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Female Appreciation Month Day 1

Bit of a cheat, though not really. Today I will cover stuff I was already engrossed in, to begin.

Music for Men by Gossip has been on repeat on my CD player at work since I bought it, about two weeks ago. They were the feature album on Triple J a couple of weeks ago and I fell in love with a couple of songs - "Pop Goes the World" just has me dancing at my desk, it's so punchy and the chorus so catchy. It's boppy, I'll admit that. Other songs I am grooving to - Dimestore Diamond and For Keeps.

In Wikipedia'ing for this, I have discovered that I also really loved a song off their last album - "Standing in the Way of Control" which is a protest to the proposal of the banning of same sex marriage in the US.

Gossip was formed in 1999 in Olympia, Washington with vocalist Beth Ditto, guitarist Brace Paine, and drummer Kathy Mendonca. Since the formation of the band, Ditto has been considered controversial by the mainstream for being open about her weight and homosexuality, and not holding back when it comes to discussing fellow musicians.

What's not to love?

I should say up front, I'm coediting this book and Twelfth Planet Press is publishing it. That said, I have pretty much been reading Deborah Biancotti to exclusion the last couple of weeks and have been engrossed in this project for the last 18 months. I wanted to do this project because I love her work and I wanted to see it collected and presented in a classy package so that other people may also fall in love with her work. I also discovered this really cool thing about being an editor - you can use the position to make your favourite writers write new works.

Biancotti is not a hugely prolific writer. Sometimes you are lucky to get one new work of hers in the year. But when you read her work you can see why - her stories are considered, they are careful, they are layered and deep. And they are always always smarter than me. And that's why I so greatly admire her. As a writer she challenges me. Her work is not for reading at bedtime when you are sleepy.
And on rereading, you find that she works on several layers and any one of your readings will almost always be a separate and individual reading from the last. She keeps you on your toes and she challenges you to question all that you assume and accept about the world around you. She struggles with what it means to be human - she dares you to embrace humanity in all its ugly, flawed selfishness. She shows you the worst of us and then she shows you how even at our most ugly, we can be beautiful.

I was lucky to coedit 6 new works of hers and to see what she is like as a writer at work as well as to see her works as they got reworked. I was constantly blown away by seeing a draft, having a conversation about what worked and what didn't and then seeing a reworked version that was just totally unlike the original. It was so interesting to see what she saw as the heart of the story, which so often was not the details/plot. And it was so intellectually stimulating to be constantly running to try and keep up.

There are 6 new works by Biancotti out this year and I dunno if I can pick a favourite. I love that the story we hated the most, and that caused us the most pain, is possibly the best now of the pack. I also love how she constructed and completed a book by using these 6 stories to fill in the gaps around her body of work and paired up stories.

Joni Mitchell
And now for something new that I tried tonight - Joni Mitchell. Yeah, I know. One of my mum's favourites - though my mum will always be cooler than me, I'm at peace with this by now. Anyway, turns out, Big Yellow Taxi was covered by Counting Crows. And here is her version, I like. I'm told I should go get me Blue so I'll do that this weekend.

Link List
Female Appreciation Month Introduction - Pharaoh Katt - joining me in this event and covering another month's worth of Female Appreciation

Hottest 100 and Sexism
- the event that kick-started this.
My addendum to the Sexism of the Hottest 100 An addendum, and the first mention of Female Appreciation Month
Female appreciation month
- A call out to suggestions for the month


( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 14th, 2009 02:38 pm (UTC)
Joni Mitchell's A Case of You is particularly gorgeous. kd lang did a lovely cover, as did Chanel Cole on Oz Idol. Damn I wish Chanel had got a recording contract.
Jul. 15th, 2009 01:07 am (UTC)
Snap, that is what I was going to say (up until the KD Lang part at least... I don't know much about Idol). Tori Amos' cover is pretty good too.

Joni Mitchell's voice is just amazing.
Jul. 15th, 2009 02:37 am (UTC)
Her voice is certainly unique.
Jul. 15th, 2009 04:06 am (UTC)
I liked Chanel too :(
Jul. 15th, 2009 07:46 am (UTC)
Love that song also. And I agree about Chanel!!!
Jul. 14th, 2009 03:06 pm (UTC)
I've not had the chance to read these music posts properly yet, but yes - Blue is a fantastic JM album. I also really like 'Hejira', though I don't know if it was particularly popular.
Jul. 15th, 2009 04:06 am (UTC)
Thanks! I'll check it out.
Jul. 14th, 2009 03:18 pm (UTC)
One of my favourite songs. The CC version was quite good as covers go, although they changed one line which I thought threw the rhythm right out of whack and spoilt it...
Jul. 15th, 2009 04:05 am (UTC)
I totally agree that the CC version has that funny rhythm - now i know why!
Jul. 14th, 2009 09:56 pm (UTC)
Jul. 15th, 2009 04:03 am (UTC)
You know, I am of the opinion that when secularism actually embraces the idea of equality for all, then it will follow that religion will too. I think religion holds the observer's focus only until the ideas are so out of date that it becomes ridiculous - for example, I am a Jewish woman, but I use contraception and wear pants. And most Jewish women I know do too.

Which is to say, it's nice for non-religious people to point the finger at the sexism of religion and blame that as it allows them to not have to look at themselves and secular society, which ain't all that flash neither.

Edited at 2009-07-15 04:05 am (UTC)
Jul. 15th, 2009 01:20 am (UTC)
Big Yellow Taxi was a hugely influential song for me. My mum used to play it on the guitar for me and we would sing it. I think it is very likely directly responsible for shaping my attitude towards environmental issues. Although I like the Counting Crows over all I find their cover... not to my taste, it just doesn't speak to me with the same sincerity that Mitchell's version does.

Thanks for pointing me towards Gossip, I had not heard of them before now, (though I have heard of Ditto as a celebrity/musician). I find it strange that she is considered controversial for being 'open' about her weight. I think rather she is controversial for being *unapologetic* about and perfectly happy with her size--which is awesome.
Jul. 15th, 2009 01:34 am (UTC)
"I find it strange that she is considered controversial for being 'open' about her weight."

Heh. Yeah, 'cause if she didn't mention it all the time we'd never notice!
Jul. 15th, 2009 02:37 am (UTC)
I read that statement to be "unapologetic" about it.
Jul. 15th, 2009 04:00 am (UTC)
I love the Counting Crows but now having heard a couple of live versions of Joni Mitchell, there is no comparison for Big Yellow Taxi :)

I love the environmentalist message of this beautiful song. Yay for the women of the 60s!

Gossip is a fun album. I just passed it along to my friend at work but only to be able to play today's Female Artist :)
Jul. 15th, 2009 07:48 am (UTC)
Love Big Yellow Taxi, although my favourite Joni Mitchell song is probably The Circle Game. Still makes me want to cry, after all these years!
Jul. 16th, 2009 03:40 am (UTC)
I'll have to go find it then
Jul. 15th, 2009 07:49 am (UTC)
I haven't heard Gossip. Will see if I can google some up.

Love Joni Mitchell.
Jul. 16th, 2009 03:41 am (UTC)
I only recently discovered Gossip - probably my current new best thing.
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

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