' purple felt pens. Always have. Always will. But they don't make me 'me', and neither do open pores, bunions, and baby fat. Perhaps it's
inevitable that the older I get the 'personal' becomes more 'political'.
'SMILE N' CHEER UP?' I AM NOT A BLOODY STREET DECORATION...
Truthfully, I am happier in my slacker skin than I was in my 20's, when I first heard that phrase. 'Cheer up love, it might
never happen,' is a command and is NOT well meaning. Barked at me as struggled out of Morrisons with 3 bags near breaking, I dropped the lot, turned on my (cracked) heel, walked up to the offender, looked 'em in the eye and said; 'it has, and I am not a bloody
street decoration'. He, yes it was a 'he', looked at his feet, shuffled alot and mumbled something about me 'not having a sense of humour'.
'THE 'PRETTY' RENT. NO-ONE HAS TO PAY.
I LOVE to laugh. I laugh ALOT. But as Diana Freeland said so pointedly; 'prettiness is NOT a rent you pay for occupying a space marked female'. I do not always choose to articulate my feminist freedoms so bluntly,
but I am getting increasingly fed up with having to moderate my rage for fear of offending the frequently abusive 'other'. It makes me ill. It makes me depressed.
THE PORN RUTTING, THE COSMETIC
For the last 30 years I have walked or driven down roads with breast obsessed billboards as the backdrop. London's Hammersmith flyover is a body part feast fest, and that's before
any car accident. The troll tweets, the Saville sweets now rightly sour, the cosmetic cutting, the porn female rutting, the anorexic model strutting, and ALL that TUT TUTTING, when the gal DOESN'T grin and bear it.
I've had enough. ENOUGH already. Have you?
'.and so it was that princess painful feet dumped the shoeboot for her FAVOURITE flop that was a PERFECT fit....she'd done this on her OWN...there was NO podiatrist prince. She and and her feet lived happily ever after......' THE END.
2 REUNIONS, LOTS OF LAUGHS, AND A BLOKE WHO TOLD ME I HAD 'BECOME A WOMAN' - HE COULDN'T REMEMBER ME THOUGH.....
6TH OF MAY 2014 ...30 YEARS' AGO I HAD TO ROLL OVER B AND KISS HIM ON THE FOREHEAD....
'A POUND OF FLESH'....WRITTEN ON TYPEWRITER MY GRAN GAVE ME IN 1983 IN MANCHESTER. TAUGHT MYSELF TO TYPE WITH BOOK FROM SMITHS.
...at least I think it was his forehead. To a sheltered 19 year old, going on 12, this was well outside my comfort zone.This was a 'trust' exercise. 'I don't know what's expected of me?' I squeaked in the
improv session. 'Nothing!' Bellowed my American Prof. With fragile inner boundaries, and now no external ones, I thought I'd never breathe again, and then my dangly dongly earring got stuck in B's pink beret. This was the beginning of a long haul over life
rocks, and some. Life didn't. Rock much for me then. I was stuck in a teen terror time warp. But I tried to loosen up. Sometimes I even managed to shine, though that could have been nervous sweat.
DID IT MY WAY, YOUR WAY, THEIR WAY AND THEN MY WAY AGAIN....
A reunion prompts mixed memories. I've just been to 2, over the weekend. Both, frankly, laid alot to rest. We do what we do at the time,
because we don't know another way of doing it. Or perhaps we copy someone else and do it like they do, until we don't want to do it that way anymore? And maybe, years later, we might do it another way, drawing on bits of what we did in the past, stirring it
into the present, like cake mix, as and when it suits.
My puffy, overeating, permed hair self started to find its little voice amidst the 'working as a waitress in a cocktail bar' era. It
expressed itself in home spun songs, and later behind a radio mic.
DID YOU CHOOSE ME, OR DID I CHOOSE YOU?
I always wonder
how many of us act, broadcast, write, paint and design out our narratives because were were not seen/heard/read or acknowledged by those families, carers and communities that were supposed to/did their best to launch us. The drama/radio choice was part
accident, and part design in my case. A thoughtful kid, I balked at the barrage of 'proper' careers my contemporaries were choosing to chase at school. The idea of pension planning and getting a 'proper job', seemed something for grown ups. And I wasn't one.
SO BLEUHHHH TO THE DEMON DOG...
I started this blog, over two years' ago, in the depths of depression. It was the only creative thing I really wanted to
do. I wanted to go to both these reunions for more joyful reasons. When you've been in a dark night, and survived: the fear that took you there is less monstrous; less of a demon dog, more of a puppy like niggle pain.
I was still nervous though.
TWO/THREE/FOUR/FIVE BITS BECOME ONE....
I am sure most of us, when facing
our past, whether real or ghostly, experience something of self doubt snapping at our heels. I put on extra concealer, but still wore sensible shoes. My feet have never been my finest attribute. There is something about (as my wise friend A put it) 'reclaiming
and assimilating that younger self with the older one, and knowing it to be good enough, both then and now'.
I blew dust off the guitar yesterday, and sang on 'ole tune. Neighbours did not
APRIL 27 2014 ....WE'RE HAVING A (70'S DISCO) BALL........WELL EM IS WEARING ONE....
GLITTER BALL GALS AND JON VANGELIS...(STATE OF INDEPENDEN DENCE DENCE....I KNOW, I LOVED IT!)
..AND..WE'VE BOTH GOT OUR OWN TEETH...JUST.....
AFTER YEARS OF COUPLEDOM......and all
the ricocheting, re building, and re turning after depression .....things have now calmed down a bit. Hence the aqua watery shade, that's chased
away the shadow.
Off alone to my dear friend Emma's 50th (a sticker friend, if you know what I mean - as in with me through horrid as
well as happy days), I was happy to get the slap on, the sparkles sorted, and hair gleamy cleany.
MEAN MORE TROUBLE....
Previous 'situations' had rather leeched my energy levels. I allowed it, of course, in the mistaken belief/compulsion that double the trouble is better
than single in solitude. Or, dare I say it, lingering in loneliness on my todd.
In truth I hadn't been to a proper bash in about two years. Getting to the local shop was hard enough
in year one, year two was a gradual re-entry into the supermarket salad section and now, year three, well I'm up for Tesco's finest, busy tubes and 'would you like to meet' nights out.
...AND YOUR DESERT ISLAND LUXURY IS...?
A shade of the financial resentment shadow fell when I forked out 40 quid for the NCP in Piccadilly, I'd
decided to drive the boy racer fiesta rather than stumble through Soho looking for a cab at 1am. But this was my choice; my desert island discs luxury, if you like. A legitimate parking ticket. And it's not any exes fault that they got flush
whilst I found poverty (of my soul and my bank account - not saying when I couldn't afford to DO something) didn't mean history, but the here and now during, and after the relationship ended.
B.O.G.O. FREE.....WELL..IF IT'S THERE FOR THE TAKING.....
Pouring my heart and soul into another person, when frankly they didn't ask for it, but they took it anyway
(spose it's a bit like bogoffs you don't need the extra but if it's there)........is a testimony to my terror of perceived depression (which, yes, became real) once I was 'alooooonnnnnee'. And of course 'boundaries'; where do I stop and they begin? If both
of you are blind to the healthy yellow lines, well.......then the accidents happen. Cue breakdown, breakthrough, therapy, alot of thought, some prayertoherupstairs, and a cat who gets lavished with all the extra attention.
WONDERWOMAN COSTUME? THAT'LL DO NEXT TIME....
It was fancy dress. Which. I. Love. Had top and extra flared trousers courtesy of American
based sister who, as a mum of two, is always in the party shop, and often, because she is a generous soul, pickes up a celebratory something for her 'what do we do with her', sister. The Wonderwoman costume has yet to get an airing. But..it will.
..DISCO NEVER DIES.......HERE'S AN OLD FELLA SHIMMIYING (my gran's expression)...
19th April 2014 The Tyranny of Closure......and its 'you should get over it' siblings...
.....reassured (again) by ' The
Examined Life'; (psychoanalyst Stephen Grosz), and after a good long cry, I realise that OF COURSE, Easter/Christmas/Birthdays re-ignite my grief after losing mum last year. The author is particularly sniffy about 'closure' and rightly so. 'For the person
who dies, there is an end; the person who mourns goes on living...and for as long as they live, there is always the possibility of grief'.
QUICK FIX CLOSURE?
The everso slightly 'quick fix closure' idea has its roots in many well documented 'stages of dying', manifestos. You'll find them in droves on the net, and you are just a click away from the books to back up the theory.
Grief Lite, is frankly, xxite. And no, Grosz didn't say that.
Not only am I faced with a deep sorrow, that possibly changes shape, but doesn't 'go'; I'm then weighed down by a 'tyranny of
shoulds'. I should 'feel' better, I 'should' get out more, I 'should' have moved on.
SMEARED CHOCOLATE SURGERY
darkly comic that we 'move on' before Easter even gets here. Before the crucifixion even kicks off, around January, we're suffocating under oily oozing chocolate mountains, smearing the stuff over our own invisible cuts to try and soothe ignored/unexplored
emotional wounds. And I'm as partial to a creme egg as much as the next woman.
THE MIRROR'S BLANK
'Why am I forsaken?', screams/cries/spits Christ; as the one that mirrored him, now abandons him to? To what......an absence of; a sorrow of the soul so bleak, we must reach for the sugar fix before it triggers our
own despair? Resurrection, re birth, renewal; nice thought; but when you're in that much pain, surely any intellectual construct crumbles? Except perhaps it isn't? A construct. More a becoming. Cleverer people than me have debated this in dusty
lecture rooms for years. Love Ressurrection; a little more than a great Alison Moyet tune?
My mum liked her, alot.
Alison's Love Resurrection.....
.....1984......THIS IS THE DESERT MOTHERS/FATHERS' VERSION.....
11th April 2014 'Arthur Scargill was Jesus to me'...the striking miner who told me his truth on my first day in the job...
as a BBC radio reporter in Nottingham. The 1984/5 strike set miner against miner; and was revisited on Radio 4's the reunion this week.The old pit manager who put up with my rather ropey interview skills, had grey gnarled hands; the coal had darkened them over the years. He was refusing to speak/see or even breathe the same air as his son in law, 'a
scab' who had crossed the picket line. Meanwhile, Mansfield's women were busy brewing tea, cooking for the community and collecting money to keep their families going.
PIT LIFE LESSONS
30 years on and I can still hear that miner's voice. 'I walked from Scotland to get to this pit; I had to feed my family. Arthur Scargill's Jesus to me, now they're taking it away'. I realised
then, how much I didn't know. About life, about people and about hardship. At times, I still feel that way, and I'm glad. The five, fifty and 95 year old, all have something to teach me. I hope that I always stay open to their wisdom.
6th APRIL 2014 .....SOME CELEBS JUST CAN'T CUT IT....
'COULD YOU LIQUIDISE THE PIZZA FOR US, LOVE?'
....or even chew it, right?
Reminds me that we're all
the same 'underneaf without teef'.
Even with the
air brushing, and pixel perfection, everyone's teef get trashed in the end.
Some great veneers, or just grin and let your mouth go naked.
Yoghurt (no bits)
March 30TH 2014 (ONE) 'DULL WOMEN HAVE DUST FREE HOMES' MY MUM'S MANTRA.....PIC TAKEN AT 'SENSING SPACES' AT LONDON'S ROYAL ACADEMY....
MARCH 30TH 2014 (TWO) MOTHER'S DAY CHAOS...THE WAY WE LAUGHED...
MUM, ME AND MY SISTER, STROLLING IN THE '60'S.
...about our messy lives. A year on from mum's death, we still laugh, except I cackle out loud while she shares the joke (perhaps) in another dimension. She would have loved the straw cave (above). All
the confusion, colour and chaos. You stumble through plastic piping with 5, 50 and 95 year olds; and come out covered in straw/straws. Art n' attitude.
She was a 'doing the very best she could with what she had' mother. She couldn't give me what she didn't get. My therapeutic journey has and continues to explore that. Our 'attachment' was wobbly; and hers to her own mother; positively
precarious. But she was brave, funny, strong, and her conversation flipped from one clause to another like a pent up pentium processor. I hope I've inherited some of those qualities. The 'jumping around' gene is clearly mine.
MUM, YOU WOULD HAVE LAUGHED WHEN....
As my own self understanding grows: and believe me this has had to happen or I wouldn't be here, it is no luxury; so does my
love for her. I feel her loss more keenly. I talk to her a great deal, ask her opinion, ask her to intercede with her upstairs, (Intercede - such a lovely word), and frequently say 'mum you would have LAUGHED WHEN....'.
'Dull women have dust free homes'. She taught me well.
March 27th 2014 'I don't plan on dying soon, I have a 5 year biz plan' ....
'WHEN YOU DIE, I'M STAYING PUT ON PINTEREST, THANKS'.
..so says the creator of a new scheme that'll make ourdigital demisea
little easier to face. The shocking reality? If we don't make plans to manage our online persona when we've 'passed', we could end up re-tweeting from the tomb.
Fortunately, there are plenty of
people who'll grasp the google+ reins, when we've gone.
SELFIES, WHEN WE'RE 6 FOOT UNDER?
They suggest appointing an online executor to be responsible for the closure of email addresses, blogs and other online accounts. And your social media profiles? Would you want to cancel those instagram selfies? Or keep
them as a memorial 'for friends and family to visit?'
But there's a quandary. As our learned professor points out: “In talking about things like Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram
and other quasi-public social media that are accessible to lots of people, there’s an unresolved question of ownership, is our virtual ‘stuff’ always [considered] ‘property’?”
WHO OWNS YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE WHEN YOU'RE LAID TO REST?
If you're not a lawyer, train to be one. It's a growth area. They'll be fighting over
facebook feeds in court and pontificating about Linkedin profiles being 'public interest'. And all we ever did was 'like' Sarah's you tube cat vid. ....here's one, below.....
..OF COURSE CATS WILL NEVER DIE...ONLINE.....
March 23rd 2014.....something you CAN be certain about.......
UNCERTAINTY. AND IT MAY EVEN BE OK. Courtesy of Scarfdemon
'GIRLS STAR (SEASON 3 SKY) LENA DUNHAM...ON THE MIND TALK THAT MESSES WITH OUR HEADS...
March 16th 2014 ....All that 20 something angst.....can still...
CLARE SHORT STARTED IT....THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST...I WONDER WHO'LL FINISH IT?
kick in years later. Watching Clare Short MP on TV this morning, took me back. I interviewed her late 80's/early 90's about her 'get rid' campaign. She wanted the Sun's page 3 dumped. And
the hassle she got from the press was vicious and personal. That was nothing compared to the the abuse from the other side of the house. She talks about her battle to bring the boobs under wraps here:
I had hoped that younger women would now be free of such nipple focused narratives. Not so. Body fascism (Anna Ford - Newscaster's phrase), is still a big cultural backdrop for women. The message? Our
bodies are not ours, and whatever body we've got, chances are it's not the 'right' one. Then there's the abuse, the rape and all the other knock on nasties that spring from such a world view.
course it messes with our minds, whether we're 20 or 40 plus. Glad to see a new wave of younger campaigners have taken up Clare's campaign and made it their own. Now they've got the twitter trolls to deal
with, but that's not stopped them so far.