Giacometti put me off my food

Did you know that looking at a Giacometti sculpture can make you anorexic? There’s a claim that thin fashion models put women under extreme pressure to diet. A glance around the local shopping centre confirms that most people are withstanding this exreme pressure pretty well. In fact they must have been staring at space hoppers or something.

It’s true that fashion models are particularly thin. Women’s magazines are full of them. They have got skinnier over the years too. But why does that equate to extereme pressure? There are plenty of other female role models – politicians, business leaders, TV personalities, film stars, athletes, artists, musicians and so forth. They aren’t all painfully thin. Or take a look at the models featured in lads’ mags and pornographic magazines. Do they all look under-fed?

Many women’s magazines also feature the blemishes of the rich and famous. Double chins, cellulite, wrinkles and rolls of fat in abundance. They even delight in printing pictures of celebrities who have become too thin.

We are surrounded by real people who aren’t thin, and the media presents images of all sorts of women, not just the scrawny. So why do thin fashion models get the blame for women’s discontentment with their own appearance?

Juba do WOW!

Juba do LeãoA friend had a big birthday party last night with music and dance provided by Juba do Leão who are a percussion and dance group from Manchester specialising in the musical styles from the Northeast of Brazil.

With 25 drummers, 7 dancers, and a 7 piece melody band they are an exhilarating, noisy, uplifting, sexy spectacular celebration of vitality. If you get a chance to see them, make a date! You won’t be able to keep your feet still and you may well find yourself grinning from ear to ear.

Cigarette, everyone?

Smoking in public places is becoming outlawed in more and more countries around the world. My first experience of this sea-change was in 2001 when I visited California. I hadn’t known about the law there, and at first I just couldn’t understand why people in a hotel bar were leaving their drinks to go outside!

England went smoke-free rather late, in 2007. It’s still a pleasant surprise to go into a cafe, pub or restaurant and not be enveloped in a fug that permeates your hair and clothes. Pushing your way through a small crowd of rather sad looking smokers to get into the premises is the small price we now have to pay for being able to enjoy clean, healthy air indoors.

Interestingly, as cigarette smoking is being marginalised like this, it becomes more and more prominent in popular TV dramas. Continue reading

Behind closed doors

I went for a walk last week. Just to stretch my legs really, but also to nip into B&Q. I went along the back roads and noticed things I never would have discovered if I had simply jumped in the car. There’s a quaint crescent row of alms houses built at the turn of the last century. A pub with a bowling green down a cobbled street. And playing fields on a raised area of land from which you can see the whole of the town, the majestic railway viaduct which cuts right through it, and the rolling moors beyond.
Continue reading