January 27th, 2017


The Brit(ish) List


All that glitters

Briefly, what I did do: hugged a giant glittery clitoris. What I didn’t do: anything constructive.

Ok, so, last Saturday. Didn’t see Nick Cave (I’ve been leaving ticket buying to the very last minute and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, I just never know if I’m going to wake up bedridden or not).

I did see Amanda Palmer (and Neil Gaiman).

But first, the wimmins march. What was it good for? For learning, in an empirical way, that I’m not the only person in this anonymous city who is concerned about recent events. What I hoped to achieve? Nothing except a good showing to demonstrate that we, the people, hold a strong and different opinion to the wizened old men in power.

Also, it was fun, if hot, and marchers have always, always been on the right side of history (look at the Chartist movement) – unless you’re that 1% we’re protesting about. And, you know, I’ve got a tradition to hold up. From Swing Rioters to mutineers to revolutionaries to ratbags, I come from a long line of front-line socially conscious folk. So, you know, these were my people. In pink hats. Deal with it.

After the march, as I was a touch unwell, I found my favourite old oak (?) tree in the gardens and collapsed under its spreading branches and read a Hornblower novel (I’d popped into Kinokuniya on the way and picked up some Hornblowers and Aubrey/Maturins, thus reaching a new level in naval gazing, ahem). I’d intended to write, but alas, was a touch too touched by the sun for that (and my alone time had been whittled down by a third).

Actually, it’s frankly annoying that I have had a lot of spare time, like yesterday, and I want to spend it scribbling, because I need to spend it scribbling, but I can’t, because after an hour or so the headaches are so bad my head feels like one of those magic cabinets with all the swords sticking out of it.

It drives me to tears and my muse is on fire and I can’t keep up and when I do find an hour I have to myself and I’m not cross-eyed in pain, I can’t remember all those wonderful scenes that played out in my head. Could have been my best ever, but will never be finished because I just can’t manage it.

Which is a damn shame because my grumpy, forever calling a spade a fucking shovel, muse is so funny, and he breaks my heart.

Anyway, Amanda Fucking Palmer. Live at the Opera House, with the usual staged managed chaos that can make such a huge space feel so intimate. The seats weren’t great but weren’t bad (we were practically on top of the piano, but that meant we spent half the time just looking at Amanda’s magnificent shoulders.

It was funny, it was sad, there was a lot about the march, Brendan was wonderful (and funny and sad), Neil came on and read a Leonard Cohen protest song, and then there was the Glitoris. It was, as stated, a giant glittery clitoris, and made such an impression it got a write up in the Guardian. After the show, folks, including me, lined up to meet Amanda and have their photo taken with the Glitoris. As you do.

So that was Saturday. Pretty much been wobbly afterwards (too much sun, too much big day), and I didn’t even do anything for Burns Night, and Oz Day is usually just Burns Night recovery day (since I’m not allowed to mention my ancestors) and I was going to go to the park to see what was going on (they promised music, balloons, vintage cars and cooked meats, which is usually enough to get me out the door), but, alas, no, I just slobbed it instead (too much hot weather, too much concussion, too much that time of the month).

I did finish my Hornblower book, though. It wasn’t bad. Hornblower’s a massive dick, though. Total and utter dick (the way he treats women and his besties, for a start). Heaven help any character based on him, she says, coughing into her hand. (Ioan, I’m thinking, was far too sweet a boy to be playing Hornblower). And, no, I’d never read them before, couldn’t find them, until now (thank you, Kinokuniya).

Obligatory Chris Pine mention? Well, they had Star Trek: Into Darkness on telly on Monday, which I watched, instead of going out (was somewhat invalided, anyways), and besides, it had all my boys in it, or, you know, Chris, Karl and Benedict being, well, Benedict. Or, as some wag referenced on tumblr, it featured god’s perfect idiot, a British villain, a moody teen, a gratuitous cameo, a CGI character, etc.

Not that it’s a cliché at all, she says, sarcastically. It’s a total mess of a film. It starts out being a spy film, they throw Khan in there for no reason and nothing makes sense after that, and those boys have so not earnt their KHAN! moment so they should really can the Khan, if you know what I mean (I’ve sooo jumped ship) and don’t even get me started on the white-washing or why all movie villains are British posh boys (actually, that does make sense, we loathe those 1% Hooray Henrys). But, boys, pretty. I’m so shallow.

So I pretty much missed the entire Sydney Festival this year. Couldn’t be helped (though it would have helped if Neil and Amanda and others would stop Instagramming their festival fun, I feel so stay-at-home frumpy). Alas, it’s not a tickets at the last minute kind of thing, and just rocking out once a week is killing me (but brave, brave me for trying despite being so old and wretched and wrecked, yes?).

I could say something about World/US politics, but where does one start? I do know that after a century of tremendous bluster in all their fillums and tv about how they were going to stand up for what’s right, blah, blah, blah, the only resistance to a tyrant they can actually muster is a teen mag and a park ranger. Shame on you.

News from the world: https://plus.google.com/u/0/113197665355692280218/posts


More tales from the crypt

I had a response to the family history post last week, which is better than the sound of crickets that usually greets my posts (not that I’d had time to post much but I’m having my own upheavals here and I’m treating this writing as therapeutic, as I need to get back into the swing and get some shit off my chest).

So…alas, those promised news reports of yore on the rollicking mighty Reverend Hay were not forwarded at present (and the Trove search engine isn’t the most refined of beasts), so you’ll have to wait for his exploits.

I can tell you about MacRobert’s Reply. Basically, Lady MacRobert, who was already widowed, lost her three sons in WWII. So she up and donated £25,000 to buy an aircraft, called ‘MacRobert’s Reply’ to give some back to those Nazi bastards. Because, Scottish.

My family: hardcore Nazi punchers.

I think there’s also a back-story involving Aston-Martin, and the start-up thereof, but I can’t remember all the details (or find the relevant links, my researcher needs to go stand in the naughty corner).

Then there’s the judge and the lord, but we don’t talk about them, because it’s all too shameful. No, it really is.

I could try and tell you the story my grandmother told me, when I was a child, of the time the river flooded, and it came up to the door. Then it came spilling under the old wooden door, and they tried to sweep it back out (this was just a redneck hovel, or so I’ve always imagined).  But the water kept rising, so they stood on the chairs, and then they had to get up on the table, but still it kept rising. Finally they had to swim out of a window and climb on the roof, and they had nowhere else to go (this was over a hundred years ago in about 1913 so there were no choppers to airlift them out, they were on their own). The water came up and up and up until it was right up to the roof. And then it started going down again (well, obviously, otherwise I wouldn’t be here typing this).

I presume, from what I know about floodwaters now, that it took a while to clear, and the old homestead was knee-deep in mud.

Mind you, my Scottish uncle now has his very own flood story, as their house flooded up to the first floor last year. I can’t find the link now (sorry), but there was video posted on the old Press & Journal pages of my Uncle’s car floating off down the street. I’d been rollicking around the Aberdeenshire hills in that very car only a couple of months beforehand, so it was somewhat shocking to see via grainy web page footage. (Still, my archivist’s advice on how to try and rescue water damaged photos has earned us a spot in the good books, for now, which is a very rare and precious thing indeed).

I wish I could tell you about my grandmother’s favourite brother, who came back from the war (WWI, the great war, the war to end all wars) and just sat on a park bench, until he died, very shortly afterwards, and all he would do was play with a little hand held mechanical poker machine, that she still had and showed me (I can’t even find one on Google, so no wonder it got stoled, being very rare), over and over again. Flick, spin, three hearts. Over and over, until he died.

War is totally fucked, and you know what, my grandmother should be counted amongst the wounded, because she lost her favourite brother, slowly, and horribly, too, right in front of her, without being able to do a damn thing about it.

Which is probably why I’m a bit touchy about the addled war vert trope so beloved of TV shows. It’s no fun if they’re family. Even at a distance, that story upset me then, when I first heard it as a child, and upsets me even more now, knowing the shit that poor fucker must have been through.

She also lost a brother to blood poisoning, but I can’t remember the details. I can tell you science is important, because we don’t want to go back to shit like that.

I’d like to end up with a funny story, only I can’t remember exactly why my ancestor whacked somebody over the head with a guitar (and was done for GBH way back when which is how I come to know about it), smashing said guitar to pieces, but all I can say is, clearly, we take our music criticism very seriously in my family (man, there are times when I’d like to El Kabong a few so-called musos, oh yeah).