TOMBOY BOOKCLUB: BARONESS ELSA VON FREYTAG LORINGHOVEN!!!!

Todays book club is going to be a little bit different, because instead of discussing one particular book/poem I am going to be celebrating the talents of one poet… ELSA VON FREYTAG LORINGHOVEN!

ELSA!!!!

I only first found out about her a few weeks ago because like too many boss-ass bitches, she has been erased from so much of her legacy and historical input towards modernism/ dadaism in art/poetry. Elsa is so insipirng, not only is she absolutley crazy and therefore makes perfect sense to me, but she had a passion for truth and feeling as much as you can, that I think only a few people can equal. She was German, but moved to America in the early 20th century to live her life as an artist in the modernist community of Dadaists. She is highly suspected of creating one of the most famous pieces of modern art- that upside down urinal, supposedly by Marcel DuChamp under the alias ‘R. Mutt’. HOWEVER, many people think it’s Elsa, not Marcel (she tried to bed him unsuccessfully, but tbh I don’t think Elsa was lacking in the D- department- YASSS QUEEN!) for two reasons:

1.) There are letters from around the time of the Urinals exhibition (I can’t remember its name, and it never got accepted into the exhibition- but I think that was the whole point) where DuChamp writes that he recieved a found-art piece from a female friend in Philadelphia that he was thinking about entering into an art exhibition. Who was staying in Philly at that time, I hear you cry, and who also happens to be female?.. FUCKING THE BARONESS BITCHESSSSS.

2.) Due to Elsa’s Germaness, many people have commented on the phonetic similarity between the ‘R.Mutt’ psyudeom, and the German word ‘Armut’= poverty. People think Elsa could have been having some witty cynicism against the art world powers-that-were, by using the name to elude to the art world’s creative and visionary poverty when it came to understanding avant garde art in Dadism.

Aside from the urnial, another example of Elsa’s boundless views of overlapping realities is seen in ‘Cathderal’. A piece of driftwood, in which Elsa saw the shadows and spires of a grand cathedral; the unspeakable sadness of her longings for a lover who could not stay, of a God who couldn’t be worshipped. I love her bawdiness and unchastened view of the world and herself, but there is a tenderness and sensitivity to Elsa that I feel underpins so much of how she percieved so densley, and created where others would have seen nothing.ย Elsa isn’t only an artist of sculpture, though. She also perfomed sound poetry in her Greenwich Village appartment, paving the way for so many styles of poetry and music we listen to now. She talked about things no respectable people wanted to hear: eros, vice and sexual desire as transcending gender in its agency. I remember reading a part of her work when she said that Jesus had a large a penis, HAHA. When you think about it, that does make sense though. The son of God and saviour of mankind just wouldn’t have a mico-dick, surely? (No offence to any micro-dicks out there, God made you too.)

Elsa performing her poetry, not giving a fuck for her haters ๐Ÿ’…๐Ÿผ[/c[/c[/c[/c[/c[/c[/c[/c[/c[/c
Another cool thing about the Baroness was her fashion sense, Lady Gaga aint got nothing on my girl. She used fashion as an extension of her artistic vision, and constructed modernist outfitts out of found everyday objects. She wore teabags as nipple tassles for fucks sakes- WHO EVEN HAS THE BALLS TO DO THAT I LOVE IT!!!!! (the breakfast food item theme contintues, as she also made a sculpture called ‘Orgasmic Toast’, and I can relate- toast IS orgasmic). One time she agreed to model for an artist friend, and when she turned up all she had on was a red mackintosh and a hat decorated with root vegetables, betroots and carrotts amongts others (as you do). He asked her to take her kit off so he could get painting, and she threw her coat down like a gauntlet, revealing her naked, save for a bra made of tomato-tin cans and green string to symbolise the commodifcation of the female body. HOW FUCKING ICONIC IS THAT, ALL SUPPOSED FASHION ICONS SHOULD BE QUAKING IN THEIR BOOTS! BASIC BITCHES COULD NEVERRRRRR!!!!!!!! To top it all off, Elsa even got arrested once for walking down central New York in a mans suit smoking cigarettes at a time when women were not allowed to shashay to their full potentials. She used her body and fashion to queer gender in unprecedented ways- allowing feminity to be sexually in command of the phallus, letting real bodies encapsulate both sides of the metaphysical gender spectrum-ย  and if she were alive now I have no doubts she’d be a superstar.

ELSA IS GOALS!!!!!!!!!! I have no shame so I will share this nerdiness with the internet, but I actually made a shrine to Elsa in my room complete with decorated dragonflies and a minature rock garden with dried flowers and mini crystals. I repeat: NO SHAME.

My shrine is better than your shrine :)))

Despite her lavish imagination, constantly producing a reflection of the modern world where nothing was cast in one singular image, but always moving and changing in different perspectives- the same fruitfulness cannot be said of her material life. She had the title of a Baroness, but in reality her Baron was merely a bus conductor, fallen far from any hints of aristocratic comforts. She lived much of her life in poverty, finding sustenance in her art and friendships. But, this wasn’t to last. She ended up dying of gas suffocation in her Paris flat, but its unknown whether she commited suicide, aged only 53. So much of her creativity and spirit is lost to the mainstream art world, where people rap off names like Van Gogh or Monet like muscle memory. Her sad and untimely ending haunts me, but the sparkle and colour of her imagination is enough to make even Death wince and rub their eyes in her gloriousness. I imagine her not battling insanity or capitalist suffocation, but vibrant and alive with her friends in Greenwich Village. With Claude McKay, her black and gay friend- another powerhouse queering bodies and gender- both dressed like club kings and queens and posing for the camera like they could be in any fashion show or red carpet now- just so long as Elsa can keep her root vegtable hat and tin can bra.

Elsa and Claude being iconic

Her work is obscured, and so quite hard to get a hold of cheaply in print, but honestly to anyone who loves art/ poetry/ interesting people- I would highly recommend making Elsa your new fave person to google, because she deserves the regognition completley. From Grason Perry, to the sex pistols and beyond- so many punk rock anarchists today owe their lot in part to Elsa, and I hope one day she will get the biopic/museum/ commemoration she deserves. I will include a poem here to tantalize you, but I cannot say it enough: SERVE YOUR BARONESS! ELSA IS PARAMOUNT! MAY WE REMEMBER HER WITH LOVE FOR THE GLORY SHE DESERVES AND THE WONDER SHE INSPIRES!!!!! xoxoxo

IDOL

Why is it – that for that distinctive man
We sigh- pray -cry- incessant jubilate –
That even lovely sun we shall despise –
Although he in his glory set and rise
Above exalted empire of own –
Unless that semigod bestride fair throne –
That this one pair of lips – applied –
To our own delight – spites death –
His step stark happiness –
Upon his shank we sit I state.

Why is it – that the tussle – teeming world’s
Figures appear to be dim marionettes –
Like corrupt corpses tidy put aside –
He kiss thy knee – Prince Carnival winks bright –
Merry kings house – we caper gay as god –
To humor his mad body’s ardent plea –
We spill our crimson fount exultingly –
Mount scaffold black –
Alike we would flounced bridalbeds
And yet again – and still that selfsame man –
After some spell – becomes he changeling
Loathsome to pet – we stare him down –
Where is his ermine – purple-studded crown –
Hey-well-a-way – times kindled blazing red –
And thus it stands: flesh is but fickle spark:
Flame burns eternal – tinder crumbles dark –
Idol for aye – blood sacrifice
His stipulated offering.

XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOOX

TOMBOY BOOKCLUB- SUCK LESS- where there’s a Willam there’s a way!

Hello!!!!! I haven’t written on here for a while, and I’ve been feeling rather sad recently like a pebble thrown in a lake, and I’m the pebble trying to find out where the fuck I’m sinking when it turns out I’ve been the lake AND the pebble all a long. This image made more sense in my head, but I hope you get what I’m saying: LIFE IS FUCKING HARD.

I tried to get drunk on WooWoo yesterday to cure my woes, but it took me 2 hours to drink one glass and then I puked LOL. My body was ravaged (idk why- i am going to the doctors but THIS IS A BOOK REVIEW NOT A LIST OF CORPOREAL AILMEMENTS) and I just wanted a brick to fall on my head and die quickly. But I’m trying to not be such a diva in my depressions, and instead of fucking myself up I decided to have a long bath and read before bed, which brings me to todays book review… SUCK LESS.

Suck Less is a guide to life from one of my favourite drag queens everrr *drum roll please*… WILLAM!!!! Willam is an American drag queen superstar in the USA who came to my attention when watching my first series of RuPaul’s drag race (Season 4). Willam is the perfect blend of couture and crusty, serving diamonds and glamour alongside cursing and general grossness. She (Willam is not transgender, just a drag queen but imma talk like the queens and call her ‘she’ so whatever) isn’t just a pretty face with a dirty mind though, she was so smart at highschool she completed her studies top of the class in only three years! Alongside Willam’s grossness and intelligence, my other favourite quality of hers is her bad-assery. She got kicked off her Rupaul season for breaking the rules and fucking her boyfriend during filming when nobody on the show was allowed to contact their loved ones. The fact she got kicked of the show for breaking the rules by fucking IS LIFE GOALS TO ME! PASSIONATE LOVE AND IRREVERENCE OF AUTHORITY ALL AT ONCE!!! It doesn’t even matter that much that she’s banned from the show- Willam has a youtube channel now where she posts regulary and it’s SHADEY AS FUCK AND HILARIOUS. She also loves dogs which automatically makes her my kind of gyal.

Here is Willam in her classic glam blue smokey eye LOVES IT!!!! ๐Ÿ™Œ[[[[[[[[[[[[
The book isn’t a normal fiction book, it is full of colourful pictures and instead of chapters, there is a list of all the aspects of life the book helps you to ‘suck less’ at (the book title is both cheeky and relavent aha), such as: zits, munchies, controlled substances, hair, getting high, anal, insulting someone and having a nice home. She covers a lottt of topics, and whilst you shouldn’t read this book if your’e seriously looking for advice, it is really fun and hilarious. It gives a fuck about not not giving a fuck, and that is very important. It’s a good one for when you wanna read, but not get too deep into a novel that you cannae be bothered to decipher late at night. It is lighthearted, but when you’re feeling all serious and stumped that is better to counteract demons than getting all deep and mystical.

My favourite section is her advice on how to deal with munchies. Anyone who knows me knows this- I LOVE GETTING HIGH AND I LOVE FOOD. So, learning one of my fave drag queens knows the struggle of munch made my red devil-dick high eyes cry with joy. I keep saying that the book is a joke (I mean that as a compliment aha) but honestly the advice she gives on this topic is ace. Munchies can be a MAJOR problem, especially at university where my homemaking skills did not improve as quickly as my ability to read and read and READ; where the kitchen was oftentimes empty save for dirty pans/ stale, moudly bread and McDonalds chips someone put in the fridge next to their half drunken smoothie. You either sit there piping it up, stoned as fuck and hungry, having erotic daydreams of being fed chocolate and fruits by sexy angels when actually your stomach is bubbling like a marsh with hunger (guilty lol); OR *accidentally* forget that you ordered pizza with money you don’t have, and act suprised when it arrives, eat the whole thing then pass out instantaneously from a food coma.

MUNCHIESSSSS!!!!!!!!

Willam’s advice is to not ‘play Hungry Hippo’ in your head and grub out like a black hole inhaling calories, but to try to prepare your own meals- that way it costs less, is slightllyyy better for you, and it’s more satisfying to create and be inspired when you’re high than just be a potato. She makes recepie suggestions with a little key of how to determine what you’ll be capable of achieving at your level of littiness: BUZZED, STONED OR CFYF (can’t find your feet) It makes me laugh that she mentions protein bars- that you shouldn’t stuff your baked face with them under the pretence of being healthy- because me and my friend ALWAYS used to eat protein bars with chocolate, and we’d be like ‘Ohhhh it’s all protein, those calories don’t count‘. BITCH!!! MY BODY CAN COUNT AND THE NUMBERS ADD UP ON MY STOMACH AND BOOTY. PROTEIN BARS DO COUNT.

Despite the Munchies section being my fave, the book as a whole is just really well made and professional, without it loosing Willam’s dragessence (i made up that word, I think it works). She includes SNATCHED photographs, more casual pictures, playlists of songs to suit the problem/activity she is helping with ANDDDDD, for all you folks not completley immersed in the wonders of cross dressing and queer glamour, she even includes a dictionary of drag vocabulary to help make the book easier to read and more approachable.

Willam is truly a queen in every sense, and whilst there’s other queens too who I also wish would write books (AHEM TRIXIE MATTEL, KATYA ZAMOLODCHIKOVA, THE VIXEN SASHA VELOUR, SHARON NEEDLES AND MOREEEEE) this is a great place to start introducing yourself to the drag scene. In all the glitter and jokes and club partying, drag queens really do help me cope with life. When life is happy, I shashay and shante flaunting my wares allll day singing with Rupaul. But, when I feel overwhelmed/ sad/ angry, I can watch people who know a lot more of life’s pains than I do (they often open up about lgbtq+ struggles, homophobia, eating disorders etc- these queens smile through shit storms) throw on a pair of heels and try their hardest even though in so many spaces they’re not royalty, but treated like dirt. If a person kicked out of their family home for being gay can tape his dick between his legs and constantly wear heavy wigs, make people happy from dusk till dawn even if they feel crap, AND still spill the T whilst avoiding all shade- then we can try and not cry, and try to be stonger in beauty and happiness.

WOW the ending got cheesy, so Imma quit whilst I’m ahead. If you can’t get this book, please do try to at least give watching drag race a try! Or listening to queens’ music on youtube, follow them on instagram! BE AN ALLY AND SUPPORT YOUR CROSS DRESSING QUEENS! SOME OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMEN IN THE WORLD HAVE GIGANTIC PENISES AND, AFTER ALL, “GENDER IS A CONSTRUCT SO TEAR IT APART” (quote from C.L.A.T by Sasha Velour and co.) !!!!!!!!! As always, here is a lil’ quote from the book to tanstalise you… xoxoxoxox

“So how does a typical person find their sparkle? Self reflection in a Zen garden? Sure. That’ll work fine, I bet. Although smart money says that if you’re looking for some sparkle, it may just be easier to find a fucking drag queen. Drag queens, generally, make life better all around. Think of it this way: If you were bored at home and had my number in your phone, wouldn’t you call it? Odds are, your night would be more entertaining. I do all the things you may think twice about before even thinking once. It’s probably better that you don’t do some of those things, but you could always learn from my mistakes or at least borrow my stuff while I’m in jail…”

TOMBOY BOOKCLUB- RESISTANCE, REBELLION, LIFE!

I think I’ve mentioned this book before on @tomboypress instagram before, but instead of giving just mini-reviews there I am revisiting them and allowing the books a ramble here. This lil’ number today is an anthology of 50 poems edited by Amit Majmudar, and all poems are, funnily enough, about RESISTANCE, REBELLION AND LIFE!!!!!

The poems are all by modern day poets, and mainly American, I think, given that that’s where this book was published- so, none of Shelley or Yeats’ sticking it to the man in here. But the lack of a traditional canon does not at all mean these poems are deficient in timeless themes; the feelings of struggle for a better life will always be earthly, whether you were born as a slug in the tudor times or a human in the 19th century. The point of any life is to keep living, and hopefully without struggle. The main themes, though, if I had to be specific would be these: borders, racism, awareness/perspective (of history/the world) and discontent.

Majmudar has also included an introduction on truth, and what it is. Considering that one of the main goals of poetry is to reveal a ‘truth’ (truthsย if you’re like me, and believe that ‘truth’ as a singular over-arching concept to define reality is bullshit and lazy and exclusive to those whose lifes don’t match that ‘truth’- BUT ANYWAYS!!!) this introduction’s subject matter is spot on. And, with today being flooded with conspiracies and fake-news; just general avoidance of actually being responsible towards helping those who need it, I think Majmudar has chosen a very relavent, in dispute subject. He explores whether poetry is always necessarily for good (because the definitions of what is to be praised VS villified are pretty much always in flux), using the example of Joseph Stalin being a poet to explore where poetry can take us from what it inspires; and whether truth is ever ‘found’, or only ever made from people’s opinions. I have probably missed out other really ‘juicy’ bits (i cringe and hate it when people say this, it reminds me of my history teacher who used to say ‘juicy nuggets’ when refering to informative points in history reading but all it made me think of was chicken nuggets ahah), BUT THATS WHY YOU SHOULD READ THIS BOOK TO FIND OUT MORE!!!!

There are so many memorable images the poems I love in here present; from the death of Captain America, to a border police officer scouting deserts and mothers protecting their children. HOWEVER, there is one specifically I want to mention. It is ‘This Beautiful Bubble’ by Vincent Katz. The bubble he is talking about is one we all have to walk within when we go out into the carnage of human life, and he sets this bubble of personal privacy set upon by other eyes in the subway. Maybe it’s just because I am too curious, but one of my favourite things to do on the tube is to people watch. Try and guess where people are going, and why- who they are going to see and how long for? If it’s a job, do they like it? Did they choose it? Do they go home to a dog, or a cat, or a partner or a friend at the end of the day? Do they hate the tube as much as me? I think the poem is basically about the beginning of love being curiosity- simply caring about strangers means you don’t just exist in a selfish bubble that no other human is allowed to pop. I think it’s wierd now how people feel ashamed, almost guilty when they catch the eyes of strangers in packed train carridges. We are all human, all pissed off and tired, and the least we can do for each other is smile when someone looks our way- not make them feel like they’ve just walked in on us doing something unspeakable.

OBVIOUSLY YOU HAVE TO RESPECT PEOPLES PRIVATE SPACE!!! aha If someone looks visibly upset, of course ask what’s up but if they ask for privacy you gotta give it to them! And equally, you have to protect your own private space- you have to screen people before you properly love them, because who knows what crazies there are out there. SO,ย  I think Katz is trying to say you have to respect the individual, irreplaceable private view you have on the world before you can expand this, and try to invite other people to visit you inside you inside your bubble!

We all know the world is full of suffering, and suffering is boundless and varied in who and how it choses to wreak its havoc. If you pop that bubble for just one moment, consider who is on the outside of it- then, maybe you won’t just want to imagine about other people’s lives, you’ll want to get involved in how to make that life as wonderful as possible.

I feel like I sound like a church preacher right now which is not the life for me, no offense to any religious people/leaders, but I am too naughty to follow anyones rules ahah I CAN’T EVEN FOLLOW MY OWN! But I hope you’ll try to find the book to seek this poem out, and of course to enjoy the other selected authors inside!!! For now, I’ll just leave you with my favorite quote from Katz (I’ll post the whole poem on @mollygbeale on instagram if you want to see the whole thing, it’s just rather long to type out on here haha) !!! Have a good day, and I hope you find the courage to be rebellious and smile at a stranger who catches your eye next time you’re in with crowds! XOXOXO

“… I am the least difficult of men.ย 
All I want is boundless love…”

TOMBOY BOOKCLUB-DARK DAYS!!!!

I’ve never had the chance to fully study all Baldwin’s work, and have only read ‘Another Country’ and a few of his essays (Another Country is soooo good, very gripping and it covers a wide range of characters whose stories interweave). But, yesterday I read one of his essays in the Penguin modern series compilation of his works- ‘Dark Days’; by the way, I throughly recommend these books as treats for yourself and/or others! They are only ยฃ1 and can help you discover authors like how you can sample food at the supermarket or how they spray perfume on you to test it in shops. They aren’t in depth or full represetations of authors’ work, but really good to carry when travelling or to dip in and out of when you’re busy! ANYWAYS- I haven’t gotten round to reading the whole collection yet, but the essay I read seemed very relavent to now, despite it actually being written in 1965.ย It’s called: ‘The White Man’s Guilt’.

It is a highly thought through and intelligent work, and it is amazing to me how one man can see and interrogate such small parts of human behaviour into political frameworks. The essay explores how history affects the present way we interact with each other, and in particular how black and white people feel in conversation. How whiteness percieves and reacts to conceptions of blackness when faced with real life people. Baldwin highlights a frantic guilt in the white man/woman; always defending themselves when they haven’t been attacked, either personally in conversation, or physically by the police who they so vehemently defend. Always pointing blame in another direction, feeling deep down there is an imbalance in the world and never wanting to admit it- because once you state the truthย (not the glorious history the people in charge want to push) and its repurcussions, who wants to be the one held responsible, to clean up that vicious mess?

It reminded me of another brilliant book I’ve read recently about race relations under some strange cloud of repressed/mutilated guilt, which allows for discimination/murder/ poverty to carry on largely unchallenged. Afua Hirsch’s book, ‘British’ is a memoir/ evidenced portrayal of racism in Britain- and it effects on African ex-colonies- across history. Hirsch’s book is rooted in Uk (And also Ghana), whilst Baldwin was writing about America, but the similarities of what they delineate are strong. Both point to the stupidity of white people denying they see colour, and therefore denying they see history. By denying colour, you deny people their bodies, pride in their ancestry, and pride enough now to untangle the brutality that a one-sided history has created. Or, the cowardice of seeing colour but not the truth of the story that colour tells: when white british people are proud of their country without knowing a thing about Empire and slavery, or red neck Americans fighting for immigrants to ‘get out’, when their whole country was literally built by immigrants coming over and killing Native Americans.

Returning to Baldwin, he doesn’t only talk about how white people are harmed and constrained by a history they do not yet understand how to be accountable for, he also talks about the pain that this warped history has had on black people. He explains how, if your history is dominated by negativity and shame, always condemning the contemporary individual as symptomatic of inherited ‘wrong’; to blame victims for their own suffering, after a while it’s those lies that become how you view yourself and your people. Black people come to believe that what white people won’t say is true- the akward glances denoting a distance, the silences meaning an unwillingness to just let people be people. They fill the empty gaps left from the tatters of pillaged history with their own present suffering to try make the picture whole.

My favorite image that Baldwin uses in this essay to descibe the effects of history on a person in the present is that of a butterfly pinned by a nail. The nail is history: factual, hard, produced by some distant machine, and almost impossible to escape from. The butterfly is us: a creature ruled by change and frail beauty, that is supposed to fly and be free but cannot whilst that pin is stuck there. Baldwin’s prose is already poetical in describing his politics, but this image just really sticks with me. I think it summarises perfectly the predicament white people have stuck themselves in, unable to escape their materially comfortable, yet pscyhologically wrecked history. Emotionally stagnant, condemning themselves for what is unchangeable; with white people dowsing themselves in guilt, defensive anger or complete ignorance. People who refuse to even look at the nail, let alone remove it, are equally as in pain as those who acknowledge its presence every second whilst doing nothing proactive to ease the wound.

The fact is, history can be changed because history is always under construction. I don’t mean change history like Dr Who travelling back and undoing all wrongs; I mean challenging the stories we’ve been told which build the foundation- both material and emotional- of all lives today. Using white priviledge- access to education, money and no discrimination based on race- to destroy the machinery that has gotten us to where we are now, so no black or brown person has to fight to be human again.ย So, I think Baldwin is trying to say that it’s not enough to know that racism is wrong. If you’re not going to activley change the situation by trying (you do everything you can when you can)ย to learn and construct an un-whitewashed version of history, where those who need to be are held accountable; to rebuild a society that does not perpetuate these current conditions- then you are part of the problem. To talk the talk, you gotta walk the walk, and at the moment white people aint saying shit to make anyone wanna walk. And if nobody can even walk, when will we ever be able to dance? Because ultimatley, it can’t be black people who have been victimised throughout history who are burdened with the struggle of fixing problems forced upon them. The only one who can change a legacy of history programmed into a person’s brain is the person who that brain belongs to.

I know this post is a bit slapdash, but I hope I have not butchered his work and offended anybody. I hope I’ve understood Baldwin correctly, and if you think I’ve missed some major points or am wrong- please say! The ultimate thing is to not close off conversation; it isn’t bad to be wrong, but it is bad to never admit it. To end this post, I want to include a good quote from Baldwin, and I hope you’ll try to look out for more of his work in the future! BE REVOLUTIONARY AND READ HISTORY!!!!!

“… Moreover, the history of white people has led them to a fearful, baffling place where they have begun to lose touch with reality- to lose touch, that is, with themselves- and where they certainly are not truly happy, for they know they are not truly safe… White man, hear me! A man is a man, a woman is a woman, a child is a child. To deny these facts is to open the doors on a chaos deeper and deadlier, and, within the space of a man’s lifetime, more timeless, more eternal, than the medieval vision of Hell. White man, you have already arrived at this unspeakable blasphemy in order to make money. You cannot endure the things you aquire- the only reason you continually aquire them, like junkies on hundred dollar a day habits- and your money exists mainly on paper. God help you on that day when the population demands to know what is behind that paper… It is terrifying to consider the precise nature of the things you have brought with the flesh you have sold- of what you continue to buy with the flesh you continue to sell…”

 

TOMBOY BOOKCLUB- BITCH DOCTRINE!!!

Helloooo! If being inconsistent was a skill, I would be awarded soooo many different medals for my Ostrich-like avoidance of any commitment that scares me. One day, and I’m like “OMG I HAVE SO MANY IDEAS THE WELL OF INSPIRATION OVERFLOWETH THE NIB OF THIS PEN SHALL FALTER NEVER MORE HALLELUJAH!!!!” Then the next day I will be moping around all morose like a grumpy mime who can never pull a crowd, thinking to myself, “i am insignificant and nothing i will ever say will alter the course of history in any way. I am a gobby loudmouth who doesnt know shit, so sit down and zip it shrimpy and get back to the involuntary daily slog like everyone else“. My grandma always tells me off for being too volatile, alternatley feeling like the bossest of bitches there ever was VS shit on the shoe of Satan. Today my brain has been like one of those crystal balls you hang in a windowsill pane to let the rainbow out, but instead of seeing colours, the string begins to spin; I can’t stop it and all I can do is hold on and hope not to die in being dizzy with impalpable yet very real shiftings of worry.

But, today I am choosing not to be a coward and just instantly hide away in my room with a book and a cup of tea/wine. I am trying to get on with it, and so with no further adieu I present unto you firecrackers THE BITCH DOCTRINE BY LAURIE PENNY.

This collection of essays is as serious and necessary in the political climate of today as it is from the heart and funny. Laurie Pennie really does have a knack for making what can seem like far-away and untouchable problems a part of the fabric of identity. For example, she has a section of a diary of the US election when Trump won and destroyed the world as we knew it. Obviously, I am not a professional political commentator, nor even American and thus my influence and understanding of the USA’s problems are limited. But, reading Penny’s hilarious renderings of events make it seem a bit less scary, a bit less like a facsist meteor hit the earth with no comfort for any of us Snowflakes after the crash.

I think one of my favorite elements of this essay writing is Penny’s humour, a way to tackle serious and urgent problems for Britain (she also talks about wider Europe when discussing the intersections of misogyny and racism concerning immigration) in a way that doesn’t make you want to instantly cry. The other plus side being, that for essays on complex social and political issues, she tackles problems in a way so that reading doesn’t feel like entrenched academic gobblydygook; it is genuinley interesting without being overwhelming. My highlights are when she calls Trump fascism with a spray tan, and argues how the best thing for humanity would be for men to become the childbearers instead of women (I know there are complexities to gender which mean trans-men/ non-binary people can bear children, but on the whole the odious task and repercussions still go to women).

I do think one area she could have covered more was institutional racism in the UK, but considering her main focus is on gender and body politics, it would be unfair to expect her to cover all the problems of the world in one book. Although having said that, she does cover race in entertainment and culture quite in depth; where she discusses the rise of Hollywood shake-ups of racial profiling when casting for actors, and the role of race in the future of what stories we tell ourselves as a nation. She also doesn’t cover that much concerning feminism and the environment or animals, but again she isn’t God and can’t answer everything.

Penny’s last essay is ‘Utopia Someday’, and I will leave this rambling review with a quote I liked from that last essay. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it, and will take my humble opinions to heart and try to read a few of her essays and journalism in the future!!!! SPEND A PENNY ON PENNY!!! (i dont mean take a piss on one of her books, but go and buy one for yourself and anyone else who needs a lesson in inclusive, intersectional feminism)

“… the instant that we do decide that we are satisfied, that there can never be a better world than this, is the instant the future shuts down and change becomes impossible. Utopia isย  the search for utopia. It is the no-place by whose light you plot a course through a harsh… present. By the time you reach the horizon, it is no longer the horizon but that doesn’t mean you stop going forwards…”

(underlining is me, I just really love this sentence ๐Ÿ™‚ )

XOXOXOXOXOXOXOOXOXOXOXOXOXO

 

Suspicious Minds

Recently, a storm has been brewing… things I never dreamed of being possible somehow are falling into place: I am now addicted to CONSPIRACY THEORIES.

My sister and brother kept gabbling on about some crazy shit, and I was all ‘ohhhh don’t be silly *insert purile white girl giggle here*’. BUT NOW HOLY SHIT THE WORLD IS WORSE THAN I THOUGHT!!!! It doesn’t take any genius to see society at large is and always has been mega fucked up in it’s various ways of destroying the soul, but some things many people think are innocent- then never properly think about- reallllyyy should be examined under a closer eye. I’m not gonna make out I’m a conspiracy expert finding these things out by myself, ahaha I am merely a hideous procrastinator who can spend hours absorbed in the wierd side of Youtube away from fucking Zoella and all her inspid minions (if you like Zoella, sorry but not sorry please go live your own life babes).ย  I’m just gonna include my top three conspiracies I’ve heard of so far for brevitys sake, BUT ONCE YOU START FALLING DOWN THIS RABBIT HOLE IT IS MORE ADDICITIVE THAN STUFFING YOUR STONED AS FUCK GOBHOLE WITH YUMYUMS !!!!!!!!!!

1- MICHAEL JACKSON WAS MURDERED BY THE ILLUMINATI.
I know the offical cause of death was an overdose and his doctor went to jail, but what if that’s a cover-up? What if someone/somebodies *THE ILLUMINATI* hired the doctor to do their bidding because Michael wanted out of some fucked up shit, and they couldn’t risk him whistleblowing? I imagine him wearing those diamond gloves singing like “It don’t matter if you’re black or white, ohhh yeahhh WE ARE ALL DOOMED BY THE ILLUMINATI ANYWAYS”!!!!! Even his daughter has said she thinks people are hiding the truth, that her dad repeatedly expressed fears of being ‘got rid of’… Research it more yourself, if you so please, but whatever you think: Respect and rest in peace the King of pop. xox

2- THE KARDASHIANS ARE IN THE ILLUMINATI.
This one seemed a bit far fetched at first, like how everyone says Beyonce is queen of the illuminati- I’m just like errrr nope SHE IS QUEEN OF THE UNIVERSE. Anyways, the more I mulled it over the more it made sense. Like why are they so famous? There’s plenty of fake ass rich bitches doing nothing that actually makes a positive impact on the world, so why the fuss over this one particular family? They buy millions of followers to give the impression that they’re more influential and important than in reality, and they do this in order to subliminally brainwash us all into being like them: not giving a fuck aboutย  who is actually suffering in this world, or who is controlling who suffers. As we’re all obsessed with why Kylie’s lips are now no longer ridiculous (I don’t wanna throw shade, girl power and all that but yeah she was 15 when the fakeness came to fruition- gotta love that sexualisation of minors); buying weight loss lollypops from a woman whose ass is so fat it literally deserves to have its own planetal orbit, THE WORLD IS IN A SODDING STAGE OF EXTINCTION. idk about you, but for me its illuminati confirmed.

3- MISSING MALASYIAN FLIGHT WAS HIJACKED BY ALIENS
This one is harder to explain because there’s so many steps to the story adding up. Safe to say, even if the evidence isn’t true and is really a hoax, it’s still creepy af. The video I watched to find this one out was:ย  ย  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbwR_uHhiI0

I think the reason I am so fucking into conspiracy theories is that they fuel my incessant paranoia and distrust of authority figures/the wider world- one of my best qualities! I remember even when I was little, my fucked up little brain was concocting some truly bizarre ‘conspiracy’ theories; like how I thought that whenever I turned my back or closed my eyes that people turned into monsters. Or how I thought I was gonna go to hell for some shit I did and my sister found me crying next to the bathtub about it- ahah not really a conspiracy: I really am gonna go to hell and IT WILL BE LIT HUNTYS!!!!

But- I try to make this blog a place of positivity (not just sensless blabber), so of course there is indeed a moral message to all this. Worring all the time about what may or may not be happening is not the one. If your’e scared of something, be active and try to change that situation! Trying to feel safe by inventing and determining- with no actual proof- what other people are thinking is worthless. It’s a way to feel like your dealing with the problem, but actually your’e just stagnating in a tangle of thoughts that will never be useful unless you put words into actions! But if there’s no way to activley solve your own personal life’s ‘conspiracy’ theories, stop entertaining your demons and go distract yourself with some entertaining conspiracy theories; redirect that immense imagination of yours!!! And remember, never trust a Kardashian…

XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO

TOMBOY BOOKCLUB- ORLANDO!!!

When I made an instagram page to promote this blog (@tomboypress), I started a feature called Tomboy Bookclub (including cute pictures of my animal companions and what I think they would say aha). I gave my general opinions on books I had read and liked, they weren’t indepth at all- so I’ve decided to bring the feature PROPERLY here, and to start a-fresh with the book that incubated it all… ORLANDO!!! A classic with changing genders, Woolf hounds (see what I did there- aha), poetry written in berries and a life that lasts 400 years!

This Woolfian mock-biography is known as one of the longest love letters in literary history, and knowing that tid-bit does make reading more endearing- get rid of all the indepth analysis that can be done on Orlando’s sprawling ancient mansion, or the cryptic scene of their gender swap, and even if you don’t understand all the wierdness of the book, it’s still interesting to imagine the similarities between Vita ( Virginia’s lover aside from Leonard, and her inspiration for this book) and Orlando; what Virginia noticed and remembered about her to later transform into further fictions.

The elements of this book that interest me most- aside from it’s beautiful prose and hilarious narrative in general- are the ways it presents the natural world in its relation with human emotion. How as a youth up until the last chapter, Orlando returns to their favourite Oak tree to try and spit out the truth of their heart’s love; rewriting, scribbling over old lines to make an almost illegible Ode. Yet, in settings of their courtly mansion or in town, Orlando changes subtly from the romantic poet, to the aloof yet popular socialite with a reputation for public grandeur and wealth- not hiding in tree trunks. Despite the huge changes of gender and historical era Orlando experiences, I still kind of feel the biggest changes in Orlando come with the tensions of public status in their community VS what Orlanndo actually wants to express when in the clear-mindedness of reflection in nature.

For example, Orlando never really feels the urge/ desperation/obligation to marry (despite forlorn hankerings for romance) until the Victorian era. But one day, they freak out and declare they will only be nature’s bride. It is at this moment, the moment of resolute decision in the wilds of wind and moss, that Orlando’s future paradoxically swings in the other direction. Love on horseback arrives, and the rest is history. I think the point Woolf is trying to make is that of individuality. That we all MUST hang onto the quirks and stubbornesses and wills of our personality in order to maintain that ‘true’-self that will be loved, BUT… AT THE SAME TIME we have to understand how we as individuals fit into a larger order where others’ plans intercept our own. What we deem ‘morally right’ or ‘important’ or ‘necessary’ for ourselves doesn’t mean a rats ass to how the big guys think this place should be run. We have to adapt and hide what is wild to survive- but never, ever loose the core of dreaming which is what we suvive for. Don’t worry though; even though Orlando does marry, it isn’t written in a traditional way and in my opinion, doesn’t take away from any radical queerness. I don’t think finding a love that fits life diminishes their character in any way.

I won’t lie and say it is a straight-forward read, because for Woolf’s wit and elegance to truly be enjoyed you can’t just guzzle the words without tasting them. It isn’t a traditional or predictable story at all, but I think just the sheer quirkiness of the story and it’s characters means even if you don’t fully understand a fancy-shmancy sub-plot or how what is happening is even logically possible (trust- it is a wonderfully wierd book); sometimes it’s better to give yourself over to nonsense. The stranger things are, the more room for imaginative reasonings and resonations- the world needs people thinking outside the box!!!!

Give Orlando a quick google if I still haven’t sold it to you! But if you’ve read the book let me know and we can have a geeky chat about it!!!!

To finish, I shall leave you with a quote… nothing profound xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

“… clumsiness is often mated with a love of solitude.”
โ€•ย Virginia Woolf,ย Orlando