Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Overheard in the office

"Maybe I've just been working in courts for too long but I think Annie might have been written by a paedophile."

Shopping Conundrums

Question: How much wear would I reasonably get out of a charming black and silver beaded drop waist dress beyond a looming wedding in October?

Answer: Almost none.

Question: Do I care?

Answer: ...

"In my dreams I kiss your c*nt, your sweet wet c*nt..."

Given my charming personality and stunning, dare I say supermodel good looks, you'll be stunned I know, dear reader(s), to learn that over the years I haven't really received much in the way of love letters. Love emails... maybe. Post-break-up You're a Bitch Unless You Want to Get Back Together letters... definitely. But I can only think of two examples of what could be called declarative "love letters": one was gorgeous and from a lovely friend but sadly unrequited, the other was more of a sorry-for-that-shitty-thing-I-did kind of a letter. Which is really not the same.

This is not quite a tragedy but it is a bit sad to make it to the cusp of 30 without, say, ever having received a letter as good as this (which I have mentioned not only because it makes me positively weak at the knees but as a delightful excuse to run the photo above which... wow, those are some high pants).

In any case, if you're bored on this lovely Wednesday you could do worse than check out this bit over at The Hairpin where you can match the love letter to the author and subject. It's good fun and fairly difficult, except for Keats who is predictably too mushy for words (seriously dude: get it together). It's also got me wondering what it means for my personality that my favourite was this beauty from Oscar Wilde to Lord Alfred Douglas, which made me think of something a smarter version of Heathcliff might have dashed off to Catherine.
I don't love you, not at all; on the contrary, I detest you. You're a naught, gawky, foolish Cinderella. You never write me; you don't love your own husband; you know what pleasures your letters give him, and yet you haven't written him six lines, dashed of so casually! … Of what sort can be that marvellous being, that new lover that tyrannises over your days, and prevents your giving any attention to your husband? _____, take care! Some fine night, the doors will be broken open and there I'll be.
Jesus. I mean, how good is that last line? "... the doors will be broken and there I'll be."

Sure, it does sound like the kind of correspondence you maaaaybe might receive from your stalker but does that make it any less delightful? Computer says no. Computer also says I... might have some problems.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Chicks vs Dicks

Approximately 364 days of the year I am very happy to be a girl. We get to wear dresses, don't have to shave our nice soft faces and it is more socially acceptable for us to show our emotions, weep at the Bridges of Madison County and be unable to change a fuse. However, this photo - courtesy of The Sartorialist - has me sort of jonesing to be a dude because... Jesus Christ. Could he look any more cool and breezy than he does right now? Could he be any more calm and relaxed without actually slipping into a light coma? Is there some scientific explanation for why I find the combination of the cuffed pant leg, the bare ankle and his sneaker so goddamn charming? And, yes, sure, in theory I could put on this exact same outfit and salmon my way up a New York street but... no: it has long been my view that t-shirts and jeans just hang better on a dude's body, yes, shut up, THEY DO AND YOU KNOW IT. Girls are great and all but when the right guy wears the right jeans and the right t-shirt the combination simply cannot be improved upon. I'm sorry, I don't make the rules. You know those stupid body swap movies like Freaky Friday, the Freaky Friday remake and, um... I'm sure there was another one? Anyway, if that body swap stuff ever becomes viable in real life I am putting my hand up to swap bodies with this dude basically immediately, just for a day or two to get it out of my system. I'll cruise around looking smooth and dapper and perfect and he can, uh, play with my boobs and get out of parking tickets? I don't know, I guess everybody wins.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

At the hairdresser, while a woman on the other side of the salon talked loudly and endlessly about weirdly personal stuff:

Me: That woman, um, talks a lot.
Him: She's always like this. Everyone here knows everything about her.
Me: Oh, really?
Him: I know when she had sex for the first time. And I've never even cut her hair.

Questions I was left asking myself after ploughing through a stack of glossy magazines at the hairdresser today

Should I be wearing foundation? Is everyone wearing foundation? Is it bad that I don't own foundation? I'm so confused.

Friday, August 24, 2012

In other news...

... this.
(Via, as so many lovely things in life, McPhee)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

That awkward moment when...

 ... You run into that chap who tried to get you into bed foreverago and he's married and you say "wow congratulations when did that happen?" and he tells you and you realise he was totally married at the time and you have to try to stop yourself from sounding all Judgy while your mouth goes "greeeeeat"...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Swings and roundabouts

So today was a pretty shitty day for reasons mentioned in the post below. And I was sitting here, marinating in post-funeral blues until whatdoyouknow I realised there are advance screenings of Moonrise Kingdom on this weekend and I remembered there are still things to look forward to. Also: wine.


With very few exceptions funerals are awful, sad and difficult events and I don't want to make light of the one I am attending today, which is for the lovely mother of a lovely friend. But I will point out that this is what happened one of the last times I attended a friend's mother's funeral. So in case anyone was worried... today I'm wearing tights.

"Touch my lie hole... harder"

This one comes via McPhee and Jesus it's been kind of a bad week for dudes talking about rape, right? (Well, except for this gorgeous sonofabitch)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again

So this is both extremely amusing and has reminded me it's time to re-read Rebecca. It's always time to re-read Rebecca.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Mildly disconcerting texts I have received lately from people whose numbers I don't have in my phone:

"So tell me more about [the name of the man charged with a serious crime, whose trial I have been helping to cover for work]."

I mean, you're going to have that kitchen for a long time so...

Abortion is one of those things I have long felt faintly uncomfortable talking about or writing about for two reasons.

Firstly, I've never had to have an abortion so I feel unqualified to say much and a little bit like I might be shitting on other people's experiences if I voice my own opinion. Merely owning a working (um, so far as I know, I guess) womb doesn't feel like much of a qualification to start shooting my mouth off.

Secondly, until very recently I secretly thought I might be a monster or perhaps a low-level psychopath because, while I appreciate the decision to have an abortion must be very hard for some people, for me it's never seemed like much of a decision. If I got pregnant tomorrow I would wait a polite amount of time for my husband to try to talk me out of it and then say sorry and go and get an abortion. And while maybe I'd surprise myself I can't imagine being overwhelmed with guilt or grief - lord knows the not-a-baby would be better off being snuffed out of existence before it's too much more than a cluster of cells than being born to a mother who has absolutely no desire to have it.

I've always felt this way but never felt comfortable expressing the view until I read Caitlin Moran's fantastic, maybe even life altering and very funny book, How to Be a Woman. In it she writes how, as the mother of two kids, she decided to get an abortion when she got pregnant for a third time:
"I have no dilemma, no terrible decision to make - because I know, with calm certainty, that I don't want another child now, in the same way I know absolutely that I don't want to go to India, or be a blonde, or fire a gun... I can honestly say that my abortion was one of the least difficult decisions of my life. I'm not being flippant when I say it took me longer to decide what worktops to have in the kitchen than whether I was prepared to spend the rest of my life being responsible for a further human being, because I knew that to do it again - to commit my life to another person - might very possibly stretch my abilities, and conception of who I am, and who I want to be, and what I want and need to do - to breaking point."
I remember reading that line about the kitchen worktops while sitting somewhere beautiful in Positano a couple of months ago and bursting into guilty laughter, thinking holy shit are we allowed to talk like this now?

I've gone off topic because this was supposed to be a very short post directing you towards this article, "I Wish My Mother Had Aborted Me", about which I have little to say but which I think might actually be... kind of great. Or at least very interesting, particularly in a world in which this kind of fucknuttery is out there making Australian politicians look positively sane and competent by comparison.

Finally, two pieces of advice.

Number one: If you or someone you know owns a vagina, buy Caitlin Moran's book.

Number two: don't ever try google imaging the world "abortion" in the hope it might throw up an appropriate picture to illustrate some inane blog post you may have written. Just... trust me on this one.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Things I said at the pub that weren't intended to be a burn but apparently came out that way:

Him: I like your outfit.
Me: I got married in this dress.

Things I secretly believe I can do better than most people #12

Pack my shopping bags at the supermarket.


The problem: Should I take my parents' wee dog to the dog beach (my parents are away and she could do with the exercise) or park myself in a cafe and do that work assignment I have been putting off all week that really actually MUST be finished today?

The solution: Do neither and instead lie in bed with my laptop, blogging about my indecision.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Token Smokin' Hottie: Chris O'Dowd

Two incidents.

One, a few months ago during a harmless game of shoot, shag or marry involving various boys in the office. Presented with some fairly unappealing options I nevertheless made my choices and, when pressed to defend my selection for the shag (an unattractive but friendly, chap), did so with the words: "yeah but he'd make you laugh quite a bit during." I stand by my decision.

Two, many years ago when I was in bed with an, ahem, gentleman caller (sorry Mum) who said something along the lines of "do you have something to, um, not get pregnant?" (I'm being disingenuous with my faux recall, that's actually exactly what he said). For some reason, even though I maybe didn't really know him well enough (again, sorry Mum) to make the joke I said, straightfaced: "No I really want to have your child." Things might have got super awkward except that he cracked up, which, of course, made me crack up too and all was well.

I mention these two incidents now to explain the presence of Chris O'Dowd under the tag Smokin' Token Hottie, given that he is, you know, not really hot.

I first noticed Chris O'D in the sporadically funny TV series The IT Crowd, vaguely noticing that he was kinda cute, had a nice t-shirt collection and got most of the best lines ("have you tried turning it off and on again?"). Then I saw him in Bridesmaids and was distinctly smitten, at least in part because of a throwaway bit of super cute dialogue when he's (uh... spoiler?) falling into bed with whatshername and says something like "I'm so glad this is happening". I don't know why that charmed me so much but it really did. My crush was magnified when I saw him this week in The Sapphires, in which he manages to be delightfully amusing and single-handedly carry what is really a good-but-not-great film into the territory of would-recommend-to-a-friend.

And, as I insinuated in the start of this blog, Chris O'D's appeal is almost entirely predicated on his (assumed) sense of humour. You just know that if you got him into bed he wouldn't be tearing off his clothes to reveal a hidden six pack or amazing you with his kinkery fuckery but he would be making you smile and laugh until somehow, before you quite knew it, you were having sex with him, without being entirely aware of having taken off your pants. Humour in bed is a seriously underrated quality, is I guess what I'm trying to say.

Oh shit, and did I even mention the Irish accent? Yeah, um, that helps.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

How to not psych yourself up for going out when you're feeling distinctly low:

Glass of wine + woolly jumper + Joni Mitchell = Must... leave... house...

Things I feel fairly confident I will not do again

1. Get a nose stud.

2. Wear a ra-ra skirt.

3. Live with my parents.

4. Watch the (I have no idea why this is even considered a classic because holy shit no just no no no) film The African Queen.


I once nearly had to appear on TV for work purposes and I all but shat myself with fear (before brilliantly getting out of it by, uh, effectively resigning from that position) so why am I using this space to make fun of a friend who is a) far more successful than me and b) actually does have to go on TV to shill his wares and thus keep his kids fed and clothed? Because I can, dear reader, because I can.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

An open letter to...

This person


This person

Please get a fucking grip.

The World

"Why was I programmed to feel pain?"

Courtesy of Eye on Springfield.

Unforgivable crimes committed by the girl sitting next to me at work this week

1. Sharing baby photos... of her boyfriend.
2. Eating a tin of tuna in a teeny tiny room.
3. Displaying no remorse for point 2.
4. Crying.
5. Being super nice and friendly, thus making me feel like a heel for thinking bad things.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

At the pub*

Him: Do you have a bob now?
Me: Uh yeah. What do you think: too short?
Him: Yeah.
Me: Wait, what?
Him: You should grow it, I don't know, an inch longer.
Me: No, I've done it - I look like the mother of two children...
Him: I mean, this is coming from someone who can't be bothered to shave his neck.

*My recollection may have been slightly alcohol-impaired but this is definitely the gist if not, uh, entirely verbatim. I mean there may have been a few more insults involved. I don't remember.

Lessons I have learned from work #23

Always wear nice underwear in case you are murdered but not too racy or everyone will think you were a slut.

Questions I had after seeing Lauren Bacall on the big screen in The Big Sleep last night

1. Why don't we see faces quite like hers in the movies anymore.
2. How many cigarettes would I have to smoke to acquire her voice?
3. Where can I find that amazing checked suit?
4. Is now the time for berets to make a comeback?

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Apparently Bambi celebrates its 70th anniversary today or this week or, um, maybe just very soon. I can't quite remember: I started reading a news story about this fact on the wires at work today and then got distracted by a really ludicrous typo in the story - I kept wondering how this thing hadn't been picked up - and never quite around to finishing reading the actual story. But I do remember that part of this story was going on and ooooon about how the bit in the movie where Bambi's mother gets shots is one of the saddest movie scenes ever blah blah blah. And I thought... really? I saw the movie when I was a kid and I love animals and all but I can't say it made a big impact on me. Maybe I'm dead inside but I don't even remember, um, shedding a tear at the time. In any case, it got me thinking about the scenes from movies that always have made me bawl like a little bitch and then I started thinking about other movies I liked for different reasons and, well, the end is result is as you see below. Try to control your excitement - there are matches on the bench if you need to prop your eyes open.

Saddest movie scene: The Bridges of Madison County. I know how pathetic this sounds, especially since I just kind of ragged on Bambi - practically Citizen Kane compared to this melodrama. This is not a great movie. I mean, Clint Eastwood is the romantic interest. But there is something about this movie that always make me cry - not little tears either but really fucking bawl. In particular it's the scene at the end where Meryl Streep is in the car and Eastwood is in his car ahead of her, about to leave town. It's raining (of course it is) and her hand is on the door handle, like she's going to turn it and she nearly opens it and then her husband comes back to the car and the moment passes and Eastwood drives out of town forever and she's brushing tears away to hide them and... What? I have something in my eye, okay. It's raining on my face. I'm making a lasagna... for one.

Funnies Movie Scene: The Mikado (the nuts 1939 version where half the 'Japanese' characters are played by white dudes in bad make-up) I'm not going deliberately obscure here, honest. I mean The Mikado is in not even close to making the list of my favourite comedies: for the most part it's a sometimes very amusing, sometimes very dull movie. But there is this one scene in this version of The Mikado where a character makes a joke and laughs at his own joke and you think that's the end of the laugh but Oh My God no it's just the beginning and... Look I can't even describe it but I have watched that scene maybe... 50-plus times - approximately half of those with my brother, the only other person I know on whom this scene has exactly the same effect - and have never not laughed like a drain. It's weird.

Sexiest Movie Scene: Considering this category, for two seconds I thought about Jamec McAvoy in Atonement, writing that fucking insanely brilliant letter to Keira Poutface Knightley ("In my dreams I kiss your cunt, your sweet wet cunt. In my thoughts I make love to you all day long") and then I thought a little harder and realised, of course, that it begins and ends with Y Tu Mama Tambien, far and away the single sexiest movie ever made and without, um, giving away too much of the plot (if you haven't seen it you really should - sexiness aside it's funny and charming and all good things) a movie apparently made with me as its target audience. Anyone who knows me and knows the movie will know that the scene I'm talking about comes near the end of the movie, just before the end of their holiday and is insanely hot on a variety of levels. But, um, I'm said too much. I must lie down.

Most Romanic Movie Scene: No this is not the same as above, of course I'm not repeating myself. Nor is it cheating if I cite a scene from Maurice - just about the most swooningly romantic book in the world as well as a pretty decent movie. Blame it on Rupert Graves insanely beautiful face (Jesus Christ,  I'm sick enough that I still find him hot but back in the day he was really something) but the scene where he first tries to blackmail Maurice and then, shyly, with a stupid little tap on his arm, suggests maybe they find a room instead is one of the few scenes that I like better in the movie than the book. Something about the what-am-I-doing expression on Graves' face and the way he mumbles his line ("I wouldn't harm one hair on your head" or something like that) just undoes me every time.

Happiest Movie Scene: Sometimes I'm so predictable I hate myself but for me it has to be the end of Woody Allen's Annie Hall. This doesn't count as a spoiler because the end of the movie is spelled out in its first few minutes but Allen's character and Diane Keaton, the titular Annie Hall, have broken up, again, and the implication is that this time it's the last time. It's sad, obviously, but it's also really happy because you can see that they've both got something out of this relationship, that they're going to be friends and then of course Allen has to finish it off with a stupid little joke that I still find as charming now as I did the first time I watched this bloody movie, when I was trying to impress some stupid boy:
"I-I thought of that old joke, you know, this- this-this guy goes to a psychiatrist and says, "Doc, uh, my brother's crazy. He thinks he's a chicken." And, uh, the doctor says, "Well, why don't you turn him in?" And the guy says, "I would, but I need the eggs." Well, I guess that's pretty much how how I feet about relationships. You know, they're totally irrational and crazy and absurd and ... but, uh, I guess we keep goin' through it because, uh, most of us need the eggs."

Overheard at the Pub last night

Girl 1: So have you ever been asked to be the third in a threesome?
Girl 2: No. (Sigh)
Girl 1: Yeah me neither.

Friday, August 10, 2012

"Two bad decisions away from homelessness"

Would your friends or family tell you if they thought you were acting in a potentially-destructive way that risked fucking up your life? I don't know if mine would, although I would like to think so. Lord knows certain people in my life have been outspoken in their distate for my (only partially cured) Diet Coke habit, which I really do appreciate. Most of the time. Which is really just a long way of saying I thought Sam de Brito's column today was kind of a cracker.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Overheard in the office

"Who even does heroin anymore?"

Token Smokin' Hottie: Bobak Ferdowsi (AKA: NASA Mohawk guy)

Obviously super smart, nerdy, cute and with the kind of lips you could bury yourself in... do I really need to say any more?

You're fooling nobody

As mentioned elsewhere I was really disappointed by The Avengers. I went in with high expectations and I thought it was an average superhero movie with one or two good lines. Nevertheless, this story made me very happy because that disappointment has done nothing to kill my Joss Whedon love. As far as I'm concerned Whedon gets a lifetime pass for making Buffy: one of the smartest, funniest shows ever. Throw in Firefly, Dr Horrible and, more recently, the extremely amusing Cabin in the Woods (it's still showing at Luna - why aren't you watching it right now?) and, in my eyes, he could murder a kitten in front of me and I'd probably be cool with it. Wait, probably? Who am I fooling...

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Harden the fuck up

I realised some time ago that, either as a function of getting older or as a result of covering the particular industry I was until very recently reporting on, I have become more politically conservative. I'm still most definitely left-of-centre, just a little bit further along the political spectrum. For instance, although I wholeheartedly support the carbon tax in practice and the need to protect the environment in theory, I get irritated when I see green groups making erroneous claims that aren't supported by the facts. It doesn't do anyone any favours. Similarly although I didn't vote for him I think our State Premier, who is conservative, is actually doing a... pretty good job.

I only mention this as maybe one explanation for why this article, written by a student journalist and published by a university publication about her "horrific" experience interning at a mainstream Aussie tabloid newspaper, made me roll my eyes and mutter "harden the fuck up" under my breath.

There are racist, sexist and generally awful people working in newsrooms around the country. Of course there are. There are racist, sexist and generally awful people walking around all the time - naturally some of them are going to end up working in the media industry. Having worked in the media for most of my adult working life I don't have many other workplaces to compare it to, so I can't say whether journos are more offensive than most other people. However, I would say that in my experience journos do tend to like the sound of their own voices (hence this blog, I guess) and, in some cases, maybe have a tendency to try and be a bit shocking or politically incorrect for the sake of a cheap laugh or to make themselves heard in a loud newsroom. Also the newsroom can be an extremely high-stress environment, which means reporters sometimes blow off steam in slightly inappropriate ways because they're exhausted, sad, stressed or generally shocked by some of the things they've seen and have to write about.

This doesn't mean you have to let people say offensive things around you and get away with it - by all means tell them to fuck off and/or refute their grossness by a calm recitation of the facts. I have had cause to do both of these things relatively recently when I was irritated by a colleague sounding off about gay rights issues and it was received with a sheepish and well-humoured "yeah maybe" by the person I was addressing, with whom I'm on good terms. Alternatively, if you're a work experience student trying not to rock the boat perhaps you could just ignore it, roll your eyes and Get On With Your Day.

In any case, I don't think this student does her case any favours by relating this as an example of disgusting sexist behaviour:
"Men were also continuously and unnecessarily sexist, waiting for me to walk through doors and leave the elevator before them"
I mean... really? That's a fucking crime now, is it? I understand people have different personal irritants (I hate it when people call me "sweetheart" or "love") but... come on. I hold doors open for old people and let them get out of the elevator before me - must I now be arrested for a hate crime? Sure, maybe these sorts of behaviours are hangovers from outdated patriarchal attitudes but some of the nicest, leftiest and most right-on people I know have, on occasion, waited for me to walk through doorways first if we're walking along a corridor together and I don't feel the need to push them to the ground and scream "sexist pig!"

It's quite possible that I've just been corrupted by a sexist, racist and homophobic patriarchal society and can no longer recognise offensive, oppressive behaviour when it's right in front of me. Alternatively it's possible that the student who wrote this article has been living in a university bubble for most of her adult life so far and faces a nasty wake up call when she has to go out into the real world and deal with real people who don't necessarily share her beliefs or attitudes and may sometimes offend her, deliberately or not. I know which theory I'd put my money on.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Things that are making me meh right now

1. Basically everything not listed below.

Things that are making me happy right now.

1. Cider. Haven't had any for ages (I mean, it's a summer drink, let's be reasonable) and suddenly the fridge is full of it and there's no wine in the house and... I think you can see where I'm going with this.

2. Listening to Andy singing and playing this Adele song on the guitar, literally as I type this. Yeah, I'm surprised too.

3. The Michael Caine retrospective I seem to be in the middle of it. I'm still in the 1970s but can't wait to get to Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

4. My job, at least for the next, ooh, four to five weeks.

Personally I prefer brunettes

"There are blondes and blondes and it is almost a joke word nowadays. All blondes have their points, except perhaps the metallic ones who are as blonde as a Zulu under the bleach and as to disposition as soft as a sidewalk. There is the small cute blonde who cheeps and twitters, and the big statuesque blonde who straight-arms you with an ice-blue glare. There is the blonde who gives you the up-from-under look and smells lovely and shimmers and hangs on your arm and is always very, very tired when you take her home. She makes that helpless gesture and has that goddamned headache and you would like to slug her except that you found about the headache before you invested too much time and money and hope in her. Because the headache will always be there, a weapon that never wears out and is as deadly as the bravo’s rapier or Lucrezia’s poison vial. There is the soft and willing alcoholic blonde who doesn’t care what she wears as long as it is mink or where she goes as long as it is the Starlight Roof and there is plenty of dry champagne. There is the small perky blonde who is a little pale and wants to pay her own way and is full of sunshine and common sense and knows judo from the ground up and can toss a truck driver over her shoulder without missing more than one sentence out of the editorial in the Saturday Review. There is the pale, pale blonde with anemia of some non-fatal but incurable type. She very languid and very shadowy and she speaks softly out of nowhere and you can’t lay a finger on her because in the first place you don’t want to and in the second place she is reading the Wasteland or Dante in the original, or Kafka or Kierkegaard or studying Provencal. She adores music and when the New York Philharmonic is playing Hindesmith she can tell you which one of the six bass viols came in a quarter of a beat too late. I hear Toscanini can also. That makes two of them. And lastly there is the gorgeous show piece who will outlast three kingpin racketeers and then marry a couple of millionaires at a million a head and end up with a pale rose villa at Cap d’Antibes, and Alfa Romeo town car complete with pilot and co-pilot, and a stable of shopworn aristocrats, all of whom she will treat with the affectionate absentmindedness of an elderly duke saying good night to his butler."

(Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Conversations with my sister

Sister: [Stroking my nose] Have you had a nose job?
Me: Um... no.
Sister: [To Her Husband] Look at Kate's nose. It looks so straight.
Sister's Husband: It does look better than I remember.
Me: ....

Things I learned while attending the Avon Descent on Saturday

1. One should always take a rain jacket and/or umbrella to the Avon Descent.

2. It is equally important to remember to take said rain jacket and/or umbrella out of the car when you arrive at your destination.

3. A flimsy yellow rain poncho can, in an emergency, be used by two people if you are prepared to huddle close together on some very uncomfortable rocks and tear a second head hole in the poncho.

4. Although you will both get quite wet.

What do I get?

An old favourite that was born to clear out the Monday morning blues. I remember having this on my iPod once when I was in London and racing from one train to catch another. Now when I listen to it I still remember pounding up those steps with my winter coat in my arms. Can't remember if I made the train, though.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Thoughts I had while getting increasingly tipsy and watching the fucking awful movie The Wedding Date:

1. Hey, what ever happened to Debra Messing?...

2. ... Or Dermot Mulroney?

3. Oh wow.

4. Oh WOW.

5. What is the wardrobe department doing to Debra Messing? Man, they must hate her. Maybe even more than her agent, who presumably allowed her to be in this movie.

6. But that girl playing her sister is all kinds of hot. Jesus. Forget Messing and Mulroney - whatever happened to her?

7. I am really embarrassed to be watching this movie right now....

8. ... And I am very much pro-sex industry. Whores for all, is my motto.

9. Soooo they've fallen in love in... two(?) days, right? For... kind of no reason, other than that they're both conventionally attractive people? I actually missed the part where either of them seemed remotely loveable. Or is this a fake out and something's going to drive them apart...? Maybe she'll end up with that bartender, he was kind of cute...

10. Nope. That's just... That just happened, I guess. Jesus, there's FORTY MINUTES LEFT

11. I do kind of love this song, thought.

12. Man, although now I wish I was watching that movie, One Fine Day, with George Clooney and Michelle  Pfeiffer - that was so, so much better than this. And it wasn't very good.

13. Actually I'd rather watch a movie staring Debra Messing's sassy brunette friend. She seems like she's got some shit going on. Also I like her hair.

14. So, this is kind of like a reverse Pretty Woman, right? Except Debra Messing is a... broke Richard Gear and Dermot Mulroney is like a classy Julia Roberts, with... money?

15. Um, and did he just imply that he has an amazing-looking cock? I mean, uh, did that happen or did I just fall asleep and dream it?

16. I bet he does, though. His hair is enchanting and full of secrets. I bet he grooms his undercarriage like he grooms that baby. Unless it's a wig. Oh, don't make it a wig.

17. No. NO. NO. Dear Romantic Comedies: Enough with the 'wacky' chase scenes, please: They are not funny. They are not clever. They are fucked. Regards, Everyone.

18. I can't believe this movie isn't over yet.

19. Oh of COURSE he's the best man now. Like I AM SO SURE THAT'S JUST HOW THINGS WORK. ("Everyone, we're just going to need you to all take one step to the right and then on with the show...")

20. HOW MUCH TIME HAS PASSED IN THIS MOVIE? Because Debra Messing has seriously worn 30 outfits and 'love' has ostensibly blossomed. But everyone keeps referring to it as "the weekend"? How long can one weekend feasibly be?

21. If I'd listened to TT I would be having a drink with him at the Cheeky Sparrow right now, instead of sitting in my tracksuit pants, drinking wine and railing at ONE OF THE WORST MOVIES I HAVE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE. Sometimes I regret my life choices.

Last words

Which is more important: the first line of a book or the last?

In many respects, of course, the first line is all important because it can be what determines whether a reader continues reading. Done badly, the first line of a book is an instant turn-off, the equivalent of finding out that cute boy you like has deeply held religious beliefs. Done right, the first line of a book is an advertisement for all the rest of what is to come: a promise that the book will deliver if only the reader can make it through the next 100, 200, 300 or 800 pages.

I don't go in for Charles Dickens chiefly because he tended towards the 800 page mark and was, let's be frank, Verbose As Fuck, but he got it right with A Tale of Two Cities:
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair."
Or Raymond Chandler in The Big Sleep. Who could read this opening paragraph and put this fucker down? Who would want to?
"It was about eleven o'clock in the morning, mid October, with the sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the foothills. I was wearing my powder-blue suit, with dark blue shirt, tie and display handkerchief, black brogues, black wool socks with dark blue clocks on them. I was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I didn't care who knew it. I was everything the well-dressed private detective ought to be. I was calling on four million dollars."
The opening line of Joseph Yeller's Catch 22, still probably the single funniest book I've ever read or hope to read, doesn't make a hell of a lot of sense at first but it sure made me want to read on:
"It was love at first sight. The first time Yossarian saw the chaplain he fell madly in love with him."
And Sylvia Plath nailed the tone of her strange, sad perfect little book, The Bell Jar, with just the first sentence:
"It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn't know what I was doing in New York."
A snappy one liner can be good too and personally I have always had a soft spot for Samuel Beckett's Murphy...
"The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new."
Or Ray Bradbury's classic, Fahrenheit 451:
"It was a pleasure to burn."
But I'm dancing around my point and being disingenuous because I don't believe the first line of a book is all important: for me it's always been about the ending: the bit that stays with you after you close the book and lean back, digesting the fates of the characters you've spent the past few hours/days/weeks following. Last lines are the ones that stay with me and I can forgive some dodgy plotting, iffy characterisation and worse if the payoff is a killer ending. Graham Greene's The End of the Affair has a snoozefest of a start ("A story has no beginning or end: arbitrarily one chooses.... zzzzzzzzzzz") but is one of my all time favourite books in large part because it has one of my all-time favourite final passages:
"I wrote at the start that this was a record of hate, and walking there beside Henry towards the evening glass of beer, I found the one prayer that seemed to serve the winter mood: O God, You've done enough, You've robbed me of enough, I'm too tired and old to learn to love, leave me alone for ever."
I mean.... fuck. Fuck. I'm lying on the floor over here, GrahamFor brevity there's the likes of Gone with the Wind ("After all, tomorrow is another day"), The Catcher in the Rye ("It's funny. Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody") and even bloody Catch 22 again ("The knife came down, missing him by inches, and he took off").

For all of these reasons, I found this Guardian list of the 10 best closing lines in literature pretty interesting, if also obviously infuriating. Some of the choices are, I must be honest, bullshit. And some of the omissions are glaring. Where is my Greene? My Eugenides? My Forster (Oh, Maurice!), my Chandler, again (this time for The Long Goodbye, by far my favourite Chandler and hands down the one with the best ending). Anyway, you can read the ones they came up with by following the link above. But, given that I've just wanked on for a bit about how the ending is all that matters, let me leave you with two of my favourites, both of which (phew) did make it into the Guardian's short list.

Some loveliness from The Wuthering Heights, the only Bronte novel I ever really loved (at least if you don't count some random adaptation I once saw of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall that starred a young and basically unbelievably beautiful Rupert Graves - I don't really remember the plot but I could draw a diagram of his cheekbones):
"I lingered round them, under that benign sky; watched the moths fluttering among the heath, and hare-bells; listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass; and wondered how anyone could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth."
Oh, swoon. I mean I know Heathcliff was kind of an abusive dick sometimes but Cathy was a pill so, you know, I sort of thought they were amazing together.

And best of all, some final sad words from the narrator of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby - on and off again my favourite book for much of the past ten years for all the obvious reasons (read: it's brilliant)...
"And as I sat there, brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby's wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy's dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night. Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter - tomorrow we will run faster, stretch our our arms farther... And one fine morning - So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Step up, indeed

So I was almost certainly always going to go and see Step Up: Revolution. I love cheese. I love dancing. I love cheesy dance movies. But this completely charming article on why the movie is greater than the sum of its parts (yes, really) has pushed me over the edge to the point where I have Locked This Shit In. Plus said article contains this wonderful line, which made me laugh much more than I think it should:
Like so many of you, I've seen and loved Step Up. I love early C-Tates, I love his sweatpants, and I love that scene in the club where everyone somehow knows the same dance and he gloriously pops his collar. 
If you haven't seen Step Up, it's true: that moment really is fucking glorious. Meanwhile, it pleases me more than I can say that when I texted my friend A (a surprisingly straight friend who is also a lover of all things cheesy dance-related and the gentleman who kept me company at both Step Up 3D and the Footloose remake) to see if he was keen he not only was immediately on board but he knew the movie's Perth release date off the top of his head. This, obviously, is why we are friends.

Wear it

About ten years ago my then-boyfriend (and yeah for some reason my extremely small number of ex-boyfriends seem to be coming up a lot lately, don't know what's up with that) convinced me to buy a black 1920s-style hat with a charming velvet bow. It was a beautiful hat from a proper milliner and I loved it and wanted it but I had my concerns. He convinced me with these words: "If you buy it, you'll become a hat person." I never did become a hat person but I still have the bloody hat, sitting in my wardrobe, waiting for me to grow a pair of balls and wear the fucker already. For this reason, maybe, I very much enjoyed this post - and more importantly, the comments attached to it - over on The Sartorialist about items of clothing purchased but never worn. (For the record I did wear the hat once... to a friend's 1920s theme party).

Bad things I should probably regret having done

Looking up my ex-ex-boyfriend on Facebook and perusing photos of him and his band. Ah, Jason, your super awkward onstage stance tells me you probably haven't changed a wink. On the plus side, your girlfriend seems super cute so, um, well played, Sir. Next step: resist the temptation to track down his band's EP and see if it can possibly be as bad in reality as it is in my head. Yes, I'm sorry, I am the worst.


... did I wake up this morning thinking about this scene from The Trip? And why does it still make me laugh?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Things I am loving about working in the city (for now) instead of out in the suburbs (like usual):

1. The morning commute. I don't know why I enjoy walking the two blocks from the carpark to my job, earphones in ears, but I do. I've always enjoyed watching people on their way to work, seeing what they're wearing and how they entertain themselves at traffic lights, in morning cafes while waiting for their coffees etc. I know: I'm such a loser. I'd love to catch public transport in but unfortunately I need to have my car with me for work purposes just in case. Boo.

2. The coffee. Most of the time I work in a suburb with two coffee shops within walking distance. One does awful coffee, the other is... fine. Good on a good day. Here I can't take two steps without running into a coffee shop that does a mean soy mocha.

3. The company. I can catch up with people - properly catch up in a lunch break or after work, using my legs to propel me along the footpath, not jump in my car and drive 15 minutes to get to somewhere decent. I have had more coffee catch-ups and post work wine snifters in the past three weeks than I have in Quite Some Time. It's basically the best thing.

4. The shopping. This is not a good thing, really. For various reasons (read: I am broke) I'm supposed to be tightening the ol' purse strings at the moment. In particular this means no buying dresses or stockings or books or any of the other things I spend too much money on. Still, just the act of being able to walk down the road and buy something dull-but-essential (batteries! undies!) is pretty great. Simple pleasures.

The weirdest part is that it works