Rosie Barton is a contributing London-based writer.

There is nothing us Londoners like to complain about more than our commute – besides the weather, of course, (although that’s a universally British protestation, not just restricted to those in the Big Smoke). And who can blame us with temperatures reaching 40 degrees plus down there in that soot-ridden, mouse-infested, hyperventilation-hole we affectionately call the London Underground. However, with a book or a podcast, the sweaty slog spent under a stranger’s armpit on the Viccy line will become quite the morning of leisure and delight

The first of this new series kicks off with a topical read by Esther Freud, Margaret DrabbleSophie Mackintosh and other female writers, alongside audible waves by Bad Feminists Film Club...

Last week an article in The Times nearly put a very large spanner in the (proverbial water) works. It declared that wild swimming is practically no better for you than swimming in a puddle – in fact, you might even be better off rolling about in your nearest miniature quagmire than taking a tranquil dip in your preferred river or pond.

It’s sad news indeed for those of a whimsical, frollocking persuasion who will dive headfirst into any body of water, without checking the temperature or depth. Just like so many of the great joys in life: letter writing, the dial-up tone and Furbies, this delightful pursuit looks set to fall fallow to the woes of modern times plagued by Amazon Alexas and plastic… But, here I put my foot down, and by way of defending my favourite pursuit on earth from the cynical
Times writer of “Why Wild Swimming Will Kill You” (an exaggerated title; I believe the line they went for was “No River in England is Safe!”, which plays around a similar dramatic note), I propose one and all should read this delightful collection of essays by women from all walks of life, to all of whom, the Kenwood Ladies Pond holds a special place in their potentially Weil’s diseased hearts. 

Just like the little lake itself, after the very first dip into At the Pond, you will be a wild swim convert and be drinking from puddles before you know it. Either that or people will take seriously what The Times investigation says and the ponds will be emptier and more tranquil than ever – win-win, I’d say. But seriously, let At the Pond’s personal reminiscences of wonder and bliss wash over you and inspire us all to get back to nature. Anyway, don’t all the fun things in life come with a little danger and a slight risk of Hepatitis A?

Click here to discover At the Pond: Swimming at the Hampstead Ladies’ Pond.


On the advent of Tarantino’s ninth or tenth film (depending on how you separate your Kill Bill’s), what could be more apt than Sarah Barson and Kelly Kauffman’s discussion of Once Upon a Time In Hollywood, on their bi-monthly podcast, Bad Feminist Film Club. Taking its name and inspiration from Roxanne Gay’s book of the same title, the two dissect their favourite films from nerdy appreciation of lighting angles to whether Brad Pitt and Leonard DiCaprio are “more than brothers, but not quite wives”, with the overall aim to come to a conclusion about where the movie slots into the feminist chart (if we use some Disney crackers to mark the bench, in the top ten would be Moana and the silenced, hair-combing Little Mermaid would surely come in last at 100). 

For something honing in on Film and Feminism, this podcast had the potential to comprise of elitist, swashbuckling, incomprehensible drivel, intent on ostracising it’s non-filmically educated audience. However, this couldn’t be further from the reality of Barson and Kauffman’s broadcasting style. As they themselves put it, they are simply “two nerds trying to reconcile their love of movies with their nobler feminist convictions”. What’s not to love?

This episode provides much to sink your teeth into with Tarantino not having the best rep’ when it comes to his portrayal of women and the ever-present male gaze, yet this is offset by statements from the girls like: “creds to Tarantino for not strangling any women in this one…”. So, if you're looking to widen your Hollywood horizon’s with plenty of LOL’s along the way, this one's for you! As Diana Ross and Marvin Gay said so well “Stop, look and Listen (to this podcast)”.

Click here to tune into episode 53 of Bad Feminist Film Club.

Also on Because 

Meet Dörte de Jesus – last week's #WomanCrushWednesday nomination.

Embark on a multi-sensory journey inside Hackney's Earl of East.

+ There's still (just over) two weeks of August left! Let us arrange your cultural calendar.