Human books, mystery money, and the Vagina Museum. It’s the news from Britain

I often connect my posts to blog link-ups that limit themselves to family friendly posts (or in one case, reasonably family friendly posts), so this post comes with a warning: Nothing here is pornographic, and I respect it if people don’t want to read anything that’ll yuckify their brains for weeks. I’m pretty sure that nothing here will, but no two people’s definition of yuckification will be 603% identical. So whether or not the post is family friendly will depend on whose family we’re talking about. I use the word vagina. Most families have at least one and some have several–presumably not all on the same family member. So I don’t think I’m pushing the limits too far. I wouldn’t recommend the post to a three-year-old, but your average three-year-old is illiterate, so I think we’re okay.

Later on, there’s a bit about the Bad Sex Awards. This isn’t awarded for anything anyone did–the competition would be too (no pun intended, honestly) stiff. It’s a literary award that no one wants to win. The write-up contains a quote that’s bizarre, and–maybe ill informed is the best way to describe it, not to mention physically impossible. Still, I wouldn’t say it’s pornographic, just very damn strange.

You be the judge. Or if you prefer, bail out now. 

*

A vagina museum has opened in London. But this isn’t just your garden variety vagina museum that we’re talking about. This is the world’s first (and probably its only) vagina museum. 

Why does the world need such a thing? Well, Sarah Creed, who curated its first exhibition, says that “half of people surveyed did not know where the vagina was.” 

The vagina? Is there only one? Or are we talking about the Great Vagina–the one that created the template for all the vaginas that came after?

Clearly, there’s a lot about this that I don’t know, but I do know where my own personal vagina is: It’s in Cornwall. If any of you are having trouble locating yours, an old-fashioned map or one of the apps on your smart phone (it knows where you are) would be a good place to start.

If you don’t have one of your own (that’s a vagina, not a smart phone), you’ll have to settle for more abstract information. The museum might be a good place to start.

You’re welcome. 

*

Mysterious bundles of cash have been appearing in the town of Blackhall Colliery, in Northern Ireland. The bundles almost always add up to £2,000 and they’re left in plain sight on the high street (translation: the main street; it won’t necessarily be any higher than any other street and you don’t have to be under the influence of mind-altering substances to go there). 

What’s going on? No one knows. Or no one who’s talking knows. A police spokesperson said, “This could be the work of a good Samaritan but . . . the circumstances remain a mystery.”

Twelve bundles have been handed in to the police since 2014. If any have been found but not turned it, no one’s saying. But anyone handing the cash in can make a claim to keep it if the owner doesn’t show up.

*

This next item has nothing to do with Britain, but I just have to include it: When the Harriet Tubman biopic was first pitched in Hollywood, back in the dark ages of nineteen-ninety-something-or-other, the head of the Whatever Studio said the script was fantastic and he wanted Julia Roberts to play Tubman.

The writer pointed out, with I have no idea what degree of tact, that Tubman was black and Roberts was white and that the discrepancy might, um, present a problem. I don’t think he said that since the story was about slavery in the US race was a central issue, but he probably should have. In some situations, no point is too obvious to skip over.

“It was so long ago,” the Sage of the Whatever Studio said. “No one is going to know the difference.”

My friends, I despair. 

*

And this next bit has nothing to do with Britain either (we’ll come back home in a minute), but when the $39,900 armored electric Cybertruck was unveiled, Tesla wanted to prove it was “bulletproof to a 9mm handgun,” so after having people attack it with sledgehammers (they barely made a dent), they threw a metal ball at a window. Which smashed. 

To see if that was a fluke, they threw one at another window. Which also smashed.

The exact quote from the Sage of Tesla, Elon Musk, was “Oh my fucking god.” 

The $39,900 price that I quoted is for the basic model. If you really want to–and I just know you do–you can pay $76,900.

*

You’ve probably heard somewhere along the line that accents are important in Britain. They mark your class and your region (unless you learn a new accent, in which case they mark how well or badly you’ve slipped into someone else’s) and they mark everybody else’s attitude toward you. So it’s worth mentioning that a man was charged with being drunk because of his accent.

The story is this: A man named–yes–Shakespeare (Anthony, not Bill) was reported to the Brighton police because he was slurring his words and had a three-year-old with him. The cops appeared, questioned him, and arrested him.

I’m not sure what happened to the three-year-old at this point. She’s probably still traumatized.

Shakespeare’s lawyer (whose name is less interesting than his client’s, so we’ll skip it) said in court, “No offence to people with Scouse accent, but the nature of the accent itself is that it can make people appear drunk.”

Shakespeare was acquitted. And the scouse accent is from Merseyside. That’s Liverpool, give or take a bit of ground around it. 

The word scouse, if WikiWhatsia is right, comes from the name for a stew that was common thereabouts. 

My thanks to Separated by a Common Language, which had a link to the article.

*

The judges of the Bad Sex Awards couldn’t pick a winner this year so they chose two. The idea is to find “the year’s most outstandingly awful scene of sexual description in an otherwise good novel.” 

But never mind who won, because this is from a runner-up, Mary Costello’s The River Capture: “She begged him to go deeper and, no longer afraid of injuring her, he went deep in mind and body, among crowded organ cavities, past the contours of her lungs and liver, and, shimmying past her heart, he felt her perfection.”

And you wonder why I’m not straight?

Okay, that’s not the only reason. And even though it’s been a long time, my memory’s good enough for me to know that passage doesn’t describe a typical encounter. Still, it could put a suggestible person off.

*

On a more uplifting note, the four artists who were finalists for this year’s Turner Prize appealed to the judges not to pick a single winner but to let them share the prize equally. All four works deal with immediate social and political issues, and in their letter the finalists said these issues “differ greatly, and for us it would feel problematic if they were pitted against each other, with the implication that one was more important . . . than the others.”

The judges agreed unanimously.

*

In November, the Central Library Scotland hosted an event where people could borrow a human book for half an hour.

The Human Library is a group of “volunteers that are available to be published as open books on topics that can help us better understand our diversity. The Human Library is a safe space for conversations, where difficult questions are answered by people with personal experience that volunteered to share their knowledge.” 

Can I translate that? You go in and talk to someone knowledgeable who’s agreed to be an open book on some topic. The events started in the U.S. and are about prejudices and stigmas the people / books have faced.

The founder, librarian Allison McFadden-Keesling, talks about the volunteers as books, as in “the books are excited to see one another” and her events have grown from 8 or 10 books at the first event to 35.

My thanks to Deb C. for letting me know about this. 

*

Oh, and happy holidays to you all. If this isn’t the strangest holiday post you’ve seen this year, at least tell me it’s close.

84 thoughts on “Human books, mystery money, and the Vagina Museum. It’s the news from Britain

  1. It is more than close, it hits and exceeds the mark very well. For not just this year, either. You can feel very proud.

    A human book. I could find out the answers to questions I always wanted to ask from people who know from experience. Sounds cool. I would volunteer to be one but, one, my life has been pretty normal. And two, if it has not been I would never give honest answers to those parts. I have written two novels for sale on Amazon, that are disguised as fiction, but they may disclose something about me, or not.

    Have a good holiday season, I suppose it is somewhat different in Cornwall. A post about that would be interesting to read.

    I won’t mention anything about impeachment, politics, or possible global disasters.
    Would not want to spoil the festive and joyous holiday mood you have created.

    Cheers.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for all of that. And I’m with you on the existence of things I wouldn’t be interested in telling the world about.

      Christmas here–. Hmm. In some ways, not that different. In other ways I suspect I’ve written myself out on the subjects and hesitate to repeat it all. Christmas carols, which I grew up thinking are fixed by nature in one form, change here. They change from village to village, practically. Brussels sprouts are required. In our village, the pub opens for a couple of hours and even people who never set foot inside turn up. But lights, trees, all that: the same.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am very worried about the woman who wrote the bad sex paragraph… I feel like she has got men and snakes mixed up and I am concerned about her sexual experience. Also, she might need to get to a hospital pretty quickly…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “Half of people surveyed did not know where the vagina was.”
    It brings to mind the wonderful line from “Shirley Valentiine”…”What do you think of the clitoriis?”
    And the husband answers: “It’ll never replace the Cortina.”

    I wish you whatever you want for this rather silly season. On my wish list? That you’ll be back with more absurdities next year.Cheers!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Well I would have said this is the strangest until I saw at the bottom of the page in the ‘more on wordpress.com’ bit there is a post entitled How To Make Your Vagina Smell Better Naturally, by a blog entitled Mr. Dimple’s World, so he probably tops the tree on strange. If the organ cavity penetration was a runner up I dread to think of what won the award! Have a grand New Year and a Cool Yule!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I suppose the Word Press algorithm was free-associating when it came up with that link. What does make people think that a vagina should smell like not-a-vagina?

      Never mind. It’s the same thing that made a writer think that sex involved–was it the liver? Or was it the kidneys? Anyway, have a good set of holidays.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is definitely the strangest holiday post I’ve seen this year. I hope that made you feel all jolly, with mistletoe and holly, and other things ending in olly. (I should probably give credit to the late Terry Pratchett for that, since most of that – everything from ‘jolly’ – was technically from his “Hogfather” book/movie).

    Also, I can safely say, that none of my… Erm… Encounters, have been like that, despite my partners being male and me being female, and I’m fine with that being the case. In fact, I’m actually rather relieved.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This Happy Holidays post is as strange as any I’ve seen this season. End of debate.
    Very helpful in so many areas. I was particularly struck by the bad sex awards. Holy moly.
    And the Vagina Museum made me laugh out loud.
    True story: When I was in the sixth grade, my daddy and mama said we had to go to Houston to take mama to the doctor. Houston was 90 miles from our home in rural Grimes County. I had never been with my mama to the doctor. Daddy promised we would go downtown to the movies afterwards, so I thought it would be fun. When we arrived at the doctor’s office, daddy and I sat in a crowded but very quiet waiting room of women while mama went to see the doctor. All of a sudden the quiet was broken when we heard mama’s loud voice practically shouting, doctor, you mean I have a fungus in my vagina??
    I looked at daddy who had turned a deep red. He looked back at me and said, whistle, sing, make any kind of noise but let’s get out of here. We waited in the car.
    My first introduction to the word vagina.
    Merry holidays to you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ll look online and see if I can’t find a lung and liver museum as well. Thanks for the suggestion. I’m sure the writer will …

      …never speak to me again. Not that she knows me from a (oh, I can’t help myself) hole in the ground.

      Liked by 3 people

  7. They must have edited out the chapter of the visit to the Intergalactic Vagina Museum in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Especially if it came directly anywhere near the one dealing with Pangalactic Gargle Blaster. Thank you for leaving out the Santa chimney metaphor…

    Liked by 2 people

  8. You are definitely winning the award for the strangest holiday post. None of the other contenders come close.

    When the Vagina Museum opened, I actually announced to my sons that we would have to visit when we next return to the UK and take a trip to London. They countered that, in the interests of equality, we would have to fly home via Iceland so that we can also have a wander around the Penis Museum. I’m all for it.

    I am actually rather touched by the human book story – though I really think they ought to find a better title for the job. It speaks not only to a wish for learning from people’s lived experiences but also for human connection and interaction.

    Happy Holidays to you and Wild Thing!

    Liked by 3 people

  9. I read about the vagina museum when it opened in London and think it’s a fabulous idea! While I ‘assume’ (and we know that makes an ass out of you and me) most women know the location and understand the inner workings of this part of the female anatomy. Men, on the other hand, have been known to confuse one hole with another in their quest for instant gratification so a visit to this museum should be a requirement. I do hope the museums curators will do their best to educate the public. I can visualize the long queues of school children with the teachers waiting outside in the rain to enter this much-needed educational facility. The museum will definitely be near the top of my ‘to do’ list next time I visit London! Thanks for another informative post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wonder if (given that this is a museum and by definition, therefore, educational) you shouldn’t add “bored” to the description of the lines of schoolkids. As in, “Aww, do we hafta? Who needs to learn about that?”

      Like

  10. Lord, I don’t think Mary Costello knows where “The Vagina” is based on that exert. A worthy winner indeedd. Oh, it wasn’t that long along Angelina Jolie played a woman of colour in “A Mighty Heart” (2007). The Human Book is a great idea.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Just between you and me – and I am no firearms expert – I don’t think being “impervious to a round from a 9mm handgun” would make a payroll truck all that impervious to robbery anyway. But if the robbers were armed with ball bearings, apparently, they will be in the money.

    I can’t add much to your vagina report, except to tell the story of a friend who needed a gravy boat for a large family dinner, and her helpful little niece announced “I know where it is ! It’s in the vagina cabinet !”

    Merry Christmas to you too – with or without Brussels Sprouts.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. For all those unsure of the location of the vagina and unable to visit the Vagina Museum, I recommend the Vagina Bible by Jen Gunter. It provides all the information I wish I had when I was much, much younger, and a lot more I didn’t know that I didn’t know.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Her lungs and liver? This explains why we need a museum. And maybe a type of GPS (sorry, satnav) that can be used close in. Interesting holiday post. There’s still time for others to come along, but I’m giving you the prize.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good suggestions, all of them. Especially–well, especially all of them. You’ve come up with two simple solutions for a problem that’s baffling at least some small segment of humanity, e.g., how do humans actually have sex, especially good sex? And you gave me a prize. What could be better?

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I’d never heard the term ‘human books’ before … had to ponder for a moment, if t’was about viewing naked people who had the text of an entire novel tattooed upon their persons. The Encyclopedia Britannica would’ve needed an entire village!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Oh yes, hands down. And well played.

    Now I think I’ll change the name of my blog to “The Tom Library.” My book is open, people, ask me anything. Even if I don’t definitively know the answer I’ll wing it well enough to look like I do. Just don’t ask me questions like “Can cars be entirely bulletproof?” “Is Julia Roberts black?” “Can I have £2,000?” or “Where’s the vagina?” In those events I’ll assume you are spam. ;)

    Liked by 1 person

  16. It seems to be the latest thing that prizes be shared – those of us who specialise in coming second or third, but never first think it’s a great trend. Though unlikely to make the news if it’s the local short story competition or Rotary quiz.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Definitely the strangest holiday post I’ve ever come across. Probably would have made me spit coffee. That is if I could still drink coffee. Looks like coffee is your next topic, so onward and upward.

    Liked by 1 person

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