“If you can’t save yourself from attack by being powerful - and I, palpably, have no power; my hands are empty - then perhaps you can save yourself from attack by being ruined, instead. Blow yourself up before the enemy gets to you.”—How To Build A Girl, Caitlin Moran (via ilovestarkidtoomuch)
“So. Yes. We’re all dying. We’re all crumbling into the void, one cell at a time. We are disintegrating like sugar cubes in champagne. But only women have to pretend it isn’t happening. Fifty-something men wander around with their guts flopped over their waistbands and their faces looking like a busted tramp’s mattress in an underpass. They sprout nasal hair and chasm-like wrinkles, and go ‘Ooof!’ whenever they stand up or sit down. men visibly age, every day — but women are supposed to stop the decline at around 37, 38, and live out the next 30 or 40 years in some magical bubble where their hair is still shiny and chestnut, their face unlined, their lips puffy, and their tits up on the top third of the ribcage.”—Caitlin Moran, How to Be a Woman (via camewiththeframe)
“All my life, I’ve thought that if I couldn’t say anything boys found interesting, I might as well shut up. But now I realize there was that whole other, invisible half of the world—girls—that I could speak to instead. A whole other half equally silent and frustrated, just waiting to be given the smallest starting signal—the tiniest starter culture—and they would explode into words, and song, and action, and relieved, euphoric cries of, ‘Me too! I feel this too!’”—Caitlin Moran, How to Build a Girl, Ch. 9 (recycled soul)
“Because I haven’t yet learned the simplest and most important thing of all: the world is difficult, and we are all breakable. So just be kind.”—Caitlin Moran, How to Build a Girl (via camewiththeframe)
“For in a way that feels quite unfair, the only way I can gain any qualifications at this thing - sex - that is seen as so societally important and desirable, is by being a massive slag - which is NOT seen as societally important and desirable. This often makes me furious.
You wouldn’t denigrate a plumber with a lot of experience in fitting bathrooms!”—Caitlin Moran “How to Build a Girl” (via love-a-book)
“The scabs feel like I have a message on my arm. Something that needs to be read, urgently, by someone. It was only years later that I realized the person I had written that message to — the person who wasn’t listening — was me. I was the one who should have been staring at that arm, and working out what the red hieroglyphics meant.
Had I translated them, I would have realized those lines read: “Never feel this bad again. Never come back to this place, where only a knife will do. Live a gentle and kind life. Don’t do things that make you want to hurt yourself. Whatever you do, every day, remember this — then steer away from here.””—HOW TO BUILD A GIRL by Caitlin Moran (via theneverendingteaparty)
“I’m learning a whole new thing: that sometimes, love isn’t observable or noisy or tangible. That sometimes, love is anonymous. Sometimes, love is silent. Sometimes, love just stands there when you’re calling it a cunt, biting its tongue and waiting.”—HOW TO BUILD A GIRL by Caitlin Moran (via theneverendingteaparty)
"So far, the only plan I’ve come up with is writing. I can write, because writing—unlike choreography, architecture, or conquering kingdoms—is a thing you can do when you’re lonely and poor, and have no infrastructure, i.e., a ballet troupe or some cannons. Poor people can write. It’s one of the few things poverty, and lack of connections, cannot stop you doing."
So what do you do when you build yourself - only to realise you built yourself with the wrong things?
You rip it up and start again. That is the work of your teenage years - to build up and tear down and build up again, over and over, endlessly, like speeded-up film of cities during boom times, and wars. To be fearless, and endless, in you reinventions - to keep twisting on nineteen, going bust and dealing in again, and again. Invent, invent, invent.
They do not tell you this when you are fourteen, because the people who would tell you - your parents - are the very ones who built the thing you are so dissatisfied with. They made you how they want you. They made you how they need you. They built you with all they know, and love - and so they can’t see what you’re not: all the gaps you feel leave you vulnerable. All the new possibilities only imagined by your generation, and non-existent to theirs. They have done their best, with the technology they had to hand, at the time - but now it’s up to you, small, brave future, to do your best, with what you have. As Rabindranath Tagore advised parents, ‘Don’t limit a child to your own learning, for he was born in another time.’
And so you go out into your world, and try and find the things that will be useful to you. Your weapons. Your tools. Your charms. You find a record, or a poem, or a picture of a girl that you pin to the wall, and go ‘Her. I’ll try and be her. I’ll try and be her - but here.’ You observe the way others walk, and talk, and you steal little bits of them, you collage yourself out of whatever you can get your hands on. You are like the robot Johnny 5 in Short Circuit, crying, ‘More input! More input for Johnny 5!’ as you rifle through books, and watch films, and sit in front of the television, trying to guess which of these things you are watching - Alexis Carrington Colby walking down a marble staircase; Anne of Green Gables holding her shoddy suitcase; Cathy wailing on the moors; Courtney Love wailing in her petticoat; Julie Burchill gunning people down; Grace Jones singing ‘Slave To The Rhythm’ - that you will need, when you get out there. What will be useful? What will be, eventually, you?
And you will be quite on your own when you do this. There is no academy where you can learn to be yourself; there is no line manager, slowly urging you towards the correct answer. You are midwife to yourself, and will give birth to yourself, over and over, in dark rooms, alone.
And some versions of you will end in dismal failure - many prototypes won’t even get out of the front door, as you suddenly realise that, no, you can’t style-out an all-in-one gold bodysuit and a massive attitude-problem in Wolverhampton. Others will achieve temporary success - hitting new land-speed records, and amazing all around you, and then suddenly, unexpectedly exploding, like the Bluebird on Coniston Water.
But one day, you’ll find a version of you that will get you kissed, or befriended, or inspired, and you will make your notes accordingly; staying up all night to hone, and improvise upon a tiny snatch of melody that worked.
Until - slowly, slowly - you make a viable version of you, one you can hum, every day. You’ll find the tiny, right piece of grit you can pearl around, until nature kicks in, and your shell will just quietly fill with magic, even while you’re busy doing other things. What your nurture began, nature will take over, and start completing, until you stop having to think about who you’ll be entirely - as you’re too busy doing, now. And ten years will pass, without you even noticing.
And later, over a glass of wine - because you drink wine, now, because you are grown - you will marvel over what you did. Marvel that, at the time, you kept so many secrets. Tried to keep the secret of yourself. Tried to metamorphose in the dark. The loud, drunken, fucking, eyeliner-smeared, laughing, cutting, panicking, unbearably present secret of yourself. When really, you were about as secret as the moon. And as luminous, under all those clothes.
This is the entire twenty-fourth chapter from Caitlin Moran’s ‘How to Build a Girl.’ Because the whole thing read like some sort of commencement speech I wish I had heard as a teenager, and I felt it needed to be shared.
Why, yes, it did take me a while to type out the whole thing.
“The people around you are mirrors, I think to myself. The dog is paddling in the lake. I watch her lap at the water. You see yourself reflected in their eyes. If the mirror is true, and smooth, you see your real self. That’s how you learn who you are. And you might be a different person to different people, but it’s all feedback that you need, in order to know yourself. But if the mirror is broken, or cracked, or warped, I continue, taking another drag, the reflection is not true. And you start to believe you are this… bad reflection.”—Caitlin Moran (via just-kristin)
“..the difference between models and normal women is that normal women buy clothes to make them look good; whereas the fashion industry buys models to make the clothes look good.”—Caitlin Moran, How to Be a Woman (via merithuriannechancer)
I just had the chance to interview this amazing woman, and I couldn’t NOT ask her about Benedict. I had to ask about her meeting him and drinking with the guy. Her response? Funniest thing ever …
"He is utterly, utterly lovely. When Sherlock started in our country, I’d already seen it because I was a TV critic. So when it first broadcast, I was up on Twitter going, ‘Women, believe me, you’ll want to turn your televisions on in ten minutes.’
"So I was watching Sherlock again, and I was drinking while I was watching it. The first couple tweets were like, ‘As you can see, this is a very quality drama.’ Then, the third one was like, ‘God, he’s beautiful.’
"Then, the fifth one was, ‘I would climb him like a tree. I would do him until security pulled me off, and then, I would wank at him from behind a door.’ I was becoming increasingly hysterical, because he was so beautiful.
"What I didn’t know was that the entire cast and crew were together at Steven Moffat’s house, and Steven Moffat was on Twitter. I know him, and he was following me and reaching over to pass his iPhone to Benedict every time I tweeted and showing Benedict all my tweets.
"So as consequence, when I met him on the set a couple weeks later to do a feature about it, he looked slightly nervous. But he’s just so lovely and oddly teenaged. Apparently, I got him into Radiohead, which is really cool.
"Plus, if you get him drunk, he’ll do impressions of Sherlock and Smaug the dragon. You couldn’t find better company if you tried. He’s utterly adorable. When you get to know him, you can even call him ‘Benny.’"
Thanks to Caitlin Moran for being such a great sport and an amazing author :) Please check out her new book, How to Build a Girl!
“Why are we starving our bottoms of the resources - like an extra metre of material - to stay comfortable? Why have we succumbed to pantorexia? It is, of course, all a symptom of women’s continuing, demented belief that, at any moment, they might face some snap inspection of their ‘total hotness,’ and have to reveal their underwear to a baying crowd, possibly featuring George Clooney. In this respect, women have communally lost all reason. Ladies! On how many occasions in the past year have you needed to wear sexy pants? In other words, to break this right down, how many times this year have you suddenly, unexpectedly, had sex in a brightly lit room, with a hard-to-please erotic connoisseur? Exactly. On those kind of odds, you might just as well be keeping a backgammon board down there, to entertain a group of elderly ladies in the event of emergencies. It’s more likely to happen.”—Caitlin Moran on big pants in The Times (via Jezebel)
“I’m an idealist. I think this revolution should be fun. If I’m going to be part of a revolution, I would like for it to be enjoyable. We seem to have only lost that in the last generation. If anything it’s the last generation that’s been like, “Yeah, are you gonna sit around and talk about politics and feminism and changing the world?” Yes! Yes I am. In the pub. With gigantic hair and amazing shoes on.”— Caitlin Moran (via huffingtonpostwomen)
“The three hobbies I’d encourage teenage girls to have are long country walks, to get some air in your lungs; masturbation; and the revolution. If you have those three things, you can’t go far wrong.”—Huffington Post (via cippicla)
“A monobrow can be magnificent: my six-year-old—raised on pictures of Frida Kahlo—is militant about hers: “I love it, because it never ends.””—Caitlin Moran, How To Be a Woman (via hardtobeasaintinthecity)
“But some people are just more alive than others, all eyes and mouth, and overloading senses – and that’s what Joyce was, and that’s what Kate Bush is. They appear in your life to remind you that to watch a sunrise is to watch a burning star, and that pollen is sperm, and summer is fleeting, and everything on Earth is so unlikely – so improbable”—THE SATURDAY TIMES MAGAZINE – BEFORE THE DAWN REVIEW BY CAITLIN MORAN
Life was hard for Jeff Buckley. What will be hard for the rest of us is getting through our own lives without him
There is a hole in your record collection that will never be filled - it looks as though Jeff Buckley is dead. Only one album into his career, Buckley was already approaching legendary status, so laughably beyond any ongoing musical scene it was untrue.
Buckley was a touch of the Dark Stuff. He chronicled the rabid black poisons of love, life’s extreme moments, the queasy dialogue of dreams. He was the new Van Morrison, the next Kate Bush, someone whose extraordinary vocal range and musical versatility would spark an astonishing career.
But yesterday week, while working on the follow-up to his 1995 debut album, Grace , which won him Rolling Stone magazine ’ s Best New Artist Award, Buckley and a friend, Keith Foti, wandered down to a Memphis marina with a portable stereo and a guitar. They played and sang for an hour, before Jeff decided to swim out into the Mississippi River, fully clothed. He waded into the water, still singing, and tried to cajole Foti into following him. When the wake of a passing boat splashed the marina, Foti rescued the stereo and placed it on the bank to keep dry. When he turned back, Buckley had disappeared, apparently sucked under by the wake of the boat. Buckley was 30.
The son of the revered US folk-rock god Tim Buckley, Jeff had a troubled upbringing. In his short life, Tim Buckley released eight albums, a witchy brew of folk, rock, jazz and blues. Although critically acclaimed as everything short of the cure for cancer, Tim’s record sales were in the low thousands, and he took to drugs for comfort like a child sucks its thumb. Tim left Jeff’s mother when Jeff was six months old.
Jeff’s mother, Mary Guibert, immediately hit the road, chasing work wherever and whenever it became available. Their rootless existence, said Jeff, “gave me strength, insight, resolve. At the same time, it depleted my understanding of what it’s like to have a home, or even your own dog for more than a year.” Tim Buckley was 28 when he died of a heroin overdose in 1975. Jeff had never met him.
Mary married again, but the pressures of work meant Jeff was left to bring up his younger brother. “I feel I was born old,” he said in 1995. “I don’t wake up and feel happy if it’s a sunny day. You get happy in five-second bursts, and then you wait for the next five-second burst. I’ve always felt I know too much to be happy.”
As his father had, Buckley turned to music for release and redemption. “To feel the music soar through you changes you utterly,” he said. “It changes your posture: you raise your chin, throw your shoulders back, walk with a swagger. When I sing, my face changes shape; it feels like my skull changes shape.”
When Buckley sang, it wasn’t only his skull that changed shape. Audiences melted in front of him, and the first few rows would buckle when he kicked up one of his vocal twisters. He could go from full-frontal Kurt Cobain scream to operatic lullaby in a breath.
Starting his career in crowded folk cafes in New York, Buckley would start off singing soft and low, pulling the audience in with impassioned whispers, before snapping into vertical take-off and stripping the paint from the ceiling.
Within months, he was signed by Sony. His first album, Grace , was astonishing. Although the production veered towards big Queen-like rock at times, the occasional dose of guitar bombast couldn’t swamp the ambitious scope of the album; the dolorous, harmonium-led hymn of Lover, You Should Have Come Over still sounds like spring rain after a funeral. Dream Brother , dedicated to his father, is a queasy, nightmarish examination of Tim’s life, an echo-laden mourning which never concludes or resolves.
Buckley sounded like a scared child, lost in endless darkness. On Grace’ s release, a herd of adjectives was lassoed into the Hyperbole Corral. Buckley’s haunted eyes and pop-royalty cheekbones stared from countless magazines and, while he loathed the star-system and the fuss, Sony prepared itself to guide the career of a high-sales prestige artist.
However, various rumours started to circulate through the industry. Many concerned a suspected heroin problem - and Buckley’s behaviour certainly became erratic. He told of dreams in which a sculptor took a razorblade to his skin, and started plaiting and twisting the strands until Buckley became a living, immobile work of art. Work on Grace’ s follow-up was delayed. Buckley told his band to leave town while he wrote new songs. Last December, he posted a note on his Internet Website, explaining that he was “in the middle of some wild s**t right now. Please be patient. I’ll come out of my hole and will make bonfires out of ticket stubs come the autumn.”
But the last concert was probably to an audience of one, on the banks of the Mississippi River, eight days ago.
And so to the biggest celebrity story of the week — the internet publication of naked photographs and intimate videos of 102 female celebrities, including Jennifer Lawrence, Kim Kardashian, Kate Bosworth, Selena Gomez, Kirsten Dunst and Ariana Grande.
At some point in the past month, the womens’ iCloud accounts were hacked into and the images posted on the website 4Chan, from where they spread across the internet with such ferocity, the only apt simile being “as rapidly as a whole bunch of pictures of hot celebrity women, naked”.
As productivity across the world slowed markedly — due to half of every workplace gathering in the corner farthest away from their line manager and googling “naked A-list ladies hurry hurry” — an interesting phenomenon was observable: a widespread belief that it was … all OK. That nothing bad had happened. There had simply been a visit from a jovial Porn Santa, who had given the world the gift it so richly deserved — Jennifer Lawrence’s tits — and now all that was left was to give thanks before googling “naked A-list ladies any new ones hacked?” and continuing with the day.
CW finds this whole thing fascinating — this continuing belief that things somehow “don’t count” if they’re on the internet. Threatening to rape and kill women on Twitter isn’t real harassment; stealing pictures of women and posting them on the internet isn’t a real criminal sexual offence.
If there’s one thing that would do this species a heap of good it would be getting out of the house and getting some fresh air in its lungs. And if there are two things that would aid our species, it would be finally getting its head around “the internet”. The internet is something invented by humans, for humans, where humans communicate with each other. It’s exactly the same as “the meat world”.
If, in the “real world”, someone broke into Jennifer Lawrence’s garden and watched her undressing they would, rightly, be branded a pervert, arrested for trespass, treated as a bit revolting and sentenced to a spell in jail and possibly a stiff course of Just Stop Being A Freaky Mad Pervert therapy.
It’s no different to criminally trespassing into her iCloud and looking at her tits, simply because it’s “on the internet”. It’s “the internet” — not “Imaginary Norulestopia where you can do what you like”. When you treat the greatest communication tool the world has ever known like that, you basically turn it into Donkey Island in Pinocchio.
CW finds it slightly dolorous, living in an era where there is a constant, global game in play to see the naked body of every famous woman. The attitude reminds it exactly of being in the school playground, where a certain gang of boys would try, every playtime, to reveal the knickers of the girls, even though the girls were crying and traumatised and eventually grew up to be angry goths.
It’s going to leave the last words on this subject to the mighty Anne Hathaway, speaking about up-skirt shots of her that were sold to tabloids in 2012: “I’m sorry that we live in a culture that commodifies the sexuality of unwilling participants.”
Right on, Hathaway. Because there’s a word for people who sexually commodify an unwilling participant.
”—Caitlin Moran absolutely fucking nails the celebrity nudes hacking disgrace in Celebrity Watch in today’s Times (via theinternethassexwithitself)
“I’ve read Rimbaud, yes - but I’m still not sure how you pronounce his name - surely it can’t be Rambo? But if it is, I’ve got fifty Sylvester Stallone jokes ready to go - and I still feel the burn of shame from when I interviewed a band and pronounced ‘paradigm’ as spelt, and they mockingly corrected me. This is the terrible thing about learning everything from books - sometimes you do not know how to say the words. You know the ideas, but you cannot discuss them with people with any confidence.”—How to Build a Girl, Caitlin Moran (via souvenirsandlostluggage)
5. And finally, smoking. There’s no two ways about it — this shit is useful. I have long observed its application in society, and concluded it to be needful. Everyone smokes — it just has to be done. Having finally acknowledged this, last night, I had bought a packet of ten Silk Cut from the newsagents uptown. This shop is legendary for its relaxed attitude to selling cigarettes to children. Until recently, they used to vend a single cigarette, threaded through a Polo Mint, for 15p — in order to capture lunchtime smok- ers who needed to freshen their breath before going back in for PE. Sitting on the grass outside St. Peter’s Cathedral, I doggedly taught myself to smoke. I’m impressed by how determined I am, because it is — and there’s no two ways about this — filthy. It tastes of the worst brown ever. It’s like sucking in everything you’d ever put in a bin — ashtrays, burnt pub carpet, yellow snow, death. Dadda at 2:00 a.m. As my lovely clean throat and pink lungs sucked in the smoke, I felt very, very sorry for me: this is not what a child should be doing. In a right world, I should have needed to do nothing more than spend that money on eight Curly Wurlys and a couple of Refreshers.
“So what is the best vegetable? Well, we all know that: it’s the potato. The vegetable you can’t screw up. You can throw a potato into a bonfire, run away from it - and, an hour later, it’s turned into a meal. Try doing that with broccoli, or a trifle, and it will laugh in your face.”—Caitlin Moran, Moranthology (via shindeagan)
“The working classes do things differently. I can hear it. I can see we are not wrong. We are not just poor people who have not yet evolved into something else - ie: people with money. We are something else - just as we are. The working classes do it differently. We are the next thing. We power popular culture - just as, before, we powered the Industrial Revolution. The past is theirs but the future’s mine. They’re all out of time.”—How to Build a Girl, Caitlin Moran (via souvenirsandlostluggage)
“Since I met you, I feel like I can see the operating system of the world- and it is unrequited love. That is why everyone’s doing everything. Every book, opera house, moon shot and manifesto is here because someone, somewhere, lit up silent when someone else came into the room, and then quietly burned when they didn’t notice them.”—Caitlin Moran, How to Build a Girl (via funnyfacejmo)
“….burlesque clubs feel like a place for girls. Strip clubs—despite the occasional presence of a Spice Girl, ten years ago—do not. Watching good burlesque in action, you can see female sexuality; a performance constructed with the values system of a woman: beautiful lighting, glossy hair, absurd accessories (giant cocktail glasses; huge feather fans), velvet corsets, fashionable shoes, Ava Gardner eyeliner, pale skin, classy manicures, humor, and a huge round of applause at the end—instead of an uncomfortable, half-hidden erection, and silence.”—
this is a good point, although the “pale skin” should be omitted.
Burlesque compared with stripping is a parallel i love to analyze.
“But I don’t want to be noble and committed like most women in history were - which invariably seems to involve being burned at the stake, dying of sadness or being bricked up in a tower by an earl. I don’t want to sacrifice myself for something. I don’t want to die for something. I don’t even walk in the rain up a hill in a skirt that’s sticking to my thighs for something. I want to live for something, instead - as men do. I want to have fun. The most fun ever. I want a rapturous quest. I want to sacrifice myself to glee. I want to make the world better, in some way.”—Caitlin Moran, How To Build A Girl (via highfashionboosh)
“So far, the only plan I’ve come up with is writing. I can write, because writing - unlike choreography, architecture or conquering kingdoms - is a thing you can do when you’re lonely and poor, and have no infrastructure, ie: a ballet troupe, or some cannons. Poor people can write. It’s one of the few things poverty, and lack of connections, cannot stop you doing.”—Caitlin Moran, How To Build A Girl (a 100% accurate). (via weshitparacetamol)
Cynicism means your automatic answer becomes ‘No’. Cynicism means you presume everything will end in disappointment. And this is, ultimately, why anyone becomes cynical. Because they are scared of disappointment. Because they are scared someone will take advantage of them. Because they are fearful their innocence will be used against them - that when they run around gleefully trying to cram the whole world into their mouth, someone will try to poison them.
Cynicism is, ultimately, fear. Cynicism makes contact with your skin, and a thick black carapace begins to grow - like insect armour. This armour will protect your heart, from disappointment - but it leaves you almost unable to walk. You cannot dance, in this armour. Cynicism keeps you pinned to the spot, in the same posture, forever.
And, of course, the deepest irony about the young being cynical is that they are the ones that need to move, and dance, and trust the most. They need to cartwheel through a freshly burst galaxy of still-forming but glowing ideas, never scared to say ‘Yes! Why not!’ - or their generation’s culture will be nothing but the blandest, and most aggressive, or most-defended of old tropes. When young people are cynical, and snarky, they shoot down their own future. When you keep saying ‘No’ all that’s left is what other people said ‘Yes’ to, before you were born. Really, ‘No’ is no choice at all.
“Loving you is the dirty fuel that powered me, during my industrial era. You’ve got to have a hobby - and mine is you. Mine is being in love with you. It was never the sun coming up in the morning that lit up the room. It was me, quietly flaring, when you said, “One more?””—Caitlin Moran, How To Build A Girl (2014)