Wednesday 17 January 2018

Anna Nolan: So, here's what happened when I asked my family to do a 'Vote Yes' clip

Some of those behind the Yes Vote campaign.
Some of those behind the Yes Vote campaign.
Yes Equality
Amy Schumer
Darren Kennedy
Jennifer Maguire

I had the pleasure of spending lots of time with my family over the past week.

There was a confirmation, where we all gathered for my nephew Callum's special day in the Court Yard in Leixlip. We ate yummy food, drank lots of Diet Coke and scoffed a delicious cake.

The kids ran in circles with all the sugar and we nattered non-stop (also from the sugar) until it was time to go.

Then on Friday night myself and some of my sisters went to see another nephew of mine, Cameron, play with his band Havar in the Academy on Middle Abbey Street. (They are bloody good by the way).

We were the aunties, and mother, with attitude, trying not to look twice everyone else's age, yet not afraid to wolf whistle at the poor lad.

But my favourite gathering was on Thursday. My mother, my sisters Mary, Jane, Rachel and Eleanor and my nephew Cameron all arrived at Mary's house in Rathfarnham at 6pm.

Everyone looked fabulous. Mam was wearing a beautiful turquoise top and her hair looked amazing.

My sisters had rushed from work and home, across rush hour traffic, to be there on time. They were all a little nervous, but they wanted to be there.

You see, I offered my family up. I put them forward, suggested they would be willing participants. I pitched them for something.

Although I was hoping they might say yes, I was so moved and impressed that they gathered with such enthusiasm and happiness.

I offered my family to be filmed in a video for the 'Yes Equality' campaign.

The campaign wanted a large family sitting around a dinner table and for the parent (my mother) to talk about why equality was important to them.

My sisters brought photos of their weddings. My mother brought photos of us all as children.

As we sat down, we didn't quite know what would be said.

It turns out that my mother was the star of the video. As Joanne McGrath, the director, asked her some questions, she spoke such kind, wise and witty words.

She laughed about how, as children, we would all slag her for favouring Kevin, the only boy out of seven children. But then she went on to say that we were all equal as children and that we are all equal now.

Her wish, if I so wanted it, would be for me to have the opportunity to get married, like my other siblings.

I cannot tell you how proud, moved and happy I was that my family turned up for this shoot. To have people close to you support who you truly are is incredibly special.

I would like to thank every one of them for saying, out and proud, a big emphatic 'Yes' to marriage equality.

The video should be up soon. I will post it on my Facebook and Twitter page so you can all see my mother and family be simply inspiring.


Men and women turn 40 every single day, but not in the same way

There's a brilliant sketch by Amy Schumer (my new favourite comedian) in which she is out walking in a park and comes across three women having a picnic at a table.

The three are Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. They are gathered to celebrate the end of an era for Julia. She has reached the age where Hollywood sees her as "un-f***able" and so they toast her and send her off on a boat.

It's funny, but not funny. Women over a certain age are not allowed to be sexy on the big screen. If they are, its usually a comedy (Meryl Streep in It's Complicated) or she's a psycho (Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction).

But a romantic film about a new relationship with a woman in her 40s or 50s is unlikely.

Amy Schumer

Amy Schumer

So it's no wonder that men and women feel differently about reaching the milestone ages. This week we had two celebs talking about stepping out of their 30s and hitting the big Four O.

David Beckham and Kate Winslet, are both in the limelight and the messages we are getting is sadly predictable. David is supposedly planning the party of a lifetime - flying Tom Cruise over to Marrakesh, and inviting others such as Gordan Ramsay, Gary Neville, Liv Tyler.

On the other hand, reports about Kate Winslet's upcoming 40th state that she has "never felt more confident and happy". It would be unthinkable that a report on a successful male celeb would state that he's never felt more confident. We would presume that. He wouldn't have to justify getting older.

So who puts this pressure on women? Is it women themselves? Is it the fashion industry? Is it men? I don't know. Society doesn't take kindly to nature taking its course on the female body. While men can have grey hair and lines galore, women dye their locks and paint their faces. Sad but true.

My style might not be a winning one

I had a dream the other night. I was accepting an award. Not just any award, but the VIP Style Award. I have always secretly wanted to win one.

This year I couldn't make it to the ceremony - attended by, among others, Jennifer Maguire (left) and Darren Kennedy (inset) - so it must have been on my mind. So anyway, in my dream I am wearing a really beautiful evening dress. But I take off my bra cos my boobs are killing me.

Then my name is called out and I have to walk up to collect my award with my arms folded. But the photographers are telling me to undo my arms.

Darren Kennedy

Darren Kennedy

I have to make a quick decision - do I keep my arms folded under my boobs or do I look proud, stretch out my arms and let my bosom reach a new low.

I do the latter, feel liberated and all the photographers point and laugh. I think that's a sign I might never win at the Style Awards...

Now where did I put my runners?

I love how popular running has become. We had the Samsung Night Run here and the London Marathon over weekend.

Of course, the women of Ireland are currently in training for the Women’s Mini Marathon on the June Bank Holiday Monday.

People are running for so many reasons – to keep fit, to overcome personal struggles, to raise money for charity, to raise awareness for campaigns. I see running groups all over Dublin and it is a wonderful sight.

Now all I need to do is start doing it again!

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