Pulse Festival Blog 8: Thursday 2 June

2 Jun 2016 Pulse

Suffolk – A number of unpublished letters to Jackie magazine’s infamous agony aunts Cathy and Claire has been discovered in an Ipswich attic today, leading to speculation that the anonymous advice columnists were, in fact, one lady – the late Geraldine Cooper, ex-teaching assistant and grandmother of five.

Here at the New Wolsey Theatre, we’ve been granted exclusive access to the rare haul before experts arrive to certify its authenticity. Here, we publish a selection as a companion to last night’s show by The Wardobe Ensemble – 1972: The Future of Sex.

Jackie Thomson Magazine Jackie 50th Birthday

Dear Cathy and Claire,

You might think this is a silly problem but I promise you it is becoming a living nightmare.

I am 14 and I have been going out with my boyfriend for three and a half months. Everything is going really well and he is an excellent kisser, but I feel really embarrassed to be seen with him in front of other people.

You see, he refuses to wear flared trousers, and only has straight-legged corduroys. He says that he’s not going to stop wearing perfectly good trousers just because of fashion, like he’s my dad or something! Deep down I know that looks don’t matter, but I just want to go out in public with him and not have people point and laugh.

Tell me – should I end it with him?



Dear Cathy and Claire,

Please help – I think I’m a freak and I don’t know what to do about it.

Last weekend I was in my best friend Janet’s bedroom with her, listening to David Essex records and crocheting, which isn’t out of the ordinary at all, when she started dancing. It was really funny – we don’t normally dance, apart from at school ceilidhs – so I got up and started dancing too.

But then, after a while, Janet gave me a kiss, and it wasn’t like a friend kiss – it was like a boyfriend kiss. And I thought it felt… just brilliant. But I couldn’t bring myself to look her in the eye so I got my jacket and went straight home but I can’t stop thinking about how I want Janet to kiss me again.

What should I do? I can’t tell anyone about this ever, ever, ever.

A worried David Essex fan.


Dear Cathy and Claire,
I keep having these wonderful dreams – like time travel – that are so fantastic that when I wake up and have to go to school or revise for my O-levels I’m completely distraught. They make my waking life feel so grey and repressed. All I want to do is break out of this mundanity and bring a little bit of my dream world back to 1972.

In one of my most common dreams, I’m in a theatre watching a play, but it’s so much better than normal plays. It’s like looking back on now, from the future. It’s incredible, like they’re saying that today – 1972 – is going to be a turning point for our sexual politics, and that Ziggy Stardust will make boys and girls feel able to be honest about their likes dislikes and differences. In the dream I’m always playing the part of the girl who becomes so disappointed when she finds a forward-thinking, feminist lover, but he turns out to be just as selfish in bed as the rest of them…

This might be the daftest letter you’ve ever received, but I’m so scared that I won’t ever be able to achieve sexual satisfaction and join the new liberated generation that I dream about. The thought is terrifying. Please tell me what I can do to empower myself? How can I break free from the chains of patriarchy?