Like our genial host, Michael Ian Black, I have never read ‘Jude the Obscure’ by Thomas Hardy. I have, however, seen the 1996 film adaptation starring Christopher Eccleston, Kate Winslet and Rachel Griffiths.
I had rented it from Ritz video store in 1998 when I was 14, my Mum’s friends came in as I was watching it and thought she was letting me watch porn. No, she was letting me watch classic literature and a ’90s film that Kate Winslet was in, but Mum was horrified at the thought of it for years afterwards. I won’t talk of the film any further as I don’t want to spoil anything for first time Juders, like Michael.
I came across the podcast via an ad in ‘Unspooled’ and thought “That’ll be right up my alley,” and indeed, it is.
I have enjoyed Michael Ian Black’s work since ‘Ed’ was regularly screened on Channel 4 and was re-introduced to him when my university flatmate told me that I had to watch ‘Wet Hot American Summer’. I agreed to watch it because Janeane Garofalo is a badass, and now it’s one of my favourite films. Also, if you’ve not watched ‘Burning Love’ get on it.
So what’s the appeal of listening to someone reading a book aloud for the first time? LITERALLY EVERYTHING. Obviously MIB’s delivery is excellent, as an English person I appreciate the accent work and pronunciation of tricky words – I grew up near Bicester and Towcester and people really struggle with saying them out loud. I enjoy his asides and commentary on the book. I now want to try a cruise to New Jersey and can’t wait to hear what he thinks as the book progresses.
So if you find you have half an hour to spare, settle in and join Michael Ian Black, coming to you from the Jill Schwartz Memorial Library and revel in the Obscure.
“Something has changed within me, something is not the same, I’m sick of playing by the rules of someone else’s game…”
If you’d said to me a few years ago that I would spend a hot, Summer evening sitting naked with two strangers in one of their living rooms, being recorded for a podcast talking about my body image, having been abused physically and emotionally and various other things for a podcast that anyone anywhere in the world could listen to, I probably would have said that that is bollocks. But a couple of weeks ago I did just that, I headed to Jenny’s flat to record for The Naked Podcast, having put myself forward to do it.
Just after recording my episode of ‘The Naked Podcast’ for the BBC with Jenny and Kat. And yes, all totally nude. Photo from The Naked Podcast.
For most of my life I’ve had a difficult relationship with my body image. For a long time I thought I was fat and how could anyone like or love that, but in the last 6 months I’ve actually found a peace within myself and a comfortableness with myself that I could not have imagined before. The beginning kernel of this change in attitude started in February when I sent out a request to some of the women I know from school. I messaged them saying that I’ve been thinking of writing something about body image, this is how I thought of myself back then, what are your memories of me and how did you feel about yourself when you were a teenager?
Today I woke up at 5am crying. I’ve had about 15 hours sleep at most in the last three days, I’m hot, clammy and now I feel like someone is hacking apart my insides. Why is this? I got my bloody period again, that’s why.
When I started going out with the last boyfriend I went back on the pill, it’s a marvellous thing, not only would it help to prevent unwanted pregnancy, but it was one that I took everyday so it effectively stopped my periods and therefore stopped the period pain that went with it. About a year and a half ago I stopped taking the pill because I had stopped having a boyfriend, after he stopped having sex with me, and so didn’t really need it in terms of preventing pregnancy. I’d forgotten about the pain relief aspect. I actually went cold turkey, apparently that’s not the best way to do it but I did, and for about three weeks I was moody, snappish, irritable and horrible to be around. I suppose this was part of my hormones re-balancing, but it really sucked.
But let’s go back to the beginning. In the summer of 1996, when I was twelve, I went on a morris dancing holiday around the south of Ireland with my Mum and her team. On the Tuesday I woke up with terrible pain in my belly, went for my morning wee and was horrified to see blood when I wiped. It was truly traumatic. And the worst pain I could ever remember experiencing. I was surprised that it was happening, although Mum had told me about it a few years before, something along the lines of “One day there will be some blood between your legs and it might hurt a bit, but don’t worry it’s normal.” I didn’t tell her when it happened. I was in pain and a bit ashamed and scared and so I stuffed toilet roll into my pants and said I didn’t feel well so they went on a sightseeing day and left me in bed.