Thursday, May 10, 2012

Sweet Rain, I Embrace Thee!

There is nothing like a humungous pile of marking to send a striking academic out of the house in search of... well, anything really. I abandoned the slippery pile of work in its celluloid covers, and headed off to Oxford Circus to look for... well, anything really.
Staying in makes me stir-crazy!
I looked at clothes I had no intention of buying (ugh- they are so horrible! What has happened to British high-street fashion?) and spent a long time browsing in my fave shop of the moment, Anthropologie, mainly because they were playing such brilliant music. I had no signal, so Shazzam wouldn't work, but I do know one of the tracks I liked was by Komeda, but I haven't managed to find it on Amazon yet (there's a lot of their stuff there but not the track I heard).
One of the best things that happened was a rain shower that drenched the streets with cloud-vomit. People shrieked, put up umbrellas, sulked, splashed, stood under canopies; but I decided to go for it, get wet, look silly (it makes my ironed fringe curl up like a nest of writhing vipers) and I soaked up the wet like a human sponge and DID NOT CARE!
Today, it felt like freedom and it was fun not to care what I looked like, and to read a sodden Evening Standard on the tube on the way home.
Many years ago, in the last recession, I made it a New Year's Resolution never to buy it (so depressing!) and I have been avoiding it due to its relentless promotion of horrible Boris. Today, I had a respite, but it's still pretty useless: it assumes all its readers are petty-minded stockbrokers. Which reminds me: there was an interesting comment by one of the Rothermeres yesterday at the Leveson Enquiry, all about integrity. It reminded me rather of Jonathan Aitken's 'sword of truth'.
When I was writing the original PHD that became The Lost Women of Rock Music, I wrote to almost two hundred local papers asking for women to come forward to be interviewed. I also decided to write to some broadsheets.
I don't read the Daily Mail, because I bought it once and that was enough. However, it has long prided itself on being a paper for women readers and I wrote to them asking if they would be prepared to mention my search for ex-punk rock musicians, as I could imagine that as many of us became Daily Mail readers as Guardian, Independent or anything else readers.
A woman journalist phoned (I think she was called Juliet Domiguez, but it was a long time ago), and asked me all about the study and who I'd spoken to; we spoke for about half an hour.
'So you have one child', she said, 'What does your husband do?'. I was shocked, because I could not see that this was any of her business. She had picked up on the fact that I was a mum and I didn't correct her because that was none of her business either.
In the end she told me that they would not print the interview unless I told her what my then husband did for a living, and sure enough, when it came out, there was no mention of my name, just the fact that a researcher at the University of Westminster was doing this work, and then several pages of interviews with women that I had told her about. I felt used, cheated and disrespected!
So, Mr (or Sir, Viscount, etc etc strike out that which does not apply) 'good journalism is ethical journalism' Rothermere, I don't think much of your ethics and I wouldn't even use your paper to line the bottom of my budgie cage!.

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