Female Protagonists or Misogynistic Primordialists?

As I have succinctly established in my recent posts; I am a little all over the place at the moment. I don’t know what I’m going to do tomorrow… let alone for the rest of my life. I tell my parents that this is a good thing… that they need somebody to fret over, lest life would be far too plain sailing and dull. I look to the heroines of popular 90s chick flicks for salvation; you know… all slightly dishevelled mentally, but physically astounding. I point out to my dad that no heroine of any chick flick of the past 20 years has had her shit together at the beginning of the film… Where would she go from there? Therefore neither should I. He points out, quite aptly, that I am not the star of my own show, but, rather less glamorously; a post-teenage train wreck living in perpetual denial, who is quite possibly failing her degree and who has very few prospects. Fantastic. I think. That’s just where I want to be actually. You see, from here, the only way is up. A phoenix will emerge from the ashes of my former gin-addled, silly self; slimmer, more agile… perhaps with ninja like abilities to return library books on time and never run out of petrol on the motorway. Call me a fantasist if you will… but the day is coming. It’s on the horizon. The time is now. Well, maybe after this g & t.

But watching another prime-time US sitcom, attentively introduced to me by channel 4 and its freeview counterparts. I realise that they still seem to be under the impression that the woman’s domain is innately social: Concerned predominately with fashion, feeling and feminine-ity, not femin-ism. And it’s the same old story isn’t it?  The ditsy girl is rescued from a series of silly situations by the smarter sex. The thinking woman, then, is a fearsome and unfeminine thing to behold. I fear I too may have fallen into this trap and legitimized this false stereotype. As a result of my over exposure to popular film/television, I have allowed myself to slip into the same narrow categorization that these characters are subject to: I’m the ditsy one of course (though rescue is not in sight as yet). The disorganised one. And as my dad never tires of telling me the undatable one… through his incessant insistence upon calling me Bridget. But I’M NOT BRIDGET. She’s an outdated cliché. I no longer want to be the star of my own chauvinistic show because I understand that women are far more diverse than US cable contributors would have me believe. Women in the comic sphere have been confined to a strain of categorization not prevalent in any other outlet; if a woman is to be funny, she must lack complexity; she can either be pretty or witty, there is very little in-between.

So, not yet willing to conform to the conception that I’m 2014’s answer to Bridget Jones, I have re-assessed myself: I don’t deny that, perhaps I do possess Bridget-esque traits; I cannot hold my liquor (but god knows I’m trying), I’m often late, my general knowledge is limited and I do tend to say the wrong thing from time to time. But I will let these trivial minute details define me no longer. My name is Sarah and I’m a post-feminist; far too complex for clear classification. Occasionally you may be fortunate enough to find me horizontal on the dance floor, while on other occasions I will be pacing the national gallery, pouring over my favourite portraits or showing the boys how it’s done at the gym. We modern day females are creatures beyond common comprehension. But far too often do we allow one aspect of ourselves to define us in our entirety.

Specs can be found alternately carrying out complex psychological experiments and keeping up with her favourite family (apart from ours) the Kardashians. Snotty alternates wildlife photography, writing and long distance running with SATC marathons, drinking white wine and dancing on tables.  Swilly is well on her way to a first in Geography whilst simultaneously upholding her longstanding reputation as the leader of our notorious gang. And the treasure troll intersperses days spent in the library, reading about Major and Thatcher, Plato and Aristotle with eclectic house music nights at Sub-89 and trips to Thailand.

So, I have pressed pause on my inclination to align myself with the dishevelled girls trapped inside the television. Because I would rather be an overtly chaotic and confused real person, than a 2 dimensional copy of a constructed and constricted caricature I saw once on a screen. We may be fun loving girls. But we are also free thinking girls, and we do not do ourselves justice by confining ourselves to the narrow categorizations imposed upon the characters we’ve been over exposed to.

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Just a few fun loving, free thinking girls who know how to shake things up.

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Seminar Survival

At home in Somerset. I receive an unexpected Facebook message from a boy (very unusual activity for house spinster). Sadly said boy is from my politics and international relations of the Middle East seminar, reminding me that we are due to present tomorrow and asking whether I want to meet and discuss what I’ve done so far.

Which is, naturally, the square root of fuck all. Now more reluctant than ever to endure the two hour drive up the slow and winding road that is the A303, only to go to the library, I decide it is a good time to clean the entire house as a surprise for my mum, who is celebrating rather a landmark birthday tomorrow. Feeling domestic and succumbing to the idea that perhaps my rightful place is in the home, as opposed to pretending to be intellectual, presenting about politics to roomful of Marxist feminists, anarchists etc etc… I decide to nominate myself for best daughter award (easy win) by making batch of Florentines. However only have one piece of baking parchment so it takes about 2 hours to spoon mixture onto tray, bake, wait to cool, use spatula to pry from paper, then repeat the whole process 6 times. But I do feel very thrifty in the fashion of make do and mend 1920s style woman, for using one measly piece of parchment to bake 500 (feels like) Florentines. I then decide that the kitchen, while immaculate, is far too drab for such a fabulous occasion and (to blow one’s own trumpet), fabulous Florentines. So I drive to the supermarket to buy flowers, balloons, decorations etc. Before I know it I’m another £30 in to my, already severely depleted, overdraft, it’s 3pm and I still have yet to drive back to Reading, find out what I’m presenting on, research said topic, actually make presentation, prepare for dissertation meeting and read extensively on Michael field (pseudonym for 19th century lesbian aunt/niece couple… but that’s a story for another time). Also, my headlights are broken, so if I don’t leave soon, I will have to either drive in utter darkness or blind everyone on road with full beam.

En route. The radio I spent a sizable chunk of my summer job wages on over the summer is still not functional as a radio (man in Halfords saw me coming a mile off). However can plug phone into it (technology whizz), therefore had intended to download In Our Time podcasts; transforming journey into a learning experience, courtesy of Melvyn Bragg; from which I would emerge the other side an intellectual and cultured avid radio 4 listener. Instead, as a consequence of too much time spent blowing up balloons, I was forced to stick with my foolhardy fun loving, eclectic mix of music ranging from Phil Collins to Taylor Swift (hey I never said I was cool); much to the amusement of my fellow road users who seemed to greatly admire my ability to drive and dance simultaneously.

Back in Reading by 4.30, full of good intention to finish all work by 7 and have early night; consisting of green tea and Gore Vidal. But I’m greeted by Snotty, Speccy and Boobs who clearly have other ideas. We have been apart for over 1 day so, naturally, there’s a lot to catch up on. I’m successfully distracted for 2 hours and am consequently late for meeting.

Safely seated on second floor of library, boy leaves after 20 minutes to go on a date (with presumably smarter, more together girl, who is never late). I am left staring blankly at screen. Quickly decide that the only logical thing one can do when faced with such a severe case of writers block/can’t be bothered is to check Facebook, Red online, BBC news, Buzzfeed, blogging websites etc. Another hour goes by before a couple of the girls arrive for late night dose of dissertation. (Knew I could rely on Looney to be in similar boat to me – a true friend). So ensues more chatter, as I’m regaled with further tales from the past 48 hours.

By 10pm I have managed to do a meagre amount of reading and create pitiful PowerPoint presentation before deciding that the library is far too visually unstimulating/atmospherically unispirational so decide to go home and work/bang head on desk.

Sit down on bed for two minutes. Suddenly. So. Tired. Surely, if anything, it will be counterproductive to attempt to work when so sleepy. Better to just go to bed and start afresh tomorrow.

Tuesday morning rudely awoke me, as it always does, with no sympathy for my sleep deprived state. So ensued the seminar. I began by begging attendees, most of whom sport alternative haircuts and ironic hipster t-shirts and definitely think I’m stupid/trivial (which I am but don’t tell them that), not to ask me difficult questions which I blatantly wouldn’t know the answer to.

I then jabber unconvincingly about American intervention and the Arab-Israeli conflict. Alternating between mad nonsensical rambling, slurring like drunkard I so long to be at this point, and supreme shyness to point of ridiculousness. The professor looks at me as if am moron (which I might well be). But at least it’s over. You know, it wasn’t really that bad in hindsight…

Now I could go to the library and get started on the next presentation… Or maybe just go home and see what the girls are up to…

Am I Supposed To Be a Grown Up Now?

I’m in a state of perpetual denial. I have just crossed the threshold into my 21st year of being. But I didn’t want to. I wasn’t ready yet. Adulthood has been imprudently imposed upon me like a chic haircut I’m supposed to wear with pride, when I just want to don a novelty 90s tie-dye hat and pretend it’s not happening. I have no desire to wear pastels or pencil skirts, get a mortgage and/or spend my spare time shopping for kitchen utensils and crockery (that’s what grown-ups do isn’t it?) I want to be ridiculous and irresponsible and live carelessly with no consequences… Just for a little bit longer at least… Sadly, society dictates that 21 is the age at which this is no longer acceptable and, for lack of a better idea, reluctantly, I must conform.  But I’m already flailing.

Snotty and I had planned to spend the blessed day together in some cosmopolitan cocktail bar in Paris. However, much to her annoyance and, to my great despair, I latterly realised that my passport was nowhere to be seen (most likely  MIA after night at Q-Bar). Thus, instead, I spent the evening in traditional, disorganized and dishevelled Sazzle style; scantily clad, pulling perplexing shapes on the union dance floor. (Although, does seem appropriate to start as intend to go on).

Okay, so perhaps it wasn’t the birthday per se which terrified me; there is nothing to fear in a day dedicated to adoration, alcohol and cake. It’s what the birthday represented. What comes next. Now. The year of transition. The rest of my life. When I was little I thought I’d just look in the mirror one day and see a strong, independent adult woman staring back at me. Instead I see a scruffy, dishevelled soon to-be graduate with little life experience and really frizzy hair.

So, in a vain attempt to live up to the expectations of that jewel eyed and ill advised juvenile/not to become a complete fuck-up, I’ve devised a fool proof plan…

1)Learn the difference between affect and effect/how to use apostrophe’s.

2)Graduate (and don’t fall over whilst doing so)

3) Get job

4)Get out of (astronomical) overdraft

But who in their right mind would hire a girl whose most admirable achievement is having completed the SATC box set twice over… And whose most praiseworthy quality is her ability to recite it word for word (actually it is quite impressive).

Okay… clearly there are some (huge gaping) holes in the plan. Maybe I’ll just sack it all off and go and find myself on some exotic island.

The overdraft is a mounting concern though…

Okay… need to rethink the plan

New Plan: Make plan

Oh fuck it. No matter how many disapproving glances I get from various professors/ parents/ prospective partners (nil), there is something quite lovely about not having a clue yet. I am blissfully ignorant. Maybe I’ll trick somebody into thinking that I’m respectable enough to employ. Maybe I won’t (most likely scenario). Maybe I’ll travel. Maybe I’ll get my masters. It’s terrifying and it’s exciting. Most of the clan are in a similarly mentally disorienting position and I feel as if their lack of direction validates my own (in the nicest possible way ladies and gents). None of us knows who we are yet or where we’re going. We’re all okay though. We’ll work it out… Eventually. The future awaits and there is no plan. There is certainly no manual. We’re all just scrambling about in the dark searching for the light switch. I have faith in us though. If we can make our 9ams after a profusely boozy night at Q Bar, we can definitely do this grown up thing.

So, when the day came there was no flaming torch, no beacon of hope. Actually, life just continued, business as usual (plus cake). That epiphany I’d been impatiently waiting for didn’t descend upon me like Kubla Khan upon Coleridge. But slowly, I’ll figure this out. My 21st year will consist of feeling my way through the darkness with little elegance or eloquence, in a frivolous quest to become an accomplished adult. But fun loving girls will be fun loving girls. And I’ve heard that accomplishment is overrated anyway. Perhaps I’ll falter. Probably fail. But there are far worse things… Like shopping for crockery and wearing pastel pencil skirts.

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Photo: a jewel eyed and ill advised juvenile

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some things never change

Oh the towering feeling

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOVswTV9uCg

Who knew a grey brick terrace on a dingy one way street in the dodgy part of Reading could contain so much happiness. I apologise in advance for the cringe worthy content of this post.

In my portable death trap, en route back to Base Camp after a few weeks in The Shire. Apprehensive about the impending deadlines inevitably associated with the beginning of a new term. But those feelings of despair are pushed to the back seat as I crank up This Will Be… An Everlasting Love. It’s our song. And should we be matrimonially inclined, each of us has vowed it will be played at our weddings (an exception may have to be made in my case… what with being the house spinster and all), starting with Speccy in six months’ time. A tribute to our time together. The single girls. The seven of us. And it will be an everlasting love … no matter which direction each of us chooses to go in, we’ll always, always have 79 Blenheim Road, our first and last home together.

Out to greet me first hops Snotty. She and I, together, are the undefeated champions of articulate, fervent SATC fanatics, committed Beyoncé impersonators and two thirds of what has affectionately (and embarrassingly) come to be known as the Late Night Crew. The other third of the LNC is comprised of a certain fun -loving, red-headed Mancunian, who is in such high demand that she comes complete with iPhone attached to right hand and spends an unhealthy amount of time cooing over pictures of puppies on the internet. The Mancunian’s (let’s call her Looney) most endearing quality is perhaps her ability to justify absolutely any compromising situation we find ourselves in, no matter how ridiculous, by simply stating that we are fun loving girls, misunderstood, nay, oppressed by society’s narrow view of what is acceptable behaviour for young women. Luckily Speccy is usually around to get us back on the straight and narrow. She has been known to return from the gym just as we’re emerging from our beds. But failing that will be found at her desk, impeccably dressed in head to toe Topshop. Her organisation and dedication to her degree is what compels me to continue with mine. Just like Boobs, who will leave Reading and slip straight into a chic trouser suit, coffee to go in hand, various spreadsheets and charts enclosed in patent black leather briefcase and head straight for the office, which she will instantly domineer. Famed during fresher’s year for being a persistent passenger on what she dubbed the ‘chunder train’, but now most often found with Smarty, crooning over laptops, working on various projects and strategies while I watch Friends in my pyjamas (it happens a lot). A fellow lover of all things botany, board game and book, Smarty is a girl after my own heart …That some twat once drove past her, rolled his window down and yelled WALK OF SHAME as she innocently toddled to a lecture on a Tuesday afternoon is just the icing on top of the cake. And Dippy; the most recent addition to the gang. Only she could be titled the grumpiest housemate and make it sound endearing, even at times adorable. Her eclectic mix of passions from baking to twerking to tyrannosaurus rexes (strange but true), her absolute frankness and her ability to rock a grey on grey tracksuit on a hangover day are some of the many reasons I love her so.

And me. I have done some questionable, possibly morally reprehensible things in my time, but these ladies scrape me up from the gutter (sometimes literally) and put me back together again. They brighten up the bluest days. Together we have come to form a wonderful (if slightly dysfunctional) urban family. It’s when we’re all sitting on the sofa enjoying a few beverages, reminiscing over the past 3 years and planning for the future that I feel absolutely, ridiculously, overwhelmingly happy and realise what a wonderful life we have created here.

Filled with nostalgia as I listen to all of the best songs we dance to, cry to, and very nearly die to during those very worst hangovers. Delighted at the prospect of being back with my motley crew, when Vic Damone bursts out from the stereo: Chiming on about lilac trees and larks in a manner which adequately reflects my own sentiments. And I’m well out of Somerset now, I’ve driven past Stone Henge, past Basingstoke, past the University, past the café where we sit the morning after the night before, drinking tea from cardboard cups and attempting to decipher what the hell actually happened, past the corner shop which supplies us with the sugar fix necessary for a big night in. And all at once am I several stories high; knowing I’m on the street where we live.

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Us

Take Me Out of here immediately if not sooner

Sitting in a café with a male friend. I nonchalantly ask ‘are you going to take me out later?’ His brow furrows and a look of terror descends across his face. Realising his interpretation of the question, I am simultaneously insulted and amused at his adversity. ‘Good god no’, I say, ‘don’t flatter yourself, that’s not what I meant… Clearly I was referring to Reading University does Take Me Out at the Union tonight’… He laughs. ‘No’, he says, ‘that sounds even worse than the former.’ Although, obviously, deeply affronted at such blatant antipathy to my miscommunication, I fear he may well be right.  And if it is, as predicted, even worse than having to endure an evening with me, then Reading’s take on the ITV hit show really must be pretty dire.

It’s 8pm and students, having flocked from far and wide, are now gathering expectantly outside the union. Despite the mile long queue and dismal weather, hopes are held high at the prospect of our drunken peers being publicly and remorselessly humiliated on stage. We eagerly await the moment they are dragged, kicking and screaming, to the modern day equivalent of the stocks, and I have a sick and fleeting wish that I’d thought to bring rotten tomatoes with me.

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Photo: unsure whether medieval method of torture or University’sTake Me Out

Accompanied by Lyddy; my partner in crime. We venture backstage to commence interviews with participants for the student paper. Compacted into a box sized, testosterone filled room, the five male contestants discuss game playing tactics and the crucial qualities they search for in a mate; boobs, bum and obedience is the general consensus… Aesthetically at least an 8, ability to cook and do laundry (should really go without saying), she must also be sufficiently inebriated (so that she might actually find him attractive enough to accept his offer of date/fornication). I am reminded of My Darcy’s interpretation of what constitutes a truly accomplished woman; ‘a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing,  and the modern languages, to deserve the word.’ And I weep for Austen readers everywhere; that these boys are his modern day, non-fictitious counterparts.

After a substantial dose of monotonous masculine locker room chat, Lyds and I venture to the rather more glamorous girl’s room, where the fifteen lucky ladies wait with breath baited. About to embark on their respective quests for love, adulation and/or copulation, the girls, dressed up to the nines, are steadily reaching the optimum level of Dutch courage necessary for such a mission. Much to their delight they are presented with another bottle of Smirnoff by event organizer (who clearly shares the popular opinion that entertainment value directly correlates with level of intoxication). Having previously met the boys (who are chauvinistic pigs at best), I encourage the ladies to drink with hearty vigour. Most signed up for the show whilst in various states of inebriation and have come to regret the decision in the sober and cold light of day (hence the heavy drinking). I reassure them that they are fabulous and will probably find true love and eternal happiness tonight. (While thanking god that when I get home from a night out I’m in no fit state to fill out applications, let alone operate a computer, and, am therefore not in the precarious position they find themselves in.)

In a flurry of excitement, the presenter, clad in tweed jacket, red dickey bow, braces and tartan trousers (only in Reading) bustles in and announces that the show will begin in three minutes. We leave the ladies to make their final preparations and position ourselves amongst the masses, soaking up the full camaraderie of university life (everyone standing in their respective cliques, on phones, avoiding all contact with outsiders). The student union is rather sobering and drab when encountered sober: This is a strange and foreign feeling which I am not accustomed to and I make the decision that a four drink minimum is absolutely essential and should be mandatory.

The difference between the ITV show and its Reading University counterpart is that rather than thinly veiled innuendo, as seen on TV, the Reading gang opt for a much more overt variety of uninhibited insinuation (which I actually rather enjoy). Questions include “if I were a horse and you were a jockey, how would you ride me?” and “if I flip a coin and get heads will you give me a blow job?”… And they say that chivalry is dead. Upon finding himself in the advantageous position of choice between two girls, bachelor no.2 points to the leggy brunette on his right and proclaims “I’LL TAKE THAT ONE”, to which the presenter responds that this is, in fact, a dating show and not a cattle market (although the two are not entirely dissimilar). If treating a potential suitor like a piece of livestock doesn’t get you a hot date, I don’t know what will (agricultural theme: in-keeping with Reading’s reputation of excellence in field).

So, after what could only be described as an anti-climactic but moderately amusing evening, Lyds and I make the executive decision to depart early in favour of pizza and Legally Blonde; the stuff of great Friday nights. From the poor amplification to the atrocious use of innuendo; Reading’s Take Me Out made for awkward watching and was certainly not the stuff of great romance. But the most displeasing aspect of the whole epidemic, is that I know, that, come Saturday night, I will be back at the union once more, booze addled and ten times more embarrassing than anyone on stage this evening. Actually I can’t wait. Somebody pass me the Smirnoff. Hang on. No. This is a classy affair. Make it Glens.

Perspective

A run down of Wednesday’s main events

7am: Sheer panic because: i) have not done any reading for seminar
ii) have neglected to send important email to dissertation supervisor
iii) am supposed to start tutoring today but don’t know when/where/how/who
iv) car battery has been flat for approx. 1 week
v) Have to drive to school in Wokingham (where is Wokingham?)
vi) is week 4 and have yet to do any work
Best thing to do is, obviously, go back to sleep for 10 minutes and sort out later.

8.00am: Fuck. Overslept. Muster strength to clamber out of bed. Send email. Receive hostile response. Skim read about struggle for democracy in Afghanistan in preparation for seminar. Late for seminar. Realise seminar is, in fact, on 19th century poetry. Try to make interesting points which do not articulate well. Sound like moron comparing Christina Rossetti to Roald Dahl (was a good point, but literary world not ready for my bold/innovative ideas).

Walk home in rain. No umbrella. Resemble drowned rat.

12pm: Hassle boy down road to lend me jump leads. Don’t know how to open bonnet. Raining profusely (Pathetic fallacy).Jump leads not long enough. Cause traffic jam of irate drivers along Blenheim rd. Attempt to stretch jump leads (futile). Fight back tears of frustration. Buckle in and call AA. Nice man attempts to charge battery. Battery does not take charge. Pay £80 for new battery (thank you overdraft). Drop yogurt, explodes all over kitchen floor and self.

1.35pm: mad rush for tutoring session starting at 2. No idea where am going. Take wrong turning, end up on M4. Very late. Miraculously find school. Hustled into classroom. Realise how appalling am at grammar/spelling while(st?) trying to help kids with work (Embarrassing as study English). Bitchy year 8 girls laugh at me. Walk back to car, passing van meets large puddle. Tsunami of muddy road water all over me.

Traffic. Petrol light comes on. No money.

Home. Bedroom light bulb bursts. Plunged into darkness whilst getting changed. Go to co-op. Doesn’t sell light bulbs. Drive to Tesco. Traffic. Accidentally smash light bulb on floor of yogurt aisle.

Gym. Treadmill. Gruelling.
Drop iPhone on kitchen floor. Smashes.

Watch 12 years a slave.

Lie in bed thinking about how lovely day was/life is.

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Photo: A genuinely bad day

Why the kindle holds no contest to the humble book

It’s a rainy Sunday, the kettle’s on, you select an old classic in anticipation of an afternoon of absolutely nothing. But what? Oh no, your book has run out of battery and you can’t find the charger. Such is the modern world.

It’s light as a feather, you can store thousands of titles, blah blah blah, I get it; the kindle is so magical that it glows. Call me old fashioned, but I’m still clinging on to the notion that book shopping should be done in book shops. The kindly owner of the independent store helping you to select the next novel. Getting lost between the aisles of a dingy little second hand place, discovering hidden gems. Finding an inscription, love note or intellectual scrawling as you flick through the leaves: A book is far more than words on a page (or screen as the case may be): Bound into the Bloomsbury, Routledge or Penguin Classic is that wonderful woody scent, a feeling of nostalgia which is then passed to the next reader, and that unparalleled satisfaction as the pages in your left hand become thick between your fingers.

Among my most treasured possessions are a set of Hardy’s novels, inherited from my Grandfather, a beautiful little book of Ben Jonson’s poetry and a copy of Captain Corelli from my Dad. How can I carry on the tradition of passing these exquisite artefacts from generation to generation if the only ‘books’ I possess exist entirely on a small electronic screen?

Reading is about escapism; leaving this world and immersing yourself in a new one. Now electronic books come complete with internet, escapism is impossible: You’ve just walked through the wardrobe, you’re nearly in Narnia when what? Oh Kevin Keyboard-Warrior has messaged you on Facebook. Illusion shattered. For a short while the book was the perfect antidote to over exposure to square screens but is now just another in a vast sea of the things.

The owner of a kindle cannot participate in the practice of leaving a great book on a bench or a beach for the next person to find and revel in. They cannot scrawl their name into the cover or make their mark on the page. They cannot read whilst reclining in a rubber ring in the ocean… If a book gets a little wet, it’s no bother, it will dry, and anyway it cost 50p in a charity shop. Sadly its electronic counterpart is rather more expensive to replace.

A well-stocked book shelf is a wondrous thing to behold, upon seeing such a strange and stimulating sight, guests are intrigued and conversation ensued. But when books are virtual they virtually do not exist. It’s like the record vs MP3 debacle, and sadly convenience always reigns over custom. In the olden days of yore you’d pop out on a Saturday morning, purchase your record of choice, perhaps even talk to a genuine person about it, then carry it home with great pride for everyone to see, examine the album artwork, listen to the crackle as you place the needle on to the vinyl, and ah the magic starts to happen. Now just log on to iTunes click a button and voilà transaction complete. The kindle is the reader’s equivalent to the music lover’s illegal download. Instant gratification, virtual communication and deep-rooted distraction; that’s what the kids want folks. I fear books will soon be fond relics of a romanticised age, confined to the shelves of museums, gathering dust. But in my house, books will reign supreme, my shelves will always be adorned by my favourite authors; from Austen to Adie. And on a rainy and slow Sunday afternoon I know I can depend on them, just as they may depend on me.

ImagePhoto: Kiera Knightly with her old fashioned kindle