The last time I finished a Moran book I hardly slept.
I was so shaken up by not having really liked it, I felt like I’d had a massive falling out with a friend.
I wrote my review, sat back and wondered where we should go from here.
After a few days of cooling off, I felt it was time to make the first move and try to get our relationship back on track. So, I picked up the copy of Moranthology that had been sat on my shelf since it came out in paperback, and proceeded to the water closet. I figured it would probably be a title that would benefit from being dipped in and out of, and there isn’t a more perfect room in the house for books like this.
Unfortunately, it turns out I am rather regular and frequent (sorry) so was meeting up with Moran more often than I had anticipated. In hindsight, we should have taken more baby-sized steps to coming back together, perhaps one step a week. Meeting up with her one, often twice (sorry) a day, turned out to be too much.
As someone who doesn’t read The Times for moral reasons, I have to admit that I based most of my opinion on Moran from the occasional article I’d picked up here and there, her Twitter feed and (the still wonderful) How to Be a Woman. Now, having read this collection of columns, I can conclude that she only very occasionally writes about anything important (feminism included) and that I should applaud her for having made a career from writing about nothing very much at all.
I’m actually being pretty serious here, men have gotten away with making a lot of money from writing about not much at all for ages, so its good that Moran exists – if only to prove that women are funny actually and can make money from it, thank you very much.
And she is, she is funny and from this day on I shall view her as a humourist before anything else.
I can’t see any evidence of “strident” or “militant” feminism in much of her writing though, she doesn’t appear to shed any light on any issues that don’t revolve around herself or western media. There is no world view, no powerful manifesto to act upon. Just lists of stuff she likes and lists of stuff she doesn’t like. So, if you are hoping for something along the lines of How to Be a Woman, you’ll be disappointed.
And thats what clouded this for me, I was expecting rants, spot-on opinion, the world getting taken to task. But it was just a bit *points at funny thing*. And most of those funny things are plucked out of Moran’s immediate orbit.
Moran is basically the friend that nods along as you tell her about this week’s piss-taking moments of horror, only to butt in at the sniff of a pause, to exclaim: “Weeeeelll, when that happened to Meeeeeeee…” and carry on talking about herself for the next 3 hours, as if the uniqueness of her life-experience is somehow key to your own. And these are the main reasons why I will now think of her as “humourist” and not “political feminist”. She talks about herself A LOT, and other things a little, and it can be as draining as those real life moments with spotlight hogging friends.
And she comes out with some odd stuff too (bit weird that you spent your Amy Winehouse obituary apparently confirming she had an eating disorder), and some stuff that is just dull (really, you kept that bit about meetings in? Really? Sorry, most of us DO unfortunately have to attend meetings regularly and we’ve made those gags a million times before). And when she’s not being dull or weird she’s incessantly referring to The Beatles as if liking them is somehow interesting and vital.
Other stuff just missed the target with me – I think the made-up interludes with her husband, where she pesters him with questions about herself as he tries to sleep (“what would you miss about me if I died young?”) are meant to be cute, but she just comes off as an utter pain in the arse.
Also, the bit where she’s talking about her trademark hair and how she somehow now has ownership of that style, what’s that all about? She reminded me of the time I was outraged that one of my friend’s had got The Great Escape for Christmas: “Oh, so you’re a Blur fan too now are you?” I scoffed. When I was TWELVE. According to Moran, if you have a grey-streak in your hair you are copying her and should stop:
“But Caitlin, those women suffer from poliosis”
“No, they are copying me.”
“No, honestly they do, they have poliosis like Ed Miliband”
“Nup, I totally remember them buying my book, didn’t have hair like that then”
“Maybe but, and I’m just saying here, perhaps they are copying Caryn Franklin…”
“Nup, me. Franklin’s copying me too”
I know I shouldn’t take it all so seriously, but she seems to gets paid an awful lot of money to write about liking The Beatles and last night’s telly. I WANT MORE MANIFESTO! MORANFESTO!
All in all I found this a pretty draining read (based on one or two articles a day). I just wanted to get her out of my house as quickly as possible by the end, but she tends to linger, and though I haven’t lost sleep this time, I do feel a bit like she’s going to shove her head through my window at any moment to tell me a hilarious, quirky tale about her last shop at Waitrose.
She is funny, and she does have a wonderful turn of phrase, but as when all relationships end, you have to weigh up whether you really knew the person in the first place. Personally, I got carried away by her – I was seduced by the image, the one-liners, the fight for female justice. But it feels like a smoke screen, and while I wait for the dust to settle on our relationship, I will reach out for the arms of other writers with a feminist bent.
well, until the next time…