Longer posts would look an awful lot like I was procrastinating on e.g. re-writing a tricky bit about actresses’ bodies and suffragette spectacle/cleaning my microwave and filing my paperwork. Since such procrastination could obviously never occur, have a tiny post:
- Yesterday I guest-tweeted for The Women’s Room. It was awesome. We talked about civilian women who should make it onto banknotes; the most interesting women we’d met recently (mine is Ana Finel Honigman, who gave a stunning paper on popgoth, fandom and female celebrity at the TORCH Celebrity Seminar this week, and didn’t mind me lobbing Victorian parallels at her); female fandom (see last parenthetical remark), women in gaming, and roller derby. It is a shattering moment in a young woman’s life, when she wakes up one morning and says to herself, quite reasonably, you are too much of a myopic and uncoordinated fool to ever have a roller derby name. Sad times.
- Today I beat the bounds. This is an ancient ceremony and/or cheerfully bizarre Oxford tradition in which small children whack chalk-marked parish boundaries with garden canes. I ate cherry cake in All Souls and a Cornetto in Oriel (FLOREAT IN AETERNAM, in case you were wondering), and then watched aforementioned small children scramble for pennies, with which they were being pelted by unknowns from the top of Lincoln College tower. My dear friend Rob had quite genuinely used a day of annual leave to commute from London and see this (for the second time). This is a good sign that someone belongs in academia.
- I have got mildly obsessed with African American genealogy in nineteenth-century New York. This is part of a wider obsession with genealogy, anyone’s genealogy which I have finally understood: it’s like being a private detective for the dead.
- I am giving a paper in two weeks and another paper two weeks after that and a third paper about four days after the second one.
- I went swimming-costume shopping and it was appalling and traumatic and one item marked ‘bust support’ should really have been called ‘bust elimination’ and since I don’t have an abundance of bust to eliminate I dread to think what happens if you really wanted support. Had I kept it on a moment longer, I would have died of pain and this post could never have been written. I could relate this consumer nightmare in more detail, but how many paragraphs on me twisting myself into a variety of sausage-casings beneath a succession of unforgiving strip lights does the world really need/how many ways are there to express that a tankini just looks like a lurid and ill-fitting vest that inconveniently ends just before your navel? Anyway, I have one now and although to the Italians it will probably look like the maritime equivalent of a nun’s habit and wimple (my experience of Italian beaches = mahogany septuagenarians in Dr No bikinis, lighting up on the Piccola Marina, with a gumption I frankly admire), it is fun and polka-dotted and once I’ve ensured the detachable strap is anything but, it can come to Venice with me.
There’ve been quite a few new subscribers over the past few days, which I’m guessing is The Woman’s Room effect. Thanks so much, and I hope you stick around.
Dr Sophie Duncan is Fellow in English at Christ Church, University of Oxford. She works regularly as a historical advisor and as a dramaturg for theatre, TV, radio and film. She likes theatre, detective fiction and cocktails.