23 Sep 2013

"You want to do what to my ass?" When lyrics go wrong.

Blurred Lines, by Robin Thicke, Pharrel and T.I, has been getting a lot of press attention in the UK recently. This is because, a full three months after release, some media outlets have finally noticed the sexual violence implicit in the lyrics and some universities have banned it. T.I informs us that he has "something so big I'll tear your ass in two", while Robin Thicke sings that he's going to drug the woman he desires. Charming.
However, lyrics promoting violence against women, sexual or physical, are nothing new. This is particularly true in the world of hiphop and rap. Kim, by Eminem, is a particularly appalling example. However, these songs are usually wholly intended to be shocking, and rarely released and put on Radio 1's A list.

Here are a few songs that have been in the annual top 40, in the last three years. They have been widely played and bought, and they have some seriously questionable lyrics:
1. Love The Way You Lie, by Eminem ft Rihanna.
This song, charting the ups and downs of an abusive codependant relationship echoes the known abusive relationships both Eminem and Rihanna have been in. But do we really want to hear that if "she ever leaves again I'mma tie her to the bed and set this house on fire"? This charming ditty was the best selling single of 2010, by the way.

2. Frisky by Tinie Tempah
Ah, Tinie Tempah, a man who has not yet been to Scunthorpe and hogs wardrobe space at his aunt's house. However, when he's got the horn, beware women of the town. There's no outright rape mentioned in this song, but the whole vibe is one of "I will find a drunk hot woman, I will do her, and then I will forget she exists." Not dissimilar to Mr Thicke.

3. Starstrukk by 3Oh!3 ft Katy Perry
They want to know how to make love to something innocent without leaving their fingerprints. Yeah.

4.  She Said by Plan B
Oh God, where to even start with this? The great ode to date rape! She said he raped her, he said she wanted it, he got sent to prison and it's SO UNFAIR (and so unlikely because woman vs rich celeb doesn't usually win). Although this is supposed to be a concept album discussing the fall of the fictional Strickland Banks, don't women get enough crap from the media about making up rape without this tool adding to it?

5. Sweat by David Guetta ft Snoop Dogg/Lion
Snoop will make you give it up, and then not let you take it out til you can taste it. And if you can get him up, he will give it to you rough, but he's got money so presumably he can pay you off afterwards? I'm not wholly sure. I don't think he is either, the lyrics are a rambling mess.

6.  We Found Love by Rihanna and Calvin Harris
Rihanna, once more wanting an abusive relationship back because it's FUN TO HURT. Or something.

7. Black Heart by Stooshe
He is a monster, he scares her to death, he has a black heart, but he's really good at sex so it's fine. Right girls?

I feel special mention should go to Rihanna for producing so many songs implying that domestic violence is absolutely fine because LOVE HURTS and stuff.
My point is that there are so many songs out there that have suspect lyrics that have been ignored, or tutted at, or put down to artistic interpretation. Are we, as a country, going to continue to object to songs based on lyrical content? Or is Blurred Lines a one off? I hope the banning of Blurred Lines in some universities is a sign that we have finally had enough of the rape and abuse of women being an everyday, acceptable subject for a song. 

17 Sep 2013


All my books have been delivered.

It's strange how exciting it is to have module materials delivered. It feels like a present, a gift. But for the more seasoned OU-er, there's the knowledge that within lies PAIN, CHAOS, and FRUSTRATION.

Oh, and knowledge, reward, and personal fulfilment.

A218 (History of Medicine 1500-1930) consists of seven books. Two study guides, two course books, two source books and the most giant set text that ever walked the Earth. The Greatest Benefit To Mankind by Roy Porter is a proper spider-killing, doorstopping, arm breaker of a tome. 848 closely typed pages of historical medicine. I love it, it's absolutely fascinating. I think I may have found my new favourite subject. On top of these books, there's an audio CD, DVD and a CD-ROM, as well as website material that isn't released until tomorrow.

SK277 (Human Biology) arrived yesterday, a few days late. This is a shorter module, with four coursebooks and a glossary. A lot of the course is online now, and that site doesn't open until next week. From flicking through, I think it looks manageable. But god knows what the site holds!

However, trying to work out how much time to allocate to each per week is giving me a headache. My eldest started school a couple of weeks ago, and is not having the best start. He come home for lunch, which means EIGHT walks to and from school for me every day. It's hopefully only for this week, or I may seize up and go mad. It does somewhat wreck the day, having to constantly clockwatch for the next collection.

I've sorted out folders, highlighters, notebooks, graph paper, pens, even an index card file to keep thematic notes for A218. I've cleared the dining room table for study space, even though in Winter I tend to do all my work in the lounge, trying desperately to keep warm in this icebox of  a house.
But I've not sorted out time. I think it will probably end up being three days a week on A218, two on SK277 and catchup at weekends. My partner's just moved in with me (I should probably scratch the 'Single Mother' bit from my header), so I have a bit more support on hand than in previous modules. I just need eldest to stay at school all day and youngest to stop being clingy because he misses him. Then everything will be dandy!

3 Sep 2013

All Change

My little boy starts primary school tomorrow. He went to preschool a few days a week for the whole of the last year, but this feels different. The teachers are known as Miss or Mrs Surname instead of their first names. He and his classmates will be the smallest in the school, instead of all being approximately the same age. It feels more serious, more permanent, more terrifying for me.
He is, of course, not bothered. He's slightly baffled by the amount of stuff he has to have, and the idea of wearing full uniform, but he's mostly excited. He wants to learn to read, and to write.

For me, I feel like I'm losing a little part of my baby. When you have a child, that child is part of you even after they're born. You hurt when they hurt. You laugh when they laugh. Your urge to protect them, to keep them safe, to insulate them from harm is stronger than anything you've felt before. Those feelings don't fade with age, they just become normal.Until something big happens - the first time they walk down the road instead of going in the pushchair, the first time they climb the slide by themselves, the first sleepover with family, the first time you leave them at preschool. Primary school is a Big Thing for a mother. It's a little loss.

The actual schooling in reception (or Foundation, as they call it now) is exactly the same as preschool - open play, stories, group time, outside access at all times - but with more focus on reading, writing and maths skills. I will never get used to calling it literacy and numeracy.
I should consider it a new beginning. But it's hard to let go of his babyhood. His little brother is going to MISS HIM so much.They may have had many fights in the last six weeks, but generally they get on well and play well together.

The other big change is that my partner is moving in. This is seriously weird for me - and probably for him as well. Since my (almost) ex husband left me, almost three years ago, I have lived on my own with the kids. Initially, my partner lived 200 miles away from me, then he moved closer, and now we figure it's about time he moved in properly. I have to get used to sharing space again, to stop thinking of everything as mine and my responsibility. I lived with my ex for nearly seven years, and it took a while to shift out of that shared-life-headspace. Now I have to get back into it.
And of course, this means I am no longer going to be a single mother. I'll need to change my banner and everything!