Wish List

I loved Girls. Sure it gave me the shits at times and Hannah was a pain in the ass but Lena Dunham got it right much more than she got it wrong in her writing and characterization, for my money.

I came across this quote from the show in my FB memories feed the other day and it prompted me to write this post, based on thoughts percolating in my brain for a while now.

What do I want in a man? I certainly think I know what I don’t want. In the past my attempts at getting what I want have earned me the “control freak” tag but I think in hindsight I tend to step in to try and control situations when no one else will or where I feel a void.

Like with most things in life there is a balancing act in relationships: one person’s needs are balanced against the other’s. I understand that no relationship is perfect and no two people are perfectly compatible at all times and in all situations. But having been in a few relationships with incompatible people I still believe that something close to the ideal is possible.

So the below is really a wishlist based on best case scenario. The apex of what my ideal partner would be. (Many years of research have gone into this list.)

1) Be a fully formed human with thoughts, ideas, interests, friends of their own. I’m happy to share mine and get to know yours but I won’t be filling your voids.

2) Be interested in the world. Bring something to the table. Even if we don’t agree, have a damn opinion.

3) Be interested in your own life and what goes on around you. I need a man that’s alert but not alarmed. Hobbies, interests, passions… I need to see some joie de fucking vivre.

4) The thought of living with a man right now makes me twitchy but should such a miracle occur I need a man with a rocket up his ass (not sexually, though I’m willing to negotiate). I’m talking about a man who is actively involved in his household. Shock! Horror! Nothing for dinner? Make something. Bathroom needs cleaning? Clean it. I’m capable. I’m hardworking. But I’m not a damn maid. Nothing kills the romance faster than coming home to Darrin Stephens (if you don’t know the ref look it up). I don’t want to get your fucking pipe and slippers and heat up your meatloaf dinner.

5) Look alive. It’s soul destroying being with someone who makes no effort to talk or be involved when entertaining or out with friends. We don’t have to madly love each other’s friends but FFS make an effort, show some vital signs.

I was going to write ten neat points but it seams there is a theme here. I want someone alive and kicking. I truly feel I’ve spent a lot of my life pushing grown up men through life and I never want to do that again. It may be mercenary but I want something resembling an equal: financially, intellectually, socially.

I want someone to cook and eat with; watch and listen to stuff with and then have a robust discussion about the stuff; someone to rely on; someone who’ll bring me a coffee in bed. I want banter and laughs and sex and being in the trenches together. I don’t think I’ve ever had a true partnership but I’ve come close, I’ve had it for brief moments, and those moments were sweet.

[Extra brownie points for loving – or at least knowing of – Frank Turner – and thinking Deadpool is bloody awesome. Liking tattoos, doughnuts and cocktails in rooftop bars would be handy also.]

You Don’t Know Me (at all)

The kids and I spent New Year’s Eve at home. Just hanging out. I was looking forward to the ABC’s NYE concert from the Opera House forecourt because there was the promise of Tim Minchin, a very favourite human.

We sat through some fairly decent entertainment (though Kimbra frightened us somewhat) and then Tim came on which made me happy and made the kids roll their eyes because they seriously can’t understand the obsession attraction.

Better still Tim was soon joined by another fave, Ben Folds, who performed one of my dearly loved songs (see above), sadly without the brilliant Regina Spektor.

This song is a bloody beauty. Some relationship truths in a catchy, sing-a-long (I like to shout-a-long) ditty. Which got me thinking…

Since I’ve been on hols these past two weeks my mind has occasionally wondered to the cesspool I like to call dating. I can’t explain it. I’m happy, I’m content, I’m busy. There’s nothing missing from my life but still, during a quiet moment, the annoying little bastard in my head starts to whisper…what if, maybe you should, blah blah.

When that shitty voices pipes up and I start to think about the process of dating I shudder. The idea of scrolling through the profiles: the inevitable photos where the ex (or quite possibly current) wife/girlfriend has quite obviously been chopped out of the photo but is still partially visible; the giant fish photo; the wanky car photo; the photos where the care factor is zero in terms of attitude and presentation. Then there’s the 50+ year old men with 25-35 as their target age group. The 50+ year old men who either have very young children or are still keen to have children. Sigh.

Quite obviously I’m not ready to do this shit again but even the idea of going through the process and then trying to get to know anyone again fills me with COLD HARD DREAD.

To be honest I’m filled with doubt at my own ability to truly know someone. I’ve failed at that throughout my entire adult life. How do I allow myself to try again when it’s self evident that it’s close to impossible to really know anyone?

This song is so on the money. Do we really just project what we want onto our partners and then are shocked/disappointed when that’s not who they are? I suspect it’s at least partially true.

I wanna ask you
Do you ever sit and wonder,
It’s so strange
That we could be together for
So long, and never know, never care
What goes on in the other one’s head?

Things I’ve felt but I’ve never said
You said things that I never said
So I’ll say something that I should have said long ago:

You don’t know me at all

Resolutions

Remember when we did resolutions? I remember being a teen and taking them quite seriously. How funny that seems now.

I’m definitely a planner but that’s very different to having resolutions. A list of things to achieve. At this point in my life I’m happy getting through each week, month, year…living reasonably happily and steadily is my only true desire but I wouldn’t consider that a resolution.

Life has a way of whipping out the rug from under your feet when you feel you have things under control or maybe even getting somewhere. That’s a level of cynicism developed over many years of life whipping out the rug from your under your feet.

So I’m just going to keep on chugging along. Doing the best I can at this single parenting malarkey. Working, paying the bills. keeping the house clean enough so as not to attract the condemnation of the WHO. Spending time with my family and friends who are the scaffolding to my crumbling facade. Listening to music and going to gigs because that shit fills up my empty soulless interior area. Reading and watching stuff on the big and the small screen because, well, see above. More volunteering when I can because sweet baby cheesus us middle class white peeps need to put some effort in FFS (also see above).

Without wishing to cause nausea in any readers I do feel I’ve learnt some hard lessons about myself this year and I plan to keep those lessons front and centre as I go into 2019. I haven’t learnt the meaning of life and I haven’t made any saccharine revelations about the beauty of life but I have realized no one is going to save me from me or from the emptiness or loneliness. There’s just me. I can save myself. I always have and I always will.

If you read this drivel I wish you all the good things for the upcoming spin around the sun. Live. Love. Laugh. Take the piss. Whatever rocks your boat.

Here’s my buddy Frank with his buddy Jon to take us out.

https://youtu.be/5Hr936UGTy4

Reflecting

I’ve been waiting for some sort of blog inspiration to strike this week so that I could write something profound but nothing… So just more drivel and bollocks.

I don’t know what to say about this year except it’s been weird and it’s been wonderful. The only negative this year has been hurting someone who didn’t deserve to be hurt but sadly sometimes a drowning person needs to take drastic action to save themselves.

I really feel saved. I saved myself. It’s taken five and a half years (since the wasband left) for me to stop trashing about, for me to stop self sabotaging myself under the guise of “I’m happier as part of a couple”. You don’t know what you don’t know; or more apt, you can’t see what you refuse to see.

I’ve spent a lifetime making excuses for my poor choices when it comes to men. At fifty I’ve finally, FINALLY, realized my worth and my days of pandering to pathetic man children are behind me. Maybe there’s a decent man out there in possession of the characteristics I truly need in an equal partner and maybe there isn’t. But the realization that this mythical creature is not a requirement for my happiness and well being is completely freeing.

There is quite obviously some deficiency in me, some dull psychological knot in my psyche that has prevented me from seeing, understanding, accepting this truth but I’ve seen now, I’ve accepted.

The things that truly matter, so cliche but true, are family and friends. The bedrock of my life. Barf bags located in seat pockets.

There have been a truckload of fabulous moments this year and none of them feature a male of the romantic interest variety. All of them feature my bestest, strongest women friends. Chance or coincidence?

When you step out of a jail of your own making the freedom is intoxicating. Onwards.

Ghosts

The Joker was at the Frank Turner concert on Friday night. I knew he would be. Frank was his gift to me, he loved him before I knew him, so I would have been surprised if he hadn’t gone.

Over the past few weeks the idea that I’d see him there would float across my mind and I’d vaguely consider what I’d do should we come face to face. I had no idea.

On the day of the concert I was busy and excited so it came as a total shock to see him coming in my direction as we were walking from the car park to the venue. Luckily, in terms of avoiding utter awkwardness, we were on the escalator going up and he was walking just below us. Our eyes met and we both said “hi” before anything had actually registered.

Then I didn’t see him until FT was about to come on and I turned to my left and there he was, maybe 3 meters away. He was with the new gf and a friend…thus ensuring no conversation.

Afterwards I tried to analyze and discuss what, if anything, I felt. It’s been over eighteen months since we’d seen each other.

All I could come up with was that I felt ghosts of feelings. I can’t say I felt nothing but I can’t say I felt any true, fully formed feelings. Seeing him brought back memories, some sort of shadow of yearning, nostalgia, something. We had something that I don’t think I’ve had with anyone else and just the idea of him triggers stuff I can’t truly articulate. But there’s no pain or angst or sadness or anger or love left. But there are ghosts of all those things.

I gave him the box titled My Happiness and he didn’t treat it well and I have no one to blame but myself. I’m the only one to be entrusted with that box and if nothing else I’ve certainly learnt that valuable lesson. Two broken middle aged people can’t fix each other or be entrusted with the other’s happiness. So simple.

It was good to see The Joker looking fit and healthy and, I’m going to assume, happy. It was good that I could be near him and not totally fall down the rabbit hole of old emotions. It was reassuring to look that ghost in the eyes and keep walking.

I touched Frank Turner

That sounds much creepier than it should. No need for a himtoo hashtag. He crowd surfed over my head, so what’s a girl to do but help him along with a hand up to his sweaty chest.

It’s been a weekend. Flew to Melbs to do the middle-aged-but-fucked-if-we’re-going-to-let-that-slow-us-down rock chick thing with my partner in crime Sandy.

Started with take three of the Strange Tenants blowing the roof off The Curtin Hotel. I should stop saying wow, but WOW! Just like the old days, hot, sweaty, loud…all the good things.

Stomping the night away with old friends and new. The band was as hot as ever. Better. Age shall not weary them… The cherry on that super delicious cake was the next generation, the kids of the band members joining them onstage.

John’s son Dan plays guitar with the band anyway but his gorgeous twins hopped out to joyously knock out Mr & Mrs. Then they returned for the Moonstop finale together with the beaming prodigal son Alex Hearn. I’ve never seen a happier young man, banging out the percussion next to his proud old man. You should be SO proud Bruce.

An honour and a privilege doesn’t begin to describe how I felt at the end of the night. The history, the passion that these musicians have collectively shared with me for 35 odd years is a gift I hold very close to my heart.

But wait there’s more. Saturday brought the promise of the long awaited Frank Turner concert. It’s been three and a half years since the last time I saw him in Newcastle and Sydney and I was of course excited to see him again but also keen to reclaim him just for me.

We got there early to get front and middle. I was a bit apprehensive about being in the mosh pit but buggered if I’d let the fear of getting squished by a bunch of millennials stop me.

We all know support acts are chosen to make the main act look good but that’s not how Frank works. The divine Emily Barker kicked things off beautifully. THAT VOICE! Then The Hardaches made a lot of very Smith Street Band type noise for a two piece.

Great warm up. Now for the main event.

Frank, who later admitted to a throat infection, came out kicking. Simple: get onboard the express train or get run over.

It was relentless energy, words, music and love. THE FUCKING LOVE in that room! You could feel it. Every word to every song sung by the Melbourne Gospel Choir as he dubbed us.

Then we got our surprise, the legend Billy Bragg, joining Frank and the band for a song. The admiration both men have for each other in plain sight.

Just when you think things might wind down Frank really incited the circle pit and the last few songs were an orgy of pushing bodies and crowd surfers, including Frank, who passed over my head and I just had to help him along. What ridiculous, hedonistic joy!

The end of the show, but not the end of the night. As he said, he’d made a terrible mistake by agreeing to DJ at the infamous Cherry Bar nearby…and that’s where we headed.

Sometimes you get an unexpected happy surprise and we did when we arrived. A band amusingly called Drunk Mum’s were on stage and they fucking blew me away. If the Ramones, Nirvana and Motörhead had a baby after a very drunken one night stand this would be the result. Awesome!

Then the man was in the DJ booth and what fun. No obscure punk stuff only two old fans of Million Dead would be familiar with. No sir-ee.

Just a super fun, singalong set of everyone from Queen to The Jam to Cyndi Lauper. He’s in his daggy, music nerd element and I know if this writing brilliant songs, touring the world shit doesn’t pan out he’d make a brilliant wedding DJ.

Back at Sandy’s, in bed at 2:30 am, I can’t sleep. Buzzing with adrenalin and the feeling of every nerve ending being alive and awake.

Friday night we get to do it again Sydney. “We could get better. Because we’re not dead yet.”

Words, don’t come easy

I’m going to see my one true love Frank Turner on Sunday night. Those who know me know my absolute obsession (I’m truly sorry, not sorry) with this “skinny half-arsed English country singer“…he is skinny but he’s not really a country singer. Ex Million Dead singer, punk/folk/rock/acoustic…bloody genius.

I’m obsessed with him because of words. I’m all about the words when it comes to music (movies, friends, relationships, Dan Savage “use your words”). He is a wordsmith…and I love me a wordsmith.

Like it was yesterday, though it was five years ago, I remember the night FT was gifted to me. I’m pretty sure it was my first visit to The Joker’s little house in Blacktown. He’d made me dinner (A MAN HAD MADE ME DINNER!!) and we were sitting on his sofa when he asked me if I’d heard of this guy. Nope, I said.

He proceeded to play me Substitute and it was a moment, a big moment. I looked into his sparkly but sad blue eyes and thought “how the absolute fuck do I not fall in love with this man”. Because if this was the song he wanted to share with me first up there was deep shit behind the facade. Quickly realising his error he played Photosynthesis, probably to lighten the mood, but it only made things worse. I was in deep baby. And Frank Turner was to blame.

Anyway this isn’t the story of my doomed love affair with The Joker, it isn’t even a story about my ever deepening love affair with the newly engaged Mr Turner.

This is a little story about words. How I love them; how they have all the power. To make us laugh, cry, despair and hope. To give us strength and to shatter us beyond redemption.

I’m not much into instrumentals and I don’t have any time for orchestral music. I understand intellectually that some music might be good but if there are no words or if the words don’t resonate in my mind and heart than it means nothing to me (oh, Vienna)…sorry…

It doesn’t always have to be deep and meaningful. The Ramones’ Hey Ho Let’s Go is a clarion call without being Shakespearean.

I love clever word play, I love humour in songs, the darker the better. Love me a musical comedy genius…. Tim Minchin, Weird Al, the Tenacious D boys, Flight of the Conchords…is there anything better? Rhetorical question.

Then of course there’s the dark without the humour. When I want to rub salt into the wound there’s always Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits. Suffer, baby.

What I wouldn’t do for that talent. To make people feel. To be able to wrangle words in a way that encapsulates a moment of the human condition.

As Tim Minchin said, us humans “we’re just fucking monkeys in shoes”…true, but we do have words. And I’m all about the words. When they’re wrapped in a song they are truly a gift that keeps on giving.