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Have you seen, have you heard ?

The pathetic yet terrible things that are uttered every day by misery-inducing numbers of boys and men ?  The awful, sickening invocations and wishings-upon of rape and assault ? The bomb-threats resulting from a simple yet symbolic desire for equality on the banal £10 note ? The slut-shaming of someone attending Eminem’s Slane Castle gig that ruled the behaviour involved was only ‘bad’ from a single-sex perspective ?

If you haven’t then open your eyes and ears.

And when you do, realise also that there are counter-points to all of this filth. Twitter has finally begun to respond to the repeated requests to revise policies and take action on contravention of its terms and conditions. There are MPs (MPs !) at the forefront of such action. The slut-shamers have been caught (screen-caught in effect) and exposed, and the #slanegirlsolidarity hashtag is in the ascendancy. Sexism and misogyny in the games industry are under repeated challenge, with boobjam posing quirky and disarming questions.

And what about rock ‘n’ roll  ?

In Sarah Ditum’s recent New Statesman piece about the Eminem gig incident she quotes from Sleater-Kinney’s #1 Must Have (“and will there always be concerts where women are raped” ?).  That song, from 2000’s “All Hands On The Bad One”, represents one part of a movement, however loose, however much it missed the power of modern telecommunications and was undone by uncertainty, ambition, mainstream misunderstanding and attempts at misappropriation. What has changed ? Little about the requirement to focus on issues that specifically affect women. Little about the need for bands that will take on major problems regarding equality (particularly around sex and gender).

And that’s where we get to Colour Me Wednesday. And associated act The Tuts. And other (predominantly all-female) bands such as CatBearTree. Sure, there are things that I would like to change about this album if I had any mad studio or musical skills. The guitars seem under-powered throughout, the drums too focused on the snare and not enough on the punch of others, and the bass too far into the background for most of the time (really it’s a production thing). But to be honest, I’ve got over that. And it has become more important to hear the honest, heartfelt emotion pouring out into the songs of this young band, nailing as they do so much of what it is like to be adrift as you enter adulthood and how the world can seem right now.  The lack of self-confidence and loneliness of feeling a child amongst elders in “Shut”; the dreadful crushing pressure of conformity and the alienation generated by mass-marketing in “lost on the high street”; disrespecting veganism in “(I’m not coming to your) BBQ”; how dreadful it can be contemplating the dead-eyed denizens of the rat race in “holiday from your life”; and that CMW standard “purge your inner Tory” (you don’t need any explanations for that one, right ?).

I know, I know, all of these things are ‘first world problems’, but more central than this is Feminism, and that is a movement that highlights things that are problems all over. No matter where in the world it is occurring – to what degree and in what context – the subjugation of women is at the heart of this work. And that’s what you need to think about, long and hard, as you enjoy “i thought it was morning” – from the interplay of voices on “unicorn in uniform” to the unabashed joy permeating perfect pop song “bitter boys” to the adrenaline rush of “you’re not my number one bastard” and the optimism at the heart of “holiday from your life”.  While there isn’t necessarily the anger or the volume of some of CMW’s musical and ideological forebears, they’re spot on about the facts: things have got to change on this most central of issues, “the f-word”.

Have you seen, have you heard ?

If you haven’t then open your eyes and ears.

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