Tsk men – a small response to Jessica Valenti

Men who have been taught to believe by pop culture, advertising and beyond that women’s bodies are there for them. And if they have to see a woman that is anything other than thin, hairless and ready for sex – well, bring out the smelling salts.

Having a fair amount of female mates and living in a house full of women (and little women) I’m more than aware of the world and it’s view of women in it. Which is why I tend to lean a feminist way, in the sense I don’t feel gender should matter in many senses.

I do despise the phases “oh you’re a girl, you won’t like that” said to my train, racing car, craft loving daughter. In the same way I don’t like “oh it’s fashion he won’t know anything about that”. Errr excuse me, I might not be constantly on point but I know a fair amount thanks!

So when anyone says “Men…” my ears perk up (or in this case my eyes… Open?), in this particular piece by Jessica Valenti in the Guardian comment is free section, I was almost offended (I only say almost as I’m a calm fellow). Frequently she remarks and makes the assumptions that Men are some singular minded entity being subjected to Western media and unable to think out of the realms of the media given to us.

I truly hope that women and men can co-exist on a level playing field but making sweeping generalisation about how we must think and feel is only a cannon ball into wall when many are trying to build a park with flowers, arranged by a man?!? Never!


My reply to “Why does Amélie’s sweet smell of success linger on?”

So first read this: http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/filmblog/2011/oct/18/amelie-sweet-smell-success

Now I know not every film is for everybody, one persons masterpiece is anothers dross. It just happened to trigger my memory of something Thom Yorke said in the Radiohead documentary ‘Meeting people is easy’ charting their success with OK Computer.

While touring in the US he said something along the lines of ‘the difference between success in the US and success in the UK is that in the UK people think you have cheated somehow if you get mass adoration from critics and the public a like. It’s like you’ve paid someone off or some how had something the rest didn’t, had an unfair advantage’. Thom’s point was I think, just because something is good and most people liked it, it doesn’t mean you then have to dislike it or be suspicious of it; at least that’s one way of taking his point of view.

So while the very publication not a week earlier to this article being written gave it a retrospective 4 out of 5 http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2011/oct/13/amelie-film-review Phil Hoad lives up to the horrible stereotype that ‘because I’m a critic I can’t love popular films’. Yes it’s dreamy, yes it’s idealistic France, but to be honest having visited some of the locations on holiday they mostly look like that in real life! It’s hard to make a film in France without it looking french – just like in most countries.

Amélie will long live on as one of the best directed and darkly funny films of all time, and if you can’t at least see it’s directorial brilliance then you may well be blind.

Oh it also has my favorite lines of any film…
<Amélie walks over to begger in Train station goes to offer him money>
Begger: No, sorry, I don’t work Sunday.


The Super League Licence: Why Cas stay in and Wakefield make way for Widnes.

Dean Widders Try against WakefieldSo first things first; I’m a Cas Tigers fan – have been since day dot and no doubt will be till I die.

With that out of the way lets have a quick look at why I think Castleford Tigers will stay in the Super League and Wakefield will say goodbye to life in the top flight.

First we look at the criteria for a licence:

a. Commercial, Marketing, Media and Community.
b. Facilities.
c. Finance.
d. Governance and Business Management.
e. Playing Strength and Player Performance Strategy.

The first section looks at how the club helps others around it through various channels – I would guess both clubs are matched in this area really, with a slight edge for Castleford but I am Cas fan so I would notice that side of things more.

The second section facilities – Again both teams are quite evenly matched, don’t get me wrong I love ‘going down lane’ but it has been there for ages now and has been showing it’s age since ohh early 2000’s when Jungle.com kindly made a massive advertising board to patch up the leaky posh stand roof (it was later repaired correctly). But both Wakefield and Cas have rather poor stadia.

The third section is where the cracks in my opinion start showing for Wakefield, having gone into administration towards the start of this season they were deducted points by the RFL for doing so. Having been saved by a number of wealthy fans coming together to buy the club and get it solvent, they have struggled in league performances have been rooted to the bottom half of the table ever since.

Castleford on the other hand have always been fine for money for as long as I can remember, we have been investing into a youth systems for as long as I can remember also, even leading to my fellow Castleford Panthers players from my youth making it through to the first team from time to time.

So even the most harden of Wakefield fans will take that as a hit to their bid, next up it’s Governance and Business Management. Here we see Wakefield once again fall down in my opinion, with it’s new owners making a profit now this will have been too late to prove in the application, as such not really provable in the same way that Castleford’s solid business and consent solvency over the past few years can be proved on paper at the time of application. A bit of a soft one this but the RFL should be able to see this case.

And finally we look at player strength and player performance strategy, Castleford are 6th and Wakefield are 13th. I don’t really mean to so clear cut but this simple fact speaks volumes, Castleford don’t have a massive squad to pick from and will sometimes dip into academy and even under 19’s when we have lots of injures just like another clubs in super league. Now this might seem a bit of a poor showing but these few academy help outs help maintain Castleford in the top half of Super League. Thus showing just how strong our youth setup is and actually better than Leeds Rhinio’s when you look at what our young talent can do.

But what is the final nail in the coffin? Why are you so sure? Because this was put on the Guardian website http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2011/jul/25/wakefield-super-league-john-kear now this wouldn’t be so bad if THE ANNOUNCEMENT ISN’T OUT YET! You either have to be bloody sure Wakefield are on there way out (and have some balls to put your views public like this) or already know. I could be wrong but I think Andy Wilson already knows the fate of these two clubs. A more telling story is that Castleford have invited fans to see the announcement at the Tigers Bar…Wakefield are just training and have no plans for the fans… I think we all know how this ends now.

Guardian Camera Club: Tourism

York is a grand place to live and in the center of town almost every view is interesting and almost too good to be true, every time you’re out in York your eyes are treated to a feast of history and idealistic city scenes.

So when The Guardian Camera Club announced at the beginning of June that their next assignment was tourism, imagine me joy – York second only to London for tourism, a gift of an assignment! So imagine my disappointment where the guide video was totally based in York, not only was all the best spots taken but I had to think outside the box.

So I thought I’ll focus on people in tourism and go from their. My photography of people is still coming along so it was a challenge, I don’t normally like asking people to take photos of them as it’s bit odd and intrusive but soon as you mention ‘The Guardian’ it’s like a link to access all area’s. Don’t get me wrong; I didn’t say I was doing a serious piece, I did make it perfectly clear it was for a competition, but people did seem to surprisingly go along with it. So a big thanks for all the people that let me take photographs of them and here are my best shots.

When I posted this it was also featured in the privileged Guardian Camera Club flickR group  if you can’t see my images just keep going back – enjoy and check out others idea on the theme (it also includes other great images). As every all images taken by a Nikon D3000 with 18-55mm VR lens.

York castle and tourist busNo jokeCharacterture from the victim Characterture from the artistPurple Bike Man