Ugly and frigid 1

If you are any long-term reader of this blog you’ll know that rarely do I waver over my opinions. OK, NEVER do I waver over my opinions. When I declare Robin Thicke to be a festering undropped bollock formed wholly from thievery, sexism and wasp shit that’s exactly what I mean. The same as when I deride mansplainers for actually trying to write a sentence while the last drip of special sauce dries on their nib. However, since opening for business as Kraken Kreations, where I make accessories and home decor from my sewing shed, I’ve had this continual internal argument where the feminist angel on my left shoulder and the button loving angel on my right repeatedly punch each other in the face while hollering, “She’s mine!”. Let me explain.

(In fact, before I explain let it be known that the rest of this blog post may not seem entirely logical. That’s because I’m trying to put into words the face punching that I’ve outlined above. So feel free to pick up on any contradictions or signs of lunacy because I expect them to be splattered through this blog post like dog diarrhea over a busy pavement. Ok? Warned? Good.)

You see, while I’m a committed feminist and while I adore running Kraken Kreations I have a chip on my shoulder that’s roughly the size of the Vinson Massif. That’s because as a teenager in the 80s I felt so bombarded by feminine stereotypes and sexism that I made a weird internal decision to eschew anything and everything that I felt wasn’t feminist. That meant going to university, choosing a career, ignoring the cleaning, proving that I was as good as any man at my work and generally partying in ways that weren’t outlined in books about keeping house. Yes, yes, I understand that this is insensible and I understand, now, that feminism isn’t about the choices I made as a teenager but about owning who I am as a woman and rocking the shit out of it while helping to free other women from stereotypes and inequalities. Thing is, I don’t think I am actually free. That’s because while I truly believe that my work at Kraken Kreations is utterly what I want to do, there’s a tiny voice in my head saying, “Well, you would sew wouldn’t you? You’re a woman for fuck sake! What did you expect! Now, put the kettle on and shut yer mouth”.

Now, I have no idea where this voice comes from and I suspect it’s an overhang from those heady teenage days that, at the age of 43, I am yet to shake off. I don’t actually believe that it’s more ‘natural’ for women to sew than it is for men. In fact I feel enraged whenever it is suggested because it’s our patriarchal society that created this notion to begin with (are you getting a glimpse of the chaos in my head yet?). That’s why I’m starting to think the problem is with everyone else.

Look at it this way: whenever I tell anyone that I sew for a living I get the same responses, responses of “Do it for pin money at the kitchen table, do you love?”, “Yeah, women love home decor?” and “Typical girl!”. And it’s these responses that send my noggin into a festering spin. I don’t sew because I am a woman. I sew because I enjoy designing and creating, in the same way that some women are astronauts because they enjoy zero gravity while other women are professors of law because they love jurisprudence. I have analysed this over and over and while my career has nothing to do with my being in possession of a uterus the assumption that I regularly face says that it is.

Now, when I set up Kraken Kreations in 2014 it was for several reasons. I was looking for a new challenge, I loved the tangible results of sewing clothes that were outside of the sticky confines of fashion and I was sick to the back teeth of the high street being awash with pink, floral, vintage prints. I distinctly recall looking at toiletry bags in Boots the Chemist and wondering why it didn’t cater for me, a woman who wanted a toiletry bag in vivid colours and graphic prints rather than in an apologetic mix of teeny roses and shades of fuschia. I decided to start making my own and Kraken Kreations was born.

That wasn’t the end of the problem, though. Fuck no. Upon starting my business I was immediately plunged into a world of crafting that mortified me. While there are many female crafters out there carving their own glorious way through the world (some literally) there are many, many, many more who insist on sticking to the stereotypes. You have no idea how many times I have seen female crafters insisting on making blue bunting for boys and pink bunting for girls. In fact a recent networking group caused chaos by asking members to post handcrafted items in ‘girly’ colours. A number of members rightly questioned it and all hell broke loose. The dissenters had their comments deleted and those left furiously defended their gender bias in a way that made my heart shrivel up along with my ageing baps. Ask yourself what it must be like to have a crafty talent and a blank canvas only to churn out the age old stereotypes for the living. It’s like watching hope being shit on by a giant mongrel. I suspect this is what lies behind my range of feminist brooches, the urge to prove to myself and to the world that sewing doesn’t have to mean prettifying all that is patriarchal.

And this is part of why I keep wrestling with the feminist vs sewing problem. While I make items that give women choice and freedom from the scourge of the high street buyer, I cringe at being part of a world where pink is still a dominant colour on the pages of millions of female crafters. On one hand I want to support the women who embark upon these careers while on the other I want to holler at them for making products which make the stereotypes more entrenched than ever.

That’s when the feminist angel on my left shoulder and the button-loving angel on my right really get stuck into each other. I want to pursue my crafting dream but I hate that every time I mention the word ‘sew’ to someone it conjures up images of Kirstie Allsopp blowing off her husband while darning with one hand and stirring a spag bol with the other. So imagine what it’s like in my head. I’ll defend to the death the fact that women are not natural sewists yet I sew and beat myself up for doing so as if it is a betrayal of my feminist principles.

So what’s the answer? I’ll be fucked if I know. Perhaps it’s about shaking off those teenage ideals, perhaps it’s about me simply getting my head around what it really means to be a feminist, perhaps it’s about punching in the bollocks everyone who suggests that sewing involves doilies and cross-stitch patterns of kittens or perhaps it’s about me getting out more. That’s why there’ll be no well-crafted ending to this particular blog post. I’ll keep on being a feminist and I’ll keep on sewing and hopefully, one day, the shoulder perching angels will stop making such a bloody noise. I’ll weave my way through my sewing career forever wondering if my threading fingers are betraying my feminist heart.

Posted in Culture, Personal, Public, Sexism | Tagged , | 4 Comments

It’s Just Not Cricket


This week I was regretfully sent a film by Conjugal Kraken and, as usual, I expected to see a surfing kitten or a weather presenter getting a tweak in his bollocks while waving at the west of Scotland. Instead, though, I got an eyeful of something that made me want to run amok through my local cricket club with the menacing stare of the front row of a Tory party conference. Yes, I am talking about THAT Waitrose film of England’s leading female cricketers that’s been doing the rounds, the film that is to equal rights what HobNobs are to weight loss.

If you haven’t seen this digital crock of foaming shit let me enlighten you, that is unless you want to see the film for yourself by following this link. Be prepared, though because the first thing you’ll notice is music so horrific that it feels as if a shitting mouse is running through the arteries of your brain. That’s even before you get the opening scenes of the England women being gussied up for a Waitrose photoshoot in a room that wouldn’t look out of place at London Fashion Week. There, amongst make-up mountains, racks of dresses, mirrors and stylists the cricketers are seen being primped, primed, buffed, tweezed, polished and forcibly attacked with lipstick before being ushered into the Long Room at Lords to be photographed in Oscars-style frocks. This gripping film (for ‘gripping’ read ‘festering sack of cock knocking’) slithers along until the denouement where the women pose with bats, balls and wickets while dressed like Giselle Bundchen. It’s like seeing one of Geoff Boycott’s wet dreams. It was enough to make me want to re-enact The Ashes by setting fire to Kraken Kreations.

Someone needs to explain to me why anyone ever thought that this cooling piss puddle of a film was ever a good idea in the first place, that what the nation needed was to take these groundbreaking, athletic, determined, strong, proud and focused women and turn them into gurning mannequins. Exactly what is this film meant to add to the progress of the cricketing women who represent our nation? Is it to tell them that we don’t care about how they look as long as they are brilliant at their chosen sport? Is it to prove to the world that these women are about more than the application of their smoky eye make-up? Like fuck it is.

Instead this film is hollering that what really counts is making these women look gorgeous. It is claiming that nobody will bother with the England women until they’ve displayed their beauty chops  by looking sexy in chiffon rather than cool in cricketing whites. Indeed, what this film suggests that until these women have been dressed and made-up to an allegedly acceptable standard of beauty they are, in fact, invisible to the naked eye. It’s the same train of thought that suggests that the cones and rods in the eyeballs of females are only capable of picking out the colour pink.

Bewilderingly, Waitrose claims that it’s made this film to mark the start of the team’s tour of New Zealand but what it does for that tour is a loss to me. It’s hardly striking fear into the hearts of the team’s opponents, not unless that fear is based on wearing the wrong shade of lipstick rather than a ball hurtling towards your head at 90 miles an hour. Oh, and nor have I seen Waitrose pimping a film whereby Joss Buttler or Joe Root get a back, sack n crack before posing in Tom Ford suits while fondling their stumps in the run up to their next tour. Well done, Waitrose, for rocking 1913!

You see, at a time where fewer and fewer women in the UK are taking up sport because of issues with body confidence this film is ramming a rusting nail into the coffin of our health. Over and again it is being reported that the pressure on young women to look flawless puts them off doing anything that makes them hot, sweaty, heaving and puce and they would rather die early than fail the current ludicrous standard of beauty. In fact the problem is such that the This Girl Can campaign was recently launched, encouraging women of all ages to, “wiggle, jiggle, move and prove that judgement is a barrier that can be overcome”. The accompanying film and TV ads, if you haven’t seen them, are so inspirational that I dare any woman of any shape and size to not shit themselves with exhaustion after furiously exercising. Problem is that this film by Waitrose takes that enthusiasm and boils it down to the sum of a woman’s eyelashes all over again. The guys behind the This Girl Can campaign must be weeping into their tracksuits.

It’s not to say that athletes don’t want to glam up now then. I’m sure they do. I don’t give a shit about that. I do, though, give a shit about how the focus on the appearance of women generally is being compounded by our national women’s cricket team. There are a thousand pressures upon female athletes to look beautiful so imagine how much more inspirational it would be to see this team looking merciless in the face of their opponents or sweating it out in the gym? Instead we get to see them looking demure in the face of a fucking photographer.

And believe it or not, I’m not angry at Waitrose for this film. I’m just bitterly disappointed. Disappointed that Waitrose had the chance to do something different, edgy and attractive to modern female customers but instead it told women that they only count when their eyebrows are properly plucked. Forget your ability to chase a ball across a field, to outwit a fielder or bowl someone into an early grave. All that matters is proving you can be gorgeous. So yeah, however you dress it up this film is nothing but  a suppurating bucket of sexism, a sexism Waitrose chose to encourage rather than eradicate. Thanks to Waitrose it really is getting too dark for women to play.


Posted in Culture, Sexism | Tagged | 1 Comment

The Claim Game


Kraken lovers, if there was ever a time to gird yourselves, this is it. You see yesterday, on Twitter, I was faced with a post of such vile, grasping, scum-sucking proportions that I actually screen grabbed it for your personal delight and delectation. And for once it wasn’t one of my usual screengrabs (in other words a screengrab of a random man telling me that my fight for equal rights deems me worthy of arse rape). Instead is was a screengrab of a promoted post by Hansard twiddlers Injury Claim UK (deep breath) encouraging parents to claim for injuries their child has had at school or nursery. I shit you not. Now, readers, would be a good time for you to scrub yourselves in the shower with caustic soda.

You want more detail? You’ve got it. The ad (which you can see at the top of this post) reads, “Was your child injured at school or nursery? Find out how to claim compensation for serious injuries here!” Then overlayed onto a photo of a tiny child with enormous, teary eyes are the words (another deep breath), “Was your child injured? They deserve better. Claim for their pain HERE”. That’s right, the company pimping this ad, which goes by the Twitter tag @topinjuryclaim, cares so much about the welfare of children that it’ll happily take advantage of a crying child by photographing it and plastering it over its cash-grabbing antics (oh, allegedly, of course). Just what you want if your child has been seriously injured at school, a team of solicitors who, after dealing with your claim, probably ask for a photo of your injured child to glue onto a fucking billboard. Seriously, this bunch of cretinous claim chasers make Breaking Bad’s Saul Goodman look like Helena Kennedy QC.

Look, of course there are times when schools or nurseries have acted negligently and, of course, at those times parents need to resort to the law. I have no qualms or doubt about a parent using a solicitor because a nursery nurse didn’t bother to shut the door near escaping scampering toddlers, allowing them to run into the road and get maimed by a bus. I do, though, have qualms and doubt about a law firm using the marketing equivalent of a curling, white dog turd to take pot shots at teachers while taking cuts from parents.

Go on, look at the ad again. It’s designed to do one thing and one thing only: encourage such raging guilt in parents that they turn a knee scrape or a cut lip into a matter of staggering litigious proportions. Who gives a shit about their child’s spelling test results when what really matters is suing a teacher because they allowed said child to run around in the school yard? And yes, while this ad does state ‘serious’ injury that word means nothing alongside such slogans as “Claim for their pain HERE”. Suddenly ‘serious’ is a moveable feast when compared to the swollen, sobbing face of a little boy or girl who has garnered a paper cut.

It’s as if @topinjuryclaim has a scorched earth policy on decency and morality. Teacher chasing? Really? That’s right, because teachers don’t already do enough for the nation’s families, do they. At no point do they educate, socialise, entertain, comfort, befriend or help secure the future of our offspring. At no point do they host breakfast clubs, mark work after hours, plan lessons or just sob in the toilets because they are underpaid and overworked to such a degree that pit ponying would be career progression. That’s why Injury Claim UK has decided that what teachers really need to keep them on their toes is a festering sewer of litigation tumbling and bubbling through their everyday lives.

Apart from which, have the rat-nibbled flour sacks behind this ad ever met a child? If not, they’d do well to come to Kraken Junior’s school to discover how much injury is the fault of teachers or nursery staff. Three times a day Kraken Junior’s yard hosts 50 screeching, hysterical, arse-on-fire Year 1 and Year 2 children and three times a day the yard is host to anything from bloody knees and torn fingernails to broken bones and smashed teeth. And that’s not because the teachers are negligent. It’s because a five year old acts in much the same way as a crack-addicted research monkey that’s just been abandoned on the central reservation of the M4. Being the yard duty teacher is as thankless as supervising a next of wasps.

And thanks to @topinjuryclaim that task is going to become even more thankless. Teachers will stop wanting to fulfil their roles because they know erroneous litigation is the reward for their efforts. Kids will therefore stop enjoying school like they should because the teachers keep telling them to stop running, skipping, racing, hopping, jumping… And all because some piss-riddled legal firm thinks it’s a good idea to target the very people who, much more often than not, keep our kids happy, healthy and intelligent.

Slow hand clap, @rtopinjuryclaim. You’re doing a sterling job. Thanks to you our world has just become a shittier place, place where instead of kissing better the battered legs or scuffed shins of our kids we run to a phone for legal help instead. A place where instead of teaming up with teachers to provide our kids with a cracking start in life, we pitch ourselves against them because they might be worth a few bob’s compensation. A place where we teach our kids that screwing over each other is way more important than anything else they will learn at school. When it comes to scum-sucking @topinjuryclaim really is the best in the business and if the firm doesn’t like that? Well, it can sue me.

NB: It goes without saying that the word ‘allegedly’ is woven through this blog post. You know, just in case @topinjuryclaim wants to claim for any injury to its profits.

Posted in Culture, Parenting | Leave a comment

50 Signs of Sexist Asda

14/52 - Value

So, what in the festering staggerment of a rat-nibbled, fuck-strewn turd, do we have here? That’s right, it’s a good reason for me to stand aside from my sewing machine over at Kraken Kreations thanks to a lovingly provided press release from Asda in conjunction with some PR company called 72Point. You see, tin-stacking, lout-creche Asda is running a baby and toddler event (don’t ask, I don’t care) and in an effort to pimp it like crack cut with talcum powder its commissioned a survey of 2000 victims. The result is 50 Signs of a Mum (yes ‘mum’, because men still play no part in conception or parenting apparently). It’s a list, a list of 50 ways in which the public can spot a mother in public, much like a Tory spotting a benefits claimant before pissing on them. You want me to share some of these signs with you? Oh, I bet you do, kraken lovers. I bet you do:

They own lots of comfy shoes: And there I was thinking I wore comfy shoes because I’m an ugly, frigid, hairy, joyless feminist, not because I once pushed a tiny, purple human from my screeching minge. Thanks for letting me know, Asda! Want me to bring my stilettos to the shoe bank at the back of your car park?

They say ‘sugar’ and ‘fudge’ instead of swearing: No we don’t. We say ‘fucking, pissing, shitting, bastarding, cunting bollocks’, especially when we see surveys commissioned by arse-patting trolley monkeys.

Bigger pants are more comfortable: Is that during a particularly heavy and clotty period or is that all of the time?

They have strong opinions on schooling and education: Really? Well I don’t remember whether Kraken Junior is in Cherry class or Ash class but I do remember to educate her that we’re never ever shopping in Asda again because it thinks I, her mother, ‘has a cupboard dedicated to medicines’.

They don’t get queasy at the thought of poo, wee or sick: Ah, you’ve got me there Asda! Now that I’ve watched a midwife stitch up the ragged, gaping hole that was once my vagina I like nothing more than collecting turds. In fact I’ve asked the council if I could roam the street with a wheelbarrow, collecting those white curly ones, just for the fun of it.

They always have a pack of wet wipes to hand: Well I got fed up of having to wipe myself on the curtains after having a wank.

They can’t leave the house without asking everyone if they’ve been to the toilet: Yes, because I never leave the house without asking my 52 year old husband if he needs to shake his snake. I mean, why bother putting on mascara or, fuck forbid, heeled shoes when I could be obsessively monitoring Conjugal Kraken’s kidney output.

They go out shopping for the day and only return with stuff for the children: That’s right, in the seven years since spawning Kraken Junior I have only ever entered shops to buy items for HER. Not once have I bought myself a sandwich, a t-shirt, a lipstick, a coffee or those pesky high heeled shoes that keep refusing to succumb to my uterine activity. In fact, the pile of books that’s teetering over in there in the corner were bought by the Tome Fairy, the Tooth Fairy’s younger, sluttier sister.

They always have tissues in their handbag: No. No they/ we don’t. Now, I have tampons and sanitary towels in my handbag (super plus and extra long with wings) along with a copy of Mosquito Coast by Paul Theroux, assorted blister packs of anti-depressants, a spare pair of knickers (small, uncomfortable ones), a writing book, pens and a purse but no, no, I don’t have tissues. Will a sleeve do? Is that mum-ish enough for you?

They jiggle the supermarket trolley as if it was a buggy when they’re in the supermarket: Well, Asda, I wouldn’t know. That’s because the supermarket shopping is done by my husband – a MAN –and he does it in Sainsbury’s. In fact the only thing I’ve seen him jiggle lately is his cock. I’ll tell him to go to one of your stores the next time he wants to do it, shall I?

They have mum nights out: What in the conurbation of stool water is a ‘mum night out’? Seriously, I ask because I have never knowingly had one, not unless my rum has been spiked with rohipnol by a rogue baby and toddler group before forcing me to talk about breastfeeding for an hour. And if I were ever to be invited to a ‘mum night out’? I’d fucking shoot myself in the throat. FACT.

They know all the words to irritating pop songs: Well this mother doesn’t. She does, though, know all the words to the toilet-splattered fuck bucket that is Asda’s survey about mothers. In fact I have committed them to memory which is why, from here on in, I’d rather forage for greening bread in the gusset of a tramp with IBS than ever darken an Asda supermarket again. If Asda wants my business from here on in it’ll have to stop treating me on the basis of my maternal output. Now pat my arse, Asda. Go on. I dare you.

Posted in Culture, Parenting, Sexism | 1 Comment

Ched Evans

Ched EvansFor fuck sake, I can stand it no longer. You see, I more or less retired from The Kraken Wakes a few months ago when I launched my online shop Kraken Kreations (check it out if you want to see a side of the Kraken that you never imagined) but recent events have conspired to drag me out of retirement by my ankles, much like uber-twat Dapper Laughs chatting up a girl in a club. These are not any events though. Shit, no. I’m not talking about David Cameron’s latest bonfire of the benefits or the way in which ITV refuses to broadcast intelligent programming. I’m talking about the King of Events. I’m talking about convicted rapist (oh, and footballer) Ched Evans.

You don’t need me to tell you why I’m writing about Evans, the giant, festering, maggoty sore on the arse of modern society. Not unless you’ve been living inside a dishwasher that’s on a permanent cycle. Just in case you’ve had a momentary lapse of outrage, though, let me remind you that until he was jailed in April 2012 for raping a woman, Evans was a footballer (I hope I never have to turn that ‘was’ into an ‘is’) for Sheffield United Football Club. After two and a half years of serving his sentence, during which time I dare say he hoped that what befell him in the showers wouldn’t be what befell his victim, he snuck out of the prison back door to protest his dead-eyed innocence. So far, so bleak. Until, that is, this week when SUFC, allowed him to start training with the team again making the original definition of ‘fucked up’ look like a range of tea cosies.

I barely know where to start with this. Seriously, I almost didn’t write this blog post because my rage is greater than the speed on my fingers on my keyboard, and said rage exists on so many levels that I’ve created a new unit of measurement.  So what is it that makes my eyes spin in my head like a wind turbine? The fact that SUFC are happy to have a rapist in its ranks? The fact that for certain sections of society football is more important than one of the most violent crimes in humanity? The fact that Evans has shown no remorse towards his victim or her family even though her life has been crushed beyond recognition?

Yeah, they enrage me. In fact, as I write this I’m mentally kicking Evans so hard in the cock that he’s ejaculating through his fillings. Yet what enrages me even more is the cataclysmic level of cowardice that seeps from every pore of the footballing world. You’d expect a violent, raping, consent-ignoring, self-serving, unfaithful, glory-obsessed bucket of cooling vomit like Evans to try to weedle his way back into football. He forced himself into a woman’s vagina so why should football be any different?

What I didn’t expect is the insufferable silence that has come from the game of football ever since. Look at it this way: the entire nation is debating the injustice, ignorance and insensitivity of letting Evans back into football. Yet no one of note in the world of football has so much as squeaked about it. There are no debates on Match of the Day, there are no columnists fretting about it in the nation’s sports pages, there are no Twitter loving footballers or commentators breaking cover and denouncing or supporting the Devil’s pact currently held between SUFC and Evans. It’s as if someone turned out national sport into the Marie Celeste.

Why? The likes of Gary Lineker and his overpaid fuckwitted chums will drone on for hours about the state of a free kick but when it comes to an issue of such magnitude that it affects every person in the country (because we call have mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, wives or girlfriends) they keep their flapping gobs shut. The same goes for managers and coaches on repeat-play during press conferences, the financial backers, the kit providers, the team mates…

Cowardice, do you think? Yes. Cowardice. Everyone in football who has an influence on the sport yet is keeping their mouth shut on this issue is a festering coward. That they remain quiet while Ched Evans plays football (even though his victim is probably weeping into the tattered remnants of her once-hopeful life) doesn’t just make them cowards. It makes them a national shame. Every one of them wears their shame on their chest, a badge telling the world that little light rape is just fine as long as it doesn’t affect the league tables.

Well, you know what? Ched Evans will slip silently back into the footballing ranks over my dead body. The footballing establishment may be willing to sacrifice the wellbeing of their daughters or wives for the sake of Ched Evans but I am fucking well not. I will scream and shout about this in the very same way that Evans supporters have chanted about his ability to rape from their piss-riddled terraces. If Evans is the man who committed the crime of rape, the footballing world is his accomplice. May they all rot until our society is free of them.

Posted in Culture, Sexism | Tagged | 1 Comment