Magazine Review: frankie—January/February 2011.

 

frankie’s last couple of issues have been fairly lackluster, however the January/February edition marks a return to form for the mag.

In terms of the pictorials, frankie’s got the hipster-esque “Magnificent Specimens”, where “photographer Dave Mead shares his favourite beardy portraits (p.45), laptop-sleeve porn on page 58, which made me yearn just that little bit more for the brand-new MacBook I am currently typing this on (!!), and Emily Chalmers shows off her “old renovated” London warehouse, where “she works as a stylist, author and shop owner of [boutique] Caravan (p. 87). At the back of the book, four artists draw their cities, with Nancy Mungcal from Los Angeles taking the take (in my book) on page 120.

It is also a quality feature-heavy edition this time around, with Heathers, Muriel’s Wedding and Gone with the Wind making an appearance in “Movies to Swear By” (p. 50), Jo Walker writing that catching a contagious yawn makes you an empathetic person (p. 110), and the world’s strangest holidays, like Punctuation Day and National Wear a Plunger on Your Head Day, on page 114.

Benjamin Law is always a joy to read (I should have included his latest, Family Law, in my “The Ten Books I Wanted to Read This Year But Didn’t”), and his articles this (bi-)month are no exception.

On page 57, Law laments life in the ’burbs, writing:

“Sing to me of Merril Bainbridge cassingles and of pas that play Tina Arena’s “Sorrento Moon” on repeat. Sing to me of Muffin Break and Mathers, of Lowes and Bi-Lo. Sing to me, oh acne-ravaged Asian teenager working at Big W named Benjamin Law, even though you’re going through puberty and really shouldn’t sing at all. Sing it sweet, and sing it loud!”

Whilst over in “An Open Letter To… The Straight Men of Australia” (p. 74), he asserts that they:

“… cop a raw deal, and that’s a culture that tells you to be a dumb, macho, insensitive piece of shit…

“But hey, the rest of us can only speculate what you’re feeling. Because god knows you can’t talk about flowery poofter stuff like feelings. Want to talk about your feelings? Clearly, you must be gay! Want to tell someone you’re sad? Go buy some tissues, gaylord! Want to ask someone whether that cardigan looks good on you? Whether you should call that girl? Whether it’s OK to drink white wine instead of a beer? Gay, gay, gay. Clearly, you’re so gay you poo rainbows…

“If you want to know what is or isn’t gay, ask me. I’m gay. I should know. Feel free to write this down somewhere so you don’t forget. Telling another dude he looks good? That’s not gay. (Women do that all the time, and you don’t see them going all weak-kneed for snatch afterwards…

“… ‘gay’ means feeling an uncontrollable urge to place yourself inside another man. Do you feel that urge? … if the answer is ‘yes’ or ‘sometimes’, well, you should come around to my place and talk. You know, about your ‘feelings’.”

Hil-al-arious!

And what I was originally going to make the first-ever “Magazine Clipping of the Week” before I’d ventured into the rest of frankie and realised it was worthy of a full review, is Rowena Grant-Frost’s essay on the dilemmas of sexiness=grown-upness (p. 40): sassy writing on a real-life issue.

Related: The Top Ten Books I Wanted to Read This Year But Didn’t.

TV: Let Them Eat Cake… And Wear Headbands.

 

It has been a Gossip Girl-heavy week here on The Scarlett Woman, and today is no exception.

Blair Waldorf is known for her Upper East Side opulence and her stop-at-nothing mindset to becomeand staythe Queen B. But now she’s more concerned with being taken seriously as an academic Columbia student and an “empowered” woman.

And who was more empowered than Marie Antoinette, one of Blair’s idols, whom she adorns her bedroom with images of? While some view her as a decadent, frivolous vixen, others (including me) see her as the ultimate emblem of grace, class and power. Kind of like a latter-day Joan of Arc, but with bigger hair. Plus, she has the same birthday as me.

Both misunderstood in some respects, the vision of Marie Antoinette as everything that was wrong with the French monarchy persists to this day, as does the common perception of Blair as one-dimensionally vindictive and conniving. That’s why she and Chuck make such a good couple!

However, anyone who’s done their research or is committed to the guilty pleasure that is Gossip Girl, will know that this is not entirely true. Accounts of the Queen’s true persona by those close to her say that she was generous, kind and courageous. While the first two adjectives aren’t usually applied to Blair, fragments of her nature underneath all the hating, haute couture and headbands show that she’d do anything for her closest friends, family and lovers.

Marie Antoinette is even alleged to have carried on a sordid affair with Count Axel Fersen, similar to her Gossip Girl counterpart’s on-again-off-again trysts with Chuck Bass.

While the character of Blair Waldorf has been compared to such female fictional greats as Scarlett O’Hara (who also has a penchant for the Queen) and Holly Golightly, who both have certain Antoinetteisms, Blair is one of the only characters who is modelled so closely on the French queen. This is evident most recently in the episodes “Juliet Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” and “The Witches of Bushwick”, in which Blair tries to distract herself from Chuck with macaroons, Marie’s dessert of choice, and decides she can’t be with him until she makes something of herself first.

If Blair does follow in the footsteps of Marie Antoinette, this surely won’t be a problem for her. Who remembers her husband, anyway?

Related: Gossip Girl Proves There’s No Such Thing as Wonder Woman.

Sexual Healing: Gossip Girl Takes a Page Out of John Irving’s Book.

Women in Fiction: My Favourite Fictional Females.

Women in Fiction: Are Our Favourite Fictional Females Actually Strong, or Stereotypes?