Saturday, 31 May 2008

Persons of great skill and few watches

Glazier: said he'd arrive between 8:00 and 11:00; arrived at 11:45.

Joiner: said he'd arrive at 8:30; arrived at 9:05.

Floorboard merchant: said she'd arrive on Wednesday at 9:30; phoned at 9:35 on Wednesday to reschedule to Friday. Said she'd arrive on Friday at 10; arrived at 11:15; said she'd bring back the invoice at 3:00; brought it back at 7:10.

Moral: always bring something to read, e.g., the complete works of Charles Dickens.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Seeking Old Stick

Latest advice from my Aged Ps on the tirelessly interesting subject of home renovation: "Keep an eye out for a bit of wood to stir the paint with". If anyone has a nice stirring stick to spare, I'd be v. grateful if you could pop it in the post with my name on it. Why there isn't a stick rental outlet on every street corner I've no idea. We live in a fallen world. With too few sticks.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Pig Ma Lion

I'm supposed to be writing a review of My Fair Lady, as envisioned by Opera Australia and spectatified by me last Tuesday night; My Fair Lady, the one about Hispanic precipitation patterns, lots o' glottal-stopping choklit, and the misogynist linguist with the unexamined belief that lah-dee-dah English is objectively more euphonious than Cockney. I was supposed to write this review on Wednesday, then Thursday, then Friday, but things kept coming up. Emails to answer, seminar papers on androcentric food-guilt in modern Indian literature to audit, tradespersons of great skill and few words to usher through one's baronetcy and instruct in the wicked ways of the rotten window sashes. But tonight, so committed am I to writing this review, I have capitulated to early-onset Winter and lugged down the electric heater even though it's still only the 24th May and I made a public pledge somewhere to leave the heater on top of my wardrobe til the 1st June, I've resigned myself to not watching the Eurovision Song Contest, and I'm - as you can see - all - ready - to - write - my - review. Now here's a thought: is "Lots of chocolate for me to eat/ Lots of coal making lots of heat" the Eliza Doolittle redaction of £500 and a Room of One's Own?

While you're pondering the marriage of Virginia Woolf to Lerner and Loewe, two more questions for your nimble minds:

1. Is the word "parrot" related to the word "parody"?

2. Fancy a dining setting? Genuine leather-look olive-green vinyl upholstery!

Note: I am not procrastinating. Not I.

Friday, 23 May 2008

Menstruation Awareness

This is my art installation out the back of Hôtel Harlot on the communal clothes line. It's, like, an exploration of the tendentious connections between female biology and domestic labour (e.g. doing the laundry).

Where is my Arts Council grant, I ask you.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Happy Birthday to Me! I'm a Hundred-and-Three!

Here I am, up with the larks to celebrate the demise of my twenties with a bowl of muesli and a quick pootle through my email, and what do I find? My email has been disabled by an "internal server error". Surely this is not a metaphor for my encroaching old age? Whatever it is, it is bally annoying, for I am certain that my inbox is heavy laden with e-pistles from friends, relatives, publishers, and dethroned Nigerian princes offering to syphon three billion dollars through my bank account.

Anyway, on this solemn occasion of embarking upon my fourth decade, I'd like to thank my Ma and Pa, without whom none of this would have been possible, God, for creating beagles, beagles, for being beagles, Lindt, who sustained me through many a dark hour, and my twenties, which, apart from occasional internal server errors and the fact that all but seven months of 'em were eked out under the Howard government, were as foxtrottingly fine as twenties should be.

Monday, 19 May 2008

There be cockroaches.

Yes, in New South Wales, whence I have just returnéd, thanks to Jetstar and the airport scuttle-bus.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

The Landrification of the Gentry, News

I've just had a call from the solicitrix to inform me that I am now officially settled. "Settlement" is a solicitrixial term used to describe the sudden egress of monies from one's bank account into the bank account of the person from whom one is buying one's second-storey one-bedroom baronetcy; it does not describe the state of one's tum as one contemplates the heft of golden ducats one now owes to one's usurer at 8.75% per banannum.

Have had no luck coming up with names for my new joint. "Harlot's Rest" just doesn't have the right ring to it.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Authentic Genuine Conversation Really Overheard at Tram Stop This Morning

Old Codger [to young Bloke]: Are you a vegetarian?

Young Bloke: Yeah, I am actually.

Old Codger: It's great for your love life.

[Young Bloke is silent.]

Old Codger: Helped me get off the mushrooms.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Warning: contains nudity

In the next 14 hours (i.e., by bedtime), I have to write one (1) conference paper, one (1) lecture on why cultural theory is eating its own foot, prepare one (1) three-hour (3-hour) seminar on Janet Frame's autobiographies, mark one (1) batch of honours student essays, reply to seventeen (17) emails, procure four (4) essential grocery items, prepare myself spiritually for the settlement on one (1) apartment (Tuesday!) and suitcasily for (1) trip to Newcastle, aka Conferenceville. I also need to wash my sheets, in which I have been living for the past few weeks so as to avoid having to get out the heater and break my No Heater Until June rule. And not to go on about the demands on my time, but there's also a sweet potato on my window sill all set to turn into a triffid if I don't eat it today. Today, I tell you. A triffid.

So, in lieu of writing something proper, here's a SHOCK NUDE CELEBRITY PIC WITH MYSTERY HANDS.

Rumours that Wilbur is, in fact, pregnant await confirmation.

Monday, 5 May 2008

Overheard in the stair-well

"So, you're, like, a check-out chick?"

"Actually, we prefer the term 'cashier'."

Sunday, 4 May 2008

The Yartz

This is a photograph of the painting I accidentally bought yesterday with all the money from my wallpaper budget. Anyone for bagpipe lessons? $35 an hour?

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Mon Français est non bon, or The Unlearned Harlot.

"Jeux de pos": Belgian ballsport, rhetorical device, francosimilitudinous* babble?

Having left the young scholars' essays to ferment for a week in the corner of my office, I took to them last weekend with pitchfork and trowel. Then I decided to use my HB pencil, which had the pleasant consequence of enabling me to procrastinate long and often in the sharpening of my HB pencil, the disposal of my HB pencil-shavings, a trip to the newsagent to replenish my HB pencil store when the original HB pencil was bewhittled down to its stumpy ankles, &c.

I generally learn things while marking the young scholars' essays. They are no fools, the young scholars, though some of them haven't been sufficiently exposed to the righteous wrath of an apostrophe pedant. With my last dose of marking I learnt the phrase "jeux de pos". I learnt it, insofar as I became aware that such a permutation of letters is possible; I did not, however, learn what it means.

I've never been afraid to season my sentences with Frenchismes. Indeed Frenchismes I have scattered with such a liberal hand I am as though a garçon in a restaurant wielding a giant pepper shaker and the Frenchismes are the pepper and the sentences are the vegetables délicieux and I want to impress the eaters of the sentences with my incredible (incredeebleugh) skills in the shaking of pepper. This, despite the fact that I do not actually speak French. Français, je ne parle pas. Nor do I read French. Français, je ne read pas. As this is not an inadequacy to which I generally choose to confess in my annotations upon a young scholar's essay, confronted with the phrase "jeux de pos", I of course scurry to mine internet and google furiously.

No cigar.

So I scurry to my French-English-English-French dictionary, the title page of which is reproduced below in recumbent form, and again, the cigars are scarce. "Jeux" means "games", and "de", as I awready knew, means "of", but "pos" my wee dictionary is either too wee to define, or le mot "pos" n'est pas existe.

And so I remain unlearned in the ways of "jeux de pos". Anyone so placed as to offer enlightenment, please do. Please do before Tuesday when I return the essays, with annotations, one of which, in the event of your not enlightening me, will be: "I do not know what this means. What does this mean? Why don't you write in my native language? I know I usually do."

You'll be pleased to read that from this altogether terrible situation, your correspondent, assaulted by the slings and arrows of her own outrageous incomprehension, has salvaged some good: viz., she has discovered the excellent compendium of "Useful Phrases for Travellers" lodged in the appendix to her French-English-English-French Dictionary. These are phrases that no Australian in Paris can do without, like "Waiter, bring me some cold fowl" (Garçon, apportez-moi de la volaille froide), "I do not like a feather-bed, I prefer a horse-hair mattress" (Je n'aime pas les lits de plume, je préfère un matelas de crin), and "Trim my beard too; I like it pointed" (Taillez-moi la barbe aussi; je la préfère en pointe). Indeed, why wait for Paris? The Paris End of Thornbury'll do me.

* I made this word up. I will not be using it again in the near future.


It's only two hours until the tippy-final episode of Doc Martin, which means it's only three hours until the teat that has been nursing my misanthrope-in-Cornwall fantasy will be ripped untimely from my mouth. And then what? What will enliven my dreams of migrating to Cornwall and bullying the natives with sage medicinal advice then, eh?

Thursday, 1 May 2008


If one cannot be learned, one can at least wear the accoutrements of the learned. More on my not-being-learned coming up next.

[Blue stockings by Target up the road; clogs by impulse purchase in Petersham four years ago; briny blue nylon carpet must not be ironed, according to my tenancy agreement.]