Tag Archives: london

Love turns: a preview

After spending two marvellous and transformative months writing on Thai islands, I’ve been preparing my novella for publication. I’ve decided to go for self-publication because traditional publishing houses are unlikely to be interested in a ‘women’s novella by a first time author’. And even if they were, it would take a long time before you could actually read it. Instead, self-publishing  is a fast and easy way to get a book on Amazon in e- and print copy. My aim is not to reach a mass audience but to share with you the journey of growth and insight that this book has been for me. And, guys, trust me, there’s plenty of things for you to like in a women’s book too.

So, I’m proud to present an excerpt from ‘Love turns’, my novella about:

‘A granddaughter, liberated and searching in modern-day London; her grandmothers, constrained by a lack of choice in mid-twentieth century Holland. Three women, three stories. Three journeys in love, dreams, independence, roots.’

The launch date for my book will be in May. I’ll keep you posted and in the mean time, I’d love to hear your thoughts about this preview!


Carnival night (1956)

Snow fell in the deep night, covering the little pond at the end of the street, the ducks hiding from the cold. Every now and again they huddled together as people shuffled by. The revellers were so drunk that they didn’t feel the cold through their colourful costumes. The ducks made soft squeaky sounds, fearing another may be taken away.

Earlier, one of the revellers on his way to the prince’s ball thought a duck was a useful addition to his outfit, firmly positioning it between the grapes in the fruit basket on his head. On these three days prior to Ash Wednesday, life south of the rivers Rhine, Maas, and Waal was turned upside down while the elected princes of carnival societies ruled the towns and cities. Marching bands roamed from café to café, their drums accompanying chants of love.

The ducks, however, had nothing to fear from the revellers returning from the ball. Inebriated with wine, intoxicated with food and dance, they were saturated with pleasure. For every post-war year, the display of abundance surpassed that of previous years. This year it reached its peak, golden as the shimmer from Sophia’s dress, as she ordered Henri’s Pontiac Firebird to a halt.

‘Henri, mein Liebster, you will understand that I will serenade these poor ducklings. Nothing less will do for them on a night like tonight.’ She was certain that this was the right thing to do and left small marks in the snow as she carefully placed one high-heeled foot after another. Still a little too heavy-set, she gingerly stopped at the side of the pond, giggling to herself that she may fall, the state that she was in. She cooed the ducks to come closer. They shyly approached, nonplussed by this woman in fur who sang the drinking song of Verdi’s La Traviata to them in the moonlight.

While she sang, Henri watched her appreciatively. He was smoking a cigarette and leant back against the side of the car in his white smoking jacket, hair parted immaculately. Although he had forbidden her to sing in public when they married after the war, he adored her voice and was flattered when people call her the nightingale of the South. Ten years after their marriage she was still known for the distinct timbre to her voice.

Sophia, especially when tipsy, also shared with Maria Callas her diva attitude to life. Her walk was as gracious as Maria’s and her presence as striking. Yet, unlike Maria, she had never been able to lose those 100 pounds. Perhaps this was partly Henri’s fault for keeping her in the house. After there were some stories of a local housewife losing her mind, a woman much less like a bird of paradise than Sophia, he’d asked her whether she was happy. ‘I’m happy when you make love to me, darling. What else do you expect?’ she had said with raised eyebrows and a mischievous smile. She had refused to take him seriously and started to seduce him instead.

Angry with himself, and emotional when drunk, he muttered, ‘What else could I have done? What would people have said when she had been performing on stage, night after night, dressed in these costumes and in the arms of another man? It would have meant bankruptcy to my business, and no one to look after the children.’ Even now, the thought made him mad with jealousy.

Schätzchen, get in the car now, will you?’ he strained his voice to break through the waves of hers, echoing down the snowed-in street.

She shrugged, determined not to have her mood spoiled. She ignored the string of memories she had of earlier occasions when he had stolen moments of glory, albeit from audiences more appreciative than these ducklings. Besides, her neighbours, woken up by her song, must be expecting another of their loud rows. But things turned quiet as Henri and Sophia drove up the hill to their house.

Stumbling through the front door, she was swearing at every object she bumped into. She reached the living room and realised the room was awfully cold. She inspected the lifeless fireplace, thinking that she was damn well not waiting for Henri to fix things, ‘that good for nothing man, a good salesman that’s all he is.’

She found the maid’s white spirit and amply covered the wood in the fireplace. As she lit the fire the heat and the bang were so strong she was thrown back onto the sofa, grinning contently at the wild open fire that she has caused.

Henri, still lingering outside, slammed the door of the car shut and lit a cigarette as he closed the door of the garage. The snowfall was slowing down, and he could vaguely smell the pines. He walked towards the house, remembering to avoid the pool, and taking in the quiet night. The revellers were now sleeping. He looked up at the stars. A moment later something shot through the sky, waking the neighbourhood dogs, then landing in his neighbour’s garden. In slow motion he traced the sound back to his house, noticing a hole in the roof and fire breaking through. He started running towards the fire, praying to god almighty that his wife and children were not hurt.

A weekend in London: three encounters

This weekend was a great London weekend – and I’d been longing for one for a while. Few things beat this town’s diversity. It’s international and yet so British. It’s full of unexpected encounters. I’ll share three of them. They made me think.

On Friday night I was walking home. It was just after eleven. People who live here know that this is a dangerous time to walk about. It’s the time pubs close – or rather the time they used to have to close, and most still do. After closing time it’s common to see guys too drunk to stand on their feet, and girls unable to manoeuvre their platform shoes.

From afar I could hear the noise of the karaoke bar around the corner of my flat. It was the sound of breaking glass accompanied by the screams of teenage girls. When I came closer, the fight erupted in full. About ten teenage boys were taking turns to smash up one guy, until he managed to escape. He ran straight onto the high street where he was nearly run over by a car. Dazed and blinded, he staggered back into the arms of his attackers. The whole bar had gathered outside to watch the fight. No one intervened.

So I rang 999 for the first time in my life. My stomach was weak and my voice trembled as I saw one of the gang kick in the head of the boy. These kids seemed to operate in some sort of lawless video game. A police officer at the station told me the next day that the usual thing happened when they arrived at the bar. No one had seen anything. ‘It’s a gang fight, that’s what happens,’ the officer said. ‘We’re powerless.’

So I cycled on to Chelsea for a pedicure. The beautician turned out to be a lovely young woman from Sri Lanka. When she came to London about ten years ago, her Sinhalese boss was not intending to pay her any wages. She and some of her colleagues successfully sued him. She now works full time to support her one-year-old baby girl and stay at-home-husband, and is all smiles and sweetness.

The girl was a perfect nightmare during the first three months. She tried to force her into a rhythm and all the girl did was cry. After reading a child psychology book, she made the girl trust she was in a safe environment where food and sleep were guaranteed. It’s been perfect harmony ever since with everything happening at regular intervals.

She also shared her thoughts on the situation in Sri Lanka and how the Sinhalese people have taken preconception seriously. ‘Yet,’ she said, ‘I don’t know whether this is for the best because it means that we don’t grow as fast as India. We don’t have the population size and it’s the Tamils on the island who still have large families.’ I said, ‘Yes, you can see the same thing in many countries, such as Israel, Turkey and also in Western Europe.’ The question is whether moderate modernity catches up with the new generations in time.

On Sunday, I met an elderly English lady at church. She had a Lady Thatcher hairdo and said she wouldn’t attend the feminist reading group because she doesn’t consider herself a feminist. I said, ‘I wouldn’t either, but I’m sometimes shocked at the lack of progress made in breaking the glass ceiling. So very few women make it to the top in firms like mine and there are hardly any role models. It seems very difficult to combine a career with being a mother.’

She responded, ‘Yes, that’s true, it’s very hard. That’s why I decided not to have children. I wanted to be the best school headmistress I could be.’ I don’t think she realised how exceptional it is to hear her say that and how few people in my generation accept that as a legitimate choice.

the writing class

My blog has gone a little quiet these last months. Many of you know this is because I’ve been taking a creative writing class at Citylit London to  focus on my novel. I’ve tremendously enjoyed the course because of my fellow students and expert tutor. Sharing work and receiving feedback pinpoints your style and what you have to work on. And writing is as much about inspiration as about drafting and crafting your pieces over and over again, as I’ve learnt. The best thing about the course, however, is that it has given me the confidence to say that I’m writing a novel and get two months off work to finish it this summer.

The students on the course were as diverse as London – diverse backgrounds, different ambitions and styles. Yet everyone was committed to spend two hours on a Monday night after work and write every week to share their work in class. We started with a 25+ group, but many soon dropped out. Among them were the two Cypriot sisters who had come to support their younger sibling to learn to write letters, the gothic mental health nurse with an attitude and the guy from West Africa who wrote a prayer blog.

So in the second week we settled down with a group of about fifteen, and got to know each other quite intimately through reading our writings. Over the course of 12 weeks, we became used to reading our work to the group and receiving instant feedback. Many were inspired by their family’s migration history – from South African Indian to Bermudan to Jewish and Latvian exiles during the war. Some wrote to make people laugh, others drew upon intimate moments in their (families’) lives. It was a bonding experience bringing together a journalist, mother, psychoanalyst, marketing adviser, council worker, communication adviser, paediatrician, business consultant, television executive.

All this was superbly managed and guided by our tutor, Zoe Fairbairns. One week the non-native speaking council worker read out a poem that repeated ‘When he comes…’ as the first line of every verse. Zoe, with a straight face, suggested that although the girl perhaps did not intend the sexual innuendo, it in fact added an interesting dimension to the poem. She suggested that the girl may want to change one of the lines from ‘When he comes, I sip my latte and smile’ to something more appropriate.

As the course advanced our stories showed that we’d become more skilled in the tricks of the trade, such as the use of metaphor, dialogue, point of view and building suspense and a storyline. Zoe was severe but fair with us, creating a safe environment to grow and giving everyone an equal chance to read their work. She helped us prepare for publication, giving confidence but also making us aware that there may just possibly be fewer people reading than writing books, some of whom may just possible be better than we are.

Yet I’m persevering and am tremendously enjoying writing my novel. It’s now much easier to share my work and receive feedback – as Kingsley Amis said: “A bad review should spoil your breakfast, but not your lunch”. Also I learnt to rewrite pieces over and over again, to kill my darlings and be strict with myself in terms of point of view and use of tenses. The challenge I’ve set myself is to use the minimal amount of words to achieve maximum impact. Ernest Hemingway was a master in this. His writing expresses a lyrical sentation without a lyrical word; a mood of melancholy and languid acceptance without using any such word. Read for example these sentences from two of his short stories:

“The sea broke in a long line in the rain and slipped back down the beach to come up and break again in a long line in the rain.” – Cat in the Rain

“In the evening they all sat at dinner together in the garden under a plane tree and the evening wind blew and Elliott drank white wine and Mrs Elliott and the girl made conversation and they were all quite happy.” – Mr and Mrs Elliott

This week I heard I was accepted to a writers’ and artists’ retreatin a deserted village high up in the mountains in the Languedoc. I’m looking forward to refining my own style there, and hopefully will publish some of my work on the blog soon. Stay tuned!

Snapshot London

Sometimes, at my favourite spot in town, I suddenly become very aware of the exhilerating and passing reality of London as we know it. Cycling across Waterloo bridge, I move my head left and right and back again to take in the panoramic view of London in action, and I wonder how long this spectacular town will keep it up. And how perhaps some time in the future, it may have reverted to its stiller state of a domestic capital, rather than the international hub it is now. So I’d like to paint a snapshot of the buzz, the chaos and the international social fabric of this town that is always transitioning, happening and creating as it attracts scores of people from across the globe without the Brits seeming to mind, too much. Needless to say, I’m in love with this town.

Perhaps the reluctant flight of bankers will trigger a wider migrant exodus, although it is difficult to imagine that the city could ever return to its quieter days when terraces, coffee places and foreign food in general were yet a thing of the future. Picture yourself standing like me on the middle of Waterloo bridge, facing the North. To the left, you see the gothic glimmer of Westminster Palace in amber, the spider building of a not to be mentioned professional services firm towering over Charing Cross Station and its bridges and an imposing grey mass of Embankment business headquarters behind lines of trees. Then you turn to face the right, where the City stretches out over a square mile covered by countless cranes and church spires. Look closer and you’ll see the three rank Barbican towers, while you cannot miss St Paul’s dome. Beyond, Canary Wharf towers straight, at the far end of the bendy river.  To the south there is the buzz of the Southbank’s concrete cultural houses, while the river is busy itself as party and passenger boats work their way west and east. How different from Iris Murdoch’s accounts of London of the 1960s, full of decent civil servants, deserted summer streets and everybody bumping into one another on Regent’s street.

Walking to work across Millennium bridge towards St Paul’s cathedral, I often sense the jagged cityscape binds fellow work wanderers, a silent productive procession, everyone relishing the quiet moments before the office storm is unleashed. Girls always take two pairs of shoes: sneakers to walk a mile, and high heels sticking out of the handbag. Even the town’s architecture is industrious. Many buildings date from London’s last big construction wave in Victorian times. The Tate Modern is an old power station. Battersea power station towers over the South West bank. Every inch of town is being used, and re-used, re-built, constant scaffolding, cool neighbourhoods constantly shifting.

Migrants of all types converge or transition through town: from my Brazilian cleaning lady with Italian accent, to the Eastern European cafe girls, the Dutch/Somalian local government worker, the Spanish bike mechanic, the wealthy veiled women of Edgware Road and my Finnish, Filipino, Korean, American, Australian, Bulgarian, German, Swiss, Zimbabwean, Italian colleagues at work. All have a story of living life in a foreign country, while being away from familiar home. Most stick to their national culture in some way or another, yet many feel the transformative pull of the big city: come to me and be who you want to be. It can be exhilarating to reinvent yourself in the midst of the crowd – you can make it on your own terms, and be a Londoner too.

A thing of beauty

As a secular-minded student at Cambridge University, I discovered the beauty of its chapels. The soothing rhythm of evensong and its perfect aesthetics – the choir’s hymns, the minister’s oratory, the spiralling arches of King’s College chapel – yield a contemplative liberty, and a pathway to peace and focus of mind. Sat on mahogany wooden benches and sheltered by candle light, I for the first time clearly sensed a unity with life’s ebb and flow, and humanity’s wider congregation.

Although initially I would not pray, or speak in cadence with other believers, there was no pressure to conform. The absence of dogma and theatrics in Anglican service allowed me to find my own meaning. So that now every once in a while when I go for evensong, I too kneel to pray, and recite the 1662 Common Book of Prayer’s elegant verses – ‘He shall come to judge the quick and the dead’. The meaning I found consists of three simple tenets.

One, in trusting in life’s swift and sometimes cruel moves, I relay my trust in god. I am aware that the spiritual starts where the limits of my cognitive understanding and control end. And, much as I relish the cognitive, I therefore find sustenance in my prayers, to feed the little flame in my heart while the wind tucks at it.

Two, I try to maintain an open and gentle heart to the world, to reduce unnecessary suffering. In short, do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Three, in the church’s calendar, so closely linked with the seasons’ cycle and our culture, I find greater historical grounding in my society’s values and habits. I now understand a bit better that advent is an occasion to contemplate suffering before Christ was born, during the darkest time of the year. I now see why we bring light trees into our houses to defy that darkest time. Or why some fast while the land awaits Easter’s spring, the year’s bleakest time.

Some may challenge the individualism or simplicity of this point of view, yet I relish my evensong insights. If you’re curious too, go and explore London’s chapels and churches yourself. My top tips are:

  • St Paul’s Cathedral, Sunday choral evensong at 3.15pm – gorgeous architecture, sumptuous interiors and the sermons exhibit the best of English oratory;
  • St Bartholomew-the-Great Church, Sunday choral evensong at 6.30pm – dark and medieval interiors and beautiful voices in one of London’s oldest churches, and the décor for ‘Elizabeth’ and ‘Four weddings and a funeral’;
  • The Round Church in Temple, special services such as today’s All Saints evensong – the Templars’ old church hidden in inner Temple, now an active lawyers’ parish with an excellent choir.

 Or in Amsterdam, there’s an Anglican evensong in St Nicholas’ Church right outside Central Station every Saturday at 5pm.

enjoyable views

River Scene, by Camille Silvy (1858)

Joseph Losey directs Kiri Te Kanawa, Jose van Dam, Ruggero Raimundi and Teresa Berganza in Mozart’s Don Giovanni (1979). Fantastic music, lush imagery, and spot Donna Elvira’s fabulous bowy costume. In this scene, she sings of her heartbreak by eternal seducer Don Giovanni, who happens to be around the corner, as always hunting the scent of his next conquest…

In a next scene, cavaliere Don Giovanni takes the hand of the peasant bride-to-be Zerlina…

Totally unrelated, Jane McGonigal, Game Director at the Institute for the Future, talks about Blissful Productivity and how gaming can infuse our lives with PERMA – Positive Energy Relationships Meaning Accomplishment. Listen to this if you want to know more about 3 billion hours per week of global computer gaming, super productive to-do-lists and mass thumb wrestling competitions:

Seen today at the School of Life’s Sunday Sermon where maverick cultural figures preach virtues and vices to a secular thirty something congregation in Conway Hall, one of London’s oldest ethical society. The sermon includes the singing of assorted hymns such as ‘Video killed the radio star’ and ‘Working in a coal mine’.

London by bike

Cycling in London is entering the mainstream, after years of subculture existence. When I started cycling here five years ago, the ‘push bike’ (to distinguish it from the ‘motor bike’) was the domain of sport fanatics in lycra and anarchist bicycle couriers. Now, the Boris bike, London’s new cycling scheme introduced this summer by Mayor Boris Johnson, has already pushed  12,000 Londoners to sign up for a ride across town on one of the 5,000 bikes. The very solid bikes, preferably driven on a Barclays-blue ‘cycle superhighway’, have finally given cyclists a somewhat more equal status to pedestrians and assorted motorists.

Just a word of warning though if you’re considering signing up as an unknowing tourist or other first-time cyclist: it’s still a war out there. You are right, the bike is a great way to escape the underground rush hour panic. Your personal space will not be shared with numbed tube-riders staring vacuously ahead. Instead, every motorist on the street is out to get you. Most regular motorists are completely unaware of bicycles appearing on their rear mirror. Those who spend their lives on the road, on the other hand, cherish a profound hatred of cyclists ‘taking over’ the road. Only last week, a cab driver lost it because I wanted to turn right on a busy road: ‘You c*#*, are you drunk or what?!’

So my strategy is to always be assertively visible and get as far away from motorised traffic as possible. The backstreets of London are prettier anyway, and traffic lights are best jumped. This is not without danger either, though. Once I was gently pedalling along, skipping a red light at a pedestrian crossing without pedestrians. All of a sudden a police car with four fully armed officers pulls up. A very big guy with a machine gun and two pistols steps out and towers over me. Did I want him to have to ring my mum to tell her I’m dead? Did a red light mean the same thing in the country I was from? Did I wish to be run over by a concrete-carrying truck? He was clearly letting off steam after having just foiled a terrorist attack. I decided it was best not to explain that in my country we prefer to keep bus and cycle lanes separate.

With mainstream cycling coming up, my war tales may soon be out-of-date. New challenges, such as navigating the chaotic cycle traffic at Hyde Park corner, will come up. I just can’t work out why people don’t just keep on the left off the street as well as on the street. In any case, I still think a bike is the best way to explore, admire and get to know this city. Just remember to put your helmet on. And to call mobile mechanics Cycledelik when you’ve got a puncture somewhere about town.

The School of Life and change

This week I attended a ‘How to make a difference’ class at the School of Life. Along with a bunch of other thirty somethings, I spent an evening honing my non-violent activism skills, and concocted plans to change the world. Most attendees were positive do-gooders, some were just curious as to what exactly is taught at the School of Life.

Located in a Bloomsbury shop, the school is a social enterprise founded by writers and thinkers to teach people to live wisely, or ‘to tickle, exercise and expand your mind.’ On offer are classes on ‘How to make love last’, ‘How to balance work and life’, as well as Secular Sunday Sermons, Psychotherapy and Bibliotherapy sessions. You can practice your conversation skills in Conversation drinks, and nourish your mind at Reading retreats.

In this particular course, journalist John Paul Flintoff spoke about how to be self-sufficient by sewing his own clothes and 198 other forms of non-violent activism. Like the story of the Yugoslavian students who instigated the mass protest against Milosovic’s regime of fear by pasting stickers ridiculing him all over Belgrade. Or like the Norwegians infuriating German occupiers by never sitting down on the empty seat next to them.

Alain de Botton, pop philosopher and ambassador for the school, makes the point that it has become suspect to do good. As everyone is now running marathons for charity, people need to be convinced that your cause is worth running for. Since the merger of the entertainment and charity industries, there’s a whole fashionable lot of people who want to do good, from Bono and Brangelina to ecological hipsters. Their charity seems to be motivated by a contemporary sense of needing to be that special person. Many have quite fuzzy ideas about what exactly is the problem, let alone how to fight it.

Successfully changing the world, however, may depend less on fame and money than on a clear course of action, and a cross-society coalition for change. This is the idea behind the Dutch National ThinkTank, a Dutch charity founded five years ago to ignite social innovation. Bright young things from politics, business and academia each year join forces to spark creative and practical innovation through rigorous analysis.

So the point is to make it happen. Define the problem, create the solution and convince the world, together. And check out the School of Life.

Big city yoga

Yoga is a booming market, especially in big cities in the West. In the US, it grew by 87% from 2004 to 2008 – about 16 million yoga practitioners spent $5.7 billion on yoga stuff. Not all of you may be familiar with exotically named postured such as ‘Dog with the head down’, or ‘Adho Mukha Svanasana’ (see picture). It’s a staple posture in two of the most popular yoga forms in the West, Ashtanga and Iyengar, which are variations on Hatha yoga, one of the eight classical yoga strands developed in India from about 200BC onwards. If you think yoga is all about middle-aged female slowness, or that it’d be funny to bark when doing the dog postures (true story), then think twice.

Yoga is very popular with the fast-moving urban types, who practice Ashtanga, Madonna’s power yoga, because it means twisting yourself very rapidly into a flow of stretching postures. The flow is strung together by at least 50 Vinyasas, or sun salutations slash sun push ups (see picture). For the fastest-moving, hyper competitive city types, aka strategy consultants and bankers, this is not enough. They really enjoy doing the same flow, but then at 40 degrees Celsius in a closed carpeted room. Apparently, Bikram yoga leaves you so high that it’s addictive.

Yet traditionally yoga is non-competitive. Many Western teachers, however, forget that the aim is to reach into the posture as far as your body allows. So in the West’s bastardised version, yoga is often practiced in gyms. Trying to find a yoga studio near my new flat, I came across some quite bizarre ones. Like the very crowded one with mirrors where a middle-aged Essex guy kept shouting: ‘C’mon guys, I’m seeing some wonderful postures here! C’mon guys, work it! Work it!’ Or the ‘advanced’ one where a Chinese acrobat was training a group of hyper-flexible dancers doing headstands instead of Vinyasas. The acrobat ignored my best efforts.

So I settled for my current teacher who is a bit more subtle. At the end of the practice, everyone queues up to pay, and he hands out compliments in return. To some people (like me) he just says nothing. For the record, I’m a very motivated student, it’s just that my legs are not so flexible due to too much cycling and running…But I love the stillness that envelops your body and mind gradually throughout the practice. Afterwards, I feel cleansed, pure and radiant. It’s a rare feeling of pure concentration, of body and mind focused on two simple things: to breathe and to move.

Don’t mention the World Cup

Being Dutch in London during the World Cup was fantastic as most people switched their support to the Orange underdog in the lead up to the finals. All of Soho joined the orange street party the night of the semi finals. Coming into the office the day after, colleagues were patting me on the back, saying ‘Well done!’ as if I’d won a major piece of work. I felt so proud of my small country of 16 million people that I couldn’t take a smile off my face. It felt like being in love on a spring day. Benign nationalism – what a drug!

But it all ended in tears and a kung fu kick. The tabloids damned us. No congratulations or even consolations this time. Instead, endless tirades about our shameless football style that had deprived the world from the finals that it deserved. And besides, the Spanish deserved to win. Even The Guardian wrote: “It would have been better for Holland’s reputation had they lost earlier instead of tying themselves to this notoriety.” After spending 116 nerve-racking minutes in a sweltering Chelsea pub filled to the brim with Dutch anxiety, this felt like a slap in the face.

I felt the anger of a wronged people boiling up in me. Surely, kung fu kicks aside, we were fighting till the end and the Spanish weren’t the better team because they didn’t score either until the end?? Surely if Robben had scored the tabloids would have raved about the Dutch underdog finally taking that Cup? I’d really like to see the drafts of articles written to celebrate the Dutch victory.

Luckily by now when thinking back I don’t feel the hurt so much anymore. I do still feel the exhilarating sense of pride for my small country, even stronger when living abroad in a big city full of people from all those other countries we left behind. It’s nice, being a girl and liking football…