Prufrocked and Rushdied

I don’t often recognise references or allusions in novels. I think I gloss over a lot and miss much of what makes a book special. But, when reading ‘The Golden House’ by Salman Rushdie, something stood out. It was a line at the end of a piece of prose, poetry? The line read, ‘…is this what you meant? Or this? Is this what you meant at all?’. It was the rhythm that caught me. Made me stop. I turned to my phone as it was closer than the book and googled ‘The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock’. Now, looking back and knowing more, I see so many clearer links to the poem. For instance the reference to the narrator being ‘prufrocked’ and the almost direct quotation, ‘I have see her like a yellow dog rubbing her back against, rubbing her muzzle upon, shall I say, licking her tongue into the corners of his evening?’. Nonetheless, it was the rhythm that caught me.

Let me explain.

When I was in second year of university going through a rough spot. Rough? Maybe it was more weathered, or stormed? Anyway, I found it harder and harder to fall asleep. I tried all sorts of remedies but nothing worked. And as always when stuck in an unsure moment with no one to turn to ( or maybe someone but oh god not them) I averted my gaze and found myself looking at poetry. The one thing that seemed to make a slight difference was listening to T S Eliot reading his poem ‘The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock’ each night. The 7.52min recital mimicked lullaby. The ups and downs, peaks and troughs, cadence of his voice sent my body into as close to sleep as I could muster. It became a ritual. I’d lie and let Eliot sing to me. I’ve always believed poetry should be heard not read and this poem proves that precisely. It is a joy to listen to. Makes reading seem unsubstantial and pointless. Makes my eyes redundant and my ears gold again.

I listened to it again after my recent early evening revelations and my body went into an almost paralysis, a lucid state. I was hypnotised by a familiar voice who had tried many times before to knock me out. But this time, although my mind was preparing to shut down, I wasn’t. I was still revelling at my newfound knowledge. Insider knowledge. Like I said, I never make the links. I can never cut as deep as others into the many facets that make up and inspire a novel. I’d struck gold and it felt amazing. And so, as cliche would want it, I couldn’t sleep that night. My head full of things I wanted to share. And so I share it with you. Below is the discussed extract from the novel ‘The Golden House’ by Salman Rushdie which I recommend no one reads but everyone to have read.

“The first night and the second night, the first two nights of the new year, she demonstrates her wares, let’s him see the quality of what’s on offer, not only physically but emotionally. She…and here I rear back and half myself, ashamed, prufrocked into a sudden pudeur, for, after all, how should I presume? Shall I say, I have known them all, I have seen her like a yellow dog rubbing her back against, rubbing her muzzle upon, shall I say, licking her tongue into the corners of his evening? Do I dare, and do I dare? And who am I, after all? I am not the prince. An attendant lord, deferential, glad to be of use. Almost, at times, the Fool…But, setting aside poetry, I’m too deeply in to stop now. I am imagining her already. Perhaps kneeling beside him on the bed. Yes, kneeling, I think. Asking, is this what you meant? Or this? Is this what you meant at all?” (p.78)

Love Island is a fine example of pseudo-feminism

It is impossible to avoid Love Island this year, as much as I have tried and succeeded over the last couple of seasons. If it’s not on your TV it’s on social media, or the news, or in the magazines, or someone is talking about it on your bus on the journey home. I decided to take the plunge and find out what everyone has been raving about. 1 minute 23 seconds in to the first episode and I can’t go on. I have seen more unsolicited skin in that time than I have in the last month. I’d heard the rumours, but never quite expected it to be so, let’s say, in your face.

Oh and of course there’s the token ‘fatty’, who can we just highlight is not in the slightest bit overweight. How can a normal looking guy look so abnormal? His body is better than most men but sat next to the testosterone-infused six-packs that form the majority of the male population of the show, he looks almost ‘chubby’. Find the anomaly seems a much more suitable game for this show, than girls squashing watermelons with their bums.

All in all, it just feels like another programme that perpetuates an unobtainable ideal that the average person can never reach. I went to a talk the other day where a man spoke candidly about social media. He asked the audience: ‘How many times do you put down your phone after scrolling through Instagram and actually feel good about yourself?’. The answer for me, and most others in the crowd, was ‘rarely’. That’s not right. After this, I unfollowed all the fitness inspiration accounts, the Victoria’s Secrets models, the bikini brands, and the reality stars with their pimped-up body-parts and glam squads. What was left was a stream of art, architecture, photography, travel photos, and friends. It was cleansing. I’d recommend it.

Who knows, maybe I’m speaking on behalf of thousands of hushed voices, or maybe I’m just another insecure girl who’s jealous and doesn’t know how to handle it…

The Naked Truth – a review

As an Atheist the Christian Union at my university never appealed to me as something to look into. So, when a friend, who is a part of said society, invited me and a couple of friends (all of whom were not Christian) to a Union organised event at a local church, I was surprised. I must admit the promise of free food and wine swayed me slightly but the talk itself sounded interesting so I decided to head along to their Wednesday event. As part of ‘The Naked Truth’ week the evening I chose was dedicated to ‘Suffering vs Hope’ where the question being discussed was ‘Is hope possible beyond life’s disappointment?’.

Continue reading “The Naked Truth – a review”