The Great Pyramids

Because this is a blog and it’s written by a woman there’s a trope that says that at some point I have to write a post about my first period and because I still keep a blog in a the age of Tumblr feminism, my post should technically celebrate this wonder of female strength and use the word ‘womb’ a lot.

Except that I have no intention of writing about my first period, which was actually physically and mentally distressing and an event that my mother wanted to celebrate by taking the entire family out to dinner, which in Orange circa early ’90s would have meant Pizza Hut All-You-Can-Eat or the restaurant next door that was meant to serve old timey “country” dinners. The only thing more horrendous than my first period was the thought of having to raise a glass of Coke to toast its arrival with my parents and sisters and I frantically pulled my father aside and told him his wife was crazy and that if this event went ahead I would completely understand if he packed a suitcase and left, so long as he took me with him.

He looked at me grimly and said, ‘Don’t worry. We won’t be going out to dinner tonight’. And we didn’t and that was the last time I discussed periods with my dad, except for the time when we came home and found him playing fetch with our kitten and a wrapped tampon. Suddenly Mum was the total prude, who couldn’t believe there was a tampon in the lounge room.

Anyway, after this rather confronting introduction menstruation, I have tried to come to terms with it and respond to it in a more mature fashion, thus, when I received a text message from a beloved colleague today telling me that she needed to work from home today because of a dastardly period, I thought long and hard about a sympathetic response, and finally settled on:

me

I thought this was perfect. It was warm, work-related and expressed just the right amount of concern. And there’s reason to be concerned! You really can bleed out! Well … maybe not all the way out but you can get anemia or need blood transfusions and this is a real and true fact told to me by a nurse at a wedding mixer.

She clearly appreciated my concern and probably understood the reasons behind it:

her

At this very moment, I imagine she’s lying in bed watching the last scene of Six Feet Under because she needs a way to purge herself of her raw emotions and unlike RSPCA ads, which can also be used in this instance, with Six Feet Under, you can always rewind to the bit where Ted makes out with Claire in the cupboard when it all gets too much.

Memories, all alone in the mooooonlight

 Yesterday I was looking through an old blog I used to keep, which I used to update about eight times a day and was asked by my mother to consider using the phrase ‘mothertrucker‘, if I really felt like I needed to swear so much.

Day1

I don’t know what my English marker had done to make me so angry. At this stage of 2005, I was deep into writing essays about really messed up sexual themes in books written as a backlash to patriarchy. So you know, I had many angers.

What I most like is my incredibly clever reworking of Slipknot’s ‘People = Shit’ to ‘English markers = Shit’.

I was so incredibly mid-first-decade-of-the-2000s that it hurt.

Day2

Argh! So much wit!

Day3

I kinda love 2005 Julia.

What had happened that needed kind words was that she mixed alcohol with some medication (unintentionally), cried at a pub, got chased through a library car park by a security guard, tried to climb a fence, managed to escape and when she got home, she took all her clothes off in her sharehouse lounge room and wrapped herself in a doona and ranted at her housemates (who included her then-boyfriend and one of her sisters) about abortion rights.

And she calls Hokkien noodles “hokey pokey noodles”.

And she was big into Sims.

And mostly, this is exactly what it’s like being in my head. It’s all, ‘I’ll change my life, ooh! Noodles! I LOVE TRIVIA! Why was there no sex in Scarface? I want to dance!’

Day4

I still really like the Ron Jeremy documentary. I probably use the word ‘cock’ less when blogging now, though. This was around the time my dad started refusing to read anything I wrote, mostly because of said free and easy use of ‘cock’.

Australia Day Long Weekend 2013

picturethis

For someone who had no plans right until the last minute, I ended up being out of the house for the majority of the long weekend.

On Friday night I took one of my favourite aunts on a movie date to see Django Unchained. I wanted to see it with her because she is the reason I saw Pulp Fiction when I was a kid, after overhearing her and another aunt in stitches while describing some of the scenes from the movie when it first came out. I ended up re-watching the scene where Vincent Vega shoots Marvin over and over until I knew it by heart.

Afterwards we wandered back through Newtown to Marrickville Metro, where she had parked. It’s creepy up there on the roof at the best of times, let alone at night, let alone after seeing lots of fake blood and gore.

metro

Saturday I had brunch with a very old friend, Dave, who I only manage to catch up with once every three years or so because he is of flighty disposition and spends a lot of time working and travelling in Asia. Dave and I grew up in the same country town, but didn’t meet until we both moved to Canberra for uni, where we spend time equal parts annoying and amusing one another. He is also the reason I can roll cigarettes like a pro. Thank you for that lesson, David, it was fantastic catching up. See you in the badlands.

Afterwards I went to Jamie’s Australia Day BBQ, where Matt cooked up a storm. We listened to the JJJ Hottest 100, of which I recognised about four songs, one of which I could name. I felt old, kids today etc etc. At said BBQ, two things were of particular note: first, Jamie makes the best cocktails ever and there were jugs of them in the fridge. Jugs and jugs of them. Secondly, there were cats, good, funny cats.

cat

cat2

There was also a leather paddle, owned by one of her housemates and I learnt the hard way not to wonder aloud whether this particularly tasteful trinket would actually brand skin. The answer is yes, yes it does and I am wearing long pants today as a result:

slut

On Sunday the wet weather had really set in, so I met up with Matt and we went to Corridor, a small bar in Newtown and shared a bottle of wine, which was really lovely.

corridor

Sunday night I went into the city.

station

I met up with James at a new bar/restaurant on Hunter Street, called Frankie’s Pizza. It’s pretty awesome, or at least it was through my frozen margarita glasses.

frankies

food

The whole point of the evening was for me to finally meet in person a little lady called Shannon, who I know through various social media things, and for Shannon to meet my bro-in-law, Joel, who she knows through a very old school blogging site where we all used to share out feelings way back in the two thousands. Meeting people from online isn’t weird anymore and Shannon is an absolute delight and we drank margaritas and margaritas and margaritas and margaritas.

lioncrotch

drunk

drunk2

Yesterday was spent working, and sleeping and cleaning the house to some of my favourite tunes.

atmosphere

Would do it all again!

Joseph Anton

joseph anton

Salman Rushie writes like Kevin Smith, except Kevin Smith had the balls to be frank and call his book ‘My Boring-Ass Life’.

Smith is a prisoner of pop-culture and fast food. Rushdie’s prison was obviously far more literal, and it’s a common saving grace for both authors that they have a chronic need to over-share details of their personal lives, which is what makes both books worth reading. Without such salacious details about anal sex (Smith) and mentally unstable ex-wives with whom you just can’t stop having sex (Rushdie), it would be hard to otherwise to justify dedicating so many other pages to the day-to-day grind.

For Smith it’s:

We swing by Quizno’s and down some subs, then stop at Koo-Koo-Roo for some Harley grub. After that, we stop by the cleaners to pick up some stuff we dropped off that day, and head back home – pg 54.

And whilst Rushdie’s lifestyle was perhaps more highbrow, though limited, it all sounds vaguely familiar:

…they drove straight out to Water Mill for nine wonderful days om Gibson Beach, and then at friend’s homes, doing nothing and everything. The simplicity of it – and the contrast with his sequestered British life – brought tears to his eyes. And then after Water Mill they went by car and ferry to Martha’s Vineyard, where they would be the guests of Doris Lockhart Saatchi on her Chilmark property for eight days more – p. 462

At least Kevin Smith doesn’t pretend he’s doing anthing more than transcribing his diaries, whereas Rushdie clearly relies on his to pad things out, hoping the reader won’t notice. At some points, particularly towards the end of his 636 page tome, you can practically hear Rushdie flicking through his diaries, madly scrambling to find any clue of a day that didn’t involve sitting around in his sagging jocks, picking food lint out of his stomach hair.

‘Joseph Anton’ is the perfect bedmate for Gore Vidal’s spiteful memoir ‘Palimpsest’ for when Rushdie is bitter, the pages are loaded with venom and those he discards are rarely redeemed. Three marriages failed during the years of his fatwa, another had ended prior and it is the wives who occupy centre stage along with religious fanaticism. With both there is a persistent chase, over-hyped passion and ultimately, disappointment.

He barely touches on his friendships with the literary heavyweights – there are dinners with Martin and Christopher, sound advice from Antonia Fraser and the clashing of horns between Joseph Brodsky and Czesław Miłosz – but all happen in between monotonous meetings with his protection teams. So really, how much was there ever going to be to say? For a decade Rushdie lived under police protection, so should I have been surprised that he had so very little to write about in so many pages?

It’s not that this memoir shouldn’t have been written, it’s that it needs tighter editing. By his fourth marriage, Rushdie is on a sprint to the final pages, where everything gets wrapped up in a hurry and ultimately, it feels unsatisfying, without the oh-my-god-how-much-can-he-eat horror which is gripping in ‘My Boring-Ass Life’.

3/5

No more purple!

This picture looks like a jacket photo from a book about living in Newtown in your early 20s, written the early 90s. Just out of shot would be my packet of Stuyvies (soft pack, of course) and a dogeared copy of Three Beers and a Chinese Meal. The book would be a moderate local success, and I would show up wasted at the ARIAs on Tex Perkins’s arm and the Sunday papers would snarkily remark on the number of times I stumbled to the toilets.

My second book would never be published, an uneditable defense of an alcoholic lifestyle. My third book would be released without remark after a long stint in rehab, during which my family cut me off and I caught some kind of infection from a boy with a Kurt Cobain complex.

After I get straight I will attempt to capitalise on the success of Bride Stripped Bare by writing terrible suburban erotica, most of which takes place in the sticky stairwell of The Townie, and will contain a scene mocked by anyone who ever knew me, in which a female protagonist calls out the answers to the Tuesday night trivia while she orgasms.

New Zealand: 2012

Things were not looking good a few months out from my planned trip to New Zealand for The Big Gay Wedding at the end of last year. I was hurriedly trying to save; didn’t have my flights booked; was planning on staying with two women I’d barely seen since uni, one of whom there were bets being taken by other guests about whether I would kill her or she would kill me and to top it all off, I had been on a series of what weren’t exactly dates but weren’t exactly not dates but were unsuccessful all the same with pretty much the only heterosexual male invited to the wedding.

When work got in the way of me having time to think about the trip, I was secretly relieved and I ran on nothing but stress and Red Bull until the moment Chrissy pulled up in a taxi to take me to the airport. I realised Chrissy was my perfect travel partner when, without so much as a sideways glance, we both started tabs for gin and tonics before the plane was even in the air.

 

The romance continued all week. Once we had located our idyllic, but poorly signposted cottage, we fell into a comfortable routine of getting up late and going into Wellington to lunch and shop like ladies of leisure. I would drive, while Chrissy frantically completed knitting two jumpers she had decided to make the brides mere weeks out from the wedding. We were like a perfect elderly couple.

We took to Cuba Street with a vengeance. There is barely a dress or piece of silver jewellery left in New Zealand, whose economy bloomed under our watch.

We would head home via  PAK’nSAVE, the world’s most amazing supermarket, where signs sternly reminded you that each customer was limited to FIVE TROLLIES PER VISIT. Through the warehouse-sized building we marched, picking up only absolute necessities: five different kinds of cheese, stuffed peppers, dips and biscuits, Red Bull and DVDs.

Every night we would stuff ourselves silly and wash it all down with gin, while we watched action movies or romcoms. Feelings of bliss were running high.

And then Maeve arrived.

We circled each other, eyes narrowed, emitting guttural growls. Chrissy sprayed us with a hose and made us practise sitting until she gave a command, after which she would reward us with biscuits. That night we both slept with one eye open.

The truth is actually far more boring. We picked Maeve up from the airport and solemnly told her that we were going to take her to Mecca and her life would never be the same. Half an hour later she was bathed in the brilliant glow of the sunshine yellow Pack’N Save. ‘What is this holy land?’ she whispered as I gave Chrissy a knowing look. We took her gently by each hand and guided her through the aisles. ‘Look’, I whispered. ‘See how big their packets of toiler paper are? 16 rolls for $5. And that’s $5 New Zealand, Maeve’. Her pulse quickened as she gasped, ‘THEY HAVE PECKISH THINS!’. I smiled smugly. Amy may have chosen Maeve to be a bridesmaid, but I’d always be the woman who popped Maeve’s Pack’N Save cherry.

Our little cottage romance continued with the addition of Chrissy’s manfriend, Jim, who good humouredly went along with our general stupidity and told us some of Chrissy’s dog’s deepest, darkest secrets. We lived life like the rich and famous: trips to vineyards that turned into scenes from James Bond movies when crazed New Zealand drivers attempted to run us off the road; we had meals at excellent restaurants, accidentally locking Maeve out of the house and forcing her to break in through an open window about three foot above her head; we took turns on the swings in our orchard, and made love under the stars*.

One of my favourite moments of the trip was when the Inner West coffee snobs put me, the Inner West Red Bull junkie, in charge of finding them a nice place to grab a coffee before we went wine tasting. I picked here:

Adventures continued after the wedding, including lunch at a restaurant called … well … Monsoon Poon.

All too soon it was time to head back to Sydney. Maeve, Chrissy and I were all on the same flight and we did the only sensible thing we could think to do we all our remaining New Zealand dollars. We went to the airport and drank free-poured gin and tonics. All of them.

Thanks to Chrissy for organising what was an amazing week and being my perfect travel buddy; Maeve for being a rad bedroom buddy and chef and Jim for still talking to all of us after having to live with us.

* This part is a lie.

The Big Gay Wedding

In December I went to New Zealand to watch my friends Amy and Nic get married. The watching part is the part I’ve never really understood about marriage. I’m assuming once upon a time there was a reason that vows were made in public, probably some ye olde legal reason to ensure some dastardly man wouldn’t take his dowry of 11 goats and three head of cattle and leave his wife at the altar. Nowadays, all your friends and family gather together and watch you mark a new stage of a relationship that’s probably been evolving for some time now.

There is no reciprocal event for other moments in an adult relationship. Never before have a couple gathered together their loved ones to watch as they finally buy furniture that didn’t come from IKEA, or have sex and manage three different positions without once having to part their naked bodies.

However, watching people get married is actually a very moving thing, and Amy and Nic more so than any other couple I have seen, partly because they weren’t able to legally commit to their relationship in Australia and because they were surrounded by other same-sex couple who are deeply in love and face the same discrimination, but also because Amy and Nic’s vows were deeply personal and deeply honest. It was the first wedding I’d been to that stressed that they had to work hard at fitting together, but that love made it worth it.

Photo by David Crawshaw.

I cried about three times during the ceremony, especially when Amy and her brother, Tim, hugged each other and sobbed happy tears. Nothing makes me cry more easily than a man crying, and from my three-foot high purple and white beehive that hadn’t been washed in about two weeks, I pulled tissue after tissue.

Photo by the brides.

Oh the beehive. Basically I had decided I was done with purple hair and my fringe had started to fade out to blonde and an accident with too much dry shampoo and a hair-clip had left me with an amazing quiff and I went to New Zealand and the New Zealanders were in love with my head. For nine days I felt like Regina George and every day I would say to Chrissy and Maeve, ‘Today is the day I wash my hair’ and they would say, ‘Noooo, it’s well on its way to becoming a Wonder of the World’ so I went to a wedding with hair that was 9% human matter and 91% dry shampoo and it got compliments. I want to move to New Zealand and recline nude and basically become their Queen, because every other race has the good sense not to compliment me on a lack of personal hygiene.

Back to the wedding: it was held in a surf club over looking Titahi Bay as the sun set and it was the most perfect venue for so many reasons. It was old and comfortable and charming and lent itself to needing to be decorated with nothing more than fairy lights and dancing bodies.

The beer and champagne flowed freely; Maeve stole a small child; Chrissy showed the Kiwis how air guitar is really done; I was told by Nic’s grandfather, the proud owner of two hip and/or knee reconstructions that my dancing was too unenergetic for him, and the Australian contingent watched in stunned silence as the New Zealanders took over the floor to sing along to what I can only assume is their version of Khe Sanh (a video of which Nic has helpfully provided in the comments section!).

It was one of the most fun weddings I’ve ever been to and I am really glad I had the honour of being a guest and getting to witness to righteous babes celebrating finding one another.

Using my head as an analogy, may their love never falter, or diminish, or fade, or smell like it did by the time we left to head back home: