Saturday, November 10, 2007

Wearing me down

How many times have I had this conversation. This one was with a workmate. Many of them have been. He is not an English as a first language person.

Him: Blah, blah, blah about superannuation.
Him: Do you have children?
Me: No
Him: You are married with a wife though
Me: No, I am gay
Him: You are not married?
Me: No
Him: Why not?
Me: I like men better
Him: But what about when you are old? No children and no wife.
Me: I am old already. I have a friend.
Him: Have you been to Asia?
Me: Yes, four times.
Him: The girls, what shapes, beautiful. They would love you.
Me: Yes, one of your countrymen here tried to sell me one for marriage. Then he tried to sell a wife to me and pay me $10,000
Him: It happens. Are you happy?
Me: Deliriously (went over his head)
Me: Got to go and do some work
Him: Ok, see you.

That is a bit abbreviated. I tried so hard to point out that I was a homosexual. Men for sex is good. Nice guy though but I think it is a cultural thing and all the south east Asian men in Australia remember their country as it was and not as it is now. There were no gays, only lady boys and guys who played around with other guys.

I am surprised how many people don't put two and two together and work out that I am gay. Must be because I am so butch, but then I have know many butcher gays than me.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Foyer Art or Make my Day

This is a piece of art that was bought and installed in our foyer. It made of pieces of Japanese silk, mostly antique kimono remnants. I like it a lot and wish it was on my wall.

The artist is Sally Amond.

R and I are working on another edition of our building's newsletter and I wanted to specifically mention this art work, but all I had was the title 'Eva by Sally'. I was sure I had the right person when I came across Sally Smart on the net. After sending her an email and she replying, it was not that Sally, but a lesser know variety of Sally.

I made some phone calls and eventually got her last name and a phone number. I called her and her teenage daughter answered. Her mother was not at home. I left a message and an hour or so later, Sally returned my call.

She seemed very nice and ever so pleased to hear about about her work. She normally only works on small items such as cushions etc. It was her first large piece.

What she also said was that when she left our building, she felt shattered as the first person who saw it after it was hung said she did not like it. I explained to Sally that it was a body corp committee member who would not have liked whatever was there, as the foyer reno had become political. She went on to say that 'famous bearded media person' also saw it and he liked it.

I explained to Sally how I wanted to mention her and her art in the building newsletter and that the piece had received many favourable comments. She was quite chuffed. I invited her to return to the building and see the area finished and she said she would love to.

Later I emailed her what we had written for the newsletter and the before and after pictures. Yet to hear back.

I could have just put her name in the newsletter and left it at that, but I am very pleased that I called her. I think it really made her day. So little effort really on my part (lie, I hate talking on the telephone), but with such a great effect.

The book nerd

I am feeling like a right nerd now. LiD was close. It is kind of a history book. The Encyclopedia of Melbourne, weighing in at 3.7 kg or just over 8 pounds with 800 and something pages.

After paying that much for a book, I would have thought Angus and Robertson would have given me one of the reusable bags to carry it in, but no. They wanted another dollar for the bag, so I made them double plastic bag it.

The last entry I read was for Allan's Music, so I have a long way to go yet.

I have wanted it since it was published two years ago and actually asked R to get it for my birthday, but then I could not find it anywhere, so I thought it would be too much trouble for him. And then yesterday, there it was, right in front of me. I still hesitated a while though.

Now the next time I complain about spending money, he has some good ammunition up his sleeve.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Book Update

I used my book voucher today, but not free of guilt, because I spent one hundred and fifty dollars on a book. The fifty dollar birthday voucher helped, but I now feel ever so guilty for spending money I don't have........and very pleased with my purchase.

Off the field fashion

It seems on our very special horse race days, style rises and falls as the day's temperature does.

We have had Derby Day last Saturday, the Melbourne Cup last Tuesday and today, Oaks Day or Ladies Day.

I have taken a keen interest in what peoples are wearing to the races, both blokes and sheilas, for the last few years. It would seem the scrubbers get out early, whereas the better dressed are not seen until around lunchtime. But at the end of the day they all reach a common level, staggering, drunk and dishevelled.

While Cup Day offers the best viewing around railway stations and on public transport, quite a bit is to be seen on the other two days too. At a certain time on Cup Day, Flinders Street Station is a sea of colourful hats. I had to go into the city this morning so I took a couple of snaps at the station. It wasn't quite as busy as I wanted, but you get the drift.

As I said, the earlier attendees to the races can be try hards, but fail. I could go on about some of the travesties I saw, but I shan't. What I will say is that the blokes standard of dress improves every year. But it not quite as challenging for them as it is for the sheilas.

Now girlfriends, if your legs are pale white, if they at all marked, if they are not perfectly waxed, if they are muscular, if there are some knotty veins showing, if the skin gathers under your knees, if there is any cellulite showing then that is why god invented hosiery. Yes, you must suffer a little for beauty, but it can't be anywhere near the discomfort of high heels all day.

At five pm today I will sit on the balcony and watch the women staggering off the trams making their way home, bag in one hand, slingbacks in the other.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Nothing post or O/s trip

This working early and not being home on my own during the day is doing my head in. Back to normal transmission next week.

R's sister rings occasionally from the north of the UK. The call usual comes after a social occasion after she has a a drink or ten. She always gets the time wrong, so fortunately we are usually at work and she has to leave a message and then R calls her back one evening and it is then morning in the UK. This works quite well. I never forget when she rang the marriage celebrant in Sydney at 2.30 in the morning.

The time before when she rang, R motioned to me that should he mention we may go to UK next year. I firmly indicated no.

But this time I did not stop him. The finer details are yet to be worked out, like how I will pay for it, Master Card, Visa, reverse mortgage or prostitution. But I have committed.

We will stay in their caravan in a park in Hexham just out of Newcastle. Certainly I, and R too I think, prefer to be on our own rather than be house guests, so that works out well. I noticed there is a train goes past, but R is talking about car hire.

R's sister then mentioned about their friend's villa in Spain. We could all go and stay there. Then R mentioned that he wants to see London again. I know all I need to know about London. I have read and observed for years. It would be a disappointment. Besides, I have a blog mate or two who I could ask about London.

All I want to see is a picuturesque Cornish fishing village on a steep hill leading down to the sea. Whitby, R said. You can see that there.

My dreams of Spanish tapas and sangria under a grape vine in the courtyard of a local restaurant that we discovered has turned into villa balcony fish and chips a la Costa del Sol.

Ok, I give in. I will go and be obliging. Left to me, we would be going for a holiday to Nagambie, less than two hours drive away, although I would get the train if I had the choice.

Fortunately I am now mature and I will keep my hands off the Spanish waiters, apartment cleaners and tour guides, I think.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Dame M at the races

She wasn't today. Instead she sat in her very dark house, darkened because she cannot bear glare because of her eye disease, with a few minions, her boarder, her tenant and R. Luckily I was at work. Lucky for the brother friends are now overseas. Lucky for the dyke friend and her g/f are in Qld.

I arrived home at a bit after three from work and R called soon after. 'Are you coming down?', he asked. I said no, I am busy, which I was, but I felt bad as I knew R was having a hard and boring time of it. I went down. It was boring.

We ate some food and had one drink and just under two hours was limit.

Dame M did spark a bit. She said for years she went to the Melbourne Cup with a large group. She lived on Punt Road hill then. They would book a table at a hotel where they would eat on the way home (now closed and forgotten the name, Riverside?) then party on at her place and sleep, or pass out, four to each single bed. There was some mad cavorting in black lacy underwear and some rooting around. She said it was the best time of her life and then she made a terrible mistake and got married and the fun ended.

Well, I know for her the fun did not end, but I understand her point. Among the four today, they organised a sweep for the cup and Dame M got 1st, 2nd and 3rd.


My brother, the younger brother next in line, the one with an ABI, here after referred to as the Pakenham brother, gave me an Angus and Robertson book voucher for my birthday. I will spend it this Thursday. It is for $50!!!! R said I could buy two books. I thought I might get one expensive one and have to add a few $$$ to it.

I don't have anything specific in mind. I just looked at A & R website and put Melbourne into the search and wow, do they have a lot of books.

What a brill gift. I will have no angst over spending money on a pleasure. Usually I would feel guilt.

Priscilla the Musical

Priscilla the Musical, I can highly recommend it. I still have a problem with paying near $100 to see a musical, but I am moving begrudgingly into the 21st century. R's birthday was in March and he asked to see Phantom of the Opera as a birthday present. Somewhere along the way it translated to seeing Priscilla, probably because I said I would only see one musical per year and we had already seen Dusty. R had forgotten that it was his birthday present and that I had paid.

We walked into town with the brother friends. Everyone else was supposed to arrive early but no one did. At one point one of the brother friends started to express an opinion on the the Regent Theatre but paused. I slipped in 'restrained'? as a description. It was not the word he was thinking of.

So R and I had to have sorbet like daquarie on our own. There is a another word for these sorbet things, the non alcholic ones that are available at 7/11s, but it does not come to my mind. Slushy or something. A late arrival asked what I thought of them and I said they weren't much. I bought another to take into the theatre and changed my mind. I was feeling effects. The best part was they came in plastic glasses that lit up and changed colour. They looked gorgeous with a pink drink in them.

Eventually the assorted friends and sis in law and her friends arrived and we took up a whole row in the theatre.

Afterwards we went to King Bo Chinese restaurant, cnr Russell and Ltl Bourke, which was almost ok. Nice late notice earner for them. 21 pax by $30 banquet per head, plus drinks. Service good, ambience ok, food, average bland Chinese. I likes me men and me food spicy.

Cup Tip

This post from my mobile phone at 2pm. I have a tip for the cup. Put your money on Efficient. It is a sure thing. I wish I had the time to get some money on.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Revisiting a death

Here is a clip from a post I wrote not so long ago.

Many years ago R had a stint between jobs when he first arrived in Australia as a tram conductor. The chap who trained him as a tram conductor lived in an Albert Park boarding house. He was of Latvian extraction I think. For at least a decade, probably longer, he has caught the same trams from Albert Park every night to the Balaclava Hotel for his evening meal. He always sat at the same reserved table and either read his newspaper or chatted to his latest lady companion. Tonight there were flowers on the table and a funeral service card. No drawn out malingering for him. Quick and clean.

I wonder if R regrets not going up to him and saying, 'Hi, Charlie, remember me?'

I have learnt a bit more about this chap, Charlie Farrago, who died. (name spelling may not be correct) He did not live in Albert Park. He lived in Fitzroy Street, St Kilda. He lived at the Gatwick Private Hotel, a boarding house. He lived there for forty one years and retired from the tramways in the nineteen eighties.

Living in boarding houses in the sixties and seventies was quite respectable. Many people did it. I know one woman who lived in a boarding house while she owned an apartment on Beaconsfield Parade in the same block where, tragically, the marvellous Mary Hardy ended her life. She is very old now but she still lives in her large house in Lempriere Avenue in East St Kilda, the short street off Balaclava Road with fancy street lights at its entrance.

I am not sure how Charlie coped with the changes at the Gatwick Private Hotel. There was a murder there not so long ago. Many of the residents are drug addicts and often drunken black fellahs. It would certainly not be the place it once was.

Charlie's room was small but it would seem he was quite content there. During his employment with the tramways, he was a money lender. He charged interest of course, but often waived and it would seem he was very generous with money.

The chap who gave me this information told me he borrowed fifty dollars from Charlie once. He visited him to repay the money, but Charlie said, don't worry A, spend it on your family.

When he died his estate was worth over one million dollars, in very liquid assets. The bulk of it went to those at the Gatwick who looked after him well in his final years.

Charlie was physically and mentally able right up to when he died at the age of over eighty. He was admired and respected.

Oh that all of us should be so fortunate.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Word Play

As I have said before, all the bloggers I know are skillful with the written word. It is perhaps the cart before the chicken crossing the road. By the very fact that they write a blog means they are reasonably confident with the written word. It is sad but true. No one with really bad word skills writes a blog. It is our loss.

I know my written English is not great. If you don't know where the apostrophe goes, it is not so easy to find out. My spoken is little better but I try. But I love language and words and accents. They have always fascinated me. I pester R with his opinion of regional English accents on tv. I concentrate on where a person comes from in a US tv show. Are they from the Bronx or Manhattan? I can't help but love a hot guy with a southern draw (ok, he may not have a southern drawl but I needed a link with colour).

But you can become a victim of your own word play, because I know I played a bit with the variety of my Ipod and now I am no longer sure if it is an Ipod Shuttle or Ipod Shuffle. Both are quite plausible. I think it is Shuffle, but I am not one hundred percent sure. Sheng fui started as a joke a long time ago, but I now use it all the time. It is amazing how few notice it, and no one ever corrects me.........except online.

Are words and language a new interest for me? No. It perhaps dates back to primary school when I was publicly humiliated by a teacher when I pronounced pictures as pichers. I then decided that this incident would not be repeated and that this business with words is important and I better take care with them. If there is a word I am unsure of, I keep my trap shut until I know the correct way to pronounce it. My friend in Japan will attest to me checking with her on the pronunciation of some Italian words.

A long time ago I wrote to the late author Stephen Murray-Smith about his just published book Right Words and received this very nice reply. I often wonder if his daughter is playwright Joanna Murray-Smith?