Language formed.

Am halfway through “A Girl Is A Half-formed Thing”. Now the first page is enough to think you’ve bought a typo-laden rejected printer’s copy. Not so, for I am used to “Ulysses”, TS Eliot, Shakespeare, Courttia Newland, texting language and other written works in the making. So I blinked to clean my glasses as you do and carried on. Totes maze would have been accepted in 2012 when language and London changed for a while, when the Queen swung through the Stratford air, when art became anything.

I rested for a couple of hours to check some tickets at Eventbrite, some tickets for a show about loving the earth. It  was then time to check out some reviews of the book. I’d read the last pages as I do for all my literature. Some laugh. It’s like this. I’m in it for the structure and the language, the twists and the finale. Stories are astonishing to the extent that I am not going to know them all because some I just can’t bear to know. I know many to the extent that familiarity breeds a little frustration. The story of the half-formed thing is bad enough and has familiar characters such as the “holy Joes” and the chastising battering mother. However it unfolds through language that’s in a mind and not mine so unwittingly I move through the tale, concentrating on who is talking and when, bouncing on weird syntax and safe because I’m in that structure rather than in the mix with some unsavoury characters.

I’d released the book from the edge of my laptop and the line of my bust and was thinking whilst watching the “Broadchurch” trailer and remembering Joy at Words Of Colour and how strict she is regarding the use of language and clichés about all the new words and all the phrases invented by advert-makers and ourselves using old words for new meanings I’ve used comfortably post Olympics . Paralympics itself was a word to use out of respect even though its four syllables threw people and its meaning was upset by PC. Some of the words and phrases have been around a long time usually in Cyberspace or Dalston.

There’s      ” immersive theatre, barista, upcycling, lappie, tablet,  girl can, trending, cloud, streaming, Hijabi, Londonist, craftivist, You’re so money, hipster, artisan-bread, mindfulness, well-being, sustainable, interns, urbanist, food bank, ultra-local, pop-up, gone down, hub, surbunites, outage, Olympicopolis, Smithsonian, engaged,

And then totes amaze on the D&D registry, a playwright used “Hijabi” and an administrator is abandoning the concept of “immersive theatre”.

No condition is permanent.


No seriously. What is the point of women-only classes to knit or crochet your own cushion covers or throws? (More flippin’ washing for women to do.)

Another such community engagement project plea came into my inbox for me to promote. The sessions aren’t even free.

I get that handiwork is a way for women to get creative. That mantra is pumped into me every time I raise my eyebrows. I know that funders fund projects to engage imaginary communities so that we don’t get depressed by austerity and real-life.


Older women won’t be attracted because they wore their own knits for years and smothered toilet rolls in cheeky crochet hand mades. They might go to save on their own heating bills but only if the project’s free. Younger women? Maybe those self-named “creatives” looking to spend their trust funds in opening up Dalston boutiques disguised as  community tea metre square cafés. The market is already swamped with bespoke throws and cushion covers. Mind you Leyton, that up and coming parish, has yet to be baptized with all that’s on trend.


An octogenarian was being asked to join a weekly craft group amidst gushings and oozings from women with disposable incomes. She kept quiet at the craft tea table as she continued to create a splendiferous crochet shawl. Outside on the quaintly re-cobbled market street full of dimly-lit latte houses and sun-dried odourless tomato filled paninis in bars she huffed “Why would I pay a fiver to sit around with those women to do something I can do already?”  Ah, the engagement process had failed: she’d missed the point about female camaraderie, the coming together of crafters, the well-being and enhancement produced by the drug of innocent repetition and time honoured patterning and after all, what’s a fiver?

Well-being through needle-work and knitting is the subject tomorrow at Toynbee Hall. I know because a fabulous crafting women told me so.

Now, February 1st looms large and I wondered how a knitted hijab might look. The point is not to attract men’s eyes to my head. Those knitted swimming costumes back in the day must have been torture for lusty eyes.

“What women want” , eh?

Back to my reading book. “A Girl is A Half-Formed Thing”.