I know that Julie Burchill isn’t to everyone’s tastes, and I disagree with her columns about as often as I embrace them wholeheartedly, but today’s piece in The Independent about hypocrisy is excellent. I feel shamed that only now do I know about philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, but resolve to remember his motto – He who dies rich, dies shamed – next time I’m worrying about how much to give to someone who needs the money more than I do.
It’s annoying when blogs go quiet, I know. Apologies – sincerely – but real life is getting in the way of blogging at the moment. I hope that normal service will resume shortly.
Fairsharemusic is a digital music download site with a small, but significant difference: every time a song or album is purchased from the site, it donates money to charity .
The site boasts a catalogue of more than 8.5 million tracks, with individual song prices starting from 79p. Half of the net profit from every MP3 downloaded is donated to charity, such as Amnesty, Great Ormond Street Hospital, the British Heart Foundation, Friends of the Earth, and the Teenage Cancer Trust.
You can also suggest the names of other charities you would like the service to support, and choose to donate either to a single cause, or split your donation across all partner charities.
Right, I’m off to top up my Glee levels and punt a few pennies to CentrePoint.
I know that ‘Magritte paintings expressed through the medium of modern dance’ sounds like a terribly pretentious sixth-form project – but the reality was a wonderful, delightful hour that had my five-year-old (not to mention me and my mum) completely enthralled.
If you get the chance to see Aracaladanza’s Nubes (Clouds) – grab it with both hands. It’s suitable for anyone 4+ with a pulse and a soul. We particularly enjoyed the flipper dance (imagine six red imps dancing in diving flippers) and the men with detachable heads.
My Googling hasn’t turned up a schedule for their performances – only a trail of where the group has already been – but keep an eye out for this and snap up tickets if you get the chance. You really won’t regret it.
Read about the guerilla internet campaign here – and keep the pressure on the buggers.
Perhaps one day they’ll be moved to make other aspects of their business more ethically acceptable too.
… according to my five-year-old daughter anyway. This lyrical gem combined with some Daily Mail ranting about the inappropriateness of fantastic new Doctor Who companion Amy Pond, an article by the always excellent MaryAnn Johanson (of FlickFilosopher.com) about female action heroes, and the normal bollox about feminists and feminity that we surf along in every day, got me thinking.
I have already expressed my admiration for Amy and for her creator, the unsurpassable Stephen Moffat, over at the pauseliveaction blog, but I’ll say it again – Amy’s a great role model for young girls. I couldn’t be happier that my daughter has Amy to inspire her. Amy doesn’t seem to stop thinking – even in moments where most people would be wondering if they’d stay alive long enough to change their underwear. She’s brave, she’s (overused word, but still…) feisty. So what if she wears short skirts? There are occasions when women dress for the benefit of men, but most of the time I (and I’m confident I’m not alone here) dress either for my own pleasure or to impress other women.
Amy’s drop-dead gorgeous, but that’s not what makes her a great companion – it’s everything else about her. I can’t tell you how sick I am of hearing men judging women for the shape of their legs, size of their bums, pertness of breast – especially when they’re (inevitably) less than pysically perfect themselves.
I confess to several ongoing crushes on some beautiful boys - I’m not saying men shouldn’t be allowed to fancy women – but I’m not interested in them just for their looks, and I don’t make judgemental comments about the 99.9% of men who don’t interest me. It’s just plain rude.
There are many things I wish to improve about myself – assertiveness being top of that list, followed by learning to pause (and think) before speaking – but just because I’m not a great feminist role model, doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate those who are and resent the knee-deep sexism women have to wade through everyday. The problem with walking through this crap every day is that you get acclimatised and forget how much extra effort you’re putting in. If I have a hope for my daughter’s future (beyond leaving a planet that’s actually habitable, of course) it is that she won’t need the waders that we’re currently wearing.
I don’t claim to know which of the systems would work best for us, I only know that first past the post has been shown to be no longer fit for purpose.
We used STV (single transferable vote) for student union elections and that always seemed quite fair – you vote for who you really want and for who you’d take as a second choice if your first choice isn’t popular enough. You can withhold your vote from parties you really don’t like (in my case the BNP, English Democrats, UKIP and the Conservatives) and give weight to those you do. It works both ways of course, but that’s democracy for you.
I’m sure that Nick Clegg has given plenty of thought to which proportional representation system would work best for the Lib Dems – it’s true that this may not be the same thing as best for British democracy, but I’d rather trust him with the job of reforming than Gordon Brown (his conversion to reform has come too late) or David Cameron (eyes too firmly on the prize now).
There are all sorts of petitions and letter-writing campaigns going on as we speak, if you’d like to add your weight to the call for reform.
It may be naive to expect change quickly – but is it really too much to hope that the next time I vote it will be in fair, and fit-for-purpose, electoral system?