28 November, 2005

Voldemort's Mark?

I went to see the latest Harry Potter film today. I am unreserved in saying how very much I loved it.

But I noticed something that I hadn't really thought about before... Harry Potter's scar (on his forehead) is very similar to the lightning bolt on David Bowie's face during his Aladdin Sane incarnation.

The very lightning bolt I want to get as a tattoo on my wrist! So I had a moment of panic - if/when I get this tattoo - are most people going to think I am just a fervent Harry Potter fan?

I had a similar problem after I got my first tattoo. It was designed by a friend of mine who is a graphic designer, and is based on Jean-Michel Basquiat's art - the crown in the middle being "Samo's" tag (he was a graffiti artist before going in to commercial art).

Problem being, people often ask if it refers to other things. My favourite so far has been:

Is that based on the Burger King crown?

26 November, 2005

Far, Far Away....

Last Monday, OBF (Other Best Friend) called me to tell me that his partner - POOBF (Partner Of Other Best Friend) was on his way to Australia due to the fact that his father had been taken very ill with heart problems. It was apparent that he was going to have to undergo open heart surgery urgently.

Clearly, POOBF was very distressed and made the decision to travel back to Australia very quickly. Of course, the flight itself takes just short of 24 hours - so in a situation like this, the 24 hours is fraught with anxiety.

Yesterday, OBF called me to tell me that POOBF's father had died. Fortunately, POOBF had reached Australia in time to see his father and have some time together with him and the rest of his family.

It really 'sent home' how very far away all of us Australians live from our family. Often my English friends joke with me that I see my family more regularly than they do (I usually get back to visit my family at least once a year); but the reality is, we are thousands of miles away from home.

And for approximately the last ten years, I've been living my life away from my family. How much have I missed out on during that time? And how much more will I miss out on if I continue to live away from them?

25 November, 2005

Bye, Bye.

My sister and B.I.L left to go home to Perth today. I'm feeling a bit blue.

They've been here for the last 3 weeks and it has been so much fun - I live in a pretty small flat (central London, what can I say?!) so it was a bit of a squeeze, but now they are gone, it feels sad going back to it without them.

Lots of funny moments while they were over here, one of my favourites was on the 'open top' bus tour in Barcelona. The three of us were sitting up the front, and sitting on the opposite side of the bus and just behind us was a couple who had a pretty incredibly camera, with a *huge* lens.

After my sister, B.I.L and I had made several infantile comments about the size of their lens, we noticed that the woman kept pointing her camera at something that seemed to be in our general direction, and when I looked at what that may be (in the event I was missing a fantastic photo opportunity) there seemed to be nothing that special to photograph.

Eventually, we established that this woman was, in fact, attempting to photograph one of B.I.L's tattoos (on his neck). She kept pretending she wasn't, until he just pointed to it and said 'go ahead, shoot away'.

B.I.L is all about the adoration, so the lady's fear was entirely unneccessary!

16 November, 2005

Misspent Youth

RuPaul’s “Back to My Roots”** came on my Ipod this morning and reminded me of where I grew up. Perth is a medium sized city, with a population of about 1.5 million in the ‘metropolitan’ area. It is also often said to be the most remote major city on Earth.

I really felt this sense of isolation when I was growing up. I used to trawl through the UK based music and fashion magazines like ‘NME’ or ‘The Face’ and wonder at these stories about London and the people who inhabited these places that seemed to be in the very middle of the world, whilst I was sitting out on the edges. I longed to leave.

This sense of isolation, however, brings with it some weird and wonderful personalities. I was introduced to club culture at about 16, and soon was going to the ONLY gay club in Perth practically every night of the week.

Because Connections was the only gay club in the city, there was a huge variety of people who went there. The gays, the lezzas, the trannies (most of them tragic, as all the best are), old, young, leather queens, fetishists – they all turned up at the club on any given night. And all seemed to co-exist quite nicely.

My friends and I went, as I said before, practically every single night to Connections; mostly for fear of missing out on something.

None of us would leave before the club closed on any given night, for the same reason (i.e. Mindy the obese drag queen being so drunk she fell off the podium half way through Whitney Houston’s “Every Woman” or the aboriginal cross dresser tripping out so much that she pretended to push an imaginary shopping trolley across the dance floor).

At times, I miss the quirkiness of Perth. In London, you get all types of people and everything seems ‘normal’ to a degree, simply because of the amount of diversity.

In Perth, outsiders revel in their differences, and celebrate them together; albeit in isolation.

** RuPaul was a firm favourite amongst the Perth drag queens in the early nineties

14 November, 2005

Architecture in Helsinki

We went to see this band from Melbourne at La Scala last night - 'Architecture in Helsinki'. The band have been described as an "avant-garde musical ensemble, influenced by the twee pop aesthetic."

They were very excited to be playing in London. So excited that for the first half of the gig, their mania kind of overshadowed their performance.

The encore, however, was amazing - they seemed to pull their focus in to line and finished their set beautifully. The band is eight members strong, at times sounding like a primary school music class who have been let loose in a room full of musical instruments! Yay!

Best in Show

My sister and B.I.L (Brother In Law) wanted to do 'different' things whilst they are in London this time, as it is my sister's third visit here, and B.I.L's second. So what do I come up with? Discover Dogs. That's what.

We all love dogs in our family. But I don't think it is quite what they had in mind when they asked to do 'different' things in London. The real reason I wanted to go was purely selfish. I used to have a dog here in London (which I lost in divorce proceedings) and miss having one around - so thought it might be a nice 'fix'. And also an opportunity to meet some of the different breeds and see what type of doggie I may want to own in the future. (when I eventually return to Australia - I wouldn't have a dog in London again to be honest).

Now, even though all three of us love dogs, our affection paled in comparison when beside the dog breeders who were there at the show. Over 180 dog breeds were represented, and it was like a competition. As we walked around and looked at the different breeds, met the dogs and spoke to the breeders, we realised just how important their dogs were to these people. Like they lived for them. Their breed of dog was most certainly the best. Don't buy a french bulldog, they would say... buy a *insert any other breed of dog here*.

My sister and B.I.L own two pugs, and we were particularly impressed with the pugs 'stand' at the exhibition. Unlike the other very plain, simple stands; the pugs stand was decked out in black and gold velvet, they had plush leopard print cushions and photos of them spotted around in gilded frames.

The 6 or so pugs sat there looking incredibly smug.

09 November, 2005

Perverts anonymous

I organised a private film screening of John Waters' 'A Dirty Shame' for last night, at the Everyman cinema in Hampstead. Part of it was for my sister and B.I.L to meet/see some of my friends, and also just to watch the Pope of Trash in fine form.

The screening was pretty cool, I think most people had a good time and enjoyed the film and disgustingly overpriced canapes.

Everyone was particularly excited to learn about the various fetishes outlined during the film, which included (and these are only the tame ones):

The Upper-Decker (the practice of defecating in the tank of a toilet rather than the proper receptacle bowl, causing a prolonged offending odour from the unseen excreta.)

Frottage (the sexual rubbing up on unspecting citizens!)

Sploshing (an 'English' fetish which usually includes having food, or other slimy wet substances thrown over one)

Bearism (we've all heard of this one, surely! Hairy, chubby, masculine gay men who refer to themselves as bears.... I sometimes go the otter look, mostly for my friends amusement.)

But there was one fetish mentioned that wasn't explained and none of us had ever heard of... which was 'blossoming' or 'blossomed'.

Can anyone enlighten us please?

07 November, 2005

Hit the repeat button please

....... long live Kate Bush.

The Punisher.

My sister and her husband arrived here from Australia on Thursday. They are spending 3 weeks here, which is just amazing. My family are very important to me, and I miss them immensely living so far away.

So far we've mostly just been catching up, we did the markets on the weekend (Portobello and Camden) and visited the Tate Modern, etc. But my favourite moments have been just sitting around, shooting the breeze.

Favourite conversation so far:

My brother-in-law (B.I.L) has come up with a concept for a new TV show. This was in response to a discussion we had about the world of 'celebrity' and how loads of the idiots who are now counted as 'celebrities' have no ability/skill/intelligence whatsoever.

These 'celebrities' are invited on to the show with a live studio audience, who, in B.I.L's words, "will be quite ra-ra, all suited up - no riff raff in this audience". The 'celebrity' will be asked to perform a 'skill' that they may have implied they are able to do - for example, Avril Lavigne will be asked to play the guitar; or Paris Hilton will be asked to... well, anything really (it doesn't matter what's asked of Paris Hilton, I doubt she can actually do anything).

Once these 'celebrities' fail their tasks, the fun begins. The Wheel of Punishment is spun (in a 'Wheel of Fortune' stylee) with a variety of 'punishments' and wherever it falls, the punishment is announced loudly by the Punisher (B.I.L of course - it is, after all, his show.)

Some punishments may include:

Vlad! - where the 'celebrity' is impaled to death to the chants of the live studio audience. ("VLAD! VLAD! VLAD! VLAD!").

Liberace! - where a huge grand piano is dropped upon the 'celebrity', instantly crushing them. ("LIBERACE! LIBERACE! LIBERACE! LIBERACE!").

Popcorn! - where the popcorn samba tune is played and the 'celebrity' is pushed in to a huge vat of boiling oil. ("POPCORN! POPCORN! POPCORN! POPCORN!").

Aaaaahhh. My sister and B.I.L are so on my wavelength. I love having them here.

01 November, 2005

Sorrow by Name, Sorry by Nature...

OBF (Other Best Friend) and I went to see a gig last night at that ultra hip but pleasantly grotty venue, La Scala in Kings Cross. The artist was Patrick Wolf, who at the age of 21 has already released two CDs.

When we arrived it took us a while to establish exactly which one was Patrick Wolf, as it appeared that every second person cramming to get nearer the stage had a fringe cut in a Patrick Wolf stylee. Obviously his fans are quite intense.

As, it seems, is Patrick Wolf. At 21, his voice is deep and rich, yet shrill when he wants it to be. He plays the piano, violin and ukelele with equal skill and his presence is quite commanding - I have read reports about him being bullied at school, feeling an outcast, etc and he did nothing to dispel these stories during the gig. In fact, he thanked his audience in such a heart felt way on several occasions (simply for being there) that even I, quite the cynic, felt protective of him. During one interlude he even made reference to him being "the boy at the back of the classroom", his dreams and how he couldn't believe he was standing there now.

OBF and I particularly loved his drama. He moved on stage in an interpretative dancing stylee - much like my friends and I do when we've had too much to drink. His arms were waved around; he made grand, overblown gestures and even hid under his hood on several occasions. His audience lapped it up - one man shouted out "Patrick Wolf - the ANTI Will Young!", which was met with a roar of approval from the surrounds.

The name of his first album, "Lycanthropy", refers to the act of a man turning into a wolf. Wolf is clearly incredibly intelligent and well informed, certainly a little odd. His music seems to be influenced by many and varied sources - English folk, Joni Mitchell, electronica, PJ Harvey being just a few. He's been described by the British press as a 'British Bjork'.

Not every moment of the gig was amazing - I didn't connect with every song; but equally, there were moments of complete genius.

Patrick Wolf has already amassed quite a dedicated fan base - but I think his best work is definitely yet to come.