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Powerpoint: Let's get sisterly


Oh dear. I seem to have offended some of the sisterhood. It wasn't too difficult. All I had to do was be a bit rude about a play made up of monologues about rude bits, and be tongue-in-cheek about a television programme which is entirely tongue-in-cheek.

At least I thought that was point of Xena. Apparently not.

Apparently, Xena is educational. One outraged fan told me it teaches us "the warmth of love, the comfort of friendship, the satisfaction of a good deed, the serenity of mercy, and the wisdom to see the greater good".

The trouble is that I watched it the wrong way. I am instructed that I must learn to "open your mind and your heart and take things as they are, not as you would have them be". And I am supposed to pay attention by listening "with an open mind, or maybe you weren't listening with an open heart".

Well, you learn something every day. I usually listen to things with my ears, which in turn make some obviously dubious connection with my brain.

But, hey sisters, I'm open to new ways of doing things. Next time I watch the telly, I'll try standing on my head with acupuncture needles stuck in the soles of my feet and see whether that makes any difference.

But I have learned my lesson: muck around with the sensitive feelings of Xena fans and you'll get a flan dish through your window.

Or worse. And I only discovered this carrying out research, your honour, honest, your name ends up becoming a link to various websites featuring very rude bits. Something about midget sex. See how touchy the sisters can be?

A colleague once interviewed Xena's blonde sidekick who talked about the peculiar behaviour of fans at Xena conferences. A few of them, she said mildly, took it just a little too far. A few of them, she said, seemed to blur the fantasy with reality.
The fans (rather demonstrating her point) were outraged. They refused to believe that Gabrielle could have said such terrible things about her fans. My colleague had obviously made it all up because she was an enemy of the sisterhood. She got three flan dishes and a flaming wonder bra through her window.

We don't go out much any more, which forces us to stay in and watch television. Sometimes we watch it with our eyes. Lately, I've been making an effort to watch only feminist television given that, according to the sisters, I need re-educating.

Fortunately, that well-known celebration of girly bonding has returned for a 21st-century outing. The all new Absolutely Fabulous (TV One, Tuesday, 8.35pm) looks pretty much like the all old Absolutely Fabulous except that Edina has bought a new fridge which is entirely stacked with bottles of bubbly. In the old Ab Fab the bottles had to jostle for space with the odd bottle of perfume.

The first two episodes were dire (and don't bother writing in girls, it's only television): crass and unfunny, like a series of unrelated skits. But I quite liked last week's episode. Edina decided to lose weight and employed her own personal boot-camp-of-one trainer. It was doomed to fail - this is the woman who got stuck on the revolving belt at Yo! Sushi because if they don't want you to eat it why do they keep it going round? To continue my re-education I signed up for Smack the Pony (Tuesday, TV3, 10.10pm.) It sounds like something you might find on my website, but it's actually feminist comedy. I knew this because they had a skit showing two women walking dogs.  The dogs ignored each other; the women growled and snarled at each other as they passed. Don't ask me why this was funny, but it was. And I can't think what, but it reminded me of something ...