Saturday, October 31, 2009

Under the Affluence of Incohol

Along with a perfect sunny Melbourne morning, public transport today was sparkling with excited racegoers. Ignoring the empty seats for fear of wiping off the spray tan they clutched on to the tram rails with white knuckles so as not to spill any of the vodka cruiser in the other hand. Dressed for a nightclub in shoes that can only be described as 'we were only joking' and strapless dress that no doubt will result in a day of hiking up the top and pulling down the bottom, I stare at them wondering where did we go wrong? Men fare little better, some in the fashion failures, some in hair sculpting that just looks like they've slept standing up, but more so the end of the day crimes which are roughly along the lines of you look at my chick and I punch you in the face, or I just punch you in the face anyway. Racing was never meant to be a warm up to schoolies week. It seems that Spring Racing general admission has been overtaken by the children of excesses, flesh, booze and definately money.

Fortunately the rest of Melbourne has decided to have a long weekend or just get the hell out of town. There was no one in the normally crowded best coffee in town cafe, there was a car park right outside the bakery and shopkeepers were throwing themselves at me like I was a cure for a global recession. I'll enjoy the city peace a little longer then retreat very soon because as night falls we know that the zombies will return carrying their shoes in one hand and (definitely not the same) vodka cruiser in the other.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Now Children, Have We All Placed Our Bets?

There is something seriously wrong with this country. If the nightly news programs are anything to go by. Aside from stories of approving more 5am drinking venues, bashings, rapes, stuffing murdered grandmothers in a barrel, for a bit of light entertainment we turn to horse racing. Under the sporting banner we see a former jockey visit a regional school to tell them all about the Melbourne Cup. Come on kids, let's have a punt? Empty out your piggy bank and take it to the tote? We see the local school children complete with white cotton glove fondling the shiny cup as if it were something they should aspire to. It's about gambling folks, it's about an industry that takes money off punters and puts it in other people's pockets who know a hell of a lot more about the race than the punters. Occasionally they will give some back. Rarely enough to cover a HECS debt but enough to get to a new nightclub where you can drink until 5am. So what do you do when your kids come home from school and say "mummy can I have a tenner each way on the 4th in the last at 3 to 1 and a box trifecta on Saturday?" Well at least if they can't spell, they might learn to add up.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A nice cup of tea and a non origin specific cream biscuit

Having given up the fur and fags (ok just don't put anything cute and fluffy near me on a winter's day) I am now reading I have to be careful about biscuits. The Age tells me today that Coles have backed down over a 'racist' biscuit and elected to change the name of their Creole Creme biscuit. "The word Creole comes from a period when people's humanity was measured by the amount of white blood they had in their bloodstream. This is the same kind of thought that underpinned horrific regimes like the Nazis," according to the deputy director of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Unit at the University of Queensland. "People need to exercise their intellect. This so-called blending was actually the institutionalised rape of black women. They were victims of brutal regimes of rape and victimisation." I had no idea. And I'm disturbed by such an example of cruelty towards any people but I'm still not sure what this has to do with a crappy biscuit? Racism is generally along the lines of, I'm superior to you because of the colour of your skin, country of origin etc., but when you start talking about words such as rape and Nazis in relation to something that goes with a cup of tea you've lost me. Just don't let them see the Ginger Nuts and Gaiety or all hell will break loose.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Is that turbulence or snoring up there?

"Steady on old chap. You mean those damn commercial airline pilots have been asleep all along?" Yes folks the story is out. Pilots overshooting the airport because they were curled up in the cockpit having a nap. Why is it that pilots can sleep on planes but no one in economy can? It seems we need a driver alive campaign for our catnapping captains to pull over (say, Hong Kong?) and have a power nap before continuing the journey. Perhaps a Kit Kat and a nice cup of tea at Dubai might see us all safely to our destination. The next time I am on a long hall flight I will be curious about the sleep clinic up front and be requesting the nearest flight attendant to rattle loudly on the cockpit door when she sees the lights of Heathrow ahead. No more cups of warm cocoa up front, it's ground up No-Doze and espresso's all round.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Fashion For The Fixated

Karl Lagerfeld doesn't want to have fat chicks thumping down his runways. He didn't quite put it like that but we got the picture. And quite frankly neither do I. I want extraordinary women to exhibit extraordinary fashion. If Coco Chanel wanted everyday people modelling exquisite hand made couture she would have put elastic in the waists. As we know one size doesn't fit all. Picking on skinny models is becoming the sport of the jealous. It's one thing to airbrush women into something they are not but it is another to criticise them for their weight or lack of when the job requires it as with jockey's, athletes and so on. This obsession we have with weight is taking away from the real work of the few remaining artisans and designers such as Karl Lagerfeld who works in an industry based on creativity and beauty. At the age of 75 I think he has earned the right to throw in his two bob's worth and not care too much about offending a few. Just don't expect to see him on a chip packet very soon.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Oven Blast From The Past

It's been a big food week and it's not over yet. Why is that when you really go off the rails you stop and eat them as well? I started the morning with a trip to a very good baker who for the cost of a small imported hatchback filled my bag with fruit buns, banana bread and of course, macaroons. Lunch was a wagyu burger and fries at a very good cafe who for the price of an economy seat to Bali were able to provide me with just enough protein to get me through my red meat objectives for the week. Food is never far off my mind but eventually the need to cook my own food arises and I stare into the window of my brand new modern oven like I stare into the Myer Christmas windows. The food on display in my oven window is on the cover of the oven manual all glossy in a clear plastic bag with shiny metal attachments that look like they belong to a gynecologist. I flick through my new modern oven cookbook and marvel at the list of contents described as Fresh Starts, Main Attractions and Saucy Extras. My life feels more enhanced already. Whilst the All Appliance Round Up section tells me about the latest technology of thermo fans and static grills the cookbook section looks somewhat stale and stuck in a time warp. Kedgeree on page sixteen is a clue and goes back to an era of early morning champagne and tennis matches before the 1920 stock market crashed and the plate of pan-fried veal with a carved grapefruit in the middle complete with red cherry on top are a dead giveaway. This oven might be 2009 but these recipes belong in another era. The oriental vegetables are no more than mushrooms, a few bean sprouts with a dash of soy sauce and a Dean Martin record playing in the background. This cookbook is as retro as a wood platter of coon squares and a maraschino cherry on a toothpick. I wonder if the Saucy Extras section includes placing your car keys in a salad bowl and going home with your neighbour? The picture on page fifty nine shows us that we can fit in a roast turkey, baked ham, rack of lamb and vegetables all at once in the oven. Actually now that I think of it I'm not really that hungry, might just pop my oven manual back where I found it. I'm thinking of being a vegetarian tomorrow.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Lies, lies and artichokes

They are at it again. According to the Herald Sun today Ralph Lauren have airbrushed a model into a skeleton. Airbrushed, digitally enhanced, photo shopped call it what you like but it's lying, yes good old fashioned pants on fire, telling porkie pies, lies. It's insulting to the model who now resembles a freshly picked artichoke, stalk and all with a head of alien proportion to the rest of her body. Would you really consider buying a car with a digitally enhanced engine? It's bad enough that real estate agents have discovered the trickery almost to the point of airbrushing out the dumpster from the front lawn and scanning in manicured gardens with trompe l'oeil and water feature. You know we are going to find out soon enough. When I go to start up the engine in the latest model turbo charged, twin cam fuel injected nothing under the bonnet family wagon the deal will be off. Airbrushing someone who is sufficiently thin into something that would not be able to walk upright is a cruel portrayal of a woman. Even artichokes have a heart.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Where the sun don't shine

Sun. Suddenly there is sunshine and winter begins to fade away behind a long cloud. Last year's summer wardrobe resembles something you should dry the dishes with and that exercise bike you bought to get your new sleek summer bod is used to hang the ironing on. With one day this week over 25 degrees Melbourne's population reached into the far side of the closet only to pull out a selection of 'what was I thinking' and too tight disappointments. Balmy Mondays aside is there really justification to step outside in thongs, tea towel tea shirt and shorts so tight they have sought refugee status in the crevice of your backside? Where has summer fashion gone? It was the 80's that allowed us the short sleeved linen suit only to be replaced by the all conquering singlet. When did the singlet, tank top or cotton camisole if you are going all posh on us become accepted as formal outerwear? I don't care if you are going to the gym and haven't eaten carbs since you chewed on your rattle, singlets are not formal wear. And as for the trend at the moment of people not putting their pants on, (has anyone else noticed this?), it seems you put your jacket on and put on your tights and off you go. No oops forgot my trousers, this is actually catching on. At first I thought we had an Alzheimer's epidemic but alas I think it's just fashion. Or maybe the pants ended up on 'Christmas Island' where those too tight shorts ended up.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Let your body corporate move to the music

The mysterious noise upstairs you thought was a possum could be Madonna. According to today's Herald Sun one of Madonna's New York neighbours is suing her for causing a commotion (wasn't that Kylie?) of loud music and frequent dance sessions. The neighbour complained about "unreasonably high-decibel, amplified music" and vibrations pouring through walls, ceilings and radiators and blaring music, stomping and shaking walls for up to three hours each day. Doof, doof, doof. We all have one of those honey. It's called apartment living. If you want hoof, hoof, hoof move to the country.

If Madonna wants to dance around her apartment pretending to be...Madonna, well then let her. She only weighs as much as a can of beans so it's not like she will make much impact on the floorboards anyway. There are far worse scenarios in apartment living such as a) living below someone who isn't famous, cannot sing and weighs more than a can of beans and b) living below someone who is a) and has taken up the drums. Given that this neighbour would be out of the country for a large part of the year, I would happily take the material girl's three hours over the nightly domestic horror movie (is that a chainsaw I can hear) neighbour any day. If Like A Virgin is pouring through my radiators I am sure it's better than the rusty clunk it offered when the pipes fired up in the morning. So be neighbourly I say. Go upstairs and invite her around for a hamburger, she might even adopt you if you are real nice.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Farewell Haute Couture

After the stressful time of moving house and having to reconnect telephones and internet with mostly unhelpful call centres and on more than one occasion making their automated voice recognition systems break down and cry, I dedicated a weekend to me.

A me weekend was about all of life's little pleasures like good eggs in your favourite cafe and of course that all important credit card viagra known as retail therapy. Now time was not of the essence on my me weekend so I took a leisurely stroll through my local department stores. It was an experience to be only compared to shopping at the local tip. Now whilst I understand that both department stores are under major renovation (at the same time so customers will have no choice than to shop amongst hoardings and hard aisle dead-ends) however solar systems have come and gone in the time they have taken to do this. The Myer store in particular with its shoe department resembling something from a poor eastern block country with gaffer tape holding the carpet down and brown stains all over the roof. To make matters worse they make their customers queue up for service at the door of the shoe reserve as if begging for bread. "Please madam, may I have a size 8 in the black?" No piss off you filthy scum bag customer grovelling around the floor with your sweaty feet and smelly half stockings. Actually, the staff are patient and should be paid extra for having to work in an over sized dumpster.

Giving up on shoes, I spent a few hours of indulgence at the Kino watching Valentino The Last Emperor courtesy of Lady Melbourne. Bliss. The movie was a behind the scenes look at the final year of work of Italian designer Giovanni Valentino and a peak into his private life and oh my god what a life. In one of the first scenes he and his partner and entourage have boarded their private plane with almost everyone seated including a row of 5 pug dogs that travel everywhere with him. A women gently alerts our Mr Valentino that there is no seat for her due to the row of dogs in first class. The dogs are quickly dispatched onto Valentino and his partner's laps like they are hand towels. Hilarious. Beautiful shots of his home in Paris, his boat in Venice and the house of Valentino in Rome. The gowns for the catwalks are hand sewn by a team of over 100 seamstresses who contend with executive waring financial interests and designer temper tantrums. There is a great scene at the end of the movie with Valentino and Karl Lagerfeld (Chanel) reminiscing over some 1960's designs when Valentino says something to the effect of, there is you and me and the rest is trash. And I think perhaps he's not wrong. Farewell haute couture.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Kitchen Drawer Discipline

It seems Dame Spank is alive and well with all this talk in the media about smacking. Personally I think you can't beat a damn good spanking...oh you mean we are not talking about that kind of spanking? Ok then, if it's children we are talking about then I don't have much to contribute on that one. However if it takes a few kitchen utensils to shut them up when they are particularly obnoxious then by all means go for it. But as to whether it works I'm not so sure, there are only so many items in that third kitchen draw. Somehow I get the impression that they grow up to be just as obnoxious as they were when they were rolling around on the ground pounding their fists into the shag pile. We all know a few adults that could do with a quick smack on the legs and come to think of it they have probably progressed far beyond a wooden spoon and now require a solid four by two with a rusty nail to pull them into shape (and I'm thinking Brendan Fevola?). So smacking with a wooden spoon? So what. It's when you go looking in the tool shed you know you've crossed the border.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Decency Departure Lounge

So how do we all feel about airport trials of naked passenger scanners? As reported in today's online Age 'an x-ray machine which takes "naked" images of airline passengers is undergoing trials in England as part of a new high-tech security system'. The report goes on to tell us that images taken are not pornographic and will be destroyed immediately. Yes, of course, and the Internet is a safe place for private and personal information to be stored.

'The airport's head of customer experience (experience!!), Sarah Barrett, said the machine removed the need for passengers to take off coats, shoes and belts at security checks as well as the "pat down" search, procedures which were detested by most people'. So you are telling us that they (including those who are considered newsworthy) would rather be naked in front of a bored customs official that will hit that 'send' button faster than you can say breast enlargement or tampon? Get real people. This is a hideous invasion of privacy and abuse of common decency.

We are told refusal of this scanner is an option but for how long I wonder. So before long we have portfolios instead of passports and nudity clauses on our e-tickets.
You take my picture with no clothes on, you pay me $100,000. Next.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Folsom Apartment

Released at last. With a promise to my parole officer never to threaten telco call centre operators again by saying I will reach through the phone and pull out their tonsils and put them back somewhere they are not normally found just for asking me if there was anything else they can help me with when they haven't helped me at all after waiting more than 30 minutes on the phone being passed from technical support (no support that's the technicality), then billings department (yes we are charging you for this very complaint) and then passed onto a third department which all went home an hour ago, just to get a password reset, I am now living in my new home ... minus a password or two. God I hate moving house. I wake up on day one in the new bedroom looking in the mirror beyond the boxes and am a bit shocked at how bad my complexion has fared from the move. Then realising I had forgotten to take the bubble wrap off the mirror I notice there is little improvement. One should make a note to oneself that if you are going to downsize, make sure you get rid of some stuff before you move in. My lounge room looks like a furniture shop, I'm using my oven to store linen and I am only starting to adjust to sleeping standing up. So other than a smoke detector with some attention deficit disorder and a stiff neck all is well. Just got to fix that password problem without landing back in the slammer.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Anytime between one and five pm

This weekend is moving weekend. The batteries will come out of my wind up computer and it will packed into a crate and moved one hundred metres down the road where it will be unpacked out of a crate and require at least three technicians to visit anytime between 1pm and 5pm to get it operating again. Should this website seem a little quiet for a few days one may assume a) not one of the three technicians turned up between 1pm and 5pm or b) there was a disagreement with one of the three technicians and I am serving time in a secured facility for inserting a computer screen into one of the three technicians who failed to visit anytime between 1pm and 5pm. Wish me luck.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Turn the clocks back 30 years

On Sunday we are told, we must turn our clocks forward an hour for Daylight Saving. On the other side of the world it's called Summer Time. It doesn't correspond with our clock changes so the global business world will again be struggling with changed scheduled conference calls and video link ups to ensure they are not requesting their counterparts to a meeting that would normally be at a time when they are either still in bed or tucking into their dinner. The whole daylight savings concept we are told was to give us an extra hour of daylight activity at the end of the day. This is somewhat perplexing for a country that suffers intensely hot summers where you stare out the window wishing that the bastard sun would disappear. Daylight saving belongs in a time when children played kick the can in the street. These days kids preferences are a PlayStation and grand theft auto games in preference to extra time go-cart building or a game of marbles before being called for dinner. Fading curtains and confused birds aside, I think it's time we reassessed if we really need this throwback to six o'clock closing times and children playing under the garden hose. If I wanted more daylight I would have moved to Norway. Bring on night, I need to sleep.