Boots of joy!

Long Tall Sally Jocasta boots, £90

Long Tall Sally Jocasta boots, £90, sizes 7 to 13

Morning! In great news, I’ve bought some absolutely banging new boots. I feel like I’ve found the Holy Grail, or the mysterious cities of gold. What a time to be alive.

I’ve mentioned the travails of buying proper long boots before. Well. By “mentioned” I mean “monologued at length until everyone has wished I’d just die, or move somewhere where boots are not a going concern.” My list of requirements is along the lines of Liam Neeson skills in Taken: they are very specific, and quite frightening.  Continue reading

Tall Girl Treat: boyfriend jackets, blazers of joy and Sky News

SOME NEWS! I was on TV news for the first time last week, and I’ve been very casual about it and in no way written it into people’s birthday cards. I had a smart byline, and was about two foot taller than the incredibly glamorous presenter, Dharshini David. Given we were talking about Amazon’s acquisition of Top Gear, this was amazingly apt. I have never felt more like a giant Jeremy Clarkson

I cannot overstate how cool the whole thing was. There is such a different set of skills involved in broadcasting compared to digital, and it was completely fascinating to see. When it looks as though I am being earnest and academic and pushing my glasses up my nose, that is in fact nervous sweat causing them to slide down. Sexy telly fact for you right there. Continue reading

Tall Girl Treat on Domestic Sluttery

ASOS Tall red scuba midi skirt

Oh HI THERE, HI

I’m currently working on a guide to where tall girls can buy decent clothes. Shopping when you’re 6’1 can be a sodding nightmare. In the meantime, I thought I’d round up some of the most useful posts I wrote in my fortnightly column for Domestic Sluttery: ones that focus on brands rather than specific clothes that might no longer be in stock. Continue reading

IWD2014: Becoming a woman in a hut in the French forest (and other Grimm fairytales)

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Sunset at Persephone the Forked Woman: an entirely unseeable Anna and our friend Cat in Durham c. 2004

My university friend Anna was the first person I went running with. We did Race For Life in 2006, and it was exhausting. I’ll never forget the horror of schlumpfing down Barbican, only to see runners coming the other way and realising I’d only done 2k. THERE ARE MORE K?

Anna now runs a wonderful website – more of a community really – called Any Other Woman. I wrote this for her on AOW,  for International Women’s Day (which is tomorrow, but tomorrow is Saturday so they’re doing it today while people are actually looking at the internet.)

 

The moment I realised that I was a woman wasn’t when I got my period, or mastered nail polish, or achieved something otherwise monumentally female. It was in France, surrounded by male friends, all of us high as a kite on mushrooms. Continue reading

Pretty (sweaty) in pink: running kit for tall girls

Last month a project I worked on won an award which resulted in a lot of vouchers. Last weekend, clutching a carefully-crafted list, I had a shopping spree and it was AMAZING. Basically, I spent three hours in Westfield Stratford going “Yep. Yep. Nope. Oh God, so many people.”

Top of my list – rather tragically, given the proximity to many, many lovely goods – was a running jacket for winter. Finding decent kit that fits properly was, I thought, a bit much of an ask. I am 6’1 and have the arms and legs of someone made up entirely of boa constrictors. However! It was actually completely fine, so given that it can still be a bit of a slog to shop if you’re tall, I thought I’d put together what works for me.

God knows how everything in my wardrobe ended up being pink and black – other colours are available. Continue reading

Volkswagen’s tall woman ad: actually brilliant

“I like your tallness columns,” said my friend Scott, namer of this blog and avuncular uncle of the internet. “What do you think of the new tall lady dating car advert?”

I heaved a sigh that fell messily somewhere on my keyboard in a “Oh what?” sort of shape. I’d just posted my fortnightly Tall Girl Treat column on Domestic Sluttery – about body confidence. Tall women in adverts, beyond supermodels, generally don’t fare well. Like any unusual body shape they are a prop for a joke.

Actually, I adored this advert! Well done Volkswagen. Let’s have a look at it.

They’ve done so much right!

  • She has bothered to do her hair nicely.
  • She stands up straight.
  • She wears well-fitting clothes and nice heels.
  • SHE STANDS UP STRAIGHT.
  • She’s confident and, basically, a person.
  • I adored the bit where she is standing in front of a shop window smiling dreamily at heels before plumping resignedly for really boring flats.
  • AND the bit where she’s sharing an umbrella and constantly having her head bumped against the top of it.

The only thing that didn’t ring true was the look of disappointment and worry on her short dates’ faces when she climbed up a step, or met them. Way back in sixth form, my boyfriend of two years was much shorter than me. In punk-adoring Hampshire we wore similar clothes, had long hair and were frequently chatted up as a lesbian couple. Of the short men I have dated since, none of them has given a toss about my height. Funnily enough, it’s always been tall ones who’ve minded if I show up in heels.

Ultimately though, the girl in the advert found Her Person. And if they’re the right one, it doesn’t matter what height they are.

Latitude, with all of your ladies you are spoiling us

A cheery email announcing Latitude Festival‘s first line-up has just come a-pinging into my inbox. Here we go! Here’s the line-up. Let’s have a look at it and have vivid flashbacks to festivals we may or may not have drowned at in the past:

Latitude festival first line-up announcements

Whoah. Something weird’s going on here. Where’s the – where are the – ladies? Women? Women of pop and comedy, hello. I’m calling to you. Latitude, I can’t find the – oh no, wait.

I’VE FOUND HER. She is one half of alt-pop duo Beach House.

Latitude festival first line-up announcements - one lady

Back in the day, the day being 2006, I ran a festival website for Emap. Latitude was launched that year, and it was a complete blast, with a fantastic varied line-up and a line in food you actually wanted to eat. What a shame. What the f, Latitude? Have you seriously only managed to pin down a single one of the world’s myriad musical and comedic ladies to flag up in your first line-up announcement, and even then as part of a duo?

Mais non. The Guardian tells us that  Yeah Yeahs Yeahs, Jessie Ware, Cat Power, Laura Mvula and a load of other women I am no longer current enough to know about are also playing.

Eurgh.

Well bugger that. I’ve had a lovely week of women, as it happens.

Business women!

Tonight I’m going to troll around the Country Living Spring Fair with my entrepreneur friend Jessica. I really don’t have more to say on that as I haven’t been yet, but I haven’t seen Jess in weeks and am very, very excited about that.

This is however a great excuse for a quick tangential reminisce over an amazing picture from my 30th – Jess is Peach, her fiancé is Luigi (wrong way round!), our friends are Daisy and Mario, I’m Yoshi, and that is my Tetris piece brother on the far right who flew in from Singapore for three days just so he could come to mine and dad’s birthdays. Dude!

nintendo birthday party

Best. Party. Ever.

Large-footed women (and business women)!

Last night, I went to the launch of the 9/10 club at Opium, for women with large feet who would actually quite like to wear nice shoes. It was run by the design-your-own-shoes site Upper Street, which in turn is ran by two amazing sisters.

Shoes at Upper Street's 9/10 club launch at Opium

Shoes!

There were loads of women in one place, all gossiping, eating, trying on shoes, swapping war stories of shitty shop assistants and the world basically hoping they’d all shut up and go away so they could carry on not catering for them.

Cocktails at Opium

Booze!

Elizabeth and I kept on freaking out slightly by the unusual sensation of lots of women sharing our eyeline rather than being several inches below it. It was great fun – especially when they started bringing out cocktails in caged coconuts which appeared to be on fire.

Writing women! (who also have impressive jobs)!

And then I went to Polpo, also with friend and Write Club buddy Elizabeth, where we drank lots of prosecco, ate various delicious things in near-darkness and slurred our way through a long list of fantastic female children’s authors and Books That Made Us Who We Are before wobbling off in the direction of the Tube. Brilliant.

Dark dinner at Polpo

Somewhere in here is truffle cream

Utterly bloody funny women!

And on Monday, shortly after leaving a tablet and a box full of cheesecake on the 63 bus (FML), I went to Birthday Girls‘ comedy night at the Wilmington Arms, run by former members of the all-female, apparently all-conquering comedy troupe Lady Garden. And bugger me if there weren’t loads of people there being funny, quite a lot of whom happened to be female.

I fell a little bit in love with Mae Martin, a Canadian ex-pat who did a fantastic stand-up set. You will love her too. She also does animation, which she didn’t show off on Monday thankfully or I might have had to invade the stage and cry on her.

There was Lou Sanders (lady) and Joe Lycett (man), who weren’t my cup of tea but got plenty of laughs from the audience, and two not-women, Max and Ivan, who I absolutely adored. And then Birthday Girls of course, who were great hosts and had some lovely new sketches.

I haven’t seen any musical women this week which rather prevents this blog from ending on a powerful note of strong meaning

This is because I missed my choir rehearsal to go to the 9/10 launch and see Elizabeth. But there is a clip of another lovely Elizabeth singing solo in our new version of Heartbeats by The Knife, which is brilliant – and I’m trilling the high bits at the end, so let’s pretend that neatly wraps up my annoyance at Latitude not giving the ladies in its bill more due prominence.

As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster

Sunday Times Style - tall girls are going up (obvs)

Like many of my friends, The Sunday Times’ Style section has been the first bit of the Sundays I read for YEARS.

The first thing I ever had printed in a national paper was a letter about Tara P-T’s column. When I needed advice on choosing a winter coat a few years back, I wrote in to Wardrobe Mistress. As a writer for Domestic Sluttery, I’ve been interviewed for it. And thanks to the delightful Pip McCormac, I’ve been writing bar reviews for its online counterpart for the best part of two years.

I love it. Style gives me my much-needed fix of glossy,  shallow funnies at a time of day when all I’m really fit for is listening to The Archers omnibus and contemplating – and then filing away for another time – whether or not I want to go for a run enough to actually go for a run.

Coming back from a day’s writing/being rained on in Shoreditch today, I settled down with a glass of wine and Style and was bloody thrilled to see tall girls at the top of the hot-or-not barometer. And properly tall ones,  not Topshop’s frankly ridiculous 5’7″ and over.

As with pretty much anything that gives tall girls their dues coupled with wine, it gave me a little pang for the younger me: the combination of Malia Obama, gawky but elegant and full of promise,  and Gwendoline Christie, the actress playing Brienne in Game of Thrones, and probably the only Gwendoline I’ve heard of outside Malory Towers. (Here is a cracking interview with her by SFX magazine from earlier this month. What a nice person she is.)

When I was 10, I wanted to be an astronaut. Before that, I wanted to be a marine biologist, so I could spend all my time reading books about sharks and watching Jaws. After that  I just wanted to be an actress. I adored acting. When I was 15 or so, I got started in musical theatre. I had my own backing dancers  and a series of fantastically absurd costumes.

But in the back of my mind, I always knew it wasn’t going to happen for me. It started when I was 12: I played Miss Kay, the teacher, in Our Day Out, with fifth formers playing my pupils. Then I got a part as a guard, swiftly followed by a giant, a large door, and a bunch of other tremendously fun character roles which I didn’t appreciate at all at the time, because all I wanted to do was to play the feminine parts, and prove that a romantic lead could be 6’1, gangly and ridiculously insecure.

I was a total bloody idiot. I talked myself out of everything: I didn’t audition for a single play during my first year of university after not getting into the first thing I auditioned for. After a fourth year filled with new friends, fun plays and Edinburgh, I talked myself out of even applying for drama school by saying there wouldn’t be any parts for me, and that I would never get any work. I chose instead to try and become a journalist (ironically, those who can’t become critics? Witness my short-lived career as a theatre critic on thelondonpaper,  may it RIP).

Of course, I realise now  that the reason I didn’t become an actress had nothing whatsoever to do with my height and everything to do with my self-esteem and lack of ambition. In layman’s terms, I was just really bloody lazy. I just didn’t want it enough. I couldn’t take the idea of rejection,  or being constantly poor and uncertain about work (although I achieved the latter in spades once I moved to London and started working as a journalist).

Even at 21 I was too much of a security-junkie to say “Oh fuck it,” and work my arse off. You can’t be scared of rejection if you’re going to be an actor. You just can’t! I look at all my friends who work in the performing arts, in theatre, musical theatre, singing, comedy, opera and they all work like absolute bastards, rolling with the punches, getting marvellous breaks that they make through talent, persistence and sheer hard work.

Last year I went back to the Edinburgh Festival for the first time since doing a show in 2007. I realised I didn’t miss acting, because I’d found something else I loved. In writing and online journalism I found something that I was willing to work hard at. I was still rubbish at rejection, mind. But at least then I knew – I know – that it’s about me, rather than how I look. I just hope I can instil more of a can-do will-do attitude into my own children one day.