Let’s just say, I have been looking forward to this date for a while. Why, I hear you ask? Well. I have just returned from an unforgettable evening at Union Chapel for the final stop of Caitlin Moran‘s tour celebrating the publication of How to Build a Girl. With the London shows sold out in mere minutes, it was clear I was not going to be the only Caitlin-crazy person attending and much to my delight, that audience did not disappoint. Surrounded by a crowd of 863 women (and the odd gent, 57 to be precise) practically generating a new form of excitable electricity, I awaited Caitlin’s arrival.
Let’s put this in perspective. Remember my post about the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction awards evening? You know, the one where I chased Caitlin to tell her that I loved her and that I was a feminist? Yes. I am that fan girl who starts squealing like an excitable guinea pig at the mere sight of her. So the fact that I enjoyed en entire evening watching this brilliant woman’s gig and was able to get involved wholeheartedly meant I definitely experienced one of this year’s highlights. Thank you so much to Polly at PRH for arranging this – I hope this post demonstrates my gratitude.
So what’s the big deal? Well, this is what the book’s about:
It’s 1990. Johanna Morrigan, 14, has shamed herself so badly on local TV that she decides that there’s no point in being Johanna anymore and reinvents herself as Dolly Wilde – fast-talking, hard-drinking Gothic hero and full-time Lady Sex Adventurer! She will save her poverty stricken Bohemian family by becoming a writer – like Jo in Little Women, or the Brontes – but without the dying young bit. By 16, she’s smoking cigarettes, getting drunk and working for a music paper. She’s writing pornographic letters to rock-stars, having all the kinds of sex with all the kinds of men, and eviscerating bands in reviews of 600 words or less. But what happens when Johanna realises she’s built Dolly with a fatal flaw? Is a box full of records, a wall full of posters and a head full of paperbacks, enough to build a girl after all?
- Calling the Union Chapel a ‘womenatorium‘
- Periods – still surprise you like the Spanish Inquisition no matter how old you are
- 3 most important things in a girl’s life: Long country walks; masturbation; revolution
- Feminism: the only word that makes women equal to men
- ‘Feminism is a set of tools not a set of rules!‘ (loud cheers)
- The power of culture makes a quicker and more effective difference than any piece of legislation
- Posthumous letter to her daughters
- Reading from How to Build a Girl complete with actions
- ‘9/10 times you’re not having a full-on nervous breakdown – you just need a cup of tea and a biscuit’
- Get a big biscuit tin
- Je ne regrette brien or never regret cheese
- BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH STORY
- Mooncups in general
- Caitlin once again gracefully accepting my uninvited presence – this time I sneaked to the stage door where she was prepping for the hundreds of signatures ahead, and got her to sign my book so I could catch my train. I love her.
I’m still buzzing.
Caitlin Moran, you’re amazing.
One day, we’ll be friends and share 10 hours in a hotel room somewhere bonding like you and Courtney Love.
Until then, I’ll reflect that this happened and smile.