Monday, January 30, 2006

Before it becomes illegal...

... I should like to point out that I think religions, all of them, are a pack of lies. A very stupid and dangerous pack of lies, which for centuries have resulted in the oppression of women, of the poor and of homosexuals, and continue to do so. It is outrageous that subscribers to a set of illogical unscientific supernatural beliefs should be protected in this way while misogyny and homophobia go largely unchecked in society.

I think the bill should be changed. I'd accept the whole thing with just one little adjustment. The definition of "religion" should be changed to include only a set of beliefs which include the idea that followers should give their money and wealth to the poor and live frugally. Most major religions include this admirable ideal. Only persons who adhere to this component of their religious beliefs would be protected.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Save the Date

Sunday 5th March. I'll be compering a genuinely huge show at Her Majesty'sTheatre in aid of Interact Worldwide. They're an international HIV and AIDS charity doing loads of cool stuff. The details of the line-up are under wraps at the moment, ready for the big announcement. Prepare to be impressed though. And pencil it in your diaries now!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Oh please!

Here we go again. Yes poor unfortunate men just can't get a job in accountancy any more. Despite the fact that once they do get the job, guess what? They get paid a whole load more. Maybe employers would rather hire women because they know they can get away with paying them less. Maybe it's because they know women put in longer hours and work harder because they feel that they have to over-achieve in order to garner any recognition.

Also I love the way they say "the pay gap between men and women is partly down to the career choices that women make ", and the other part of the pay gap is down to what? Blatent outright unbridled misogyny? Seems like the report is only half finished...

Change in Africa

Africa's first female leader, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, has started her campaign by announcing an assault on public enemy number one for women in socially-devastated Liberia: rape. I really hope she's successful, it's so badly needed.

Cru-blog live

Well last night's interview was delayed considerably after the Mark Oaten announcement. It was also cut rather shorter than expected due to all the other news stuff going on. Still the subject was covered in the end for about ten minutes around midnight. You can "listen again" here. The discussion was about whether parents should let older teenagers (sixteen to nineteen year-olds) have their boyfriends and girlfriends stay over (in their rooms).

Now my parents would never let me do this with the resultant effects that (a) various members of the Suffolk Ramblers association were treated to the sight of my naked bum (b) I never talked to my parents about sex ever again and, I guess (c) the idea that sex was wrong/dirty was re-inforced. My point was that if they can't do it in the house they'll do it at the bus stop where there is a lot less chance of sensible safe and enjoyable practice being adhered to. The guy arguing with me reckoned that it was "all very well in theory but when you actually have kids you want to protect them". One of those great arguements that means absolutely nothing. Like "I've had kids so I'm allowed to behave irrationally", and how exactly he meant to protect them by forcing them to fuck on the streets is beyond me. He also had his 15-year-old son on hand to nervously stutter out that he agreed with his Dad (he didn't sound to me like he had much choice!).

He also said if you started with sex, next you would be allowing them to take drugs in the house. The implication being that sex is as bad and wrong as, presumably, he believes drugs are. Difficult to know where to start on that one and sadly we ran out of time.

He also hilariously pointed out that he was much more protective of his daughter than his son. He insisted that one of the main reasons he couldn't let his son have girlfriends over was because he had a responsibility to the girl's parents. So increasingly I was developing the impression that he regards sex as something nasty that men do to women. Again sadly I didn't have time to ask him which public school he went to...

Friday, January 20, 2006

Jobs and gender

Yet another gynaecologist is in the news for repeatedly making an almighty mess of things. If your gynaecologist looks like this, uh oh.

I do not understand why any woman in this country would visit a male gynaecologist out of choice. I had a horrid experience with one myself who I was only visiting cos no-one had a female one on the health insurance I was on. It's a pretty unpleasant experience at the best of times, without having to worry about what sort of cheap thrills the specialist is getting out of the situation. I'm sure there are some great ones out there but I think it would make great sense to say that new doctors entering the specialisation should be female. Of course there is no doubt somewhere a letcherous old lesbian with an extra-cold speculum (female gynaecologists always warm them and male ones never do in my experience...) just waiting for me to step through her door. I'll take my chances though.

Isn't it just a little bit ridiculous that women aren't allowed to become bishops in churches and men are allowed to professionally poke women's genitals about in the name of medical science?

Cruella FM

Mistress of the Cru-blog Kate Smurthwaite (that's me!) is back on BBC Radio Five Live tomorrow night. It's the Steve Nolan show 10:30pm. Discussing teenagers and sexuality. Please tune in.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Message to my innumerable critics...

Seem to have been a number of people on my blog and via e-mail lately saying things along the lines of "great blog but you should be more open-minded"... I wanted to make the following points:

The blog represents my opinions. Otherwise no-one would read it, it would just be a forum for public comments. My views on here are far from set in stone, but they're thought out, I've done my research. I welcome posting from people who disagree with me.

The arguement "you should be more open minded" won't ever change my opinion on anything. If you want to change my mind, include links to trustworthy data on the subject, think your arguements through and make your point.

That said there are also some super-knowledgeable people whose input to the blog is much appreciated, thanks for dropping by, please keep coming.


Was watching the news today about the woman who was raped and mudered in Thailand and whose attackers have been caught and tried and are now facing the death penalty. The judge said "The woman would never have been able to identify you, you could have run away after the rape, but you chose to drown her. This shows that you are cruel." Wasn't the bit where they raped her pretty cruel too? Its yet another part of the world where yet another judicial system is propagating the message that rape isn't a real crime...

Monday, January 16, 2006

Big rise in casual sex

There has been a big rise in the number of people opting for casual sex, figures suggest.

The British Association of the Rampantly Horny recorded 22,041 one night stands carried out by its members last year - up 34.6% from 2004.

The figures show that the majority of casual sex continues to be carried out on by heterosexual - 19,601 procedures in 2005.

However, homosexual men and women now make up 11% of the total - up from just 8% in 2004.

This was recently illustrated by figures showing casual sex has enjoyed a surge in popularity among office workers in the City of London.

Missionary: 5,655 (up 51.4%)
Her on top: 3,415 (up 50.2%)
“Doggy” style: 2,700 (up 9.3%)
Up against the wall: 2,279 (up 42.1%)
Her on top, facing away: 2,268 (up 34.7%)
Sitting up: 1,869 (up 24.4%)
Wheelbarrow: 1,436 (up 24.9%)
Flattened “doggy”: 1,176 (up 28.1%)
Spoons: 663 (up 9.6%)
Scissors: 580 (up 34.8%)

The top position for heterosexuals was missionary, with 5,646 carried out - a 51% rise since 2004.

"Doggy" style - continues to be the top position for homosexuals.

Less conventional positions, such as wheelbarrow, spoons and scissors, also showed a considerable rise in popularity in the last year.

Ms Lucky Streeter (not her real porn name), a consultant sex therapist and BARH president, said: "These figures appear to represent a growing acceptance of casual sex, particularly in diversifying positions and the number of homosexuals choosing to engage in one night stands."

Qualified advice

However, Ms Streeter stressed it was important that her members promoted responsible practices.

Concern has been growing about the number of people who opt for casual sex without using effective barrier methods of contraception.

...ok I wrote that article. It's is a spoof of an article on the BBC website about cosmetic surgery. Read the original here. Now bear in mind that you're much more likely to die from cosmetic surgery than from casual sex. Plus casual sex is much more likely to sort out your self esteem problem in my opinion! And yet my article sounds so irresponsible. Well I think it's totally irresponsible for the BBC not to mention the risks of surgery. One in 476 patients die. Yes DIE! And that's at reputable hospitals and clinics, it's loads worse at dodgy, overseas and unregulated places.

And that is my real "porn name" for those who play that game (it's the name of your first pet, then your mother/grandmother's maiden name!). Any yes, those are all genuine sexual positions, I guess I'll do what I have to in the name of research!

One more for us

Well assuming we haven't lost any in the mean time. Chile have elected their first female president. That makes ten around the world I think. Unless we've lost one in the mean time. Here's my latest list:

Ireland President Mary McAleese elected 1997
New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark elected 1999
Latvia President Vaira Vike-Freiberga elected 1999
Finland President Tarja Halonen elected 2000
The Philippines Presidnet Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo succeeded 2001, elected 2004
Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia elected 2001
Mozambique Prime Minister Luisa Diogo appointed 2004
São Tomé and Príncipe Maria do Carmo Silveira appointed 2004
Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel elected 2005

and new entry Michelle Bachelet, President of Chile (2006- )

Sounds like she has some sensible plans for reform too, though we'll have to wait and see if she really means it.

Our mother who art in heaven...

The good old Church of England has "no theological objections to women bishops" but is going to keep them out until 2012 just to be on the safe side and even then offer alternatives for parishes who don't fancy the idea. Still I suppose that since the church has been oppressing women for centuries we should be grateful for the scraps offered from the table eh? I also find it amusing that the church, like most religions, has no consistent ideology whatsoever. Their rules are a mish-mash compromise of what most people seem to want...and they expect people to unquestioningly accept their nonsensical rules?

Friday, January 13, 2006

If your gynaecologist looks like this...

...get a new one!

Better than ID cards...

A town in Colombia is proposing a new law which would make it compulsory for teenagers to carry condoms at all times. Sounds like a great idea, since it would totally solve the problems of being embarrassed about buying them and carrying them around. Plus it would be the last time anyone said they didn't have one when they meant they didn't want to use one. The impact on teenage pregnancies and spread of STDs would have to be positive.

Needless to say the local church isn't so keen. Why anyone asked their opinion though is beyond me. The country has laws which are supposed to guarantee freedom of religion. And while the Roman Catholic church may preach against using condoms, so far as I know no religious edicts are infringed by carrying one around... The local priest is quoted as saying the move is "like selling guns on the street". Hmmm, yes, with the notable exceptions that guns kill people while condoms save lives.

Anyway it struck me that the impact on British society of the same law would be a whole lot more positive than forcing people to carry round over-priced ID cards.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Female celebrities and eating disorders

Seem to be all the rage now. The latest I hear is that Lindsey Lohan (huh? apparently she's in some low-quality film) hasn't got bulimia after all. Well there are a few confusing things here:

Firstly she says she was making herself sick to loose weight, but she wasn't bulimic... that's the definition of bulimia! That's like saying she's covered in thick furry hair, but she's not hirsute.

Secondly she says she's "appalled" at the story. Well that implies that she think eating disorders are something to be ashamed of. They're illnesses, and the message that those who suffer should be able to admit to suffering and seek help should be spread around as far as possible.

Thirdly what's with the journalists, and she's not the first one to be "outed" as having an eating disorder. Magazines like Heat do little else. And of course the focus is almost always on female celebrities, reinforcing the idea that we're only valued for our appearances (note how I cunningly passed myself off as a celebrity there!).

Something like 15% of women suffer some sort of eating disorder in their lives. And some men suffer too. A very small number have been open about it and brought the heavily under-reported subject into the media (notable exceptions: Princess Diana, Jane Fonda, Paula Abdul and Joan Rivers). And all of these cited the media glare as one of the contributory factors that caused their condition. So the more critical "accusatory" reporting on the subject, the worse the problem.

I suffered anorexia (nervosa, not bulimia) for about two years when I was 16-18. It's really horrible. I was down to about 7 stone at one point, thin enough to have had no periods for 18 month. Thin enough to take showers rather than baths since the latter resulted in my hips bruising against the ceramic sides of the bath.

Support in this country for those trying to overcome the condition is pitiful. A friend of mine's sister, Roz Dunham, committed suicide a few years ago while on the receiving end of totally unhelpful support for anorexia. There was a radio program made about it, with her Mum and sister interviewed. You can read the transcript here.

I think the issue should be a key component of NHS and government thinking and new policy, not a matter for snide, backstabbing press speculation.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


I'm not really making any new year resolutions. Trouble is I always keep them and it's such hard work... If I were to though, one of them would be to keep all my gig dates posted up, last night after a great Entertaining Tales I discovered a friend downstairs who was keen to know where he could see me, to which the correct answer was, two hours ago right here...

So here's what's coming up:

Tonight - Red Lion Great Windmill Street (compering 8pm, free)
Wednesday - Red Lion Great Windmill Street (probably as Super Sandra, 8pm, free)
Thursday - Amused Moose, The Enterprise, Chalk Farm (as Super Sandra, 8pm £5)
Monday 16th Jan - Pear-Shaped at Turnmills, Clerkenwell (as Super Sandra, 8pm, £5)
Wednesday 18th Jan - She-haa, Sahara Nights, King's Cross (as Super Sandra, 8pm £5)
Monday 23rd Jan - Famous Puffin, Tufnell Park (not as SS for once! 8pm, £3)
Thursday 26th Jan - Tiemo Entertainments Finance Debate... details to follow
Friday 27th Jan - Bromley CIU, London Road, Bromley (as me, 8.30pm, £8)
Monday 30th Jan - Anda De Bridge, Shoreditch (as Super Sandra, 8:30pm, free)
Wednesday 1st Feb - Singles Comedy Night, Context, Triton Court, Finsbury Square (as me, with speed dating, this is a £22 event only open to people aged 23-37, etc)
Thursday 2nd Feb - 99 Club, Red Lion, Great Windmill Street (8:30pm, £3)
Monday 6th Fed - Entertaining Tales, The Enterprise, Chalk Farm (Compering, brilliant story-telling show, 8:15pm, £5)

See y'all soon.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Turning veggie

I've turned vegetarian for the month of January. Mostly just to try to get myself to eat more fruit and vegetables, which is working, although I have lost about half a stone which I didn't really want to. Anyway it really amused me to see that there's been a big fuss made about a couple of TV chefs showing animals being killed on their shows. Really strange when you think how many people are shown getting killed on our TV screens every day. Do some people empathise more with turkeys than humans?