Daily Archives: February 12, 2019

Smear Campaign

TW: Vaginas and speculums, oh my!

I’ve seen a couple of people I follow on social media talking about this and I wanted to get involved. So today, friends, we’re talking about smear tests.

As you’re aware I said goodbye to my thirties a while back. I’m now 41 and therefore so together in life that you can be sure I’m completely on top of my cervical smear appointments. NOT. The last test I had, according to my lovely nurse from this morning, was in 2010. This is totally unacceptable and I know that. But life gets in the way so I can’t beat myself up about it too much.

I have been getting lectured heavily by my husband recently though and he was part of the reason I finally booked the appointment. Along with a lot of press about how the number of women attending them has diminished over the years. I know this isn’t good but I’ve done it now and it was so unobtrusive that I thought it was worth sharing my experience. Reading other women’s stories helped me to be less nervous about everything so why not, eh?

My appointment by the way took just ten minutes. That’s ten minutes of my day to get a potentially life-saving procedure. My nurse, Natalie, was reassuring and professional – and although I say I wasn’t thay nervous, that’s a bit of a lie. The first thing I told her as I entered her room was how scared I was feeling. She asked me what I was most worried about – my responses: having to get my bits out, the pain, the results – weren’t very helpful. But she still addressed each one of them.

“I’ve seen it all before.”
“It can be uncomfortable but shouldn’t hurt. Tell me straight away if it does.”
“Whatever happens, we will deal with it.”

And then I was lying bottomless on the bed with my feet together and my legs angled like a frog’s. Not the most glamourous of positions and no stirrups in sight but it wasn’t uncomfortable. It’s a little bit odd when the spectulum slips in (after it’s been generously lubed up, thank you very much) but not painful. We talked about veganism, work and Jade Goody while she rummaged around.

In the end, I has to have an extra long speculum which made me laugh (and then wonder if I should be worried) but according to Natalie – and many of the articles I have read recently – “One size does not fit all”.

Did I mention I was in and out within ten minutes, with no pain, not much discomfort and a huge sense of pride? Like, I’ve ticked something off my “Sensible Woman” list for another three years. The results will be posted to me in 4-6 weeks and hopefully, that will be that.

So if, like me you’re several tests behind and putting things off, don’t. You’ll be okay.

Get those flaps out for your friendly neighbourhood nurse.

Velvet Buzzsaw

Velvet Buzzsaw (2019)

*Minor spoilers*

This is a film I really wanted to love based on its cast and premise. Unfortunately it doesn’t work quite as well as it could. 

Set in the pretentious and fickle world of art, it centers around a gallery – Haze – run by former punk-rocker, Rhodora Haze (Rene Russo). One evening, lauded art critic Morf Vandewalt (Jake Gyllenhaal) attends an exhibition at the gallery with his friend, Josephina (Zawe Ashton), who also works there.

Morf is in a relationship with Ed but is deeply unhappy so he starts up with Josephina instead. Around the same time, Josephina returns home to her apartment block to find one of her elderly neighbours dead after a fall. The neighbour, Vetril Dease is a painter and J sneaks into his apartment after the fact to discover a vast collection of brilliant paintings.

On thin ice and recently demoted by her boss Rhodora, this is J’s opportunity to re-balance the scales and score big on the art scene. So she presents herself as Dease’s representative and a post-humous star is born. Unfortunately for Josephina, there’s more to Dease and his work than meets the eye and eery shit kicks off.

Rhodora, obsessed with the paintings, exhibits a small collection immediately and orders J to put the rest in storage. As desire for Dease’s art grows, including massive interest from art curator Gretchen (Toni Collette) and artist Piers (John Malkovich), Rhodora seeks to ensure the rarity of his paintings by hiding most of them away. Sadly this is not done fast enough and one by one our collection of central characters begin to suffer terrible accidents.

Velvet Buzzsaw is a thriller/horror with a supernatural edge. Although it is not as good as I wanted it to be, it is interesting. There are multiple deaths that really go to town creatively and I loved them. There a couple that really spoke to me as they incorporate two of my biggest loves, graffiti and tattoos.

Although this is heralded as a horror and it does have explore some overt horror themes, it isn’t that scary. It has a creepy tone that I did enjoy, and all the darkness of Dease’s apartment and paintings is stark in contrast to the bright light surfaces of the gallery interiors.

The whole scene in fact is wonderfully pretentious which I also dig. A little bit of pretension never hurt anyone I always think. It sends up the art world well and there’s a definite tongue-in-cheek dig at the eccentrics who inhabit it. Almost all the film’s characters are the worst – Morf and Josephina absolutely included – but you can kind of respect them for their hunger. Stranger ThingsNatalia Dyer pops up as poor gallery employee Coco who always seems to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

So, although this isn’t director Dan Gilroy‘s best work – that would be the mighty Nightcrawler (2014) – I’m still interested to see what he does next.

⭐⭐⭐ out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

What are you watching?