It’s been several weeks since I shared good news and as it’s the first day of spring, I thought I’d share a few headlines that have cheered me up lately.
More than 100 cities get most of their energy from renewable sources
I don’t think I’ve seen a news segment that doesn’t involve plastic, the Paris Agreement or plastic and the Paris Agreement since last year, but it’s not 100% bad news for the environment (just, er, 99.9%). According to the latest statistics, 101 cities now get over 70% of their energy from renewable sources – that’s more than double the number of cities in 2015. What’s more, 40 cities are operating on 100% renewable electricity. None of those cities are in Britain, but it’s a start.
Girl eats cotton candy and the world is transfixed
No, seriously, watch it, she deserves to be on Newsnight discussing her skills.
This has been in the works since the referendum results, when even my most right-leaning family members started to ask why Nigel Farage was still on TV, but UKIP as a party might be about to implode due to bankruptcy. The party owes £175,000 in legal fees after it was sued by three Labour MPs over a libellous speech, so this could be the actual end of UKIP as opposed to the spiritual end. HAPPY FIRST DAY OF SPRING YOU GUYS!
See, there is good news out there if you look for it. I want to try to do one of these every month or so, so send me good news as you see it!
To be totally honest, I wanted to do the News about the Commonwealth Games so I could include this:
I heard that the Queen isn’t ‘allowed’ to smile in official photos or at big occasions, which is definitely a tradition that needs to go because elderly ladies smiling is always brilliant, especially when they posses a) excellent hats, b) the keys to the kingdom or c) both.
I feel like we should also discuss dancing Tunnock’s Teacakes, which I spent my childhood getting caught in my hair. I had no idea they were Scottish… I also forgot that John Barrowman is Scottish and that he likes to kiss people, so thanks for the reminder, opening ceremony!
Speaking of kissing and all that, Huff Post did a nice piece condensing the whole Commonwealth-countries-being-homophobic issue complete with a Vine of said kiss. I don’t tend to follow people’s relationships online (with the exception of mine – hi Facebook!) but part of me really hopes that Tom Daley’s boyfriend will be hanging out at the diving. If he’s the guy I think he is, he’s made films about LGBT stuff – so it’ll be fun to see what the international broadcasters make of it all… Bet you regret re-outlawing homosexuality now, huh India?!
The funny thing is, we looked at the Commonwealth in Politics and its most contentious issue revolves around its foundation as a group of countries that the UK used to own… plus some others who thought it looked good. By its very nature, the Commonwealth represents loads of historical shit to do with the British Empire and colonialism.
Somebody on Twitter pointed out that it’s England when stealing but Britain when giving them back, which is kind of like how Andy Murray is British until he loses, in which case he’s Scottish – or how I’ll say I’m British most days, but when the EDL do something stupid I think “thank God I’m only half English”. (I should probably point out that I’m only totally sure of about two thirds of my ethnic heritage, if that’s what it’s called. I did some maths once and “half English” sounded way more interesting than “totally British until we get to great-grandparents and does that even count well yes because I’m dark enough that some people have been a bit racist but the joke’s on them because they got my race wrong HA HA HA”. I digress. I think my family’s entirely Commonwealth though.)
That Tweet pretty much sums up the Commonwealth actually – when things are good, the countries involved are very proud to be a part of it – like during cool sport stuff when we are united in admiring athletic prowess/athletic muscley people. When things are bad, we distance ourselves. I wouldn’t be surprised that, if the human rights lark gets heavily promoted at these games, some of the worst abusers will distance themselves a little from the organisation politically… I can’t see them all inviting John Barrowman over for teacakes anyway!
The same is true of Scotland and the referendum thing. When Team GB did well at the Olympics, there were probably people who thought “hey this UK thing is all right” but when Westminster’s fucked up again, they lean toward independence… I know the English do anyway. Could we do that? Could the UK get independence from the UK government?!
Right, I’m off to do some writing and my holiday ironing. I might get distracted by looking up Commonwealth Scotties… Never thought I’d go for a pedigree but they have beards.
It’s cold. It’s dark. School is very much back and no one can quite believe that it’s only been three weeks since the day after Boxing Day. We all sort of want a summer holiday, but we cannot take one…
Students Edward Bunyan, Indira Gainiyeva, Who Ran Away To Caribbean From Stonyhurst College ‘Found’
Or maybe we can! A couple of students at a very nice school (one year’s tuition costs about two-thirds of a degree) “escaped” from their trappings and ran away… to the Dominican Republic.
Stonyhurst College runaways: teenage couple who escaped to Dominican Republic ‘located by local police’
According to The Telegraph, ‘one friend described their departure as an “incredible stunt”, likening their avoidance of the school’s security measures to “escaping from Alcatraz”.’ Hmm. Still, I’d love to know what the other students are saying. I mean, I’d probably be secretly rooting for my friends if they upped sticks to the Riviera instead of doing mocks, not that any of us are that proactive.
Teenage lovebirds ‘found’ in Caribbean after bunking off college to escape rainy Britain
The Metrohas even provided an image of the island to which we all could escape if we had a parent’s credit card, the guts for a flipping long plane journey and a Catholic boarding school to wake up to.
Young love huh.
I sort of want to set up a ‘bonkers news corner’ where people send in the weird stuff they see reported in the media. I mean, is this sort of thing a regular occurrence? How many adults do it? What are the average phone-in-sick stats for January compared to the rest of the year?
These are the questions we must ask if we are to work out how to do it ourselves… and get away with it.
Since this is most readers’ first week back at school (shout if you’re in another country though, or not a student!) I thought I’d do something on school, new terms, starting afresh etcetera.
Back to work: 10 Worst Things About Post-Holiday Blues
I love how sarcastic this Sean Coughlan guy is. One of my favourite least-favourite things about coming home from abroad is how strange the locals seem. I kind of forget what a smartphone is and think that it’s totally normal to wander around in the equivalent of my underwear, waving to people I only know vaguely. Not in Essex. (Well, maybe the first one for some people.)
Back to Reality
This essay was written for the girls’ online magazine Rookie in January, but I’ve always thought it useful for general ‘starting over’ so I’ve included it.
Welcome Back to School, Girls. And Mind Those Breasts!
I sometimes struggle with The Guardian, because it sometimes comes out with some bullshit, but this piece about an LA school’s uniform code is interesting. One student’s mother noticed that the new rules were completely based around what girls were wearing (or weren’t wearing) and wasn’t impressed about how they might impact girls’ self confidence. I spent five years wearing a uniform – more three-quarter blouses and tartan than “uncomfortable Harry Potteresque” – that basically didn’t suit everyone equally, so we all looked okay. There wasn’t really much to objectify even when woolly tights became knee-highs (I never wore knee-highs, for the record. They tend to suit people with long legs, but those of us who did wear them didn’t have particularly visible legs because of the hemline thing). Now I’m in the sixth form, the rules are pretty much “don’t dress like you’re going to the beach and/or clubbing.” It’s okay, actually, because I can tell people apart without getting the motts.
Anyway, this parent is irritated that teachers are spending more time telling off pupils for their clothing and reckons that all uniform codes should be abolished. Hmm.
‘Sexy Mandarin’ School Recruits Semi-Naked Models To Teach Foreigners Chinese (PICTURES)
I’m not sure what the LA school would think about SexyMandarin, an online school whose teachers all wear lingerie. It’s quite successful apparently – surprise! – but this has upset a few feminists. I’d be quite distracted by hot models talking to me actually, but if it works…
How has your first week back been? Any funny school stories to share?