JJ and I are fairly far removed from being le family Jones. We try not to keep up. But there is the Dyson vacuum incident, which I won’t go into.
But when I’m alone, the Jonesing gets a tad loud.
Like the other day, I was rather blue, so I went to that great bastion of fashion in the West, Highpoint Shopping centre. Having skipped breakfast, I hopped into Gloria Jean’s for a coffee and a spinach and ricotta pastry surrounded by the most delightful ladies and their children. As I have mentioned before, I LOVE children. BUT, on this day, what with me being blue and all that, the last thing I needed was a youngster kicking a soccer ball around the cafe.
Sure, World Cup fever is abound and who the hell am I to deter a future David Beckham or Harry Kewell.
But the kid was neither and, really, it’s a freaking cafe!
The mother did try her best to deter him.
Boy: (sound effect) kick kick kick
Mummy: Darling, I don’t think you should be kicking that around in here.
(Mummy goes back to latte and conversation)
Boy (looking around): Oh, it’s ok.
Mummy looks over at boy kick kick kicking.
Mummy: (sound effect) birds chirping
(Mummy goes back to latte and conversation)
Boy: (sound effect) kick kick kick KICK KICK KICK KICK FREAKING KICK
But anyway, it was the day after the Australian Coup (as I will henceforth refer to the day that Julia Gillard toppled Kevin Rudd). See, I’m supposed to be happy that a childless sister is now our PM. But I LOVED Kev, so it’s bittersweet and it will take some time for me to recover.
So there I was, reading The Age when over at a window seat, I copped an eyeful of a man, a little unwashed and rather creative looking, tapping away silently on a teensy weensy little laptop.
OH! I verily squealed. I wants me one of them – Precious.
Now, I belong to the Faith school of want/get/have. Remember Faith, the dark murdering slayer that came into being after Buffy died.
Faith taught Buffy that slayers could have whatever they want, whenever they want. Slayers and me!
So off I went to JB, pointed at the prettiest little thing, directed JJ to the payment machine with the plastic payment thing and voila. Want. Get. Have.
I can slip it into my bag and it weighs less than my walletmore...
So here’s the thing, right: I don’t (really) want to use this blog as a platform to complain about people and things – despite the fact that I’ve called it Betty on a Box – on a soapbox geddit. BORING. And despite being gainfully employed, I will never change my opinion about people having the right to be on the dole if that’s what they want. I mean, my taxes contribute to far worse things – like private hospitals and the mining industry. And really, given that I spent many a day being paid for to be creative all those years ago, I am the last person to make a statement against those who choose unemployment over a job at Maccas. But I wish that the dole was easier to get because it would give the guy who sits at the bottom of Platform 1 at Sunshine station some money to get lessons. The dude is clearly taking the piss.
I mean, I love a busker. I really do.
Except for the Sonic Manipulator – he’s too loud and he freaks me out.
And the living statues. Do I need to explain?
And the freaking bagpipe player on the Swanston Street Bridge. I just want to toss him into the Yarra. Freak.
And I really don’t like the kid on Swanston Street with Down’s Syndrome. Not because he has Down’s Syndrome, clearly. So before I get attacked with the cruelty stick, let me just say that the kid simply CANNOT SING. He’s totally shit. I really want to know what asshole at the council decided it would be a good idea to give him a busker’s licence. I think THAT person is truly taking the piss. Hopefully the kid becomes a great singer – like the blind accordian player outside Myer Lonsdale Street who used to be shit but is now renowned thanks to a few lessons.
But back to my guy at Sunshine. He’s there most days, which is a bummer because we recently had a duo that was all Simon and Garfunkel meets the Black Keys.
I give them money quite happily. But the other dude is mostly always there. I see money on top of his guitar case. I see people dropping money onto his guitar case. I mean, he’s affable enough, wishes everyone a “good morning, brother” or “morning, sister”. But I’ve never actually heard him play or sing. At first I figured I’d just caught him while he was tuning up. He’d strum a few strings. Not a few chords. Oh no. A few very out of tune strings is all. And I realised, the guy doesn’t actually know how to play. It was a total Oprah moment (of the lightbulb variety).
He’s a scammer. Oh I was incensed. I mean, people give him money to PLAY. Right?
Well not me. Nup. I want my jobless to sing for their supper. Like the time JJ and I were in on a train in the New York Subway. It’s like being at the American Idol auditions. And you don’t mind handing over your hard-earned traveller’s cheques. (Also, I’ve seen episodes of NCIS and despite old Mayor Giuliani’s three strikes policy, them Yankees still carry guns.)
I like to be entertained. And like I said, I’m all for the creatives BUT NOT THIS SCAMMER. NO SIR-E, BOB.
When I had the lightbulb moment, I texted JJ, and he said:
“Well why don’t you trick him and ask him to play his favourite tune.”
Yeah, I thought. That’s the ticket.
So yesterday, the moment he offered his “good morning, sister”, I said:
“You should actually play something sometime.” There, that’ll show him.
And I hottailed it up the platform because, ladies and gents, this May not be new York, but it’s still Sunshine and I ain’t taking chances.
I love big cities and, along with JJ, I’ve seen a few and j’adore each of them for different reasons. For example:
- New York – Where else can you walk around all day saying “hey, that’s my favourite painting. No, that’s my favourite. hang on, that’s…”?
- Cairo – I mean, taking a leisurely stroll in the shadow of a freaking pyramid – THE freaking pyramid!
- Rome – Walking past the Colosseum on your way to work and saying ciao to the Pope.
And so on. And then there’s my hometown, Melbourne. I love it for so many reasons. For example:
A few things I’ve seen in and around Melbourne lately.
So, Lonely Planet take heed. Remind travellers to pack:
- spare socks;
- Australian language guide;
- plenty of condoms;
- a bike helmet.
Who the hell came up with that? Fire him. Yes, it’s got to be a him!more...
Last year I joined the Glamourpuss Studios tap dancing academy. For shits and giggles.
This year, I decided that travelling ACROSS THE RIVER just wasn’t on. Now, normally, it’s the folk from the other side of town who don’t like to cross the river but I’m well-and-truly guilty of reverse classism.
But the thing is, I found a tap dance school right up the road. I mean, how could I pass THAT up?
Well let me tell you how. There was a girl in my first (and only) class who was making some cute moves and the teacher said – I shit you not – “Who do you think you are? A showgirl?” Like it was a bad thing?
I mean… YES!
So that, along with this (below) is why I’m heading back to the other side. Technically I travel AROUND the river to St Kilda, not across it.more...
Hold the presses! I know, right? I’m the only one.
I can’t believe that I’ve become an avid internet shopper. I mean, what about the sensual experience that you can only get from walking into a shop, trying something on, squishing the new wool, smelling the pure leather, sliding your fingers across the surface of a porcelain plate or noticing the resin drips on the surface of a painting.
Well there’s still a place for that but the veritable enormity of products online means that the world is not just your oyster, it’s your clam, your very own pharmacy and art gallery all at your fingertips.
Sometimes both at once. Take this example. I’ve been looking for an interesting spice rack to go in my new kitchen and discovered this:
But they don’t ship to Australia! So I decided to get creative. Who knew you can buy real test tubes on the interwebs? WHO KNEW?
I mean, I know you can get anything, but test tubes?
So this morning I was watching the early bird news. Possibly not so early for many people, including: mothers, shift workers, insomniacs, miaw-miaw tweakers. Anyway, it was 7am and I had sat down to a cup of Brevilles “Expresso” and muesli when I saw this:
My muesli felt rather unsubstantial.
And on Monday, JJ got a bee in his bonnet about joining Costco -that modern-day marvel of convenience stores that stocks everything from Samsung TVs to 100-day grain fed beef and fresh-baked cakes. It’s true. We went for the 60-roll pack of Kleenex toilet paper.
So anyway, being all white trash (because, let’s face it, who the hell pays a $60 annual membership fee so that they can get “discount” shopping? Me and JJ, that’s who) we took our wide load shopping trolley – that was bursting with a big box of zip-lock bags, a huge box of snack-sized sultana packs and ten years’ supply of deodorant and toothpaste – to the “cafe“. I swear I have never seen so many fat people, and I mean, REALLY FAT PEOPLE, outside of The Biggest Loser – and that’s TV!
Don’t get me wrong, as a slightly overweight person, I have a great deal of sympathy for the weight-challenged among us. And a trip to the Costco “cafe”makes it so evident why Americans and Australians are among the FATTEST in the world. How can fresh food compete with a $2.49 hot dog – with all the self-serve fixins – plus a 590ml soda with refill??? Do I have to remind anyone that 2x590ml is more than 1 litre of Coke, or Pepsi or Mountain Dew or whatever… A litre!
Being a little less white trash than most, JJ and I went for the $2.99 pizza slice – no soda included. I’m sorry to say, Melbourne, that it wa one of the best pizza slices I’ve had in years.
How ironic that I went back to Weight Watchers last night.more...
I went to a vintage shop in Daylesford recently. It was a cross between a lovely frock shop, Mexican curio cantina and antique dealer with just enough of a dash of dodgy earth-mother-fisherman-pants-flouncy baby-doll dresses. But anyway, in the back room, I discovered the costmetics area, complete with vintage perfumes.
- Years ago, when Frank and I used to sell our old stuff at the Camberwell Market (and Frank would make a killing from offloading designer work samples) I’d wander around to see what the other stall holders were selling and there was always someone who had a cosmetic basket filled with half-used jars of Oil of Ulan and empty Charlie perfume bottles. Who the hell buys that stuff? It seemed like they just grabbed everything they could see in that last minute dash out the door at five in the morning.
So I wasn’t at all surprised to see that little area in the back room with its curious little bottles and jars. In fact, I was totally delighted by it. And there was that familiar cylindrical bottle with the blue and gold label.
It was half full of yellow liquid. Sure, it could have been toxic but i felt driven to do what I did next. I picked it up. I removed the lid and then… I spritzed. Because you don’t spray 4711, you spritz.
- Talk about a serious whack to the nostrils! Was it the alcohol? Was it the passage of time? Was it just the fragrance itself? There are a few fragrances that bring me back to a certain time:
- Felce Azzurra talc in a sachet
- Impulse “perfume”
- Pino Silvestre cologne
I swear I only spritzed once but as I walked back into the main area of the shop the “fragrance” lingered longer than I would have liked, or imagined.
It certainly turned more heads than an Impulse ad.more...