And I can't really afford to buy another one. I've about five dollars left to my name, having had to pay out thousands for more brutal and bullying neighbour required tree lopping and the oven repairs and a dentist appointment (not mine but I have a full time dependent now). This is after the hundreds of dollars damage the neighbours have done this week incuding stomping on some Japanese glass balls Mum had in the garden, the bird bath I'd bought Mum back in the 90s and Mum's azaleas and the rosemary.
The pepper tree is pretty much gone, so imagine my grief when I finally cracked open my Chandler again and he's waxing lyrical about arching pepper trees. Whimper.
Worse, they demanded the poor old and ailing plum tree hacked as well, just when it was starting to blossum. Himself showed me some of the cut off branches. It reminded me too much of when, I think I must have been seven or eight, we were asked to make trees in class and I got a nicely shaped small twiggy branch and stuck tiny scrunched up nubbins of bright pink tissue paper all over it to make my mini plum tree. The teacher was non plussed because she was expecting trees with leaves, but I liked it. I thought it was the best thing I'd ever managed. On the way home bullies set upon me and snapped it into bits (me too, but that's beside the point). I was inconsolable. Dad tried to glue bits of it back together, but it just wasn't what it was. I never made anything ever again.
So when I came home to a hacked up plum tree, I felt like those same bullies had kicked me into the gutter again. I want to cry. A lot.
Work is much the same. I spend days working on something complicated and fiddly and getting it just right and then they just trash it. Every time. I can't bear it. It makes me want to cry. A lot.
So you're wondering why on earth I took three days off, right, when I can't afford it? Well, I didn't know I was going to get smacked around the chops by all these unexpected large four figure bills, that's fer starters. It was also meant to be a lifeline, and it kinda worked, until I came home. Then, I just got stomped on, and the stomping never stops.
So, Melbourne. Unfortunately I only took like three pictures because it was pissing down pretty much the whole time I was there, except when I had my reserved tickets, so there wasn't any wiggle room, and I'd not allowed much wandering about time anyway, it was pretty much just a museum crawl from start to finish.
Which is a pity, because Melbourne is way cool. I find it far more interesting than New York. No, really. More interesting shops, and with great windows, more interesting and welcoming cafes and more interesting people with this euro-chic style that New York just doesn't have (really, doesn't), and Melboune has trams! New York doesn't have trams. Why oh why did I not take that job way back when. Excse me while I go beat my head bloody up against a wall for being so stupid and easily swayed by bullies.
Melbourne also has all the cool exhbitions. First up was the Titanic one. Again with the disaster porn, Melbourne Museum? And this time the gift shop was even tackier and in bad taste than the Pompei one (you've read the names of the dead, now buy the souvenir tea towel).
Anyways, despite that, it was interesting, being as it is a watery time capsule of Edwardian life, be it engineering, ego, hubris, travel, gender, celebrity or the rigid class system, as demonstrated by the fittings and fixtures of the various berths and what the folks carried with them (unusually preserved as most were packed in leather cases). The rich had their diamonds, the lesser folks had the tools of their trade, salesmen had samples, emigrants had letters of introduction and travellers had postcards.
The ship was also lousy with Aussies, which I never knew about but it makes sense, we get everywhere. I just could not believe all the postcards, coins notes and documents they'd brought up, all from Oz. Freaky. Good in a crisis, too, demonstrating that famous Gallipoli spirit three years early, as one large Aussie stoker was last seen attempting to rescue folks, and a stewardess raised on the (once) mighty Murray rowed her lifeboat to rescue. You go, girl!
But who you really want sitting in the emergency exit seat is Molly Brown, who not only took charge of her lifeboat over a dithering officer but got all the women to row and sing as they did so. What a woman.
Sad for the women though, to watch their menfolk go down with the ship. That's old school chivalry, that.
So yes, one of those BP like disasters ('what could possibly go wrong?') caused by pushing the boat out too soon (they lacked vital equipment, including binoculars for the spotting of icebergs) and going to fast (rumour has it they were trying to take the penant for the fastest crossing for a PR coup - whoops) but seeing the personal items made the names real, and I found it a touch distressing, but I was still fascinated. That Boots toothbrush still had its bristles - impressive craftsmanship.
That was Tuesday. Wednesday I had breakfast at my fave cafe (I'm such a creature of habit these days) then it was off to the Tim Burton exhibition. Which was really cool, or would have been except for the security staff that were on at me for no reason but let these children run riot. One of them bashed the Robot Boy model so hard it rang like a bell and its little eyes blinked slowly and then just went out. No comment to them. Just snapping at me to leave my bag, which I was going to do anyway, them preventing me from going back through the exhibition to collect it again (stupid place for a cloakroom, inside the exhibition space). I hated those roaming bands of feral school children. And what's the idea anyway. I never went to any gallery or museum when I was at school, nor did I ever see a book with pictures, or prints, slides or videos. But I did get caned. Oh, I wanted to slap them so hard they rang like poor Robot Boy, but it wasn't for me to control little Johnnie and his mates. I was just there to be shoved around by bullies.
Anyway, unpleasant and oppressive viewing experience aside, there was a lot there. This was the MoMA exhibition, and if we only got 4% (the usual amount from travelling exhibitions from my past experience), then, wow. This was all his ephemera from schoolboy scrawls to now. I kinda liked the schoolboy cartoons (especially the one about never shooting a constipated poodle - poo jokes are always funny), the clown ones were scary, and you could see all the ideas and themes evolve. And, I realised, I've seen just about every Tim Burton film up until recently. I never knew I was such a fan.
Aside from the art, which was really inretesting and kinda Addams-ish in tone and subject matter, there were lots of props, including the sweater from Ed Wood - grin. And the Batmobile. Lots of Johnny Depp costumes (isn't he just the little muse, then). My fave is still Jack Skellington, though. I love Nightmare Before Christmas, big time.
I also loved the Vincent short. That was funny, in a weird emo kid kinda way (no wonder my rellies never invite me to stuff).
So that was that. I left the colourful crazy delights of Mr Burton for the somewhat more po faced exhibition across the road at the NGV. This was the European Masters exhibition, which is basically the holdings of a German gallery undergoing reno so we've got stuff wot won't fit in the lower basement (much the same with the M d'O in Jan) and it was mainly German artists with a few well known French, Dutch and Russians in the mix. As Himself tried to explain, German art, up to a point, was quite the thing and very influential and these artists would have been household names, then, for some reason, German art fell out of favour in the 20th century (whatever you do, don't mention the ...!), which is why they're masterpieces from Europe. Oh dear.
Anyhoo, the usual mix of the good, the bad and the fugly. Some early, really lame pieces from the group that inspired the far superior PRB, but it was interesting, from an academic point of view, to see those all important early influences. There was a Renoir, a Monet, a Van Gogh, a Degas, a Picasso. Check, check, and check. Not real glue me to the wall stuff like I saw in New York, but still, new pieces as yet unviewed by me, and I do have my faves now. The Vincent one though was a muddy little piece of juvenalia, all drab and miserable. No wonder he left home. It's like he had to leave to find yellow and blue and green and purple and red and orange. I understand.
The Renoirs made me miss those NY parks again, and Degas continued his theatre theme. Then we were onto the Germans proper. I liked the one of the de-mulleting of Sampson (Ha! Now he's just all business!) and a coupla landscapes, and I learnt my favourite German word is now 'sleigh ride' (from a painting called Schlittenfahrt im Schnee). Yes, I am five, but I just don't think one can ever tire of saying 'schlittenfahrt'.
Then we moved onto abstraction, and despite my new found understanding and appreciation, a lot of them left me cold, and I felt some of them were trading on the whole banned by Herr H. thing rather than artistic merit, but that's just me. No, don't say I have the same taste as Herr H., that's just...unkind. And I did like the one of the dolls and the toys. It was kinda art interrupted though, so it's hard to form an opinion without mentioning unmentionables. Still a bit of a hot topic, so we'll have to leave it for another thirty or forty years, I reckon.
Then I wandered around the rest of the gallery, or intended to, as the wings I really wanted to have a proper look at were closed, so that sucked. I did however find a free exhibition of drawings which I just loved to bits. Here were my boys, Rosetti, Hunt, Burne Jones, as well as Rembrandt and more. These were lovely, lovely drawings and sketches. I really loved this, and there was hardly anyone else there to admire them. That sucks. I wish the catalogue had been more extensive, as I would have liked to have kept copies of my faves.
Oh, and I was reminded recently by a certain tv program, and by seeing it in front of my face, that my Dad used to use the A from Albrecht Durer in these stamps he had made and his ex libris plates, because he just loved Durer. He never had business cards because he was just a lowly stomped on public servant like me, but he used to put the stamps and plates in his books and technical journals cause they were always being nicked (the more things change...). I loved that stamp. I wonder where it got to?
Like I said, it suddenly came back to mind. Can't imagine why (thank you, Youtube teasers/spoilers). Such a bittersweet thing to remember.
Oh, I've found my banana. I'd slipped it in my coat pocket without thinking, or remembering. Oh well, it's an unhappy hot water bottle day so I'm not at my best. Far from.
Anyway, it's funny how I enjoyed the free exhibitions far more than the ones I paid for. They were just, I dunno, quirkier. Wednesday morning saw me racing up to the library in the rain and once again running the gauntlet of uncontrolled school kids, and those little ones all gathered around Ned Kelly's armour, so I couldn't even get near to see, dash and blast, as I had to tip toe round the little blighters like they were landmines lest I be arrested for pedophilia. Stupid place to have kids and/or armour, in the corridor, imho.
Anyway, there were three little exhibitions going. One was about books, natch, and I stopped at the second display case that was featuring 80s design and included The Face, open at a picture of Paul Weller (genuflect, genuflect). There were Japanese prints, 18th books on nature, 17thC books on science and industry, 19thc posters and books on magic. Oh yes! I coulda broke the glass for Professor Hoffman's Book of Magic, not to mention The Amazing Pharos and his tricks from darkest India. Then there were comics and pulp novels. Oh, I love a particularly garish pulp novel cover (Maid For The Morgue! A Bullet For My Baby!) then then we had a page from the Gutenberg Bible, which always looks like it was done on Pagemaker 5 (did some wag set the default columns so?) and various other sacred books and it was all cool.
Level 5 gave us various pieces of Victoriana (the place, not the era), lots of horses and footballers and criminals, including said Ned (and I see they changed Neal's alias from Ben Hall to Ben Cooper. I was gonna say, what next? Edward Kelly? Frederick Ward? Sheesh). Oh, and Batman. Can't forget Batman.
Yes, Melbourne was founded by Batman. Moving on...
To the ground floor, which featured a small space devoted to shopping in Melbourne. The shots of shops long gone didn't mean much to me, and the brands displayed were all before my time so I didn't get that happy ping of nostalgia (unlike the Museum of Brands in London where you can tell the age of every visitor as they round the corner and see the long lost treasures of their childhood and squeal with delight). The fashion catalogues though, from the Twenties to the Fifties, were glorious. Just glorious. My fave was an issue from 1928 which seemed to have a very Japanese inspired print. These flapper girls were Moving Forward. Too bad I knew what was just around the corner (and it wasn't going to be fabulous).
Other than that? Riding on trams, drinking hot chocolate in chic street cafes, finding the prettiest shirt ever, in my size (I've been looking for that shirt all my life, I swear) and just forgetting about the merde back home.
Too bad the clock has to strike twelve but it must always do so, and now I'm back, and up to my neck in it. Previously...
Monday: It was not the sort of weekend to give to a girl who was already fed up. I did some weeding on Saturday, hobbling around on my sore ankle, pulling up wild passionfruit vine that had sprung up behind the shed. Only it was also a favourite toilet spot for the feral cats so I ended up covered in shit. At least I'd already hung out all the washing, I suppose.
On Sunday I again tried more gardening and this time managed to dig up a recently buried parrot, killed by the feral cats. I had to ask himself for grave markers so I don't do it again because it was a bit more Stephen King than I usually like my gardening experiences. At least I now know why grave markers are important. It's not just expensive sentiment for people you're glad are dead, it's also practical, because nobody wants to accidentally plough up Auntie Nell, not when she's still juicy, at any rate.
And then I killed the oven. I'm not sure how I did it as I was only attempting another marmalade (ruining a perfect crop of cumquats by adding in some too bitter mandarins) but nevertheless when the time came to heat the oven it was kaput and it's so cheap and nasty I'm just going to have to buy a new one, but I can't until Saturday so it's microwave city until then. I'm sure I'll be castigated for my lack of care to the poor starving artistic one. I always am. Nothing I do is ever good enough. Certainly not paying the bills.
They're doing it again. You know, wanting me to make a website just like Homer's. Seriously, this is what they want. Worse, they want 2010 stuff on a cheap nasty system built in 1995 that still runs on tables and HTML 2. I try telling them the best way to get any use out of it is to adapt the content to the limitations of the system, but no, they want me, who is paid five whole grades lower than the guy who used to do this job, to redesign the system. From scratch. One is the work of a day, for normal business costs. The other takes months of expensive contractor hours.
Why do I bother? Because I have to put up with job that I loathe so much I just want to die, because I have to buy the oven to cook the food I pay for to feed my unemployed dependent. That's why. Oh, and forget about holidays or dvds or anything of that sort. Have a nice life.
I feel like sticking my head in the oven. Oh no, wait...can't even get that right. Sigh.
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Critic's Corner Thursday: 'Burn Notice,' 'Royal Pains'
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Comic-Con Gets Hot for TV Guide Magazine
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