A Charmed Life


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are you woke?

When I die I want my epitaph to read ‘She cared.’ And when I look back on my life in my old age, if I am blessed to live that long, I want to be able to remember the moments in which I actively demonstrated that caring. This is in part why I could no longer sit on the periphery being depressed and stressed as we humans continue down this current socio-political path we are on. I felt called upon to be part of the solution.

In the last few years I have considered myself an activist, but on reflection it is not actually a new facet of me, I always was one. Activism is inbuilt in me. It was a part of my upbringing through both my immigrant grandfathers, and my immigrant parents raised me to be politically and community minded so I always had this sense of being part of a larger world outside of my inner circle and I have always felt a responsibility to do my bit for others regardless of race and religion. And I always have.

I think the difference between then and now is choice. It was my choice to do my bit then and as such not something I felt needed galvanising. After all life is pretty much a Rorschach test in that each of us sees what we see and finds outcomes that are coherent with what we already believe and what we can accept. Now though, I do not feel there is choice it feels like a summons, and not just for me.

Because there is just one me. And this moment we are in. Its big. Its challenging. Its new. There is no historical reference we can learn from, we have never seen anything like this before. There is no ready solution. There is no one solution. We are navigating through uncharted territory. Scary sure. Confusing yes. But also something else – exciting. I know what you are thinking. What! Or perhaps WTF! This kiwi girl thinks it is exciting that more and more people are suffering through injustice and intolerance. And no, I never could, but what excites me about these times is the ‘we.’ The we who ask ourselves everyday what can I do to bring about substantive change.

The we humans who are connecting with each other to show our caring. The we who form the resistance. When I first heard this term ‘the resistance’ it conjured up memories of V the tele miniseries/show, does anyone else remember it? I quite fancy myself in a red spacey jumpsuit uniform weapon in hand ready to zap the bad guys; and in fact the resistance of today is not dissimilar to the resistance to the alien invasion in that series, it is just in this instance the aliens are actually humans not aliens who look like humans. Although on second thought it could be argued that there are several world leaders whose actions may better be explained by a possible alien body abduction.

The resistance of today is gathering momentum, people are coming together, and we are seeing evidence of this everywhere; with the Women’s March (Global), in the response to US withdrawal from the Paris Accord (Global), with Jeremy Corbyn/Labour in the recent election (UK), the response to Grenfell (UK), in the failure of the Senate to pass new healthcare legislation thus far (US), in the no confidence vote that comes next month to decide Zuma’s future (SA).

To use the word the kids are using these days – people are woke. People are woke to the fact that not only is this a difficult moment, it is a life threatening one for marginalised people in our communities and we will not stay silent and watch lives be destroyed. It is an exciting time to be alive, to be woke and on the right side of history; for despite the outcome when I do look back on my life I will never regret that I showed how much I cared.

Sat Nam

 


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we could be heroes

I like the idea of a hero.
So I became one.
Not by plan exactly.
Nor by donning a cape and saving lives.
It was more like a series of events – known to you and I as living – that got me believing that I had in fact become a hero.

For as long as my memory serves me (and with my elephant memory it serves me very very well), from all the way back to when I was a wee thing I have had heroes: From real figures like my grandfather who immigrated to New Zealand from Gujarat, India with nothing but hope to provide better for his family, to my selfless, educated aunt the first feminist I knew, to Madonna one of the first people I felt a kindred spirit, to my form two teacher Mr. Emmins the first person to truly see me; to those heroes who reached me through history books Elizabeth I, Frida Kahlo and Steve Biko; to the heroes who lived only in stories Anne Shirley, Jane Eyre and Anne Elliot. And so on and on it goes, this amassing of heroes as I travel through this thing called life.

As is the case with heroes, my heroes have been feted and referenced often but until recently I never questioned the need for them. It took for these divisive times for me to think about this notion of heroes, and listening to my inner dialogue I realised I had created this otherness where my heroes lived. This is I think not an uncommon thought as when we think of heroes – they are people who create, save lives, inspire, achieve, thrive, survive. We human beings are not given to consider how we ourselves create, save lives, inspire, achieve, thrive, survive in our everyday lives. But we do.

Many of my heroes have transitioned in recent years – some of whom are known Madiba, Maya Angelou, Wayne Dyer, David Bowie and Elie Wiesel and others who are known only to those of us who basked in their light –  and as I became aware of this I had this moment where fear grabbed me. The fear that there is no one to replace them. This fear led me to call a friend for perspective, she said ‘we see in a hero something we think is not in us, so what do you see in your heroes?’ And hearing this was an ‘eureka’ moment. I was so busy looking for people to emulate I overlooked why I needed heroes in the first place. What had been lacking in my childhood that made me seek out people? And why have I kept up this practice throughout my life?

Having been on a journey of self awareness the answer was plain as day. Not only did I hold my heroes in high regard, I paradoxically saw myself on a much lower shelf. And these heroes I was collecting, all these people have had just the one role to play in my life. Of his character Juan in the film Moonlight, Mahershala Ali said he was grateful he got to play ‘a gentleman who saw a young man (Chiron) folding into himself as a result of the persecution in his community and taking the opportunity to uplift him and tell him he mattered, that he was okay and accept him.’
Each of my heroes throughout my life exist to uplift me, tell me I matter, that I am okay, to accept all of unique, crazy, geeky, energetic, resilient, compassionate, wonderful me.
Each of my heroes by example of their lives wills me to use my voice to live my purpose.
Each of my heroes has pushed me to be my own hero.

So could I be my own hero! Sounds rather ridiculous and self serving but I do know that my journey of self discovery from hitting rock bottom to getting back up again has been long, hard and full of sacrifice but to my betterment I am not the same person I was five years ago. I also know when I talk to my tribe they see in me my miracle but I have never given myself any credit for it. Another girlfriend has this one line she habitually says when asked for advice, ‘what would you say if it was me telling you this story?’ And when I think about my story there is a hero in there for it takes courage to change your life as I have done especially when you are surrounded by people who do not understand and choose to not join you at the finish line; but if you are fortunate to reach that finish line having become the person you were meant to be like I have, well that sounds like a hero to me.

And if I needed further proof of my heroness I found it last month at The Women’s March. To be part of this massive global consciousness, feeding off the vibrational energy of my fellow sisters and brothers as we came together to be our own heroes was one of the most empowering moments of my life so far.

So here I am – a hero or as my beloved Ms. Maya would say a SHEro, you won’t read about me in the papers or see me on the news, nor am I likely to be referenced in history books (although there is still time) but as long as I create, save lives, inspire, achieve, thrive, survive I am my own SHEro and that is plenty good enough for me. The actress Viola Davis said it best ‘the fact that we breathe means we have a story.’

Sat Nam

 And… I am a week late but has to be said Superbowl51 was hands down the best game I have ever seen. Like everyone else going into the game I thought the Patriots had it, but then three touchdowns later I had swung the Falcons way. There was NO way the Patriots could win, to do so SO many records would have to be broken. They just couldn’t but holy mother of comebacks, they bloody did. They aren’t even my team but the Patriots have got me seriously rethinking my Green Bay allegiance #TomBradyYouLegendYou  The Women’s March, oh what we can create when we try. I’m always up for a universal love in and I see more of these moments to come as we try to make sense of this new order we exist in #IWasThere #Resist #Forward  I think I fell a bit more in love with Adele after her George Michael tribute at the Grammys, it takes balls to admit a fuck up but to have that fuck up broadcast live around the world is a whole different kettle of fuck up but I just know he was there willing her on. Bravo Adele you SO didn’t mess it up for him, he would have been chuffed to bits, and bravo on the 5/5 Grammy wins, love how you always keep it real. #GottaGetUpToGetDown  Still on the Grammys bravo to our Starman for Blackstar also winning 5/5, we love you and we miss you so ♥ And finally as we watch truth being murdered by the US predator-in-chief and his foot soldiers, can we all take a moment to say thank you to the immigrants in our families. My history at least four generations back is one of immigrants – my great grandparents, grandparents, parents all immigrants and I myself am an immigrant. Each generation has sought to better their life not weaken the lives of those in their new environments. TRUTH: Communities are built on the shoulders of immigrants and WE ARE ALL BETTER FOR IT #RefugeesWelcome #WeAreAllImmigrants #OneLove


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this pussy bites back

I am pissed.
I am royally pissed that Helen Clark was not elected the new UN Secretary-General.
A lifetime of exemplary service for her country and now as head of the UN Development Programme rendered her the perfect candidate plus the UN is meant to remain neutral at all times, how more neutral can you be than a New Zealander. And yes as I have said before here I am completely bias – she is my fellow country woman and a twitter friend (I even taught her what the word ‘slay’ means in today’s young peoples’ speak) – but it wasn’t all pie in the sky on my part, I was duped and that is the real reason I am pissed.

When this race began one of the criteria laid out was that a woman ‘should’ take charge for the first time. This then was hyped up by the media and thousands of supporters. The outgoing Ban Ki-moon himself said “my replacement should be a woman.” The mix of candidates themselves seemed fair in that it was an even five each. So you see why I can forgiven for believing that at least the gender was a foregone conclusion. Alas… it was all bollocks and it has been decided that we go into the New Year with yet another MALE UN Secretary-General, one António Guterres who as it turns out has the same credentials as Aunty Helen. Shame on the UN and the security council, a valuable opportunity missed.

And if that wasn’t enough of a blow for the sisterhood we have this tape to contend with. You know which one I mean, the one on which we can clearly hear the misogynist – the Republicans still claim as their nominee – referencing women saying “You can do anything … Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.” My fellow sisters, how do you like that! And ‘pussy’ isn’t even the most deplorable word in this statement; although in the social media savvy world we live in today it is almost neigh impossible to protect the younger generation from learning this language, but then this election campaign has been dirty to the nth degree. No restrain no respect. Abraham Lincoln must be turning in his grave at the joke his party has disintegrated into. I truly believe that much like German history with Hitler, historians will look back at this time and conclude this guy is the lowest ebb in American history.

History aside and as deplorable as the usage of ‘pussy’ might be, for me the most offensive word in this statement is ‘grab.’ And I don’t accept this as locker room banter, the guys I know who use locker rooms are usually too busy trying not to look at other penises to have time to engage in the promotion of sexual assault. Because that is what this is, a clear incitement of sexual assault. And NO you orange anus you are not automatically entitled to grab what you want no matter how rich or famous you may be.

We are not property.
We do not seek to be objectified.
We are not some kind of second class citizens.
We do not deserve to be held to a higher standard than our male contemporaries.
Nor do we consider ourselves the superior gender.
What we are is your equal.
What we want, well we want a lot of things but we will start with being treated equally
…and taking the top job at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Sat Nam

PS: To my American sisters, let’s make sure pussy bites back come November 8 #RidetheHillaryTrain #ObamaOutHillaryIn #letsSmashthatGlassCeiling #WhoRuntheWorld #AChangeisGonnaCome #MadamePresident


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an open letter

Dear friends-who-have-children

I am not a mother.
I always assumed I would be.
But the universe didn’t see it that way.
And now, I have found peace with my reality.

I am not a mother.
But my life is not any less significant than yours just because you procreated.
And I write to you today, for the sake of our relationship, to ask for some consideration.

The same consideration I give you every time you call and then proceed to hang up two minutes into our conversation to attend to your crying child. The same consideration I give when you cancel our rare night out at the last night minute when your kid is poorly. The same consideration I give when we Face Time and you stick your little one on ‘to amuse’ me while you run around doing laundry.

Look, I get it. Your time is tight, you are sleep deprived and your priority, rightly so is your family; I understand this and I do not begrudge you your life. I don’t mind our short punctuated conversations that are mostly centered on the chaos (your word) that is your life, and I am fine having to be the one who schleps across town (or the world) to see you and it’s no problem picking up milk on my way. I don’t mind your offspring joining us as we catch up. I am happy to be the fun aunty. I will even babysit for you. I am not even bothered when your tot spills juice on my Gucci tote (well not that bothered).

But hello remember me? Please do not dismiss my life as less than. You are right I don’t know all that goes into raising a child, but please don’t say my life is easier or less complicated than yours. Understand when you had your child not only did your life change, so too did mine. I understand our relationship cannot function as it did but I need for you to spend an incey bit of that tight time considering me – we’re thinking of getting a dog, our search for a bigger house continues, I’m taking barre classes, I’m considering a career change, I heard the funniest story, I’m finally doing the business mentoring I’ve talked about for years, Orange may be in right now but it is still the most hideous colour, got tickets to see Hedda Gabler at the National remember when we had to act it out at school? I had to have a hs-CRP test to check my protein levels, what about Corrie seriously how clueless can Eileen be about yet another guy and what about that xenophobe campaigning for President in the US scary stuff  – this is my life, it all means something to me, it used to mean something to you. I need you to hear me every now and then or at least just tell me its gonna be alright. The last thing I want to do is put more pressure on you but just a little consideration please!

Love your friend-who-does-not-have-children

And Talking about scary stuff, less than two months! The most insane show on this planet comes to its climax in less than two months, then depending on the outcome we may have to endure a second show, I’ve given it a working title – The End of Everything Good. Seriously though, when you consider the candidacy for an elected official you are never going to like everything about the person. As long as we are able to think for ourselves we will always have own unique views, so voting is a process of who represents you best based on information you have. We know more about Hillary Rodham Clinton than any other candidate in any election in any country ever – FACT. I’m a fan, something I have never made a secret of but even I have been disappointed in her at times, like with her flip flopping over the years on the issue of same sex marriage (she got there in the end) so yes absolutely she is as flawed as you and I, but speaking of flaws consider the alternative. I’m not saying anything new here, however it is my duty as a concerned citizen of the world to speak up and keep speaking up for all that is pure, honest and good. Think about how Hitler rose to power and all the evil he unleashed and then consider all the similarities the GOP nominee has so far with him…  Americans, this election comes down to one question: What kind of human being are you? #I’mWithHer #YouShouldBeToo #ObamaOutHillaryIn  To know me is to know I covet Gwyneth Paltrow’s legs oops I mean wardrobe, so how excited am I she has released a clothing line and made it so accessible. Now if I can only grow longer legs! #VeryExcited #GOOPGeek  2016 the year of loss continues. Gene Wilder, oh what memories – the characters you gave us, the comedy you created especially with that other cool kid Richard Pryor pure magic. Charmian Carr – I still parade around in an imaginary gazebo, beloved Liesel forever sixteen going on seventeen. So long farewell Gene and Charmian thank you for the gems you leave us.


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freaking out in this moonage daydream

blogI only have one rule when it comes to writing for this blog, I have to be able to feel my way through the words but this time for the first time ever my thoughts refuse to unscramble.

And it shouldn’t be this way. As a woman, as an activist and as a long time supporter I am supposed to wax lyrical about my girl Hillary making the biggest crack in that glass ceiling. Instead I find myself gravely concerned about that orange megalomaniac from the other camp. It is not a joke anymore, he is not the Manchurian candidate, this reality show just got real – the man who in the last week incited another country to commit a crime (yes hacking is actually a criminal offence you stupid oompa loompa) this man could very really be elected President of the United States come November 8. Can you imagine the nuclear codes in those tiny hands. To this point I am clear but from here I come undone.

Talking to his supporters is like talking to a religious person in my experience. I find religion freakish so put a religious person in front of me and I immediately start to question their religious commitment, can’t help myself. Apart from an early experience at my Catholic college – where I would frequently debate dogma with Sr. Marcellin  (she would explain to me why Mary was her home girl and I would declare her brainwashed, I even called her Sr. Brainwashed once, got me detention but she was and still is the coolest nun you could ever meet, those were great existential talks we had) – apart from Sr. Marcellin I have yet to find one person who has been able to explain their belief to me outside of a sound bite. And we know who else speaks in sound bites don’t we.

The main sound bite from that camp ‘he’ll bring back jobs’ great I like the sound of that. . . but just a thought considering that every one of his businesses employs people in other countries and that he has yet to lay out any of his policies; apart from employing people to build that wall where exactly do these jobs come from? Valid question I would think no? But try asking one of his supporters oh my.  .  . the venom that gets spouted back, it is just as well I have thick skin, even so I don’t understand how people can be so narrow-minded I really don’t.

I like Ivanka, she appears to be a liberal, well-mannered, well-informed savvy businesswoman and I think to myself he created her and they enjoy a great relationship so this shows a sliver of sane right? So can he really be this ignorant? this hateful? Is he really so up his own arse that he actually believes he is the only one who can fix America? A man who has failed business ventures, been declared bankrupt many times, who refuses to share his tax returns, whose stepford wife has been caught out for plagiarism and faking a degree; a man who throws tantrums when reporters don’t pander to him, who encourages violence (and now hacking), who couldn’t care less about the need for unisex toilets, a man who admires Saddam Hussein and is blatantly buddying up with Vladimir Putin, a man who would never let the truth get in the way of a good story and who has yet to share one single strategy but has voiced his opposition to the free market, open borders and liberalised trade. Is this the man to be trusted with nuclear codes? Really America? You do realise that we, we being the rest of the world apart from maybe oompa loompa’s new bestie Putin, you do realise we think you are completely bonkers to have let this troll come this far.

Like her or hate her you want Hillary as your next Commander in Chief. Come on America do the right thing, just think of those nuclear codes.   .  .

Sat Nam

Also…  After her appearance on Carpool Karaoke and that speech at the DNC I have the hugest crush on Michelle Obama but then who doesn’t, simply put Michelle and Barack are good people. Back in 2008 across the pond I stayed up all night and cried when Barack was elected, and on the day of his inauguration I celebrated with American embassy staff drinking a lot of champagne and while much is said about what he didn’t do he has achieved more; during his time he got America through the GFC, legalised same sex marriage and millions who would not have access otherwise now have healthcare – these are not small feats but what I consider his biggest achievement to be is that Barack today is the same Barack he was eight years when he accepted his party’s nomination – he is a man of integrity, trust, decency and kindness, as I think back to the Presidents in my time (and I go back all the way to Nixon) I can’t think of another who embodies all of these traits so thank you Barack and Michelle for the role models you are. And finally for the last time, happy birthday Mr President (for Thursday) #YesYouDid ♥ while I am on this who run the world path, I have a further dream for the end of this year once Hills is elected Madame President, come December I would hope to see another first for a female, that being Helen Clark as UN Secretary-General. Full disclosure her being an ex New Zealand Prime Minister and my twitter friend make me a tad bias but like Hills she has 20+ years in service incl. the last seven as Administrator of UNDP, she’s a goodie and she deserves this role. Helen Clark UN Secretary-General, sounds good to me even Australians think so ask Kevin Rudd #KiwiTopDog ♥ November is already my fav month as its my birth month but this year its fit to bursting; with the election of my girl Hills and now the icing on the cake, the Netflix gods have announced the Gilmore Girls revival is to drop November 25th – two days after my birthday – the universe REALLY does have my back. #TeamJess #BestBirthdayPresentEver #aLittleTeamLogan ♥ I am lucky to have experienced two Olympics in my lifetime – Sydney 2000 and London 2012, let me tell you if you haven’t had the opportunity, it is the time of your life. It is like the rest of the world doesn’t exist and for those two weeks all you care about is watching excellence, meeting people from around the world and soaking up the atmosphere – its a love in and in the world we live in today boy do we need this. Sending out a prayer to Rio for a happy and safe Olympics, may the spirit of the games inspire all participants to greatness, especially the teams that speak to my heart Team New Zealand, Team GB and Team Refugees.


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i’ve never seen a rainbow i didn’t love

blogcolour

This past weekend was bookended by the very best and the very worst of humanity. It feels like all I have done this year is mourn. From 10th January through to today there has been a steady flow of tears… as I type this I am listening to Anderson Cooper list the names of those beautiful SOULS who lost their lives at Pulse nightclub, as his voice falters my tears have blinded me… I can’t. I’m just so tired of my heart breaking over and over and over again.

The vicious senseless act that transpired in the early hours of Sunday morning in Orlando has fuelled me with anger, remorse and deep deep sorrow. I have been a champion of the LGBT community for over thirty years (part and parcel being a Madonna lover). I have many friends in this community so I have always known the bigotry actually lets just call it what it is – HATE – I have always known the hate that has been endured. There have been times in my life when I have struggled and it was this community that helped me find my way so I will love, honour and protect this community till the day I die.

The US has a gun problem. The rest of the world sees it. Most Americans see it. But there are others NRA hardliners and extreme right wingers who don’t seem to and yet they hold the lives of their entire nation in their hands. I thought for sure after Sandy Hook there would be real change. The correct reaction to children being massacred would surely be to ensure it never happened again but no it wasn’t to be and mass shootings have increased in the time since. As someone who comes from New Zealand and who has lived in Australia it is hard to understand why the US cannot adopt some kind of variation of these countries’ gun control legislation; legislation that both countries amended back in the nineties when they each experienced a similar type of senseless act. Some twenty years later both countries are proof that robust gun control legislation works.

And yet, yes the US has a gun problem.
But the planet has a HATE problem.
And where there is hate, violence can always find a way. Guns or no Guns.
And we can put this atrocity under the umbrella of religion, terrorism, radicalisation but there is only one actual reason it happened – Bad Parenting.

Too many people think their job as a parent is done if they feed, clothe and school their children; but giving them the confidence to be themselves, teaching and showing children generosity and kindness and how to communicate effectively, to love, respect and tolerate ALL life regardless of race, creed, gender, shape, who one chooses to love – inclusive of all creatures and mother earth – this is good parenting. I am a child of Indian descent, I know the specific homophobia that exists for people of the diaspora, it is a hostility that is deeply rooted in the culture. I have friends who still today cannot be honest about who they are to their families. This will not change until we attack the root cause.

Hatred of any kind is a choice.
A child is taught to love.
A child is taught to hate.
The seed is planted at a young age.

If one lacks the appropriate parenting and does not know their own mind, lacks confidence, is disillusioned they are open to being brainwashed by religion, terrorism, radicalisation whatever you want to call it, and as this seed gets watered regularly it grows and the reality is you reap what you sow. Hate crimes will not stop until we grow a different seed.

As mentioned at the beginning of this post, this weekend for me began with seeing the very best of humanity – Muhammad Ali’s interfaith memorial. This colossus of a man wished for his passing  – as he had his life – to be a teaching moment. If you saw the service you will understand how magnificently he achieved this, if you haven’t I beseech you to watch it, listen to the words and let the sentiment wash all over you for this is how you plant a different seed.

To my brothers and sisters of the LGBT community you forever have my heart; to steal words said so eloquently on Sunday by Lin-Manuel Miranda “Love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love. Cannot be killed or swept aside.” And nor shall it be.

Sat Nam

Also… Muhammad Ali – what a gift of a man – the one person on this planet who transcended race, religion, gender to unite all in their love and respect for him. There is no one left who comes close to achieving this. On a personal note, I owe him gratitude for because of him and his wondrous life I achieved my highest mark in all my academia when in college I did a History paper on his civil rights contribution. It was a joy to research him. It was a joy to listen to him riff. It was a joy to watch him in and out of the ring. Muhammad Ali – a masterclass in what it means to be human and so pretty too. To have lived in your time, how lucky am I #IamAli #G.O.A.T. #AliBomaye ♥ And so the BREXIT campaign enters into the last week, it’s been a minefield figuring out the right way to vote – you only have to look at Greece and Portugal to see that austerity has not worked and that the EU has completely failed to deal with the refugee reception crisis yet being in the EU is like being a part of a cosmopolitan club with trade, employment and travel benefits #ShouldBritainStayOrShouldBritainGo ♥ And my girl Hills – Whop Whop the FIRST WOMAN to be a major party’s nominee for President of the United States. Proving there is no ceiling too high to break. Next stop 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue #I’mWithHer #Hillary2016


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maybe that’s just too many maybes

Maybe I’ve got it wrong.
Maybe I should have started from the beginning.
Maybe it is representative of the social milieu of the time.
Maybe there is no right or wrong way.
Maybe I should have listened to my paramour at the time, who urged me to watch it thinking it might be some kind of sexual awakening for me.

Maybe that’s just too many maybes. One thing I know for sure I have definitely missed the boat on this one. Should have listened, instead it was the odd episode from final series, followed by the first movie and then what can only be described as a train crash of a second movie, and now more recently a few episodes from earlier seasons.

Conclusion: Sex And The City is awful and Carrie Bradshaw is truly awful.

And that is deeply depressing to me because so many women out there – including friends – love the show and identify with the characters and I am suppose to love it too…  all the elements are there; sex, the sisterhood, fashion, cocktails and iconic New York and yet… I simply can’t get past the characters especially ‘it always has to be about me’ Carrie. I find her needy, shallow and full of self-importance. And her outfits, okay the shoes are to die for (and I do owe Carrie a debt of gratitude, for on the back of Carrie’s obsession with Manolos I managed to get my first pair from my boyfriend at the time), but the clothes! One minute she could be quite classy then the next err… well one question, was she meant to be channelling a drag queen who likes a bit of vintage and Chanel and tulle?

‘Life gives you lots of chances to screw up which means you have just as many chances to get it right.’ ~ Carrie Bradshaw

Carrie is an antihero and here’s why: A dominant theme throughout is the sisterhood, four loyal friends there for each other no matter what, right? Well I say bollocks to that!! It is about Carrie, it is always about Carrie. Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha may be the besties but the most irksome aspect of Carrie is that she manages to turn every single conversation into being about her.

My first intro to SATC¹ was the episode where Carrie was talking about Aleksander Petrovsky while Samantha was getting high doses of chemo pumped into her veins. I remember having a WTF moment but I loved Samantha’s response, ‘I’m glad it’s going well! What’s new with me? Well, my white blood cell count is dangerously low.’ Or how about that time when Miranda got pregnant with Brady and was deciding whether to get an abortion or not and Carrie made it all about the abortion she had had thirteen years before, after doing it bareback with a waiter whilst drunk.

Another moment that springs to mind is when Carrie sent Aidan to go help a naked Miranda when her neck gave out, albeit she had a meeting with her editor but going around to Miranda’s the next morning, with apology bagels just to have an excuse to come over and bitch about Aidan is not okay.

‘As we drive along this road called life, occasionally a gal will find herself a little lost. And when that happens, I guess she has to let go of the coulda, shoulda, woulda, buckle up and just keep going.’ ~ Carrie Bradshaw

For me, hands down most dickish Carrie moment has to be the one where she gets angry that Charlotte didn’t offer to lend her the money for her apartment down payment.  A situation that only occurred because she let Aidan buy her place and the one next door to merge them into one big love shack and then couldn’t buy it back from him after she dumped him because she’s a thirty two year old woman with a closet full of $400 shoes but no savings. The thought of selling the shoes of course didn’t occur to her instead she asked Big for money. Okay he’s a gazillionaire but he’s also the ex, the occasional fuck buddy and the unresolved love of her life. Thankfully she didn’t accept it and no her next move was not to set up an eBay account, it was far easier for her to make Charlotte out to be the bad guy for not offering to give the money, even though Charlotte had just gone through a divorce and was not working; the guilt trip worked because Charlotte went against her beliefs and gave her the money, well her engagement ring, which I assume Carrie hocked to use as her deposit.

‘I’ve spent $40,000 on shoes and I have no place to live? I will literally be the old woman who lived in her shoes!’ ~ Carrie Bradshaw

And there is Carrie’s treatment of Aidan: FIRST she cheats on him with Big THEN she gets annoyed that Big’s wife Natasha will not forgive her, after she has forced the poor woman into a confrontation in a restaurant AND then she gets annoyed again at Aidan, because he won’t get over it; so like a child who doesn’t get what they want, she repeats herself over and over ‘You have to forgive me. You have to forgive me, You have to forgive me …’ You’ll have to give forgive me reader, I think I might need to barf!

Speaking of Aidan – lovely, stable, in love with her, ready to commit Aidan; that episode where her computer crashes and she hadn’t backed anything up. I can relate a little, for I too can be inept when it comes to computers but even I know to back up my work. She is a writer in her thirties who’s ‘whole life is on that computer,’ and she didn’t know to back up her work and more importantly how is it Aidan’s fault? The guy buys her a new laptop and she proceeds to throw a tanty. Ungrateful dick!

And then there is that episode at Aidan’s country house, forget she has clearly never heard the word compromise and therefore wears her boredom as boldly as she wears those hideous outfits. How about for a touch of class letting Big – the guy she cheated with – visit her, eat with her and Aidan and then allow him to stay the night when he gets too drunk to drive. Not awkward at all Carrie and heels in the country, really? It made sense that she ended up with Big, who was proud, egocentric, the sugar daddy she needed and just as screwed up as her.

‘The most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you find someone to love the you you love, well, that’s just fabulous.’ ~ Carrie Bradshaw

I could go on and on about my misgivings of Carrie, like who moves to Paris without first making a bit of effort to connect with people there; old friends, colleagues or even your magazine’s overseas branch. In hindsight I am happy to have not been a part of the SATC fervour but I can still remember it, when women everywhere identified with the characters: I remember hearing ‘Me, too!’ or ‘I’ll have a cosmo’ or ‘living a SATC life’ or ‘I’m a Carrie!’ Well I’m not like her and that’s abso-fucking-lutely fine by me.

Sat Nam

¹SATC = Sex and the City


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she’s all that

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It’s my favourite time of year again. No not my birthday or Christmas or even time for a summer holiday… hmm actually it’s not even Madonna’s birthday so okay… it’s maybe my fourth or fifth favourite time of year…. regardless I’m très excited because it’s Oscar time. This year is rare year for me in that I haven’t seen nearly enough movies to have clear favourites but that hasn’t stopped me from indulging in a little Meryl.

Meryl Streep is a bit of a crush of mine. If she is in something it will pique my interest but I didn’t realise how much I liked her until the other night when I watched Kramer vs Kramer and Its Complicated back to back. There is a reason she is the most nominated actor in Academy Award history; whether it is a support role (Kramer…) or a so-so movie (It’s…) or the lead, she rocks it. I first noticed her acting chops in the miniseries Angels in America in which she played a few characters and I remember thinking how versatile she was and also how seamless the transitions were, which was no small feat – it was a complicated drama with interwoven stories about a serious subject matter. With Meryl you can tell it’s all about the work and of course it helps she is bloody good at her craft; but what endears her to me is that as good as she is she doesn’t seem to take herself seriously, you cannot not love a woman who upon receiving her last Oscar for The Iron Lady exclaimed ‘When they called my name I had this feeling I could hear half of America going, “oh, no! Oh, come on why – her! Again!”’ Emily Blunt who has acted with her a few times, recently described Meryl as ‘a real broad – great fun’ and I believe it.

 “Why are women… so much more interesting to men than men are to women?” Virginia Woolf

On the subject of girl crushes, for as long as I can remember I’ve had them, can you blame me? This planet is filled with fascinating women and it is not only the domain of the male species to admire them. Along with Meryl I’m currently also crushing on the following ladies:

Sgt. Olivia Benson (character on Law & Order SVU). No I haven’t suddenly regained any respect for the folk in blue but I do hold a soft spot for Benson. Okay she’s not a real person but considering my disdain for police in general, Benson is my dream of what a truer copper should be like, played by the gorgeous Mariska Hargity, Benson is a totally badass cop when it comes to solving ‘sexually based offenses which are considered especially heinous’ which she couples with a gentle empathy, a duty of care for the victims of sex crimes, something real life law enforcement seem to lack.

Christiane Amanpour. My favourite all time tv show which I have written about before is Gilmore Girls. In the opening scene of the very last episode the main characters Lorelei and Rory meet Christiane Amanpour who Rory has long admired. The first time I saw this I was like ‘that’s me in Rory’s shoes,’ the way she acted when she met her hero… talking a mile a minute, gushing over Christiane’s accolades, thanking her for being her – exactly what I would do. Christiane Amanpour CBE in case you don’t know is a journalist, known for extensively reporting from the front lines of war for over 25 years, as well as interviewing many key figures on the global stage; her strength lies in her sincerity and search for the truth AND she’s not afraid to ask the hard questions. I’ve always fancied myself as a journalist, so I guess you could say Christiane is the person I wish I had the courage to be.

Gigi Hadid. I first caught glimpses of this cherub when she came on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills as her mother Yolanda Foster is on it and in the last two years I have found myself following her on social media watching her rise (and rise) in the modeling world. That she is stunning is a given but it is the vibrancy of her youth a joie de vivre that she oozes that I am especially attracted to. Her sister Bella (also a model) is pretty easy on the eye too.

There are so many women I could write about, ones I know, ones I would like to know… so many women so little time… it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside to know that I live in a world surrounded by strong, capable, beautiful women. And speaking of strong, capable, beautiful – Julianne Moore for Best Actress¹ please.

Have a great week,

Sat Nam

¹for Still Alice a beautifully made, poignant movie about the early-onset of Alzheimer’s disease with believable performances by all the cast.


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the one true rebelheart

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To know me is to know I love Madonna so no surprise then when I got gifted a copy of newly released book Madonna: Ambition. Music. Style. As a fan it turned out to be a pleasing read; instead of the usual vilifying that goes on where she is concerned, finally here is a writer who is capable of seeing Madonna for the cultural icon she is, hallelujah! This beautifully presented book confirms what I have always known, Madonna is a big fucking deal.

It’s hard to remember a time before Madonna, can you believe Like a Virgin is 30 years old this month. I still remember the moment I fell for Madonna; I was ten years old and at my friend Karen’s house. One of her brothers had music magazines all over his bed and I, being at an age where I was beginning to develop my own music tastes, picked up the latest Smash Hits and there she was on the cover and that was it I was gone for. There was something in her eyes that lured me in and made me want to be a part of her world and I would spend the next thirty years trying to do that. To those close to me it has always looked to be an obsession and at times it probably was but I never saw it that way, to me it has been like having a big sister, someone who has been continually paving the way forward for me.

This is the Madonna that is known to the world. The singer/actress/provocataur/activist who in 1984 writhed around seductively in a wedding dress with her boy toy belt on stage at the inaugural MTV Video Music awards, singing about how falling in love made her feel like a virgin
AND who sang about being motivated by money rather than love (Material Girl)
AND who danced in front of burning crosses and kissed a black Jesus (Like a Prayer)
AND who championed the AIDS cause from the very beginning
AND the very same gal who said she loved crucifixes because there was a naked man on them
AND who told women everywhere to not go for second best  (Express Yourself)
AND who had a music video banned for being too sexually explicit (Justify my Love)
AND whose simulated onstage masturbation during the Blond Ambition tour brought about the wrath of the Catholic Church and The Church of England
AND who created, starred and published a coffee table book of erotic photography called SEX
And all this before the 90s got properly started! A bit risqué for some but not to me – to me these were her best years, my teenage rebelheart had found a kindred spirit. This bold daring woman was going to do it her way and to those of us who came along for the ride – well what can I say – we were the lucky ones.

Madonna has been called irrelevant and to those under thirty who are reaping the spoils of her contribution, most likely without even knowing it – she might be and yet: When Like a Virgin was created, Madonna rebuked the then record industry norm and became the first female artist to call the shots on all decisions relating to her music. She remains the top selling female artist of all time. Her Superbowl halftime performance is the most watched set by a female artist to date and her last tour in 2012 was the highest grossing tour of that year (and it wasn’t even one of her best): But wait there’s more, her realm of influence transcends pop music; she has helped to develop the identity of the modern woman as an independent and sexual being. She has challenged the idea that women be sexual and yet submissive. Her unashamed attitude towards sex has helped to empower women. The ambition and independence she unabashedly displays firmly confirms that this is not just a man’s world. How many artists do you know that have an university course named after them?

This is the Madonna I love: A driven, hardworking, disciplined woman whose work is reflective of her own personal zeitgeist. It has always upset me how easily she gets trashed for absolutely everything she does but that is the way of a true rebelheart I suppose and I wouldn’t it have any other way. #Rebelheart #LivingforLove

Sat Nam


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Let’s talk about the F Word, no not that one… the other one

A scantily clad Beyoncé standing in front of a brightly lit sign that reads feminist at the recent MTV awards. Chanel’s spring/summer 2015 collection presented amongst banner-waving models shouting feminist slogans. Were these two acts meant to further the feminist cause? Or were they PR stunts staged for personal gain? I’m inclined to believe the latter for they reek of token feminism to me.

Still feminism has become the buzzword du jour. Everyone seems to need to have a stance on it and as such I find myself wondering if I am a feminist? I can honestly say I have never thought about it before. As someone who was born in the 70s I grew up familiar with the works of Simone de Beauvoir, Maya Angelou and Gloria Steinem, for a time when I was at school Indira Gandhi was Prime Minister of India and Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. I think because I stand on the shoulders of these women and countless other people, who have challenged stereotypes and worked tirelessly for me to live the privileged life I do – I take my liberties for granted. I don’t know what it is like to not be able to vote or have access to an education nor was I ever in any danger of having to experience FGM but I am acutely aware that there is much inequality in the world we live in today.

A memory comes to mind of when I was about ten years old. I’m out running with my dad and at some point trying to race him. He beats me of course but instead of feeling defeated I say something to the effect of ‘I will beat you one day.’ In that moment and for a long time afterwards I truly believed that I lost because I was little. I didn’t have the foggiest that it could also be down to the fact that men and women are different. And we are different. So while I absolutely do believe in equal rights for men and women on all levels, where I would hesitate on calling myself a feminist is that a part of me thinks women are different to men and we should celebrate these differences.

♀ Do I think a woman should change her last name after she is married? Only if she wants to.

♀ Would I watch a movie where the male lead is a superhero and the only significant female character is desperate and needy, can’t do anything for herself and who incidentally happens to have her chest plopping out of her shirt? Yes, if it was a movie that was of interest to me.

♀Do I mind participating in traditionally female tasks at home? No.

♀Would I like to see more female leaders in politics and in the workplace? Yes but only if they are best candidates for the job.

♀Do I like dressing sexy for my man? Yes.

♀Would I pay to watch a female comedian perform? Mostly likely no, I’m one of the lucky ones I reached the zenith in comedy when I saw the genius that was Robin Williams live and I doubt anyone will top that for me.

♀Is it disappointing that in this celebrity culture world we live in, when the word feminist is mentioned actual heroes like Arundhati Roy, Sheryl Sandberg, Emma Thompson, Hilary Clinton, Malala Yousafzai, Annie Lennox, (or the many others who actually walk the talk) are bypassed as examples for a more popular Beyoncé? Yes.

♀Are gender roles important to society? I think traditional gender roles are more or less defunct but as mentioned before men and women are different and sometimes it is appropriate to embrace this difference so to me the concept of gender roles is still relevant just in a less black and white way.

♀Does every single women deserve equal pay, equal rights, same access to education and healthcare as their male counterparts? Absolutely yes.

♀Is there more work to be done globally to change general stereotypes, government policies, restrictions on reproductive rights and to end FGM? Unfortunately yes.

♀Am I a feminist? As one of my heroes Maya Angelou so eloquently said ‘I am a feminist. I’ve been female for a long time now. I’d be stupid not to be on my own side,’ and who am I argue with that.

Sat Nam