Sunday, July 31, 2011

Being True Blue


We live near the beach now, in Australia, and it was Sunday so naturally we went to the pier and got fish’n chips. It was a very Australian thing to do and there were lots of Australians down there doing Australian things such as sitting on the pier eating fish and chips and calling out numbers in fish’n chip shops like this:
“Fiffty faww. NUMMA FIFFTY FAWW!”
The fish’n chips weren’t good, but they weren’t bad either, so effectively they were good. I dipped my fish in a lot of tartare sauce. That makes anything good. Plus I like the way the words fish’n chips sounds so much it always makes the fish’n chips taste better. Fish’n chips. Fish’n chips. Fish’n chips. Fish’n chips. In Victoria by the way if you ask for fish’n chips the default fish is flake which is actually shark which freaks people from other states and countries out. The Love and I smiled at this as we ate our fish’n chips dipped in tartare sauce. I think the fact that we eat shark in Victoria makes us feel quite tough.  
So we sat there and ate the shark and wondered about Australia and being Australian as we sat amongst our fellow Australians doing an Australian Sunday thing.
It was fun. It was Australian. But I felt this funny feeling I couldn't name. I don't know what it was. Maybe it was because, though I'm Australian and love doing Australian things, I've never quite felt True Blue.
I think it started when I was four or five and we were staying at our cousins' house in the country. One cousin had a nightie with a koala on it waving an Australian flag and the words:
I’M A TRUE BLUE AUSSIE
I asked my auntie Rozzy,
“What’s a true blue Aussie?”
Auntie Rozzy considered this for a moment. Then she said:
“I guess a true blue Aussie is somebody who is born in the country.”
And at the time by country I thought she meant country as in, not the city, and as I was born in the city I thought to myself “I’m not True Blue.”
And as I grew up I never did feel quite True Blue. And whenever a question arose about my nationality I would say,
“I’m Aussie. But not True Blue.”
Perhaps that’s why I always felt a bit on the outer.
I still don’t know if I’m true blue, I don’t think so, though I know I’m Australian. I look at friends like the Angel from the North – so true blue Irish it’s not funny. True green. French friends, so true bleu. And for some weird reason today as I sat and ate shark on the pier in the sun even though I smiled wide I still felt a bit like an imposter. 
Magritte 'Poisson'

Artwork du jour 117

Impostor on the Pier

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Dreams of theatre and reggae

It was New York. I was backstage trying to put my makeup on in front of one of those long mirrors with the light bulbs around them but there was an annoying person on either side of me also getting made up and I kept getting pushed into the wall bit between each mirror so I couldn’t see myself. I looked down at the Chinese guy to my left, getting styled by a hair-and-makeup artist.

“Can you move?” I asked. 

He looked up at me. His face was round. He wasn’t fussed by me.

“This is my mirror,” I continued. “Can you go back to yours?”

It was that Theatre de Soleil backstage I always go to in my dreams - vast, unruly, dark. Dim-lit by lamps. I had that feeling I wasn’t going to be ready for my call. Natalie Portman passed me in her tutu, scowling.

The Chinese guy got up and left. I sat in the chair.

*

The show was to begin. All the hundreds of cast members assembled outside the building, ready to go downtown to the theatre. I was the lead. The Love was there, and Kiki. We all began to walk in a procession towards the theatre which was an enormous presidential building. It wasn’t far from the ‘backstage’ place, only a few blocks. I had a large piece of fibreglass shaped slightly like a sled and I said to them,

“See you there,”

and they waved me goodbye as I sat down on the sled and whooshed away down the street leaving them all behind.

*

I sailed through traffic lights, the speed was crazy. I knew if I fell I’d graze myself very badly – perhaps take all the skin off my face and palms – but I somehow knew I wouldn’t fall. It was still scary though, enough to be fun. I zipped past streets and crowds and that’s when I realised that I wanted to be a writer and that I wanted to be in New York and to learn from great writers. And that’s when I discovered that I’d gone way past the theatre. And that I didn’t actually know exactly what the theatre looked like or what it was called. And that it was 6:55 and that my call was 7pm. Curtain was 7:30. 

My heart beat hard.

*

I arrived safely at the bottom of the hill. It was evening and I was at that other dream place that’s the shopping mall thing in the New York that’s not New York and there was this reggae band playing. The band was friendly. I walked up to them. They were speaking French. It was comforting. I wanted to ask them where the theatre was but I didn’t know its name or what it looked like so my voice caught in my throat. The saxophonist stopped playing and looked at me sympathetically. I tried to explain my situation in French and then I said,

“Would you prefer me to speak in French or English?”

And he said,

“English is fine. After all, we are in New York.”

So I tried to explain in English that I was lost and that I was trying to get back up the hill to the theatre whose name I didn’t know and then I started getting anxious that I was going to miss the show. What would they do without me? Cancel? All those people! I looked up at the reggae guy, lost. I was sure he thought I was mad. But he smiled and put his arm around me. Then the band stopped playing and we all walked away together. To where I can’t remember. 


Artwork du jour 116

Less than Three, NYC

Friday, July 29, 2011

Careful Lest it become Important

If you stop too long then you think too hard and that doesn't do anyone any good now does it.

I stopped and I thought and then the stopping lead to more thinking and then suddenly I was so constipated with thought that I couldn't start again. It was as though because I'd stopped the next thing I had to do needed to be good in order to justify the stoppedness and the stopped gap just got wider and wider and the expectation greater and greater so each time I came to attempt to put a stop to the stoppedness it was as though I had to shift a huge brick.

So I'd stop.

And then I'd find myself at a day like today where the stoppy droughty nothingness was rasping at the back of my throat so hard I just had to throw down and let something gush forward, even if it felt quite cheap as the vast gap really should have led to some sort of substance.

But I'd waited too long. And it hadn't. And the point is perhaps not to stop further and wait, but to push through the bland river of diet coke and see where you end up. Perhaps you won't know until you look back and go - hey - I thought at the time that was just diet coke. But it actually was something more. I didn't know it then because I was in it. But if I hadn't freed it I never would have known.  

Bref, I expect it's important to keep going forward. To Do, not to just Think. I'm terrible at that. I wish I was more like Woody. He is such a great Doer. He doesn't worry about the Gap, he hasn't had one since he began making films. One year, a film. Annie Hall. Do you think Annie Hall would have been Annie Hall if there had been a big Gap and lots of thinking? Of course not. Annie Hall is pure Do. All those wonderful awkwardnesses. Experiments. All there, boxed, complete. Annie is such brilliant encapsulated time passing it hurts. Woody's now. Then. I ache to mark time like that.

So I'm going to try harder. Speak, try, fluff, spew. Daily. Sorry. I'm also going to try to speak to myself a bit more rather than to you because I realised that all my favourite artists are having fun speaking to themselves. I'm always worried about being selfish. "It's not ALL about YOU Bunny." But perhaps it is. Well, I only know the inside of myself really. And I am generally most interested in what's inside You. Especially when you don't wait too long to speak. So who knows, maybe you might be interested in me. Even when I'm boring. 

Well! La-di-da...

Artwork du jour 115

Insignificant moment