Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Tao of Stuff

This week, I have been immersed in the Millenium Trilogy - and adjusting to books where the characters sound like IKEA designers, and the location names remind me of IKEA products. I was stunned and slightly disturbed to find that in The Girl Who Played With Fire - book 2 - when Salander went to IKEA and furnished and fitted out her apartment, I knew most of the items by name. Yikes. IKEA is, of course, one of my favourite places, next to, on the pedestal, DJ's and Myer ( my spiritual home).

Yes, it's true. I am shallow. But I understand retailing as a philosophy, a concept, a calling. I understand, on a molecular level, shopping. Acquisition. Browsing. On all levels, not only the high end, but also the other end - garage saling, second hand, vintage, op shops. Ebay. Amazon. I understand it. I get it. I understand markup and profit margins and merchandising and below the line costs.

It makes me sad when op shops try to be upmarket retail ( yes, Red Cross, I mean you). Seriously, if I want to buy tacky imported and tasteless trash, there are places where it is better done and cheaper. And don't even get me started on bad, loud country and western music being played in the background. There is a wealth of information available on selling, and none of it contains the suggestion that listening to dysfunctional dirges of suicidal urges, broken relationships and misery adds anything to the shopping experience (other than the minuscule amount of calories lost in fleeing the shop.) Mary Portas, where are you when we need you?

Stuff, however accumulated, can be important. It can define a space, make a house NOT a display home but a real home. Somewhere real, that people can live and enjoy. It can come and go, have a defined use, or simply make you smile when you look at it. Maybe it reminds you of something warm or nice, or someone special.

It's not about the most fashionable or the most minimal, antique or expensive. It's about being comfortable and making a home to live in. It's certainly not about cleaning or worrying that someone might not think that you have.

There is a great big secret that no-one ever talks about. It's that the business of living makes a mess. A lot of the time, real people don't live in an immaculate, shiny clockwork house.

Relax, enjoy yourself. Enjoy your creation - your home.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The rules of haircare are simple and finite

Another week, another little gallery.

A damp and coolish week, the lawn has grown about 2 inches and everything smells quite clean and fresh. Ah, February in Albany, Western Australia.

I spent some of the time reading Augusten Burroughs' Running with Scissors. I have had it in the 'to read' pile for ages, but distracted by Sookie Stackhouse- yes, I admit it, I love them -I hadn't quite gotten around to it.

I was doing some housework on the weekend - even I was surprised- and decided that the piles of books growing on the floor again needed to be dealt with. Rearranging my books is one of my favourite things and I rediscovered several I had forgotten about.

One of the passages which will stay with me has to be
"We were young. We were bored. And the old electroshock therapy machine was just under the stairs in a box next to the Hoover."

Burroughs' description of his life as a child and adolescent is dark, witty and insightful - and strangely familiar in its frenetic and often bizarre descriptions of dysfunctionality. A cracking good read, AND I feel better about my own parenting skills.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

How many shopping days to Xmas?

February. So soon.

The reviews for January are in. Pretty good, all things considered. Number of cyclones in Albany - 0. Sunny days - check. Some refreshing rain - check. Holidays - love 'em. Public holidays - need more of them! The start of the working year - overrated as a concept. The people who say they would keep working if they won Lotto? Shouldn't be allowed to buy a ticket. They are getting in my way.

The big questions of the month - Why can't we have a long weekend for Australia Day? And when did Australia Day become the national drinking holiday? St Patrick's Day, now that's a drinking holiday. The Australia Day long weekend used to be the last family long weekend of the Summer - last chance to get to the beach, before school starts. From there to newspapers full of full page ads for booze - yep, that's a step forward in nation-building.

This was the week when the cyclone didn't here but did over there. I got the distinct impression that the commercial media were actually disappointed that it went as well as it did - not quite enough mayhem, all too well organised, no-one to point a finger at. My boycott of the commercial media rolls on - thank you, thank you ABC and SBS. The disappearance of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert is, however, deeply troubling. I miss you, boys.

The op-shop and general scavenging scene has been a bit average so far this year, but things seem to be on the up and up.

Friday, a good haul including a small Gocco printer - a type of screen printer, very hard to come by indeed, quite expensive and hard to get. This one virtually brand spanking new - OK, so some of the instructions are in Japanese, but I am fairly sure the internet will provide the equivalent of Gocco 1.1. A globe of the world, an interesting book on using markers in art, a haul of Raymond E Feist books for the son and heir. Half a bootload, a yummy lunch. A good end to a tiring week.

Saturday, hardly any garage sales, but what there were, were choice. I was sad to leave the slabs of 1930's jarrah, but seriously, even I couldn't manage them. There were a few other classics though-I am formulating a cunning plan.

Some more fish....for no particular reason

Continuing the fishy theme - some new additions, which have been mounted and framed.