My husband doesn’t want a vasectomy. I don’t blame him: it might be a 15-minute procedure carried out under local anaesthetic, but it’s not exactly a spa treatment. When I suggested it might be the answer to our family planning, he winced and joked that he had “seen what the snip did to the dog”. He’s not alone in his reticence; there was a 64% decline in the number of men getting the procedure in the 10 years to 2015. But the thing is, he and I have finished having babies and I feel like my turn should be over. A vasectomy would feel like a feminist action on his part, an acknowledgment of everything I have been through that has got us to this point in our lives. Yes, contraception played a huge role in liberating women, and in heterosexual relationships both men and women benefit from being able to plan their families. But it can also have a real impact on the wellbeing of women – it certainly has on mine. A few weeks ago I asked my doctor to … [Read more...] about Men, don’t fear the snip – it’s the best way to share the burden of birth control
Facelift gone bad
We need to talk about WhatsApp. When the little green speech bubble first showed up in my life, I greeted it with awe and wonder. I even wrote a little love letter to its ability to connect with a virtual black sisterhood – the kind that rarely exists in our too-undiverse workplaces in real life – in my first book. It became the perfect platform to share experiences, frustrations, strategies and ideas. WhatsApp group communities proliferated on my phone – they were education, community and activism all in one place. It was great. Until it wasn’t. Groups grow too big, don’t they? Then personalities clashed, unleashed from the restraint of real life by the notorious rudeness of social media. Then a WhatsApp safe space was shattered, as one group member leaked confidential material shared by another, showing it to their boss to gain favour at work. The mutual trust and community that took years to build was poisoned in an instant, and so was someone’s … [Read more...] about Has WhatsApp become a potential career assassin?
In January, a £288m concert hall was announced for London, but 35% of UK venues have closed in the past decade. Is it getting harder for artists who are starting out to find small places to tour? Natasha Khan (Bat for Lashes): I started out in Brighton in 2006, and at that time there were still a lot of cool little indie record shops and small underground venues. Almost all those record shops are now gone and the venues … I feel like now they have to have a cinema or put on other kinds of events. There are fewer of those shows that promoters would put on with your friends, where you’d make posters yourself. Maybe that whole DIY thing has been undermined by the instantaneous social media thing. Joe Talbot (Idles): We played for nine years before we got any recognition, doing those kind of warm-Carlsberg-and-50-quid shows as much as possible. We were pissing into the wind at the start, because guitar music was bloated and cocaine-fuelled and there were lots of rubbish … [Read more...] about ‘We’re existing on hope’: Bat for Lashes, Will Young, Idles and others on music in 2019
Cheryl Morris (pictured) died in her sleep aged 42 while sharing a bed with her new boyfriend A man woke up to find his new girlfriend dead beside him after he had stayed over to celebrate the mother-of-three's birthday. Cheryl Morris, 42, had told a friend of her excitement at 35-year-old Alan Bonkem attending her family home in Warrington. But early the next day the care worker died in her sleep after Mr Bonkem spent the evening with her. He made the tragic discovery when his alarm went off at 7am for work and he found her lying dead beside him. Paramedics arrived at Miss Morris’ home in Warrington, Cheshire, but she could not be revived. Miss Morris had been poorly the afternoon before her death - but tests showed no signs of a heart attack or organ failure and the cause of death is unknown. The tragedy occurred last March 26 a month after Miss Morris - who had two sons, aged 18 and nine, as well as a six-year-old daughter - began dating Mr Bonkem after she … [Read more...] about ‘One-of-a-kind’ mother-of-three, 42, was found dead in bed by her new boyfriend hours after she invited him over to celebrate her birthday
A mum who fell asleep while breastfeeding her weeks-old baby boy in bed woke up to find the newborn dead in her arms. Laurie Woodruff, 30, spent years blaming herself for the tragic death of her son Arthur, but she has now come to terms with her grief and has a warning for parents who co-sleep with their babies. Describing it as "the most horrific day", the tragedy happened in 2015 when the tired mum, from Chesterfield, Derbyshire, fell asleep while feeding Arthur at night. When she woke up in the early morning hours, her baby was lifeless and nothing could be done to save the newborn, who died of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), also known as cot death, DerbyshireLive reports. In the following days, she would return to the hospital mortuary to cuddle his "cold body", and she has since gone on to have another son. Ms Woodruff is now appealing for parents not to co-sleep with their babies. She said: "It was the most horrific day and I felt as if I were living in some kind of … [Read more...] about Mum wakes up to find baby dead in her arms after falling asleep breastfeeding