Jacqueline Thompson doesn’t like men being loud. And she doesn’t like them being all … you know… man-like. Time and again Thompson reacts with barely-concealed disgust to any whiff of volume or testosterone.
Even so gentle a creature as Caimh McDonnell unnerves her: “His fast-paced, slightly shouty style can be witnessed on a number of blokey panel shows, she says. Gary Little is “proper blokey, shouting so loud that on three occasions a woman in the front row jumps in her seat.” Goodness. What about Ian Smith? He, surely, puts you at ease, Jaqueline? “His delivery can be a bit shouty … His resonant Yorkshire vocals have little need of a microphone in this setting … a few eardrums may take a battering.” Oh dear. .
Thus her comment that Gary Little (“ten feet tall and buff as hell, skinhead gleaming, deep voice booming”) had a “portrayal of women [that] is problematic” makes me wonder just how ‘problematic’ it really was, and how much reviewers these days are so imperious about imposing their own wee worldview. Not “his portrayal of women is anachronistic” or “questionable” or even “unpleasant in my opinion”. Even “wrong” would be fine. No, it is a PROBLEM. For all of us. We must do something about it because (I’m sensing) it’s All Our Fault as a Society that Little is up there expressing “horror at the thought of women not shaving their legs”.
It’s alright though, because Little gets away with a warning. “Little might be a bloke, but he’s a bloody nice one,” Thompson concludes. Still, though… a bloke. Ew.
Only Chris Coltrane properly allows her to relax her by being “a nice man”, which I hope will be writ large on his posters next year. Nick Coyle, meanwhile, is “handsome without vanity, which means he can pull outrageous faces”. Right. Well, watch and learn, chaps.
Thompson has a lovely way with words though. I like her potted summaries: Nick Coyle’s “is a weird, wheels-within-wheels type show”; “Ian Smith has a long list of things that get right on his tits”. Her reviews are similarly tight, but punctuated with pleasing turns of phrase when she isn’t moaning about the noise like the old woman upstairs. Sorry: like the young man upstairs.
Forgive me for getting post-feminist already, but Thompson rips up her membership of the Noise Abatement Society when women get loud. To Luisa Omielan’s Am I Right Ladies?, Thompson replies Hell yeah. “We need more comics like Omielan,” she says. “Bold as brass, ambitious, proud of her gorgeous, wobbly body, and, above all else, wonderfully funny. If some Hollywood agent wants her to lose twenty pounds, he can do one.”
Well, I agree. Completely. Especially if he isn’t even handsome, and tells her in a shouty way. You know, like a bloke would.