Archive | February, 2013

Week 28: Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Before Today

24 Feb




I went to my first proper antenatal class today, a new effort they’re putting on at our gym. I came away feeling quite overwhelmed a. by the lack of care and professionalism of the instructors and (more shocking) b. how much the ladies in the class just put up with it.

We sat downstairs afterwards to fill out their market research survey nonsense thing, and as I scribbled an essay on the mistakes they’d made and how potentially damaging both physically and psychologically they might be for participants, I could hear the women who’d taken part in the class smiling and being nice about how much they’d enjoyed the class and not saying a word of anything. And I’d watched these women in the class, and I’d seen them struggling (swear to god this is not just me going on a rant – it really was badly done, almost scarily so).

My friend and I spoke to one lady afterwards and she was talking about how she’d rushed back to three classes a week post-natal after her third baby and, confidentially, I mean she was embarrassed about this, she felt she was struggling with those full-on, high impact classes and that she “wasn’t up to it anymore”. After we spoke a bit more it turned out she’d become so demotivated she’d actually not been to the gym at all for two weeks and she felt that all this was her fault. That a lack of ability to snap back to it after having her third baby was her failing, rather than something that might need a more structured approach, and then giving up was her failing times ten. And it’s all, to me, a part of the same disease. This beating ourselves up. Why did nobody take this lady to one side and ask her how she was doing? No, they just take her money and there’s no duty of care. And then she comes to a specifically antenatal class and gets the same “get on with it” attitude. I’m not surprised if she felt shit, and that there was nobody on her side. I definitely would have.

All the women in that class today were apprehensive, to some degree, about what to expect. And yet we were given no support, no reassurance, no options, we were just ploughed through the class irrespective of our individual needs. And we blamed ourselves for not keeping up. I’m a fitness instructor, and even I felt frustrated by my own limitations. People coming back to exercise after having a baby (or for whatever reason) or who have a challenging condition that limits them physically are vulnerable people and need care and support.  That goes for pregnant people, and sometimes, just people. We don’t need patronising or mollycoddling, we just need treating like human beings instead of fee-paying cattle. Does anyone blame the gym or the class? Rarely, they’re more likely to blame their own lack of stamina and willpower, which feeds the guilt cycle.

Anyway. My point (aside from that chain gyms suck the big one) is that I’m starting to wonder if becoming a mother means entering into a world of guilt and anxiety and women judging themselves and others and….ugh, all the things that make being a woman a bit shite anyway but  x 10 because you have all this new massive shit to deal with, and you’re expected to just carry on as normal and make it look effortless. All the while having the decisions you make being put up for public scrutiny and judgement, as if it wasn’t enough dealing with that self-critical voice in your own head anyway.

It worries me, but it also angers me. I feel like I want to do something about this.

If you haven’t read this by Anna, then you should. If somebody that lovely and talented and hard working can feel this way, then there is no hope for the rest of us.

(note: and just so I don’t completely ignore my record of the week, this album is a modern classic and that is that)


Week 27: Kenny Loggins – Keep The Fire

17 Feb

East Van Disco

What better way to cruise into your final week of 2nd trimester than with a bit of K-Log? I have Amy to thank for bringing me this uplifting record featuring the big K in his “space Jesus” phase. Look, he’s giving us the gift of driving soft rock, in the form of a pulsing orb. Take it. Let the rainbow light up inside your ears.

Michael Jackson sings backing on this record, do you think he took conceptual inspiration from it and saved  it up for that song he did with all the kids and Jarvis Cocker’s bum? I love it when pop stars do that. Go on, ride onstage on a white tiger. I dare you.

This is the record of the week because we listened to this all the way home from our smashing weekend trip to London and I can’t see it being taken out of my car stereo for something more critically acclaimed. It’s ace.

I have just one more week of being in the middle phase of baby-growing where ladies are alleged to glow just like that orb in Kenny’s outstrectched hands. And am I glowing? Am I fuck. I tell you what, they feed you a lot of nonsense. I’m still knackered, a bit less vommy and quite a lot fatter (not sure how much is cake and how much is baby mind).

Nails are looking great though, they didn’t lie about that. And Spring appears to be on its way, which means May is nearer, which means less wondering about what it’s all going to be like and actually doing it. So impatient. So very impatient.

Week 26 – The Pixies: Surfer Rosa/Come On Pilgrim

10 Feb


I don’t have a favourite band. I lack the conviction to make that kind of decision. What if you went and got a tattoo, and then your previously hailed idols made some dreadful rap metal album? Even if they split up or died (YES DIED)  it doesn’t mean to say they can’t reform in some new and horrible way.  No, I just don’t trust these chaotic unions enough to pin all my hopes on just one. Or even five, or ten.

But if I DID have a favourite band, it would probably be the Pixies.

In spite of a lot of bands trying to sound like the Pixies (see: any band I have ever been in, for at least one song, and really badly), nobody really does. And it goes without saying that the Pixies don’t sound like anyone else. There was no musical evolution here, as far as I’m concerned there was the big bang and then there were the Pixies, and then there were a lot of people who tried to sound like them but failed.

Whenever I have sat down and tried to write a song that’s half as brilliant as the Pixies, my thought process kind of goes like this: “Just be yourself, and have no influences. Apart from, maybe, keeping it nice and simple. And then sing something sexually deviant or in Spanish or, better yet, something sexually deviant in Spanish over the top…. and then think for a bit about being a cowboy in a desert surrounded by bleached skulls and then if you were that cowboy what guitar solo you would play, and then…. oh, you’ve written a song that is clearly trying to be the Pixies but is only 2% as good. Again.”

This is my favourite Pixies album, even though all of them are my favourites.

Maybe Pixies songs would make good lullabies, if you didn’t think too much about the words.

Maybe getting a tattoo of a band is more respectful than endlessly trying to write songs that sound like them.


Incidentally I had a huge poster of this cover on my bedroom wall when I was a teenager, and because it has naked boobies on it, my mum said she thought I was gay for a while. Ah, mums.

Week 25: Lady Gaga – Born This Way

3 Feb



Baby Gaga is not just a clever name you know. Well you’d better know, because it’s flatly unoriginal and if there wasn’t a story behind it then I would expect to lose at least 50 cool points for bandying it about like I know what’s up.

Baby Gaga was the Immaculate Conception of Gaga. He was a Born This Way tour miracle baby. And no, this isn’t a story about my rock n roll sex life. It’s the tale of two peesticks that I still have tucked away in my drawer.

On the 8th September I went to my first ever big pop concert, at Twickenham, to see the legend in her own time that is Lady Gaga. Before I went I POAS (that’s Pissed On A Stick for anyone unused to fertility forum acronyms), just in case, as I knew I’d be having a few jars of warm, overpriced stadium wine. I say just in case, I was actually for the first time in my life pretty sure that something was up with my body. I felt strange and puffy. My boobs were not my own boobs anymore. I’d even left my husband’s birthday card unsealed because I had this sneaky suspicion that Perhaps It Had Finally Worked and maybe I could write it in as a surprise. But the stick said no. Fate sealed, card sealed, London bound.

So I went, I danced all night with my friends and a lot of well-styled men and teenage girls in fancy dress, and it was amazing and transformative and ace. Mere days later I was about to start my next round of treatment and the man at the clinic told me I really ought to POAS again before I started taking the Crazy Drugs, and I thought “pah”, and then I POAS anyway and there were the little two lines. There they were. With nothing to have prompted the change but a transcendental pop experience.


Peestick 1 (below)= BG (Before Gaga), Peestick 2 (above)= AG (After Gaga).

You can infer anything you like, but I’m pretty sure it was the ICOG. The Immaculate Conception Of Gaga. What you can definitely be sure of is that I took a picture of two things I weed on and now I have posted that picture onto the internet.

This week Gaga is definitely reacting to sounds, and he is particularly loving this Gaga record. Maybe it’s the big fat beats, maybe it’s because I just play it really fucking loud but he starts dancing when I switch it on and he doesn’t stop til I switch it off. This is all more proof in the pudding, if you ask me. If he’s born wearing spangly hotpants and with a lightning bolt over one eye, I will know for sure.

Side-note: I have JUST THIS SECOND realised why Madonna’s Immaculate Collection is called the Immaculate Collection. Baby JESUS!