Skip to main content

Cocktail rings, the sexist book prize and feel good children's literature

"Thundercats are on the move, Thundercats are loose..."

Hello and welcome to the past where suit-clad dinosaurs roam the earth, sexism reigns supreme and women are castigated for stating the bleedin' obvious. There is a silver lining, of sorts. We get to wear cocktail rings again.

So first to the good news, and as this reporter was saying, cocktail rings are making a comeback, big time. The fashion pack has declared an end to minimalist jewellery and instead the mantra is very much "go big or go home".

The rings, which usually feature a colourful gem like an emerald, have been given a mighty great boost in popularity again since the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, wore Princess Diana's Aquamarine cocktail ring to her evening wedding celebrations.

Try the Ophelia cocktail ring, available from Aspinal, for size. But whatever your choice, do ensure the gem is sufficiently gargantuan that its light shines as brightly as the ruby in the Thundercats' sword.*

Clasp that light close to your chest as we are going to need it. Things are about to get darker...

Best-selling author Marian Keyes has spoken of her "grudge" against the Wodehouse Prize for comic fiction this week, saying it has never shortlisted her work, and has only gone to a woman three times in its 18 year history.

Marian was speaking at the Hay literary festival where the winner of the Wodehouse award is traditionally announced but this year judges declined to award the prize to any of the 62 books submitted - including Marian's own 'The Break' - on the basis none "incited the level of unanimous laughter we have come to expect".

At the event Marian said: "Say what you like about me but my books are funny. What more can I do to qualify?" She continued that there was a sexist imbalance when it came to the Wodehouse Prize which only confirmed a societal consensus that the things men enjoy are automatically given extra weight - that ultimately men are considered more important.

'The Break' has reached number one this week in the British Bestsellers List, so quite frankly who's laughing now.

The chief executive of Qatar Airways has ignited a sexism row after saying only a man could do his challenging job. Akbar Al Baker made the comments moments after becoming chair of the aviation industry body's board of governors.

At a press conference in Sydney, where the International Air Transport Association held its annual meeting, he was asked what could be done to tackle the lack of women in Middle East aviation. Al Baker replied this was not the case at Qatar before adding: "Of course, it has to be led by a man, because it is a very challenging position".

Qatar Airways has had an abysmal reputation for its treatment of its predominantly female cabin crew, at one time firing them for being pregnant and enforcing contractual bans on marriage without express company permission.

Women working in Asian factories supplying clothes to Gap and H&M are being sexually and physically abused when they fail to meet tight deadlines. Two reports published by Global Labour Justice on gender-based violence reveal descriptions of the threats and abuse suffered by more than 540 workers at factories in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia and Sri Lanka as a direct result of pressure for quick turnarounds and low overheads.

One worker in an H&M supplier factory told researchers she was beaten as punishment for not meeting production quotas. "My batch supervisor came up behind me as I was working on the sewing machine, yelling, 'You are not meeting your target production'.  He pulled me out of the chair and I fell to the floor. He hit me, including on my breasts. He pulled me up and then pushed me to the floor again and kicked me".

Gap and H&M said they would investigate the allegations. This reporter suggests we all think a little more carefully about our future clothing purchases.

Our light is shining a little dimly. Let's perk ourselves up a bit with the news that 10.7 million UK adults have reported turning to a favourite children's novel to induce feelings of calm and happiness. And The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe written by C S Lewis came out on top as the childhood novel the nation's grown-ups most wanted to read again. Other favourites include Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden and E S Nesbit's The Railway Children, cheerily both written by women.

This reporter concludes that when it comes to harking back to the past, nostalgia comes best cherry picked.

Altogether now - "Thundercats Ho".

*Unapologetic 80's children's TV show reference there

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

'Shade' brooches and Trump derangement syndrome

Last call for the Elon Musk submarine. And this is your captain, This Reporter, speaking, urging you all to fasten your seat belts and pin your 'shade' brooches onto your lapels - for this, our, now weekly plunge into the news headlines. It's going to be something of a bumpy ride.

First up, please be upstanding (but don't knock off your head) for the President of the United States, who is going to give us a formal address on UK/US trading. He says: "They make phenomenal things, you know, and you have different names - you can say "England", you can say "UK", you can say "United Kingdom" so many different - you know you have, you have so many different names ".

Donald Trump there, proving IQ is nothing but a number, as he well and truly blazed a skid mark of devastation across our country over the weekend. It would be a simpler task to list who he did not offend but most sympathy has gone out to Her Majesty who people railed is &q…

Burberry bonfires, Black Mirror Brexit (and a "guest")

Welcome to This Reporter's 'Ye Olde Fashioned Sweet Shop' where news headlines are carefully weighed up and parcelled into jolly candy striped bags. Come in and peruse the jars of gobstoppers, humbugs and political dib dabs, 'til you're left riding high on a crest of toxically pleasing e numbers.

Let's get stuck in and first up we have the buoyant tale of the Trump baby balloon going on tour. After its hugely successful omnipresence at the London protest march, the blimp is jetting off to Trump's homeland, where it will take to skies above rallies in New Jersey and the East Coast. As the saying goes, what goes on tour stays on tour, but This Reporter requests we have it back - for weddings and bar mitzvahs.

Labour MP Dame Margaret Hodge faces "action" after calling Jeremy Corbyn "an anti-semitic racist". (The jury is out whether she added an expletive.) Dame Margaret - whose relatives died in the holocaust- reacted with fury after Labour…

Stockpiling and the Last Surviving Pineapple Bag

FROM troops mobilised for Operation Blitz Brexit and Jacob Rees-Mogg's three piece suit on the sand, to the last surviving pineapple bag, This Reporter gives her weekly news and style round-up.


This Reporter greets you with the news that this week Brexit has well and truly spoked off its rocker. The army, they say, is to be drafted in following the inevitable No Deal conclusion, to distribute stockpiled food and medicine, and to deal with civil riots. Isn't that a "comfort".

Slightly more imminently, plans to hand out No Deal pamphlets to prepare us have been shelved, to prevent "panic" or, to quote an anonymous government source, to stop people "s***ing themselves". All This Reporter can say is, it quite clearly transpires voting for Brexit was no different to actively voting for conditions of war. The good news is we may finally deal with the obesity crisis. Perhaps that was the plan all along?

One unlikely individual not prepared to take this N…

Three Parties and the Perfect Holiday Dress

WITH the Tories incessant Brexit belching and Corbyn's crawling after dinner speech, This Reporter would rather vote for the perfect holiday dress.

Welcome to this week's news and style round-up and it's going to be something of a three course banquet - so loosen your belts. For starters we come to the Tories and the news they have launched a "secret" investigation into whether there is a link between their austerity measures and the accelerated use of food banks.

When it comes to the conundrum of cause and effect, we are not in the obscure realms of flapping butterfly wings here, but rather (to select a name completely at random, you understand) more a, if George picks up a brick and throws it through a window, and it shatters, do we blame the window, the brick - or George?

Brexit news has cracked on apace. Indeed academics say they have cracked it, with the grand revelation areas of the UK most badly hit by Tory austerity measures were more likely to vote Leave…

Space Force, Wreath Gate and the Stealthy Swimsuit

WITH life this week officially perilous on both land and in space, This Reporter suggests we all make like Robinson Crusoe and escape to our very own desert island - with help from the most stealthy of swimsuits. Welcome to your weekly news and style round-up.

Let's take the plunge and yep, we've all fallen for it. Even This Reporter, by nature of writing about it, has fallen for it. Indeed, not since Winnie the Pooh built a trap for a Heffalump only to find out that he was, the Heffalump, has anyone fallen for it, quite so badly.

This Reporter is of course referring to Boris Johnson, who - to his joy - has dominated the news headlines over the past week with his comments on Burka wearing. The recovering Foreign Secretary has been damned by the equalities watchdog for his comments comparing women who don the religious garb to "bank robbers" and "letterboxes".

Prime Minister Theresa May has called for Boris to apologise, in a move Tory undertaker Jacob Rees-…