Archive for May, 2008

Cousinly Affairs

Posted in Uncategorized on May 28, 2008 by ladyredjess

It is a Wednesday night and suddenly I find myself with time on my hands.  Having written all day on botany and femininity, then gone for a swim in the decrepit local pool, and not feeling like reading, nor having a TV with which to spongify my brain, I am left with my blog.

So now it’s time to write about our jaunt to hear CousinA play in his band, which I intended to get down a few weeks ago.  CousinA used to live south of the river, and whenever we went to visit I would always feel conspicuously overdressed.  So this time, hearing that the rugby club where he was playing was in the middle of a paddock south of the river (according to H), and having visions of sinking into the grass in my stilettos, I elected to dress down.  I was colour coordinated (in green) but I wore sneakers (the only pair of flat shoes I own).  You can imagine my horror then, to get inside and find the men in shirts and trousers, and the girls in spangly tops and high heels.  I couldn’t work it out – it was a rugby club in the middle of nowhere – and on expressing my consternation to CousinA, he explained that this was a big night out for the girls, that they only went into the city for big occasions, and they were here to find a husband.

Then the girls perched, like budgies on a branch, on the top of the benches running about the room so they could see the band and of course, have their assets viewed by the blokes.  But the blokes stood with their backs to the girls, watching the singers, and ignored them.  I couldn’t understand that either; if you like a girl/boy you go and talk to them.

Anyway, CousinA sang his stuff, and was very good and got everyone in the mood for a dance, and once he was done we went off home with his guitar so he could carry on partying.  On the DLR, a man with many piercings and a small woman with bottle blonde hair and huge black boots asked us whether the DLR went to Lewisham.  H explained that it wasn’t going all the way and they would have to get off at Mudchute and catch a bus.  We also had to get off at Mudchute and catch a bus.  So at Mudchute we trundled to the bus stop, following the couple.

Then H, being like the friendly Labrador that he is, decided to strike up a conversation (one of these days he’s going to get stabbed, but that’s his choice).  It transpired that they were cousins and were going to the White Swan, a trashy gay pub which is apparently an East End institution, and they don’t allow women in to the amateur strip nights on Wednesdays.  H once took my supervisor and his boyfriend there after our house party (on a Saturday, I hasten to add) and thus corrupted him (well, I’m sure my supervisor is already corrupt but I don’t want to think about that).  The man began a discussion with H about the kind of men he liked, which H kindly repeated for me afterwards (‘I like big, muscly men, y’know?’) Then the man noticed my hearing aid and said, ‘Oi, we’re both deaf too.’  He proceeded to elaborate on how he and his cousin had each lost their hearing but, ironically, I couldn’t hear what he was saying.

Then a bus went by and suddenly H shouted, ‘Jess, we’re on the wrong side of the road!”  This was my fault because I had looked at the bus timetable but not the bus map.  We ran after the bus, swinging the guitar, the small woman clomping in her built up heels, but it was too fast.  In despair, I agreed that we should walk to the main road and find a taxi.  The cousins went ahead of us and proceeded to have an argument.

On the main road, we flagged a cab and bundled in.   The woman must have been on E because she was talking so fast.  She had kids, and this was a rare night out for her, I gathered.  We pulled up at Limehouse, and H said, ‘Don’t worry, I’ll pay for it,’ and the woman, who was getting out her wallet, said, ‘Oi, orright,’ and put her wallet away and got out of the cab.  The cousin followed her and they took off immediately without saying thank you.  I would have been disgusted if they hadn’t been so entertaining, and I admit I had the bad grace to start laughing while they were within hearing.  One always seems to get more than one bargains for when one goes to visit CousinA, but that’s one of the reasons why we love him.


Here Comes the Sun

Posted in Uncategorized on May 16, 2008 by ladyredjess

I began this blog entry last week when the sunlight was pouring down. Unsurprisingly, it is now raining again. I noted an article in G2 a few days ago nervously headed, ‘Will there be Summer this year?’ and confess to having asked the same thing myself, as the weather pattern is similar to last year’s. The forecasters, however, assured us that it would be a normal summer with above average temperatures. I hope to god that they are right.


Seeing as it seems to be the done thing to sit outside in the sun to blog and drink cardonnay* these days, I have set myself up in the garden to write. I’ve just baked a batch of Russian Tea Cakes while listening to Alanis Morrisette and shall be opening the vino shortly. Given that my alcohol tolerance is pretty much nil these days on account of having neither money nor a social life, it is wise to pace oneself in these situations. Should this post suddenly end with 1p39847qieuh;agakjda1298h9fgngsdkjfh[qwerq, I will have fallen off my chair onto the paving, my head gently wedged between the pots of rhododendron and thyme, thence to shall remain until BrotherH comes home to rescue me.

There have been many reasons to be happy of late, at least as happy as is possible in my state of incarceration, the discomfort of which increases as the days warm and I remain shackled to my desk writing about displacement, haunting and bodies in the text. Firstly, I was shortlisted for the Dobbie, an encouragement award for first time female novelists funded by Perpetual. Naturally I had been hoping to win (what writer doesn’t?), not least so I could buy a new Spencer and Rutherford handbag and ticket back to Oz, but Karen Foxlee’s The Anatomy of Wings scooped the prize, as I’d expected. I haven’t read it but it’s had lots of good reviews so will add it to my list of books to buy when I go home at Xmas.

Just after my agent emailed me the results, the postman dropped off the new edition of my book, which is just gorgeous, as possibly even more ‘me’ than the first edition, though I’ll always love it (the first) the best. Here is a picture of it:

Then my publisher told me that I am one of four winners of the Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Novelist for 2008, hurrah! I don’t get any money, although I do have my picture in the paper. To this end the London photographer for the SMH came to work and snapped pictures of me for nearly two hours with one of those fancy umbrellas for the flash and all. Having the White gene that is addicted to showing-offness, I lapped up the attention. However, by the end I was quite tired from smiling, and I was starving, so I was glad to see the photographer on his way. The article is to appear in the Spectrum on May 24th.

And while the weather has been gorgeous, it does has its downsides, in that it reminds me of Oz and I’ve been aching with homesickness. I wish I could sit on the patio in mum’s garden, drinking tea, reading and burning my shins in the sun, or lie on the beach at Coogee, or walk through Centennial Park, the heat gently clinging to my skin. Well, it’s only seven months until I go home again, and I guess I can bear it, unless it’s another wet summer. I shall be very unhappy indeed if my frocks languish, unworn, in my cupboard for yet another season.

* After watching Kath and Kim, I am now incapable of saying chardonnay. It must be pronounced, as Kim vehemently protests, without the ‘h’: ‘It’s cardonnay, cardonnay, ya pack of shunts!’

Mission Accomplished

Posted in Uncategorized on May 10, 2008 by ladyredjess

Hurrah! Export was successful, if only because M and a bottle of his excellent vino were on hand to be blamed if anything went wrong. Stay posted for new posts, which will arrive shortly.