Natalie Solent

Politics, news, libertarianism, Science Fiction, religion, sewing. You got a problem, bud? I like sewing.

E-mail: nataliesolent-at-aol-dot-com (I assume it's OK to quote senders by name.)

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Jane's Blogosphere: blogtrack for Natalie Solent.


( 'Nother Solent is this blog's good twin. Same words, searchable archives, RSS feed. Provided by a benefactor, to whom thanks.
I also sometimes write for Samizdata and Biased BBC.)

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Tuesday, February 08, 2005
Peter Simple, thou knowest not what thou has wrought. In the late seventies my only opportunity to read the Telegraph (buying a copy was against my religion) was when copies of it were spread out to protect the tables in my O-Level art class. What sinful pleasure it was to slide my ongoing masterpiece Still Life With Adidas Trainers an inch to the side in order to sneak a look at Way of the World or Peter Simple. One of the two columns, I can't remember which, used to feature the "Ladies' Sewing Circle and Terrorist Society" who knitted hand grenade covers for the Khmer Rouge. I thought this was a very naughty right-wing joke.

Joke's on me. There really is such a body. In San Francisco's Bay Area, believe it or not. And it's on mugs and T-shirts and everything. Nostalgically, I wonder, was the whole "terrorist sewing circle" thing a widespread joke that I only saw through the lens of Peter Simple, or is it another case of an insult being taken up with pride by those it was directed at?

Ah, whichever. The late seventies. Those were the days. Days when you'd stick a safety pin through your lip and a nail through your nose and then snarl, "What are you ****ing staring at?"¹ at any bourgeois creep who looked your way.

Those days may not be utterly gone. Just the other week Scott Burgess had some fun with a glorious Guardian article on an exhibition of transgressive knitters who take on capitalism and war. (Do they win?) Instructions are provided by the Guardian for a knitted hand grenade.

Carrying on the grand tradition of doing all you can to shock and then complaining when it works, one Rachael Matthews says, "It seemed odd that you were allowed to read a book on the tube, but knitting was abnormal." Ms Matthews is a maker of knitted willies "with realistic head and veins." I'm sure her creative solidarity is much appreciated by the current leaders of resistance against US warmongering imperialism.

¹ Or rather, "What are you ****ink starink ab?"