For a little ESS experiment I’m answering anonymous questions on ask.fm


Please ask away, I’ll be reposting my answers in a blog tomorrow. I’ll be getting rid of the ask.fm afterwards, I don’t want to end up addicted (!) and it gives people a chance to find out more about me. Knock yourselves out!


Squeezing ESS in!

Hello hello hello, it’s been a good while. I’ve been pretty busy lately, so I thought I’d do a mega quick update so that ESS didn’t start feeling all lonesome and neglected. I’ll be back to proper blogging sooooon, right after I’ve finished codifying morphemes (ugh).

~I’m still in York, but not necessarily by choice. I’ve been hitting the library daily, and was really looking forward to heading back to Huddersfield for a few days of playing with the dog and having unlimited hot showers, but seeing as everyone in Upperthong (yes- genuine name of the village I live in) is well and truly snowed in, I’ve ended up back in the library for a few more days. Good because I’m getting more work done, bad because I have to contend with these guys…

~ I interviewed my spoken-poet hero Mark Grist- I’ve posted it in full here- and to see his show Rogue Teacher thanks to my beloved Yorker! It was pretty cool being able to casually phone up one of my favourite poets for a chat about his opinions on the EBacc and Scroobius Pip and his favourite poets. I got a bit carried away and ended up having a bit of a fangirl moment, but he seemed used to it so it’s all okay.

~ In other Yorker news, I reviewed the pretty bizarre “Self Service”- read it here- as part of the TakeOver Festival. It’s the first time I’ve ever been to the theatre by myself, and I secretly enjoyed it. I assumed I’d feel ridiculous sat on my own, but it was quite nice to be able to fully focus on the show and pretend I was a proper luvvie, rather than a student out for free tickets.

~I’m currently helping out the lovely little social enterprise GoodPeople.co.uk- snazzy website full of jobs, internships and volunteering opps. If anyone wants me to put them up as a volunteer, then just holla!

~ To celebrate my boyfriend getting a fancy new job, and me getting a fancy new coat, we went to Meltons Too for a cosy little meal. Such a nice wee restaurant, great atmosphere and good food. I keep meaning to do a “Top Five Restaurants in York”- and I’ve got a feeling Meltons Too will feature. We also went to Lucias for some cheap cocktails- I’ll definitely be taking Emma and Joanne there, what’s not to love about half priced cocktails and Usher on repeat?

~ When I’m not interviewing poetry heroes or swanning off to the theatre, I’m doing the usual. Reading fashion blogs, watching Coronation Street, and researching the structure of Polish sound systems (hello, lingusitics degree…). So all fun and games as usual! I’ll do a real blog soon!

(And just for luck/because it will piss him off, here’s a picture of Jonathan being his usual sexy self)


This isn’t a poem

This isn’t a poem, it just looks like it.
It’s simply dressing up as ‘English Lit’,
It’s trying to lull you to a sense of security,
out of trust or intelligence or curiosity.

You’re sucked in, thanks to stanzas (and perhaps a rhyme),
Now it’ll pose as some greater question, or the meaning of life.
It’ll trick you into thinking that this cluster of words
Isn’t just letters on a screen,
But eloquent verse.

You’re scrabbling around for emotional meaning,
Just ignore the panic you’re no doubt feeling,
There’s got to be significance somewhere on the screen, and
Stop, you’ve sussed it, now you can breathe again.

This isn’t a poem, it’s just pretending to be. These are just tarted up words on a computer screen.

Today is World Poetry Day! Enjoy (and please don’t laugh).


The problem with porn

Admit it, you watch porn. I know it. Your housemates know it. Your internet history thinks it knows it, but I guess the memory got deleted right around 1am that Tuesday night no one was in last week.

The point is, people watch porn. And yet the only times people admit this truth hands-on is either on the internet, in anonymous capacities, or when they’re purposefully being self-deprecating. Oh, and when they’re men.

No, I don’t think I know a single woman who’d openly and casually talk about porn in a way that wasn’t politically fuelled. “Oh, did you see RedTube’s newest video? The one with the sailor on leave? Yeah, that really rocked my boat.” Yeah right. We’re more likely to hand back the vote, as far as I can see. I think there’s two reasons for this, and I’m going to solve these problems for you.

  1. Porn is embarrassing.
  2. We should be embarrassed of porn.
1. It’s embarrassing because you don’t want people to know that you’re sexually active on your own, you don’t want people to assume they think you’re pathetic or weird or a pervert. You don’t want to get caught out and you don’t want to admit that watching a video of two (or more) people going at it turns you on because ew

Solution: They’re totally watching it too, they’re just better hypocrites than you are. Also buy some Porn Headphones.
2. We should be embarrassed of porn, because despite it simply being a visual depiction of a natural (mostly, there’s some weird stuff out there) sexual act, it’s awful
At risk of inciting feminist hatred, I’m going to quote my favourite feminist on this matter.

In a world where you can get a spare kidney, a black-market Picasso, or a ticket to a ride into space, why can’t I see some actual sex? Some actual fucking from people who want to fuck each other? – Caitlin Moran How To Be A Woman

Porn sucks. The music, the heavy eyeliner and fake tan, the creepy set ups. I would ask who actually gets off on that stuff, but it appears to be working well enough to spawn a mutli-billion dollar industry, and hey, who am I to judge your tastes. 
On the darker side, we should be embarrassed because it’s intrinsically unethical. Not all of it, and not the act of watching it. But you’d be surprised how much child porn [edit: link to BBC news article on increase of child porn allegations] there is, how damaging “revenge” porn is, and how many people are involved non-consensually- from “upskirt” shots to rape. Links are SFW.

Solution: Buying some special porn headphones isn’t going to solve this one. People aren’t, unfortunately, going to stop downloading unethical porn just because I’ve written a blog about it. But a conversation I had on campus with some friends about Lad Mags got me thinking.

What if Lad Mags were able to go the extra mile, and were allowed to publish free porn videos on their website? That way, there’d be editorial control over who was involved and how ethical the scenes are. They could be as explicit as ever- I wouldn’t suggest all explicit porn be banned- and would make money the same way other free porn sites do, through advertising and “pro” membership.

Editorial control would ensure consenting partners earned a fair wage and were over eighteen, and could even be in charge of quality control- no unnatural orange tans here thank you. This kind of “healthy” porn would be less embarrassing (sort of) to admit to watching, and would tip the balance of what is ethically acceptable online in our favour. As a consumer of porn, you’d feel slightly less guilty because the site you’re watching doesn’t link to, or involve any unethical videos/images. Sure, the bad stuff would still exist, but if there were less of an audience for it, there’d be less production of it.

I don’t think we should go the full mile and ban violent porn like Iceland, simply because people will want to watch it anyway, and they’ll find a way. But if it was regulated- in terms of people involved, not in how explicit it is- then we could potentially be one step closer to a porn industry we wouldn’t be ashamed of.