A BOOK REVIEW: WOMEN’S HOSPITALS IN BRIGHTON AND HOVE

(The original book cover can be found here, this is the cover I have and I like it.)

Edited to add later: You can tell this book was written by a person that really considers the construction of sentences – almost every page has a beautifully written sentence that you could remove from it’s context and put in one of those foil LIVE LAUGH LOVE prints. I’ve just highlighted some favourites:

“The Green crevasse of Devil’s Duke was a favourite place for picnics and could be easily reached by train; bandstands belted out favourite melodies in the sunshine by the beach and there were large numbers of public houses, pimps, pickpockets and prostitutes of both sexes.”
p.5 #architecture #alliteration-that-doesn’t-piss-me-off

“the married woman did not exist as an individual”
p.16 #legalhistoryofbritain #subtlerage #butnottoomuch

“the distant feminine ferment”
p.18 #again,alliteration #condensedwomanistrage #sentences-condensed-specifically-to-avoid-masked-male-ADHD-or-nagging-or-male-confusion

 I mean. They’re just arty sentences aren’t they, worthy of highlighting. Brown takes heavy subject matter and articulates it in a way that is not imposing (there is a lot of subtle anger towards the patriarchy but she glosses over it so men can read it without hating themselves too much) 

and actually enjoys literature as an art form. It is a really entertaining read for anyone who is interested in British history (so far, a lot about the Victorians), British architecture and also who needs help writing a decent feminist essay because the sentences are that fucking perfect

When I first arrived to Brighton I was appalled at the rudeness of the locals who would say things like “the hospitals da’an the road”, as if to say “I know what happened to you and I’m so misinformed I think I have the right to say things like that” (a silent “thanks for toilet training me, I’m already taking you for granted.” entirely avoided because that rudeness inspired insult and shock, it was intended to and it did.)

I’m reading a book about Women’s Hospitals in Brighton and Hove, by resident Val Brown (I’d imagine that to write such a controversial book you’d assume/adopt a moniker, and that there would have been great lengths taken to prevent it’s publication) and it’s written so far – at six pages and an appendix in, like a beautiful novel. I have never enjoyed someone describing architecture like this, nor has a writer ever written the nature of a town that actually compelled me to google map the address.

I can tell that the author is a humble person, and that she sees potential in the architecture of her town that honours it’s original designers. You’d perhaps be inclined to think that she does the architecture of her town a lot of poetic justice but it is so wonderful to consider a person who has a town that she can call home and regard it with so much love. A likeable person did not author this book, I can tell that much in the few pages that I have read. (But she’s probably a white, British person for a few generations so my most determined of anonymous stalkers can give her a chance too, maybe they will learn something.)

I’ve learned a word I will now employ the use of if I get into a mood

‘tenements’

to describe a block of flats. It is also a fancy word. I mean it works both ways. I can use it angrily or I can use it non-angrily and it remains effortlessly elegant, like the author’s writing style.

Apparently though: Brighton was a liberal town, with numerous red light districts that spanned across the wealthier and poorer districts therewith and it was proudly liberal until the latter end of the 1800s when conservatives (both male parties and female, I would never have thought so) were invited to positions of local council.

You’d think conservatives would hate me but actually my family did a lot for your country’s faux royal family and a lot of them, conservative. I’m not. My politics are pretty liberal (because I believe that cannabis should be legalised, if only because most people that smoke cannabis are in very serious pain of some kind – and sometimes you realise you are in physical pain by first acknowledging that you are in psychic or emotional pain. Cannabis is a ritualistic drug that probably could also work wonders for counsellors and psychiatrists who will have to evolve the nature of their profession to an EXCHANGE of trust and information rather than monologues that can endanger their patients, and note taking that can be influenced by feelings of envy and jealousy unacknowledged by the doctors and nurses making them.) but my personality is conservative and so any attempt at being a balanced person really does not make me ‘centered’ either.

Apparently a lot of the hospitals in this town were founded by women, who banded together so that there could be affordable dispensaries that offered locals affordable healthcare. One of those buildings is apparently owned by a solicitor’s now. But Brown’s description of the building was what compelled me to look, actually. She sees the magic in Brighton that I’ve sort of stopped seeing, because the locals are rude. (I lose track of which blonde someone might be defending but it is always, always poorly motivated and always insultingly stupid. And often the people who ‘defend’ the blonde, end up making her situation much worse because if I don’t like someone – it is never without a very good reason. And rarely without my having tried to like them first.)

There’s this bit at the back of the book “the struggle for women to forge a place in public life” and that, is actually what compelled me to buy the book. The concluding sentence. Being ganged up on, from country to country to four street town to town – by people who wanted to be popular – to the point that they could perpetuate some pretence that they did not know I was being raped in that hospital, that I was being given drugs that I should never have been given, tells me that society is not yet responsible enough to remove individuals from their own autonomy.

My spiritual teacher Lisa once told me “if you kill yourself, your next life will be three times worse”, and that was the only thing that saved me from moments of suicidal rage. I know that anyone who has ever accessed that memory will share the belief: that there was no lie in her saying so, and the acceptance thereafter that the idea my life could’ve been relived – and – fuck, three times worse? I spent time with PTSD, I’ve even been told I had ‘psychosis’ (I didn’t, I should’ve been left to the care of a spiritual teacher – and I wasn’t. And I think it was on purpose.) – and the reality of that truth with the sincerity on her face when she said so was more sobering than any ‘reality check’ soliloquy of my entire life. If someone has seen that memory, if they then kill themselves – they were mind controlled to do so.

Hosting briefly, that baby bird, that was determined to throw herself into my window just to attempt to jump off my balcony and learn to fucking-fly-already (she’s a brilliant flier and she does pass by my balcony at perfectly timed intervals – she’s alive and well) but I spoke with my angels, and they insisted that if my concern was that she wanted to kill herself, I ought to let her do so.

What really compelled you to get this book? I was being a dick. Because where I have proven I was only telling the truth, where I have proven that every blonde your British/Danish/EVEN ARABS DID IT society has foolishly defended (as if a single one of you, could do a better job defending that blonde than I could have) that was later found to be outrightly abusing me without fear of consequence, I know that it is not me that should be wasting tax payers monies in those hospitals.

And the findings of what goes on in those hospitals when the doctors and nurses convince themselves ‘you’re the only one that knows what you’re doing’, will affect the lives of thousands of people. How many other women, like me, are in those hospitals because their female ‘friends’ and ‘relatives’ were jealous and the men that they were manipulating used their male-insecurities to support the decision were defending a blonde – to be …popular…?

It is a good book though and it is not boring. I’m a good book judge.

Also I learned to consider that people might be jealous or envious through watching British period movies. My favourite novels have always been British period novels. Ironic, no? Theres this scene where Joseph Fiennes as Lord Robert says to Elizabeth that the women and men that surrounded her were ‘jealous and envious’ and that film was directed by an Indian guy and I really don’t blame my bird-friend for deciding that her first human form will probably be Indian.

 

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