Wednesday, December 23, 2009

my feet ache!!!

I have lost count of the number of Susan Boyle albums I have sold to gleeful Grannies. I have lost count of the number of times I've been asked "where are the men's toilets?" I haven't lost track of how much I hate Susan Boyle's voice, or how mundane Michael Buble is, or how if I ever meet some lamer called "Pitbull" I'm going to kick him in the teeth.

I don't feel very Christmas-y at all, which is a shame. My feet hurt, my ears are sort of ringing, and my tongue is kinda sore from biting - you can't talk back in retail. If I could, I would have told the arse who yelled at me today because I wouldn't sell him an iPod because we don't stock them to learn some sodding manners.

On the plus side, Emma and I have done lots of dancing.

And I have two new pairs of black shoes that aren't boring, are mostly comfortable and good for work or whatever I end up doing.

And we close at 6pm tomorrow, which is the earliest in about 3 weeks!!!!!


Merry Christmas All


Ugh. Not very updatey or interesting. Wait till after the Boxing Day sales

Friday, December 18, 2009

yikes.

nobody i work with has a sense of humour.
this makes things very awkward, sometimes. (often)

yesterday a customer threw 2 dvds at my head.
and three people (all irish) told me that australians don't queue as well as the british.

if one more person tells me to "think of the money"
i will shove the money somewhere that they'll never forget.

christmas cheer?
sod it all.

-

(i was going to do proper haiku, but am exhausted. consider these post modern haikus)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

help!

If you were me, and you had a choice between two subjects - one being "Creative Writing" and the other being "Slavery & Freedom: US History 1750-1890", which would you pick???

I'm sort of nervous about creative writing, but I'm not sure I could handle doing three history subjects (the other two subjects i'm enrolled in are History of Sexuality and History Of Europe: Revolutions). So any and all advice is welcome. (Please don't remind me that I'm supposed to be doing 4 subjects)

I have a long rant about public transport and the evils of teenage girls, but I have the Venusian Death Cold, as well as 40 hours of rostered work this week. If I have to hear the Glee soundtrack one more time, I may expire. In a fiery ball of fire.

Also, how the hell did it get to be the fifteenth of December??





**Having just tried to enroll, I was told that I haven't met the requirements to do Europe or Creative Writing. If I have to do any more Level 1 courses, I will seriously consider giving up and joining the circus. Honestly, UNSW, I have three Level 1 English HDs.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

reflection of the television

It feels like I've been terribly busy the past two weeks, even though I haven't. The parents fled to Paris last Monday leaving me in charge of the three barbarians, mostly with the instruction "eat some bedamned vegetables!!"

So far, only the puppy has shown any interest in eating any of the eighteen kgs of beans my mother bought. I may have to make bean cupcakes in order to trick them into eating the wretched things.

Speaking of the puppy, Lottie takes up all my free time - I have to get up at an unholy Adult hour of 6am to fed her and be subjected to the morning acrobatics. Then I sleep on the lounge floor while she chews my hair. Then we run around the garden. Then I go to work or hide in my room. Then we repeat. Sometimes we go swimming. Tuesday we went to the vet and she behaved like she was being tortured, stole the ear-checking-contraption and carried on in a wholly embarrassing manner. Today she met my friend Libby's terrier, Buffy who is half Lottie's size. She wet herself in fear, sooked for half an hour and then chased Buffy for two hours. She slept for the rest of the afternoon.

Napping in front of the cricket is possibly her favourite time to nap - I wholeheartedly agree. Cricket was designed for napping, and the commencement of the season has my napping seasons bouncing in glee. I have a lot of sleep to catch up on, after the wretched year I've had at university.

The results are out by the way. Are you sitting down? You might be quite surprised - I managed distinctions for my two history subjects (honestly, I'm surprised my American History tutor knew who I was to give me my tut mark) and, get this, you'll never believe it - I PASSED MEDIA STUDIES!!! I KNOW!!! I have never been so happy about a simple pass mark, ever. I wept with joy, tiredness, shock and then hayfever. I am headed for second year next year. Now all you have to do is worship the timetabling gods for me, so that they smile on me and let me do the subjects I want.
I don't think I've ever been so excited to start school - but I expect this will change by March 1, 2010, when I have to go through all that stupid O Week/Week Zero rubbish again.

---

I'm terribly sorry, but I think Australian politics has become more of a spectacle than the West Indies cricket team. Tony Abbott as Opposition Leader??????????? Kristina Kenelly as Premier of NSW?????? I must have drunk too much whisky. I always think strange things are happening when I drink whisky. Like, really??? It doesnt make any sense. The only thing possibly more reviled in Australian Politics apart from Abbott is the NSW Labor Party. Its disgusting, all of it. I don't care how good the economy is, or if you personally don't believe in climate change. We have the chance to do something good, that will pay for itself eventually. You can't have it both ways. Australia suddenly feels like a fucking scary place to live, full of liars and religious nuts with their fingers on the triggers and purse strings.

New Zealand is suddenly looking very nice.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

gasp

Lottie keeps eating Christmas Beetles. Does this bode negatively for Christmas??? She sort of tortures them before she eats them, clever little puppy.

x

I really want to tell everyone how special Hospice by The Antlers and Forget the Night Ahead by The Twilight Sad are. Like, shout it from rooftops and let off fireworks.

But they keep taking my breath away, and then I get so light headed that anything I write is more rubbish than usual, and climbing the stairs to the roof is out of the question.

x

at work today i
-buggered up the registers so many times i nearly cried
-wished people merry christmas even though its not december yet
-had a great talk with a girl about how sucky pearl jam are
-had a weird talk with a hipster boy about Mick Jagger's version of Ned Kelly
-arranged our Doctor Who DVDs in proper order, because I was sick of them being too high up and not in proper chronological order.

x

Its too hot for coherence.

Monday, November 23, 2009

the great bathers quest

The last pair of bathers I owned were gleefully tossed into a dumpster in Reykjavik at 4 am one rainy September morning. I remember this because I was so sick of these bathers, I'd had them for 4 years. I then avoided buying a new pair until last Sunday. I'm not big on swimming, mostly in some sort of Freudian reaction to my mother, who adores swimming. She petitioned, campaigned, downright whined for about 7 years until we relented and said, yes, OK, you can have a pool. Stop pouting. When summer hits, my mother goes out and buys herself new swimsuits. Gleefully. I have never met a woman who loves swimwear shopping as much as my mum. She's a wonder.

Part of the reason I think most women (women that I know, anyway) hate swimwear shopping is because its just so revealing - and that's just in the change room. When I went bathers shopping on Sunday (the hottest day EVER. UGH), I tried on TWELVE pairs of swimmers. I had to remind myself that they're supposed to be tight.

I didn't go near any of the bikinis. They're dangerous. For several reasons
  1. There's just not enough fabric to protect me from skin cancer. I am PALE. I am Snow Maddie. I am not about to put my skin in danger. In fact, if I go swimming during the hottest period of the day (11am-3pm) then I am in rash shirt and boardies and 9L of 30+ sunscreen. Having grown up with a cancer specialist for a father, I cannot impress upon people how dangerous over exposure is in the sun. I am the girl who got sunburned in the Cotswold's DURING A FIVE MINUTE BREAK IN A THUNDERSTORM.
  2. There's just not enough fabric to protect me from over exposing myself. Look, I get that the human body is a wonderful thing, but unfortunately, I (like alot of other lovely ladies) have very poor self esteem, as I am not all that thin. I don't have limbs you can snap. Also, I am very flaily with my limbs - expressive is a nicer word, I guess. Put me in something that is held together with two knots and is roughly the size of a tea saucer and we might run into some problems. You might see more than you wanted. And then I would run away and never come back.
  3. They're boring. Like, really. All the patterns are boring. This season.
  4. Why should I pay the same price for a bikini as I do a one piece???? That's just stupid
So with all that in mind, I decided on a one piece - yes, I know, you can get tankinis, but I don't like the word tank. Or that my tummy tends to escape. I trekked into DJ's and moseyed around the swimwear section. And found 12 one pieces to try on. Out of the twelve I tried

ONE of them had a neckline that perhaps should have been called A BELLYBUTTON LINE.
ONE of them I couldn't work out how to get into for a good 10 minutes.
ONE of them had a very unflattering red flower that emerged from ones rear.
TWO of them had weird cutout bits that I hadn't noticed when they were on the hanger
THREE of them had this sort of skirt thing that in theory was great, but in reality made me look five (the pink one) or eighty (the blue and navy ones)
FOUR of them were too high cut in the thigh.

I was beginning to think that I would just go and make myself a pair of swimmers that looked like this
from here

And then I tried on the last one piece I had found. To be honest, when I saw these on the rack, I'd sort of decided that they'd be the ones. Cut nicely on the thigh, with a little retro look to them. They looked swish, as long as I didn't look at my pasty thighs or belly. They weren't in danger of falling off. They would do, if only to ensure that I could go into the pool in the 40 degree heat that was Sunday.

from here

Obviously I look nothing like the girl in the picture. Which is the problem with swimsuits, and most fashion. They only cater for the beautiful. The rest of us have to work hard, the rest of us try stupid diets, or worry that perhaps they can't go out in public. It's sad. I mean, good on the beautiful women that meet the grade, but speaking as someone who rarely meets the grade when it comes to clothing size (because I am petite, but I am chubby! Who knew!) it can be very demoralising. The lights in change rooms don't help, nor all the mirrors. What does help is that all my friends are lovely, and when we were splashing about in the pool, trying to recover from the disgusting 40degree heat, they told me my bathers were nice. And then splashed me.


x


It was disgusting yesterday. So I of course, made a sort of invented pecan pie. Which was awesome. Sometimes my desire to vist the Americas is purely food based. Except for Tex-Mex. Ew.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

T-O-M (or, spelling mishaps)

There's a scene in one of my favourite movies, Being Julia where Julia (Annette Benning) asks young gentleman how to spell his name. He replies "T-O-M...Tom" and they're all terribly embarrassed by the faux pas, as you would be in 1930s London.

I suppose not knowing someones name means you're allowed to ask how to spell it. That doesn't really enrage me (surprised?) but what does irritate me is when people who have known me for years, or people who have no connection to me (doctors, stores, UNIVERSITY) spell my name wrong and act offended when I correct them. The attitude seems to be "what's in a name?"

Well. A lot. I'm a Madeleine. That's M-A-D-E-L-E-I-N-E. You can bring nominative determinism into if you like - MAD by name, mad by nature. The three E's are VERY VERY important. And so is there placement. I have been a Madeline. A Madelein. A Madeliene. Look, they're all perfectly acceptable. But they aren't me.

I can't quite work out why I get so annoyed about it. Does this happen to anyone else, or is it just my fault being beset by parents who like to over complicate things?

Sometimes, I wish they'd stuck with the name they had for me when I was in utereo.

They used to call me Og.

Even then, I'd probably be asked how many 'g's.




x



Gosh, what a wonderful day today was - found out that my health has drastically improved (!), found a decent translation of Notre Dame de Paris (!!), went to the KIT Christmas launch (!!!) where they gave me and Claudia 20 Cupcakes (!!!!) came home to a bouncing puppy (!!!!!), watched Being Julia (!!!!!!) and will go to sleep on CLEAN SHEETS (!!!!!!!!!) (sleeping on clean sheets = brilliance. pure brilliance)

Monday, November 16, 2009

arrivée de toujours, qui t'en iras partout

from here
One of my heroes - no, one of my kin is the French poet/anti-poet Arthur Rimbaud. I say kin because he would have hated being a hero. I discovered him when I was about 12, absolutely friendless in highschool, and devoured his Saison d'Enfer. He joined other French loves of mine - Alexandre Dumas and his d'Artangan, Victor Hugo and Quasimodo, Dumal, Foucault, Francoise Sagan, and the Americans in Paris - Fitzgerald, Stein, Hemingway. It's possible that I should have spent more of my teenage years outside instead of reading. When we (by we I mean me, my books and occasionally my friend Jason) used to smoke too much and drink even more, Rimbaud was always on my mind, as a sort of decadent god who watched us, both dearly and depreciatingly.

It wasn''t until I was in Paris last year that I got my hands on a biography of Rimbaud, by Graham Robb. I devoured this book by the Seine, and then again on various trains. It wasn't that Rimbaud was a shining light, but rather that he was so very clever, so very cunning and so very orchestrated. Rimbaud constructed himself, deconstructed and reconstructed in ways that weren't very common back in the 1800s. He wanted to be a celebrity, a god. He wanted adventure. His poems are the beginnings of punk rock, a reaction against the mathematics of poetry - but they are also an exploitation of the same.

The feverish anger in Saison d'Enfer is tempered by the beauty of Illuminations, the music in Drunken Boat, the depravity in First Communion. There's godlessness, there's sunlit mornings. Often excused as the squealing brat of French poetry, Rimbaud's lyricism is something very special.

And that he stopped writing completely at 21, became a traveler, a trader, an explorer in Africa, makes me feel slightly more hopeful about days when the words don't come out right.

from Illuminations:

To A Version Of Reason

One tap of your finger on the drum releases every timbre
and founds the new harmony.
You take a step and new men materialize; they march out.
You turn your head away: the new love! You turn back: the
new love!
'Alter our destiny' you hear the children sing. 'Stamp out
plagues! Stamp out Time, for a start!' Everyone begs you: 'Raise
the substance of our fortunes, our desires, wherever you can.'
You - fresh out of forever. Making for everywhere.










-
i needed cheering up this monday morning, so excuse the entirely wanky self induglence of this post.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

rounded up

The hype surrounding the Melbourne Cup, aka "the race that stops the nation" has never really made that much sense to me. While I like watching horses race (there's something powerful about it), I'm not really that invested in the gambling/drinking/dressing up side of things. Which is odd, considering that I love getting dressed up, very rarely say no to champagne and should probably take any chance I can to double my finances. Also, I don't really like the concept of racing. It doesn't have a point. I feel it would be more interesting if contestants (runners, cyclists, horses etc) had to run away from something. Like a dragon.

Mostly its the orange fake tans, the dresses that make you look like you're a bursting sausage, the bogan boys and the vomiting (It is possible to have a drink or two and not get trashfaced) which makes the Races just seem particularly trashy to me, for reasons that make me sound like a prudish old fuddy-duddy. Which I'm not, am I?


This year, I decided to inject a little bit of class to the whole affair. With cupcakes.

I baked 24 "Almost Coconut Cupcakes" from The Whisk Kid's recipe. I am never ever using any other cupcake recipe except this. The coconut milk gives the cupcakes a softness that lasts for days, as well as a lovely summery taste.


When the cupcakes were out of the oven, and I had dislodged Lottie from my lap (more on that later) I set about icing each cupcake according to the jersey that each jockey would be wearing in the race - there were supposed to be 24 horses racing, but Changing of the Guard was (somewhat controversially) scratched, leaving me with 23 cupcakes to make.


Of course, the cupcake that I was least happy with turned out to be the horse that won the cup. It's name was Shocking (it's the orange/black and red one), and later that night, Libby would eat it with aplomb. The other horse that was difficult was Daffodil, whose jersey had a horse on it. That's the white cupcake with six green smarties on it. I find it hard not to use smarties in all my food decorating.


Libby, Emma and Lizz came over for pink sparkling wine, nachos and cupcakes. Very stylish. It was forty degrees Celsius, which is ridiculous, so Libby got in the pool, and took poor Lottie with her. Lottie will do anything for treats, and demonstrated that she may turn into a water dog.

Mostly though, Lottie is very good at three things: Eating, Bouncing and Sleeping. The eating isn't really a problem (although she ate a cupcake wrapper and spewed it up) but the Bouncing is truly terrifying. She's about 6 kgs at the moment, and just over a foot long (not counting tail), but when she bounces towards you, its hard to know whether you're going to be licked or nipped or both. The Bouncing lasts for about half an hour, then is followed by a long nap, which lead several members of my family and friends to comment that Lottie and I have similar sleeping skills - we can nap anywhere, anytime.

For proof:
Lottie, napping in her bed, which she is now sort of too big for!

Lottie and I, napping on the kitchen floor at 6am. Excuse my ludicrous pjs and hair. I have gotten a haircut recently, and no longer look like a gothic haystack.

Lottie, napping next to my leg. The flash woke her up for all of 30seconds.

Lottie, napping on my mother's lap and doing her best kangaroo impression.

Lottie, napping on my legs. After she slid off my lap, she stayed like this for half an hour.



Lottie, napping on mum's lap, distrupting year 10 marking. She likes to have her head higher than her body when she naps.
I think its because it makes her snore.


Lottie, napping on mum's lap, side view. See how much bigger she is???







In other news, it turns out that Editors have contributed the song "No Sound But The Wind" to the New Moon (sequel to twilight) Soundtrack. I generally support soundtracks, but this just makes me cranky. It looks like its going to be worse than the last movie. But the main thing upsetting me is that Tom Smith wrote this song after reading The Road by Cormac McCarthy, not some wretched vampire story. Pah. I thought Death Cab for Cutie were bad enough, turns out The Killers are involved too. See ?? Is it just me, or does this reek of something rotten?




Wednesday, November 4, 2009

november is for parties

J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" opens with a discussion about the habits of Hobbits, particularly concerning their birthdays. For Hobbits it is tradition to give presents on one's birthday instead of receiving them. My friend Bre does that with mixtapes quite often, I try to do the same with cake, and now the Amazing Amanda Atkins is doing the same, but in a very big way.

To celebrate her upcoming November birthday, as well as the fact that it's November, and we've all practically made it through a year, Amanda is doing a portraiture give away. All you have to do is leave a comment on her blog, Amanda Atkins in a Canary Forest, put a post up on your blog, and she might end up painting a portrait of you!



I've touted Amanda's artwork before - I love the vintage circus modern feel, the celebration of women, the whimsy, but especially (admittedly this is coming on the back of a very disappointing trip to the MCA) I love the fact that her artworks are genuinely beautiful and pleasing to the eye. They are obviously created with a great deal of love and care.

I hope I don't sound like I'm sucking up, but Amanda has been really lovely to "know" in the blogging world - I get a bit nervous about leaving comments sometimes, but she's always been friendly and helpful (she's provided the first lot of books on my reading list!).

Amanda also has a store you can purchase prints from, which can be found here.


HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMANDA!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

the long tail

For the past two nights, I have slept on the sofa. This is not because the mess in my room has finally rebelled and set up its own single party state (down with vaccumming!) but because we have a new family member who is very little, and very needy, and very easily chilled. Because it's my fault we have this new family member, I have to look after her.

Her name is Lottie. She's a German Short Haired Pointer, and she's totally wonderful. Her colouring is mostly Liver, but her legs, chest are whiteflecked and her tail is half white. We're all in love with her. Besotted might also be a good word to use.


My mum, mum's mum and I went to pick her up on Sunday, from Maitland (I found her for sale in the NSW Trading Post, which is also the same way we found Spike). We had a choice between her and her sister, but there was something about Lottie - she's got a narrow face that seems full of quiet intelligence and mischief (I could be projecting). The car trip home was slightly unnerving for her, having to sit next to me as I tried out various names "Juno" (sounded too much like no), "Beans" (seems more like a spaniels name, for some reason) "Bones" (a boy dalmations name, for sure) "Sally", "Peggy" etc. I think she threw up just to get me to shut up. By the time we found somewhere to stop on the highway, she'd eaten it all and gone to sleep. So I went to sleep too, until Pymble. By Concord, she'd thrown up again (For non NSW residents - about an hour and a half after the first vomit came the second)


The smells at our place were instantly interesting, although the prospect of a nap on my lap even more so.


Eventually she met everyone else, and responded positively. We came up with Lottie over dinner, as it has a sort of Germanic sound, and she's a sort of Germanic dog.
At night time though, she's a hound worthy of the Baskervilles. It's probably not much fun being left in the laundry with no one to play with! Mum was getting up at 5am to check on her (and the pool, her other baby, at least until Lottie fell in the pool and was pitiful) So Wednesday night at one am, my parents coerced me into sleeping on the lounge room sofa, which is far more comfy than my bed, so that I could get up to check on her. We gave her a hot water bottle, and that seems to be a success. Last night she came inside (because I am too softhearted) and slept all night without going to the toilet inside!
She's very very bouncy and playful, and has already mastered the concept of fetch. She has a stuffed giraffe that is the best thing ever, after food. When she eats, her big floppy ears fall in the bowl. It's likely that she'll never grow into her ears. I think she's going to end up being about 30kg, and at the moment she's 5kg, so she's a sixth of the way there! Her paws are huge and she hasn't worked out how to use them.
Lottie seems to think that both my parents are nutters, so I guess she's already a true Barton.
I'm trying to take as many photos as possible of her, but she chewed my camera cord this morning.







Tuesday, October 20, 2009

we are ACHIEVERS

My brother, sister and I started our exams this week - hers to get her in training for her School Certificate, mine to finally catapult me out of first year university, his to catapult him into first year. It is incredibly bizarre to watch this little boy, who I remember visiting in the hospital when he was a few days old, talk about chemistry and Spartacus and Maestro - he writes beautifully, and wrote a story about a man and his books that I'm trying to convince him to let me "publish" on here. The NSW Higher School Certificate is, in some ways deeply problematic in that it tends to try to be too modern, and leaves gaps within one's education (which is presumably having an effect on the quality of university level english courses, but then everything is having an effect on that) It's been difficult for him this year, what with the emphasis on ranking and the exhaustion that the final two years of school bring. Still, Jeremy has plodded through it with his usual puppyish charm and humour, and I am deeply proud of him, and feel that I should say something like "he's matured into a deeply sensitive sweet intelligent young man" except about fifteen minutes ago he rang past me, stark naked and giggling. He does that alot. He also dances as badly as me, and encourages me to dance often.

I'm also quite proud of my other sibling, Claudia. About this time last year she decided she wanted to go on her school's Classics tour, to Itlay and Greece. Instead of demanding that our parents pay for the entire thing, she got herself a job at MacDonalds and paid for a large portion of the trip. She went for three weeks this October, and I gave her all my leftover spare change from when I was in Europe. I'm proud of her for being so independent and determined, as well as far more interested in her education that she is in boys - she's resisted private school culture (in a more positive way than I did.) Claudia is by far the most intelligent of the three of us, and certainly the most ambitious. So I was surprised to hear that she had returned from Europe without conquering it and declaring herself Supreme Dictator for life. I should point out that upon hearing that it took Hitler 7 hours to invade and conquer Belgium, Claudia remarked "that's a bit inefficient." Unlike Hitler though, Claudia has a sense of humor. Most days. Well. For a part of most days. Around dinner time.

And as for me? I HAVE SURVIVED THIS SEMESTER. There is one more exam left, but that's November 11, so I have a few weeks to revise. My American History exam may have ended in me accusing the question of being stupid, but really. You can't talk about The Americas as a single entity - there are too many social, economical, cultural, geographical and political differences for any of it to be homogeneous. Hah. I totally learned something. I thought my killer final sentence of "what about CANADA!?!" was a winner. And then in Gender History today I had a small meltdown because none of the essay questions had any real focus, so I decided to accuse the Medieval Christian Church of using Binary Thinking to inform their Gender Constructs, because they're all dead and can't subject me to their bizarre maternally fixed exectuations anymore. Seeing as that was all about 500 years ago. There were probably too many capitals in my essay, but its DONE.

Ugh, I'm exhausted.



x

Culture News: Mum and I went to see Bright Star which is a movie about John Keats' and his lover Franny Braun. I had to pretend to be an English teacher for some reason, the movie was abit too long and there was little or no soundtrack which was unnerving. I didn't really like it that much as I was tired and grumpy, and also I'm a cynic, but I thought Ben Whishlaw was perfect as Keats. The cinematography was divine, and I wanted the cat, Topper.

I'm reading The Pornographer of Vienna, which is a fictionalised account of one of my favourite artists, Egon Schiele. It's kinda tough going, but beautifully imagined. Chaucer was great, but the Olde Englishe got to me after a while. Next up is a book with a very long name about a Russian Gambler. I'm determined to read over 100 books by March 1 2010. (which is when uni goes back)

Also, I have a job for Christmas! I'll be working with Emma at Virgin Records. I'm excited, and can't wait to get started - I'm already fantasizing about what I'll spend my first pay on.

Oh, and that super super exciting news I mentioned might be happening?
It's definitley happening....on Sunday.
I can barely keep my mouth shut, but I promised I would.
It's going to be brilliant.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

pages

There are four days of term left, although there's a considerable gap between day three and day four. Stupid media exam. I am so glad that I never have to take another Media subject - it made me miserable, and we had a very horrid incident with a group member who too busy pretending to be a member of MGMT to bother to do any sodding work. I'm proud of myself and Justine (the other group member) for standing up to him and telling our tutor about the unfair circumstances. It wasn't "dobbing" or "tattle telling". It was us standing up and defending our work, and also, unfortunately, having to defend our gender against a silly little misogynist.

Just because he fits in girls jeans, doesn't mean he respects women.

In nicer news, I have decided to do something proactive-ish about the culling of upper level english classes, and started writing my very long reading list for the summer, starting with Chaucer and ending...well, I have no idea where. Any suggestions are welcome.


books that were in a pile until i knocked them over and spent a day reading them all back in summer 07



I might have something super super exciting to debut next week.

While you're waiting for that, go see "Whip It". I love Drew Barrymore so much.

Monday, October 12, 2009

conversing

Mother: Who was I reading about in the newspaper?
Father: Is this twenty questions?

sometimes, living at home isn't that bad.


x

Me: Erm....
VideoStoreGirl: OH! TWILIGHT! This is such an awesome movie!
Me: Oh, really?
VideoStoreGirl: Uh huh- The story is so romantic, and the acting is awesome, and the direction and (I tuned out until I realised she was looking at me expectantly)
Me: Yeah, I hear its up there with Fellini.
VideoStoreGirl: Who?
Me: Nevermind. Can I have the dvd, I have a Twilight party to go to.
VideoStoreGirl: That's such a cool idea! I'm going to do that for the next movie - which is out November 17th, by the way.
Me: ................thanks.

I don't know whats worse - that the conversation wasn't the weirdest or most awkward conversation I had last week, or that she didn't know who Fellini was and she worked in a video store.

Can we still call them video stores when then now primarily stock DVDs?


Oh, and for the record? Twilight made me insanely angry. Angry in the pants.
And drunk in the liver.

Friday, October 9, 2009

fury

I'd like to apologize for being so selfish. I am not a valid member of society – I contribute nothing to your precious sodding economy and I am very sorry about this. Clearly, I am not anything worthwhile.

I am a piss poor arts student with an interest in LITERATURE – remember the written word???? Before it got viciously hijacked by your liberal vales and blessed economy????

And as such, I know nothing, and will never know anything that will further humanity, and that negates my right to want change within my society.

Don't tell me I'm being over dramatic. Don't pat me on the head, and don't patronise me. I have had enough. I am sick of the way I am treated, I am sick of justifying myself and I am sick of being told I'm over reacting. This is MY LIFE, I think I'm allowed to be upset about it.

All I wanted was to study WORDS, stories, legends, to unearth meaning in them and to maybe, one day, share that with people. I wanted debate and discussion. God help me, I WANT TO THINK.

Why does no one want to do this anymore? We spend our money on trends, we worry about how we look more than we worry about what we think. Newspapers are becoming tabloids, and I know more about the KARDASHIANS, of all fucking families, than I do about the Literary Canon.

I suspect this is all a giant conspiracy to dumb us down so that we don't notice that our civil rights are being impinged upon. And if you're wondering what this has to do with Literature, then I'll remind you that words formed our world and our understanding of it. You probably know more about Shakespeare than you think, and he definitely has a more positive influence on society than The Hills. Yet the number of times I've heard people dismiss Shakespeare, Chaucer, Keats, Byron, Rimbaud is beyond counting. “It's too hard and it's outdated.” you say.

TOO HARD?!?!?!!?!?

Psscht. It's only hard because you are LAZY. It's only hard because Literature doesn't have a right or wrong answer – it requires you to form an opinion and make your own mind up.

God forbid, in the world we live in, that we should think for ourselves. Why bother, when we have gossip magazines to tell us what to think.

x

I'm going to move into a library and never come out again.

x

And another thing. My university has cut out half the English and History courses for next year – and you don't do “English” or “History”. You do “Arts”. I am so upset about this (I cried twice about it), because I have been looking forward to doing upper level Literature for YEARS and now they've scrapped it. I'll be doing all this general stuff, and I'm sure it'll be thrilling, really, because the staff at UNSW are FANTASTIC, but I wanted to learn about more than that, I was told that I'd be able to specialise, that there'd be more innovation. Except apparently that doesn't get students in lecture theatres. Its so fucking depressing, that there are three media courses on economics, countless business courses and just FOUR English subjects next semester. Sod the John Howard years – I don't give a shit about how wonderful his economy was (and look, was it really that grand if we've just had a recession?), devaluing education was the dumbest and most destructive thing he ever did.



Thursday, October 8, 2009

365


(photo taken in Berlin, by me)

I have been back in Sydney for a year.
My hair's a different colour.
My book shelf is near collapse.
It's as windy here as it was in Reykjavik.
I'm still unemployed.
And I still don't know if I believe in posterity.



(street art in downtown Reykjavik, taken by me)


But I felt I ought to mark the date anyway.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

quiet please

So sometime next week, things might return to our brand of normal.



(from here)

There are 67 unread emails in my inbox. That aren't spam. I've lost count of the spam.
My fringe has stopped being a fringe.
Yann Tiersen makes music for when I'm too tired for words.
Bonjour Tristesse by Francoise Sagan is kind of wonderful.
My new circle skirt makes me feel like making cupcakes.
And there are three weeks of term left.

Monday, September 28, 2009

failure and fitzgerald (part one)

from here


Mr Fitzgerald, I wish you and your buddies (a Mr H. Stearns and a Ms Media Studies) to relinquish me from your grasp. I'm dying to tell everyone about the shockingly terrible yet oh so wonderfully bad book I read called "The Scotsman" (complete with accents!) but every time I think I've finished writing about your love of scotch and failure, you point out something I've missed.

Still.

"At any rate, let us love for a while, for a year or so, you and me. That's a form of divine drunkenness that we can all try. There are only diamonds in the whole world, diamonds and perhaps the shabby gift of disillusion." (A Diamond as Big As The Ritz)

How can you not love a sentence like that?


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

don't look too closely

(photo from smh, by Chris Button)


We woke to Armageddon, which was much more red than we'd anticipated. I pulled the covers back over my head before deciding that if the world was ending, I wanted to annoy my parents one more time, so I headed downstairs and hijacked the kettle before them. The sky was reminiscent of the red hair I used to have, and the wind was a Baskerville hound. It was terribly dramatic for six am. So I went back to bed, and dreamed that Tom Baker and David Tennant were having a light saber battle in the dust. If this is how I go, dreaming of Dr Who, then it's probably not all that bad. I thought. Eventually I decided that even if it was the end of the world, I should probably go to my classes and make a real go at a final last stand. By the time I left the house, the sky had gone from neon orange to a sherbet colour. The wind was ferocious, but me being me, I lifted my head and said "PAH! This is nothing, for I have been to Iceland, and ye gods, wind that can knock you over when you're carrying a 15kg pack is real wind! This is sissy wind!" Before narrowly avoiding being sent to my death via car-splat. I must remember to put my glasses on before I leave the house. The walk to the station was like being in a spaghetti western - my hand kept straying to where my gun holster should have been, except I had chosen not to wear it that day. It clashed with my polka dot skirt.

By the time I was in town, every second person I saw was wearing a face mask. I myself was busy coughing to get the dust out of my mouth, unsuccessfully. It was eerie. And then of course, human nature ruined it when I heard a man demanding to know when his office would be cleared of the dust. The wind whipped around my shoelaces, and I read some G.G.Marquez for my American History Class.

By one o'clock, the sky was clearing. Alan told me about some of his neighbours, who've locked themselves in the church, praying for Judgement Day. Someone had organised a protest to do with Climate Action and Change. The wind was still roaring, tangling my hair in impossible knots. We talked about witches and Freud in gender studies, the image of scared old men cutting the breasts off women sending chills down my spine. I gave up dealing with the library and bought the textbook I've been trying to use for my Fitzgerald essay. By the time I left uni, the sky was dark, my lips were chapped, my eyes dry, all of me dusty.

I felt much better. I think it's because finally something happened that wasn't my fault, or my doing. Or maybe it was the threat of the end of the world that made me get over myself a bit. Maybe it was the brilliant article on women and tattoo aesthetic that I'm reading, or the fact that there are only four more media tutorials that I have to suffer through. Whatever. The point is, we woke up to Armageddon, but we go to sleep with one more day.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

things haven't been very good lately.


do you ever feel like there's no one on your side? that all the nods and half grimaces people offer you are just courtesy while they're waiting for you to stop talking? that people are just waiting for you to trip up, circling like vultures? yeah.

i don't think you could ever accuse me of being grateful.

Friday, September 11, 2009

wait, is that a ninja hook?

I'm not entirely sure that I know any adults, or that any of the people I know are truly capable of being considered adults. I'm including myself in this sweeping statement, by the way. And by adult, I mean I can't ever imagine not laughing at inappropriate jokes or Freudian slips. Paying bills before the final notice. Writing essays a decent time before the due date. Not eating chocolate for dinner, or beer for breakfast. Not wearing shoes that I know will make me cry the next day, but are beautiful nonetheless. Not having pointless crushes on people I'll never meet. Being resigned instead of outraged. These are all things that I equate with the maturity that I don't have at present. And don't really want to have. I take myself too seriously, far too seriously. You might have noticed. But in the past three weeks, life went a bit odd and I ran out of effort. Sod being an adult.

One of the odd things was that I received an HD for an essay that I wrote the day after it was due. I was very embarrassed about this, as it encourages bad habits and also makes me really confused - the essay was rambling, had no point and insulted the French. But my professor liked it, and I'm not really in a position to argue with him. This lead to me considering French history for next semester, as it seems I've picked up a History sequence by accident. And that means I should probably make an attempt at the French language at some point. I'm still an English major, it just means that eventually I'll be proficient (hopefully) in English & French Literature. Knowing me, it'll be obscure medieval literature written by goatherds, and I'll have to learn Olde Englishe.

I was pondering all this, along with my usual pondering about why academics get such little respect when suddenly I was on holidays. Which really didn't make that great a change to my life as I've had an essay on Revolutions & Women hanging over my head all week. It's nearly done, I swear. Keeping with the trend, most of it is me accidentally insulting the French, I think. I like the French, honest. They believe their own hype, which is something I wish I could learn how to do. Anyway, my head was going at a million miles an hour, and then Emma rang.

This was a Big Deal, because Emma had just arrived back from Edinburgh. Where she'd been for a year. Without me. I last saw her in September, when I had arrived back from Iceland at midday, caught an overnight bus that stopped in Birmingham for 5 hours for no reason and dumped me in Edinburgh very early in the morning. Where Emma was. It was awesome and windy and if we'd had more time, we could have taken over the city. I love Edinburgh, its my kind of city. So I'd left Emma there (reluctantly) and set about annoying the beejezus out of poor Lizzle for a year.

And then Emma came back, and we had to celebrate. We did this by taking over the back room at Badde Manors - we being Emma, Lizzle, Beard, Libby, myself, and some wine. There was much laughing and shouting and more laughing and I remember thinking at some point that these guys are family, that part of growing up is making a new family for yourself. And that possibly, this is one of the few good things about growing up. It's being able to have people there who will tell you when you've got falafel stuck between your teeth (although they're laughing hysterically). It's not telling someone that they've managed to throw ice cream into their wine glass. It's drinking rose shiraz out of tumblers and not feeling pretentious. It's trying new things (like vegetarian food for Beard) and knowing that if you don't like it, the people you're with will be ok with that, even though they'll tease you good naturedly about it forever. It's wandering up and down George Street eating gelato and shouting about politics. It's seeing a hole in the station wall and wondering "wait, is that a ninja hook" and going on a flight of fancy. It's standing on a traffic island while everyone in the restaurant has to listen to you shouting your own reworked version of the classic "I'm on a Boat". It's finding the people who don't mind that you're you, and that you have a tendency to refer to your disagreements as "states of cold war". It's realising that you don't have to be out on a Saturday night, you just need a Doctor Who DVD and a bag of clinkers and each other to have a good time.

So in the midst of all the noise on the drive home, with Brandon Flowers singing in the back ground and Libby realising that she had driven past my house, I felt that perhaps growing up is overrated, that adult maturity is a concept I'll always be chasing, and I decided I didn't really care. I'm just relieved that there are a bunch of nutters with me, telling me to stop thinking and open the next bottle.



Libby, wondering why Beard is taking so long, Me in the midst of laughing, Emma being suave and Lizzle clinging to the pole for balance. We're on a traffic island.

and with that somewhat soppy post, i hope i've captured the promise spring is bringing. we're all feeling full of potent potential, and if i ever get this wretched essay about Revolutions and Women finished, you might see some of my sewing potential documented on here.

um, is the new header ok?

Monday, August 31, 2009

on weekends and weasels

Yet another weekend passed - this time with not one, but TWO hangovers. I am remarkably skilled at both creating and dealing with hangovers - whether or not this is a sign of encroaching alcoholism, I know not. However, I got to see some people that I hadn't seen for a very long time. So it was probably worth it. Wasn't so impressed when Sunday's plans went down the gurgler due , to wretched Media Studies, which (in case you hadn't picked up on it already) is the new Metaphysics. University is impinging upon the time I get to spend with NICE people and I don't like it. At all.

So apart from drinking, what did I get up to this weekend? Music was business as usual - equal parts exhilarating (I'm playing stuff that Patrick Wolf wrote. Eek) and frustrating (having to deal with playing more than 3 flats upsets me) but not particularly note-worthy (ha). However, I did go to see The Young Victoria, which was one of those movies that you go into knowing the basic plot but are pleasantly surprised by the quality of the film. And boy, has this film got quality. Emily Blunt shows a surprising amount of steel as Victoria, but an even more surprising amount of gentleness towards Albert, who is played by Rupert Friend. All I know about him is that he's dating Keira Knightley, so I was pleasantly surprised by his ability to carry off an accent with believability. The music was great, the costuming even more so, Paul Bettany popped up as Lord Melbourne and was great. All in all, this is sort of a upper level chick flick. And tops anything with Katherine Heigl in it. (Has anyone see The Ugly Truth? It looks shocking.)

While I'm talking (typing?) about an era where finding a man was the priority for most women my age, let me talk about Jane Austen. I'm not a fan. Its all the repressiveness, all the behaving that I don't like. And then I read Persuasion last week. For no real reason other than I needed to read something that wasn't about Buddhism, America or Mobile Media. And I had a three hour break, so I polished it off then. And I loved it. Persuasion was Austen's last novel, and I finally understood what she was doing. She was being satirical. Satire is grossly misunderstood by my generation, so no wonder I missed it. But the protagonist of Persuasion, Anne, is fantastic. Like Cinderella, she's stomped on by just about everybody, including Captain Wentworth, who she once nearly got engaged to. The story takes place 7 or 8 years after the engagement fiasco, when Anne's family goes bankrupt (sort of) and Wentworth returns. He's all terribly Colin Firth-y, and Anne is having none of it. The novel made me giggle all afternoon, as Austen's attacks on the class system of England are probably more evident here than they are in her other works - or possibly because Persuasion hasn't been victim to repeated dramatisations like Pride and Prejudice has been, its easier to take it as a satire instead of a romance (although apparently there's a version of Persuasion with the lovely Rupert Penry Jones.) So I have finally enjoyed a Jane Austen novel! I still wouldn't want anything to do with any of the characters, but I can sort of see what people are on about when they gush over her.

And as for books, I've found myself reading a lot of pre 1950s stuff recently. There's been Austen, of course. But there's also been The Crimson Petal & The White, which despite having a slightly irritating ending, was one of the wildest books I've read in years. And now there's Wesley Stace's Misfortune which is brilliantly written and even more brilliantly conceived. I'll write more about it when I finish it, but it's a great Gothic book that is so very very clever. And finally, I've been reading lots of F. Scott Fitzgerald, in preparation for an essay I'm going to be writing about him for American History. So far I've re-read Gatsby and Tender is the Night, now I'm reading The Beautiful and The Damned. I love his turn of phrase, how it seems so effortless, and seems to reflect the assumed effortlessness of that generation. His words make me want to drink Mint Juleps and Champagne, learn the foxtrot and do my hair in finger waves. I've been thinking of trying that anyway, but my hair is getting longer than ever and is quite thick. I have a sort of pageboy look going on at the moment, and sometimes if I curl it write, I can pretend I'm Rita Hayworth.

Fitzgerald has also inspired my latest clothing quest/craze - I want a white summer dress. Sydney is warming up, rustling in anticipation of spring. I can see me wearing a white or cream dress as a colossally bad idea. I'm bound to spill something or sit in something, but I don't care. I want one. And I think that with my hair being so dark at the moment, I could probably pull off a white dress. All I'd need is a long red necklace and red shoes. Or blue. Or a sash! So now that I've made that decision, I'm trawling Etsy and Ebay for something vintage and affordable, as my Spring resolution (much more effective that New Years Resolutions, I've found) is to stop buying new clothes and only buy vintage or make my own. (I'm also going to wean myself off meat. and make more of an effort to get to my mobile before it stops ringing.) I haven't decided if I want to make this imagined white/cream dress or not. Maybe I'll find a dress on etsy, and make a back up version in case of aforementioned spillage? If you see anything, anywhere, that you think I might like, please please let me know!

Finally, Jack's Mannequin's clip for Dark Blue. The song is one of my guilty pleasures, as its very very very pop, and Andrew McMahon's voice can sound a little whiny. But I think this is their best song, and it's certainly their best film clip, and I wish, I wish, I wish that someone in Sydney would organise an event like the one depicted in it. I would be there, dancing my little toes off, and I would win it. In my new white summer dress, of course!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

for goodness sake




i figured i'd let jarvis cocker express my total disgust at absolutely everything today.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

empirically, progressively, eventually

You know when suddenly four days of your life have disappeared, and you have no idea where they went because the whole thing is a blur of mistakes missed phone calls missed chances Mozart procrastination Foucault Roland Barthes angst etc, and you still haven't done that thing that you were supposed to do??? Except you can't really remember what it was that you were supposed to do - but you remember at the time, maybe midnight or Sunday morning in the sun, whenever, right before everything fell through and went totally crazy, you knew for about thirty seconds exactly what to say.

Thirty seconds.

What a rip off.

x

In attempting to write 700 words that "identify the way the chosen document problematises the effects or use of media forms and technologies within that territory" I have come quite close to chucking in my degree and never going back. I wouldn't blame that assignment (although it is due tomorrow and at present I have approx. 0 words), but I would blame that subject, and I would blame the absolute apathy, disinterest and disrespect displayed by my fellow students. And I know, I know, I know that I shouldn't be bothered by other people's attitudes towards things, but it does have an effect on the environment I find myself in - tutorials where nobody says anything, lectures where nobody asks questions, group work where nobody does anything. It's depressing. University is supposed to facilitate the growth of knowledge, instead we all just sneer at the word 'facilitate'. Is this what I want to do with my life? I had vague notions of taking up a post in Literature somewhere, which would keep me quietly entertained for the rest of my days. Now, I'm having doubts. I don't know if I want to go through the blank stares of students, or feel like a neanderthal being washed away by the technology march (what is wrong with books in books format in a library?). There must be some benefit - in fact I know there's a benefit. Not to blow my own trumpet, but according to my English tutor last semester, it's people like me who do the reading, do the extra reading, who ask questions and care about their subjects that make teaching worth it (how sappy but wonderful). Granted, I'm slightly more likely to do this for English (which I'm not taking this semester) than I am for Media. But still. People told me that I'd find my niche at university. It's been three very long and wonky years, and I still feel like perhaps I should have been at university during the 1940s, that perhaps I am the outdated one who should get with the program. There's a lack of respect for knowledge and learning that confuses me, and I don't know if its what I want anymore. Maybe I'd be better off joining the rat race and making millions.


(and all the jokes about doing a "farts degree"? they got very boring a long time ago. not that they were ever funny.)
x


Things don't make sense very often, that was my starting point for this post. Some days I feel very very very old, and some moments I feel very very very young. Alot of the time I'm hungry and tired, and that makes me wonder if there's a point to all this, which some days feels like the 15yearoldblackjeanswearing me, and other days feels like the James Joyce brandishing87 yrold woman I might eventually turn into. I don't know why we do these things to ourselves - my father does a job that has given him both an Order of Australia Medal and terrible migraines. When I asked him why he kept it all up, he pointed at the stereo set up blaring The Rolling Stones and told me it was the material benefits. And that instilled in me a realisation that material objects aren't that bad. I think I went and bought a dress to celebrate.

Sometimes though, when that song comes on, or when my fingers hit the right notes on my cello, or when the pastabake turns out right, or the front page of the newspaper inspires a rant, or when someone smiles at me, I think that maybe not understanding is ok. Because I'm a learner, and I'm trying to understand. Unlike alot of people, I'm making an effort.

Monday, August 17, 2009

predictable post

yes well. i am peeking out from under piles of notes about the French in New France (why were they so unimaginative when it came to naming new places back then?), Ancient Greek sex practices (wowee. vases. lots of pictures of erotic vases) and a bunch of stuff about ethics, fouccault and SBS to mention that perhaps i am a little edgy. everything is due in the next five minutes (ha. ha.) and as usual, i am left wondering if perhaps my academic techniques are rubbish. and i am edgy.

i think that was common knowledge anyway.

although, i have given up drinking coffee, and it feels rather good to wake up in the morning and not have this urge to lurch towards our goliath coffee machine, which makes noises like a distressed robot cow. however, several people have commented on the fact that the noncoffee drinking is making me do very strange things, like play cello for four hours straight and cry over trills.

at least i haven't been back in my doona cover.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Hiding Under My Sofa

At present, if I make the mistake of turning the television on, I'm greeted with this:



Which, granted, is a major step up in that it doesn't seem to feature any of those people (y'know, the ones who I keep insisting are trying to kill me, and you all keep rolling your eyes about.) However. It does make me want to hide under the sofa and chew on the television cables.


Unlike my mother, who once famously proclaimed "I understand hip hop" (which left the rest of us wondering if anyone understood her) I don't. I just don't get it. I have tried, believe me. I have tried very hard, to the point of standing near the Black Eyed Peas when they played the Sydney Big Day Out in 2005. And yes, I understand that they probably aren't really hip hop 9there's always a purist) , but I also once had a very bizarre experience of watching Kanye West support U2 whilst drinking beer with a frenchperson who knew every lyric of Kanye's but in french. I like Kanye, though. He seems like a laugh, in that he clearly embodies hiphoprnb but knows its a bit of a joke. Anyway. Sidetracked. Again. I don't get what I am being told is "modern r'n'b/hiphop".

Mostly because it looks very very aggressive, seems to involve gratuitous abuse of the English language, uses exactly the same bass beat for every single song, spawned the popularity of those stupid stupid grillz (who needs diamonds on their teeth? are you a Terry Pratchett troll?) and just. The dancing is terrifying. If Ciara isn't slapping at all her flesh whilst prancing around in shoes that were made in order to paralyse, then the Pussy Cat Dolls are doing some sort of obscene gyration thing that involves knee pads and me wishing that i hadn't decided to be interested in music video culture. And if its not a female, then its Eminem telling me that he thinks he's Hannibal Lecter and that its 3am when it's clearly not. Or that guy who wears Top Hats and is always on a boat. Or Beyonce, who has clearly taken a trip on the Ego Train and never wants to get off. And so on, and so forth.

I just don't understand how people can be attracted to what appears to be a very shallow lifestyle. Like, don't you want to talk to the girl before she's knocked up and you're off shooting things? Or would that throw out your day? I don't know. Perhaps my life would have been different if 50 Cent had got to me long before BRMC did (although, perhaps not. BRMC have legendary rescuing capabilities and I highly recommend them for any musical interventions you may be planning). The other thing is that it all seems so faceless - and perhaps you could argue that all my beloved indie bands would look that way to a hiphop fan - but the song material is either a bass-ed up version of "its a hard knock life" or an x-rated version of "Pour some sugar on me" (if that song could be x-rated?).

I could just turn it off I suppose. I'm sure there's some Top Gear episode on (its always on) that I haven't seen that I could watch instead. I could even make a start on my reading for next year. But the thing is that I love music videos, and I love pulling them apart. I wrote 3000 words about the clip for "I'm Not Ok (I Promise)" by My Chemical Romance and then spent the next two weeks wondering why every time I saw Gerard Way I wanted to ask him to do my homework. Patrick Wolf's offering for "Vulture" had me jumping about wondering if perhaps, we were seeing the acceptance of pornification of MEN instead of women in a leather-istic way, and if so, could Patrick possibly rope in William Beckett (I'm sorry. Objectification. I'm no better than Hugh Hefner, really). The National's 'anti -video' for "Mistaken for Strangers" has my heart swelling every time as much because of the 'anti video' as the song. I've loved every single video Lily Allen's done, and I could possibly write a treatise akin to Lord Of The Rings on how I think it's very unfair that there aren't more music videos by female artists that I like in which they don't have to gyrate/wear something skimpy in order to get attention. So you get it. I like music videos. Possibly a little too much. (My excuse is that I don't have the attention span for film, which is a lie)
The first music video I ever remember seeing was Blur's Song #2, in which the band kick up such a storm that the room they're in goes nuts and they get flung against the wall. Great storyline, obviously, and very reflective of the song. (pfft.) And ever since then, I've thought that music videos should be viewed and analysed the way we view film and television. There's probably a whole bunch of accredited people who study this and use big words about what this means as a society, but I've always been interested in gut reactions as opposed to academia (which is why I keep ballsing up my academic life. probably).

And then Ciara started entreating me to "shake that thing like a donkey" and I lost my train of thought, because I became enraged at the silliness of EVERYTHING. What, pray tell, am I supposed to be shaking? And can you provide evidence of how a donkey shakes, because I like to get things right. And if you are not referring to an actual donkey, I expect a detailed analysis of your metaphor, including why you chose to use it, on my desk double spaced by 4pm tomorrow.

Clearly though, the silliest thing is that I am letting myself get weirded out by people who think wearing PVC on a hot day is a good thing.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

i used to be your biggest fan

(a post that started with me eavesdropping and ends with me talking about boys)

When I was in high school, a girl I knew kept a list of the celebrities that she was determined to engage in conjugal relations with. As far as I remember, these ranged from Orlando Bloom to one of the Backstreet Boys to Chris Martin of Coldplay. This list got updated, I think, depending on who was on the cover of that month's Cosmo magazine.

I, on the other hand, was determined to snag Quidditch player Oliver Wood. Even if it meant that I had to trick actor Sean Biggerstaff into permanently pretending- sorry, acting as said Quidditch player. It wasn't even really how good he looked in bastardised leather cricket pads and maroon gold stripes (what a strange fetish that would be). It was mostly his accent. Which was Scottish and adorable and slightly incoherent. Like most Scottish people that I've met or encountered via mediums of entertainment. Roddy Woomble particularly. I went through a phase where I was sure the answer to life would be having Woomble as a next door neighbour to pester (sometimes I still think that). And the guy who played Pippin in Lord of The Rings. In full hobbit garb, he looked like an awesome guy to take to the pub.

This all has a point, I swear. I'm not doing a gratuitous eye candy post. Actually, there really isn't a point. I heard a couple of girls talking about their lists and was struck by how a) the list was basically identical to the list that the girl in my grade was keeping 4 years ago and b) the dominating nationality were Americans. I find that odd, and then had to have a think about which Americans I would put on my list.

And I came up with three obvious ones, and one that I was a bit in denial about.

So. Obviously Johnny Depp. Because you have to appreciate a chameleon like him, and also when I was bored I could force him to take me swing dancing. We could talk about France and possibly learn how to make cheese. He seems like a guy who does stuff.
Obviously Brandon Flowers. I have to admit that my appreciation and admiration for this man really only started when his band released their second album "Sam's Town" and Flowers turned up to the party with the most hilarious moustache ever. He looked like the villain in a Western film, and he totally knew it. He comes off as slightly conceited, but I think that's just confidence - he knows his music is insane and a guilty pleasure for just about everyone (except me. I will be dancing to Joy Ride until the day I die of laughing at Joy Ride) and he knows how to dress. But then he shaved off the moustache, and I stopped talking to him. I think this is why he's seemed a bit gloomy recently. A lack of Maddie in your life will do that to you, trust.
Third Obvious is William Beckett. I don't know how to explain this one, except for the fact that the video for "We've Got A Big Mess On Our Hands" had me drunkenly contemplating if the universe would render itself in two if there really were two Beckett's. He has lovely hips and seems like a total geek. And appears to have actually read Ayn Rand's Fountainhead, so would be useful when I do Modernist Literature next year.

The American that I was in total denial about until I sat down to think about this is Paul Banks. The lead singer of Interpol has disappointed me twice live, but I wouldn't be averse to sitting down with a bottle of red wine and talking about obscure albums that he's heard and I haven't, obscure books that I've thrown across the room and he's finished, and how I really can't be bothered making an effort to be 'obscure' anymore. I was in denial about Banks because he seems way out of my league (because y'know, I'm having dinner with Depp and Flowers won't stop sending fucking bouquets.) and also because he kind of looks like all those really annoying art school boys who spend three hours doing their hair (I am sure Beckett does that. However, someone who uses the word 'existential' in the wrong way in one of his songs can be forgiven. Clearly art school didn't suit him the way it didn't suit me)

So. Yes. A list of males I would engage in conjugal relations with. Or would I? What I was thinking about when I was eavesdropping on those schoolgirls today (who should have been in school, not on the 14.27 train) was that they were talking exclusively about the physical aspects of their to-be conquests. Whereas I was thinking (far too seriously) about how long it would take me before I threw red wine all over Paul Banks for suggesting that perhaps "Paper Soldiers" was a good movie. (I concluded it would depend on the quality of the red). And really, do I want to be drinking wine with Paul Banks when I could dancing and talking all night with Paul Smith, who probably is the musician for me (remind me to post the zine thing I did on Maximo Park, please)? Is it because I'm older and realise that looks aren't everything and that sex is inevitably not what Hollywood frames it as? Or is it because I have too much time on my hands and would rather be thinking about boys than Colonial Latin America? Is it because I'm a natural conversationalist who isn't really ever satisfied? I'm inclined to think so.

I think celebrity attraction starts out as a sort of physical thing (those hips! one thinks) and then as you slowly realise that the odds of that person ever showing reciprocated interest is very very small, and that you only really know a quarter teaspoon of information about them, it becomes kind of boring. Perhaps this is why Pete Wentz is the object of affection for so many girls and boys - he's constantly blogging and tweeting, and there's a sense that one really knows him (even though I'm sure alot of it is just conjecture). But I don't know Oliver/Sean's favourite coffee blend, or Roddy Woomble's favourite thing to do on a Sunday, or if Johnny Depp likes vacuuming, or if Brandon Flowers has ever played pub trivia or if William Beckett hates tomatoes or if Paul Banks secretly loves the Harry Potter series. I don't really know anything about them, and that's what puts me off thinking too much about them. They aren't real to me, and I'm much rather someone real.


I'm sure all this had a point. Maybe I'm trying to say that I think objectifying celebrities is a little cruel, not only to them, but to ourselves as well. I was so sure my first relationship was going to be perfect. It wasn't. It was messy and awkward and hysterical. We were expecting Hollywood and we got something closer to a Monty Python sketch. And with all the maturity that 21 years gives me, I think that was better. And when I look at my friends relationships, which are quiet lovely little things that have their hysterical moments (Beard thinks yams grow underwater. Liz rolls her eyes), I feel that sort of warm feeling that Romantic Comedies are always trying to inspire within me, which makes me feel queasy. I'm not saying you shouldn't settle for less than the Grand Narrative of Love, but you should realise that the little moments, the little people, are far more real than whatever simplified thing the magazines and novels and movies have taught you. Sometimes I feel like our idea of love and relationships are being ruined by all that.

All that said, I'm sure I'll end up in Scotland again sometime soon. Sean Biggerstaff should be on the look out.

xx


I did something today that I haven't done since the 6th Harry Potter book had me in tears. I threw a book across my room and nearly broke my window. I have shitty aim. The book was Marion Bradley's "The Mists Of Avalon", a title that sounds more like a face cream. It's (yet another) book about the Legend Of King Arthur, except told from the perspective of the women. Which would be totally great, if it wasn't so bloody rubbish. It's medieval Mills and Boon. I can't work out who I want to kill more - Gwenhwyfar, who is the wettest wet blanket christian I have ever met or Lancelet, who is like medieval Paul Banks, Morgraine who gets angry and sulks alot, the Merlin, who is nowhere near as amusing or wise as the Disney/TH White Merlin (or the recent BBC Merlin), Irgraine who magically went from being a loyal pagan to obsessed with Uther, Christianity and being a bad mum or Mordred, who hasn't turned up yet but I'm sure will be very annoying. My favourite character is six year old Gareth, who has two lines. And I kind of want to take Marion Bradley's Arthur and give him a hug and tell him that yes, I understand its all very upsetting, but he is the greatest king Albion has ever seen, and as such should not have married such a bloody wet blanket, and he should get more angry more often. Ugh. I think it might turn out to be worse than Beloved, if I ever bother finishing it. I have to go watch the Disney version again to remind myself that the Arthurian legend is about chivalry and friendship and battles, not bloody moaning about snake tattoos and babies and Saxons.

Oh, for the record. I did end up doing the Colonial Latin America Reading. Much more interesting than anticipated.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

by the fireside

I finally got my watch fixed today, and then proceeded to clock (ha) myself in the head with it, as I'm not used to wearing a big stainless steel thing on my wrist anymore. I have no idea where the watch I bought in Amsterdam is, and I'm sick of pulling my phone out of my bag to check if I'm late or not. It's much more fun nearly concussing myself. Or getting my hair tangled in the blasted thing.

Oh my bag. It's terrible. Up until last week I had this lovely little leather satchel that I'd purloined from my Father. And then a train ticket barrier managed to snap off the latch, and I managed to have an attack of the foaming mouth variety at the stupidity of cityrail, the universe and everything. So now I'm back to using the $5 cotton tote bag that I bought from the Australian Museum which has a Mammoth on it. It fits everything, but its not that swish. And it doesn't have pockets, so whatever item I'm hunting for, goes straight to the bottom.

In fairness, I don't really carry that much. I have one notebook for all my subjects, my pencil case is small and doubles as my make up bag, there's usually my non required Reading (currently a biography of Thomas Malory, what is it with me and the Arthurian scholarship at the moment?). If I'm adventurous, my knitting makes it in as well. Keys, phone and ipod go in as well. I don't carry an umbrella, as they make me angry and I end up even more wet when I attempt to use one. If its cold enough for a jacket, I'll be wearing it. Sometimes I take my camera.

So why do I feel so attracted to bags that I could live in? Huge bags, bags the size of cows, emus and apartments in Bondi?

I can only deduce that I really, really, really want to be living somewhere other than the inner west of Sydney.


xx


People keep asking me "what are you going to do with a BA in English?"
Today I told someone that I was going to make a hat and become the next Napoleon.
A witty person would have pointed out that perhaps a degree in French would be more useful.
As it was, they just blinked at me.

(I'm going to write a paper on Bloc Party and terrorism. And then I'm going to curl up in a library somewhere with a big sleepy dog and go horse riding on the weekends.)

xx

On the weekend, my mother completed a Cassoulet. Which is posh baked beans. With an entire farmyard in it. I'm not a huge meat eater (thanks to years of yelling from Emma, and her arrival back in Aus in a month, I'm thoroughly expecting to be a vegan by christmas. I'm not sure how I feel about this.) but I was quite happy to help eat my mother's concoction. It's a good thing I was happy about it, as I suspect she was probably going to make me eat it regardless. There was a lot in the pot, and I've been having it for lunch for the past three days.

According to some French people I know, Cassoulet is basically leftovers, thrown into a pot with beans and cooked for Sunday lunch while everyone is at church. In the Barton Household, Cassoulet gets made every six years, in winter, when my father somehow manages to bribe my mother into cooking it. So on July 26th, my mother commandeered the kitchen and spent the next six nights doing very strange things with basters, beans and bottles. Depending on the stage she was up too, the house either smelt brilliant (like beans), bizarre (like duck) or plain bad (the lamb. I hate lamb.)

The Barton's are not known for our wide social circles. My father is almost as antisocial and disparaging as I am, my mother is a workaholic like my sister, and my brother is Jeremy, which is more than enough said. Still, we each managed to procure a couple to share our Cassoulet. Denise and Lou were bullied by my dad into coming, Rowena and Doug happily trotted over at my mothers invitation, and all I had to do was say to Lizzle and The Beard was "hey, mum wants to feed you" and they were there. With wine, which was a truly fantastic idea (given that I had had yet another frustrating week).

The Cassoulet was pretty fantastic - very rustic, very French and very delicious. The flan for desert was great too. It was a good night, with just the right amount of booze and more than enough laughter. The prize moment was me and Claudia hearing our mother shrieking with laughter from six rooms away. Our collective sense of doom as we realised that our future was spelled out by Briar Ridge Sauv Blanc, French Baked Beans and Dinner parties, was lifted as we realised that our future was spelled out by Briar Ridge Sauv Blanc, French Baked Beans and dinner parties.

And when we'd kicked everyone out at quarter to twelve, my parents announcing that they were too old to socialise, I decided that I'm going to have to throw (possibly literally) more dinner parties where the fire burns brightly in the hearth and everyone's cheeks are rosy from having a good time.

xx

(Yes, Emma is coming back from Edinburgh in A MONTH. there will be much rejoicing.)
(Also, I am sad about how America has better and cheaper vintage than Australia.)
(Furthermore, I am worried about the Arthurian thing)