I’ve started a podcast! Episode 1 of How to be Sound is live now, on iTunes and everywhere you listen to podcasts, and I would love to know what you think. For those people with accessibility issues, a transcription of Episode 2 is below, so you can read along with the podcast if you wish!
In Episode 2, I chatted to Ciara Norton, whose interest in the environment is the reason I bought a Keepcup, about how we can be that little bit sounder to the planet. And more! If you like what I’m doing and you’d like to support it, you can do so at Patreon – and, if you donate at the $6.66 level or higher, you’ll get two exclusive Minisodes per month, as well as the chance to hear me read out your name on every episode!
Rosemary Mac Cabe: Hello and welcome to the very first episode of a brand new podcast entitled, How to be Sound, because, quite frankly, it’s something I’m still trying to figure out. My name is Rosemary Mac Cabe – I am a journalist slash, I was for a time a blogger slash social influencer (let’s not talk about that) and I’m now a personal trainer but I’m still doing a little bit of writing and obviously, now, I’m podcasting. On the show today I have Ciara Norton, who I have written here is an avid cyclist – although not right now, which we’ll talk about later – an environmental enthusiast and a soon-to-be Tiger Mom.
Ciara Norton: Thank you, Rosemary.
R: Hi Ciara, how are you? In How to be Sound, I really want to chat to, essentially, people I like talking to and have an excuse to sit down twice a month and have a chat, but also people that I think are smart and have interesting things to say about a variety of different topics. The reason I wanted you to do come on…
R: … is to talk about a topic that I think is really important, but also really hard to make sexy. It’s really hard to come up with a modern-day issue that is more pressing than the environment, or, what we’re doing to it and what’s going to happen. I follow a woman, Rebecca Flynn, on Instagram, I think you follow her as well – she used to do the Body Positive Ireland Instagram and Facebook accounts, and she’s very interesting, she’s very smart, and she was talking one day about how her son, who’s two, said to her, something like, “I would love to go and see the polar bears.”. And she said, “oh, well maybe we’ll do that one day” and her husband said, “well no, because they’ll be gone by the time he grows up.” And they both had this moment, going, oh my God, we’re ruining the planet… and it was a moment that I thought, Jesus, that’s really scary… but, at the same time, why am I not buying all of my clothes from sustainable fashion shops? You know what I mean?
C: Yeah. Why is the fact that the polar bears will be dead in 10 years not compelling enough…
R: Why is that not a pressing enough issue?
C: …to completely change our behaviour, or when there was that fire in North County Dublin the other day, the air quality levels in the city were, stay indoors. I downloaded an app called Breeze-o-meter, an app where you can check your air quality.
R: God, you really are very serious about your environment.
C: That’s just something that, like, why is that not enough to turn everyone into an environmentalist?
R: But listen! You’re having a baby! That’s very bad for the environment; how are you going to offset those carbon emissions?
C: [laughs] Yeah, well… I want to preface everything by saying that I am in no way an expert. I have no study background in the environment. I work for an environmental charity now and I have picked up a lot of my knowledge over the past couple of years. I read a lot… and I see a lot of, kind of, the environment side of social media so, just… not an expert! Basically. But I care! And I’m trying to change my own behaviour around that. But I’m in no way perfect. Yeah, I’m having a baby.
R: A big, carbon-emitting baby.
C: Yes, with levels of waste… plastic… and all kinds of things.
R: My dog just kind of nosed her way into the room there, she’s like… what are you guys doing? I want to come in!
C: So… babies are… Babies need a lot of stuff, or so you think. I’m currently trying to kind of bridge that with, you know, my habit of, every time I go and visit my parents in Mullingar, going to TK Maxx there and picking up something that just looks really cute or useful in some way, in the baby section. But, yeah, there was a… Lund University created this infographic and a study based on the things that we can do to mitigate climate change. And, the most effective individual actions. So, while you would think that recycling or, you know, the light bulbs that you use, and these are all huge contributors… they’re not really. The three top things you can do are… live car-free, which…
R: I do!
C: You do, yes! Eat a plant-based diet.
R: Uh, I don’t.
C: Yes, and have one fewer – one less – child than you planned on having.
R: That’s a bit vague though, isn’t it, because you could say, “oh, I did plan on having seven, but I only had six so I’m doing really well!”
C: Well, this is it. But because the more humans there are on the planet, the more of a drain there is on the resources of the planet… and especially in countries like Ireland, I suppose… I was trying to figure out what the current term for ‘developed countries’ is. I was going to say the global North, but it isn’t any more.
R: It’s so hard to keep up1 I had to explain to somebody yesterday that we’re not allowed to say Indians any more, for Native Americans, and they were like, what do you mean? I was going, they’re Native Americans… you can’t say Indians unless someone is from India! It was the most ridiculous conversation. I felt very woke.
C: I mean, you’d think that would be something people would know by now.
R: I know. And I was like, if they’re from Canada, some of them are called First Nations, but that wasn’t catching on at all.
C: No, it wouldn’t. But having a baby… My thoughts on the baby thing are, I will try to breastfeed and, like, negate the need for formula for the first couple of months. That’s if that goes well – if it doesn’t, I’m going to have to use formula and that’s just gonna be how it is. And then I’mgoing to use cloth nappies, which is going to be one of the more controversial things I’ve been saying to the older generations in my life who, I think, remember a time when their mothers or their friends used cloth nappies and there was a lot involved, a lot of soaking…
R: My mum used cloth nappies when she had my sister, who is seven years older than I am, and when I told her you were planning on using cloth nappies, her first reaction was, ugh! And then she was like, [in the Queen’s English] “well I suppose we all did it” but I wonder… I don’t know why I said that in, like, my Mum’s not English. I wonder if it’s almost because she remembers it being difficult and is like, oh God, I wouldn’t wish that on… you know what I mean?
C: I think that’s it. It hink there may have been a service in Dublin, and that’s if you had the money, I suppose, to use a service that would bring you your cloth nappies…
R: And pick them up? And clean them? Ugh…
C: Yes, there are services like that. New York has one…
R: Oh my God, you could set one up! You could become a momtrepreneur!
C: This is it, em, I actually hate that word.
R: [laughs] So do I.
C: No, the cloth nappy thing… There’s huge support groups in the country, there’s, I’m going to be borrowing from the cloth nappy library so, if you’re someone who’s pregnant or has a baby and would like to switch to cloth nappies, that’s been a resource that I’ve used and booked a trial pack through.
R: Wow. It’s so interesting.
C: It’s clothnappylibrary.ie.
R: I wonder what the crossover between vegans and cloth nappies is, I’d say it’s pretty high.
C: I’d say so. But then again, like, just from being in the Facebook group, not being a contributor, just a lurker, I haven’t… you know, I feel like it’s just people who realise that, in the lifetime of your child, this now, again, could be open to debate, but apparently you amass a car’s weight worth of nappies. Also, your nappies take between, from what I’ve read, between 40 to 60 years to decompose in a landfill. So, my nappies are somewhere, they’re in a landfill somewhere, if you think about it like that. And your nappies, if your mum had stopped using cloth, are somewhere.
R: I’ve never done a poo in my life.
C: I find that thought to be… so bad. There are compostable options, but they’re only compostable, you know, in your compost bin that the waste company takes away, not in your garden compost.
R: Oh. So… are you going to do that? Do you have a compost bin?
C: I do, yeah, I think they’ll be ones that I’ll get for the days when the cloth nappies aren’t working out, or if I’m giving the baby to somebody to mind. It’s not going to be something that I force on…
R: Yeah, like, you’re not going to get the 17-year-old babysitter next door to come over and go, here I’ll show you how to use the cloth nappies.
C: Yeah, though, they seem really easy, and there are so many different systems. I suppose, when it comes to having kids, trying not to become too reliant on my car, in ways I haven’t been reliant on it before. Cutting down on stuff, reusing, trying not to buy things that I’m told that you need.
R: Yeah, well that is the thing, isn’t it? I think people get into a panic… I suppose we get into a panic when we’re doing anything new. So say if you’re like – here’s my point of reference for everything – say if you’re joining a gym for the first time, we all get caught up in, what kind of runners do we need? What this do we need? What that do we need? Whereas, in fact, to have a baby, to move your body, to cook food… all of these things that are very natural and normal and everyday, we don’t need half as many things as we think we need. And also, things like breastfeeding… my mum is a very avid breastfeeding advocate, you know, insofar as, within her own circle of friends, she’s not on social media or anything, it’s not like she’s campaigning for it. She always says, the best thing for her about breastfeeding is, you don’t need anything. You don’t need to sterilise bottles, carry a bag around, you just pick up your baby and go wherever you’re going, and you have everything you need – maybe apart from nappies, a soother, and clothes, whatever. But you cut out so much of this messing around with bottles and bottle caps and sterilisation and Milton.
C: That is the joy of it. I’ve had, in the yoga class, the pregnancy yoga class, they say, to get the baby out of the hospital, you just need your boobs and a car seat, and that’s kind of how…
R: Surely you couild get the baby out of the hosptial without your boobs, to be fair.
C: [laughs] Well, you know, some way to feed it.
R: That just almost sounded like you’re going to use your boobs to transport it. Get your boobs, pick the baby up…
C: …in that special vice grip that you’re taught when you’re in there, but no.
R: Secrets of motherhood.
C: Motherhood indeed. That’s kind of the environmental side of, I suppose, having a child. But yeah, I do think, if you really care about the environment, that third or fourth child might not be your greatest decision.
R: But that’s kind of the big “if”, isn’t it? If you really care about the environment. If we really care about the environment, I’ve been thinking about all of the things we do. And, to preface everything… in this podcast, I want to talk about how to be sound as in, how to do shit better, while fully acknowledging that I’m not there yet. So, I know, and I know you’re the same, neither of us is sitting here going, we’re doing everything perfectly and doing everything great. Because like, you might have a really awful baby… touch wood! But you might have a baby who cries non stop and keeps you up, and you might decide, I’m just gonna use the shit-for-the-environment nappies, because you have enough to think about.
C: Yeah, I mean, I haven’t slept in four days, I’m trying to deal with figuring out what kind of cloth nappy…
R: Baby’s going, with me, to stay with my mum for four days, and baby might not end up in cloth nappies and who cares, so nothing is a guarantee. But I’ve been thinking about ways that we could be better, in terms of the environment, and like, you know when you go to Scandinavian countries – we always talk about them like, the perfect countries – but you go to Scandinavian countries and they have recycling bins on the streets. Why don’t we have them? What’s that about?
C: I’m not quite sure. I would think the reasoning is that you couldn’t guarantee that they would be used correctly without spending a lot of money on…
R: Sorting, a sorting facility?
C: Not even that. I think those bins probably do get sorted at some point along the way, but I would think that, if you were to put a recycling bin… you couldn’t guarantee that everything that goes into that bin is going to be clean, rigid plastics, like we only want to recycle in Ireland.
R: But you can’t guarantee that anything going into our recycling bins at home is clean… you know what I mean? There are no guarantees that we’re recycling correctly at home. And actually, I saw something yesterday that said that, when you’re recycling things, you shouldn’t pack them all inside each other because they can’t be sorted properly – and I was horrified! I always pack everything really, really tightly inside a paper bag. Do you sort all your recycling? I dunno if this is that interesting, but I’m genuinely interested to know, was I the only one packing all of my recycling inside paper bags, like… as tightly packed as I could possibly get them.
C: I know, filling cereal boxes! That’s coming from the new recyclinglistireland.ie website, which has a very big social media campaign going on at the moment, because the contamination of our recycling bins…
R: Because we’re recycling wrong?
C: Yeah… has been costing the waste providers a lot of money and, in turn, is making it more difficult for us to sell our waste on. So we sell our waste, I think, to India and China…
R: But China’s not taking it any more, isn’t that the news?
C: China, as of the first of January, they’ve banned receiving plastic wastes from countries like Ireland.
R: … that are crap.
C: We are the highest, per person, producer of plastic waste in the EU. We produce something like 67kg per person, per year… 61 kilos.
R: I would like to point out, Ciara has notes. These aren’t incredible facts and figures she has in her head. I would genuinely, if I was listening to this, and I was like, that girl really knows her shit… She’s written it down, don’t feel bad.
C: Thanks ROSEMARY. [laughter] Here I am, trying to appear professional…
R: You do appear very professional.
C: We are part of an EU target, to reduce our plastic waste by 75% by 2020. We’re nowhere close to achieving that, I would think, that’s two years from now.
R: Are we worse than the Americans for plastic waste, do you know?
C: I don’t know, because the figures I have are Europe-based. I would imagine that we’re not as bad as the Americans, but I would think we’re close to being there because, we’re moving that way, I think?
R: Well, all the shit stuff that we do, the high sugar consumption, obesity rates, we’re always the closest, both geographically and figuratively, to America, aren’t we? We just want to be American.
C: We really are. Culturally, we can sometimes be closer to New York than we are to, wherever, Paris.
R: Britain. Because we hate them. Not me, in general.
C: The thing with plastic waste is that, so the recycling list thing is starting to get people to think more about it. Because we’re going to start charging per kilo for recycling…
R: The pay-by-weight, when everyone freaked out about it?
C: Yes, that’s coming in soon enough. We’re going to be shocked and appalled by the cost of our waste. But I think a lot of the blame for this lies in the source of the plastic. People have been putting, you know, you buy a bag of rocket and you put the plastic that comes in, in the recycling bin, because you’ve been told that plastic is recyclable. But that plastic is not recyclable. If you look closely, you may see the label on the back that says, this is not currently recyclable.
C: But there’s also the thing called the green dot, that a lot of us might see on the packet of, say, chocolate we buy, that looks like a recycling symbol. We think that means the packaging is recyclable, but we’ve been conned into thinking that. That just means the people who make that product contribute to waste…
C: Yeah, so…
R: But aren’t there, as well, that some packaging will say, this is recycable, because it is technically recyclable, even if it’s not recyclable in Ireland, by our waste providers.
C: The greatest example of this, and the most popular right now, being your coffee cups. Your disposable coffee cups. Technically, they are recyclable. However, there is, as far as I know, no facility in Ireland that recycles them. And there are only two facilities in the UK that has the ability to…
R: …to strip them apart.
C: …to take the plastic out of the cardboard. So, yeah, like, when it comes to, I suppose, the recycling list is great because I think it’s hopefully getting to people the idea that it’s only rigid plastics, it’s only cans, it’s only those things that can be recycled. But if you buy a tray of mince in Lidl, as I did today, there’s a plastic film on that, that can’t be recycled, and you have to be responsible to get that plastic clean and dry before you put it in the bin. You’ve to take the plastic film off and, like, not everyone, maybe has the time to do that, or knows to do that, or…
R: And then, I mean, there is a very Irish scepticism about it. I think a lot of people are like, ah, does that even get recycled? Because there’s so little transparency – and I don’t mean transparency in that we need to see exactly what’s going on – but there’s very little talk of, where does it go? Does it go to China? Are there human beings who separate it? Does it go into a machine to sort it? I gather, from the, don’t put things inside other things, that it goes into a machine, but I honestly believed it was humans doing it.
C: I think, in some, in a lot of plants, there are still humans doing some sorting, but maybe the initial or end sorting or the sorting that bales of stuff together… I suppose, humans are going to make mistakes as well. They’re not infallible when it comes to the sorting, or being able to touch and see everything that comes through your bins. The ideal situation would be that supermarkets and food manufacturers cut down on plastic waste, in general. That they start packaging things in, if they must package in plastic, that it’s recyclable, and that we, as consumers, choose fewer things, in our weekly shopping, that are covered in a film of plastic.
R: Well… yeah, you know what else? We need to stop… I understand that this is for people who have lots of money and not enough time, but those people need to cop on and chop their own carrots. We need to stop selling chopped carrots in trays.
C: Funny you should say that, because I saw a tweet yesterday – and I know there’s always a tweet from someone who has a different idea on a generally perceived, common-sense idea that you have which is, you know what, chop your own carrots, but this was…
R: Oh God. Oh no. Was this someone who was like, I have a disability and I can’t chop carrots?
C: Yes. I have a disability. Ready-chopped veg is essential for me. And, yes, of course, of course it is.
R: Of course. And that would never occur to somebody who is fully… able, you know what I mean?
C: Of course.
R: Who has the use of all of their limbs, who can cut their own carrots.
C: I mean, you’re never going to please everyone.
R: I wonder could, remember in Superquinn, they used to have the facility to slice your bread for you? You could bring them up the loaf and they would cut it for you. Maybe we need to get vegetable slicers, you can buy your carrots in the packaging they come in, have them sliced in the supermarket for free…
C: Or that, you know, the ready-sliced veg you want to buy for time purposes, or for your abilities in that area, comes in something that’s recyclable.
R: Did you see the thing in Marks & Spencer last week, where they’re selling a cauliflower steak?
R: Where they’re essentially selling, for two pounds fifty, a large chunk of cauliflower… Now, it would actually never occur to me to cut cauliflower into a large chunk, put lemon and olive oil on it and fry it, and that actually would probably be kind of nice.
R: …if you’re having one of those slightly grim days…
C: …where you’re eating a plant-based diet, to save loads of carbon dioxide going into the environment.
R: I was a vegetarian for… I ate a vegetarian diet – I wasn’t a vegetarian, really – I ate a vegetarian diet for three months for that reason. Well, no, for a combination of reasons. The environment, and also, I don’t think there’s any way to morally defend eating animals. Like, we can’t do it – you just decide you don’t care enough. You just decide that you prioritise, whatever it is, your own health or your own tastes, and that you’re not going to care about the animals. And I decided that I did care about the animals and that I really wanted to be, essentially that I wanted to be a better person, you know what I mean? That I wanted to stop eating meat, because it makes me feel a bit shitty, about myself as a person. I want to be better and I want to stop eating animals and, three months in, I literally just was… so bored. I’m not a particularly adventurous cook and I don’t really like cooking, and I was really bored of eating stir-fries, but also, I was really bloated, from eating loads of beans and pulses and nuts that don’t really agree with me that much, I get kind of IBS-y symptoms, and I do seem to do better on a diet of… lean meat and vegetables, because it’s very original. But I just felt like shit. My body felt like shit, but I also was like, I’m a failed vegetarian!
C: But you can have days where you don’t eat meat.
C: And this is where, how to be sound comes into it.
R: You don’t have to be perfect all of the time.
C: You don’t have to turn into a vegan.
C: Have a meat-free Monday. Think about where the meat is coming from. Spoken by the person who admits to buying mince in Lidl today. Buy your mince somewhere you know you’re getting it wrapped in something that isn’t going straight to landfill, from a farm, locally produced. I mean, these are all really aspiration things, and not things that everybody is going to be able to do.
R: Yeah. And they’re also middle-class and very privileged… if you can afford it.
C: Obviously, yes.
R: But essentially, isn’t the whole idea, eat as well as you can afford to eat? Eat as much organic as you can, as much free-range chicken as you can, try not to eat battery chicken, eggs, all that kind of stuff.
C: But there’s still going to be a part of you that wants blueberries, in December, and they’re going to come from Peru…
R: They’re delicious! But I mean, also, isn’t it about, like, you’re not doing anybody any favours by totally feeling guilty and awful about eating mango in October.
C: No, you’re not. But, you know, maybe the next time, think about where the mango’s coming from and don’t have it every single day in your smoothie or, don’t have your red meat with every second meal. If you’re going to have it once in a day, limit it to once in a day, or three times a day.
R: You said that really like you were thinking about the mango’s feelings, like, next time you eat a mango, think about the ordeal… the journey that mango has been on.
C: Well, it’s been on quite the journey.
R: It has been on quite a journey. I’m amazed by how delicious mangoes are when they literally must be two weeks old by the time they get here.
C: It is amazing.
R: I’m sorry, this isn’t a mango promo.
C: Half of our fruit and vegetables, how they manage to be delicious when they’ve been flown halfway across the world…
R: Then I think, they must freeze them, but they’re still delicious! Don’t go anywhere – we’ll be right back in one second.
Rosemary: Meet Your Maker is a podcast about the people who make the things we love, hosted by Liam Geraghty. Season one is already out so you have a little bit of time to catch up before season two is released imminently. Here’s what to expect.
[female voice, Irish accent] “I used to write letters to comedians like Janeane Garofalo, and they’d write back really nice letters like, you’re so mature for a 15-year-old. In my head, I’d be like, I can be friends with Janeane Garofalo.”
[female voice, Irish accent] “All the heads of the studio were male, and we brought that up, like, why is that? Is it sexist?”
[female voice, Irish accent] “I always loved drawing, absolutely. I never, kind of, quit when most kids quit, at nine or 10 or whatever, I kept drawing, all of the way through.”
[female voice, American accent.] “You know, would you ever be interested in moving to New York, and I’m like, 100 per cent. A month goes by and I have an interview. Next thing I know, I’m moving to New York, from Michigan, and working in Marvel comics.” [laughs]
[female voice, Irish accent] “I leapt up from the chair, my hair was dripping dye, and I said, I have to make a phonecall!”
Rosemary: Subscribe to Meet Your Maker now on iTunes, or wherever you listen to your podcasts.
End of advertisement feature
R: Okay – the last kind of environmentally themed thing. I want to talk about myths, right? When I was growing up… when I was a young girl and I actually read the instructions in the tampon box, I was under the impression that you could flush tampons, right? And now I learn, in my dotage that, in fact, you flush them and they get filtered out and put in landfill anyway! I always thought you flushed them and they ended up biodegrading!
C: No. So, yeah, I flushed my tampons for many years…
R: I still do, sometimes, if there’s no bin. Confession time!
C: Yes. In Ireland, specifically, we have problems where, we’re kind of dealing with an outdated waste water system, and we have this system whereby, a lot of the waste… [dinging sound, where Rosemary hits a cup off a glass]
R: Time for the Angelus!
C: [laughing] …a lot of the waste in our system, food waste that goes into your water system down the train, tampons, other things that are flushed… If you have a situation where you don’t have a waste water treatment plant at the end of those plants, leading from your house, where a lot of places don’t, they’re just going straight into the water system. A lot of the time, if they get caught by all of the different filters… if there’s a heavy rainfall, or a storm, the water can go over those filters, because these tanks can only contain so much water, and you have a system whereby, in Dublin, when there’s a storm you have the waste going out into the sea. And, up until, I think it was the early 1990s or late 1980s, we used to dump our waste, from our waste water treatment, at sea. We would send trawlers out into the Irish Sea, miles and miles offshore, and dump everything that was flushed down the toilet. People were flushing nappies, sanitary towels, tampons, condoms, everything…
R: There’s a special place in hell for people who flush nappies, to be honest.
C: There is, and it is so prevalent. It’s more prevalent than you would think. But tampons are one of those things that end up getting floated over, on the overflow, the overspill on these tanks. And, if you go… I went for a walk on Dollymount Strand last year, I think, and I started noticing the plastic. Noticing the waste.
R: There’s so much waste on the beach.
C: At one point, my husband leaned down to pick something up and I was like, Kev, that is a tampon applicator. Just so you know, before you pick that up with your bare hands.
R: [laughs] Did he touch it?!
C: No. We walked away from that, that got left, at that stage we were like…
R: Maybe somebody needs to invent an MTV spin-off. Instaed of Ex on the Beach, it could be Waste on the Beach, where we all have a sexy time picking up waste and wondering where it came from. “This was once in somebody’s vagina…”
C: And now it’s on the beach, along with the cotton bud sticks… The message is, don’t flush your tampons. Wrap them up, put them in the bin.
R: Can you put them in the compost?
C: No. I did a bit of research about this, this morning, because I knew you were going to ask me about tampons, and from what I can see…
R: It is my favourite topic.
C: …even if you’re using an organic cotton tampon, there still would be certain fibres in them that wouldn’t compost correctly. Now, I don’t know, I wouldn’t be putting them into your home compost in your garden… You could, possibly, put them into the waste one, that Iw as saying accept the nappies, in a compostable bag. I would be doubtful that they would compost at the same level as food waste.
R: We don’t actually do compost any more. Greyhound pick up our bins and I think only last year they introduced compost, they said, we’re bringing around new bins, a brown bin, and you had to request one. And we requested one. But, essentially, it didn’t get picked up for about three rounds in a row, and by about week six it was rancid. You know, you’re like, that bin is full of food stuff and has not been picked up for six weeks…
C: It’s composting!
R: Yeah. And I eventually said to them, you need to take it away… I don’t want that in my back garden, in a big brown.. it’s revolting.
C: As a city, we have a long way to go when it comes to waste. If there was a community garden nearby you, I don’t know that there is in this area…
R: I don’t think there is.
C: Certain community gardens will take your household scraps.
R: There are a few in Stoneybatter, aren’t there? They’ll take vegetable peelings and stuff… That’s part of my… that I was really trying to be better. I was really happy, we get to compost, we put far fewer things in landfill. And then I was so disappointed. I might do it another go, apply to them again and say, look, send us another brown bin and we’ll give it another shot. Because we put so much stuff in the black bins, in landfill, it makes me feel a bit sick. That it’s all going to a dump somewhere. But, speaking of tampons, I tried to get off the tampon train and use a mooncup!
C: I was going to say, if you can, do!
R: And, I have to say, my experience of using a mooncup, as long as you’re not squeamish about the idea of getting your menstrual blood on your fingers, because you pretty much will get blood on your fingers every single time you change that menstrual cup, and I’m very sorry to our producer, Liam, for having this conversation right next to him. But, eh, if you’re not squeamish about that – and it’s not gross, it’s just natural, whatever.
R: It was great! It was so handy. It was the menstruation equivalent of breastfeeding. You don’t need to bring anything with you. I wasn’t tucking tampons up my sleeve any more, panicking about not having any tampons…
C: You weren’t paying for tampons any more…
R: No! And not wrapping them up, putting them in the bin… But then I had a terrible incident, which I have written about on my blog, and you can read it in all its full, bloody glory… my mooncup sucked out…
C: I was lucky to get the live-action…
R: Was I on the phone to you at the time? I think I was on the phone to Clare. But my mooncup sucked out my coil. I mean, that’s impressive suction, as well.
C: It is!
R: I think it might have been on its way out anyway, my body may have been rejecting it.
C: The small print, I think, says they’re not recommended if you have the coil.
R: Well, I didn’t read the small print! Because, like I said, I only read the small print on my menstruation things when I was younger and had little to be doing! Now I can be playing Candy Crush while I’m on the toilet, so I don’t need to read it!
C: [laughs] Yeah… em, the mooncup… it’s a flaw of the mooncup. Other products are available, other similar products to actual branded mooncups.
R: I wonder what the difference, environmentally, would be if you weighed up… I have the copper coil, and it lasts 10 years, or something insane. I wonder what the difference is, environmentally, between using tampons, and taking the Pill? Do you know what I mean? I’m now using tampons, but I’m not taking the Pill, because I have the coil. So, which is worse for the environment? Probably using tampons… versus the hormones that end up in the…
C: What I would say is, be one of the lucky people who uses the Mirena coil, which I had… and I mean, we’re talking about tampons and mooncups, but I haven’t had a period in quite a while.
R: Now you’re pregnant, you lucky thing. I had the Mirena coil fro a while, but because I suffer from depression and I’m on anti-depressants, I didn’t want to have anything… the Mirena is the hormonal one and the copper has no hormones, it just does something weird to your womb that’s better not to think about, but I basically, because I take anti-depressants and my moods are all over the place, I didn’t want to be wondering, is that the ostreogen, the testosterone or the progesterone, whatever it is, from the Mirena – so that’s why I have the copper coil. That’s the only reason. But I found the Mirena coil great. My periods were like a whisper, a little whisper – a candle in the wind. It was amazing.
C: It is amazing.
R: Well, I could talk about the thrilling environment all day, but probably nobody would listen, I’d say… Before we go, and while I have you… I hope to have you back on again because I’m sure there are plenty of other things that I think you are smart on…
C: Thank you!
R: … that you could come and take notes on, that we could talk about, but is there anything else, about the world, about culture, that’s going on at the moment that’s driving you mad and that you’re loving, and you feel the world needs to know about, or anything you wish would stop happening?
C: Em… yeah. I mean, I am finding… and this is, I suppose, another privileged position, but I am finding the constant revealing of men – male actors – that I have liked, being sexual predators, being really upsetting.
R: It’s very distressing, isn’t it?
C: I mean, I’ve kind of taken a break… I’m in that privileged position where I can just tune out of news. I think Dustin Hoffman has properly been revealed to have been…
R: Yep, he’s gone.
C: I really like Dustin Hoffman, and… I feel like, it’s just, I think, oh really? I don’t know what I was talking about yesterday but I was like, God, I feel like I need to Google everyone. One of my favourite podcasts, Call Your Girlfriend, they now have this thing where, essentially, when they’re talking about men they like, actors or directors, historically, they were talking about Jacques Cousteau in the latest episode and, while speaking, they were Googling to make sure that they weren’t speaking about someone who has since been revealed to have been some kind of predator, or to have assaulted someone, or to have been a rapist.
R: It’s so grim. I feel like we’re playing a giant game of Guess Who? And every time another one is revealed, you flip down another face. It’s like, what are we now? Jared Leto, Christian Bale, both of whom I adore–d.
C: Christian Bale?
R: Didn’t Christian Bale attack his mum and his sister, at one point? Which, hopefully, isn’t a sexual assault case, but still fairly grim.
C: Still assault.
R: Dustin Hoffman, Liam Neeson now… not having, that we know of, assaulted someone but, having come out and said, I think this is all going too far and, when you’re on a set…
C: Apologising, essentially.
R: MAN-pologising. Saying, when you’re on set, sometimes you do these childish things and it becomes a childish game or a childish joke, and you’re like, to whom? To whom does this become a joke, at which you actually might laugh, because I highly doubt it’s the woman whose arse is being smacked, every day, as a childish joke, on set, like, get a grip. Yeah…
C: You know, I’m not saying that I want it to end, because I want them all named and shamed, and brought before the law, or whatever is possible… you know. But, it’s…
R: I just want it to stop happening. Aziz Ansari.
C: [in a very small voice] What about Aziz Ansari?
R: [laughs] Oh… you look so heartbroken! So, em, there was a piece today…
C: This is awful. I am leaving!
R: There was a piece today on Babe, I think, about a woman who went on a date with Aziz Ansari and, it was one of those very murky cases where, she went home with him and he basically kept trying to push her into things that she was making very clear, through her body language – and also through her words – that she wasn’t comfortable with, and kept saying, slow down, I don’t really want this, I’m not ready for this yet, maybe on the next date, kind of thing, and he… taking out his dick and all sorts of… just all sorts of shit that…
C: What is it with men and taking out their dicks? To imagine I’ve gone through my whole life without presenting my genitalia to anyone who didn’t want to see it, and yet… Here we are!
R: That’s actually… can you actually imagine if you spent a day, as a woman, with a skirt on, going around and, every now and then just showing your flaps to someone?
C: In an actually kind of gas story, a local paper in a town where I’m from published a story last week, that I saw someone from Facebook sharing and it is that there was a flasher… this isn’t funny, obviously, flashers are horrible people.
R: We’re not making light of the flasher but, in local news…
C: We’re making fun of the local news that wants a “BEWARE FLASHERS” sign erected…
C: In the area….
R: …Interesting choice of words. Did they say “erected”, or are you saying “erected”?
C: I actually don’t think so! But there was an editorial slant in the article that blamed the existence of flashers on heterosexual porn. It was a bit of a reach, I felt, but, you know, it’s… you’d have to read it to really get the full…
R: You don’t see a lot of flashers in heterosexual porn, I’d like to point out.
C: So, yeah, those are the things that are highlighting my week. And low-lighting it. I can’t believe Aziz Ansari.
R: I know. I’m sorry. Aziz I’m-sorry.
C: Yeah! [laughs]
R: The thing I’d like to not have to talk about every again is the Irish influencer scene and the current scannal.
C: Oh yeah!
R: Scannal – does that mean scandal or does that mean film? Oh, that’s scannán. Anyway, there’s been so much shit, people setting up call-out accounts, we’re going to call out Irish influencers for doing X and doing Y and doing Z and I just think that we all need to decide that we don’t care about what these people are doing. I mean… I have had a blog, and I blog sporadically, and for a while I was an influencer, insofar as I took money to promote things online – and I happily would again, get in touch. I’m here, I’m ready, I’m available.
But the whole scene of it, and being, like, a lot of women who are essentially fashion and beauty influencers… and there is a whole question around, why is nobody ever giving out about James Patrice and James Kavanagh, and I think there is a lot of misogyny involved, in that people just love giving out about women who are doing well for themselves, because they think they’ve got notions, who does she think she is… but on the other hand, instead of doing all these call-out accounts, why don’t we all just stop following and thinking about people who are not interesting? You know what I mean?
C: Yeah… we’ve moved our interests in, I think, soap operas maybe, into our interest in our phones and these have somehow manifested into this obsession with these people who we don’t think of as real people.
R: No. And that’s something that kind of dawned on me last week. I was very wrapped up in this scandal, I have to admit, I was looking at it going, what’s going to happen next, this is so gas, look at this comment… and then I started thinking about like, why do I even care? I would not… and this isn’t me throwing shade necessarily, but I wouldn’t be friends with most of these women in real life, only because we have nothing in common. We don’t like the same things, we don’t share the same interests, we don’t go to the same places. They like…
C: …other things.
R: Yeah, but I’m trying to think of that song, like, they’re Xboxes and I’m more an Atari.
C: Is that Taylor Swift?
R: No, no it’s not, it’s that song, [sings], “I see you driving around town with that girl I love and I’m like, fuck you!” Cee-Lo Green? Oh, Cee-Lo Green! But we’re just so different and I don’t ever think to myself, oh that’s a great make-up tip. I don’t ever think to myself, oh I must buy that top. I don’t ever think to myself, oh that’s an interesting perspective I’ve never thought of. So why do I even care? And I’m trying not to.
C: You’re right, I think. I think that, you know, enjoy what these people do that you like. If make-up tips are your bag, then go for it… but if you’re just following for… not a hate, because hate-following is a completely different thing, and we all hate-follow.
R: Sometimes, and it can be enjoyable. But there are loads of women who are really smart and interesting, and talking about smart and interesting things, and I follow them as well – so why don’t I just focus on them? They’re not doing anything scandalous. Which is good! But maybe I just… maybe I miss the drama. Maybe that’s what I’m after.
C: Well this is it, they’re soap operas, in their own way, our little diversions.
R: Yeah, but I am just really sick of this call-out culture, and people pretending they’re trying to draw attention to what these influencers are doing, when actually they’re just dragging them down, literally just trying to bring them down a peg or two and I’m fucking sick of it, it’s boring. It is boring!
C: It is.
R: Thank you very much!
C: You’re welcome. Thank you for having me!
R: For being with me.
C: For your inaugural episode!
R: And for bringing cake!
R: You have absolutely set the bar very high for the next guest!
C: I have!
R: Who will it be, and what cake will they bring? That is the question. Thank you so much – how can people get in touch with you, if they wish to do so?
C: Well I’m private on Twitter [laughs] but… I might change that if I get a few follower requests.
R: You are the worst podcast guest ever!
C: It’s @ciaralnorton and I’m the same on Instagram.
R: At Ciara L for Louise Norton. Ciara Louise Norton. You can get in touch with me @rosemarymaccabe with an A in my Mac across all social media platforms or rosemarymaccabe dot com. You can email me info at rosemarymaccabe, with an A in my Mac, dot com.
Thank you for listening to the first episode of How to be Sound, produced by Liam Geraghty, who you’ll also hear on Meet Your Maker, which is another great podcast. And you can listen to How to be Sound, everywhere you listen to podcasts. I prefer Pocket Casts, that’s what I go for. Ciara, how do you listen to podcasts?
C: On the, eh, iPhone app… I haven’t put a whole lot of thought into it.
R: And our other friend Clare uses Stitcher, which I was surprised at. I thought it was something I heard, on other podcasts, but I didn’t know anybody actually used it. Kind of like Aertel… but apparently not. It’s very modern. Thank you so much for listening. How to be Sound will be out every two weeks, so you can catch up in two weeks’ time. Oh! And you can also sign up to my newsletter! Eh… I’ll tweet a link. Bye!