'A different way of living': why writers are celebrating middle-age
TheGuardian.com, formerly known as Guardian.co.uk and Guardian Unlimited, is a British news and media website owned by the Guardian Media Group. It contains nearly all of the content of the newspapers The Guardian and The Observer, as well as a substantial body of web-only work produced by its own staff, including a rolling news service. As of November 2014, it was the second most popular online newspaper in the UK with over 17 million readers per month...
("Viv Albertine, Deborah Levy, Lavinia Greenlaw and Rachel Cusk are redefining life after menopause, children or divorce – and it has never looked so good"):
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/ ... se-midlife
Main image: Which way next? … the middle-aged woman has rarely appeared as a protagonist questing for a style and identity, but that is changing. Illustration: Nathalie Lees/Guardian
When Viv Albertine performs her 2009 song “Confessions of a Milf” live, she alternates between two voices. There’s the saccharine lisp of a brainwashed housewife chanting “home sweet home”, and there’s the raging chant of an angry punk proclaiming that “if you decide one day that you’ve had enough”, you can walk away. Though swans and seahorses mate for life, “we ain’t so nice”.
In the 70s, when Albertine performed with her punk band, the Slits, she appeared fully immersed in her performance of exuberant anger, but also strikingly unformed, too busy bouncing and shouting to hold the gaze of her audience. Then, she retained the vulnerability of her younger self, but there was a steeliness underlying it. Now she stares out at us, no longer interested in hiding.
“I chose being an artist over being a wife,” the housewife sings, predicting sadly that “now I’m gonna lead a very lonely life”. But then the punk takes the lines over and the life she’s going to lead becomes “very lovely”. By the end the two voices have exploded into one and there’s a joyfully furious torrent of “wife wife wife life life life” that ends with a list of the household activities that are being abandoned by the housewife and reclaimed by the artist: “cooking, cleaning, ebiking, baking, washing, faking, frocking, cleaning, shopping”.
The task is both to create a new life and to redefine what being a woman means. Albertine returns to singing and buys a new haphazard home for herself and her daughter. Levy discards the marital home and installs her daughters in a flat, where she mends the plumbing in her nightie and transports her groceries on a liberating electric bike.
Deborah Levy is a British playwright, novelist and poet. She is the author of several award-winning novels including Swimming Home that was shortlisted for the 2012 Man Booker Prize and Hot Milk that was shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize. She has also written for the Royal Shakespeare Company and the BBC.
Deborah Levy discards the marital home, gets an ebike and installs her daughters in a flat. Photograph: Sheila Burnett
ES changed my life (for the waaaaay better).
Eff. June, 2014 Phoenix Ebike Promotions
(Current ride? High speed lawn chair.)
Phoenix Ebike Promotions conversion kit (work in progress. More drink holders, etc etc)
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