Friday, 7 April 2006

Books, Gender and Birthdays

Last night I went to the Women's Library to see a screening of Orlando based on Virginia Woolf's book of the same name. Although I read the book some years ago, I had never seen the film and was quite curious.

I got to the venue early and had the time to check out an small exhibition they have on display at the moment, called "What Women Want". It charts the feminist struggles from the suffragettes movement till the end of the 1970's. All along I was expected to see a picture or mention of the name of my new (business) partner, Linda Bellos. Although there were a few copies of Spare Ribs at hand (of which she was a member), the exhibition was probably not in depth enough to focus on individuals.

There were also very few mentions of lesbians and lesbianism in the exhibition, which seems a little surprising considering, that this "alternative" sexuality was often used as a political devise for segregationist feminists who didn't want anything to do with men...

Probably quite foolishly, I was feeling a little self conscious as a male in this temple of femininity, thankfully everybody was very nice and I was eventually joined by two other members of my sex. With about 30 people attending the screening, we were still very much in the minority though.

It was funny to be able to recognise almost of type in all those women, which I can only try to sum up by mentioning the words "lesbian", "middle class", "arty" and "English" together. Not that any of these women had to be all or even any of these things but I think this summons the right mental image.

The film was very nice and as entertaining as I remembered the book. Very ironic and self parodying. I particularly enjoyed the music. Seeing Quentin Crisp as Queen Elizabeth 1st was also quite a treat.

An academic was there to give us some background and I was quite surprised, considering its subject matter, to learn that the book had been published successfully at the time (1928) when The Well of Loneliness was going through its obscenity trial. Unfortunately, the guess speaker could not really bring any precision on this.

Happy Birthday, biatch!On the way to the event, I found a book on the number 40 bus. I have no interest in reading it but I respect books too much to allow one to go to the bin, which would probably have been its destiny had I left it there. It is the 1975 paperback edition of a 1943 book called Bomber Pilot and seems to be the reminiscence of a World War II... err... bomber pilot.

I think this will make a lovely extra birthday present for Slightly, later tonight... Much closer to his tastes then mine. He likes non fiction and travel books...

Happy Birthday, biatch!

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