Phoebe: A.M. Homes! Who we thought gave one of the most engaging readings of the evening at the Shortlist Readings we attending at the Southbank Centre on Wednesday.
A.M. was up on stage alongside her fellow finalists in the Women’s Prize for Fiction – Zadie Smith, Kate Atkinson, Barbara Kingsolver, Hilary Mantel and Maria Semple for a set of readings chaired by one of the founders, Kate Mosse.
The event felt a little like a cross between a girl’s school assembly and that bit in The Witches when all the witches are gathered for their annual conference in the posh hotel, just waiting to take their scratchy wigs off. But in a good way!
Ever since I was old enough to choose what I wore, and for several years before that, I haven’t wanted to wear pink. As a child, I preferred dressing up in my doctor’soutfitcomplete with working stethoscope (my parents must have been so hopeful for a sparkling career in medicine, sorry Mum) rather than jamming a Disney princess dress over my unruly curls and chubby limbs.
This obviously didn’t bode well for my teenage years, when I oscillated between gothy garb and so-tight-you-couldn’t-digest-food jeans from Miss Sixty with navy or white polo necks. As a result, now in my mid-twenties, I have a knee jerk reaction to pink things where I’m instantly reminded of the popular girls at school and the sartorially inoffensive twin-suits that my grandmother wore.Even my sister, the perennial makeup enthusiast and wearer of labels, resorted to cutting off my pink fiend of a Barbie’s hair in order to make her a bit edgy.
It’s interesting, then, considering the marmite reaction women often have to pink, that itonly began being associated with baby girls and girlishness (and blue with boyishness) shortly before WW1. That’s not even a hundred years, guys, why has pink become so associated with saccharine girlishness?
I’ve always had a niggle that pink is pushed on women, especially in situations where its associations with frivolity and aesthetic perfection can trivialise the actual issue at hand. Of course, there is some serious beef with pink being used to cutesy up rather un-cutesy subjects like cancer that I won’t go into, but the fact remains: not because of the colour, but because of the connotation, pink has not been my friend.
That said, this season has seen a whole lot of decidedly un-girly pinks cropping up. There is pink without chiffon, pink without frills, hot pinks that feel powerful rather than cute. The piece that swung me was a 60s style fuchsiadress from Zara with split sleeves, a veritable bat cape which has necessitated much Kate Bush style wavy-armed dancing around my flat. There’s also a DKNY two-toned pink and red blouse (pink and red not mixing is a myth perpetuated by pink purists, obvo) that might be taking a sizeable chomp out of my next wages.
The key to keeping pink non-nauseating is sticking to bold cuts and simple fabrics, read: no satin, no layers. Just straight up good tailoring and interesting shapes. If in doubt, size up on the top; you don’t want a tight pink shirt, unless you want to look like you’re trying to make Mean Girls-chic happen (it’s not going to happen).
Oh, and if the idea of wearing pink makes you want to sick strawberry yazoo milkshake, stick to accessories and go for the Marc by Marc Jacobs knockout pink haute mess bracelet, anything with knockout in the title cancels out any ghosts of girlishness, I promise.
This is a guest post from Pamflet’s friend Hannah!
Before I was in a steady relationship I had never watched porn, I never thought to. I had read lots about sex: teen fiction, novels, women’s magazines and online, but my only encounters with porn interfaces were gaudy and flashing side bars – big tit blondes with their legs spread, Asian fetish sites – whatever your ‘category’ type, these were screens from which to recoil.
That it was my boyfriend who introduced me to the possibility of porn without shame is ironic, or at least mistimed – I could have done with the recourse far more before. But when we did feel like watching some together, it would have been good to have the recommendations of feminist writer and researcher Anne G. Sabo’s After Pornified to hand. Now I do.
Do we need a new Knife? YES. Toronto’s spookiest band, Austra, kindly filled the weirdo-music gap left by The Knife/Fever Ray with their debut album FEEL IT BREAK earlier this year. Reminiscent of Bjork, Kate Bush, Enya, Bat for Lashes and Depeche Mode they cast a shadow all of their own.
The Knife were a bit lifechanging and made me wish all my favourite records could be remixed and overlaid with some steel drum sounds but were — gasp – boring live, playing behind screens and masks, always bowing out of the spotlight. Now Austra might be pagan-dabbling electro-goths but they’re definitely not shy and all the LP’s drama thundered out on stage when they played the Haunt on Friday. Firstly frontlady Katie Stelmanis‘ swirly dancing is spellbinding (so much so that I felt myself awkwardly attempting to mirror her and having to stop before someone noticed), her arms conjuring up all manner of shapes in the dark. These moves too are a kind of summoning up of her incredible, operatic (note: classically trained) voice which pulsates, trembles and alarms. That was then complemented by artistically writhing twin diminutive-goth backing singers Romy and Suri of Canadian duo Tasseomancy. Together they became dark/light/dark witches at the front of the stage flanked by icy malemodelman keyboarder Ryan, oversized-spectacled drummer Maya and XX-ish bassplayer Dorian.
Austra might look and sound like a hipster-goth fantasy that you can’t sing along with (look at them!) and they do take themselves very very seriously but they are seriously good. I’ve been longing for a proper music/fashion goth comeback to take hold and Austra should be its leaders.They’re back in the UK in September.
More goth: listen to BBC Radio 4 Thinking Allowed on what happens when goths grow up last month.