Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Sleepless In St. Albans

I woke up at 3.30am this morning, after having a dream that I was saying goodbye to people at the airport before going to Australia. These people were my Mum (fair enough, she will be there in real life), Laura, Jane and, for some odd reason, Catie's Dad. I assume he must have driven Laura and Jane to Heathrow or something. Anyway, everyone except Catie's Dad was crying in a way I don't actually anticipate will happen in real life, apart from with my mum, who cries if she sees an ambulance, and I awoke with the dawning realisation that in 19 days I am going to Australia for six months.

Whenever I think about it, I struggle to get my head around it. I'm majorly excited to the point where I get a little teary with excitement if I go onto YouTube and watch the 'There's Nothing Like Australia' Australian tourist board advert. And I'm scared to the point where I get nostalgic for stupid things like Morrisons and the coffee machine and the traffic lights by the station. (Seriously, I'm going to be nearly as far away from those traffic lights as it's possible to get without going into Space. Or to New Zealand.)

So I am completely and utterly wide awake. But, importantly, Australia is not that far, because they still speak the same language, have the same book covers, say 'pissed off', and, as I remembered earlier, created the 90's TV show 'Round The Twist.' So, you know, I always have that as a topic of conversation to fall back on. In periods of awkward silence I can just sing the theme tune.

Maybe Tim Minchin will be there and I can pay him to be my lifecoach. Or the other way round, because I have a pretty tight budget.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Lol Skins

Recently, I have been watching Skins. I never watched the first four series when they were on TV, so I thought, given all the hype, I might give it a go.

I have to say, I am relieved that somebody finally thought to make a documentary of my years in Sixth Form. I wouldn't want anyone to get the wrong impression that I spent the past two years of my life attending lessons, going to town with friends, watching TV and reading the odd book. I mean, remember that time when I brought that huge bottle of vodka into school, drank it in a supply cupboard and then threw up on a teacher? And when the same teacher had sex with my friend on the school trip? Not to mention the time when a squatter locked me out of my own house while I was naked and then some drug dealers smashed up my clarinet.

I'm joking about that last one of course. I don't play the clarinet.

Anyway, this particular quote (said in the middle of a lesson in front of everyone) basically sums up my teenage years:

"I got off with Tony on the Russian trip. I only did it because I fell out with Anwar when he said he hated gays, so I got upset, and Tony said he'd give me head, to cheer me up, you know. It didn't mean anything- I lost my head, and then he gave me head, and then we got deported from Russia."

Let's be honest, we've all been there. Every. Bloody. School. Trip.

All sarcasm aside, it's actually a brilliantly entertaining programme. My only small qualm with the plot is what kind of crazy school has a Female Staff Shower Room which teenage boys can easily wander into? They need to get the PTA onto that.

Monday, 10 January 2011


I've just spent half an hour looking at deadly Australian spiders on Wikipedia. Because now would be a very good time to stop being the person who does not venture into the garden shed for two years after seeing a massive spider through the window, or gets a neighbour to help set free another huge spider trapped under a bowl. Time to de-sensitize myself.

Sadly, I cannot help it that spiders look like the personification of evil. That's a Black House Spider. Wikipedia casually remarks that they're widely distributed throughout Australia, kind of implying that they're a bit like dishwashers and no home is really complete without one. Fortunately they're not considered dangerous or anything, but their bites are excruciatingly painful. Well, that's alright then. It's Latin name is Badumna Insignis, which sounds a bit like a satanic cult.

Then there's the Redback spider. The image of this would not upload, probably because they are so evil that they don't show up on blogs. Apparently they are one of the few arachnids to engage in sexual cannibalism. They also look a little bit like supervillains. See, I try not to be afraid of spiders, but it's very hard not to be a little bit trembly and scared at the thought of sexual cannibalism.

Then there's the huntsman spider which is, to put it politely, fucking enormous. Wikipedia is full of reassuring information, as huntsman spiders are apparently not deadly, and you'll be ok in about two days, but if you get bitten by a 'Badge Huntsman' you might suffer nausea, headache, vomiting, and heart palpitations.

Some of the deadliest spiders in the world, found all around suburban Sydney. Their hobbies include killing children, showing up in your friendly local swimming pool, and killing some more children. First there's pain, then goosebumps, sweating, tingling, twitching, salivation, eye-watering, increased heart rate, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, confusion, writhing, muscle spasm, unconsciousness, then death. Sounds like a typical afternoon.
Luckily there's an antivenom, so as long as you seek immediate medical attention you actually just have a couple of days in hospital and don't die. Damn, I am not going to sleep tonight. The most important thing I have to remember is always check your shoes for deadly spiders before putting them on. In the meantime, LOOK A KOALA: