Wednesday, September 18, 2013

White Out

As a teenage surfie chick in the mid-late eighties there were a few key components for maintaining my day to day lifestyle. Pink bicycle for checking the surf at 6am. Pearly-white-with-pink-trim boom box for listening to Take 40 Australia and the Dead Kennedys in my bedroom (before shimmying down the drainpipe to parts unknown for the night). Fluoro pink surfboard. Hair crimper. Life as I knew it wouldn't have been the same without any or all of those, and it definitely wouldn't have been the same without my White Boots.

There we are, white boots resplendent. I'm the one in pink. Gold Coast, 1987.

My BFF and I were completely obsessed with our white ankle boots. Completely. They were central to our entire look, and seeing as we were teenage girls in the absolute worst sense, that made them central to our entire identity as human beings. To this day "white boots" is a touchstone for the pair of us, one of the endless layering of in-jokes we've built up around us over the decades. I knew I'd mentioned them here before (the boots, not the in-jokes) so I did a search the other day and then found myself falling down a rabbit hole of my own creation in the back blocks of my blog. It's funny reading old posts, it's a bit like visiting a distant cousin, someone who's sort of familiar, but also basically a stranger. Like, who on earth is this chick?

I may question her choice of footwear, but she looks friendly and happy, and that's more than I can say for this piece of work here:

Before I started this blog, I had a sort of "what I wore today" diary going on an online forum for a little while, this photo dates from that era and I'm pretty sure this is the historic First Outfit Selfie I Ever Took. Dress and boots five bucks total from the op-shop down the road in Bondi, heavy duty maternity bra visible, photo taken on our old video camera in stills mode balanced on the tray of the little dude's high chair, bowl-style fringe cut by me. A masterpiece of its kind!

Just who are these two fresh-faced young people? Dear little things! 

I found the First Outfit Selfie photo in my photobucket today, on another rabbit hole vortex mission looking for wedding photos, as per a family request. Our actual wedding photos are in storage, and since they were shot on film and the scans are on a computer which is also in storage, I had to go rummaging through the thousands and thousands of pictures in my photobucket to fill the brief. I whiled away at least an hour in there, because it is an absolute smorgasboard of baby and toddler little dude cuteness. Oh the adorableness, it is excessive!

I restrained myself from posting any one of the approximately eighty five billion baby little dude photos in my possession, and just chose this one, because it never, ever fails to make me laugh. This is the little dude at the grand age of one hour old, clasped in the arms of his proud father, and they have EXACTLY THE SAME FACE. Just one of them is really, really small. Human cloning, it is not science fiction. Also, can you see the t-shirt my husband is wearing, with the axes and killer vampire ghost things? I packed that for him to wear after the birth. Clearly I was in a panicky my-waters-just-broke state of mind and grabbed whichever shirt was on the top of the drawer. So all the photos of newborn little dude and his new parents include some kind of horrifying screenprinted ghost vampire axe massacre as well. Apt, really!

PS. All of that was touched off by these Jeffrey Campbell white leather boots, acquired on sale in Melvin for $95. I have no idea what the original RRP was.  Now I just need the lacy socks.

PPS. Someone asked me about this the other day, so I thought I'd explain since it's an old joke from time long past around here - if you hadn't worked it out already, Melvin is really Melbourne. When we moved to Melbourne years ago, the little dude pronounced it Melvin, I started saying (and typing it) that way too, and it still amuses me, so I still use it. Clear as mud!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Shiny Shiny

 Do you think that by calling my post Shiny Shiny I'll invoke the spirit of Haysi Fantayzee? Like saying Candyman three times or whatever it is? Once I hit publish they'll suddenly appear in my kitchen capering and cavorting and being very, very annoying (yet strangely loveable, in retrospect)?

Clearly I'm messing with cosmic forces beyond my limited mortal grasp here, much better to stick with things I have a fully actualised grip on. Things like four dollar vintage indian cotton and lurex skirts from op-shops. Those I understand completely.

PS. My brother-in-law and I were daring each other to do the Candyman thing not long ago, and neither of us would do it. He could do two, but I wouldn't even do one. Apparently we will be dopey and impressionable teens for the term of our natural lives. There are worse things to be!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Sweetie Honey Baby

Today's entrant in the Cavalcade of Things is this beigey lace early sixties frock, bought from the Sacred Heart op-shop in St Kilda for thirty five exorbitant dollars. That's vintage markets prices (note, still well shy of vintage shop prices, however)!  It's hard to begrudge the Sacred Heart Mission a few extra bucks though, because they run a big soup kitchen for the homeless just a few doors up from the oppy. The people my $35 will help are right there on the doorstep of the shop (literally, there are usually a few dudes hanging out and having a chat on the front stairs).

 I usually steer away from this era and silhouette, but the neutral colour, clean lines, simple cut, well-above-the-knee length and sheer lining (it's organza) made this feel modern enough for me and my shaggy hair and (occasional) bad attitude. I reckon my black pointy sex-machine shoes and a black bra and knickers will be enough to counteract any lingering whiff of demureness* wafting around (demureness smells like mothballs and Yardley April Violets, in case you were wondering).

I did deliberate over it for ages before buying it though. It's the kind of dress which should go to a good home, and I wasn't 100% sure I was the right person for the job. I stood gormlessly gawping at my reflection in the big mirror at the front of the store for ages, getting in the way of everyone and trying to work out exactly how I felt about it. In the process the dress got the thumbs up from a motley array of passing shoppers, including a man with a great dane as big as a shetland pony on a rope, and a large shambling person of indeterminate gender wearing a battered sparkly cowboy hat. The little dude was also on the lace frock love train, so I eventually coughed up the cash. 

There was a whole pile of other vintage dresses there, but they were all too large and frumptacular for me to have further dealings with them. There were a couple of forties dresses which were very much of this particular sub-species, for example:

"At the show", Max Dupain, 1940. Crappy photo of a book, my apologies. 

I have a feeling all the dresses were unsold stock from someone's vintage selling concern - which would explain the range of sizes - but I don't really know how my lace frock didn't sell, it's a little sweetheart!

*Demurity? Demurification? Demurinity? Unsure on that.

PS. Do you know the kind of compliments and commentary I really listen to and take on board when shopping? The kind that come from completely random passing strangers with no vested interest or knowledge of current style. Old ladies with an eccentric vibe are my especial favourites. Not to mention large shambling persons in battered sparkly hats!

PPS. I have no idea if I have addressed this issue here in the past, but I am an inveterate user of endearments. I will call anyone babe or sweetie or honey or possum or whatever. I know plenty of people find this very annoying, so I try to keep a lid on it, but I do struggle!  I used to have a hierarchy of endearments, like certain words were only saved for my absolute favourite people. Anyone could get "sweetheart" but only the select few could get "darlin", for instance. I have long since discarded this system as unworkable however, now you just get whatever comes out when I open my mouth!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Gut Feeling

Years and years ago (1997?) I had a pair of chunky seventies platforms which were very similar to these Topshop ones ($90). They were insanely comfortable because as you can see the actual footbed is pretty flat (as these things go) BUT they were a horrible mottled greeny brown colour. I can vividly remember sitting on the sofa painting them dark brown while my flatmate and I watched Reality Bites on telly and mocked and scorned it vociferously. Which obviously makes me laugh big cackling, honking laughs now, because we were basically the ultimate living embodiment of Generation X in all its Reality Biting ridiculousness. Terrible Ethan Hawke style dudes were constantly leaving a low-slung-arsed trail of destruction through our love lives. We both had fringes which ended several inches above our eyebrows*. She was an art student who did market research in a call centre, and I was a freelance writer with vague film-making aspirations who worked at a nudey mag which passed itself off  as an art journal. I was sitting on a brown fifties sofa painting my op-shopped platform shoes for God's sake! 

Obviously I didn't have to paint these - they presented themselves to me in Topshop just like this and I had one of those immediate gut feelings that told me I would love them and wear them until they disintegrated. Once upon a time I had that feeling about records I read about in the NME, or blokes I could sense I was going to end up in bed with the minute they walked in the door, now it's shoes. Actually I still get the feeling about the albums from reading reviews, but I can click to download a sample immediately, so it's not quite the same as the olden days when I'd read a review, get the "I'm going to love this" feeling and then have to wait for about six months until it finally showed up in the import section of whichever indie record store I was haunting at the time. I probably get the feeling about blokes too, but since I'm not actually going to end up in bed with any of them (due to being a respectable married lady), I don't register it the same way. Shoes, however, are uncomplicated, and these ones work.

I've only owned them a couple of weeks, but you can see they're already starting to show signs of wear. This is because I have worn them many times in that fortnight. Yes, they are very chunky and in conjunction with short skirts that has led to higher levels of roadside sexual harassment than usual, but that is a small price to pay. Leather straps, some kind of lightweight rubbery sole, and inches of extra height make these very appealing to a hobbit like me, who walks EVERYWHERE. I can reach a whole extra shelf higher in the supermarket, without having to climb up the shelves like the least coordinated monkey in the tree. This constitutes a big win for me, I'm a simple kind of lower primate!

Today I wore them to The Village Markets Blogger Breakfast, because the little dude and I were masquerading as "pro bloggers" and pretending to network. He did distribute my blog cards for me, but mostly I talked totally un-bloggy nonsense to people I've never met before, he ate cupcakes, and we chilled out on the grass, under a tree, and felt the love.  The little dude took a few photos too, as you can see:

These breakfast bowls from the Gourmet Goons were sooooooo good. I had one without chia though because those fiendish little seeds give me the most horrifying nightmares, like a bad trip. Has anyone else ever had bad acid chia dreams, or is my brain just wired the wrong way round (don't answer that bit, I kind of already know the answer)? It's frustrating because it's one of those fashionable super foods which makes its way into all sorts of things I'd otherwise like to try. At the farmer's market there's a muesli which is advertised as giving you "the best poo EVER", and I would dearly love to put that claim to the test, but it's chock full of chia. Anyway, the brekky was super delicious and entirely worth a few hours of potential psychedelia in my sleep!

Thank you so much to Marissa and Sarah for inviting us today, we had a ball (but then again, we always do at TVM, it's a land of awesomeness)!

*If you follow that link it will take you to a post with my hair in the seventies, eighties and nineties. And me when I was young and fresh-faced and pretty much completely clueless. Good times!

PS. This bit of backyard baywatch is for you, Vix, by request. Instagram people have probably already seen it there on @skylarkandson. This is how I spent the rest of my sunday:

Saturday, September 14, 2013


Little vintage framed print - $2 Sacred Heart op-shop, Grey Street, St Kilda

I was raised a nomad child and have grown up to be a nomadic adult. I can never stay too long in one place without my feet getting ferociously itchy and a sort of existential restlessness taking over. I married a nomad too (air force brat by background), and he is similarly afflicted. We have found it hard to find a home, to make that kind of commitment to any one place. We simply don't know how to do it - we are always looking to the horizon and yearning for what's beyond.  His work keeps us on the move too, and comes with all kinds of uncertainty and unknowns (which keep boredom and midlife crises at bay, while leaving fertile ground for a variety of fiendish anxieties).

Next gen nomad doing his best Blake Babies. I highly recommend this video. Needs audio.

We've been on the Gold Coast for twelve months now, and I can feel the wall-climbing need for escape closing in on me. One of my hopes for our next stretch in Melvin is that it will shake off the itch for a while, and I'll come back to the Coast and it will really feel like home. A proper home town. We've never had one, either of us, so it is a bit of a stretch. Bondi used to be the closest thing to home, but it isn't anymore (not to mention the real estate market has gone so insane that you can only afford to live there now if you're Donald Trump or some kind of supersonic ultra coke lord or something), so we're in the market for a replacement. Or maybe we'll just hoist our bags over our shoulders and go back on the wallaby again!

PS. Entirely off-topic, but if you are in the market for a raw vegan dessert then you can forget about avocado and cacao and nut creams - the original and best is the black sapote aka the Poo Fruit (as it's known around here, least photogenic fruit on earth). I got a couple of super ripe ones at the markets today, which was a rare find. Heaven! They taste like chocolate and dates and the texture is creamy exactly like a chocolate pudding. This is the kind of thing that could swing the home town crown for the Goldy...

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Borat

Something we don't get on the Goldy, but do get in the big city, is sample sales. I have a bit of a chequered history with warehouse sales, but despite that from time to time I still find myself heading to industrially carpeted, fluorescently lit, communally change-roomed hellpits to paw through the racks and boxes* in search of hidden bargain price gold. I'm like a compulsive gambler or wildcat oil driller, always hoping for that next big score. While we were in Melvin there was a Zimmermann sale, and I was there like a rocket. Actually, I was there three days into the sale due to my inner ear virus unpleasantness, and was still a bit wonky, so really I was there like one of those North Korean rockets which immediately veers off course and then unceremiously flops into the sea far short of its planned target.

No doubt I missed some incredible bargain of a lifetime by staggering in days late, but I still managed to spend some of my ebay-gotten cash on things there. When I was in the communal change-room, there was a girl next to me who had the most incredible olive-skinned body. Not thin, but with the firmness of youth - boobs that have never fed any humans, bum that could only be described as perky, thighs that were not skinny but did not wobble any which way at all. I (busily trying swimwear on over the top of black opaque tights and a crop top in order not to terrify lithe young persons with the spectacle of my mum-style bod) could not help but check her out. Not lustfully or pervily, but I just couldn't keep my eyes off her.  Total objectification!

She tried on the black version of that white swimsuit up there with the tiger zips, and it was eye-poppingly great on her. She kept laughing about it and telling her friend it was "a total Borat" because of the high-cut eighties legs and low-cut eighties side-boob-revealing sides, but she also knew she looked fantastic. I immediately formed a deep wanting for that swimsuit, despite knowing that even in my surfie chick hard-bodied heyday, 25 long years in the past, I would not have looked half as good in it. Principles of Advertising 101 in action!

Zimmermann swimsuits, $70 each, warehouse sale. Original rrp well north of $300 each.

I combed the swimwear racks with laser focus and managed to find the white one. It barely contains my boobs (not so much side-boob revealing as front-and-bottom-and-top-and-side-boob revealing, and of course is only about 12% as hot on me, and will probably turn transparent the moment it gets a drop of water on it, but I felt like there is only one true spiritual home for a white eighties-style swimsuit with diamante and enamel tiger charms hanging off the chunky plastic zips, and that place is the Gold Coast. So, obviously I bought it, and I will wear it and let it all hang out and it will be SPECTACULAR.

*unintentional double entendre. Communal change rooms + pawing through racks and boxes = adolescent boy lesbionic fantasyland!

PS. I also bought the floral frilled one piece. It is pretty and sensible and will cause the little dude no shame.
PPS. There will never be a photo of me in The Borat on this blog. If you are desperate to see me bringing shame to my family name in eighties lycra then there's always this.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A Bit Thingy

When we went to Melvin we took vast mounds of stuff - enough stuff to get us through to the end of October. I took our monster size suitcase and packed the damn thing to the gunnels, to the point where it got one of those shameful warning "LIFT WITH YOUR KNEES" tags put on it when I checked it in. Since we were only coming back for a couple of weeks and had no need for the wintry Melvin-wear we'd taken down, we didn't have much to pack on the return trip. I decided not to take the monster bag and loaded everything into my husband's ancient oversized gym bag type thing instead. I was patting myself on the back for my efficiency and organisational prowess, until two minutes before we had to leave when I threw the last whatever-it-was into the bag, tried to zip it up, and discovered that it had pretty much completely disintegrated and was full of huge holes (the kind big enough for most of my things to just fall out of when the bag was tipped over). So with a minute to spare I had to hurl everything willy nilly into the monster bag after all. Which is a very longwinded way of saying that I managed to leave the small black plastic tripod plate for my camera in the bowels of my  husband's dying gym bag thing, and am therefore still without a tripod for outfit photos.

I tried the old camera-on-a-bar-stool-propped-up-with-a-toilet-roll trick and I think the results speak for themselves.

I will take my tripod to Melvin for the next trip, and it can then be reunited with the camera and the tripod plate and I can start cluttering up the internet with vitally important photos of me wearing clothes once again. In the meantime, I will be presenting a cavalcade of things each day until I run out of things to present. Before we went down south I ebayed a big pile of stuff and made a big pile of cash, which I promptly spent on all sorts of things*. Some of them from op-shops, some of them from shop-shops, and all of them with some kind of meandering, digressing, ultimately pointless back story which you can rest assured I will tell you all about.

I will blame the coming of Spring, and exposure to the thrilling array of big city shopping possibilities for my outbreak of thing acquisition, although I should probably just blame myself and my inherent weakness of character in the face of wondrous shiny things and all their thingy friends.

Finally, I will get to the point and tell you that this cotton frock (the first of the Things to be presented) is in fact the largest size of a child's dress, and I bought it from a website called Miss Penelope, where it was on sale for $35.  It was one of my occasional reckless late night internet purchases, which usually turn out to be unmitigated failures and I also completely forgot I had bought it until I found the parcel waiting for me when we returned from Melvin. Child's size, drunkenly purchased, forgotten about. All the signs pointed to disaster, yet I wore it today and received many, many compliments and enquiries as to its point of origin. Is it a sensible thing for a 41 and three quarters lady to wear around the place? Possibly not, but it is cute and funny and made friends wherever it went. I declare it a rare reckless late night internet purchase success!

*I also spent it on things such as food, outings for the little dude, gifts for people, bills, charitable donations and books. I am not wholly frivolous. Mostly, but not wholly.

PS. The movie is coming along absolutely beautifully, by the way.
PPS. I must once again urge anyone who is an instagramming person to follow me (@skylarkandson) as Melvin little dude adventures etc chronicled there. I have just looked in my instagram and there is some good stuff in there!