Monday, August 26, 2013

Moving time

So, I've upped and moved my blog yet again. I can't even settle down in the virtual world. I know, madness. Anyway, I've mostly done this because my travel blog is on wordpress and I'm tired of swapping between platforms all the time. Also, Abbi insists this is easier to follow. So I'm giving it a go. Find it here. It's basically exactly the same cause I'm a creature of habit.

I'm not exporting my old content cause it looks like it's going to take an age and I have no patience. So it's a bit sad and desolate at the moment but hopefully my pointless ramblings will fill it up soon enough.

Music: Brennisteinn - Sigur Ros

We're a strange pair

I can't deal with this film. More people need to watch it so I can actually talk about it. Catinca Untaru is so wonderful, as is Lee Pace. I mean, I liked the guy before but this has changed everything. And the whole thing is just too damn pretty. Does not compute.

The sweetest of words have the bitterest taste

There is love in our bodies and it holds us together
But pulls us apart when we're holding each other
We all want something to hold in the night
We don't care if it hurts or we're holding too tight

There is love in your body but you can't get it out
It gets stuck in your head, won't come out of your mouth
Sticks to your tongue and it shows on your face
That the sweetest of words have the bitterest taste

Darling heart, I loved you from the start
But you'll never know what a fool I've been
Darling heart, I loved you from the start
But that's no excuse for the state I'm in

Hold on to your heart
Cause I'm coming to take it
Hold on to your heart
Cause I'm coming to break it

Music: Hardest of hearts - Florence + The Machine

Saturday, August 24, 2013

A Mum Appreciation™ Post

I've just finished a 3 hour, 45 minute and 89 second long Skype call with my mum - a new record, I think. It's just made me so happy. I love my mum. I love that her reaction to my question if it's stupid do another undergrad degree was to say "No of course not, you have to do what you feel you want to do." I love that her response to my worrying about shipping my possession back to Australia was to tell me to stop fixating on nonsense - "Just focus on enjoying your time there and making the most of it."

I love the relationship I have with my mum, how close we are. I feel like I can trust her with anything, even things she may not necessarily approve of, and I know that she'll always be on my side. Even if I did something horrible...which, you know, I'm not planning on doing, but it's nice to have backup! I love that we can disagree about things but respect each others opinions (even though I really think she needs to stop using Internet Explorer because, come on). And I love how utterly insanely silly we can be. It's being able to laugh with each other and have fun 99.9% of the time that makes all the difference, really.

(PS. I just called her back because I forgot to say something before - so that's another 13 minutes, 31 seconds to add to today's Skype effort.)

Music: Acetate - Volcano Choir

Take note, there's still a hole in your heart

When I was little – and I mean really little, round 5 – I was obsessed with space. It was basically my first fandom. I kept a scrapbook filled with articles and fact sheets about the moon landing and satellite launches, the planets and constellations. My parents took me to the planetarium, a lot, and it always thrilled me to bits.

I wanted to be an astronomer.

It’s an interest that stayed with me throughout the years. We have a variety of telescopes, and we use them fairly regularly. I’ve stayed up late and woken up early for eclipses, meteor showers, comets and planetary alignments in their various forms. I can tell direction based on the position of constellations (in the southern hemisphere at least) and I can always spot Orion or Scoprio with no difficulty (the latter mainly thanks to Antares.) Back in the days of Windows 95, I had a computer program that charted star positions based on the co-ordinates you gave it - it seemed pretty high tech back then. Ah, life before GPS.

It sounds faintly ridiculous, but I love the night sky. One of my favourite things used to be lying in our driveway, listening to my ipod and just staring at the stars…while my dog ran around the garden like a mad thing. I never see the stars where I live now – it’s my only complaint about my living situation. London is much too big and bright for any decent stargazing. It’s quite sad, really. Particularly because these are entirely foreign stars to me, I don’t know them at all.

Being an astronomer never really felt like a real job, somehow, so I toyed with the idea of being a marine biologist for a bit – like a lot of girls seem to do. But if I’m honest, I didn’t really have that much interest in marine life. I just liked the mammals and the beach. Anyway, I get so seasick, it would never have been a viable option.

Then, of course, I wanted to be a pilot. This was the only concrete “career” goal I ever had. It made sense because I’d spent so much time around planes and airports. I love everything about those things – not the commercial, passenger side of it, but the behind the scenes stuff that goes into making the propulsion of a huge, heavy object into the air a viable transport option. I think planes are beautiful things, the engineering that goes into it is magnificent. But actually flying a plane? Well, it didn’t really seem like something I’d enjoy. And besides, it’s stupidly expensive and requires a level of math skill that moving across continents had left me incapable of achieving.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately – having reached that part of the year where I have to evaluate all my life choices – and it’s interesting that I ended up studying what I did. All of these interests, they’re all scientific. And physics was one of the subjects I found most interesting in high school, though I couldn’t really grasp the math side of it that well.

I think people often neglect how closely tied science and philosophy actually is. Physics, in particular, is strewn throughout humanities theory and I found having an understanding of it to be more beneficial during my undergrad studies than anything else I did at school. Because of course I went on to do a humanities degree – what else? Flying was out of the question and the thing I was best at was writing. That was effortless and easy, it made sense to study that. Misguidedly dreaming of being a music journalist or a travel writer, always on the move and indulging in the things I love most.

Sometimes I can’t understand why I did it. Why not history, which I also loved and kicked ass at? Why not archaeology or something like that? Somehow writing seemed like the sensible choice back then, the failsafe option that would definitely have a job waiting at the other side of it. Which, granted, it did but…well, it’s not like I’m doing that now, is it? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret it. I often say how useless my degree is but I don’t think it was a waste of time. I’m one of those people who think learning is never a waste of time, even if it is very obscure things you’re learning (that said, some of my subjects were profoundly useless – the weird fashion one where we were applying cultural theory to clothes and shopping malls comes to mind.) But in terms of actually helping me find a job that I enjoy, the degree doesn’t do much. Publishing is really not for me, the idealistic journalism that I believed in before I started uni doesn’t exist. And it bores me to tears. That is the biggest problem. Writing for other people is a chore I do not enjoy and I am not particularly good at doing things I’m told to do. Yes, my degree is broader than straight journalism, but I’m so jaded when it comes to media, I can’t really face anything in that field and that's really what my degree is set up for.

So, then, here we are. Plotting the next step in my life. I actually enjoy my current job, surprisingly. It involves a lot more html code than I’d ever have thought I’d deal with on a daily basis. But it’s not a job that really exists back in Australia. I’m applying for a PhD because it’s something I’ve wanted since I was 6 and my mum first took me to her old university (I have always been a nerdy child, what can I say). Academia feels natural, easy, it’s something I can do pretty confidently. Whether I actually want to do it…I don’t know. Everything gets very tricky and bogged down in semantics if you think about it too long. Somewhere in the background processes of my mind, I’ve also idly thought about doing another bachelor’s degree. Something more like history or archaeology or linguistics. But do I really need another degree I’ll likely not use? Or more student debt? I think not.

It would be fun though.

Maybe I should do a science degree. One of my friends from undergrad has gone on to do biology after realising that marketing just wasn’t cutting it for her, so I know it’s not unusual. It’s the math element that worries me – it’s been 7 years since I studied math in any capacity and even back then I wasn’t great at it. I can’t imagine being any good at it now and I’ll probably have to pass some sort of entry exam to get into a degree like that. But then my perception of being good at something is completely effed up – I say I suck at math but my results were in the 70% range. I think I could probably do a physics degree, I’d have to put in a lot of work, a lot more than I’ve ever had to in my academic life, and then I think my results would probably come in around the credit region, 2:2, that kind of thing. I don’t know if I can face being that mediocre at something. It’s not in my nature to accept it.

See, this is when my perfectionism raises its ugly head. I’ve never persisted in anything I wasn’t immediately good at because I cannot bear the thought of failure. And nothing I do is ever really good enough on a personal level so when I’m actually not great at something, it’s like it physically hurts me. That’s why I never stuck with learning a musical instrument or drawing. And how’s this for warped, I don’t like taking lessons in something I’m not already fairly confident at doing because I don’t like people supervising me. So basically, I’ll try to teach myself but I’m not naturally inclined to the task at hand, so I struggle and then I give up. Because giving up is better than sucking, even if my idea of sucking is way different to a normal persons’ idea of sucking, right? Right. I can’t play Tchaikovsky's piano concerto no 1 the first time I sit down at a piano? This is an outrage! I’ll never be any good at this, why bother! *kicks over piano* I know it’s not healthy or useful, and I try really hard to not be like that. But it’s part of who I am, I can’t control it. I’m way better than I used to be, mind, waaaaay better, yet I can’t seem to get over it completely.

I just don’t see the point in doing something if you’re not going to excel at it – what are you trying to achieve? And I know if I worked hard, I could probably learn to be good at some things, but I’m lazy. Being clever makes you laaaaazy. I cruised through my academic career, like I said before I found it pretty easy. And I’d always feel guilty listening to other people talk about how much they’ve studied or worked throughout the year, and still not doing that well. If I do a science degree, I fear that will be me. I have very little faith in my ability to bear that.

This makes me sound horrible and vain and conceited – I don’t think I am. I hope I'm not. It's just that there are certain things I’m used to, around which my identity is constructed, and it gets problematic when that frame of reference is removed.

So, yeah. I don’t know. This ramble hasn’t really helped me clear anything up. But I don’t blog nearly as much as I used to so I guess I can allow myself the odd pointless, meandering, TL;DR outburst. Woo.

Music: Dancepack - Volcano Choir

Thursday, August 22, 2013

So much closer

It’s weird how it doesn’t hurt as much, anymore. Maybe I’ve just come to terms with the feeling and no longer acknowledge it. The slow burn of it.

It’s weird how when you want something you can’t have, you find joys in the little things. To make up for it. To fill the gap.

My self-control frays easily these days though, I live my life too much on a knife’s edge. I don’t have time, never enough time. And I don’t want any more regrets over things I haven’t done. Regrets over things I have done, those I’ll take. It means I’ve done something, at least. I took action. I made a decision and went after it. Whether for better or worse, I made a choice. And that kind of regret, that’s fleeting, that’s something you can manage.

And I do regret things. Not my actions themselves, though I probably should, but the consequences they may have. On other people. I don’t want to hurt others. I don’t want to waste anyone’s time. But if I’m selfishly following my whims, my emotions, going where the feelings take me, then invariably someone will get hurt. Me, of course, sure, but I know the risks. It’s the innocent bystanders I regret. That feeling of the bottom dropping out of my stomach at the mention of a name because I know that the damage inflicted upon them if I got what I wanted would be catastrophic.

But still, I want. I want. I can’t turn that off. Can’t change it. There are distractions, and I busy myself with other things, but I won’t deny it. I’m trying so hard to stop burying my emotions under the concern for others – it’s a personality flaw, it’s not healthy. Now I fear I’ve tipped too far the other way, putting myself first too much, too selfishly.

That’s over-thinking, though. Dramatic. My usual style. Always over-analysing, transferring, worrying. I think my life would be a thousand times simpler if I was less clever and less self-aware. But probably not as engaging.

I wonder sometimes over what kind of person I am nowadays. I do things that I would never have thought myself capable of, things I would have disapproved of. But that’s because back then I had no idea, not really, not a clue of what it was like, and what it could be. Life, I mean. I still have no idea but I’m not afraid of stumbling a little to find out. And now I know, or understand rather, that things are not black and white and neatly arranged. Things are never that simple. Things that I know I should think are a bad idea in the cold light of morning do not even give me reason to pause after a few bottles of wine in those last minutes before midnight. You can’t read people, or predict them. You can’t spend all your time planning for conversational eventualities, trying to think of every possible scenario in your head. It’s not a game of chess, no matter how much you want it to be. (That, at least, would make sense. That, I understand. That, would be easy.)

And I don’t really know anything. Except myself, as I am now, at this precise moment in time. I know what I’m feeling, right now. I know what I want, right now. The future is more uncertain for me than ever, but I know that I don’t want to dwell on it. I’m going for the things I want, right now. And they make me happy. Maybe that should be enough.

Music: Transatlanticism - Death Cab for Cutie

Saturday, August 3, 2013

I have measured out my life with coffee spoons

And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”—
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
  Should say: “That is not what I meant at all;
  That is not it, at all.”

- TS Eliot

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Do you know what epic means?

A couple of weeks ago, F showed me a film. One I'd never heard of. The Fall. How it escaped me, I don't know, but it has captured my heart completely.

I love this film. I love everything about it, from it's gorgeous opening scene through to the last heart-wrenching 20 minutes. I love the cinematography, specifically the use of colour. All the little scenes dotted throughout, the visual cues that repeat later and form this cohesive whole. The interweaving storytelling technique, playing on so many tropes while revitalising them in these little new, unique ways. I love how the story is, at it's crux, so simple, so innately human. And I love how it hurts, just right. How it made me tear up the first time, and still has me tearing up now, after repeated viewing. It's so clever, and innocent, and raw, and beautiful, and magnificent.

It's definitely a new favourite.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013


You know that scene in the first episode of Sherlock, where he's making a mental map to try and figure out how to cut the taxi off? That's basically the map I have in my head every time I'm heading home after a night out.

Cue drunken thought process: "Shall I go down Berwick street? Or that...way....or bus? No. Thingy. Thingy is good."  *walks down Wardour like I do every single day*

It's weird though, cause in the mornings I now walk up Dean Street cause there's less annoying construction work, but walking home I still always go for Wardour. But I've started cutting through a lot of back streets more lately, staying parallel to Shaftesbury, cause of the crowds. Summer tourist season, it ain't pretty. Especially on Wednesdays, when it's matinee day. Pro tip kids, stay off the sidewalk.

And so endeth my unsolicited rambling on walking habits.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Just keep moving on

So I have been hanging out down by the train's depot. No, I don't ride.
I just sit and watch the people there. And they remind me of wind up cars in motion.
The way they spin and turn and jockey for positions.
And I want to scream out that it all is nonsense.
All your lives one track, can't you see it's pointless?
But then, my knees give under me. My head feels weak and
suddenly it is clear to see that it is not them but me, who has lost my self-identity.
As I hide behind these books I read, while scribbling my poetry,
like art could save a wretch like me, with some ideal ideology that no one can hope to achieve.
And I am never real; it is just a sketch of me.

Music: Waste of paint - Bright Eyes

Sunday, July 28, 2013


When I go back to Perth in January, I'm going to go camping in the outback for a week and stay up all night looking at the stars. Imagine the darkness. Imagine how many there'd be. I miss stars. They don't have them in London.

Also, yes, I'll be going to Perth. And then maybe Dunedin if I get in there. Otherwise, staying in Perth. Sorry Sydney, you know I'll always love you.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Top 5: Disney Princesses

To manage my outrage at the lack of Disney films on Netflix, I made a thing. Yep.

  • Belle, Beauty and the Beast
Belle was always my favourite, I think maybe because I related to her the most. Restless, bookish, considered a bit weird, not at all interested in idiot guys. C'est moi. She's always dreaming of adventure and is wonderfully loyal. Also, I've always over-romanticised all things French so, really, this ticks all the boxes.

My life.
  • Megara, Hercules
While I don't adore Hercules nearly as much as I do the aforementioned film, I have a bit of a thing about Greek mythology and I love sassiness. Megara has sass in spades. I love that she's strong-willed and more than capable of helping herself...even if she did sell her soul to Hades to save a guy. Eep. Sometimes I suspect that emotionally I probably have more in common with her than Belle, in the same way that I emotionally match Eowyn yet aspire to Arwen. Or something.

Also my life.
  • Merida, Brave
I saw this film twice in the cinema, and cried both times. I am not ashamed to admit it. When it was released on the DVD, I immediately bought it and watched it with my mum, and then I hugged her for ages. This film was made to be watched with your mum. I love everything about it. I love that it's a real story about misunderstandings and miscommunication. About how we hurt those closest to us without thinking. How we, as kids, selfish and thoughtless, often forget that our parents are people too...and vice versa. I love that Merida didn't have all the answers, but that she never gave up, and worked to fix her mistakes. And I love that, in the end, it was about mutual respect, and finding your courage and conviction. It's growing up. It made me melancholic but also hopeful. Mainly it made me want to go out there and have adventures and take risks - and even if I fuck up, it's not the end of the world. It's kinda the point. Besides, we can fix it. (And hey, my mum will still love me.)

  • Jasmine, Aladdin
I love that Jasmine is so fiesty and that she's not afraid to go off and have adventures. She's very pro-active, generous, idealistic and fiercely loyal, all excellent qualities. Plus she's not afraid of upsetting the status quo. Also, pet tiger. Awesome.

  • Rapunzel, Tangled
Because, frying pans. Also, that entire scene when she first leaves the tower and then has a small nervous breakdown? Most accurate depiction EVER of what I felt like when I set off on my travels at the start of last year. Pretty much perfect. I like that she's so sheltered and kinda naive, but thanks to spending all that time with only books for friends, she's also pretty well equipped to deal with the world. She's terrified but she still does it. She's quick to adapt and adjust. I like it.

Honourable mentions to the non-Disney Princesses:
  • Anya, Anastasia
I adore Anastasia. It's so funny and lovely, sentimental and tragic. And it plays on concepts of truth and identity and that's so totally my thing (academically speaking.) Anya is resourceful and clever. I love that she's so honest and independent, that she has no qualms about standing up for herself. And she's determined - she never gives up once she's set her mind to something. I think she's pretty damn cool. And I love the sidekicks in this.

  • Odette, The Swan Princess
Hmmm, bit of an odd one. I've just always had a soft spot for Odette. I like that she tells Derek to eff off because he's superficial, and then he has to prove himself by trying to find her while she's a swan (and tries to kill her? Transformation does not make for an easy romance.) Also? Tchaikovsky, bitches! Culture. Sidekicks in this are fab too - Jean Bob! I do not take advice from peasants! Hee.

Music: Where did the party go - Fall Out Boy

Monday, July 15, 2013

Communicate through pursed lips

I can see the trajectory of the choices I am making. But I'm so secure in the emotions that I've suppressed that I pursue it with a single-minded determination. Even though I know that it won't end well. And I don't know quite how I got here (but that's being dramatic, cause surely I must know, I made the choices after all) but I am becoming the Penny Lane of my own story. It's not a role I ever would have picked, or chosen, for myself. At all. Still, it is what it is. And maybe I should be more cut up about it, the wreck that waits at the foot of this fall. I've become so good at avoiding the issue though that I don't even think about it at all. All the angst and worry and anxiety has been lost in the passing months and all that's left is this projected image of cool. The cool girl. The one they don't get to keep. I don't mind it, though, not right now anyway. Cause there are these moments that make it all worth it. I know that won't last though, know that it won't be enough. And no matter what happens, how this plays out, I'll still be the one who leaves, in the end, who gets on a plane and flies to the other side of the world. And that knowledge...that's what makes me reckless and unrepentant.

Music: The poke - Frightened Rabbit

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


"You're making a mistake."
"In your assumptions."
"I don't understand."
"You think I want to fix you."
"Why not? Everyone does."
"I don't."
"Not even a little."
"Does that scare you?"

Laughter echoes through the night.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

On pretending not to care

It makes me a bit sad that all this stuff is kicking off in politics, raising loads of important questions about feminism and rights and social expectations - and all I currently want to do is write pathetic romance bullshit and question my moral ineptitude.

How did we come to this? How did I become this?

Also, I think The National wrote a song about me. Well, if you take into account that my nickname at work is Jennifer.

Music: Fireproof - The National

Monday, June 24, 2013

10 things I hate about you

In faith, I do not love thee with mine eyes,
For they in thee a thousand errors note,
But 'tis my heart that loves what they despise,
Who in despite of view is pleased to dote.
Nor are mine ears with thy tongue's tune delighted,
Nor tender feeling to base touches prone,
Nor taste, nor smell, desire to be invited
To any sensual feast with thee alone;
But my five wits nor my five senses can
Dissuade one foolish heart from serving thee,
Who leaves unswayed the likeness of a man,
Thy proud heart's slave and vassal wretch to be.
   Only my plague thus far I count my gain,
   That she that makes me sin awards me pain

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The quiet things that no one ever knows

"I always get myself in these fucking situations. I give everything to other people and nobody ever…I never…I don’t get what I want, okay?"

If I'm honest...I find films about mental illness quite difficult to deal with.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I know I expect too much

My life is a Fall Out Boy song again, and all is well with the world.

And all the boys are smoking menthols
Girls are getting back rubs
I will drift to you if you if you make yourself shake fast enough
My old aches become new again
My old friends become exes again

Music: Where did the party go - Fall Out Boy

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Like a barrel full of monkeys

I make some really questionable choices sometimes. Don't think I should really be trusted to be out and about among other humans.

We'd sell off these cheap thrills
And then head for the hills

Like a barrel full of monkeys
You are a fuck load of work
You can string me along
Make me laugh until my stomach caves in
Or the string breaks and I'm down for the count

It sure is nice to know you like me around

Music: Water towers on fire - The Heligoats

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Leaving you tomorrow

At the work the other day I was lamenting the fact that my mum’s birthday present is still on back-order and that I wouldn’t be able to send her anything on time, what with Easter being in the way and all. To which I received the reply, “Jen, you’re so unorganised!”

And you know what? It’s true. It’s funny though, I never used to be. I always knew exactly what I was doing, when I needed to do it by and how to go about it. And in certain aspects of my life, I’m still super organised (at work, for example). But when it comes to things like this, my personal life (sending cards, attending events I'd say I'd go to) - I’ve sort of stopped trying. I think a lot of it comes from travelling, of packing it all in and shipping across the world. Somewhere along the way I just decided to take a laissez-faire approach to organising my life. My life is just too transient, uncertain, and, yes, sometimes that really stresses me out. Especially now, with my parents moving to Perth. I mean hell, who knows where I’m going to be in 9 months? Not me.

So, frankly, what’s the point in trying to organise my life? Don’t get me wrong, I make contingency plans, I think about possible outcomes, but I am not particularly fussed on the details, and not particularly good at time frames. Life’s too short to get caught up in the minutia – especially if it’s all just going to change in a couple of weeks anyway. Let the chips fall where they may. Or something.

That's why I'm easy
I'm easy like Sunday morning

Music: Free - Faith No More

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Your thoughts in the night

If you must wait,
Wait for them here in my arms as I shake.
If you must weep,
Do it right here in my bed as I sleep.
If you must mourn, my love,
Mourn with the moon and the stars up above.
If you must mourn,
Don't do it alone.
If you must leave,
Leave as though fire burns under your feet.
If you must speak,
Speak every word as though it were unique.
If you must die, sweetheart,
Die knowing your life was my life's best part.
If you must die,
Remember your life.

Music: You - Keaton Henson

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Temps perdu

We stand on five minutes and devour centuries. You are the sieve through which my anarchy strains, resolves itself into words. Behind the word is chaos. Each stripe, a bar, but there are not and never will be enough bars to make a mesh.

Spring was definitely in the air today.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Give up the game

somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully, mysteriously) her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands

- e.e. cummings

Saturday, March 2, 2013

I know just what to do

I have walked far too much today. After spending most of last night staring into space, unable to sleep, I decided the best cure would be to have a Saturday outing - when I am in one of these self-reflective, self-destructive moods, I find it's better if I'm out and about, rather than sitting at home, digging myself deeper into a mental hole.

So I set off this morning with the intention of visiting the Barbican's Rain Room. I've been meaning to do this for weeks and, as it closes tomorrow, I figured I'd better get my act together. Only I noticed that they had updated their approximate queue time to 6 hours. Still, I was unconcerned. Surely not. I was going to get there early, long before opening time, it would be fine.

This is the problem with London, people actually go out and do stuff. Shows sell out. Gigs sell out. Exhibitions are packed. You can't just idly wander about and act on your whims here, there are just too many people, and they're all out doing stuff. So I really shouldn't have been surprised when I got to the Barbican to find an already massive line. Now as cool as I think the Rain Room sounds, I'm not standing in a line for hours. Nope. Ain't happening. Sorry.

Finding myself so at a loss of something to do, I decided to do what I do best, wander aimlessly. But I wasn't really paying that much attention and so very quickly found myself a liiiiittle bit lost. Not helped by the fact that there is quite a lot of construction work happening, blocking streets and getting me all turned around and confuzzled. But getting lost is part of the fun and I basically refuse to look at a map (because that's cheating), so I wandered north for a bit, then east until I got to Bishopsgate, and then south and west again.

Wandering back and forth, with no clear idea of where I was going, I eventually stumbled out from between some buildings to discover St Paul's looming over me. I've found myself, I thought, and that struck me as kind of ironic, considering it was a church and all. And so, back among the tourist hordes, my time criss-crossing the winding maze of back streets was at an end.

I made my way down Fleet Street, ambling towards Trafalgar Square, and I realised I was having a fantastic day. Which sounds ridiculous, I know, because I wasn't actually doing anything, just...walking, and walking, and walking. But this city is mental and when you're walking through it, you start to really appreciate its idiosyncrasies; the way different pockets of time seem to exists all over the place. And it's like you can see the history of the city, the echoes of everything it was, interwoven with everything it is, and could still be, all around you. I think that's what makes London so intoxicating. That's what I love about it.

It just reminded me of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, which I just recently re-read (and it was even better, now that I live here.)

'There are little bubbles of old time in London, where things and places stay the same, like bubbles in amber,' she explained. 'There's a lot of time in London, and it has to go somewhere - it doesn't all get used up at once.'

Music: Providence - Foals

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Captain's log: Teleportation still not working

Today it seemed like everyone in the office was talking about their upcoming travel plans. It has made me incredibly restless. To travel! To go somewhere new! To be warm again! These are all things I very much approve of.

So I’ve spent a large part of today alternating between crying over my bank balance and researching potential holiday destinations. Somewhat ironically, none of them were warm. I still want to go to Helsinki and Tromso and Iceland, so those were my first thoughts. But if you’re going north at this time of year, you’d be mad not to fit in a Northern Lights experience and once I start factoring that in, everything gets kind of out of control. Plus I promised mum I’d go to Tromso with her. And I’m waiting for Kat to come visit so we can go to Iceland.

Casting those aside then, I realised I’m left with very little choice. I also realised that I can’t really talk about travel without sounding like a douche. Oops. Anyway, I don’t want to go somewhere I’ve already been so that immediately disqualifies most of western Europe. I also don’t want to go anywhere that takes longer than 10 hours to get to because that’s halfway home and feels like a waste of energy – which is really sad because most of the travel deals being pitched is for Fiji or Thailand. It would be incredibly lovely, but come on, it makes much more sense to visit those when I’m living in Sydney.

I thought about Turkey and Greece, but I’d prefer to do those with friends. I’m also quite keen to go to Morocco but again, it’s a bit of a drag to organise if you’re a solo traveller. And I’m lazy. And mostly driven by whimsy at the moment. So where can I go? Wheeeeere? If I’m not lured by the promise of fancy natural phenomena, then I want to be warm. I think maybe Portugal is the answer. I’ve only been to Lisbon, so there is scope for further explorations, and it was also surprisingly pleasant there around this time last year. So maybe there’s hope for defrosting after all.

Of course everything is hinged on budget flights, woe. I’m such a complete and utter airline snob. It’s horrific how bad I get about it. I disgust myself. I will sleep in a dodgy hostel and eat nutella out of a jar for dinner for a week, just don’t ask me to fly a budget airline. It is hell on earth.

Bizarrely, it would be cheaper for me just to go home for a two week holiday rather than go somewhere else. And because I am a lunatic, I am actually considering it too. Warmth!
Music: Bloodbuzz Ohio - The National

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Getting back into writing properly. Trying to decide which novel to focus on though so I'm going through some of the old bits. Can't believe I've basically not touched any of it in over a year.

None of this had been part of the plan. Granted, the plan had been pretty vague in a tour-record-???-success sort of way, but I could never have predicted how responsible I’d feel. Not just in terms of the band’s ultimate success or failure, but for them as people.

I hadn’t even known them at the start. Blake was just some prat in my French Lit class, and Chris was the tattooed guy he caused trouble with. Tyler was the stray they’d quite literally picked up at the side of the road, and Eric was the smart-arse in the bowler hat that gate crashed ESM’s practice sessions.

They were just caricatures, superficial, defined by their most obvious features. I even named them like that on my blog. Blake, due to his love of holey jumpers, his lip ring and shaggy hair, was Indie Boy. With his ever-changing hair colour and impressive tattoo collection, Chris became Captain Colour. I was the most unimaginative with Tyler who was simply The Drummer, but as he couldn’t focus on anything for more than five seconds and was allergic to shirts, he didn’t exactly give me much to work with. Eric became The Enigma because Goth Boy just didn’t cut it, despite his love of black clothes, The Sandman and Nine Inch Nails.

People judged, and boxed, and labelled. It was just instinct. I came to realise that the more time passed, the messier definitions became. Snap decisions were easy enough. It was getting to know them that made things complicated.

And it was complicated. The thing with Eric. The thing with Phoebe. Chris bouncing off the walls half the time, and Blake quietly trying to move in on my sister. And of course Tyler with the harpy girlfriend. I just wasn’t sure how it happened, or how I became personally responsible for making sure they emerged from all of this whole, and unscathed. Every day that passed made that feel like a greater impossibility.

‘Oli was in rehab, you know,’ I said, eyes fixed on the van’s stained roof. I hoped to never find out what could leave marks like that. ‘Record company paid for it. He lasted maybe two months when he got out.’ I pulled myself up again and glanced over at Eric. He was still down for the count. ‘I don’t get it. You’re a bloody genius and he’s The Badger Cult’s own Sid Vicious. What do you get out of it?’

He remained completely still. I sighed again and made my way to the door. We had four hours before we needed to head for the venue. If he couldn’t drag himself up by then, I’d just have to do it for him.

Movement stilled me just as I reached the front. Eric sat up on his elbows and looked at me from under his hair. ‘I like Oli,’ he said. ‘He makes me feel healthy.’

I slammed the door behind me as a reply. It bothered me that he said it so easily. Some people had an inherent darkness, a shadow they couldn’t quite shake. That was fine. I had no overwhelming urge to fix him. I just wanted to keep him alive. I was beginning to doubt whether he actually wanted that.

Music: My number - Foals

The opposite of love's indifference

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Not deep enough to never be found

Last week, I was lucky enough to have the chance to check out the one day only Frightened Rabbit Pop-Up Gallery on Carnaby Street. Ah, the joys of working in Soho!

For those who don't know, Frightened Rabbit is an amazing indie Scottish band. Their new album, Pedestrian Verse, was released yesterday and I cannot recommend it enough. Go. Get. It. I've been streaming it basically non-stop for a week, it is brilliant.

Anyway, the pop-up gallery was a promo for the album and featured loads of great prints, including the framed song lyrics from the new album, and objects used to create the album artwork. There were also guitars strewn about the place that were used to record the album, and docos projected on the wall. It was very cool, and an excellent use of our lunch hour.

There was also a free acoustic gig that evening. Now I've only ever seen Frightened Rabbit once (on NYE 2008, at the Purple Sneakers House Party at Manning House, instantly fell in love), so I wasn't going to pass up this opportunity - especially when I don't have tickets to their upcoming London show. So, off I went.

As I headed down after work, I had to stand around for quite some time (being a free show I figured it would fill up pretty quickly and I was definitely right about that) but it was well worth it in the end. Scott and Gordon played a selection of songs from Pedestrian Verse, including the brilliant bonus track 'If you were me' (and 'Holy', my personal favourite), as well as two old songs ('Old, old fashioned', yay!) Scott is such a charmer and with people sitting cross-legged on the floor, and spilling out through the doors into the courtyard, the whole set had a lovely communal atmosphere.

I'm just so thrilled I got to hear the new songs live, if only a couple of them. They're definitely one of my favourite bands around at the moment, such fantastic depth to the songs and often surprisingly twisted, which is the best kind of song, let's face it.

Do yourself a favour and check out Pedestrian Verse. Get February off to a good start for a change!

Music: Backyard Skulls - Frightened Rabbit

Monday, February 4, 2013

Sing, oh January

A whole month has passed since my arrival back in the UK and look, not a single emotional breakdown. Everything’s coming up Millhouse! Much has happened, however. The January blues well and truly blanketed the city, but nonetheless there is plenty to keep you busy. And keeping busy is key.

Most of the month was dominated by talk of a work trip to Frankfurt – I originally wasn’t meant to go, having just (rather sheepishly) returned, but was invited along at the last minute. Well, really, it was just a trip to Frankfurt airport (oh Frankfurt airport, how do I loathe thee, let me count the ways…) but hey, day off work, it’s all cool. Unfortunately, I had a horrendous wine hangover the day we flew out and proceeded to sleep through most of the presentations (that bit is actually not so unfortunate, they were very long-winded), but the festivities that evening made up for the suffering. It was a really fun time, even though it took approximately a week to recover from the lack of sleep and, what I liked to call, Frankfurt Flu. That was also the week of the snow. People freaked out. I was insanely gleeful. I can’t help it.

I don’t think the novelty of it will ever really wear off for me. And hey, it sets the perfect scene when I walk to/from work, listening to Bon Iver, breath puffing in the air. It’s actually all sorts of lovely. Even if it is freezing. And slippery. I was contemplating taking bets for how long it would take me to fall over but it didn’t really stick around very long and I somehow managed to remain upright. Somehow.

The only other major event was Australia Day, where I was the token Aussie in a group consisting of a South African, New Zealander and Americans. At least having a Kiwi in attendance meant that there were two of us to enthusiastically hound DJs all night to play John Farnham’s ‘The Voice.’ Cause it’s Australia Day, mate. It ended up being a very lively evening, even if it did lead us to the Walkabout. Still, was lots of fun. I shouldn’t be allowed on dance floors.

With things being otherwise quite sedate, I spent most of my free time on Abbi’s couch, indulging in all sorts of bad television/film choices. The most horrendous of the lot would have to be This Means War and Footloose, which we sadly watched on the same day. How can we endure such horror in such concentrated doses? You can read Ab’s reviews here. And when I'm actually home, and my lovely flatmate is in, I've been discovering why Wil Wheaton insists there's no such thing as too many dice.

Oh! I finally, finally, finished A Dance With Dragons. This is why we can’t have nice things! !! !!! See, it took me so long to finish cause I had to keep stopping when I became too enraged to continue. And now I’m caught up and have to wait with the other people! This is outrageous! I want closure! And happy Starks. Can’t we have happy Starks? *weeps*

But I digress.

I started watching Breaking Bad (so uber stressful) and Community (really enjoy it, but struggling to get into the second season.) I feel like I watch too much stuff. I need to cut back. Write more. Still, I haven’t seen any of the films that came out this month cause I am too flat broke, boo. I’ve never been this desperate for pay day in my life. Only two more days! There may be hope yet.

 Music: January Hymn - The Decemberists

Saturday, February 2, 2013

I want all that is not mine

It’s been ages since I blogged, and ages since I blogged anything that wasn’t lame and emo – I originally attempted to write something back in the second week of January and then got distracted…which I shamefully admit is often the way over here. Christmas, for what it’s worth, was brilliant. It was fun having family visit and getting to show them around Sydney, especially since most of them had never been overseas before. So yes, having a proper family Christmas at home made for a nice change.

Now I’m back in London and everything is great and lovely, and it’s baffling how this town feels so much like home. I don’t know how or when or why it happened, but somewhere around the end of last year it did, and so I find myself with a rather stupid grin on my face a lot of the time. It’s good to be back. I made the right call. Seems a bit pointless to do it now, but as I was on a plane on New Year’s day, I think I’ll allow myself this very (month!) late 2012 round up. So. Here goes -

Last year was pretty damn epic, all things told. I visited 14 countries, properly left home for the first time and set up a new life on the other side of the world (again.) There were some pretty significant downs during the year, but in the end it all evened out and I do not regret anything for a moment. Travelling, I think, is one of the best things you can do. And breaking out and standing on your own two feet is certainly a positive thing too. I think I’ve changed a lot, in a good way, so on that front, it was definitely a Good Year. And, to quote The Gaslight Anthem, I found that nothing truly matters that you cannot find for free.

Photo recap? Photo recap.

Best wedding ever?
Where it all began.
Because, Paris. Always charming. 
Lovely Lisboa, with it's many hills and sunshine and ginjinha.
Greatly overestimating the walkability of Barcelona.
Hobo-ing it up in Milan.
Freezing in Verona.
Because, Venice. Old school decadence.
Budapest. Unexpectedly amazing.
Hostel laundry night = despair.
Austrian National Library, Vienna. Want.
Neuschwanstein Castle in winter, so unbelievably picturesque.
Twitter exchanges about showers and shoe throwing. Ah, the madness in Prague. 
Being physically incapable of walking any further in Berlin.
Stockholm, natural habitat of the hipster...
...and hanging out with cool people.
Copenhagen. That's all. Just, Copenhagen.
London living.
Friends visiting and being touristy together.
And taking cool day trips with them.
Working in a ridiculously fun office.
Oh, and Olympic London. Pretty epic, really.

Also, drinking. Lots of drinking.
Halloween shenanigans.
Harry Potter fangirling.
Deep Scottish Love.
Multiple visits to pretty Edinburgh...
...and hanging out in Lizzie's fave cafe.
The realisation that, although things may change drastically in our lives, we'll always be a little insane.
Weekend in Northern Ireland.
Tourist life, yo.
Summer in Sydney. Still the best.
Afternoon beach walks with my dog. Missed it desperately.
Exploring new places and birthday celebrations.
The mayhem of a Sydney New Year's Eve.
No one does it better.
I’m not really one for making resolutions, but if I had to have a goal for this year, it would to finish one of my novels. And I want to get back to seriously researching, and applying for, my PhD. And I want to make the most of my year in the UK, just really get the most out of London living cause for all I know, this is the last time I’ll have this opportunity. I guess living life in the moment is the most important thing I learned last year, and that’s something I definitely want to keep up. And hell if you make mistakes or get hurt or find yourself disappointed, that’s important too, at least it means you’re actually living.

And, to end, here’s my top song of 2012. This band basically soundtracked the year.

Music: Smother - Daughter