Saturday, 22 May 2010
Sunday, 16 May 2010
Saturday, 15 May 2010
My life would never be the same again.
For the non-Brits and the desperately young, let me explain: it was (and, unbelievably, still is) an Australian soap opera based on one street, Ramsay Street, in the fictional Melbourne suburb of Erinsborough. And back then, it was incredibly tame, discounting the haircuts, which were horrendous. It starred the then-unknown Kylie Minogue and her on-screen boyfriend, Jason Donovan.
Except, oh happy day! My ever-knowledgeable friend Philippa came to stay with me and told me "they're married in real life, you know". The fairy tale was coming true! The on-off romance was permanently on, off screen. So exciting.
I was ten. It was forgivable.
Also forgivable was the fact that Philippa had got a little confused and Jason and Kylie never were actually married as such. But they were together - or at least, according to Between the Lines, Jason's recentish autobiography whose terrible ghostwriter has a predilection for the word "for". "Because" will do fine most of the time! Anyway, that's beside the point.
I owed it to myself to read it, you see. Because twelve-year-old me (yes, this obsession lasted a while) was in love with Jason. I even prayed semi-regularly for him to become a Christian so that I could marry him. (Since there was obviously nothing else standing in the way.)
Luckily for my mental health and my mother's phone bill, there was no twitter or facebook or livejournal, there were no yahoo groups, not even any internet to speak of.
Twelve-year-old me spent several years desperate to visit Australia and learning everything she could about Jason and Kylie and Melbourne and Neighbours. She may even have dreamed of living there herself, being on the show, who knows what went on in her head.
Ahem. Of course since I am now all grown up I do not indulge in any such behaviour.
Okay. Some of it I do. But I do not expect, say, Bradley Whitford and Janel Moloney to be together in real life just because they had amazing chemistry on the West Wing. Had I known that Janel was married (and few people did until recently; she's got to be one of the most elusive famous people in the world), I would certainly not have entertained the thought for even a hundredth of a second, despite the photos of them together as real people and the quotes that are still kicking around the internet suggesting that they were never exactly repulsed by the idea of having to kiss each other. I'm glad that Janel is seemingly so happy and I really do hope that Brad will be again one day, too. Heck, I'd even be willing to help him out with that one. Even despite the moustache.
(On a serious note, this interview of his now ex-wife Jane Kaczmarek made me sincerely wish they could work things out. I was so impressed with her - such dignity, grace and kindness.)
This moustache thing. You know, the thing that people can't help asking Bradley Whitford about. The thing that even he is starting to sound perhaps a little bored of, unless I've misread it.
The thing with the moustache is this: it makes him look old. Not like, old old, but too old to be my future husband. Too old to be Josh Lyman. Definitely too old to be the hero in my novel. It makes him look like other people with moustaches who remind me of dad figures rather than boyfriend figures.
If you listen very carefully you can hear the sound of a bubble popping.
Sunday, 9 May 2010
Thursday, 6 May 2010
Tuesday, 4 May 2010
Monday, 3 May 2010
I’ve known Philippa Stroud all of my adult life, and it’s no secret to my friends that she has been something of a role model to me. Yes, you read that right, and yes, I am talking about the same Philippa Stroud who was vilified in yesterday’s Observer.
Highly intelligent, capable, and articulate, deeply compassionate, she longs to see people be all they can be. And she wants this country to be a better place. We may disagree politically on how to get there, or even what it looks like, but I’ve never once doubted her sincerity or her motives.
It’s tempting to go through the article line by line and rebut each inaccuracy.
But instead, I want to ask this:
The authors clearly did their homework, for example picking apart her book God’s Heart for the Poor. I wonder if at any point they noticed the time, energy and effort that she tirelessly poured into working to help others. The sacrifices she made. And the big heart with which she did it. Did they notice any of that, or were they too busy skim-reading for words like “gay” and “demons”?
Have they met Philippa, spoken to her, heard the stories of the hundreds of people she has inspired or helped or counselled or to whom she has helped restore confidence and dignity?
I am a leftie, and a proud one. I do not want a Conservative government. But I would be more than happy to live in a country run by people like Philippa Stroud.