Cars

Concrete

 

So we’re worried about the bridges now

don’t trust the men who built them

or just men

in general

suck

don’t they?

but we’re still driving across

in our cars

that men built

those same ones.

not exactly the same ones but

sort of

the polluting ones

where they fiddled the books

or the sensors

or the stats

to pretend

they weren’t so bad

after all

but they were

still.

And what about the Maldives

sinking beneath

the waves

of plastic

we made

one more long-haul flight

and I never take

a plastic straw

these days

just sink into the bedrock

of sandstone and granite

can the two mix?

blonde and dark

a fizz

you know what

the best thing I heard this week was?

that the heart and lungs don’t know

the exercise you’re doing

but the limbs

they know you’re running

you’re running

 

Photo: Claire Doble

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cars & guitars

try to pin thoughts

like pressing guitar strings into

my heart – tender meat – but

I never learnt that instrument

apart from listening

my fingers, so clumsy

I can’t. No. I can’t

understand anymore

where do I start

already halfway gone, and

there’s no place to

pull in

open up my bonnet

tweak the engine, maybe

put a new one in

 

Photo: https://unsplash.com/@felipeluiz27

The Dolder Classic car show

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Over the weekend, my brother and sister-in-law were in Zurich and since he’s a big car guy (and proud owner of an awesome Valiant Charger) we thought we’d check out the Dolder Classic vintage car show.  I think this is the first vintage car show I’ve attended and I really enjoyed it.

It was a nice scene – people just cruised in with their cars and would stay for a few hours (it seemed) then head off. Some of the vehicles were for sale, others just for show. Afterwards we checked out a few more beauties in the car park as well.

There were lots of muscular Mustangs, curvy Stingrays, a Delorean, some real golden oldies and, of course, many Porsches — I think Porsche must be Zurich’s favourite marque, you see so many on the streets here. My favourite was probably the superb Amilcar Pégase from 1936 – the workmanship and details were exquisite. It was an Amilcar that caused the death of Isadora Duncan (her scarf got caught in the wheels and broke her neck) so that’s an interesting bit of historical trivia.

As well as drooling over all the pretty motors, the people-watching was lots of fun too. I enjoyed seeing a family of six emerge from a two-door Mustang, some elegant old dudes in an elegant, convertible Bentley, a stylish matron driving her zippy, royal blue 60s Porsche and a pair of rockers with face tatts, a vintage jalopy and a baby bump.

Anyway, I haven’t done a photo blog in a while and this really lends itself, so enjoy!

Dear Mr Zoo

Anyone who thinks we don’t have inherent sexism in our language and most of our texts from childhood onwards needs to do this simple experiment. Take the popular children’s book Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell and switch the genders of all the animals to female. And suddenly the characteristics seem way loaded.

Dear Zoo

 

Here’s an interesting Guardian article about gender imbalance in children’s books. And another article about the fact female voices figure far less than male ones in Disney films (yes, even Frozen, which seems mad).

When I think of the films my 5 year old son loves such as Finding Nemo (a dad looks for his son, and aside from one main female character, all the other main speaking parts are male – the irony being that a male clownfish actually TURNS INTO A FEMALE if/when his mate is killed.) Cars (one main female speaking part, the love interest) and Planes (two minor female love interests and a female secondary member of the crew) it does make me despair.

We’ve also recently started watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a show I watched regularly in my youth. There’s 4 male turtles, their male mutant-rat ninja master, the male enemy – a Darth Vader style dude named Shredder – and his overlord Krang, his two male offsiders etc. There is one main, strong female – April O’Neil – a journalist, so that’s awesome. But do we really celebrate ONE main chick among NINE male characters? What kind of ratio is that? And how is it anything like real life? I could outline a similar catalogue for Star Wars and everything else but you get my drift. Sigh.

Also everything is Mr Sheen, Mr Muscle, Mr Mower etc. I’ve noticed this, along with the huge gender imbalance in kids cartoons, since I was a child and it always bugged me. I know this is because maleness is seen as “the norm/neutral” (I am not a gender studies expert, so excuse me for not using the proper terminology here) but still.

Going back to my first example. It’s not just that all the animals are male. I find that changing them to female gives the characteristics of the animals – She was too: Big, Tall, Fierce, Scary, Grumpy, Naughty, Jumpy – a whole different dimension that makes me feel uncomfortable in a way I’m not even sure how to articulate. What do you think?

Anyway…

Happy Mother’s Day!