Missed: Mrs America?

download

Wednesday night saw the TV series Mrs America hit our screen in the UK. The series dramatises, more than documents the path of second-wave feminism in the United States.

The initial episode centres around Phyllis Schlafly, played by the Hollywood great: Cate Blanchette. Schlafly, a staunch anti-feminist who lead the fight against the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Many hold Schlafly accountable for the bill never being passed and eventually abandoned in the early eighties.

Schlafly, the women who Betty Friedan, mother of seventies women’s movement, insisted should be burned at the stake. The Republican who led a league of housewives, home-makers and churchgoers against the progressive feminists of the day.

Growing up during the great depression, Schlafly had a modest upbringing, her father of long term unemployment. Motherly support of her education steered her towards a scholarship place at the now named Maryland University. In tangent to her studies she worked as a model, but she also ‘Test fired machine guns’ for the largest munitions factory in the US, World War Two raging across the Globe. Eventually studying post-grad at Harvard, then becoming a researcher for the Republican Party.

Marrying a wealthy lawyer, fifteen years her senior, resulting in six children. Author of many publications the most notable: ‘A choice, not an ego,’ selling over 3.5 million copies, highlighting matters in opposition to National defence strategies.

After another unsuccessful run for Congress in the early seventies, she turned her attention to women’s politics and battled successfully against the ERA. The main policies were in favour of women remaining exempt from the Draft, Vietnam was at war and American troops were being sent East. Other motions looked to protect social security benefits for dependent wives. Although her eldest son was openly gay she stood by conservative policies against single-sex marriage and anti-immigration.

The dramatisation brings the seventies to our post lock-down TV screens. Brown patterned floral prints, chunky jewelry, twin sets and hand knitting. Hairnets and curlers creating the bouffant of the day. Although an anti-feminist, Cate Blanchette portrays a strong, capable woman, more than a little opposed to being assigned the role of note-taking. We see a true beauty parading the national stars and stripes in the form of a bikini.

In opposition, we encounter bad sex aesthetics not spoken about during the decade. When exhausted she submits to undesired intercourse with her demanding husband. Lying back motionless as he ploughs internally with no regard for her pleasure, indulging in merely his gratification.

What next for the series?

Although slaughtered by Gloria Steinem in person, her character was introduced and takes the limelight in the next episode.

A drama to be indulged, not a doco to be scrutinized!

Watch on BBC iPlayer

Mrs Trump

 

Mrs Trump

Although Mrs Trump and other characters in the narrative are real, this is strictly a fiction works and the actions and events are not based on real life.

Mrs Trump gazes over the silver-framed Wedding photo they have positioned on the intricacies of their mantelpiece. The happy day: a falsehood, like herself, a manufactured outer shell. He owns her like his property empire, the White House, the Billionaire who purchased the United States, if not the World. Her vision moves towards the photos from their honeymoon. Modest, but designer suited, backed by the vision of a meadow. A meadow which they never walked in, only fantasies of jumping and throwing things at each other as she gathers wild flowers. A nature she had never submersed herself in, not even in youth. Even when at the beaches of the tropics, she goes no further than the spotlessly cleaned lounge areas of the most luxurious hotels.

Eyes manoeuvre back towards the image of the big day. The bridesmaid from her side, a cousin she hardly new flown over from Slovenia. A girl who would look good in the dress the stylist selected for her which she didn’t question. The bridesmaid figure they were able to call up and slot in again when needed for media stated family occasions, now replaced by their son.

The fallacy of the photograph, as she looks over she feels nothing. Void of emotions or signs of dissatisfaction with the home life she has built up. A fake marriage, a collection of houses in which she didn’t enjoy living. A husband whose affections wonder over those he can afford. Horses they hire people to ride, the land they purchase as simply a pleasant view from the windows. Dead inside, presenting a placid outer shell. Simply stand by his side. Mrs Trump: the ultimate purchase, a representation of beauty, an outer crater containing nothing but stale air.

Reminiscing on the excitement of her youth before she became the third Mrs Trump. The wild all-night parties of her modelling work, Milan, then Paris. A smile takes over her face and her lower lips become moist as she recalls the thrill of jetting into London to bare all for GQ magazine. Fully naked, draped over furs, neck adorned by jewels as she looked directly at the lens. When she had it all ahead of her, desired by all, she could have made any man her partner.

Fingers run over the jewel of her neck piece she selected earlier in the evening. The fulfilment she had felt when she had established her own jewellery business, the company she had been forced to abandon as it was deemed unfitting for the President’s Spouse. The PC role she now plays helping children’s charities. The glamour of the jewels given up for the dust-ridden dorms and desolate units of children’s homes. The special attention she has been directed to give towards the harm opioids can do to the foetus. Not her instigation, could pregnant women on heroin, really, not work out they are harming their unborn children for themselves?

Legs rested on the footstool, she leans back into the comfort on the leathers of the settee. Eyes wandering around one of many living rooms of the White House, gazing through the expanse of the interior. Her memories re-engage with the modest apartment in which she was raised. The entire residence for her parents and there two daughters to live being the same size as the room she is currently seated. As she sips her gin and tonic she contemplates the separate beds her and her husband now sleep. When their relationship had started they indulged in sex multiple time a day, now they rarely even touch one another. The son they had together, the boy they hardly know due to the amount of time he spends away at school. She is ambient to his meagre attempts to hide his latest affair, a brave front made up and ignored. She had acquired all the riches a woman could desire, but right now she recognises she was happier squashed into the apartment block of her childhood surrounded by the love of her family.

There can be no return, no escape, no way of leaving the most powerful man in the World. Again, her vision gazes towards the mantelpiece, this time toward the bottle of pills, her eyes look down towards the ice in her gin and tonic.

No, she will continue to dress for the press, stand by his side and present herself as ‘The Wife’, her envisaged role.

For now anyway……

A Future

A future college copy

A Future

Head of Augustus
Looms down
Baby faced leader
Acquisition of colonialism

Castles stand proud
Once battlements
Survived invasions
Safeguard our shores

Across the beaches
Horseback troops thrust
galloping to battlement
Faster and Faster

Classic novels align
Our past, our heritage
The Empire, British supremacy
Victories acclaimed, territory conquered

Trains travel coastal bound
Frontiers of our Nation
Dishevelled
In need of renewal
Clatter and shake
Dust encased carriages
Lumped upholstery
Scrunched newspaper
Once great railways
Screech, screech

To the sea-side resorts
Past popularity
Former Glory
The Great British Holiday
Buckets and Spades
Ice Cream
Candy Floss
Deck Chairs
Donkey Rides
Punch and Judy
Now piers neglected
Slats rotting sea’s
Package holidays: deserted
Cheap flight redundancies
New desires: Mediterranean

Bataclan made famous
Once Norman conquerors
Suffering the same fate
Home-grown terrorism

Late capitalism looms
Community companies thrive
Social banking
Greener investments

Solar power
Sustainable energy
Centre stage
On our minds
On our consciousnesses
On our futures

Ice caps melt
No longer ignored
Pigtail bound school girl
Stands up
Takes on World presidents
‘How Dare’
Resonates
Leaders, baby faced
Earth must not resign
We, the Whole World
Act now
Turn down the temp
Reduce
Re-consume
Re-use
Re-vive
Re-demand a future.

Alison Little

 

A future, free flow text inspired by visual material collated as college featured above.

I must be Miss Liverpool!

Miss Liv image copy

I must be Miss Liverpool!

We are seated, lined up, eventually at the final of Miss Liverpool. The seats of the room arched around, judges desks empty for now. They have demobbed to a side room, making the final, ultimate, life-changing decision.

I must be Miss Liverpool!

It’s taken me four years to get here, I am twenty-two now, applying since eighteen, each time getting a little further, this time to the final. The extra cash borrowed for botox being the bar heightener. Four years of casual work to fund; hair, make-up, nails, extensions, tanning, designer brand gear and finally botox.

I must be Miss Liverpool!

When Daniel Lloyd won it she really became someone. She got Miss Liverpool, Miss GB and even got put in the Miss World contest. She did FHM, Playboy and even bagged the Face of Ladbrooks. She should have won Celebrity Big Brother, if it hadn’t been for that Shilpa ‘Shitty’. And then after having three kids with Jamie O’Hara, I bet the divorce settlement was massive. That’s want I want, a line of footballing boyfriends to make me the ultimate WAG.

I must be Miss Liverpool!

Then there was that Christine that got married to Paddy McGuinness, she was only eighteen and him in his forties. I wouldn’t mind being with an older fella if you got all his money and the celebrity lifestyle. She even got to go on ‘The Real Housewives of Cheshire’.

I must be Miss Liverpool!

Lots of the winners get signed by Impact modelling agency. There the best glamour agency around, on your page you model in just your bra and knickers and they list your vital statistics. Image, everyone who wants looking at you, men wanting you and women wanting to be you.

The judges are coming now, I look down and chant:

I must be Miss Liverpool!

Through my teeth, I repeat the words as the third then second placed are revealed. This is my last chance, I will be too old next year at twenty-three.
I must be Miss Liverpool.

I recoil as the winner is read out. No, not her, barely eighteen, a bookworm at college, a bore. Actually looks like she let her hair dry naturally and it’s not straightened or dyed or anything. Her heals are only three inches high and that’s not even a designer dress. I cannot believe it, with the title she wants to go the Alder Hey and visit the cancer ward as she has promised her Aunty who is a nurse there, ridiculous!

No night club openings, no botox, no boob job, simply visiting boring sick kids. What could have been, I could have been a leading WAG, I could have had my own line of product, gone on ‘Celebrity Love Island’, I could have married a footballer…. I could have had another boob job….I could of had a maximum divorce settlement.

I will never be anyone!

‘I must be Miss Liverpool’ is a flash fiction works from Alison Little. It was performed at the The Athenaeum as part of the Light Night 2019 festival.

More about Light Night

The Liverpool Mountain

46410838_2050688518328942_8120988647915782144_n

Does the luminosity of the latest contemporary public art form in Liverpool turn you on or off?

Ugo Rondinone, the Swiss-born, New York-based artist has gifted his work to the Royal Albert Dock in Liverpool.

The multi-coloured stack of rocks finished off with a T section had been sited on the waterfront, nestled beside the Tate Liverpool for almost four weeks now. The sculpture was commissioned to mark ten years since the Capital of Culture, twenty years of the Biennial and thirty years of Tate Liverpool.

Other works by the artist have included seven mountains, simpler luminous rock stacking forms, located just outside Vegas. Initially unpopular, Sixteen million visitors later its safe to say it has won over the public. Will the Liverpool mountain win the hearts of the art-loving Scouse city dwellers? Will it become an icon of the city like the initially revered Superlambanana?

The form is said to be based on a combination of ancient totem poles, medieval rock balancing and hoodoos. Hoodoos being rock spirals formed from weathering over centuries, commonplace in the desert of the United States. So do the seven mountains in Nevada seem fitting in their location in ways the Liverpool Mountain does not?

Do the aesthetics of the colour choice resemble the artistry of a primary school pupil first being given luminous paint in the eighties then deciding all the colours must be used at once?

The verdict: It certainly does brighten up a drizzly day on the docks. Let’s wait and see if the luminosity of the Liverpool mountain turns on the cities art lovers.

Photos Credits to Jamie Pickering.

Ugo Rondino

Liverpool Biennial

Tate Liverpool

Will you be my Bride, McBride

bride

‘Will you be my Bride, McBride’ is an extract from the latest chapter being written from the novel ‘Casual Nexus’ from Alison Little:

Will you be my bride, McBride

Jack was around his best friends house, Huxley McBride, they have finished school for the day. It was early September and they had just started in the upper school. Although neither of them showed any real interest in academic work or any of the subjects they had selected to take, they preferred things as the teachers were more relaxed and there were no more detentions. They were playing Atari against each other, although Jack was more skilful, Huxley always beat him as he owned the games console and had more time to practise. Jack only had a cheap version which his Dad had picked up at a car boot sale which only let you play simple games like tennis and golf. He had tried asking for one for his Birthday but Mum had said that it was ‘Too expensive’. He’d always got bigger Birthday presents before Callum and Sal had come along. When he had talked over this with Mum and claimed it was unfair she had explained that money for presents had to be split around all of the ‘Kids’ in the family so there wasn’t as much to spend on him individually. He had a solution for Christmas, he’d get Callum to agree to a joint Christmas present then he would lay off any fight games until after the New Year when he had his Atari in place. He usually got Callum to go along with what he wanted. He’d tried Sal many times to get her to go for what he wanted but she always said ‘No’ and went along with what she wanted. She was such a selfish little girl and he wished she had never come along. He swore she always got more clothes brought for her than he did, when he asked Dad about it he claimed that it was because she was a girl and couldn’t really wear the boy’s clothes that had been handed down.

Huxley always had everything, all the latest consoles, new release videos and designer brand trainers. Their house was the largest on the Private Road next to the Council Estate where Jack lived. Had Dad was a drummer in a top band which had made it big in the seventies, they were still selling out gigs now over a decade later. They could afford everything, the latest models of whatever came out, they even had a dishwasher. Jack had actually used it a few times, just for fun to see how it worked. The one thing that Huxley didn’t have which Jack had was a Mother. She had left the family never to be seen or heard from ever again before Huxley had even started school. He said that he could remember her but rarely talked about her or why she left. Jack thought that not having a Mother around would be fun. They had the run of Huxley’s house most of the time as his Dad was rarely there and he basically let Huxley and any of his friends have the freedom to do anything they wanted.

Huxley’s younger sister Caitlin came into the front room after entering through the back door, she had just started their secondary school this September. She was late back as she had stayed for she had stayed for the compulsory ‘Must go to netball practise’ session all girls attend when they start secondary school. She was full of energy and life, laughing as always. Unlike Huxley, she missed her Mother not being their greatly, but she made the best of things, ensuring she was always giggling and joining in with games.

She had her jumper tied around her waist, Jack looked towards the blossoming buds of her breasts. He noticed how they had developed further since the summer, they were becoming more than a handful. They were in fact much bigger than that of many of the girls more his own age, three years older. Although she wasn’t a particularly beautiful girl she wasn’t unattractive either. She was a little flabby around her belly, although he talked with the other lads about all the hot girls he fancied and how he often ‘Wanked off’ while listening to Madonna’s ‘Like a Virgin’, he actually prefers girls with more fat on them. Yes, her ripening breasts will do nicely he thinks to himself.

Caitlin asks Huxley if she can play the winner of the game, he says ‘No’ which he has a tendency to do with everything she requests. Like Jack, he has little time for his family members and would prefer it if they were not there at all. Huxley asks Jack if he is coming outside for a cigarette. Although they had virtually a full run of the house it was still better to smoke outside, his Dad didn’t like the smell of nicotine. Jack ponders over the offer but decides to decline, choosing to remain in the sitting room with Caitlin.

As Huxley lights up Jack tells Caitlin she can come and play Atari with him. She sits down beside him Jack watches her skirt rise above her knees. As the game starts Jack shows little response to the grid form defenders dropping down the TV screen. Jack begins to prod Caitlin, again, the rhetoric:
‘Will you be my Bride, McBride?’
As the Packmans on the screen munch forward, Jack clasps his thumb and forefingers into Caitlin’s bosom,

‘Get off,’

she responds and pushes him hard away. Huxley hears the commotion and looks through the patio doors to observe Jack fondling Caitlin. He laughs to himself and looks the other way as he finishes his cigarette. Inside Jack continues to pester Caitlin, he runs his hand inside her skirt. The muscles in his groin strain as his hands touch the gusset of her pants. Caitlin now battles with him and punches his hand away as she shouts;

‘Get off, get off.’

She manages to break free from Jacks grasps and runs upstairs at a full pace almost falling over the top step as ascends. Into her room, she slams the door then pushes the bedside table against the framework. She sits on her bed, heart pounding with her knees tucked up to her chin.

Alison Little

Augustus: Head

Augustus

Augustus: Head is a flash fiction works in response to the Meroe Head of Augustus which was exhibited at the Victoria Museum and Gallery in Liverpool earlier in the year.

Augustus: Head

He stands above us
Looking down
Piercing eyes
Looking through us to a greater existence
Baby-faced, framed with cropped curls
Winged ears arch out
The emperor to become God

‘I am your leader
I will conquer
You will support me’
Head of Augustus

Ruler, the time of Christ
Mediterranean made Empire
The riches of Egypt conquered.

Trophy head taken
Conquering Sudan
A one-eyed queen
Buried beneath Temple steps
Walked on
Trodden over
Belittled, degraded
The Conqueror was conquered

August is still August
A God he remains
The Empire has crumbled
But the Head still stands tall

 

Alison Little

More about the Meroe Head of Augustus