Sapphic link love #12

Ms Magazine, The very queer history of the suffrage movement

Waltham Forest Echo, The East End women who fought for gay rights

The Guardian, How lesbian label Olivia shook up music

Believer, Art by women about women making art about women

pop matters, 90 years on ‘Olivia’ remains a classic of lesbian literature

Hyperallergenic, How Tessa Boffin, One of the Leading Lesbian Artists of the AIDS Crisis, Vanished From History (NSFW!)

Autostraddle, An interview with Minnie Bruce Pratt

The Lesbrary, 11 sapphic chefs for your cookbook collection

Country Queer, Amy Ray’s queer country story

Autostraddle, No Adam for Eve: the quiet history of lesbian pulp

More Nice Things

A few more nice things that have cheered me up recently.

Samin Nosrat and Hrishikesh Hirway’s joyful podcast Home Cooking is back with more episodes. I’m so glad they didn’t stop at four. If you only listen to one episode, make it the one with Nadiya Hussain.

If you’re interested in trying some new recipes, the Community Comfort cookbook that I mentioned a couple of weeks ago is fantastic – 100 recipes inspired by global heritage. Profits raise funds for the bereaved healthcare colleagues and families of Black, Asian and Ethnic minority victims of Covid-19.

I think I’ve decided that ‘bird twitter’ is one of the best twitter communities (along with poetry twitter but that’s a different story). The bird enthusiasts and photographers of twitter give me life. Some of my favourite accounts are @CarlBovisNature @CardiffBirder @theowlwhistler @Jamesoneillii

On a related note, if you’re local #WildCardiffHour is one of the most delightful, heartwarming social media events of the week. It takes place from 7pm to 8pm on Tuesdays and is just people sharing photographs of the wildlife they’ve spotted around Cardiff from the previous week. Follow @wildcardiffhour

One of my other favourite twitter accounts at the moment is @wikivictorian which shares beautifully curated ‘random’ stuff from the 19th century to the 1920s. Entertaining, startling and thought-provoking all at once.

I have a nice-things-only rule for Instagram and spent yesterday evening chuckling at my latest follow ratethisbench an account set up by Sam Wilmot to, well, rate benches. It is hilarious and rather touching.

If you’re looking for something fun to read, I recommend the Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells. I re-read all the novellas recently and just finished the fifth book, which is a novel, and it gave me all the feels in a good way. No grimdark, just a cranky cyborg with a past trying to prevent its humans from geting killed.

‘We know next to nothing. That’s how we feel.’

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As we ease out of lockdown, I’ve been struggling with anxiety about the question of what I should be doing. Should I continue to stay home most of the time to keep safe? Should I go out shopping, or to a restaurant, to support the economy? Should I go back to the gym, or not? I have a powerful fear of getting it wrong, which is not surprising, when the stakes involve the risk of getting very ill, infecting other people, or even death.

Anyway, I found this essay helpful for explaining the weird pandemic experience of information overload combined with feeling like we know nothing. As the writer says, we’ve all had to become our own policy analysts.

No one is helping us. That’s how we feel. Innocent actions, like collecting the daily mail, now come fraught with questions (Can I touch this? Should I wash that?), even as the mail itself contains bills that may not be payable. This gap between what we know and what we need to know gets filled, as all vacuums do, variably. The news media do what they can, but their ability to translate the technical language of science, especially biomedical research, has always been hampered by a tendency to miss the finer nuances. Now, at a time when those nuances really matter, we’re seeing repeated instances where, between the pre-review publication of breaking research and the rolling cycle of online news platforms, between the expert testimony offered at press conferences and the evening news, things get distorted.

All we really know for certain is that the reality of the pandemic has been lost behind a fog of confusion, uncertainty, and doubt. Without a consistent national policy, we’ve all had to become our own policy analysts. We may not know all the facts of this new disease science is just beginning to study, or be equipped to understand, much less critique, the conduct of that research. What we can make sense of, however, is just how the results of that research are presented to us—the rhetoric shaping what we are being told, the ways information is distorted.

Given the massive failure of any central authority to assume responsibility for what are literally life-or-death decisions, those decisions are now up to each of us. But how do we decide wisely, given the rhetorical fog clouding so much of what we’re told? I offer here a brief guide to some of the distortions shaping the fog of bad news.

Terrence Holt, With Pandemic Information Overload How Can We Tell What is Real?

A Few Nice Things

It’s been good to rest, but I’ve had some difficult days this week. Feelings of sadness and hurt have been welling up. So, here are some links to a few nice things that I’ve found comforting or cheering recently.

Dan Vo’s LGBTQ+ #MuseumFromHome videos are absolutely delightful. You can keep up with them on twitter @DanNouveau

Samin Nosrat and Hrishikesh Hirway’s podcast Home Cooking is wonderful. Full of laughter and helpful lockdown cooking tips. Sadly there are only four episodes.

The Poet Laureate has gone to his shed is a lovely series in which Simon Armitage interviews different people. I really enjoyed the episode with Jackie Kay. Full of warmth and wisdom.

NPR’s Tiny Desk concerts are really fun and often showcase artists in a different light. If you only watch one, make it Lizzo’s!

I find TV cooking shows very comforting. At the moment I’m particularly fond of Nadiya Hussain and Nigel Slater. I’m not really Nadiya’s target audience (busy parents), but her enthusiasm and gleefulness about food is increadibly infectious, I love it! Meanwhile, Nigel Slater is so reassuring. He’s just here to help us cook.

LGBT History + Wales

I meant to post this a while ago but got distracted by, well, a pandemic. My friend Norena (author of the groundbreaking Forbidden Lives: LGBT Stories from Wales) wrote a great roundup of all the events that happened here for LGBT History Month 2020: Wales + LGBT History Month round up.

It’s heartening and moving to see so many activities happening across the country. We have come such a long way, even if as Norena says, we now need to move beyond events being restricted to celbratory days and months.

Llongyfarchiadau LGBTQ+ Wales!

LGBT Bookstores

The shops, who supported each other by sharing news and ideas, became cornerstones of the communities they served, hosting political organizations and providing safe spaces for people to explore and embrace their sexuality. Such inclusiveness —  along with the spirit of the anti-war, anti-establishment revolution that fanned out before and after Stonewall — encouraged others to build upon the idea started by Rodwell and the Oscar Wilde. By the mid-1980s, queer bookstores were in more than 20 cities across North America as well as venues in Germany, France, Australia, the Netherlands and the U.K.

Jason Villemez

Good article about the history of LGBT bookstores

Sapphic Link Love #11

From Ancient Rome to Judith Butler in this issue …

Cheryl Morgan blogs about the evidence for women loving women in Ancient Rome, Tribade Visibility Day

The Paris Review has a great piece on The Fabulous Forgotten Life of Vita Sackville West

them, 100 Years Ago, this Lesbian Doctor Helped Contain NYC’s Typhoid Epidemic

TIE Campaign podcast has episodes on Lesbians Against Section 28 and Anne Lister

A long and detailed article in Out History, A Tribute to Phyllis Lyon (1924 – 2020)

The Advocate, Netflix Doc Reveals the Queer Romance Behind A League of their Own

Interesting interview with Judith Butler about her latest thinking Judith Butler wants us to reshape our rage

A lovely blog from Torch, Women Retold: Eurydice and Portrait of a Lady on Fire

And a nice interview with the poet Jackie Kay, DIVA meets LGBTQI literature royalty, Jackie Kay MBE

Being human under lockdown

When we can’t make direct contact with each other, we exchange stories, art, film, television, books, jokes, recipes, and, yes, cat videos, as proxies, the means for indirect contact and to share comfort. We use them to connect through mutual emotions: laughter, joy, hope, fear. We use them to reflect on ethical behaviour, on compassion and kindness and the suffering of others.

Professor Sarah Churchwell, Being Human Under Lockdown

Sapphic Link Love #10

Sapphic Link Love #9

Sapphic Link Love #8

Queer Bible, U.A. Fanthorpe

LGBTQ Nation, Meet the Harlem Renaissance dancer who made sure lesbian history wasn’t forgotten

Queer Bible, Natalie Barney

Autostraddle, All Bones and Blood and Breath: Remembering Barbara Hammer

Quill and Quire, The 88-year-old creator of mystery’s first lesbian detective reflects on the character’s return

Lambda Literary, review of My Butch Career by Esther Newton

Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, Poppy Jenkins by Clare Ashton

Sapphic Link Love #7

The Guardian, Pioneering Bollywood lesbian romance opens in India 

Duke University Press, Esther Newton, My Butch Career, A Memoir 

The Guardian, ‘It has made me want to live’: Public support for lesbian novelist Radclyffe Hall over banned book revealed 

The Paris Review, Hunting for a lesbian canon 

Catapult Magazine, ‘I should hate forever to be a burden to you’: Lessons in love from Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West 

Lit Hub, The overlooked eroticism of Mary Oliver 

Sapphic Link round-up #5

Autostraddle, The 15 Best Lesbian and Bisexual Movies of 2018

them., Sarah Schulman Talks her new lesbian detective novel Maggie Terry

Lambda Literary, Looking for Lorraine: The Radical and Radiant Life of Lorraine Hansberry

Hannah Roche, The Outside Thing: Modernist Lesbian Romance 

New York Times Books, Alone with Elizabeth Bishop

Sapphic Link Love #5

June Jordan, ‘These Poems

Casey, The Canadian Lesbrarian, Viscerally Real Queers, Dyke Processing, Kink, and Disability in Jane Eaton Hamilton’s novel WEEKEND

KQED, Rebel Girls from Bay Area History: Pat Parker, Lesbian Feminist Poet and Activist 

New York Review of Books, Alone with Elizabeth Bishop

LA Review of Books, Taking Responsibility, An Interview with Sarah Schulman

Sapphic Link Love #2

Some things I’ve found interesting recently.

Julie R. Enszer at Lamda Literary, Lying with women: Meditations on Barrie Jean Borich’s writing, lesbians and liberation 

Crime Reads, The Night Gertrude Stein met Dashiell Hammett (apparently she even had a go at writing a detective novel)

The Advocate, A 75-year-old lesbian discovery 

Sapphic Link Love #1

Some things I’ve found interesting recently

Anne Lister and a Theology of Naming Lesbians

Interview with a Queer Reader – Julie Rak Talks Women’s Bookstores, Gay Biker Books, Finding Your Own Queer History in Books, and More!

Remembering Beth Brant 

Why the UK’s biggest lesbian archive is so important

Little link round-up

Little link round-up

Little link round-up

Little link round-up

Little link round-up

A bit of an eclectic mix this week:

Little link round-up

  • Cast announced for BBC adaptation of Sarah Waters’s novel The Night Watch.  I would like to be excited about this but I’m also a bit worried because, while I like Anna Maxwell Martin, I can’t imagine her as Kay.
  • Stony Stratford library users check out all the books in protest against library closure.
  • Peter Bradshaw writes about Nicholas Roeg’s 1973 horror film Don’t Look Now. This film has one of the creepiest atmospheres of any I’ve seen.   When we were teenagers my sister started watching it unawares in the kitchen and even though we were in the next room, she was too terrified to shout for help.
  • My partner has conflicted feelings about Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gilbert’s seminal work The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination.
  • Wolves from Hyperbole and a Half.   A game of “Tyrannosaurus Rex” with my 3 year-old nephew got a bit out of hand the other day.  Let this tale be fair warning to me not to encourage too much biting of auntie.