1. It looks like the 2016 US elections are gathering steam. I’m still wondering whether Hillary Clinton is going to run. Some have even been positing another Bush-Clinton rematch, with Jeb Bush, the former Governor of Florida, as the candidate.
2. Ed Miliband recently announced that, if he were to be elected, he would appoint a Secretary of State for Women and Equalities. He also pledged that half of his cabinet would be female. Currently, following Maria Miller’s resignation, there are only 3 women in a cabinet of 22, and feemale politicians make up less than a quarter of MPs.
3. I’m worried about the reports that UKIP are likely to come out on top in next month’s European elections.
4. There was an interesting article on monogamy in the New Statesman. It’s certainly a hot topic at the moment, and many would argue that it is an outdated concept in the 21st century.
5. I discovered the word ‘sapiosexual’. A neologism, ‘sapiosexual’ is used to describe someone who finds intelligence the most sexually attractive feature in another person.
6. I was thrilled to see the new ‘Visit Britain’ advertising campaign (‘Love is GREAT), which features a lesbian couple and declares that there’s never been a better time to visit this country, and that the UK is ‘fantastic for honeymoons and romantic breaks’.
7. When playing a word-association game on BuzzFeed last week, Madonna used ‘gay’ to describe both the vegetable kale and the Russian President, Vladimir Putin. It’s disappointing to see her using the word as an insult, and – unsurprisingly – there was quite a backlash online.
8. The Cornish have finally been recognised as an official member of the UK’s Celtic minorities. This means that they are now entitled to the same rights and protections as the Irish, Scots and Welsh. Teaching of Cornish as a language has recently received government funding, and apparently 557 people claim it as their first language.
9. I re-read The Testament of Mary, the Booker-shortlisted novel by Irish novelist Colm Tóibín. I read it last year after seeing Fiona Shaw’s mesmerising Broadway performance in a theatrical adaptation of the novel (you can read my review here) and have re-read it this week because I’m going to be talking about the production on Tuesday’s broadcast of the weekly LGBT radio show Out In South London. The Testament of Mary will be playing at the Barbican from 1-25 May and I urge you all to go and see it. Fiona Shaw is phenomenal.
10. I’ve mentioned John Grant on this blog before when I was listening to his new album on its release earlier this year. However, this week I found myself desperate to listen to his first solo album, Queen of Denmark. It’s definitely not an album that can be described as uplifting: it’s full of the pain of past relationships, of coming to terms with one’s sexuality, of being an outsider. Yet Grant is a genius with lyrics, for his songs never sound self-pitying or morose, and are often filled with biting sarcasm (such as on ‘Where Dreams Go To Die). The second track, I Wanna Go To Marz, has a stunning, haunting piano melody and lyrics that are strange and wonderful – all about ice cream flavours – while ‘Caramel’ is a truly majestic romantic ballad. A genius debut album.
Categories: On My Mind . . .