18 December 2008

Top of (my) Pop culture 2008

This year saw me glued to my computer screen all cosied up in bed and living vicariously through (mostly) American TV series…it seems watching beautiful teenagers is my weakness. I have just accepted it.

-Gossip Girl (the East Coast richer cousin to the O.C... so painfully good, it’s all about Blair and Chuck isn’t it?)

-90210 (baaaad…but so right. Welcome back Brenda! It was only a matter of time before you slept with Kelly’s love-interest, wasn’t it?)

-Pushing Daisies (newly cancelled, but will remain magical forever)

-Lipstick Jungle (the promise of a still-charming but older Andrew McCarthy drew me in, and the friendship of the three lovely ladies kept me there)

-Supernatural (ok, mainly season four….there are angels AND demons!)

-Spaced (I have no words for this show…just a lot of love, and cheap wine)

Special ‘movie’ mention:  you may be aware of my (and about 3 billion teen/tween girls’) newly found love for Robert Pattinson, more specifically, his hair. I refuse to read the Twilight series, but am chomping at the bit to see The Quiff in full cinematic vampiric glory. Good hair is an inspiration people. 

a minute, a million thoughts,

00:07    I miss my books.                                                                               What if I want to pick up my well-worn copy of Slessor that I’ve had since I was 15..I cannot, and so am left with repeating again and again ‘time that is moved by fidget wheels is not my time, the flood that does not flow’ is that how it goes? I don’t know. Old friends, my books. Come back to me! We’ll keep the stars night-company with wine!
00:12  Gouache is good. Fairylights are better.                                              
00:15  In a room of one’s own…I am finally here. My room. Holloway Road. More fairylights. I actually get reception for the Greek radio station here, can you believe it? A song about a girl called Maria with lovely ribbons in her hair. Sheer coincidence that it’s a name that rolls of the tongue in a satisfying way and it happens to also be mine…but I still can’t help this innate smugness at having my very own Blondie song!
00:20  It has literally been at least half a dozen years since I’ve had any time to spend on my own wholly, without distraction. It’s addictive….I’m alarmed at how many frivolous but fascinating things my mind has in store for me to do…without any planning.  I hope I can indulge myself for a while yet. 
00:24  All I need now is a guitar.
00:25  (Side note: Emerson has inspired me to make a pinhole camera. How badly I want to!)
00:27  Still confused as to how I have come to make some amazing friendships over here this year. People have been and continue to be so generous and protective in the best possible way; I’m not used to being taken care of by anyone other than my lovely Ma who is so far away.
00:33  Sometimes I am at odds with ideas of feminism…it’s wonderful to be independent and strong but by gosh by golly I do love being taken care of; for the simple fact that I don’t need to be, I just like it.  It’s a privilege being able to choose and distinguish between the two.   I fear people think I am more naïve than I really am, or even worse...they are right and I am the one who is wrong about my naivety…gulp.
00:46  Strange times ahead…the end of a solid year of work in London for me…I haven’t taken any holidays really. Nor seen so many places in Europe I want to see. I am heading to Athens for two weeks to spend time with my darling Chrysi…we have been waiting to go to Greece together for years…I am still frightened it’s going to be whisked away from me at the last moment…as with all good things. I guess that’s how I measure how much I care about something, if I fear that it will get taken away. Ouch.
00:51 Sometimes though, things can’t get taken away quickly enough. Double ouch.
00:53  Must stop talking to Theo, he is putting crazy thoughts in my head (are you reading this Theo? You are so naughty!) like enrolling and doing Architecture…but I don’t want to design buildings. I just want to experience them and write about them and photograph them.
00:56  Can you get married at the Notre Dame du Haut? I think it’s a pilgrimage church…but wouldn’t it be lovely? In the middle of nowhere…Ronchamp in the sun, surrounded by woods and quiet. Now I’m being ridiculous.  I’ve had that poster up all year, maybe if I stare at it long enough one day I’ll find myself inside and looking out through the small rectangular shafts of light back into my room?
 One may dream.

7 December 2008


This week I was pleased to learn what meaning the fragrance Anais Anais (released 4 years before I was born!) has for a few people…it seems it is linked eternally to childhood and pleasantness, at least to those who told me so, and to myself. 

I bought a small bottle this week and you understand why smell is the quickest and most potent memory-elicitor: being eleven, putting a dress on that my mother made for me..always with beautiful detailing and sumptuous fabric, Sydney blue sky clear air bleached sunlight Sunday afternoon somewhere a few houses down charcoal bbq smoke wafting down the street.

My childhood in that bottle? I carry it like a talisman.

My mother almost doubled over when she first came across Issey Miyake’s “L'eau d'Issey” saying that it is exactly what her childhood was like…I was so intrigued and I found out that it had Lily of the Valley which tied in exactly to my mother mentioning specifically the flowers in the Church at Easter in the village every year. I’ll be damned if my first ever paycheck from my crappy job in a clothes shop was not going to be spent presenting my mother her childhood in a bottle! Now some ten years later and on the other side of the world I am shocked to see that I too have found my childhood in a bottle.

Snaps to Cacharel in general though…and for creating another fragrance in the last few years now that I am all grown up; Amor Amor.  It’s heavier and richer, sweeter, darker and perfect for the colder months and gray days, perfect now I’m older, a little bruised, a little wiser, still insane, still a romantic, still wanting to be little again.   It’s more volatile…hell even the bottle is a play on a grenade.


26 October 2008


Currently I:

-am wearing red lipstick to mask the effects of the lovely red Sicilian wine I had last night
-wish I had the guts to take part in open mic night at the Poetry Cafe..soon!
-wonder what the next 3 months will be like? so many changes
-am regressing to cheesey movies and series from my teen years
-want my Greek Passport!
-am surrounded by books on architecture whilst looking at treetops out the window
-should try to switch my mind off, thus ensuring I go to sleep before midnight, and not 3am.
-am feeling less and less Australian as the days pass
-miss my dogs and their soft floppy velvety ears and grinning smiles
-wish I was there to hug my friends in Sydney when they needed it the most
-am crazy like Swayze
-think headbands are underrated as a form of accessorising
-am looking forward to Christmas with Emily and NYE with Chrysoula, if I can budget wisely
-am a little colder, but still a romantic
-think Goldschlaeger is the prettiest drink I've had in a long while
-would do anything for my mum's cooking

14 October 2008

maybe then tomorrow will be Monday...

Talking on the phone with my Ma after work and she asked me what I was up to tonight, to which I replied "I'm meeting Danny and we are going to a gig"...this is hilarious for two reasons:
1) I've been saying this since I was about..oh 19 years old
2) now D-Ya and I are both in London, instead of Sydney where this normally happens

I felt like I was in a time warp, a lovely, comforting time warp.

Aaaaaaaanyways, cut to the Hard Rock Cafe and Travis' album launch; an hour later and I was left grinning from ear to ear and wanting so badly to pinch that mischievous sprite Fran and his adorable dimples, but alas, only in my mind. They reminded me of how you can take life optimistically or pessimistically...and normally I prefer the latter (safer, less dissapointment) but gosh darn it, they sure argued a hard case for optimism. 

So tonight, I was an optimist...and it served me well. I spoke to a most beloved friend from Sydney who informed me he will be over this way for 6 weeks over Xmas and New Years (oh do let's go on a grand adventure! Do let's!), I met two lovely chaps on the bus replacement service to Brixton who told me tales of London's Oldest Wine Bar in Embankment, and of squats merely a stones' throw from my humble abode. And then, then I came home...and I watched this clip for the umpteenth time:

from 'Miss Pettigrew lives for a day' with my current crush, Lee Pace.
I don't feel I need to explain the plot thus far, it's clear they are in love and 
don't know what to do about it...it's just this one line;

"If I didn't care, would it be the same?
Would my every prayer begin and end
with just your name?"

ahh...it kills me. So lovely. And seeing as I am a fervent believer in hopeless romanticism
...or maybe that I just love love, it is perfect.

So here's to ya kids, as my dear Lones sent to me a glorious picture once that read:


..keep on keeping on, you will find it, and so will I.


25 September 2008

One year on

It's been just over one year since I arrived in London. 

I feel older, there are faint beginnings of lines on my face that weren't there a year ago. 
Not at all a bad thing, just different.

One year since I've seen the faces of many people I love absolutely and without question, one year since I've held them, hugged them, laughed with them, sat in the Sydney sun, smoking in the shade, drinking in the dark. One year, most painfully, since I have played with my two dogs; perhaps the most glorious creatures of happiness to have ever come into my life. 

One year since I looked back as I was walking through those glass doors at the terminal to see my mother's face, full of concern and heartache. The guilt sometimes I fear will make the floors cave in underneath me. It's so tempting to come back to a place I know so well, into familiar arms and smiles, where I know for certain people love me and want me around. Where I never felt lonely, but was always a bit restless to see what else was out there for me.

My family's love is even more seductive, it's a place that is always safe where I feel loved and valued at every moment, even when we don't agree. I am spoiled really, because that's my yardstick for affection with others which is a hard thing to match. People don't stand a chance, do they? Least of all boys. Stupid stupid boys.

London is a hard city. It took me six months to finally feel alright with it all. Winter is around the corner once again and I find myself worrying like nothing else; will I get my Greek passport in time? Will I be all alone in this ocean of a city? Will I manage to keep it all together? Sometimes I feel I am being held together so tentatively by very old sticky-tape. Egad.

I met a boy who actually said 'egad' in a conversation. Little things like that make me burst with happiness, but being England, one feels compelled to rein in the emotions for fear of looking a bit loony. Stuff it, everyone creates their own reality right? I'd rather live in one where people who showed their feelings at the exact moment they felt them were more sane and interesting than people who could control every whim, always biting their tongue. Blah.

So at the moment, here is what I lovelove about London:

-the Tates Modern and Britain
-yummy English ales...and Banana Bread Beer! 
-all the different bridges along the Thames
-the Commercial Tavern and its decor
-vietnamese food near Old Street
-Lord Leighton's house in  Kensington
-the Victorian era 
-dogs travelling the tube
-Londoners know clothes, they just do. 
-fresh goats cheese so easy to come by
-the smell of charcoal meat and sweet Shisha on Edgeware road
-the crisp air that wakes you up no matter the time of day or night
-friends dropping by to visit, from the other side of the world (the tally is almost 20 so far!)
-going to the British Museum on my lunch break
-the birds, the flowers, the squirrels and foxes
-ambling around, always something interesting just around the corner
-the fact that Greece is just 3 hours away, always.

If I could get turkish bread (pide) at my local bakery, then I would be sorted for life.

18 September 2008

define "crush"...

1. "to have something weighing physically or emotionally down on you
so heavy that perchance you cannot heave a breath into your lungs, not for lack of trying or caring;  but for lack of physical strength,  emotional resolve and confidence that you can somehow MacGuyver your way out of the literal or metaphorical situation. 
You probably won't, and can therefore expect fractured bones, bruising or even a broken heart"
        Note: musical accompaniment - "Valentine" by the Old 97s.

2. "the appearance, idea or presence of someone that turns you into a gibbering idiot at the sight of them, usually making it impossible to construct intelligible sentences, let alone to make a favourable impression. Smoking is a good distraction rendering you at least 40% cooler; unless they don't like smokers, in which case you better pray they are endeared towards the aforementioned gibbering idiot"
           Note: this is usually felt towards a member of the opposite sex, 
            but can just as often be felt towards shoes and designer bags.

define "despair"...

"the moment you realise that someone
does not care, or is not capable of caring for you 
anywhere near the capacity, or energy
in which you have just spent the last two years, or two minutes
caring about them"

Note: this also applies to the human-feline relationship;
          the feline consistently being the purveyor of despair

simone white

wait wait wait wait
wait wait
for the time it takes a heart to mend a break

how many moons are reflected in the lake?

can you wait forever if
is all it takes?

7 September 2008

songs I wish I'd written...

-the nearness of you (hoagy carmichael)
-i will follow you into the dark (death cab for cutie)
-vancouver (jeff buckley)
-come pick me up/tonight (ryan adams)
-diamond sea (sonic youth)
-mama you've been on my mind (dylan)
-at last, our promises (micah p hinson)
-skyway (the replacements)
-thirteen (big star)
-the curse of great beauty (clem snide)

and especially...

-more than this (roxy music)

This song was written the same year I was born. It's one of my most beloved songs and seems to fit so many many situations in my life, good and bad.

Me likey: Friday 5th September 2008

watching Ash at the Roundhouse in Chalk Farm, standing next to my best friend Jeanette, full of red wine and excitement at the thought of hearing 1977 played from start to finish...how did Tim Wheeler do it? the sound was immaculate, his guitar playing and vocals were spot on, his hair made me feel like the last ten years didn't happen at all and that I was still in highschool sighing along to 'goldfinger' wishing a boy would write a song about me like that.

Bonus points for the excellent storm troopers and Darth Vader loitering around the stage before the boys came on. Triple bonus points for the brilliant encore which reminded me of how excellent a lyricist he can be; in 'shining light' alone he uses such gems like 'firmament', 'incandescent' and 'ephiphany'..no small feat for a pop song eh? bless.
Also hearing 'jack names the planets', 'a life less ordinary', 'burn baby burn' and 'does your mother know'...Ash doing Abba, never thought I'd hear that excellent b-side live.

I got to have a colossal 4 hour conversation with Luke who is on the other side of the world, during which I finished all my cigarettes and beer, had a couple of toilet breaks, solved all the problems of the world (one can dream) and was mortified that he had managed to lock himself out of the house and then get back in again all while talking to me, talk about drama.
If only distance was as simple as measuring something in miles or kilometres. Lucky for us, distance is only in the pauses of the conversation, of which there were very very few.

i don't like to ruin it by opening my umbrella. it spoils the fun, who cares if you end up looking like a wet cat?

pasta with a cream, mushroom, spring onion and rocket sauce...at 5.30am. then trying to go to sleep mind running like a sprinter trying to process the events of the day, and of the last 6 years.

30 July 2008

notable quotables...

I saw this most perfectly formed homage to the essence of an olive hanging from a banner in Borough Markets:

"The whole Mediterranean, the sculpture, the palm,
the gold beads, the bearded heroes, the wine,
the ideas, the ships, the moonlight, the winged gorgons,
the bronze men, the philosophers
- all of it seems to rise in the sour, pungent
taste of these black olives between the teeth.
A taste older than meat, older than wine.

A taste as old as cold water."

Lawrence Durrell
'Prospero's Cell' (1945)

if i told you how this makes me sigh with welled-up joy...would you believe me? It does.

and this one came to me via an instant msg chat with my friend...if I may borrow from my dearest Leonie, who never fails to make me feel like it's going to be ok:

"you have a fire that won't be snuffed out. that is something you have to protect"

I like that Lones, I really do.
Thank you, I owe it to myself to remember that.

and so life continues....what to make for dinner?

29 June 2008

Tuesday in Αθήνα

Piraeus Pros Aegina
Today I decide after a lazy morning to hop over to the nearest Greek island for a little day trip. It was stupidly easy after getting off at Pira
eus, I am distracted by the pedestrian bridge which looks very very Calatrava-esque. Am even more distracted that I did not use it, since crossing six lanes of traffic in a city where pedestrians are an afterthought takes nerves of steel, and about five minutes.
Road is crossed, finally, after some ambling about the ticket offices, ticket is bought, and I stare at the giant, excellently named ferry Artemis which will take me off into the Saronic Gulf.
Settling in by the window, the Artemis is humming along and it would be so easy to close
my eyes and drift off.
I see other boats and ships in the distance but I don’t know how to explain or even comprehend the sensation that the Artemis is not moving at all, but instead everything just orbits around her so there is a subtle shift of the coast and other boats, but all the while with the constant feeling that we are merely hovering. It's hard to guess how much time is passing also; I wonder if this is what space feels like? Artemis in space...
The Saronic Gulf is hypnotising, suddenly I understand where the colours of the Greek flag come in to play; brilliant deep blue and crisp white seafoam. Heaven.

On 'Greek Time':

I see a ‘Flying Dolphin’ boat cutting through the water abruptly. It looks more like a rocket, or better yet a coked-up robotic mosquito; pummeling through space.
I did have the option at Piraeus of getting to Aegina in 35 minutes on one of these (compared to 1 ½ hours on the ferry) but being strapped to my seat from sheer velocity defeats the l
aid back purpose of ambling lazily along in the sunshine to an island for the afternoon. In a country where nothing is on time and nothing is done quickly…why rush now all of a sudden? We are on Greek time (meaning you add at least 1-2 hours to anything; even Olympic Airlines subscribed to this phenomenon, taking off an hour later than scheduled, but still arriving on time!)
Even the seagulls are faster than our sturdy Artemis, but I don’t care. As I have remembered all over again, the Greeks (when they aren’t shouting and gesticulating of course) are supremely laid back and after the first two days of rushing around non-stop all over Athens to take in the sights something just switched in my brain and I just….slowed….down….no rush, all easy.


Aegina is lovely and cute and I wonder if the town is in cahoots to try and make this little island as picture perfec
t as possible. It's working. I walk around for a bit and try not to look too enthusiastic over the bright fishing boats all lined up, but really I want to hop around and clap my hands together. Dork.
I stroll around until I spy a quiet piece of the shore (I have been dying to be near the water for so long, even though I am not a natural water-baby; the Athens heat, humidity and the sun make me want to drench myself). I step into the water and it's the perfect temperature a
nd clear like glass. Hitching my dress up to the point of almost indecency and splashing around, I long to just fall back into the water fully clothed (but mindful that last time I did that in Sydney I was not a happy little vegemite; soggy and cold on the ferry back to Circular Quay). Still, I collect some lovely pebbles as my Aegina memento and wish I could just float on the water in the sun for a bit,; ideally a set of dry clothes would materialise from nowhere, as would a perfect tall Frappe.On my way back towards the ferry I buy some cherries. The lady asks me if I want the 'hondra' (juicy and plump) ones...I nod with astonishment, of COURSE I do! We both laugh and I walk away happy with my thick paper bag filled and heavy with dark little beauties.
Cherries are my favourite thing about summertime, I was so so SO happy to have my fingers stained with cherries in the sun on a Greek island. I never thought I would be saying or doing that, but I'm so glad I had the chance to!
On not rushing:
I probably haven’t seen as much as I could in my time here (both in Athens and Aegina) but I realize that I don’t much like rushing around. I end up not processing as much as I am too distracted by the next ‘to do’ so what I’m currently doing isn’t even sinking in properly. I came here to see and think and observe and you can’t do that if you are darting around: well, I can’t anyways.
I like ambling. It allows ample time for reflection and letting my mind wander over countless thoughts (some relevant, most absurd). Whilst right now, only having the crinkled water and fuzzy horizon to focus on is a luxury that I don’t intend on frittering away.

Solitude and Worry Beads:

It’s reasurring that so many people stop and sit on their own, perfectly happy; be it in the shade on a park bench, on a slab of marble that hasn’t been sectioned off in the Ancient sites, in a café, and most tilt their head to the side ever so slightly and stare into space: thinking thinking, watching people go by, thinking some more, taking a drag of their cigarette, patting a friendly street dog, then a sip of their Frappe. Their minds are wandering but they are still connected to the place in some form (not like London old zombie town where everyone seems unreachable in their private bubble).
It’s a beautiful thing to behold. And it’s nice that you never feel like you have to give up your table once your drink is finished, you can sit there for hours and hours, your water will always be refilled without the pressure of having to order something else or pay straight away.
Now that, is civilized. What ever would we do with a culture that encourages sitting and thinking, mulling things over and not being rushed? No wonder worry beads are a dime a dozen over here. It makes sense that so much influential philosophy originated here, even then they sat and stared into space, thinking and questioning, arguing and debating with strangers and friends.

Monday in Αθήνα

JUNE the SECOND 2:10pm
Sitting to the side of the gorgeous yet unassuming church ‘Ayia Paraskevi’ in an outdoor café off busy crazy Athinas Street. I kick myself now in hindsight, for not taking photos of the fantastic Byzantine mural over the doorway, but instead I sit and watch countless pairs of Greek women of all ages walking past, then suddenly stopping and backtracking towards the church, motioning to each other that they should really go inside and quickly light a candle.
For whom I wonder?
Church and State seem one and the same over here, maybe this is already changing. I never felt as ‘Greek’ as other kids I knew because I wasn’t raised in an Orthodox environment, thereby missing out on at least 50% of what it is to be Greek. Maybe even more than that. I think the last time I was in a church was when I was christened! Haha.
The market on Athinas is fantastic and makes me miss my dad who would be happy to see a trillion different types of nuts being roasted and bundled away. The meat section is enormous and I take a little peek, not brave enough to walk through rows and rows of dead skinned chopped up animals. My favourite, the spice store. It's literally on the street about one and a half metres wide but with bags and bags of herbs piled up to the wazoo. Cinnammon sticks as long as your forearm, a medley of autumn colours; browns, burnt oranges, olive greens....I just wanted to bury my head in a pillow of dried oregano, or maybe just sprinkle some over my fetta.
Two cemeteries and a stadium
From Athinas Street, I head up and over to Kerameikos Cemetery and further on to Technopolis. Walk to metro stop Thisio (my favourite for some reason, maybe because there are marble ruins on the grass either side of the train track!) and over to the First National Cemetery near Sygrou-Fix.
Looking for the poet Seferis, didn't find him, but found Melina Mercouri's grave which was a bit overwhelming (someone had lit the lamp on her grave and it had many fresh flowers on it). Sat in the leafy cemetery for a little, watching the people. I'd call them 'mourners' but Greeks never look sad here, maybe because they are so preoccupied with death, it's a natural thing to spend so much time in a necropolis visiting various family and friends. Gather thoughts in the silent sun and plot my next move. To my delight, the Panathenaic Stadium is so close by, and I wander around the streets heady with jasmine and see the cats eyeing me suspiciously as I invade their private back alleys.
Spent more time gawking at the stadium than I thought I would..it really is enormous, immaculate and completely marble! Makes me want to run or sprint or something athletic, which is hilarious because I would only think of running if I was being chased by someone or something. Wander down back through the National Gardens over to Syntagma to have an early dinner before going back to Zografou for a reflective beer or two on Chrysi's balcony, but without my dearest friend for company.
I did so much walking today, a big triangle over Athens. Yesterday I was around the ancient sites which are so close to each other, but today? Up down and all around, I need a Mythos!
A couple around my age is in the café a few tables away from where I am sitting. The girl is asking him questions, growing increasingly emotional with each one. When I perk my ears up I hear her mentioning looking at other girls etc. It is unclear to me if he has been actually doing this or she is just jumping the gun a little. In any case, she's getting quite upset.
The boy is not freaked out at all by her emotions but does look concerned and empathetic even. He calms her down by drawing her close and giving her one of the most passionate kisses to rival even the best movie moments. Even I am trying not to gawk. Mostly when I see strangers pashing in public it's just not cool, but this kiss? I was glad I was sitting down.
Seems to have worked. The girl grows quiet and is happier.
Bravo leventi!

PS: (This is the street I fell in love with, in between the cemetery and the stadium)

25 June 2008

The boys that ruined it for me (or, "I feel for you Chuck Klosterman")

A few months ago I posted a short essay written by Chuck Klosterman titled 'John Cusack ruined my love life'. Well I've been doing some thinking and it was not a major revelation to me that boys I have encountered on the big and small screen have completely ruined any hopes I have of finding a real life human being who will be able to stand anywhere near these monoliths of ideal love in my own mind. Here's to you Chuck, and to those damn unreal boys. Sigh.

In the order of which I fell in love, pay no attention to actual chronology (it all starts for me in highschool)

Griffin Holbrook from Party of Five 1995
The troubled excellently named gorgeous brooding boy who is constantly stuffing up but turns out to be a hopeless and fearless romantic, transformed by his love for Julia. Swoon, double and triple swoon.

Noel Crane from Felicity 1998
Griffin's antithesis, the responsible best friend type. A
'good' boy, super smart and dependable (so you can see why she chose Ben, grr) but oh so handsome and sticks around to be taken for granted time and again. Stupid Felicity. This is one exception to the rule that the bad boy is almost always more appealing than the best friend type. Sniffle.
My friend J and I have this theory that we have been talking about for nigh on ten years now, it's the same pattern again and again. It needs it's own post so look out for it soon right here!

Troy Dire of Reality Bites c.1994
I am not alone with this one, almost every girl in highschool in the 90's fell for Troy (Ethan Hawke at his most scrumptious) and still can't manage to let go even though now Ethan is a bag of bones, divorced and not so handsomely gr
ungy. Again a fine example of the bad boy arsehole who you *know* will break your heart but seems to be the only one you can really connect with on all levels.

We did not even blink when Lelaina cheated on Michael (sweet but bland Ben Stiller) with her love-hate quasi-philosopher rocker-loser, it was the most natural thing in the world. Troy bridges both camps by being a bad boy AND a best friend. Phwoar. He is also testament to how low a self-esteem girls have to become involved with someone that they categorically know is an arsehole. Sadly it gives us the false hope that maybe we are the Lelaina's of this world and can set them straight. We are not and cannot. Hence why this is a movie and not real life.

Jesse from Before Sunrise/Before Sunset 1995 and 2004

Around the same time a
s Reality Bites came this little gem, and even though the sequel is nine years later and Ethan is not the boy we all fell in love with..the character still makes yer heart flutter, and so does Julie Delpy's Celine too for that matter.

Jess Mariano of Gilmore Girls
I like to think Jess is the teenage version of Troy Dire. Of all the boys on this list he is my favourite. Perhaps because I know someone quite similar to Jess in real life (ok, barr the vandalism bit). Extremely well read, funny and wry, a bit of an attitude, cocky, an irreverant streak, slightly elitist, way too charmin
g in a scruffy way, hell even the damn shuffle-walk that he does and that stare...ah but I regress. Back to the unreal Jess...wait, those things are the real Jess too. Sigh.

*cue frustrated rant*
Rory Gilmore totally let the team down on this one, Dean? Logan? You've got to be kidding me. She and Jess acknowledge they will always have this 'so
mething' there...hence why she is a major idiot. Especially since he really got his act together towards the end and became even sexier; hopeless romantic with his cool heart on his sleeve, running a small publishing house, writing a short novel..reminding her of who she is and what she is capable of. Stupid stupid girl. I will never forgive her for that. Or perhaps myself for that matter too...who has their own personal Jess and does nothing about it? Egad, I'm doing a Rory Gilmore!
Heavens to Betsy.

Count Almasy from The English Patient (the novel 1992 and the movie 1996)
The thinking woman's man. All passion and brooding, a morose disposition, scowling and skulking around the campfire; of course on screen it takes Kris
ten Scott Thomas to light that fire in his belly and turn him into a reckless and dynamic lover. Heartbreaking heartbreaking. But then again, I was heartbroken for all the wrong reasons when Ralph had a mid-flight quickie in the toilets with a skanky Qantas air-hostess last year. Damn him ruining my lovely blurry curtain between real and non-real men!

Also for another fine Fienne (sorry!) romantic protagonist see the movie Onegin c.1999. Oh those Russians, so tragic, so sexy.

Lloyd Dobler from Say Anything 1989
(just watch the excellent first movie by Cameron Crowe or read Chuck's essay...you don't need me rehashing)

a day in the life...

Reading Schopenhauer on the tube...everyone thinks he is a mysoginist and a pessimist, I actually am quite partial to old Arthur. I feel for him. I know why he has these opinons of women and understand that he doesn't really hate them but he never managed to get the love and attention that he craved.
When the first female role model in your life (dear mother) doesn't make you feel your own worth and bags you out to Goethe where do you go from there? Endless rejection, endless longing. My favourite grumpy German.

Cradling Marlboro lights on my fingertips. Old friend. Always there when I need to regroup and focus, cigarettes will kill you though. Gah. Red red wine in the evening leaves me looking like I've been punched in the mouth...a suitable illustration for how I feel. I have been converted to the Church of Blossom Hill...who knew the Californians can make a mean Merlot? Certainly not me.

Decide I want a poodle as an homage to Mr. Schopenhauer. Ok maybe not right now though.
I read an article that said listening to sad music when you are down actually makes you feel better, as opposed to worse; cue Ryan Adams, a man who has given me more comfort than he will ever know. One day I will buy him a drink or three. Absolutely.

Being a hopeless romantic is hard work; it's hopeless because inevitably no one will love you the same way you want or need to be loved. There are people out there, I'm sure. I've only met one so far and I'm too terrified to explore this further with him and so keep him in the shadows, much to both our dismay...the dissapointment and longing is a badge we hopeless romantics must wear time and again.

Try in vain to keep away from one very very lovely English boy who turns me into a gibbering idiot with every interaction, and he reads Schopenhauer too, oh the pain. Searching for converstation but only find stammers and stops and banal comments on both our parts; "it's really bright in here isn't it?" Holy crap. If only you could just say "look, I really want to kiss you" maybe just to see their reaction. Ok, I like stirring things up...but I will keep that comment to myself. I hate when people ask for permission to kiss someone for the first time. The tentative politeness ruins it. Passion is not synonymous with politeness.

Schopenhauer is an old friend to me now. I rue the fact we will never have a proper dialogue..our conversations are so one-sided; I read him and relate and say to him "oh you don't really mean that, you're just hurting and scared like me" and he just keeps on going. Sometimes he relents and I break out into a grin, gleeful that I cracked his gruff exterior if only for a second, buried in a sentence somewhere.

Thinking about Virginia Woolf and she's right, I do need a room of my own. What am I going to do with all that spare time that was once gobbled up and filled to the brim with a lover? Be completely selfish, that's what. It's about time. Boys get more attention than they deserve and don't give much back for it either. Write, look out the window, do my own stuff without feeling self concious...it's been far too long. Edward Hopper Morning Sun, 1952

8 June 2008

Sunday in Αθήνα


As soon as I left Monastiraki station, there it was; the Acropolis! Monastiraki markets are heaving with uneven walkways and painfully kitschy tourist shops –I only wish I had room enough in my luggage to bring back my very own large model of the Acropolis complete with internal glowing orange light.
I was tempted to buy a small version of the Parthenon that I’m pretty sure was an ashtray but decided all those Doric columns would be too hard to clean. Quite fitting really as Athens is not known for it’s clean air and much damage has afflicted the buildings on the Acropolis because of it. Still.
I loved the proper flea market which operates on Sundays; random things like door handles, old pistols, a LOT of tiny opera glasses and old watches. Of course!
In the main square of the flea market one stallholder was shouting at the top of his lungs, over what injustice, I’m still not sure, but he was outraged by something. He kept mentioning ‘xartia’ (papers). I have a feeling it was to do with people who don’t have the right to live/work in Greece incringing on the Greeks proper. Some agreed with him which spurred him on further, some shouted back to shut up as this was their workplace too and they are trying to serve customers, one said ‘irimise re yimnokefale!’ (calm down naked-head!) haha…when I looked at him again, he actually was balding which made me laugh. Normally the Greeks favour ‘xerokefale’ as an insult (implying your head is hard and thick).

I love how abrupt the Greeks are, there is 100% nothing subtle about them. When they disagree or even when they don’t, they fly into an impassioned raucous performance but don’t seem to expend any energy doing it –they just keep going.
That hair trigger reaction of extreme emotion is something that has been mentioned to me and has often made me question whether or not this is normal or insane. In the marketplace I realized that this quality I have which others make me feel is improper and out of control is actually a very normal cultural Greek thing, as those in the Marketplace attested to. Why I ever questioned my own sanity really disappoints me.
The Greeks don’t bat an eyelid at such velocity of emotions. Unfortunately…the non-Greeks (hello Aussies) do. Do you water down your natural cultural upbringing for the sake of milder Anglo sensibilities or do you continue to let it fly? My money is on the latter.

The weather here is like Sydney, white sunshine that bleaches out everything and air that clings to your skin so you are always damp. When I woke up Sunday morning I was a little disorientated –in a strange bed and my surroundings didn’t sound like they normally do. I went out onto the balcony and saw white, cream, beige and every shade in between of apartment blocks stacked on top of one another as far as I could see; aha… I am in Αθήνα!
*Cue my Hiro Nakumara pose of hands spread out, victorious with glee!*
After a while you learn to ignore the feeling of being damp, sticky and coated in a thin film of dust. But oh…when a breeze comes along you almost forget your clothes are plastered to you –in a moment cool air lightly feathers its fingers over you ever so quickly. The only word for it is delicious.

One of the many rogue dogs is playing tug of war with a young guy and his absent girlfriend’s black cardigan. The guy is at a loss until his girlfriend promptly marches over to him and the dog, brazenly grabs the dog by his scruff and retrieves her cardigan; giving her boyfriend a look that probably made him feel about 2 inches tall.
Doggy by this time is really excited and still wanted to play, hopping about madly. When the couple wouldn’t oblige him he consoled himself by letting his own tail be the next item up for grabs. Then the air, then the leaves he was kicking up whilst spinning around to get to his tail.
-Oh to be a dog in the sun and create your own playground always!

OVERHEARD : At the entrance to the Ancient Agora 1:50pm

Do you have any information on the Apocalypse?” –American woman, mid-forties.

I think the only connection the Greeks have with the Apocalypse was that Revalations was written in Greek. That’s about it.
Or, if you ask the Greeks they can tell you the Apocalypse is coming in 2010 when smoking indoors will be banned in Greece.
Panayia mou! Ti treles!

28 April 2008

Film clip analysis; Nelly Furtado, Maneater


Nelly is innocently walking her dog ( a great dane, called Toby..more
on the symbolism of that name later) amongst an industrial site. Toby, being a dog, does what most dogs will do when faced with a feline obstacle and decides to ditch Nelly in pursuit of said furry white kitty.
being the responsible owner that she is, and probably because great danes are expensive and lovely dogs, goes looking for the rascal Toby and finds herself getting more and more lost in the complex and creepy underground maze of corridors in this mystery industrial site, complete with requisite flickering neon overhead lights.

What is even more odd is that this underground space seems to be the hangout of some beautiful, lithe, cool looking folk who are decked out in cutting-edge urban gear, probably sponsored by G-Star Raw. They also all have glowing pale eyes; possibly vampires, possibly coked off their nutters.

I like to think that Nelly is nodding her head to that other influential film clip, Bonnie Tyler's 1983 hit 'total eclipse of the heart'. You know the one, creepy old mansion with billowing curtains, a group of young choirboys all in possession of 'bright eyes', genius!

But I digress...back to the vampires; if Nelly feels pertubed by these urban bright eyes she doesn't let them see it. Instead she does what any modern heroine would do in her position and gets her sass on and starts to sing, she sings a song that seems to resonate with them because they too eventually start moving around to this beat that has materialised out of nowhere, filling the awkward space that many of us feel when we have walked into a bar or party where we do not see anyone we recognise straight away.

This song, speaks of a 'maneater'. Perhaps the urban vampires recognise Nelly's ironic wit and subversive attempt to reach out to them and find a common bond; she is a metaphoric eater of man...or perhaps warning them against other metaphoric maneaters who chew men up and spit them out once they have served their limited purpose (if you live any big city, you might have seen them in action...I recently had the fortune of being in a bar in Copenhagen almost entirely populated by these 'maneaters'; it was a fascinating anthropological insight into this species and I felt privileged at being able to see them work away in their natural habitat whilst I sat there dumbfounded sipping on my cocktail, a veritable fish out of water).
This song speaks to the vampires because they are maneaters of the more literal sense, partaking of the human blood that nourishes them and causes their eyes to glow so brilliantly, pulsating with the fire of human existence. Actually,
they are more 'mandrinkers' aren't they? Wait...'mandrinkers' is so un-pc; 'peopledrinkers', there, that's better.

Coming back to the point of 'the fire of human existence', fire is also another symbol that is presented to the viewer. This serves two functions, again the more literal; fire is hot, fire makes the beautiful lithe vam
piric people (who incidentally turn out to be good dancers) sweat, sweat is sexy when in combination with a good beat and plenty of bass.
Fire in the more metaphorical sense adds an element of danger; fire hot, ouchy ouchy burn don't get too close...is Nelly trying to tell us something? Is she a hard person to get to know? Has she been burned before, is that why she is now a maneater or purports to know so much about man

Also fire is representive of the flames of hell, vampires are not exactly god's creatures and seem to belong more to the camp of the diabolical (no offence to the vampires who may be reading this). This also c
alls to mind the meaning behind the name of Nelly's dog; Toby. Toby is short for Tobias which like many biblical names basically translates into 'god is good'.
If Toby is so damn good...why has he inadvertently led her into this diabolical subterranean den of dance? Perhaps he know that Nelly can handle herself.

Nelly demonstrates her level of sass and bravado by not letting the fact that she cannot dance phase her or stop her from being sexy. She fulfills this goal by means of two actions;

1) waving her hands around, normally around her head to distract from the lower half of her body, the camera is in cahoots with Nelly as it tends to focus on her from the waist up, and for this we are thankful.
2) the short sequence when she somehow ends up alone on the rooftop midsong; she lifts her white tank top suggestively and rubs her abs vigourously, again denoting that she is one sexy-mother (or perhaps a tad peckish) but at the
same time leading your mind away from the fact she cannot dance per se.

This trend is also seen in Nelly's other filmclip, 'say it right' albeit not underground but on a rooftop helipad and sans Toby.

The conclusion of the filmclip is favourable to our urban heroine; she connects with the vampires through the power of music, tries to bluff her way through some dance moves and ultimately finds her dog Toby with remarkable good fortune just as the song has ended.

What can this filmclip teach us about the plight for knowledge and understanding of the human condition?

a) when in doubt, break into song

b) vampire are people too you know
c) great danes are great but hard to take out for a walk
d) Bonnie Tyler rocks

Have I missed anything? Let me know

xxx M

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