“God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.”

Facebook is after our children’s eyeballs, which should surprise no one. In December last year, Facebook launched ‘Messenger Kids’ for 6 – 12 year-olds; in May they ignored a petition signed by 21,000 child health advocates asking them to scrap it (Guardian, 2018).  Facebook tells us that their app is designed with the help of ‘experts’ and gives parents ‘control’. Messenger for Kids decorates the … Continue reading “God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.”

“Smells of dust, the dust of time, Egyptian dust…”

Books are being pulped, (Unison, 2017) What else could happen when the schools, libraries and shops no longer require them? In my town there are two charity shops where you can buy a book for 25 pence; the same shops have recycling bins for the piles of useless pages they just can’t shift. Children don’t necessarily encounter too many of these paper dinosaurs: they have YouTube … Continue reading “Smells of dust, the dust of time, Egyptian dust…”

“Beauty always promises, but never gives anything”

‘Dance like nobody’s watching’ is an injunction to rediscover child-like freedom and joy; there is innocence in not being aware of what others think. But, imperceptibly, children become conscious of what other people think of them – first their family. Then, everybody else; it’s inevitable – we have to live in society, whether we are Amish or Zoroastrian. Sometimes, when I am worrying about my … Continue reading “Beauty always promises, but never gives anything”

‘There is something sad about a music box…’

My friend – who is in her seventies – came across a music box as she searched for things in her house to entertain our children. My friend thought it was the quality of the music that made her sad. Gentle music: played by metal pins plucking a comb as you turn the handle. You almost need to hold your breath while it plays; so … Continue reading ‘There is something sad about a music box…’

The Past Is a Different Country

We inhabit a world of screens. When I watch my daughter’s half-hour swimming lessons from the gallery of our local pool, I am surrounded by very small children clutching tablets or iPhones – waiting while their older siblings swim – each absorbed in their own separate, bright flashing world. I understand that the swimming pool is a dull hot place to be stuck – sitting … Continue reading The Past Is a Different Country

Disney Ate My Daughter…

This year, a few prominent feminists have argued against the #MeToo movement. Germaine Greer calls on women to stand up for themselves – “In the old days…we weren’t afraid of him…” (Guardian, 23rd Jan 2018). Camille Paglia has said that treating women as “more vulnerable, virtuous or credible,” is “counterproductive.” (Hollywood Reporter, 27th February 2018). To a point I agree that these beautiful actresses – … Continue reading Disney Ate My Daughter…