When I was in high school, I became really obsessed with what I’ll call “diss-hop”. It was the very late nineties. Biggy and Tupac had been dead for several years, Suge Knight was in jail and the whole West Coast/East Coast hip-hop rivalry was spluttering to an embarrassing halt. By embarrassing, I mean even a white schoolgirl growing up in Orange could see that the homies didn’t really want to front. And by Orange, I’m not even talking about Orange County, Cali-for-ni-a. I mean Orange, New South Wales.


Population approximately 31,000.

You should be wearing your shame face right now hip-hop, that’s right.

I was an atheist Catholic school girl, whose celebrity crushes were a thing of legend. People used to cut out pictures of my favourite celebrities for me, and bring them to me as we waited in canteen line. I was like the Godfather of suspended disbelief in celebrity/pleb romances. I also really liked hip-hop. I wore Adidas shelltoes, baggy jeans, a wallet on a chain. I was basically Fred Durst with boobs and a brain [and better taste in music].

The Internet was very slow back in the late-’90s in Orange, and so I used to download one hip-hop song a week and obsessively listen to it, and when I had eight or so songs, I would give a list of songs to my friend Phil, who had faster Internet and a CD burner, and about five CDs, because in those days, four out of every five CDs would corrupt. A few days later, he would bring me The Precious.

Because I didn’t really know what I was looking for, I don’t think any newsagents in Orange stocked The Source or High Times, I downloaded anything and everything, including a lot of diss-hop. While I’m sure it has a very colourful history, by the time I got to it, it was in a shameful state. The disses were all about how one rapper was gay and another rapper wasn’t and how NWA used to be cool and now wasn’t. On that they actually had a point. Please see the atrocious, yet ridiculously catchy NWA song ‘Chin Check’. Someone needs to impound Snoop Dogg. Yeah, you heard me. Sadly, I can’t find the Next Friday version that has the really scary intro, so you just get the 100 per cent yeesh version.

We had this rule in my household growing up, we were a musical democracy, so when we went on road trips the mixed tapes would be loving created by me, but the music had to be sourced from every family member. Usually this worked really well. I liked my mum’s choice of Free and Led Zep, she fell pretty hard for Mr Bungle and both my sisters liked pretty much the same stuff I did. Sure there was that one time I threw a tape out the window [sorry environment!] when my mum suggested that Babes in Toyland or Yeah Yeah Yeahs were slightly too repetitive for her taste, but generally anything went. Except for the dreaded “k-word”. The k-word is exactly what you probably think it is and the term came about when a kid came up to my mum in the playground to tell on another kid for using the “k-word” and my mum only realised what the kid meant after she asked them, ‘K-word? What’s the k-word?’.

Awkward face.

Anyway, my mum flippantly brought up the “no k-word” rule about 30 seconds before my next song was due on the mix we were listening to at the time, and as I agreed with her that it might be a bit weird to sing the k-word together as a family, I realised that the next song did indeed actually contain the k-word. Several times. A k-bomb was set to explode in the family car. And that, kids, is why you don’t listen to post-West Coast/East Coast rivalry rap in the car with your parents.

All this comes back to me because the other day I re-discovered my favourite example of bad diss-hop, a lovely ditty by Cypress Hill called ‘Ice Cube Killa’. Please, enjoy. Unless you are my mum, in which case, you don’t want to hear these lyrics. Or maybe you do. I don’t know.

Confessions of a Caffeine Addict

I judge coffee addicts. I judge those people who are all ‘Oh, I need my morning coffee or I can’t even function!’ and I think to myself, yeah, it must be really hard to function in your adult house, while you select your adult shoes from your adult cupboard before you kiss your adult [or hopefully adult] partner before he/she heads out to their adult career. I make that association when people talk about coffee, that or I think about Christina Aguilera because many coffee names sound like Lady Marmalade lyrics.

However, until today it didn’t occur to me that I am a hypocrite, because I drink V all the time [no Mum, not all the time, once or twice a morning and never in the afternoon or before bed] and it’s caffeinated. And I go crazy. And the dev department feel it necessary to tell me that they had to quit V after drinking seven of them in one night to stay awake at nightclubs and I’m displaying signs of V addiction and they would know. And I was all ‘Hahaha! What’s a nightclub?’ 

Second Week of February, 2011

At some point last week I realised I was feeling a little bit over “short form” social media. In other words, I was a bit over the passive-aggressive Facebook statuses and the armchair politics of Twitter. I thought I’d get rid of both for a week and see what it was like.

I loved it. I didn’t miss reading about people’s lunches at all. I was less angry, I got far more done, and most importantly, my attention span increased dramatically. I went from not being able to sit through an hour of Sopranos, to sitting through The Talented Mr Ripley, which comes in at a little over two hours, including the longest Dolby Digital ad ever, which I accidentally watched twice. I finished two Vanity Fairs that had been sitting beside my bed since last year [featuring some brilliant articles, including this one about the dispute surrounding L’Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt’s gifts to François-Marie Banier; another  which is a gripping story about the deadly risks of climbing Mont Blanc, and a surprisingly engrossing extract from Lauren Hillenbrand’s new book about three men who survived when their World War II bomber crashed in the Pacific].

I had all kinds of weekend plans which I did without spending half my time looking at my phone and no-one was forced to read 11,000 Tweets about anything clumsy I managed to do [until this morning, when I felt it was my duty to inform people that I’d dropped beetroot on my pants, right on the groin region].  

I’m going to go another week and see how I feel about it all then, but in the meantime, if you spend less time on the ‘net, you spend more time doing stuff like:

Rodd Island

Kathy and Luke had their engagement party on Saturday on Rodd Island. I met The Sisters Scott at 2204 for brunch first [I can report that the pancakes with boiled fruit are pretty amazing], then we headed to Leichhardt in the world’s slowest taxi, which almost caused us to miss the last water taxi to the island.

There we found a veritable little paradise. The lawn was strewn with beanbags, there was delicious food and bright buckets of alcohol, lawn Twister and a piñata.

It was a delightful day, made even more delightful by the possible appearance of a shark [maybe].

Dr Pong

Afterwards, I went to Oxford Street to Dr Pong, where I met Joel, Steph, and a selection of Joel’s friends, where we belatedly celebrated his birthday with $10 Caprioskas, and many of them. If you like having drinks served by someone in a huge feather headdress, and I suggest you probably would like that, head to Dr Pong.

Book Club

On Sunday I went, with Steph, to a new book club which her friend Bron is a part of. It’s a rad idea, each meeting they pick a Penguin and decide if it is a classic, or if it sucks. The first one we will read is Notes from Underground by that salty dog, Dostoyevsky, whose name I love. I’m interested in seeing what it’s like, I have had a fraught relationship  with Russian to English translations in the past, I find they make the characters very cold, but I remain hopeful as I’m currently reading The Master and Margarita by Bulgakov and it’s amazing. Maybe there is hope for me and the Russians yet.

What’s the story?

When I was in high school, one of the best things in the world to do after school was to go “down the street”, which basically translated to: be a mallrat.

You’d head to the City Centre, dump your backpack outside Big W, and walk off and leave it. I’ve been thinking about that recently, dozens of school bags all left outside the door of Big W, their owners nowhere to be seen. If the owner was me, I was probably lurking in the car park somewhere, smoking, or in a cafe with my two best friends, eating chips and gravy, slurping on a chocolate thick shake. I never heard of anyone having their bag stolen though. I did once forget to pick my bag up and went home without it, which is sort of weird.

As I took this trip down memory lane this afternoon, I also remembered the Donut King, and how I was partial to a pastry named Yeast Ring, in particular, the chocolate Yeast Ring. I used to laugh every time I bought one too, being that I have a puerile sense of humour that somehow equated ‘yeast’ to lady bits.

All of this reminded me that just before Christmas, my grandmother had a stroke, and when we were with her in hospital, we went to grab something to drink and I saw the following:

I would love to crawl into the brain of the person who named this muffin.

One of my uncles saw me take this picture and we did the whole nudging, snickering thing, so clearly, puerility is genetic and not my fault at all and is another thing I can blame my mother for.

It’s all coming up Julia.

Feeeeed the birds, tuppence a bag!

Today I re-joined my old gym. I like it there heaps, it’s not a huge chain and work is helping pay for it and it’s right near my house. I like that every six weeks a trainer checks in with you and gives you a program to work with. I feel now just like I did before I quit smoking. In the wise words of George W Bush, it’s time.

See what I did there, Graham Freudenberg?

I will fit into my Prada glasses by winter, I will.

Speaking of my babies, today I found them. I’m still going to buy them online, because hello! It’s so cheap, but online shopping nerves got the better of me, and I thought I would look for them in Syds to try them on, not really expecting to find them, and then I found them. Found them in Manly, and I slipped them on my face and it was like a party on my nose.

Speaking of Manly, Steph and I went to Manly today, and ate fish and chips on the beach, as is the tradition of heaps of sun-burnt Poms. It was very pleasant, the weather mild, Steph a delight in a summery dress, my ginger beer was chilled to perfection. Just as I finished saying something so profound that it can’t be repeated here, I daintily stabbed a chip with my plastic fork, and went to nibble upon it.

Just as I had the end of the chip between my front teeth, a seagull, a seagull, people, the bird known to be the rat of the sky, swooped from nowhere and stole the chip. Stole the chip from my mouth. Touched me around the mouth area with its diseased body and stole my chip. And I screamed, and Steph laughed and strangers laughed and the bird ate my chip.

After this trauma I was unable to eat anymore food as I felt I might have some kind of bird disease in my mouth.

The bird had black eyes.