Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Else Lasker-Schüler

"Ein alter Tibetteppich"                                    "An old Tibetan rug"

Deine Seele, die die meine liebet,                     Your soul, which loveth mine,
Ist verwirkt mit ihr im Teppichtibet.                  Is woven with it into a rug-Tibet.

Strahl in Strahl, verliebte Farben,                     Strand by strand, enamoured colours,
Sterne, die sich himmellang umwarben.             Stars that courted each other across the 
                                                                       length of  heavens.

Unsere Füße ruhen auf der Kostbarkeit,             Our feet rest on the treasure
Maschentausendabertausendweit.                      Stitches-thousands-and-thousands-across.

Süßer Lamasohn auf Moschuspflanzenthron,       Sweet lama-son on your musk-plant-throne
Wie lange küßt dein Mund den meinen wohl       How long has your mouth been kissing mine,
Und Wang die Wange buntgeknüpfte                 And cheek to cheek colourfully woven times?
Zeiten schon?                                                             

Monday, 13 January 2014

"La vie est un sommeil. L’amour en est le rêve." Life is sleep. Love is the dream.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Lily Allen: Bringing feminism to the Top 40

The lyrics of Robin Thicke's controversial song Blurred Lines mainly focus on the discussion of the apparently thin line between consent and rape. While misogyny is a common theme usually found hiding just beneath the surface of popular music, Thicke's lyrics were a little bit more direct, for example:

"I hate these blurred lines/I know you want it".

Despite the lyrics, the song was extremely popular, which caused understandable outrage among people who found the lyrics offensive and damaging.

With her new song, Hard Out Here, Lily Allen has established her as a feminist icon. In Thicke's music video, he parades around in front of a wall of balloons stating "Robin Thicke has a big dick"-  Allen has copied Thicke's idea, but Lily's balloons say "Lily Allen has a baggy pussy". It is Allen's trademark cheeky humour combined with unapologetic assertiveness which make this video such a success: Lily is speaking honestly in a way which both women and men can understand, while creating catchy, bubbly pop song which will be played on radios, in clubs and on televisions all over the world.

Lily's video works because she puts herself alongside the music industry's projection of women: she wears attractive, flattering clothes and gorgeous makeup and dances next to the girls that we all recognise- girls who appear in so many music videos for songs which are damaging to female empowerment and self esteem. Lily dances with these beautiful, half naked girls and looks great, and therefore tells us that you don't need to behave the same way as the women in these videos do to be sexy and appealing- you can set your own standard.

The message of modern feminism is EQUALITY. Women are allowed to own their sexuality, women are allowed to make money and women are here for themselves. Songs such as Blurred Lines portray women as objects for a man's enjoyment, but Allen takes back the power by placing herself in the center of the problem as a woman in the music industry:

"Forget your balls and grow a pair of tits – it’s hard out here for a bitch"

Allen's accessible pop music brings the debate into popular culture, and by using chart music to deliver the message, Allen makes her point even more powerful. She has gone directly to the source and is creating a catchy message that will get stuck in the head's of the public while poking fun at how women are treated within celebrity culture and society in general. The light-hearted but intelligent lyrics identifying the problem,

“Don’t you want to have somebody who objectifies you? Have you thought about your butt/who’s gonna tear it in two?”

mean that people will think about the situation, and hopefully realise the ridiculous ideas about women and sexuality that are promoted by the music industry and therefore filter into our culture. It needs to be understood that women are in charge of their bodies, and women need to fight for this message! As Lily says, tongue-in-cheek as ever,

"Always trust the injustice, Cause it's not going away"

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

A List of Really Good Books

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
Dracula by Bram Stoker
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
The Time Machine by H. G. Wells
'Salems Lot by Stephen King
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Friday, 14 June 2013

I wanted to be sure to reach you;
though my ship was on the way it got caught
in some moorings. I am always tying up
and then deciding to depart. In storms and
at sunset, with the metallic coils of the tide
around my fathomless arms, I am unable
to understand the forms of my vanity
or I am hard alee with my Polish rudder
in my hand and the sun sinking. To
you I offer my hull and the tattered cordage
of my will. The terrible channels where
the wind drives me against the brown lips
of the reeds are not all behind me. Yet
I trust the sanity of my vessel; and
if it sinks, it may well be in answer
to the reasoning of the eternal voices,
the waves which have kept me from reaching you.