What I’ve been reading today:
Like most of the UK, Manchester has for the last week had the kind of weather that makes you want to – in the words of Bridget Jones – ‘panic, run out of the office, take most of your clothes off and lie panting on the fire escape’. Walking around, it seems that most people have succumbed to this – particularly in Fallowfield, where many of the students, untrammelled by offices, have been doing their revision in the park in various states of undress.
Amongst the minimally attired Manc masses, women who are covered up in the hijab, or other ‘modest’ dress, stand out more than usual. I’ve caught myself more than once thinking “I’m glad I don’t have to wear that in this heat”, and then wondered what I meant, exactly, by ‘have to wear it’. So I was interested to read this Comment Is Free piece by a woman who wears the hijab for feminist rather than for religious reasons. It’s a fascinating issue. Forcing any woman to cover up is clearly wrong – forcing her not to, other than for simple, short-term exceptions such as passport photos and security checks, is too. The issue of how we make the choices we do about what we wear is more nuanced – more often than not (and still more for women than for men), these choices are dictated not only by comfort and preference, but by the law, by our jobs, our income, our social circle, our upbringing, religion, and any number of other factors – but still, when you undress (sorry) the issue, it’s very simple. What women put on our bodies is as much of our own choice as what we put in them.
While we’re being strident – here’s a cheering interview with the hero that is Dennis Skinner. I’ve always said that, like Father of the House, the position of Dennis should be a semi-official role in the House of Commons. Though the traditions and institutions of the Commons are beneath contempt for the Beast of Bolsover, I still hope that one day an MP from a younger generation will be appointed Dennis of the House and charged with slagging off Black Rod and the Tories – but until then, long live Principled Skinner.
Video of the day:
I love this beautiful stop-motion animation of a night in a bookshop – the music, composed especially for this video, is lovely too. Also check out their earlier video, Organising the Bookcase, in which every book gets its name in the credits at the end.
And finally – the coolest thing I’ve seen on the internet today:
Weekend Reflections is a photography blog specialising in – wait for it – photos of reflections, taken at the weekend. They’re taken all over the world with a wide variety of compositions (and quality): I especially like the broken window and wing-mirror pictures below.