Ode to Pulp

Musical Regrets – I have a few and they surface every now and then

I’ve been enjoying driving around the city of Sydney once again. After 2 years on public transport I am now the proud temporary owner of a Nissan Pulsar circa 2001.

Nothing beats driving around the city listening to my ‘retro’ cd collection.

On Saturday morning, as I prepared to go to an 8am gym session I closed my eyes and reached in the direction of my cd stack – my hand landed on something special and I made a quick dash to the car.

Pulp came to Sydney in 1998.  Reading up on the band prior to writing this post, the UK group were best known in the mid- 1990s, reluctant participants in the ‘Britpop’ movement that included bands such as Oasis and Blur.

I had an friend who was caught up in the Britpop movement, avid reader of ‘ The Face’ fashion and culture magazine and heavily invested in the pop feud that had engulfed Oasis and Blur. Despite living 17,000kms from the epicentre of this movement, this Aussie chick flew the Union Jack in Austinmer loud and proud.

I was a fair-weather fan, only on rare occasions did I find myself caught up in the fanfare. And then once day I was invited to see Pulp at the Enmore Theatre. Squeal!!

But I got sick. Sick with an illness that ‘normally’ befriends the elderly and the unlucky. Polyarteritis nodosa, inflammation of the blood vessels. And that was just the start, I was a mixed bag of ill-health and the Pulp concert came and went.

Whilst not a true fan, I was disappointed. Yet instead of wallowing I set aside my sadness and got on with life. Months passed and my health returned. I forgot about the concert and all that the year 1998 had come to represent.

I am unsure of when I ‘rediscovered’ Pulp. Yet when I did I was ready to listen.

And what a joy to listen to songs that made me smile as distant memories surfaced once more.

It’s 1994 and my Year 10 Art Teacher is proclaiming that in the year 2000 she will meet up with a long-lost love t ( a pact made whilst listening to the Pulp hit ‘ Disco 2000’) ‘ Sorted out for E’s and Whizz’ – the song perfectly capturing the music festival scene I immersed myself in with gusto in the Mid-1990’s:

‘Oh is this the way they say the futures meant to feel?

Or just 20,000 people standing in a field’

Jarvis Cocker, lead singer of Pulp, the epitome of cool.

Some 20 years later, I understand my Aussie friends investment in the Britpop movement.

Musical Regrets, I have a few.

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The Breakfast Club

I recently watched the film ‘ The Breakfast Club’ for the first time.

Considering it was released in 1985 I am left wondering why it took me 33 years to get around to this?

Yet I admit I watched in two parts and for the first 43 minutes I had not a clue why this film was revered a cult classic.

The movie had nothing to do with breakfast, rather a group of teenagers from different walks of life enduring a Saturday morning detention at their High School.

As I near middle age I found it difficult to relate to the characters personal struggles to relate to one another and to the indifference they showed authority figures.

I did not understand, I was bored, I turned it off and went to bed.

Awaking the next morning I was determined to see the film out. Yet before I picked up where I left off I did a bit of reading in an attempt to find out why all the fuss

  • The movie was written, produced and directed by John Hughes. And John Hughes wrote, produced and directed Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – my all time favourite film. My heart warmed
  • I read the film premise and came to terms with the fact that the kids would not be going to a cafe for brunch. They were way cooler, members of ‘The Breakfast Club’ – the nickname invented by students and staff for detention. My heart warmed.

And as the remainder of the film unfolded I was won over and then some.

A bond began to form between the group of teens whose paths would NEVER have crossed had it not been for the Saturday lock in. As they divulged deeply personal secrets they were forced to reevaluate their preconceived ideas and stereotypical judgements about one another, themselves and their place in the world ( yes it was THAT epic)

When I was in the UK in 2013 I ate numerous times at the ‘ The Breakfast Club’ cafe chain. Prehaps that’s why I associated the orignal film with bacon and eggs? I was only 7 when the original film came out and fell hard and fast for Ferris and Edward ScissorHands at 13 so there was little room in my life for Claire, Andy, Brian, Allison and John Bender.

But fast forward 33 years and it seems I’m ready to appreciate the mastery and wonder of the teen comedy drama. All 97 minutes of pure cinema genius.

They only met once, but it changed their lives forever. They were five total strangers, with nothing in common, meeting for the first time. A brain, a beauty, a jock, a rebel and a recluse.

The Breakfast Club, first viewing September 14th-15th 2018. Life changed forever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Coat of Many Colours

'The' Coat,  Sydney. 2018

‘The’ Coat Sydney. 2018

Of late my mind has drifted, wondered back in time.

Kings Road Chelsea London to be precise.

I am 22 and I am wearing a fabulous coat that I purchased in an Op-Shop in Willesdon Green, North West London – the Borough I called home for 5 months in 2001.

I am wearing this green and pink wool number down Kings Road, Chelsea feeling very pleased with myself. In its heyday Kings Road was synonymous with cutting edge fashion and although it had long since been gentrified, 17 years ago as I strutted along the pavement I felt I was honouring a bygone era in my thrift shop purchase.

And it did not go unnoticed. A colleague who worked with me in the retail store commented one morning ‘ I saw this young women walking down the road in a coat of all types of fabulousness – and then I realised it was you!!’

This made my heart sing, my head swell. My colleague was a true Londoner, born and bred, edgy and cool.

Me, I was a from a small coastal town in NSW, population 2000 people. I had only ever been to Bondi Beach once in my life time ( 4 days before boarding my flight), so that when UK residents asked me about Australia’s most famous beach – I could say I had been.

Those were special times.

I have fond memories of Kings Road Chelsea. I worked for the High End Furniture brand ‘ Heals’ earning 5 pounds an hour, serving supermodels and listening on the tunes of  Kylie Minogue and Gabrielle. To this day, the ‘ Rise ‘ soundtrack by Gabrielle and ‘ Light Years’ by Kylie are amongst my all time favourites.

17 years ago. Seems but yesterday. And it can be when I put on my coat of many colours and indulge my taste in music.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Youth is Yours

Recently I started listening to the music of Troye Sivan. He is all of 23 years of age.

I lived out my teenage years in the 1990’s – in a decade free of the perils of social media and the connectivity that mobile phones and tech platforms afford the masses.

It does not feel that long ago, yet as I cast my mind back to a time when grunge fashion; flannelette shirts, doc martens and band t-shirts ruled supreme, it is worlds removed from the brightness that greets me each morning as I peruse my wardrobe.

Troye on the other hand grew up online, a Youtube sensation, his self-made videos amassing millions of followers, documenting his teens, those tumultuous, tender, trying, hypersensitive years. He took fans along for the ride, they journeyed together with the hope, desire and drive to emerge out the other side, basking in the glory days awarded one in their early 20’s. Looking out with fresh eyes and a newfound self belief that the world was theirs for the taking, brimming with endless possibilities and promise.

As I approach a milestone birthday, I pause to reflect on the journey so far.

And I find myself drawn to the music of Mr Sivan.

Am I having a mid-life crisis?

I listen to his 2015 award-winning song ‘ Youth’ I am painfully aware that my ‘ Youth’ has long since passed.

My youth, my youth, my youth

My youth is Yours

Troye Sivan, ‘ Youth’ 2015

My youth belongs to my many treasured friends, childhood besties and high school buddies who shone a torch-light, illuminating a pathway through the murkiness of adolescence into early adulthood.

My youth belongs to my parents, who loved me wholeheartedly and unreservedly, even though I proclaimed to not need parenting and proceeded to challenge them on anything and everything.

My youth belongs to my brother, who I failed to acknowledge as a human being during this period, yet with the passing of time and with age, I come to see as one of my greatest allies.

I will herald in the next decade of life surrounded by people who have shaped and guided my childhood, my youth, my twenties, my thirties.

Mr Sivan’s music prompts reflection, it is indeed bittersweet to say with certainty that my ‘ Youth’ has long since passed.

Yet the characters who appeared in tales of my youth, are ever-present. Together we shape the next chapter, and it is beautiful, bold and promises to be the best yet.

A is also for Alice

 

Alice Boo Boyle

Alice Boo Boyle

And then came Alice Boo Boyle.

And the adoration of all things feline amplified.

Alice Boo Boyle lived all of her 9 lives and then some. She parted ways with the world but five years ago,  a fine vintage, aged 18 years, 9 months.

Alice Boo Boyle lived as she loved.

Her love of puffed wheat cereal, brocoli, pasta, corn on the cob was legendary. As was her love of food generally. The seal on our family fridge replaced not once but twice as she clawed her way into the ice box in search of …well…anything!

Alice was a cat to which poetry was penned. A cat to which new music was composed and performed. A cat who brought together the community for milestone birthdays, her 10th and her 18th.

When Alice passed from this life to the next, I was five years into my love affair with a cat that was all mine, Flora Boyle. If I’m honest, Flora was Alice and Alice was Flora.

There were trips South, with Flo in tow and these two black beauties would face off in the family home! But Flora was Alice, Alice Flora – in each other they saw their themselves. And they simply purred*

A post written in 2012 when Alice Boo Boyle. as Albert had done 18 years earlier, cashed in her one way ticket to heaven.

Sums it all up, all 18 years, 9 months of adoration, love and respect for the cat that built upon Bert Boyle’s legacy :Alice Boo Boyle Obituary

* not really true – it just read so well!

A is for Albert

Nan and I ( with Albert the cat)

Albert, Nan and Me

Albert Boyle

The first cat I ever loved with my whole heart.

He loved me back too.

My Father, many years after Albert passed away, stated that we had a cat in our family to absorb teenage angst and frustration. This disclosure may explain the fact why Albert booked a one way ticket to heaven as I neared the tender age of 13. Good old Bert had seen the writing on the wall, it was time to go!

Albert was much-loved. He loved the other Boyle pets as much as I did – though his love crossed a line.

Our budgie Bruce, allowed to fly freely around the house one afternoon, had his fate sealed when Albert emerged from the garage to play catch and kiss ( of death) in the lounge room.

My pet mouse Mushroom, brought from Corrimal Pet store for 50c, handed over by my Mother on a shopping expedition – ‘ I’m going to buy a paddle pop!’

Poor Mushroom, who escaped her cage, and went missing for a number of weeks, only to return ‘home’ pregnant. Babies delivered safely, Mother Mushroom proud as punch. Trusty Bert joined in the celebrations, gobbling them up during a 3am feed.

Albert Boyle you broke my heart on a number of occasions.

But the little tears mended with ease when your perfect purr started up, or your simply stared cross-eyed in my direction.

You paved the way for Alice Boo Boyle to come bounding into the family. But this post is yours. You will always be my number one, the holy grail of all things cat.

 

Breakfast Lust Story

 

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I was to devote the month of September to all things feline….but today I found myself in one of my favourite parts of Sydney and now feel compelled to recycle a post from 2012.

It seems a life time ago that I ate at Ruby’s Diner, Waverly….so after a morning of indulgence, bread buying and a massage in Clovelly, I did just that.

I have long had a love affair with the cafe….it inspired the story below. Every word is true. And the aftermath, the story passed onto the waiter, Jack’s comment and my disappointment.

But that was then and this is now – and the food, the coffee, the atmosphere is still on point!!

Catch Up With A Mate

A short story…about breakfast!

She had a crush on the waiter at her local café.

It was impossible not too.

He possessed a curly mop of hair, unruly, untamed, his skin was olive and he towered over her, she liked men who were taller than her.

Then there was his accent ( which she had from good authority was Canadian) and lastly, his confidence, self belief…that was what sealed the deal…this café kid was cool.

And he knew it….

She’d been frequenting this café on and off for the past month…always hopeful that her scrambled eggs with mushrooms on the side would be delivered to her table by him.

If this wasn’t the case, she didn’t mind…she had a back up plan….she would order two coffees, one at a time, thus increasing the odds of a brief encounter.

She loved his flirtatious nature…Or was it all in her head?

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Born Purring

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When I was born, my Mother and Father noted that instead of crying , I purred.

I was a happy baby, a happy toddler, a happy person.

Today is the first day of Spring, the start of new month and therefore a fresh start for September blog posts. This year I have set about writing nostalgic posts and recycling old content. This month I will solely dedicate to my love of all things feline.

I was born purring after all…..

The slideshow provides evidence that my love affair has been life long. The photo of my baptism candle depicts a girl with a clowder of cats at her feet. It sets the scene oh so purrectly. The flame burns bright for Albert, Alice, Flora, family cats who have shaped me into the person I am today. It flickers for the four pawed friends I am yet to meet.

As a one year old, I read books on cats ( see picture) . My reading buddy was Albert, the family Siamese. He was my childhood best fur friend.

As a 20 month old, I took to strangle hugging cats on farms ( see picture) I had so much love to give and cats were powerless to refuses my advances. Although the image implies death was not too far off for the tabby I like to say it was transfixed by love.

As a three-year old I lived abroad in Canada. Cats went weak at the knee’s when they heard my Aussie accent. Like putty in my hands, I was the mini Aussie cat whisperer. No Canadian cat was safe and I had lots of love, and strangle hugs to give.

My life long love affair with all things felines is a sure thing, just as the sun rises each morning. There is much to written about and I have 30 days ahead to do just that.

I was born purring after all……

 

Hollywood Walk of Fame ( Shame)

As Catch up with a Mate month 2017 come to an end – a nostalgic post.

Picture this: a 23-year-old Austinmer girl catches a plane from her temporary home in London, bound for the US, to reunite with a best friend, studying at San Diego University.

After much socialising and sight-seeing, best friend encourages solo travel to L.A, and proposes a nights stay at the Venice Beach Cotel ( Hostel). Girl from Austinmer, via London takes advice to heart and catches a grey hound bus L.A bound.

Girl from Austinmer is lost for words, over come by the sights, sounds, smells and size of the concrete monstrosity that is L.A. Venice Beach is her refuge, along with countless vodka and oranges downed at the hostel bar. Venturing out into the night with new-found friends, she is refused entry at a Santa Monica Bar. Aussie charm open’s doors, but no sooner had she entered the club, that the urge to be sick is overwhelming.

Sitting the gutter, feeling somewhat better, being comforted by ….someone….she is escorted back to the hostel.

‘ Girl do you want a tatoo?’ is the last thing she remembers being asked, before vomiting, into her hostel room bath tub.

Girl from Austinmer, sits feeling so sorry for herself the next morning on a bus tour of Hollywood. Jumbo sized lemonade from 7- Eleven in hand, as the tour weaves and winds its way across the city. She is sick countless times.

At midday, the bus tour sees her alight at the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It is underwhelming, it is dirty, it smells. The glitz and glamour of the movie industry is nowhere to be seen.

She walks up and down the boulevard, glancing over names in pavement,  Michael Jackson, Shirley Temple, but the heat of the day forces her to take shelter under the cover of a shop awning.

Then a voice: smooth, velvety, deep, croons in her direction:

‘ Girrll, you qualified!!’

The effects of her hangover takes hold, muddled head, slow comprehension – did he mean her?

The voice comes at her again ‘ Oooo Girrrlllll, yes, you, You qualified!!’

The girl from Austinmner realises the man’s comments are intended for her. He points at her lower back, smiling broadly, revealing a sea of white teeth.

She swivels at pace, turning her back towards the reflective glass of the shop front, pulls up her t-shirt.

Bunnies, two humping bunnies, making sweet sweet love have been drawn in thick black texture at the base of her spine.

Face red, she pulls down her t-shirt, hikes up her pants, holds head high, composes self and heads to towards tour bus.

Bestie greets girls from Austinmer at San Diego Grey Hound Bus terminal. The ‘ tatoo’ and the story surrounding its origins are retold.  Camera lights flash – paparazzi. Laughter, plenty of laughter.

Yet all I could hear was that  deep velvety voice ‘ Girl, you qualified’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

High School Horror

This tale, repressed for many years, finally surfaces.

It is a true story. Every school teachers nightmare, to the student, incomprehensible.

I am dropped off by my Mother, on her way to work at Holy Cross Primary School Helensburgh, at the Hindu Temple situation on the outskirts of town.

It was 7.26am, the morning mist heavy, parts of the temple and surrounding bushland were cloaked in soft white. At the entrance to the holy site, were numerous pairs of shoes, neatly lined up.

Alone, on the outskirts of town, mist and fog, pairs of shoes without owners, at a temple in Helensburgh, a place so ungodly it was considered ‘ Other’, not part of the South Coast or Sydney. As a Catholic student I was out of my depth. I knew very little about Hinduism and rarely left my beachside residence for a suburb 200 metres above sea level.

Just as my craving for company that morning reached fever pitch, the two buses, containing the entire contents of Year 11 arrived.

The group of 80 plus 16 and 17 year olds entered the temple on mass, lead by Head Teachers and coordinators of Religion. We were here to learn first hand about diversity and devotional practice.

I don’t know about the rest of my class but all I could think about was the paired shoes at the entrance. Who owned them? Why were they left unaccompanied?

I remember sounds from the surrounding shrubbery, the birds songs, the trickle of water from nearby streams, the crunch of the sand beneath feet as we walked around the temple, with its unsealed surface.

I remember a small crowd of students circling a ‘ statue’ which lay face down, seemingly having fallen from its base the night before. Could wind really be that strong to uproot concrete fixtures? Had the temple been vandalised over night?

Students that had been busying themselves at the far corners of the shrine, ogling over points of interests began to flock back to the scene of the fallen ‘ statue’.

Camera flashed, chatter escalated, tears formed, nervous laughter.

The ‘statue’ was a person, a real person, a young women, not much older than my school comrades.

In that moment, lives changed. Our innocence ( if there was any left) shattered, we had witnessed the brutality of life, the hardship, sorrow and levels of desperation and despair.

Teachers ushered us back onto the bus, doing their best to dispel rumours that has begun to circulate ‘ I think I know her?’ , ‘ Did you see her face?’. They made the collective decision to proceed with the itinerary of the day, cathedrals and synagogues. We drove of in the direction of Sydney.

As for me and no doubt others, my mind stayed well and truly in Helensburgh, that day. 22 years later, the imagery of shoes, countless pairs of shoes still haunts me. And the overwhelming sense that morning, as an early drop off excursion goer, of being horribly alone.

Afterward

The story made the Illawarra Mercury the following day – but in an age before digital print, one must ask themselves, Did the really happen at all?

I kept the letter that my School distributed to our parents / guardians the following day – it makes for an interesting read and some what supports my memories of events ; February 23rd 1995

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