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The Guardian G2 - May 10, 2018

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Thursday 10/05/18
Zoe Williams
io n
The red-top obsession
with Meghan?s dad
page 3
Cool summer
oom
What?s driving the bo
boom
in ice-cream parlours?
rs?
page 6
?Renting is draining.
It puts my life on hold?
Why generation rent faces a
looming mental health crisis
?
Pass notes
? 3,806
Shortcuts
No mohair: the
demand for
vegan fashion
The
Intellectual
Dark Web
Age: Nobody knows.
Appearance: Not much to look at, although
they have a website.
Is it dark? No. It has quite a bit of white space,
actually.
OK, what is the Intellectual Dark Web? It?s a
loose affiliation of individuals who believe
their free-thinking embrace of ?dangerous
conversations? has shut them out of public
debate. Adherent and commentator Dave
Rubin told the New York Times: ?We?re
fighting for our ability to agree to disagree
before it?s taken away from us.?
By whom? Politically correct academia, the
mainstream media, that lot.
How do they hold their dangerous
conversations? Through some kind of
shadowy underground network? They go on
Rubin?s YouTube show, which has 700,000
subscribers. Or they host popular podcasts,
attracting thousands in monthly donations.
Talk about being sidelined. Who are these
people? Among those often included are
former Breitbart editor-at-large Ben Shapiro;
husband and wife ?professors in exile? Bret
Weinstein and Heather Heying, who resigned
from Evergreen State College after denouncing
a planned Day of Absence, where white
students were asked to leave the campus; and
political correctness scourge Jordan Peterson.
You mean it?s all just ... terrible people?
Professional controversialists, I would call
them. They come from the right and sometimes
left extremes of the political spectrum, but
they all tend to combine some form of hardcore
libertarianism with an unfortunate manner.
And this is popular? Oh yes. IDW members
expound their dangerous ideas in front of
packed houses ? out of necessity, having been
denied the more direct public forum of a
professorship at a college you?ve never heard of.
It must be hard to talk about being
no-platformed in front of so many people.
The bigger problem is that the movement is so
ill-defined. Its ?anything goes? nature means
that mainstream intellectuals such as Steven
Pinker are often included alongside cranks
including Milo Yiannopoulos and Alex Jones.
Wow. They don?t care who they hang out with.
It is a coalition of strange bedfellows.
It sounds as if the only thing they share is a
knack for being pissed off about the wrong
stuff. That, and a taste for the limelight. Which
they?ve been denied, don?t forget.
Do say: ?They have the guts to say what I would
only dare think, if I ever thought anything.?
Don?t say: ?Hey Kanye! Check these guys out!?
2
The Guardian
Thursday 10 May 2018
?Most excellent sequels, dude ??
Twenty-seven years. For as long as Nelson Mandela was in jail, we have waited for a new Bill &
Ted adventure. Now, from Cannes, at last, comes news that ?Ted? Theodore Logan and ?Bill?
S Preston Esq are to return in a third adventure: ?Bill and Ted Face the Music?. Handily for the
prosthetics department, the story will find the duo in middle-age. Burdened by family, they
still haven?t written ?the greatest song ever? ? until a visitor from the future turns up to tell
them the fate of the world depends on it, to somewhat force the issue. However familiar the plot
may seem, it?s certainly most excellent to have them back. Some revivals are more timely than
others, and Bill and Ted?s breezy adventures feel like exactly the kind of cheerful lobotomy we
need right now. But what other 80s classics could survive a 2018 reboot?
Big
The creepy tale of a child in a
man?s body who gets off with a
grown woman is back. The sheer
problematic overtones would
spawn a thousand hot takes,
thereby rendering it the most
talked about film of modern times.
ET
?Hey Elliott ;), this is E . Things
didn?t work out for me at home.
Wondering if I could crash with
you?? De-skilled by the gig
economy, priced out of the housing
market, it?s like in the original
where ET gets drunk, only much
more Leaving Las Vegas.
Trading Places
Someone bets Eddie Murphy?s
wealthy stock trader that he can
take an ordinary woman and push
her through the glass ceiling. She
gets wise to the bet and her viral
Facebook post about him earns her
a two-book deal.
Top Gun
Much of the action in this
claustrophobic sequel takes
place in a shed in Arizona, where
Lieutenant ?Maverick? Mitchell
n
still pulls on his aviators to pilot an
n
unmanned drone through Northern
Syria. Director: Michael Haneke.
Gavin Haynes
Knowing where our food comes
from ? the processes it?s been
through, the whys and wherefores
? before it lands on our plates, is
big business right now. But with
veganism firmly on the rise and
many of us eager to hop aboard the
plant-based train, is something
quite crucial to this lifestyle being
overlooked? Are we happy to make
the switch when it comes to food,
but willing to turn a blind eye when
it comes to clothing?
The transition to being fully
vegan needs to be thorough.
Animal rights charity Peta?s recent
investigation into the creation of
fabric from angora goats in South
Africa ? which produces most of the
world?s mohair ? makes it clear how
our current conscious consumer
mantra must extend beyond the
grocery list, into things such as
clothing and other accessories made
from mohair and wool.
Using hidden cameras on 12 South
African farms, Peta captured the
atrocious conditions that some goats
live in, not to mention the brutality
they endure during transportation
and shearing, all in the name of
creating mohair. Now, high street
retailers from Zara and H&M to
Topshop and Gap are making a
stand: the evidence was so damning,
they have pledged to ban the fabric
from their products. However,
the controversy has raised further
questions about our shopping habits
? and how such problems can often
go unnoticed.
Thankfully, things are changing.
?Consumers are recognising that
fur, skin, wool and feathers are only
ever ?natural? on the animals who
were born with them,? says Peta
spokesperson, Elisa Allen. ?That?s
why compassion, sustainability
and innovation are shaping today?s
fashion industry ? and as the
number of people adopting a vegan
lifestyle skyrockets, fashion is
following suit and stepping up its
cruelty-free game.?
Because the supply chains for
these brands are difficult to control,
removing mohair was arguably the
only logical step. But with so many
eco-friendly alternatives to clothes
made from animals now available, it
does seem that the fashion paradigm
is truly shifting.
Aine Carlin
?
Zoe
Williams
Is it too soon
for a Marchesa
comeback?
S
Say
what?
COVER: CHRISTOPHER THOMOND FOR THE GUARDIAN
Uber has
announced
plans for a
fleet of flying
taxis. The first
demonstrations
are scheduled
for 2020, with
Uber air taxi
aiming to be
available by
2028. The
ambitious
service is
designed to
disrupt road
congestion by
going over it,
with customers
boarding the
aircrafts using
rooftop sky
ports. Five
stars?
The dress code for Monday?s Met
Gala, one of the biggest events in
the fashion calendar, was ?Sunday
best?, with a mind to paying homage
to Catholicism and papal robes of
yore. And, as ever, celebrities played
fast and loose with it. One person in
particular eschewed chasubles and
ermine in favour of scandal.
Scarlett Johansson wore a
blood-red gown, custom-made by
Marchesa, the label co-owned by the
estranged wife of Harvey Weinstein,
Georgina Chapman, becoming the
biggest name to wear the brand
on a red carpet since the sexualharassment scandal broke last year.
Once favoured by Cate Blanchett
and Jennifer Lopez, Marchesa?s
stock has plummeted. Its initial
troubles were viewed as collateral
damage, but that changed following
allegations that Weinstein pressured
his actresses to wear his wife?s
dresses to premieres. Yet recently
it has begun its own rehabilitation.
The燾ompany lost a jewellery deal
but remained in Neiman Marcus and
Saks Fifth Avenue.
As a supporter of Time?s Up and
#MeToo, Johansson?s decision to
wear the label appears rooted in
solidarity: ?Their clothes make
women feel confident and beautiful,
and it is my pleasure to support a
brand created by two incredibly
talented and important female
designers,? she said. Marchesa said it
was ?truly honoured?.
In fairness, Johansson was not the
only celebrity to overlook a label?s
difficult history. Sarah Jessica Parker
disregarded previous controversial
comments on IVF, adoptions and
gay families by one half of Dolce
& Gabbana to wear a ritzy number
by the Italian designers. Rihanna
donned full papal regalia (a white,
beaded corseted minidress under a
full skirt, accessorised with a bishop?s
hat and large crucifix necklace)
by none other than John Galliano,
sacked from Dior for an antisemitic
rant in 2011. Rihanna?s defence? ?It
would be a sin not to wear it.?
Is a post-scandal comeback
possible in fashion? It all depends
who you?re asking and what
they?re爓earing.
Morwenna Ferrier
Meghan?s father is treated as
fair game by our feral press
Row over the removal
of the PM?s portrait
is燼ll over the map
Meghan Markle?s father is the unexpected paparazzi gift of the season; here?s
a picture of him in Starbucks, looking up the castles of Great Britain. Here?s
one where he?s power-walking with a resistance band for his triceps. Here
he is having his not-insignificant waist measured (perhaps for some kind
of special-occasion wear). Now he?s in an internet cafe, looking up Prince
Harry and Meghan on Wikipedia. His whole life is unfolding like a standup
routine about a regular dad in an incongruous situation. Every morning, the
red tops wake up with a greater thirst for his
regular-dad behaviour. They want a picture
of him poring over a thesaurus, looking for
a synonym for ?Doesn?t she look lovely??
Or maybe finding a cocktail sausage in his
pocket and popping it into his mouth. Come
on: anyone would watch that as a gif.
The Leveson inquiry could have drawn
all its conclusions about the overweening
power of the press from the treatment of this
one man. The underpinning counter-privacy
argument ? that if you?ve got nothing to hide,
you have nothing to fear ? is flamboyantly
shot down in the bald reality of microscopic
press scrutiny. Thomas Markle has nothing to
hide: which of us wouldn?t Wiki our daughter
in the week she was the most famous woman
in the world? Who doesn?t want better triceps
definition? Who wouldn?t at least wonder
about the difference between Balmoral and Kensington Palace? But guys, it?s
still private! Nobody wants their thought processes played out in real time,
with photographs. Or maybe some people, by a quirk, do want that, but that
should be up to them. There is space between a shameful activity and one
you would want to perform for an audience, and in that space exists almost
all human life, from trying on a sleeveless polo neck to daydreaming about a
super-obedient horse. None of us should have to explain this to anyone else,
still less watch the curtains of our interior lives torn down by strangers while
we?re Googling support tights or trying to close harmonise with John Legend.
For Meghan herself, this is like the honeymoon period of an abusive
relationship. At the moment, she is princess of all hearts and can do no
wrong; nobody would be so coarse as to print a picture of her at the gym, or
reading a how-to on the correct usage of British titles. Yet the terms have
been set: everything you do, they know about it. Everything they know, they
can prove. Everything your relatives do, they have caught on camera. It?s
rosy now, sunshine, but wait until they?re bored five years down the line and
they find out that you once shouted at a maid; or were spotted in John Lewis
looking at buggies; or went to a club without your husband and didn?t get
home till five past 12; or look as though you?ve gained weight and yet were
clearly seen ordering mozzarella; or look as though you?ve lost weight and
have some anonymous ?friends? who are worried about you.
People say ? or Hugh Grant says, which is the same as ?people? ? that there
are two problems with the press: one is that its victims have no power of
redress unless they?re loaded, the other that newspapers don?t self-regulate.
Yet the deeper flaw is revealed before anyone needs redress, before the press
even tries to self-regulate: these publications are missing the chip that asks:
?How would I like it, if someone did this to me??
The political removal of
commemorative art is your classic
modern hot potato. One minute
it was Not a Thing, the next it
was everywhere, and geography
students at Oxford were taking down
a photograph of Theresa May. Wait,
what? We?re now erasing people
from history for being a bit rubbish?
The first I heard of the new
iconoclasm, it was a plausiblesounding American saying that you
can?t change history by erasing its
artefacts. That sounded reasonable.
Then Donald Trump agreed, so
I had to ask: what artefacts? Ah,
statues of slave traders, sometimes
adorned with a grateful slave at their
feet. Good sense directed me to the
side of the iconoclasts, because I
figured everyone on the other side
would be wearing a white hood.
Still, the principle remained dicey;
remnants of a different age should
be preserved, if only to marvel at the
injustices of the past. But hang on:
how come those statues crumpled
like the box round a kebab? Ah. Now
we hear about the United Daughters
of the Confederacy, which remade
history years after the event in the
Confederates? favour by throwing
up crappy monuments bought as
a package from the 1920s? answer
to Funkypigeon.com. Suddenly
I爐hought: smash them all. History
can cope with revision, and it can
do爓ithout job lots.
The May debacle, likewise, was
not as it seemed. It turned out the
students didn?t remove the portrait:
they festooned it with radical but
? being geographers ? quite neat
annotations critiquing her policies;
the university removed it, planning
to replace it when the students
became better behaved, which was
five hours later.
Beware the story that unfolds
backwards: like an Elizabethan
dance move, it will land you in the
opposite position to the one you
were sure was right when it started.
Beware of kids wielding the sword of truth
One daughter will do a speech but won?t dance, the other will do a
dance, but only for money. My son will cut the cake, but only with a
sword. I said: ?You?re too old to demand that, you?re 10.? And he said:
?Any younger and you wouldn?t let me have a sword.? I admired his
logic. So now I?m getting married in three hours and I have to ?nd a
sword, then take it to the pub ahead of time, because I don?t know if
you?re allowed to take a sword into a register o?ce. Ancient wisdom
was right on this: you should get married before you have children.
The Guardian
Thursday 10 May 2018
3
?
Brett Chapman
in Sheffield
Siana Bangura
in Coventry
Tia Spencer
in Manchester
?I have sleepless
nights stressing
about the future?
One in three millennials will never own their own home,
and renters can be evicted with just two months? notice.
What e?ect is this instability having on mental health?
? Words Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett
B
rett Chapman, a
30-year-old filmmaker based in
Sheffield, has lived
in seven different
houses in the past 10
years. ?I used to find renting really,
really stressful ? especially after
leaving university,? he says. ?You
never feel comfortable when you
move house every one or two years.?
He is far from alone. Most
millennials would need more than
two hands to count the number
of homes they have lived in since
university ? one friend of mine
has lived in 25 places since she
graduated. It is only natural that this
perpetual state of instability will
have an effect on their wellbeing. ?I
struggled with depression when I
was younger and my living situation
was a part of that,? Chapman says.
Many young people, like
Chapman, have resigned themselves
to never owning a house. ?It?s one
of the things a lot of people are
raised to believe is a ?must? in life,
so to have that seem so impossible
made me feel I?d failed in some way,?
he says. A recent report from the
Resolution Foundation predicted
that one in three millennials will
never own their own home, and half
will be renting in their 40s. A third of
those could still be doing so by the
time they claim their pensions.
A radical solution was
proposed this week: bridge the
intergenerational gap by giving
every 25-year-old �,000. This
?citizen?s inheritance? proposed by
the Resolution Foundation would
be funded by changes to inheritance
tax and could help young people
get on the property ladder. But, as
some have pointed out, the average
deposit in London is �,000
and elsewhere it is �,000. This,
coupled with mounting student
debts and an increase in insecure
jobs, means that while it is a
welcome suggestion, it won?t solve
the problem.
Renting wouldn?t be so bad
if tenants? rights were better
protected. As it stands, any landlord
can evict a tenant with just two
months? notice after a fixed-term
period under a section 21 agreement
without providing a reason. Tenants
are left to find the money to move,
pay another lot of letting agents? fees
and get a deposit together.
Last week, the mental health
charity Mind launched a major
housing campaign, with figures
showing that nearly 79% of people
4
The Guardian
Thursday 10 May 2018
with mental health problems say
a housing situation has caused a
mental health problem or made
their mental health worse.
?Housing and mental health are
often linked,? says Paul Spencer, a
policy manager at Mind. ?The lack of
security in rented accommodation
can be damaging for mental health
and involuntary home moves can
have a particularly severe effect ?
It may also mean you have to move
away from mental health services or
other services in your community.?
Even if the strain on your mental
health brought on by unstable
renting hasn?t reached clinical
levels, the effects of not having a
permanent place to call home can
still be profound. Katie Beswick, 34,
is a university lecturer and lives in
Devon. She left London, where she
grew up, because she couldn?t afford
to live in the capital. She misses her
community, and found some of the
anxiety issues she had previously
had returned when she moved.
?I can?t see my family when I
want to, I can?t meet up with my
friends. It really upsets me,? she
says. ?I had a very dark period of
time when I first moved and nobody
I even remotely knew lived nearby.?
Beswick?s tenancy feels stable-ish
at the moment, but were she to
face a notice to leave, she says she
wouldn?t be able to afford it.
?Poor mental health can occur
when you move away from your
family or other support networks,?
says Spencer. ?Frequent moves can
disrupt relationships and make it
harder to establish new ones, all
the while increasing your sense of
personal insecurity.?
Tia Spencer, 21, is a bar worker
from Manchester. She has just found
out that her landlord is selling the
shared house in which she has lived
for three months, and she has to get
out within weeks. Prior to this, Tia,
who grew up in care, was homeless,
and spent months sofa-surfing after
being made unemployed. ?I thought
things would be good for a bit,? she
?I?m really angry at
the government.
A whole generation
is stuck in a kind
of extended
adolescence?
says. ?It?s disgusting. The landlord
didn?t even tell us. We found a letter
in the kitchen.?
She has had depression and
anxiety issues for a number of years,
which became worse when she was
forced to move. It is ?draining?,
Tia says. ?You don?t even want to
unpack. I can?t reach my long-term
goals if I?m constantly worried about
where I?m going to be living. It puts
my life on hold.?
Both Tia and Chapman say they
would happily rent for life if renting
were more stable, something
the Resolution Foundation has
recommended in the form of
?indeterminate? tenancies, which
have been introduced in Scotland.
However, they don?t exist in
England. ?If I don?t buy a house I?m
OK with it,? says Tia. ?But I want kids
and I?d want them to have stability.
I hate moving around.?
The number of privately rented
households with children has tripled
from 600,000 in 2003 to 1.8m in
2016. ?We know that the private
rented sector is the least secure
and the lowest-quality tenure of
all types, and that is obviously
not a great place to bring up your
kids,? says Lindsay Judge, a senior
policy analyst at the Resolution
Foundation. ?The vast majority of
private rented contracts are assured
shorthold tenancies, so in theory
you could have to get out with two
months? notice. That?s grim for
anybody, but if you have got children
in school, your social networks, your
support systems, these things are
more challenging if you have got a
family and you are trying to create a
stable home.?
Having to rent will naturally affect
people?s family planning ? and the
profound disappointment of not
being able to reach life goals such
as having children is unlikely to
have a positive effect on existing
mental health conditions. ?I?m
not someone who has desperately
craved children, but I do feel the
choice has been taken away from
?
PHOTOGRAPHS: CHRISTOPHER THOMOND, FABIO DE PAOLA AND JIM WILEMAN/THE GUARDIAN; ALLSTAR
Reply all
me,? says Beswick. ?I?m really angry
at the government for allowing
the housing market to spiral out of
control to the point where a whole
generation of us is stuck in a kind of
extended adolescence.?
There are, of course, some
upsides to renting. ?Having
someone on hand if something
goes wrong with the oven or boiler
is fantastic,? says Laura Davies, a
27-year-old marketing manager
living in Bournemouth with her
partner and her seven-year-old
son. That said, ?Having a family in
rented accommodation isn?t ideal,?
she says. ?With the real fear that you
may one day have to up and leave
the place your child calls home, it?s
hard to feel you are truly settled ? I
have sleepless nights and anxietyfilled evenings stressing about what
the future holds, housing-wise. I?m
always worried that my stress will
affect my child somehow.?
She would love to own a home,
but with nearly half the couple?s
income going on rent, ?I doubt that
we ever will.? If they had a mortgage,
she would be paying less every
month than in rent. ?But without
any savings for a deposit, owning is
out of reach.?
Chapman says he is not able to
save for a deposit, either. ?At my age,
you start thinking you need a bit
more security, and the panic starts
to set in,? he says. ?When I?m older,
I won?t have the energy to keep
moving around all the time.?
The Resolution Foundation?s
report predicted an explosion
in the housing benefits bill once
millennials reach retirement, with
it more than doubling in the worstcase scenario. ?The figures are
hitting home now,? says Judge. ?And
I think what will hit home much
more in the next 10-15 years is this
issue of pensioners in the private
rented sector, because the concerns
we have about families with children
also apply to pensioners. Most
people think it?s not a good idea if
you?re elderly to have to leave your
home with two months? notice, to
have to leave your local community.?
This will increase pressure on
policymakers to make the private
rented sector more fit for purpose
over a lifetime. The Resolution
Foundation?s recommendations
of introducing indeterminate
tenancies, stabilising rents to avoid
sudden spikes and compulsory
landlord registration could go some
way to making the sector more
stable. Mind?s campaign, too, is a
positive step in highlighting the
detrimental effect of poor housing
on mental health.
Shared ownership and help to
buy have been pushed as solutions
to unstable living. But these newbuild homes are still not affordable
for many people. Figures last year
revealed that the help-to-buy
scheme had been taken advantage of
by thousands of high earners.
If you do find yourself able
to buy a house, it might end up
being hundreds of miles from the
community you call home. In 2013,
the mother of 26-year-old producer
and writer Siana Bangura moved the
family from Peckham in south-east
London to Coventry in the West
Midlands, as they were no longer
able to afford the rocketing rents in
the area. They rent a house privately
and Bangura lives at home.
?It makes me feel really frustrated
and alienated,? she says. ?I?d never
identify as having experienced
depression in the clinical sense.
However, moving away from where
I?m from and all my friends live
contributed to a very deep sadness.?
Her mum is a lot happier in
Coventry, Bangura says. And
although Bangura is not able to save
at the moment, she is optimistic that
she might be able to own somewhere
in the West Midlands one day. ?I was
like, ?I am going to give Coventry a
chance because I have to.? It?s been
a humbling experience for me.?
Like Bangura, millions of us are
having to revise our expectations.
But a lack of housing affordability
isn?t just a question of cash ? it has
the potential to affect our sense of
stability, our wellbeing and mental
health, and our family planning.
A home is so much more than a roof
over your head.
Katie Beswick
in Exeter
Ask
Hadley
I?ve just seen Amy Schumer?s new ?lm,
I燜eel Pretty, and I?m燾onfused. What
message am I supposed to draw from it?
Daisy, by email
Glad you asked, Daisy, because
there are many lessons to take from
I Feel Pretty, but not one of them is
the message that the movie itself is
promoting. Let?s look at this film,
briefly. Schumer plays a woman,
Renee, who feels ugly and is treated
like an absolute troll by everyone
around her, because that is how
Hollywood thinks people who look
like Schumer should be treated. She
then whacks her head on a giant
piece of Convenient Plot Device
and is so brain-damaged that when
she wakes up she thinks she looks
beautiful because, Christ, you?d
basically have to knock out all your
grey matter to think Schumer, an
A-list actress, is attractive, right?
The film proceeds to laugh at her
for the next two or whatever hours
as she goes around town acting
deranged because she thinks she?s
gorgeous, which is definitely how
grown women behave. She also
ditches her friends because she feels
too beautiful for them, which is also
how women behave, and all of this is
a searing exploration of the beauty
standards for women or something
something blah blah blah feminist
lite word salad feminist lite word
salad. Anyway, the film ends with
Renee realising she?s not pretty,
but is, like, on the inside, and she
then makes a super-inspirational
speech about the importance of
inner beauty while selling makeup
to other women the film considers
equally trollish. Because inner
beauty is great but, let?s be honest,
gals, it has its limits.
Schumer has spent much of the
past few months insisting this film
is all about helping women?s selfesteem, which suggests she hasn?t
actually seen it. Because what it is
actually saying is that women who
don?t look like Emily Ratajkowski,
who also appears in the film, are
public laughing stocks who, at best,
might learn to style it out. Well,
I燾an?t really blame Schumer for
giving it a miss because it?s absolute
garbage and I?d rather eat my hands
than have to sit through it again.
What I am interested in is not what
beauty does or doesn?t do to women,
but what Hollywood has done to
Schumer. There is a爁ascinating
disjunct between the stuff Schumer
made for TV and the stuff she is
making for the movies. Her sketch
show, Inside Amy Schumer, was
uneven, like all sketch shows, but
when it was good it was excellent,
skewering standards for female
beauty and the expectations society
puts on women and women put on
themselves. Yet her films, namely
Trainwreck and I Feel Pretty, do
precisely the opposite. In Trainwreck,
which Schumer wrote, her character
had to prove she was worth some
tedious sports doctor, and to do
this she had to quit her job, become
a cheerleader and be physically
humiliated. I Feel Pretty is one
long sneer at Schumer and anyone
who doesn?t look like Ratajkowski,
a爓oman whose real-life career is,
as far as I can tell, Instagramming
her cleavage. Now, we can argue all
day about whether photographing
your boobs is a feminist pursuit or
not (spoiler: it?s not), but any film
that posits someone who does this
as the physical ideal is not a film
that can seriously claim it is fighting
against the narrowness of beauty
standards爁or women.
Schumer is not the first woman
whose brilliance on TV has been
bleached out of her in the movies ?
Tina Fey has been here before her,
as has Gilda Radner before that. But
there is something extra dismaying
about seeing Schumer make ? and
defend! ? this egregious womanhating garbage, when she used to be
smarter than this. So the conclusion
to draw, Daisy, is that Hollywood is
the Sunken Place for smart women,
where their souls and brains are cut
out of them as they find themselves
serving, zombie-like, the oppressors
they once abhorred. It?s too late to
save Schumer, but can we all just
promise not to let Mindy Kaling,
Jessica Williams and Kristen Schaal
go the same way, too? Because,
honestly, I don?t think my heart
could take it.
Need style
counsel?
Post your
questions
to Hadley
Freeman, Ask
Hadley, The
Guardian, Kings
Place, 90 York
Way, London
N1 9GU. Email
ask.hadley@
theguardian.
com
Hollywood is
the Sunken
Place for
smart
women,
where their
souls and
brains are
cut out
One long sneer ...
Amy Schumer in
I Feel Pretty
The Guardian
Thursday 10 May 2018
5
?
Food
It?s a scoop!
The ice-cream
revolution
Ice-cream parlours are booming, with numbers rising
20% last year. But what?s behind their popularity ?
nostalgia, Instagram, joy or teetotalism? By Tony Naylor
B
Fast food
Bu?alo ricotta
with爌eas燼nd
broad燽eans牋
By Dom Robinson�
I love this dish ? it?s so light,
but at the same time so full of
flavour.燬pring brings lots of
lovely,燾olourful ingredients to
cook with, none more so than
peas燼nd broad beans. Continental
peas and beans come quite early in
the year, but if you can hang around
a few more months for the English
ones the flavour will be noticeably
better. Marjoram is absolutely
my favourite herb. It works in so
many different dishes and has a
wonderful aroma.
I use ricotta from Laverstoke
Park Farm in Hampshire; it
manages somehow to be light as
air, but rich and creamy at the same
time. I can?t get enough of it.
Prep
Serves
15mins
4
Ingredients
1 large shallot,
finely chopped
50ml olive oil
25ml cabernet
sauvignon vinegar
Salt and pepper
500g fresh peas,
shelled
500g broad beans,
shelled
1 bunch of
marjoram,
leaves爌icked
250g buffalo ricotta
cheese
50g pine nuts,
toasted
1 lemon
Method
Place the shallot, oil and vinegar into
a bowl, whisk well and season with
salt and pepper to make a dressing.
Blanch the fresh peas and broad
beans in salted water for two
minutes. Then mix with half the
marjoram leaves and combine with
half the dressing. Divide evenly
between four bowls, flattening the
mound slightly in the middle.
ce a large spoon of ricotta on
Place
top of each mound of peas and broad
beans. Sprinkle the pine nuts and
the remainder of the dressing on
top of the ricotta. To finish, garnish
the dish with the remainder of the
marjoram leaves and a little grated
lemon zest, salt and pepper.
Dom Robinson is the chef and owner
of the Blackbird Restaurant and
Public House, Berkshire.
6
uilt in the Victorian
era and now a sedate
enclave of independent
cafes and shops,
Cardiff ?s Castle Arcade
does not look like a
crucible of radical innovation. Enter
Science Cream, however, and you step
into a world of Heston Blumenthalstyle theatre. Standing behind a
Perspex screen, dressed in white lab
coats and protective goggles, this
ice-cream parlour?s ?laboratrists?
use great billowing flasks of liquid
nitrogen to instantly freeze what is ?
thanks to LN2 creating such tiny icecrystals ? some of the smoothest,
most thickly爈uxurious ice-cream
you will爀ver taste.
It is a spectacle at which, not just
children, but even the most cynical
adults cannot help but marvel.
?Today, it?s all about doing what
Amazon can?t and giving customers
an experience,? says the owner,
Carly Karran, who is hunting for a
second site in Bristol. ?We?re already
nostalgic about ice-cream, it brings
people joy, but throw in the liquid
nitrogen vapour and it?s a doublewhammy, a very Instagrammable
one. It ticks all the boxes.?
With its freshly blowtorched
marshmallows, homemade
honeycomb and use of all-natural
ingredients (to ensure clear, intense
flavours), Science Cream is a highend parlour. Two scoops of its sea
salt and burned caramel or black
charcoal coconut ice-cream will cost
you up to � But this hip store is also
an example of a wider surge in the
popularity of ice-cream parlours and
dessert bars. A surge that, powered
by fast-expanding national chains
such as Kaspa?s and Creams, is
bucking high-street trends.
Last month, having analysed
67,157 premises in 500 town centres,
PricewaterhouseCooper reported
that, with nail bars, book stores, coffee
shops and craft beer bars, ice-cream
parlours are one of a handful of
?We get loads of
people coming
in showing us
pictures on their
phones and saying,
can I have that??
The Guardian
Thursday 10 May 2018
growing sectors. Overall, the high
street is shrinking; for every 11 new
high-street units, 16 close. Yet the
number of ice-cream parlours,
historically seen as a seasonal seaside
concept, rose by 20% last year.
If you are over 25, you may well
never have heard of Creams, but this
urban dessert bar chain (which serves
hot pudding and waffles too, making
it a go-to even in winter), has opened
70 sites in the past seven years and is
aiming for 300 by 2022. A franchise
operation, it is big enough that, until
recently, it had the former Nando?s
regional director Handley Amos as
its CEO, yet is relatively circumspect
in its marketing. Aside from select
associations with, for instance,
Thorpe Park amusement park, it has
grown (140,000 Facebook and
15,000 Instagram followers) largely
via social media chatter.
Last year, Creams made a subtle
cameo (it?s ?where you see a lot of
dates take place?, explained the Vice
music site Noisey), in the video for
Big Shaq?s viral grime spoof, Man?s
Not Hot. Evidence, says Creams
co-founder Adam Mani, of its ?cult
following? among young people,
particularly in London.
From mainstream Creams to
Ginger?s Comfort Emporium, a
?grown-up? parlour in Manchester?s
alternative Affleck?s Palace, social
media is now a key driver in people?s
ice-cream habits. Forget three-course
meals, people want experiential
moments in food. They want to eat
colourful, out-there dishes that look
great shared online. Ice-cream parlours,
says PwC consumer expert Lisa
Hooker, are perfect for ?experienceseeking millennials? who crave
innovative, affordable treats: ?They
have lots of products. It?s fun. There?s
a爈ot going on.?
?We?re plugged into that,? says
Ginger?s owner, Claire Kelsey, whose
�30-a-scoop flavours run from her
legendary Chorlton Crack (salted
caramel and peanut butter), to apple,
mint and wheatgrass. Kelsey also
makes several vegan ice-creams using
oat milk and coconut oil. ?We get
loads of people coming in showing
us their phones and saying, ?Can I
have that?? We put weird flavours on
our ice-cream van, and that?s what
people want after seeing it on Twitter.
There?s a lot of adventurous palates.?
At the level of Science Cream and
Ginger, margins are tight. They are
producing small volumes and using
expensive ingredients that need
labour-intensive preparation and
cooking. But mainstream dessert
bars can be very lean, nimble
businesses. At Creams, all its gelato
(a lower-fat Italian version of icecream, made with more milk and
less cream) is manufactured at a
central production facility. Its cakes
are bought-in. No chefs are needed.
There?s no big kitchen investment.
Throw in its counter-ordering and
the fast turnover of customers and,
even though the average spend at
Creams is only �(two scoops of icecream for �95; most of its sundaes
are ��, it is a potentially
lucrative燽usiness.
?These dessert bar formats are
absolutely outpacing the growth of
normal restaurants,? says Joe Lutrario,
the deputy editor at Restaurant
magazine. ?Waffles, coffee, cake,
ice-cream, it?s all serious moneymaking stuff and you only need a
few staff to serve it. It?s a different,
more profitable model and you can
have an experience there for six
The appliance
of science at
Science Cream
in Cardiff
Above and top:
the finished
results from
Science Cream
?
Salted caramel
peanut butter and
strawberry pink
peppercorn sorbet
from Ginger?s
Comfort Emporium
The faddy eater
Morwenna
Ferrier
?The custardo
won?t take o? in
y
Italy, but it?s easy
? and it works?
The ice-cream
parlour?s rise is
not solely about
consumption, but
a cultural shift in
how we socialise
quid, which is dramatically cheaper
than somewhere like Nando?s.?
Sitting in Creams? Stockport
branch ? a contemporary diner
decorated with street art-bedecked
skateboards, music pumping in the
background ? it is easy to understand
its appeal. It feels just cool enough
to爄mpress pickier teens without
alienating anyone, including their
parents. The unusually cheery staff
make it welcoming, and my five-yearold is entranced by the gelato display.
That product itself is Ben & Jerry?s
quality (a compliment!), and if a
sample crepe feels a little sad and
flabby, a cookie-dough crush sundae,
topped with Mr Whippy-style ice-
cream, caramel sauce and cookie
dough crumb, is wolfed down. The
kid?s blue bubblegum ice-cream is
vile, obviously, but it does mimic that
?screwball? flavour with eerie accuracy.
None of this is cheap. Three of us
are爄n and out in half-an-hour, �
lighter. But the young couples in the
neighbouring booths are in no hurry.
You could stretch a tenner out here
over an hour or so, which people seem
to be doing more and more. For the
ice-cream parlour?s rise is not solely
a story about changing trends in icecream consumption (we are eating
less ice-cream, but opting for betterquality options), but also a cultural
shift in how we socialise.
Founded in 2004 in Walthamstow,
east London, Afters Original was one
of the capital?s first dessert bar chains.
It now has 10 sites. It opened, in no
small part, to give young Muslims
and families somewhere to hang out
locally. Its venues (garishly pink,
US-inspired diners decorated with
giant jukeboxes and even the
occasional Chevrolet) are all alcoholfree, as is Creams, and open until late
(1am in some cases), serving a global
menu ranging from Mississippi mud
pie to malai kulfi. ?The Muslim
community or people who don?t drink
had limited places to go socially, and
it can get boring going to the cinema
every week,? says the owner, Kais Niaz.
?This was kind of a replacement. Also,
a lot of the old, traditional east London
ice-cream parlours had closed. We
created this buzz about dessert.?
That buzz has now gained a
national traction. Mani argues that
a燽road swathe of millennials, many
non-drinkers or infrequent drinkers,
are looking beyond the pub or coffee
shop (?that?s an older generation?)
for places to meet: ?Youngsters don?t
necessarily want to be in environments
with alcohol, and families feel safer
sending their kids to a place where
they can have an ice-cream. We try to
accommodate every ethnicity,
dietary restriction and taste. I think
that?s worked well爄n the sense that
people?s social燼nd cultural
sensitivities are unconsciously
accommodated.?
Anecdotally, women are using
dessert bars a lot, too; both dry ones
and those that serve booze. ?It?s very
female-led,? says Anthony Quinn, the
owner of Nottingham?s The Pudding
Pantry. ?Often, you look around and
there?s not a single male. It?s an
alternative to a bar. Come here and
have a prosecco and some puddings.?
All this sounds like a futureproofed demographic ? young, multiethnic, female ? that big corporations
such as Unilever, owner of Ben & Jerry?s
and Carte D?or, must be desperate to
connect with. But Unilever shows
little sign of entering this high-street
parlour game. Its Ben & Jerry ?scoop
shops? are almost entirely in
cinemas. Such ?dinosaurs? are poor,
argues Mani, at adapting to youth
trends: ?London is a phenomenal
melting pot of ideas and cultures and
a lot of bureaucratic institutions
don?t tap into that knowledge.?
Could concerns about obesity
and爐he growth of healthier diets be
an existential threat to this boom?
?I燿on?t feel threatened,? says
Kelsey. ?There?s so much noise
around those issues, but most
sensible people know you can?t live
on ice-cream.?
Niaz, whose Afters venues
literally have their cake and eatt it
althier
by燼lso serving sorbets and healthier
smoothies with names such as
?flu-fighter?, sounds equally
ned as
unconcerned: ?It?s been designed
a treat, not an everyday meal. It?s
?
not cheap-cheap. It?s a luxury.?
xury
In a global context, it is a luxury
re.
that still offers plenty to explore.
ment in
Central Cross, a爊ew development
o
Chinatown, London, is home to
several east-Asian dessert bar
oro,
brands, such Guo C 100 and Roro,
gs
that serve durian milk puddings
es
and Cantonese mango pancakes
e
rarely seen in the UK. Someone
ells
from Creams, which already sells
?
Hong Kong-style ?bubble-pop?
waffle cones, is probably there,,
ame
right now, eating hard in the name
ks
of爎esearch. The future? It looks
very爏weet.
Black charcoal
coconut icecream from
Science Cream
Affogato means ?drowned? in Italian and, by no
coincidence, an affogato is an ice-cream drowned in
coffee. The dessert (or drink, depending on your
appetite) usually involves one scoop of vanilla icecream and one shot of espresso. Technically speaking,
the ice-cream is burned by the espresso, but ?scotta? is
a little harder to pronounce. Either way, the ice-cream
dies a quick but painful death. Bitter irony, then, that the
affogato is one of multiple casualties of the so-called
Great Vanilla Shortage sweeping the nation.
It?s no laughing matter ? fuelled by a rise in global
demand and a squeeze on Madagascan production,
vanilla is no longer affordable. Pods can now cost up to
�5 a kilo, making them more expensive than silver.
The crisis is in its early stages ? there is still vanilla
ice-cream in shops ? but, by God, go now. The bigger
ice-cream companies, such as Jude?s, have absorbed
the cost. But many artisanal gelaterias have already
scratched vanilla off their chalkboards.
This is excellent news for the custardo, a
confectionary confection that swaps ice-cream for
custard. Custardo was supposedly created by a cafe in
London?s coffee belt, Peckham, called Forza Win
(where they use creme anglaise) and the result is not
dissimilar to Vietnamese hot egg coffee, which mixes
egg yolks with sugar, condensed milk and coffee. It is
also, arguably, from the same wheelhouse as bicerin,
Turin?s highly prized morning drink, which mixes
espresso with chocolate and whole milk, a potent
combination that stimulates bodily fear and calorific
anguish among churchgoers who drink it after mass.
Michele Vollaro, the general manager at Cafe
Murano St James, London, has heard of it but not tried
it. ?In Naples, we only drink very traditional coffee,? he
says. ?I?m a big fan of something like an espresso
martini in the evening, but for a pick-me-up in the
morning it has to be straight down the line ? either an
espresso or a cappuccino.? Custardo is a stupid word,
and may not take off in Italy, but is pretty easy to make.
Technically (again), custard is usually made with
vanilla but ? and here?s the key ? it?s not a must. When I
made custardo, there was nothing decent left in the
shop, so I used cheap own-brand custard, which tasted
as though it had once been in the vicinity of vanilla, but
not made actual contact. Rather than drowning, the
custard sort of bellyflops into the coffee with a special
sort of gracelessness. But I had it for breakfast, and it
works. What should have been egregious as a pairing
was, in fact, as rich and thick as Theresa May?s cabinet,
the custard cutting through the espresso?s bitterness.
I?m sure the real stuff ? proper vanilla custard and
coffee ? is better. But if the vanilla shortage continues,
we may have to opt for second best.
The Guardian
Thursday 10 May 2018
7
?
? Words Gaby Hinsliff
Can we ?nd
common
ground on
gender?
In January 2016, the government proposed changes
to the Gender Recognition Act ? there has been
furious debate between gender-critical feminists and
trans activists ever since. But beyond the shouting,
a爉ore nuanced conversation is starting
T
hey came in a steady
stream, picking their
way across a garden
in central Oxford to
the Quaker meeting
room beyond. A crowd
of largely middle-aged women, the
sort you would find at any literary
festival or school open evening;
friends exchanging kisses, a baby
squawking in a pushchair. Only the
chanting protesters outside gave the
game away. For this was a meeting
called by the feminist organisation
Woman?s Place to discuss potential
changes in the law on gender
recognition, and that meant
tension爄n the air.
At a recent meeting in Bristol,
masked activists tried to stop
speakers entering the building. In
Cardiff, the venue cancelled the
women?s booking after threats were
made. Last month, a trans activist
called Tara Wolf was convicted
of assaulting Maria Maclachlan,
a 61-year-old feminist, during a
protest at Speaker?s Corner in Hyde
Park where Maclachlan was filming
trans activists.
Oxford?s student-led protest went
more peacefully, but some attendees
were evidently shaken enough to
leave by a back door afterwards;
others were thrown at being on
the sharp end of an equality demo.
?I?m usually the protester,? said one
woman, emerging from the scrum.
But this issue turns old certainties
on爐heir head.
A Woman?s Place formed last
autumn out of a conversation
?literally around a kitchen table?,
according to teacher and co-founder
Philipa Harvey, between a group of
friends ? trade unionists, academics,
lawyers and others ? worried that
they had nowhere to debate freely.
They wanted to discuss the potential
implications for women and girls
of sharing single-sex spaces ? from
domestic violence refuges and
female prisons to swimming pool
changing rooms and Brownie packs
? with male-bodied people, and to
explore what they see as the risk of
predatory non-trans men finding a
way to abuse such access to reach
vulnerable women. They wanted to
discuss bodies and biology without
being told that mentioning vaginas
excludes women who don?t have
them. And they suspected other
women also had questions they
weren?t asking, for fear of being
called transphobic. ?There are
people who will say nothing about
this in their workplaces, because
their jobs are on the line; in social
situations people won?t talk about it,?
says Harvey. ?But there is a change
in the law being proposed and it will
impact women. Women have a right
to ask: ?What will the impact look like
for my daily life???
These are women who feel
silenced, erased and intimidated
? and yet it is clear that many trans
women do, too.
?It is held against me that ?you
were raised with male privilege?,
but actually I was beaten up all the
time for being effeminate,?? says
Clara Barker, a trans scientist at the
University of Oxford, who also leads
voluntary work with LGBT young
people. ?Because I was trans I was
severely depressed, I was bullied
in my workplace, so it?s like, ?What
privilege is that???
She considered going to the
meeting after an invite from speaker
Nicola Williams, an activist with
the gender-critical pressure group
8
The Guardian
Thursday 10 May 2018
Fair Play for Women (the pair met
debating each other on TV). But she
was afraid of encountering in real life
the abuse she experiences online,
where jeers about how trans women
are really men jostle with threats
to bash ?terfs? (trans exclusionary
radical feminists, a derogatory term
for women questioning trans rights).
While the trans movement has its
dark side, also hovering on the outer
fringes of the gender-critical camp
are a handful of men with far-right
associations, attracted by a perceived
fight against political correctness.
?I want to be able to engage, even
if sometimes I?m going to hear things
I don?t like. I?m perfectly willing to
listen to the other side,? says Barker.
?But it?s got to be balanced, it?s got to
be reasoned. I tried to make a couple
of comments [on Twitter] just to see
if it was possible to find common
ground and the truth is, it wasn?t.?
Yet beyond the shouting, the
beginning of a more nuanced debate
is discernible; one involving trans
women who crave equality but not
at vulnerable women?s expense,
feminists with divided loyalties,
and people wanting more than toxic
Facebook slanging matches.
?There is a difference between
social media debate and the
conversations going on elsewhere,?
says Sophie Walker, leader of the
Women?s Equality Party, who was
torn apart over her party?s transinclusive stance in one notable
Mumsnet webchat, but is now
more optimistic about the chances
of reaching some consensus. ?I
am encouraged by the number
of women who have contacted
me privately to say they want to
find common ground.? Both A
Woman?s Place and trans activists
led by Stonewall have given wellreceived燽riefings to Labour MPs in
recent months.
In Oxford, questions were
certainly more plaintive than angry.
There was a mother worried about
her daughter potentially sharing a
tent on Guide camps with trans girls
who might still have penises, but
anxious no trans child should feel
excluded either. Another woman
complained of being unable to get
straight answers about sleeping
arrangements on a volunteer
project her daughter wants to join.
Meanwhile, four platform speakers,
including Harvey and Williams,
talked of girls needing to feel they
can set boundaries around their
spaces and women being heard. Six
days after the meeting, meanwhile,
300 Labour party members
reportedly quit in protest at trans
women standing for parliament on
all-women shortlists, exposing a
split within the left that feels more
generational than ideological;
woke millennials versus older
women who fear hard-won victories
being eroded. This isn?t just about
politics.營t?s about what it means
to be a woman, born or made, and
feel燿ismissed.
The story began in January 2016,
when the new Commons equalities
select committee ? chaired by the
Conservatives? former equalities
secretary Maria Miller ? made its
Westminster debut with a report
it didn?t expect to be enormously
controversial, on reforms to the law
governing gender爎ecognition.
The 2004 Gender Recognition Act
(GRA) lets adults officially register
a change to the gender assigned
at birth. They don?t necessarily
have to undergo surgery, but must
provide psychiatric assessments
and proof of living for two years in
the gender they wish to be officially
recognised, a process activists see
as intrusive and overly medicalised.
Miller?s committee broadly agreed,
recommending instead a system of
self-identification where changing
gender was as simple as signing a
form. Similar arrangements now
exist in Portugal, Ireland, Malta,
Belgium, Norway and Denmark,
and activists insist there is no
evidence of anyone abusing them
for sinister purposes, although the
?You were raised
with male privilege?
is held against me,
but I was beaten up
all the time ? what
privilege is that?
numbers involved are relatively
small so far (it is estimated up to 1%
of Britons may be trans, although
there are no official statistics). An
Irish government review of how the
system is working there, due this
autumn, is hotly awaited.
Shifting to self-identification
doesn?t, by itself, automatically
mean trans women being treated
in all circumstances as if they had
been燽orn female. Irish trans women
may, for example, still be jailed in
male prisons.
But crucially, the Miller
committee?s report also backed the
curbing of exemptions in the 2010
Equalities Act, which currently
allow trans people to be barred
from certain jobs and services if
necessary to protect other users ?
the loophole covering sensitive areas
such as women?s refuges. And that?s
where alarm bells started ringing.
It was discrimination law, not the
recognition process, that came
under scrutiny in Canada after serial
sex attacker Christopher Hambrook
attacked two women in domestic
violence shelters in Toronto,
which he?d entered dressed as a
woman. (The state of Ontario had
previously passed a bill prohibiting
discrimination against trans people.)
Significantly, when the then
equalities secretary Justine Greening
announced a consultation on
simplifying the gender-recognition
process last July, she did not take
up the call to rewrite equality law.
Women?s shelters in the UK can still
legally turn people away following
risk assessments ? including
women who were born female if,
for example, they have a history
of offending that might endanger
others. ?People always say, ?Well
anyone could just say they?re a
victim of domestic violence? but to
get into a refuge, we?ll sit and talk
to you for ages. There are all sorts
of assessments to undergo,? says
the Labour MP Jess Phillips, who
sat on Miller?s committee and has
previously worked for Women?s Aid.
But what is worrying both sides is
that 10 months (and two equalities
secretaries) later, there is still a
gaping hole where any consultation
should be. Officially, ministers are
still deliberating. Unofficially, as
?
?There is a
di?erence between
social media
debate and the
conversations
going on elsewhere?
?As a trans person,
I don?t want my
rights to be based
on feelings,
because people
don?t believe it?
one MP puts it, they seem to have
?started a hare running and then
run away?, leaving a vacuum to
fill with both sides? worst fears. In
Scotland, where the parliament
is consulting on moving to selfidentification, women?s groups and
trans organisations have promised to
work together to find consensus. But
elsewhere, debate is being ?driven by
misinformation pushed out by a few
loud voices?, according to Stonewall
UK?s Paul Twocock. Everyone
assumes the law will change, but
isn?t sure how; meanwhile, culture
is爎unning ahead of it.
I
n practice, refuges will
increasingly consider
trans women?s cases on
merit, and Twocock says
many survivors? services
have been quietly transinclusive for years. A spokeswoman
for Women?s Aid says it doesn?t set
policies for individual members but
believes ?all survivors of domestic
abuse must have the right to access
the specialist support they need?,
while stressing that not all services
are appropriate for爀veryone.
What worries many gendercritical feminists, however, is that
organisations are having to make
difficult choices in a climate where
any deviation from the principle
that ?trans women are women?
causes a燽acklash. Advertisers have
been lobbied to withdraw from
the parenting site Mumsnet, after
its anonymised message boards
became a haven for gender-critical
feminist debate. Topshop hurriedly
introduced gender-neutral changing
rooms after being publicly accused
of transphobia by a customer barred
from the women?s cubicles. As trans
activists pointed out, you may have
been trying on clothes next to trans
women for years without realising;
it?s just official now, meaning
teenagers no longer risk public
humiliation just to buy a T-shirt.
But what bothers opponents is the
idea of changes happening without
women?s consent. ?Small businesses
can?t afford to use the exemptions
and big燾ompanies don?t want to,
because they don?t want to be seen
as anti-trans,? says Williams. ?We?ve
got the law and there is good reason
why it?s there, but the law doesn?t
mean anything if nobody?s using
it. Everyone?s too scared of getting
it爓rong.?
Trans men have flown largely
beneath the radar of this debate,
presumably because men don?t feel
threatened by sharing changing
rooms with potentially femalebodied people. The exception,
however, is trans boys. The Oxford
meeting also heard from Stephanie
Davies-Arai, of the pressure group
Transgender Trend, who questions
why most transitioning teenagers
now referred to London?s specialist
Tavistock clinic were born girls
when the reverse used to be true:
could some have deeper reasons for
questioning their gender? (Referrals
to the Tavistock, the only NHS
gender-identity clinic, rocketed
from 97 cases in 2009 to almost
2,600 by the end of last year, and
70% were born female.)
It?s a furiously contested issue,
but as a child, Williams says she
might have been ?very attracted?
to the idea of transitioning. ?It
took me a long time to come to
terms with the fact that I was a
lesbian. I爓ent through feeling
uncomfortable with my gender as a
woman because I燿idn?t like being
a woman. I didn?t really fit, I didn?t
feel very good at being a woman. I
think that?s a path lots of lesbians
have to tread, and now I?m proud to
be a lesbian woman. But if someone
said to me, ?actually you could be a
boy if you wanted? I?d have found
that燼mazing.?
However, any suggestion
of children being rushed into
transitioning, with its echo of 1990s
arguments about homosexuality
supposedly being ?promoted? in
schools, is bitterly contested by
those working with young people.
?It is 12 months before you see a
gender doctor, probably 12 months
of counselling after that,? says
Barker. ?All the kids I see are saying:
?It?s been three years, when am
I爂oing to get hormones???
Her own hunch is that the
disparities in girls and boys
transitioning themselves may
even out in later life: ?Young boys
still have the emphasis on toxic
masculinity, which means they
won?t be able to admit they?re
trans until they?re older. It?s about
being able to come to terms with
yourself at an early age.? And that?s a
lifetime?s work for爏ome.
Sitting in the Oxford audience
was physics teacher Debbie Hayton,
one of the few trans women to have
spoken from A Woman?s Place?s
platform. While she agrees the GRA
is too bureaucratic, she prefers the
security of having a formal diagnosis
and surgery to self-identification.
?As a trans person, I don?t want my
rights or protections to be based
on feelings, because people don?t
believe it. They may tolerate it. But it
takes away my credibility as a trans
person.? As for all-women shortlists,
Hayton says, ?hell would freeze over
before I?d go on one, because I was
socialised as a boy and I have those
advantages still?.
Such views aren?t necessarily
popular among trans activists, and
Hayton has been accused of being
?self-hating?. Yet in a movement
focused on giving everyone the
freedom to define themselves as
they choose, it seems odd to deny
her the same leeway.
For Hayton, sex is a biological
fact; she describes herself as ?male,
and I prefer people to relate to me
as if I were female?. But in an ideal
world, free of all stereotypes, what
she would have liked is to present
as a feminine man. ?This is really
difficult to explain but by asking to
be treated by society in the same
way that they would treat a woman,
I爁eel more comfortable,? she says.
?I transitioned because
I燾ouldn?t cope with the way society
was treating me as a man, the
expectations it placed on me, and
the restrictions.
?The problem is, as a teacher,
if I express myself completely as
?Women have
a爎ight to ask what
the impact of the
changes will
be on their
daily lives?
non-gendered, I couldn?t get on
with the job. If somebody comes
in saying: ?I?m not a woman or a
man? then every time I did a new
class, you would have to go through
that with them, when what you
really want to be doing is teaching
them.? Transition was, for her, a
pragmatic爄f not ideal solution to
a燾omplex issue.
Channel 4 has been exploring
the idea that gender identity is
a spectrum ? stretching from
non-binary (identifying with
neither gender), to trans or gay
and a dizzying number of other
possibilities, and that finding the
right place on it can be complicated,
in its reality miniseries Genderquake
this week. The programme features
11 young people with different
gender identities sharing a house for
a month. While an ensuing studio
debate between activists, including
the trans model Munroe Bergdorf
and feminist icon Germaine Greer,
descended into chaotic scenes and
aggressive audience heckling, the
reality show struck a markedly
different tone; by the end the
housemates had clearly bonded,
and in some cases, minds had been
changed. Could it be that opinions
in real life are less entrenched than
public debate爏uggests?
The solutions to some points of
conflict are likely, as Jess Phillips
says, to be ?very, very practical?.
While the Oxford meeting heard
poignant stories about schoolgirls
feeling unsafe sharing genderneutral toilets with boys (ironically
the meeting?s venue had unisex
toilets), sealed cubicles, locks and
other design features may go a long
way to avoid any anticipated friction.
But finding common ground
elsewhere may be trickier, unless
both sides can overcome their fear of
the other. After deciding not to go to
the A Woman?s Place meeting, Barker
ended up hovering a few yards down
the street from the protest, ready to
intervene if the chanting students
from her university overstepped
the mark. ?I爁elt for the people who
obviously looked nervous going in,
because I爑nderstand that,? she says.
?Those were the sort of people that
I would love to sit down and have a
chat with.? Perhaps it?s not too late.
The Guardian
Thursday 10 May 2018
9
?
Arts
?I was high
on painkillers
and couldn?t
hold the bow?
One overslept, one played in cowboy boots and one?s
next gig is the royal wedding ? ?ve past winners of BBC
Young Musician relive the day that changed their lives
I entered at the very last minute.
I爓as lucky to be accepted at all.
After each round, I thought: ?Ugh,
there?s no way I?m getting through.?
I hadn?t prepared a concerto in
advance because I never thought I?d
reach the final. So I had only a month
to learn Saint-Sa雗s? second piano
concerto. Luckily, my specialist
music school, the Purcell, were
understanding.
I was very young and not so
good at the interviews that are
part of the competition. I still feel
happier expressing myself through
the piano. The final itself went
by in a blur. I like to rest before I
perform and somehow I overslept.
My teacher had to wake me up to
throw me on stage. But my nerves
disappeared as soon as I played
the first note. It?s an incredible
experience, performing with a
professional symphony orchestra,
and I was weeping the whole way
through the handshakes and the
presentation of the award. The
photos of me are horrendous.
I?ve爂ot this awful crying face on.
Winning changed my life but it
could also be a burden. At music
college, it made me a semi-celebrity
which I hated. And as a teenager,
you don?t have the repertoire that
a concert pianist in their 20s or
30s would have. But I?ve benefited
from the competition in so many
ways. Perhaps most importantly,
it brought me to the燼ttention of
Alfred燘rendel, who燼greed to work
with me in private masterclasses.
There?s still so much more to be
done to change perspectives about
classical music ? especially the
government?s. Every child needs
access to music and more funding
is needed. There are so many raw
talents out there who aren?t reaching
their potential.
?I?m honoured to be playing at
Harry and Meghan?s wedding?
Sheku Kanneh-Mason, cello,
2016 winner at 17
I entered my first Young Musician
competition at the age of 12. There
was no way I was going to win. I
just did it to give myself something
to work towards, doing the same
again at 14. That year my older sister,
Isata, reached the piano final. By the
time I competed again in 2016, I felt
like a veteran. I?m lucky: I am very
comfortable performing. I don?t tend
to get nervous.
The environment was supportive
and positive throughout. The three
of us who made it to the final were
especially friendly ? we were all
going through the same thing,
after all. It was the first time any
of us had played a concerto with a
professional orchestra, so we were
all really excited. I don?t bother
much about what I wear: I find
suit jackets constricting so I wear
something I?m comfortable in. My
mum helped me pick it.
The feeling of elation at winning
didn?t fade for a long time, although
I did have my maths A-level two
days after the final, which brought
me back down to earth with a
bump. I had to get straight back to
Lara Melda ?
hadn?t prepared
a concerto
for the final
10
The Guardian
Thursday 10 May 2018
Laura van
der Heijden ?
played through
a tennis injury
schoolwork, and there were also
new pieces to practise.
The competition is a wonderful
thing. It gives young people the
chance to perform to a wide
audience. Winning has had a
massive impact on my career,
letting me play all over the world.
I?m studying full-time at the Royal
Academy, and I?m very proud that
my first album, which features
everything from Shostakovich to
Bob Marley, went to the top of the
classical charts.
I?m excited and honoured to
be performing at Prince Harry
and Meghan Markle?s wedding.
Winning also meant I?ve had to get
used to doing interviews, which
is something I didn?t find easy at
first. My only advice for this year?s
finalists would be to embrace this
amazing opportunity ? and enjoy it.
I did.
?Channel 4 asked me to go on
Celebrity Big Brother?
Mark Simpson, clarinet,
2006 winner at 17
A while ago, I listened to my
performance of the Nielsen
Clarinet Concerto that won me the
competition. It is ? of course ? the
performance of a very talented
musician, but I was struck by how far
from definitive it was. These pieces
need爈ife experience, they need
pain燼nd depth to be understood.
I爐hink the competition would better
serve young musicians if the age
range was 18 to 24 [instead of under
18]. By that point, you?re a musician
who?s studied and played and has a
voice with something to say.
I was the first ? and still the
only ? person to win BBC Young
Musician and BBC Young Composer
simultaneously. I was 17 and it was
overwhelming. The expectation
is that YM winners go straight into
a high-powered concerto career,
but I wasn?t interested in being a
superstar. I didn?t want to have a
career playing Mozart concertos. My
heart lay in contemporary music and
I wanted to study, to learn, to grow.
I was offered an incredible amount
of opportunities ? Channel 4 even
called to ask me to go on Big Brother:
Celebrity Hijack. I definitely dodged
a bullet there. I had to learn what
was important and what to say no to.
Today, as a successful soloist
and composer, I still have to pinch
myself. It seems so remarkable. My
mum and dad aren?t musical, they
weren?t wealthy, and they certainly
weren?t pushy. They just left me to
get on with it. I was lucky enough
to go to a state school in Liverpool
where a heavily subsidised and
vibrant music scheme meant I was
PHOTOGRAPH: GLEN F THOMAS; ALAN PEEBLES; BBC; HUW JOHN
?My teacher woke me up
and threw me on stage?
Lara Melda, piano,
2010 winner at 16
?
Martin James
Bartlett ? from
cowboy boots
to M&S shoes
My best shot
Michael E Northrup
?Pam could squirt breast milk eight feet.
After our 10th year together, I could see she
was really starting to tire of posing for me?
given free music lessons, a free
instrument and all kinds of other
ensemble opportunities. Could
someone from my background
get to爐he final of Young Musician
today? I doubt it. I am the product
of a system that no longer exists
due爐o燾uts.
Walking on stage for the final,
with a whole rig full of cameras
filming me, I was petrified and had
to flip a switch in my head ? telling
myself, forcing myself, to enjoy
it. When I won, there was a huge
roar, and I could see my family at
the back going crazy. It was one of
the happiest days of my life. We
all partied back at the hotel and
my music teacher asked me if I
wanted a drink. I asked for a whisky
and a cigar. My mum went mad!
Ultimately though, what can the
competition do other than say ?Here
he is?? It?s what you do next that?s
the important thing.
?The conductor began before
I?d tuned. I just had to play?
Laura van der Heijden, cello,
2012爓inner at 15
I was 14 when I entered. I was
really爅ust hoping to get through
the first round ? to show that all
the爉usic I?d been doing was worth爄t.
I never expected to get much further,
let alone win it. The爓eek before the
strings final, I爌layed tennis. I?m a
very bad tennis爌layer and I managed
to hurt爉y arm, so my main memory
was of being high on painkillers
and not being able to hold my
bow爌roperly.
I played the Walton cello
concerto爄n the overall final. It was
a good choice on my teacher?s part:
the cello repertoire isn?t massive
Sheku KannehMason ? royal
wedding cellist
Mark Simpson
? ?I asked
for a whisky
and a cigar?
and with, say, the Elgar concerto
it?s more difficult to find your own
voice. But the Walton isn?t so well
known, even though it?s a magical
and very accessible work I felt
passionate about.
I had a slightly unfortunate start.
I爏at down and looked over to Kiril
Petrenko, the conductor, thinking
to tune, but he misunderstood and
began the piece itself. I just had to
play ? what爀lse could I have done?
I remember feeling so relaxed and
free, playing爓ith the orchestra. I felt
as if營 was flying.
?I wore outrageous cowboy
boots with a massive heel?
Martin James Bartlett, piano,
2014 winner at 17
I love talking, so the filming and
interviews weren?t a problem. In fact,
the day I spent with the camera team
was one of the funniest I?ve ever had.
I was in the competition twice ? in
2012 I reached the keyboard final. I
turned up wearing an outrageous pair
of cowboy boots with a massive heel.
They were completely impractical
but I had to play in them.
In 2014, I wasn?t allowed to choose
what to wear. My piano teacher
bought 10 pairs of black shoes from
M&S ? and made me try them all on
until we found the right ones.
Backstage, as the final winner
was being announced, we couldn?t
really hear and we all sort of shuffled
forward. Somebody put a hand on my
back and shoved me on to the stage,
and I remember thinking: ?I hope
this means I?ve won, not that they?re
announcing the runners-up first.?
We went out for a meal afterwards
and the TV in the restaurant was
showing the competition. So I got
to爎elive the whole experience while
eating pasta carbonara.
Interviews by Imogen Tilden. The
final of BBC Young Musician 2018
is live on BBC Four on Sunday. The
Proms mark the competition?s 40th
anniversary with a concert of past
finalists at the Royal Albert Hall,
London, on 15 July.
Pam was prolific in her lactating. She could
squirt breast milk eight feet. We were together
from 1977 to 1988 and her entire pregnancy
was an eye feast. I had so much great stuff to
work with. I have never felt the need to get
in a car and drive 400 miles to take a picture.
My life has always been so available. Back in
those days, I was never without a camera.
Anyone living with me had to be open to
being photographed all the time. The second
anything popped in front of my eyes, I took a
picture of it. My wife is breast-pumping? Bang!
As I took this, I probably thought: ?Wow!?
There wasn?t much more going on in my head.
You couldn?t set up most of my photographs:
they?re knee-jerk reactions, so I?m working
more from perception than conception. I only
ever take one or two shots, but I intuitively
knew this was the frame I wanted.
Had I shown Pam?s face, it would have
been a portrait and viewers would be looking
into her eyes. But my images of her aren?t a
glimpse into her soul ? they?re a glimpse into
mine. Rather than revealing the person in
the picture, I?m extracting odd moments of
my daily life. I wasn?t restricted by natural
light because I?d fallen in love with flash
photography, how it throws hard shadows and
alters the look of things.
I have around 400 pictures of Pam. I was
amazed she was so giving. We met in my home
town of Marietta, in Ohio. She was a nurse
and we formed this great relationship. When
I moved out to San Francisco to complete my
photography studies, I asked her to come out
and marry me. I have a photo of her on the
toilet wearing the dress she married me in. We
were about to go downtown to the courthouse
to get married by a judge on his lunchbreak.
Her mouth and chin are the only parts of her
face showing. You can see a bit of a smile, as if
she?s saying: ?You?re photographing me in the
bathroom? Oh, come on!?
I didn?t like my course in San Francisco, so I
went home for a year until I could start another
in Chicago. Pam was with me throughout ? and
later, too, when I started teaching photography.
So she understood what my work was about.
It wasn?t until our 10th year that I could see
she was really starting to tire of posing. That
wasn?t the reason we split up, though. It was
just two people realising that they?re not right
for each other. We?ve all been there. We had a
hard divorce but we remain in contact over our
daughter and we?re doing pretty good.
When picking through old photos to share
with the public, there are some the world
won?t get to see. While Pam is a very important
part of my life and
my work, what I try
The CV
to put out there is my
Born Marietta,
personal, ongoing
Ohio, 1948.
vision. My dad was a
Training Ohio
doctor, surgeon and
University; Art
coroner. He would
Institute of Chicago.
come to the dinner
Influences Edward
table with stories about
Weston, Les Krims,
bowel obstructions and
Paul Strand, Imogen
suicides, and we?d find
Cunningham.
humour in the tragedy,
High point ?Studying
so there?s always an
with Jack Welpott.?
element of irony in
Low point ?Watching
my爄mages.
dreams go up in
Of course, people
smoke. No gallery
might see them
will touch me.?
differently. There?s
Top tip ?My dad,
a爐erm photographers
the doctor, told me,
use ? ?affective
?Listen to people.
ambiguity? ? meaning
They will love you
you leave in a certain
for it.??
amount of openness so
that viewers can bring
their own experiences
to them. That?s why, after looking at my
pictures, you might think: ?What the fuck was
that?? It?s just the way I see things. I started
this when I was 22 and I?m still doing it. That?s
almost 50 years of photographing.
Interview by Amy Fleming. Dream Away
by Michael E Northrup is published by
Stanley/Barker.
The Guardian
Thursday 10 May 2018
11
?
Live reviews
Visceral
force ?
Florence
Welch
tom-tom pounding and violin
scraping it makes the other gung-ho
theatrical tracks they?ve come up
with thus far sound as if they were
merely warming up.
It can all be a bit much on record,
but it gains an appealingly visceral
force live. The same is true of
Florence Welch?s voice: what sounds
histrionic coming
out of a pair
Welch, who
of爃eadphones
can?t swig
Sergey Kuryshev,
makes more
her water
centre, leads
sense amid
an astonishing
without
the爐umult of
ensemble
twirling
the燽and?s live
around, cuts
sound. The
a wild and
stagecraft
entertaining
designed to
reach爐he
OTT ?gure
nosebleed seats
at Frankfurt?s
Jahrhunderthalle
looks a little nuts
?????
close up. There is a great deal of
creeping around on tiptoes and a
Theatre Royal Haymarket, London
preponderance of expressive hand
gestures. At one juncture, Welch
Until 20 May
crouches at the front of the stage,
blank-eyed, apparently lost in the
Box office: 020-7930 8800
moment ? one slightly spoiled by
the爁act that the stage is low, and
onsciously modelled
the爏potlight picking her out also
on War and Peace,
illuminates a security guard,
Vasily Grossman?s epic
blinking and looking as mortified
novel ? written in 1960
as爄t is possible for a person to look.
but not published in
Welch ? who can?t swig a bottle of
Russia until 1988 ? is
water at the rear of the stage without
twirling around and waving her arms not the easiest to transfer to the
stage. Lev Dodin, as adapter and
about en route ? cuts a wildly OTT
director, and the Maly Theatre of
figure. But you?d be hard-pushed to
St Petersburg have done a heroic
suggest she isn?t entertainingly OTT,
job in encompassing the book?s
compounded by the feeling ? again
main themes, including the historic
not always obvious on record ? that
parallels between communism and
she doesn?t take herself quite as
fascism, and in giving the complex
seriously as you might expect.
action, including the battle of
At爋ne point, she earnestly
Stalingrad, a miraculous fluidity.
implores爐he audience to put their
Wisely, Dodin does not try to give
phones away and their hands in
us the whole book but focuses on
the燼ir. ?This moment is going
key issues. Central to the story is
to燿isappear, and we?re going to
the tortured conscience of a Jewish
allow it to disappear,? she says,
nuclear physicist, Viktor Shtrum,
then爎econsiders. ?Unless you
who in 1943 finds himself at odds
come爐o another show, and then
with his scientific masters. This
obviously, we?ll do it again.?
yields two unforgettable scenes.
Alexis Petridis
In the first we see the exultation of
the suddenly indispensable Shtrum
time there than he does in the UK.
when he receives an approving phone
At 10.27pm, Lee calls Green again.
call from Stalin. In the second, with
?We?ve got a singer,? says Knepp?s
its potent echoes of Brecht?s Galileo,
ecologist on speakerphone, adding,
Shtrum agonises over whether, to
with feeling: ?Oh my goodness,
continue his research, he should sign
this爄s爏o stressful.?
a letter effectively condoning the
Suddenly, loud and close, an
death of Soviet dissidents.
extraordinary burst of trills, whistles
All this is framed by a heartrending
and melodic extemporisation;
farewell letter from Viktor?s captive
the爈iquid song of the tropics
mother and is intercut with episodes
and爂unfire bird-rap.
from the battlefront and depictions
Lee lets us listen in rapt silence
of life in Nazi and Soviet labour
before accompanying on his Indian
camps. But the beauty of Dodin?s
shruti box. Lusambo follows with
three-and-a-half-hour production
intricate guitar, while � Raghallaigh
(played in Russian with surtitles) is
adds a whistle he bought two days
that scenes overlap, so the joyous
earlier in a Hastings junkshop.
coupling of Shtrum and his wife after
These sounds reflect the 90%
Stalin?s call is ironically juxtaposed
crash in the nightingale population
with anguished military manoeuvres
over the last four decades; there is
in Stalingrad.
urgency in Lee?s mission to bring its
An astonishing ensemble, led
song to audiences who can no longer
by Sergey Kuryshev as Shtrum
hear it. Despite that loss, there is joy
and Tatyana Shestakova as his
in this collaborative night ? between
mother, vividly recall the horrors
instruments, nations and species ?
of totalitarian oppression while
and a renewed sense that we can find
embodying Grossman?s belief in
harmony with other creatures.
an爑nquenchable life-force.
Patrick Barkham
Michael Billington
Theatre
Life and Fate
Pop
Florence +
the燤achine
?????
Royal Festival Hall, London
With the Rolling Stones at London
Stadium, 25 May
PHOTOGRAPHS: SIMONE JOYNER/GETTY; ROBBIE JACK/CORBIS VIA GETTY
Box office: 0333-321 9999
Folk
Sam Lee?s
Singing With
Nightingales
?????
Norwich Arts Centre
Touring until 29 May
singingwithnightingales.com
I
n the multiplatinum, in-atnumber-one, Glastonburyheadlining world Florence
+ the Machine inhabit,
the Royal Festival Hall
represents a low-key
comeback gig after a couple of
years? absence. That said, low-key
isn?t the phrase that immediately
springs to mind when confronted
with their performance. The stage
is bedecked with so many flowers
and so much foliage it looks less
like the Royal Festival Hall than the
Royal Horticultural Society spring
show. The band numbers eight,
including two keyboard players,
two percussionists and a harpist
who occasionally diversifies with
glockenspiel, and the venue?s
enormous pipe organ ? usually
concealed behind boards at the
rear of the stage ? is on display and
primed for use during the encore.
It?s intended as no slight on the
organist to say that it doesn?t make
much difference to the overall
sound. One of the effects of
cramming a band used to playing
arenas into somewhere smaller is
that they invariably sound immense,
as if the venue is struggling to
contain their sound. So it is tonight,
which fits Florence + the Machine?s
music. Their ? well, her ? stock in
trade is high drama, heavy on the
rumbling drums and roaring vocals.
It says something that a song as
breezily anthemic as 2015 single
Ship爐o Wreck, complete with its
Fleetwood Mac-like chorus,
represents one of the more subdued
moments. A handful of songs from
the band?s forthcoming fourth
album, High as Hope, seem to dial
down the ostentation slightly ? such
things are obviously relative, but
there is a folky simplicity about
current single Sky Full of Song.
At爈east until they get to 100 Years,
a爐rack so gung-ho in its theatrical
swoops from gentle piano ballad to
I
t takes a brave musician to
play a gig with no guarantee
that the lead vocalist will
show up. But Sam Lee, the
Mercury prize-nominated
folk singer and song
collector, reveals himself to be a
master storyteller as we await his
duet with a nocturnal wild bird.
Lee tells of the first such humannightingale duet, when, in 1924,
cellist Beatrice Harrison persuaded
the BBC to live broadcast the sound
of爃er playing in her Surrey garden
?duetting? with a nightingale. On
the�th anniversary of that event,
Lee began taking groups into the
countryside to accompany the bird?s
nocturnal singing. This month, he?s
holding concerts at conventional
venues, with nightingale song livestreamed from the rewilded farm of
Knepp in West Sussex.
We begin with Lee phoning Penny
Green, Knepp?s ecologist, whose task
is to locate a notoriously shy singing
male nightingale. As the lights mimic
the sun setting, Lee sings a Sussex
Bird on
a wire ?
Sam Lee
folk song before bringing in guest
musicians, guitarist Fiston Lusambo
and Caoimhin � Raghallaigh,
who爌lays the hardanger d?amore,
a�-string fiddle.
Lusambo, raised in the Democratic
Republic of Congo, is particularly
inspired casting. While the
nightingale is celebrated by English
Romantic poets from Keats to Clare,
this migratory bird brings the music
of Africa to Britain, spending more
C
The Guardian
Thursday 10 May 2018
13
?
TV and radio
Watch this
Taskmasters ...
Greg Davies and
Alex Horne
Riot Girls
10pm, Channel 4
Review
Taskmaster
The threat of hidden-camera pranks is one
black爉ark against this comedy pilot, while
sketches exploring ?issues? such as the gender
pay gap and public transport manspreading
sound worryingly worthy. Still, the talent of these
young comics may just win out. The fearless
foursome includes standup Sophie Duker,
ex-teacher Jen Wake?eld, Cam Spence, who
made the award-winning short ?lm Polly, and
Grace ?daughter of Alastair? Campbell. Could
it be Smack the Pony 2018? As long as funny
doesn?t lose out to topical.
Dave
Sam Wollaston
Comedians throw themselves into
Greg Davies?s tasks with unabashed if
resigned abandon
?????
T
askmaster is back for a sixth season. ?We?re
going to begin with the Prize Task, pause in
case of a cheer ? OK, so our new gang ...?
begins Alex Horne. No cheer, but a laugh
from the studio audience, at a gag that is
self-aware and a little bit meta. It?s also
quite a good one, which is why they?re laughing.
Alex Horne is not the Taskmaster, Greg Davies is, as
you?ll know if you?re familiar with the show. Alex, sitting
on the smaller of the gold thrones, is Greg?s assistant. But
in a way he is kind of the master, because he invented and
writes Taskmaster. It?s his baby. He pulls the strings from
the side, Thomas Cromwell to Davies?s Henry VIII (so he
should be careful, after what happened to Cromwell).
The Prize Task: to bring in the best liquid. Which is a
nice opportunity to meet the new gang of five contestants.
Alice Levine has brought in some blood, her own she says,
because her friend who is a teacher said that was the best
liquid. Greg isn?t impressed; he used to be a teacher, so
has some personal insight into the profession. ?Let?s get
this on record now,? he says. ?They know fuck all.?
Asim Chaudhry (ridiculous he has no Wikipedia entry,
if someone could put that right, please) has brought his
People Just Do Nothing character Chabuddy G?s peanut
vape juice. Liza Tarbuck has some very pure, proper
clean water from Chile. Russell Howard has Brut for men.
And Tim Vine has chosen fizzy Benylin as the best liquid.
Then the taskmaster ranks them or disqualifies them
? arbitrarily and dictatorially ? and it?s on to the first
task proper. Which is to perform the best stunt ? using
a爓heelbarrow ? at the Taskmaster?s house.
It?s possible you are not familiar with Taskmaster,
even unaware of its existence, most probably because
it appears on a TV channel named Dave. But you get the
idea ? a燾omedy panel game that, like its creator?s opening
shot, is self-aware, a little bit meta and funny. Not in a
smartarse way, it?s more about warm banter than mean
put-downs. Taskmaster is an unashamed celebration of
the bizarre and the mediocre: it?s imaginative and a bit
crap, but it works. The contestants certainly seem to enjoy
themselves. Oh, and they remain the same, throughout
the series (10 episodes), so that they become like
characters in a comedy drama. Well, a bit like that.
14
The Guardian
Thursday 10 May 2018
It could even be one to see with the family, although
Horne has a similar, but (even) more family-orientated
show called The Button on BBC One, which uses
members of the public instead of comedians. Taskmaster
is better than The Button though, because people who
are professionally funny are generally funnier than
people who are just people.
Anyway, this new lot look like a promising cast, they
throw themselves into their tasks with unabashed if
resigned abandon. Liza T?s best stunt performed using
the wheelbarrow is to give it hands
and a silver cape and then send her
superhero barrow down a zipwire
to deliver a box of Milk Tray. In the
lab-based fruit fun round, in which
they have to wield a knife a maximum
of five times to make the highest
possible tower of lemons, Russell
Asim
uses one of his wields to slice one of
Chaudhry
his own fingers. Is he OK? ?Yeah fine,
is hopeless
blood and fucking acid!? he wails.
at爀verything,
In the round that involves
but very
a爓ardrobe, a walk and some hat
restrictions, Liza hitches a ride with
likably so
a lucky stranger in his Porsche, and
has time for a cuppa before kissing
(a portrait of) the Taskmaster.
Chabuddy G is absolutely hopeless at
everything, but hilariously and very likably so. He almost
certainly won?t be crowned series winner at the end of 10
episodes, but already he?s my winner.
And Tim, who never got the pun-is-dead memo, is
on worldplay, although pun of the night goes to Alex.
?Tarbuck, named after seven-ninths of the global coffee
chain,? he says.
Finally, back in the studio, they have to sort the
objects under their tables in order of size, keeping their
elbows on the table top, their heads in their hands and
any fruit out of the final lineup. After which, Liza and
Russell are joint leaders, so there has to be a tiebreaker:
spin around as many times as possible before kicking the
football at the caravan. Which Alice wins. And this time
there is audience cheering. Well done.
Ellen E Jones
Food Unwrapped:
China Special
8pm, Channel 4
And
another
thing
No need to
worry about
the real thing,
there?s a royal
wedding special
of The Windsors
next Tuesday.
That?s all
you爊eed
Chinese food is
ubiquitous爄n Britain.
But how do the Chinese
cook for themselves?
This special edition of
the foodie series explores
traditional noodlemaking and visits燼
meat-processing factory.
Back in爐he UK, we learn
how fresh noodles find
their way into爌ackets.
Phil燞arrison
Ambulance
9pm, BBC One
Another sensitively
handled episode of
the show that follows
paramedics in action.
Tonight: the aftermath
of爇nife crime, a
suspected overdose,
and an elderly person
with a mobility scooter
injury. As real-life drama,
it?s perfectly weighted.
As燼n unselfconsciously
pro-NHS broadcast,
it?s爀ssential.
John燫obinson
Red Ape: Saving the
Orangutan
9pm, BBC Two
There is no easier win
for燼ny nature programme
than pointing cameras
at orangutans. There is
nevertheless a serious
story here ? the work of
International Animal
Rescue in Borneo,
as it struggles to
preserve the爋rangutan
population爓hile their
habitat is demolished
around them.
Andrew燤ueller
Scandal
10pm, Sky Living
The season finale and
last爀ver episode of this
never less-than-farfetched Oval office drama
leaves itself with much to
resolve. Olivia heads in
for a showdown with her
White House colleagues
armed with her ultimate
weapon: the truth,
specifically about B613.
But what?s Vice-President
Beene got up his sleeve?
David Stubbs
Great Art
10.45pm, ITV
Returning for a new run
of the arts documentary
series, Tim Marlow
meets David Hockney in
interviews filmed during
his celebrated 2012燼nd
2016 exhibitions at the
Royal Academy of Arts in
London. They show an
artist as vigorous as ever,
and with no intention
of爏lowing down, despite
turning 80 last year.
Ben燗rnold
?
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The Essay: The Migrants
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Late Junction. Electroacoustic composer
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China?s President Xi is
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Book at Bedtime: The
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Orders (4/6) 6.30
The Parrot Sketch 7.0
Hopes and Desires (4/4)
7.30 Alone (2/6) 8.0 J
Kingston Platt?s Showbiz
Handbook (3/10) 8.30
The Goon Show 9.0
Listomania (6/6) 9.30
Alison and Maud (1/6)
10.0 Father and Son
(1/2) 11.0 Short Works:
A Season of Murder,
Mystery and Suspense
(4/5) 11.15 IOU 12.0 J
Kingston Platt? (3/10)
12.30 The Goon Show 1.0
High Table? (4/6) 1.30
The Parrot Sketch 2.0
The Secret History (9/15)
2.15 Shakespeare?s
Restless World (19/20)
2.30 Gillespie and I
(4/10) 2.45 Michael
Palin Diaries (4/5) 3.0
Father and Son (1/2) 4.0
Listomania (6/6) 4.30
Alison and Maud (1/6)
5.0 Hopes and Desires
(4/4) 5.30 Alone (2/6)
6.0 Night Watch (4/5)
6.30 Great Lives (8/9)
7.0 J Kingston Platt?
(3/10) 7.30 The Goon
Show 8.0 High Table?
(4/6) 8.30 The Parrot
Sketch 9.0 Short Works?
(4/5) 9.15 IOU 10.0
Comedy Club Alone (2/6)
10.30 Ross Noble Goes
Global (2/4) 11.0 Arthur
Smith?s Balham Bash
(1/4) 11.30 The Odd Half
Hour (2/4) 12.0 Night
Watch (4/5) 12.30 Great
Lives (8/9) 1.0 High
Table? (4/6) 1.30 The
Parrot Sketch 2.0 The
Secret History (9/15)
2.15 Shakespeare?s
Restless World (19/20)
2.30 Gillespie and I
(4/10) 2.45 Michael
Palin Diaries (4/5) 3.0
Father and Son (1/2) 4.0
Listomania (6/6) 4.30
Alison and Maud (1/6)
5.0 Hopes and Desires
(4/4) 5.30 Alone (2/6)
The Guardian
Thursday 10 May 2018
15
?
TODAY?S PET CORNER ANSWER JAMES DEAN
Puzzles
Yesterday?s
solutions
Quick crossword
Wordsearch
Across
5 Quickly rotating mass of water
(9)
8 Forehead (4)
9 Ignore (8)
10 French cake (6)
11 Raised (6)
13 Skimpy undergarments (6)
15 More difficult (6)
16 Big Apple borough (8)
18 Pulls hard (4)
19 Largest living animal (4,5)
1
Down
1 Chinese-style noodle dish (4,4)
2 Gilt or bronzed metallic ware (6)
3 Attraction ? legal process (6)
4 Fee for the use of a road or bridge
(4)
6 Perfidy (9)
7 Old gold coin (9)
12 Predict (8)
14 Precious metal (6)
15 Largest of the Japanese islands
(6)
17 Liquids for frying (4)
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
13
14
12
15
Solution no 14,977
S
N
A
D
N
U
P
T
I
A
L
M
A
S
S
S
S
AME C A
U A
I T
T R
T
B B L E S
O R
O U D T
L
S
Y D R E A
E
I
P R I N G
S
E
C W
L L I N G
E N O
A P D OO
R D D
R O U N
G W A
R I N I T
I
U
M F O R
S O E
B O A R D
Y
L
16
17
18
R
D
19
Y
K
Stuck? For help call 0906 200 83 83. Calls cost �10 per minute, plus your phone company?s access charge.
Service supplied by ATS. Call 0330 333 6946 for customer service (charged at standard rate).
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Sudoku no 4,055
Sudoku
no 4,056
Hard. Fill the grid so that each row, column and 3x3
box contains the numbers 1-9. Printable version at
theguardian.com/sudoku
Word wheel
HYPOCRITE
Word wheel
Suguru
Wordsearch
Find as many words as
possible using the letters
in the wheel. Each must
use the central letter and
at least two others. Letters
may be used only once. You
may not use plurals, foreign
words or proper nouns.
There is at least one nineletter word to be found.
TARGET: Excellent-57.
Good-50. Average-37.
Fill the grid so that each square
in an outlined block contains a
digit. A block of 2 squares contains
the digits 1 and 2, a block of three
squares contains the digits 1, 2 and
3, and so on. No same digit appears
in neighbouring squares, not even
diagonally.
Can you find 13 words associated
with The Sound of Music in the grid?
Words can run forwards, backwards,
vertically or diagonally, but always in
a straight, unbroken line.
Suguru
Steve Bell
If?
Pet
corner
Which actor had
a Siamese cat
called Marcel?
a. Marlon Brando
b. Jerry Lewis
c. Jack Lemmon
d. James Dean
Answer top right
16
The Guardian
Thursday 10 May 2018
sually involves one scoop of vanilla icecream and one shot of espresso. Technically speaking,
the ice-cream is burned by the espresso, but ?scotta? is
a little harder to pronounce. Either way, the ice-cream
dies a quick but painful death. Bitter irony, then, that the
affogato is one of multiple casualties of the so-called
Great Vanilla Shortage sweeping the nation.
It?s no laughing matter ? fuelled by a rise in global
demand and a squeeze on Madagascan production,
vanilla is no longer affordable. Pods can now cost up to
�5 a kilo, making them more expensive than silver.
The crisis is in its early stages ? there is still vanilla
ice-cream in shops ? but, by God, go now. The bigger
ice-cream companies, such as Jude?s, have absorbed
the cost. But many artisanal gelaterias have already
scratched vanilla off their chalkboards.
This is excellent news for the custardo, a
confectionary confection that swaps ice-cream for
custard. Custardo was supposedly created by a cafe in
London?s coffee belt, Peckham, called Forza Win
(where they use creme anglaise) and the result is not
dissimilar to Vietnamese hot egg coffee, which mixes
egg yolks with sugar, condensed milk and coffee. It is
also, arguably, from the same wheelhouse as bicerin,
Turin?s highly prized morning drink, which mixes
espresso with chocolate and whole milk, a potent
combination that stimulates bodily fear and calorific
anguish among churchgoers who drink it after mass.
Michele Vollaro, the general manager at Cafe
Murano St James, London, has heard of it but not tried
it. ?In Naples, we only drink very traditional coffee,? he
says. ?I?m a big fan of something like an espresso
martini in the evening, but for a pick-me-up in the
morning it has to be straight down the line ? either an
espresso or a cappuccino.? Custardo is a stupid word,
and may not take off in Italy, but is pretty easy to make.
Technically (again), custard is usually made with
vanilla but ? and here?s the key ? it?s not a must. When I
made custardo, there was nothing decent left in the
shop, so I used cheap own-brand custard, which tasted
as though it had once been in the vicinity of vanilla, but
not made actual contact. Rather than drowning, the
custard sort of bellyflops into the coffee with a special
sort of gracelessness. But I had it for breakfast, and it
works. What should have been egregious as a pairing
was, in fact, as rich and thick as Theresa May?s cabinet,
the custard cutting through the espresso?s bitterness.
I?m sure the real stuff ? proper vanilla custard and
coffee ? is better. But if the vanilla shortage continues,
we may have to opt for second best.
The Guardian
Thursday 10 May 2018
7
?
? Words Gaby Hinsliff
Can we ?nd
common
ground on
gender?
In January 2016, the government proposed changes
to the Gender Recognition Act ? there has been
furious debate between gender-critical feminists and
trans activists ever since. But beyond the shouting,
a爉ore nuanced conversation is starting
T
hey came in a steady
stream, picking their
way across a garden
in central Oxford to
the Quaker meeting
room beyond. A crowd
of largely middle-aged women, the
sort you would find at any literary
festival or school open evening;
friends exchanging kisses, a baby
squawking in a pushchair. Only the
chanting protesters outside gave the
game away. For this was a meeting
called by the feminist organisation
Woman?s Place to discuss potential
changes in the law on gender
recognition, and that meant
tension爄n the air.
At a recent meeting in Bristol,
masked activists tried to stop
speakers entering the building. In
Cardiff, the venue cancelled the
women?s booking after threats were
made. Last month, a trans activist
called Tara Wolf was convicted
of assaulting Maria Maclachlan,
a 61-year-old feminist, during a
protest at Speaker?s Corner in Hyde
Park where Maclachlan was filming
trans activists.
Oxford?s student-led protest went
more peacefully, but some attendees
were evidently shaken enough to
leave by a back door afterwards;
others were thrown at being on
the sharp end of an equality demo.
?I?m usually the protester,? said one
woman, emerging from the scrum.
But this issue turns old certainties
on爐heir head.
A Woman?s Place formed last
autumn out of a conversation
?literally around a kitchen table?,
according to teacher and co-founder
Philipa Harvey, between a group of
friends ? trade unionists, academics,
lawyers and others ? worried that
they had nowhere to debate freely.
They wanted to discuss the potential
implications for women and girls
of sharing single-sex spaces ? from
domestic violence refuges and
female prisons to swimming pool
changing rooms and Brownie packs
? with male-bodied people, and to
explore what they see as the risk of
predatory non-trans men finding a
way to abuse such access to reach
vulnerable women. They wanted to
discuss bodies and biology without
being told that mentioning vaginas
excludes women who don?t have
them. And they suspected other
women also had questions they
weren?t asking, for fear of being
called transphobic. ?There are
people who will say nothing about
this in their workplaces, because
their jobs are on the line; in social
situations people won?t talk about it,?
says Harvey. ?But there is a change
in the law being proposed and it will
impact women. Women have a right
to ask: ?What will the impact look like
for my daily life???
These are women who feel
silenced, erased and intimidated
? and yet it is clear that many trans
women do, too.
?It is held against me that ?you
were raised with male privilege?,
but actually I was beaten up all the
time for being effeminate,?? says
Clara Barker, a trans scientist at the
University of Oxford, who also leads
voluntary work with LGBT young
people. ?Because I was trans I was
severely depressed, I was bullied
in my workplace, so it?s like, ?What
privilege is that???
She considered going to the
meeting after an invite from speaker
Nicola Williams, an activist with
the gender-critical pressure group
8
The Guardian
Thursday 10 May 2018
Fair Play for Women (the pair met
debating each other on TV). But she
was afraid of encountering in real life
the abuse she experiences online,
where jeers about how trans women
are really men jostle with threats
to bash ?terfs? (trans exclusionary
radical feminists, a derogatory term
for women questioning trans rights).
While the trans movement has its
dark side, also hovering on the outer
fringes of the gender-critical camp
are a handful of men with far-right
associations, attracted by a perceived
fight against political correctness.
?I want to be able to engage, even
if sometimes I?m going to hear things
I don?t like. I?m perfectly willing to
listen to the other side,? says Barker.
?But it?s got to be balanced, it?s got to
be reasoned. I tried to make a couple
of comments [on Twitter] just to see
if it was possible to find common
ground and the truth is, it wasn?t.?
Yet beyond the shouting, the
beginning of a more nuanced debate
is discernible; one involving trans
women who crave equality but not
at vulnerable women?s expense,
feminists with divided loyalties,
and people wanting more than toxic
Facebook slanging matches.
?There is a difference between
social media debate and the
conversations going on elsewhere,?
says Sophie Walker, leader of the
Women?s Equality Party, who was
torn apart over her party?s transinclusive stance in one notable
Mumsnet webchat, but is now
more optimistic about the chances
of reaching some consensus. ?I
am encouraged by the number
of women who have contacted
me privately to say they want to
find common ground.? Both A
Woman?s Place and trans activists
led by Stonewall have given wellreceived燽riefings to Labour MPs in
recent months.
In Oxford, questions were
certainly more plaintive than angry.
There was a mother worried about
her daughter potentially sharing a
tent on Guide camps with trans girls
who might still have penises, but
anxious no trans child should feel
excluded either. Another woman
complained of being unable to get
straight answers about sleeping
arrangements on a volunteer
project her daughter wants to join.
Meanwhile, four platform speakers,
including Harvey and Williams,
talked of girls needing to feel they
can set boundaries around their
spaces and women being heard. Six
days after the meeting, meanwhile,
300 Labour party members
reportedly quit in protest at trans
women standing for parliament on
all-women shortlists, exposing a
split within the left that feels more
generational than ideological;
woke millennials versus older
women who fear hard-won victories
being eroded. This isn?t just about
politics.營t?s about what it means
to be a woman, born or made, and
feel燿ismissed.
The story began in January 2016,
when the new Commons equalities
select committee ? chaired by the
Conservatives? former equalities
secretary Maria Miller ? made its
Westminster debut with a report
it didn?t expect to be enormously
controversial, on reforms to the law
governing gender爎ecognition.
The 2004 Gender Recognition Act
(GRA) lets adults officially register
a change to the gender assigned
at birth. They don?t necessarily
have to undergo surgery, but must
provide psychiatric assessments
and proof of living for two years in
the gender they wish to be officially
recognised, a process activists see
as intrusive and overly medicalised.
Miller?s committee broadly agreed,
recommending instead a system of
self-identification where changing
gender was as simple as signing a
form. Similar arrangements now
exist in Portugal, Ireland, Malta,
Belgium, Norway and Denmark,
and activists insist there is no
evidence of anyone abusing them
for sinister purposes, although the
?You were raised
with male privilege?
is held against me,
but I was beaten up
all the time ? what
privilege is that?
numbers involved are relatively
small so far (it is estimated up to 1%
of Britons may be trans, although
there are no official statistics). An
Irish government review of how the
system is working there, due this
autumn, is hotly awaited.
Shifting to self-identification
doesn?t, by itself, automatically
mean trans women being treated
in all circumstances as if they had
been燽orn female. Irish trans women
may, for example, still be jailed in
male prisons.
But crucially, the Miller
committee?s report also backed the
curbing of exemptions in the 2010
Equalities Act, which currently
allow trans people to be barred
from certain jobs and services if
necessary to protect other users ?
the loophole covering sensitive areas
such as women?s refuges. And that?s
where alarm bells started ringing.
It was discrimination law, not the
recognition process, that came
under scrutiny in Canada after serial
sex attacker Christopher Hambrook
attacked two women in domestic
violence shelters in Toronto,
which he?d entered dressed as a
woman. (The state of Ontario had
previously passed a bill prohibiting
discrimination against trans people.)
Significantly, when the then
equalities secretary Justine Greening
announced a consultation on
simplifying the gender-recognition
process last July, she did not take
up the call to rewrite equality law.
Women?s shelters in the UK can still
legally turn people away following
risk assessments ? including
women who were born female if,
for example, they have a history
of offending that might endanger
others. ?People always say, ?Well
anyone could just say they?re a
victim of domestic violence? but to
get into a refuge, we?ll sit and talk
to you for ages. There are all sorts
of assessments to undergo,? says
the Labour MP Jess Phillips, who
sat on Miller?s committee and has
previously worked for Women?s Aid.
But what is worrying both sides is
that 10 months (and two equalities
secretaries) later, there is still a
gaping hole where any consultation
should be. Officially, ministers are
still deliberating. Unofficially, as
?
?There is a
di?erence between
social media
debate and the
conversations
going on elsewhere?
?As a trans person,
I don?t want my
rights to be based
on feelings,
because people
don?t believe it?
one MP puts it, they seem to have
?started a hare running and then
run away?, leaving a vacuum to
fill with both sides? worst fears. In
Scotland, where the parliament
is consulting on moving to selfidentification, women?s groups and
trans organisations have promised to
work together to find consensus. But
elsewhere, debate is being ?driven by
misinformation pushed out by a few
loud voices?, according to Stonewall
UK?s Paul Twocock. Everyone
assumes the law will change, but
isn?t sure how; meanwhile, culture
is爎unning ahead of it.
I
n practice, refuges will
increasingly consider
trans women?s cases on
merit, and Twocock says
many survivors? services
have been quietly transinclusive for years. A spokeswoman
for Women?s Aid says it doesn?t set
policies for individual members but
believes ?all survivors of domestic
abuse must have the right to access
the specialist support they need?,
while stressing that not all services
are appropriate for爀veryone.
What worries many gendercritical feminists, however, is that
organisations are having to make
difficult choices in a climate where
any deviation from the principle
that ?trans women are women?
causes a燽acklash. Advertisers have
been lobbied to withdraw from
the parenting site Mumsnet, after
its anonymised message boards
became a haven for gender-critical
feminist debate. Topshop hurriedly
introduced gender-neutral changing
rooms after being publicly accused
of transphobia by a customer barred
from the women?s cubicles. As trans
activists pointed out, you may have
been trying on clothes next to trans
women for years without realising;
it?s just official now, meaning
teenagers no longer risk public
humiliation just to buy a T-shirt.
But what bothers opponents is the
idea of changes happening without
women?s consent. ?Small businesses
can?t afford to use the exemptions
and big燾ompanies don?t want to,
because they don?t want to be seen
as anti-trans,? says Williams. ?We?ve
got the law and there is good reason
why it?s there, but the law doesn?t
mean anything if nobody?s using
it. Everyone?s too scared of getting
it爓rong.?
Trans men have flown largely
beneath the radar of this debate,
presumably because men don?t feel
threatened by sharing changing
rooms with potentially femalebodied people. The exception,
however, is trans boys. The Oxford
meeting also heard from Stephanie
Davies-Arai, of the pressure group
Transgender Trend, who questions
why most transitioning teenagers
now referred to London?s specialist
Tavistock clinic were born girls
when the reverse used to be true:
could some have deeper reasons for
questioning their gender? (Referrals
to the Tavistock, the only NHS
gender-identity clinic, rocketed
from 97 cases in 2009 to almost
2,600 by the end of last year, and
70% were born female.)
It?s a furiously contested issue,
but as a child, Williams says she
might have been ?very attracted?
to the idea of transitioning. ?It
took me a long time to come to
terms with the fact that I was a
lesbian. I爓ent through feeling
uncomfortable with my gender as a
woman because I燿idn?t like being
a woman. I didn?t really fit, I didn?t
feel very good at being a woman. I
think that?s a path lots of lesbians
have to tread, and now I?m proud to
be a lesbian woman. But if someone
said to me, ?actually you could be a
boy if you wanted? I?d have found
that燼mazing.?
However, any suggestion
of children being rushed into
transitioning, with its echo of 1990s
arguments about homosexuality
supposedly being ?promoted? in
schools, is bitterly contested by
those working with young people.
?It is 12 months before you see a
gender doctor, probably 12 months
of counselling after that,? says
Barker. ?All the kids I see are saying:
?It?s been three years, when am
I爂oing to get hormones???
Her own hunch is that the
disparities in girls and boys
transitioning themselves may
even out in later life: ?Young boys
still have the emphasis on toxic
masculinity, which means they
won?t be able to admit they?re
trans until they?re older. It?s about
being able to come to terms with
yourself at an early age.? And that?s a
lifetime?s work for爏ome.
Sitting in the Oxford audience
was physics teacher Debbie Hayton,
one of the few trans women to have
spoken from A Woman?s Place?s
platform. While she agrees the GRA
is too bureaucratic, she prefers the
security of having a formal diagnosis
and surgery to self-identification.
?As a trans person, I don?t want my
rights or protections to be based
on feelings, because people don?t
believe it. They may tolerate it. But it
takes away my credibility as a trans
person.? As for all-women shortlists,
Hayton says, ?hell would freeze over
before I?d go on one, because I was
socialised as a boy and I have those
advantages still?.
Such views aren?t necessarily
popular among trans activists, and
Hayton has been accused of being
?self-hating?. Yet in a movement
focused on giving everyone the
freedom to define themselves as
they choose, it seems odd to deny
her the same leeway.
For Hayton, sex is a biological
fact; she describes herself as ?male,
and I prefer people to relate to me
as if I were female?. But in an ideal
world, free of all stereotypes, what
she would have liked is to present
as a feminine man. ?This is really
difficult to explain but by asking to
be treated by society in the same
way that they would treat a woman,
I爁eel more comfortable,? she says.
?I transitioned because
I燾ouldn?t cope with the way society
was treating me as a man, the
expectations it placed on me, and
the restrictions.
?The problem is, as a teacher,
if I express myself completely as
?Women have
a爎ight to ask what
the impact of the
changes will
be on their
daily lives?
non-gendered, I couldn?t get on
with the job. If somebody comes
in saying: ?I?m not a woman or a
man? then every time I did a new
class, you would have to go through
that with them, when what you
really want to be doing is teaching
them.? Transition was, for her, a
pragmatic爄f not ideal solution to
a燾omplex issue.
Channel 4 has been exploring
the idea that gender identity is
a spectrum ? stretching from
non-binary (identifying with
neither gender), to trans or gay
and a dizzying number of other
possibilities, and that finding the
right place on it can be complicated,
in its reality miniseries Genderquake
this week. The programme features
11 young people with different
gender identities sharing a house for
a month. While an ensuing studio
debate between activists, including
the trans model Munroe Bergdorf
and feminist icon Germaine Greer,
descended into chaotic scenes and
aggressive audience heckling, the
reality show struck a markedly
different tone; by the end the
housemates had clearly bonded,
and in some cases, minds had been
changed. Could it be that opinions
in real life are less entrenched than
public debate爏uggests?
The solutions to some points of
conflict are likely, as Jess Phillips
says, to be ?very, very practical?.
While the Oxford meeting heard
poignant stories about schoolgirls
feeling unsafe sharing genderneutral toilets with boys (ironically
the meeting?s venue had unisex
toilets), sealed cubicles, locks and
other design features may go a long
way to avoid any anticipated friction.
But finding common ground
elsewhere may be trickier, unless
both sides can overcome their fear of
the other. After deciding not to go to
the A Woman?s Place meeting, Barker
ended up hovering a few yards down
the street from the protest, ready to
intervene if the chanting students
from her university overstepped
the mark. ?I爁elt for the people who
obviously looked nervous going in,
because I爑nderstand that,? she says.
?Those were the sort of people that
I would love to sit down and have a
chat with.? Perhaps it?s not too late.
The Guardian
Thursday 10 May 2018
9
?
Arts
?I was high
on painkillers
and couldn?t
hold the bow?
One overslept, one played in cowboy boots and one?s
next gig is the royal wedding ? ?ve past winners of BBC
Young Musician relive the day that changed their lives
I entered at the very last minute.
I爓as lucky to be accepted at all.
After each round, I thought: ?Ugh,
there?s no way I?m getting through.?
I hadn?t prepared a concerto in
advance because I never thought I?d
reach the final. So I had only a month
to learn Saint-Sa雗s? second piano
concerto. Luckily, my specialist
music school, the Purcell, were
understanding.
I was very young and not so
good at the interviews that are
part of the competition. I still feel
happier expressing myself through
the piano. The final itself went
by in a blur. I like to rest before I
perform and somehow I overslept.
My teacher had to wake me up to
throw me on stage. But my nerves
disappeared as soon as I played
the first note. It?s an incredible
experience, performing with a
professional symphony orchestra,
and I was weeping the whole way
through the handshakes and the
presentation of the award. The
photos of me are horrendous.
I?ve爂ot this awful crying face on.
Winning changed my life but it
could also be a burden. At music
college, it made me a semi-celebrity
which I hated. And as a teenager,
you don?t have the repertoire that
a concert pianist in their 20s or
30s would have. But I?ve benefited
from the competition in so many
ways. Perhaps most importantly,
it brought me to the燼ttention of
Alfred燘rendel, who燼greed to work
with me in private masterclasses.
There?s still so much more to be
done to change perspectives about
classical music ? especially the
government?s. Every child needs
access to music and more funding
is needed. There are so many raw
talents out there who aren?t reaching
their potential.
?I?m honoured to be playing at
Harry and Meghan?s wedding?
Sheku Kanneh-Mason, cello,
2016 winner at 17
I entered my first Young Musician
competition at the age of 12. There
was no way I was going to win. I
just did it to give myself something
to work towards, doing the same
again at 14. That year my older sister,
Isata, reached the piano final. By the
time I competed again in 2016, I felt
like a veteran. I?m lucky: I am very
comfortable performing. I don?t tend
to get nervous.
The environment was supportive
and positive throughout. The three
of us who made it to the final were
especially friendly ? we were all
going through the same thing,
after all. It was the
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the guardian, journal
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