Monthly Archives: August 2013

Top of the Lake and the depiction of rape in fiction

Trigger warning: references to rape, gang-rape and child sexual abuse

Spoiler warning: for Top of the Lake and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

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Review: Top of the Lake


New Zealand director Jane Campion’s films, such as The Piano (for which she became the second female Best Director Oscar nominee ever, and won for Best Original Screenplay) and Bright Star, divide viewers between those who admire her rich, challenging characters and stories, breath-taking cinematography and complex but unapologetically feminist perspective, and those who find her pretentious and baffling. I’m firmly in the first camp, and was eager to watch the director’s first television series, Top of the Lake, when it showed on BBC2 earlier this month.

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Elizabethan guinea pigs

It’s official: guinea pigs have been household pets in Britain since at least 1580  when this anonymous, wealthy seven-year-old girl was painted with hers.

Portrait of three Elizabethan children, including possibly the first portrait of a guinea pig

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Filling the electronic blank page

Hello whoever’s reading this! (Especially if you’re my Mum being supportive. Hi, Mum.)

Welcome to my blog! I would show you around, but there’s nothing to see so far. But I’ve got to fill the electronic equivalent of a blank page somehow, so I thought I’d start by explaining my reasons for starting this blog and the sort of writing I’ll hopefully eventually post on it.

 I’ve been meaning to start a blog for ages, but what’s finally pushed me is the recent realisation that I want my future career to somehow involve writing, whether that’s fiction or non-fiction about  topics I care about, which means I need to get as good at that as possible. I’m currently working on a novel set in a London devastated by global warming, which I will write about more here when it’s more developed, but this is my non-fiction writing project. It’s a chance to bring my thoughts on stuff that interests me – books, cinema, theatre, politics, the creative writing process, TV, music, and guinea pigs, for starters – out of my head or my notebooks (I have seven different notebooks for different topics. Yes, this is absolutely vital, and in no way just an excuse to browse the stationery aisles), and into a more meaningful and entertaining shape. I firmly believe that the challenge of writing for a readership, however small, will force me to redraft and edit until I can’t help but improve my writing. It’s just a bit self-indulgent – the things I have to say are far from unique, and I’m not going to make millions of either readers or pounds from doing this – but I think it’s a worthwhile exercise, and I hope you will find something here to interest you.

To give you an idea of whether you might enjoy this, for my first few posts I’m planning to blog about the oldest guinea pig in English art, my thoughts on Top of the Lake, and why I threw Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness across the room. I’m also planning a recurring feature where I try to introduce readers to the things I love that not enough people have heard of, and blogging on current affairs from my environmentalist pacifist feminist republican perspective.

This blog will therefore probably be a learning process, as I refine my concept of what topics I enjoy writing and you enjoy reading about, and how to write about them. Not to mention sorting out the trimmings of this blog – the design and username it’s using now probably won’t be the final version. Please bear with me while I sort things out. Constructive feedback in the comments is welcome – offensive postings WILL be deleted on sight.

So, dear reader who may or may not just be my mother, welcome again, and I hope you enjoy reading this blog!




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