Monday, 30 April 2007

Home again, home again, jiggedy jig

You can all relax, comrades. I'm back in the federal electoral district of Batman, and have spent the last twenty-four hours frantically atoning for my Weekend of Profligacy. (Hear that, Sydney? Profligacy!) Melbourne feels new all over again. I noticed a poster for the Victorian Denture Scheme this morning, and immediately thought of dental prosthesis, 1860s-style.*

Sydney Town was the victim of an unprovoked deluge last week. By the weekend he was glittering and splendid. On my way to the Leichhardt Ladies' Hostel yesterday morning, I chanced upon an advertisement for hair-extensions, viz. "EMPOWER yourself with the HAIR OF YOUR DREAMS, thanks to the WORLD'S BEST hair extensions". That's my Leichhardt: bring me your poor, your tired, your huddled masses, and lo!, I will empower them with hair extensions.

I spent the better part of the weekend at Chateau Wool Spaniel, which was downright lovely. For me. My poor wee niece had to suffer my belting out Handel on the piano in preparation for Wednesday's choir audition. My full-throttled yodel was eventually subdued with her tactful "I think I've had enough of this music". Doesn't bode well for Wednesday, but at least she called it music.

I made a guest appearance at the Finnegans Wake Reading Group yesterarvo, for scoffing of pikelets and assassination of plain English. I'm seriously thinking of setting up the FWRG Melbourne Chapter. I can fit the meetings in between choir rehearsals and Women's Christian Temperance Union assemblies.

* By the mid nineteenth century, dentures were quite the thing in toothless circles. Indeed, the first porcelain dentures were constructed in the late eighteenth by one Alexis Duchâteau (no relation).

Thursday, 26 April 2007

Start spreadin' the noos

I got a date with Sydney Town. We're rendez-vousing tomorrow for two and a half days of toe-tapping let's-pretend-the-essay-marking's-done. Yee hah!

There might not be too much bloggin' round these parts, so – following in the grand and slightly embarrassing tradition established three days ago – I leave you with this minor contribution to the world's collection of Verse About Grammar. You'll love it. It really speaks to the human condition.

Toodle pop!

Sweat sodden sheets, smeared with penned secretions,
ink dark excrescences and black blot stain,
a splitting of infinitives,
an upset of the syntax,
words wrenched out, wincing, and scratched out again.

In bed (prepositional phrase), in pain,
inside, crazed (past participle), he ached,
and every motion of his nouns bespake
flaming, fretting fever, a throb, the strain
of verb on verb, dread cancer of the vowels,
something unmentionable in his, ah,
adjectives, cleaved and seething, with the drain
of too much of, an excess of, meaning.

Diagnosed with: something past the colon,
prosaical full stoppings of the brain,
a splitting of the hemispheres,
an upset of the cortex,
the death sentence stopper lodged in a vein.


The Trolley Plot Thickens

I have just learned the whereabouts of the trolley! But now my loyalties are torn between my friend and colleague, the trolley harbourer, and the departmental secretary, who is looking for the trolley and clearly needs the trolley and is disseminating emails in search of the trolley and should be kept on the right side of because she knows stuff that I need to know about matters other than trolleys. The trolley harbourer is about to go to class, so I have at least an hour to think about my moral obligations.

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Email of the Week

Subject: Department's trolley???
Dear all - does anyone have the trolley by any chance? Please return, as it is needed.

"I may look like an anarchist but just take a gander at my share portfolio"

One of the Emerging Scholars yesterday concluded her insight into Raymond Carver's prose with, "Speaking as a feminazi". But of course! Speaking as a feminazi.

She came to chat afterwards, and I couldn't resist hinting that perhaps "feminazi" needed a little further scrutiny. Y'know, that the implied connection with Nazism might not be quite the thing to legitimise one's patriarchy-smashing ways, that the word wasn't exactly coined by Andrea Dworkin's fan club, that, I mean, really, are you opposed to power structures or what?

"Yeah," she said. "But I can't just call myself a feminist or people will think I'm a Cosmo-feminist".

[A "Cosmo-feminist", for those of you who don't regularly dabble in the terminology, is a lass who believes she's at her most empowered in her Playboy regalia.]

Starting to worry that all the folks who've heard I'm a feminist now think of me prancing round on sunday afternoons in a bunny suit, I asked, feebly, "Couldn't you call yourself a radical feminist?"

"But I'm not a radical feminist. I believe in pornography."

I. Believe. In. Pornography. Uttered with all the passionate conviction of nineteen years and some very natty chin piercings.

Here, of course, utterly flummoxed, I retreat. I don't know what language she's speaking, this person who doesn't hold with bunny suits, is fine with "feminazi", has a thing or two to say about Raymond Carver, and believes in pornography.


Anyone who can explain to me what "I believe in pornography" means (something like "I believe in Santa Claus"? "I believe pornography will end the war in Iraq"? "I believe what pornography tells me about the world; it is more reliable than the Encyclopaedia Britannica"?) gets a chocolate frog.

Me, I have to go to my essay marking party.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Anyone for a cuppa?

The Virgin Mothership is spiriting me up to Sydville this weekend for a non-stop schedule of ten pin bowling, family reunionificationalism, and communal Finnegans Wake reading. If anyone happens to be at a loose end for any or all of the minutes between 3 and 5 pm on Friday, then let us eat cake! If you don't indulge me on this one, I will be forced to sit in the library and do the work I am being paid for.

Monday, 23 April 2007

Time to go home, Harlot.


By the Bee Gees.

When your words are wrong and your sentence long,
When subclauses flow and you can't say no.
The phrases swell
And noone loves a

When you're so intense but it makes no sense,
When your paragraph is a dead giraffe
You just have to edit,
Or noone will
Try to geddit.

Word by word,
There's a burning down inside of me,
Burning pain with a yearning that won't let me be.
Down goes my pen
And I just can't take it all alone.
I really loathe this editing, editing
Editing, editing.

When apostrophes bring you to your knees,
It's pedantry!
When you insist that it's "its" not "it's".
It's hard to bear
The misuse
Of "they're" and "their".

When you go to lop down la Malaprop
It's pedantry!
When you roll your eyes and italicise,
When it's just not right
Unless they use
Chicago-style to cite.


ANZAC Biscuit Day, coming soon to an essay-marker near you

You know you've hit the celebrity A-list when you start receiving exclusive invitations to all-day ANZAC Day essay marking parties. Am I Ms Social Fritillary 07 or what?

I have cunningly neglected to join a Melburnean pipe band, so my 25th April is free from the annual moral torment of being me, a militarism-sux-and-so-does-nationalism-ist bagpiper with a weakness for rosemary and old men in berets. This year, instead of hanging out in Martin Place with the tartan posse, instead of tripping over my own ideological angst and drooling on my pipes, I'll be living it up in North Fitzroy with a buncha hard-livin', essay-markin' swingers. BYO pencil sharpener.

Who needs red lights when there are red pens to be had?

Thursday, 19 April 2007


Some people think eyelashes are more sensible, but I think they're cilia.


I just read this and burst into tears. Ach. There goes my reputation for hard-boiled cynicism.

Amid the horror at Virginia Tech were tales of heroism during the rampage, including an older professor - himself a Holocaust survivor - who gave his life to protect his students.

Romanian-born Liviu Librescu, a dual US-Israeli citizen, moved two decades ago to the United States where he taught in the Engineering Science and Mechanics Department at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Although he was 76, long past the usual retirement age, he was still teaching at Virginia Tech yesterday when chaos erupted in Norris Hall, the campus building where a gunman identified as Cho Seung-Hui, 23, opened fire, killing 30 people people before committing suicide.

Students described how the septuagenarian Librescu used his body to barricade the door against Cho so they could escape by jumping out the classroom's second-floor window. Some broke legs in the fall, but they survived. Librescu was shot to death during the rampage.

An impromptu shrine to the professor was set up on the campus, with flowers and his picture.

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Preaching to the choir

None of you will have guessed this, but back in my misspent youth, I had, well, moments, of nerdiness. I wouldn't want anyone to think that I was an out-and-out nerd, but I can't deny that it was a category in which I dabbled. I was, for instance, captain of the year 9 chess team. And a library monitress. And a paid-up, card-carrying member of the CSIRO Double Helix Science Club. I debated (oh yeah, Madam Chair). I spent an inordinate amount of time with the dictionary. I routinely failed to catch balls. I was a Girl Guide. And a chorister.

Later on, as you all know, I turned hip as. I dyed my hair blond, pierced both nostrils, and pursued the surfing/modelling/hard-rockin' line I excel in to this day. Barely a day goes by when I don't overhear some 18-year-old lady telling her friends that in ten years' time she wants to be just like me. You bet she does, what with me being such a cool cat and all.

But it's tough, being the arbiter of avant garde, and in a moment of nostalgia last week for that misspent youth of mine, I decided to audition for a choir. I figured that what I lose in street cred I'll make up for in regular exposure to Handel. That's if I get in, of course. It's been a million years since I was in a choir, and I fear that in my relentless pursuit of cool, I've rather neglected my choral diction.

It's two weeks until the audition, so I have a bit of time to practice. I'm going to do a William Byrd number, "Adoramus te", and then they'll fling something at me I'm supposed not to have seen before. I'm one of the worst sight-singers I've ever met, so my plan is to learn the entire canon of western choral music in the next fortnight.

Nerd? Moi?

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

The difference between riot and wrong

Ah! Essay marking! So many vagrant apostrophes; so many idiosyncratic spellings. We've been through this before: it is outrageously improper of me to publicise young essayists' private misadventures with nineteenth-century English literature and twenty-first-century English orthography. Outrageous. Improper. A breach of trust. But I have to book myself in in advance for some heartfelt remorse because I cannot resist this, "Blake critiques the self-riotous hypocrites", or this, "William Warkworth wrote and co-composed many poems, odes, songs and sonnets", or this, "Today's ecological awareness has partly been influenced by the work of Wordsworth, who has inspired several people worldwide to consider the environment as a beautiful gift." Several? Come on, now, you don't want to exaggerate or nuffin.

"Self-riotous" is gorgeous. Revolutionary narcissists of the world unite!

Monday, 16 April 2007

Lexicon Harlot, now in technicolour

The new pink cardigan has gone to my head.

NOW not in technicolour. For those who missed it, this page had a brief but stimulating dalliance with green and purple, but due to alarmed advice from my near and dear has reverted to it-doesn't-matter-if-you're-black-or-white.

Tress test

Mikhail Bakhtin (good friend of mine; nice glasses; not doing so well these days) once said, "It is impossible to lift myself up by my own hair." Obviously that was true for him. He didn't have much hair. And it's probably true for me too. I don't have much hair either. But the rest of you, I don't see what's stopping you.

Saturday, 14 April 2007

Close encounters with posh frocks

On telly the other month, I won an $1800 voucher to ye Alannah Hill frock shop. Alannah Hill appeared on telly with me. Big hair, scarlet lips, gorgeously frou-frou: the human equivalent of a rose-painted Victorian teacup full of boiled lollies. The voucher arrived yesterday in the mail, so this morning I scuttled down to Lt. Collins St, dreaming dreams of turquoise velveteen dungarees and ballgowns and

it was the most harrowing experience of my life.
For over an hour, the lovely Katrina patiently handed diaphanous nothings into my change room. Frocks with no sleeves, requiring strange stick-on bra-things. Frocks of a startling transparency. Frocks in an array of colours, none, disappointingly, turquoise. Katrina listened patiently while I requested garments in an adult-size, while I explained that, proud as I am of my slightly lopsided breasts, I prefer not to showcase their asymmetry, while I dismissed her proferred costumes with vague intimations that I'd much rather run round in a purple kaftan.

I know there are lassies out there who'd sell their pinky toes for the pleasure of spending $1800 at the Alannah Hillery, but I felt strange and denatured. Also, of course, in my typical post-Puritan fashion, altogether alarmed at the profligacy of it all. That rather peculiar ensemble above includes over $600 of Alannah Hill gear, the thing in my hair alone costing $29.

I am being an ingrate and an oddity, even though I am wearing a new pink merino cardigan with lace trimmings and embroidered cherries.

The good news is knee high socks! Three pair.

Forbear the forebear of Three Bears.

Yes, it proceeds apace, this here education of mine. Little more than a week after discovering the secret Schlomo in S. S. Freud, I learn that Robert Southey - he of getting-about-with-Coleridge fame (before S.T.C. hitched up with Mahatma Wordsworth) - wrote the prototype to "Goldilocks and the Three Bears". My dealings thus far with R. Southey have mostly devolved around his alleged coinage of "autobiography", a term in which I take considerable professional interest, so it was an unexpected treat to find his sideline in porridge advertisements.

A treat, but also a source of some consternation to one who has long read her three bears story as an exultation of proletarian struggle.

Here's how it all went, before I bumped into Southey's version:

Mama Bear, Papa Bear and Baby Bear lived in a harmonious forest commune producing organic oats and freerange honey. Peace, porridge and beds for all. Papa Bear ate a big, huge bowl of porridge because he was big and huge; Mama Bear got herself a medium-sized bowl of porridge, because she was medium-sized; Baby Bear had a teeny, tiny-sized bowl of porridge, because he was teeny, tiny-sized. Perhaps the Bear Family tended to buy into somewhat socially constructed notions about the relationship between gender and porridge consumption, but Mama Bear had a higher degree in atomic physics and Papa Bear did most of the domestic work, so it was ok. Sexual politics aside, their porridge distribution policies were firmly rooted in Mr Marx's wise instruction: "from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs."

In flounces Goldilocks, yellow sausages of hair dangling about her ears. The name's a complete give-away. She's ruling class to her back teeth. Gold-i-locks. Wealth and property. And property, as her behaviour suggests, is theft. She consumes the proletariat's labour; she idles around in their beds while they're out working; she breaks one of their chairs.

The Bears return home en bloc. They roar en bloc. Goldilocks, our arch-capitalist, leaps out of bed where she's been smoking cigars and playing solitaire with her Amex cards, and resolves never to exploit bear labour again. It's a victory for ursine solidarity. United, we roar; divided, we are permanently deprived of our porridge.

All, well and good. But then I read
Southey's "Three Bears" and I find there ain't no Goldilocks. No glistening hair sausages. No air of curly blond privilege. Southey's porridge thief is variously a "little old Woman", a "naughty old Woman" and an "impudent, bad old Woman". There's no gold on her head. She's altogether in a bad way, oppressed and marginalised, not least by the narrator, who's intent on her defamation. She eats the Bears' porridge and she sleeps in their beds, sure; by the looks of things, she probably needs to. When Southey's bears come home, they're complete bullies. They roar her out of an upstairs window. Writes Southey, "whether she broke her neck in the fall, or ran into the wood and was lost there, or found her way out of the wood and was taken up by the constable and sent to the House of Correction for a vagrant as she was, I can not tell."

He cannot tell, our narrator. But it's pretty jolly clear that he'd be happy with any of them three outcomes. Those are not the words of a good comrade, Robert Southey.

No wonder Coleridge dumped you for Willie W.

Friday, 13 April 2007

Put that in your pouch and smoke it

Carlton Gardens last night: trees, lamplight, me, and a herd of mega possums. They were those brushtail jobs, but enormous, the sumo wrestlers of possumville. At least fifteen of them, all biggies, strutting around on the grass, with as much 'tude as if they'd just stepped out of the Bronx brandishing bottles of contraband.

In the centre of this possum horde sat an old man, in a suit, with three boxes of Chinese take-away on his lap. He was doling out dollops of rice by hand. Occasionally a scrap of meat. In between scooping up globs of food, and making contact with possums' tongues, his fingers were relaying the odd load into his own mouth.

"They like rice," he told me. "And Peking duck. And pork."

I didn't have the heart to tell him that possums were supposed to be fructivorous. Besides, these possums clearly weren't. One of them, a marsupial with a babysupial in her pouch, chomped down on the man's finger and looked all set to haul him off across the lawn. No blood lost, but it was a sign of the times, possum-human-relations-wise

And there I'd been thinking that the worst the 'Bourne had to offer was the ganglands. Little did I suspect I'd meet with a superspecies of carnivorous possums. They'll be taking our jobs, if we're not careful. And stealing all our take-away. Who knows, this could be the beginning of the end for the human finger.

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Must remember not to wear my moustache to work

Passing a student on the stairwell: me, "Hi Natalie"; her, "Hi Alastair".

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

The Telly of Doom

The telly of doom is gone, huzzah! My first mercantile e-venture wasn't, perhaps, the grand commercial success yon marketeering ancestors might have hoped for, but I am mighty glad to have my rompus room restored to me and $5000 worth of eminently thievable electronics far, far, far, far, far away from the contents-uninsured environs of Hôtel Harlot.

My dalliances on the world wide web this past week have been almost entirely with folk named "Pso65" and "BobMan", wondering why on earth I am selling, why am I selling this fine, strapping, hulking fifty-inch spunk of a television. Hôtel Harlot, I have told them, is barely fifty inches from wall to wall, but what I wanted to say is this: "Why are you contemplating buying this fine, strapping, hulking fifty-inch spunk of a television? Surely there's an overseas trip you could go on? A lifetime's supply of cashews and dried apricots you could buy? The complete works of Charles Dickens, and the same in talking-book, and enough left over to keep a Somali village in rice for six months?"

That, however, would have been snide. By keeping my snideness to myself, I received communications, like this one, from a chap who lost the bidding, wrote to tell me so, and received my condolences: "cheers for your thoughts and good luck to you lady with an attitude like yours alexis im certain youll go far , cheers again mike". If that ain't the most flattering and unpunctuated sentence ever to pass between two strangers on ebay, then I'm a monkey's aunt.

Back by popular demand (i.e., any excuse): more beagle!

Wilbur, ever vigilant

Wilbur, so vigilant he sleeps with his eyes half open

Wilbur [vigilantly]: Is there anything to eat around here?

Hannah von Wool Spaniel, instructing Wilbur in the gentle art of rolling over while eating apple

Wilbur and mon frère, award-winning beagle life-coach

Wilbur and Ian von Wool Spaniel: it's hard yakka, being this vigilant

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

My weekend in parentville, a photo essay.

Late last night, Bernhilde and I returned to the warmth and the oversized plasma televisions of Hôtel Harlot. Footsore, train-weary, but, in my case, mighty pleased to have sighted fellow Harlots in their new habitat.

The new habitat is a triple-decker of a beast, looking down on a town best known for losing its leaves and marketing fancy household impedimenta to unwary touristhropoids.

Half of Harlot House (the half that isn't made of steel girders and corrugated iron) is made of glass, through which yours truly, who had had vague notions of nosing the grindstone while she was away, gazed incessantly either at pines

or at these guys, which, for want of more precise botanical descriptors, we'll call "trees".

Harlot House is, of course, home to Wilbur the Wonderdog, whom we see here in a rare moment of activity. He has been spending his days mostly lying on the deck, rehearsing for his future career as a solar panel. He has also been contributing enormously to the gross detached dog-hair product of Bright. It is my belief that a town that thrives by selling homemade tomato relish could easily achieve significant exports in humanely gleaned organic beagle hair.

Indeed, here is the perfect facility at nearby Wangaratta station for storing beagle hair on a commercial scale.

And speaking of scaling, here's a typical sample of Mount Buffalo, as scaled by moi, Bernhilde, Wool Spaniel & co.

We are the champignons.

Here endeth the essay. More soon on Adventures with Plasma Tellies.

Sunday, 8 April 2007

Lo! buffalo in the buff

Hols at the parents' new alpine chalet proceed apace.

Family Wool Spaniel, Bernhilde and I made a valiant ascent of Mount Buffalo today. Mount Buffalo was disappointingly devoid of buffalo. This being high buffalo season, and buffalo being notoriously bad at hiding, I can only suppose the government has rounded the Mount Buffalo buffalo up and relocated the Mount Buffalo buffalo to somewhere that is not Mount Buffalo. I'll be writing a letter of complaint to the premier down here, Steve Whatshisname, just as soon as I return to Hôtel Harlot and my fancy stationery.

Speaking of buffalo, I've often wondered about the etymology of that hideous adjective, "buff", as used to describe the gentleperson who spends far too much of God's precious time recreationally lifting heavy things - cabers, beagles, volkswagons - with an eye to bicep augmentation. For some years I laboured under the misapprehension that "buff" referred to the colour of bare skin, a colour shared with many manila folders. As many human skins do not correspond with the colour of many manila folders, I found this unsatisfactory indeed. Further reflection suggested that "buff" may have evolved from "boeuf", Parisian for "beef", on account of how a "buff" gent somehow resembles a slab of steak. For various reasons - no need to spell 'em out - I found this version even less satisfactory. Today, wrestling my way up Mount Buffalo, grappling with boulders, struggling with crampons (okay, no crampons, but there was definitely struggling), I felt health and vigour, a raw animal strength, coursing through my veins. Were climbing Mount Buffalo to feature in my daily ablutions, there is no doubt: I would either die very quickly, or I would become, yes, buff. And so, reader, I bring to you to the latest in my speculative etymologies for "buff", a word that obviously derives from buffalo, as in Mount Buffalo, as in, climb it often enough and lo! thou willt grow wiry and sinuous and strong.

Not, of course, that this blog endorses wire, sinew or strength over any of the other humanly virtues, such as aptitude in knitting, knowledge of the Danish national anthem, or skill in beagle husbandry.

Friday, 6 April 2007

Bright futures

After what turned out to be a very maundy Thursday indeed, today I set out (with intrepid travelling companioness) for the parents' new alpine chalet. Sayonara, Thornbury; konichiwa, Bright.

So, this post brought to you by V-line, fresh mountain air, and - following a lengthy discussion with my mother about my plans to join the Women's Christian Temperance Union (Melbourne chapter) - a bowl full of brandy and blueberries.

I don't have anything much to say for myself, having spent the better part of the day gawping at pine forests, taking photos of golden willows, and rivers, and willows and rivers. And slurping up brandy. Am feeling consequently sated of sense and ever so slightly brandied of brain. Um. Ummmm. Oh yes: the bidding on the telly has crept up to $1825. Now would be a perfect moment to break into Hôtel Harlot and steal it (but please don't). And oh yes again: Monday will mark the 2 month anniversary of my descent unto the 'Bourne, and I'm proud to announce that thrift and frugality win the day: which is to say, the household (comprising me, and the odd guest) has consumed 9 rolls of toilet paper in those two months, averaging out to one roll per week. Here I think we at Hôtel Harlot set something of a national standard.

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

With Freuds like these ...

Have just made the belated discovery that Sigmund Freud's middle name is Schlomo. Pronounced "schlo-mo", and not to be confused with that cinematic technique beloved of film directors still wrestling with their latency periods: the slow-mo.

Following a recent re-reading of Civilisation and Its Discontents, I actually have quite a lot of respect for ol' Siggy, but Schlomo! It explains a lot.

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Apples of love

Introducing the latest in cheap, bulk veg acquisitions ($1 per kg at the Thornbury Vegetable Emporium),

Lazies and Gerbilmen,

I give you

El Tomato

and lots of it.

A fine figure of a fruit. The fire-engine of salad ingredients. The red under the bed of soup-substances (only preferably not under the bed). The scarlet woman of pizza toppings. The Pimpernel of pasta sauce colorants. The Little Red Book of things to squirt onto your white shirt just before your job interview. The prohibitive traffic light of salsa stuffs. The Red Sea of fruits best not confused with persimmons. Yes, viva el tomato!

For hundreds of years following its entré to European climes, the tomato was fêted by its fetishists as the
apple of love. This is all very well. If squelchy red fruits are your aphrodisiac of preference, who am I to judge? But what concerns me is this: if the tomato is the apple of love, where does that leave the apple? And what of the apple who - stranger things have happened - goes wobbly at the knees and falls strüdel over cider in love herself? Are such apples compelled to masquerade as tomatoes? Must they forsake their core identity?

The tomato's elevation as emblem d'amore is all the more sinister because time was when the apple itself was the apple of love. As all good fruit historians know, back in Elizabethan England (an epoch, clearly, wherein the virtues of a good wholesome sweat hadn't yet been obfuscated by a multi-billion dollar deodorant industry), lassies would keep peeled apples in their armpits, wait til the apples were mightily infused with maidenly perspiration, then pass them on to their equally aromatic beaux. The beaux would tentatively sniff, inhale deeply, inhale once again, and instantly swoon with a languorous ecstasy the like of which no tomato-fancier has ever known.

Elizabeth I's reign ends. Europe goes potty for colonising America. And next thing you know, in flounces the tomato and usurps the humble love apple.

Don't get me wrong: I think tomatoes are smashing. I really like 'em. They go down a treat with garlic and basil. But are they apples? And are they apples
of love? Here I must draw the line.

You, a plasma telly, my loungeroom

Anyone fancy the leviathan of tellies? Perfect for looking up Ernie 'n' Bert's nostrils.

Monday, 2 April 2007

Colander Girls

Hotel "where's my circumflex?" Harlot (Boutique Accommodation for the Well-Tempered Sydneyite) has just had the honour of hosting a Delegation from the Leichhardt Ladies' Hostel. The Delegation returned to her native metropolis today, but while she was here, she (the Delegation) and I (your trusty hotelier) had a super time.

The Delegation.

F'rinstance, yesterday, in between fancy hot chocolate on Lygon Street and fancy pacifist shenanigans on Collins Street, we betook ourselves to the Camberwell Markets. The Camberwell Markets comprise three acres of trestle tables, laden with ceramic giraffes, 1950s hats, decapitated Barbie dolls, and second-hand vinyl underwear. I approached this al fresco Temple of recycled Mammon girt in resolution, holding aloft the shield of I-Shall-Not-Buy-Questionable-Nick-Nacks, and clutching the sword of Tempt-Me-Not-Ye-Bric-a-Brac-of-Yore. Indeed, I had informed the Delegation that I would only offer up my hard-earned silver if I saw: (a) a colander, (b) a cheese grater, (c) a first edition of the
Origin of Species, or (d) diaphanous turquoise curtain fabric. But most of all a colander. The pasta's been unspectacular for a good month now. This official list was a very sensible strategy, retention-of-pennies-wise, but led to many a wistful sigh as I spurned a succession of 1950s hats.

No colanders were forthcoming, and, strangely, first editions of the
Origin of Species were thin on the ground, so, excepting a $5 lapse in the direction of an entirely unnecessary skirt, I left the Camberwell Markets unbesmirched by commerce.

Unbesmirched, but disappointingly devoid of colanders. 'Course, a resourceful spaghetti-artist will find a way to drain her pasta regardless, but everyone loves a colander. Nothing like a colander to beguile one's Thornbury evenings. Always fun to take to Amsterdam, a Hollander colander.

When I arrived home today, I found that the Delegation had contrived to buy me possibly the world's most beautiful colander. A pale blue ceramic job, shapely and shiny and altogether full of holes. How did she know?, I asked myself. Such are the mysteries of friendship.

Three cheers for the Delegation! Never again will Hotel Harlot offer up soggy fettucini. They're jolly nice gals, those Leichhardt lasses.

Circumflexing their muscles

I don't want to go blaming my tools or nuffin', but for reasons that elude even my investigative snout, this here blogging device has turned off the diacritical markers. Perhaps the authorities don't realise that some of us rely on our daily circumflex to get the blood trickling.

Even so, they must know that Charlotte Bronte is nothing without her diaeresis, that the ancien regime suffers acute withdrawal pangs, that some of us ethnic minority types from the outer Hebrides can't type out our full nomenclature properly without resorting to the grave (no thanks, Ma & Pa Harlot, bless 'em, for the Gaelic middle name).

Where have you gone, oh cirumflex? Hotel Harlot looks cheap and tawdry without you.