Grease is the word

6/03/2014

I sometimes wish I was growing up in the 60’s in America with Drive-in movies and juke boxes at the diner and Rock n Roll at the prom. Watching Grease at Her Majesty’s theatre last night definitely brought it all back and I’ve had songs from the musical stuck in my head all day, feet tap-tapping under my desk at work. It seems like a simpler time, with less choice, yet more fun at the same time. In a way it feels like the more freedom and choice we’re given, the harder it is to do anything with it and the easier it is to feel like a failure – as if even being given all that choice, we have still let ourselves down with our poor decisions. But as someone wise recently said to me “There are bigger things to worry about than misplacing a plane ticket”. It seems like an easy thing to say but for a girl who has been brought up to have three copies of everything and lists and locks and worry lines, it’s a statement that I know is true, but a little hard to digest. In that respect, I think moving has definitely been good for me as I learn what actually matters to me and I can start to prioritize what to worry about and what is really not even worth the effort. It’s strange going from being in a noisy nuclear family with relationships, worries and repercussions to…not. It is harder and yet easier at the same time, when the only person who feels the repercussions of your actions is yourself. Or at least that’s how it should be.

 

It’s been a while since I wrote last and that’s partly because I’ve had a busy weekend and also some big career related decisions to make. Last week my cockroach revisited me. I went to the library and got out some romcoms for my date night with my cousin on Saturday and went home happily to make myself some beef stroganoff with mushrooms (which I am have only just eaten the last off now phewf!) and was chopping onions when my eyes started watering. So I went off to cry and wash my face and then returned to chop my onions. I was about to hold it steady when in the dim light I saw a black shape on a mound of chopped onions begin to move. Mr. Beezlebug is no longer under my bed. Nor did he stay on my onions for too long. After screaming and running to my bed, I worked up the courage to kill him with my shoe. I now have cockroach gunk on my red ballet flats 😦

 

On Saturday I woke up late and made pancakes, went for a run (half-hearted jog) with my cousin Noella at Fawkner park and then came back and ate even more pancakes. Then I went to the ACMI and watched an interesting Short Film called The Calling by Angelica Mesiti. It’s a portrait of the whistling languages used in rural communities in Turkey, Greece and the Canary Islands. There was a simple beauty in watching women on a farm whistling to each other to come in as the Tea truck had arrived, and milking their goats on a hill carved like the face of an old woman. After this I went to the exhibition ScreenWorlds: The Story of Film, Television & Digital Culture. It was a pleasant surprise with clips from old classics I love like Gone with the Wind, Casablanca and Some like it hot. There were others that I’ve probably seen but don’t remember like the black and white Frankenstein and King Kong. I saw the old box cameras and peeping tom movies, movies on a slideshow with handle to make it go faster, and I learnt that Wizard of Oz was made in colour by interposing the original film on itself three times in each of the primary colours to achieve a vivid colour film.

 

It wasn’t all just movies though – there were videogames through the ages with games like Supermario, and the old nintendos. I tried having a go at them but quickly moved out of the way for the 30 something olds who were lurking behind me eagerly. There was also an interesting section on the Editor Jill Billcock who edited Elizabeth, Moulan Rouge and Romeo and Juliet to name a few and it was amazing seeing the colours and styles that influenced her cut-throat editing and I can see why one critic said that she edited like a ‘Russian mafia don on crack!’ Seeing all these free exhibitions made me really miss my mum and my grandmother who would have loved to spend hours at the ACMI browsing through clips of old movies and videos of Kylie Minogue and Cate Blanchett alike.

 

I spent Saturday evening at Noella’s house being stuffed like a fat cat, eating buffalo wings and tacos with nandos hot sauce (yum!) and watching In the Land of women, starring Kristen stewart, Meg Ryan and hot guy from the OC, followed by Turn it up, some cutesy high school romance about a couple who just want to do ballet. We gorged ourselves on chocolate fondue and strawberries and marshmallows, went to bed and then woke up and ate some more. Breakfast was huuuuge with bacon, scrambled eggs, sour dough bread, grilled tomatoes, mushrooms and banana and mango juice. We watched the Sweetest thing while having our massive feed and I’ve determined that I hate Christina Applegate more than ever. She is the most annoying woman Ive never had the pleasure of meeting.

 

On Sunday I went to the South Melbourne market and it was as cheap as everyone says it is – bag of carrots for a dollar! Score! After picking up my groceries from the markets and some chicken and bits and pieces from Aldi’s I got a bit lost, got found again, and made my way back home. The week at work has gone fast with lots of things to think about and process. Its funny how some things you learn at uni you never seem to use at work and others suddenly make more sense as you see how it applies in the workplace. Like concepts I always thought were useless but lodged themselves in some tiny compartment in my brain have now sparked to life and I see how complex contracts affect a business for example. There was a moment at work, reading over something, when I remembered a case from Advanced Tax about Mitsubishi being allowed to approximate their warranties liability as a percentage of sales as it was a fixed expense they were likely to have every year even though it was contingent. And I felt this insane joy that I knew something, something useful in my vast sea of useless knowledge, that actually made sense and I could use it at my work. It’s funny how the more you work and hear different bits of information and see how things all fit together, the more the useless stuff you learn at uni actually starts to make some sense. And I can hear lectures in my head with Audrey Sharp’s voice saying ‘The Judge said ‘Madame you do not stand before me naked’ but I wouldn’t mind seeing some of you in this lecture naked ’ (Case about the female lawyer who wanted to claim her corporate clothing as a deductible expense).

 

Its been a nice end to the week, sitting in the sun for lunch the last couple of days and laughing like a hyena at work as usual. I probably have the loudest laugh out of everyone at work, it’s been 22 years – too late to change it now. Grease was probably the highlight of my week, though waiting 25 minutes for a train home at Melbourne Central was not. I went to church after work for Ash Wednesday mass like a good little Catholic girl and being an Anglican Cathedral I guess I should’ve expected a female priest but it still weirded me out all the same. I left after communion and walked up to the theatre on the corner of little Bourke and exhibition street with my ash cross on my forehead and cringed every time stupid teenage girls stared at me and giggled. Your fault you don’t know shit. Poor ignorant idiots. The musical was amazing and I’m not gonna lie, there were moments when I wished I wasn’t sitting there alone with no one to share it with but those moments were few and far between.

 

Out of all the characters in Grease, or in any musical, I always go for the underdog, the wild child, the woman who’s fierce and strong and irrepressible. No surprises I loved Rizzo. She’s hard but shes soft, shes feminine and sexy but angry and fierce, I love her brashness, I love her childlike abandon and the way she makes no apologies for who she is or what she does and how she owns her body and her sexuality. Sandra pissed me off tbh. She could go back to being Sandradee for all I care. In the interval they played Rockin Robin, La Bamba, and some of my other faves and it made me miss home and those indian dances with jiving and waltzing and songs from the sixties.

 

Well its almost the long weekend, with yet another festival in the city so I’m sure I’ll be writing again soon with lots more to say and think about. But before that basketball at lunch tomorrow yay! Doubt I’ll shoot any hoops playing with my six-foot something work mates but looking forward to the sun all the same 🙂

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On the Road

25.02.2014 

I feel like I died and went to cultural elitist heaven. It has been an amazing weekend, having my cousin Noella over for dinner on Friday. We finally finished our Bridges video on Friday and work was cruisy. The video was presented at work today and I’m sure its going up on Youtube soon and will make its way to facebook when I remember. For Dinner on Friday I made chili beef, stir fry veges, rice, and salad, with stewed apples and chocolate cake for desert. It felt weird – but in a good way – to cook dinner for someone else and at a much younger age than my mum ever did. I learnt that putting potatoes in beef sucks up the salt when you have noob cooks who put way too much salt in the beef 😛 We had a nice relaxing Friday evening and stuffed ourselves with microwave chocolate cake. Saturday was incredibly busy going to three different exhibitions that were all closing on Sunday, followed by shopping at DFO for warm winter clothes that are suitable for work, and then rushing home to do grocery shopping at the Prahran Market.

 

The exhibitions were amazing. ‘Spectacle – the music video exhibition’ at the ACMI showcased some of the turning points in music video history with classics like Video killed the radio star, and modern hits like Somebody that I used to know and crowd-sourced videos of songs like Single Ladies. It started with the section ‘In the Beginning’, featuring musicians like Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith, Cab Calloway to animated segments of ‘Fantasia’ which I hated as a child and probably still do now. The ‘Beginning’ spanned a long period of time, even covering the Beatles, the Kinks and Rolling Stones. Smoke and Mirrors comprised of videos that surprise and leave the audience struck with awe at the wool pulled over their eyes and tricks played with technical subtleties. The videos included Sun of a Gun by Oh Land, and Power by Kanye West. Other sections included Shadows and Light, and Interactives Section. Art house featured some of my favourite videos such as ‘My baby just cares for me’ by Nina Simone, and ‘Fell in love with a girl’ by The White Stripes. Many of the videos included cartoons, arcade games and avante-garde print design, appealing to people across all ages with their playfulness and sophistication at the same time. The Epic section ha

 

I think overall, the new discoveries I made of songs I hadn’t heard before, meant as much to me as finding my old favourites showcased at the exhibition. I fell in love with Scopitones, songs like ‘Daybreak express’, ‘Belles Belles Belles’, ‘Dick Rivers’, and ‘Les Elucubrations’. Other videos that stood out were the Poster of the video by Yuki, ‘Walkie Talkie Man’, ‘One’ (the Buffalo version) by U2, and one of Madonnas videos in Agent Provocateur. I was actually hesitating about whether to go to the exhibition or not and almost didn’t go. It seemed like a waste of money to go and see music videos I could probably find online – but something made me change my mind and I’m so glad I did. I easily spent about 2 hours there and would’ve spent more time but I had two more exhibitions to go to.  I will definitely go back sometime soon to see Angelica Mesiti’s ‘The Calling’, a short film that is free daily until 13th July.

 

The All that Glitters exhibition at The Arts Centre was small but interesting. The exhibition featured some of the costumes worn for theatre, opera, ballet, and music performances over the decades. It featured the costume worn by Hugh Jackman in the musical ‘Boy’ I think, the famous dress worn by Dame Edna Everage, and the costumes of Sleeping Beauty, the Nutcracker, and other famous ballets and operas.  I didn’t linger for long and quickly moved onto the ‘Melbourne Now’ exhibition at The National Gallery of Victoria. Parts of this exhibition really appealed to me while others fell flat. I loved the Gallery of Air – a space filled with ‘clutter’ from the past. I found a tape recording of the Gone with the Wind soundtrack. The furniture, shoes, clothes – and lack thereof, were also an exotic collection of old and new, traditional and modern, even erotic, and it was a smorgasbord for the eyes. Sadly I had to leave the other exhibitions at the National Gallery for another day but the Ancient Egypt section is on my to do list.

 

White Night was a bit disappointing to be honest. It was extremely packed on the train going into the city and despite my experiences being on jam packed trains in Bombay, I still felt a bit claustrophobic. It seemed quite poorly organised and after having dinner with a friend from work and his girlfriend on Lonsdale Street, we walked around for a while, looking at the displays on the State Library, and at Melbourne central. After meeting up with another friend from work, we had a quiet drink and I saw my first AFL game which I am convinced is exactly like Rugby but am constantly corrected, and then went home. The train back was just as packed and I was glad to be home by 1 ish, ready to crash after a long day with lots of walking.

 

Sunday morning was sunny and the weather was as perfect as my pancakes drenched in maple syrup. I got picked up by a Colleague/ Pancake thief and spent the day driving down to Mornington Peninsula, eating copious amounts of Starbursts and singing along with the radio. After a beautiful sunny day of sitting at the beach, walking 2.6km up the hill to the look-out, and getting sun-burnt, I felt like a fat six year old with red-tinted cheeks salty from the sea. The grass was greener than it was before, the sea bluer, the sun sleepier. I don’t know if it was all the sugar I’d eaten but the day seemed perfect. I went home hungry and tired, my six year old laugh a remnant still.

 

On Monday night I made pepperoni pasta with cheese, olives and tomatoes and managed to cut my finger (which is still stinging) because I was too lazy to use a chopping board. Watching ‘On the Road’ the film based on the novel by Jack Kerouac, I was instantly reminded of three things that happened in the last week that somehow resonated with me and this movie and all seemed tied up together. On the Road in a way was written in the same train of thought as Into the Wild, another favourite movie. In the former, the three men lead a life of selfish pleasure, seeking to gain as much from life as they can by using others, believing in their own destined success as writers/poets/philosophers and use the people they love shamelessly. In the latter, the main character is on a journey of self-discovery that leads him to renounce his life of luxury to travel across the country and be at one with nature. Yet both are held together by that common thread, of seeking self-fulfilment beyond traditional paths, of gaining the most out of life, and Kristen Stewart.  

 

There is not much in my life that is comparable with either of these stories, apart from the fact that I’m also in love with Kristen Stewart (at times…it’s a love hate relationship). Yet I find myself comparing myself to these characters instinctively, as if I too am on that path of self-discovery…and yet its not quite as vain as it sounds because aren’t we all? We are all on that road. It may not be a road of drunken threesomes and jazz and young men with type-writers but it is a road none the less. Last week a 7-8 foot wooden cabinet fell on me. I didn’t know what was happening at first. I just felt the weight on my back and my head caved in instinctively, as my perfumes, moisturiser and books all fell out of the shelves around me. I thought it was an earthquake and then I realised that the cabinet was falling on me. I tried my hardest to push it up, and almost gave up, thinking I’d just let it fall, and jump out of the way before I went under it. But then I realised that there was no one else, to help me lift it up again. Just me. So I forced myself to push it back up and lean it against the wall. It’s amazing what you can do when you realise that there is no other option and you are your only super-hero. I guess I’m more like Christopher McCandless than Dean but unlike either of them, I know, right now, in my heart of hearts – that people do matter. People cannot be discarded, ignored, they are not the debris that clutters the world – they are the world. My world is nothing, without people in it.

 

Another event that jumped out at me while I was watching on the road was a half-hearted attempt to save a squid on the beach. There was a squid dying on the Beach at Rye on Sunday and I was more repulsed by it than moved to save it, and made a few half-hearted attempts to lift it with my jandals and throw it back into the ocean. As I was watching On the Road, I couldn’t help comparing it to Dean and Carlo’s individual attempts to kill themselves and their inability to do so. And all I could think was, damn I wish I could dance like MaryLou and then maybe, maybe I could be that squid, and I could get back to the Ocean. There is a song that’s been stuck in my head for the last couple of days and it refuses to leave, the more I think about On the Road. It goes something like ‘This is the last time I’m asking you this….’ Maybe its because this is still my road, to travel on as I please, and I will continue asking, asking on this road, while you walk on it too.