Archive for the ‘Awesome Womyn’ Category

This documentary is hosted by UK actress Joanna Lumley in which she shares a very personal journey to learn about the culture of the Northern Lights and finally see them for herself.

Joanna’s voice is deep and breathy, with a very proper English accent. Her narration gives the film a dreamy, romantic quality and her eloquence, style of speech together with her warm personality make her an altogether charming guide. She openly shares her own fascinating experiences – living with her family in Malaysia (which she pronounces “Malay-zee-ya”) as a child she dreamed of cold and of the mystical North and especially of seeing the Northern Lights. In this film she travels through Norway, into the Arctic Circle and moves ever northward, meeting and staying with local people along the way.

The thing which struck me most about Joanna as a presenter, as herself (rather than an actor), was her humbleness, her amazing rapport with those she meets. She has a wonderful openness, an obvious great affection and generosity of feeling towards everyone else. She is very genuine in her appreciation of people, not at all condescending. When speaking to someone who doesn’t speak much English she listens patiently, earnestly, to what they’re saying. She in really involved, tries to understand everything she sees, and is happy to be corrected. She always tries the local language. She is open in her enthusiasm.

Joanna shows her glee at being able to finally experience the journey she’s dreamed of, and is ready to laugh at herself in ridiculous situations, like being taught how to right a snow mobile by a 4-year-old. One of my favourite scenes is when she is in the quaint fishing village of Å (“Or”) in a rorbu, a fishing cottage. Sitting at a table with her pastels and drawing book, Joanna creates a lovely picture of the scene from the window. I think it’s so brave of her to expose herself like that, to show the world such a private part of her life.

I think there always comes a time in anything you do, like drawing or painting, or indeed acting, when you think “will I ever be good enough to please – well, myself, let alone anybody else? Will it ever be good enough? Will I ever come up to scratch?” Or worse still, people lean over your shoulder and go “…don’t you think his eye is a little more like that?” and you just go “yes, I know, I know, I’m dealing with the eye later. Just, leave me-“. So you know I can’t bear being judged on the things like this because they’re really only for fun and if it pleases you – which it might not, but I mean try to make it please you – try to do things which please you, that’s all. And therefore if it’s not good enough – get better.

And after all this isn’t going to be exhibited anywhere.
…Except on television(!)

I think it’s great how her documentary is at once entertaining and informative, and you get to see a Norwegian journey you couldn’t see with anyone else. Joanna explains how since a young age she’s longed to see the Northern Lights after reading a children’s book called ‘Ponny the Penguin’ by Veronica Basser, in particular an illustration by Edwina Bell of Ponny standing under the Southern Lights and looking up. I think it’s great that when Joanna finally gets to see the Aurora Borealis there’s a shot of her in the film where she looks just like Ponny the Penguin!

I also love her dry sense of humour and I can’t wait to see more of her documentaries in the future. May there be many!

I highly recommend this DVD and if you’d like a taster, it’s also on YouTube.

Director: Archie Baron
Producer: Helena Braun
Starring: Joanna Lumley

Read Full Post »

I admit that I haven’t been watching too much of the TV coverage of the earthquake diaster in Turkey. Having experienced it here, it’s so distressing to see others on the other side of the world going through the same thing (on a much larger scale).

However I was really happy to hear about the rescue in Ercis of three ladies from the same family. I say ladies – the first to be pulled out of the rubble by rescuers was tiny Azra, only two weeks old.

For two days she had been held by her mother, both of them trapped under the crushed concrete and metal of their collapsed 5-storey apartment building.

The young family reportedly live in Sivas in central Turkey, and were visiting the baby’s grandparents in Ercis when the earthquake struck. Azra’s father is still lost, buried in the rubble, from which there has been no signs of life.

But her mother Semiha (above) and grandmother Gulsaadet (below) were rescued a few hours after Azra was freed. The women were huddled together and managed to survive the freezing conditions. After being taken to a hospital in Ankara, little Azra was declared to be in good health. 

Rescuer Oytun Gulpinar reportedly said of saving the women

Bringing them out is such happiness. I wouldn’t be happier if they gave me tons of money.

 That rush of watching clamouring rescuers in bright orange extract a person from the rubble and the elation of hope that it brings was painfully familiar from the days following the Christchurch quake, but with these three women from the same family all saved in one day it really was an extra special moment.

(Visit Daily Mail Online for more pictures of the rescue and of Azra)

Read Full Post »

Every sport has its “hooligans” and lots of us have probably been intimidated at a sporting event where rowdy, drunk spectators get violent and abusive. That was the problem in the Turkey soccer league where fans stormed the field and attacked journalists.

As a punishment the team supported by the out-of-control fans, Fenerbahce, was ordered to play two home games without spectators. However the soccer association changed the ruling and instead decreed that only women and children under 12 years-old will be allowed to attend games involving teams sanctioned for unruly behaviour. 

That strikes me as genius, and a little bit sexist.

So over 40,000 free tickets were given out to women and children and the game went on! Before kickoff players from both teams threw flowers into the crowds. The stadium full of women had an awesome time, and the players seemed pretty stoked, too.

It was such a fun and pleasant atmosphere. At first, we Manisaspor players couldn’t believe in what we were seeing and hearing

          Manisaspor (the visiting team) midfielder Ömer Aysan is quoted as saying.

Apparently there was even a force of female-only guards outside checking to make sure that no men entered the stadium.

For the first time in ages it seems the fans cheered for both teams and the game went off without a hitch, despite a potentially dodgy offside ruling by the ref. Nice one, ladies!

I reckon that looks like good times!

Read Full Post »

Being a woman

Being drafted

Losing my lining

Fighting the scarlet crusade

CSI: Vagina

I’m a Potential Murder Suspect (PMS)

On my moon

My cup runneth over

Trollin’ for vampires

Sitting on a nice merlot

Leak week

Going through a detrital phase

Being visited by Aunt Flo, Uncle Red, Cousin TOM (Time Of the Month) and Gramps.

With Moses

On the bus (Bleeding Uterus Syndrome)

Not praying

Rebooting the Ovarian Operating System

Reasserting my femininity

Being visited by the red bird of bitchiness

Over The Rainbow (On The Rag)

Shark Week

My vagina is emo (it’s so desperate for attention, it’s bleeding)

T-minus 9 months and holding

Visited by the red fairy

Flying Bravo

Bleeding the lining of my uterus through my sexual organs in a very painful way


Do you ever find yourself with a series of browser tabs open on a range of fascinating topics with absolutely no clue of how you got there? Clearly, I do. The above are some of my faves of the myriad euphamisms I found on the interwebs for having your period (in case you hadn’t figured it out by now) (If you hadn’t, I’m not judging you).

Some of them I find to be hilarious, others painfully realistic. But the overall response I had to the whole thing was: why do we have so many euphamisms? Is something that half of the people on earth experience for 1 out of every four weeks for most of their life really that taboo that we have to invent code words just to explain why we can’t go to the pool on Thursday?

That’s a bit scary, isn’t it?

I mean, we think we’re all modern and that but heaps of women still need code words to ask their husband to put tampons on the shopping list. Really? Teaching new generations to be ashamed of something it is natural and healthy for them to do and that they have no control over? Really? Do not make me give you the “being a potential childbearer is a powerful and treasured thing and womyn should be revered” speech. ‘Cause I will!

Obviously, some of them are just for fun. For example, I can’t wait for someone to ask me why I’m slow/emotional/leaning against something/can’t make it to Zumba next time I have my period. For the answer shall be “CSI:Vagina”*.

That’s similar to another fave of mine (and something which may have originally prompted my menstruation-related brower tab); No Strings Attached was a pale flop of a movie for me, despite performances by both the resplendent Natalie Portman and the wonderful Greta Gerwig. However. As many have noted there was one awesome scene. That’s right. The period scene.

Adam breaks the “friends with benefits” code by visiting Emma when she (and her two flatmates) are sick at home with their periods. He brings donuts and a frank, overly-caring sympathy for their condition. The scene is both awesome and hilarious because periods just aren’t like that. Periods gross guys out. And/or embarrass them**, and girls are often so ashamed of them they’re wary of any guy who is curious/sympathetic.

It’s here that Greta Gerwig as Emma’s friend Patrice, while lying on the floor stuffing a donut in her mouth, delivers one of my favourite movie lines ever.

It’s like a crime scene in my pants.

Instant hilarity. It’s like the filmmakers forgot that this truth that all women know is a total secret that we’re not supposed to talk about – and she just said right out loud! It’s funny ‘cos we’ve all been there (well, us ladies, anyway). And she’s so adorable.

I recommend going on YouTube to watch this scene, rather than renting the movie. Sorry, but I do.

"The Period Scene" from the film No Strings Attached

The other thing Adam brings Emma in the scene is a mix CD. A period mix CD. See? It’s funny, ‘cos in movies guys are supposed to pretend periods are revolting or they just don’t happen, but instead he’s being nice to her! Ya geddit?
The tracks on the CD are listed below. Enjoy!

1. Evenflow – Pearl Jam
2. The Tide Is High – Blondie
3. Red Red Wine – UB40
4. Sunday Bloody Sunday – U2
5. I’ve Got The World On A String – Frank Sinatra
6. Muddy River – Johnny Rivers
7. Bleeding Love – Leona Lewis
8. Here Comes The Flood – Peter Gabriel
9. Red Rain – Peter Gabriel
10. Waterfalls – TLC
11. Red Red Rose – The Weepies
12. Red Tide – Neko Case
13. Why Does It Always Rain On Me – Travis
14. I Love You, Period – Dan Baird
15. Just A Girl – No Doubt
16. Here Comes The Rain – Eurythmics
17. Everybody Hurts – R.E.M.
18. Stormy Pinkness – They Might Be Giants
19. Time To Flow – D-Nice
20. Blood Is Thicker Than Water – Wyclef Jean featuring The Product G&B


*Provided that that person is a close female friend. Otherwise it’s a bit graphic and I don’t wanna inflict that on someone. (I find “I’ve got my period” suffices in those situations).

**Yes, this is a horrible generalisation. Yes, guys who don’t freak out about periods do exist and yes, I find them very attractive.

>> Many (many, many, many) words that people use for menstruation can be found here. Warning: surprisingly addictive

Read Full Post »

Song: Sister Suffragette
Artist/Group: Glynis Johns

This is probably my favourite song from the 1964 Disney film Mary Poppins. I love it. I love Mrs. Banks, I love the tune, I love the lyrics. This is the song I sing in the shower when I’m in a good mood.

We’re clearly soldiers in petticoats
And dauntless crusaders for women’s votes

This song gets my feminist blood pumping. The fact that it’s an ironic pastiche of a feminist protest song doesn’t make any difference. Set in 1909, British women are still fighting for the right to vote. Darling Mrs. Banks with her fighting words and fists in the air.

Glynis Johns as Mrs. Banks

Though we adore men individually
We agree that as a group they’re rather stupid

Mrs. Banks is always out at rallies with armfuls of “VOTES FOR WOMEN” sashes, leaving her children with their nanny all day. She talks about visiting her fellow suffragettes in prison, throwing eggs at politicians and she sings her suffragette songs. But as soon as Mr. Banks gets home she is the archetypal doting housewife. One second she’s like “I’d love to stay but I must get to the rally and rejoin the fight for women’s rights” and then her husbands says “Winifred, I wish you’d stay” and she’s all “Oh yes, dear. Of course, dear.”

Votes for Women!

No more the meek and mild subservients we!
We’re fighting for our rights, militantly –
Never you fear!

When her husband’s away she’s such a radical with her fists in the air, marching the maid and the cook around the house and showing her knickers.

Votes for Women!

I used to watch this film when I was younger and although I enjoyed the song and the marching around and fists in the air, I don’t think I really understood much of the lyrics and none of the political context. The chorus was the only part I almost had down.

So, cast off the shackles of yesterday!
Leap shoulder to shoulder into the fray!
Our daughters’ daughters will adore us
And they’ll sing in grateful chorus
“Well done! Well done!
Well done, Sister Suffragette!”

If you’re ever in a good mood and want to do something fun just for the heck of it – punch your fist in the air and yell “Votes for Women!” This is equally hilarious if you’re completely alone or in the presence of unsuspecting strangers.

Mary Poppins Soundtrack

“Votes for Women!”

Read Full Post »

Miranda Hart
Photo by Jay Brooks

I am a little bit in love with Miranda Hart. She is just so beatiful and quirky and hil-arious!

Also, she is tall. Very tall. There is (according to Wikipedia), 185cm of her to love. Such fun!
This is one of the only TV shows that I’d actually really love to own on DVD. Miranda’s like the cool, kooky friend you like to hang out with because she makes even talking about herself really entertaining.
In the show Miranda is a single 30-something woman whose mother is desperate for her to get married. She lives above the joke shop which she owns and is managed by her best friend. Hilarity ensues. The whole cast is brilliant, and even includes the quintessential “sexy nice guy”. Huzzah!
Miranda - single ftw!
Something most people probably love about the show is Miranda’s asides spoken directly to the camera. It’s just so easy to love her and be on her side in any situation.
Something else I love about the show is there’s so much of Miranda Hart herself in the show and she’s so likeable as a person. That’s always a relieft, isn’t it? Watching her on the Graham Norton Show was really fun too.
Her playfulness and sense of humour are also obvious in her official website, which in my humble opinion is well worth a visit if you’re a fan of the ‘Randa.
Foxy ladyThe most fun I’ve ever had watching this show was with a roomful of other women. A lot of the jokes are so much part of the female experience. So many lol moments and a room full of ladies howling with laughter – seriously contagious! One of my favourite moments was when Miranda was in the changing rooms getting into her togs at the swimming pool. She started contorting herself around inside her towl in the most awkward way to avoid showing any body parts. Meanwhile there are other (slimmer) women just stripping off all around her. She ended up in a tight little ball on the floor. I just about wet my pants it was so funny – and come on, we’ve all been there!
Last year a friend asked me if I know any good British shows and I had trouble thinking of any that weren’t either period dramas or reality shows. Now I have one! An awesome one! Watch Miranda and feel good 😀
the cast of Miranda

Such fun!

Read Full Post »

Two days ago a woman in Huangzhou, Wu Juping, was alerted by cries and ran to a nearby apartment building. Seeing a toddler dangling from the 10th floor she positioned herself and managed to catch the girl when she fell. From the force of the long drop and the impact of being caught the baby suffered internal injuries and in catching her Juping’s arm was broken.

That women is a hero! Imagine the horror of watching the baby dangling, but also the terror of readying yourself for the impact as she fell. That’d be really scary.

Juping said it was her “mother’s instinct” which made her do it – she has a seven month old son herself. Motherhood is crazy. All mothers were once “just” women, teenagers, children themselves. But something happens when you have a baby, doesn’t it? Something intense. Mothers rock.

Wu Juping in the hospital with her son. (Photo: Xinhua)

Wu Juping in the hospital with her son. (Photo: Xinhua)

Picture from China Daily

Read Full Post »