Friday, February 29, 2008

Kate The Great...

I'm reading yet another biography about my favourite actress, who most of my friends know I endless quote and refer to a lot. The videos below are an abridged version of the intense 600 page book I am reading now. It's also a test to see if videos are something I want to add to my blog.

Her lust for life and decent common sense always enthralled and inspired me. Her quote below is what I try to do with my life daily and I thought I would share these simple words with you:

The thing about life is that you must survive. Life is going to be difficult, and dreadful things will happen. What you must do is move along, get on with it, and be tough. Not in the sense of being mean to others, but tough with yourself and making a deadly effort not to be defeated.

- Katharine Hepburn

Thursday, February 28, 2008


Sometimes I wonder if words I spell are correct, words I have continued to spell for years sometimes. I hate to be incorrect. I make every effort to ensure words are written properly and my grammar is also in tip top working order, even though I do admit failing occasionally with syntax (the result I feel of thinking too quickly and typing too slowly). I realise the English language evolves continuously, but the wonderful rules we have created enabling us communicate effectively with each other is also in danger of dying out if we're not too careful. I think it's important to keep it good working order so to speak. So it terrifies me that the latest generation horrifically uses 'TXT SPK' in everyday conversation now or should I say 'CONVO'. I put my case forward with this aberration below:

ooow god c i dnt no hu u r babe im gessing u go 2 beal 6form but atleeast u no wat im talkin about....! this is frm head to toe "storkage" the guyz probably gona fink were a bunch of pedoz LOOL.....x

To be quite frank. What the fuck is that?

A grown 16 year old woman wrote this on a Facebook page. I know it's a "Social Networking Site" but there is no excuse. Emmeline Pankhurst is probably turning in her grave at the thought this girl now has the right to vote but not actually given herself the right to spell and form complete sentences. I felt quite sick reading it and wanted to violently stick the Oxford English Dictionary into one of her orifices. If you actually 'translate' it, she also thinks 15 years olds can be classified as pedophiles because they fancy their teacher (who is a friend of mine). Yes - after three, we can sigh simultaneously together. Do I sound like a Daily Mail journalist yet?

Anyway, I return to the point in hand. One of the simplest words Okay or OK used in my last entry, was one such word that made me think twice about it. I wanted to know where this phrase came from. Well, I wanted to know, as I have a keen obsession over the English language and also love to consume useless facts. According to (I know it's American but I will find out what dependable old Oxford say too) it is derived from the following:

OK is a quintessentially American term that has spread from English to many other languages. Its origin was the subject of scholarly debate for many years until Allen Walker Read showed that OK is based on a joke of sorts. OK is first recorded in 1839 but was probably in circulation before that date. During the 1830s there was a humoristic fashion in Boston newspapers to reduce a phrase to initials and supply an explanation in parentheses. Sometimes the abbreviations were misspelled to add to the humour. OK was used in March 1839 as an abbreviation for all correct, the joke being that neither the O nor the K was correct. Originally spelled with periods, this term outlived most similar abbreviations owing to its use in President Martin Van Buren's 1840 campaign for reelection. Because he was born in Kinderhook, New York, Van Buren was nicknamed Old Kinderhook, and the abbreviation proved eminently suitable for political slogans. That same year, an editorial referring to the receipt of a pin with the slogan O.K. had this comment: "frightful letters ... significant of the birth-place of Martin Van Buren, old Kinderhook, as also the rallying word of the Democracy of the late election,'all correct' .... Those who wear them should bear in mind that it will require their most strenuous exertions ... to make all things O.K."

"How fascinating!" and yes, I'm aware only myself said that just now.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Wandering and wondering....

I started writing this to a friend and realised it was probably eloquent enough to put on here too with a few editorial tweaks.

It's my fourth week in Sydney now and as I sit here typing away at my laptop, thinking about how my life has changed, watching the unannounced clouds roll into the bay where I live (It's going to heave it down tonight with fantastic thunderstorm later - see, even the weather here is more interesting) I realised I'm just unemployed and wearing less clothes. However, it's not that bad really. It is hotter here and although I'm not cold at all, because I'm British I can't help thinking I may need an extra layer when I go out - just in case. It's a habit I have to break out of as I end up carrying a lot of useless crap around with me.

Life here is still in a state of limbo. It's not the worse state to be in but I'm desperately needing my own job and space now so I start my 'new life' in full. I went on the ferry to Circular Quays last week for an interview one morning. It was a spectacular Australian morning. A solid blue sky, as if someone had neatly selected the fill button on Human Nature's Photoshop and given the sky one hue of 'Blue'. I stood on the top deck of the ferry, allowing the breeze to dance through my hair and flutter against my face. I wore my aviator sunglasses, a crisp white cotton shirt, jeans and gracefully sat back to listen to Carly Simon's Let The River Run from the movie Working Girl. For a moment, I was Melanie Griffiths as Tess MgGill starting her first day of work, although for me it was my new life. Only then, for the first time since I arrived here did I think, "Richard. Everything is going to be okay."

It is nice to have open friendly public around you though when you make a significant move like this. Not have people who refuse to give you eye contact or glare into your soul if you invade their personal space on a train, bus or pavement, which pretty much sums up London's attitude to anyone and, I am ashamed to say, I was one of those people. (It's not quirky and eccentrically British - it's plain rude.) My initial spontaneity has been replaced with partial restlessness now and I fear for when order gets reintroduced into my life again, as I keep being told to enjoy the free time I currently have. I can't help knowing the organised part of me would like a 'Start Date' so it can schedule in events into my .Mac account calendar and buy trainers without guilt. I'm sure it will all fall into place come once the job arrives. I must learn to curb my impatience in the meantime.

I am enjoying the weather as it's not it's usual unbearably hot and more like a good British summer. I like seeing the water. It's everywhere and it's very calming. Even if you're in the middle of the city and your standing next to a man-made fountain it still has the same effect on you.

I went out on Oxford St, the gay district of Sydney last night and realised I loathe the scene wherever it may be. No new revelation there. Over here they're more vain and are usually 'off their tits' on something quite early on in the evening. This tends to stop when they reach 35 apparently, looking at the rental ads I saw last week. As then, they tend buy small dogs and apartments with great views of the harbour. I say this only as all the ads I've read are by gay men in their mid/late 30s who own amazing flats and a hairy collared animal who they describe as 'My Baby' or 'Chico' and always end their ad with the line "I do not tolerate drug users."

A spark of originality is all I ask for in a gay man. Please! My quest may continue a little longer perhaps.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

There's A Life At The End Of This Tunnel...

A cockatoo landed on the veranda yesterday and my instant reaction was someone's pet had escaped. I realised then I was in another country. This is my new life now and big fat birds with yellow crests bounding up to a window pane is a perfectly common anomaly. Things are going to be different. I watched it with much bemusement and with a sense of pure novelty usually reserved for petting zoos and stupid people, realising my reaction to this exotic bird is probably how I've spent most of my time here since I arrived two weeks ago. It's not like I'm here on holiday or moved here permanently with both feet firmly on the ground, knowing which direction I'm heading. I'm in a limbo period and I'm not sure how to approach anything. I don't have my usual habits to fall back on or friends to immediately reassure me or places to go for comfort. I've spent some of it trying to recreate situations I had during my life back in London and unsurprisingly they just don't work over here. And that's good I suppose. I'm making hesitant choices over trivial things - what type of travel card to buy - Red? Blue? Travel Ten or Travel Pass? What meat do I choose from the alien supermarket freezer - why do the sausages look anemic and the lamb badly cut? Why do I think twice at meeting up with old friends who have offered to show me the way but prefer to meet complete strangers instead? I should be diving into everything head first, embracing it as it comes, but if I do, it means I'm actually 'living' here now.