Books I Read and Liked and You Will Probably Like Too

BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS!

A quick guide to some great fiction you should probably read. If you want to. I’m not forcing you or anything, do what you want. But you probably should.

You know when you’re overseas and the times that you would usually fill up with coffee dates and studying and meals with your family and walking to the train station are strangely empty? Or you’re not overseas, but you’re at a loss for what to do? Or you’re feeling lonely? Or happy? Or ecstatic?

Regardless of the situation, reading a good book is the best solution. Even if there isn’t a problem. Because if they’re clever, the authors will have edited out all the boring bits, or turned them into beautiful prose that makes you think about peeling carrots in a whole new way. Reading a good book completely changes your outlook on… everything. It transports you to a world where you can get inside the head of anyone. Books are the great equaliser. No matter how empathetic you are or how many films you watch, no other medium can make you feel so connected to someone else. While I’m reading a story, I feel like I can truly understand the person who wrote it. Or I can understand the version of themselves that they are writing in all their characters. And I don’t mind that my schedule is as free as a house elf with a sock. In fact, I’m rather pleased by the prospect.

So without further ado, here are my top five favourite books that I’ve read while on exchange, accompanied by little blurbs and faux-artsy pictures that I took on my phone:

 

Dept. Of Speculation – Jenny Offill

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A Few Lines That Exemplify the Book as a Whole:

“Are you still emailing or calling her?”

“No,” he says.

“Are you still sending her music?”

“No,” he says slowly. “I’m not sending her music.”

“What? What are you sending her?”

“Just one video,” he says.

“Of what?”

“Of guinea pigs eating a watermelon.”

 What Kant said: What causes laughter is the sudden transformation of a tense expectation into nothing.

 What the Girl said: Hey, I really like you.

 

What is it and why is it good?

This is a book about a woman who is also a mother and a wife, and her marriage is falling apart. It’s unlike any other book I’ve ever read. As the author wrote, it’s meant to be devoured in one sitting. It’s about as thick as the radius of my thumb. It’s put together in chapters, I suppose. But each chapter is comprised of paragraphs, many of which are only one or two lines long. The author gets into the brain of this character that thought she was going to be an ‘art monster’: a serious career person in a fancy cultural world in the pages of Vanity Fair. As it turns out, she’s now a wife in a bedbug-ridden suburban house with a colic baby that she loves more than anything. She teaches English at university and tells her students to use less description: show, don’t tell! Her husband begins to dislike her. And in the midst of all this, Offill manages to squeeze in sentences that make you astounded that anyone can live life being that damn perceptive, that can turn the psyche of another human being into words on a page that you and I can read.

 

Side Effects – Woody Allen

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A Few Lines That Exemplify the Book as a Whole:

Needleman was not an easily understood man. His reticence was mistaken for coldness, but he was capable of great compassion, and after witnessing a particularly horrible mine disaster once, he could not finish a second helping of waffles.

 

What is it and why is it good?

Yes, I know he’s getting a lot of bad press recently because he maybe did something terrible. If he did do it, I am in no way condoning it. That is fucking awful. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that Mr. Allen is a comic genius – at least when it comes to things that aren’t his own life. This book is a collection of short comic stories, and they are just hilarious. They’re all pretty short and contain a plethora of eccentric and idiosyncratic characters with which Mr. Allen has a lot of fun commentating. Think people who wear their dead father’s shoes, but only on one foot and while in the bath, and then you’ve got the vibe of this great compilation. Read it on the bus and people will stare at you as you sporadically guffaw.

 

The Rehearsal – Eleanor Catton

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A Few Lines That Exemplify the Book as a Whole:

The poorer girls who work part-time in fast-food and clothing chain stores are able to effect something of a moral victory over the girls who receive an allowance from their parents and don’t have to work for cash. When the less wealthy girls visit the white and shining houses of the rich they always come armed with a strong sense of entitlement, opening the fridge and changing the channel and taking long delicious showers in the morning, always with a guiltless and even pious sense of righting some dreadful inequality in the world.

 

What is it and why is it good?

I know Eleanor Catton is now being touted as the literary world’s newest darling because of her 2013 Man Booker winner, The Luminaries. I’ve read that, and I agree that it is very good. But you know what I think is better? Her first novel, The Rehearsal. From the first page, I was hooked. The reviews all describe this book as clever, and it definitely is. Catton utilizes the good old non-linear time structure, and she keeps switching up the perspectives that the book is written from. So we’re constantly on our toes trying to work out when this chapter is written in relation to that bit we just read. But this book is a lot more than smart literary devices. It is about a saxophone teacher and the schoolgirls that come in and divulge their lives to her every week. It is about a drama student and his first year student-devised play. It’s about sex and desire and growing up. And most of all, it’s about truth and reality, and how there is definitely a difference. Catton completely gets all the different types of teenage girls, and she places them accordingly – the awkward ones, the golden ones, the unremarkable ones. With an honesty that cuts through all pretension, Catton reveals all the thoughts that no one wants anyone else to know.

 

How We Are Hungry – Dave Eggers

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A Few Lines That Exemplify the Book as a Whole:

Notes For A Story Of A Man Who Will Not Die Alone

 

Around 8,000 words.

Quick-moving. Simple language. No descriptions of rooms or funishings.

The man is in his seventies. He’s spry, lucid.

Possible names: Anson. Or Basil. Or Greg,

He doesn’t want to die alone.

 

More than that, he wants to die surrounded by as many people as possible. The story is about if and how he might achieve this.

 

Derek: Do you want to limit the receiving line to people you know?

Basil: No, no. Anyone.

Derek: So complete strangers should be able to come up and say hello, goodbye?

Basil: Yes.

Derek: But people are strange. Many people are strange. Aren’t you afraid that there’d be some strange person out there?

Basil: At a thing like this? It’ll be self-selecting, don’t you think? People are strange, but more than that, they’re good. They’re good first, then strange.

Derek: I guess. But there’ll be Goth types, I bet. And evangelicals.

 

What is it and why is it good?

This is another compilation of short stories. And although they couldn’t be defined as ‘comic’, there are certainly moments of intense humour. The author is Dave Eggers, who some of you might know of in his role as the founder of McSweeney’s Publishing (you know, the legends that bring you McSweeney’s Internet Tendency?) Eggers puts his characters together as a builder erects a house. With each abstracted, descriptive sentence, he adds another layer to the random name that he has written down. Eggers slowly evolves the idea of a character into a fully-fledged person with each tacked-on bit of information that he sees fit to provide us with. No word is wasted. No flowery descriptions or unnecessary anecdotes. We are introduced to strained relationships, sad realizations and pithy, limp affairs in coastal hotel rooms. We finish the book with a man who finally understands – God is the sun. And this makes perfect sense to us.

 

Ancient Light – John Banville

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A Few Lines That Exemplify the Book as a Whole:

It occurs to me that of all the women I have known in my life I know Lydia the least. Can it be the case? Can I have lived all these years with an enigma?—an enigma of my own making? Cass’s death conferred, I think, a false weight, a false seriousness upon us and our life together. The task I suppose was no more and no less than that of continuing to mourn her, without stint or complaint, as fiercely as we had in the first days after she was gone. To do otherwise, to weaken, to lay down the burden for the merest moment, would be to lose her with a finality that would have seemed more final than death itself.

 

What is it and why is it good?

First of all, John Banville in general is the best. For some reason in my head I always classify him as the younger, Irish counterpart to Julian Barnes, even though I have no idea if Barnes actually influenced Banville at all. It’s just that both their stories all seem to avoid closure so that they can make some comment about the trickiness of history and truth in narrative. Anyway, that’s a bit of a side note; sorry. Ancient Light is a brilliant novel. It’s about an aging man who is looking back on his life, particularly to his affair as a young boy with his best friend’s mother. There’s more to the plot than that, but that’s the gist. As with all Banville’s work, the plot is not really what is most important. Instead, it is his ability to manipulate language into a thing of beauty, and compress into a few paragraphs a revelation that would take most of us several decades to even begin to formulate. He ruminates on the difficulties faced by the storyteller – how what we might imagine has happened is rarely the truth – and how this re-imagined truth is generally what informs our present character. More than this, Banville elegantly and poignantly shows us how relationships define us in ways that we mostly cannot know.

 

All of these books are highly recommended, guys. They are legitimately excellent, and not just in a “Oh it was a hellavaread!” kind of way. I’ve even been so discerning as to eliminate my beloved ­Hush, Hush­­ fallen angel, teen-fiction series from this list, that’s how much I care about it’s literary integrity. But if you can’t be bothered reading stuff with words of more than three syllables, definitely go for anything by Becca Fitzpatrick. She captures the angsty world of fallen angels with aplomb, and all her books come with muscly dudes and hot chicks pictured on the cover. Thumbs up!

An Underage Australian’s Guide to Getting Drunk in Austin

Hey guys!

Sorry I haven’t posted in ages, but you don’t care that much and I’ve been too busy discovering Santa Cruz’s rad fauna. Basically life as an exchange student in Santa Cruz is comprised of drinking tequila in your bedroom because most people are under 21, and then going to the meadow to meet high randoms and shoot laser beams amongst the redwood trees. Seriously, laser beams are awesome, everyone should get on it. Then the next day you wake up around 5pm, realize that you’ve missed all your classes, and you do the whole thing all over again – except for my flat mate Irish Shane, who is the pinnacle of studiousness and general goodness. So Shane’s parents, if you are reading this, Shane remains uncorrupted: he’s still the polite, IT genius legend you raised. Can we all just pause for a second and celebrate Shane? K thanks.

What a legend he is
What a legend he is

But now that the gf has arrived, we are currently in Austin, Texas, because YOLO. Usually you ask someone in America if they have travelled much and they will proudly list off a whole bunch of different cities – all in their home state. For Australians, as we well know, if you want to experience anything very different, you have to get on a plane. And unless your idea of a multicultural adventure is Auckland, chances are you’ll be on that big bird for several hours at the least. So the three and a half hour plane trip from San Francisco to Austin isn’t really a big deal. It takes longer to get from Sydney to Perth.

Austin: the land of new friends who buy you drinks @Shangri La Bar
Austin: the land of new friends who buy you drinks @Shangri La Bar

Now we are here, Iz and I are doing things a bit differently than we did in Santa Cruz – except for the sleeping during the day thing. That’s still working well for us. Luckily for Iz, she’s twenty-one. Unluckily for me, I am not. So, here is the first rule for being an underage Australian drinker in Austin:

Make sure to get a foreign 21 year old’s ID that looks a bit like you.

It’s not enough to get the ID of your 21-year-old American doppelgänger. Bouncers are accustomed to seeing these all the time, and they will easily pick out the fact that the person in the photo isn’t you. As once happened to me in Wholefoods while trying to buy artesian beer (I know, I’m a wanker – but it was Wholefoods! What was I supposed to get? They don’t have anything un-artesian), the sales assistant said, while peering at my ID, “This isn’t you.” To which I responded, “Um, yes it is?” And then he said, “No, it definitely isn’t.” To which I replied, “Good point,” and quickly got the hell out of there.

"I'm defs over 21"
“I’m defs over 21”

The key is to get a foreign ID, because this confuses American bouncers. You can see the bewilderment spread across their faces as they try to work out where the date is. In all this befuddlement, they forget to look at the actual photo. Bingo, you’re in. My British ID belongs to my cousin, so shout-out to her for looking vaguely like me, and for allowing me to explore my English accent talents when talking to bouncers.

Now that you know the key to actually getting into bars when you shouldn’t legally be there, the next step is to know the cool places to drink. A fake ID means nothing if you end up downing beers in a sports bar with mid-westerners. In Austin, you have two main choices. In other words,

Do you want to get drunk with a) povo students like you, or b) people who pretend to be povo students but are really interior designers wearing threadbare Phillip Lim 3.1?

If your answer is a), you want to go to ‘Dirty 6th’. This is a street jam-packed with grimy clubs, bars and pubs, and hawkers standing at every entrance yelling, “Get your $3 jaeger shots! $2 Irish car bombs!” One dude screamed this at Iz and me, to which we responded, “We might come back later!” He jovially replied, “That’s what my Papa said to me when he left our family one night when I was a kid, and he still hasn’t come back!” Ah, pathos.

Dirty 6th is located in the heart of downtown, and is basically where all the students from nearby University of Texas go, and where tourists from interstate come to experience ‘city life’. Not to mention the backpackers. So many backpackers.

Our new mates! @Pete's Piano Bar
Our new mates! @Pete’s Piano Bar

Our favourite on this strip is probably Pete’s Piano Bar. Yes, it’s a $5 cover, but it is a feckload of fun. Walk in, and you’ve got tables of out-of-towners getting their Austin live music fix. You’ve also got two smooth-as piano players and crooners belting out pop covers and schmoozing the crowd with their sweet tunes. Additionally, you’ve got a hot waitress walking around selling $4 jello shots in syringes, and a bar full of cheap drinks, and bartenders who will take selfies of themselves instead of you when you ask them to take a happy snap of you and your mates. Iz and I came here on our first night and befriended some awesome women from Dallas who were celebrating one of their 40th birthdays. We became fast friends and bonded over tequila shots, jello shots, and every other shot. I woke up the next morning with a lovely email from one of them entitled, “We will be in Sydney in two years!” I guess I’ll be having houseguests…

Oh and I should mention that once you are drunk and after food, you should definitely walk east along the street until you find Gourdough’s, the amazing doughnut truck catering to people so inebriated they have forfeited all calorie qualms and just want stuff that tastes really freaking good. Iz and I are big fans of the ‘Fat Elvis’: a massive doughnut covered in peanut butter glaze, topped with caramelized banana and crispy bacon.

If you answered b), you’ll want to head to ‘East Sixth’. This area keeps winning all the sarcastic awards for ‘most quickly gentrified area in Austin’, but whatever. We still think it’s awesome, and the plethora of fabulous bars and delicious food trucks means that it will remain awesome for some time yet. Some winners in our eyes include

Cheer Up Charlie’s

Cheer Up, Patio!
Cheer Up, Patio!

This place is known for being ‘LGBT friendly’, so Iz and I were super stoked that we would have instant mates! But apart from this title, it’s also just a very rad bar, with patios out back and front, yummy drinks (including the amaze-balls hot apple cider with rum) and live bands and drag queen acts on Saturdays (and maybe other days: I have no idea, I was just there on a Saturday). When we were there, this incredible singer/rapper Katy B was performing, and she had everyone twerking and yelling and generally looking ridiculous. Charlie’s definitely cheered us up.

Shangri-La

Mehooo $4 each: vodka and something else but mostly vodka
Mehooo $4 each: vodka and something else but mostly vodka

To be honest, I don’t really remember that much of this place, apart from the fact that it was full of super-friendly people that bought us drinks, and wound up in our iPhone camera albums the next morning. However, I think one of the reasons I remember it so fondly is that it rocked in comparison to Yellow Jacket Social Club, the bar we had hit up just previously. This place is touted as being a ‘hipster haven’, so we assumed it would have a pretty liberal-minded clientele. But Iz was talking to some people who were being really friendly while I was in the bathroom, and then when I came back and she introduced me as her gf, they literally just walked away without saying another word. Literally. Just. Walked. Away. I would expect this in Tennessee maybe, but not in Austin. So thumbs down, Yellow Jacket, thumbs down. Another notable mention goes to The Liberty, whose drinks are delish, but whose food truck in the backyard, East Side King, served up the best pork buns I’ve ever tasted. (Obviously, I really like pork).

Brooklyn Lager and Liberty... and Pork Buns from the East Side Kings food truck in the back
Brooklyn Lager and Liberty… and Pork Buns from the East Side King food truck in the back

Now you’re drunk, you should hit up the food trucks just near Cheer Up Charlie’s. The al pastor (pork) taco at the taco truck was like actually the best thing I’d ever consumed, and the candy-covered bacon dipped in chocolate and salt from the fried food truck next to it, Fried and True, was heart attack heaven. Well done, Austin.

Finally, a special mention goes to Qui.

The first of my rabbit seven ways was a soup thingo that came in a CUP THAT LOOKED LIKE A RABBIT
The first of my rabbit seven ways was a soup thingo that came in a CUP THAT LOOKED LIKE A RABBIT

Also on East 6th, it is apparently the ‘hottest restaurant in Austin’ or some such hyperbole. But Iz and I went there for our one year anniversary dinner for a fancy, fancy night, and boy did it deliver. Some hits included rabbit seven ways, the crispy chicken skin cabbage salad and the (OMG SO GOOD TRUST ME) cheddar cheese ice cream with crispy waffles, goat milk cajeta, peanut praline, aged cheddar ice cream. Service was excellent, wine was delicious. And afterwards some cheeky cocktails at the East Side Showroom.

I could go on and on about all the other food and drinks we’ve consumed here, but suffice to say, this town is amazing. Young Australians, just remember to get your fake ID and practice your poker face, and you too can soon be losing your wallet while climbing a fence and yodeling into your hostel at 4am with the best of them. Good luck!

 

 

Legs Be Open About It: #vaginasoit

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I just published a piece for yeahnah.tv about the now infamous #vaginasoit scandal. It’s about censorship, female genitalia and general Western prudery.

Here’s an excerpt:

“Eighteen vulva mug shots, all lined up in neat little boxes. Like a Rubik’s cube that you can’t rearrange because it’s on the cover of Sydney Uni’s student newspaper, Honi Soit and therefore 2D. The vulvas are staring at you, lips open, pouting, pissed off because they can see your obvious dismay. You are shocked. And this shocks you. So why is it that a few photographs of female genitalia, completely unadorned and decontextualized, cause so much furor both in the psyche of the community and in the judgment of the law?”

Check out the full article here.

Lezbehonest: Hate Mail Sucks

When I started blogging, I knew that some bitchy comments and snarky retorts would follow. Not everyone agrees with what I write, and sometimes I do switch to hyperbolic mode because it elicits a stronger reaction. I don’t write timidly using noncommittal verbs. Most of the time my posts are satirical and self-depricating. Sadly, the internet doesn’t seem to get satire, so sometimes I put a little disclaimer at the bottom to alleviate the amount of anonymous phantoms commenting things like “u is a dumb bitch”. Or this baby, on my (obviously satirical) piece about the Eastern suburbs:

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It still doesn’t really work that well. But regardless, I was prepared for the collective rage of the internet. I get that typing h8 at randoms in CAPS LOCKS is cheaper than a therapy session. I’m fine with people misinterpreting what I’m saying and calling me a damn Liberal supporter as soon as I criticise a Labour policy. For the record though, I am pretty left wing in terms of politics. I don’t apologise. This is a blog, not a news website.  That being said, I don’t rule out any party because I like to look at both sides of every issue. I try to employ this thing called objectivity. E.g. I don’t generally support the Liberal Party but I’d be cool with Malcolm Turnbull as PM because I think he’s a damn good politician with fair ideas and just motives. And most of the time my posts are light hearted and have a dig at everyone, not just the people I fundamentally disagree with. So when I got slammed with this comment, I thought it was pretty funny (albeit misguided, because I agree with most of what ‘so…’ is saying):

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So no, its not the comments about my content that really bug me. People can say what they think and be rude and crude, like this guy here:
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What bugs me is when people decide that it is okay to start harassing my very character, my body and the groups that I am involved with (luv u Law Revue!) completely decontextualised from my blog because I am as they call it “a dyke”. Because you know what?

Gay hate is NEVER funny, never clever and never socially acceptable, even on your mate’s Facebook wall.

I recently became aware of this charming comment feed. Take a look:

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Not only is this incredibly cruel on a personal level (i.e. I know I’m no model but it’s still not very nice to be called “horrific” on the internet), but it completely insults and dehumanises the entire gay community. So I thought I would clarify some things for Mr. M:

1. Women do not ‘turn’ gay because no men will have them
Lesbianism is a way of being, completely unconnected to whether some dude thinks you are hot or not. In fact, it has nothing to do with men. See if your obviously inflated ego can handle that, Mr. M. Most women are gay because they like sleeping with other women, and they connect more with women on an emotional level. I say ‘most’ because I’m not going to rule out the possibility that at least one or two women have turned gay since encountering your disgusting and homophobic personality, Mr. M.

2. Lesbians can have babies
You cleverly point out that there I am holding a baby in my profile picture. This seems incongruous to you because “I can’t even have them”. Pointing out the obvious here, Mr. M, it is I who has the uterus, not you. Lesbian couples can easily have children. It is true that we require sperm from a male donor. But you sir require a willing woman in which to plant your seed, which I highly doubt you’ll find if you are as unthinking to all women as you have been to me. I think it is time you get off your homophobic horse and realise that gay parents care for their children just as much as straight parents. And if you are worried about lesbian parenting resulting in a whole lot of mini-lesbians, rest assured that homosexuality is not genetic. The same percentage of children with gay parents will turn out to be gay as those with straight parents. Check out this website if you decide you want to try out that ‘objectivity’ thing I was talking about earlier.

And finally,

3. You Sir are a homophobic dickhead

Regards,

mad.ass

Why Don’t You… Learn Life Lessons From TV1?

So I’m actually a massive TV1 fan. For those of you who don’t have Foxtel, TVI is the daggy channel. Not daggy in an ‘oh it’s oh so retro’ kind of way. Daggy in the mold of your Great Aunt Mildred who thinks her imitation-wood countertop is the hippest thing since sliced bread. Basically TV1’s sole purpose in life is to air reruns of old British and American sitcoms, producing absolutely no original content whatsoever. And bless it. It’s a rare thing when modern television can unite you with older generations over a shared love of watching nuclear families and talking cats, but this is what TV1 has done for me.

ily patriarchy
ily patriarchy

I Dream of Jeannie

I used to get home every afternoon from school at about four thirty. (Not that I did anything fun, social or mildly rebellious after school, but because my school bus came late and I wasn’t game enough to attempt to catch public transport). If I ever got home a few minutes early, I would catch the end of I Dream of Jeannie. This is a 1960s American sitcom, the plot of which revolves around 2, 000 year old Jeannie, who is actually – surprise, surprise – a genie (you know, a hot blonde chick who wears Bollywood-style clothes and can grant wishes). Jeannie ends up with suburban businessman Larry as her Master. Because women cannot make their own decisions and it is only right that they direct their talents towards improving the lives of men. As Larry’s personal slave, Jeannie must obey all of his commands. Naturally, she falls in love with him. Why wouldn’t you fall in love with the man who controls everything you do and affords you no personal autonomy whatsoever? The show then follows the hijinks they get up to and basically every episode sees Jeannie stuffing up in some way and then having to win back the affection of her Master.

Lesson learnt?

Women are incompetent. It is only right that they submit to male domination and criticize themselves when they do not complete the tasks set for them up to scratch. In other words, you must cook your husband’s dinner and if you happen to burn his potatoes, you should hit yourself over the head with the fry pan. Idiot.


Bewitching
Bewitching

Bewitched

At five o’clock, Bewitched would grace my television screen. A slightly different premise, but a thoroughly more enjoyable viewing experience. Bewitched actually came before I Dream of Jeannie, so it is interesting to note that TV1 did not show its programs chronologically. What motive could have informed this radical decision? Curious, very curious. Anyhoo it’s about a hot witch named Samantha who casts spells by twitching her nose in a weird way (if you want to try this at home, have a go at just wiggling your lips about, and this usually produces some solid nose movement akin to the protagonist’s). Sam marries mortal man Darren, and together they attempt to live an ordinary life as he goes off to work and she brings up little Tabitha at home. Of course, women are stupid and silly, so Sam screws up a lot of householdy chores. Whenever she tries to help Darren at work using her sorcery, she causes lots of damage and merits significant reprimand from her other half. But the best character in the whole show is Sam’s crazy witch mother, Endora. Endora sees Darren for the stupid gittish mortal he really is. She adds a sneaky feminist edge by bagging out everything that Darren says and does. She also wears awesome sparkly caftans, kind of like a precursor to Joan Collins.

Lessons Learnt?

1.     Wear caftans. They are comfortable and fabulous.

2.     Try not to marry a mortal man, as they are pretty senseless and will make you name your daughter Tabitha.

When I remember I have food in my bag
When I remember I have food in my bag

Sabrina the Teenage Witch

Now TV1’s order of shows makes perfect sense. Because whatever programs are shown before this baby will all pale in comparison. Sabrina was the essence of my childhood idolatry. Sabrina is just an ordinary teenage girl who goes to high school and has a massive crush on Harvey, the dumb but well-meaning hottie. Except that Sabrina has a secret… she is a teenage witch! OMG. She wears awesome red leather pants in the opening sequence, is the perfect poster girl for 1990s cool, she makes mistakes but learns from every one and did I mention she has a talking cat called Salem? Salem is the best example of dodgy pre-CGI television effects. He is like literally a stuffed cat whose mouth is made to move wide and shut arbitrarily when a weird man’s voiceover comes on purporting to belong to the animal. Funny shit. Sabrina’s father is a warlock who talks to her from inside a book, and her mum is a mortal who is strangely on a dig in Peru for two conveniently placed years. If Sabrina ever sees her mother, she will turn into a ball of wax. This is just the beginning of the wackiness. You have to watch this show.

Lessons learnt?

1.     Girl power and belief in yourself are stronger than any magic!

2.     Zelda and Hilda are awesome names

3.     Life would be better if it was still the nineties

Why Don’t You… Go To Bermagui?

As I check my Facebook newsfeed (to see if Roger Federer has commented on one of my many comments on his official fan page), I am inundated not with Rogerisms, but with pictures of all my friends having a blast in Europe. Or skiing. Apparently that is what Sydney University students do when they reach the July holidays. Europe is like a siren call that wills them to return to it without the vexatious hindrance of Mum and Dad on their yearly Family Trip. And if they haven’t got their shit together enough to organise Europe, students hastily get in a car and go to a lodge at Thredbo or Perisher to ski and post updates about being ‘snow bunnies 4 lyf!’

My question is this: why go to Europe or to the snow when you could go to… Bermagui?!

Only a five and a half hour drive from Sydney CBD, this little coastal town boasts all the modern accoutrements of city living without the hustle and bustle and stress! And on the way you get to learn things about life in the south coast and rural NSW! And you don’t ever have to take off your ugg boots!

ugg boots = synonymous w South Coast cool
ugg boots = synonymous w South Coast cool

‘Where do country people buy their groceries?’ you ask.

At Woolworths, Coles, IGA and Spar! They are not so dissimilar from us, except that their supermarket branches stock less brands of organic muesli and Yalla chocolate mousse. But it’s okay, fellow Sydneysiders! Just stock up on your Carmen’s untoasted variety before you leave, and bring it with you. There is no quarantine check when entering the South Coast!

‘Will the road trip be fun? What should I expect to be entertained by on the way there?’ you sagely question.

The road trip to Bermagui is half the excitement! Firstly, you get to see parts of Sydney you’ve never seen before, like Gymea and Engadine and Waterfall (that place that the train goes to but you’re sure it only exists in the realm of train announcements, not in real life). You also get to see lots of local businesses with funny names, like Silly Willy’s discount store in Moruya.

"Silly Willy's is a great name  for a shop" Said everyone ever.
“Silly Willy’s is a great name for a shop”
Said everyone ever.

And lots of interesting food emporiums that can only be found on the south coast due to their use of local produce.

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I also highly recommend the Berry Sourdough Bakery for some cheeky tarts and Miton’s vegetarian café Pilgrims, where the burgers are so good you are almost fooled into thinking the patties are made from meat! Try them for delicious nutrition and bite size pieces of political correctness.

“What do I do when I get to Bermagui? Is there a high street that I can peruse?”

Another insightful inquiry! Yes, Bermagui does have a ‘high street’ chockablock with top notch ateliers (the surf shop), grain designers (Bazza’s Hot Bread), coffee bean enthusiasts (Corkie’s Coffee Lounge) and publication purveyors (Bermagui Newsagency). As you can tell, it is a very metropolitan town. And if you are missing your Delicious Magazine fix, the Gelati Clinic has two copies from 2009. (The Gelati Clinic is named as such because the shop used to be a Veterinary Clinic and the owners couldn’t be fucked to buy a new sign for ages, so they just wrote ‘Gelati’ on top of ‘Veterinary’). But seriously though, the gelato is amazing. Try the fior de latte and the banana, and if you bring in your own fruit they can make gelato with it especially for you.

#lazysignage
#lazysignage

Other awesome places of note?

The Blue Pool.

Named as such because it is in fact, a blue pool. Because the ocean is blue, and it is a pool. It is so beautiful, and only a few people have drowned there in the past few months.

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Barragga Bay.

A gorgeous little beach accessible only by walking down a bush path at the end of Burrawong Place. Avoid the plebs and lie on the sand all by yourself, reading Beckett and thinking significantly about your own insignificance.

And finally, who needs Europe when you have the Bermagui Country Club?

The apex of Bermagui social life, this exclusive club (membership for twenty dollars a year) houses three tennis courts, a croquet court, a drinking lounge and a weekly trivia night! Try and beat the regulars by sneakily Googling answers on your iPhone, and run away before they have the chance to beat you up!

Best Country Club in the country. #alwayspacked
Best Country Club in the country. #alwayspacked

*Disclaimer
I actually love Bermagui. It’s my favourite place in Australia.  #grainofsalt

Ways To Procrastinate When You’ve Run Out of Food

The Internet.

I’m generally crap with all technology. I’m a two-finger typer because I always cheated on Type Quick so that the crocodile wouldn’t eat my koala, and I don’t know anything about coding or htmls or ‘SEO’ (what is that??) However, for some time now I’ve just had this feeling that there is this great Internet world out there that I’m missing out on. I tried to get involved. I typed ‘funny video’ into Youtube. I Googled ‘best memes’. But to no avail. The internet gave me fuck all.

But then I started this blogging thing and it’s like the poached egg has been pierced. Awesome sites and online magazines are spilling onto my plate with unparalleled speed as I attempt to mop them up with my mouse. Here are a few fave blogs, sites, internet caves for you to trawl:

Junkee: http://junkee.com/

It’s funny. It’s pop culture: music, art, film, social stuff, politics, media. And it’s good writing, which is always nice. Cameron Tyeson’s piece on songs that might be used during the election campaign was as insightful as it was hilarious and it made me a bit more inclined to give a rat’s ass about Australian politics. Check it out here: http://junkee.com/seven-songs-that-might-be-used-during-the-election-campaign/14028

Slutever: http://slutever.com/

This chick Karley has had a cray-cray life and continues to do so. Here she writes about her self-celebratory slutty escapades and muses about stuff like double anal (apparently it’s when two guys stick their penis in your bum at the same time WAYHOE) .She calls herself a ‘pro-sex feminist’. Some people are like ‘bahh! think of the children!’ and I’m like ‘I think her articles are really intelligent and thoughtful and pretty dang funny’. Like, she just interviewed a porn star and the whole thing could have been an Austen novel (apart from the fact that they were talking about extreme sex acts) because surprise, surprise – porn stars are people with brains too. Awesome work, Karley.

Vice: http://www.vice.com/en_au

You’re probably already onto it but whatever. Vice is renowned for being edgy, smart, avant etc. And it is all these things, although I kind of feel like they would be the adjectives that a forty plus demographic newspaper would use to describe it, so sorry for sounding so middle-aged. But it’s really good. Covers music, fashion, cultyah, news, travel and so on. Is not afraid to be a bit controversial. Hires solid young writers and puts a lot of thought into everything it publishes.

Yeahnah: http://yeahnah.tv/

Yes, I also write for it, so this is shameless cross-promotion. But it’s a great website. Completely Australian, completely young, completely unpretentious. The layout is purposefully crass in its simplicity and the articles are purposefully not. It’s got the tone just right: a good mix of lengthier, meatier pieces and snappy bits. Their Amanda Bynes video is a killer as well.

A Square Girl, in A Round World: http://www.squaregirlinroundworld.com/

This is my m8 Sam’s blog. (When I say m8, I’ve never actually met her in person. But we’ve had great Internet chats and our mutual friend Cerealmonk vows to me that she really does exist. Anyway, her stuff is phat. She just writes about her life and she has a really fresh take on being twenty-four and not having a clue about what to do with your life. And she Internet dates for our reading pleasure. And talks about cellulite. Good.

Check em out, people. Soon I’ll be hitting you with the next instalment of how to procrastinate when you’ve run out of food. The theme will be ‘Making Shit’. Get excited.

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