Saturday, January 31, 2015

January 31. Day 31. Democracy in action

I've never understood How-to-Vote cards. Ever. I just can't understand how you can get to a polling booth and need a stranger to hand you a piece of paper to tell you how to vote. Bewildering. So I never take one (occasionally, for variety, I take one from everyone just to mess with their heads). But today I broke my own rule and took just one - from my son who was wearing ALP colours for the first time even though he is not yet old enough to vote. Truth is that while I am a political animal I have not ever nor will I join a political party. I don't think any party has the monopoly on good ideas or bad and I hate the fact that toeing the party line means a pretence of just that. But I love politics as a sport and feel very disheartened about the number of young people who refuse to engage in the political process. You can choose not to engage but you can't choose not to be governed and surely it is better to have a say rather than leave it up to others to decide for you? This is why I am incredibly proud of my young man not for his politics per se but for his political interest and conviction. I rather prefer to exercise my political interest as a commentator rather than a campaigner. So tonight I was in election night heaven in the Social Media Lounge of the ABC Brisbane studios tweeting my little heart out. I had the laptop, the iPad, the iPhone and the camera and was surrounded by a group of talented tweeters (many of them my own QUT Journalism students) monitoring what the social media world had to say about the events as they unfolded. I guess politics runs in the family. There are a lot of worse ways to spend your time ...

Friday, January 30, 2015

January 30. Day 30. Beached

These days every cause, every disease, every charity has a special day (or if  you are really special a whole week or month). Wear a nose, a bow tie, a special colour. Give up something, take up something, eat something, don't eat something, shave off something, tip a bucket of ice water over your head. It is simply not possible to contribute to or even acknowledge them all. But there is one day I think we all should keep front of mind. POETS Day. Yep, P*ss Off Early Tomorrow's Saturday. And so I did out of the city at lunch time and off to the coast. Now confess the stroke of genius was also motivated by the fact that I was due to pick up a car that after six weeks in a repair shop was MEANT to be ready. It died when we were on holidays so I had to return to the scene of the crime. And despite the four hour round trip and assurances only hours earlier, the car wasn't ready. The beach, however, was totally ready so down we went and frolicked with all the other Friday afternoon city escapees. I can't be mad when I'm on the beach. Better still I now need to create another special day POETT Day (P*ss Off Early Tomorrow's Tuesday).

Thursday, January 29, 2015

January 29. Day 29. Creature of the Night

It's not that I have a problem with night. Brisbane is a thoroughly beautiful city at night. The night is cooler for start and the nightlife is, predictably, better at night. Dining, theatre, fireworks, the lights of the city, all better at night.  But so too is sleep, or it should be unless you are a shift worker. Sleep is one of my favourite things. As a child they called my Snoozy Susie. My Twitter handle is Snoozen. Nothing makes me happier than climbing into bed at the end of a long day (although climbing into bed for an afternoon nap comes a close second). But as I am rapidly discovering, the night may be a great time for partying but it is a really sucky place for lying awake waiting for sleep to come. Really sucky. The days are also not so good when you've spent the night awake. No one minds so much if the lack of sleep comes from a night out in the glorious city. But tired and grumpy after a night trying to get a good night's sleep? No amount of beautiful lighting or flashy staging can make that look attractive. God knows I've tried.In fact, I often find myself lying awake at night pondering it ....

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

January 28. Day 28. Attitude

Believe it or not, she actually liked the ice block. A lot. But with a camera close by and an audience and not just an ice block to feed off,  she could deliver just about any attitude you can think of. Pretty convincingly, as it happens. This child is a natural. What I see in her face is pretty much the roller coaster of emotions I've gone though as I have endured this election campaign demonstrated by a seven-year-old far better than I ever could and without prompting. Slightly nauseous, grumpy, wide eyed with disbelief and full of disdain. 
Political campaigns do that to a person. Worst of all, I rather feel that the politicians of all sides are playing us, swearing that sweet is sour or visa versa. Just stick to the script. Repeat it over and over. Fortunately, like the ice block it will be gone soon. (My guess is that all the colours and sweeteners will also be gone and once again the voters will be left with the stick to suck on).

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

January 27. Day 27. Making a splash

It's going to be a big year. Year 12. Brace yourself people (by people, here I mean me, oh and Drama Teen). Anyway Day 1 down and so far so good. Indeed you could say hot stuff. January/February is most unforgiving. Formal Year 12 uniform complete with long pants, long sleeved shirt and tie is not a combination that sits well with a Queensland summer and classrooms that may or may not be airconditioned. He looked so grown up and ready to take on the world when he stepped out the door this morning  (he said he thought he looked more like a Mormon missionary and sang me a number from Book of Mormon to prove a point but there is rarely a life moment that doesn't remind him of some musical or other). This afternoon he looked like a much more wilted version of that missionary. The smart new uniform was off before you could say "ink pink, I stink" and he was in the pool. Never too grown up to strip off and jump in the pool.

Monday, January 26, 2015

January 26. Day 26. Waving the flag

Australians have historically been a quietly patriotic bunch where love of country is pretty much assumed. Sure there was a certain degree of cultural cringe, a certain national inferiority complex where we have thought our culture was not different but lesser than more "mature" nations. But I think we have all grown up. With this growing maturity has come a more demonstrative form of patriotism. We have now adopted a more flag-waving type of love of country that once we saw Americans doing with a degree of disdain. Personally I like the new demonstrative national self as long as it is inclusive and not used as an excuse to exclude the "other". In any event around the South Bank precinct today it was a happy, relaxed easy love of country as Brisbane people came out to celebrate Australia Day. The Aussie flag was everywhere - tattooed close to the heart, on beach balls and inflatable pool toys, on T shirts and hats and towels and flying from the windows of cars. There probably would have been many other displays actually in the parklands itself but I was refused entry. My crime was that I was in the company of an obvious trouble-maker - the fur friend Rumple. I didn't think twice about taking Rumple because we walk at South Bank all the time. I hadn't counted on the beefed up security that now comes with major events. That is another sign of being a grown up nation in a global world, unfortunately.
And proving there are more stylish ways of wearing Red, White and Blue ... artist and illustrator de Shan

Sunday, January 25, 2015

January 25. Day 25. Going off


It is not all that long ago that we would celebrate Australia Day on whatever long weekend fell closest to January 26. After all, what is more Australian than a long weekend? But then we got all patriotic and decided we must celebrate on the day itself. We reasoned the Americans wouldn't celebrate July 4 on the nearest weekend and Bastille Day is only ever marked on July 14. So January 26 it was. We've got very used to this so I suspect many in Brisbane will have missed the fireworks tonight at South Bank. The decision to have the display on Australia Day eve instead of the day itself makes perfect sense in that school goes back after the long summer break on Tuesday. Many families will, therefore, opt to spend Monday night at home getting ready. However I suspect large numbers of people missed the news and there will be a big
parade of very disappointed people at South Bank tomorrow night waiting for a big bang that has already gone off.I might be wrong but a couple next to me on the riverbank arrived only 10 minutes before the fireworks and parked at QPAC. One would have predicted those carparks would have been filled hours earlier. For those who made it, the fireworks were most excellent.