Mixed Business (Fluffy Nonsense)

The Gertie’s G20 Drinking Game

– Tony Abbott gets drunk and acts like the worlds’ most embarrassing uncle at a BBQ: dunk your head in a keg of VB, it can’t get any worse.
– You see someone wearing their G20 all access pass outside of the exclusion zone: top shelf, A grade scotch, two chunks of hand chipped ice.
– Held up by a motorcade carrying the assistant to the assistant of the guy who shook Obama’s hand: lemon, lime and bitters (you’re driving).
– Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff asks where the restrooms are, isn’t seen again until Monday morning: one whole bottle of cachaça.
– King Abdullah mistakes Campbell Newman for his chauffeur: order a white wine spritzer and hang your head in shame.
– François Hollande and Matteo Renzi overheard comparing the size of their “planes”: a bottle of Australian red, just to annoy them both.
– A friend expresses surprise that Turkey is invited: glass of rosé.
– Shinzo Abe takes Enrique Peña Nieto and his wife to karaoke at the Brunswick Hotel after one too many frozen margaritas: there’s no such thing as too many margaritas, have another one.
– Lord Mayor Quirk asks Park Geun-Hye how his flight from Toyko was: find Tony Abbott and congratulate him for not being the most embarrassing uncle after all. Share a shandy with him.
– Protesters overthrow the Convention Centre and turn it into a rave party: two litres of bottled water, followed by a tantrum on Tuesday.
– South Africa is here as well? Sheesh, have a Captain Morgan’s and tell me how this G20 thing works again?
– Xi Jingping and Mariano Rajoy caught goosestepping behind Angela Merkel: crack a Lowenbrau.
– Obama fails to recognise Stephen Harper, leader of Canada: oopsie daisie, best break out the moonshine.
– David Cameron bets The Falklands in a game of late night poker, loses to Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, President of Argentina: two pints of warm lager (actually, make that three).
– Narendra Modi tweets a photo of Barnaby Joyce holding a pineapple tart with the caption “who’s the fruitcake?”: double rum and coke. Bundy, of course.
– Vladimir Putin is seen leaving The Wickham in the early hours of Sunday morning: Wet Pussy shot.
– Indonesian President Joko Widodo takes one look at all of them, decides he doesn’t want to be in politics after all: champagne for you sunshine, you’ve got a reason to celebrate.

Written for Gertie’s Bar & Lounge


To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before

So apparently I’ve reached that point in my life where, when I catch up with friends, all anyone wants to ask me is whether I’m seeing someone. I’m not sure if it’s my clitoris or my heart that people are most concerned with, but either way they aren’t concerned with any other achievement in my life. Correction – any actual achievement in my life. All they want to know is if I’m attached, and if I’m not, then why not?

“But you’re so pretty/funny/smart/successful/blah blah blah”…who cares? It’s all irrelevant if what you’ve got isn’t what’s on demand.

It’s weird. I guess I hit ‘married with children age’ a while ago, although I never really felt it happen. But suddenly I’m the single friend, and everyone wants to see me paired up. People look out for me, they feel sorry for me. They want to ‘see me happy’ as I keep getting told. For some reason, we’ve worked out that it’s not polite to ask if a woman is pregnant, but to put someone in a position of analysing their desirability is still okay. The reality is I’ve been dumped more times than a Channel Ten newsreader, and while I’d be kidding myself to say it didn’t hurt like hell to feel that I’ve never been worth holding on to, for the most part it’s not a big deal. I get that I’m a bit left of centre and most of the time I can handle that. My mother let me off the hook a long time ago when she told me that not everyone was meant to fly accompanied. I remember at the time feeling so much calmer with that thought. Shame the rest of the world didn’t get the memo.

Not that I don’t fall in love. I do, though rarely with the appropriate target. I seldom find people who spark my curiosity anyway, so it doesn’t often matter.

And then today someone commented on how many times my position as girlfriend has been made redundant, and I thought to myself “fuck this” – I may be single and live alone, at risk of becoming the crazy cat lady my brothers always said I’d be (bollocks to that, I’m a dog person), but without the knock downs I wouldn’t know I can get back up again…and I wouldn’t have such an extensive music collection. And sure, there are days where having to face another partnered friend and their well-intentioned questioning is just too hard. But it is the way it is.
So screw it. I might have a worse batting average than…um…some shit cricket player (I don’t know names)…but I have learned a lot from every single one of those relationships. They might not be good for a back massage any longer (actually none of them ever were), but these are the things I have accumulated along the way…

The world’s best taco recipe
Joan Armatrading
Learning to use my mirrors when I’m reverse parking
Champagne at midnight
Knowing that Calvin Klein men’s boxers are the most comfortable sleepwear ever
Bright red lipstick
Funny Girl
Brain Pickings
Kurt Vonnegut
Dusty Springfield
Wine appreciation
Carol King
Midnight in Paris
How to walk in super high heels
How to pitch a tent
M People
Honey Birdette
Brazilian waxing
The rules of AFL
How to order caviar
How to use a strap on (sorry mum and dad)
How to ride pillion on a motorbike
The best way to eat oysters
Patsy Cline
The best Vietnamese in Sydney
How to apply a smoky eye
The Pretenders
How to cook a lamb roast
Friends (not the exes – ugh – but the people around them have almost always been worth it)
A million other little things that have made me who I am

I realise that most of these aren’t particularly exciting. But sing ‘em to the tune of Willie Nelson’s To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before, and you may just be on to a winner.

Alternatively, skull a bottle of red and cry yourself to sleep. It’ll all be okay tomorrow…

When In Doubt, Lewis Carroll

I can’t remember my Cabbage Patch Kid’s name. Should I be worried about that? I know this is a weird thing to suddenly start obsessing about in my late 30s, but the thought struck me today and I can’t shake it.

I remember all sorts of things about childhood. I remember the names of the couple who owned the corner store and sold me lollies in paper bags; I remember every one of my pets names, including the goldfish my uncle won me at the Brisbane Ekka that died on the drive home; and I even remember what we ate for dinner the night my younger brother was born 32 years ago. But for the life of me, I can NOT remember the name of this doll.

To be fair I don’t remember having names for any of my toys except two – my stuffed bunny, ingeniously called Bunny; and a doll I named Louie after my imaginary friend when I realized I was too old to be talking to an apparition. But Cabbage Patch Kids were different. They arrived already named. They had birth certificates and adoption papers and a whole backstory on how they came to exist in the world – and everyone except me seems to remember the name of their charge.

I do remember that I changed her name. I even did it through the official channels so that Hasbro would issue me with a new birth certificate, but that name escapes me too. Her original name, like all Cabbage Patch Kids names, was something long and old-fashioned and impossible for a six year old to spell, and knowing what appealed to me at that age I fancy I renamed her something awful like Cindy, but I honestly don’t know. I also recall that I was desperate to go to the Babyland General Hospital in Cleveland Ohio to get poor little No-Name a sibling, though sadly it never happened.

Cabbage Patch Kids are pretty much the weirdest dolls ever created. They’re creepy looking, knobbly-kneed, and have some dude called Xavier’s name signed on their arse. God knows how they ever became so coveted. There are urban legends about owners sending dolls in for repairs and being issued death certificates when they were beyond salvation; and a persistent rumour of the 1980s suggested that the dolls were originally designed to desensitize the public to the appearance of mutated children born in the aftermath of nuclear war – which is probably not a bad description of their big plastic faces and oddly proportioned bodies really. In grade four, I slapped a boy called Stephen when he told me I had the same legs as his sister’s Cabbage Patch Doll. It was not the compliment he’d intended it to be.

Yet like real mothers, we loved and obsessed over them despite their looks. Clearly with their bottles and nappies and feeding routines, Cabbage Patch Kids were preparing us for a life of maternal joy, but by forgetting the damn thing’s name I’ve failed the very first test haven’t I? At worst it shows I’m a shitty adoptive parent who didn’t uphold my half of the adoption contract between Hasbro and me. I guess I should take comfort in the fact that I’m unlikely to ever be a mother to a real human being and the chances of this translating to anything meaningful are slim. Besides, my dog is ten and I’ve never forgotten his name.

But there is a nagging bother that is refusing to leave me. I don’t really like the idea of my childhood memories slowly eroding, and this decidedly weird looking doll has become the embodiment of that fear. I wonder if I’ve killed too many brain cells with alcohol since becoming a grown up. Is the stress of juggling adult life causing bits of childhood to start escaping? It’s not a thought I want to entertain. As the saying goes, being an adult is the dumbest thing I’ve ever done.

I miss the time where my existence was 99% play and 1% worrying that mum would catch me wearing one of her bras so I could make the act of breast feeding seem more real (from what I’d observed of her feeding my brothers, it was all in the way you subtly flopped your tit out into the baby’s mouth without anyone actually seeing your nipple – what can I say? I was a weird kid). I miss that part of life where being lost in your own world was not only completely acceptable, but actively encouraged. I miss feeling sorry for Alice that she ever had to leave Wonderland. And I miss having the time to be fascinated by all the little things around me.

So now my Cabbage Patch Kid is sitting in my lap as I write this silly piece, wearing her ridiculous satin wedding gown and crushed veil, and I’ve realized she smells exactly as she did when I got her over 30 years ago – and then it hits me. Constantine Danica. Her name is Constantine Danica, and I renamed her Kate Jane after two of my school friends.

It’s such a relief to know I can still find my way down the rabbit hole.


An Open Letter to Tony Abbott’s Daughters

Dear Louise, Bridget & Frances,

Hi girls. You don’t know me but I know you. Only from TV of course, but I still feel an affinity with you. I hope you don’t mind me contacting you. I guess it’s pretty hard to stay anonymous when your dad’s running for Prime Minister, hey? It’s just that I’ve been watching these past few months as you’ve stood loyally beside him, and I really feel the need to reach out to you and say you’re not alone – I too have an embarrassing dad.

I know all too well what it’s like to have a loose cannon for a father, although I admit from the outset you girls have it way worse than I do. My dad isn’t in the public eye. No one other than my mother and brother generally hear the daft things he comes out with, unless he’s saying it on facebook. Oh god, there’s a thought. Your father doesn’t have an account does he? I can just imagine what he’d be like commenting on your photos:

 “Hey Lou, what boat did that Asian mate of yours come in on? Must‘ve been on Julia’s watch. LOL!”

“Bridget, is that your boyfriend in the pink shirt? LMAO, poofy much?!”

“Franny, is that guy wearing a Jesus Is My Homeboy t-shirt? OMG! WHERE CAN I GET ONE???”

No, you need to keep him well away from facebook. Social media and embarrassing dads go together about as well as teenage girls and Bacardi Breezers. They get silly and uncontrollable. I learned that the hard way, trust me. My father now has his own fan base amongst my facebook friends because he’s always divulging personal information about my formative years. They think its endearing; I think its grounds for patricide. I should probably block him altogether now I think about it. But I digress.

My point is I know what it’s like to cringe in anticipation every time your dad opens his mouth in public. I know what it’s like to tense up when an obviously gay waiter serves him in a restaurant, or when the bank teller is Asian and asking too many questions. I know that overweight people are like a red rag to a bull, and women in burkas are…ugh, let’s not go there. Having an unpredictable maniac for a father can be so damn mortifying, can’t it? I know there’s an unwritten rule that dads are supposed to embarrass their daughters any chance they get, but some put more effort in than others. I’ve wanted the ground to swallow me up on more than one occasion. The day dad told a ‘woolly woofer’ joke to two blokes not realising they were actually a couple was a highlight, as was the time he mistook a man’s wife for his mother and made some comment along the lines of “what time do you have to have her back at the home?” Groan. The man needs a muzzle.

It’d be easy to write them off as old farts from another generation, but your dad’s 20 years younger than mine. I guess that actually makes my dad pretty groovy by comparison, seeing as he supports marriage equality and believes women are capable of making informed decisions about their reproductive systems without state or religious intervention. Maybe a life of ardent Catholicism has aged your dad prematurely. All that altar wine can’t be good for you. Thankfully my dad has never actually described my virginity as “a precious gift”, although he has jokingly offered cash incentives to any bloke who can successfully put a stop to my lesbianism. At least I think it was a joke. Who can tell? Dad jokes are seldom actually funny. And I don’t think he’d even know there’s a vaccine available for cervical cancer, let alone actively seek to discourage me from getting it (just on the virginity thing – did your dad even know the status of your virginity at the time? I mean, I tell my dad virtually everything, but we’ve never had that conversation).

Look, I know your dad’s not all bad; I’m sure neither of our fathers actively set out to offend. But the difference is mine does occasionally give the impression of not wanting to insult people. I’m not sure ol’ Tony’s ever bothered to concern himself with what’s considered offensive. I mean that thing he said the other day about marriage equality being “radical change based on the fashion of the moment” as opposed to a matter of human rights was a real doozy. Guess that’ll make for a pretty interesting Christmas lunch if your aunt’s there this year, huh? Even worse than the Christmas my dad told a ‘curry muncher’ joke in front of my brother’s Sri Lankan girlfriend. Oh, the memories… 

And then there’s that thing about turning back the boats, despite the majority of Australians wanting to see a refugee solution that’s far more humane. We all know he must have been joking when he said it because no one in their right mind would think that was smart policy, but it made him sound like he’d just flown in from 1954. Surely he’s not that out of touch with the rest of the country?

Even the day my dad inexplicably gave the finger to a couple I’d waved at seconds prior because he assumed they were friends (they were actually clients, but even so, who spontaneously gives the finger to strangers?!) pales in comparison to Tony’s sex appeal comment. Good thing Mark Latham waded in to the fracas with an even bigger clanger. Lucky that dude only has sons!

You have got one up on me though. You’ve managed to convince your dad not to wear the budgie smugglers in public, whereas I’ve never been able to convince dad his Speedos aren’t a good look. God knows what it will take to get my father out of them. Scissors, probably.


My father. Like I said, I feel your pain.

Anyway girls, my advice is to try not to let it get the better of you. A lot of us have complete nutters for fathers, minus the ever present media attention of course. Which I guess actually points to the fact that none of us really have any idea what it’s like to be you. Except perhaps Jessica Rudd. You  wouldn’t believe the crap her dad puts on twitter…

Best of luck reining the old boy in between now and September 7,


The Royal Baby Drinking Game

Royal Baby Drinking Game:

1. Queen arrives with a ‘If you think I’m cute you should see my Great Grandma t-shirt’ = double shot of Drambuie.
2. Camilla is seen ducking out for a ciggie = pint of warm lager.
3. Carol Middleton seen sticking her chewing gum under a table in the hospital cafeteria = white wine spritzer.
4. Harry seen chatting up a nurse = gallon of Pimm’s Punch.
5. Prince Charles waves gormlessly at the press = pint of shandy.
6. Beatrice & Eugenie arrive wearing hats that remind you inbreeding is still a thing among the Windsors = litre bottle of apple cider.
7. Prince Phillip says something inappropriate to the assembled media about Kate’s dilation = Plymouth gin martini, extra dry.
8. Fergie tries to smuggle her way in via a trolley of hospital laundry, then attempts to sell the story = finger of scotch, neat.
9. Pippa caught taking selfies in the dispensary = six pack of Hooper’s Hooch, or Bacardi Breezers at a pinch.
10. Big Ben’s bells reprogrammed to play Fatboy Slim’s remix of ‘I See You Baby’ = half bottle of Beefeater Gin.
11. World media replay images of Diana holding William on the hospital steps as they head home = smack yourself over the head with a bottle of Tanqueray.

Immature Ageing

Last night I was woken up by the sudden realisation that I’m only fifteen years off turning fifty. Fifty. Five Zero. FIFTY. Boy did that ever start a major midnight meltdown. I can’t possibly be that close to fifty. I’ve only just started feeling like I’ve hit my stride, like I’m actually getting somewhere. I haven’t achieved half the things I wanted to have accomplished by thirty, let alone fifty. The eighteen years since I graduated highschool disappeared faster than Right Said Fred’s musical career. The next fifteen years are going to absolutely motor by.

I know age is just a state of mind, only a number, you’re only as old as you feel, blah blah blah, but now that I’m starting to see the physical signs of ageing on my body and mind, it’s seriously giving me the shits.

My left knee has started making a weird clicking sound. When I go up the stairs, when I go down the stairs, when I crouch down to talk to my dog, when I stand up again, when I get out of bed, when I lift something, when I hang out the washing, when I sit down, etcetera and so forth. It’s particularly impressive when I’m on the exercise bike at the gym. It sounds like my left hand indicator is going. On more than one occasion the person to my left has eyed me warily, worried I was about to magically veer off and speed towards the treadmills (no chance, I hate the treadmill). It doesn’t just click, it also makes a disgusting gristly noise. And it hurts. Well, I’m not sure it does actually hurt, but it sounds like it should, so it does.

My knee makes me feel old, not that I am old. I’m only 35, which is roughly half the age people are when they realise others are treating them like they’re old. Nevertheless, it’s unsettling. It makes me look for other signs I’m at risk of being Heritage Listed. Hanging eyelids, frown lines between my eyebrows, a décolletage that needs ironing. My hairdresser described my regrowth as ‘sparkly’ last week, the bastard. Until he confirmed I had grey hairs, I’d been happily convinced they were rebellious blonde streaks, throwbacks from my childhood when my hair was golden yellow, and my face untouched by a life of excess (for full effect, read that last sentence out loud in the style of Quentin Crisp).

There are other signs too, undeniable proof. Toys that I played with when I was little are in museums. Blocks of units built the year I was born get knocked down because they’re old and decrepit. The neighbours consistently make too much noise for my liking. I use earplugs when I sleep. I can’t hear when I’m spoken to (those last two are not interrelated. I’m not, as yet, senile). My back hurts. So does my neck. And my feet. I never leave the house without Nurofen (I often leave without my car keys, but never my Nurofen). I occasionally squint when I read something. I involuntarily groan when I sit down. I get hangovers after one martini instead of seven. PEOPLE WHO HAND ME THEIR RESUMES WERE BORN THE YEAR I GRADUATED SCHOOL! That last one is a real kicker. I categorically refuse to ever employ anyone born in 1994.

Speaking of school, my school days were so long ago that my school friends’ kids are now on Facebook. One has a daughter at my old high school. Another had a son graduate last year – from Grade 12, not preschool.  Worst of all, one entered a fruitcake in this year’s Royal Show. She’s joined the CWA and is now taking part in baking competitions. Jesus Christ. She’ll be crocheting doilies next, and insisting we call her Beryl (that the cooking competition is listed under ‘Fine Arts’ in the show guide is a disturbing fact I’ll need to discuss at a later date). Break out the “World’s Best Grandma” t-shirts. My contemporaries are geriatrics, I guess I am too.

I used to be the youngest person in my friend group by over a decade. All through my twenties I was inexplicably attracted to people so much older than me it made the union of Anna Nicole Smith & J. Howard Marshall seem conventional. Good thing that’s changed. If I were to fancy someone older than me these days it’d be pretty dull. They’d be dead.

No, I’m the old one now. My last girlfriend was 13 years younger than me, and she was well past the age of consent. My staff call me Mamma. Mamma McCarthy. Seriously? I’m not ready for a newborn to recognise me as its mother, let alone a bunch of twentysomethings who need help juggling their ‘work/life balance’. Everyone comes to me for advice. When did I stop being the bad influence, and become the oracle? Maybe when I decided skulling a bottle of Passion Pop and puffing away on two packets of St Moritz Extra Mild Menthols didn’t exactly constitute a wholesome meal. With great age comes great wisdom, as they say.

Yesterday, feeling frustrated and needing a boost of motivation, I hit ‘random quote’ on a website for inspirational quotes. You know what came up?

Thirty-five is the age when you finally get your head together, and your body starts falling apart” Caryn Leschen.

Very inspiring, provided you were looking for the inspiration needed to throw yourself under a bus.

You know what I think? I think ‘fifty’ is an acronym. I think it stands for Fuck I Feel Too Young. I’m not ready for this stage of my life. I’ve got way too much immaturity left in me. Yeah, I’m old enough to know better than to be seen out shooting tequila from between my tits and licking salt off strangers’ wrists, but I’m not yet ready for tea and scones at Shady Pines.

Now, someone help me out of this chair I’m sitting in. I’ve got work to do!