‘He Do the Police in Different Voices’: On Speech and Language Policing

Jeanne de Montbaston

“And I’ll tell you another thing about the way women don’t Talk Proper …”
Filippo Lippi, Man and Woman at a Casement. New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to speak, as T. S. Eliot puts it, ‘in different voices’. We use language as an index of belonging. At the moment, there’s an idiolect, which I’d like to imagine would immediately tell me whether or not I’m in the presence of the sisterhood. ‘Silencing’ is the new favourite Participle Of Oppression for all parties. Fourth wavers talk about language as a form of literal violence. Radfems say unsisterly things about fourth wavers and bite our tongues. We all thank the goddess for Rebecca Solnit coining the term ‘mansplaining’, and Deborah Cameron writes brilliant critiques of all the idiotic pseudo-scientific arguments that all misogyny would disappear if only women would learn to Talk…

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No matter how many times she tried she couldn’t dislodge the eyelash from the sheet of paper. Every time she brushed her hand over it the eyelash got more and more embedded into the snow white sheet.

The eyelash was thick and black. Not dark brown or just dark because of being against the white, but black. It was like a jet black ink stain, a fresh tattoo on flawless skin.

Her hands grew clammy with sweat, and beige fingerprints started to form on the paper where she tried to lift the eyelash up by getting it to adhere to her skin.

She thought about getting a new sheet of paper from the pack but there would be no way to explain why she needed another sheet. She took pride in only ever needing one sheet to submit her designs, and asking for another would involve having either to say that she had made a mistake or that she had been careless with the expensive paper and damaged it.

So she incorporated the mistake into her design, picking out a long thick black eyelash for the other side.

You were meant to be watching him

by Lucy Rose Williams

You were meant to be watching him’ she said quietly as she passed me, carrying the kettle to the sink.

I put my black boot on the rusting metal lever of the white plastic kitchen bin and held a plate over its whale-like mouth.

‘I can’t bear to throw this away’ I said to her on her return journey, staring at the last piece of bread and butter I would ever prepare for his supper.

‘What else are you supposed to do with it? ’ She replied, marking the end of the conversation with a forceful flicking on of the switch.

The cheap thin white bread, once perfectly flat, was curled up at the sides, and the thick margarine, already artificially yellow from the outset, was almost orange in parts by now, with an extra film of jelly-like grease starting to form on the surface. It glistened and glowed under the stark tubular light in the kitchen, and seemed to be the only colour I saw on that monochrome day. The dated kitchen was lined with stark white cupboards, with different shades of grey trim on the handles, and smatterings of grey flecks in the formika worktops. Weary mourners leant their grey and black bodies against the pale cupboards, their duty coming to an end.

I wanted to keep that last supper forever, that bread that I used to be embarrassed to buy in the shops, the spread that I warned him about every evening at 9.

I wanted to keep it in a plastic box to look at every day. I wanted to use it as my punishment. I would make myself stare at it every day as a reminder of what I hadn’t done.

When they’d come to take his body out on the stretcher I had snuck into the kitchen to make it. I’d covered it in clingfilm and put it in the cupboard. It was the only job I had been asked to do. I had to do it. No matter how late I was.

‘It stinks,’ she said as she snatched it from me, clingfilm, plate and all, and dropped into the bin. She elbowed me away so that my foot left the lever and the lid snapped shut.

I felt for the spare key in my pocket.

I would come back and get it tomorrow evening at 9.

10 Things not to say to mentally ill people

No truer words were spoken. Big love to the Ramsay half of Ramsay and Rose for this piece.

Ramsay & Rose

by Ramsay

  1. “Have you taken your tablets today?”

Have you wiped your arse today? Oh, I thought we were ensuring the excrement of our human existence wasn’t going to affect one another’s day. Only okay when you do it? Got it.

  1. “Do you think you might have a split personality?”

So you’ve been diagnosed with Depression/Anxiety/PTSD and someone takes it upon themselves to google other mental diseases that they can prove you have, in your sick, sick mind. No, I do not have split personality. I’m pissed off like every other human being.

  1. “That’s it, I’m calling the doctor.”

Experiencing mild frustration that I’m not where I want to be in life, that my shoes are too tight, or my Uncle Nesbit asked me why I’m still single last week, is not a legitimate reason for you to get worried. I am not planning my suicide. I am concentrating on…

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How to make a cake for someone who likes Mykonos

  1. Get a cake board and cover it with all sorts of edible things that look like the shapes of buildings, such as cupcakes, ginger cake, mini muffins. Pile them up so they look like Greek buildings.
  2. Use jam to stick the layers together.
  3. Get ready-rolled icing and cover the whole lot with it.
  4. Get edible silver paint and paint the streets of Mykonos.
  5. Go to a fancy cake shop such as Salt and Pepper in Monmouth and buy expensive edible paint in a gorgeous blue.
  6. Pain the tops of the buildings with it. Miss Greece a lot. Get over it.
  7. Make a windmill with a few cocktails sticks/


Stick a tea light holder on it that you happen to have bought in Mykonos and there you have it.