Be Careful What You Wish For

Yesterday N and I went to a family lunch at his brother’s place. There were little children there. I don’t often spend time with little children any more. Life stages.

There were gorgeous little brothers, 4 years old and 15 months old. The older one a confident little man full of information about dinasours. The little one shy, all huge blue eyes and cuddles. I haven’t cuddled a little person like that for a very long time. He quietly nestled his head into my shoulder and woosh, lots of memories and emotions.

Fucking emotions.

Anyway. It was one of those days where lots of generations merged. From N’s elderly mother, to his brother and wife (about 10 years older than us), a few around our age (including N’s sister, her husband and N’s ex partner and her partner… are you keeping up). There were the young adult children and their children.

As the sweet little dude cuddled up to me (and later as the thoughts percolated down) I thought about how much I wanted to have children. So much it hurt, a lot, almost all the time. Not being able to have what most people took for granted turned it into an obsession of sorts I guess. To be honest it’s hard to remember the exact feelings, they are ghosts, faded… just a shadow now.

But now, more than twenty years later, it occured to me how different actual parenting is to what I had longed for. I so badly wanted that little head nestling my shoulder and I had years of it and it was sweet. That is such a tiny part of parenting, as I now know. I look back at who I was and I realise how pathetically naive I was.

There is not much point putting into words how I feel about parenting now. People say it’s the hardest job and that is a total understatement. The rollercoaster than never stops to let you have the much longed for upchuck. You just hold it in and hope it doesn’t ooze out of your ears.

Yesterday I had a few hours with a smograsboard of the generations and it made me reflective. The working mum with the little kids, worrying about childcare fees and finding the energy to keep all the balls in the air. The young pregnant woman, hopeful and probably scared (because of previous life experience). The grandparents, watching and worrying.

Most of all I think of the sweet little head on my shoulder and I try not to cry.

Straya Day

s-l300

I’m going to be straight up and say I haven’t always cared much about Australia Day. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ve always enjoyed the public holiday because a day not at work is a day worth celebrating. But I haven’t given much thought to what or why Australia Day was. I haven’t been particularly sympathetic or empathetic or any other -etic to the Invasion Day part of the debate. Hey, it was day off and that’s all I was interested in.

These days I have my old spark back. I’ve got my cranky pants on about a lot of things; let’s be frank… there’s a lot of things to be cranky about. Politics, the environment, climate change, politics, asshats masquerading as global leaders, gender issues, religion (and it’s dirty snout in social issues)… um, that’s probably sufficient for now.

So I’ve been thinking again about Australia Day and why we can’t just change it. Australia wasn’t in any way “discovered” on 26 January. It was already here and being managed quite well for a bloody long time. On that day things started to turn just a little bit shit for the people who’d been here before the white folk came along and “fixed it”. So it’s understandable why the indigenous people of this land don’t find it a great date to commemorate. They call it Invasion Day and I think that’s fair enough.

I heard a man on the radio this morning saying we should keep the date because it’s a date to reflect on the shit white folk have done to the people and the land we now call Australia. A date to maybe rub our noses in it, so to speak. I think that arguement has a bit of merit. Most public holidays are actually days for reflection if you think about it. ANZAC Day (war), Easter (something about baby Jesus on the cross, biting off chocolate bunny ears), New Year’s Day (massive hangovers).

But if Australia Day is meant to be a day of celebration, a day of saying “look it’s not perfect, lots of fuck ups along the way but here we all are muddling along, doing best we can” then I think we need a date everyone can get behind (OK, there’s always going to be someone who hates any particular date for their own personal reasons – but I think we can come to some sort of rough consensus).

Maybe we can pick some suitable dates and have a plebiscite (fuck knows we’ve got all the spreadsheets and envelopes ready to go on that one). Maybe we can go with the date the Swans won their first grand final, just a suggestion people. Maybe we can go with Frank Turner’s birthday… OK he’s not an Australian so I may be out on a limb here but just offering ideas.

Or maybe we can just enact my general Public Holiday Revamp Scheme whereby all general Public Holidays are scrapped and we just get the extra days as annual leave to use as we please. Day off for your birthday? No problem. Long weekend to binge your favourite Netflix show? Why not.

Because seriously I DON’T CARE ABOUT JESUS’ BIRTHDAY or JESUS’ ON THE CROSS/OFF THE CROSS/ZOMBIE DAY. I DON’T CARE ABOUT LIZZIES’ BIRTHDAY (which isn’t even her birthday FFS, what is that even about??!!).

Have I got off topic? Possibly. Anyhoo… let’s scrap 26 January, pick another day, move on. Better still scrap all the dates, chuck everyone some extra annual leave and move on.

Problem solved. You’re welcome.

Years and years…and years and years

We’ve just finished watching that brilliant documentary Years and Years. As good as that other documentary The Handmaid’s Tale. You can’t make that shit up anymore… because it’s all real. The dystopian future we feared/laughed at IS HERE… and if it’s not here in front of your eyes right now it’s just around the corner because some corporate is busily engineering it as we speak.

It’s the end of another spin around the sun and as the world’s most slack arse blogger I thought I’d cobble together a few words to sum things up as we careen into the last week of 2019. I was inspired by all the “it’s been a shit 2019 but 2020 will be THE BEST YEAR EVER” type Faceplant posts. Undoubtedly I’ve posted some such shite in previous incarnations. They make me laugh because what the fuck is “the best year ever”?

I can’t say I’ve learnt anything this year as opposed to other years. I feel like the penny has dropped to some degree in my understanding of myself. I’ve had some adventures this year that I certainly did not in any way foresee this time last year.

So here’s a list of statements to sum up where I am right now (with the express understanding that this may not be where I am in five minutes time or next week and definitely not at the end of 2020).

I believe resilience is EVERYTHING.

I believe in saying yes and scaring yourself a bit (because that’s how you learn about yourself) but also saying no if that’s what feels right then and there.

I believe noone is going to save you or make you happy or fix you.

I believe it’s really nice to have a special someone but their job is not to do any of the above.

I believe life isn’t black and white and it’s the shades of grey that make things interesting.

I believe that children are our future. (Just checking if you’re still paying attention)

I believe in music and singing along when you’re driving and hot, sweaty gigs where you know the words to the songs and that moment is everything.

I believe in words and books and plays and movies and art and us humans trying and failing and trying again to wrestle with whatever this motherfucking “human condition” is.

I believe in humanity but not in corporate greed and that humanity can and will push back but maybe it’s too late and we’re fucked which is ok.

I believe you live until you die and we should live until we die but not be afraid of death because we all know it’s the one certainty and that’s as it should be.

I believe I’m an entitled white middle class wanker with a truck load of luck and I don’t have one seriously valid thing to complain about.

I believe I better stop before this gets any sillier and even more self indulgent.

Good bye 2019, you were bloody awesome. Let’s see what you’ve got 2020.

I protest

protest_sign

I’ve been going to some protests in recent years. I guess since the big Women’s March at the start of 2017… a march to protest the abomination which is the presidency of the Trumpster monster. The feeling at that march was solidarity, hope, anger… a coming together to say WTF is happening to our world.

Since then I’ve been to marches for women’s rights, refugee rights, pro choice, keep Sydney open and the beautiful marriage equality rally in 2017. I haven’t marched this much since the anti nuclear marches back in the early 1980s.

I don’t know if marching, protesting achieves anything but I am so angered and saddened by what is happening in our world that I need to express it. The reality for me is I’m a privileged, white, middle class woman. I’m educated, I own property, I have a pretty bloody good life. But I’m watching governments in this country and overseas doing shit things to people who have already had a shit tonne of shit things done to them (the gay community, refugees, racial minorities, women needing abortions… to name a few) and I’m fucking pissed off. (I may have just exceeded the legal limit of the word “shit” in a sentence.)

For one thing my privilege is a combination of luck (mine) and hard work (my parents’). They got me out of the wreck known as the Ukraine and via a series of twists and turns we ended up in Oz and our lives have been pretty damn good since 1976 when we arrived. Every day I think about how lucky I am to have the life I have and how that luck has nothing whatsoever to do with my own intelligence, abilities, work ethic or any other personal attribute. Just dumb luck. Which means that I could just as easily not have that luck and be one of the people so demonised by politicians and society.

We are currently living through an upswing in conservative, right wing ideology. The Trumps and the ScoMos didn’t pop up out of a vacuum… they crawled out of the murky swamps created by fear and uncertainty. I could write thousands of words on that topic. Let me just say I despise politicians who feed that fear and uncertainty in the community and present themselves as having easy solutions; more so I hate them for creating scapegoats and for pointing fingers. The scapegoats are usually the people most in need of societal care and protection, the vulnerable and disadvantaged. But it’s much easier to say that the refugee is coming for your job or is a secret terrorist than to say you can’t fix the economy because we’ve all sold out to corporate greed and the myth of trickle down economics; it’s easier to hark back to an imaginary golden age of family bliss and harmony and blame the LGBTQ community for destroying “family values” than to deal with the reality of complex human and family needs.

What I’m really afraid of, in a nutshell, right now is that we are being puppet-mastered and “governed” by people like ScoMo who believe that they represent their imaginary friend in the sky above and beyond the fact that they represent living, breathing human beings who actually fucking voted for him. That is the crux of the problem with god botherers – they are more interested in the afterlife than in the real life; more interested in their imaginary friend than in the needs of the actual people around them. The fact that people who call themselves Christians (and therefore are supposedly walking in the footsteps of Jesus Christ… I’m no biblical scholar, correct me if I’m wrong) can vote for human garbage like Donald Trump, can demonise the most needy, can protest against abortion while unapologetically doing nothing for actual children when they are no longer sacred fetuses…. well, the hypocrisy of these people is astounding, diabolical even. They are the polar opposite of what they represent themselves to be.

I’ve really wondered off track here. I guess I’m trying to explain why I’m pissed off and why I’ve been going to quite a few marches lately. I guess I need to stand with like minded people and say “I’m mad as hell and I fucking don’t want to take this shit anymore”. I’m using my privilege to march for those who can’t; I guess that’s the bottom line.

On Saturday I’m taking Miss M to the pro choice rally in Sydney, a rally in support of the legislation currently before the state parliament to decriminalise abortion in NSW. We are the last state in this country to still criminalise abortion. Can you believe that shit? It’s been horrifying to watch the god bothering nutters writhe and scream and lie about what it will mean when abortion is decriminalised. You know what it’ll mean? NOTHING. Abortions will continue like they have since women first figured out how to get rid of unwanted pregnancies, through poison, or coat hangers, or back yard abortionists… but they will continue safely and without the bullshit and the morality and the slut shaming and the women shaming and the god invoking nonsense. Women will be able to have abortions without the fear of a criminal prosecution and doctors will be able to perform abortions without fear of same. A no brainer for a civilized, just, compassionate society.

Hail Satan! A review

N and I saw Hail Satan! on Friday night, a documentary about the Satanic Temple. Without knowing much about it I’ve been looking forward to seeing it for some time.

While it covered the brief history of this organization and its founders it was, for the most part, focused on the ST’s fight against the imposition of Christianity in public spaces in the US and the meaning of that imposition.

It is the creeping notion of Merica as a Christian nation that they are standing up against. The symbols of a certain type of fundamentalist Christianity which are seeping (and have been for some time) into every form of public life. Prayers in politics and schools, crosses and other symbols in public spaces.

You see Christian theocracy just creeping into our government, and it is our duty to stand up to this.

This film particularly focuses on the Satanic Temple’s stance against the large monument installed in the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol.  In protest the ST proposed to erect a statue of Bephomet. Their smart, tenacious fight filled me with hope and love.

There are so many scenes in this doco which highlight the differences between the “good” and “godly” Christians and these “evil” Satan worshipers (they’re not). The Satanic Temple people are intelligently and compassionately standing up to idea that America is a Christian nation and fighting for rights of all; for equality and a voice for all people. They are doing so by taking the piss out of the hypocrisy and ridiculousness of the conservatives. It’s shooting fish in a barrel really.

But they are not just taking the piss; they are doing good work. Each chapter, apart from fighting against religious intolerance and control, are doing acts of civil charity.

As an atheist I found this quote from director Penny Lane sums up really well why these people, all of whom are atheists and not devil worshipers, align themselves with this group:

LANE: It’s not just that atheism is boring. It’s that atheism in and of itself is not a kind of affirmative set of organized values. It’s more saying what you’re not than what you are. And as a lifelong atheist myself, I can attest to the fact that atheism doesn’t give you a community. It doesn’t give you a mythology, a sort of organizing set of principles or ethics. And it doesn’t give you a kind of way to organize yourself in relationship to others and make change in the world.

In summary it seems they are fighting fear, prejudice, restriction, superstition and nonsense with their 7 fundamental tenants (see above): compassion, reason, freedom, justice, the right to control one’s own body.

I came out of Hail Satan! filled with joy and optimism. These are my people. The misfits, the oddbods, the brave ones. The ones who want to fight back and will do so intelligently, with humour and heart. If Hail Satan is the opposite of Amen, then Hail Fucking Satan!

Cranky Feminist Pants

On Friday I took the day off work to attend a school dance performance Miss M was in because I was too vague/stupid to remember to book tickets in time to go to one of the two evening shows. Sigh. Bang head on wall.

I’ve attended approximately 3,427,189 dance performances since Miss M started dancing when she was three. I have included the handful of singing eisteddfods she has also performed at in that modest number.

It’s fair to say I have a love/hate relationship with these forms of *cough* entertainment. I’m still mentally scarred from the first eisteddfod where one of the other participants brought a full single canopy bed with associated accoutrement onto the stage for the child’s prop. I love the kids, I hate the competitive parents and the storm of bullshit they create.

Anyhoo… Friday morning I found myself back in beautiful downtown Frenchs Forest for the third time in a week. It’s not my part of the world but I did manage to wrangle two catch ups with friends who live roughly in that geographic area so it wasn’t totally wasted time.

This particular dance extravaganza is the Sydney North Dance Festival, an event designed to showcase the dance abilities of school aged children from the Northern Sydney area (I believe the clue is in the title). Maybe because I’m on the tail end of this parenting malarkey or maybe because I’m a crabby old cow but to me it just seems a good way to fleece a lot of parents and grandparents of $30. Because frankly you sit through an hour and a half of the little darlings dancing to watch your own little darling dance for no longer than three minutes. Oi vey.

Despite the previous five paragraphs this blog does not exist to purely complain about this entertainment spectacular but to allow me a little rant about one of the numbers. My alternative titles for this post were: “Are you forking kidding me: Is it 1972?” or perhaps “Andrea Dworkin is rolling over in her grave”.

Let me draw you a picture: The dance routine starts of promisingly enough. The song is Twisted Sister’s We’re Not Going To Take It. Not in my top one million songs but compared to the rest of the drivel it gets a thumbs up from me. The group is little kids, I’d say years 1 or 2 at primary, lots of girls and five boys. I notice two kiddie electric guitars placed strategically at the front of the stage. Using my Sherlock Holmes level deduction skills I assume they’ll be part of the dazzling finale for this rocking little piece.

Then it hits me and I KNOW exactly how this will end and I want to scream NOOOOO. Somebody, not me because that would be a public hazard, burnt their bras for this. Don’t do it…. please… think of Germaine Greer. But they did it anyway. Yes two of the boys picked up the guitars and did their little rock moves at the sides of the stage. But that wasn’t enough to end the routine; the five boys lined up, in a boy band fashion, and did a little pantomime of a boy band performance… while the girls simply did a pantomime of being cheering fans.

What’s wrong with this picture? Jezuuus forking Christ it’s 2019. Debbie Harry, Chrissie Hynde, Gwen Stefani, insert another five bazillion kick ass female rock stars here… Why are we still representing rock/music as a male thing and females as the passive consumers/fans/groupies? I wanted to weep but I also wanted to smash things. This dance was choreographed by a (I’m guessing, young) female primary school teacher who obviously seems to have slept through the entire little blip in history I like to call feminism. WTAF??!!

I was seething. To cheer myself up I left the theatre wondering who came up with the Lyrical style of dance which seems to be the dance choice du jour. If you don’t know it just imagine girls (with the occasional boy) twirling in a meaningful manner to songs by Adele. I tend to think of it as depression in dance form.

There really should be a bar, a free open bar, at these events.

Falling Slowly

A fellow blogger and Frank Turner fan (hi VB) messaged me to bluntly ask “will you be posting again soon?”. Good question VB. I’ve been a shitty blogger for a very long time. Ideas float past and I briefly consider writing something and then they vanish over the horizon. VB’s prompt made me think that I should write something, but what…

So last night I saw one of my favourite musicals Once for the third time and the signature song came to mind as I started to write this.

It’s been an interesting six months in my dating life this year – since I broke my own “never dating again” (who was I kidding??!!) rule. Of course the year started with the unexpected gift and then heartache of meeting A. We remain friends and he has moved in with his gorgeous new girl and I’m so very happy for him – it was worth the hard decisions we had to make. (I’m so fucking mature I hate myself.)

Since then there were the two Js. The first seemed perfect. Political, musical, lived a life.  Gave mindblowing conversation. First date was a big fat intellectual WOW! Big potential. After a bit of promising texting he disappears into a cloud of middle aged existential angst and I decide I can’t possibly do this shit ever again. We saw each other a few more times and he’s a great bloke but I put on my mature hat again and let it go (let it go… sing it with me now…).

Added to the friendzone.

Then comes along the second J. From the start some odd serendipitous snap moments (You have adopted kids? I have adopted kids!). I can’t say too much about this J because if I told you I’d have to kill you. Let’s just say he opened some doors onto some rooms. My guide into a world I’d wanted to explore but didn’t know how to get in. We had some motherforking adventures. Bucket list moments. But he’s as ready to have a relationship as I’m ready to marry Donald Trump so off I go to dig out my forking mature hat AGAIN. FFS.

Friendzone getting bloody crowded folks.

Sometimes, when you least expect it, something wonderful happens. First date with N was nice. We ordered the least first date friendly food you can imagine (chicken wings and nachos) and giggled at ourselves making a mess. I tend to feed off the energy of others so the two extroverted Js probably made me seem more outgoing than I actually am. N’s quiet energy made me quiet. But right away I liked his sweet smile and gentle confidence.

Over the past couple of months we’ve grown into each other, spending more and more time together. It’s been so easy. No bullshit. Just doing things together because we enjoy each other’s company and enjoy similar things. OK… he’s into electronic music which has never been my thing. Not enough guitar solos I keep telling him. But he’s in a band which plays children’s electronic instruments and one of these “instruments” is a Donald Rumsfeld doll…. how can I possibly resist that level of crazy?!

original

He’s smart, funny, sexy, musical – seriously musical, knows who Nick Cave is (sorry, in joke), patient, thoughtful, makes the best bloody gravy I’ve ever had… am I gushing, I’m gushing. It’s all a bit glorious really.

So I find myself six months into my never-dating-again-year … falling slowly.

Funeral Playlist

So my sister has been WhatsApp-ing me from NYC this morning, convinced she is about to die of botulism. She’s not. I asked her to send me her funeral playlist just in case. Which led me to think about my funeral playlist. I posted a list in 2008 on the original DKG blog and thought I’d revisit and revise. Here’s the 2019 DKG Funeral Playlist.

1) The Guests – if Antony’s version is ever recorded then I want that played first, if not Leonard Cohen’s version will do nicely.

2) Dream a little dream – The Mamas and The Papas (no other version – EVER).

3) Bird on a wire – Perla Batalla’s version from the I’m Your Man CD. (“Like a bird on the wire, Like a drunk in a midnight choir, I have tried in my way to be free.”)

4) Soul to squeeze – Red Hot Chili Peppers off the Coneheads soundtrack. Well, obviously a RHCP song must be played at my funeral. I couldn’t rest in peace otherwise. This song is in some ways the essence of RHCP. It’s perfection.

5) Satisfied Mind – Jeff Buckley from Sketches (For My Sweetheart The Drunk).

6) Enjoy Yourself – The Specials. I cried when they played this at the Enmore in 2009 (how the fuck was it TEN years ago??!!). “Enjoy yourself… it’s later than you think.”

7) If Ever I Stray – Frank Turner. This could be changed/deleted in future but right now it stays. Also it’s my funeral so I can have two FT songs if I want to.

8) Photosynthesis – Frank Turner. Because I’ve never wanted to grow up and I hope I never will. (That’s what I like to tell myself…. is being immature the same as not growing up?)

9) Born With A Tail – Supersuckers. Because FUCK IT!

Captain Marvel Rocks

OH! Spoilers. Blah blah! If you haven’t seen Captain Marvel and want to see it without knowing stuff about it don’t read any more and come back later. Otherwise I guess the headline makes it obvious how I feel about it. Anyway read further at your own risk.

It’s a well covered fact that I think DC should be banned from making movies. Their superhero movies are utter shite. Considerably less entertaining and fulfilling than I imagine a Barnaby Joyce sex tape would be.

If I ever needed any more proof, and I didn’t, I now have Captain Marvel to hold up to Wonder Woman. Everyone knows how much I love WW and how much I was looking forward to the new movie last year… and how bitterly disappointed I was with the end result.

Well I won’t be turning my WW tattoo into a Captain Marvel tattoo any time soon but the movies are like chalk and cheese and CM is a the cheese; a delightful creamy luscious double brie.

I saw it on Saturday afternoon and I was fully expecting to snooze through it because I’d had little proper sleep the night before and I was tired and out of sorts. But I didn’t. I watched every second, alert and certainly alarmed because it was FUCKING AWESOME.

Captain Marvel is everything I wanted Wonder Woman to be. Fun, entertaining and best of all NO FUCKING LOVE INTEREST. Some of you may snigger about me complaining about love interests but they’re not always necessary and unless they’re a good, important part of the story (I give you Deadpool) they are totally unnecessary in a superhero movie because for fuck’s sake, if you’re busy saving the world surely flirting would be low on your list of priorities.

So the no love interest thing is a biggie for me. It’s completely not an issue throughout the entire movie, not a wink, not a single moment of flirtation of any sort. Can you believe it?

I tend to complain about movies over 90 minutes these days because I find too many movies are way too long for no good reason but CM clocks in at 125 minutes and not a minute is wasted and it certainly doesn’t feel too long.

It’s set in the mid 90s so of course the music is kickass. The 90s references are funny for us oldies and baffling for the young uns. The characters are great and there are lots of laughs and the right amount of action. In short it is bloody entertaining. For my money it’s worth the price of admission for the Stan Lee/Kevin Smith cross reference. Everything else is just a bonus really.

So all the thumbs up for this one. Bring on Endgame. Like Big Kev, I’m EXCITED!

Also: Goose the Flerken. Genius!

I can’t find a Frank Turner song for this situation

I met someone.

I actually met him four years ago. I remember that day so clearly. Our eyes met and a bell rang inside me and I didn’t know what it was but I heard it.

Over the next four years I’d see him at the various places where his brisket was legendary and our eyes would meet and the bell would ring…and my life would continue with the memory of his smile and the twinkle of his eyes.

So to find us both single in January, and that he had also noticed our spark from that first meeting, was a little bit rom-com magical.

I felt like I had manifested a list of my perfect man. All the boxes neatly ticked. I could even forgive the RHCP aversion and vice versa. So much happiness.

Except he lives a 90 minute drive away. We both thought it could be managed but the reality is it can’t. Not in the long term. It’ll just get much worse as feelings grow bigger and the distance doesn’t grow smaller.

Walking away is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. It’s been a two month bubble of joy and it’s been popped by the harsh needle of reality and it fucking hurts.

Motherforker it really hurts.

Life is a clusterfuck isn’t it? And Frank Turner hasn’t written a song for just this particular set of circumstances which is most shortsighted of him.

This song is going round and round in my head, though I can cry and have a lot. The association with the Supersuckers is obvious but fuck this song rips my heart out.

https://youtu.be/yeXmjVNfCaw