Belvoir Review: Angels kind of take off

I just wrote a piece for yeahnah reviewing Belvoir St theatre’s latest production, Angels in America. Here’s a tidbit:

“The problem with Tony Kushner’s Angels in America is that it would be better if it were just entitled In America. The whole angel thing ruins what would otherwise be a really wonderful play.”

Check it out here.

Watching Gossip Girl Season 2 in 2013

And guess what? It’s still brilliant.

The first time I watched Gossip Girl, my life changed. I’d gotten home from a trip. I was exhausted and tired. My favourite Supre t-shirt was in the wash and I didn’t want to do my Geography homework on gradients that night.

But my sister was home from boarding school, and boarding school at that time was like the hub of movie piracy, so she had some illegal disks with her from a chick called Sally or something. We sat down on the couch with her laptop, Mum brought us some chocolate ricotta tart – I will get the recipe and I will laminate it and put it on my wall so I can have indoor water-fights without it getting ruined – and the first scene brought us celluloid brilliance. We have Serena, returning to New York from her brief sojourn into boarding school living. Her long blonde locks swirl languidly around her tanned face. Her leather jacket looks like it could be a Rick Owens. Because it is. Veronica Mars whispers to us about where she has been and who she has been with. There is mystery. And it is rich. Blair schemes and wears things with bows on them. She does not have a conscience. She loses her virginity in the back of a limo with a billionaire’s son while “With Me” by Sum 41 pounds in the background. This is good.

Because the thing is, with Gossip Girl, it’s immoral. It screams excess. Characters do things that they shouldn’t and everyone is ridiculously attractive. When the male leads run out of hot friends to sleep with, they sleep with their friend’s fifteen-year-old sisters.

Teenagers don’t want to be lectured. The OC, Josh Schwartz’s first foray into privileged white people teen drama, was such a great show because it avoided just that. I thoroughly enjoyed it and was obsessed with Seth. It gave young people some witty banter to hold onto, it dealt with problems like drugs and alcoholic surgery-obsessed mothers. But most of all, it didn’t talk down to us. Every episode didn’t end with some ‘life lesson’ to take home. Schwartz gave us a pile of morally ambiguous relationships and let us decide what we thought of them by ourselves. Young people are not stupid. We can see that people don’t feel good when others treat them like shit. When Anna gets with Seth on New Years despite knowing that Summer is into him, we feel a bit of queasiness. We know that it’s not right. We don’t need a condescending coda to tell us that going behind our friend’s back is not okay.

Gossip Girl is better because it is the OC times a hundred. It takes the wide-eyed ingénues of the Orange County and turns them into street-smart, cynical, bitchy teenagers in Manhattan. They act like adults, they go to art auctions at Sotheby’s and they wear better clothes. It’s absolute escapism. It allows us to enter into another world where dollar bills are toilet paper. And yet at the same time, Blair and Chuck and Dan are just as clueless as any teenagers. It’s comforting because we learn that even rich people can fuck up. But it also allows us to dream of a bigger world. Perhaps one not as morally shit, but one where we can imagine ourselves doing and achieving things that are spectacular. Dan doesn’t just write for his school paper, he writes for the Paris Review. Blair doesn’t just want to go to any University, she wants to go to Yale. And when she doesn’t get in, she goes to Columbia. It’s how she rolls.

The show is a reckless indulgence. But watching it here under my doona on the couch with a tub of hummus, I am reminded of the first time I saw it. And since that day I have been inspired. Yes, the last few seasons became worse than the Young and the Restless, and if there wasn’t an attempted murder every episode then we had to assume that one of the scriptwriters had died. But it taught me to dream big, as clichéd as that sounds. I want a penthouse built on stories written for the New Yorker; it would be nice. Not that I think twenty cents a word would ever equate to such a luxury, but a girl can dream. Thank you, Josh Schwartz, for giving me aspirations that will probably never come to fruition. But they might, and I’ll keep writing for that slim hope.

University is a Poem: Write It!

As exams roll past, and everyone is stressed, and I see people running comically to the bathroom at five to nine, we must remember to live, to breathe. This too shall pass! University is a soufflé that continues to rise and fall! The substance is always good even if it appears to have set wrong every now and again. Be a cook!

Sorry, I’ve been Googling haikus this morning and my brain has become a fortune cookie dispenser. Here are a few poems about some subjects I have studied at Uni. Feel free to write your own! The best entry gets a prize (the prize being a vaguely educational procrastination technique).


Ginger beer gone wrong

Causes much desolation

Kirby dissents, no!

American History

They said it would be easy

They said I’d learn about States

They said I’d get the Civil war

That I wouldn’t need to memorise dates

But the History department were liars

They courted no romance

They’d prefer to hand out credits

Than let the bell curve advance

They asked me what I thought of historicism

I said, “Yeah, it’s alright”

I didn’t know what historicism was

And I don’t think I was right

The marks came out

I was fucked

Michael Rees beat me by far

But that’s the way that Michael plays

A silent killer

An HD student, a star.

Foundations of Law

Textbooks laden on my bed

Textbooks crammed inside my head

Turns out I didn’t need to know


There was no exam.

Just a hand-in.


Art History

The lecturer said, “I know about drugs!”

Some laughed awkwardly

Counterculture was beat

And beat was counterculture

The lecturer was shit.


I Kant do this anymore

It’s confusing

I can’t justify free will

My brain is Fuller but nothing makes sense

Socrates get up off my grill

Questions upon questions

I start to Hum(e) a tune

I read Locke but find no keys

I try to Plato my strengths

But to no avail

Heart says one thing; logic disagrees


History of God

Stick figures on rocks

Must be sacrificial rite

No mention of Him

What Should I Think About My Roots?

It’s a problem that millions of men and women deal with around the globe every day. An issue that defines how we feel about ourselves and how others perceive us. Our roots determine how the guy at the DVD shop addresses us and how our grandmother greets us. They are a part of us, growing backwards into our scalps and into our psyches.

Because I am talking about hair regrowth. We can leave complex ethnography and questions of cultural identity for another day. The topic for today is, can regrowth ever be cool? Or is it just slovenly?

I’m lazy about my hair. And also my nails. I just don’t care about my hair or my nails. Whenever I go to the hairdresser and the manicurist (which is highly irregularly), the respective attendants totally freak out. I can see the chicks at my feet, scrubbing them with a fucking stone, and they are definitely laughing at me. They whisper to each other, presumably deriding my callouses (it’s not my fault I don’t like to wear shoes in summer!) The hairdresser sits me down and slides two fingers down the greasy strips of dead follicles. ‘Hmmm’, he contemptuously remarks. I can feel the disdain emanating off him like BO from the front row of a Simple Plan concert.

I proceed to implore him; “I swear I was in a mosh last night! Yeah it was totes rad but someone spilt beer on my head and that is why it looks like it has been clogged in a drain for three days”. I don’t mention that I am just a really late person and by the time I’ve cleaned my body in the shower, there is never enough time to go through the whole shampooing/conditioning treatment. Which, by the way, he tells me I should do twice through to get the ‘salon finish’. Dammit Renee, you’re just so cool. I guess I will buy the sixty-two dollar hair serum you are so sagely suggesting.

But this is side matter. The issue is whether my roots are a big enough problem to justify paying fifty dollars to get them redone. That’s three hours of putting shoes on people’s feet, or pretending to work while really reading the books that are part of the window display. I think my roots are fine. I think they’re funny. But as I’ve mentioned before, my girlfriend says I have to stop making beauty and fashion choices based on the rationale that they are funny. Buzzkill. Aren’t we always being told to find the humour in the little things? I am making my own fun!

 I guess I do look like a skunk though. The hair that I wanted platinum blonde has now turned into a kind of Sideshow-Bob-on-a-good-day orange, and there is a two-centimeter layer of black neatly visible from my carefully segregated middle-part. It’s certainly interesting.

But why is it that this is deemed disgusting and not okay? Who sets the rules and proclaims that people should only have neutral shades of hair, and that if they do dye it an outrageous hue, this hue must be perfectly kempt? Why won’t the world accept me for the slob that I am? Why don’t people want aesthetic variation in all aspects of their lives? We should treat hair like a canvas, for us to neglect for a bit and then come back to, inspired and ready to create a masterpiece.

I guess it all comes down to what the opposition said at my junior team’s latest debate: “Slim people with good hair get invited to parties. Fat people with gross hair don’t get invited and their Mums have to call up the birthday girl’s Mum and ask especially for an invitation”. Ah, the wisdom of twelve year olds.

oh, hi everyone. didn’t see you there!

To followers of Why Don’t You, welcome back, to new readers- hi!

I used to run this blog that was just like a diary of me. And it was funny and had lots of hits and whatever but I’ve decided that I’ve got to become a grown-up. Grown-ups use WordPress. They also have their own URL’s that they pay thirty dollars for and they say things like ‘ta’ when you help them with their bags.

This blog is going to be profesh. I’m legit going to post at certain prescribed intervals every week. Or at least post a few times a week. Or I might just… post. Regardless get excited. This is a space for thoughts to run free, to write about whatever is going on in Sydney and around the world. To make (hopefully) astute comments about topical social issues, to try and raise subjects that people don’t raise enough or are awkward when they do. To address the pros and cons of films, books and theatre etc. without channeling Ms. M Pomeranz. The point is, I don’t refrain. And please don’t refrain in the comments, I want to hear what you have to say. If I think that you particularly are a wanker, I’ll probably berate your comment and protect myself with a bogan pseudonym like ‘Destinee’ or ‘Cheryl-Lee’.

It makes me feel sad that this blog is so empty, so I’m just gonna copy and paste the piece that means the most to me from my old blog, here. It was originally posted on my friend Cerealmonk’s blog. He’s pretty alright.

Blue Ink and White Paper

I wake up and everything seems right, so I put on some dark brown lipstick, I straighten my hair, I wear a tight top, I put on my boots. I say hi to my Dad in the kitchen. He’s been for a swim and now he’s eating cereal. He’s shivering because he has bad circulation and he’s cold, but he’s in a good mood and he’s up for some banter. We talk about Brad and Ange, about the book I’m reading, the Irish talk he went to last night, his best mate. He asks me what I’m doing today. I say I have plans, which I do, because I’ve filled it with appointments with friends and coffees and salads.

I don’t walk, I clomp. Foot by foot, pressing down hard on the pavement with purpose to the beat. People tell me I look angry when I walk, but I’m not angry, just thinking. The bus comes but I don’t get on. I’d prefer to walk because that way I’ll be late and I won’t have to sit around waiting for people. I walk so fast that my face is covered in a sweaty sheen. A dark grey spot appears on my light grey t-shirt , just under my breasts. It grows and grows as sweat fills the cavity between my ribs. I keep stomping. I’m happy. I talk to my friends with rigueur, throwing myself into conversations with energy and curiosity and passion. What have they been doing? What have I been up to? What do we all think of Fitzgerald? Do we like ricotta cake? Are we excited for the festival? Let’s start a band! I giggle with delight because I’m on the same enthusiastic wavelength as everyone else. It feels effortless and I am genuinely enveloped in the talk and the place.

Then the moment comes, because it always does. I tune out for a second. Think of nothing. Breathe. And what I breathe in is not air, but a slow feeling of pointlessness, boredom, disengagement. I’ve lost my thread. I imagine other places and other people. Never satisfied, not quite sure what I want but knowing that right now, this isn’t it. I want to go. I get on the train. I walk down the hill to Bronte beach. I break into a run because no one is around. I sit on the bench on the promenade next to the bin. I stare at the sea and I am cold as the wind strips the warmth off my shoulders and turns the sweat on my back to ice damp. I never want to leave this bench; I just want to think forever. I feel at peace with the churning and the bite and my body wrapped around itself trying to keep warm.

I’ll stay in this mindset for a few days, a week. And gradually I will get up in the morning and the weight will lift a little bit more. I’ll start being able to put my mind to the present, as if it matters. In a week I might actually think it matters. And then it will matter.

This is how it happens to me. This is the process that I have come to identify. Pills even it out but mostly it’s just about consciously riding the wave. I’m okay. The good bits are wonderful. It’s just that I can write from both sides of the spectrum. This is my Depression. No fanfare. Just a blot of blue ink slowly dripping down a page into clean water, until the pigments coalesce and you can see the stark white A4 background once more.

Mad.ass out