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Ring a Ring o' Roses

This week #FolkloreThursday is all about children's nursery rhymes, and I can't think of a more topical one than Ring a Ring o' Roses given the current Covid-19 pandemic situation. We are now self-isolating for 14 days, as my middle son woke up this morning with a cough and a fever. I first heard that Ring a Ring o' Roses was about The Great Plague back in primary school, I remember my teacher going through it line by line: Ring a ring o' roses [plague rash] A pocket full of posies [flowery pouches to ward off evil miasma] Atishoo atishoo [sneezing fit] We all fall down [dead] ​​So imagine my surprise when it turns out that's not actually a thing?? Nope, apparently Folklore scholars reckon t

A Good Scolding

​​This week for #FolkloreThursday I have been having some fun reading fairy tales about theft, sin and immorality. I mean, these are not uncommon themes in fairy tales, given that the faerie universe is basically a hotbed of deception, abuse, infanticide and people generally being arseholes to each other... My favourite, and one I haven't read before was a Chinese fairy tale called either Theft of a Duck or The Man Who Wouldn't Scold; as with most fairy tales there are several versions to be found. ​​The tale introduces us to a miserly, lazy, good-for-nothing man called Wang. Or maybe Lin, depending on which website you visit. I'm going to go with Lin, because I am basically a child and will

It's Time

So I have been a bit cowardly in the last year or so, unwilling to engage openly and nail my colours to the mast because my experience of these issues on social media has been unpleasant. But it's time. I don't know if it's just me, but this last week or two it feels like some sort of awful transphobic explosion has occurred on social media. Was it always this widespread? Have I been so insulated by my own privilege that I failed to notice, or have we genuinely reached a tipping point where the backlash agains trans rights has become sufficiently legitimised for anybody who holds "gender critical" views to feel comfortable airing them? It just feels frighteningly busy on the transphobia fron

Let's Dance

I'm going off-piste a little with my feminist breakdowns of popular culture today. So far I've been sticking to books and films that I adored when I was a little girl, that I've been able to understand on a deeper level as a grown-up. Today we're going for something a bit bigger - dance. So I *really* wanted to be a dancer when I was a child; I have very vivid memories of pretending to dance ballet to Strauss' Blue Danube waltz in the living room, as well as several extremely questionable forays into untrained disco dancing; one of which led to an unforgettable appearance at my High School talent contest with two *actual* disco-dancers. This did not go well. Inner me contemplating 11 year ol

The Silver Moon Handbook

A few years ago, before I decided to self-publish and was still working with Wysewomen Publishing, the subject of a companion piece for The Silver Moon Storybook came up. Something that I wasn't expecting whilst marketing Silver Moon was the assumption among quite a lot of readers that that these "feminist fairy tales" would be re-tellings of traditional stories - Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty with a feminist twist; where the heroines unexpectedly turn round and rescue the Prince. I do love that style*, but that's not what I set out to do with Silver Moon; I wanted my book to do more than simply turn patriarchal norms on their head and swap roles between men and women. Silver Moon coincided

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