Amy Tries Again


Questionable British Foodstuffs – A Review
January 9, 2014, 11:05 AM
Filed under: Miscellanea

Haggis-flavoured crisps

If you do not have access to haggis-flavoured chips (NO fingers that was BAD we must type CRISPS now), you can approximate this taste sensation by finding the most luridly artificial chicken-flavoured crisps you can and emptying a pepper grinder over them.  You’ll have to figure out a way to remove any kick from the pepper (if you figure out how, patent that shit post haste) because that’s not really in it, but once that’s done you should have a general idea.  They taste a bit like haggis, I guess, but then again I’ve only actually eaten haggis in frozen dinner form.  3/5.

Scottish Macaroon

I specify Scottish, as I am not talking about lovely little chewy biscuits in lolly shop colours.  I am talking about more icing sugar than should exist in the world combined with leftover mashed potato and formed into potent slabs covered with bits of burnt coconut.  This is absolutely, disgustingly sweet.  You can feel your blood sugar surging.  Then you feel sick.  It’s actually surprisingly good.  4/5.

Bacon Butty

This is a bread roll with bacon on it.  I’m not sure how it was possible that I’d never had one before, but I hadn’t.  I’ve had bacon with other things on bread rolls (I’m not a monster), but not solo.  I needn’t have bothered.  It was  boring.  It’s bacon on a bread roll.  Throw some egg and cheese on there, and I’d be down.  A bit of lettuce and tomato?  Perfect.  Just bacon?  I realise it’s only breakfast time, but I think I’m going to fall asleep.  2/5.

Tablet

Another Scottish sweet.  It’s basically very sweet fudge.  With extra sugar.  And a bit more extra sugar.  Then a bit more.  Then heart palpitations.  That bit wasn’t actually a joke, I was genuinely frightened.  Yay!  3/5.

Coronation Chicken

You have options here.  You can eat this blend of chicken, mayonnaise, curry powder and fruit as a salad or on a sandwich.  I had a Coronation Chicken sandwich.  It was the most disgustingly British thing I have ever eaten in my entire life.  It tastes like the height of 1950s genteel exoticism – cloyingly sweet with a daring dash of – gasp – curry powder!  My grandmother probably liked it, but she was known to put butter on rice and could never quite manage to pronounce ‘pizza’.  1/5.

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Temperate
January 5, 2014, 9:45 PM
Filed under: Miscellanea

There are temperatures I find…well, difficult.

Now, those who know me in Australia just read the above and thought ‘Yeah.  She’s kind of sweaty.  Sort of a tomato shade. I’m pretty sure she had heatstroke last time I saw her.’  Chums from northerly climes, however, would muse ‘Oh, ol’ drippy-nose-ice-fingers.  So that means the constant shivering isn’t early stage Parkinson’s?  Good for her.  Good for her.’

Joke’s on you, suckers.  I can’t do any temperature.  Well, that’s not quite true.  Heat is terrible, but there’s something to be said for running through the sprinkler while the air is all mangoes and lightning.  The worst coffee tastes better when you’re gripping its cardboard cup (no cupholders.  I need that warmth for me) in gloved hands and watching your breath fog.  If you’re prepared for the weather, dressed for it, armed with ways to control your climate as best you can – it’s doable.  It’s even kind of fun.

Here’s the problem: temperatures change.  Often quite suddenly.  Don’t worry, the above was not a fake-out designed to lure you into reading about global warming.  I’m talking about those instant changes – one moment, you’re huddling against the side of the bus stop for warmth like a Dickensian urchin (had said Dickensian urchin had access to the number 35 to Ocean Terminal) and the next you’re hurtling along in a room on wheels stuffed with two layers of humanity steaming up the windows with their body heat.  You’re hiding ineffectively in the shadow of a street sign, forcing yourself to gulp down water that’s gone from iced to lukewarm in about ten minutes, but seconds later you’re inside an enormous chilled cavern of a lobby.  Marble walls, cold to touch.  Changes like those make my body confused and terrified.  Naturally, it throws tantrums.

Cold.  Brrr.  Might do some shivering.  Can’t feel my toes.  Cold.  Cold, cold, cold – what?  Sorry?  We’re inside now?  It’s warm?  No.  No, that’s a mistake.  I’m cold.  See?  Look, I’m shivering!  Do you see me shivering?  You’re not looking.  I’ll just do a bit more shivering.  Yep.  Cold.  Looks like I was right about being OH MY GOD OH MY GOD IT’S HOT IN HERE IT’S TOO HOT, THESE THINGS, GET THEM OFF ME, NO, NO, NO, TOO HOT I’M JUST GOING TO KEEP SHIVERING UNTIL YOU MAKE IT GO AWAY BUT ALSO I’M GOING TO TURN RED AND START SWEATING BECAUSE NOW IT’S TOO HOT OH GOD I’M COLD.  HOT.  TOO HOT.  Cold.  Very cold.  Hey, I can feel my face again!  That’s kind of nice.  It’s too hot, though. Want me to do some shivering?

Eventually, equilibrium returns – but in a cruel twist of fate, by then it’s usually time to head home from the lovely cosy teahouse or exit the icy blast of the cinema.  The whole thing happens again in reverse.  You know what the worst thing is?  Christmas shopping in a pedestrian mall.  Doesn’t matter what hemisphere.  The weather is at its most extreme, or near enough to it, and I’m in and out and in and out and in and out of shops. Cold climates have the additional problem of WHAT THE HELL AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH THIS COAT AND THIS COAT AND THESE GLOVES AND THIS HAT, but perhaps that’s still more dignified than my summertime attempts to huddle inside my own handbag for warmth because my dress doesn’t have any sleeves.

There’s not much that can be done for people like me.  Perhaps someday science will discover an effective treatment for hysterical internal thermostats, and I’ll frolic amongst the normals, dashing merrily from beach to walk-in freezer without a moment’s pause.  Until then: I have a plan.  If I always carry one of these:

and one of these:

then nothing can ever go too far wrong.



Unmedicated
December 31, 2013, 6:58 PM
Filed under: Dangerously Close To Sentiment

[Before you read any further: this is an expanded version of some private scribbling I did during events taking place in the early part of 2013.  Depression has been a part of my life for longer than I can remember, and I find myself writing about it a lot.  Most of it stays private, but I guess there’s something about a public confession that’s oddly appealing.  Although I’ve just written this, it’s a snapshot, a reprint of a postcard from my brain when I was struggling somewhat.  I shouldn’t have to say that not taking your medication is a terrible idea.  Fortunately, I’m doing really well these days and intend to keep it that way.]

It might not be a good idea.  But it’s exhilarating.

You just stop taking them.  You don’t stop for long: if you leave it for too long, bad things happen.  You don’t stop very often.  Most of the time you don’t even want to, it doesn’t even occur to you.  But sometimes, maybe once a year, you feel like you want…something.  So you stop.

It is heady, and it’s familiar.  It’s visiting a place that’s too wild to inhabit, though somehow once you did.  You feel things.  It’s not like you don’t feel things usually.  Things don’t feel muted.  Not really.  But here: emotions rush at you, engulf you.  It’s beautiful.  Everything means something.  Feeling pulses through you, crackles in your brain and it’s like running across the sky.  Alive.

Your hands want to make things.  Tastes are technicolour and there’s pleasure in satiety.  There’s satiety.  Your polite libido suddenly twists within you and the nape of a neck makes you catch your breath.  Poems fall from your brain into your fingers and maybe they’re terrible but it’s okay because for once they’re not for an audience.

You weep a lot.  You feel a little dizzy, shaky.  There’s a pulse in your head, but it passes.  You know what it means, though.

You can’t stay.

Sometimes you want to.  You’ve tried, but if you linger too long in the bracing air it turns into a dull, aching cold.  Emotion grows exhausting, and you want to hide.  It always curdles eventually.

So you start taking them again, and you go home.  Even if you’ve made sure it’s only been a short journey, it’s a relief to be warm and dry.  You feel a little sheepish.  You interact with yourself like it’s the day after you’ve been roaring drunk, hopped up on emotion.  A bit embarrassing, really.  You get on with things.  You’re okay.  This is what you’ve chosen.  This is the world in which you want to live: a picture where the colours are correctly adjusted.

But, you know – sometimes you think of it.



Low Res – or – No Monster Trucks
December 28, 2013, 6:22 AM
Filed under: Dangerously Close To Sentiment, Miscellanea

New Year’s resolutions are great fun to make.  They combine lots of things I like: lists, happy thoughts and the warm fuzzy idea that I am going to turn into a better version of myself.  Actually doing the things – well, that’s quite different.  It’s very easy to resolve to write a bestseller, run the Sydney to Hobart (yes, that was supposed to be a joke, but I felt compelled to explain it as such in case people genuinely thought I didn’t know.  That’s JUST HOW SPORTY I AM), win a series of monster truck rallies and learn to sing jazz.  It’s the doing that’s the issue.  And, of course, when I inevitably realise in mid-February that I have not yet achieved complete mastery of each and every niche pursuit in the entirety of human endeavor (ooops!  Giggle!) – it does tend to make me a bit glum.

Hmm. I don’t have a large book to write them in. I should probably get a large book to write them in.

With that in mind, I am lowering my expectations.  My resolutions for 2014 will be more like – well, guidelines.  Polite suggestions from my current self to the Amy of the future.  You know, if I’m not too busy.

1.  Do things I like.

There are things that are absolutely guaranteed to make me happy.  I love to perform.  I love to write.  I love to tell jokes and wear wigs and wave my hands around and debate the significance of women in comedy.  Sometimes I don’t do these things, and I’m not sure why.  Maybe it seems too obvious – well, of course I like doing that sort of thing, I always have.  Couldn’t possibly be my calling.  That wouldn’t be complicated at all.  Less of that, please, future me, and more limb flailing.  You like limb flailing.

2.  Find more things to like.

There are lots of things out there that I might like.  I should go and have a look.  I sometimes find myself assuming things about what I might or might not be interested in, and the type of person I am.  Sometimes I’m right, but a lot of the time I’m not.  There might be a completely new hobby out there.  After all, I didn’t know about impro once, and that turned out pretty well.

3.  Be nice.

I will never give up the power of snark.  I would, however, like to wield it a bit more deliberately.  Sometimes I am nastier than I mean to be, to myself and to others.

Three.  That’s not too many.  I’ll see how I go.  Happy New Year, everyone.



An Update – or – I Used To Have A Blog Once
November 11, 2013, 1:17 AM
Filed under: Uncategorized

This post is not going to be much good.  I warn you now.  However, it is a post, and therefore has a lot going for it.  I have been a very terrible blogger of late in that I haven’t been blogging at all: so here’s a pained attempt at breaking the drought and hopefully clearing the ol’ creative pipes with some mundane news about What I Have Been Doing.  Metaphors: I mix ’em.

I continue to reside in Edinburgh.  I’ve been living by the water in Leith, a really interesting suburb.  Exactly twenty years ago, it was the setting for Trainspotting, and was as dodgy as could be.  But time marches on, of course, and now it’s a strange mix of the incredibly gentrified (Emerging designers! Cupcake boutiques! Harbourside living!) and the grotty.  You can go to a Michelin-starred restaurant, but walk for a few blocks and you’ll find shuffly people sucking on their teeth.  It’s fascinating – and don’t worry, Mum, it’s quite safe.  I want to say that the Brisbane equivalent is West End in the nineties, but that’s not quite right.  Anyway, I’m particularly obsessed with the excellent selection of Polish delis and Asian supermarkets (okay, there are two Asian supermarkets, but that’s still more than I’ve seen clustered elsewhere in Edinburgh).

I was working at a ghost tour company on the Royal Mile for a few months.  There were a lot of things I enjoyed about it – the people were great, and I loved the fact that I was technically someone who made their living performing – but I found myself enjoying it less and less, particularly when the days grew colder and there weren’t many shifts available.  I left a few weeks ago, just before going on holiday for a fortnight, and now that I’m back, I’m a temp again, but I’m looking for something permanent (or at least longer-term).  It seems there are worse things than a nice warm office with endless coffee and a swivel chair.  I do miss the performance aspect of the tours – the itch to flail my limbs and do funny voices is getting stronger and stronger, and I’ve been doing improv jams (yeah, I say improv with a V now) with some awesome locals.  I pine for ImproMafia and The Sexy Detectives a lot.  Basically, everyone in Brisbane needs to come here, either forever or just for the Festival.

What else?  I went to Spain and Portugal with Me Ol’ Ma and her Harrumphing Consort, which was lovely.  I was never allowed to drive, which saddened me, but would no doubt cause the residents of both fair countries to breath a heavy Iberian sigh of relief if they had but known.  I was surprised at how much Spain looks like Australia.  I really wasn’t expecting that.  It’s quite dry, and even features the occasional gum tree.  Despite that, I quite liked it, but my heart belonged to Portugal.  Portugal is cool and you should go there.

The tiny spark of blogging enthusiasm that I managed to fan into a feeble flame is fading now.  I’ll close before it fades entirely.  Fading…fading…gone.  Smell ya later.



Edinburgh – a shopping punderland
July 22, 2013, 8:57 PM
Filed under: Miscellanea

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Okay, the last one isn’t a pun, but it made me giggle for about ten minutes. Potatoland!



Amy’s Alliterative Adventures Abroad
June 6, 2013, 4:31 AM
Filed under: Miscellanea

Don’t worry.  I’m not actually going to do any more alliteration.

After months of silence on the blog front, gentle reader, it appears I am back.  However, things have changed.  I am not writing this from my spinster pad on Petrie Terrace.  My faithful fish is no longer by my side (don’t stress, he’s fine), I am no longer a dutiful employee of the law mines and I cannot cavort with my usual gang of limb-flailers.  It’s starting to sound a bit grim, really, isn’t it?  It’s not supposed to.  These are sacrifices that have been made for the greater good: I have upped stakes and moved to Scotland.

I made the decision to come here some time ago, but the months and months I had to wait for it to actually happen made the whole enterprise seem entirely fictitious and years away. It got a little realer when the lasts started.  My last shows with The Sexy Detectives and Impromafia, my last night in my little flat, my last shift at work – perhaps this was actually happening?  It didn’t really, absolutely click until just a few hours before I was due to jet off.  I was at my Esteemed Mother’s house with the lady in question, my cousin and my brother.  Armed with bathroom scales and an overstuffed suitcase, we were enjoying a game of What Don’t You Really, Really Need, Amy, And Remember They Do Have Shops In The United Kingdom.

The game was interrupted by anguished howls from the street – an obviously unwell young woman was walking up and down the hill, screaming in distress and hitting her own head.  It was unlike anything we’d seen.  Baffled neighbours conferred with one another about what to do, approaching the woman to try to help.  My cousin called the ambulance, and my brother headed outside to try to keep an eye on where the woman was – she was still pacing the streets, howling as if the world was ending.  Eventually, both the ambulance and the young woman’s guardian arrived.  She had mental health issues and would be given the help she needed.  The whole episode ended as well as it could have, but we were all a bit shaken.  Perhaps this makes me flippant about what was obviously a very distressing episode for this woman, but it was only then that I thought, quite suddenly: this is not the most noteworthy thing that is going to happen to me today.

There were hugs and tears, and then I was alone.  I don’t mind flying by myself.  The dry tiredness of long-haul flights doesn’t make for good companionship anyway.  A few bursts of YEAH-I’M-FINALLY-DOING-IT enthusiasm managed to break through, but for the most part I sat in a solemn little bubble all the way to London with my brain switched off as much as possible.  I’d be very keen on a service that offered a general anesthetic before any flight over six hours.

Finally, my overtired, greasy-haired, stinky self was on the final leg: a short flight to Edinburgh.  I perked right up, and I like to think the four cups of coffee within an hour weren’t the only cause.  Look!  Out the window!  It’s Scotland!  It’s right there!  It’s real!

Scotland continued to be real on the ground.  I love those first few hours when you get somewhere where every sight and sound is spectacular just because it’s different from the place you were before.  On my way into the city centre, I was punch-drunk on dappled light through green leaves, cobblestones and church spires.  Brisbane had been gloomy and rainy.  Edinburgh, at least on the morning I arrived, was all blue skies and sunshine.

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Nice panorama, ME

I collapsed into a hotel on Princes Street, and, when recovered, proceeded to tourist my heart out.

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The Museum of Scotland is freakin’ amazing and I want to have a sleepover there.

Unfortunately, whilst busily ticking attractions off my list, I managed to get sick, and have spent the last few days at half-speed (snot production has been up, though).

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I must have been sick because I completely neglected to purchase any memorial Diana tartan.

I’m feeling a lot better now, and have some good news – I’ve found a lovely room in a flat, and moved in today.  I’ve taken a short term lease of a month and a bit as I have notions of a wee bit ‘o hill and glen (or, okay, a one bedroom flat) all to myself, but it is good to be out of  a hotel and into the real world.

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My new view.

I took myself on a dogged bus journey to Ikea (it was hidden in a vast commercial park that involved a lot of traipsing) this afternoon to buy soft furnishings and am generally feeling quite pleased with myself.  The next step is to find a job.  I’m looking at doing temp work – I’ve been a temp before and have quite enjoyed coming in like Mary Poppins to save the day when Belinda from Property or Joanne from Conveyancing goes on holiday or maternity leave or something.  I much prefer word processing, but if secretarial or receptionist stuff comes up, sure, why not?  I’m also keen to try some more unusual jobs.  There are lots of ghost tours here, and I used to take one in Brisbane…of course, my Australian accent might not help.  Perhaps the Edinburgh Dungeon needs a (non-speaking) ghoul to leap out from the haunted something-or-other.  I hope to locate the local branch of my people – improvisors – shortly, and they always seem to know about jobs like that.

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Maybe they can even explain what these are.

Anyway, this post is getting a bit rambly, so I’ll finish it off.  It’s beginning to get a bit cool, and although there’s a radiator thing in this room, I have no idea how to work it and the other people in the flat have gone out.  I might fiddle with knobs for a while.  Hey?  Hey?  Oh, I amuse myself no end.

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Wherever I go, I have a little home thanks to my darling cousin Courtney.