Mid-20s Malaise

Struggling against the inevitable since 1986!

Foreign Language Music Week: BONUS!

Woo woo, the universe clearly approves of my little writing project. I woke up on Saturday morning to a crippling hangover and a pleasant German surprise. Wir Sind Helden – who I blogged about the other day – had emerged from hiatus with a new album, Bring Mich Nach Hause (Bring Me Back Home). I had absolutely no idea it was coming, and it pleases me immensely – it stands a good chance of becoming my favourite. The title track is incredibly lovely. This is a nice live version which doesn’t quite do the album version justice, but gives a good impression.

While we’re (sort of) on the topic, man, it can be hard keeping up with news of foreign language artists! All I can really do is check back to their website every now and then and see if there’s been a major redesign (usually a sign that a new album is imminent). And that’s why I am terrible with keeping track of Korean and Russian pop, although I love most of what I’ve heard. I can’t even properly Google artists, as they work with a totally different alphabet.

A good example is 나르샤, which is apparently pronounced “Narsha”. She seems to have been in a Korean girl group called Brown Eyed Girls, and released an amazing single called 삐리빠빠 (Bbi Ri Bba Bba). It’s a bit amazing – Lady Gaga would be proud. Or furious at the impersonation. Either way, I dig it.


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Foreign Language Music Week: French

I have another confession to make.

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Foreign Language Music Week: German

I have a confession to make.

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Foreign Language Music Week: Welsh

I like a lot of foreign language music.

Sometimes I worry that it makes me seem like a wander wanker. (Thank you to my friend and hero Andrew P Street for making sure I insult myself with correct spelling.) I don’t necessarily seek out foreign language music, but I don’t think it’s reasonable to avoid enjoying music just because you don’t understand the words. Because I’ve been thinking about it a lot and neglecting this blog, I thought I’d write about – and post! – some of my favourite foreign language music.

The artist that got me thinking about this stuff is Cerys Matthews. You may know her as the lead singer of Catatonia, a Welsh band from the 1990s. The band used to split their time pretty evenly between English and Welsh language songs, but as they became more successful, recorded only in English. One of their Welsh songs, however – the title track of their breakthrough album International Velvet – blew my little 12-year-old mind.

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Toy Story Ennui

So I went to see Toy Story 3 tonight about three weeks ago, and just saw this draft I wrote afterwards.

I am not embarrassed to admit I have never cried so much during a movie – not even during Dancer In The Dark. It was a sad movie, but also hopeful. It got to me, though, because it reflected a mood that a lot of my friends and I are in at the moment.

If you’ve missed the press around the film, it’s about Andy – the owner of the titular toys – growing up and going to college. It’s about growing up and moving on, taking charge and making choices, and how those things can be hard and painful.

A lot of my friends are feeling the need to make a change. I felt that need last year, and decided to head overseas for as long as I could. It was an awesome year – the most amazing adventure I’ve ever had – but now it’s over. I’ve returned to Australia, disillusioned with my chosen career and, if you’ll allow me to be a little melodramatic, my place in the world.

I always had really supportive parents, who told me I could be whatever I wanted to be. I appreciate their optimism, but I feel they were overstating the case a little. Maybe I have time to be one or two things that I would like to be, but I’m becoming aware of time running out. Travelling the world showed me how very small I am, and how limited my power is.

I used to scoff at the concept of a mid-life crisis. The awareness of your mortality? Ha! Even children know they will die one day. But it isn’t about a fear of death – it’s a fear of wasting what leads up to that.

I come from a middle-class white background. I often make fun of this, probably out of some well-meaning but misplaced sense of guilt. Because of it, I am very privileged. I am educated, and am considering going back to study. Although it’s better than the alternative, having so many choices is not without its difficulties.

But enough of me whinging. Dear readers – yes, both of you – are you running into some mid-20s malaise? How do you deal with it?

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I have been drafting and redrafting a post over the last week or so, about what life is like for me and many of my friends at the moment. Most of us are passing through some kind of quarter-life crisis: the mid 20s malaise that I named this blog for. It was difficult to articulate the way I felt in any meaningful way. It all sounded so trivial.

And that’s because it is trivial.

Today, I found out a friend from high school died after a long battle with cancer. I hadn’t seen her since high school, but we used to sit together in Indonesian class. I sent her letters when she was on exchange in Malaysia. She was funny and smart – very smart.

Like I said, I hadn’t seen her in years, but we’d corresponded recently. She was writing a blog about living with cancer: it was incredible and humbling. She faced her treatment with humour and humility. She spoke in a very wry way of the problems she was experiencing, but was always appreciative of the kind things her family and friends were doing for her. I admired her a lot.

While I was trying to decide what to do with my life, she was trying to hang on to life in any way she could. It’s such a shame that someone who deserved a full life so much has been denied it.

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Boo Hiss Building

There’s a lot of construction going on around my buiding.

Projected finishing date? Some time next year.


They’re currently erecting scaffolding to encase the whole building, and will be replacing all the windows. We will also be losing a foot of each room for a month as they build into the apartment to have room to stand and all that shit.

They seem to have their staff meeting OUTSIDE MY WINDOW every morning at seven, and then disappear after three minutes. It sounds like they are inside my bedroom, which is really creepy. Then they potter about all sides of the building, so I never know when one will wander past a building, SCARING THE STOOL OUT OF ME. As a result, I’m keeping all the blinds tilted halfway in the already-dim apartment.

It reminds me of when I was at university, and my housemates and I lived in an awesome and enormous apartment above a pharmacy in the centre of a country town. One day, the chemist downstairs had booked some builders to do some work on the buildings awning WITHOUT TELLING US. This awning was directly outside my female housemates bedroom – a room which didn’t have any curtains. So this poor girl was awoken to a strange man looking in at her THROUGH A FIRST FLOOR WINDOW.

Rather alarming.

But I suppose I should count my blessings – the builders have installed their port-a-loo outside my neighbours’ master bedroom.

What kind of dramas have you suffered at the hands of the construction industry?

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