Don’t Hold My Head Down – Let’s talk about sex (and by sex I mean women’s sexual pleasure)

As soon as I started reading Lucy-Anne Holmes’s book I knew I wanted to talk about it. I finished it, and I was dying to talk about it. But it took me a while to find the right words. I felt so overwhelmingly impassioned that all I could think to do was climb the nearest rooftop and shout, “THANK YOU LUCY!!!” at the top of my lungs.

She didn’t hear me.

So here I am, organising all those wild, wonderful, giddy thoughts into something actually digestible. Because still all I want to do is talk about this book. Well if it’s so good then, what is the bloody thing about? Well, I’ll tell you. Don’t Hold My Head Down is a memoir about sex. ‘The Sex Book’ as the author herself called it, or rather, the sex book she always wanted to read but had never found. So she wrote it for herself. In her own words: “Basically it’s one valiant idiots journey into self-love and empowerment through sex. Bridget Jones meets Erin Brockovich and Elizabeth Gilbert – wearing a strap on, at a sex party.”

**SPOILER FREE POST**

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Circe – Do we really want strong female characters?

Circe by Madeline Miller is a fantasy novel, and tells the story of the titular character Circe, a goddess of Greek mythology. We travel from the early days of Titans and Olympians through to the time of The Odyssey, all viewed through Circe’s eyes, telling how she became the witch of Aeaea. The book itself moves slowly, as does Circe’s life as an immortal, and is a well told character story that serves as a fitting tribute to the myths.

**SPOILER FREE POST**

What I enjoyed most about reading Circe was the main character herself, and the way she was presented to us. She was so human, even as a daughter of the mighty Helios, god of the sun. We were invited to see her loves and her losses, her hopes and desires, and importantly her mistakes and regrets. She is immortal, but imperfect, and is more real for it. And she was the lead of her own story – a strong female character! Huzzah!

Which led me into thinking, is that really what we value here? That Circe is a strong female character? And I think the answer is no. That’s not really what we want.

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Little Women – Is it too soon to call film of the year?

The ink has barely dried on the first page of 2020 and I’m going all in – I think I may have already seen my favourite film of the year. Call me crazy, roll your eyes, snort tea out of your nose, but maybe don’t laugh too hard until you’ve seen it yourself.

**SPOILER FREE POST**

I fell absolutely head-over-heels in love with this film, and wow has it set the standard high for the rest of the year. Greta Gerwig has triumphed again – it was a delight! Funny, heartwarming, emotional; both timely and timeless. And presenting the story in this new and non-linear way was a huge success – there are no clumsy flashbacks to be found here, all the threads are woven together as one masterful piece, and the two timelines move together to give poignancy to the four journeys laid out before us, both past and future.

And in answer to controversies about the film being “too white”, my first answer to that is that most of the main cast are related, so you would struggle to have one sister a different race. And to add to that, I think in this case it would be shoehorning a minority character in, which is just tokenism, and does nothing to solve inclusivity. So no, I don’t think Little Women is too white.

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Quentin Tarantino – The journey Vol. 2

Since my last appearance, I’ve consumed a couple more of those Tarantino movie things that I somehow managed to avoid for so long. And it’s only right that I now add them to my growing list, the first part of which I documented in my last blog outing. The rankings as they stand are…

  1. Inglourious Basterds
  2. Kill Bill Vol. 2
  3. The Hateful Eight
  4. Kill Bill Vol. 1

So where do the new contenders Reservoir Dogs and Once Upon a Time In Hollywood fit into the mix?

**SPOILERS AHEAD**

I liked Reservoir Dogs a lot, and it’s easy to see why so many people rate it highly. The acting is strong, the soundtrack is great, and I love the way almost everything happens in that one warehouse. The opening breakfast scene started everything off shakily for me, and I was thinking that Tarantino might have lost me already. I mean, who were these people? Why did I care? What on earth was Tarantino himself doing at the table? I’m really glad he didn’t continually crop up, because that was really distracting. But the upward slope kickstarted after the opening credits, and kept going up.

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Quentin Tarantino – A journey

I seem to have earned myself something of a catchphrase, especially at uni in film student circles – “I haven’t seen that.” As many horrified film students soon discovered, I said it about a lot of Tarantino films. All of them, in fact. So I decided that it was about time I went on a journey of discovery, into Tarantino world. I started with The Hateful Eight. Because if you believe the people, the only way is up from there. Next on my hit list was Inglourious Basterds, which was followed by both Kill Bills a few days apart from each other. So, how does this Tarantino newbie rank them all?

**SPOILERS AHEAD**

Coming in at no. 4… Kill Bill Vol. 1

In a word? Mad. In a large part that came from the numerous styles that featured throughout the film, which I found made the whole thing feel disjointed. And it was never clear how much of it was experimental, and how much of it was supposed to be saying something profound. In which case, any profoundness soared way over my head. I found the film to be a bit uncertain of what it wanted to be.

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Stranger Things 3 – Girlfriends, gore, and good god that ending

I came into this season with the fear that it wouldn’t be as good as Stranger Things has been in the past – the fear of sequel syndrome. I was more than a little concerned that the threat would become stale, now that these kids have battled the Upside Down for two seasons already… how would the threat this time be something new? But the show very quickly put my worries to bed – it was another great offering and I devoured season 3.

**SPOILERS AHEAD**

The Mind Flayer itself got an upgrade, and that helped to keep things fresh. This is one of the things I continue to be so impressed by in Stranger Things (their Easter Eggs and pop culture references aside), they are so very good at making things look gross. Some of their best effects are their gore effects, and I wonder if this is a nod to the gory horror films of the 80s? From the exploding rats early in the season, to the construction of the new and improved Mind Flayer in the hospital, to El’s horrendous leg injury in that finale – the best VFX in Stranger Things, is in goop and gore and grossness.

But back to nicer things. The kids have all grown up a bit now – quite a lot, you realise when the boys start talking – and their stories are developing into bigger, older stories. That was one of the things that stuck out to me this season, and especially in the development of relationships, for all the characters not just the kids. And this seemed to have particular focus on girlfriends, woohoo female empowerment buzzword – TICK.

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Toy Story 4 – When they said ‘to infinity’…

I’ve said it before, that sequels maketh Hollywood, and yet again this proves true with the release of Toy Story 4. I was disappointed from the beginning this film was even being made – it seemed so pointless when the third instalment had wrapped up the story so perfectly. Plus the timing of Toy Story 3, released over 10 years after the first film, meant that the sweet sadness of Andy giving up his beloved toys for someone else to enjoy, Andy growing up, tugged at the heartstrings of all the right people, of the right ages. It just worked. Another film seemed so unnecessary.

Did we really care about the journey, now that our beloved Andy had gone off to college? What about this plastic spork ‘toy’ we’ve been seeing everywhere? And Bo’s new character development that was so heavily publicised? What more could Toy Story 4 give us, really?

**SPOILER FREE POST**

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