This month’s book haul

20180528_150653_resizedThis month was supposed to have been free from the buying of more books, but as I get older I find my ability to avoid temptation becomes less and less, so here goes…

Firstly, ‘Modernists and Mavericks: Bacon, Freud and the London Painters‘ by Martin Gayford. Apart from the gorgeous illustrations (which publishers Thames and Hudson, thankfully, revel in) this looks like a jolly old romp through the lives and times of some of our greatest painters…and hopefully some of London’s less salubrious establishments. On holiday recently I re20180528_150603_resizedad ‘Outline‘ by Rachel Cusk, the first in a trilogy recently completed by ‘Kudos’. I loved ‘Outline’, in which an unnamed female narrator travels and, through meetings with strangers, begins to reveal snippets about herself. So, on my return I had to get the final two instalments. My next volume is ‘Municipal Dreams: The Rise and Fall of Council Housing’ by John Boughton. While I have a passion (possibly romantic, possibly nostalgic) about council housing and the vital role it has played in the history of the British working class. I hate what it has become – third 20180421_131255_resizedrate, neglected estates for those who haven’t been able to escape or who have been dumped there by authorities who couldn’t care less…an important book, and also beautifully designed…Another beautiful book is ‘Murmur’ by Will Eaves, a novel piecing together the last days of Alan Turning, the gay scientist who was arrested for his 20180507_102127_resizedhomosexuality and forced into hormone treatment as a ‘cure’, resulting in his suicide…And so to the first ‘Diana’ book of the month, ‘How to Eat a Peach’ by Diana Henry. I LOVED ‘A Bird in the Hand’ by Henry, a book about cooking chicken, and I love how she writes, with stories and anecdotes and vignettes which, like a carefully pieced toget20180603_170102_resized (2)her menu, ensure that the recipes linger in the mind and demand you recreate them. And the cover has been designed to actually feel like the soft, downy, slightly furry skin of a peach. Lovely. The next ‘Diana’, discovered in a charity shop the very next day after buying ‘How to Eat a Peach’, but this time a very different book altogether… ‘Diana: A Strange Autobiography’ by Diana Frederics. A first edition from 1939, when ‘strange’ was obviously a  euphemism for queer or lesbian, because that is what this book is. With a forward by V20180602_130424_resized (2)ictor Robinson MD (which almost all early autobiographies seemed to be published with because: a) queerness was an illness, y’all and b) because without the gravitas and authority such an introduction would bring, it might be banned for obscenity). Obviously a product of its time, it is actually quite a sweet and innocent book which goes from ‘Am I A Lesbian’ in part I to ‘I Am a Lesbian! in part II and finally ‘Fulfillment’ in Part IV.

 

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London

My latest obsession if Tracey Thorn’s new album, ‘Record’, which contains amongst all the other gems, a song called ‘Smoke’ in which Tracey talk about her attachment to and feelings about London:

‘London you’re in my blood

And you’ve been there for so long

London you’re in my blood

And I feel you going wrong’

I have never lived in London, but the magnetism of the city has been with me for many years. We have many great and alluring cities in Britain but London has a special fascination because, whether we like it or not the history, ghosts, myths, legends and culture permeate and affect all our lives, wherever we may be. London is a twisting, changing creature, a fickle beast which entices by shifting into whatever the visitor wants it to be.

Everyone has their own London, and here is mine…

DYRUEl9WsAARx0n‘There are certain unhappy individuals who take no pleasure in London. Such are frightened by its immensity, a magnitude that emphasizes the emptiness of the heart. The city’s too big for them, a mere desert of bricks and mortar. Or else they are dwellers in dormitory areas, dull grey commuters concerned with buying and selling, typing pools and paperwork. London to them is just a place to earn a living, and they rarely contribute much of significant value to the capital. People like this, and there are too many of them, desire only to get out of town as soon as possible, and they are destined all their lives to misunderstand the meaning of the city in which they work. They cannot hear the horns of Elfland faintly blowing in Kensington Gardens, haunt of Peter Pan, neither can they see a gaunt figure in an Inverness cape and deerstalker in full cry in Baker street, not hear the opthrilling command, ‘Follow that cab, driver – a life may depend on it!’ (1)

…Queenie Watts; Tom Baker; Kathy Burke; Diana Dors; Tracey Emin; Passport to Pimlico; Pearly Kings; Maggie Hambling; Lionel Bart; Lucien Freud; The Long Good Friday; Charles Dickens; Murray Melvin; Francis Bacon; Dusty Springfield…

‘We made for the lock-gates which opened on to the river, and I remember thinking the river looked a mile wide. Over there was London and we lived in Nine Elms. We’d never been across the river, and I’d never wanted to, 0574228aa86dcf42e3ba27c244c6c7b6because our side was better. On our side they were unloading coal from a coaster, lifting it with cranes as high as the skyscrapers I’d seen in the pictures, dropping it on to a belt that went straight into the gasworks…’ (2)

‘For having lived in Westminster – how many years now? over twenty, – one feels even in the midst of the traffic, or waking at night, Clarissa was positive, a particular hush, or solemnity; an indescribable pause; a suspense (but that might be her heart, affected, they dais, by influenza) before Big Ben strikes. There! Out it boomed. First a warning, musical; then the hour; irrevocable. The leaden circles dissolved in the air. Such fools we are, she thought, crossing Victoria Street. For heaven only knows why one loves it so, how one sees it so, making it up, building it round one, tumbling it, creating it every moment afresh; but the veriest frumps, the most dejected of miseries sitting on the doorsteps (drink their down-fall) do the same; can’t be dealt with, she felt positive, by Acts of Parliament for that very reason: the love life. In people’s eyes, in the swing, tramp, trudge; in the bellow and the uproar; the carriages, motor cars, omnibuses, vans, sandwich men shuffling and swinging; brass bands; barrels organs; in the triumph and the jingle and the strange high singing of some aeroplane overhead was what she loved; life; London; this moment in June.’ (3)

…Quentin Crisp; Nell Dunn; Noel Coward; Jack the Ripper; Joe Orton; Marc Almond;  BBC Television Centre; Top of the Pops; Poly Styrene; Royal Vauxhall Tavern; Virginia Woolf;  John Binden; Nancy Spain…

Sweet stink of the hookah, couscous, kebab, exhaust fumes of the bus deadlock. 98, 16, 32, standing room only – quicker to walk! Escapees from St Mary’s, Paddington: expectant father smoking, old lady wheeling herself in a wheelchair smoking, die-hard holding urine sack, blood sack, smoking. Everybody loves fags. Everybody. Polish paper, Turkish paper, Arabic, Irish, French, Russian, Spanish, News of the World. Unlock your (stolen) phone, buy a battery pack, a lighter pack, a perfume pack, sunglasses, three for a fiver, a life-size porcelain tiger, gold taps. Casino! Everybody believes in destiny. Everybody. It was meantthS6SXQHNZ to be. It was just not meant to be, Deal or no deal? TV screens in the TV shop. TV cable, computer cable, audiovisual cables, I give you good price, good price,. Leaflets, call abroad 4 less, learn English, eyebrow was, Falun Gong, have you accepted Jesus as your personal call plan? Everybody loves friend chicken. Everybody. Bank of Iraq, Bank of Egypt, Bank of Libya. Empty cabs in account of the sunshine. Boomboxes just because. Lone Italian, loafers, lost looking for Mayfair. A hundred and one ways to take cover: the complete black tent, the facial grid, back of the head, Louis Vuitton-stamped, Gucci-stamped, yellow lace, attached to sunglasses, hardly on at all, striped, candy pink, paired with track suits, skin tight jeans, summer dresses, blouses, vests, Gypsy skirts, flairs. Bearing no relation to the debates in the papers, in Parliament. Everybody loves sandals, Everybody. Birdsong! Low-down dirty shopping arcade to mansion flats to an Englishman’s home is his castle. Open-top, soft-top, drive-by, hip hop. Watch the money pile up. Holla! Security lights, security gates, security walls, security trees, Tudor, Modernist, post-war, pre-war, stone pineapples, stone lions, stone eagles. Face east and dream of Regent’s Park, of St John’s Wood. The Arabs, the Israelis, the Russians, the Americans: here united by the furnished penthouse, the private clinic. If we pay enough Kilburn need not exist. Free meals. English as a second language. Here is the school where they stabled the headmaster. Here is the Islamic Centre f England opposite the Queen’s Arms. Walk down the middle of this, you referee, you ! Everybody loves the Grand National. Everybody. Is it really only April? And they’re off! (4)

Shena Mackay; Floella Benjamin; The Killing of Sister George; Liberty; Muriel Belcher; Mrs. Shufflewick; Gateways; London W12 8QT; Frenzy; Pearly Queens; Apples and Pears; Kenneth Williams; Joan Littlewood; Pauline Quirke…

Sidonie borrowed half a crown from Joyce, who was pleased she was working again. At the station they got on the same train, but when Joyce got off at Piccadilly Sidonie stayed on to DKtoYADW0AEt0LTHolborn and, after changing lines from blue to brown to purple, got out at Goldhawk Road Station. Slush stained her shoes as she walked along and accumulated under soggy stockings as she stood at the coffee stall at the entrance to the market. Then suddenly there were sherry coloured eyes through a bunch of necklaces, face corrugated by a birdcage, checked coat behind a curtain of chickens and feathers, foul breath on the broiler fowls, as Lenny Beacon with the relentlessness of love, pursued her though Shepherd’s Bush market. Running along the street her heel caught in a crack with a wrench across her foot, and she stopped to see him standing in a doorway, wiping his skull. He picked up her shoe’ (5) 

‘At night and on her days off she wanders the city, peering into amusement arcades where the lost play pintables, fruit machines, stare through sights out of alignment for a bull’s eye, top score, jackpot, the answer that comes when the bell rings, lights flash, the world comes crowding to see the tarnished silver leaping into the cupped hands, overflowing onto the floor among the fag-ends, blown paper, dust, or dive clubs where children of her own age dance bound together, caught up in the present, seeing nothing while the music holds them. She walks swiftly like someone gatewayswith a destination but she is searching. Somewhere there must be, they are here I know, there was an article. Never believe all you read in the papers, catchpenny, catch you too if you don’t look sharpish. Once on a train, a woman stared her down, the eyes full of question; once she followed a couple through the streets until they disappeared through a discreet door and she caught a brief glimpse of steps leading down, heard music and voices laughing but it closed against her and she hadn’t the courage to push it open again and walk in. She searched the faces of crowds too, dreaming of the small incident, the sudden happening that would unlock her isolation but the ,miracle never came. All around her were signs, hints, a way of walking or speaking, a style of dress or gesture, the question in the eyes but they were as indecipherable as a tramp’s message scratched on a gatepost, understood only by the fraternity.’ (6)

‘How wicked is Soho?’ (7) ‘a space of intimate and sometimes tumultuous interaction between men and women of many walks of lie: rich and poor, unschooled emigres and Bloomsbury literati, moral purity campaigners and libertarian anarchists, undercover police and dances hostesses, fascists and anti-fascists, queers and heterosexuals, Italians, Jews, Greeks, Americans, Germans, Swiss, black GIs and white Britons’ (8)

Comptons is a loud pub – no, the loudest bar in town. By eight you are pressed so tightly against your neighbours that to get out of the place is a major feat of concentration and negotiation. When Sir Francis Rose Rise brought me here many years ago, to find his lost son, it was dimly lit and half empty…with its smattering of rent boys, who had stopped off on their to the Golden Lon from the White Bear in Piccadilly Underground (it was there20170607_194332_resized that we later tracked down Francis’ son). Comptons had an underworldly atmosphere. You half-expected the Krays to drop in with cash to spare on w nigh West drinking with old friends…Comptons was not a renters’ pub, just the sleazy mix of that Soho now almost los to Brasserieville. A pub for the old pros of both sexes, its walls were covered with play bills and signed photos from the fifties: Tommy Steele, Henry Cooper, Diana Dors. That sort of thing. Here boys-in-the-band, faded stars of Physique Pictorial, Drummer, spliced themselves with busty blondes…I discover the pub is still used by professional boys on their way to work…they are no longer waifs and strays from up North or the East End. These boys have passed their ‘A’ Levels, have an arts degree and have opted for the easier life of the massage parlour and escort agency rather than a career in mortgageville.’ (9)

‘On warm nights the drunken scent of the May caresses lovers under the sighing trees of Hampstead Heath. This is how I remember it. Though others say its scent is cloying, the smell of the great plague of London.’After a week’s absence I have visited the Heath several times recently, it is always exciting and joyous, The deep silence, the cool night air, thBLY5XLCEthe pools of moonlight and stars, the great oaks and beeches – all old friends. The saplings I’ve watched grow to trees forty foot high since I first came in the sixties…The place has changed, there was a time when any number of friends were out on a warm weekend. Sometimes it almost remembered a garden party, joints were rolled, hip flasks produced. People laughing and shouting, like a midnight swim. In the seventies it became even less inhibited, but, as always, once you are over the invisible border your heart beats faster and the world seems a better place…Sex these days is as safe as you’ll find it, few risk penetration, it’s mostly confined to what my mum would call ‘horseplay’. No-one comes here need leave without an orgasm, though many come to walk and forget the frustrations of the day…’ (26/05/89) (9)

…The Optimists of Nine Elms; Saint Etienne; Zadie Smith; Gays the Word; Derek Jarman; David Hockney; 10 Rillington Place; Angela Carter; Beautiful Thing; Oscar Wilde; Maureen Duffy; Centrepoint; National Portrait Gallery…

‘The world was our oyster…

The National Theatre and Opera House would face each other across a plaza, constructed in a style that Lasdun would make his own, with long horizontal balconies, platforms an walkways, from which large almost cubist blocks jut and sprout. He liked to think of his buildings as landscapes: ‘public places, public domains…and extension of the city.’ (10)

London modernism‘I do want it to become a place where anyone would enjoy being, whatever their mood, whatever their age and interests, whatever their income. They can come in dinner jackets or jeans, they can call in at the National at any time just for stroll around for free, or to have coffee, a sandwich or a meal.’ (10)

‘white plastic moulded chairs, and G-plan furniture, all resting on the kind of intense red, gold, dark blue heavily patterned carpet we might now associate with Indian restaurants…glossy kitchen cabinets…The Barbican was a utopia: both safe and sexy, luxurious and practical…’a modern home is nothing if it does not set us free to live our lives fully” (10) London Modernism2

‘Big Ben represents the fussy grandeur of the Gothic Revival. The Post Office Tower, lean practical and futuristic, symbolises the technical and architectural skill so this new age’ Tony Benn, 1965 (10)

‘On the way back up I spotted that on one of the rough concrete beams someone had drawn stick men. Nearby was scrawled that quintessential sixties acronym: LSD. There at the base of this hi-tech telecoms tower was one of the oldest human forma of communications – cave drawings’ (10)

…and we chose Ryslip’ (11)

‘For the young of the neighbourhood, the walkways, stairwells and landings were a maze in which to play, and an improvement on Gaol Park, which had previously provided them with an outlet. This site, where a gibbet once stood, where Dickens…witnessed the hanging of the Mannings, was now a stretch of tarmac, edged by an island of balding grass which had become a stopover for the ‘methers’ chucked out of the car park behind the Elephant & Castle, where they started fires, fell asleep in the sunshine, drank, argued, fought, pissed themselves, and sometime flashed at passing schoolgirls.’ (12)

‘Women in cheap coats and slippers come to the door with bunches of roses. Then a cross of lilies and fern – ‘For Mrs. Hardy with our condolences from all in Speke Road.‘ A little boy with a bouquet of yellow flowers trots down the street in plimsolls, his dog runs at his20180529_191403_resized[1801] heels. The Rolls Royce hearse arrives followed by another Rolls. Seven women stand watching on the pavement hands stuck on their aprons talking among themselves. Mr. Carny and the men get out of the hearse and disappear inside the house. They carry out the bunches of flowers and pile them on top. Last of all they carry out Mrs. Hardy…and her daughter and granddaughter and son-in-law and the brother-who-hasn’t-died climb into the mourner’s car. And off they drive up the hill  Mrs Hardy in a black Rolls Royce: ‘I told him I wanted to be buried just up the road….not too far from home. I was born in Battersea – I’ve lived all my life in Battersea – I don’t want to go and get buried in Wandsworth do I?(13)

…Maison Bertaux; Up the Junction; Ironclad; Barbara Windsor; The Retro Bar; Carol White; It Always Rains on Sunday; The Victoria and Albert; Alan Bennett; Hackney Marshes…

‘Perhaps the best place to end a visit to London is Piccadilly Circus, especially at night when the lights are blazing. This is one of the best loved spots in London, with its little statue of Eros in the middle. For Englishmen living abroad, Piccadilly Circus is the symbol of home, for it is the very heart of London’ (14)

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Notes:

(1) Fletcher, Geoffrey: ‘The London Nobody Knows’

(2) Simmons, Anthony: ‘The Optimists of Nine Elms’

(3) Woolf, Virginia: ‘Mrs Dalloway’

(4) Smith, Zadie: ‘NW’

(5) Mackay, Shena: ‘Music Upstairs’

(6) Duffy, Maureen: ‘The Microcosm’

(7) Soho Fair Programme 1957

(8) Walkowitz, Judith R: ‘Night Out: Life in Cosmopolitan London’

(9) Jarman, Derek: ‘Modern Nature’

(10) Grindrod, John: ‘Concretopia’

(11) Dunn, Nell: ‘Poor Cow’

(12) Dunn, Nell: ‘Up the Junction’

(13) Collins, Michael: ‘The Likes of Us’

(13) The Ladybird Book of London

 

Posted in Anthony Simmons, Derek Jarman, Geoffrey Fletcher, Judith R Walkowitz, Maureen Duffy, Michael Collins, nell dunn, Virginia Woolf, Zadie Smith | Leave a comment

June

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Holiday Reading…

SAM_2013Next week I shall be off to my beloved20180507_102357_resized Mallorca for a week of sun, sea, exploration and books – hurrah!

But what to read?

First up is a book I was drawn by its cover: ‘The Evenings’ by Gerard Reve. Published in 1947 in Denmark, ‘The Evenings’ was voted the best Danish novel of all time by the Society of Dutch Literature:

Twenty-three-year-old Frits – office worker, daydreamer, teller of inappropriate jokes – finds live absurd and inexplicable. He loves with his parents who drive him mad. He has terrible disturbing dreams of death and destruction. Sometimes he talks to a toy rabbit. 

This is the story of ten evenings in Frits’s life at the end of December, as he drinks, smokes, sees friends, aimlessly wander the gloomy city streets and tries to make sense of the minutes, hours and days that stretch before him’

Sounds like something by The Smiths in novel form: perfect.

According to the biography on the book, Gerard Reve was also the first openly gay writer in Danish history and was a ‘complicated and controversial character’ – which tends to mean he had20180507_102144_resized views and thoughts which weren’t expected of  a gay man…intriguing.

Next up is ‘Death in Spring’ by Merce Rodoreda which I wrote about a couple of weeks ago. An Agatha Christie is a must on holiday – this time ‘A Caribbean Mystery’ with Miss Marple and a gorgeously lurid cover…

Finally, one of the lovely little ‘Penguin Moderns’ series, Susan Sontag’s ‘Notes of Camp’. This essay is something I have read many, many times and it never ceases to thrill, provoke and amuse.

 

 

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Hurrah for Fanny!

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For those who don’t know her, Fanny Cradock was one of the first ‘celebrity’ cooks in Britain. Her cheese-grater tones, brusque (to say the least) manner and defiantly glamorous appearance (well, she looked like a drag queen) made her a hit on television and in the flesh for over thirty years: she could sell out huge halls, such as the Royal Albert, with her demonstrations.

If you have access to the BBC i-player you can watch Fanny’s Christmas episodes in all their penny-pinching glory. It is quite a shock to see just how grimy and often unsavoury these programmes were – I’ll swear the carving knife she takes to a turkey is rusty! But this was the 1970s, and there is something rather comforting to see someone cooking on tv but not in a pristine, designer clad bubble…it also means I can measure when Christmas is on its way when my Fanny DVD comes out and I’ve seen her set about an unfortunate roast chicken with a pair of secateurs (I kid you not!)

This week I was lucky enough to find a copy of ‘The Sociable Cook’s Book’ by Fann20180428_155837_resizedy and her husband, Johnnie, and like other books by the pair, this sometimes reflects this grot – ‘We once found a bluebottle in the ninth layer down of a friend’s drippng jar of extremely uncertain age!’  but you can’t help but notice the contrast between the dirty reality of the television show and Fanny’s defiantly ‘haute cuisine’ attitude in print: Take, for example, the extraordinary six (six!) pages of ‘Very Important Items’ which Fanny recommends for the reader’s store cupboard. Amongst the vast array of delights are ‘domino dots’ (some sort of sugar), rainbow coffee crystals, smoked oysters and an extraordinary range of soups: bird’s nest, green turtle and kangaroo tail to name three.

And Fanny thought of everything: she even includes a ‘handy’ (?) list of stores at which the reader can obtain some of the items she demands you buy: cod’s roe? Fortnum and Mason. Crab meat? Selfridges. Ditto your ‘pompadour fan wafers’, ‘fecule de pomme’ or flaked almonds. Popping to Harrod’s? Then why not pick up some ‘buckling'(?) or overture?

Despite these contradictions, what comes across is that Fanny was a woman fearless in her opinions, like a blast of frosty fresh air from a time when the anodyne hadn’t become the crushing, tiresome norm…

‘The beef for pot-au-feu should not fall about in the pot like an exhausted schoolgirl.’

‘There is no room for flour and water paste inclusion in any casserole or salmi, or we should find ourselves right back with those nauseous ponds – stews which are an abomination.’

…and there are many inadvertently gigglesome lines. Fanny’s list of ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ contains possibly my favourite paragraph in any cookbook, ever:

Do come to terms with the inescapable fact that super cooks have loose wrists and cool hands…do a classic wrist-loosening exercise. All the folk we train do it every morning before starting work…do this slowly gradually increasing speed, sag left wrist, sag right one, until you are rattling your interlocked hands like a pair of castanets. When Fanny was studying to be a violinist many years ago, this was the morning exercise given to her by her master to achieve loose wrists.’

Unfortunately, Fanny’s demea20180428_155858_resizednour was also her downfall, which was swift and fatal: she was judge on an amateur cookery competition in the early 1980s and her response to one cook – lots of face-pulling, the miming of throwing-up and brutal criticism – turned the British public against her and her career was over.

Fanny’s books are historical documents: some recipes are intriguing, some look completely inedible but in the end reveal to us a time when, in Britain, we saw food in a different way and when we didn’t mind (in fact we quite relished) people in the media who had character and attitude and opinion…provided they didn’t go too far, of course!

 

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The very first Puffin…

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One of my very favourite things is my collection of ‘Puffin’ books.

‘Puffin’ was created as a range of books for children to run alongside its’ adult counterpart, ‘Penguin’, the aim of being to offer cheap paperbacks of quality literature. The first editions of the first 11 Puffin books used a slightly altered version of the standard ‘Penguin’ design, but then digressed into commissioning glorious covers to reflect the contents within:

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These Puffins, especially those to around the mid-1970s are quite beautiful. I have another blog devoted to the art of these books.

My excitement this week is that I have finally managed to get my hands on a first edition of the very first Puffin: ‘Worzel Gummidge’ by Barbara Euphan Todd, with illustrations by Elizabeth Alldridge, published by Puffin in 1941.

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There are many, many first editions of children’s books which go for huge sums of money. But many of them were originally published in hardback at a cost prohibitive to many families. ‘Puffin’ books were revolutionary in that they made children’s books affordable and so, while this isn’t a ‘first edition’ of ‘Worzel Gummidge’ (the first edition of which was published in 1936), and I was able to pick it up for a relatively cheap £7, in terms of what this volume ushered in and the impact on generations of children whose reading and imaginations were nurtured by ‘Puffins’, then this slender, modest volume should be revered above all.

 

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Books on Books 3

A series of fictional encounters with books.

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‘Oranges are Not the Only Fruit’ by Jeanette Winterson

That afternoon I went to the library. I went the long way round, so as to miss the couples. They made funny noises that sounded painful, and the girls were always squashed against the wall. In the library I felt better, words you could trust and look at till you understood them, they couldn’t change half way through a sentence like people, so it was easier to spot a lie. I found a book of fairy tales, and read one called ‘Beauty and the Beast.’

In this story, a beautiful young woman finds herself the forfeit of  a bad bargain made by her father. As a result, she has to marry an ugly beast, or dishonour her family forever. Because she is good, she obeys. On her wedding night, she gets into bed with the beast, and feeling pity that everything should be so ugly, gives it a little kiss. Immediately, the beast is transformed into a handsome young prince, and they live happily ever after.

I wondered if the woman married to a pig had read this story, She must have been awfully disappointed if she had. And what about my Uncle Bill, he was horrible, and hairy, and looking at the picture, transformed princes aren’t meant to be hairy at all.

Slowly I closed the book, It was clear that I had stumbled on a terrible conspiracy.

There are women in the world.

There are men in the world.

And there are beasts.

What do you do if you marry a beast?

Kissing them didn’t always help.

And beasts are crafty. They disguise themselves like you and I.

Like the wolf in ‘Little Red Riding Hood’

Why had no one told me? Did that mean no one else knew?

Did that mean that all over the globe, in all innocence, women were marrying beasts?’

 

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