Sunday, 30 March 2008

Since I'm now the landed gentry

I am changing my name to Baron von Harlot.

"Just because it has a pink bathtub, don't spend above your means"

I bought a poky wee apartment yesterday, redeemed on all counts by its proximity to one of Melbourne's finest mid-century subterranean public toilets, its pink bathtub, and the fact that it is (in auctioneer's parlance) "literally a stone's throw from the 86 tram". If I were the government, I'd be cracking down on the realty-vending sector for its constant encitement to dangerous stone-throwing in areas of high public utility. Anyway, you'd want to have a pretty big catapult.

I'm trying not to let the sheer exhilaration of contracting a six-figure debt go to my head, so will do my best not to go on too much about my ascension into the ranks of the landed gentry (technically not so much the landed gentry, as the block-of-aired gentry, since I bought on the second storey). But if I can't help myself, please be patient. It'll pass in time, along with my obsessive search for the perfect wallpaper and an uncracked pink toilet bowl.

Meanwhile, what about those auctioneers, eh? They're like 1920s quack doctoring entrepreneurs as envisaged through the eyes of Hollywood. Amazing creatures. Their hair unguents alone could lubricate an entire naval flotilla.

Friday, 28 March 2008

Anyone know where I can find a pink loo?

The best I could come up with in the whole of the Antipodean internet was this Fisher Price Loving Family Vanity and Toilet:

Because heaven knows, a loving family is nothing without a pink dunny.

My researches thus far into the availability of pink toilets suggests an egregious dearth of chromatic experimentation in contemporary bog chassis design. If Smelbourne is not the town wherein to rectify this deficiency, then discerning posteriors the world over have no hope.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Wilburius Harlotius, any excuse

Update on the innermost workings of Wilbur-besieged-by-stomach-bug, courtesy of My Mother: "Puppy went outside early this morning when it was still dark and what he produced was not seen. Since then, he has been resolutely sleeping off his week end and his disappointment in lack of tit-bits." Knowing me mum, that bit about "his week end" should be treated with caution.

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Designer clobber for all, not just the rich

Anyone want a $10 Alannah Hill gift voucher? It's left over from last year's accidental encounter with Antipodean semi-haute couture, and has to be disbursed by the 10th April. It'll buy you somewhere in the vicinity of half a button.

Glories of the canine gastrointestinal system

I'm Eastering in Bright, land of the long white parent: also land of the infested water supply. Noone's pointed the public finger at any one pathogen, but we've been advised to boil all potables thrice and filter to taste. Wilbur, alas, has been remiss in his water boiling - regularly drinking pure undiluted river - and the result is a case of galloping poo. Galloping poo in (and out of) a dog who spends the better part of each day lounging around on people's beds is a many-splendoured thing. You can imagine for yourselves just how splendoured. Suffice to say that Wilbur, normally an ardent partaker in Clan Harlot's gluttonies, has been forced without consultation or consent onto a restricted diet. He is, at this moment, lying in front of the fridge with one eye open.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

I will not allege coincidence; I will just report the facts

1. Yesterday afternoon, I discovered that one of my supervisees had left a copy of Alex Jones' Helen Garner and the Meaning of Everything in my pigeon hole.
2. I began reading Helen Garner and the Meaning of Everything as I trambulated my way to the altogether brilliant (and lovely) Anna Clark's book launch. (N.B. Anna's book ostensibly unrelated to Helen Garner.)
3. I arrived at the altogether brilliant (and lovely) Anna Clark's book launch and one of the first people I saw was Helen Garner's progeny, Alice Garner, whom I persist in thinking of first and foremost as the character she played ten years ago on Sea Change.
4. I chatted to Anna Clark's brother, whose doctoral research (nothing to do with Helen Garner) was supervised by Alex Jones, who wrote (see above) Helen Garner and the Meaning of Everything.
5. I observed that Helen Garner was also in the room, conversing (forgiveably) with her progeny.
6. I refrained from bowling up to Helen Garner and (a) gushing, (b) gushing and then querying her ethical relationship to those she writes about, (c) accusing her of giving me a disapproving look on Bourke St thirteen months ago. Likewise I refrained from bowling up to Alice Garner and asking her whether she still fancied Diver Dan from Sea Change. This restraint indicates radical maturation on my part.

UPDATE: Alice Garner appeared on the brain's trust panel for The Einstein Factor last night (Saturdee).

Tuesday, 18 March 2008


Has been too hot to computer. I have only computered to check the Bureau of Meteorology website.

Friday, 14 March 2008

My first conversation in nine hours

It went like this:

Phone: Bring bring, bring bring.

Me: Hello! It's Alexis!

Caller: Hello Mrs Harlot please don't panic this is not a marketing call and I am not trying to sell you anything my name is Blah Blah from Blah Blah Blah Marketing and I'm going to speak to you for thirty seconds are you and your partner employed full-time or part-time.

Me: Yes! Hello!

Caller: Great will you and your partner be employed for the next five years.

Me: That sounds lovely!

Caller: Do you and your partner own your own home outright or [pause while caller shifts into character] like me [pause for warm flow of fellow-feeling] are you paying off a mortgage?

Me: No.

[Exit caller.]

Phone: Purr purr, purr purr.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Oh my, but my life is exciting!

I've just won a competition. I had to explain in 50 words or less "what makes an awesome story". (Answer: "Like, totally, y'know, like, when, like, totally, stuff happens and stuff, y'know?") Anyway, I WON! (Did I mention?) And now I get a whole lot of sensational prizes that I am resolved to enjoy to the utmost, including a lanyard (yes, a lanyard! from which to hang my rosary beads!), a tote bag, a "fantastic beauty pack", and a year's supply of G--------d magazine. It's true, I am no longer thirteen years old, and when I was thirteen years old, I was more interested in the reproductive lives of nematodes than G---------d magazine, but still ... I am indecorously excited. A tote bag! What more could a 29-year-old in spectacles ask for.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Fri the end of your friend

Just got home exhausted, after a hard day of - you know - sitting, and what do I find on the telly? No Simpsons, is what. It's been replaced with some johnny-come-lately called Friends. Never heard of it.

Monday, 10 March 2008

Reply from the Pootling Society! The Pootling Society replied!

This morning an email arrived from the administrator of the Pootling Society. She is a fine and upstanding internetian from Oxford with excellent epistolary skills. Here is an extract from her email:

Having been an avid recumbent cyclist for many years, it became clear to me that just as every individual approaches life in their own way, so too are there different philosophies regarding cycling. The most notable cliques within the cycling sorority are:

1. THE GEEKY GIRLS: Those who are more interested in their machines and the gadgets that go with them, than in actually riding anywhere.

2. THE SPEED-FREAKS: Those who are solely interested in competitive time-trials in which they either try to 'beat' others or themselves.

3. THE POOTLERS: Those who enjoy nothing better than meeting up on a Sunday morning for a café breakfast and then mooching through the countryside at a leisurely pace until reaching the local pub.

Within the women's cycling groups that I've ridden in, there tend to be a mixture of people from all 3 cliques, and this creates imbalance within the group...the geeks boring the pants off everyone else by harping on and on about their latest purchase; the lycra-clad speed-freaks zooming off into the distance and losing the rest of the pack; and the pootlers (like me) rolling aimlessly through the English countryside enjoying getting completely lost, much to the frustration of the others.

So I thought I'd start a local group where one's general philosophy (both towards cycling and life) was a pre-requisite, although the site wasn't intended to be just about cycling, as there are, of course, many other pursuits and past-times which can certainly be pootled at."


I will be happy to consider your suggestion of featuring G.K. Chesterton on the site. It would be lovely if there is an image of him riding a bicycle, of course, but if not then I may be able to persuade my illustrator to create something (I'm a graphic designer by trade).

So, you know what to do, comrades. Find images of G. K. Chesterton on a bicycle. The Pootling Society needs you.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Ps and Qs

In addition to the complete overhaul of the universe, I'd like "deceit" to be spelt with a p: "deceipt".

Citoyennes and their others

It's International Women's Day, today, and I'm pondering my feminism (and navel). I'm wondering if feminism is the right word for what I call feminism. I want to eliminate from reformist and revolutionary talk all those old oppositional categories (man and woman, worker and boss, child and adult, animal and human). I want to do away with thinking that propounds the rights of women, or the rights of workers, or the rights of animals, or the rights of refugees.

I want the categories of "woman", "worker", "animal" to become politically meaningless. I want everyone who can feel pain or happiness to count as a person. I want it not to matter if you're two years old, or forty years old, or a dog, or a possum, or Greg Norman, or very ill, for everyone you encounter to treat you with empathy and respect.

I know I sound like a romantic nit (speaking of nits, someone will rightly shout out, "What about the fleas? Do they get empathy and respect too?"). I'm quite earnest, though. I have belatedly decided that empathy isn't just an important virtue in some airy sense, but is the key to lasting political change.

Coming up next: The Problem of Evil, Solved.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008


I'm currently grinding my nose on the double-spaced Times New Roman grindstone of 2008's Inaugural Batch of Essays. What with this being the Inaugural Batch and all, announcements of contenders for 2008's Most Clichéd Cliché are probably a tad premature. Let that not impede me from drawing your attention to "harsh reality" which I have read four times in the past ten hours, courtesy of four separate undergraduate authoresses. That would be four times, not counting this innovative twist on an old theme: “the harsh realisation of the horrid reality of real life”.

I am preparing a t-shirt slogan: "Reality ain't harsh, it just is." But I can't work out whether to illustrate my manifesto on behalf of an indifferent physical universe with a picture of a bunny wabbit or a volcano.

Meanwhile, as noone has punned in my vicinity for at least two days now, anyone for harshly Real Tennis?

Sunday, 2 March 2008

The Sorority

Today one of my Schwestern swam in a harbour race and won a trip to Fiji. I, meanwhile, read Rousseau in bed and ate chocolate. Someone, after all, must keep the family escutcheon bright and shiny.