Martyn Hett’s Funeral

MartynSeveral years ago I had the good fortune to work with the wonderful Figen Murray.  It was my first lecturing post and she was a lecturer in counselling.  She was extremely organised, remarkably tidy and good listener.  During our time working together, I went through a difficult time and she was calm, reassuring and kind.  We have both since gone on to better jobs and despite living near each other have not managed to keep in touch.  A few weeks ago, I was sitting on the sofa waiting to watch the Graham Norton Show and there was Figen on the local news.  Her son had been killed in the Manchester bomb.  She was, despite this devastating news, the calm reassuring presence I remembered.  I made the effort.  I went to the memorial for Martyn in the local park; I baked brownies and took them round and on Friday I went to Martyn’s funeral. Continue reading

Margaret Atwood – The Heart Goes Last

heart-goes-lastI have an academic interest in utopias.  Imagination is often underplayed in social policy, but, to me, creating future worlds is an inevitable product of redistributing resources in the present.  A current fantasy of mine, in a near-future Utopia is that one of my favourite authors has read my blog and deliberately uses the motif of Doris Day as a ploy, so that I write about her work.  Atwood understands the technology, the communication networks and the soft power of blogging.  The tens of views my blog regularly receives means she could find a new audience of social workers and policy researchers previously considered ‘hard to reach’[1].

My imagination is not complete enough to detail fully the symbiotic relationship between academic and author that would flourish in the near future, but I can at least flatter myself that Atwood (or Margaret as I call her when we text and email) have a shared understanding of the complexity and nuance that the seemingly innocent image of Doris Day can evoke. Continue reading

Anne Tyler (2015) – A Spool of Blue Thread

CALAM1I like Doris Day films.  Sometimes, life is ugly and injustice leads me to rail, so I escape into a Doris Day rom-com.  I choose Doris, however, because despite the whimpering-simpering storyline, she always sets her chin defiantly, pulls a funny face and provides character.  She is not alarmingly beautiful, but a talented comedienne who can belt out a tune and looks great in chaps.  This is also how I feel about Anne Tyler.  She is often accused of being ‘cosy’.  The world of her books is ‘small’ and ‘everyday’.  But Tyler can also poke her tongue out, display great comic timing and draw attention to strength as well as frailty. Continue reading

Carol (2015)

Director: Todd Haynes

** This blog contains spoilers**

carol-movie-posterLast week I was lucky enough to be able to see Carol with a group of friends at my locally refurbished cinema.  It was an opportunity to catch up and be entertained.  After watching the film, I didn’t think that I would write about it. This is not to say that I did not enjoy the film.  It is beautiful and seductive and as someone who is easily distracted by well-cut clothes, I would definitely recommend the film.  However, it was not until I wrote about control in the last blog, that I found something to say about the film beyond the aesthetic. Continue reading

Hysteria (2011)

hysteria poster

When I first suggested that I would write about Hysteria for my blog, it was a joke. After all this is a comedy about the invention of the vibrator in the 1880s. Hardly appropriate material for a Doris Day fan (Doris is rumoured to have turned down the part of Mrs Robinson in the Graduate because she found it ‘distasteful’. Faking an orgasm for camera was not part of her repertoire). However, in retrospect this film is nothing but a simple rom-com and is a not-too-distant relation to On Moonlight Bay. Continue reading