Mid-20s Malaise

Struggling against the inevitable since 1986!

Ugens Sang: Juvelen – Don’t Mess

I know I kind of overload this thing with camp Scandinavian pop, but I can’t help it: it’s just too damn good. This Swedish song has been one of my favourites this year. In fact, it’s currently my ringtone. I never want to answer my phone because I’m too busy grooving! I quite like the verses; I appreciate the Prince-style funk thing he’s got going on. But, sweet baby Jesus, it’s that main synth line that does it to me. It’s a thing of wonder. I imagine Juvelen (“the jewel”, or Jonas Pettersson to his mother) leapt up with joy when he wrote as David Bowie surely must have when he stumbled on the riff for Rebel Rebel.



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30 Things: Day 11

My siblings

I have a younger sister and a younger brother. My sister, Alysha, is doing pretty excellently at uni, completing her masters in psychology this year. She and her boyfriend have recently moved to a lovely art deco apartment in a beachside apartment (much to the chagrin of my parents, who think couples shouldn’t live or sleep together before marriage). My brother, Rhys, is in his final year of a business degree. Last year, he took a semester off to go travelling. I met him in Amsterdam and we went from there to Paris and Rome. It was really great to spend that time with him. I moved out of home when I was 17 and he was 14, and we haven’t lived together or seen too much of each other since then, so it was great to reconnect. Alysha and I never had that problem, having lived together in the city for two years.

I’m very lucky: I get on well with both of them. We have similar senses of humour, and are frustrated by the same things about our parents. Of course, this can create an us-versus-them mentality at times, but it’s good to know we’ll be on the same side when my parents get older. My mum’s family argue quite a lot over how to care for my aging grandmother; I’m sure Alysha, Rhys and I will be able to put up a unified front.

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30 Things: Day 10

What I wore today

Today, I am wearing one of my work outfits, which are never very creative. They consist of smart black jeans (well, obviously not too smart, as they’re jeans, but they’re on the nice end of casual), a grey button-up shirt and a black skinny tie. My shirtsleeves are rolled up as it’s quite humid today.

If I only I wrote this entry yesterday, when I was wearing my 1980s tie-dyed skull t-shirt (exactly as awesome as it sounds, which is very).

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30 Things: Day Nine

Your beliefs

Nobody who knows me wants me to start banging on about this. I was raised Catholic, spent a few years as a bitter existentialist and now consider myself a humanist and a positive atheist (that is, I have a positive belief that gods don’t exist, as opposed to simply lacking faith in them, which is negative atheism). I used to bait my dad over religion a lot (he’s studying a master’s degree in theology), but that’s given way to some more mature discussions on the universe. He’s very articulate, just not very convincing.

So without a list of deity-dispensed commandments to guide my decisions, I like to keep the motto of the Urquhart clan of Scotland: “speak well, mean well and do well”.

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30 Things: Day Eight

A moment

It was surprisingly easy to pluck a moment from my quarter century. It’s a simple memory, but one that I treasure for the sense of uncomplicated contentment it gives me.

It was four, maybe five o’clock in the morning. I was cycling through Copenhagen. It had been one of those nights that happen all the time in movies, but never in life. I met a friend for coffee which turned into drinks and dinner and more drinks and dancing at a nightclub opening until the wee hours. Tired out, I eventually hopped on my bike and cycled back to my friend Iason’s apartment (hi, Iason!). As I was passing Copenhagen’s central station, I paused in the light rain, and felt so happy, so in love with the city.

København K

Kærlighed og København.

I was nearing the end of my year abroad, so perhaps I was feeling more vulnerable to maudlin opining than usual. But I felt so amazed that a series of events had led me from the suburbs of Australia to the streets of Copenhagen. I felt so lucky that I had a bike, that I had friends, that I had a warm jacket, that I had a family waiting for me in Australia. But for a moment, nothing else in my life mattered, and it was just me and the rain and the sleeping city.

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Ugens Sang: Janelle Monáe – Tightrope

Janelle Monáe’s debut album, The ArchAndroid, languished on my shelf for several months. A friend had raved about it, but it didn’t really grab me. I don’t know what made me decide to give it another go, but boy, am I glad I did. It’s an exceptional album. It’s a concept album, of sorts, telling the story of an android who falls in love with a human in a future where that is illegal. A bounty is placed on her head, and dramatics ensue. The plot is cohesive, but is also easily ignored if you just want to hear the sweet tunes. It’s the most varied album I’ve heard in a long time: my past as a music journalist fails me in defining the musical scope of the album. Bubbly electro-pop like Wondaland, soulful (an adjective that normally makes me barf) balladry like Oh Maker (which contains my favourite lyric of the year: “perhaps what I mean to say is that it’s amazing that your love was mine”), and banging R and B like this week’s song, Tightrope.

Watch this clip, and you will hate Janelle Monáe. How dare she? She’s got an incredible voice, she’s a skilled songwriter, she can dance like nobody’s business, and then she has the nerve to be that beautiful? Seriously. What a bitch.

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30 Things: Day Seven

Your best friend

Sorry. This isn’t the seventh consecutive day. I got distracted by life: the lead-up to Christmas was busy in my professional and private lives.

Which is sort of a nice segue to this post about my best friend. I’m very lucky. I have many close friends, all of whom I know I could call on in a crisis or drop in on unannounced for a cuppa. There are a handful I refer to interchangeably as my best friend. I don’t see it as an exclusive position; I tend to use it to denote particular closeness.

But there is one friend I am especially fond of. I once described her to my mother as “just like me, but with a vagina”. Steph and I met in the first week of university. We were both very nervous, and had very different ways of showing it: me by being loud and gregarious (no surprises there), her by being quiet and withdrawn. Nevertheless, we both developed a friend-crush on each other, and surreptitiously tried to befriend the other without seeming too desperate. We eventually did become good friends, and then housemates. Like all living situations, we had our ups and downs, but I had such fun living with Steph. I looked forward to her waking up every day (she was a late sleeper, while I was an early riser) so we could chat over coffee. I looked forward to finishing work on Saturday so she and I could bitch about our customers (she worked in a department store, I worked in a cafe) with a beer on our porch.

No one makes me laugh like Steph does. She’s funny, smart, brave and gorgeous. She writes a blog called Poor Stevie (an adorably self-pitying mantra of hers) which has most recently chronicled the trip she and her husband have taken across Europe and America. I was devastated to miss her wedding when I was living in London last year. I ran into her in the city the day after I returned to Australia, and went out to dinner with her and some friends soon after. Apart from that, I haven’t seen her since I left Australia the July before last. I miss her so much, and can’t wait to see her.

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