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Showing posts from January, 2017

King Kong and the Nightmare of Xenophobia

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King Kong: RKO pictures, 1933 I have recently finished reading Black and British: A Forgotten History by David Olusoga , an excellent book, which accompanied a BBC TV series of the same name.  I can't praise this book enough, and I'm not going to say everything that is to be said about it here.  Instead, I'm going to talk about something that came out of my reading of this and another book: The Anatomical Venus by Joanna Ebenstein.   It concerns a recurring image of paranoia, racism and sexism that ends up as the much-remade RKO film, King Kong. Before I start, let me warn you that this blog contains images and text that some people may find distressing and/or offensive. It begins with a painting: The Nightmare by  Anglo-Swiss artist Henry Fuseli.  The Nightmare: Henry Fuseli, 1781 There are several versions of this painting, but it basically depicts a beautiful young woman, asleep or swooning, with an ape-like incubus perched on top of her.  This hid

I'm on Patreon!!

Hello, you lovely people!  Just to let you know that, as of today, you can be a partner in my writerly endeavours by supporting me on Patreon. For those of you who don't know, Patreon is a website that has basically re-invented the old idea of artistic patronage.  (And, for a lover of the 18th century, what could be more appropriate?)  Only instead of having one big, aristocratic patron (Count Pageno, I'm looking at you!) you have lots of little patrons.  (Financially speaking.  This is not a comment on your worth as a human being, because you're all excellent specimens, as evidenced by your reading my blog.) So, it works a bit like a fan club.  If you click on the big orange button above, you'll see that you can join the club at different levels, for different amounts of money.  The lowest price is $1/less than £1, which is less than the price of a cup of tea.  (Unless you're drinking in the local village hall or something, in which case it's probably the p

Gender Diversity, Aged 9

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I don't normally write about stuff like this on my blog - I hate controversy and arguments of every kind, which I find distressing - but I felt I must respond to the many adults I read of who have expressed the opinion that educating children about gender diversity somehow amounts to "child abuse." To that end, I would like to share with you some extracts from The Fieldway Five , a story I wrote when I was about nine years old.  It is my homage to the Famous Five stories, an improbable tale of gypsies and gold mines, which ends with the children triumphantly pushing enormous slabs of gold home to their parents. In my very un-subtle homage to Enid Blyton, Timmy the dog is replaced by Ann the cat, and tomboy Georgina, who you will remember dresses as a boy and insists on being called George, is replaced by Philip, who prefers to wear a dress while being addressed as Philipa.  As a child, I saw nothing sinister in this; I was just being creative.  Also, my best fr