Hear ye, hear ye, Dames Nation! Phryne Fisher, fictional lady detective and cherished fav of Us Your Dames, is ready for her close-up.
By which we mean that the creative team behind the popular Australian TV show Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries has launched a Kickstarter to bring the character to the big screen in a feature film. While this Dame (M) must own a smidge of ambivalence about this goal, as she is addicted to the structure of traditional 50-minute mystery TV shows, she must also own that the creative team’s concept of Phryne as a female Indiana Jones is QUITE persuasive, and the video they made announcing the Kickstarter is unusually adorable. And Phryne Fisher in ANY form is something to celebrate, and to covet. If you have somehow missed the boat on this great series and find the idea of a forward-thinking flapper solving mysteries with support from a pair of socialist taxi drivers, her upright Catholic ladies maid, and an alluringly honorable (and exasperated) detective inspector, then Netflix has three seasons of excellence to offer you.
Extra Dames: ALL TALKING Edition!
We Your Dames do not yet own smoking jackets and it is an EXTREMELY tragic oversight.
We have some extra Dames Content for you this week: the first episode of our Aspirationally Quarterly podcast, wherein we do our finest impression of Troy and Abed in the Morning (*Nights*)! We recorded this back in March for our $10/monthly Patreon patrons and focused on some of our favorite authors - some quite popular, some way less famous than they deserve. We hope you enjoy having us in your ears talking about books! For earlier access to these delights, consider becoming a patron of this here artsy newsletter. You could be a contemporary Medici (but with absolutely zero murders required)!
Dame Margaret on the Uncomfortable Relationship Between Capitalism and Marginalized People
Pete Campbell rating capitalism’s ability to overlook embedded prejudices
EVEN for the simple goal of turning a profit.
What happens to fat women (and all women) in a country where, allegedly, “women don’t get fat”? SOME PRETTY HARROWING SHIT, according to Frenchwoman Gabrielle Deydier, whose recently published memoir is causing France to confront its rampant “grossophobia.”
Here in the U.S., things are not a lot better for fat women. A few examples of trenchant writing on that subject:
A great piece-- and one that hit this high femme, definitely overweight dame where she lives-- on why we (as a culture) demand that fat women present themselves in hyperfeminine ways, and the toxic messages that kind of selective approval communicates.
Hitting on some very similar themes, this piece by Amanda Mull on how Torrid’s recent show at New York Fashion Week served to reaffirm, rather than combat, the fashion industry’s disdain for fat people is a great example of excellent, incisive fashion criticism.
#NotAllDesigners are so bad, however. Take, for example, Christian Siriano’s NYFW show, where bodies of many shapes (including ones that challenge the concept of binary gender) were celebrated in keeping with Siriano’s long-standing commitment to diversity and R. Eric Taylor’s description said show's the ebullient atmosphere (provided in large part by Leslie Jones’s award-winning irrepressibility). Taken together, these seem to demonstrate that, when a sincere effort is made to challenge fashion’s norms, everything Mull found lacking at Torrid can be achieved.
And, further affirming Mull’s assertion that those who care about fat fashion value highly the home-grown stars who pretty much invented it, this long-read on how model-deisigner-activist Gabi Gregg transformed the swimsuit industry demonstrates how much more successful efforts for diversity are when the people driving them are the people traditionally excluded. Where Siriano demonstrates the rewards of serving a broad consumer base in haute couture, this piece shows how much money is out there to be made by companies willing to do the same in commercial fashion.
You would think that, after existing as long as it has, capitalism would have sorted out how to set aside its prejudices at least to make money. BUT, listening to Code Switch’s podcast episode on pioneering black ad man Tom Burrell, and how hard he had to work to get his colleagues to understand that “black people are not just dark-skinned white people,” it’s hard not to notice the parallels.
And, in a surprisingly thematic coup, let’s all read Bim Adewunmi’s excellent piece on how white supremacy led middling tennis player Maria Sharapova to believe that she is a credible rival to Serena Williams, and how our oppressively narrow standards for femininity have led to Williams receiving comparatively few commercial endorsements despite being (arguably) the most dominant athlete currently playing in any sport.
And now, as a palate cleanser, I am going to leave you with this picture of Lizzo and Danielle Brooks from Christian Siriano’s fashion show, perfectly described by R. Eric as “the image that greets you when you get to Heaven,” and a recommendation that you give a listen to Kelly Clarkson’s new single, which is a FIRE BOP.
Pretty sure this image has made me at least 32% more bisexual. Sophie’s Link-o-RamaStory checks out.I was very very careful on vacation and only bought 7 books (5 of them used and all of those £2 or less, huzzah!). I entered a fugue state while browsing the British Natural History table and the Our Staff Recommends wall in a Waterstones and wound up with a stack of 5 books that I very reluctantly pared down to one. My regrets about not buying them all will haunt me for a while. Be that as it may, here’s my report on what I did buy, almost all of it commercial women’s fiction:East End Angel, by Kay Brellend - I saw this one in a supermarket and immediately said, “Oh, wow, look at that Call The Midwife callback!” The cover star is a dead ringer for Nurse Trixie Franklin. (Speaking of Call The Midwife, S6 is coming to Netflix on September 18!) This is one of the Campbell Road Saga books, about a life in a rough neighborhood in North London from the 1930s-1950s. Goodreads reviews range from “gripping” to “wow, I hate these people”, so we’ll see how it pans out.The House by Princes Park, by Maureen Lee - I picked this up because the redesigned cover looks like a first cousin to the covers of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels, and bought it because it’s about the illegitimate child of a nurse & American GI, set in Liverpool, I mean how am I ever going to resist that? The writing is most generously described as complete sentences, but I can tell it’s a page-turner.The New Rector and Trouble in the Village, both by Rebecca Shaw - these are the first and eighth book, respectively, in the Tales From Turnham Malpas series. I’ve read the first chapter of The New Rectorso far, and if the voice and style is consistent across the series, these books are cozy to the nth degree and crying out for a TV adaptation. I suspect they’ll play an important role in my Gloomvember Remediation strategies for this winter.Cranford & Other Stories, by Elizabeth Gaskell - my husband & I visited Mrs. Gaskell’s house in Manchester (it’s now an excellent museum, a bit out of the way but well worth a visit) and I’m a bit baffled as to why she’s not as widely read in the US as Dickens, the Brontes, or Austen. Three of her books have been adapted for TV in the UK, and she’s beloved by a certain segment of English Lit majors, so what gives? If you have a Theory of Elizabeth Gaskell’s Relative Obscurity, please do tell.A Natural History of the Hedgerow, by John Wright - obviously, I saved the best for last. Fun fact: I love field guides. My late grandmother was a birder and a seaside naturalist, and so she had a zillion field guides around the house, and I discovered early on they are super-fun to read, especially when you want to read just a couple of pages about plovers or want to learn about all the many types of octopus that roam our oceans. This guide, which also encompasses a study of ditches, dykes, and dry stone walls, offers a selection of essays, historical research, lavish color illustrations and descriptions of all manner of the flora and fauna that thrive in hedgerows. Heaven!Oh, blerg: 30 Rock is leaving US Netflix on October 1. Since we have no idea when the gang from TGS will be back on the platform, here are 15 episodes to watch before it disappears for a while.Hillary Clinton steadfastly insisted on publishing What Happened in spite of the fact that an obnoxiously large number of men spent the last week having a tantrum insisting that she not do so, and good for her. The excerpts I’ve read are so good; I’d almost forgotten what a lively, whip-smart writer she is and am looking forward to listening to her deliver these zingers and insights personally via the magic of reading it on audiobook. One thing that I have overindulged in this week, leading to a Feelings Avalanche™ , is Secretary Clinton’s many podcast appearances this week. I listened to all of her appearance on Pod Save America and about half of her conversation with Max Linsky on Longform before realizing I had plunged myself back into that awful, immediately post-election grief fog. If you are similarly susceptible, take heed. If not, With Her (two more conversations with Max Linsky) is also back. Whew. Didn’t we almost have it all, friends?Segueing from rage-grief tears to very necessary mirth-tears, here are two pieces that made me laugh so hard they were my abs workout for the week: The Onion on TJ Maxx’s weirdly haphazard method of merchandising inventory & this New Yorker video on the quest to find the few people in NYC who have not slept with James Franco. I assume it’s some kind of promotional tie-in for The Disaster Artist, but it stands alone as an inspired and weird bit of hilarity. (If you know what's going on with the narrator's accent - a bizarre mishmash of Werner Herzog and Israeli, with a soupçon of Afrikaans? - do tell.)I've consulted the index of my hedgerows book & there's a shocking dearth of hedgehog content in there, so this gif is a visual nutritional supplement.
The Harold Herald
~*~ Being an occasional round-up of the antics of His Grace, Harold Elizabeth Styles, Esq., once & future of One Direction, presently of Dunkirk and his forthcoming international tour of small venues. ~*~Ah, don’t sweat it, man! We’re good!Ok, big news of the week first: Harry performed on Radio One’s Live Lounge. Traditionally, guests perform two original songs plus a cover. Harry’s originals were the lovely, wistful “Two Ghosts” and the gloriously bombastic “Sign of the Times”. His cover was Fleetwood Mac’s heartbroken, furious “The Chain”, which wasn’t a surprise, exactly, given how much he loves them and Stevie Nicks, in particular (remember when he cried on stage with her at the Troubadour a couple of months ago?). It was very thrilling, nonetheless. I would like him to sing a thousand duets with his keyboardist Clare Uchima, and direct them to two of my playlists for some ideas: Harry Covers/Pre-Show Tunes and Duet Magic. THEN, on Tuesday, some audio of Harry covering “Wild Thoughts”, which was a hit for DJ Khaled & Rihanna this summer, appeared and instantly vaporized our auditory canals. Nobody was even slightly prepared for it & now we all have received a very timely reminder that his live shows are going to be a murderous combination of original material and well-selected covers, and now I need to practice clasping my hands to my face & screaming for a while.Somewhere in all the talk of Harry’s selection of “The Chain”, I learned that past TBD guest editor and all-around hilarity furnisher Rave Sashayed has a tag on her Tumblr devoted to the concept of Harry Styles, incompetent wizard. That tag is (and I hope cherished DamesPal Maureen is sitting down when she reads this) Harry’s Moving Castle. If you haven’t read Howl’s Moving Castle, please do so at your earliest convenience. If you have, please search your feelings, you know Harry IS Howl. In an interview published this week, Zayn tried to pull the old “I don’t know her” trick in re: sweet Harold, but Zayn is not Mariah Carey, ok? We have receipts! Kiss & make up, you two.Sharp-eyed Dames National Mary Beth brought this fantastic interview with a fandom expert to our attention this week and it’s almost too hard to select a single quote to share with you all. We’ve said so many times that teen girls are the most underappreciated, underrated taste-makers in American culture (most likely in culture the world over, but we can really only talk about what we know). Scholar Francesca Coppa distills it all for us: "It seems to be about boys but I think it’s really not about boys at all. The average Beatlemaniac is not going to be expecting to be in any kind of relationship with a Beatle but it’s a great way of organizing your time with your friends. Something that looks like you’re boy crazy is actually really about developing relationships with your friends and, secondarily, you’re also spreading the network."Anne T. Donohue on why grown-ass women are wild about Harry, which boils down to a) he’s precociously mature & cheeky & likes the classic rock we like & cares about his wardrobe, so we see the best of ourselves reflected in him and b) he does good singing and c) THAT SHAYNA PUNIM.Finally, the Boden catalog has been trolling me mercilessly this week with very cute clothes at untenable price points (wait for the sales, friends, they are coming & they will be good. Just stay cool!). Worse still, many of these items seem directly inspired by everyone’s favorite lanky, kale-loving wild print aficionado. Look at this blazer. These trousers are rude. This blouse is a scandal (I snagged one in the Labor Day sale & plan to wear it to the concert if it arrives in time). This sweater, though, is proof that Boden’s designers are Harry fans (and I interpret it as tacit acknowledgement that they read this very newsletter). If you need one, and you just might, here’s where you buy.Stay hydrated, you goober.