Saturday, September 20, 2008

ode to geelong and other sundry matters

in the old blogging days, there used to be regular haiku around these here parts.

last night, while at the mcg, i was finding it hard to concentrate on the game. i was reminiscing in a blasphemous way about the geelong footy of the late '80s and early to mid '90s, about how it seemed more exciting (a certain ablett factor?), more thrilling, more watchable.

it was a beautiful, balmy night. i have never been at a night game in short sleeves before. the showers held off, and i was more enamoured by the circumstances than the game.

we were sitting near a lot of dog fans, and while i don't begrudge success for certain victorian teams (western bulldogs, st kilda, even hawthorn) it was a little annoying when they were chanting their bulldogs thang.

i took photos of my old man with his little spiral notebook, jotting down the scores at the end of each quarter. that's another difference to the old days. back then, he had his quad-colour bic biro, and each colour represented a quarter, and he would meticulously record not only the goals and behinds, but at which minute mark they occurred. he would have those notebooks somewhere, i'm sure. but now the game's too quick, i guess, for him to keep doing that. you blink and you miss something. but still, gary the younger is a joy to watch. the way his speed bursts out of him.

the only real negative of the night were the seagulls. at first, they were lovely; circling high in the dark sky well above the grandstand's roof line. but then, later in the game, they had descended and were either in flocks just above the players where the ball's trajectory followed, or in clusters on the ground. i just don't get why they do a night final. well, i do. but it's wrong.

the person who invents some kind of inaudible sound system which to gulls is a banshee wail, and scares them off - you know, like shop keepers install outside their doors to keep teenagers away at night - will be a wealthy, wealthy person.

haiku for the cats

my nirvana is tapas
at movida, yum
before the finals game.

gulls flying at night
in the black mcg sky
full of poesy.

the balmy night air
soothes my soul for the present
yet i am disturbed.

for i know that soon
i will have to join the crowd
and decide a course.

do i catch the tram
from the seething, close platform?
or do i walk on?

i walk towards lights
my boots are not well-fitting
i struggle on, yeah.

i come to the stop
i have to wait for my tram
it does take an age.

i wait at the stop
wearing my hat of victoire
soon i will be home.

i collapse a'bed
my balls of feet are flaming
yet again, shoe shit.

the cats have won, true
but should i have stayed at home?
and watched from plump couch?

bordello-red couch
so comfy and inviting
no shoes necessaire.

* * *

to other matters. i am a list person. i can't help it. and probably my list with the greatest longevity is one i've had going for maybe 20 years or so. it's a list not on one piece of paper, but on many bits. scraps of envelopes, post it notes that have lost their stick or been torn carefully in half, bits of newspaper white-space.

this list is of books that have been recommended to me, that i have seen in medical clinics all over the place, or that i have seen in book shops but not bought for one reason or another. books i have read about in articles, in reviews, in interviews with authors i admire, or more recently online.

all are books that i want. books that i can't even remember why i want them; while sometimes there is the isbn and publisher details, sometimes they are just a title and author floating in space, without any note about what it was that made me write it down.

this is my list, going back years:

goodbye to all that - robert graves

brewer's doctionary of modern phrase and fable - adrian room

an imaginary life - david malouf

cherishing our daughters - how parents can raise girls to become confident women - evelyn bassoff

the historian - elizabeth kostova.

vampire story set in istanbul.

a passionate marriage - jonathan schnarch?

libby/elizabeth southall - book about being in the tsunami. (heard her interviewed on radio - she also lost her daughter a few years before in a tragic way, the girl catching the tram in melbourne to dance class in prahran, and her "friend" killed her through jealousy. what a life for this poor woman. loses her 16 year old daughter, then survives the tsunami. there is no god.)

maranatha et in arcadia ego - by a bunch of holy grail researchers.

i LOVE holy grail stuff.

food - a history, by felipe fernandez-armesto

the boy with the striped pyjamas - someone boyne?

animal speakL the spiritual and magical powers of creatures great and small - ted andrews

god on a harley - joan laidig brady

chapters - candice carpenter

a woman of substance - barbara taylor bradford

the enigma of japanese power - karel van wolferen

the holographic universe - michael talbot/tolbert. also noted here the celestine prophecy - this is a really old note.

ogilvy on advertising - david ogilvy

blonde - joyce carol oates

falling angel - william hjortsberg (this is the book that the old movie angel heart was based on, according to the credits of the movie. this is one of my oldest leads that i've tried and failed to find.)

the power of gold: the history of an obsession - peter l. bernstein

as i lay dying - william faulkner

a fine and private place - brian matthews

isabelle the navigator - luke davies

reading the muslim mind - obviously i would have been interested in reading this when i was married to a muslim mind, and trying to work it the fuck out.

turkey unveiled: ataturk and after - nicole and hugh pope

how to really love your child - dr ross campbell

sasameyuki - junichiro tanizaki

shayou - osamu dazai

oriental carpet design: a guide to traditional motifs, patterns and symbols - prj ford

norwegian wood - haruki murakami

women and sex - nawal saadawi

embraced by the light - betty eade

the physician - noah gordon

the perfumed garden - william heinemann (i may have managed to get this one, can't remember)

la nuit du serail - prince michael of greece (another i have tried to find, and failed.)

in the name of a dead princess - nora someone.

life in istanbul at the time of suleyman the magnificent - robert montran

the koran - a abdulla yusuf ali (i have managed to find this one)

women of sand and myrrh - hanan al-shayk (i think i have this one)

honour and shame: women in modern iraq - sana al-khayyat

beyond the veil: male-female dynamics in muslim society - fatima mernissi

two queens of baghdad - nabia abbott

aisha - the beloved of mohamma - nadia abbott

sultana - prince michael of greece

price of honour - jan goodwin (i think i have this one)

ayesha - james morier

anastasia: the riddle of anna anderson - peter kurth

millennium: a history of the last thousand years - felipe fernandez-armesto

snowdon, the biography

sub lists

the books list is the longest, and it is my life's work to try and acquire them all. now with modern technology and a credit card, it might be easier. also, i've just gone through the places where all the separate lists have been languishing these many years, and put them all together. into one big list in a plastic pocket. and i will work through it, and try to find them.

but sublists have emerged: songs that either must be ones i can sing for karaoke or ones i want to dance to at my 50th birthday party?

is this love - whitesnake

i was made for loving you - kiss

sweet dreams - eurythmics

modern girl - james freud

tusk - fleedwood mac


into the wild, with sean penn

secrets and lies - rec by "me moom" and watched recently. really good, pretty depressing.

if only - recommended by a student at an english school

drowning mona - bette midler


happy texas

a simple twist of faith

the road home

whatever it takes - teen movie



doco - taxi to the dark side

yol (the road) and the herd - by yilmaz guney

* * *

one final, last scrap of paper that i have carried with me since 1994. in ukrainian, the name and address of a young girl i met at a pension we were staying at in marmaris, turkey. she was 11, and she was so beautiful. long, blonde hair, nut-brown skin from the turkish sun, long-limbed and friendly. we "made friends" even though i was a woman and she a girl. she was staying there with her mother, and also her brother. she told me one day, in halting english, that she had a sickness, and pointed to her throat. i slowly worked out that she had become sick from chernobyl, and after marmaris that year, we exchanged letters between australia and ukraine a few times.

now, all these years later, i wonder if she still walks the earth. i can't throw away that piece of paper.

just thinking about her makes me teary. sweet katya.


Perseus said...

My Dad also used to fill in all the scores in the Footy Record beside the player's name, then, weirdly, would chuck the Footy Record in the bin on the way out. He would also put in all the quarter by quarter scores of the other matches (back when they were all played Saturday afternoon).

Dad's a Bombers supporter, I'm Tigers, and we went to a lot of matches. Kardinia Park was scary, particulalrly when Geelong lost. Us opposition supporters had to hide our scarves on the way out. I even once contemplated buying a Geelong scarf, just to make sure I got out of there alive.

Perseus said...

Oh, and I hate Hawthorn, and I hate St. Kilda, so no matter who you play next week - Go Cats! Being that I have to drive through Geelong to get home, and almost everyone in my little town barracks for them, I've developed a bit of a soft spot for them.

Pen or the Sword said...

Love your Haiku :)

I'm a cats supporter, but over the years i've gotten bored of AFL, and just watch the Grand Final.

Anonymous said...

Fallen Angel here

Melba said...

no offence anonymous but those first two pages of the book are horrible. the opening line is shit.

maybe it's best that i don't find some of these books. i'll just watch the movie again maybe.

perseus, are geelong supporters scary or was it just for you as a young tacker? i always think of us as the genteel ones. or maybe that's just me and my dad. he never shouts or upbrades or swears, other than a very rare and quiet "fuck" under his breath. he laughs (very distinctive) and slaps his thighs sometimes when they kick a goal, but no real laughing or thigh-slapping last night.

thanks re haiku little miss.

phoenixmummy said...

I have cherishing our daughters, which I bought when my daughter was 2. I lost track of it before I got a chance to finish it. It's a really lovely read, empowering us mothers and understanding the wonderful qualities our girls can grow up with. I've just found it on my bookshelf so I will finish it. Thanks for the reminder.

Anonymous said...

Apparently they used to use a falcon to scare away the seagulls. I wonder what happened to that.

Mex said...

i want to know where you kept all these scraps of paper prior to their consolidation to the folder... i try so hard to carry a notebook around with me so i can jot down these kind of things but i usually try and make myself remember... which means i forget!

I'm not Craig said...

Oh, Melbs, flee from The Historian. My mother in law gave it to me for Christmas a few years back so I felt obliged to read it right to the end. This was painful. My mother in law then read it and complained that I had failed to warn her that it was boring.

Having said that, I probably still have my barely used copy somewhere (probably a box in the shed) so if you want it I'll bring it with me when we catch up.

On that topic, did you get my last email? I'm free more or less every weekend between now and Christmas except 11&12 October.

I should probably also warn you about anything written by Dr Ross Campbell. I haven't read How to Really Love your Child, but I have read the sequel (How to Really Love your Teenager) and I am certain that you would be appalled by most of this dude's advice.

In conclusion, partly because I cannot support any organisation that has any form of association with Jeff Kennett, but mostly because I used to live there, GO CATS!

Melba said...

that's not a bad idea gullybogan. there could be about 10 of them around the ground, up in metallic eyries, where they watch and swoop. they could be trained and wrangled by the fierce knights from kryal castle. i tell you, they could do with a gig. good times.

mex - paper scraps were in the following places:

1. my filofaX x address book, tucked in a little mini plastic pocket and also in the front and back flaps

2. inside various vertical files labelled "miscellaneous" in my filing cabinet.

3. i think i have some still in places like drawers and amongst my boxes of newspaper clippings - i have about 10+ archive boxes of such clippings.

you asked.

INC - my bro recommended the historian not necessarily as a novel of great worth but knowing that princess is obsessed with the twilight series (vampires and werewolves meet humans and fall in love) and also knowing she is half turkish, he suggested that book. i thought i'd read it first to make sure it's "appropriate". really, don't bother? but would still like to read if you can be bothered finding it for me to borrow. also got your last email sorry for being a SLACKARSE again. will get back to you with dates. we are so doing this.

what else? oh, happy to be swayed away from the how to really love your child. it was, after all, recommended to me by an old friend who is now born again christian (sorry, i know you're religious, i am not insulting you) and also amway freak. so the combo of hard core religion and hard core pyramid-salesmanship (but it's not pyramid selling, they say!) renders this recommendation suspect from the beginning. i'd forgotten until you mentioned it who actually suggested it to me.

but thanks.

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