Constance Hall is a 32-year-old artist and blogger from Perth, Australia, who writes about being the mother of four young children when all she really wanted was “a bottle of wine and a hot boyfriend”.
In a Facebook post last week, Hall wrote about “parent sex”, the time when you realise that “it’s been almost a month since you [last] banged and are starting to feel like flatmates” so you and your partner decide to share that precious “three and a half minutes in between changing nappies and making food”.
But though her observations were amusing and widely shared, one man who knows Hall personally took the opportunity to use the thread underneath the piece to cast aspersions on Hall’s past.
Her response was even better than her original post: “I have been informed that some guy is writing things like ‘Constance has f***** half of Perth’. Charming right? To be completely honest,” she continued, completely honestly, “I don’t even know if his statements are true or not, there are some really blurry years in my early twenties. However, what a fabulous time to once again put forth my views on ‘slut shaming’. You don’t have to use the word ‘slut’ to slut shame, it’s done in so many ways it’s more like ‘sexually liberated woman shaming’.
“And that is what I am, or was. But do you know what? That is also what makes me such good wifey material. I love love. Would anyone want a wife that didn’t?”
Talk of the clown
In what might be one of the best jokes of all time, in 1976 Mel Brooks gave the only line in his film Silent Movie to the mime artist Marcel Marceau. Should you find that funny, you may be interested to know that today marks what might well be the final performance of a show/lecture called The Art of Laughter, which is being performed/delivered as part of the London International Mime Festival (details at mimelondon.com).
The Art of Laughter is the brainchild of Jos Houben, an original member of the experimental theatre group Complicite. But what, I ask Houben, is his talk’s place at a festival of mime? “Well,” he says, “this is actually the third time I will be doing The Art of Laughter there. It is about the physical humour of the human body, and is, I suppose, an exploration of this wonderful awareness that we are a body, rather than that we are stuck in a body. But that would not work well on the poster, so we say that it is a ‘comedy about comedy’.”
And what is his fascination with physical humour? “I was in love with Danny Kaye, Stan Laurel and Fred Carno and none of that is around any more,” he says. “The Pixar movies have slapstick, but that is done by computers, and the success of Mr Bean was 20 years ago. I hope that kids will see my talk, or the show I am doing with Complicite co-founder Marcello Magni, and say, ‘That’s what I want to do’. In these dark times, people need to share a moment of laughter.”
As someone who encountered Cards Against Humanity for the first time over the recent holidays, it should come as no surprise that the “escape rooms” phenomenon has completely passed me by.
Based, apparently, on the Japanese online game Takagism, escape rooms are “real-life games which require players to work together to solve hidden puzzles to escape a locked room, before the timer runs out”. How big a deal is this trend? According to a new website called escape-rooms.com – which provides details of all the places you can do this – there are 953 such adventures around the world from Sao Paulo to Hanoi to Reykjavik. There are 60 in the UK alone.
Stuck in a room, having to perform tasks against the clock to get out – sounds like an average day at work to me.
From Dada to data
Talking of things that this writer will never fully understand, there is a current boom in art which attempts to make sense of our fascination with technology – see the Big Bang Data exhibition at London’s Somerset House and a piece planned for this month’s London Art Fair called Play Art Data Money.
Ruth Catlow, a co-founder of something called Furtherfield, attempts to explain Play Art Data Money to me and offer her thoughts on why so many artists are preoccupied by trying to understand life in the digital age.
“Our piece is an attempt to collectively imagine the perfect society,” she says. So, is technology a force for good or evil, I venture nervously?
“I joke that I spend half the time walking down the street judging people for being on their phones and the other half on my phone,” she says.
No rhyme or reason
Another in a regular series of limericks based on recent events:
Though the science is somewhat unclear,
They say ‘Put down that wine and that beer,
And it’s well worth a try,
Going all-year-round dry,’
So much for that happy new year.
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