Friday, September 28, 2007

Baby, I'm bored.

"Uh I don't really do babies," I said apologetically last week when a proud new Mum offered to let me hold the plump, squirming specimen that was the latest member of my extended family.
I felt self conscious and like a bit of an idiot as I said it. The maggot-like thing in the blanket was cute enough, for a baby, and I wasn't trying to make a judgement call on people who do choose to breed but I was telling the truth - I don't really do babies and I don't really want anything to do with them.

For a start I don't get them. Being a youngest child I never grew up with babies or learnt how to deal with them. I fear both dropping them and having them throw up on me, as my charming second cousin did the one time I was persuaded to hold him. Occasionally I have suspicions, too, that I'm caught up in a giant conspiracy because I'm honestly not quite sure why other people seem to like babies so much or what about them turns people into baby-talking weirdos. Is it genuine or are they are just fussing over Lil' Sprog because it's the polite thing to do? I don't know.

You might suspect, right about now, I'm just dead inside and have a piece of rock for a heart but I'm not a total unfeeling bitch - I have, in fact, been known to go quite gooey-eyed at the sight of a wee little kitten. Just thinking of it makes my heart jump a little bit and, many many kittens later, I still find the sensation of holding such a tiny little scrap of skin and bones in my hands quite amazing. By comparison I can barely appreciate a baby on an aesthetic level, let alone feel it rouse my maternal instinct. Babies are, at best, boring but sweet, like an unwanted gift from a well meaning grandmother, and, at worst, hideous, shrieking things. Biological imperative aside I can't see why anyone would want anything to do with them.

Of course whenever I tell someone I just don't want children they get a knowing gleam in their eyes. "Wait until you're older," they say. "Just wait." Then they give me the smug smile of superiority that makes me want to cut them.

And yet... it does seem to be the case that a lot of women who don't want babies when they're younger suddenly develop a need to breed once they hit 30 o'clock. We are, apparently, slave to our evolutionary drive and the desire to procreate. Well not all of us because there are some people out there fighting the good fight who would still rather push a pram into the Thames than anywhere else (tm S.H) but I don't know what their secret is.

Will I completely change my opinion of brats when my hormones get into line? Will I linger in the kids section of department stores, browsing over booties and weeping inside at the cuteness of other people's progeny. Eh, maybe, maybe not. But if my experiences with last week's little bundle of joy - and the sense of relief I felt when I didn't have to watch it feed/get changed/perform any kind of biological function - are any indication my biological clock is well and truly behind the pace and possibly broken. And thank Christ for that.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

But Let's Send the Troops in Anyway

Office monkey #1: I'm sure it'll be fine.
Office monkey #2: But what if it isn't?
Office monkey #3: Then it won't be.

Overheard at University of WashingtonSeattle, Washington
Overheard by: Office monkey #4

Transcript of the 911 call if I had been the one to hit George Clooney in his recent road accident:

Operator: Hello 911
Woman’s voice: Hello? I’ve just been in a car accident and um I hit a motorbike. Uh they look like they might be hurt. I think I need an ambulance.
Operator: Alright what is your location please?
Man’s voice: Ahh my leg.
Woman’s voice: Holy. Shit.
Man’s voice: (Pained murmurs) Are you um calling 911?
Woman’s voice: Is that… George?
Man’s voice: I think my leg might be broken.
Operator: Ma’am what is your location please?
Woman’s voice: I loved you in Out of Sight. Honestly. And Good Night and Good Luck? You. Killed.
Man’s voice: Uh are you even calling 911?
Woman’s voice: Uh yeah, yeah I’m just on hold. So um your leg is hurting huh?
Man’s voice: And my ribs… I think… they don’t feel so great.
Woman’s voice: I totally know first aid. Here let me make you -
Man’s voice: That’s not my leg.
Woman’s voice: Shhhhh
Operator: Ma’am what is your location please?
Man’s voice: Um can you… can you not-
Woman’s voice: You’re delirious, George, the pain is making you delirious-
Man’s voice: I don't- please -
Woman’s voice: There you go-
Man’s voice: I think I um… oh God. Uh you know my girlfriend’s still in this crash somewhere don’t you?
Woman’s voice: Your girlfriend? You son of a fucking bitch. I’ll kill you, I’ll kill you s-

(Transmission ends)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Why not indeed...

I do try not to link to Charlie Brooker’s very entertaining column every week, partly because I figure anyone who likes his stuff is probably reading him already and partly because it smacks of a certain laziness on my part (“I haven’t written anything good but um… this guy has so read him instead”). But I'm doing it anyway because I think his most recent column has something for everyone who has ever had to deal with a pissed off customer or reader. And, for those of us here at Community, that is pretty much everyone.
"Here's a sentence rarely used to open newspaper columns: why don't the vast
majority of people just blow their own heads off?"

You can read the rest here.

Just call me Gumby

It’s weirdly arbitrary and sort of stupid to think about what makes an impression on us sometimes. I read a lot of books, watch a lot of movies and listen to a fair bit of music but most of it doesn’t really make a significant impact. I meet a lot of people but forget most of them or blur them to grey faces in my mind long after the fact. Then every so often a line in a book jumps out at you or a song latches onto your mind or someone says something to you that makes you think and your reaction and response to the book/song/person is not necessarily in proportion to their significance.

I say this not because I’m going anywhere deep with this crap but merely to justify a self-indulgent post. You see very recently someone told me I should write a novel. I’ve heard this before because it’s what I always tell people I want to do (thus cornering them into a reluctant “oh you should um, like, totally do that” response) but in this case it was slightly unexpected. I blushed, I demurred. Seriously, he said, do it. I do realise I sound like an arrogant twat reliving past compliments here but the strange part is that this person has never actually seen anything I’ve written so it wasn’t as though he was saying my stuff was good - he was just… telling me to do it. And it’s off that slightly shaky springboard that I’ve been working my little fingers to the bone in recent weeks - writing, writing and writing. The story in question will probably die a little death soon enough and join the other baby corpses of would-be novels that line my desk drawers but for now I’m having a great time.

Anyway in a pathetically transparent attempt to draw together the strings of this poorly structured and egocentric post I say we should all remember we have the ability to make this sort of a dent other people’s lives. I don’t mean a Mother Theresa sort of a difference but the easy kind. I’m sure most people still remember random praise or criticism from past friends and strangers, the odd compliment here or the harsh word there. I can think of more than a couple of you, dear blog-readers, who have said things to me over the years that have had a real effect on me, or come at the right time or helped me make a really hard decision - even if you've all long forgotten what you said or did. I’m sure I’ve inadvertently hurt people with a flippant word here just as I know I’ve been hurt by people who probably didn’t realise it at the time. I wish I could remember, sometimes, not to take everything people say so personally and try to be a bit nicer to people around me in the hope that it might make an impact.

Anyway, next time: something not quite so kumbaya. I hope.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


shop·a·hol·ic: (n.) A person who shops compulsively or very frequently.

Do you know how many packages I am expecting in the mail in the next fortnight? Four.

Two of these will deliver to me books purchased through two different internet websites, all volumes I couldn't find in stores but decided I must possess. Another is bringing me the single most expensive pair of silk stockings I have ever almost-owned. Sure they're awesome seamed-and-heeled vintage-style stockings but how long before I put a ladder in them? I'm thinking a week at the outside. The last, my most recent splash out, is an awesome t-shirt. An awesome black t-shirt. With an amusing picture on it, yes, but nevertheless another black t-shirt to go with my 20 others. I don't know when I became a shopaholic but I'm fairly sure I am on the cusp of having a full blown problem and my internet shopping habits are just the latest symptom of an ongoing problem.

The thing is that I very rarely go on big shopping trips and come home weighed down with bags. I also have relatively cheap taste so it's not like I'm burning up the credit card in the designer strip. But slowly and surely I am spending too much. Certainly not enough to get into debt or completely erode my increasingly-meagre savings but more than I should. My failsafe justification for frittering away money on books, booze and clothes has always been that at least I don't have a crack habit. The argument being, of course, that if I had said habit I would spend far more money feeding it than I do on the relatively harmless pretty things I do buy. Uh huh. The crack habit argument is, I feel, a strong one. And yet after a few years of heavy use it's wearing a smidgen thin.

I think that the concept of shopping as an addiction says something about our society. I don't know what it says exactly but I imagine it uses words and phrases like 'consumerism,' 'spiritually bankrupt' and some other bigger ones I don't understand. It's an easy argument to make that people who shop too much are trying to buy something they don't have - and I'm not talking about a toaster or even a preppy cream twinset - but how does that help me? Sure it would be lovely to believe in God, I suppose, or to be an optimist but I don't see either of those things happening soon. Nor am I trying to buy either of those things, exactly, but what am I doing?

I suppose buy things because I want them and because I believe they will improve the quality of my life. That sounds sad and weird but it's true because buying these things, having these things, makes me happy. I could not buy that book, of course, but why wouldn't I buy that little piece of happiness when it's only $20? I could pass on that cute dress there too but then is $50 that much to spend to make myself feel good? The downside, obviously, is that I feel guilty for spending the money. I'm not exactly rolling in the dosh over here and it's hard to see myself ever able to afford the things that I want long term if I don't stop frittering away what cash I do have.

It's a damned if you do and damned if you don't sort of a deal, I suppose. I feel bad if I don't buy these things but I feel bad if I do. So what's the solution? To enforce a sensible savings plan and treat myself to the occassional splurge, thus making myself feel better in the long run because I will have stacks of cash to spend on sensible things like mortgages and a service for my car? Eh... not so much. Sensible yes but can you say boring? I'm thinking more like spend the money now to ward off therapy later. Sure I might have a hole in my life I'm trying to fill with fetching t-shirts, books I may or may not ever get around to reading and stockings I will inevitably destroy but, hey, it could totally work. And so I might never be able to afford that three bedroom house in Subi with the garage but at least I won't be so bored and depressed that I'll want to gas myself in said garage. Plus, you know, at least I don't have a crack habit. Hey, I'm just saying.

Why Milo why?

That distant twang you hear is the sound of my heart breaking.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Once a fucknuckle always a fucknuckle?

Those of you gifted with keen insight may know I couldn’t really give a crap about Shane Warne at the best of times but if I ever had my doubts that he was a tool the news that he’s screwed his on-again-off-again-ex-wife again has done it.

For those of you who don’t take the time to read this sort of shite, apparently Warnie’s wife found out he was cheating on her again when he accidently sent her a text message meant for someone else. She should probably be grateful that the message (“Hey beautiful, I’m just talking to my kids, the back door’s open”) was as tame as it was.

I know I shouldn’t care that one person I don’t care for has just taken another dump on the chest of someone else I don’t particularly care for but for some reason it has bummed me out. Maybe I’m getting older but I like to see stories about couples working this sort of thing out, not stories that just make me thing some people never grow up or learn to keep it in their pants.

On that depressing note I think I need some more Codrol…

Sunday, September 23, 2007

We could be heroes... just for one day.

Blame it on the fact that I am high as the proverbial on cold and flu meds but, having spent the afternoon making my way through series one of Heroes, I am now so excited about next week's (04/10 I believe) season return that I fear I shall work myself into some kind of a frenzy before the day rolls around. So in order to vent I have posted here two very good reasons why you should all be watching this show when it returns. And if the Heroes writing team would only listen to some of my memos about the inevitability of some kind of mud-pit battle between Peter Petrelli (Milo Ventimiglia) and Sylar (Zachary Quinto) in the course of which pants are removed then my life would all have been worthwhile.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Quotable Quotes: Paul Keating

"Because I want to do you slowly, mate."

(Paul Keating when asked by opposition leader John Hewson why he would not call an election immediately.)


I know they're not for everyone but I've always loved musicals. Growing up my parents took me to a lot of them and I knew all the words to Les Miserables, West Side Story and Camelot before I undertsood what the shows were really about. Musicals are great not only because I am a sucker for people who can sing and dance but because the most serious of issues can be rapped up in a three minute medley.

That much aside I wasn't really sure what to think about the movie Hairspray. The ads looked kind of shite and I pretty much hate John Travolta with the heat of a thousands suns. And yet... it was a musical and we don't get all that many of them to see. Quite the conundrum eh?

Well not so much because I probably would have let this one slide if it hadn't been the movie of choice for a mother-daughter movie night last night. I went in with low expectations and... I sort of loved it. It was cheesy, corny, frequently cringeworthy but it had a sort of relentless charm and self-aware cheesiness that beat me down.
Unknown Nikki Blonsky was great as the 'pleasantly plump' star, Christopher Walken always does it for me and even Travolta had a certain sweetness but it was the parade of male hotties that pushed me over the edge. James Marsden (Cyclops from X-Men) has never really appealed to me but when he hams it up he's pretty funny and becomes increasingly hot over the two hours. The same is true of Zac Efron who is so clean-cut he could put you into a coma most of the time but works well in a sort of 1960s way. New (to me) hottie on the block Elijah Kelley is also really good, working a truly awesome wardrobe and a truly heinous hairdo. Hottness aside they all look like they're having fun, which makes all the difference.
Like most musicals it's probably not for everyone but for campy fun and something that will make you wish you looked less like a deranged robot on the dance floor this sort of thing is pretty freaking enjoyable.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Lifts and Strangers or how I learned to stop worrying and love my ipod.

God bless the ipod. Not because I can fit my entire CD collection onto it, store photos or use it as an external hard drive but for a reason the Apple marketing people seem to have overlooked - the freedom to ignore people in lifts. This occurred to me the other day as I was wedged into the corner of a shopping centre lift while the woman beside me blew her nose messily and, ignoring the expression on my face, made small talk about how colds seemed to be going around a bit. My hands fumbled wildly in my bag for the small white device while her lips continued to flap uselessly - my ears powerless in the face of such an assault.

Contrary to popular opinion I do actually quite like people. Some people. Some of the time. What I do not really like is being confined in a small space with a bunch of strangers or semi-strangers and having to do that thing where you either make small talk about the weather and die a little death as you do so or else feign fascination with something in your bag/on the lift wall/in the distance and pretend you're unaware of anyone else's presence.

At my old, old job a couple of years ago we worked at the top of a tall building in the city (this was in London) so we had a lift. Actually we had two (and they were the fancy kind too.. or as fancy as lifts get, which is to say not very). As soon as the clock clicked around to five-thirty it seemed like everyone in the office was determined to make it home in the shortest possible time. And yet instead of getting stuck in the lift with the hot geek in IT I was inevitably sealed up in a two by two metre prison with one of the following: my boss, who called me Kay; the receptionist, wearing one spray too many of J'adore and a top designed to showcase the fact that she was still 21 and yes they're real thanks for asking; or the accountant who stared at my breasts and/or made jokes I didn’t understand.

In the days before my ipod I was forced to engage in the kind of conversations that made me want to cut the lift cable and take my chances with a twenty-foot freefall. You know what I mean: questions about your weekend with no pause for an answer; vague, probing questions that reveal they've forgotten every single piece of personal background you've ever revealed; embarrassed small talk when you'd both rather be beating your heads against the faux-wooden panelling.

The ipod changed all that. Putting your earphones in while standing next to someone else is, of course, unforgivably rude. But jamming them in seconds before you hop into the lift is, though still rude, in my books quite forgivable. I’m sorry, I intended the expression on my face and the shrug of my shoulders to convey, I would talk to you but as you can see I’m right in the middle of something here. I can’t take these things out on my own, you know.

At my current job I don’t have to take a lift at all but that doesn’t mean the ipod has no place in my life. When I arrive early to a semi-deserted building a pair of buds in my ears means I need only nod and not converse with a) crazy recycling man b) dude from creative who I try to keep on good terms with in case he one day slips a semi automatic on under his long black coat or c) creepy subs. A soundtrack of whatever I fancy also means that, walking to and from work through occasionally creepy streets and past often creepy people, I can’t hear a word they may or may not be saying to me. I see the lips move but I smile and tap my earphones. I'm sorry.

There’s a lot of guff bandied about on lame advertisements that seems to suggest technology can bring people together. To which I say balls. Not only is technology most determinedly keeping us further apart from each other I think it’s a bloody good thing it is. If I want to embrace my fellow man then I’ll put down my ipod, step away from the computer and do it. Until then I’ll just send you a text and keep the earphones in, thanks.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A Vice I do enjoy

I love advice columns. I regularly - if slightly sporadically - read's frequently bizarre but never judgy-judgy Since you Asked, the more prosaic Bossy and anything that else I happen to stumble over, the names of which completely elude me at the moment. The appeal is obvious - it's not about advice so much as it's about being nosy. They're like reading diaries or overhearing a conversation. And, as a certain friend of mine said recently, it's nice to read about people whose lives are more fucked up than your own.

But sex advice columns... well these are just the pits aren't they? I don't think I have ever read a helpful, well written or even slightly daring one since those early illict copies of Dolly were passed around in primary school. And obviously, in the context of that particular publication I don't think 'sex' column would be quite the right turn of phrase. But you know what I mean.

So how much would I love to see this sort of sex column in an Aussie mainstream paper.

Question: My boyfriend loves oral sex. I really want to please him, but I'm embarrassed by my lack of experience. How on earth do I learn how to give a good blow job?'

Answer: Oral sex is a matter of taste. Does anyone really want to put someone's penis in their mouth? That it is unseemly is not our fault. The fault lies with the manufacturer. God put the waterworks too close to the playground. Obviously, I have done it. You have to let them put it in, otherwise they won't come back...

(You get the idea but you can read the rest of it here)

The author - an artist/sometimes-writer called Sebastian Horsley - was fired from the paper in question (the UK's Observer) soon afterwards, partly on the basis of this column but most thanks to a pretty funny bit he wrote about anal sex, which you can read here. I think Horsley got it right with the mentality that advice columns weren't so much about giving practical advice as to crack a few jokes, be capital-O outrageous and try to incite some angry letters. Unfortuantely for him he incited a few too many, from the sounds of it.
Horsley, incidently, is the sort of person I think I should hate but who, improbably, fascinates me. Not bad work for someone I was only introduced to yesterday when a friend suggested I google him. This friend had, he said, been to a book launch recently and met the old boy. Because I'm awfully good and do what I'm told instead of saying "who the fuck is Sebastian Horsley" I did so. This was about the first thing I saw:
"Sebastian Horsely (born 1962) is a London writer and artist best known for
having undergone a voluntary crucifiction. His writings often revolve around his dysfunctional family, his drug addictions, sex and his use of the services of prostitutes."
Riight....And so on and so on. Spent more than 100,000 pounds on crack in a year. Self-styled dandy. Swings both ways. Slept with more than 1000 prostitutes. Uh huh hmm. Seemed like an attention seeking tool who wanted to out-Hirst Hirst, out-Wilde Wilde and probably wanks in front of a mirror. And yet... as I say I've sort of become entranced. Imagine Quentin Crisp and the Marquis DeSade having a kid and you start to understand. Pretentious as hell, of course, but it's a bit like what Thom was saying about bad movies the other day: for 'bad movies' to be good they've got to really commit to the cheese. For a pretentious wanker to be anything more than a pretentious wanker he's got to commit to it. Having yourself literally nailed to a crucifix is, I should say, commitment.

Sure, I'm not saying we should leave this man in charge of small children or, you know, electrical appliances but my god I'd like to have him as my own personal advice column...

Dear Sebastian: Lately I find I am bored with my life. Nothing seems to excite me or interest me in the same way. I think I need a change of scene or something new in my life but I'm not even sure where to start. Please help!

Dear Friend: Why not crucify yourself? And, hey, if a friend will document it with photos as the foot platform breaks, you pass out and practically fall off the fucker then even better. Good luck with all that.
UPDATE: SH's crucifixion is on youtube for those who can take it. It's squeamish but fascinating.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Christ - my knees have just gone all wobbly…

Fuuuuck. I’ve just done one of the scariest things I’ve done in ages and I’m still not sure it was the right thing to do. I feel sick, sad and somewhat terrified. I swear there should be excitement in there somewhere but maybe that will come later.

It’s not exactly a secret among my blog readers (but just between the both of you, of course) that I have been thinking about quitting in favour of an unexpected opportunity that has popped up. The thing is that I haven’t found the decision nearly as easy as everyone seems to have expected me to: I love my job, most of the time, particularly where I am now and the people I have met while I’ve been here. I enjoy coming into work and I am relaxed, comfortable and content with my work. And at least two out of the latter three are contributing causes to my (just made official) decision to leave.

I didn’t go hunting for something different but it came my way and I don’t want to regret not taking a chance and doing something that terrifies me. I might hate it - I’m definitely afraid I could - and I might be shite at it - another very real possibility - but either way it will be something new and different. It will certainly push me out of my comfort zone. Also if I’m brutally honest I’m not altogether sure that the whole journalism gig is what I want to do indefinitely. I think I’m pretty good at my job but I don’t know if I want to be doing it in 10, or even 5, years time. Part of me suspects that my latest decision might make my mind up for me on that, one way or the other.

All this is a semi-logical argument supporting my decision, right?

So why is it exactly that I feel like crawling under my desk and throwing up?

NOTE: This is at least my second me-me-me post this week. Um, it's not a new thing I'm trying out so, you know, I'll try to do funny or something sometime soon.

NOTE 2: Jes-us I’m not sure if it’s just that the pressure has got to me but has Julian Casablancas always been this smoking, smoking hot? Check out that side bar, dudes. My. God. I could eat him up sans spoon ...

Monday, September 17, 2007

Nobody associated with this film will be 'safe' if I can help it...

I would just like to say a big fuck you to everyone who was involved with making the movie The Safety of Objects, which has just stolen a shade under two hours of my life.

What a piece of shit. This film exemplifies everything that is wrong with 'festival' films. Pretentious, boring, long, contrived and generally up it's own arse this giant steaming turd is a sharp little retort to anyone who thought they'd never see a worse film than Gigli. At least the latter (though truly, truly more awful than you can imagine) didn't have pretentions of being a 'meaningful' movie. This movie was made by someone who masturbates to American Beauty, listens to Incubus (um yeah sorry Al) and thinks she's the only one who, like, really understands The Catcher in the Rye.

The fact that this film has (apparently) won awards only makes the whole thing that much more embarassing for everyone concerned. And 6.5 out of 10 on Are you voters out of your motherfucking minds? Oh it features a bunch of people with messed up lives does it? How original. And a 12-year-old boy in love with a doll? Gosh how wacky. All we need is a couple of malfunctioning marriages, a she-boy and Joshua Jackson and we... oh we have all that do we? Fucking. Awesome.

To anyone considering renting this pile o' crap please take my advice and find a less painful way to rid yourself off the will to live... self immolation maybe?

You bunch of clunes. Anyone fancy an ambleside?

I think the beauty of good comedy lies in giving people that moment of recognition so that, even while they’re laughing, they’re saying (possibly in a slightly irritating fashion and in a whisper that’s a smidgen too loud) “that is sooo true” to their neighbour.

Of course making these sort of jokes assumes certain common experiences among your fellow men and women and sadly the ability to a)identify these common experiences and b)be amusing about them is utterly beyond me. But I cannot think of a better illustration of this concept in play than the wonderful Meaning of Liff dictionary, cooked up by Douglas Adams and John Lloyd years and years ago.

For anyone who hasn’t heard of it, they describe it thusly:
“In Life, there are many hundreds of common experiences, feelings, situations and even objects which we all know and recognize, but for which no words exist. On the other hand, the world is litterered with thousands of spare words which spend their time doing nothing but loafing about on signposts pointing at places. Our job, as we see it, is to get these words down off the signposts and into the mouths of babes and sucklings and so on, where they can start earning their keep in everyday conversation and make a more positive contribution to society.”
If it sounds a bit dry check out some of the words this dictionary contains.

A liqueur made only for drinking at the end of a revoltingly long bottle party when all the drinkable drink has been drunk.

Of amateur actors, to adopt a Mexican accent when called upon to play any variety of foreigner (except Pakistanis - from whom a Welsh accent is considered sufficient).

The sort of fart you hope people will talk after.

AHENNY (adj.)
The way people stand when examining other people's bookshelves.

One who continually bemoans the 'loss' of the word 'gay' to the English language, even though they had never used the word in any context at all until they started complaining that they couldn't use it any more.

One who asks you a question with the apparent motive of wanting to hear your answer, but who cuts short your opening sentence by leaning forward and saying 'and I'll tell you why I ask...' and then talking solidly for the next hour.

A talk given about the Facts of Life by a father to his son whilst walking in the garden on a Sunday afternoon.

The irrational and inevitable discrepancy between the amount pooled and the amount needed when a large group of people try to pay a bill together after a meal.

One who has been working at that same desk in the same office for fifteen years and has very much his own ideas about why he is continually passed over for promotion.

CLATHY (adj.)
Nervously indecisive about how safely to dispose of a dead lightbulb.

CORFU (n.)
The dullest person you met during the course of your holiday. Also the only one who failed to understand that the exchanging of addresses at the end of a holiday is merely a social ritual and is absolutely not an invitation to phone you up and turn up unannounced on your doorstep three months later.

The moment at which two people approaching from opposite ends of a long passageway, recognise each other and immediately pretend they haven't. This is to avoid the ghastly embarrassment of having to continue recognising each other the whole length of the corridor.

Clearly the thing is brilliant but, twenty years on, surely in need of some updating. For instance I’d love to come up with a word to define the furious sound of emails being typed moments after someone in the office has said something either hideous or unintentionally hilarious; the moment in which you smell a truly heinous fart and have to decide whether to confront your suspicious-looking colleague or pretend not to have noticed anything at all; and the sensation of realising you have accidentally sent a bitchy text or email to the person you were bitching about a mere second after hitting ‘send’.

Suggestions for all of the above wanted but in the meantime some lovely person has put the entire dictionary online and you can read it here.

Only sometimes?

Courtesy of postsecret.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

A Perfect Day for Bananafish

"There were ninety-seven New York advertising men in the hotel, and, the way they were monopolizing the long-distance lines, the girl in 507 had to wait from noon till almost two-thirty to get her call through. She used the time, though. She read an article in a women's pocket-size magazine, called "Sex Is Fun-or Hell." She washed her comb and brush. She took the spot out of the skirt of her beige suit. She moved the button on her Saks blouse. She tweezed out two freshly surfaced hairs in her mole. When the operator finally rang her room, she was sitting on the window seat and had almost finished putting lacquer on the nails of her left hand.
She was a girl who for a ringing phone dropped exactly nothing. She looked as if her phone had been ringing continually ever since she had reached puberty."

To read the rest of J. D. Salinger's short story A Perfect Day for Bananafish go here.

The Found Weekend

I know this self-indulgent post is all just a little bit 'what I did on my weekend' but bear with me. For I think I have discovered the formula for the perfect weekend.

I know it's wrong but sometimes weekends stress me out. I often think that I almost get more enjoyment out of anticipating my weekend than I do out of the two days themselves. Basically I want too much. I want it to be relaxing yet fruitful. I want to see everyone but have time to myself. I want to have a quiet one and I want to get blazing drunk and fall down. Naturally this leads to me feeling as though I should constantly be doing what I'm not doing: when I stay in I wonder if I shouldn't have gone out and visa versa.

Yet this weekend I seem to have stumbled onto the almost perfect weekend, though I'm not entirely sure how. I put the details down here in the hope that I may one day replicate it.

Friday night is, of course, the drinking night and with a ballet, free booze and several miscreants it was all set up for a great night. And indeed it was, some random conversations and a greasy burger later, I was indeed fall-down drunk and collapsing into bed.

Normally this is a recipe for the lost Saturday, in which I spend the entire day limping from the couch to the bathroom and swearing to give up the booze. But, wether you chalk it up to the water I drank or the burger or my decision to ditch the RSPCA pussies for a few hours sleep,I woke up feeling good enough to nip out for breakfast and a shopping expedition. What's that you say? You want an afternoon on the couch with Star Trek. Oh yes. Board games and dinner with other lovely friends? We can do that for you too.

And today? Well I've done fuck all, to be honest. But in doing fuck all I have managed to catch up with my sister and Mum, get some much-needed exercise, bake (I know), read a bit and, yes, watch more Star Trek than is advisable for any one person. For my next trick I shall lay on the couch and watch America's Next Top Model while consuming some delicious, though unidentifiable "vegetarian roast". And I am assured the latter is more frightened of me than I am of it.

To me the equation looks something like booze + food + shopping + friends + extreme laziness = fun. E = mc2 it is not but, though I may be no Edison or Bell, dare I say I have invented Kate's perfect weekend? I believe so. All it's missing is a Monday off - sorry to break it to you this way Lindsay...

Friday, September 14, 2007

Actually I work in an abattoir - mind the entrails...

When I meet someone new and tell them what I do for a living they are generally reasonably interested. Being a journalist does, in theory, sound slightly more exciting than being an accountant (sorry Ben) and engineer (sorry Kym, Pete et al.) or “in IT” (sorry Andy).

What these people do not know is that being a journalist is, at times, a humiliating, frustrating and demeaning experience. Mostly this is because people are mental and, although in real life we tend to avoid these people, in journalism you frequently wind up having to interview them.

This morning, for instance, I interviewed a woman who was insane. Sweet and well-intentioned but possibly actually clinically insane. I had to interview her because she was making an artwork for a particular cause. A good cause as it happened. It seemed like a straightforward story that I would be able to start and finish before my cup of tea went cold.

It was not and it did not. Instead it went something like this…

I would ask her a (pretty straightforward) question and she would respond with a completely random and unrelated statement. Halfway through her “answer” she would either a) trail off into silence or b) switch to the second half of an utterly different response. For example:

Me: How long does it take you to do one of these (art projects)?
Her: Well I mean for me it’s all about the pioneers.
Me: The... pioneers?
Her: Well yes I mean it’s all about women. Pioneers. Take my grandmother, Elsie…
Me: …?

Punctuating this “exchange” was a serious of fruity coughs, sniffs and narrated highlights from the past 50 years of her life. The cost? Half an hour and possibly my sanity. The reward? A shiteful story that will go in the back of the paper and be read by exactly nobody. Anyone want to go back to uni with me?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Token Smokin’ Hottie: Bret McKenzie

When girls say that what they really find attractive in a man is a sense of humour they don’t mean Johnny Vegas. Personally, at least, a sense of humour in a guy is a must but, even so, when I say I like funny guys it doesn’t mean I want a big, jolly comedian with a face like a wedding cake left out in rain (copyright W.H.Auden). I mean I want Bret McKenzie, one half of New Zealand singing comedy duo Flight of the Conchords, where comedy and uber hotness collide in one scrumptious little package. (In the pic above he’s the dude on the right, if you couldn’t tell).

I have Lindsay to thank for putting me onto this little gem, which has left me giggling in front of my computer like a maniac (if you’re going you-tubing for these guys try “Boom, boom,” “if that’s what you’re into” or “Bret you’ve got it going on’” for hi-larity).

Comedy aside Bret’s big puppy dog eyes, lanky limbs and general scruffiness would probably be enough to make me fall a little in love with him (as that’s what I’m into) but listening to Bret (or “Brit” if you like) try to convince a racist fruit seller to let him buy an apple, refer to a girl as being “so hot she’s making me sexist,” sing a song for his girlfriend about what he’s prepared to do for her (not much, really) or watching his face as band partner Jermaine tells him about the time he put a wig on him and spooned him really pushes me over the edge.

The fact that he’s kinda dorky and wears a number of truly heinous jumpers throughout the course of their HBO show Flight of the Conchords only adds to the appeal, of course, because it give me the illusion that, geography aside, I could be in with a chance. Yes he’s an awesome musician and comedian but he also seems like he’d be fun to hang out with at home when you’ve had a blackout or something and have to sit around and pass the time. Of course, if it was up to me, ‘passing the time’ would involve some hard-core nudity, but you know, I didn't say I just loved him for his talent...

This is Your Life (sort of)

Finding something that really makes you laugh - not just snicker or recognise something as funny but actually laugh spontaneously – can be hard. With most of the TV shows, books or movies I find funny I’ve seen or read them so many times that I know when the jokes are coming and it’s hard to get the same laugh-until-you-cry result that I had when I first saw it. There is the odd new(ish) movie (say Knocked Up) or TV show (“sometimes I put a wig on you…”) that does it for me but the best laughs, I find, come when you least expect them.

So I was very pleasantly surprised by a four man show I saw at the Blue Room last night - even more so because I didn’t really see it coming. The show, This is Your Life (Sort of), starred some local comedians, two of whom I happen to have gone to school with. I’d done a story on it and it was billed to me as Thank God You're Here meets Australian Story. So it sounded encouraging but I was nervous about watching people I knew on stage in case the show was really bad and I would never be able to mention that fact to them for the rest of our natural lives. Luckily for me, and for them, I laughed. Rather a lot. And so did everyone else.

I've never seen much theatre sports but the concept - that the actors take queues from the audience and each other about what their next scene or song should be about - is a cute one and makes the whole thing feel quite relaxed and casual. It is almost as amusing to see them come up with something truly awesome as it is to watch them nearly crack up, misread each others queues or (in one case last night) do an impression of Dr House which nobody else onstage appears to recognise. At times it was all a bit too silly or it didn't do it for me but most of the time it felt like hanging out with some extremely amusing friends and not having to do any of the talking.

The show walks the audience through some of the seminal events in audience member’s lives, using Shakespeare’s Seven Ages of Man as a guide, so although it follows the same structure the content of each show is different to the night before and the night after. Last night we had a long (as Lindsay said that particular audience member had been waiting a looong time to tell her story) love story acted out against a backdrop of inviting ants, some creepy wigs, rock licking and a bunch of other stuff that made me laugh until I cried at the time but which is surely one of those you-had-to-be-there sort of things. I have no idea what kind of topics they’ll be covering for the remaining two weeks of the show’s run but if you want to find out bookings are through here.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I heard it from a friend of a friend...

I love gossip. I love hearing it, I love sharing it and I love the prickle of anticipation I get when someone says ‘oh you’ll never guess what I just heard’. You have only to whisper ‘did you hear about so-and-so’ in my vicinity and I can give myself whiplash. In many of these respects I doubt I’m alone, particularly considering I work with an office full of journos, who are notoriously and professionally interested in the subject.

The allure of gossip is obvious: we get to feel like we’re in the know, to bitch about or laugh at others and, when you get down to it, it’s interesting - that’s the whole point, after all. Oxford University Professor Nicholas Emler, who wrote Serpent's Tongue – a book about why we gossip – also believes there’s an element of self-presentation in all gossip and he’s probably right. I think we gossip more about so-and-so shagging someone from distribution or about why whats-her-name has not a chance in hell of getting that job more than we gossip about how lovely so-and-so’s new haircut looks or what good work whats-her-name has been doing lately.

Before I go on I should qualify, lest nobody ever speak to me again, that I don’t mean I have an arbitrarily big mouth and can’t keep a secret: where a secret has been confided to me, concerns a friend of mine or is potentially hurtful I can and do keep them safe and sound. (I mean I’ve never told anyone that Ali once killed a man have I? Oh wait…) But gossip of the harmless and trivial kind, ideally involving people I have no loyalty to, is like some kind of delicious icing-covered donut: not exactly good for me but delicious fun.

So to conclude: yay gossip, right? Well yes and no.

I saw the dark side of gossip recently when a very good friend of mine was the victim of the bad kind of gossip. Someone she knows spread a rumour about her - the insulting and very much not true kind - and someone else. The rumour was not only embarrassing but potentially hugely destructive to the people involved. It was also, as I say, not true.

But what do you do in this situation? Deny it and you’ll probably just ensure more people hear about it. The old no-smoke-without-fire idea will likely mean the rumour-spreading douchebag will just reach a bigger audience. On the other hand ignore it and people might interpret your silence as confirmation. Confront said douchebag and he’ll just get more determined to blacken your name. It’s a lose-lose-lose situation.

Fortunately for all parties concerned, in this case, my very good friend is more calm and sensible about these sort of things than I could be. She took the high road - alerted the people involved about what the douchebag was saying even as she put her nose up in the air and recognised the rumour as too pathetic to comment on. And kudos to her for handling it so well.

But what if I hadn’t known her and had heard the rumour from someone else? Would I have listened? Would I have believed it? Would I have passed it on? These are the things I’ve been thinking about lately and it’s not pretty. I’m not saying the whole experience has turned me off gossip - it would take a long time to break a lifetime habit - but it has reminded me of the fact that there most definitely can be smoke without fire, that not all rumours are true and that the person telling you about so-and-so and whats-her-name could well have heard it from a douchebag.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Shopper frolic

There are a lot of problems facing the world these days. And when I say ‘the world’ I mean ‘the western world’ so, fear not, this is going to be a blog about the pettiness of day-to-day existence in a capitalist society not, say, a whinge about the fact that, while I scarf down my second diet coke for the day, on the other side of the world people are going without clean drinking water.

So, as I say, many serious problems, blah blah blah. And one of these, by gum, is the sizing system for women’s clothes. Now, I say ‘sizing system’ but we all know the truth, don’t we? There is no system, there is nobody in charge and there is no way to avoid having to take three sizes of any top you like into the change room because you have absolutely no idea which, if any, will fit you.

I mean honestly: I’m as self conscious as the average girl when it comes to my thighs touching, my belly rippling or my cheeks dimpling but, for a start, can we stop it with the vanity sizing please?I know how wide my hips are and what size my boobs are. Finding myself swimming in a size 8 T-shirt does not make me think I have suddenly lost 10 pounds. It makes me fucking irritated that I have to leave the change room to find another size.

The only thing worse, of course, is slipping into what your head tells you is your ‘usual size’ only to experience the sensation of trying to fit a plastic bags worth of creme fraiche into a condom.“I swear,” you say as you wrestle with the zip, “I don’t feel like I’ve gained 200 pounds.” Filled with shame you drift out without buying anything, heading back to the shop where size 10 means size 14 and buying a skirt you despise just for the kick-factor and to ease your guilt about those two Jester's pies you had for lunch.

And while I’m on it I’d like to propose we do away with the whole small/medium/large system altogether. What do these arbitrary ideas about size even mean? Small compared to what? Large in what sense? As our population gets fatter are these sizes slowly inflating or are we just adding an extra ‘X’ in front of the ‘L’? Since when do people only come in three proper sizes and, even if we're sticking with the S/M/L can we at least decide what they mean and just how medium is medium?

Can we not just agree on what measurements correspond to what sizes? Can we not establish some goddamn order in this ridiculous charade? Can I not just take one freaking T-shirt into the change room with me and have some expectation that it will neither tent around me nor cling to me like a second skin? No of course we bloody can’t - that’s why the world is so fucked up. Other than the clean drinking water thing, I mean.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

The General

'Good morning; good morning!' the General said
When we met him last week on our way to the line.
Now the soldiers he smiled at are most of 'em dead,
And we're cursing his staff for incompetent swine.
'He's a cheery old card,' grunted Harry to Jack
As they slogged up to Arras with rifle and pack.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
But he did for them both by his plan of attack.
(Siegfried Sassoon)

Spiders,. spiders everywhere - under your couch and in your hair.

"The spider's touch, how exquisitely fine!
Feels at each thread, and lives along the line."
(Alexander Pope)

Oh sure, Pope makes them sound lovely and I know that in theory they're lovely little creatures doing a lovely little job but I think Charlie Brooker takes Lindsay's view of the eight legged buggers.


I have never tried smack and I've certainly never been a junkie so I can't say with much authority whether William S. Burroughs' Junky (sometimes Junkie and originally published under the pseudonym William Lee as Junkie: Confessions of an Unredeemed Drug Addict) is an accurate representation of the life of an on-again-off-again heroin addict. I can, however, say, it's fascinating stuff and not just in a car-crash-curiosity sort of a way. Burroughs, apparently, was a friend of Jack Kerouac's but while Truman Capote might have had a leg to stand on when he claimed the latter's On the Road was typing, rather than writing, I don't think he could do the same with Junky.

To read the full review see the CNG Lending Library site.

Friday, September 7, 2007

I mean I think Hitler makes a good point about Jewish scum on page 38…

I think it is more fun to love unpopular books.

And I don’t mean that I’m trying to be contrary and enjoy starting dinner party conversations with a discussion on chapter three of Mein Kampf.

It’s not that the books I like to read should be unpopular it’s just that they shouldn’t be, well, popular. Or, rather, I shouldn’t know that they’re popular before I discover them.This is not just anti-populist snobbery talking – I don’t think that everything that is popular is shite, or that everything shite is popular. It’s more that there’s something hugely satisfying about stumbling on to a new favourite and feeling it belongs all to me. Sure it’s nice to discover the absolute joy that is The Great Gatsby but knowing that thousands, if not millions, have been there before me does somewhat diminish the sensation that I’m discovering an entirely new world.

When I pick up a ‘classic’ or something new that has the reviewers unzipping their pants with enthusiasm part of me feels a twinge of obligation that I Must Like This Book because it is a Good Book. Stupidly, of course, I often end up resenting that twinge and reading the book critically for a chance to pick it apart.

By comparison, finding a slightly more obscure book by chance is a wonderful thing. I once picked up a copy of a lovely little book called After Leaving Mr Mackenzie because I liked the title. I had no idea who its author Jean Rhys was but the cute title and the cover of the book appealed to me. The book blew me away and I imagined I had discovered some great untapped talent in Rhys. Of course a little research made me realise I had discovered absolutely jack that hadn’t already been well recognised but I still felt a sense of ownership, as though Rhys and her work belonged to me.All this is a very roundabout way of saying that I have some apprehension about a task Lindsay and I have set ourselves: working our way backwards through The Man Booker Prize winners.

On the one hand this goes against my entire approach to books, but on the other I am utterly unable to resist the challenge. Plus I quite like the idea of moulding myself into one of those wankers who has read every book Oprah or, if he actually has a brain, some literary critic, told him to read but absolutely nothing else and corners you on the couch at a party to tell you how much he enjoys the work of Toni Morrison in the hope, presumably, that this might encourage you to rip off your clothes.

So, armed with A3 printouts of 38 years worth of winners, we are jumping into the fray. Of course it shall have to fit around my other reading and the many, many books that are already well ahead of them in the line but I expect to soon be able to offer an articulate opinion of Good Book’s such as Kiran Desai’s The Inheritance of Loss, John Banville’s The Sea and even (god help me) another 30-odd random books, some of which I have always intended to read and others that suck my will to live merely by existing. (I will not, however, be re-reading Life of Pi so don’t even suggest it. And yes I know that (apparently) everyone other than me loved it but I found it hateful. I’m sorry - I’ll try to do better.)

Thursday, September 6, 2007

So you think you don't like So You Think You Can Dance?

Skip the first little bit but check out this dude's routine. Awesome.

There's a reason nobody likes you

You know why nobody respects so called "family groups"? It's not merely because we suspect they're all right-wing super religious Bush-voting wank heads. It's because of shit like this, courtesy of the Slimes online:
OUTRAGED family groups will be calling for a national boycott of any
sponsor of the Ten Network's drugs, sex and vomit-laden program Californication.
Following last night's episode - which depicted two characters smoking marijuana
and having sex before one vomited - furious community groups have said they are
hoping something can be done to get the show off the air...

Instead of calling for just a boycott of the program, the Australian
Christian Lobby's managing director Jim Wallace is calling for advertisers to be
"held accountable" for their support of the controversial show. "There
will be calls to boycott sponsors of the show," Mr Wallace said. "And I'll be
leading the calls. "(If they are concerned about standards) they should not be
sponsoring this show."... While last night's episode was being broadcast,
the Catholic Church's Father John Fongemie was leading a candlelight vigil
outside Ten's Sydney office.

Je-sus. Observer blogged about the show last week but I hadn't then seen it. I did so this week and I was pretty amused. I like David Duchovny. I like alcoholic writer cliches and it had enough moments that made me chuckle to mean I'll probably watch it again next week.

I don't understand how people have the nerve to get up on their high horses about a TV show that nobody is forcing them or their stupid families to watch. Watching someone get bent and then vomit on to a bed is probably not going to make anyone want to start smoking pot just as watching Duchovny's not-bad-for-a-40-something-but-not-exactly-ripped torso jiggle about is going to make 16-year-old girls everywhere want to jump into bed with a father figure. Granted, maybe if you assume everybody is a moron then maybe you've got a case. The irony is that the biggest morons are those pointing their fingers and not tuning in.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

I’m as busy as a cat burying shit over here…

When I think of Australian slang I think of Alf “Stone the Crows” Stewart from the unkillable TV stalwart Home and Away, who speaks like a Slang Stereotype Generator circa 1970 and probably last got laid in the same decade. That is to say my mind goes to the worst example of ocker Australian slang imaginable.

Nobody talks like that, I assure friends from farther afield than Perth, we just speak normally, honestly we do.

But today a certain Pom suggested to me (apropos of my using the term “cadbury” to deride my drinking ability, or lack thereof) that I knew more Australian slang than I realised.

And, after only the lamest effort at research, I think maybe he is right. A google search led me to Koala Net, which claims to be a comprehensive dictionary of Australian slang and makes for interesting reading. Colour me ignorant but I’ve never really thought of some phrases (“dob”, “bottle shop”, “bathers” and “arvo” for starters) as particularly Australian. I sort of thought everyone knew what a “bottle shop” was. Koala Net disagrees.

Reading on through the allegedly comprehensive dictionary, however, I have some more serious questions. Namely has anybody in the history of Australian ever used the phrase “Aussie Salute”, which allegedly means to brush flies away with ones hand?

No… seriously?

I’d like to repeat and redirect the question towards the following phrases, all of which struck me as slightly disingenuous, as though an elderly bar fly in an outback pub was taking the piss out of the author of the dictionary who was scribbling this shit down on a napkin.

Let's kick off with a real corker. I don’t follow AFL so maybe I’ve just been missing the references, but has anyone every heard it referred to as “Aerial ping pong”? Inquiring minds want to know. Ditto for “bities” (biting insects is the definition given - as if it’s possible to be any more vague than that), “franger” (condom) and “exy” (expensive).

Another surprise appearance was “bluey” which is apparently doing double time to mean not only a pack or equipment but also a traffic ticket or a redhead. Many a traffic infringement have I received but I have never, ever kicked my car and screaming “another fucking bluey” at the sky. Nor have I claimed something is “not my bowl of rice” when I really mean it’s not my cup of tea, described a mistake as having “come a gutser” or asked someone to pass me the “dead horse” when in search of some tomato sauce for my veggie sausage. I have never owned a “bitzer” (mongrel dog) but I’ve known plenty of people who have, and if someone creepily informed me they had cracked the fat (got an erection) my ignorance would probably lead me to give them a polite smile that would surely be misinterpreted.

Moving on from the downright dubious I’d like to petition to have certain phrases reclassified as Bogan Slang, lest we all be smeared with a brush that calls a car accident a “bingle,” a fight a “blue” and welcomes a good idea as “the good oil”. I would also question the definition of “bastard” as a term of endearment, for fear it could lead to some misunderstandings on the part of the drivers at whom I scream insults when they change lanes without indicating. Similarly I think billing a “B & S ball” as “a very enjoyable party” is only going to lead to trouble among the ill informed and if the uninitiated accept that “bloody oath” is an acceptable substitute for “that’s certainly true” in any and all circumstances then we could have some problems.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Why do we want people to like us?

No really. I mean I suppose it should be obvious but... why? I don't mean why do we want our friends or objects of lust to like us (that should be pretty self explanatory) but what about strangers or semi-strangers?

This is on my mind because of a certain semi stranger I will call Hot Barista. Hot Barista works at my local cafe. Hot Barista is not my type at all but he is blonde, surfy and conventionally good looking. He also makes excellent coffee. I have only recently developed a mocha addiction but such is my personality that this addiction has spiralled out of control quite badly in the past couple of months, to the point where I probably head to said cafe about five days a week, almost always when Hot Barista is working there.

He and I have developed very limited reparte which allows us to acknowledge that we recognise each other and be pleasant without having to make much in the way of conversation. And by much I mean any. And yet, bizarely, although I don't fancy him or have any desire to get to know him I find I have started to consider what I'm wearing when I go into the cafe. I also check to see who is behind the counter as soon as I walk in the door. I make an extra effort to be nice and charming to Hot Barista when receiving my coffee and I'm not-so-secretly happy when he's particularly nice back to me.

But... why do I bother? Is it just a sad desire to be liked by people I don't particularly know or like myself just to prove how likeable I am? Or is it a product of evolution that drives me to stay on everybody's good side to increase my opportunities to stay alive and pass on my genes? I don't know but if it leads to some kind of mocha-related discount I'll be happy.

UPDATE: As of this morning I am moving into wanker territory where I can officially order ‘the usual’. Plus I think I got a 50 cent discount - hey, it’s something.

UPDATE THE SECOND: Yes thankyou certain people who know-who-they-are for the suggestion but I honestly don't have a crush on Hot Barista - I just want him to like me.

5 things I wish I had said to the nob who said "you must have the best job in the world" to me at the RSPCA cattery recently...

1. "Fuck you, man."
2. "Roll up your sleeves and find out."
3. "In two minutes I will be scrubbing cat shit out of litter trays, you fool. Your career expectations must be rock bottom."
4. "I think you have to get paid for it to be called a job."
5. "Seriously - fuck you."


Monday, September 3, 2007


A quick note to say the blog counter has now flown past 3000. I know it's just my dedicated tiny readership with too much spare time on their hands but I'm nevertheless excited. Thanks for reading and I love, love it when people comment so keep it coming.

My place in hell is pretty much reserved then?

It’s always pretty tacky to speak ill of the dead and everything so I wasn’t going to blog about The Slimes suggestion that a memorial should be built for Corryn Rayney at Kings Park.

And yet I can not resist because honestly.

This is the thing now, is it? Whack up a memorial for anyone murdered in a public place? Or maybe just for murders that capture the public imagination? Perhaps we should limit these memorials to photogenic people killed in a way that makes good media, ideally with a family to give tell-all interviews to the papers about them.

Certainly I don’t see anyone suggesting we do anything to commemorate the Iraqi-born woman murdered in her kebab shop awhile back or the couple killed in a freeway collision the other week? People die all the time. People are killed all the time and people grieve for other people in the time. I mean what is the next logical step - are we going to erect a giant gold baby statue to honour the memory of the baby killed by the family dog? Is that baby’s death any more tragic than the random babies who don’t appear in the paper or on the news but who nevertheless die every year of illness or accident and leave grieving families behind?

Give me a break.

Token Smokin’ Hottie: Ian McKellan

So, okay, Ian McKellan is about 175 years old (or maybe 68) but before you curl your lip and wonder what today’s token smokin’ hotties are coming to just cool your heels and have a look at him. Take in that knowing smile, the piercing eyes, the rakish tilt to his hat and the acerbic wit that could cut you to shreds if he wasn’t busy dating a string of hot, younger men. You’ve got to admit there’s something about Ian McKellan that is weirdly attractive.

This is a man who, when asked to give (Conservative UK fucknuckle) Michael Howard an autograph for his kids, wrote “Fuck off, I’m gay”.
It is the same man who not only famously came out on the radio while arguing against Maggie Thatcher’s plan to make the “public promotion” of homosexuality a crime but spent the next 15-ish years campaigning for gay rights while turning up to successive awards ceremonies with a series of improbably hot and young dates on his arm.
It’s also the man who made the hairs on the arms of audience’s worldwide stand up with his killer delivery on the line “is that what they say?” in the first X-Men movie and probably built a new storey on his house with the money he presumably received for the two sequels.
He’s like the English professor you fancy because he’s so brainy and wears a linen suit, or a character from a Waugh or Forster novel who spends his days being horribly charming and getting champagne drunk on terraces at country houses. It’s not exactly that you want to sleep with him, per se, but it would be so flattering to be asked you’re just not quite sure how to say no, and you did polish off that bottle of champagne all by yourself and now it's so very late…
UPDATE: Paragraph breaks are fucked. Apologies.


Thanks Bec for directing me towards this Daily Mail headline generator, which has provided me with both minutes of entertainment and these beauties:

Sunday, September 2, 2007

I should have known better

I should have known better than to get involved in a political discussion at the very beginning of a two-hour car trip. Nothing good has ever come from the combination of enclosed spaces and contrasting political views, has it? But I did and this is what happened (as an aside: the 'him' involved is actually an otherwise great guy but not, I hope, a reader of my blog):

Him: "Well I'm going to vote for Howard because, you have to admit, the economy's in pretty good shape."
Me: "Okay well the economy's great, but don't you care about other stuff like the environment, social justice stuff, like, say, Aboriginal health?"
Him: I don't give a shit about Aboriginal health."
(Long pause)
Me: (30ish seconds later): "You don't.... care about Aboriginal health?"
Him: No, I mean, I do but, you know, I don't think either party is going to fix the problem.
Me: Uhhuh...
Him: And I believe in equal rights.
Me: (temperature rising) "Equal... rights?"
Him: "Yeah like everyone should have the same rights. Aboriginal people shouldn't be given anything special that non-Aboriginal people aren't. Everyone should be equal."
Me: "I agree but equality doesn't mean everyone is treated literally the same. It's about making sure everyone has access to the same opportunities, isn't it?"
Him: "Well it's like that quote 'all animals are equal but some are more equal than others'"
Andy: (bless him, intervening before I had a heart attack at the cheek of a closet facist using George Orwell against me) "Sure - we are. We have longer life expectancy, better education and more opportunities."
Me:(weakly) "Their life expectancy is like 15-
Andy: "20"
Me: "...years less than us. That's not equality."
Him: "Well I just think it would benefit everyone if everyone was equal."

The above conversation took place today between me and a nice, educated, 30-ish guy from a pretty wealthy family. I've blogged it (at least what I could remember of it - I may have made myself sound less shrill and more erudite than the reality) not to take the piss but to say uh-oh.

The thing is when you hang out with and are friends with smart, relatively left-wing people it's easy to imagine that Rudd is going to have an absolute cake-walk come election time. You find yourself having conversations about the (many) areas in which he will hopefully become more of a leftie once he's in office, what changes we might see and how much of a landslide it will be. But there are smart, educated people out there who believe in what Howard believes in and who want to see him returned to office. These are not psychos with bad fashion sense who run fish and chip shops they are ordinary people you work with, are friends with and share long car rides with.

Andy's view is that there's no point in talking politics because nobody ever changes his or her mind but I strongly disagree because I think a lot of what we think comes from friends and family. Sure, most people have made up their minds by a certain age but, bloody hell, it's a bit defeatist to assume we're all in a holding pattern for the next half century. Plus things do change and if I have to have a dozen more incredibly painful car conversations to change one person's mind... well I guess I'll do it. Maybe.

Anyway I think my point was that it's not quite time to break out the champers and party poppers quite yet.