Alice Shaw

Archive for 2011|Yearly archive page

Ciao for Now

In Uncategorized on July 31, 2011 at 4:07 am

It will be obvious for those of you who pop by on a regular or even semi-regular basis, that I have not been particularly consistent in my blogging for some time now.  I like having a space where I can write about things I’m feeling quite strongly about and hopefully I can engage a few passers by in a bit of banter.  I have another blog, Romance 101 which I had to close down for a while, for reasons I won’t bore you with now.  But it is where I find I do my best writing, and it is where I am going to be for the next little while.  I am closing down The Shaw Daily for the time being, I might be back, I might not.  But I really hope you will join me over at Romance101.  Thanks for dropping by.  Alice.

If I Had My Time Again…

In Opinion on July 15, 2011 at 6:35 am

I had a disturbing dream last night.  I dreamt I had gone back in time.  I think it was to the early 80’s or thereabouts.  In the dream I was running around telling people about all sorts of things to come.   HIV/AIDS, John Howard becoming Prime Minister, global warming and so on.  I was clearly in a strange mood when I went to bed and may think twice before consuming the better part of a family sized block of fruit and nut chocolate that late at night in the future.  At one point in the dream, I was surrounded by strangers and feeling a bit panicky, so I grabbed my mobile phone out of my pocket to call for help, but it was completely dead.  No phone towers and wireless internet back then!  I think this freaked me out the most. 

But it did get me thinking about whether I would want to have my time over again.  In the film “Peggy Sue Got Married”, Peggy Sue is transported back in time, to her teenage years in the 1950’s and although it seems she goes back to sort things out with her husband, she is smart enough to also use the time to try an invent pantihose.  No entrepreneur am I it seems as it didn’t even occur to me in the dream to try and invent Google

The questions I asked myself when I woke up was, if I had the choice to go back to the start and do it all again, would I?  The answer is no.  I have worked hard to get to where I am today, a place of relative peace but I went through a lot to get here, including some pretty serious heartache and I just don’t think I could do it all again.  But what if you could be given the chance to go back, armed with the knowledge you have now?  I mean it’s tempting when you think about it.  You could go back and break up with that wrong person, before they broke up with you first.  You could ace that interview for that job you desperately wanted but missed out on.  You could be clever with money (or maybe that one is just for me).  You could use all those fantastic come back lines that you only thought of long after the person antagonising you walked away.  And maybe could keep the one that got away from getting away and you could live happily ever after.  But would it really be worth it?  There are a couple of things I would change if I could but not if I had to re-live my whole life.  One thing for sure is that I would have left a very bad marriage a lot sooner, but not if it meant not having my children.  And so there are always “buts” attached.  Sometimes, when things seem very bad indeed, and the universe keeps throwing up all kinds of unpleasantness, it can be tempting to ponder a clean slate.  But messy as some of my life has been from time to time, that dream last night made me realise that everything I’ve been through has brought me to a pretty good place today, and I am not sure I would have been here had it not been for the adversities that life has thrown my way.

 So would you do it?  Would you wipe the slate clean and start over again?  Would you do it with the knowledge you have now if you could or would you start afresh?  Or is it better to leave well enough alone?

 

Reality Bites

In Entertainment on July 3, 2011 at 4:11 am

I’m so over reality television.  Every time I turn on the television I see another ad for a reality show.  The latest is where Jamie Durie gets people to turn shipping containers into liveable houses, or something like that.  I didn’t pay a huge amount of attention.  I am sick of Masterchef, Hot French Chef in the Kitchen Rules, The Block (blockheads more like) and the truly awful Australia’s Got Talent – judged, ironically, by three people with absolutely no talent at all.  Those are to name but a few.  There are more out there but I am exhausted.  And although I will admit to devouring every second of the recent SBS offering “Go Back To Where You Came From”, if that sort of thing only comes along once a year then that’s okay with me.  To reality television I say enough already!

 When it first started, it was kind of new and exciting.  The Brits have been doing “fly on the wall” documentaries for years which were always fascinating, and a lot of the time spectacularly cringeworthy.  And that was okay.  But I have enough reality in my life and I don’t want to come home and watch it on television.  In my day job in human services, I am hit with the full force of reality every day.  Whilst some wannabe chef on the television is crying because they couldn’t satisfy the CWA ladies with their rock hard sponge offerings, I am confronted with a crying woman who is terrified of having to give up her children because they simply have nowhere to sleep that night.  When a couple desperately cling to each other because their made over room didn’t win, again, I see parents desperately clinging to their children who they hope to be able to feed the next day.  I don’t want to see first world problems via reality television anymore.

 It seems that the people who make television are just too lazy to come up with decent drama anymore.  They just stick a whole lot of incompatible, moaning people together, give them an almost impossible task, film them having the inevitable meltdown and call that entertainment.  Well it’s not.  And I’m done with it.

 This is why I love Offspring.  Funny, smart, well dressed, pretend.  Firstly, it is filmed in my beloved Melbourne which is always a plus for me.  Melbourne looks edgy and cool and just the place to be.  Of course, it’s only filmed in cool suburbs, with gorgeous houses but it’s pretend you see, that’s the fun of it!  We have the gorgeous Nina (Asher Keddie is my ongoing girl crush), who dresses brilliantly every single day.  I’ve never seen Nina in an outfit that I don’t covet.  She just does not get it wrong.  She is an obstetrician so she clearly has to be a little bit clever, but that does not get in the way of her occasional lack of social grace and her unlucky in love ways.  Offspring went off track a bit midway through the first season.  I don’t think any of us could really believe that Nina would sleep with her sister’s boyfriend, no matter how hammered she got.  But it is back on track in this new season and I say let’s just forget that little transgression and move on.

 Last season we had the impossibly handsome Don Hany as Nina’s love interest and gorgeous as he was, his indecisiveness drove me nuts in the end and I’m kind of glad he’s out of the picture.  Now we have Nina will a succession of good looking doctors available for her choosing.  First we had Baby Doctor, the student with whom Nina did the dirty and then realised her massive mistake.  He got drunk and cried but he behaved with dignity in the end.  Next we had the divine Dr Hotty McStubble.  I actually can’t remember his name in the show, so transfixed am I by his five o’clock shadow.  Now Dr McStubble it turns out, may be very easy to on the eye but he appears to have some demons, and so Nina will have to deal with a whole heap of crap yet again.

 But I love it!  What’s not to like?  Nina is fantastic!  She has cool fantasies, she stumbles and stutters in social situations, she picks the wrong blokes, she lives in an impossibly chic apartment – this is the kind of thing I want to see on television.  Whilst we can relate to Nina on many levels, who among us has not made a total idiot of themselves in front of a bloke we fancy?  We can also recognise this show for what it is – a pretend, made up, a television show!

 So I say reality begone!  I’ll take a divorced female doctor in her late 30’s whose best friend’s baby is also her half-brother, whose sister is a screaming banshee recently impregnated by her boyfriend’s gay brother and who has an endless stream of dreamy yet broken inside men falling at her feet and giving her amazing sex, over butterflying a lamb carcass and matching drapes to doona covers any day of the week.

Endorsing Violence

In Uncategorized on June 10, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Recently Channel 7 have been promoting the television show, Amazing Race, by showing a young man screaming abuse at his girlfriend.  Why is he doing this?  Because she failed to follow his instructions.  And the young man in question absolutely expects his girlfriend to do as she is told.  He tells her that her father clearly did not “spank” her enough when she was a child.  Apparently this young man believes that if a girl is physically disciplined by her father, she will be sufficiently well trained by the time she is an adult, to do what her boyfriend/husband tells her to do.  If a girl is hit by her father, this will, according to this young man’s logic, ensure that she does not get out of line in adulthood.  She will accept that her man is her master and she will not do anything without his explicit consent.

 My first response is to ask what century this young man is living in, that he believes his girlfriend to be his property?  How can he, in 2011, truly think that his word is law when it comes to interacting with his girlfriend?  I would like to say I am surprised by this, but I can’t.  Why?  Because somewhere in the world this morning, a woman was punched in the face for not having the cereal her husband wants.  Another woman was told she was fat and useless and threatened with having her children taken.  Yet another woman had her husband or partner put his face just inches from hers, screaming at her as spit flew into her face and she held just still enough to ensure she wouldn’t have to make up yet another excuse for a black eye today.  This may sound extreme, but sadly, domestic violence happens every day in Australia and all over the world.  In 2011, there are men who believe that to abuse their wife or girlfriend is their absolute right.

 

Instead of pulling this appalling footage off the air, and directing the young man in question to a relevant perpetrator program, Channel 7 have chosen to use it as a promotional piece to pull in more viewers.  They use the word “shocking” when airing the footage, but the most shocking thing about this piece is the fact that a television channel thinks it is okay to air it.

 It is never acceptable to scream at your partner, except perhaps if you see a bus about to hit her and you are screaming at her to watch out.  Women are not property and are not owned by fathers to passed into the ownership of boyfriends and husbands who will rule with an iron fist.

 I am well aware that there are plenty of men of who are not violent.  So I would like to see prominent men, sports figures, media personalities, writers and journalists speak out about this disgusting display of domestic violence being used as entertainment.  I would like to see men stand up and say it is not okay to verbally abuse your wife or girlfriend.  I would like them to stand up and say, it is not okay to hit your wife and it is not okay to say your wife makes you angry, she made you hit her.  I want them to say that no matter what your wife says or does, you control your own behaviour.  No amount of what you claim to be provocative behaviour justifies an abusive response.

 I cannot help but wonder whether the young man in the Amazing Race, screams at his mates the way he does at his girlfriend.  Whether he expects obedience from the men in his life, or is it just the women?

 Domestic violence is a crime.  The more people who speak out against it, the more hope we have of stopping it.  Using footage of a perpetrator abusing his girlfriend, in order to boost viewing numbers is the same as endorsing violence against women as a perfectly acceptable form of entertainment.

No, I Don’t Want to Sleep with your Husband

In Uncategorized on May 23, 2011 at 4:09 am

I have never considered myself much of a vamp or seductress.  On the days I am not racing through drop off and tearing off to work, late as always, I schlep up to the school in jeans and a t-shirt, jumper and boots in the winter, thongs in the summer.  I barely register anyone else around me, as I sort once again through lost property in search of a long lost school jumper and question my daughter, once again, on why she needs to bring every one of her books to school, making her bag so heavy I can barely lift it.  So this is my least sexy time.  My hair is brushed, my teeth are clean and that is about it.

 So what is it about me that prompts certain school mums to assume that I want to have sex with their husbands?  I dread to think that it is merely my single mother status that sends them scurrying about, grabbing their husband’s arms with vice like grips, and even literally turning their backs to me.  I am not even kidding.  This has actually happened to me. 

 I recently attended at a picnic to farewell one of my child’s class mates.  I’ve never liked the mother, she’s always been decidedly unfriendly and I’m pretty sure my kid has hardly ever played with her kid.  My kid just wanted to hang out with her friends on a weekend.  So I gritted my teeth and along I went.  In a big baggy cardigan and no makeup, I sat on my own picnic rug and said hello politely to each new arrival, but not once did I bend over and seductively wave my somewhat ample derriere in the face of an unsuspecting husband.  I waited for the various snacks to be passed around and refrained from leaning over any nearby husband to brush my buxom bosom against his innocently placed arm.  I just sat there!  And yet, even though I tried to have conversations with those around me, the husbands acted really strangely and I am pretty sure it wasn’t due to any broccoli in teeth type situation.  I think it’s because their wives were giving me (and them) the hairy eyeball every time I so much as glanced in the direction of any bloke there.

 I’m sorry they’re so insecure in their marriages that they assume their husbands will stray.  I’m sorry that being in the proximity of a divorced woman scares them so much they assume my siren song will be so seductive that their husbands will be powerless against it.  I understand feeling a little insecure from time to time but newsflash, divorce isn’t catching, it won’t rub off me onto you!

 So here’s the thing.  I don’t sleep with other women’s husbands or partners.  I don’t want to.  Most of the time they are not very attractive and a lot of them are either arrogant, or stupid, or both.  But the main reason I don’t want to sleep with their husbands?  Because they’re already married!  Just because I am single, does not mean I have every man in my sights and I am definitely not interested in a man who would cheat on his wife.  Okay?

 My suggestion for any woman who panics like this?  Maybe have a chat with your guy about how you are feeling.  Perhaps even consider some couples counselling. And maybe strike up a conversation with me sometime.  You will see how completely non-predatory I am and you may even make a new friend.  Seems to me like you might need one.

Desperate Measures

In Uncategorized on May 15, 2011 at 11:09 am

What is it that Mick Fox actually wants?  He purports to be protesting against Community Services (DoCs) but he doesn’t say why.  He states that all children have the right to a loving mother and a loving father, and he’s right, but he doesn’t say why he felt he had to bring the Harbour Bridge to a standstill in order to get this message across.  He talks about his “situation” but he doesn’t actually say what his situation is.  In his interview with 60 Minutes tonight he stated that his actions would definitely get him closer to his children.  The children the court has banned him from contacting, based on his actions last Friday. 

 Mick speaks passionately about broken families and he is clearly distressed over the end of his marriage and that he is apparently not being given access to his children.  But what is he actually trying to achieve? 

 There were many people who supported Mick.  “Good on ya mate” did the rounds and many people spoke out about how hard it is for dads who don’t get a “fair go”.  But what do we know about Mick?  He apparently served in the military but the Australian Defence Force has not confirmed this.  He is apparently a witness to a murder which involved bikie gang connections and the house that he owned, recently burned to the ground with his ex-wife and one child inside.  This is pretty much all we know.  Apart from the odd friend who called into various media outlets to confirm Mick’s “good bloke” status, we don’t know anything.

 We don’t know why his marriage ended and why he isn’t getting access to his kids.  We don’t know whether there is Community Services involvement, and if there is, we don’t know why.  Did Mick call Community Services believing his children were in danger or did his ex wife call them, concerned about Mick?  We don’t know why he took to the Harbour Bridge, leaving a threatening note in his truck, to further his cause.  There are always two sides to any story and yet there has been complete silence from the other side involved.  Sometimes, this silence speaks volumes.

 Whilst he may have become a hero for some, speaking out in desperation for the children he is now legally restrained from seeing, I would argue that there is something deeper going on.  Mick seems to absolutely believe he did the right thing, he seems to believe his protest will change the lives of children, his or someone else’s.  Sadly for Mick, he seems to completely lack insight into the fact that the only change he has made, is to his detriment.

 I support peaceful protest, I believe in the rights of children.  But I do not believe that pulling a dangerous stunt, disrupting a city, endangering the lives of people on the bridge and making threats, is a constructive use of a person’s time.  Letters to editors, protests on line, engaging advocates, fighting the legal system – these may be arduous tasks but they are a safer, less threatening way to get your message cross.

Love Thy Neighbour

In Uncategorized on May 7, 2011 at 1:01 am

I have been really lucky throughout my adulthood, to have had very good luck with neighbours.  I’ve had the ones I’ve become close friends with, I’ve had friendly and quiet neighbours and I’ve had neighbours who look after the cat and take in the mail whilst I’ve been on holidays.

I currently have a wonderfully supportive neighbour on one side, with kids similar ages to mine, and an obsession with magazines which means my obsession won’t send me broke just yet.  But on the other side I’ve had a succession of fright stories over the years.  I always make an effort to welcome them to the street, introduce myself, and offer the proverbial “cup of sugar” should they ever need it.  I am yet to have a handsome, single man move in but I live in hope! 

First I had the Irish backpackers who’s favourite word was “feck”.  Everything was “feckin'” this and “feckin'” that and “would you feck off” and it got old very quickly.  Especially at 5am.  I once swooned at an Irish accent.  Believe me when I tell you that “Harriet the Horrible” ended all that!  The late night parties, the grass that grew so high it began to climb over the fence, the endless smoking and shouting.  For the life of me I cannot understand why they rented in outer suburbia.  I mean, isn’t that why we have Bondi?

Next I had Ms Social Climber and her boyfriend, then fiance, then husband, Dr Fabulous.  Ms Social Climber became Mrs “my husband’s a doctor” in a clearly goal oriented attack which saw her married and with child within a year of living here.  Dr Fabulous was okay but he seemed to have a faint look of distaste whenever I saw him.  When I invited them over for drinks with some friends of mine, Ms SC swiftly took over the conversation and peppered it with racist remarks about her time living in Redfern.  This did not go down well with me or my other guests.  She was obviously very keen to have children herself and decided that she would practice with mine .  Without my permission.  I quickly put an end to that.  Eventually we barely said hello in the street but she would suddenly become my best friend again if she had something to brag about.  Huge engagement ring, lavish wedding to doctor, buying great big McMansion somewhere posh.   I was relieved one Saturday morning to see a huge moving truck parked in front of their house.

My current neighbour is in a very similar situation to me, except she’s fantastically more glamorous than I am, being South American and gorgeous.  We speak from time to time but it’s clear she isn’t into being friends with neighbours.  And boy is she noisy!  The first night she moved in, her boyfriend stayed over and they were clearly celebrating the move.  Loudly.  And more than once.  This is not something I want to listen to.  The next morning when they were enjoying a post coital breakfast on the balcony I introduced myself and made references to the thinness of the walls – and the fact that we share a bedroom wall….

Alas this has all fallen on deaf ears.. and they aren’t mine unfortunately.  I’ve been woken by screaming fights, door slamming that has actually rattled my windows and of course, the inevitable making up.   I have no voyeuristic intentions but I suppose I can say I am impressed by their stamina.

I’m not perfect I’ll concede that point.  I sometimes don’t mow the lawn for weeks and the children and I have become adept at communicating by shouting from one end of the house to the other.  But I will take your bin in if you want me to and if you need that cup of sugar, you need only come over and knock on my door.

Royal Wedding 2011

In News on April 30, 2011 at 2:18 am

Well it’s over and now the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge can start their married lives together.  I didn’t really give much of a hoot about the whole thing I have to admit.  Yes, I was interested in the dress and what the bridesmaids would be wearing but other than that, I just couldn’t get involved in all the pre-wedding hype.

 And then the big day arrived.. and I was smitten.  I started watching coverage in the morning and then tuned in and out as the day went by.  As time crept forward and the big reveal drew ever closer I began to get excited.  Twitter was abuzz with wedding commentary and I very much got into the whole thing.

 Watching the guests arrive, I enjoyed the gorgeous hats, and critiquing the outfits. I felt the pain of the several pregnant women who would be sitting in a relatively chilly church with no hope of a toilet break.  I marvelled at the mess that was Tara Palmer Tompkinson’s poor nose and I was amused by Posh and Becks, having to arrive amongst the crowds, no special arrival door set aside for them.  Speaking of Posh, how she wore those towering heels whilst so very pregnant is beyond me.  But she looked stunning and if you can manage the heels, well why not I say.

 Not so long ago I was at the Victoria and Albert museum in London, gazing in wonder at an exhibition of Grace Kelly’s dresses, so I was thrilled when Katherine (is it a K or a C?) emerged wearing a dress that was so similar to that worn by Grace Kelly on her wedding day.  Such elegance, such style, just gorgeous.

 Much has been said about Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, who have access to the best of the best and yet seemed to get it terribly wrong on the day.  It appears that they may have inherited their mother’s sense of style.  It’s a shame they didn’t take advantage of their privilege and wealth and hire a stylist for the day.

 I felt for William and Kate as they were sitting listening to the priest go on and on and on.  He sure enjoyed his 15 minutes!  They both looked as though they were dying to gaze at each other but at the same time, they seemed very aware of protocol.  It was lovely to see them visibly relax as they left the church and waved to the crowds. 

 Much was made of the first kiss.. it was so brief!  But we got a second one and that was fantastic.  I don’t blame them both for being nervous about it – knowing that is what everyone was waiting for and so many eyes upon them!  Kate’s uncensored “oh wow” when she saw the crowds was magnificent and maybe I have a little rose tint to my glasses but I saw a happy young couple, very much in love, who I genuinely hope remain happy and in love for their entire lives together.