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Old 12-03-2020, 04:27 PM   #41 (permalink)
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For a femme punk rec everyone should hear.

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Old 12-03-2020, 04:34 PM   #42 (permalink)
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awesome I love her voice
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Old 02-08-2021, 01:17 PM   #43 (permalink)
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I finally got the motivation to revive this journal from its Christmas vacation hiatus, because the talk about books today made me have thoughts which I want to ramble about. So something a little different:

The Victorian Heroine, sorted into neat, arbitrary categories by Marie according to her whims

I love Victorian novels, especially those written by women, and the main reason for that is the female protagonists. In her most classic form the Victorian heroine is kind, too smart for her own good, fierce, and witty. Some classic female characters are already (partly) discarded when we stick to this class of character:

- The meek little lambs: a prime example is Mina from Dracula, who is otherwise a good character and ticks the other boxes of the Female Victorian Heroine™. Dickens’ books are also full of meek ladies, but they’re usually not even intelligent*. One could argue that Fanny from Mansfield Park falls into this category, but I don’t think that’s fair; she’s shy, but not really meek. Neither is Jane Eyre when she opens up to people: her interaction with Rochester is by far the greatest part of the book to me.
- The ones that are not really a heroine, simply because they’re not a good person. The classic example is Becky Sharp from Vanity Fair. She’s definitely clever and fierce, but she’s also a bad bitch. Let’s call this type the Witch.
- Then there’s good old Cathy from Wuthering Heights, who’s basically a category of her own. Who needs smart and complicated characters (or a sensible plot, or realism, or…) when you can have MORBID PASSION and GOTH DRAMA. We could classify her as a Witch though, I guess. A spooky goth witch in a red dress.

So having done away with that, let’s move on to the ones that do fit into my category. I’d like to classify them by their main personal issues: the part of their character which gets in the way, causes all the ****, and needs to be resolved through character development. For the Victorian heroine, there are two main ones:

Naïveté.
Examples: Most of Jane Austen's heroines (Emma and Marianne being the best ones), George Eliot’s Maggie Tulliver, and Elizabeth Gaskell’s Molly Gibson (the most charmingly innocent of all heroines). Emma stands out because she’s the only naïve heroine here who actually thinks she’s the opposite. Molly Gibson (apart from being the most endearing one) has the good fortune of having her naïveté juxtaposed with her streetwise stepsister Cynthia (more about her later), with great results. Jane Eyre can be in this list too, but she barely resolves any inner issue. Too much woe-is-me to leave room for introspection: her troubles are pretty much purely those of a harsh, unfair outside world.** To be fair to Charlotte Brontë, the outside world was pretty harsh to her. I like Jane Eyre.

Pride and stubbornness.
In case you didn’t know already, this category is my favourite. Examples: George Eliot’s Mary Garth (bless her stubborn head), Anthony Trollope’s Mary Thorne (who could be Mary Garth’s little sister, with a bit less depth but more superficial charms, because, well, she was written by Trollope instead of Eliot. No hate on Trollope though, he’s awesome), and Jane Austen’s Elizabeth Bennett of course. Wilkie Collins’ Marian Halcombe barely fits in here because she doesn’t really have flaws (literally her only flaw is being ugly lol, a point is made of that in a way which shows it was written by a man of yore), but I include her because the villain of the book plays into her frustration about not being taken seriously as a woman. Respect for Wilkie Collins for having an eye for that. George Eliot's Dinah Morris would also fit in here for being a stubbornly devout Christian, but she doesn't have the sass.

And then there’s Cynthia from Elizabeth Gaskell’s Wives and Daughters. I don’t put her in any category, because she transcends all of them. She’s the greatest character mentioned in this post, and one of the greatest characters ever written. I’m not kidding. She’s definitely not a heroine, she’s much too flawed for that, but she’s certainly not a witch either. She has a good heart, but lacks moral strength and discipline, which is the reason most of us do wrong obviously. She’s the opposite of naïve, but she’s morally too feeble to be proud. But first and foremost she’s great because she has the exact same effect on the reader as on all the characters in the book: when it comes to allure, charisma and fascination she has no equal.

---

*Even Dickens himself gets frustrated by them, yeeting David Copperfield’s poor silly first wife Dora out of the book by killing her off, because she’s just too vapid and uninteresting to do anything more than take up valuable character space. Maybe you should have picked your women more carefully so you don’t have to hurt them later. Dick.

**Which is why I like Virginia Woolf’s commentary on Jane Eyre so much (actually all her takes on the female Victorians are incredibly insightful):
Quote:
The drawbacks of being Jane Eyre are not far to seek. Always to be a governess and always to be in love is a serious limitation in a world which is full, after all, of people who are neither one nor the other. The characters of a Jane Austen or of a Tolstoi have a million facets compared with these. (…) She does not attempt to solve the problems of human life; she is even unaware that such problems exist; all her force, and it is the more tremendous for being constricted, goes into the assertion, “I love”, “I hate”, “I suffer”.
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Last edited by Marie Monday; 02-08-2021 at 04:13 PM.
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Old 02-08-2021, 01:26 PM   #44 (permalink)
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I Stan Dracula's vampire brides. They should have had more to do.
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Old 02-08-2021, 01:57 PM   #45 (permalink)
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gothic church
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Old 02-08-2021, 02:09 PM   #46 (permalink)
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That one scene is still hot a hundres years later though.
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Old 02-08-2021, 02:17 PM   #47 (permalink)
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I'm not sure if I'd call it hot, but it's definitely sensual in an eerie way. And much scarier than anything that bitchass Dracula does.
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Old 02-08-2021, 02:29 PM   #48 (permalink)
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I got a bad girl fetish. The same damn thing happened to me with the woman from Gone Girl Gone.
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Old 02-09-2021, 02:23 PM   #49 (permalink)
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Riot grrrl revamp: Kate Nash’s Girl Talk

In which a British indie pop lass and off-brand Lily Allen (that’s not entirely fair, sorry Kate) embraces her inner riot grrrl. The result is just as flawed and clunky as you probably think it is, but it’s also a marvellous masterpiece and a work of art and I love this album till death do us part. It’s one of those endeavours in which even the missteps are endearing because they feel like the result of someone having a tunnel vision and getting carried away with their pet project; it feels genuine. I imagine Kate’s manager shaking their head in despair while she’s like ‘Oi I’m gonna start a riot grrrl revival’ and proceeds to record a song called Rap for Rejection.

There’s not that much loud punk on here, but nonetheless this album has zero chill. From the bleak, depressive opening song (‘and it doesn’t matter/how many colours I paint my nose/I still feel the same’, I love it) it moves on to the song with the worst punny title ever ('Fri-end?' about, yes, a broken friendship), which is a fun piece of pop-punk. I love the riff and the yelling at the end which resolves into harmony. Also, the music video (inlcuded below) features gloriously awkward dancing and yellow lipstick. Giiirl. The next song throws in the really random sexually suggestive ‘doctor, doctor, my temperature is rising’ (??? chill the **** out, Kate) and a catchy chorus that goes ‘burn burn, burn my heart baby’. The song after that can be skipped, but if you sit through it you’re rewarded for your patience with Sister, which is a proper quasi-lesbian heartbreak screamfest (don’t be mistaken by the wanky acoustic intro). I honestly think this grooves, the way her delivery combines with the guitar. And her voice rules. The next song is a dull one again and the one after that is a bit wanky too, but I like it; it’s atmospheric and has a nice bit of screaming at the end (automatic +10 points in my book). Then we get the next actual riot grrrl song, All Talk, in which Kate actually speaks the magic words ‘I’m a feminist’ (‘…and if that offends you/then **** you’ lmao). It has a fun riff too, and repetition which actually works. The fun continues with Conventional Girl, with its melodies, whoo-hoo’s, and (yet again) screams. 3AM is ok filler saved by more whoo-hoo’s, which leads up to the moment supreme:

Rap for Rejection deserves its own paragraph. It just entirely lives up to all the hopes of its promising title; it’s bratty and crude and will convince no sexist man on earth that they’re wrong, but **** them, this song wasn’t made for those losers. I’ll just let some of the lyrics speak for themselves:
Quote:
I'm a stupid whore
And a frigid bitch
Now can you make up your mind
And tell me which is which

uh

Now I get it
You think I'm ugly
Yeah, tell your friends
How you never want none me

You're tryna tell me sexism doesn't exist
If it doesn't exist then what the **** is this?
How many boys will it destroy
How many girls and boys will it annoy?
delivered in ultimate static white girl rap style which surpasses even Taylor Swift’s rap in Shake It Off. Unassailable. Things can’t get any better than this.

And they don’t, the next song is one of the more boring ones (despite featuring both screams and whoo-hoo’s). Maybe it’s just a letdown after the marvel that is Rap For Rejection. The next song doesn’t stand out either, but at least it’s moody, which fits with the album’s ending. It is followed by a strummy acoustic bit which I appreciate in itself, but more so as an introduction to the minimal (pretty much solo vocals), depressive Lullaby for an Insomniac. This does feel like a gimmicky ‘authentic’ thing but she pulls it off quite well. Her voice sounds sincere and (I’m gonna be an honest wuss about it) quite moving.

So in short, Kate Nash, if you read this: I don’t know what compelled you to make this weird piece of work (except divine inspiration) but you’re a hero for doing so. It has been a valuable companion in my life for years.

Fun fact: her record label was like ‘hell no we’re not releasing this’ so she went on to do it herself like a badass


Choice tracks:
Spoiler for Part Heart:

Spoiler for Fri-end?:

Spoiler for Death Proof:

Spoiler for Sister:

Spoiler for All Talk:

Spoiler for Conventional Girl:

Spoiler for Rap For Rejection:

Spoiler for Lullaby for an Insomniac:
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Old 03-18-2021, 12:27 PM   #50 (permalink)
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Finally Punk - Casual Goths

Bless Elph for recommending it, I had to get it on vinyl immediately so here we are. It clearly sprawls from the rich history of riot grrrl and general female punk: from the lo-fi abrasiveness of the Frumpies and the humour of Emily's Sassy Lime all the way back to the playfullness of the Raincoats and the funky squeakiness of Kleenex. I think bands like these ususally become a watered-down version of either Sleater-Kinney, Bikini Kill or the Raincoats, but these girls are too original for that. They're one of the few among their contemporaries who manage to blend all their influences into something that still sounds fresh and daring. Fantastic.
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