Monday, August 29, 2005

Access all areas

Access all areas: 1

Okay, so on Friday, I went to the Tate Modern and saw the amazing Frida Kahlo exhibition. Amaaaazing. Afterwards, I sauntered around other parts of the gallery, and found my favourite installation, Robert Smithson's Mirror Vortex.

The Mirror Vortex, as its name suggests, is essentially a vortex of mirrors. When you dip your head over, all while maintaining a respectable distance from the rope marked 'Do Not Cross', you can see yourself from at least 25 zillion trillion angles. At least. Anyway, while I worked out my most dubious angles to be viewed from (spanning 180 to 270 degrees; a necessary George Michael-style footnote to my press-kit), I heard someone bleat:

"Madam! Madam!"

All rather urgently.

Intrigued with my own image, I didn't think anything of it.

Then, I had a tap on my shoulder.

"Huh?" I replied, extracting my head from the chatty company of myself repeated 25 zillion trillion times over.

It was gallery staffmember in a big orange jacket. Security, actually.

"Madam, you are climbing on the exhibit. Please step away."

And me, an abashed modern-art Narcissus, mumbled: "Sorry, I was intrigued. I got to see myself from 25 zillion trillion angles. At least."

Then, I scuttled into another installation, a room, actually, where I got to observe myself on four television monitors, all while I negotiated a big white cube. Naturally, this kept me intrigued for 10 minutes longer than most normal patrons. At least.

Access all areas: 2

Today, I was rather hung over, after a friend's birthday drinks (well, Nath's birthday. SeaPea and Robbie B: he's drinking well!). Gill and I decided to meet up with our friend Miri at Hyde Park. So, we caught a red double-decker bus. Miri said she was at Marble Arch. We were in the general vicinity, saw an arch made possibly of marble and alighted. As we ambled along, we noticed a bunch of people coming out of a gate. I started walking in.

A bobby (hat and all) leapt in front of me:

"Sorry, can't I go in there?!" I said, surprised.

"No, madam, you may not!" he replied.

"How come? Our friend's in there?"

"Really?! Well, you can't come in this way," he chuckled, calmly blocking me as I craned my neck around.

"This is Hyde Park, isn't it?" Gill said.

Now the policeman and his policeman mate were cackling.

"Look at that razor wire!" one hooted.

"Look at those great bloomin' barbs and cameras!" the other one double-hooted.

"Yes?" Gill and I said.

"In England, our parks are public. Anyone can enjoy them!" explained the second officer. "This is not Hyde Park."

"Well, where are we, then?!" I exclaimed.

"Buckingham Palace," he replied rather flatly ... before laughing and, I believe, pointing at us.


"Now, I need your names," said the first officer. "Where are you ladies from? Australia, I gather?"

"Yeah, Melbourne!" I cheered.

"No, New Zealand!" hissed Gill, all subterfuge.

"I take it parks are pretty tough in Melbourne, are they?" he smirked, again pointing at the wire, barbs and surveillance cameras.

"Very!" I lied.

"Do you really need our names?" Gill asked.

"Yes, it's to go in my book of stupid questions," he replied, bandying about an imaginary book.

Only after we insisted "Well, where is it, then?" did they point us in the direction of Hyde Park, up the road and around the corner.

Oh, how we laughed jolly laughs about our little security breach and counted ourselves lucky for not being gunned down in cold blood, or having the rabied gnashing hounds - well, corgis - set upon us. Such is the sign o' the times.

Ho ho ho!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


I wish I didn't own all that crazy Nihongo-purchased colour or throw out my black ballet slippers (admittedly, they did get wet a few times in typhoon downpours teamed with waterproof 'socks' I'd wrangled together out of plastic supermarket bags, and they did have a hint of eau du mildew about them) because, far out, my new look for the pending London winter is so going to be Beatnik Momo. In my to-be neighbourhood Shoreditch on Sunday I saw a willowy girl in black leggings, tunic and slippers and, upon stuffing another McVities Jaffa Cake in my gob, I remarked a glowing, full-mouthed and rather disgusting: "I scho wanna be 'er".

As we continued ambling toward Hoxton Square, me in a hung-over and intensely grumpy state, sniffed in a mood of envious inadequacy to Gill, "Hmmmn, there are lots of hipsters around here, aren't there?"

And Gill responded, "Yes. You'll see lots of conceptual haircuts."

Immediately as we turned the corner (and this really better fits cinema than my inept ramblings) was a pouty young man posturing his conceptual haircut like Philip Oakley from The Human League meets Depeche Mode down by A Flock of Seagulls.

Leggings, black, and a conceptual haircut are so on the cards right now. After a job (I must wait 3 weeks to find out about the Penguin gig, I've assaulted a few recruitment agencies for freelance gear in the meantime).

I'm opening comments. Feel free to go forth and squander.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Random shout out #1

Surprisingly, to those not in the know, I am, alas, a neglectful friend. It suddenly occurred to me now that I forgot to send my Oz care/thank you packages to two of my good girlfriends in Japan, Eri 1 and Eri 2. Yes, out of 12.5 million people in central Tokyo, I chose to have two friends with the same name requiring a numerical suffix.

So, if anyone is really keen on a couple of sweet young pen pals and is just itching to send out packets of totemo kawaii Tiny Teddies* on my behalf, get in touch, Sleuth.

*By Tiny Teddies I really do mean the dinkum bite-sized treat. After I wrote this, I became suspicious that ‘Tiny Teddy’ could be jive talk for something completely different, but I’ve now done my research and, after being entertained for a good half hour or so, seemingly it isn’t. Maybe it should be.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Strewth ...

So, I went to this information session full of foreigners, like me, to sort out their bank accounts. Half of them were Australians, the rest were South African, save for a couple of girls from Latvia. One young man was like watching Joe Mangel incarnate, who is, of course, my favourite Neighbours character, ever. Young ocker Joe would randomly address the entire room of 25 people, all under the guise of talking to the disinterested South African skater-punk slouched next to him.

“I got meself a job at the Walkabout, mate, I couldn’t stand working in one of those pokey Pommy pubs!”

Which is, naturally, why you would come all the way to England to work … in a pub that’s exactly the same as the one at home. Exactly the same, that is, if your local had boomerangs on the walls and ‘Caution: Crocodiles in Pool Table’ signs. And I hope it doesn’t.


“Yeah, it’s time to start workin’. I spent the past three weeks in Amsterdam! They were the best bloody three weeks of my life …”

I tried to beat him to the punchline, well, at least mouthed it to myself, like a total nut case.

“But I can’t remember them!”


Later, as the NatWest bank representative collected our application forms that we’d spent half an hour painstakingly completing, she joked:

“Now, if anyone has been silly enough to select a password that’s rude, please let me know now because you’ll have to change it.”

After everyone tittered and guffawed that no one could be so stupid, there was a lull of silence.

Then, Joe piped up rather sheepishly, (if he were an especially loud, obnoxious lovably moronic merino):

“Sorry, love, I’ll be needing a new form then!”

He did.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Park life

Well, today I decided to postpone my jaunt to the bank as thinking about opening a UK bank account without any UK deposits was entirely too much. Rather, I went to the park, in this instance named Turnham Green. I even listened to Blur to get into the mood until I decided it was entirely too twee even for me, nowadays, and so I scrolled down to the Bronx, like a total bad-ass. In the park it was me, a cone of hot chips and my friend Peter Stuyvesant. Peter was fine company , in a strange fast-burning-patented-by-Janeane-Garofalo-in-Romy-and-Michele kind of way, until I bothered flipping the pack and he advised in a haughtily accented bold print: "I do say, smoking ages your skin prematurely … and you are almost thirty, dear."

Give or take a few phrases.

In a fit of outrage, I kicked Peter out into the green, confusing the young children playing soccer … only to fetch him again a few minutes later. After all, five pounds can buy you a car in Australian dollars.

At the park I made the fascinating anthropological observation (which I promptly noted in my field book) that Australian women wear pregnancy FAR better than English women. Loud and proud linea nigra lines and post-very-recently-pregnant bellies in crop tops were something I really didn’t feel like seeing ... and probably never will feel like seeing. And then there was the woman who insisted on shoving her baby away from her down the path a la the Battleship Potemkin. I considered screaming "STOP, THE BABY!" in Russian, but refrained. Permanently erased from my memory (soon, I hope) was the 70-year-old man sunbaking his paunch in the milky sunshine wearing nothing but black jockey briefs.

Effectively, this mise-en-scene down in the park further prompted me to avoid pregnancy … at least for the next six months*.


Oh dear.


But really, the worst thing was it put me off my chips. So I fed them to the pigeons in strict defiance of the nearby sign that commanded 'DO NOT FEED THE PIGEONS'.

Everyone has been friendly to me so far, except for the gleaming speedball-eyed skinhead with an inordinately hairy back who decided to interrupt me enjoying the witty captions in the NME at Sainsburys by coming up and screaming “FUCK!” in my face before collecting a blue plastic basket to load up on his nightly aperitif of orange juice and Ajax, I presume.

And that made two people in my day in dire need of a gluggy tub of Nad’s.


*Timbob is off to Bangkok tomorrow for the next six months. He'll be living far cheaper than I shall. I must stop obsessing about money.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Now I'm in London

I feel a bit weird writing a weblog after so melodramatically dumping the internet a short three months ago. I feel like a shady imposter. Whatever.

Right. I'm in London now and rather jetlagged, still. The 20-hour flight sucked arse. That's all I can be bothered saying. Or, really, it sucked ectoplasm as I seem to have an unlimited supply, it's not in a Ghostbuster-logoed vacuum on my back, it's in my nostrils and throat and it's truly disgusting. When booking my flight, I ordered vegetarian meals so I would be fed first. Big mistake. Everyone else got chocolates and passionfruit custard, while I got something that looked like a sago pudding from 1952 and no bloomin' chocolates only sultanas. I don't care if I grew up in Australia's dried fruit capital, I bloody hate sultanas. Unless they're in hot cross buns. And they weren't.

So, at Heathrow, a rather astonishingly handsome young man named Nick who works as an account executive at C________ (where I wanted to work when I wanted to work in advertising) was listening in to me talking to some old people about my plans (well, basically me bragging about my Penguin interview) and, even though he had about four backpacks of his own, he came up struck a conversation, and said he'd help me get my unmanageable two suitcases, laptop bag and backpack into town. It didn't strike me at all as odd at the time (which was 5.30 in the morning - an odd enough time in itself - and after a 20-hour flight), but now in retrospect it seems a bit strange that he was being so helpful. It couldn't have been my inherent hotness, considering the ectoplasm, my vacant dead-stare, stringy hair and eau du clamminess. Maybe he has a book he wants published. Or he's a psycho-killer, partial to older women with headcolds. He did have a hint of the Christian Bales about him.

Anyhoo, we, meaning Nick and I, spoke loudly on the Tube, as is the way of people who have no sleep and are excited about their travels. A South African girl tried to join our conversation, but we couldn't understand what she was saying for much of the time, so nodded politely. I know that's rude, but I'm just being honest. At the incorrect guidance of a Tube employee, we disembarked at the wrong station, clambered up a mile-long escalator like the one at Parliament Station in Melbourne, only 10,000 times more terrifying, ended up in the middle of roundabouts, climbing wrought-iron fences, rapscallioning our way across ring-roads, hiding from cavalcades of police, and, finally, temporarily marooned in a cordoned-off statue of the Duke of Wellington. Naturally, this prompted me to ask: "Do you like the band, Shihad?" before entering into my long bragging tale about interviewing Shihad and associated tales. I even stopped to retrieve my three picks from my purse (in the aforementioned backpack).

Then, finally, after two hours of misadventuring, we got to the Sheraton, where I was staying. Then, Nick jumped in a cab and went to his hostel. And that was it. Naturally. But I am seeing him tomorrow to spend about 50 pounds on beer as thanks for his good deeds. So, yes, Nick is my new friend. It's a shame he's going to Portugal on Wednesday and then going home... I'll hook him up with anyone willing to date a hot 22 year old with a great job ... yeah, why not?

My new housemate-to-be is Gilly-baby. We met in Shoreditch yesterday, which will be our new home as of August 31st. We walked past the place that will be our new flat and walked into the gym across the road that will be our new gym. Shoreditch is gnarly as, like all the best bits of Fitzroy and Prahran and Collingwood and the best alleyways in the city all rolled into one. Timbob gave me a book of Banksy to read on the plane, and I spotted a number of Banksy's works there. In Shoreditch.

As Gill and I walked along the middle of some narrow street beside a council estate, a horn started blaring and some brakes ground to a halt behind us. It was a woman in cornrows and loads of gold jewellery gesticulating wildly:

Lady in car: [rolling down windows, waggling a long finger at me] "HEY YOU!"

Me: [leaping off the road] "Yes! Sorry, I'll move!"

Lady: "No, not that! Now, is they stockings or tights you're wearing, love?"

Me: "Um, I dunno ... they're pantihose."

Lady: "What? So you're not wearing suspenders?"

Me: "No."

Lady: "Oh. You're missing out. What you mean to tell me is that you're wearing tights. Tights sounds better than pantihose. You know that now, don't you?"

Me: "Um ... yes. Thanks."

Lady: "Well, I just had to say something cos I appreciate the fact you went to the effort to coordinate your tights with your shoelaces AND your lipstick. I'm impressed by that."

Me: [I didn't go to that effort] "Oh. Good!"

[Now it seemed the lady was about to hoon away. There was an uncomfortable pause. Then she continued.]

Lady: "Where'd you get 'em then? Those tights?"

Me: "From Tokyo."

Lady: "Of course you did, didn't you? You cheeky thing!"

Me: [Nodding and smiling like a lovable scamp to fit the 'cheeky thing' mould.]

Lady: Right, then. Sorry to gob on! See you later!"

Me: "Bye!"

And then she drove off, leaving a confused Gill and I in her little red Ford Escort dust.

So, yes, in light of the odd and tumultuous events that are my life of late, presently I'm happy to be in London. I keep looking around and thinking "COOL! I'M IN LONDON!" then I'll suddenly feel sad about where I'm not. Still, it's going to be an adventure. I'm very nervous about my interview and very nervous at the rate pounds sterling seem to be disappearing from my purse. It'll work out.

End ... for now.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

So what's this Blogspot guff look like, then?

Okay, here I am, and here is my new weblog. This is how it looks if I write dialogue:

Me: How does it look, Samone?

Me again: Well, it looks a bit crap-sor, but it will do, Samone. I mean, this shit is free. That erudite observation said and done, from now on I'm going to avoid swearing in print, after all, swearing in print is for whores and sailors, of which I am neither.

Me: You reckon? What about Liam Gallagher, he swears in print, doesn't he?

Me again: Of course I meant to say 'swearing in print is for whores, sailors and Liam Gallagher'.

Me: So you're not Liam Gallagher?

Me again: No. For the record, I have never fronted a successful Brit Pop band with my brother Noel ... I don't even have a brother. If I did, he'd probably have a fashionable 70s name like 'Jason' or 'Justin' or 'Jinxy', my parents would never have chosen a name like 'Noel'. Admittedly, I have been known to say the words 'What's the story, morning glory?' as a greeting, but never in song, and I certainly take immense pride in maintaining two distinctly separate eyebrows.