Writer, galloper of imaginary ponies. Wannabe side-saddle enthusiast.
@Sheila Albertson Seconded. My God. Every time I've done something for a women's mag they've come at it with a full set of requirements about what's in it – facts or actual news be damned. They just have to get out of the way to make the right story. Oh, and I'm not allowed to say I live in Berlin as apparently that would just cause damage to the readers. Or something.
@Ian Young I'm British. I understand piss-taking. But I don't understand how you critique the fact that many videos use scantily clad black dancers covered in jizz substitutes as a backdrop to a white star by making a video featuring, er, backgrounded, scantily clad black dancers covered in jizz substitutes.
@LunaLunaLunaMoth The one I did was 800 words in a format more restrictive than a blog :)
@Lipstick4all No Matt, not blinded by the desire to trash. Just uncomfortable with the pidgin, the descriptions of her body and the tourism feel.
@Susanna Hey up, sockpuppets ahoy.
@Elitist and Dull I had so much material from that trip, but the article I'd been commissioned to do didn't leave me room to use most of it... But the woman who ran the prostitutes' union said something similar to Christina: men were (she thought, led by the internet and porn) asking for increasingly extreme things. If the girls couldn't speak enough of whatever lingua franca was used, they could end up in a tricky situation.
In her working days she was the sole operator in a village where she was pretty respected and appreciated, and the men were happy to have plain old vanilla sex rather than expecting her to do whatever they didn't dare ask their wives and girlfriends to do. Most of the men in the village were on her client list, and some of the wives would even come to her and ask her to work on something with their men, to improve things in bed at home. She was great fun... But also pointed out that this gentrification was not good for the current working girls, and I think there was also something about the government trying to end funding to the union (I need to check that).
A woman had been murdered the year I was there – outside her room, by someone trying to steal her cash. But it was not a frequent occurence. Am not sure if it's the same woman Christina is referring to. The only other working girl I briefly met had raised and educated three kids on her earnings and was about to retire. Oh, and one of the women working in that particular set of windows was a flight attendant who liked to earn a little on the side.
None of this is to make out that it's all hunky dory. There are clearly also issues with pimps, violence, illegal operations that endanger women. And the history is tied into Dutch colonialism, to boot. I couldn't begin to scratch the surface even with that range of interviews.
@tales Yes. The words, "Hairpin, RLY?" come to mind.
One rather crucial thing missing from the article.
The rooms behind the windows are rented out in shifts directly to the women, so (if it's all working correctly) they are freelancers who work purely for themselves.
Am not really very taken by this whole piece – she gave up time (and probably money as fifty euros is not much) to talk to this guy who seems to find her disgusting.
Several years ago I went to Amsterdam on a press trip that included interviews with the head of the prostitutes union, with social workers, a brothel owner, an anthropologist who specialised in migration AND the city council, who are trying to gentrify the red light districts in the centre of town by buying up the brothels and installing artists and designers in them temporarily. The net result of that policy is that the working women are pushed out to more isolated locations. In the trad red light district they and locals can look out for one another.
I wanted to write a nonfiction book that covered cultural and social history and was told it would have to have a memoir element by my publisher. I cringed, and it took me years to be able to write about myself, but it really helped to read other, similar titles and see how others did it.
Roger Deakin's Waterlog is a beautiful book with a smidge of memoir in it.
Lorna Sage's Bad Blood – spectacular.
Francis Spufford's The Child That Books Built. Dips in and out of a very personal story without tackling it in a tacky way.
Angela Carter's nonfiction essays that touch on her own life – anorexia, her parents, her travels.
MFK Fisher, although I get the impression that her memoir elements contain a large amount of fiction (I should never have read that biography of her)
@Urwelt If I was being extremely uncharitable I'd say it sounds a bit like she was very curious about online dating but had to cloak that exploration in this whole "I'm not really trying to date, it's art" thing.
I'm always amazed by the detail that people, especially men, put on their profiles. If you read a bunch of them, they do begin to seem generic, but to the composer they're not. Perhaps she fell into that trap.