Tuesday, March 31, 2009

They're not going anywhere

I went to see Easy Virtue at the cinema with the chocolate girls on Friday night. Easy Virtue, for those who (like me, until about 4pm Friday) aren't in the know, is a Noel Coward play.

The film is really rather good and I decided I wanted to read some more Coward plays so I hopped on Amazon last night to have a scout around.

What followed was a veritable orgy of classical literature, as I clicked my mouse with gay abandon at the mere mention of a book or author I had heard of but never got around to reading.

The good folks of Boo keep my feet pretty close to the ground if I ever think I might be slightly intelligent or well read, and I decided last night that Now Is The Right Time To Read The Classics - because everyone else seems to have done. The capitalisation there demonstrates my commitment to this, my latest Grand Plan (and the capitalisation there merely illustrates the regularity with which these whims strike me).

I had a 'cold light of day' moment before I hit the buy button, when I realised that classics are what libraries do best. So instead of purchasing, I saved my shopping list and decided to share it with you all here. I will borrow from the lively Waverley Library instead. OK, so a couple are recent prize winners rather than classics, but none are fluff (because although Phillipa Gregory made the shopping cart, I didn't feel the need to transfer her here).

What I want to know from you all is - what is missing? What do you think I should add to the list to ensure that by the time I reach 35 I am a well rounded and literary dinner party guest?

Notes from the Underground - F.M. Dostoevsky
The Metamorphosis - Franz Kafka
The White Tiger - Aravind Adiga
The Color Purple - Alice Walker
Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
The Catcher in the Rye - J. D. Salinger
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee (already read - want to read again)
Blood River: A Journey to Africa's Broken Heart - Tim Butcher
Random Acts of Heroic Love - Danny Scheinmann
The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde - Oscar Wilde
Three Plays: "Blithe Spirit", "Hay Fever", "Private Lives" - Noel Coward (because the complete works is a LOT of books).

Oh, and if you are wondering why the title of this post... Elle asked me last night why I was asking about all these authors over MSN, and on explanation, why I felt the need to read them now. I replied; They're not going anywhere - I might as well read them.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Evidence of insanity

Those of my readers who know me personally will, by the end of this post, discover their jaw resting on the desk/floor. Those who don't know me, but regularly pop in for a read may find they have a similar reaction.

Why? you are wondering. What could Emily possibly have to reveal that will so shock and stun her dedicated readers?

Check this out:
Yes, it is a pair of trainers. Or to use the Australian lingo - runners. They are *my* runners. Brand sparkling new and purchased yesterday. I need them, dear reader, because I am going to be running a couple of times a week. I am going to be running a couple of times a week because I plan to take part in this year's City To Surf run.

The Sydney City To Surf takes place in August and is a 14km death-attempt (or so I am thinking) between the city centre and Bondi. It includes the famous Heartbreak Hill through Rose Bay.

I appreciate that, for many people, entering such a race is all in a days work. Ho hum, another 14km, whatever. But bear in mind that on Saturday I achieved a personal best when running for 10 mins without stopping - on a treadmill in the gym (something, I am discovering, that is much easier than road running).

I have simply never, ever run. Ever. At all. Ok, possibly I may have lost a 100 metre race on school sports day once, but after the age of 13 even the teachers didn't put me forward because I was too depressingly representative of my lazy generation.

Its a bit psychological to be honest. Noone in my family does this sort of thing, so when I would get out of breath with a few runs up and down stairs in the past I convinced myself that such exhaustive movement goes against my genetic make up. But then my brother-in-law (who didnt really do much exercise before) did the marathon, and is now a half iron-man, and I got to wondering...

My personal trainer has aleady made me so much fitter than I was before, and I really enjoy going to the gym with him. But I needed to re-motivate myself to go more than once a week, so I thought - why not a running objective?

The stupid addition of the 14km killer race was due to a few glasses of wine and a bet with my friend Brett. Brett is a founder of Dry July (the charity fundraiser where you get sponsored to stay off the booze for the whole month of July) and is using the month as pre-race preparation. I reckoned I could too.

So yes, there you have it. If your jaw didn't hit the floor in hearing I plan to run. For 14km. I heard it thud when I mentioned a sober month in July.

Please someone call the men in white suits. I think it would be for my own good.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Bonus friday!

Bonus Friday - could this be the best video on the internet?
I know where I want to go on holiday next time I am in Europe...

Come to Australia!

In Sesame Street style, this blog post was brought to you by:

Clancy from Australia - our tour guide from my recent trip from Alice Springs to Adelaide, who introduced us to this song.

Diana - my friend from the trip who found this on YouTube (and blogged it for me to steal).

Scared weird little guys - who actually wrote and sang this.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Window cleaning fail

This really entertained me and I can't work out whether its because I *love* hearing laughter (it just makes me laugh) or the video itself. Most likely its the beautiful combination of the two.

Hope it brightens your Thursday!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Reincarnation as an inanimate object

Sometimes I have rather peculiar thoughts. I blame this on the fact that I spend a lot of time alone (by choice) and genuinely enjoy the view inside my own head. The thoughts I think are, in perfect alignment with this blog, on everything, and are generally kept safest inside the confines of my own skull.

However today, dear reader, I will share one of my more random thoughts with you. I shall start with the back story...

Once upon a time, a couple of days ago, I was tidying my bed. This is the improved, grown-up version of tidying my room because since I was about 23 my terrible habit of letting my room descend into a worse mess than a Glaswegian sink estate has contracted to involve only certain hot spots. These hot spots change from home to home (the floor under my long mirror was a constant embarrassment in the Letch) but here in Bellevue Hill it is my SUPER-HUMANLY ENORMOUS bed that falls foul of my terrible habits of dumping stuff. (CAPS required to illustrate my point that the bed is humungous).

I think my bed is the target now because it is right by the front door. I don't live in a bedsit, and I know that sounds like a strange set up for a two-bed flat, but there you have it. It is. Its where I dump things when I walk through the door.

[aside - I think this may be becoming one of my more random and waffly blog posts...]

Where was I?

Oh yes.

Anyway so nightly I need to clear my bed of random articles like expired train tickets, sunglasses, receipts, pashminas and possibly something I nearly (but didn't) wear to work that day. A couple of days ago I was midway through this task when my mind wandered (it does that, you know) and I got to thinking about the pen I was putting away.

The pen said "Surfers Paradise" and named some hotel. Now I have never been to Surfers Paradise. It's in Queensland and I haven't yet been to the state at all. So it can't have been my pen originally. "I wonder whose it was?", I wondered. Which led me to ponder on all the places it may have been to, and the things it may have written, in its travels from Surfers to my bed.

And that was really what I wanted to talk to you about today. Because I reckoned if my (or not strictly *my*) pen could talk it may have some exciting things to tell me. So then I reckoned I wouldn't mind being a pen myself, as handbag-based travel is so much cheaper and better for the environment and I would get to see the world.

The upshot of it all was, I wondered whether anyone else had ever envied the existance of an inanimate object? Well?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Albums are not a bunch of singles

I have been flat out all morning dear reader. I actually ache from the exertion of all this thinking and mad typing. But I have squeezed 5 minutes in my schedule to write to you because I am annoyed that I have indigestion from having to inhale my lunch and, well, its my life. Oh, and because on the way to work this morning I was surprisingly awake and mulling over good music albums.

Not entirely sure why, but I constructed a pleasing list of three albums which I think are awesome for a very particular reason. An album you see (in my book) is not just a collection of fabulous toooons. Those tunes in time will find themselves broken apart on itunes, mix CDs and greatest hits albums. But a truly masterful album has to be heard in its entirety. It is a bit like a classical thingy (I don't listen to classical music so don't really know what a whole symphony thing of tracks is called in classical stuff, but I know people sit in theatres and listen entranced as it all flows on from each other). Perhaps a bad comparison. Anyway.... Here are my top 3 albums under this criteria. Or top 3 that I thought of on my way to work today. Now I am a little sad that I didn't include Wham! The Final, but four isn't as satisfying a number as three... anyway. What are yours?

Rumours, Fleetwood Mac
Viva La Vida, Coldplay
Reverence, Faithless

Monday, March 23, 2009

A unique Brand of charm

Russell Brand has spent the last week or so flirting his way through Australia. If you are unsure who he is (where have you been??) he is the man-who-lost-his-hairbrush-in-1997 who rose to fame by claiming to be a sex addict, sleeping with thousands of women, befriending the likes of Kate Moss, getting Jonathan Ross into trouble with Radio Two and - in between all that - actually being really rather funny.

He came out here with his stand up show and his been mincing through the usual line up of talk-show appearances, radio interviews and parties. Take outs from his interview with Rove ran all (bloomin') week on Channel 10 and the newspapers' gossip pages were filled with accusations that every eligible bachelorette in Sydney has been linked with him. Particularly at risk were politicians daughters it seems.

Anyway, I like Russell Brand and his rather risque humour and have been intruiged by his reception Down Under. Australia likes him. Really likes him. They seem almost caught out by this distinctly unpommy Pom. He is intelligent (all good comedians usually are) and I even find him alarmingly good looking (don't ask me why - as mentioned earlier I am aware of the lack of hairbrushing and am not ignorant to the possible link with other general hygiene).

However one thing hasn't sat right with me, and that is the use of the word "charming" to describe him. A hit with the ladies? Doubtless. Good in bed? Presumably. Cheeky? Of course. But charming?

I (perhaps wrongly) associate charming with gentlemanly behaviour. My grandmother would have said of someone (not him!!) "What a charming man" if they pulled a chair out for her to rest upon while making polite comments about her new lilac hat.

Can a man who texts a woman at 3.15am asking her back to his hotel for what she must certainly know will be anything but gentlemanly shenanigans be charming?

Mulling it over on the weekend I finally today thought to look up the dictionary meaning.

charm⋅ing [chahr-ming]

1.Pleasing; delightful: a charming child.
2.Using charm; exercising magic power.
So that must be it. He is a magician weaving his strange spell over the public of Australia. That explains it. Well, good luck to him!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Guest post!

Today, dear reader, we have a guest post! Our first ever here on TOE so I hope you are as excited as me.

It started life as an email discussion among the great and good of Boo (Letchworth Book Group to give it its full name, as I haven't mentioned it for a while) and the response from Felicity was too good to keep to a closed group. So here is Felicity's list of things which annoy her. It's gold.

Leeds United. People who make noises when they eat (inc. licking their fingers, and chewing gum). People who eat crisps in the office. Banks who phone me up and then refuse to talk to me until I have told them secret passwords. No! You rang me. It's down to you to prove that you are my bank, and if you were, surely you would have this information already? Now go away and stop wasting my time.

Anyone who swears at children (to them, not just in their hearing). People who play their music in the summer so loudly that I can hear it with my windows closed. Hollyoaks. Any music video where I have to see someones thong. Overuse of text language. People who park in front of my garage, and then sigh when I ask them to move their car. Days when the post hasn't arrived by lunchtime. The fact that the bins are only taken out once a fortnight.

Made up names. Ryanair. Anyone who can see I am trying to park in a space who thinks it will help if they drive up right behind me so I can't reverse in. Food in what I see as unnatural combinations e.g. fruit in cheese, or saltanas in curry. First Capital Connect, who thank me for choosing to travel with them. I didn't. You're the only train line I can use from here.

The continuity man on radio 4 with a really affected voice. The fact that my great uncle Frank will only call me and my sibs by our full names, even though they are never used by family 'Ah, is that Melissa Anne?' instead of Liss, for example, even though his name is actually Ernest, and he insists on being called Frank.
Have a lovely weekend!

Some heartening news...

Usually better known for feminist rants, today I have some positive news for you on the status of women in Australia.

According to an article in Dynamic Business, womens' status in the Australian workforce has significantly advanced since this time last year. While still not equal to men, in Australia:

The proportion of women to men in managerial positions increased to 74 women per 100 men, up from 41 women on the previous year

The number of women earning above the median income increased from 59 women per 100 men, to 92
While stunned that in 2008 the figures were *so* disgusting, I have to admit this is great progress. Big claps to Australian employers.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Having lived in Sydney for 9 months now, I am happy to report I still have no trace of an Australian accent.

However I have noticed that I am beginning to pick up some Aussie phrases.

Words and phrases I am adopting (for better or worse!)
No worries (excessive use is annoying even me)
How're you going? (Meant to mean How are you?... not a question relating to transport options)
Eggplant (I just try not to over think it because its a bloody weird name)

Words and phrases I am not adopting (and possibly don't understand)
Props (as in, props to the firemen for doing a good job) Wha?
Pants (to describe trousers)
Singlet (to describe a vest top)
Manchester (to describe bedding, towels and stuff)
Dooner (for duvet)
Unit (I would call it a flat. Americans would call it an apartment)
Sanger (sandwich still works for me just fine)
Snag (sausage)
Overseas ("I am going overseas". Abroad works)

I may update this list and repost in a few more months.

I hate Louis Vuitton monogrammed bags

I was reminded today just how much I dislike Louis Vuitton monogrammed bags. When I say I was reminded, I mean I saw a woman with one which made me think "gosh, I still really dislike Louis Vuitton monogrammed bags".

I simply cannot understand why anyone wants to walk around with someone else's initials emblazoned over their stuff. Particularly when the design of said initials is ugly. And the bag is ugly too. Its like these people consciously think to themselves "I don't know what a nice bag looks like, but this Louis dude seems to be famous for it so I will trust him." The monograms are then supposed to serve as a defence. The My Bag Is Nasty But Louis Said Its OK So Its OK defence.

Designer bags are more likely to be stolen because theives know there are more muppets than you out there that will buy it off them. Also your bag will look like everyone elses - what happened to being unique?

Then we need to consider the fakes... I can't decide who is more stupid, the person that spends hundreds of dollars on an ugly bag or the person who buys a plastic fake copy of an ugly bag.

I am not anti designers, per se. It is a real skill to design beautiful clothes, bags and shoes. Its just the blind followers that annoy me. Because not everything designers make is nice. I refer you back to exhibit A for proof; the Louis Vuitton monogrammed bag.

I can't afford designer stuff myself. My wardrobe follows the quanity not quality rule of fashion. My new boots and dress from Target make me feel smug - they are pretty AND cheap.

So stop being a follower people! Go out and find a nice bag and if you want a name on it, put your own. At least that way when you lose it it will be returned.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Perceptions of distance

There are two toilets at either side of my office. From my desk I reckon they are pretty much equi-distance apart.

I try to share the love between the two.

Monday, March 16, 2009

How to fall in love with your city all over again

... play tour guide to your friend.

No seriously!

After an amazing holiday which rates both as my best holiday ever *and* the best week of my life (more on that to come) one of my new friends from the tour, Anna, came to stay with me for two nights in Sydney. Flying in late in the afternoon on Saturday and heading out early Monday for surf camp I was tasked with the job of making her love Sydney more than Brisbane, Adelaide or Melbourne in the hopes she would move here.

Saturday evening we went with Polly, Erin and Ruth for noodles and dumplings (she had never had either before, weird Italians) then met up with Kylie to see Josh Pyke at The Metro. Josh was fabulous and Anna fell in love with the violinist/guitarist/keyboard/general musical genius, which scored a big thumbs up on the evening.

On Sunday morning we were up and about with the sun and I am proud to say we squeezed in all of the below in just one day:

- Breakfast
- 389 (coolest bus in the world) to Hyde Park
- Walk through the botanical gardens (seeing the bats on the way)
- Farm Cove view of the Opera House in the sunshine (she actually gasped on seeing it!)
- Walk around the Opera House to Circular Quay and into The Rocks
- Susannah Place museum (I have wanted to go for ages and loved it, although when the tour guide was trying to paint the picture of poverty in the 1930s pointing at a full length tin bath in a special shed I couldn't help but scoff, knowing my mum's tin bath hung on the wall of their back yard in the 1950s back home!)
- The Australian pub for gourmet pizza
- Walk to Darling Harbour
- Much needed coffee (she is Italian afterall...)
- The monorail (urgh) loop
- Walk to Circular Quay again
- Ferry to Watsons Bay
- Walk along Camp Cove (such a pretty beach!)
- Walk around the South Head with the view back over the harbour
- Bus back to Bondi
- Admiring Bondi Beach from the shelter of the Lifesavers Club due to sudden downpour
- Walk back from the beach to mine
- Quick shower and change before heading out for sushi at Sushi Train Bondi Junction (she agrees that it is indeed the best sushi in the world and we broke all my records, eating 15 plates between us!!)
- Train into the city for a cocktail at Orbit, the 360 degree revolving bar in Australia Square - night time views over the city.
- Home in bed at 11.30pm

All in all a very packed day, a great way to spend the last day of my holiday before I landed back at my desk, and a good enough tour to convince Anna that Sydney is The Place To Be.

Watch this space - I may have a housemate in a couple of weeks!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

A cheeky quickie

Oh OK, you didn't really think I was going to leave you without telling you about my favourite dance this week? Check it out... it's Charlie and Penny again!

Special mentions for Pania and Ben who I like a lot, as well as Amy. You can see all of them here.

Annoyingly yet *again* Channel 10 has neglected to select a tune they have the rights to use online. Sort it out guys - there is no point having a clever interactive online presence if you don't think it through to the TV too.

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