Monday 28 October 2013

Today's column... the on-going obsession with women's appearance!

Why does any interview with a high-profile woman focus on the superficialities: how she’s ageing, what she’s wearing, what she eats, what shape she’s in. No matter what their personal achievements, musical, sporting, political or scientific, we’re given the intimate details of their domestic set-up, whether they have children—and if not, WHY not—and who they’re married to or divorced from, ‘blissfully happy’ or ‘unlucky in love’. We don’t do this with famous men. When a male writer gives an interview, it’s about the new book, not their body or what they order for breakfast.
Of course there’s nothing inherently wrong with human interest—I’m curious about the routines of well-known writers too—but with women, it eclipses their work. And it’s not just writers: in every area of modern life, women are judged by their appearance rather than their attainments.

Thursday 24 October 2013

Bangkok Days, Island Nights... my latest column from Thailand!

"Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing—absolutely nothing—half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing," he went on dreamily, "messing-about-in-boats…" So says Ratty in Kenneth Grahame’s classic story, The Wind in the Willows, a staple of any English childhood.

Everything improved when we started messing about in boats—long-boats, to be precise. My arrival in Thailand had coincided with the rainy season, and after two interminable days watching the downpour from our veranda, we were fed up. But on the third day the clouds lifted and the sun came out, as did the Factor 30 and our snorkelling gear. I began to see why my boyfriend always talked about this island as a magical place...

filming the new series of Supersize vs Superskinny! too manic to write so here's a gallery of our crazy northern road-trip so far

...with the beautiful Sarah Jones Nash in Southampton

...with a bevy of wonderful readers at Sheffield's Off The Shelf Literary Festival, signing books and causing a commotion
check it out, my readers are STRONG & SASSY :-)

...with some inspiring dancers in Manchester - yes I danced too, and yes I was rubbish, both in a wheelchair and on my own two feet!

Thursday 10 October 2013

"I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love." - Mother Teresa

Tuesday 8 October 2013

Is 30 the new 40? My article on female ageing, the cult of youth & FEELING INVISIBLE!
Sunday Telegraph, 6th October 2013

Maybe it first hits you in the changing-room when you don’t recognise the tired-looking woman in the mirror, and then realise it’s you; or the first time you walk past a construction site and can’t raise a friendly leer from the builders, let alone a wolf-whistle. Recently I ran past some builders in my shorts and vest; they didn’t bat an eyelid. I felt invisible. Not that I want to be heckled, but it’s nice to be seen, to feel that people are enjoying the view. You notice when it stops. As a woman, this is what ageing means...

Friday 4 October 2013

Book-launch for The Ministry of Thin, October 3rd 2013

It was a great honour to launch my latest book, The Ministry of Thin, at Senate House Library last night. Introduced by the wonderful librarian Dr Richard Espley (a fellow member of the Leonard Woolf Society) I gave a hopefully not-too-long talk, looking at the cultural obsession with weight and its frequently poisonous consequences, the symbolic value of the female body, growing pressures on men, and how we might make positive changes...

Lively audience discussion ensued (helped by some delicious red wine) ranging from self-image to consumerism to body-hair-bullshit to cosmetic surgery to the joys of baked Camembert and new potatoes and much more...

Huge thanks to Richard Espley and Senate House Library for the evening.