are the stars out tonight?

life and stuff


mmmm culture. oh yes i have had a most cultured and intelligent time recently. went to the theatre yesterday for a shakespeare-tastic evening with karen and sarah: taming of the shrew. never having read the play (though y'know, i've seen ten things i hate about you which is almost the same) , i wasn't really prepared for the sheer level of misogyny in the final few minutes. full of "women should totally obey their husbands all the time even when the husbands are patently barking" and stuff. and yes you can say that was what people taught when he was writing, but this is the same bloke who created helena and beatrice, two of the most feisty characters in literature. kate's sudden transformation from 'shrew" to secretary-style submisssive was as depressing as rp mcmurphy's frontal lobotomy at the end of one flew over the cuckoo's nest. grrr. the play was well acted, and nicely staged, but it just sort of disturbed me somehow.

on wednesday night i went to see sarah waters reading from fingersmith and her new one which is currently title-free and set in the 1940s! it was interesting looking at the audience, which was 95% female and roughly 90% gay. she was a good reader and funny when she answered questions (some of which were a bit inane: "which is your favourite character that you've invented", the answer was gentleman in fingersmith.) i immediately got a massive crush on her, being rubbish like that, and have spent the last few days rereading her slender oeuvre.

off on work experience tomorrow. very exciting.

edited 12/3/04 because i realised that i'd got the title of one of the books wrong, on account of being a fool.


there's an interesting piece in the the times today. "school costs - so pay for it. in which the headmaster of brighton college suggests that the solution to the problems with state education is not (as so many have suggested) to get rid of independent schools, but to abolish state schools! he suggests that it would be an "empowering and liberating experience", presumably for parents who would feel that as consumers, or customers, they had more rights to complain about the running of the schools, since you don't really get kids at independent schools saying "my mummy and daddy are paying lots of money for me to go here, so you have to give me good marks". contrary to popular belief.

(a disclaimer: ok. i have never gone to a state school. even my nursery school was private. and since i have no experience of the state education sector i don't really have the right to criticise it.)

in several ways i think that this may be a good idea - parents may well feel empowered by it, and it's possible that if teachers are offered a better wage then standards will improve. i assume that if it were to be enforced then tax would go down, meaning that the childfree wouldn't be paying for other people's children's education. and there would have to be a sliding scale of "pay what you can afford" for parents.

but here's a thing: what i do know about is independent schools. or rather a particular brand of inner-city hothouse, where everything is geared up to making sure that the pupils get the right grades at common entrance, gcses and a-levels, including the pastoral care which basically adds up to making sure you're not going to mess up those exams because you've got problems at home. (actually that's not entirely fair, i know there were teachers at school who did care enough to make sure that you were alright without being motivated by league tables.)

those kinds of schools will always have that culture of pressure, which i just don't think other schools will be able to attain, nor do i think it's something that they should necessarily be aiming for. certainly at my old secondary school the price of good exam results is a reputation for drugs and eating disorders.

it seems to me that there are still inequities inherent in the scheme - not all independent schools are great, and not all state schools are rubbish, far from it. even in the big city there are non-selective (mostly non-selective anyway, i think) state schools that are at least the equal of my fee-paying alma mater.


oh dear, it's been a while hasn't it. i promise to be a better blogger in future, but a combination of lazyness, work, alcohol and not really having very much to say has afflicted me in the recent past.

but i digress. this is meant to be a post about female secondary sexual characteristics (well two of them anyway).

i had some shocking news on friday, you see, and i've been meaning to tell you about it. it all began when i read an article in good housekeeping about women whose bras were the wrong size. it was full of "wow i always thought i was a 36a and it turns out i'm a 34ff" moments (nb this is an exaggeration).

because i'm paranoid, i decided that maybe i was wearing the wrong size myself. and so i went to m&s and got measured. and i myself had a "wow i always thought...." moment because rather than being a 32b as i had believed, or even a 32c, as i had hoped, i am in fact a 32d*. that's two whole cup sizes bigger!

i'm slightly freaked out by this. actually i'm quite very freaked out by it. i always thought of myself as rather flat chested. and suddenly i have what i would class as a rather large bust. it just seems sort of wrong.

but i'm sure i'll get used to it. and it's great to have bras that actually fit. ladies, i recommend getting measured. boys, thanks for your patience.

*boys, what this means is that i have much larger breasts than i thought.