I blame Carrie

cbFor a really long time there, I was an avid devotee of Sex And The City. As a wanna-be writer, an Austen-style believer in true love and a stiletto devotee, I felt I had finally met my equals.

I watched those girls wax and wane between love on the horizon and love on the rocks. They talked orgasms, three-ways, abortion, marriage and AIDS. They ran all over New York in their clickety-clack heels and tight skirts, schmoozed their way into club openings and Michelin-star restaurants and shed tears of heartbreak when things turned sour.

The show has been over for more than 10 years, and since then we’ve had two movies and there’s talk of a third.

And there’s a part of me that looks at it now and wants to wring Carrie’s scrawny bloody neck.

Because of Carrie, I felt hideously inadequate for not wearing high heels when I went to the supermarket on Saturday morning or when I went to my letterbox to get my mail. Even if I popped out for a quick Sunday brunch, and all the girls I was meeting were in flats, I’d still wear heels. Because that’s what Carrie did. Don’t get me wrong here, my love affair with heels started ways before SATC. It’s just that Carrie took it up a notch. And I was right behind her in my platform wedges.

Now, when I watch old episodes, my favourite scene is the one where Aidan proposes. Not because he proposes, but because she’s out walking the dog, and she’s in shorts and thongs. Like a normal person.

Because of Carrie, I spent close to five years hanging around waiting for some publisher type person to offer to turn all my columns into a book. I’d even made the lame joke to my friends about not getting chemical peels the day before my book launch. Reality being that if I’m ever going to publish my columns as a book, I will at some point need to engage a publisher.

Because of Carrie, I wake up in the morning and wonder why I look so shit. Those girls were out till 4am dancing salsa and sinking tequila and their noses didn’t get shiny and their mascara never wandered away from their eyes. Which brings me to more of my 10-years-on favourite scenes – Carrie getting sprung in the shower by Charlotte following her failed birthday dinner, where she’d just stuck her head under the tap and she sported black panda eyes. Like a normal person. And in the first movie, when the girls got to Mexico, and Carrie went into the bathroom and washed her face that was sans make-up. She looked like a normal person would look when that normal person has been left at the altar.

How Carrie lived her extravagant life on the earnings of one column a week is perplexing. Even if she was paid say $100,000 (back then) I really doubt she could be trotting off to Manolo B’s each week or whatever for a new pair. Plus the wardrobe that included Prada, Chanel, D&G etc. We never saw her in Big W trying on a pair of Emerson’s or at Valley Girl buying a $10 sequin top.

And how did they do their washing? Apart from the time where Miranda came face to face with Steve’s skid marks, did any of them actually wash? Or vacuum or dust?

I think the most powerful annoyance for me is Big. When SATC first came on TV, I was dating a bit of Mr Big dickhead myself, so I felt I could commiserate with Carrie’s frustrations. My guy wasn’t that much into commitment yet I thought the sun shone out of his feckless cheating arse. I would loll around all morose and beleaguered, knowing full well he was out with another woman, and wonder what was so wrong with me that he wouldn’t commit.

Every now and then he’d have a fit of loneliness, or fear, or both, and scramble over to my place to tell me how much I meant to him and how hard he was going to work to make it good. Sort of like Big did when he was married to Natasha. Of course it was never genuine but I sure as hell fell for it each time.

Now all these years later, I look back on Carrie and me, and wonder why, at the first sign of what Bridget Jones eloquently called fuckwittage, we didn’t just call them tosspots and jaunt off on our high heels. Love, if it’s meant to be, shouldn’t be that stressful or destructive.

And there are better ways to lose weight.

The reason I know this, is that when I met my now husband, he was upfront from the first glass of Pinot Noir. He said he was absolutely intent on a long-term commitment, he thought I was the most gorgeous woman on the planet and he booked me for dinner every Saturday night for the next 40 years.

And so I took myself off the dating rollercoaster and put myself in a very happy, fulfilling and equal place. And I look back at those not so wondrous years and wonder why the hell I let myself put up with such crap. And do my best to get word around to friends and friends of friends who are dating their own version of Mr Big to let them know that life without a tosspot is still pretty good.

Of course I still have a wardrobe stacked with high heels which I wear with great regularity. I just not longer have a life that is stacked with angst and drama.

I guess that makes me what Bridget Jones calls “a smug married”.

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Why Patrick? Offspring will never be the same


I had better pick up next week’s New Idea and see that Matthew Le Nevez has signed on with Sly Stallone in Expendables 3. Or that Harrison Ford has moved over and Matt is in the fifth Indiana Jones instalment. Or that he is the new McCreamy on Grey’s Anatomy.

Or something equally noteworthy. And horny.

Because that’s the only reason I will accept for him dying.

Patrick’s untimely death on Offspring last night shocked me. Surprised me. Annoyed me.

You see, I was absolutely, unquestionably convinced that Mick was going to get the bullet. Yes, Mick. Mr Eddie Perfect himself.

Jimmy is a bit of a dreamer, a bit flaky, despite his 24-carat heart of gold. But he’s a dad. He has got Alfie and all his inherent future adolescent issues. He’s also tangled up with Zara and the open relationship and his taco shop has just got off the ground. It would be a shame.

Billie, for all her self-indulgent hysterics, is the comic relief of Offspring. Her penchant for drama assuages my regularly recurring concerns that sometimes I put on a bitch-act once too often. I’ve still got my training wheels on when it comes to drama, if you work off the Billie Proudman code for living.

Mick, in his real life, as meteoric rising singer/writer/actor seemed a likely choice. In real life, as in Offspring, his career is what is fashionably called juggernaut. He’s got a lot going on outside the Offspring filming studio in Melbourne. His screen wife is a nightmare. See paragraph above. He has Jimmy’s heart of gold but a greater sense of commitment and purpose. In short, he deserves better than his portrayal as Mick.

And I had figured that the show would survive without him. Just as long as Billie could pay the mortgage.

But it was Patrick who got the bullet. Or the car crash to the head.

You know, I was so convinced it would be one of the other three, that even when Patrick was struck down by the car, I shrugged it off as a distraction carefully put in place by the show’s Machiavellian producers.

Hahaha, I was thinking, good one guys. Get Patrick to have a slight stumble in front of a moving car, to give us all time to top up our wine and go to the loo, while we wait for Mick to stumble in front of a tram as he chases after Billie when she storms off from Nina’s baby shower.

I was soooooooooooo wrong.

What are we going to do without Patrick? Sure, I’ve read enough news feeds today that explain he will return like Sam did to Demi Moore’s Molly in 1990s Ghost. With or without Oda Mae Brown.

But on a regular basis he will be missed. Primarily because he had better hair than Mick. And Clegg. And he looked pretty damn good without his shirt on. When he was in bed, kissing Nina/Asher.

To me, he was the only sane and sensible one in that mad-cap family. While Geraldine, Darcy and their offspring were prone to frenetic diatribe and disassociated conversations, he was like Ghandi in their midst. With better hair.

And fair enough, it seemed that he and Kate were a touch too co-dependent for my liking. As brother and sister, as it is with my brother and me, there should be slight touch of “you’re a jerk/idiot/loser” behaviour, every now and then. But that’s not reason enough to knock him off.

I’m grateful for my Offspring DVDs. I can watch Dr Patrick Reid at my leisure whenever my beloved husband has taken himself off to bed early.

RIP Patrick xoxo

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You touched me Chrissy

chrissyampChrissy Amphlett terrified my parents.

Although to be fair, they actually didn’t know her name was Chrissy Amphlett. They wouldn’t have bothered with that much detail. To them, she was that vulgar woman who sang those lewd songs.

Cover your ears darling daughter, you might lose your virginity.

I’m not going to have my only daughter corrupted by such foulness on the radio.

Bronwyn, turn off 4IP (or 4BK) now, or I will confiscate your radio.

I think any woman who sang a song other than Fernando terrified my parents – Tina Turner, Martika, Martha and her Muffins, Kids in America chick Kim, Cher, Magenta, Madonna, that fabulous gal who sang about having brass in her pocket (Chrissie with an “ie”) and any female who wore a lot of black eyeliner on her lower lid.

Interestingly, they weren’t so worried about the boy singers, and there was no requirement for them to take the lead in Fernando. They particularly loved Racey, even though they begged me to lay my love on them. They adored The Proclaimers, even though they foolishly said they would walk 500 miles when airfares are so affordable. Peter Allen was a particular favourite but seriously, I give you one word. Rio. Code for gay.

Billy Field, Jamie Redfern, Glen Campbell. Any male on Young Talent Time, apart from its host. All were verifiable husband material. Bon Scott, Doc Neeson, Jimmy Barnes? No, they weren’t heavy rockers, they were just silly boys having a bit of silly fun.

Maybe the 1980s were too early for my folk to embrace girl power. Maybe they were worried I was going to take the lesbian route. Maybe they don’t like eyeliner.

Regardless, I loved Chrissy. Correction – love. I’ll tell you why.

Her song, “I touch myself” is pretty much faultless for me when we’ve all had one too many vinos and going to a karaoke bar seems like the smartest idea since Nicole married Keith.

Its sexy words and sensual undercurrent means I don’t have to dash about the stage in manner of a crazed Cyndi Lauper; instead I can croon seductively and truly believe that I have charismatic pheromone-infused vocal prowess.

Really it’s the wine singing, but so what.

You know how people talk about their favourite super power? Being invisible, bionic strength, reading minds?

I’d like to be able to sing. Sing like Kelly Clarkson. Or Whitney before the drugs. Hold a microphone and belt out a note – hard, strong and confident.

Chrissy’s song is the only song where I can do that, and still show my face in public the next day.

So Chrissy, thank you for music even though it wasn’t Fernando.

I don’t want anybody else. Just you and your song.

Hope you’re at peace xo

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All my life I’ve wanted to be a singer. Or, more simply, just able to sing. As a gangly ten year old, I was convinced I was destined for stardom as the fifth member of Abba.  I mean, my hair was naturally blonde. Surely that was enough.

My girlfriends and I would choreograph these complicated dance routines, physically miming “digging” as we were “diggin’ the dancing queen”. Shovel, shovel, and throw it over your shoulder. Repeat twice. Seriously.

We were lip-syncing heroines long before Milli even met Vanilli.

Money Money Money was all about pretending to count out wads of cash [Read more…]

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Silver anniversary is gold

The thing I like about old rockers is that their music can speak for itself. All they really need to do is switch on the microphone, make sure the speakers are positioned, nod to the lead guitarist or the drummer, and they’re away.

If you’re lucky, they may pop on a clean shirt, or perhaps brush their hair. But that’s not mandatory. Because all you want is the music. It’s all they want too.

And that’s what John Farnham is like. An old rocker, who understands what his audience wants from him, and he delivers. Consistently.

I’ve seen Pink, Kylie, and some other recent teenage sensations live on stage. These lovelies are all about the extravaganza. I guess that’s why you pay the big bucks. To be wowed by set design, costume changes, pyrotechnics and acrobatics. Granted, Pink is a great singer. But the trapeze act leaves me a little startled. Whitney Houston was a farce. Celine wanted a lot of money for very little ROI.

Yet last night, at Brisbane’s Lyric Theatre, my old mate John, brought home the goods and then some.

Most marriages don’t last as long as my one-sided love affair with John Farnham. It all started around the time he did his version of “Help” where his bluesy-funky-ballad style became his first anthem. He jived a bit with Little River Band (mind you, I always preferred Glenn Shorrock but don’t tell John that). Then, in 1986, with bagpipes blasting, he instructed us to “make a noise and make it clear” because after all, we were The Voice.

And he was The Man.

Together we took the Pressure Down, whilst giving each other Reasons, all brushed with a Touch of Paradise. Our Two Strong Hearts started a Chain Reaction and became the Talk Of The Town.

(Only serious Farnham-ites will get that last paragraph.)

My fervently patient first husband lumbered along to the Brisbane Entertainment Centre with me as much as he could. When John Farnham played the lead role in the extended run of the stage musical Jesus Christ Superstar, he drew the line to spending every Friday night watching a mock crucifixion.

I was ok with that because it meant I didn’t have to find anyone to babysit our one-year-old daughter. And I could throw roses on the stage without fear of humiliation.

During the early days of my first relationship post-marriage, I realised quite quickly that I needed to initiate my new lover to the traditions of my long-term lover.

“Darling, I am afraid I can’t be monogamous,” is usually not an ideal fashion in which to begin a new relationship. Granted, my new boyfriend came along with me a few times to meet John, and was quite content to witness my screaming, panting carry-on that occurs every time I see him perform. So I don’t think the ménage trois  was the reason we didn’t work out.

My next boyfriend just said no, flat out. No way, no hell, no nothing was he even going to come close to the mullet, even though I had assured him the mullet had been left behind in the 90s. He was a little uncomfortable about my passion for John. One time, during a heated moment, he actually said, “Oh for goodness sake, why don’t you just go and shack up with John Farnham, you seem to think he’s the ideal man.”

Little did he know how much I would have liked that…

Now, I’ve been John perform at Expo 88. I saw him on the green at Sirromet Winery. (That was a bit of a funny night because I think John was a bit pissed before he went on stage. Wineries have that affect). I saw him do The Main Event with our girl Olivia and Anthony Warlow. I saw him at Royal Pines Golf Course on the Gold Coast. I saw him at the Sydney Olympics.

I saw him at “The Last Time” concert. Then I saw him at his “Last Last Time Concert” and at his “OK Folks, Sorry For Misleading You, Here’s Another Concert” concert.

That’s why it came as no surprise to hear he was doing another round of the capital cities of Australia to celebrate 25 years since the release of his comeback album Whispering Jack. It’s still the highest selling album in Australia. Of course it is, it’s brilliant.

Alan, my superb husband of eight weeks and one day, mercifully embraced the idea of coming with me to see John. Mind you, I figured a bit of marital duty might have been going on but certainly no hint of jealousy. He looked impressed when John did his usual stunt of throwing the microphone stand high into the air and catching it on its earthbound return. So 1970s, I love it!

He smiled when I left my seat beside him to stand patiently in line by the side of the stage to shake John’s hand – one of John Farnham’s gifts is his availability to his audience. You want to come for a kiss and a photo, then you are welcome. Film the whole bloody concert on your smartphone if you want! Load it up to YouTube, or share it on Facebook, he couldn’t care less.

That’s a true star in my books.

When the audience roared to its collective feet when the encore version of “You’re The Voice” began with its signature introduction complete with bagpipes, Alan was right beside me clapping away. And he was first at the merchandising stand at the end of the show, demanding to know if John had issued any items in pink.

Thanks John Farnham, I had an amazing night, I hope to see you again next year.

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20 things you would never know if it weren’t for the movies

1. If you’re being chased through town, you can usually take cover in a passing St Patrick’s Day parade – at any time of the year.

2. All beds have special L-shaped top sheets that reach up to the armpit level on a woman but only waist level on the man lying beside her.

3. All grocery shopping bags contain either a bunch of celery or a stick of French bread.

4. Anyone can land a plane.

5. The Eiffel Tower can be seen from any window of any building in Paris.

6. A man will show no pain while taking the most ferocious beating, but will wince when a woman tries to clean his wounds.

7. Mothers routinely cook eggs, bacon and toast every morning, even though her family never has time to eat them.

8. A single match will be sufficient to light up a room the size of a football field.

9. Medieval peasants had perfect teeth.

10. If a killer is lurking in your home, the quickest way to find him is to take a bath.

11. Any person waking from a nightmare will sit bolt upright and pant.

12. Dogs will always know who’s bad and will naturally bark at them.

13. You can always find a chainsaw whenever you’re likely to need one.

14. All bombs are fitted with electronic timing devices with large red readouts so you know exactly when they’re going to go off.

15. If you’re staying in a haunted house, women should investigate any strange noises wearing their most revealing underwear.

16. Make-up can be safely worn to bed without smudging.

17. A detective can only solve a case once he has been suspended from duty.

18. Guns are like disposable razors – if you run out of bullets, just throw it away. You can always buy a new one.

19. If you decide to start dancing in the street, everyone will know all the steps.

20. When paying a taxi, never look at your wallet as you take out a note. Just grab one at random and hand it over. It will always be the exact fare.

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