In the late 80s I was a naive teenager from Sydney on my first solo trip to London. One weekend I was invited to a party in the English countryside at the plush home of Rod Stewart’s manager Billy Gaff, who had just bought London’s famous Marquee Club. Billy Gaff’s neighbours including Michael Caine were meant to be attending the party. My friends who worked for TV guru Molly Meldrum at the time had bagged us the invitation. When we arrived we were driven from the main gate in a Range Rover up to the party, which was held in a marquee decorated with Marquee signs on the lawn next to the house. Molly was there with an entourage and various English TV celebrities. After the drive from London I was busting for a pee so I walked through a side door into the house. As I waited to get into a bathroom, I spotted a tin of Campbell’s Soup signed by Andy Warhol in a glass cabinet beside pit passes from Formula One races. I noticed there were more Warhols on the walls as I walked outside to grab a drink. Then I joined my friends to people watch on the lawn. Five minutes later as the Range Rover arrived with a new batch of guests, the members of Sigue Sigue Sputnik climbed out of the car wearing fishnet gloves, towering heels and skin tight vinyl outfits. Even with my big 80s hair, ripped jeans and teenage fuck you attitude I remember thinking how ridiculous they looked as the band posed for a moment by the car, then proceeded to walk over the grass to the party. One by one their spiked stiletto heels stuck in the lawn and they began falling over. One of the funniest pieces of slapstick I’ve ever seen was watching these men with mesh covered faces try to pull their feet out of the newly laid lawn. I can’t remember meeting any uber-famous film stars at the Marquee party but the drive from London was worth it watch a few 80s fashion victims fall on their arses. Does anyone remember any of their songs?
Switch off the idiot box, turn off the lights, get naked, have a boogie, sing and have an Earth Hour party tonight
Today is a celebration of all things Irish. I adore Irish accents, rainy weather, Irish writers, their melancholy, their songs, their fiery spirit and most of all their wit. Irish artists have given me joy and solace in dark times; I love Oscar Wilde, Sinead O’Connor, James Joyce, Bram Stoker, Yeats, Sheridan, George Bernard Shaw and The Pogues to name a few. I am descended from Irish Jews (my great grandmother) so I like to think I got a double helping of humour in my DNA.
Happy St Paddy’s Day
I love being in my 40s, there’s a wisdom and a new found I don’t give a fuck what you think of me attitude to how I live my life, which wasn’t there in my 20s (and certainly not in my teens). I’m still young and fit enough to enjoy life even though wrinkles have started their long march across my face. But forty is also when you realise you’re not immortal and the friends you’ve had for 20 or even 30 years don’t last forever. That parents get sick and die, and being a grown up is really responsible. I’ve realised I’m now the same age that my parents were when I first made beautiful friendships that I thought would last forever. Some of those precious friends have vanished. And I thought I’d find other friends who shared their humour and energy and spirit, but those people are rare. And my darlings have gone forever. Sometimes I hear a piece of music and I think of lovelies I shared my life with. I think of my friend whose name is now on the AIDS quilt, he died so young. And I think of the times we spent lying in his bed reading to each other, sharing authors we thought were fantastic. And listening to music that we loved. And sending postcards to each other from far away places because the internet wasn’t invented. And I realise that when you’re 40 you really do understand that life can be a bloody bitch and that is why we must laugh and dance and joke and sing and be as mad as cut snakes and tell each other again and again that we love each other before it is too late. Because love can’t wait.
Today is International Women’s Day. Today we celebrate women like brave, bold Malala, the 15 year old Pakistani schoolgirl who took on the Taliban to ensure that all girls in her country have the right to an education. She is the youngest nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize in history and the same age as my eldest daughter. One day my daughters won’t need a day reserved for them because women will have equal rights all over the world.
I started doing stand up comedy 15 years ago, back when I only had one children. I supported Arj Barker, went to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, had loads of fun and got away with perving at a lot of good looking men from the stage. Then I embarked on a more extensive breeding program so I gave up stand up for a few years because I was so sleep deprived nothing was funny. Back when I was performing comedy regularly, a fabulous, strong, feminist lady artist called Pam constantly baby sat for me and ensured that my daughter had a magical time at Pam’s house drawing and painting and visiting art galleries. My teenaged daughter is now an artist because of the love and care and help Pam gave her when she was very small. I’m back doing stand up and I’m putting on a comedy night once a month with good friends at a gallery in Sydney. Pam died this week in a terrible accident and our first comedy night is the night before her funeral. I don’t know how I’m going to be funny in the face of losing my friend. I’ll be looking out into the audience and hoping she’ll be there because she really helped me to follow my dream. Thank you Pammy.