I heard a story on BBC Somerset last week that for some reason really wound me up. It was about three local cemeteries approving the use of QR codes on gravestones. After a little bit of research I discovered that this has been a thing for a while now, but it was the first I had heard of it and it made me inexplicably irate.

The idea is pretty harmless – scan the QR code and you can find out more about the person buried there. Nothing offensive in that is there? So why did it make me feel so uncomfortable?

Gravestones View Post

I call myself a feminist.

I complain about the representation of women in politics and share my thoughts on pornography and the sex industry, but these are all big issues. I’m not saying they aren’t important, of course they are, but they are the bigger picture.

Recently though I’ve started noticing more everyday sexism than ever before. Partly I think it’s because I’m in a relatively new relationship and this always makes you look at the world in a new way, but it has also had a very tangible impact, not because of anything my boyfriend has said or done himself, (he is always thoughtful, courteous and kind), but because of how his presence impacts how people see me.

I’m used to doing things for myself and by myself. As a single mother I may not always be treated in the same way as a man, but I’ve not often found myself in situations where I am able to make exact comparisons. Now though, with a well spoken, 6′ 1″ man at my side, it has become very obvious indeed.

Here’s an example… View Post

I watched The Voice last year for the very first time and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was let down only by the simpering Kylie, draping herself provocatively over every young man within a ten metre radius.

This season then I was looking forward to something different, so imagine my despair when it turned out that Rita Ora was even worse. Seriously, did you see her with the firefighter? It was pathetic.

It’s not just pathetic, it’s actually offensive. If she was a man behaving this way with women would we think it was acceptable? What would we have to say to a man who felt it appropriate to go up onto the stage and start touching one of the contestants in a bid to secure them for his team? View Post

Last week I wrote about the Love Log.

If you haven’t read the post, you really should. It really is very funny and I’m not just saying that because I wrote it and want you to read it.*

In it I lay into the world of PR rather, and complain heartily about the number of shit press releases I receive every day. I had an email today though that I wanted to tell you about because it was absolutely the perfect antidote to my ranting and made me smile.

The email was from a PR person who had read my post about the log of love and who clearly didn’t want to piss me off. The release itself was pretty standard – certainly informative and clear if not a little irrelevant geographically – but I would probably not even have opened it if it hadn’t been for the title:

“Press release – hopefully not too shit”

Nice.

And just for that, I’m going to be a good blogger and tell you that if you work in Manchester, you should definitely sign up for the Manchester v Melanoma Challenge 2015 being run by Melanoma UK and raise money to fight skin cancer.

Manchester melanoma challenge

*I so am.

*RANT ALERT*

I get a lot of shit press releases.

Here are some stats I made up to give you an idea of the sort of thing that lands in my inbox every day:

  • 63% are written in a font so small I couldn’t read it even if I wanted to
  • 92% are at least twice the length that any decent press release should be
  • 87% of release titles include a terrible pun
  • 74% think that a very original and never been done before angle is the fact that the product was designed at a kitchen table by someone who has given up a high paid job to follow their dreams. What those dreams are exactly we aren’t really sure – create an awful product that doesn’t sell and become penniless perhaps?
  • 54% tell me all about this wonderful thing I absolutely must try – my life will not be complete until I have it – and then they offer to send me high res pictures. Now I know this is the done thing for print journalism, but I write a blog and don’t even need high res images. I want the THING. Don’t tell me how my readers would love for me to share it with them and then only send me an image. I’m not a teenage boy collecting pictures to hide under my mattress.

I had one press release this morning though that really wound me up, not because it was especially badly written, but simply because the product it was trying to sell was, as far as I could see, a complete rip off.

It was basically one small log, but for £25.

You heard me, £25. View Post

I have opened up WordPress this morning ready to complain.

Not in a witty and charming way about something like car air fresheners, I mean properly rant about something, anything at all really. I can feel the tension across my shoulders, drawing them up closer and closer to my ears. I can sense that my jaw is set in a mildly scary way. If anyone was to get my order wrong in a restaurant right now, unlikely as that is at 8.59am, they would not feel good about themselves afterwards.

But as I mull over what vitriol to spew over the pages, sighing and snorting impatiently all the while, I stop myself. How helpful would that actually be? Would working myself up into a literary rage about something really do anything to solve my angst?

I doubt it. The act of writing is cathartic of course, but aside from that, wouldn’t it be better to channel things in a more positive way?

I agree with myself, although I am still full of stress and rage so in my head it comes out as cutting sarcasm. ‘Oh Josephine, aren’t you so very wise? People are definitely going to be reading this and commenting to themselves on how you are the first person ever to discover the power of positive thinking.’ View Post