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I wrote about cycling in heels for The Debrief

I feel the way about my bike the way most people feel about their boyfriends, or babies or bonus. I love it. And so The Debrief very kindly commissioned me to write a piece about how bicycles have been an agent of liberation, celebration and emancipation for women across history. And no amount of patronising commuter comments can ever change that. Read it online here or see the unedited version below…

If one more man comments on my cycling shoes, I might just push a stiletto into his derailleur and kick a heel into his crankset.

I wouldn’t, of course – I’m neither stupid nor dangerous. But sweet mother of downtubes it’s tempting sometimes.

The gusset-twisting problem of what women should wear while cycling has wheeled on ever since the 19th Century panic over “Bike Face”. But while that Victorian hysteria all centred around bulging eyes, increased freedom and a “tightened mandible”, today’s unease seems to centre around bulging crotches and a tightened focus on our labia minora. Yes, I’m talking about the Colombian women’s cycling team. (Continued)

The wedding suit

This weekend my lovely friends Gemma and Dexter had a beautiful seaside wedding in pebble-strewn Brighton. So, of course, I turned up looking like the lost member of Funkadelic in my fourth home made trouser suit. Ah well…

I wrote about the Focus E15 Mothers for Time Out

Focus E15 Mothers

The Focus E15 Mothers are doing an amazing thing and getting an incredibly rough deal. Find out more by visiting their Facebook page. The brilliant daily Time Out blog Now. Here. This let me write a little something about their community, space and campaign. Read it online (and check out the blog) here. Or see below:

London is a pinball game; millions of us whizzing around on parallel but separate lines, crashing into obstacles without concern for those around us. Or so it can feel, as you sit in the paved square of Doran Walk, overlooked by the twinkling lights of the Westfield Centre, hearing how a group of mothers from East London were evicted from their East Thames hostel last month.

Focus E15 Mothers is an organisation, a campaign and social space, where the original Focus mums and their supporters have come together to fight against the housing crisis. As Sam Middleton, one of the mothers who had been living in the hostel for over a year, told me: ‘It’s about social housing, not social cleansing.’ (Continued)

I wrote about horoscopes and housemates for The Debrief

This is one of the more unlikely commissions I’ve been given of late. To interview an astrologer to find out how we can use our star signs to find the perfect housemate match. You can read it online here or the clunky version below…

The closest I have ever come to domestic bliss was living with a Scorpio woman in a two-up-two-down red brick house in Leeds, where the only music we owned was a triple CD called The Love Collection and our most prized ornament was a novelty donkey cigarette dispenser from Tenerife that shat out fags.
I have no idea if we cohabited so well because she was a Scorpio, or because she was a promiscuous Catholic caffeine-addict who used to sneak into my room and fold my clothes when I was making dinner.
But, with 643,000 of us living in what Shelter defines as overcrowded conditions, the rates of shared living, in spaces designed to house dustpans, is on the inexorable increase. Which means we’re all having to think a little more tactically about who we live with. (Continued)

I wrote about freshers and mental health for The Debrief

The Debrief is a brilliant online magazine for intelligent, cool people. Some of whom might have a womb. You should read it here. I pitched them this piece about the secret struggle of being sad in your first year at university. The edited version is online here. But if you want to read the full, unedited, 1,500-word version, then here it is, below:

Everybody warns you that you might get chlamydia. Nobody warns you that you might get depressed.

Or anxious, or lonely, or suicidal or develop an eating disorder. In fact, we talk to first year students about mental health about as frequently and effectively as we talk to bonobo monkeys about the poetry of Dylan Thomas. Or to our parents about their chosen form of foreplay.

Somehow, in the giant laundry bag of Argos starter sets, cheap toasters, new cutlery, grown up bedding, big packets of pasta and an Ikea plant from home, we shy away from packing our Freshers off to university with this one vital piece of information; you may be unhappy.

And, my god, was I unhappy. So unhappy, in fact, that at one point my mother had to come and sleep on my floor, in my fag packet-sized halls of residence, take me to the shower and talk me down from thoughts of killing myself. When she left, my friend Alice had to come to my room every morning and play me Minnie Riperton’s Loving You Is Easy twice before I’d get out of bed. And, despite my uneasy fears to the contrary, I was far from alone in this. In a survey carried out by the Mental Health Foundation, possible clinical anxiety among students was recorded in 46% of men and 64% of women. Possible clinical depression was found in 12% and 15% respectively. Chlamydia, on the other hand and according to the National Chlamydia Screening Programme, is found in just 10% of those screened. (Continued)

I wrote about sexual humiliation on the internet for FLTR

© Olivia Rose

The latest issue of the British Journal of Photography’s digital magazine FLTR is called The Naked Truth and you should all download it here. They very kindly commissioned me to write about SnapChat and online humiliation. You can read the unedited version below…

Your gusset isn’t your best angle.

Your left buttock doesn’t know how to pose and your underboob has no photo face. No filter can save your shaft from looking like a mislaid dog chew and nobody looks good under bathroom lighting.
So, while the erogenous combination of smartphone and internet connection has provided an orgiastic number of ways to bare all and flirt with strangers, perhaps our aesthetic prudence, rather than social caution, is what will save us from humiliation. In short, maybe the fear of looking ugly is what will stop us posting our genitals to the internet. We can only hope.

Intimate photos of our naked and quivering underboobs, buttocks, thigh gaps and undercarriage aren’t just ripe with the potential to be publically undressed – let’s be honest here, a lot of them are ugly. And badly shot. Not to mention, potentially dangerous. According to a study carried out by the NSPCC, along with the Institute of Education, King’s College London, London School of Economics and Open University in 2012, up to 40% of young people have sent or exchanged sexually suggestive photos or messages via phones and the internet. And if their Facebook profile pictures are anything to go by, young people are far from savvy about composition, editing and lighting, not to mention privacy and self-protection. After all, what you leave out of a lewd image is more important that what you push in to frame.

As anyone who’s seen Ian Botham’s stubble-flecked, Shar Pei-like undulating ballsack on Twitter can tell you, naked selfies are significantly less erotic than they sound. As anyone who’s received a supposedly sexy bathroom shot can tell you, white tiles and a visible cistern never made anyone flush. Poor lighting, unlikely angles and a certain prosaic domestic backdrop – oh, so that’s what her curtains look like, is that his graduation photo on the wall, she really should have flushed before sending that – come together to make the supposedly elicit just revealing and sad. (Continued)

I wrote about RyanAir paella for VICE

They’re really nice about me in the comments. And they all seem to think I’m a man. So that’s cool. You can read it online here or the unedited version below…

Imagine if your last meal on earth was Ryan Air paella.

A lukewarm Ryan Air paella, served up in black, microwave-softened plastic tub, accompanied by an ice-cold €2 Robinson’s Fruit Shoot, with Chupa Chups lollies for pudding.

I once, while flying to the gloriously Carry On airport of Knock (an airport that, at the time, was just a bog-hugging hangar with nothing but a shrine, a pub, and a canteen selling curry and chips) was confronted by just such a menu. I was surrounded by seventeen frantically-praying nuns, two farmers who looked like they’d been stuffed into their tweed suits using a hay baler and an in-flight attendant who I swear was wearing fake teeth. I didn’t buy the paella. (Continued)

Goppeldangers: Billie Holiday

I wrote about holiday photos for the British Journal of Photography

You can read the edited version on the FLTR app here. It’s such a nice magazine. You really should. Otherwise, the unedited version is below:

Travel turns a camera into a photocopier; endlessly churning out the same old familiar scenes, again and again. And again.

Anyone who’s had to stand on the edge of a gorse-scattered gorge in the South of France while some hapless onlooker juggles six iPhones, taking click after click of identical snaps on each and every person’s device, knows travel shots are nothing if not predictable.

You can take put a girdle around the earth and fly us to the moon and back, but all we really want to do is get the same shots we’ve seen a thousand times on the Facebook walls, travel blogs and 30p postcards that scatter through our lives.

So come with me and we’ll be in a world of pure lack of imagination; a whirlwind worldwide tour of every holiday photo you’ll ever take:

A bike over a canal, in Amsterdam (Continued)

I did a lot of this at the weekend