The (almost) Relationship Ending Fart

Three days ago I involuntarily unleashed a sound and scent from my body that caused me to question my ability to love myself. I couldn’t even begin to think about how it affected my boyfriend who was standing a mere meter away. Sure, I’ve farted in front of him plenty of times before – hell; I’ve probably even farted on him, but this fart was different on so many levels.
Never before have I released gas that would have caused an echo if we were in a canyon. The noise rung out for longer than it takes for most British royalty to be announced – in fact that fart itself probably deserved its own royal title – it certainly was impressive. Though I can’t say my boyfriend felt the same way and as soon as the last note rang out I could feel a change between us – and it wasn’t just that the temperature had risen thanks to an increase in warm gasses, no it was something more complex than that. At first I didn’t think too much on it – he was on his way out the door to work but as I went to kiss him and he pulled away exclaiming “god it even smells bad too” and promptly walked out the door, I started to think that something was truly wrong.
As I continued my morning, spending far more time thinking about the fart than I should have, I began to wonder, would this be the gas that broke the camel’s back? Had my flatulence caused an irreparable rift between us? Would he ever be able to hold me tight again without being worried that he would squeeze another one out, producing further discomfort for his airways? I almost certainly ruled out ever being proposed to at that point – what if when gently placing the ring on my finger he gently tugged on it by accident?
Sure it was his idea to have Indian food the night before – so he couldn’t really blame anyone but himself. Everyone knows that Vindaloo is the ultimate wind breaking dishing, he really should have had a bit more foresight when jumping on Menulog but I guess I couldn’t lay the blame on him entirely, I could have held it in for a few more moments, though the sheer relief of letting that beast rip certainly can’t be put into words – despite the stench it caused.

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He isn’t innocent either – I mean love is all shaved legs, tidy lady (and man) gardens and sweet smelling perfume when you’re first trying to impress each other but as soon as you shack up that seems to go out of the window. Never have I lived with a man who sheds so much body hair all over the house – I know the local plumber just as well as I do the guy at the bottle shop (which is pretty well, in case you needed clarification), my last live in boyfriend had less body hair than a baby dolphin and now I share a home with a yeti. He may be an adorable one, but he’s a messy yeti none the less.  Staring at clumps of man hair in the shower is gross. As is having to yell for him to bring you toilet paper because you’re stuck on the loo with none, as he neglected to replace the roll after his last visit – so maybe he deserved the fart. Yeah, unbeknownst to me at the time, it was a revenge fart – for all the times that he’s been an icky manly man. One time he even drooled on my pillow, so yeah, he deserved to suffer through that stench – and instead of being ashamed of my fart I decided to Google the world’s longest fart. I’ve got a bit of training to make it to the 2 minute, 42 second world record but luckily there are plenty of useful food options within a short stroll.

P.S somehow he still loves me…which I think says a lot about him, but I’ll leave it up to you to work out what that actually is.

Interview with Toby Oliver

Originally published on Scenestr.

‘Get Out’, the hit directorial debut from comedian Jordan Peele has received rave reviews, wowing critics both here and in the US.

Mixing both horror and comedy, the film presents moments of true spine-tingling fear mixed with well-crafted jokes to create a thoroughly enjoyable, entertaining and thought-provoking piece of film.

Behind the scenes, the film had a distinctly Australian presence in the form of cinematographer Toby Oliver who worked on ‘Get Out’, helping to create the stunning visuals that bring the story to life. Being that the film has been an absolute run-away success has meant that Toby has, in his words “taken the industry by surprise in many ways”.

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Jordan Peele – Image © Universal Pictures

Having entered the horror genre first by working on ‘Wolf Creek 2’ and then working on a number of films for Blumhouse, the production company behind ‘Get Out’, Toby helped to create a mood that in the film that was genuinely creepy.

While Toby thought the script was “pretty good” after the first read, he never could have anticipated how successful the film would end up being. “[Director Jordan Peele and I] were on the same page as far as the visual treatment for the film and we just took it from there. But we had no idea it would be such a huge success – of course it had the ingredients but it really has just taken off.”

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Image © Universal Pictures

Toby believes that the success of the film has a lot to do with the timing of its release. “The social issues that Jordan tackles in the film and the lingering racism that exists in the US and elsewhere is the key to the movie’s success. The way that he is able to wrap up the discussion into an entertaining piece of work with elements of comedy, thriller and horror genres while tackling these issues without it seeming too heavy-handed is very clever. While it was all there in the script, the proof was in the pudding once Jordan got into the editing room and structured it all together. I do think audiences are ready for this kind of storytelling.”

Toby has worked on a number of horror films recently for Blumhouse, and while mentioning that he wasn’t traditionally a fan of the genre, he has found that it is a great genre to work in as a cinematographer. “Visually it has incredible scope to create pretty powerful images because the impact of a horror experience comes from the visuals – what you see and what you don’t see”.

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Image © Universal Pictures

Likewise, having previously worked in the Australian film industry provided useful knowledge about what it takes to work on tight budgetary constraints – ‘Get Out’ had a small budget of only $5 million and a main shoot of only 23 days – constraints which Toby believes encourage resourcefulness and discipline: “You think of smarter ways of doing it which can sometimes be better than if you had a much bigger budget… In ‘Get Out’ it meant having to consider ways of doing things efficiently, especially the lighting – it’s a real balance. As a Director of Photography you have to make some compromises and at certain point just let the Director start shooting.”

Finally, when asked about the future he explains that the success of the film has opened up a lot of opportunities; “it’s been a great ride with ‘Get Out’.”

Snag a Snag: The Lazy Girls Eating Guide

Today I stopped by Bunnings just to get a sausage. I wandered in the door to make it look like I had a legitimate reason to be there and all I did was pat a dog (yes, people can and do take their dogs to Bunnings, note to single men out there, take your dogs to Bunnings, it is an excellent place to pick up).

Once I felt like I’d done enough to disguise my reason for visiting, I jumped in line, surrounded by people balancing bags of soil, new plants to shove in their garden and genuine power tools. There I was, empty arms, free hands ready to grab the snag as it was placed in front of me. I certainly didn’t feel even a pang of guilt (okay, maybe just a little…)

You see, the only thing that I’d achieved so far at that stage in the day was getting out of bed, showering (the thoroughness of which could be questioned) and meeting a friend for brunch. Yep, you read that correctly; I ate fancy hipster brunch (I paid $14 for a toasted sandwich that, granted, tasted like it had been carefully constructed by heavenly angels) and as that substantial yet probably overpriced jaffle was still digesting, I took a detour on my way home just so that I could shove a charity snag down my gullet too. $2.50 is what I directed towards the Mile End Rotary Club (I’m not sure of their profit margin, maybe they only made 50c out of that interaction, maybe they pocketed $2).

I think guilt and shame were probably the two biggest things I felt at that moment, closely followed by confusion as to why I felt so strongly about having consumed a sausage in any way at all. Surely I had more important things to be concerned about? Nah not really, it was a Saturday afternoon and I’m a middle class white woman. Sure there are still plenty of challenges facing us but I have a strict “feminism in business hours only” policy (I’ll explain it some time, but it’s the weekend now so I can’t) so I was feeling fairly care free.

One thing I do know about myself is that regardless of how full I am, there are certain things that I will always make room for in my stomach; brie, double brie, triple brie, vintage cheddar with pickled onions, chocolate covered pretzels and Bunnings sausages. So help me God if all of those things are readily available in the one location at the one time.

Should I feel ashamed about the power that my tastebuds hold over me? From an ethical stand point, probably. From a social stand point though? Nah, get stuffed. Life was made for living and Bunnings sausages were made for binging on. There’s just something about them that makes them way better than the snags that you’ll consume at a family BBQ but I just can’t put my finger on it…oh yeah it’s the relative anonymity (if you choose a Bunnings far away enough) and the lack of judgment from Aunty Joan; “If you eat another bite you’ll never look good in a white dress dear.” Oh shut it sugar, at least I’ve still got time to fix myself, you made that mistake 20 years ago sweets – and it wasn’t your ass that was the problem, it was your face. Yeah.

Despite the fleeting confused feelings earlier in the day, at home later I realised; when you can make a microwave meal without double checking the box instructions then you know you’re in a special place in life. You’ve been eating meals of sadness just long enough to be aware exactly how they should be prepared but not long enough to just hit up eat now or Uber Eats every day (that’ll come in about three months time).
I’m not stuck in that place forever but that’s where I found myself today. And shit, they’re getting so good at making meals in a box that I rekon I’ll just stay home and dodge queues at the hardware store – especially if someone starts a delivery service where an average looking guy brings over a dog and lets you pat it and suddenly you think he’s an absolute hunk.

Yeah.

New Year New Me? Nah, Same Me, New Date

“The Final Countdown” by Journey is blasting from my tiny iPad speakers and I have no one to blame except myself. I was the one who selected the “Ultimate NYE Party” playlist from the plethora of options on Spotify and it’s a decision that I’m sticking with, despite the current outcome.
2016 is at a close and it’s a year that most people would rather forget – at least based on what I see on my Facebook newsfeed that is. I dunno though, as a whole I don’t think it was so bad. I mean, sure we as a society (all of us) made some pretty horrific moves in the political sphere, the time came to say goodbye to some of our heroes (Bowie hit me the hardest in case you were wondering, after that it was like “oh yeah that sucks” for the entire 11 months) and the power went out a few times but personally I don’t think the year wasn’t so bad.
I mean sure, you can look at the negatives or you can find the small victories – for example, I just read an article about a woman the same age as me who has NEVER BEEN DRUNK IN HER LIFE and DOESN’T DRINK ALCOHOL because she chooses not to. In the article she listed all the positive things that have come of this and as I contemplated that, I nodded and thought “I could do with a drink”, I mixed myself a Kahlua and milk and thought “good for you, but that’s not for me” AND I HAVE THAT FREEDOM so that’s a small win.
I hate to sound like an advice column and I hate to give advice because I hardly have anything figured out, so why should I tell you what to do? That being said, I do know a few things for sure; a year is just a way that we arrange our time, it shouldn’t dictate what you are capable of, what you can achieve or how you feel.
I’m pretty stoked with the shit that I achieved this year but that didn’t stop me having times where I felt useless, like a complete failure, continually anxious and like hiding under my covers and not coming out ever again (and yeah, lots of people I know are surprised whenever I mention this kind of thing, I promise that they ridiculously high and positive personality that you see most of the time is genuine, but so is the other stuff, no person is one dimensional). But I didn’t say “I’ll be better next week / month / year” I chose to feel better when I felt better, to work towards the end goal of healing myself rather than healing myself by an end date. “New year, new me” now we all know that’s a bit bull shit – while your problems won’t be solved in a single moment and yes, things do take time, the ticking of a clock and the flip of a calendar isn’t the kind of time that I’m referring to.
How do you solve the entire worlds problem without having an end date, I hear you ask. The answer is that you don’t (and if that’s what you’re worried about then you’re only going to put yourself through more suffering, trust me, been there, done that, cried myself to sleep heaps of nights) but you can surround yourself with absolute legends and just look after yourself and the ones you love. You rock and you should know that.
Now, time for things to get personal with a little roll call to the folks who rocked my world this year:

  • Ew. Gross, yucky, I LOVE YOU. That’s all.
  • Ma & Pat. You are the coolest folks, so motivated & a wicked inspiration, the true embodiment of turning your passion into your job and still winning at life.
  • Best. Brother. Ever. Always there to lend a hand and share a bottle of red.
  • All the Norton Clan. How did I get so lucky?
  • Emmy bear, you resilient little girl, hold on through 2017. The real world is better than High School.
  • Stacey, Hannah, Moe & Linda, the people who I have known for the longest time who have stayed through all the changes I have made in the last year or two and have always encouraged me and checked in. That I do truly appreciate.
  • The Raucous Caucus crew – I felt so lucky to get to try writing for TV in 2016 and have the opportunity to realise that this is something that I am (kind of) good at (maybe) and want to pursue in the future!
  • The work girls – you made that place bearable and will forever be grateful!
  • Bec Taylor – you get a mention because you told me to write this. You’re the kinda girl that pushes me to be a better citizen of the world, you rock.
  • Comedy people – people I met through comedy, performed with, drank with or anyone who laughed at something I said or did this year, even if that wasn’t always my intention, you guys make my dreams come true.

That’s all, whatever you do tonight remember that it’s just another night and like every other night of your life it certainly deserves to be great!

Embarrassing tales of Christmas’ past.

 

Merry Christmas my loves, at this time, this precious beautiful time of year, let us all take a moment to remember the special moments of festive seasons past. I hope my reflections help you too, to reminisce about the times that you wished you could swap families, go into witness protection or simply disappear, never to be heard from ever again.

 

First of all, let’s go back to last Christmas, when you (okay, me) got drunk with some of your aunties. One of them revealed that she can read palms (knowledge passed on from generations before) so you were keen to know your future and held out your hand. After gazing at your palm for a moment she declared, in front of family that “you are a very sexual being” – a conversation best reserved for friends rather than family but one which you survived none the less.

 

Now let’s kick back to a couple of years ago, when you had an afternoon Christmas lunch with colleagues. What a grand old time it was. Drinks and merriment were shared. On the way to catch the bus home you bumped into some old mates (friends of friends to be precise) and they convinced you that tequila shots and a strip club at 6pm would be a great idea. By 8pm you had vomited out of a taxi window and declared, in front of your parents at their work Christmas party “I’m gonna use my University degree to become a stripper” – I am not proud of my actions.
I believe at some stage that night I vomited on a cat.

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Aged 21. Hungover.

 

 

As an incredibly self conscious teenager I believe there was a Christmas spend it a cousins backyard swimming pool in which I didn’t realise white bathing suits could lead to embarrassment. Lest we forget.

At some stage in my teenage years I had two UDLs while hiding in a bush at the Stirling Christmas pageant and genuinely believed I was drunk. That in itself is incredibly shameful.

Prior to that, aged 14 I chucked a tantrum because I received a t-shirt that I didn’t like. It was the 2000s so of course it had a sassy slogan on it. The t-shirt said “it’s all about me” and I sulked – not at all comprehending the irony of that situation.

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Aged 19. Beginning to lose self-awareness.

 

There are probably plenty more festive moments that would haunt me if they unexpectedly popped into my head, so I choose to block them out, thanks to selective memory and years of therapy. In order to keep up the tradition of making a dick of myself at Christmas time I intend to use the following joke on as many people as I can at this afternoons work Christmas party before they tell me that “perhaps you should come back when the office re-opens next year” – here goes (feel free to adopt it for your own use should you have the same end game):
What does your job have in common with Christmas?
I don’t know Alicia, what could that be?
You do all the hard work and the fat, rich man in a suit takes all the credit.

 

Thank you and good night x

Ten Thoughts I’ve Had While Moving House

Hello Internet, I am moving house! Probably not news if you’re my Facebook friend though, since I’ve posted about 50 million status updates attempting to give away my furniture over the course of the last five weeks but that’s beside the point (however if you’re after a queen sized bed frame or a lounge, hit me up!). I digress.
Moving sucks. It sucks the big one. I’ve only been in this place for three years but I managed to accumulate so much crap (okay a lot of it was left here by my ex – a.k.a he of poor taste and excessive amounts of novelty aprons) SO. MUCH. CRAP.
I would estimate that I’ve taken around 25 garbage bags worth of stuff (that is probably not actual crap) to the op shop and chucked around 10 bags straight into the bin. Aren’t humans terrible consumption machines?
Once again, I digress. So here are some of the things that have popped into my mind as I’ve trawled through it all…

  • I don’t have much stuff, I can totally fit my entire life into my Ford Fiesta.
  • Actually would two moving vans be excessive? Better make it three for good luck.
  • I’ll need to get rid of some clothes, this should only take an hour or so…*five hours later* “can someone please cut me out of my year 12 formal dress? It seems I gained some weight at some stage in the last seven years”
  • Ohh look it’s the diary I kept from the age of 14 to 16, this should be filled with all kinds of juicy memories…*three hours later* “Okay, I was either the most boring teenager in the world or incredibly paranoid that my parents would read this…I’m hoping it was the latter”
  • OMG I loved this top when I was twelve, I wonder if it still fits. Yep, fits. I sure was a chubby twelve year old. Tie dyed dolphin t-shirts are cool, don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise.
  • Hmm does out of date medication still work? And is it okay if it has someone else name on it?
  • I wonder if old Kinder Surprise toys are worth anything?
  • PAUSE – sorry, I zoned out for a bit, I was watching the Spice Girls movie on VHS. I still have a video plays – how crazy is that?!
  • Who was Richard and why do I have a pair of ladies underwear with ‘his’(?) name on the tag?
  • Hmmm do you think people would pay actual money for an urn full of Grandma’s ashes? Also, why do I have an urn labelled ‘grandmas ashes’ – both my Grandma’s are alive…

 

I Tried The Curry at Snowtown Servo (So You Didn’t Have To)

Have you heard about the curry at the Snowtown Service Station? No? That’s tragic!

A quick and innocent Google search of the term ‘Snowtown’ inevitably returns a Wikipedia page detailing the gruesome murders and decaying corpses, an IMDB link to the film that dramatized them and numerous news reports with in depth information explaining exactly how it all unfolded. Not a single page mentions the absolutely top notch curry and fried chicken that can be found at the Snowtown Servo. I believe that this is an absolute travesty that needs to be rectified post-haste so I took one for the team and ventured (far) past Gepps Cross to retrieve curry so good that it should be consumed by the barrel full.
An hour and forty five minutes from Adelaide’s CBD is where you’ll find this curry and do not doubt me when I say that is worth every mile. Sure it may seem dodgy and mates, please don’t get your expectations up – a road side BP is what I’m talking about but it is the roadside BP of your dreams (if your dreams include bathrooms that may or may not have been cleaned since Snowtown was last in the news…). The curry though? It’s good enough to kill for – I shit you not.

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I know I’m not alone in thinking this either; the only way to discover a gem like this is through word of mouth and I’d had at least three people tell me to get my ass here before I finally committed. Need any further convincing? Just ask anyone who regularly drives out to that side of the state what they think of the curry at Snowtown – it is known.
If you’re like me then you may be thinking; “I am a sensitive little first world flower, is a road side truck stop really the best place to eat a volatile curry? What if it doesn’t agree with my gentle stomach and I find myself 50km from anywhere with the feeling of severe regret hitting my belly?” Well fear not petal, for I have pushed the limits here many a time. I have stopped and eaten and then put left over curry in my car only to continue eating it a few hours later. Chicken too. And much to the disappointment of many, I am not dead yet.
I’ve tried the butter chicken, the lamb madras, the mango chicken, the cashew chicken and the beef Vindaloo (and likely more…) like I said; it’s been…a few visits. Every single item tastes as if it were made carefully by beautiful Indian angles, brought down from the heavens to allow the folk from the mid north the chance to once and for all know true happiness.
Add to that the fried chicken. Yes, fried chicken. Ten points already for providing those passing though with the greatest food known to mankind however delivering in terms of quality? Bloody legend status that is. Crunchy on the outside featuring delicious flavor whilst maintaining a moistness that can only be rivaled by…well, I don’t feel safe mentioning when children could read this.
When it comes to the food, it’s all bang on here. Even if it wasn’t I probably wouldn’t bring it up for fear of retribution. Despite the fact that the towns’ reputation is due to crimes committed beyond its own boarders, I just wouldn’t want to risk it.
I’m certainly not the first to say it – in fact I definitely stole this from my boyfriend, but why is Snowtown not famous for its curry?!

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I meant to take a photo of the curry…but I took it home and ate it before I had the chance.

I Have Embraced.

“My body is the only thing that I truly own…I will strive to make it perfect in every possible way” – that’s something that I jotted down in a note book; I think I was eighteen or nineteen at the time.
While I was lucky enough – and yes, luck did have a lot to do with it, to spend a number of my adolescent years relatively unaffected by body image issues, as I hit my late teens looks became the primary focus of my attention.
Sure there are some unpleasant memories that are etched into my mind, staying there while other flashbacks fade away – like the time when I was eleven and my Grandmother (with no purposeful malice, I would never hold it against her) implied that perhaps holding back on sugary treats would help me develop a more delicate feminine figure, once again, at age eleven. However on the whole I had the perfect outlook on food, fitness and wellbeing, thanks in part to a mother who was an excellent role model – balanced, realistic and driven by goals external to the way she was perceived by others. How lucky.
This wasn’t necessarily a shared experience by my friends – I recall spending time with my mates when I was younger who would be shamed by parents for taking an extra serve of dessert, for getting giddy on a sugar high at a sleepover and who had “healthy eating for teens” books not so subtly added to their bookshelf. While healthy eating is of course important, the heavy focus on it in their lives has had flow on affects which I’ve witnessed firsthand as we’ve all grown up together.  Never having been responsible for raising women, I can’t at all judge, however something about this seems wrong.
As I finished high school, the “puppy fat” that I’d carried all through high school that had concerned me only occasionally and very mildly was brought into attention and focus, not by my peers but by their parents. Older women who should have known better. Every time I stopped to chat to my mates mum (it was always the mum) she would comment on my new figure and always ask the same question: how did you do it, how did you lose the weight?
I was baffled – first of all I didn’t even realise that I had weight to lose. Second, I had no answer for them. I hadn’t lost weight at all (that I knew of, I didn’t really weigh myself a whole lot that I recall). I’d grown taller – a lot taller and slimmed out I suppose but for them, that wasn’t good enough. “Surely you’ve cut something out, have you been exercising more?” Maybe? I’d started working in a cafe and moving more, I was spending less time behind a computer than I had while at school, but I’d discovered alcohol with all its accompanying calories, so I guess it all balanced out.
The “things that my body was doing” were completely out side of my control however all of a sudden they were the core focus of every woman I came into contact with. I began to become aware of my body in a way that I really never had before.
During this time I burned my arm as I accidentally poured a pot of boiling hot water over it. The pain was incredibly intense, like nothing I had experienced before and it hurt for days but I remember thinking, as I walked down Rundle Mall to get a train home, tears rolling down my cheeks, nursing my still smouldering arm; “I don’t want to be known as the girl with the burnt arm”.
It took at least three months for it to heal fully and I was conscious of it for every second of that. It probably went unnoticed by others.
For me, the point when my body started to become a talking point for others was when it started to become an issue for me. I’d never looked at other women and compared myself – until then.
I started looking at the women in magazines who were there as the “token larger lady”, at the way their stomach sat and related most to them. It was weird to relate to someone who was there as a “token gesture”.
I am happy to say that now I have what I consider to be a pretty damned healthy relationship with my body, thank you very much. But that doesn’t mean that every day is great. I still compare myself physically to almost every woman that I meet – even if it is mostly subconscious, and I am sure that I am not alone.
I don’t know if it would be any different if I hadn’t been so drilled by my friend’s mums when I was younger or if my body and those of my friends hadn’t been such core topics of conversation for us over the years. It’s not just our size that gets spoken of – I once had a doctor (yes, a trained medical professional) comment that the needle marks on my arm from years of blood donation (I’m up to 56 donations now – humble brag!) may make others think I am a junkie! Um sorry what?! Firstly, why should anyone have a right to make opinions on me based on my body and secondly I don’t think “junkie” would ever be the first thing that springs to mind when anyone looks at me.
With a notoriously healthy appetite, food has become a part of my identity in an incredibly positive way however I do consider what others thing about my eating habits – does a judgement thought cross their mind as they see me shove yet another chunk of cheese in my gob?
I don’t wear a bikini at the beach or pool – why give people another area of me to judge, is what I think. That being said, I recently filmed a very short scene for an ABC iView series where I can be seen in just a bra. I doubt that anyone in the vicinity knew that I refuse to wear that little at the beach but was okay about it potentially being seen by all of Australia (we can only hope!). The thought played on my mind a little bit but it was also accompanied by a newly found attitude of “oh well fuck it” – because recently I was able to catch the film Embrace.


Embrace is without a doubt essential viewing for every woman and girl but we should also show it to the men and boys in our lives. It helped me to pause and re-asses myself. As I watched, I cried and mourned for all the time that I have wasted across the course of my life and in turn the many many more hours, days, weeks and even years lost by my friends who have battled body image demons on a level that I could never even begin to truly understand.
Not a week goes by where I don’t see something in day to day life, online or in the media that concerns me in the way that we discuss bodies – our own and others. I recently witnessed a grandmother casually commenting on her young, growing and developing granddaughters body – how do you tell someone like that to be careful – that it won’t be the shopping trips, movie dates and long lunches that her granddaughter will remember her for but the feeling of being not good enough?
At twenty-six I know now that I own more than my body, I know that I own my mind, my strong determination, my humour, my power to be me and everything that encompasses. Perfect isn’t a word I would ever use to describe any aspect of myself or my life and I can’t see it ever being, because I’d rather use stronger words – ones like “exemplary”, “extraordinary”, “incredible” and, though more practical and far less glamorous, capable is the word I love most. I am capable of achieving everything that I can dream of and so much more and for that, I am thankful.

Please please please do go see Embrace because what I feel, I want you to feel too.

How I Developed My Love Of Booze…

I don’t know what it is lately but I’ve been getting super nostalgic. All I listen to is throw back playlists; anything released in the last ten years makes me want to violently plug my ears and I am OBSESSED with the memories function on Facebook. What was that? Six years ago I rode my bike to the beach? Shit, past me was a far more glorious creature than I am now.
That being said, prior to August 2012, I was absolute filth trash on a regular and frequent occasion thanks to a conveniently located local drinking hole. It gave off a vibe that simultaneously said “please, join us” kindly fuck off. It was unique. But in August 2012 my life changed forever YES IT DID when the pub closed with very little hope of it ever reopening again.

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No shame – my youth in a photograph.

Sure there were three closing nights – they kept it open until the kegs ran dry and the supply of beer glasses was depleted completely  (because I kept putting them in my handbag – on the plus side, I always have a very big beer sized glass of water every morning, such healthy, much hydration) so we got to say goodbye. I tried to dance on the front bar – I got told off. I was wearing ugg boots. I am only 50% glad that I have grown up since then.
So when I was recently alerted to the fact that the pub, closed for near four years and previously incredibly close to being completely condemned, was re-opening, I was filled with mixed feelings and flooded with memories – some of which I would rather forget.
If you know one thing about me though, that is that I have no shame – so who better to mull over these memories with, than complete strangers and a few close friends on the internet.
My first memories of this establishment were of it as my childhood pub – yes that is totally a thing. Feel free to correct me mother (because I know you will) but I recall swinging by the pub on Christmas morning after church. So many questions. Why was I let in a church in the first place? Why was the pub open on Christmas day? Should I have been removed from my parents? What is the meaning of life? These and many other questions will haunt philosophers for years to come.

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So I wasn’t a child here but it was still Christmas at the pub. Also I believe I had been at a dress up party…or I just wore clothes like that. Either tale is likely.

Flash forward a few years and I was eighteen, with a freshly minted ID to prove that was the case and you’d think being the Hills lass I was, I’d be striding up to the front bar to claim my first legal drink. You would be wrong. I was mega nerd to the extreme, I was at least 18 and a half before I made that front bar my bitch (and by “making it my bitch”, I mean getting silly drunk from a filthy shot called a “squashed frog” and vomiting in a bucket that the bar tender so kindly provided). You won that round alcohol.

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“The Bucket” that lived in the front bar. We made it look pretty since my mates and I were the ones who used it most.

After this point though, the memories began to flow (assisted by photographs and inappropriate Facebook posts)
All the bottles of passion pop consumed in the car park before actually entering the pub – we were poor students living at home with mummy and daddy, what did you expect us to do?
The shoeys (that’s drinks sculled from a shoe for those playing at home)

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A genuine, true blue shoey.

The cheeky strategic voms
Purchasing out of date fruit flavoured condoms in the ladies bathroom (for the LOLs Mum – but also, aren’t you happy I was never a ‘statistic’? though there’s still time..)
The friendships made…and broken
The sadness that the jukebox didn’t have any Aaron Carter – however that Fat Man Scoop song was the number one played song – you know the one “engine engine number nine…” – what a good time we had.
There was that afternoon we stopped for a casual cider and ended up watching a group of Morris Dancers do their thing and wondered if our drinks had been spiked.

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These, by the way, are morris dancers…yeah, we were all just as confused too.

I passed out on the not so comfy chairs in the pokies more than once and cried over plenty of lads (yes, I am going to use that word) who, to be perfectly honest, were not worth a moment of my time. But at the time it felt like the end of the world. Every Sunday afternoon was spent messaging my girlfriends, dissecting the events of the night before and living our lives by what happened in that place.
I learned to play pool, I learned to drink and I grew out of thinking pineapple and Malibu was a tasty beverage.
Then it all ended and I guess it coincided with us all changing too. Not long after the pub closed, I started dating a guy who lived near the beach and stopped hanging out at home, my best drinking buddy moved three hours away to start her teaching career and a lot people realised how much money they could save by drinking at home…alone. The thing that kind of kept us together was gone. Things really did change.
Now the pub has reopened its doors and boy howdy have things changed – but I have too. I only occasionally wear my ugg boots out of the house and sadly live too far away to stumble home from it.

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When we were young…

No longer falling apart, the new owners have brought out the original beauty of the building, the menu is phenomenal and the staff all seem way more friendly than the curious creatures that used to reside behind the bar there. All of that however won’t cloud or dismiss my memories.

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I did sneak behind the bar once…

A friend recently contacted me asking me to remove a few old pictures from Facebook. By my standard, the ones she had requested being removed were incredibly tame but I get it (sort of), some of my mates want to be lawyers, teachers or just respectable adults – not all of us are as capable of accepting our grotesque past with such levels of pride. Your memories though, make you who you are and the Uraidla Pub is absolutely brimming with memories for me. Not all of them (like barely any of them) are family friendly but the fact that a whole new generation of kids (and not so much kids) will get to learn how to drink (and maybe learn to appreciate a nice meal accompanied by a Malibu and Pineapple?) that’s pretty great.

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You know what? It wasn’t classy, it probably wouldn’t impress my high standards hipster mates but hey, we had a lot of fun.

Spotlight: Where Happiness Goes To Die

I would like to tell you that this is a happy story but it is not. At the beginning of this experience I was a happy go lucky young lady. Well a lot has happened since this morning and I write to you as a broken and fragile woman. This is not a tale of heroism; it is merely a tale of survival. There was no triumph over adversity in my adventures today however a simple and gracious, acceptance of my own mortality did occur.

This morning I awoke with only one simple goal – to purchase a pack of millinery brooch pins from Spotlight. A ten minute drive to industrial suburbia should do the trick and then I would be free to explore the surrounding stores within the 62,000 square meter compound of home making ‘bliss’. Right. I set out with all the determination of a true crafter (I woke up and watched outright abused my Netflix subscription for two hours in my pyjamas on the couch). By eleven thirty I was on the road, passing by a number of precarious establishments claiming to be ‘motels’  but better known as the safe house of many an affair.

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The unassuming location of my near emotional and physical breakdown.

It wasn’t long before I was navigating my trusty (often breaks down with no rhyme, reason or explanation) Ford Fiesta into the car park of an establishment that is likely responsible for more marriage breakdowns than Ikea and reality TV combined; The Gepps Cross Home Maker Centre.
If aliens visited earth and landed here, without a doubt they would get right back in and go back where they came from. A monstrosity of concrete and Mecca of capitalism taken most advantage of in the form of twelve month lay-buys and interest free plans by residents of surrounding working class suburbs; visiting this place is a risky voyage for the most mentally of sound individuals – unfortunately it attracts those who are not.
I undertook the voyage alone, not sure enough in the strength of my long term relationship to take that level of risk. I could have taken a friend however I value my friendships far too much to gamble what we’ve built on such a volatile yet petty expedition.

I entered Spotlight with all the trepidation that such an undertaking deserved. I was keen to get in and get out quickly so that I could soon reward myself with an overpriced warm drink in a nearby cafe. My goal was to engage as few people in conversation as possible – I would have no such luck. I made my way to the area that I expected to find the pins and in the process achieved my entire required daily step count, yet what I was looking for was not to be found.
Next step: engage a staff member – a task that turned out to be far more difficult than finding a genuine connection on Tinder. A few more laps of the store layout, a conversation with two staff members who looked at me as if I had three heads (to their credit I’d forgone makeup application for the day) and finally I found reached my goal, however satisfied isn’t a word I would use to describe myself. Looking at the selection of millinery brooches I was forlorn. Six for $3.50. In the past I’ve purchased 50 for around $10 in the same store however I wasn’t ready for my trip to be wasted. I grabbed two packs and headed for the checkout.

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Stealthy shot that I took of the line up. I hardcore resent the smiling woman.

 

This, dear friends, is the moment where I truly began to see my grip on reality fading away. Two very young and determined yet hopeless staff members had around thirty middle aged women, a few broken husbands and a handful of bratty children lined up and expecting to be served. A saner person would have dropped their potential purchase there and then and headed to the nearest fast food restaurant to eat their sorrows into oblivion however by this point I was determined – I had my overpriced pins  and I was going to buy them – even if it killed me.
By the fifteenth minute waiting I started looking at the woman in front of me, wondering, if I got the rest of the ever expanding line to team up with me, could we take her down and survive off eating her body until we were rescued?
The situation began to get dire when a woman marched through the line to get the drinks fridge near the front – she swiftly took water back to her shopping buddy who was clearly becoming dehydrated – in the mid-winter chill.
Never before have had I experienced a group of people share such a strong, negative emotion as they did when a woman marched through the shop door and immediately approach the front of the line exclaiming “I’ve just got a quick question!”  – she was swiftly shut down and sent to the back of the line, where she is probably still waiting, five hours later.
I was almost at the front of the line and I heard a woman paying $950 for the collection of curtain rods and throw cushions in her trolley. I couldn’t relate – I use milk crates for all manner of furniture in my home.

Finally I was served, paying resentfully for my overpriced pins, attempting to feign a mixed look of sympathy and disappointment towards the assistant as I left.
I took a deep breath of what felt like my first taste of fresh air (which is reality was steeped in outer city fumes) as I walked out into the overcast day and appreciated my life in a way that I never had before. Whence previously I had looked forward to an afternoon alone strolling the 62,000 meters looking at Italian designed, Chinese made furniture that I could never justify buying, I was now just searching for the quickest escape.

As I got into my car and drove off, I experienced a feeling of freedom the likes of which I had never felt before. While my feeling was temporarily dulled by a red light causing me to stop and reflect on the hour that had felt like eternity, I had a new appreciation for online shopping and drive thru fast food.

Now as I sit here, now full of food that I took myself out to eat, to console my broken soul I Google “millinery brooch pins” and look what I find. Fuck bricks and mortar stores, it’s eBay for me here on out.

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Free postage as well. *Sigh*