Especially when you've got my life, always being snarled at for following orders to the letter or snapped at for trying to do the right thing. Bugging out is the only thing I can do. I swear, it's jump on a plane or under a train, and I choose the former.
So, anyways, off to sunny Melbourne...(sound of cheesy travelogue music shuddering to a halt). Okay, grim, sodden, blustery battleship grey Melbourne. I froze, froze I tell ya. I foolishly left my wee travel hotty bot at home and while I'd packed two jumpers, two, mark you, it wasn't enough for Melbourne which required coats, brollies, scarves, mittens and wellies. Everyone on the bus from the airport (we were stuck in traffic so bad it took longer to get from airport to train station than from Sydney to Melbourne so we had ample time to get chatty and share guide books) had resolved to hit the shops the moment we rolled off the bus but we were in for bitter disappointment for there was no coats to be had. Not even for money. No, alas, it was racing season so it was wall to wall frilly hats and tart wear, and not a jumper or cardy to be seen.
Anyhoo, the weather didn't bother me too much as I was museum bound (she says this but somebody got so soaked they had to stop off at Target and nip back to the hotel to change, did they not? Still, I'd wanted to shop at Target anyway, but I digress). Exhibition #1: Persuasion: Fashion in the Age of Jane Austen. This was fun (even if stoopid Melburnians thought they were the clothes of children, nope, just tiny, tiny people). There was, on display, enough sprigged muslin to please even Mr Tilney, especially Mrs King's dress (wife of a former Governor) which had been once sewn with silver stars that must have shimmered in the candlelight. There were walking dresses, ball dresses, morning dresses, carriage dresses and, centre stage, The Shirt, the one Colin Firth wore in P&P. Squee.
I loved it so much I went around three or four times (as it was free, mark you) and the paisley shawls inspired me to buy a few of my own later from stalls. Fabulous, girlie fun.
As an aside, they had a portrait of a young man there where the caption pointed out that the high crowned hat indicated Jacobean leanings. So there's Darcy with the same kind of hat. Who knew, eh? Or pehaps it lost all meaning as fashion crossed the channel. Yet the idea of Darcy's smouldering, deeply hidden, Jocobean leanings bemuses.
After that I wandered the rest of the gallery, which I adore. It's sort of like the bastard child of the Tate and the V&A and it has really cool stuff (by cool I mean old and interesting) and we have nothing like it back in the cultural wastelands. Taking a break for the aching feet I had a very posh afternoon tea, even if the service was surly and glacial, at least the teapot was pretty. Sadly, still being a touch unwell, I de-teaed half an hour later. Oh well.
So I was a bit shaky by the time I got to the Melbourne Museum and had to wait for my go into the Pompei exhibition. I thought, cool, I'll wait in the bar they've set up for the evening sessions but again, non service with a snarl, but I did eventually get a glass of wine out of the bastards.
So, the Pompeii exhibition. First off, ironic, a bit, seeing it the week they were screening the volcano day episode of Doctor Who on UKTV (the one with the non-sweary Peter Capaldi). Secondly, the Peanut Gallery had been and raved. Which set the bar a touch high, I suppose, and I'm not even grizzling because I've been to Pompeii and Herculaneum and the Naples museum. Nope, what I'm grizzling about at how it was all reproductions, and precious few of those, and pictures mounted to walls and, ooh, a mock video of the eruption, which annoyed me no end because everyone would rather crowd around that than the artefacts, and also, whoever had done it had never been in a real quake cause let me tell ya, those decorative statues on the roof would have been the first to go (says one who had to duck plumetting Victorian masonry during a pretty big quake once upon a time in Seattle). And I've seen a better collection of genuine Roman doodads in some little community museum shoved the the basement of some town hall in some one service station town in the UK. Harumph. I hate to sound hard to please, but really, it annoys me so much that the exhibitions here are so expensive ticket wise and so mean spirited in actual displays but at least it allows one to rationalise a trip elsewhere as definitively more bang for my buck.
That said, statues, cool, frescoe (singular) pretty. I was actually rather bemused at the obvious Egyptian tat scattered about the painted garden. Eyptian tat never goes out of style. Heh. And they weren't statues, either, more like figurines. Anyway, shuffled about looking at the odd bits of jewellery and the ubiquitous pots and pans and the odd household gods (who must have had an off day). Then there was the room of plastercasts which at least sobered the crowd up, because they're always heartbreaking and real, really real (though they said these were, yep, you guessed, it replicas). Nevertheless, when you could see them trying to hold their sleeves over their faces...really sad. And so onto the gift shop! And what, pray tell, is on sale at a show based on a natural disaster that killed approx. 20, 000 people? Why, lava pendants, of course. So I bought one (Tasteless? Tacky? So me).
But anyways, I got to see a cast of the poor dead dog that I'd seen a picture of once in a book when I was a child, and I learnt that parts of Pompeii had been bombed by the Allies (Americans?) in WWII. Tsk.
Of course, having seen the exhibition, by the time I saw the repeat of Doctor Who I could nit pick it to pieces, like weren't all the windows locked and wasn't that a funeral urn, not a flower vase and that toga's riding a bit high, Quintus. But repeating to myself it's just a show...
So I hopped on a tram (I love trams) back to my hotel where I shivered iunder the think blankies with takeway and Burn Notice on the telly. Not very rock n roll, yes, but I'd been up since 3am and I was, well, knackered.
I should mention the hotel. I'd picked it because it was cheap, extraordinarily centrally located and did I mention cheap. It was also old and had some 1930s features, including my bathroom, which became somewhat less darling when I actually tried to have a shower and could only get a thin luke warm pizzle out of the taps and then the towel rack damn nearly came away in my hands. But it was practically on Swanston St and it was called The Victoria and it was full of farmers down to the city, as it has been since the 1880s, apparently.
Swanston Street? As featured in this little ditty:
Oh yeah, Melbourne has a soundtrack. Most cities do, except the one I find myself stuck in.
Breakfast was in one of those trendy laneway cafes they have down there (we prefer our few remaining laneways to be derro reserves here), perhaps a touch too trendy when I went for the French toast instead of my usual beans and toast (a holiday treat) and it came out with butterscotch sauce. What the? Kinda sat like a stone, too. Anyways, did some wicked amounts of shopping then bolted off back to the Melbourne Museum and popped into the historical bit and there was Phar lap. Genuflect! GENUFLECT! Actually, I finally saw a clip of the old nag running and I can see whyfore the legendary status. What a horse. And oh yes, American skulduggery, mutter, murmur, grumble. So the story goes, you understand. And yes, our national hero is a Kiwi horse. Got a problem with that? Righty ho, then, moving on. So then it was onto smattering of collections of brilliant old brickabrack and clips from old radio shows, a Melba recording and an old Dave and Dave trailer, which I must track down (was bemused that the oh so campy shop assistant trope dates back as far as the 30s). Enjoyed seeing the old stuff and chuckled over some old duffers bemoaning stuff they remembered being under glass. Until I swung into the 70s section. Yikes. Shirl's costume, Countown, Homicide, big old brown tellies. Oh dear. Still, the sound of the doors slamming in the old Homicide theme completed my Melbourne experience to my satisfaction.
Dabbled in the rest of the museum, creche that it was. Enjoyed the bug section as they had an old Victorian Victorian collection of bugs pinned in neat rows in oiled brown boxes, proper, you know? Though I was thinking if I ran the museum they'd be clips of Mothra as well. Turned the corner, and there were clips of Mothra, and Them, and the tarantula one, and the Monster From Green Hell, and the original Fly and a few modern straight to video shockers I didn't know and hammy fun (sadly only amusing Gen Xer parentals). Saw the dinosaurs and then a dinosaur of a big old room sized 60s computer. You know, when they used to have their own names (CSIRAC), with blinking lights and magnetic tape. Proper (and sadly what amounted to computerisation even in the 90s in one Govt dept I worked in). Then there were some old 80s PCs and Macs under glass that I recognised, and had used). Gulp. So I left, lest I be stuffed and mounted myself.
Took me forever to get home and I felt worse than a three day flight home from the UK.
Saturday and Granny Smith in the park. It was the annual Granny Smith festival, she of the green apples, yes, they come from here, so it was an early start to a) get there and b) get the bargains from the street stalls. Horrors, my favourite stalls weren't there, so no trying to get home with a large rose bush in the trolley, nor were there any garlic prawns. Whimper. But I did pick up some cheap geranium cuttings from the CWA and some glass pendants from one of the crafty stalls and a paisley shawl that Mr Tilney might just have approved of. We had dodgey pork buns and yummy coconut bubble tea in the park.
Sunday and it was off to an island to see The Goodies. Yep, them, heroes of my childhood. Well, two of 'em, at any rate. Had to get up at 5am to get there by midday (ouch) by bus, train and ferry. Yeah, had to catch an old ferry out to the island, which was fun, even though it was all grim and grey and bucketing again. As it was thus I eschewed sightseeing and just got myself a seat front and centre for the old dodderers and copped a few indulgent smiles for the obvious fan girl vapours that were no doubt wafting up. It was just a clips show with a bit of bridging dialogue but I didn't mind because it was The Goodies man. They're real, and they were right there, and still funny. Tim was saying he'd had an email from Eric Idle where the punchline was "Luxury!" (Tim co-wrote that sketch) and Andrew, the host, remarked how clevere it was to get email with a Yorkshire accent, to which Graeme shot back with "It was an Ee bah gum mail." Okay, so you had to be there.
I was chuffed, and as far as childhood heroes go, I've ticked off two Doctors and two of the Goodies. Not bad going. Saw Jimoin, had a hamburger (you go for years without and then three come at once) and sat in on Erotic Fan Fiction, which was folks reading their own delibreately bad fan fic, which while amusing, is less funny than the truly bad and truly earnest, but Jennifer Byrne's encounter twixt Keating and Greer is gonna stick there for a while. The filthy wench.
Sunday night brought Rupert being very stiff of upper lip in The 39 Steps, which, as the review said, had been ever so slighlty adjusted for modern audiences (I can see why Buchan made a perfect Colonial Governor - he hated everyone). Actually it was funny because before that I'd been chilling to North by Northwest, so I was quite spied and bi-planed out.
Managed to stay awake, too, which was impressive, given that I'd been kept up all night by a full on dance party with DJs that kept getting louder and louder as it went later and later and I ended up gettng no sleep at all.
Monday was a horrid day. I was just sitting there and copped nothing but abuse all day. So it was doughnuts (I know, but it was an emergency as I'd sobbed my heart out in the loos) and a nice hot cup of Yorkshire tea and a spot of Time Team. That's the ticket. They were doing some Alfred the Great related digging and we were thinking poor Alfred, to be mostly remembered for one kitchen stuff up. Then we rapidly got onto who we'd have for celebrity historical master chef: Alfred the Great, Sweeney Todd, Lucrezia Borgia, the Earl of Sandwich. You may add your own suggestions. We were just being silly.
Then I was up all night wrestling with a slow as a very slow thing net connection. I believe Top Gear, FlashForward and Ashes to Ashes played away in the background. I was still waiting for the poor wee boy to shut down during Antiques Roadshow (I like to put it on late at night if I can't sleep) and then I still couldn't sleep so I had a hot choclate and ended up watching Buffy - the Xander episode. you know, that one. Is that the guy from Southland playing one of the zombies?
Weirdly, Seth Green was on the radio this morning. And so it goes.
Wed: Okay, that didn't work. I was still ironing late, late last night (mainly because I got home late, late last night, love that unpaid overtime re-doing stuff someone else has stuffed up) and all my plans to pick out and post a few piccies came to nowt. Sigh. I did, however, get to see a few blips of True Blood and have a nice cuppa during QI which has finally faninally, finally screened out here (S6, but beggers, etc) and it seemed so weird to be watching it on my own couch, it being the show of choice, or rather the only show worth watching, when I'm over there. I made a nice cup of Twinings English Breakfast in honour of the occasion. Well, I'm sure it was brekkie time somewhere in the world.
Still having a rubbish time at work (hence the running away every so often, this girl needs a few carrots floating in her stick soup).
I must confess that S2 of The Fixer finally arrived on Monday and there was much squealing but the fates are against me. First there was Monday night and the old I'll just check the old email as I'd been offline for a week for various reasons and it'll only take an hour or two. Or I could wait for Microsoft to download 57 updates and still be desperately trying to open my inbox at midnight. I could do that, too. Then last night with the not getting home and then having to stare down over a fortnight's worth of ironing (301 or so shirts from Himself, for starters, or so it seemed, they all seem to blur after the first hundred). Oh dear.
At least I got a seat on the bus today. I'm halfway through Greenmantle. I wonder, at times, whether Mr Gatiss has read it. Just idle pondering, you see. In any case, it's starting to get interesting and they've finally made it to Constantinople, which is now Instanbul, and i feel another song coming on...
Thur: Events are still conspiring against me watching any telly this week. Last night I was up all night archiving some photo folders after a timely tale of woe from a friend. Sometimes, you know, I actually do miss the whole negative/printed paper thing. You had to be a touch more proactive in losing/destroying them than a slip of the mouse, and they were easier to find (that's them, in that faded shoebox on the top shelf!). Yup, just gettin' old and cranky.
Which is kind of unfair because the new burner Himself bought be bitchin' and it did what would have been the labour of a week's worth of nights in one, so I musn't grumble. Still, an evening spent watching progress bars isn't quite what I'd call a gay old time.
Work still miserable. They've taken my job away from me, the study and labour of years, and yet still snarl at me every time something goes wrong, which is just about every 30 seconds now, less even (I've noted the cranky email date stamps). Pardon me for grumbling but studies show losing one's professional duties and/or being blamed for things outside one's control and/or experiencing a lack of control and/or purpose are just about the worst things a modern human adult in the western world can suffer. So I'm suffering. Sigh. At least I've used my non-time productively to post up that belated travelogue. That's something, right? Yes, yes, I'd much rather be typing much years worth of outstanding pr0n, too, a far more productive use of my non-time, but alas a overcrowded open plan office (we don't get gopher holes here, we have to share desks) doesn't lend itself easily to the task, not to mention having sent myself blind trying to work in tiny, tiny fonts and I always get rudely interupted at the wrong moment. Nope. Looks like I gotta just sit here and wait for the next snap and snarl. Whoopee.
Persuasion: Fashion in the Age of Jane Austen
Melbourne Museum: A Day in Pompeii
Dad and Dave Come to Town
Granny Smith Festival 2009
Worlds Funniest Island
James May's Lego adventure
Ryan Kwanten filming in Sydney
The Steamy Hot Fuzz Slash Fiction Tweets: October 19th, 2009
Twitter ye not: film studios try to censor their stars
Joseph Wiseman, James Bond’s Dr. No, Dies at 91
Clued up: Inspector Morse returns with a lesson for Lewis
Top Gear ready to park itself at Nine
Vic Mizzy, who wrote 'Addams Family' theme, dies
Ten million bloody plastic eyeballs
Giant seagull fails to ruffle newsreader