My dear readers,

We are gathered here today to celebrate the women of the world. (Not the ones we don’t like obvs, because ’tis true that we women do loathe some women, but we try to loathe them equally to our loathing of fellas so as to SUPPORT EQUALITY an’ that. It’s complicated. Try to keep up).

Today is International Women’s Day.

My contribution to the cause, at work this morning, was for my group and I to come up with an acceptable non-gender-specific term to substitute the word ‘Postman’ which featured in our next song. ‘Postperson’ was a mouthful. Ditto ‘Postal Delivery Worker’. Someone suggested ‘Postoperative’ but that was a bit YAK and made us all think of C-sections. Finally, one of us exclaimed: ‘Postie!’

Give that woman a cabinet position! The revolution is happening at pre-school music groups…

I am not feeling very revolutionaryish today. I have no tangible influence over anyone apart from the hamster; no young, female employees to support and mentor.

Instead, if I may, I shall share with you my list of Some Women Wot ‘Ave Personally Influenced Me In Various Ways:

Madonna, global mega-star and Botox guru with abs of steel – for showing me how to dress like a whore and dance like a stripper at the age of 10. And later, for showing me how to express myself. And later still, for showing me how to be all erotic. And now, for still being a general bad-ass. Also included here are Kate Bush, Tracy Chapman and Nina Simone – for teaching this girl how to feel via the medium of warbling in her bedroom/car.

Jackie Collins, author – for being the author of the first grown-up book I ever read, for all the filth and frenzy and fervent page-turning which showed me the pleasures of being caught by a book which has never left me.

Mo Mowlam MP – for showing me you don’t have to be Margaret Thatcherish to be a woman in politics. Plus she was brought up in Coventry which was THE BIG CITY to the small village where I grew up. Along with Hazel O’Connor and Lady Godiva, Mowlam was one of few great women to come out of that city where we metaphorically send people to be ignored. For a long time, I wanted to be Mo.

Germaine Greer, author – for teaching me about the feministy biz. I met her once when I worked in telly. I can’t remember what the show was, but I was assigned to escort her from the Green Room to the studio. I was both longing and dreading the meeting – never meet your idols, right? – but she did not disappoint. As we arrived on the studio floor, I introduced her to the male researcher, who was wearing a snake-skin patterned shirt. She shook his hand and remarked, ‘Well now, a man dressed as a snake…how appropriate…’

Christine Chambers, TV Producer – for showing me how to be a woman at work. Her days as my boss would be peppered with mini lessons from her in how to cut corners, how to not fall in to traps, how to handle yourself with male executives, how to dress to show who you are, and most importantly, how to smoke hard and drink even harder and still get up in the morning. She’s v successful now whereas I am…less so…but her lessons still see me right.

Jane Rogers, Writer – for teaching me about writing on my MA. For teaching me how to be more truthful and less glib, how to push on and ahead, how to never give up. She even introduced me to her agent, the mighty Pat Kavanagh, who sadly didn’t love my book as much as Jane did, but whose fantastic rejection letter still has pride of place on my office wall. All of Jane’s work is wondrous.

Penelope Leach, childcare guru – for raising my children. She lay next to me in bed every sleepless, scream-filled night. She told me it was ok to bottle-feed, to co-sleep, to cry all day. She taught me how to bathe a baby, feed a baby and love a baby. She stayed with us until eldest was five. She moved back in six years later when youngest was born.

My Therapist – for being my mum and not my mum, for showing me how to speak of unspeakable things, for all the hugs, for all the razor-sharp insights, for all the times I turned up in my pyjamas, for guiding me into a life that is evermore light than dark.

My Step-Mum – for also being my mum and not my mum, for making my Dad happy, for giving me a new family for a while, for showing me that working and mumming are possible, for showing me what independence looks like, for showing me how to make the perfect G&T, and finally, for showing me how to die with dignity.

My Sister – for being my mum and not my mum (jeeez, enough with the almost-mums), for all the shared fags and shared boyfriends (sorry about that, sis), for all the times I borrowed her clothes and either ruined or lost them, for moving out so I could (finally) get the biggest bedroom, for always being my second home, for always laughing at my jokes, for always being my biggest fan and telling me I’m not a massive dick. And finally, especially, for not dying on me…yet…

Aaaaah, ’tis marvellous to be reminded of our ovarian influences! I thoroughly recommend it to you all.

And don’t worry fellas, tomorrow is International Men’s Day. (As it is on all the other 364 days of the year…YAK)

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