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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

People often say to me, "Phil, what's your favourite bedtime story?". Not that often, admittedly, but every now and then. Needless to say, my tastes are both cerebral and eclectic. I like anything by Julia Donaldson, and I'm partial to a bit of Charlie & Lola, but when I fancy something a bit more edgy and alluring, I go for the latest medical journals. It's how I discovered that women's sexual health depends entirely on the position of their handlebars. Fortunately Lisa can't ride a bike.

But if I were forced to name one favourite above all others, I think I'd go for the tale about the Brilliant Bull and the Bad Piggy. You know the one. It's published on the back of UHU boxes. We've all read it.

What I like most about the story is the way it challenges gender stereotypes by making the bull female, and then empowering her to such an extent that she can do anything, including Olympic sport. That's assuming the IOC doesn't re-introduce sex testing. Either way, it's rare to find such a positive role model in modern feminist literature.

There's quite a lot of anger in the story, obviously, not only from the Good Horse, but from the Brilliant Bull herself, who frequently gets furious with the Bad Piggy for being the naughtiest piggy in town, but I think it's important for your heroines to have flaws. It makes them more bovine.

Anyway, it's basically escapist literature (for which the bull wins a prize, and receives a medal and a rosette), but for sheer long-winded excitement, it can't be beaten. To be honest, I wasn't quite so keen on the sequel, which I felt was just a cynical attempt to cash in on Christmas and sell a bit of merchandise (although the pens decorated with flowers, holly and poppies sound quite good), but overall I think it's a franchise with legs.

Of course, any good story needs a good storyteller, so it helps to employ a professional...

She basically just keeps making stuff up until everyone falls asleep. I employ the same technique with this blog.


Phil's Mum said...

Well, it certainly sent ME to sleep.  I wonder who she takes after.

Chappers said...

I'd really like the narrator's phone number just so that I can clarify just how naughty the piggy is. It's not clear enough.

Phil said...

I think the piggy was about as naughty as the horse was furious. It's semi-autobiographical.

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