Back from Sydney...it's time for my customary whinge. I don't how it's possible to spend ten days in a place and feel as though you've hardly seen anyone or done anything, despite travelling to the mountains, into the inner-city, then down the coast.
I dragged a friend out to see Cate Blanchett in Pt 2 of the War of the Roses put on by the STC for the Festival of Sydney. It was much better than either of us expected, tho Cate was hardly in it at all (I guess she's got a lot of child care to attend to these days). Pamela Rabe, on the other hand, was surprisingly well-cast and centre stage as Richard III.
Before the performance, I joked that we would see Cate's undies because we were sitting so close to the stage. We did.
I did dinner with several old school-friends one night in Sydney. I'm sure there's ample fodder for a mini-series there about the decisions women make, but better not go there (stick with what you don't know: the centralian Brideshead -- Ed.)
I paid homage to my 84 yo Aunt, viewing the renovations to her home unit after about 18 months' of humbugging to see them. (Clearly she isn't in any hurry to (a) move to a retirement village, (b) go to an old people's home, (c) die, (d) all of the above.)
Prior to my visit to the Aunt, my mother advised me 'not to wear shorts or jeans: I realise that brushed cotton breathes in the heat, dear, but a skirt or slacks would be more appropriate.' (Slacks! As worn by the Women's Land Army in 1942?)
My Aunt sent me about ten emails confirming our 'date', and laminated a picture of the claypans near Alice in honour of my visit.
I think I need to remind myself that the 80s will be a time of simple pleasures.
My Aunt took me out to dinner at a perfectly decent Asian restuarant 'up the street'. I'm always surprised that such things exist in my home suburb, and that we're not imbibing MSG from the Lazy Susan at the Golden Inn any more.
The maitre'd flirted with my aunt, saying he could see she was a 'very young lady.' I said, 'Yes, she's 21.' He said, 'Oh no, 25 at least.' He gave her a free bowl of ice cream with topping.
I had one of those 'oh f*ck it' moments with an Older Family Relative, where I ordered a glass of wine with my meal. Only men drink in my family, and then they have a beer.
My earliest-remembered-childhood friend's mother has been busying herself, organising her husband's funeral. He's not dead yet, but as almost I said, the 80s will be a time of simple things.
My mother greeted the second morning of our holiday together with 'Another boring day! I thought you two had atrophied yesterday!' I sometimes wonder what it would have been like to have been born to a 'normal' mother: one of those warm, maternal, caring ones who always say wise, uplifting things like Marmee in Little Women. As opposed to one who's more like an eccentric you'd run into walking her dog up the street (indeed, many people do). On second thoughts, I'm not sure which option is worse, really.
I went to a gayboy hairdresser on Oxford St, which was a very uplifting thing to do, as he raved about the quality of my previous hair-cut, my hair in general, my home dye-job (couldn't believe it wasn't professional) and told me the secrets of evening-out the colour yourself, (which involve Pantene, btw -- 'strips hair like laundry detergent').
Why are the opinions of one's mother and gayboy hairdressers inevitably diametrically opposed, and whose fashion sense do we take more seriously (really)?
When I asked the gayboy if I should go grey yet, he said, 'not with your colouring', 'the artificial/natural look you've got going works well', 'you've still got a few years left in you yet, babe,' and, best of all, 'you're not as grey as you think you are.'
Ah gayboys! I miss them so much. I'm thinking of doing an Anatomy of the Faghag-type immersion journalism thing after the MFA, after the immersion journalism thing on working-class men's creativity in central Australia. The interesting thing is (one of them)...I reckon just as many partnered as single women are faghags. I don't really think it's about a surrogate boyfriend thing.
I drank a huge amount in Sydney -- so much I was practically underwater -- but have only had two glasses of champagne since I came back. Somehow, I can never jump totally off the wagon. Funnily, I never feel much desire to drink by myself, only round other people. Perhaps it's my equivalent of a Bex or a Valium.
The QANTAS inflight DVD has been updated. I'm greatly relieved: the expression is much improved. 'Subtly every aircraft is different' is no more. The people featured are more normal (less 25 yo models dressed up as 40 yo businesswomen), although not as normal and diversified as those in the American Airlines inflight DVD.
There still seem to be Sydneysiders under the illusion that they don't need air-conditioning or fans. The climate's a-changing, folks.
I'm sitting here with hair full of sweat in front of the portable swampie, sniggering a little at the fact that the south-east have had Our Weather, although it looks like it's coming straight back to us over the next couple of days. I've finally purchased two new air-conditioners and am set to have them installed on Thursday, just in time for the Big Heat. February is certainly the cruellest month here, as in other parts of Australia. Can't wait till June, really, and some of those sub-zero mornings.
The guys at Harvey Norman told me that the Adelaide store had rung to ask if they had any spare aircons they could send back down -- ha ha.
It's funny reading other bloggers' accounts of the 40 + C heat and trying to remember how oppressive I found it when I first arrived here. You just adjust (and supposedly acquire 1 kg of water as protection). A lot of it's to do with air conditioning and staying inside during the heat of the day. We also don't have long commutes, etc, so are saved from suffocation on public transport.
That said, I've often wondered if I was going to die, breathing thick air and trying to sleep in a Sydney or Melbourne flat on 40 C night. I can well understand people dying in a heat wave.
I seem to be juggling, juggling yet again although it's only early Feb...don't know how I manage to do this. I live permanently in deadline city. I'm very absent-minded at the moment -- am blaming it on the humidity and the deadlines.
Normal transmission will resume soon...maybe!