FALSE MOUSTACHE 1
Editor’s Introduction Welcome to the first edition of False Moustache. In this issue, we’re looking at outsiders. We’ve got an article from an expat in the Middle East and another by a man who plows a lonely political furrow. There’s some great poetry – including the first published piece by rising star of the London poetry scene Hel Gurney. There are also some pleasant distractions, from the joy of cricket to a teasing crossword with a tasty theme. Perhaps you’d love to contribute to a future issue, or maybe you just want to say hello. If you’d like to get in contact with me, or with any of the contributors, send an email to email@example.com and I’ll see what I can do. Otherwise, thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy the fruits of our labour.
Tom Outsider’s view Far from the Metropolis: Emily Monaghan.................................. 4 Extract from Glen Duncan’s ‘I Lucifer’........................................ 5 Looking down from Up North: Esther Beadle............................. 6 Thrift, Industry, and manly Self-Reliance: Luke Blaxill................. 8 Brackets: CN Lester....................................................................... 9 She Was: Hel Gurney................................................................... 10 She Was: A Commentary: Tom Wein......................................... 11 Rise of the Geek: Gemma Gordon-Gibson............................. 12 A Westerner Abroad: Anonymous............................................ 12 Insider Looking In: Leah Weiner................................................. 13 On Fairies and Marriage: Hel Gurney....................................... 14 Distractions Crossword: Arcadian.................................................................. 16 What I’m reading: Gina Lawrence & Tom Wein..................... 17 The Joy of Cricket: Tom Wein...................................................... 18 Joining the T eam Joining the Team: Tom Wein...................................................... 20 Helplessness Blues: Fleet Foxes.................................................. 21 The True Face Editor’s Thanks............................................................................. 23 About Our Contributors............................................................. 24 Crossword answers..................................................................... 25
Far From the Metropolis EMILY MONAGHAN
“We do speak English and, y’know,
now those few surviving speakers
sey has no place for fairies. Those
have the internet. It’s not like I live
tasked to defend it are quarrel-
in the past”. I defend my place of
ling away its death throes – do we
origin, and how does Guernsey re-
teach the children, or the adults,
pay my trust? On the day I return
and how, and in what way; and do
not much to say in a small island,
there from London, the broadband
we teach them the Town dialect,
and so Norman French has a word
breaks for three days. Too many
or St Martins, or the Vale...? Death
people streaming Wimbledon.
by small differences.
a cat’s fur in the wrong direction”.
We exist in a state of grace be-
We used to be taller. Under the is-
tween the Channel Islands’ two ex-
land is a network of caverns and
tremes. Jersey, the largest island,
tunnels, starting on the beaches,
is charmless with modernity – Wa-
terstones and Starbucks. The best
crypts, all leading to a fairy land
In London, I enjoy going for a ram-
panorama on the island used to be
bling walk of a day, heading in a
from a certain hotel balcony. In its
women of their own, the denizens
new direction to simply see what’s
eyeline, they have built a cinema
applied a Sabine solution – coming
there. I do not do this in Guernsey.
– a black box with no windows.
out of their seacaves and kidnap-
Though my walks were rarely the
Sark, not only small, has no tour-
ping the island’s women. The Men
whole of Guernsey’s length – 19km
ist-luring beaches, one shop, and
made their last stand on the Rouge
on the hypotenuse – after those
no cars. A friend and her new beau
Rou and were slaughtered. But a
19, there is nowhere further to go.
got stranded in fog on a daytrip
Though I would never have walked
for so long, and after three years
on their return, three days later.
the laws decreed the women must
Portmerion – the option was there,
Guernsey’s sand is the softest in
the world, its landscapes pale, like
bands and return to the land. The
next generation of children were
In Guernsey, all roads lead to the
somewhere one can live. The vi-
fairy-born. And that, they say, is
sea. Else, you’re journeying in spi-
brant town centre easily rivals all
why the people of Guernsey grew
rals like the stressed, caged, and
but one of England’s major cities
small. It makes me wonder if the
for scope and atmosphere. All the
fairies too are terrified of differ-
same: it will not last. I give peo-
ence, hiding under their uniform-
roads to walk leaves a landscape
issue plain black outerleaves. Not
ask where the Costa is. No one has
that the story is much whispered
in the firelight, by chiselled grand-
the Germans left behind, so my
21 years of life has imprinted on
man French, since the 40s, and
As a big cat in a small pond, I’m not surprised they needed a verb for
swimming against the tide.
the new Like
EXTRACT FROM GLENN DUNCAN’S ‘I LUCIFER’
the familiar roads like a signature.
mum, a true Guern, is outraged at
There are only so many places you
a Mainlander coming here to write
can run to when being hemmed
our history – “if you reveal a col-
laborator here, everyone will know
wish to avoid. Thus too with the
who it is and who they’re related
ternoon proud of all your woeful particulars - and London humbles you with its wealth of generals. You’ve seen your life. London, it turns out, has seen Life.”
at the castle, funfair in the park, the Battle of Bri tain air display. These events, as regular as tides, are written over with the memories of 2010, 2009, 2008, 1998. All of which were happier at the time,. Even
tricky. At a certain crossing, I was almost hit by a car on my Duke of Edinburgh
day, it was a topic of general discussion among people who had no reason to know anything about it. I would not return to those people,
if there were others to go to. A stranger is writing a paper on collaboration
five years of Nazi rule. She has no idea, it seems, how fast news can travel here – there’s no empty French countryside for a would-be saboteur to take refuge is; no idea how hard any act of resistance is in a place so small. Nor how, with time
“I’ve always had a soft spot for London, the patched and tattered cloak of its history, its dogeared wisdom and inky humour. You know - you provincial British humans know - what it’s like when you crack under the weight of lost love or ingested desire and Move to London: the city’s ready for you. You take your precious miseries there and unpack them - only to find that the city’s already assimilated them, centuries ago, along with grand Elizabethan passions and mortal Victorian sins. The assimilation’s encoded now - in the chemistry lab colours of the Underground map, in Trafalgar’s punk pigeons, in the thousands of ticking stilettos and caffeine yawns and downed pints and adulterous snogs. You turn up on a rainy Monday af-
with a status quo is inevitable. My
Looking Down From Up North ESTHER BEADLE
There were times, during my four
Being a Geordie in London pro-
was some feral beast about to be
years as a pretentious student in
vided my friends with a novelty.
tamed by the bright lights of the
London, when I would have given
One phone call to my mam would
my right arm to be standing at a
result in hours of half-arsed imi-
castle, whippet at my feet, Brown
sounding like Cheryl Cole on the
Ale in hand and bawling The Blay-
don Races. Maybe, if I was lucky,
Gazza would stumble around the
The notion of a North/South divide should, in our tolerant society,
unlike our football strip, the issue is by no means black and white. It
To them, I was some wild, exotic
is the very idea of this divide that
creature. I had escaped on the first
provides me and my fellow Novo-
barge out of a dark, tempestuous,
castrians with something to grip
In short, I longed for the cultural
feudal, proto-civilisation where al-
onto in a region battered by – not
cohol is a cure for anything and
just ferocious weather – but also
al identity that both blesses and
the menfolk heave coal with cal-
decades of perceived attacks from
blights the North East. I longed to
loused hands into little boats (or
be smothered and suffocated by
“bow-ats”) bobbing around on the
something I had tried for years to
foggy Tyne. Our winters as dark
corner, munching on some pease pudding.
Thatcher’s destruction of the coal industry took with it the things that made us great, our heaving
swells of factory smoke and jut-
terwards. To give a very specific
opinion, in the face of an ever-de-
ting cranes. I hate to get political,
creasing firm cultural identity and
but where I’m from it’s hard not
by the ‘rest of the country’ actual-
an ever-increasing interest in our
to. The boom years of Labour saw
ly help us, take the idea of a North
region., the North/South divide is
our region plumped and preened
needed now more than ever. It is
cious suspicion of the ‘South’, we
the last remaining bastion for our
hub. But under the gloss of new
in the North East voted adamantly
art galleries and coffee chains the
against a separate governing body
lows us our swan song.
heart of our great region stopped
with devolved powers. Why would
beating. Our pride in a hard day’s
we do that, when we are so fierce-
graft, our songs of colliery histo-
ly averse to being at the mercy
of the toffee-nosed Old Etonians,
have been replaced with a shell
who, unequivocally, make up the
of call centres and Wetherspoons.
entire population south of York?
This issue is not exclusive to our region,
The fact of the matter is, the people of the North East have an instinctual need to remain the har-
Now what do we have? The reces-
dy victims of a better-off South.
sion has hit, the galleries are lying
empty and our cultural overdraft
we have a habit of making things
is staring us unpleasantly in the
need be. It is THIS, which defines
many as some thick bimbo (she
us as a people. The proverbial chip
on our shoulder is what keeps us
trays us as bed-hopping slags and the simple folk of Byker Grove are long gone. Yet
afloat. The North/South divide does exist. I can vouch for that. Detri-
mental though it may appear, we
deep foundations, and is not all
continue to feed the fire which
makes us the underdog. Though
pride in our industry may have
remaining separate to the rest of
been cruelly torn from our grasp,
the country, distanced from West-
we have pride in our history. We
minster and the presumed civility
remember what the Tories did to
of the South, we are able to play
us in the eighties and we remem-
on a once glorious past, to revel
ber how New Labour tried to force
us into a glossy pigeon-hole in the
It gives us control over a story, in
never been in control.
we are lobbed with. As a region, we
The very core of the Geordie iden-
tity is staidly getting on with it
in the face of adversity and then
downing a few jars in the pub af-
proud of our differences. In my
And also gives me allowance to unashamedly drink more than my Southern
Singing The Blaydon Races. With pride.
Thrift, Industry & Manly Self Reliance: Thoughts of a Victorian Liberal discarded by modernity LUKE BLAXILL
I am proud to be a Whig, an imperialist, and a gentle-
be cemented forever in law because human rights are
man. Most of all, I am proud to be an Englishman. I
good. They call for the job market to be systemically
am consequently not happy at all with English poli-
rigged against white privately educated men because,
tics today. Universal suffrage is shorthand for the
rule of the mob: for the considered rational views
gender and racial composition of society.
of the minority to be crushed beneath the collective
as democracy, human rights, and affirmative action.
the drop of a hat. I am in favour of manly self reli-
The arrogance of this viewpoint is that it assumes
ance: of her majesty’s subjects standing up proudly as
ceptions of what seems good at the moment, such
personalities, and are apt to change their minds at
the test of time, but from abstract metaphysical con-
litical judgements based on material concerns and
from utilitarian or empirical analysis which can stand
standing of the English constitution and make po-
The justification for these changes is not derived
weight of ignorance of those who have no under-
now to be the end of history, the time when we have
completed the intellectual and moral journeys of the
and greeting the good times and bad with that sturdy
past, and stand enlightened. What was done before
English good humour and love of fair play. But my
was imperfect, or wrong, and the future will surely be
peers do not think like this. They seem to subscribe
based on what we have decided now. Our children’s
to two maxims: that their current plight is not their
lives will be spent interpreting the holy scriptures we
fault, and that, because of this, they are morally en-
have written, carrying on the march towards equal-
titled to the property of others. They then claim for
ity, democracy, and universal human rights.
themselves the position of a progressive vanguard, and advocate the wrecking of the English constitu-
But the children of the future will not think like us.
tion and social order.
They will laugh at our values, just as we laugh at those of the Victorians. But the Victorians did not
My progressive peers do not understand the beauty
make our mistake of assuming they would always be
of an organic constitution as our ancestors did. What
right. They legitimised their actions by expediency
I mean by this is a politics and society that evolves
with the people, which reflects our current intellectual and moral state, and our sense of history. of
not remember the past, and if we do, we disregard it, seeing ‘modernity’ as the end in itself. We conceive of the future as being morally identical to the present. The result is that the progressives have trapped us
in a prison of time, in their faddish ‘dictatorship of
guard demand an elected House of Lords and proportional
experience. This is what we have discarded. We do
of a political and social order which has organically centuries.
gitimacy on which to base future decisions: historical
right now. The result is the spoilation and vandalism over
they found the sheet anchor of real wisdom and le-
faddish conception of what happens to seem good
conceptions of ‘fairness’ and ‘modernity’. From that,
modern obsession is government by arbitrary social project:
now’. And it is only by defending what is left of the
organic English constitution and social order with all
our might that we can prevent the invertebratisation
They demand that the ‘human rights’ of 2011 should
of our nation.
brackets CN LESTER
I hide myself in brackets, I split myself in time. An object’s changed by viewing No matter whose the eye. We fall apart by seconds, Reform ourselves in time. And who wants to live an anonymous life? Fall from balance -
Find out what it’s like to live On the dividing line. Whose the sight to capture? Why not bend your sight? Why not fall from balance An arbitrary left from right. You cannot tell by viewing, What changes will the eye. This view is something alien You should not claim is mine. Fall from balance Find out what it’s like to live On the dividing line. Binaries are shallow, A double only binds.
And who of us would envy an anonymous life? You just see what you want to be That isn’t me at all. I hide myself in brackets, I run myself against invisible walls. Fall from balance Find out what it’s like to live On the dividing line.
Her hand a wing, she brushes me sometimes, in the deep-dawn purples of the morning. I see the shadow of her dress in my bedroom curtains. She is packed around me in ephemera I cannot bear to lose. How dead are they, those who stop, when we go on? I remember her as never quiet, never shamed. I may be wrong. She wanted everything. She’d be a writer, painter, athlete, lawyer, politician. Run a wildlife preserve and teach disadvantaged kids. She always fought. Faced down teachers, bullies, the whole damn lot in her tasteless rainbow waistcoat and messy hair. She never stopped reading, writing, listening, talking. She knew she’d study words. The geometries of their placement. Their power to speak and sing. How to ride them like rockets into a new world. That was the she that was. The me that nearly. The we that never. At times we overlap. Curled up in the snail-shell of one body, reading something old. That pure distracted joy in language that shuts the world off like a lamp. But she wore dresses. Reclaimed her curves with silky clothes and words. Laughed off those who’d grind her down. She went, of course, to Cambridge. Modern and Medieval Lang. Swam through syntax backwards. Delighted in the ancient and the lost, the useless, the beautiful. Stayed on the rowing team. A power-suited fire-mouthed barrister by thirty. Years on, stepped down from the bar and up to the post of first female chair of MML, at Magdalene College. That was the she that would have. The me that could have. The we that oh-so-very-nearly and then no. The me that rolled through life with the grandiose certainty that she was the woman she’d planned to be. She has been evaporated off me and left behind her dreams and dresses, her feathers and her fire. How dead are they, these shadow-selves? The ones we freeze and can no longer bear to inhabit. She lingers like cold smoke. Each decision is a loss: we cut away the branches of our other lives with every choice. We end with one birch-smooth line. -- But in spring, her shoots return. Guilty fiction, impossible ideal child. My lost twin sister has been folded back into me: she is woven through every movement. I mourn her, I am shamed by her, and HEL GURNEY
sometimes I flicker through her like a ghost of flame.
SheWas : A Commentary TOM WEIN
In‘SheWas’,Gurneyoffersacomplex,melancholicexaminationoftherealitiesofadulthood.Atitssimplestlevel,thepoemisonaclassical theme,mourninglostchildhood,withitsinfinitepossibilityandvaultingambitions.Asthefirststanzanotes,“Shewantedeverything.She’dbe awriter,painter,athlete,lawyer,politician./Runawildlifepreserveandteachdisadvantagedkids.”Yetthisreflectionisfarmorecomplexthana mere lament.
Thepoetcallstheircurrentselfandtheiroverachievingcounterpart“twinsisters.”Atacertainpoint,theyimply,bothwereequalpossibilities,and consciouschoicescreatedthe“methatcouldhave”ratherthanthe“shethatwouldhave.”Choicesawayfromwords,andsolitude,and“feathers and…fire”, in favour of socializing and engagement with the world. Ofcourse,wedonotshapeourselvesentirelyofourownaccord.GurneydidnotchooseagainstCambridge;itchoseagainsther.Ifthepoetdid notstudyMML,orpuntinrobes,itwasnotforlackoftrying.The“birch-smoothline”hadotherwhittlerstoo.YetGurneyemphasizespersonal choicein“eachdecision”,andthoughthepoemisultimatelydownbeat,thereisalsoaquietprideatthepersonthepoetbecame.Thisismost tangibleinthegentlepatronizationofthe“twinsister”.Thereissurelyaquietchucklebehind“shewent,ofcourse,toCambridge”andacertain confidence in admitting “I may be wrong.”
Thereisanotherelementtothesetwoidentities.“Sheworedresses.Reclaimedhercurveswithsilkyclothesandwords.”Gurneyisacampaigner ongenderissuesmostoftenseeninwaistcoatandnecktie.Thetwin’sembraceofacertaintypeofexecutivehyperfemininity–“apower-suited barrister” – is another fork that divides them. With its constant use of “she”, the poem is therefore an oddity in Gurney’s recent work.
Ultimately,though,thesparselastlinesarealonelycry.Thepoet,hungryforlostopportunities,mustbecontentwithanoccasional,involuntary, fleeting“flicker”.Acertainunitymayberecoveredinreading“somethingold”,whenallthreeselves–now,then,andnever–overlapintheirshared pastime;hencetheearthycontentednessof“snailshell”andthemeatyvowelsof“curled”and“distracted”.Yettheoverwhelminglymessageis one of an identity passed on.
Inthiscommentator’sview,thatlonelycryisanunjustifiedone.Weneverrollthroughlifewith“grandiosecertainty”,andthoughweoughttomourn ourlosses,therearetimeandchancesaplenty.Whatwehaveissuperiorforbeingreal,ratherthana“Guiltyfiction,impossibleidealchild.”Asfor words’“powertospeakandsing”,Gurneyhasthatinspades.Fromthefirstlushlinetothelastbone-bare,thisisagorgeouslypacedpoemthat touches both the intimate and universal.
Rise of the Geek GEMMA GORDON-GIBSON “Ignorance is the curse of God; knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly to heaven.” Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part II, Act IV, Scene 7
I can quote that because being a Shakespeare
cool. What - didn’t you know? Take it
I was sat in the
play of the trip to start, complete with the promise of Patrick Stewart as Shylock splashed over my program, when I looked around. I was confronted with skinny jeans in
glasses in abundance, a sea of vintage tea dresses and dangerously fashionable
the driest of intellectual pursuits.
of the technical nerdlingers. When
lifted them onto our shoulders as
iPad and/or dainty laptop which
a celebration of all that is good in
constantly connects them to Face-
book, Twitter and/or WordPress –
knowledge of the technical world
only that, but we resurrected a
really is power. We’re in awe of
black and white sci-fi time travel
people carrying the latest apps, or
show, and gave it a prime time
who have the first insight into the
billing complete with sexy makeo-
ver. Bow ties are cool right? Well
current and ahead of the times.
ultimate arbiters Dolce and Gab-
bana certainly think so.
never been so sexy.
once the domain of those who couldn’t
of the virtual world, now it’s the place you come to first to know what’s in and what’s out. Fashion, books, music, theatre – many of
voices now declare their make or break verdicts online.
internet – once the territory of Zuckerberg-esque lonely boys tapping away in bedrooms – is now the main conduit for all the information we download, stream and
At school I downplayed my love
search everyday. It rules our busi-
ness days and social lives.
ing the usual taunts and jibes. imagine
leagues met tales of my weekend with looks of admiration. There I was sat in my black pinafore, plaid shirt
were actually impressed with my previously
1840s childlike outfit choice).
the Gleeks) has created a cult fol-
grossing and popular films to hit
doubtedly be known for the rise
is the fact that competition for university
top jobs is only increasing.
ryone is having to up their intellectual game; GCSE and A-Level results are at an all-time high, more and more people are signing up for
visited could just get you that job. So long live the geek! And not only because they’re the ones who’ll be able
Shakespeare, Henry VII, Act III, Scene 2
Add to this the
that are now some of the highest
acceptable, nay lauded, in modern
was not Bradley Cooper’s muscled
popular films on our generation,
ance of it) has suddenly become
of The Hangover, one of the most
comic books movies (a favourite
lowing out of the uncool. The star
ligence (or at least the appear-
Farewell? a long farewell to all my greatness!”
in his wolfpack?
are now awash with bow tie-wear-
“So farewell—to the little good you bear me.
Alan. Who wouldn’t want to be
American TV and cinema screens
Yet this is not the only area where knowledge
our screens and you have yourselves a trend.
The UK, not to be
left behind, took a fat, sarcastic UCL philosophy student and gan-
Westerner Abroad ANONYMOUS Jordan.
of Boredom. ‘Is it fun living in Amman?’ they say with a smirk on their face, safe in the knowledge
that they live in Ramallah or Bei-
However, there is one thing that
on children’s health and welfare
rut. But I’m going to get this off
slightly unsettles me. It’s the nag-
my chest straight away – I like liv-
ging feeling that part of the rea-
munities, in the early twentieth
ing in Jordan.
son that living in Jordan is fun is
century. A surprising number of
people whom I met in London
Ok I’ll admit it, perhaps Amman isn’t
Eastern city. It doesn’t have the night scene of Beirut or the history of Damascus. But it is what it is – a modern Arab city. Its location on innumerable hills gives it a unique feel with layers of steeply rising houses. The views outweigh the disadvantages of trudging up
As a western foreigner it is pos-
sible to have a certain level of
this group, many being unaware
freedom that is not available to
from the Gulf ) or sometimes even
acquaintances asked me if I was
I can be
confident that the police will treat
that I was. Alas, as a Canadian of
me well and I know that if I’m go-
European ancestry, I was study-
ing this group as an outsider, as
confidence is not available to oth-
as an adult about Aboriginal his-
ers. Which is a reminder that as a
tory and culture, and has a less-
As a woman it’s important to per-
foreigner there are always going
fect your ‘stare out of the window
to be sides of a country that you
of any Aboriginal Canadian lan-
in deep thought’ face in order to
somebody who has learned only
them in the heat in a pavement-
that when I have to drive around I’m
search made me ever more nerv-
some sights on the way.
ous as I continued writing. The
Outside of Amman is where the fun starts. Jordan is full of amaz-
Insider Looking In
ing hiking opportunities. Having a
barbeque and sleeping in the desert with just a mattress is one of the best experiences you can have. There is a certain type of freedom that you feel in the Middle East, best described by my friend who driving; you
you don’t have to drive between the lines!’
tus to my advantage. The power
driver even stopped to show us
by using my own privileged sta-
hitch back to Amman. Our lorry
could drink during our three hour
goals was to make sure not to
free lifts and as much tea as we
the world. Thus, one of my first
in Faynan my friend and I received
the past century, have marginal-
though; people in Jordan are imWhen
of how colonial researchers, for
of the road. This is no problem helpful.
as a historian, I am keenly aware
cause all I ever see is the side
tory as an outsider was, for me,
The downside of this strategy is Amman
around the world only to study my own home, but also the relationship between my identity and the subject matter which I have chosen to research. You see, my research
search upon were written almost solely by white men; the Aborigi-
documents I was basing my re-
experiences of the issues I was studying
I had been skeptical of articles by
who had written without considering
now I was setting myself up for the same kind of criticism.
My concerns did not have an easy answer.
guide for researchers who wish to research indigenous peoples without tion
offered some advice, but little that was useful to a postgraduate student with limited funds, conducting research from abroad. Lacking the resources to speak to people, the main source for my research was
there are few Aboriginal archives. Any historian is an outsider, to an extent, when working with sources from any other time or place. However, the documents available in Canada’s archives mostly dealt with
who produced my sources, rather than
whose experiences were most salient for my research. Since my life experiences and privilege, as a Euro-Canadian
more similar in background to the colonizing authorities than to the Aboriginal sources
as an outsider, rather than alleviating my concerns. The most sensible means, to me, to
ology in history would be to have more inclusive archives; the more work that can be done now to record the experiences of the marginalized for future research, the better. In the meantime, however, I must leaven confidence in my expertise with an outsider’s caution.
On Fairies and Marriage HEL GURNEY
Sex, mythology, and landscape – that’s the soundbite summary of what my poetry tends to be about. I’ve never yet presented a photo of the Man of Cerne Abbas to illustrate what happens when you get all three at once, but it’s probably just a matter of time. My head has always been full of myth and folklore and fairytale. One of my earliest memories is of looking into the sun, convincing myself that the colourful lights which appeared before my eyes afterwards were actually fairies. I was brought up on Tolkien and Lewis and a brace of other writers who were strongly influenced by stories of yore. As a kid, some of my most treasured possessions were ‘The Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology’, and an array of Andrew Lang’s colour-coded ‘Fairy Books’. I loved them – they were strange and yet familiar, with themes and motifs that appeared and reappeared like threads in a tapestry or a strain of song. The more I read, the stronger these themes emerged. Some of them were pretty neutral, like the way everything happened in threes. Others were rather more problematic. Outer beauty and inner goodness were one and the same – unless you were a witch in disguise, or tragically cursed. Marriage was heavily transactional, or else based on a model of ‘love’ that belied emotional realism. Women were, for the most part, there to be rescued, or won, or traded. Sometimes they would offer useful advice to the hero, or be there as a villainous foil – but for the most part, they were not the protagonists of your basic adventuring fairytale. A tale focused on a female character usually had a moral purpose – don’t talk to strange hairy men in the woods, obey your husband’s unexplained demands about where you can go and what you can look at, be good and kind and patient and eventually your prince will claim you. A woman who was heading on an epic quest across land and sea, wearing out three pairs of iron shoes and travelling beyond the home of the sun – well, you’d better believe that it was all to find or reclaim a man. Fairytales transmitted a multitude of ideas about gender and sexuality, which I couldn’t properly express or explain at the time, but which had a lasting impact on how I related to the world.
Consuming all this as a child, these narratives and motifs were present in what I thought about and how I wrote – indeed, they still are. I was fascinated. There’s a ‘Waste Land’-like “heap of broken images” that still disturb me and intrigue me. Three princesses buried neck-deep in the sand along a coast. A girl vomiting up toads. A queen hiding in terror underneath the covers of her bed, waiting for the inevitable violation from her husband’s usurper – that one was particularly chilling. There was one story that stuck out as different: ‘Catherine and her Destiny’ from the Lang collections. Even though the adventures of the (named!) female protagonist were bracketed between the death of her rich father and her marriage to a rich husband, the rest of the story is entirely about relationships between women. Catherine is visited by a supernatural woman (her Destiny) who gives her the choice between a happy youth and a happy old age – when she chooses the latter, her comfortable life is destroyed and she spends years fending for herself and working for rich ladies as a maidservant. Eventually the curse is broken when one kind mistress asks her own Destiny, who is the sister of Catherine’s, to intervene and bring her sadness to an end. Back in the modern world, there is a Facebook group with over 125,000 members entitled ‘Disney Gave Me Unrealistic Expectations About Love’. I’d venture that it’s a common effect of saturation with fairy-tales. For my part, I loudly and repeatedly denounced the fallacies of the ‘love-at-first-sight leads to happily-ever-after’ narrative to my schoolmates. I think a better approximation of my own experience would be ‘Andrew Lang Made Me A Five-Year-Old Lesbian Separatist (Sort Of )’. Somewhat hyperbolic phrasing, since at five I had no personal experience of being sexually attracted to people of any gender, but like the political lesbians of the 1960s, I could see no benefits whatsoever from heterosexual relations. As I understood it, women married men because men rescued them or won them. Once you got married, you were expected to put up with cooking, cleaning, and – shudder – sex, which was some nebulously unpleasant life-ruining thing that created children and made you unable to run and jump for several months. Therefore, to prevent this, you should avoid being vulnerable around boys at all costs, in case they rescued you from something and you then had to marry them. Marriage was inevitably enslavement; sex was motivated purely by power relations and the need to produce an heir; and this compulsory heterosexuality could only be avoided through the pursuit of an Artemis-like chaste independence and vengefulness. The idea of having anything to do with boys seemed unpleasant at the best of times, and the idea that any woman might actively want to partake in something involving bleeding and babies was utterly unthinkable – I deftly skimmed the issue of my own parents, not quite believing grown-ups to be real people. I even drafted a short story about a young witch who convinced the other girls at school not to get to boyfriends, so they could
seems charmingly naïve. As I got a little older, I read more
strong female characters – two examples are E. Nesbit’s Alice and Enid Blyton’s George. Yet both of them were described in terms of being ‘almost as good as a boy,’ and other girls in the stories were at best soft
and gentle, and at worst weak and silly. In the fantasy novels I devoured, Tolkien’s most obviously kick-arse female character disguises herself as a man to be allowed to fight, and even the more modern and progressive Tamora Pierce books starred a heroine who disguised herself as a boy so she could become a knight. The ending for both Éowyn and Alanna – marriage and children – seemed like a betrayal of everything their characters had symbolised for me. Surely, surely, it was possible for a girl to do ‘boy things’, without eventually being folded back into a normative woman’s role? By the time I reached secondary school, I was well-known as a vocal opponent of traditional fairytale genderroles and Disney-style ‘happy endings’. And my misguided initial foray into feminist fairy-tales was by no means my last. I loved these stories so much, but there was never any space in them for people like me. So I wrote my own. At 14 I wrote a funny story about a Fairy Land in which the king and queen got divorced, the beautiful princess was abducted by a dark fairy (who was in love with her and wanted to save her from the superficiality of court life), the handsome prince ran away with a dashing young thief, and the kingdom was eventually ruled by the ‘ugly’ (read: plain and very competent) princess and her childhood sweetheart, the son of a woodsman. The ‘good’ fairy was a caffeine-addicted wreck who tried to restore normative order to the kingdom, before suffering a nervous breakdown and being given a low-stress job at a company that made magic mirrors. The last line was “and everybody else lived reasonably happily ever after, except for the ones that didn’t.” There was also a more detailed fantasy epic which I composed on-and-off for years, which featured characters on the LGBT spectrum before I’d even figured out I was queer myself. The protagonist, a female mercenary, was oblivious to the unrequited love from a damsel-in-distress she’d rescued, and was herself awkwardly crushing on a gay wizard. She eventually ended up with a character of ambiguous gender. On top of this, the most sympathetic of the villains was kinky and polyamorous (although I didn ’t have those words to describe it back then!). As I progressed through secondary school and sixth form, I also started engaging with re-imaged fairytales on an academic level as well as a creative one – my final-year piece was on Angela Carter’s ‘The Bloody Chamber’ and Emma Donoghue’s ‘Kissing the Witch’, examining how each explored female sexuality through in their versions of well-known stories like ‘Beauty and the Beast’. The last time I wrote something rooted in fairytale – rather than the Classical and North European myths which are also firmly lodged in my mind – it was a strange little story called ‘The Prince Who Loved A Monster’. Written out of a need for catharsis rather than as an academic thought-experiment, I find it interesting that my farewell to a relationship of five years naturally took the form of a subverted fairy story. The moral, if it can be called that, was ‘sometimes relationships just don’t work’, with a side-helping of ‘be yourself, not who someone else thinks you are’. Looking through my diary from earlier that year, I found this scribbled at the end of a rant about stereotypes and identity: “WE NEED NEW MYTHS. OUR OWN ONES.” And whether that ‘we’ means women, or feminists, or queers, or kinksters, or polyamorists, or anyone else who lives on the borderlands of heteropatriarchal society – yes, yes we do. We need to tell our own stories and watch them ascend through culture until they displace the old patterns that reproduce power and violence and damaging gender-norms. We need new templates that give precedent and permission to whole kaleidoscopes of genders and sexualities and relationship structures and ways of being in the world. We need fairytales of our own, that teach about the world as it is, but also that give us hope to build it better.
Crossword: Cryptography & Cake ARCADIAN
This devilish crossword is challenge enough. But if you can answer it all, you’ll also have the missing ingredients for a delicious cake, the incomplete recipe to which is on the next page. And if you get really stuck, the answers are at the back.
Across 1. Agent of evil dispatched by sovereign force (6,6) 13. Bitter heart of vodka lemon (3) 14. Penniless, old, roped somehow into commercial contract (4) 15. Zealots must renounce misguided attacks to discover essential enthusiasm (4) 16. Holy bather offers John a little peep (6) 18. Old Cretan goes on about article after merest synopsis in a linear language (6) 20. Squid traversing stormy heart of deep seas produces creature with one and a half feet? (9) 22. Single Latin lass (3) 24. Champion with a weakness for cards embracing ‘a woman of pleasure’? (8) 26. Extreme characters invading Turkish domain to establish dictator (4) 27. Male kind of human kindness? (4) 28. Branch of pacifists (and some Greens) introducing ‘dreary’ uniform (5) 31. Tropical bird in wingless flap (3) 32. Old Testament priest flees continental island (3) 33. Universal rage is all without a resolution for paramilitary fighters (9) 36. Mafia captain raises tone after father prompts fresh start? (4) 37. Son is able to analyse metric structure (4) 38. Royal student is backing Queen’s counsel (4) 40. A wry nod to lawlessness (7) 43. Who’s identity could be ruled out by his character after losing daughter? (5) 44. Sound heard plainly (6) 46. Constant steeds bear what is as sure as these? (4) 48. Measure mile oddly (2) 50. Losing it without doubt, arbiter returns intimate support (3) 51. Alma entertains scholar burning for
Spanish flame (5) 52. Hail to hoary King abdicating in confusion (4) 53. Old oath singularly expressed by wind instrument missing low notes (3) 54. Old oath singularly expressed by wind instrument missing low notes (5) 55. Ancient figure, old Futhark say, lost in half-neurotic rambling (4)
Down 1. 40’s symbol & cimbals clash with restorative power (8) 2. Cavalry formations convene in the style of 43’s number (4) 3. Chicken dish I left out for old English Ned (3) 4. Mesopotamian 33a with retrograde intelligence (5) 5. Imprecise intelligence about slippery lube? (8) 6. Consultant’s group ousting central members (2) 7. I record shock backlash in Neapolitan city (6) 8. Love receives last letter in controversial magazine (2) 9. Pursue Peter’s girl without consent (4) 10. Zounds! A nameless new lady to lead the lords (6) 11. When I think I’ll come to Hellenic character (3) 12. To venture putting a Hispanic female in luxury motor is grand (3,1,4) 17. Watch out! Novice’s heading for some kind of spill (3) 19. Dine sporadically in other words (2) 21. He’s corrupted by Polish deviant in drag (5) 23. Bring back a flower of the Orient for Émile’s mistress (4) 25. Top CEO on trial over procuring ‘coriander’ leaves (8)
29. Old Poland’s namesake born of the French church (4) 30. Sour Conservative turning in grave (7) 33. Bangor always accommodates horny hill-billy? (5) 34. Édouard leaves, ready to become brilliant artist? (3) 35. Tiny little diminutive girl (3) 38. Sweetener offered by student union with charitable backing (5) 39. Cantaloupe turns out to be a dud (5) 40. New Labour order for the dishonourable discharge of serpents? (4) 41. More than one Gaelic island - hopper? (4) 42. Council leader holds platform on waterways (4) 45. Grass grows up the path of Eastern philosophy (3) 46. Bond’s boss in Europe scoring Aussie chick? (3) 47. Give us back hydrogen to create a god of air (3) 49. Saint fallen from fashion concocted caustic solution (3)
Recipe for 40 Across Cake Directions
Now use your answers to fill in
the recipe below, and bake away.
Only do me a favour – check your
Line the bottom of a 10 to 12 inch
answers at the back before you
springform cake tin (11 being ‘ideal’
sample your new cake. Don’t get
but cakes and equipment often being
less so!) with parchment paper, brush
with 28a 17d, and lightly 54a.
6 8d plain 38d
Chop or grate your chosen filling; If using fresh fruit, gently toss with 1
6 8d caster 54a
tablespoon of 38d and set aside until
1 ½ tsp 1a
In a small bowl, sift 54a and 1a; add any dry herbs or spices and set aside.
2 tsp 39d 15a
Using an electric mixer, beat 46a with
90 48a 28a 17d
38d and 39d 15a until light, fluffy and
90 48a 27a
pale in colour. This could take as long as 5 minutes.
3/4 tsp 1d 30d Up
Add the 28a 17d; then add 27a and 1d
30d and/or any liquid essence, beat-
fresh or dried fruit, nuts, chocolate
ing until fully combined.
ings you think you’ll most
Using a rubber spatula, fold in the 54a
the medium of cake in the
Pour the batter into the prepared pan
near future! Don’t
and drop the fruit or chocolate over
the top. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of 38d.
dition of herbs or spices when
Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until
the top is a light golden-brown and
gredients; or a liqueur or an
a knife blade inserted in the centre
comes out clean. If it seems your cake
27a. In the case of a suspected
is cooking faster on top than in the
middle, cover with a circle of foil or
may wish to add the latter
baking parchment to protect it from
instead of the 1d 30d, but
above all this is a fun cake in
Cool on a wire rack for about 5 minutes before turning out and basking in the warm aroma of imminent cake!
What we’re reading Wildwood
thusing about. But ultimately he’s a writer writing
about what he loves best, and that enthusiasm shines through on every page, even if it does occasionally
Waiting for a friend, I picked up a book by chance from the bargain bin in Waterstones.
manif est in slightly tedious measurements of his
I was having a
bedroom ceiling. These are always in check though;
bad day, and I decided I deserved a treat – not that,
never more than a page, and I’m sure more enjoyable
as a rule, I aim to reward myself for being in a stink-
if you’ve got any clue what he’s waxing on about. I
ing bad mood with presents. I’d never heard of the
just don’t, so am content to regard my ignorance as
book, the author – not even the publisher before the
moment I picked it up off the shelf. I was in the mood where I wanted to buy something. What can I say,
Anyway, if you fancy it, there’s a paperback copy
I’m just a self-esteem victim of capitalism. The book
in the Hampstead Oxfam. I’d suggest helping the
was Roger Deakin’s ‘Wildwood: A Journey Through
charity by buying it there, then wandering up to the
Trees.’ Anyway, having finished it I did some re-
wooded bit of Hampstead Heath, and having a day in
search. Turns out, The Guardian thought it was so
the park while the trees are in their autumn colour-
interesting they reviewed it twice – once as a review,
change glory. I’m a great believer in reading a book
on the 30th of June, and then again on the 15th July
where it comes from to understand it better; in this
as a feature in the science and nature section. I’d
case, even more so than usual.
like to think the review bloke went “Oi, Tim in Science and Nature section! You’d love this, you big tree
We’ve all heard of metalheads – well this guy is a woodhead. He is obsessed with both woods and
A recent holiday was spent mostly prone, devouring
wood, both as the living trees together in one place
books. Here follow some impressions.
and as a building material. He is a craftsman, and drops
‘Anna Karenina’: I finished this the day before our
departure. Suffice it to say that it deserves its reputa-
stand about how to build a house, whether to use
tion. From the very first moment, one feels oneself to
willow or oak. It’s a refreshing change from fiction
be in the hands of a master. Even the dull bits (and at
– not as funny as Bill Bryson, but more poetic. His
850 pages of course there are a few) feel deliberate
style brings into vibrant focus the places he wanders
and carefully calculated, designed to reflect the true
with sunset backdrops, delicate draws the moths he
human experience and to give the reader enough time
delights in – but not the people he meets. It really is
to prepare for the overwhelming peaks of emotion.
focussed on the wildlife and the landscape; here is
Every character is an utter and complete human, and
no cafe culture of the woods. He’s a grown up tree
Tolstoy will play with you, making one party a mon-
hugger, aged past pure idealism and into dedication.
ster, then with a flick of a phrase humanizing them
The solitude of the experienced hiker is there in his
again, leaving you simultaneously guilty for failing
narrative voice; very few people are given more than
to remember that any scenario has multiple perspec-
a name, and a relationship to their land which im-
tives, and also gasping at his unshowy skill. Though
mediately takes precedence. Do not read this for a
I cannot compare it to others, my translation was by
discussion of woodland life, but for the joy of feel-
Rosemary Edmonds, and it was beautiful.
ing bark under the fingertips and the sun drifting in dusty rafters between the canopy above your head. The
Next I read DBC Pierre’s ‘Lights Out in Wonderland’, a gift from Gina. This is a delirious, wild book, and
reading it is not unlike riding a bucking anaconda
as long and gnarled as the knotted branch he’s en-
through a coral reef. The premise is that the narrator
decides to kill themselves - and then realizes they they don’t have to do it immediately. Freed of responsibilities, they embark on a globe-trotting debauch, offering caustic and categorical assessments on life. On a rational level, I disagree with almost all these assessments - yet on an emotional level, and especially when still reading the book, they are utterly true in a way that goes beyond argumentation and accuracy. In my nodding agreement to many things which utterly offend my bourgeois sensibilities, I found it at times rather scary. If Anna Karenina made me vibrate like a cello string, this made me rush like a bilesome wave in a Victorian sewer. Gentler fare followed. Plenty would find Duncan Hamilton’s memoir of the 2009 cricket season, ‘A Last English Summer’, intensely dull, but I raced restfully through it. Its pessimistic tone and conviction that everything was better when the author was young grate, it is true, but the style is lyrically pastoral, and the evocations of past players and recent matches powerful. Rounding off the week was ‘The Selected Works of T S Spivet’, the first novel by Reif Larsen, and one of my captures from a safari into The Strand bookstore in New York. It is illustrated, and the first thing to say is that it is unutterably beautiful, visually. I immediately wanted to check if other editions are available and collect them all. As to the content, it tells the story of a 12-year-old cartographic prodigy who stows away to Washington DC when the Smithsonian Institute award him a prestigious fellowship (not knowing his age). Naturally it is a coming of age story, not dissimilar in tone (though utterly different in setting) to the film Submarine. It is bittersweet and beautifully judged, and though the ending is rather sudden, the impressions it leaves remain fresh.
The Joy of Cricket TOM WEIN
“Welcome to Lord’s for the first Test Match of this Ashes Summer. The umpires are out, and we’re ready to resume after lunch. James Anderson runs up to the wickets, and bowls. A quick ball, on a good length which swings away from Ponting, but he is equal to the task. Driving smoothly to cover, he picks up two runs, taking the score to 87 for three.” This is a short enough paragraph, and simple enough. It contains sufficient information for a student of the game to envision the scene, though it is presumably half gibberish to others. A repeat of the paragraph, this time with footnotes, should hopefully help convince the novice reader of the multilayered magnificence of the sport:
“Welcome to Lord’s(i) for the first Test Match(ii) of this Ashes Summer.(iii) (iv) The umpires(v) are out, and we’re ready to resume after lunch.(vi) James Anderson(vii) runs up to the wickets, and bowls. A quick ball,(viii) on a good length which swings away(ix) from Ponting,(x) but he is equal to the task. Driving smoothly to cover,(xi) (xii) he picks up two runs,(xiii) taking the score to 87 for three.(xiv) (xv)” (i) Lord’s is the home of cricket. Its very name instantly conjures sensations of unbroken tradition; it was founded in 1814. It is the home of the Marylebone Cricket Club, who write the laws of the game. Its conservatism is evident in its ground rules; spectators may not bring in musical instruments (which are vulgar), or use mobile telephones, but they may bring in some alcohol – two cans of beer or a bottle of wine, the disparity in quantity apparently reflecting the management’s view of the sort of people who select those drinks. The conservatism is there in the Pavilion, a handsome Victorian building of red brick, which generally houses braying members in their ‘ham and egg’ – pink and yellow – striped ties (some of the racier members contin-
ue the theme with matching blazers and hat bands). Inside that Pavilion are the famous boards listing every century (100 runs by a batsman, a traditional target) or fifer (five wickets, the bowling equivalent) achieved on the ground. Yet Lord’s has also broken with tradition, architecturally. Facing the Pavilion is the space-age media centre, a pod of white and glass raised some thirty metres above the ground, from where journalists view the match. (ii) A Test Match is the five-day form of cricket, played only at international level. In it, each team of eleven players bats to make as many runs as they can, before the opposition gets all of their batsmen out. Each team bats twice, alternating, and the scores from their two innings are added together. The team that scores the most runs wins. Test Matches compete with a one-day format (in which each team is limited to a single innings lasting fifty overs, or 300 balls), or the recently added Twenty20 format (twenty overs per side). Test Matches are, in my opinion, the highest form of the game, because their length allows space for drama to unwind, and for true talent and determination to surface. However, only in England do they retain unquestioned popularity. India are the dominant power in cricket politics because of their cash, and they do not favour the Test Match. Indeed, though the Twenty20 format was invented in England, it is India who have made a real success of it. The IPL is a flashy tournament of Bollywood gold, cheerleaders and enormous viewing figures. (iii) An Ashes Summer is when Australia tour England. This happens every two years, and is the biggest event in the cricketing calendar, for English fans. Australia are the oldest rivals. The five-Test tournament is named the Ashes. In 1882, Australia beat England on English soil for the first time, a considerable shock. The Sporting Times published an obituary of English cricket, stating that the body would be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia. Since then, a comically small urn containing a burned cricket ball has been the ultimate cricketing prize. From 1987 to 2005, England lost every Ashes contest to a ruthless Australia. In 2005, in the most remarkable series I have ever watched, England scraped through. An open-top bus tour through London culminated in an uproariously drunk Freddie Flintoff stumbling through a Downing Street reception. Australia, stung by this defeat, beat England 5-0 in 2007. (iv) The phrasing of this sentence is classically that of Jonathan Agnew. Aggers, as he is known, presently hosts the BBC’s radio coverage, Test Match Special. The good humour, knowledge and eccentricity of the commentators is indispensable. There is Henry Blofeld, a mock-aristocrat who observes birds and buses as much as he does cricket, and whose fruity catchphrase is ‘my dear old thing’. There is Geoffrey Boycott, one of the finest batsmen England have had. He is by training and instinct a wind-up Yorkshireman, permanently feisty but undoubtedly expert. The commentary team are routinely sent cakes by well-wishers. (v) It is a significant sin to challenge an umpire, and players that do so find it to be expensive. However, improvements in cameras have increasingly exposed their errors, at some cost to the notional assumption of umpirical infallibility. One of the great debates of modern cricket is the extent to which various forms of technology should be employed. At present, the technologists have the upper hand, with the introduction of the Decision Review System (DRS, christened Doris). Though the use of replays is fairly well accepted, much debate centres around Hawkeye. Hawkeye’s macho name betrays its origins: it was developed to shoot down Saddam Hussein’s Scud missiles, and has only latterly been used to track and predict the flight of the ball, to aid in judging the notoriously tricky Leg Before Wicket decisions. (vi) A day of Test cricket is split into three sessions. In between, there are breaks for lunch and tea. This is an exceptionally civilized way to play sport. Though the higher echelons ingest pasta and energy drinks, at village level tea still consists of cakes and sandwiches. Indeed, a female friend despises cricket, not on its merits but because she was forced to perfectly arrange sandwiches for the men. (vii) James Anderson is the leader of the England bowling attack. He is noted for his ability to swing the ball (that is, getting it to bend its flight). Always able to take wickets, he has more recently outgrown a former
looseness which meant he often conceded many runs in return for those wickets. A strikingly handsome man from Burnley, he appeared naked in Attitude magazine and has been dubbed ‘the first metrosexual cricketer’. Most cricket fans would rather drool over his late outswing, but no doubt some enjoy both. (viii) A quick ball is one that approaches 90 miles per hour. Most top-class teams have at least two players who can bowl at this pace. The very fastest bowlers – Shoaib Akhtar of Pakistan and Brett Lee of Australia – have bowled over 100mph, but even they have only managed it a few times in their career. Older commentators like to mutter that the bowlers of yesteryear were faster, but since speed guns were not then used, this is unprovable. Depending on their allegiances, they cite Lillee and Thompson, a hirsute Australian pairing of the eighties, or the West Indian attack. The West Indian attack is a phrase which requires no elaboration for many fans: throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the West Indies fielded an astonishing array of bowlers, each with their own qualities, but all uniquely fast. Batsmen were terrified. The West Indians are nowadays sadly diminished by sloppy management and the rise of basketball. It is rumoured that in the 2005 Ashes series, England tampered with the speed guns, to make their bowlers seem more intimidating. (ix) Swing bowling is one of the most magical of cricketing arts. The ball can be made to deviate in the air (at nearly 90mph); the very finest swing bowlers can make it do so only at the very last second, surprising the batsman. This is achieved by shining one side of the ball with spit, so that air passes faster over that side, like an aerofoil. So vital and precise is this job that many teams nominate a shiner. Bowlers will then conceal the ball as they prepare to bowl, so that batsmen do not know on which side is shiny, and hence which way the ball will swing. For poorly-understood reasons, the ball swings more in overcast conditions. This helps explain why England have long been leading proponents of swing bowling – and also why they fare badly abroad. In the 2009 Ashes, English players sucked on sweets so that they could call up sufficient quantities of spit; the sugar may also have had a beneficial effect, and there was some controversy in the Australian press at the time. All cricketing controversies live in the shadow of Bodyline, an astonishing episode. In the 1920s, Australia repeatedly thrashed England, led by Don Bradman, who is widely considered the game’s greatest ever batsman. In 1933, captain Douglas Jardine led the tour Down Under. He hated Australians, and other poor people. At his urging, England repeatedly bowled potentially lethal balls straight at batsmen’s heads. Irate crowds jeered, and nearly rioted, and building tension culminated in a British Minister threatening a boycott of Australian goods. (x) Ponting should be considered one of the great tragic figures of modern culture. He was one of the finest batsmen in the magnificent Australian team of the 2000s. A natural leader, he was appointed captain of Australia in 2004. His team contained about half of the world’s world-class players, and he became the most successful captain in Australia’s history. In 2007, Australia hammered England 5-0. Many of his players, ageing and satisfied, retired. By 2011, he was the last top-class player in a much-diminished Australia team. Always abrasive, he shouted at umpires and chewed gum furiously. Under pressure to carry the team, his form utterly deserted him. He barely made a run all series, and there was no one left to carry him. He has now lost the Ashes three times, and he has lost the captaincy too. He says he hopes to carry on a little longer. (xi) Among cricket connoisseurs, certain shots are considered to have a higher moral value than others, separate from the number of runs they garner. The cover drive is the most graceful of them all. Its leading exponent is said to be David Gower, a floppy-haired toff of the 1980s. During a game, David Gower once left the ground, rented a light aircraft and returned to fly as low as he could over the stadium. (xii) Cover is one of the positions at which fielders stand. Others include silly mid-off, slip, long leg, square leg, fine leg and gully. I have no idea why. (xiii) Running between the wickets is governed by the calls Yes, No and Wait. It can be a hazardous business, if the two batsmen do not communicate well. By the end of his career, the Pakistani captain Inzaman ul-Haq had become so rotund that he almost never ran; he simply hit boundaries instead.
(xiv) 87 is an unlucky score, according to Australian cricketing superstition. This is because it is 13 short of a century. The English equivalent is 111. This may be because it resembles a wicket without the bails. 111 is referred to as a Nelson, because Admiral Lord Nelson is said to have had one eye, one arm and one leg (though in fact both his legs were intact). For both teams, it is common for supporters to raise their feet off the floor while on this score, to avoid the bad fortune it foretells. Jack Russell, a famously superstitious cricketer (and now a mediocre artist) had so many routines and eccentricities that it would be exhausting to list them here. (xv) The England team would be seeking to exploit the supposedly unlucky score by sledging Ponting. Sledging comprises the insulting discussions between the fielders, designed to be overheard by the batsman. They often seek to exploit batsmen perceived to be low in confidence; since there are eleven fielders and only two batsmen on the field at any one time, a great part of batting is mental fortitude. Indeed, some of the mightiest and best-remembered innings are the feats of endurance: Michael Atherton’s 185 runs over 643 minutes and 492 balls, in Johannesburg, has passed into English sporting folklore. The very finest players do not get sledged, because it only encourages them. My very favourite sledge was in fact not directed at the batsman, but was an exchange between fiery Yorkshire bowler Fred Trueman and a sheepish fielder who let the ball through his legs: “Sorry Fred, I should have kept my legs together.” “So should your mother.” Though cricket is outwardly a sport of chivalry, beyond the reach of the microphones it is often virulently competitive. One of the fascinating aspects of the game is the tension between these imperatives: ‘the spirit of the game’ and the impulse to victory. Batsmen are expected to walk off the pitch if they believe they are out, even if the umpire has not spotted it. Some of them actually do so.
JOINING THE TEAM 26
Joining the Team TOM WEIN
A few months back, I was at a student party. The conversation turned, as it does, to jobs and futures. The room went cold, and silent. I, employed and ‘going places’, shifted uncomfortably.
At the cliff My generation is at the cliff. For years now, we have followed the arrow straight path steeply up. That path was straight fives, 5 A*s, 6 As and a B, four As and a first class degree. Exams are often described as a treadmill, but we knew we were going somewhere. We were going on to what was next. The greatest minds of my generation got 500 UCAS points. Now, though, we stare up at the cliff. Three hammer blows have destroyed our Via Ferrata. First, the ladder was yanked up. The jobs went, and the house prices spiralled beyond sanity. These were the markers of our proudly bourgeois ambitions, and we are denied them. So we are in limbo, with a little time on our hands to observe the world. Second, the promises went too, or more specifically, those who made the promises lost our faith. The reason there are no jobs is simple enough to divine – the bankers fucked it up. They told us they knew what they were doing, and built a bubble whose bursting nearly drowned us all. That is bad enough, but it is worse still for some of us, because bankers are not an abstract group. They are friends and parents, and they are guilty of the most stupendous error, an error which has caused unbelievable suffering across the globe. We do not want to become them. Third, Britain rioted. The poor and disenfranchised, the not us, stole and burned and stoned. We do not want to live with them – and if we are not with them, we are in the height of suburbanism, and that means banking. We will not be as rich as our parents. Indeed, it is because our parents are rich that we will not be. We will pay their pensions and their debt, rent their second homes and educate the masses they forgot. We struggle.
Problems with solutions We do not, however, struggle hopelessly. The problems we face are enormous, but taken separately they each have their solutions. The graduate unemployment numbers vary from one study to the next, but they are all huge, and our experience tells us they are true. It is not just those who are on the dole; we all know plenty who have returned to Sainsbury’s, or are taking a desperate MA. The careers we were promised did not turn up. Yet if the problem were simply graduate unemployment, measures could be taken. Every company could be forced to offer a few management apprenticeships, paid at minimum wage. These would offer a modicum of financial independence and a route into work, while companies would get graduates, talented and already trained, for pennies. Germany has found a way to cut hours not jobs, so that fewer employees are cut off completely; I imagine plenty of us would accept two days a week, paid. Financial services companies provide many of the graduate jobs in London. Despite their investment in HR departments to plan and adjust, they have shown an astonishing, astrategic willingness to panic, closing hiring altogether in 2008; the state can surely offer some reassurances (to split the costs of newly unnecessary recruits, for instance) that would
make such convulsions rarer. Entrepreneurship remains shockingly undervalued. These are practical measures to combat a particular problem. Would that it were the only such problem; it is not. Take property, for instance. For decades, it has made sense to buy as soon as possible, because it was not a property ladder – it was a property elevator. If you could just run up enough stairs to catch it, you could sit safely on an ever-increasing pile of wealth, and borrow against it for other nice things. Now, property prices are stable and high; there is no chance of buying now. But planning laws mean we cannot simply build a house, as forbears a few centuries ago might have done. So we rent, throwing our cash into small rooms with short leases, and asking permission to put up pictures. Yet again, there are solutions to be had. Councils used to provide homes for those who needed them, and they can again, if we are willing to pay for it. Renting works well enough in Berlin and Amsterdam. There are underpublicized shared purchase schemes that have some advantages. Yet again, there are more problems still. Political riot in Tottenham (itself a problem of race relations and authority) soon turned to looting. The causes were many and varied, but one is the broken promises of a consumer society that in 2008 yanked away the easy credit that had lubricated it. For that one, I don’t know the solution. Government can only do so much; society must simply adjust its expectations of what material goods comprise the bare minimum, and what levels of debt are acceptable. Greater efforts to address the information imbalance would help; plenty buy AXA’s bad-value funeral plan because it has Michael Parkinson and a free pen, and in an information-deluged society few of us are capable of keeping track of the many ways companies try to screw us. We could catalogue more. The full list is enumerated in Howker & Malik’s ‘Jilted Generation’, and more soberly in David Willetts’ ‘The Pinch’. With the demolition of the grammar school system, social mobility is broken. We can expect to live well into our eighties, with an extended period of infirmity; is it even possible to save enough to live that long, without working till we drop? We may be certain that we will not get the pensions that our parents do, and they are not even getting the pensions that their parents did. There are desperately few low-skilled jobs, anywhere. Each of these problems has a solution, or at the very least measures which would help. But they cost money, and the pie is not infinite. Right now, with no economic growth, more on the dole and interest to pay on some truly gigantic debts, it is rather smaller than it was a few years ago. Only liars and fools promise to raise money solely by cutting waste. We could pay a little more tax – I hereby volunteer to do so – but basically the money will have to be taken from cutting other programs.
A movement for change If young people are a constituency then they should, in this democratic system, be able to lobby for those changes. Yet by practice and inclination we are not particularly well-prepared to do so. One reason is our education. The modern British A-Level teaches argument, and analysis, and seeing both sides. I think it does so rather well, and these are all vital tools for designing effective policy prescriptions. But we are trained here for scepticism – the cosy scepticism and individualism that functions only in the good times. Scepticism doesn’t know how, it only knows why. Once at university, scepticism is not rewarded; undergraduates are encouraged to transcribe classic texts, not to think. Large classes mean there is little chance to develop the challenging relationships with professors that made university so valuable to previous generations. Thus infantilized, there is little incentive to do more than the minimum of reading between bouts of drunkenness. Long periods of unemployment then do little to build the necessary confidence.
Another reason is our ideals. Diversity, inclusiveness and individualism are touchstones of our generation. These are wonderful things, but as EM Forster noted in the 1930s, tolerance means non-interference, and putting up with things; it is a poor inspiration for action, and action is what is needed. We have placed our faith in flux, and found it too slippery for hard times. Action needs a coherent community with shared aims. Building such a community will be immensely painful. This magazine has been a celebration of outsiderhood, but to build a shared community, many outsiders will have to bite their tongues, and suppress a great part of themselves for the greater good. We shall try to make the community as tolerant as is possible, but if it is too wooly it will go nowhere. There are those who would put their faith in flashmobs; who would say that the riots and UK Uncut have proved that an organized mass movement is no longer necessary in the internet age. This is a very old debate. In Belgium, in 1903, Lenin and Martov clashed over whether it is better to have a small corps of professional revolutionaries (the Bolshevik position), or a large number of affiliated activists (Martov’s Mensheviks). The former solution would certainly be easier to organize, and would be less painful to sign up to. We might thereby preserve our individualism. However, it guarantees that the vast majority of the supporters of the movement would be poorly informed and half committed. That might be sufficient to present a petition to Parliament, but to achieve lasting change on such a range of issues, an organized mass movement of the young is the only solution. We do not delight in this conclusion. Communities are only good things if you’re in one. Strong communities in Britain excluded black people, Catholics, the disabled, gays and single mothers. Communities are generally secured by frequent reference to an outgroup or common enemy. This movement will exclude the old, and ask the young dissenters to subordinate themselves. We do so with a due sense of the pain that will bring. With luck the internet may prove a salve; the decoupling of geography and community may allow dissenters space to dissent in one corner while advocating for the movement on the streets.
Personal experiences Over the past year, I have begun to be sure about things. My concept of tolerance has moved. Previously I delighted in the smorgasbord of opinions, and always saw both sides. Now, like Forster, I put up with difference, and argue against those with whom I disagree. You may legally say what you will, but I will criticize you for it. I have started joining teams. I am now a Christian, and a member of the Labour Party. Neither are very satisfactory. The Bible is full of bilge, and the Pope defends rapists in robes. Ed Miliband wouldn’t inspire a limerick. Yet in both cases, their ideals outweigh their current behaviour. Today’s Church may be an embarrassment, but Christianity stands for the meek. Today’s Labour Party may be filled with tossers, but it has built a country where starvation is not an issue, and we die from heart disease and cancer – from living too well and too long. So rather than starting my own party, or my own religion, I join in with these. To do otherwise would be to allow the perfect to obstruct the practical. Our problems are urgent. So join in. I’m asking you to pick a side. Make the argument. Don’t keep an open mind, don’t play the Devil’s Advocate. Say what you mean, not what fills a witty gap. Once in, make your arguments, and we will listen. Only please, do not leave if we do not always agree. We must, we must be disciplined and we must move forward. Join in, join in.
HELPLESSNESS BLUES ROBIN PECKNOLD & FLEET FOXES
I was raised up believing I was somehow unique, Like a snowflake distinct among snowflakes, unique in each way you can see. And now after some thinking, I’d say I’d rather be A functioning cog in some great machinery serving something beyond me.
But I don’t, I don’t know what that will be. I’ll get back to you someday soon you will see. What’s my name, what’s my station, oh, just tell me what I should do! I don’t need to be kind to the armies of night that would do such injustice to you Or bow down and be grateful and say “sure, take all that you see” To the men who move only in dimly-lit halls and determine my future for me.
And I don’t, I don’t know who to believe. I’ll get back to you someday soon you will see.
If I know only one thing, it’s that everything that I see Of the world outside is so inconceivable often I barely can speak. Yeah I’m tongue-tied and dizzy and I can’t keep it to myself What good is it to sing helplessness blues, why should I wait for anyone else? And I know, I know you will keep me on the shelf. I’ll come back to you someday soon myself.
If I had an orchard, I’d work till I’m raw. If I had an orchard, I’d work till I’m sore. And you would wait tables and soon run the store. Gold hair in the sunlight, my light in the dawn. If I had an orchard, I’d work till I’m sore. If I had an orchard, I’d work till I’m sore.
Someday I’ll be like the man on the screen.
THE TRUE FACE
About Our Contributors
Thank you most of all to you, for
Tom Wein: Tom is the founder and editor of False Moustache. In the
reading. You Thanks
daytime, he analyzes politics and foreign affairs. At night, he listens to
Radio Four and sips whisky. A consummate urbanite, he rarely ventures
know a little more about them, check out the bios on the right. If you’re a fabulously wealthy patron and would like to give them work, then do get in touch. Thanks too to the ever-lovely Sabine, who designed
without her, it would just be a rather dull succession of emails. I hope to produce a second edition of False Moustache. If you’d like to
com and I’ll see what I can do. Here’s
beyond Zone 3, and is currently undertaking an experiment in the appropriate caffeine-sleep balance. Gemma Gordon-Gibson: Gemma was born and raised in Brentwood. She left to study English Literature at King’s, where she balanced critical essays on Shakespeare with a part time job at an online media company. When she finally became a grownup she ended up putting her 19th century literature knowledge to good use by becoming the digital manager for Gold Challenge; a charity challenge event that’s part of the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games. Luke Blaxill: Luke is final-year PhD student of British political history at King’s College London. His political heroes are Robert Peel, Robert Lowe, and the Marquis of Salisbury. He is in favour of ‘regressive’ policies: that is to say, the reverse of policies which are presented as ‘progressive’. Emily Monaghan: Emily is a student of film and classics with a collection of Latin translations, attractive headwear and diverse craft equipment. If she can’t be Doctor Who or Oscar Wilde, she will be a world
famous director. Hel Gurney: Hel comes from Oxfordshire, studied English at King’s College London, and is pursuing postgraduate studies at the University of Sussex in cultural representations of gender-transgression since the
Images & Rights
16th century. Hel is fascinated by borders and binaries, memories and mythologies, and how they can be blurred and transcended.
All rights to the content in this
Leah Weiner: From Toronto, Canada, Leah is an all-around nerd who
magazine remains with the crea-
jumps between the UK and Canada, and other continents as necessary.
tors named, who have been kind
She recently completed her master’s degree in history, and aims to trav-
enough to give me permission to
el, make music, teach, and learn for a year or so before undertaking a
use it here. If you wish to reuse
PhD in the history of health policy.
any of the content, please seek permission
done via the editor.
Arcadian: Arcadian is a consummate laywoman, with a smorgasbord of recurring interests wherein puzzles such as this nestle alongside etymology & long-distance running; crime-noire & cake-making; formal
The images in this magazine were
logic & illustration. She aspires one day to have a regular crossword col-
created by the very talented Emma
umn, a place in a research lab and a bicycle with more than two gears.
the exception of the cover, which was taken by Tom Wein.
Gina Lawrence: Born in Hampshire but now a Londoner, Gina spent a childhood buried in books and long may that last. Gina works in the travel industry, but maintains a perennial wariness of destinations lacking drinking credentials. Esther Beadle: Esther is a twenty-two year old languages graduate. An avid fan of seventies rock music, she is most at home in a loud bar be-
ing screamed at by men with long
hair. One day she might write for
Did you get them all right?
a living. Until then though, she’s selling make-up in a department store. CN Lester: CN is a singer-songwriter,
writer and activist. Creative Director of En Travesti Ensemble, their debut alternative album Ashes is scheduled
Emma Winston: Emma is a musicologist-in-training
rectly, this is the recipe you will
have ended up with.
Line the bottom of a 10 to 12 inch
springform cake tin (11 being ‘ide-
16. LAVABO 18. MINOAN 20. SESQUIPED
24. ACHILLES 26. TZAR
studying for a Masters at Gold-
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al’ but cakes and equipment often being
paper, brush with oil, and lightly flour. Chop or grate your chosen filling; If
with 1 tablespoon of sugar and set aside until needed.
the ukulele quite badly, and wish-
es she owned a unicorn. She also
takes pictures with pinhole cam-
spices and set aside.
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Using an electric mixer, beat eggs
with sugar and lemon zest until
This could take as long as 5 min-
Add the oil; then add milk and
Using a rubber spatula, fold in the
Pour the batter into the prepared
pan and drop the fruit or choco-
late over the top. Sprinkle with the
apps. Ciaran Fisher: Ciaran is a shaggyhaired
preneur. He has taken photos of peace and quiet from Devon to Tobago, as well as of plants, people and protests wherever he goes. Anonymous: author
46. EGGS 48. ML 50. BRA 51. LLAMA
and variety, though of mixed quality.
52. AHOY 53. OON 54. FLOUR 55. RUNE
In a small bowl, sift flour and baking powder; add any dry herbs or
remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the top is a light golden-brown and a knife blade inserted in the centre comes out clean. If it seems your cake is cooking faster on top than in the middle, cover with a circle of foil or baking parchment to protect it from the fiercest heat whilst it finishes cooking. Cool on a wire rack for about 5 minutes
basking in the warm aroma of imminent cake!
Your Turn Write here three things to do this year for fun:
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Write here three things to do this year to help strangers:
Doodle in the spaces between
Learn Read Online Sociological Images Pervocracy Brain Pickings Mark Easton They Work For You Write To Them Zooniverse TED Information is Beautiful OKTrends Danger Room A Softer World
Read Offline Bad Science: Goldacre Jilted Generation: Howker & Malik The Spirit Level: Wilkinson & Pickett Das Kapital: Marx The Pinch: Willets What Being Black Is and What Being Black Isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t: Whittingham On Tolerance: Forster