February has arrived and so it’s basically spring. I can tell, because my daily conversations with my barista have shifted from pre-sunrise, wintery grunts to half-excited exchanges on whether her bonsai tree is done hibernating or not yet.
It’s still desperately quiet, though. The fact that we are still masticating couple of overcoats worn at the US presidential inauguration is very telling. Even more so is the fact that this year’s major modelling contracts (Amanda Gorman, Ella Emhoff) were signed after the very event. Goes to show that nobody is literally stepping out anywhere these days.
I do have a bit of something exciting to look forward to, however: hairdressers are allowed to open again in Belgium. I immediately contacted mine, and am now on a waitlist for an appointment on Saturday 17 April (still this year, though). This is a thrilling prospect, if only because by that time I shall be able to descend from my 4th floor apartment using my very own braided hair.
It would also appear that cannibalism and mutilation of women are back: 2021 is making the Middle Ages great again. Musician Marilyn Manson and the hunky actor Armie Hammer (of the Call Me by Your Name fame) have been called out in the press by their former partners. The one (openly in an interview) described his desire to break his fiancée’s skull with a sledge hammer. The other wanted to break his girlfriend’s rib and barbecue and eat it.
Numerous women who were involved with the two men (respectively, again) have stepped forward with similar stories about the “kooky” and “controversial” (not my words) stars. Both men, respectively, claim the women’s stories to be “horrible distortions of reality” and “bullshit“.
There’s terribly much to unpack in both cases, and while the public debate will likely not reach the heights of the original #metoo, the discussion is about to be intensely interesting.
In the case of Manson, the alleged criminal acts that many women have brought forward have been witnessed by so many coworkers and collaborators for decades that it absolutely begs the question whatever makes people protect these male superstars?
On a galaxy far, far nearer, there was, again, an attempted rape in a notoriously badly lit Brussels park. Women have come forward with a petition urging the local authorities to make the, again, notorious park safer for the residents. Apparently fitting the park with better lighting is out of the question, because said park is a classified cultural heritage site.
Keeping fucking flowerbeds intact in their originally pristine, biblically dimly lit setting is considered more important than protecting women from violent attacks.
The flowers give a shit about a couple of extra lamps.
So no, not a great time to be a woman. If you don’t end up in your alternative rocker boyfriend’s barbecue, there’s a risk your city council considers a daffodil’s life more worthy than yours.
On absolutely other news, I made a two rather hasty literature purchases, both of which turned out actually quite interesting: How We Are Translated by Jessica Gaitán Johannesson is a novel about a young multicultural couple who have taken advantage from the free movement of people in the EU and ended up in the UK and then go through all the usual stuff such couples do. I was more interested in the novel from linguistic point of view – I’ve read a couple of books on language lately, very geeky but fascinating.
I should think there will be increasingly many similar books on the market in the coming years – the text being a mishmash of several languages and cultural references.
little scratch by Rebecca Watson is exactly the kind of book I would normally not buy because of its complicated layout. It looks, and reads more like a poem, and I’m usually not very good with that. But little scratch was actually very enjoyable and not confusing. It tells a story of a day in the life of this woman who drags along a past trauma. I never did read Karl Ove Knausgård’s oeuvre, but imagine the minutiae recording of someone’s goings about to be a similar read. Except that little scratch was more than a mere study of a person’s 24 hours.
Both books coincidentally photograph really well together with some posh chocolate. Upon buying the chocolates, I was offered a sample to taste. To the shopkeeper’s shock bit into the chocolate and soon enough found out that all my life I have been eating chocolate the very wrong way: one is never to bite into it, one is to leave it melt on one’s tongue so as to not disturb the developing of the flavours to their fullest.
As Madonna put it, life truly is a mystery.