Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Big Chill - would you press the rewind button of life?

Just to keep the April ‘Fashion passes me by’ theme going – Qantas has an inflight “Encore” movie section that screens past Oscar winners, a complete boon for people like me who are guaranteed to have missed the Movie of the Year first time round. Obviously I was spoilt for choice in terms of films I’ve never got around to watching, but plumped for “The Big Chill”.

When I was at university in the 80’s, I had a friend who introduced me to the soundtrack of “The Big Chill” along with that of ‘Stand by Me’, and I’ve always loved the music from both films, although in a rare finger on the pulse moment I actually watched “Stand by Me’ when it first came out.

I knew the background story to “The Big Chill’ was based around a group of university friends, now in their late thirties I’m guessing, who gather for a weekend following the funeral of one of the group who has committed suicide. I’m actually quite glad I never got around to watching it first time round as perhaps it is one of those mid life movies you need to watch when you can empathise with things like those close university friendships you never quite loose despite love, marriage, children, years and paunches and people’s lives not turning out as expected. There is something about those type of friendships you make in your late teens and early twenties, a type of shared history and residual fondness that holds you together in a way that’s difficult to replicate later on in life. Watching the movie, I thought of my own group of university friends and tried to imagine us reunited for a weekend – though I couldn’t quite decide who I was going to pick as the unfortunate suicide whose funeral is going to draw us all back together, but I did quite fancy a weekend all holed up together in tastefully decorated American house with a young Meryl Streep as the hostess with the mostest. But perhaps the real message of the film is that at the end of the weekend all the characters pick up and go back to their normal lives, albeit it with a few twists. They don’t decide to keep going in a nostalgic, back to student days type commune because in the end you can't go back.

I’ve just bought the soundtrack as my own private wallow in sentimental nostalgia and the Drama Queens are just going to have to live with their mother reliving her auditory youth at top volume, for after all what other way is there to play such greats as “I Heard It Through the Grape Vine” and “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman”?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Fashion - c'est moi

Fashions may come and go, but I basically work off a slim number of personal rules of fashion that seem to have been generally applicable over my last four decades. The first of my rules is that it is possible to pinpoint the exact moment when a style has run its course as this is without fail the day that I jump on the bandwagon clad in my witty take on the prevailing mode only to discover I am now kitted out a la dressing up box rather than up to the minute.

The second rule of fashion is just because an outfit looks stunning on a friend of relatively the same size and stature, (the relative here being in her favour rather than mine) it doesn’t mean it is going to look good on me. I went to a dance a couple of weeks ago, styled as a ‘Barefoot Ball’, held on a beach attached to a sailing club, with a dress code of boardshorts and dinner jackets for men and cocktail type dresses for ladies. As I floundered around in a state of wardrobe despair a friend kindly came to my aid with a dress of sufficient glamour and laid back chic that I immediately had one of those ‘yes yes yes’ moments of imagined triumph, completely forgetting past experience with ruffles and silk. I pulled the grey silk –floaty- milkmaid style creation over my head convinced I was going to emerge like Tess of the D’Urbervilles wandering dreamily through mist filled fields. Well ho ho to that, to my disbelief I did indeed look like a milkmaid, but perhaps rather more of the genuine article, brawny and bucolic are the words that came to mind – in actual fact there was a strong resemblance to a cowman in drag.

Fashion is such a fickle thing. I am sure when the Qantas management team commissioned their grey in flight pyjamas from Peter Morrissey, they had no idea they were creating the ultimate teenage lounging item. Overseas guests, who forewarned by email, arrive at the house clutching their complementary pyjamas and hand them over to the resident Drama Queens win immediate brownie points. Fortuitously given any visitor fortunate enough to be flying Business Class tends, surprise, surprise, to be male and on business, the Drama Queens seem to work on the principle of the bigger the better in terms of sizing and slither round the house clad in the outsize grey cotton numbers. (Note to self, have not tried on a pair of the Qantas pyjamas but can safely predict appearance would provide further proof of Rule no.2 above).

My mother also passed on handy fashion tip number 3 that it is always a good idea to look attractive in fancy dress. I think the fact I was contemplating a dramatic entrance in a gorilla suit at the time may have driven her to this remark.

Fashion Rule no. 4 is that there are some circumstances in which no matter what, you have no chance of looking good and I provide photographic proof of this truth beneath. We have just come back from a fabulous if windy week's sailing in the Whitsundays, off the Queensland coast. Owing to the very small chance of being stung by a number of potentially highly unpleasant jellyfish type creatures, charter companies suggest you wear all in one stinger suits. One of the early symptoms of being stung by an irukandji jellyfish the size of a fingernail is a feeling of impending doom. Funnily enough this proves that one's instinct actually works well, as the list of what happens next is not easy reading for those blessed with a vivid imagination and low pain threshold. In such circumstances I'll opt for wearing the outfit, Ursula Andrews Bond Girl par excellence I may not be in my black outfit emerging from the sea, but at least it hopefully it lowers the chances of close encounters of the stinging kind.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Growing old - ingrowing? There just ain't no glamour in the thing

You know you are getting old when you feel the Occupational Health and Safety geezers have a point about the risks associated with open toe sandals. In one quick stumble, I managed to leave half a toe nail hanging by a thread, resulting in a number of choice phrases crossing my lips as I hopped up the front path clasping the afflicted foot in a move reminiscent of yoga devotee stung by a bee.

As previously mentioned I’m a vain type, and fond of my toes, so I nursed the doomed nail on for a bit, even though it was obvious that a parting of the ways was imminent. The only upside of an absolutely hopeless Sydney summer was that my feet were more likely to be shoved into my fetching leopard skin wellies than called upon to make an appearance in public, so once the toe nail and I called it quits, after attempts to keep it wedged in place with sticking plaster failed miserably, I breathed a sigh of relief, kept feet firmly placed in wellies and waited for time to restore me to my former ten-toed glory.

Then began a nagging kind of pain, similar to the dental type ache that generally heralds a sucking in noise from both dentist and credit card, only this time, the pain was in my foot. Ingrowing toenail is not a phrase I ever wanted to have flashing across my brain. So far as I am concerned it belongs firmly in the ‘piles’ section of unfashionable ailments. There are after all limited instances of heroines reclining on sofas suffering from ingrowing toenails or of heroes nobly hobbling on.

Faced with this latest manifestation of body falling apart, I made the almost fatal mistake of consulting the Internet. I should point out that if my toenail reaches the point of surgical intervention, that despite being the most appalling publicity hound, I will not be recording the operation and posting the results on YouTube, but rest assured people do. The mere sight of surgical instruments being waved around defenceless tootsies was quite enough to make my bottom hurt, not to mention toes curl. In the meantime I’m googling the number for the man no girl wants to admit to having on speed dial, the podiatrist.