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Ok, maybe not so... Politics bore me to tears...
But what you can do, you can click on the pink badge here on the left and help "The Queenfather" get on top of the 25 most popular LGBT blogs on the planet!
'Circle Of Moms', from S. Francisco has selected my blog to become one of the best and to give it exposure. Help me out and vote for me by clicking on the badge ONCE A DAY until may 13th.....
Let's kick J.K. Rawling's sweet ass!!

Happy Easter!

30/04/11
P.S. As of today I am leading the competition! Keep up the voting and thank you all for your love!


QFx

Do you remember the old debate about the objectification of women? Do you remember the old "I won't let my daughter play with Barbie dolls because they represent everything that it's wrong and superficial and sexist and I don't want my little princess to grow up thinking that all she can aspire to in life is to become a blond haired, plastic-titted bimbo with a perennial Botox-induced facial paralisis."?
Well, apart from the obvious answers to that (i.e. Usually the objectification and exploitation of women's beauty or sexuality for commercial purposes leads to very lucrative contracts that the 'victims' are only too happy to sign... And that Barbie will turn your daughter into a brainless slutty veterinarian only if you rely on said plastic doll to raise your child, exhonerating yourself from parental responsibilities...), the point I wanted to get to is that nowadays, it seems like it's men's turn to receive the 'piece of meat' treatment.
It smacked me on the mouth with ferocious audacity during one episode of my all-time favourite shows "True Blood".
In the UK the show is sponsored by 'Joop Homme', a really sweet/sexy/tacky fragrance that used to be popular in the nineties and now sells only to footie hooligans that want to smell suave and unimaginative homosexuals. Harsh much?
So it happens that every commercial break is headlined by Clint Mauro, the latest Joop testimonial, flexing his perfectly toned torso and looking every inch the kind of meat we would all love to buy at the supermarket. The female model that serves as 'prop' (you don't really notice her... Unless you are a straight man, of course..) limits herself to cling on to him and grab his ass.
In total fairness, the real "True Blood" is what's spurting out of my nose after every TV encounter with Mr Mauro. The man is hot.
Good shock-tactic there.... Still, I wouldn't buy the fragrance.
But seriously, look around.
Everyone is trying to sell you something with a set of six pack attached to it. And I don't mean beer. Ok, we all agree that sex sells, a lot, but somehow now, it's even sex in the male form that crowds the shelves.
The male model industry is on the rise, together with the so-called metrosexuals ( meaning, heterosexual men in touch with their feminine side that groom themselves one inch from a stupor à la David Beckham or Cristiano Ronaldo or end up overdoing it with makeup and looking like a male teenage slut à la Zac Efron... I do admit though, the word makes me think of someone regularly engaging in lewd acts on board of the subway though....). I wonder if it's because men have become more susceptible to the media bombardment of body-beautifuls, at least more than they used to be back in the time when the height of masculine sophistication/power/prestige was a Marlboro Classic double page spread....
Or perhaps they've succumbed to the same bullying tactics our female counterparts have had to deal with for centuries.... In which case allow me to say 'It's payback time bitches!' (and for 'bitches' I mean all the blokes out there that like to mate with women).
Anyway, it was about time this turn of event took place.
First, because I was genuinely tired to see tits everywhere on TV, on the pages of magazines and billboards in the street; second, because I find very interesting how men are reacting. Me included.
Just to give you an example of how things have evolved. I left Italy, land of the macho, of male supremacy over the female world, 14 years ago. Back then the height of refinement for a man was wearing an expensive cologne, having a gym-trained body and driving a sexy-looking car. Men used to battle among themselves for supremacy with the female kind by flaunting first and foremost their status: a good job, a healthy bank account and the promise of a nice lifestyle for any potential female partner.
Fast forward now to the year 2011.
What happens now that there are more and more women in high-ranking jobs, earning the socks off their male counterparts?
How are men going to claim their alpha status?
By becoming pretty.
And so, you might have the top job, the fast car, the big house, but do you have the pecs, the abs, the white smile and the perfectly arched brows?
Within this race, I admit, women have a fair advantage. They have no qualms about getting this thing plucked, that thing waxed, this thing pencilled in.... They have been doing it for centuries. What they had to struggle with is getting even on the professional front.
Men are experiencing exactly the same thing, but in reverse. After successfully planting their flag in the professional world, they now have to brave the world of male beauty, running chin-down into waxing parlours, tanning shops, the manicurist, and they have to do it whilst clinging for dear life to their masculinity, because out there, society is always ready to strip it off them at the first sign of concealer. And yet, they do it. I think they know it's worth it the humiliation.
But again, it's fair: if a beautiful woman in a high-power job is generally acknowledged as a bitch in spite of her true personality and merit, then is only fair that a man with transparent mascara is classified as a fag in spite of his true sexuality... Nowadays, we are increasingly what we look like, and it's easier to divide the world in two: the normal ones on one side and the freakish ones on the other, rather that make proper new sections for the straight guy that looks gay, the gay that acts straight and the stunning girls that are also very clever.
And speaking of fags ( I use the term very amicably, sort of like when black people refer to each other as niggas... Being gay, I can can't I?) back in the day, to spot the fag in the crowd you just had to look for that guy with perfectly shaped brows, tidy, even if ever so slightly drag-queen-ish. Things have changed.
I mean, have you been to Milan lately? Even taxi drivers in their mid fifties have plucked eyebrows now. This must surely warrant another section in the world classification?
You see these tall, strapping men wearing a suit, with ridiculously feminine eyebrows (no doubt, the work of sisters, girlfriends or wives that pluck with the same zeal as they would pluck their own brows), gleaming fingernails and a permanent orange glow that goes all the way under the shirt-cuff al year long.
Some results are pretty bad. Let's be honest. I think that equality between the sexes in terms of grooming and body image is still in its infancy. There is still a lot to be learned. After all, you cannot learn good taste and that's beyond one's sexuality.
But you can look and learn from other people's mistakes.
I am glad though. I am happy that some self assured straight men have taken it upon themselves to get out there and start waxing. You never know, maybe one day, watching Zac Efron's perfectly matte face and kohl-rimmed eyes, the first thing that will come into our mind will be "My, he's butch!". You never know, maybe one day the number one cause of divorce between man and woman will be the fact that there is no longer enough room in the bathroom cabinet for everybody's make up.
You never know, but the road to a more accepting society might just pass by a beautifully waxed crack, and if said crack is anything like Clint Mauro's, then it will be gridlock.



Q



P.S.
Remember all of you brow-plucking virgins out there: if you over pluck them, you fuck them! ;0)








Salve a tutti!

Il post di questa settimana mi vede inveire contro qualcosa. Che sorpresa vero? Beh, aspettate di sentire le stronzate in cui mi sono imbattuto la settimana scorsa. Ho incontrato la mia amica bonazza D con la sua bambina in un Bar/Deli con area-giochi per bambini nel seminterrato, giusto per bere una tazza di caffè mentre i piccoli tirano giu’ il mondo.

D è la mamma-gnocca per antonomasia, è argentina, alta, snella, con capelli sempre lucidi e curati alla perfezione. Un piacere di compagnia.

Il mio piccolo Gabriel probabilmente finirà per sposare sua figlia. Deve avere D come suocera!

Allora, come dicevo, stavamo chiacchierando, quando abbiamo notato l'altra donna nella stanza ed il suo pestifero marmocchietto. Il piccolo proprio non voleva smettere di sbattere per terra I giocattoli, lanciando fuori urla cosi’ acute che neanche gli ultrasuoni delle balene e creando un casino imperiale per la stanza.

In confronto Gabriel era un cactus.

La povera donna, che chiamerò con la sua iniziale V, non riusciva a smettere di chiedere scusa per il rumore. "Oh figurati! Non ti preoccupare di noi ... Noi non siamo mica inglesi!" Ho risposto sorridendo. Ovviamente da questo mio sarcasmo è scaturita una conversazione molto piacevole tra noi e V.

Abbiamo scoperto che lei è della Slovacchia, sposata con un inglese e totalmente esasperata dal figlio turbolento di 18 mesi di età. "Ovunque io vada vengo buttata fuori!" ci disse con un mezzo sorriso "Le persone possono essere così brusche quando il vostro bambino è un po 'difficile' ".

"Capisco perfettamente!" ho subito simpatizzato io, ricordando tutti i miei voli per l'Italia passati cercando inutilmente di mantenere la calma e la tranquillità di mio figlio. Proprio come dicevo queste parole, la proprietaria del bar è venuta di sotto, una signora sulla cinquantina, abbronzata e molto elegante. "È suo figlio?" ha chiesto a V "Sì ..." V risponde con un filo di voce "Beh .... Gli altri clienti di sopra si lamentano per il rumore che sta facendo .... Potrebbe per favore controllarlo?" la tipa le chiede con assoluta nonchalance

È stato in quel momento che V si è trasformata da amichevole e gentile giovane mamma, a cagna satanica dall' Oltreinferno in 2 secondi ...

Ovviamente V aveva solo bisogno di una piccola spinta per liberarsi di tutto quello che finora si era tenuta dentro: "E che cosa suggerisce che io facessi? Preferisce che lo schiaffeggi fino al silenzio o che solamente lo rinchiuda nella toilette per un po’ ?" Era furiosa "Signora, sto solo chiedendo di ....." "STRONZATE! Ha solo 18 mesi! Come dovrei fare a spiegargli che I suoi clienti di sopra non ne possono piu’ del rumore? Sono consapevoli del fatto che lei sta facendo i soldi anche grazie a genitori che portano i loro figli qui per giocare? Le suggerisco di trattare con loro e dire loro che se decidono di prendere un caffè in un locale che ha un'area giochi per bambini, il minimo che possano aspettarsi è un po’ di rumore ...".

La signora era viola per l'imbarazzo, si volse a guardare noi, ma io ho semplicemente sollevato entrambe le sopracciglia come a dire: "Cosa? Non ho intenzione di abbaiare questa volta! Lei ha detto tutto perfettamente ...". Cosí, la proprietaria tornò al piano di sopra scuotendo la testa e borbottando qualcosa tra i denti. V però non si fermava più: "Ma puoi credere a queste stronzate? Che cosa vogliono da me? Che gli dia dei sedativi? Proprio questa mattina abbiamo avuto il nostro appuntamento di routine con l'assistente sanitaria ... Non crederete a ciò che è accaduto!" Continuò come in una trance, era una vera e propria invettiva: "Ovviamente, la tizia ha insistito ad entrare nella stanza del bambino ed a lui la cosa non è piaciuta. In fondo si trattava di una perfetta sconosciuta per il piccolo, e, una volta entrata nella stanza chiudendosi la porta alle spalle, mio figlio ha iniziato a urlare e gettare le cose per aria. Allora ‘sta stronza ha avuto l'audacia di insinuare che ovviamente ho dei problemi dal momento che non sono stata in grado di ‘gestire’ I capricci di mio figlio... Ci si può credere? Adesso un bambino di 18 mesi è qualcosa da 'gestire'? Chi sono queste persone? "

Inarrestabile, V continuò: "Immaginate che uno dei miei colleghi di lavoro, una ragazza messicana, ha portato il figlio dalla sua assistente sanitaria per una visita di routine, giusto per averlo misurato e pesato. Hanno scoperto per caso che il piccolo aveva un leggero gonfiore su un ginocchio. Dopo la raccomandata radiografia , hanno scoperto che aveva una linea sottile di frattura al ginocchio, cosa di cui il piccolo non si era mai, MAI lamentato. Hanno anche scoperto che alcune delle sue costole presentavano delle leggere incrinature. La mia amica era totalmente scioccata, dal momento che non aveva mai notato ci fosse qualcosa che non andava con il figlio e lei passa tutto il suo tempo con lui. Per farla breve, il bambino ora è in affidamento e la mia amica sta andando fuori di cervello perché è stata ritenuta madre non idonea. Tenete a mente che un bambino può avere una piccola frattura e potreste anche non saperlo mai perché, se non gli fa male, non te lo fa capire! Ha scoperto tutto questo per caso, durante una visita di routine, e ora ha perso suo figlio." Sono rimasto sconvolto. Ore più tardi, ho parlato di questo con mia cognata e lei mi ha fatto notare questo sconvolgente articolo. A questo punto vi è una dicotomia che io non riesco a digerire. Lasciate che io vi ricordi le tragiche storie di Victoria Climbié e Baby P. Due esempi di come la totale incompetenza degli assistenti sociali e dei servizi sociali per i bambini abbia permesso a questi due innocenti di morire di una morte atroce per mano di OVVI mostri. In una svolta ridicola di eventi, ora sembra che queste organizzazioni statali stiano andando dall’ ignorare i segni evidenti di abuso ai danni di un minore (ignorandoli al punto da farmi chiedere chi siano i veri mostri…), all’ iniziare una caccia alle streghe ad ogni occasione. In entrambi i casi, chi ne fa le spese sono I bambini. Queste istituzioni li tradiscono con la loro approssimazione per eccesso e le loro politiche di panico. Per quanto riguarda la mia esperienza personale relativa alle strutture statali, non ho nemmeno fiducia nella mia assistente sanitaria! Immaginate che, l'ultima volta che ho portato G per un check-up, misurando la sua altezza, si scoprì che apparentemente si era 'ritirato' di 4 cm in un mese! Imbecille! La tipa mi ha anche chiesto, in tono di rimprovero: "Non può essere! Chi mai ha preso queste misure il mese scorso?"

"Ehm ... Le ha prese lei!". Le ho ricordato, cercando di stare calmo. Stupida donna con la testa di cemento! Almeno riconosci la tua scrittura no? "Oh beh .... Questo sistema infatti è complicato anche per noi ..." lei si limita a dire, senza nemmeno arrossire!

Ho volutamente omesso il fatto che non riusciva nemmeno a scrivere correttamente il nome di mio figlio e in una pagina viene chiamato 'Garbiel', nelle altre 'Grabiel' o anche 'Gabrielle', come se il pisellino che ha non importasse neanche. E le istituzioni si fiderebbero in una tipa del genere per determinare se io sia davvero un buon genitore o no?

Per favore.

Ecco perché se voglio far visitare mio figlio, devo sganciare £ 3oo e pagare per un pediatra privato. Basta cazzate.

Quindi, il mio punto è, considerando quello che Stato e Società stanno facendo in termini di benessere dei bambini, degli standard di istruzione e atteggiamento di sostegno per i nuovi genitori, i piccoli dovrebbero infatti poter gridare quanto vogliono.

Penso che si siano guadagnati il privilegio e noi, come genitori, dovremmo unirci al casino .... Io lo faccio…. ; 0)

Q



Hi everyone!

This week's post is about me ranting against something. Surprised? Well, you are going to be, after I tell you the bullshit I came across last week.
I met my lovely friend D with her baby daughter at a local Café/Deli with annexed kid's play area to catch up and have a cup of coffee while the little ones let out some steam.
D is the yummy-mummy by antonomasia (do you know what antonomasia means? Well, look it up, it's a good word to know! No, I didn't say euthanasia.... Seriously, look it up!!), she is a tall argentinian gal, sinewy, hair always shiny and groomed to perfection. A pleasure to be with.
My little Gabriel will probably end up marrying her daughter. I must have D as his mother in law.
Anyway, as I was saying, we were just chatting when we noticed the other woman in the room and her really (I mean REALLY) loud toddler.
The little one just wouldn't stop banging things, letting out high pitched screams and generally thrashing about the room.
He made Gabriel look as tame as a cactus.
The poor woman, which I will call by her initial V, couldn't stop apologising about the noise.
"Oh girl, don't worry about us... We're not english!" I just replied smiling.
Obviously, this very sarcastic pun, gave way to a very pleasant conversation between us and V. We found out that she is from Slovakia, married to an englishman and totally exasperated by her boisterous 18 month old son.
"Everywhere I go I get kicked out!" she said half smiling "People can be so mean when your child is a bit difficult....".
"I completely understand!" I empathised, remembering all my flights to Italy spent unsuccessfully trying to keep my son calm and quiet.
Just as I was saying these words, the owner of the Café came downstairs, a lady in her fifties, tanned and very stylish-looking.
"Is that your son?" she asked V
"Yes..." V replied with a feeble voice
"Well.... My other customers upstairs are complaining about the noise he is making.... Can you please control him?" she just went on to ask with utter nonchalance
It was at that moment that V flipped, going from friendly and polite young mum to satanic bitch from hell and beyond in 2 seconds...
She obviously was waiting for that extra little push to blurt out everything she had to keep inside:
"And what do you suggest I'd do? Do you prefer me smacking him into silence or shall I just lock him into the toilets for a while?" she was furious
"Madam, I am only asking you to....."
"DON'T YOU MADAM ME! He is only 18 months old! How am I supposed to make him reason and tell him that he is disturbing your customers upstairs? Are they even aware that you are making money also from parents bringing their kids here to play? I suggest YOU deal with them and you tell them that if they choose to have coffee in a place that has a kid's play area, the minimum they can expect is some noise...".
The lady was purple with embarrassment, she turned to look at us, but I simply raised both my eyebrows as if to say "What? I am not going to bark this time! She said it all perfectly...".
She returned upstairs shaking her head and mumbling something under her breath.
V carried on in her ranting
"Can you believe this crap? What do they want me to do? Sedate him? Just this morning we had our routine appointment with the health visitor... You won't believe what happened!!!" she carried on:
"Obviously, she insisted in entering the baby's nursery and he did not like it. She is a total stranger to him, and when she entered the room closing the door behind her, he started screaming and throwing things. She then had the audacity to tell me that OBVIOUSLY I had some problems as I was unable to 'manage' him... Can you believe the bullshit? How is an 18 months old child something to 'manage'? Who are these people?"
She ranted on:
"Imagine that one of my colleagues from work, a mexican girl, took her son to a routine health visitor's appointment to have him measured and weighed. They discovered by chance that he had a slight lump on one knee. After having him x-rayed, they found out that he had a hairline-fracture o the knee, something that he never, ever gave signs to be affected by. They also discovered that some of his ribs had hairline-fractures. My friend was totally shocked as she never noticed anything being wrong with her son, and she spends all her time with him.
To cut a long story short, the baby is now on foster care and my friend is going out of her mind cause they have deemed her and unsuitable parent. Bear in mind that a toddler can get a small fracture and you might never even know because, if he is not in pain, he wont tell you! She discovered all this by chance, during a routine visit, and now she has lost her son to the state.".
I was shocked.
Hours later, I had a chat about this with my sister in law, and she pointed out to me this rather upsetting article.
At this point there is a dichotomy I cannot digest.
Let me please remind you the tragic stories of Victoria Climbié and Baby P.
Two examples of how the utter incompetence of social workers and children's services have allowed these two innocents to die an excruciating death at the hands of OBVIOUS monsters. In a ridiculous turn of events, it
now seems that these state-run organisations are going from ignoring the OBVIOUS signs of child-abuse (ignoring them to the point of having me questioning THEIR sanity...), to initiating a witch-hunt at every opportunity.
Either way, they are STILL failing the children with their approximation by excess and their panic-driven policies....
With regards to my own experience dealing with state-run structures, I don't even trust my own health visitor anymore!
Imagine that, the last time I took G for a check-up, upon measuring his length, she found out that he had in fact 'shrunk' by 4 cm in a month!
Crazy bitch!
She even asked me in a reproachful tone "This cannot be! Who on earth took these measurements last month?"
"Erm... YOU DID!!". I just pointed out, trying to sound calm. Stupid woman thick as cement! Can you even recognise your own handwriting?
"Oh well.... This system is in fact complicated even for us..." she just said, without even blushing!
I intentionally omit the fact that she couldn't even spell my son's name properly, and in one page he would be called 'Garbiel', in the other 'Grabiel' or even 'Gabrielle', as if his penis did not matter. And I should trust such a character to determine wether I am indeed a good parent or not?
Please.
That's why if I want my son checked, I fork-out £3oo and pay for a private paediatrician.
Enough bullshit.
So, my point is, considering what state and society are doing in terms of children welfare, education standards and supportive attitude for new parents, the little ones should indeed get to scream as loud as they want.
I think they've earned the privilege and we, as parents, should join the fun.... I do... ;0)


Q




Hi all!

Sorry for the delay in posting... I know that one of the things expected from a blogger is freshness of contents and consistency. Try to explain this to a 22 month old that has decided to catch a stomach bug and start puking and pooping all over my writer's life.....
Poor little G. I didn't know a little tummy could produce so much runny poo at once. If it had any resale value, by now I'd be hosting my own chat show with Oprah begging to appear on it.
But seriously, it's been a worrying week. Gabriel has refused food for 4 days straight, lost weight and gave me some sleepless nights. All is good now though, and thanks to my italian cooking he has picked up all the weight he had lost.

I want to share with you something quite funny that happened in this past week.
You all need to know that my little one has a new friend that lives in our cleaning cupboard.
No, it's not anything vaguely resembling the "Amityville Horror". It's our Miele vacuum cleaner.
I mean.... Gabriel is slightly obsessed with it.
He is also fond of brooms, mops and dusting-cloths and before you assume: NO, I AM NOT AN OCD FREAK OBSESSED WITH CLEANING THE HOUSE!!!
I do what I have to in order to keep our little home tidy and clean, and this usually involves messing around with all the above equipment, but it's not like I have a broom stuck up my butt or anything...
We even encouraged this whim of his by buying him one of those miniature vacuum cleaners for kids, but to no avail, as the real thing always proves to be a major pull for our son and poor 'Henry The Hoover' now lies forgotten somewhere around the house, waiting, with rest of Gabriel's toys, to make me trip and kill me.
Ever since Gabriel could sit on his own, every time he saw me using the hoover around the house, Gabriel would DEMAND to ride it whilst I pulled him around. At first I thought it would be fun! Kind of joining my cleaning-the-house time with his playing time.... Unfortunately he was not meant to be a one hit wonder.
Now you try to vacuum your house with a 15Kg monster strapped to your vacuum cleaner.....
Also, Gabriel loves the thing moving, so, don't you think you can take your time hoovering around, you gotta keep it moving....
Basically, at the end of the vacuuming session, my vacuum cleaner would be one inch from annihilation, I would be two inches from a stroke and Gabriel, well, he would just want to do it all again.
It's almost like having the fitness instructor from hell, that yells at you as soon as you slow down.
I'm telling you, now that he knows where I store the damn thing, sometimes he would appear dragging the hoover behind him with an expression on his face that says:" Can we do it again?", in spite of the fact that we had already vacuumed the whole house that very morning.....
My floors have never been so clean. If I carry on like this, my carpets will be thread-bare by Christmas and I will be dead.
Gabriel then found out that, by opening the upper flap of the machine, he could pull out all sorts of 'interesting' pieces: different attachments for the hoover-head, filtre-cartridges and dust bags....
Our little Miele vacuum cleaner was proving to be an inexhaustible source of fun. Why the hell does a hoover have to be so fun? I mean, whoever designs these things must keep in mind children like mine.... Make it boring..... Make it scary..... I don't know, just don't make it as appealing as Mary Poppins' bag for goodness' sake.
Then the unthinkable happened.
Just as Gabriel was coming out of the nasty stomach bug he had caught, one evening, after dinner, as we waved goodbye to Mickey Mouse on TV and made our way to the bedroom, he kicked off the mother of all tantrums.
I mean, serious drama.
He insisted in opening the cleaning cupboard to get his friend out, I insisted in trying to bribe him with teddy bears and bedtime-routine-appropriate toys whilst keeping one hand on the cupboard door.
No chance. Gabriel was standing outside the cleaning cupboard, trying to pry it open, looking at me with utter despair on his little face.
How do I even resist the sight of this performance it's beyond me. I must be some sort of Baby Jane. Crazy ass sadistic bitch. Just don't mention the hoover at this point ok?
Anyway, as it was now approaching 22.00 hours, I decided to give in to his request and got the hoover out of the cupboard. I just wanted him to stop screaming.
We got into the bedroom and, after plugging the appliance to the power socket, we proceeded to vacuum the floor around the bed until Gabriel seemed satisfied.
He then turned the thing off, I unplugged it, he wound up the cable and, when I thought he was ready to get into bed, he became evident to me what he really wanted to do.
He wanted to take Mr. Vacuum to bed too.
No amount of reasoning would work.
"But darling, don't you want to take Teddy? Or Iggle Piggle? Or Peppa Pig? Or even one of the cats although they are not allowed on to the bed, or in fact into our bedroom?".
My ears couldn't take it anymore, my patience was hanging by a thread so I gave in.
And there we were: me lying on one side cuddling Gabriel to sleep and him, in turn, hugging our hoover.
He was asleep within ten minutes.
I shared this story with my mum the very next morning, she found it very amusing.
"Thank God he doesn't want to take a chainsaw to bed...." she simply remarked.
Quite right.
How lucky.


Q


Note To Self:
Do not EVER buy a chainsaw, a lawnmower or a pony. This last one simply because our bed is too small.






What wouldn't we do for love..... I remember dragging Steven and Gabriel (then barely three months old...) to an art exhibition I had been waiting for almost a year...
In our artistically-starved age where the likes of Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin and Banksy have more than convalidated the notion of "This is art 'cause I say so", a retrospective about John William Waterhouse at the Royal Academy was to me too great an opportunity to miss ( all the above is purely subjective by the way...).
The place was packed, so I ended up leaving Gabriel and Steven at the bar, as the rooms were too crowded to be navigated with a stroller the size of a small 4x4. I felt a little guilty for about 4 seconds. I was finally husband-and-child-free to enjoy the company of my secret lover.
Oh how I enjoyed the whole experience!
The low lighting, the smell of the old canvases, the perfect shine of the glossed surfaces of the paintings.
I didn't remember how vibrant Waterhouse's green is and how enthralling. If you get close enough to one of his canvases and if you get as engrossed in them as I usually do, I guarantee you can almost smell the grass, the leaves, the flowers, the intoxicating scent of his beautiful women.
John William Waterhouse is from an era where artists were first and foremost master-craftsmen, devoid of any politics-driven ambitions to shock, relying solely on the perfection of their craft. Subject, composition, execution.....
Born in Rome in 1849 from english parents, both of them painters and relocated to Italy to pursue their passion ( how hippy is that by the way?), Waterhouse is mistakenly considered as one of the most prolific exponents of the Pre- Raphaelite movement, when he is in fact a Neoclassical painter.
Because his material and subjects of choice are usually taken from medieval and classical mythology, the wider public is led to this conclusion.
Apart from the obsessive love of detail and antiquarianism, both elements inherited from his Pre- Raphaelite predecessors ( Millais first among the others...), what strikes about Waterhouse's production is the shocking beauty of his women....
We can safely say that this is one of his trademarks: Waterhouse's painted ladies are stunning.
After closer observation though, I came to realize that there is a recurrence of facial features which led me to think that maybe, rather than real life models, his tragic and dark heroines were an idealised version of woman. Perhaps betraying a certain snobbery in his part. I love him.
In an era that saw the likes of Lizzie Siddal becoming the official muse and face of the Pre-Raphaelite movement and, un-officially, Britain's first Supermodel (take this Tyra...), Waterhouse went on to imagine an array of beautiful and dangerous women: Nymphs, Syrens, Mermaids, Witches and Enchantresses. In their realm, the man is almost always the willing victim of their dark, inescapable powers. We can find examples of this in paitings like " La belle dame sans merci" and "Hylas and the Nimphs", in wich Waterhouse captures the exquisite moment of man's capitulation. Whether he is falling victim of the bewitching eyes of an apparently defenceless damsel, or about to be dragged to the murky depths of a pond by alluring Nimphs.
Waterhouse is drawn to the dark side of femininity, to its mysticism and supernatural qualities. Quite a distance from the real social standing of women in the Victorian age, when they were trapped in the very fabric of society, by marriage, status and etiquette.
There is another woman in his production though. She is no man-eater of sort, she is a vanquished heroine facing a gloomy end; she is a woman under a curse.
In paintings like
"Mariamne" and, more prominently "The Lady of Shalott", Waterhouse, using the tennysonian poem as a subject platform, goes to expose another more truthful reality: the woman trapped in a destiny she has no control over. In "the Lady of Shalott" (from the famous tennysonian poem..) she dared to love and now she must die, in "Mariamne" she is victim of an injust verdict and the dark machinations of a masculine world. She walks towards her doom, looking back at her enemies, defiant, but, nevertheless, defeated.
Waterhouse gives us a woman, permanently trapped in a tragic dichotomy: prey/predator, where the driving force is her misticism-infused sexuality.
Once she is a beautiful dangerous dark angel, that promises to reward us with delights for the price of one single kiss, that very kiss that will seal forever our fate as her victims. It's last century's "femme fatale".
Then she becomes a dark heroine tied to her tragic fate, a woman that disappears, consumed by her own audacity.
Darkness permeates all of Waterhouse paintings, a watery, deep darkness, the darkness of a longing heart that is never appeased, the darkness of a veiled danger, of an old fairytale.
As with most of other Pre-Raphaelite painters, Waterhouse's work is, for the most part, privately owned, making therefore very difficult putting together an exhibition of decent scale, that's why I jumped at
the chance to visit the Royal Academy in september '09 and was thrilled by the number of pieces on show there and by the huge turnout of visitors.
I am a devote fan to this master's work, to his love for antiquarianism, his love for detail and the hypnotic beauty of his women.
I hope my little one will grow up to appreciate art as much as I do, as long as is not Tracey Emin's. She just made a big deal out of her messy bed.

In the meantime, I can only brainwash him.... And drag Steven around.



Q