Well read-head: my peeps are pensioners in ponchos
My husband and I have a running gag about trying to find our ‘peeps’ (as in people). We’re from Queensland so Sydney’s segregation has always bemused us. When you meet somebody from Brisbane, and you’re also from Brisbane, the opening question is always the same: ‘North side or south side?’ And really, there’s not that much difference.
In Sydney, the options are endless. You can be a beach person, but there’s a difference between an eastern suburbs beach person and a northern beaches person. You can live at Newtown and be urban grunge. You can live at Paddington and be urban sophisticate. The North shore is foreign to the Inner West. The Inner West bears little relationship to greater Western Sydney. Balmain, Chatswood and Double Bay are all affluent but they’re as varied as espresso, green tea and French champagne.
Somebody who lives at Kings Cross is not the same as somebody who lives at Potts Point, even though they can probably spy on each other through their curtains. It’s overwhelming. Finding your peeps in Sydney takes a lot of searching.
My husband thinks his peeps are at Newtown. They’re not my peeps though. I’m not cool enough for Newtown. I don’t have any tattoos or body piercings. Nor do I enjoy the feel of hemp against my skin or the taste of soy milk. I mean, my ipod contains the Dixie Chicks. Newtown residents would burn me at the stake, like a character in the The Crucible. ‘I saw Goody Sales eating non-organic chicken!’ one would cry. ‘I saw Goody Sales reading Who Weekly,’ another would shout, with pointed finger.
It’s okay, Newtownies. Before you write in to complain, I’m stereotyping for comic effect.
Nonetheless, I’m very pleased to announce that recently, I DID find my peeps. They were at the Sydney Writers’ Festival.
‘But darling,’ my husband said when I told him, ‘That means your peeps are women in their fifties and sixties wearing cardigans and sandals.’
‘I know,’ I beamed.
The only problem is I don’t know where they all live. But nonetheless, avid readers are definitely my peeps. Readers have a real sense of community and identification with other readers. Some of the best conversations I’ve ever had with people are about books.
Maybe you’re also one of my peeps too even though we’ve never met. If so, here’s this week’s selection of tasty morsels to read, watch or listen to:
This really tickled my funny bone. It’s a translation of a freestyle rapping contest.
Alan Attwood was once the New York Correspondent for Fairfax. Now he edits The Big Issue, a fortnightly magazine sold on streets around Australia by marginalised people. He wrote a marvellous piece for The Griffith Review about his experience and why he ditched a ‘glamorous’ career.
Alan Attwood’s article made me buy a copy of The Big Issue (no 330). It was a genuinely good read. My favourite piece was a story by Anna Krien about the practical measures people took to make ends meet during past recessions. She reveals that her own grandmother used to wash gladwrap and peg it on the clothesline to dry. The article isn’t available online, but here’s some information about the publication.
Amusing piece from London’s Sunday Telegraph newspaper, in which the journalist argues that fashion is beyond parody. His evidence? The tweets of Sacha Baron Cohen’s invented character Bruno versus those of real life designer Karl Lagerfeld.
Do animals think and how much do they feel emotionally? Researchers are making some progress in finding the answers, but there are no firm conclusions yet, as this New York Times story explains.
Canadian teacher ‘Siobhan Curious’ writes a blog about the challenges of classroom teaching. The Times newspaper asked her to write a series of guest blogs for them on how she overcame burnout and learned to love teaching again. This is the introductory post and she was up to part four at the time of writing this. Whether you’re a teacher or not, her thoughts are surprisingly interesting.
Richard Mosse is a young Irish photographer who is stunningly talented. The composition and colours of his images are captivating.
I just finished watching the DVD of the first season of In Treatment. It’s an HBO series starring Gabriel Byrne as a psychotherapist. The action is almost entirely confined to his office. The show follows him through his week as he sees various patients. It’s more like a play than a TV series on a lot of ways – totally dependent on the dialogue and the acting. It was incredibly compelling and well done and I highly recommend it. Here’s The Age review of the series.
Fourteen years ago, Tim Kreider was stabbed in the throat. Afterwards, he didn’t feel unhappy for an entire year. This is deservedly one of the ‘most read’ articles on The New York Times website in recent weeks:
Interesting article about how if you pretend you’re living twenty years ago, you’ll start to feel like you did twenty years ago. Seems odd, but apparently the research backs it.
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