The Great Escape

My title is a little cheeky given my home is nothing like a German POW camp, and I’m definitely not Steve McQueen. The fact remains though that living in my house is often like being in a camp (just ask about the food!), my kids behave like prisoners, and we do go to war. That escape is needed is a given. There’s even a motorbike in the carport to speed me on my passage, if I had a clue how to ride a 1000cc piece of metal.

You can see the resemblance, right?

You can see the resemblance, right?

Not so long ago, I did it. Flew the coop, jumped the razor fence, hit the road and got the hell out of dodge. I flew to Brisvegas for the inaugural Convention of the Loungers. In attendance were Rachel the Very Inappropriate Blogess the I, Sarah from Slapdashery (this is something for all of you young folk to aspire to, if, like me, you’ve stepped back in time to watch the hogwashy-twaddle of Mr Selfridge on TV);  and yours truly, Falling all the way north on my Face.

How do you escape? Do you stare down the barrel of a wine bottle, strap on your goggles, and giggle at the idiocy of everyone around you? (It’s not YOU, it’s THEM). Do you lie prone in the grass making cloud shapes into rabbits or hot-torsoed men? Or do you actually get moving, and exercise for escape, or run away to freedom like me, exercising your non-Constitutional right to bear trashy reading material in an airport Lounge?

This is The Lounge. So I’ll tell you the tale of the Lounge Convention. It was … conventional? Let’s stick with ‘Loungey’. And I’ll only recount the tale in part, because we all know the rule. What goes on tour, means I’d have to kill you if you stand next to me while I snore and talk in my sleep.

Worshipping at the altar of Kamahl.

Worshipping at the altar of Kamahl.

What is more conventional is my approach to hotels. Every hotel has its quirks. Every Kim has her quirks. They must be dealt with methodically. The steps (for hotels) are as follows. I’ll leave the management of Kims up to you.

Step 1: Look in all the rooms

Step 2: Look in all the cupboards. Look in the fridge

Step 3: Deposit my vastly superior tea (yes TEA SNOB I AM) near the kettle, stashed in snaplock bags from home. Don’t judge. You’ll be wanting some and I won’t share if you’re mean.

Step 4: Read ‘The Book’. No not the bible. They’re all the same. The hotel one. What if, one day, I stumble into a freakish hotel that has a happy hour or free drinks and I MISS OUT because I didn’t READ THE BOOK?

Step 5: Choose my imaginary dinner from the room service menu

Step 6: Scoff at the mini-bar prices. As if you’d pay THAT much for a Mars Bar.

Step 6: Open mini-bar again and gaze wistfully at the little bottles. Picture myself glugging them with gay abandon on beds like they do in movies. Drink some wine.

Step 7: Drink more wine. Paint toenails. Spill nailpolish. Scream

Step 8: Lie on bed like a starfish. Jump on bed like a starfish.

Step 9: More wine. Buy Mars Bar from minibar. Vow to replace it from 7-11. Forget.

What? Anally-retentive control freak? Pah. I spit on your laissez-faire attitude to dropping your bags and going out for dinner. You could be missing out on a cornered toilet roll.

In any case, Rachel and Sarah soon arrived to relieve me from my relentless pursuit of being me, and we were OFF and running.

 

Hipsters? Oh yes, Brisbane has hipsters. Let us take you on a magical mystery tour…

Hipsters? Oh yes, Brisbane has hipsters. Let us take you on a magical mystery tour…

Girls’ weekends. That’s escape in a nutshell (if a nutshell has beds and a lot of wine inside). It’s possible there was some dinner, a ridiculous amount of hipsters missing from Melbourne, a waitress in a bunker looking like Minnie Mouse who snarled, a dearth of teapots, OPI black polish all over a table, some quilts, a migraine, a few hangovers, a Cooker and a Looker (MWAH Amanda!), a Southbank cider reviver, a tequila (WOW!) a taco (WOW!) and a stupid amount of laughing and FALLING OVER WHILE SOBER. But also, possibly not. Cos, remember, tour rules.

Rachel and Sarah, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. When you first arrived, other than your voices, everything about you felt instantly familiar. You don’t judge. You listen. We understand each others’ brains. Your hearts are enormous. You are both true, wonderful friends. That’s what blogging is for. Friendship, escape.

 

Dance like nobody’s watching … really?

That “dance like nobody’s watching, … Sing like nobody’s listening” quote is a pretty sounding piece of crap advice. I’m pretty sure that’s how the Harlem Shake meme came about. Because, if anybody was watching, they probably would have told them to stop. That’s some BAAAD dancing. On Saturday night, as promised, however, I did sing like nobody was listening. The next day, I was still Livin’ On a Prayer … to make it through the day… Dead or Alive. If you’re under 18, I suggest you stop reading now in case some of the alcohol in my system has seeped from my fingers into the words on this page and is right at this moment intoxicating you by osmosis …

Thanks Jon – I’ve got it from here. You can pop over and mind my kids though, if you wouldn’t mind?

Paid babysitting. So much pressure. You pretty much need to start doing high-kicks the second you close your front door just to make the most of your night out. Pressure aside though, it was awesome. I MISS MY FRIENDS so much and it’s so great to hang out properly. And the Brumbies did me the big huge favour of winning against the Waratahs, to make me extra happy. After a couple of cheeky ciders at the pub, we went for Japanese in Neutral Bay, where the food is fabulous and the decor, unique.

If you’re prone to nightmares, best look away from the Wall of Cat

Yum, yum, yummity-yum. I think I should become a food writer, so expressive am I. We ate sashimi, and gyoza, and ‘yummy as soybean babies’, and tempura, ‘a mouth water explosation of prawns, fish vegetable’. It was as exciting as it sounds. Truly an explosation.

It seemed almost cruel to eat these little guys.

There was also wine, of course. One bottle or two, or three, or four. Who can be sure? What is certain though, is that by the conclusion of the meal we were in a karaoke state of mind. The Pickled Possum was our destination. This place? It’s a Sydney institution of STRANGE. But by god it is FUN. Beers come by esky, mixers by home brand bottles lined up behind the bar due to the lack of postmix. But if you’re arriving sober and quibbly about such things, you should probably go elsewhere. It’s friendly and everyone sings along with everyone else. The guy who runs it likes to sing every second song, however, so be prepared for a wait!

I think my ‘Living on a Prayer’ went ok. There was no falling face first off the stage (because, you know, that would be predictable ;), there was fist pumping (mine), and there was even some back patting and ‘You’ll go a long way. You were great’, from some nice old dude who looked upset when I cynically came back with ‘Thank you! But yep – all the way back home to my kids.’ You can take the cynical bitch out of the girl, but… actually, nope. You can’t take the cynical bitch out anywhere, really.

At one point a couple of hot girls (I can say that can’t I? Not sure what else to call them in this context) got up on stage and dragged a practically comatose but good-looking guy up with them, and I was wondering what on earth they were going to do with him. He had those half-mast eyes and dopey dazed smile, obviously hoping he could grin his way out of any trouble because he had no idea what he was doing. Definitely in no state to sing, and in NO state for back-up dancing. The strains of Carly Simon’s ‘You’re So Vain’ started up, and they make him the focal point for their ridicule. It. Was. Hilarious. He took it with good humour – ‘who me?’

I’m modifiying the aforementioned ‘dance like nobody’ quote to include “drink like there will be children jumping on your bed at 7 the following morning, and know it will always hurt”. No regrets though. I woke refreshed in spirit, (despite being embalmed from the inside out), having spent more than 2 hours in adult company. I felt like a whole person again, without labels attached. And with bonus mystery bruises. Game on!

xx

Pop quiz – What’s your drinking curse?

You may not realise this, but every one of us is cursed. I will attempt to esplanade. The wicked fairy godmother came to our cots when we were wee sleeping bairns, and placed a curse on each and every one of us. A curse which will only emerge, revealing its wicked and evil cackling head, once we have imbibed well above the recommended 2 standard drinks per day. The curse, ye who be damned, of the drinking. What’s yours? If you don’t know, ask your partner or your bestie. They will be sure to tell you, in lurid, shameful, embarrassing detail. Here I’ll outline some of the more common profiles of the drinking cursed.

The singer

You’re in the bar. You spot the stage. You spot the microphone. You’re awesome. You need to be heard. You have songs to sing, of love, and loss. Of power, and glory. Oh yeah!  You reach the stage. You grab the microphone. It’s not karaoke night. It doesn’t matter. You’re in the moment. Reaching. Ever reaching. It must have be loooooove, but its oooover noooooow. Then falling. From the table.

This surely could not be me. It’s some random person called ‘Bride’.

The Lover/Flirt

A normal person by day, the curse turns this one into the ultimate seducer/seductress (in their own mind). Some do have remarkable skill, honed by years of practice, while others, blinded by the light, blink once, blink twice, and hope for words of grace and allure to slip forth from their gilded tongue. It sounds something like ‘blah blah me blor I me blor’. They shut up, and dance. They’re good. They’re really good. Nevermind that nobody can tell what good looks like anymore. Things start to look better for the lover.

Social warrior

A superhero without a cape, out to avenge the underdogs of the world and right the wrongs of the community, starting at a micro level, this cursed drinker needs EVERYONE to be on board. Are you listening? Are you? That’s ok. I’ll tell this person instead. OH NO! That poor guy is over there with his undies hanging out and hat on. He’ll NEVER get a girl looking like that. It’s your social – nay MORAL responsibility to do something about this, for the good of our future children, and our children’s children. And what about those bottles left out there? They’ll make their way into our oceans! And what about the whales? And the  orphans? And why can’t we adopt them? The whales? And the orphans?

 Fighter

The antithesis of the lover, they’re sure you looked at them. You did, didn’t you? You looked at them funny. You must have meant something by it. What do you want? You got a problem? Paranoia lives here, in this sadly cursed drinker. If they’re not a lone wolf, fighting  out at shadows, they’re in a couple, bickering and lashing out at perceived slights. You looked at that girl with the tiny arse over there, didn’t you? You’ve been staring at her all night. You may as well just get it over with and deliver her babies on the dance floor already. Hurry up.

Various Dwarf-named type people – Sleepy, Happy, Dopey, Floppy

Sleepy

Speaks for itself. Sleeps a lot. In most places. Head on table, on bar, on hands, or back, looking up at the sky, mouth catching flies.

Happy

The goshdarn cheeriest, smiliest, giggliest person you have EVER seen touch a drop of alcohol, ever. Like a rainbow of colour, or a bowl of Skittles. In fact… I’m not sure this one is even a curse, except that it usually seems to have an antithesis, the following morning, when the ogre from hell arises from the bed-swamp with the hangover of 20 men.

I would never, ever dance on a table in heels. That’s just silly. It’s that person called ‘Bride’ again.

Dopey

Don’t play cards with this one. Dopey drinks the drinks, then is rendered generally unable to focus on fixed objects, follow general conversations, dance sensible dance moves like ‘the sprinkler’ or the ‘ring on it’ move, and can utter only one monosyllabic word: ‘Huh?’

Floppy

Like a foal with newfound legs, this curse often strikes the long-limbed newborn drinking cursed among us. They can be found tottering and teetering in skyscraping heels, and rendered jelly-like by the rubbermaking effects of alcopop number three.  You could offer your steady arm, or you could just point and laugh.

 

You regularly see these out in heels on a Saturday night

Which one of these are you? Which one of these am I? (Note: I’ve made this really, really difficult for you.) Are you extra blessed – with a happy super-combo of curses – are you in fact a happy-sleepy-flirty fighter?

Stay tuned. I’m going out this Saturday night for a LONG overdue escape from the kid-factory. I’m sure nothing untoward will happen. And if it does, I’ll be sure to not write about it. Ahem…

xx

New year, in clover.

Smashing photograhy by yours truly. Of course

I’m baaaaaaack! Well, sort of. It appears I’ve taken some kind of accidental bloggy break. Apologies, friends. 2012 was a ball-buster of a year, or, to put it more politely (in the Queen’s English), an Annus Horribilus. She won’t mind me adopting her vernacular. We’re close. I’ve been to her place and stuff.

When it came to the time for reflective posts on the year that was had, I started at January, then decided that would do and switched off my trusty Mac. I decided to eat an apple instead. When it came time for Christmas, I saw craft and tinsel and gritted my teeth while I decked my halls with boughs of festive shizzle on ma nizzle. I had a blissful beach break up north, and then New Years’ Eve rolled around with all its resolute resolution-ness. I don’t do those. In all, 2012 left me feeling somewhat like a crash test dummy who’s been allowed to drive a car. Who decided that’s a good idea? They don’t have eyes OR opposable thumbs. In any case. Last year. It sucked. Details, shmetails. I did a bit of that in the last post and I’m wearing my clothes now. But let’s just say, if you were playdough and I was the carpet, we’re making sweet, sweet love, and no butter knife can tear us apart. I felt flat out and thoroughly squished.

HOWEVER. Yes, capitals. NEW YEARS EVE was just loverly. Loverly, loverly. LOOOOVerly. Loverly. (Have any of you seen My Fair Lady or am I singing this in my head all by myself? Don’t leave me hanging.) We’d had a call that morning about a death in my husband’s family, and will be flying to Brisbane tomorrow morning for the funeral. This New Years Eve was a sweet bit of hope and distraction through the kids’ eyes. There was no big party, no champagne. There was, however, a very special invitation to Little L and her family (that would be us) to the Lord Mayor’s picnic, extended by JDRF (thank you!) held by the City of Sydney and Clover Moore each year in the Botanic Gardens for children with disabilities. The girls were treated like stars, and given gifts and VIP passes on arrival, before being glammed up with face paint. I’m not sure that many stars queue for portaloos, but that’s a minor detail my mini-divas are willing to overlook.

Pop princess

Diva in miniature

 

There was a stage with live performances, event tents with activities, free food, and this was all a precursor to the privileged position we’d be given to a section of the gardens for the 9pm fireworks. Not only that, but there was KYLIE. My kids were hugely underwhelmed, like most of the audience under the age of 15, but the adults made a rush for the stage with their iPhones. Fine. Yep. Ok. I did too. She didn’t sing, but she said we were all stars. I didn’t really believe her. Little L looked at her just long enough to say she was pretty.

Kyyyliieeeee

MUCH more exciting was the kid who climbed to the top of the event tent and tried to kill himself. OK – perhaps that was not his intention, but it was a superb circus act and I had to withhold my applause at the end, but then I let loose and told myself it was the rescue team I was applauding. (Don’t tell anyone – I was applauding the kid). It was spectacular, and all the parents and adults were terrified. I was supposed to be one of them, but the rescue team looked very in-control and had his escape hatches covered, so I had to instead suppress a pang of jealousy, since bouncing around up there looked REALLY fun. That little boy has a bright future ahead of him, on the trapeze I suspect.

Death-defying feats! Oooh! Aaaah!

When it was fireworks time we snuck into the bushes of the gardens for a prime vantage point (old rebels die hard) and stared defiantly at the rovers who tried to scare us out with flashlights. You looking at me? Punk? I felt a bit bad since the volunteer rovers and scouts that night did an awesome job and I did a lot of extra smiling on the way back to the gate. I’m sure they appreciated the crazy lady smiling at them with leaves and twigs in her hair.

Home by 10, we popped our first champagne, and glued our eyeballs open watching 80s music videos until midnight. Strangely entrancing. Welcome, new year. I’m prepared to be entranced. Or, at least, pleasantly surprised.

Bring it. xx

 

Where the Elf is my Christmas Spirit?

It’s Christmas. Roar.

I’m struggling with this Christmas thing. I’m really sorry, but if you’re making any kind of Christmas craft, or baking your gifts and wrapping them in cellophane while you sing carols, I won’t be able to read your posts. It’s not you, it’s me. I just feel a bit… bah humbug.

First I thought it was because it was October and there were carols and mince pies in the shops, and I was still fighting my inner battle over Halloween. But now it’s only a week out, and I still haven’t bought any presents. Uh-oh. We have a tree, and it smells great, but this year I’m not going and sticking my nose into it for great big whiffs like I’ve done in the past. Underneath are some sad, empty floorboards. Each night I go to sleep with my hands over my eyes while the Christmas lights epileptically flash through the blinds over my windows.

I am becoming a little bit afraid of going to sleep, hiding under the covers in my white nightcap and billowing white nightgown, waiting for that dude to turn up and drag me back through my Christmases past and future until we have to go and look in on poor dead Tiny Tim’s sad family.

I’m not hiding completely though. We had our Christmas lunch with our wonderful friends at Manly on Saturday, as we do each year. This year was fabulous, as nobody was pregnant. Finally!! We had our Shit Kringle, with a max $10 spend, and unlimited steals. By far the most coveted were the honking horn beer mug and the Crocodile pool float, which I can proudly claim to have purchased myself. So I do at least still have my gift-buying skills. I am now the proud owner of a beautiful set of man-care products for the face, which would be lovely, if I had a man-face. Well, perhaps I do, when I’m angry, but I generally don’t feel like facial grooming at such times. I got a little spirited, it’s true, but not particularly in a Christmas kind of way.

Some kind of Christmas spirit.

I will enthrall you now with a brief pictorial run-down of the day’s events, so you can capture all the excitement as each Shit Kringle gift unfolded from our dizzy blindfolded hands. (I should mention – the dizziness was not purely alcohol-induced… prior to our selection we were spun around pin-the-tail on the donkey style about 15 times).

Spin the donkey – weeee fairy fingers!

She was spun so much she got lost and grabbed the wrong present! Oops;)

Jackpot! Honk if you’re thirsty!

 

So … since Christmas is about kids, and I have some, I’m going to have to get my Christmas on somehow. I’m going to work on some kind of military-style three-pronged attack, I think. There will be holes in this approach, because there always are in my plans, and I have no army training. My training is legal, so I’m good at poking holes in stuff.

Step 1) Listen to the carols. I will not discriminate. There will be Mariah in there. In fact, quite a lot of her, because despite the fact she’s shrill and wobbly, my brother loved her when he was 14, and listened to her Christmas CD on loop, so she kinda brings back happy family Christmas childhood memories, in a weird and annoying kind of way.

The French li-moose. An interesting character.

Step 2) Go to the bloody shops, and buy the bloody presents. All that tinsel and towers of Danish biscuits in tins and Santa and howling children will surely have to touch me deep inside, won’t it?

Step 3) Find some real carols, and go to them. Take children, and wine. And more wine. Dripping candle wax down your arm and watching your children wiggle their butts to jingle bells has to be a little bit like Christmas, doesn’t it? I’m just scared I’ll get picnic blanket rage at all the place-holding/complaining/pushing/jostling that goes on at that stuff. Where’s their Christmas spirit? Oh yeah. They’re probably like me.

That li-moose. It gets around.

A slinky AND a yoyo!? UNBELIEVABLE!

Considering these things may not be enough, please send me your best Christmassy spirity type tips that work for you (that do NOT involve baking or craftificating) and I will be eternally grateful. So will my poor girls who are clutching on to their advent calendars for dear life.

xx Merry Something.

Sex with Strangers

This is not a call to action, since possibly a good proportion of you are married or attached, but rather an account of a brilliant play I saw last night that explores themes that bloggers and writers will find intriguing. It was Ryan Corr and Jacqueline Mackenzie onstage having the ‘sex’. The play we saw last night at the Sydney Theatre Company reminded me of all the things that make live performance intense and raw and wonderful, and so different to reading a book or watching a movie.

The play explores the digital age through the intergenerational relationship that develops between the main characters of Olivia and Ethan. Olivia is an old-school writer and book lover in her late 30s, enamoured with the literary greats and focused on the tactile appeal and smell of books. She’s offline and fond of the writerly process, hiding out in writers’ retreats and terrified of criticism. Ethan, breezing in one night, is the 20-something charismatic writer of the digital age, who’s had a blockbuster bestseller based on his blog, itself based on his stories of arseholery and one-night stands. He’s so connected he’s taken for dead after two days of no shows on Twitter.

It explored the ideas that literary writing is good but doesn’t sell just on merit, versus popular writing and the question of whether its authors have any more ‘in’ them, the importance of selling and popularity and the evolution of publishing in the age of e-books;   all relevant and topical subjects. What was riveting for me though, was watching the two actors BE onstage. Sitting in the front row, with my feet perched on the stage, there were moments of such intimacy in the facial expressions of the actors that I almost felt I needed to look away. Hell – I have trouble showing that much vulnerability in REAL LIFE, let alone on a stage, in my boxers, in front of a full theatre.

Yes – ‘in my boxers’ … I’m getting to that. So, there was very believable chemistry between the leads and they seemed very comfortable jumping on each other. Jacqueline Mackenzie was awesome, but more ‘actorly’ in her delivery I thought, and seemed somehow less vulnerable. Of course, she’s more experienced, and her character was also less ‘out there’ than Ryan’s who laid it all bare.

If you feel like you’ve just interrupted something, it’s cos you have.

I realised what an awesomely promising stage actor he is, with his beautiful diction and clear projection (compared to the lovable bogan he plays on Packed to the Rafters with the matching bogan accent). He did REAL TEARY EYES PEOPLE – proper fake crying – and that seduction face – woah. I felt I was hiding under somebody’s bed. Our seats meant that I could have reached out and poked him in the leg, so I sat on my hands for a little while.

Theatre is SO fun. It’s like watching really interesting people have a relationship, without worrying about them getting hurt (cos they’re not real), watching them pick up and strip off without feeling like a total pervert (cos you’re sitting next to your partner in a seat you paid for), then watching how they fight without worrying about having to choose sides. It’s people-watching at its finest, and in this case, played out in a microcosm of the writing and publishing worlds. Fun, fun, funnety fun for book nerds like me.

The best part of all? It was inspiring. It’s made me want to write like a maniac.

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