Monday, July 30, 2007


In which I am undaunted by sports.

It's been a weird weekend. On Friday, a challenging day in my new department (Accounts Payable, otherwise known as "the one where we send out money to pay for things we buy from other companies") we commenced with choc chip muffins ... just because. Then a former employee brought her new baby in to be cooed over while we crowded into the lunch room and shared a Nando's takeaway. At one point the pram caused a log-jam in between cubicles, causing one guy to ask, bewildered, "There's a queue to hold this kid?"

Then - and this is how I know I've Arrived - I was invited to end-of-the-month free drinks, or "Beers in the Boardroom", where I encountered the CEO. I'd never seen him before in my life and was on the verge of asking him what he did, when I realised how much louder he was than everyone else, and quickly bit my tongue. Only the mighty get to shout with joy and be applauded! A group of blokes were trying to think of the word "scanning," but couldn't, so - and I love when this happens - they expressed it with sign language which turned into an interpretive dance. Three were doing smooth arm-waving movements, while the other two, trying to comprehend, mimicked the arm waving with added flourishes. They looked like a camp forest of seagrass. I could just see them back in their clubbing days, "stacking boxes" to house music. Incidentally, the whole dance genre of music has a derogatory yet onomatopoeic Aussie name, "doof doof".

I also spoke to cute-guy-who-looks-like-Charlie-from-Numb3rs, whose name I forget.
Every lunchtime he and another IT guy run 7ks in preparation for the 12k charity walk we're all doing at the end of August. Well, they'll be running it, but I'll be walking: my only sport is belly dancing. He recalled a toe-curling occasion when he'd been in a restaurant with his parents and a belly dancer had made some suggestive moves on his father. I was momentarily silenced.

On Saturday I re-read Harry Potter 7 - I so want to write a review going into spoilers! and on Saturday night met up with my wonderful bubbly marine biologist friend Marjolein to go to FloorPlay, a dance extravaganza widely advertised on TV with the tagline "Burn The Floor!" The dancing was spectacular, and the costumes were just amazing (I want a dress entirely covered in sequins!) although I didn't think the series of black elastic straps actually did much for the woman who wore them instead of a dress.

Unfortunately, we were sitting in the balcony. We could see the stage just fine, but at the beginning an usher asked us not to stand up when we couldn't see the dancers, as this would interfere with the lighting. Well, this show has been at that theatre for at least a month, and frankly to have everyone disappear into the aisles - while a lot of fun for the audience in the stalls - is just poor staging! If you can't send a couple up to the balcony, at least leave someone on stage for us to look at! Otherwise, regardless of verbal warnings, people are going to stand up and crane over in an attempt to keep up.

Who goes to a show like this? Well, women are in the majority, although the chaps dragged along didn't seem too henpecked. We were in awe of the cougars, though - reeling ladies in their fifties, slamming back cocktails then backing young men into corners and attempting to rumba with them. Some of their outfits, like the head to toe red leather ensemble or the fishnet tights fluffy with ostrich feathers, were fantastically striking, as if the spirit of Isabella Blow had glided across Subiaco. As we left the theatre they prowled off in search of innocents leaving the bars. I hope that whe I'm in my 50s and 60s I'll still have that reckless sense of adventure!

On Sunday it was too rainy to watch Brendan's footy game, so I went for a wander to check out other Northbridge hostels. I got photos of those trees that have struck me for weeks now as being amazingly sculptural, and strolled like a true flaneur through Highgate and Mount Lawley. I saw coffee shops, bookshops, bakeries, and a shop selling "everything you want - nothing you need," exemplified by the colossal birdbath, over a metre across, on its front lawn. I also witnessed a drunken argument with incoherent shouting followed by a man striking a woman down. It was sickening. The police were already crossing the street so I guess the dispute must have been going on for some time, but I didn't expect to step out of the dreamy suspended-time atmosphere of a second-hand bookshop and suddenly be back in that world of violence and drunken rage again.

Perth is generally one of the safest cities - certainly nothing compared to Alice Springs - but like any city there are a few drunken characters I'd rather cross the road to avoid a discussion with than walk past.

I have two links for you. Here is a great account by literary critic Michael Berube of how his son, who has Down's syndrome, learned to follow a story's narrative through reading the Harry Potter books. And this is a parody round-up of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" - containing ALL THE SPOILERS - but if you want to laugh till you spray tea across your computer screen, and you've already finished the book, you may check it out. You may wish to keep a tea towel handy.

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