Saturday, September 10, 2016

Shattering the Glass Slipper at My Fair Lady

Do I really want to take my 9 year old daughter to see a musical about human trafficking? That's what it boils down to. 

The lavish 60th Anniversary Production of My Fair Lady, directed by Dame Julie Andrews is stunning - the costumes are amazing, the sets like a pop-up story book, each more incredible than the last, the singing and choreography will knock your socks off! 

When Professor Henry Higgins takes Eliza Doolittle to the horse races at Ascot I'm blown away - the cast are all dressed in a black and white kaleidoscope of M.C. Esher-esque couture, topped off with a milliners fantasy of hats in all shapes and sizes. Instantly, I think of my daughter, the little girl who sits up in bed at night drawing ream after ream of fashion plates - Oh! I can't wait to bring her to see this fabulous show, I think!

But, from the minute I start thinking of Charlotte, the glass slipper bubble of Disney delight is shattered. How can I possibly bring her to see a musical which is, undeniably, about human trafficking? Whether or not Eliza Doolittle is a willing participant, the exchange of £5, the Victorian equivalent of a year's rent, has my feminist antenna erupting like a radio active Geiger counter. 

Poor Eliza, for all her bravado in 'Just You Wait', singing:
"When you yell you're going to drown, I'll get dressed and go to town!"
By the time she sings 'I Could Have Danced All Night' with that doe-eyed look on her face - she's doomed! She's gone and bloody fallen in love with Professor Henry Higgins, it's like watching Princess Leia fall in love with Jabba The Hutt!

Still, the romantic in me longs for the fairytale ending - surely the Professor will sweep her off her feet and carry her into the sunset? Love conquers all!

NO! What am I thinking?? My conscience backhand slaps these irrational thoughts and reprimands me sternly - how on earth can I wish this intelligent, hard-working, enterprising girl to end up with this spoilt, chauvinistic scoundrel? What sort of moral compass am I demonstrating for my daughter, pursuing such mawkish thought bubbles?

And what of Eliza's role models? The sponging alcoholic father who recommends giving her the strap if she doesn't do as she's told, the absent controlling step-mother? Poor Eliza, she wouldn't even have been able to cast a vote into a ballot box, let alone strike out alone, she was a woman living in a time with limited choices...

Yes, the production is stunning - all of it! - but most of all, the ending. 

I wonder if Dame Julie Andrews was just a teeny tiny bit tempted to change the ending? I wonder if she secretly contemplated a new millennial twist to the Pygmalion plot? 

But no, I doubt that crossed her mind, she is after all a Dame Commander of the British Empire, one of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II BFFs. She is a battleship of established society, faithful to old guard and the stiff upper lipAs polished and poised as the remodelled Eliza Doolittle herself.

I've decided I can't wait to take my daughter to see My Fair Lady, and I'm going to take my son too, and then I'm going to sit down and have a jolly good discussion with them afterwards, perhaps over cucumber sandwiches and Twinings earl grey tea with lemon. There's a lot to talk about.

The 60th Anniversary production of My Fair Lady is playing at the Sydney Opera House until 5th November. Starring Alex Jennings, Anna O'Byrne, Reg Livermore, Robin Nevin, Tony Llwellyn-Jones & Mark Vincent.

I'd love to know, what production have you taken your children to see, or are looking forward to sharing with them?

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Happy Father's Day!

My father looks a bit like Owen Wilson in this picture, don't you think? It was taken in 1976 when I was just two years old. The weird thing is I do actually remember the photo being taken - and that's because I was given the WORST TOY EVER to hold for the picture, the photographer picked it out for me to hold because it was a monkey that had a yellow waistcoat on that matched Mum's jumpsuit. 

I was terrified of that toy, I totally hated it, but Mum told me to "Just pretend you like it for the photo!". Mum was always doing stuff like that, she never wanted to put anyone out. 

So before I could protest the monkey was plonked in between my legs and Mum said "Taa Daa!" trying to get us all to smile while the flash went off - POP! POP! POP! - you know those cool 1970s camera flashes that looked like an ice cube tray of burnt out bulbs?

Of course Mum was the only one in the family with the photogenic gene so she always looked fabulous when the magazine came out, Dad and I on the other hand usually looked like stunned nocturnal animals about to be shot between the eyes. 

So... Happy Father's Day Dad! A brief happy snap of our Little family - before I looked down and saw the EVIL MONKEY staring at me...


Question: Did you have a toy you were scared of when you were little? 

Photo credit: Jason Scragz

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Premenstrual Mindfulness

I need to meditate, like right NOW. Meditating in my house is called ‘hiding from the family’. They’re like sniffer dogs, they always find me. Sitting in the garden and having a smoke used to work well in the past but now I have two building sites on either side of my house - the plants are covered in plaster dust and the citrus trees are covered in stink bugs. So the garden is out.

I need a new place to mediate… I’ve been fantastising about a cave, or a bunker... a special Meditation Bunker bored into the sandstone where I can escape to defrag my brain. It would also come in handy for the zombie apocalypse, or for when global warming melts the ice caps and the oceans turn acidic and the supermarket shelves are suddenly empty like they are in Russia and hungry people start hunting possums…

I don’t have a bunker yet so instead I just went to bed really early. I turned the light out and hoped that I’d wake up early before my family when the house is dark and silent. I had lots of dreams, one where I was in an elevator that kept getting smaller and I didn’t know how to get out of it, and then another where I was kissing my husband for a long time until I woke up gasping for air because the doona was over my face.

But as soon as I was awake all this shit started piling into my head - bits of broken ‘to do’ lists and things coming up in the calendar that I hadn’t written down yet, my brain started saying I should do yoga or walk the dogs to clear my head, then I started feeling guilty about not walking the dogs... Then I remembered I hadn’t bought soy milk so I’d have to use cow’s milk and maybe that was better for the environment anyway because cow’s milk doesn’t come in tetra packs which are supposed to be really bad for the environment, but worse for the cow of course…

And then I PANICKED because I remembered my period was 6 DAYS LATE!! Did that mean the unthinkable… and that I was going to be taught a lesson for always secretly believing that people who said they were using condoms when they fell pregnant were liars, or did that mean that I was approaching menopause which was also shit because then I’d have to worry about my hair thinning and bones turning into sawdust like in those Egyptian mummy movies…

And then I told myself I was thinking too much and that I was really just a bag of hormones and all my problems - the crazy dreams and overthinking and the feeling like I wanted to punch through sheets of Gyprock karate style - just boiled down to PMT. And that maybe when the sun came up I’d go to the park and just lie down in the middle of the grass and think about all the living creatures underneath and around me and the magic of the plants capturing the sun’s energy with chlorophyll in a way that human’s were nowhere near doing yet and how tiny and insignificant I really am, just a minuscule multi-celled creature no better than bacteria in a blip of time space lying on the face of a huge rock spinning around a star.

Do you have a Meditation Bunker or secret place you go to escape? 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Cockadoodledoo! Richie Strahan & the Man Flu

I confess, I’ve started watching The Bachelor.

But first, let me tell you how this came to be... 

Last week Tim picked Hunter up from preschool, ‘Give me some skin brother!’ he said. Our three year old looked alarmed. If vampires take blood and zombies take brains… what sort of monster takes skin?

Tim hastily demonstrated the special handshake and then, because he’s a Dad he took it one step further and taught Hunter how to spit on his hand to ‘seal’ a handshake.

Tim started showing symptoms of ‘man flu’ within 6hrs of the ‘special handshake’ demonstration. Within 24hrs it had spread through the household - the toxic toddler saliva, plastered into the petri dish of germs on each small sweaty palm had produced an explosion of virulent microbial life. Tom came down with a fever, Charlotte started complaining of stomach cramps, Hunter’s chest sounded like an emphysema ward.

I worried that it would be a repeat of the great stomach flu of 2015, the highlight of which was hosing vomit off bedsheets on the driveway at 2am. Luckily, the epidemic didn’t turn out to be that memorable, but it did result in an awful lot of TV watching - the trashier the better.

And so this is how I came to find The Bachelor on my screen…

“What’s that garbage you’re watching Kate?” Tim asks scornfully. He’s better now, all recovered from the man flu, it’s only me who’s left on the couch, clutching the last remaining box of tissues.

“I’m doing research, for my blog,” I mumble, my head so blocked up I sound like I’m speaking through a gas mask.

I’ve channel swapped my way to The Bachelor by a process of elimination - no cooking shows, no renovating, definitely no weight loss shows… and yet, even without these staple television formats I’m surprised to find that The Bachelor is still a competition. A competition of love!

Suddenly I was transported back to my primary school years when boys made their first bleep on the radar... Dusty memories resurfaced - the time I clumsily let the cake knife touch the bottom and was forced to deliver an awkward kiss to a younger brother amidst a gloating circle of carnivorous girls. Another memory... a bottle spinning on carpet and the resulting wet claustrophobic embrace, shut in a cupboard with a boy, who happened to be the only boy at the party - he spent a lot of time in the cupboard.

That day I found out by a convoluted chain of Chinese whispers that a boy liked me. 
“Do you like him?” I shrugged, giggles and whispers made their way back to the boy - we were going out by morning tea, by lunch time we’d split up. 

A little older and things became more serious, the girls, as cunning as velociraptors, began to hunt in packs, marking out their kill and threatening to scratch the eyes out of anyone that came within a ten foot radius of their prize.

Mesmerised by the television, I watched the show unfold. Ten stunningly beautiful women, each sacrificing their dignity and self respect, blithely throwing candles to the wind of the feminist movement with every utterance of “Will you accept this rose?”.

By the time I was over the flu my romance with the show was waning. I was feeling better, starting to shout and throw things at the television, fed up with the flimsy conversations and formulaic saliva swapping. “Ask each other some REAL questions for fuck’s sake!” I shouted.

The truth is, now I’m well, I’d like to be able to stop watching the show, but I can’t. It’s so awful I can’t tear my eyes away. I’m hooked - line and sinker. I just wish they’d ask each other some REAL QUESTIONS!!

For example…

Ask him if he irons his own shirts!

Ask her what she looks like without make up!

Ask him to recite his times tables!

Ask her if she’s on medication!

Ask him if he
 can name all the parts of the female anatomy!

Ask her if she voted for One Nation!

Ask him what he thinks of off-shore detention!

Ask her if she shoplifts!

Ask him if he’s circumcised!

What questions would you have them ask?

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Aye Aye Captain!

It occurred to me that it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a penis other than my husband's...

This week there were photos bouncing around the internet of Orlando Bloom “COMPLETELY NAKED” paddle boarding with Katy Perry. The photo was censored with a black box over his privates, which was fine by me actually, because the photo itself was hilarious with Katy Perry sitting up front seemingly oblivious, looking towards the horizon, which is where I would look too if I knew there was a naked man standing at half mast directly behind me… I mean, where would you look in that situation?

There was much discussion online about the ‘shadow’ on Orlando’s leg... Looking at the photo in such detail felt like a creepy version of ‘Spot The Difference’. I was happy just seeing that photo, I didn't need to see anymore.

But then the uncensored photo came out… To be honest when I clicked on it, it was more like a dare - I thought, “They don’t show nipples on Instagram, surely they won’t show a naked wiener…” and then my jaw hit the keyboard.

That’s when my husband walked in and said, “Jesus Kate, what are you looking at?”

“I’m just doing research,” I stammered, “For my blog…”

“Mmm-hmmm.” He cocked an eyebrow and left me to it, but I didn’t want to look at the internet anymore, I couldn’t un-see what I had just seen. 
It reminded me of other awful things I’d been exposed to because of the internet like Miley Cyrus twerking and Minion dildos, and it reminded me of the time I let Tom and Charlotte look at pictures with Google Images on my work computer to keep them still for a minute or two while I mopped the floor upstairs. 

Charlotte was too young to type so she told Tom what to look for and he typed them in one finger at a time…

“Put in ‘unicorn’…

“Put in ‘fairy queen’…

“Put in ‘cute pussy’…

A shriek left my throat, the mop clattered to the ground, I stumbled down the stairs three and four at a time, “Right! That’s it! OFF my computer! Everyone off!” Tom gave Charlotte that look to say ‘Mum’s lost her marbles again, c’mon….’

I’m still feeling squeamish, serves me right for taking the click-bait, I’ve seen one too many penises… Would I look at the picture again? Who knows, as Bob Dylan says: "The answer is blowin’ in the wind."

Here's the link to the uncensored photo on pervey friends!

Tell me: What have you seen that you wish you could un-see?
All Mum Said

Saturday, July 30, 2016

At home with Robert Smith from The Cure.

'Mary darling, there's a kitten stuck on the curtain again!' 
I went and saw The Cure on Monday night! They’ve always been my favourite band, Robert Smith was my first love and I’m not ashamed to say I would still have his baby, even though I’m 41 - there’s still an egg or two stashed in my ovaries that could be put to good use!

They’re not as fresh as they were twenty-five years ago mind you when I had his poster up on my wall… I dreamed of kissing those smudgy red lipsticked lips and tangling my fingers in his mop of teased black hair. These days he’s looking more like the spider from the Lullaby film clip, with a pudgy waistline and greying hair, not that I mind though, I fell in love with his lyrics and guitar.

But as I watched him on stage I did start wondering if his blood pressure was alright - I mean, a three hour set would be quite a workout, and then they took so many encores I started worrying about his prostate - running off and on stage half a dozen times in my mind means only one thing…

I looked around at the crowd, a few vintage goths still had died hair, the rest just looked like tired parents who’d gone to a lot of trouble and expense to have a night out. Two middle aged men jumped up to sing Boys Don't Cry together, bless ‘em.

I wondered if Robert was still married to his high school sweetheart Mary. I’d read they never had children because they wanted to pursue artistic careers, they were a lot smarter than me obviously, they figured out before they became parents that children, as cute as they are, do kind of cramp your style…

A house with no kids I thought, but I bet they’ve got tonnes of cats - they must do, because he’s written songs about love cats and caterpillars and spiders - but there’s never been any song that mentions birds, obviously because the cats eat them all. All Robert’s got left in the garden to write about are insects - but not butterflies, the cats eat them as soon as they’re out of the cocoon.

Must be a super nice place to live if you’re a cat - three ply kitty litter, wall to ceiling carpet… Robert looks like he indulges a bit, he obviously likes his pudding. I bet he watches Nigella in bed with all the cats when he gets home from touring…

I wonder how often he washes his hair… Maybe Mary washes it when she can’t stand it any longer. Maybe she secretly runs a bath every six months or so on a nice sunny day, then goes around catching all the cats and finally lures Robert in with a trail of Nigella cupcakes… Then she throws them all into the bathtub, hissing and howling and spitting together and gives them all a good ol’ shampoo, before letting them out into the garden to sit in the sun together and lick themselves, poor old bedraggled cats and lovely Robert looking like Insy Winsy washed out of the drainpipe…

Tell me... which ageing rocker would you still get knocked up by? 
PS. Mick Jagger, if you're reading this, we're just talking hypothetically okay?
Life Love and Dirty Dishes

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