“It’s almost back to normal, though they say it will be 2025 before it’s really back to normal”, my next-door neighbour commented as we spoke today.
We often chat in the stairwell, or the common area, or outside the garbage room. She works in designing fabrics and furnishings for the hotel industry, and will often spread fabric out on the floor outside my apartment.
When COVID hit, she was instantly out of work for several months, as was her partner, but they seem to be going okay now.
I had a similar chat with my neighbour on the other side the other day. I was having a coffee and cake for afternoon tea at a local coffee shop, and he stopped by and we chatted for quite some time. He was also out of work for a while, but also seems to be doing okay now.
In the last week or so I’ve also felt things were almost back to “normal”. Despite the thousands of daily cases, and the daily deaths, the city seems to be full of people again. Well, maybe not like it was a few years ago, but more than it’s been for quite some time.
Last night, after shopping at Woolworths Town Hall, I called into the pub next door and had a beer. For the last couple of years, I’ve often been the only person in there. But last night the place was full. There was only one seat left. I felt a little uncomfortable with the crowds, and so left after only one drink.
Along with a couple of friends I had attended a talk at the NSW Parliament by Catherine Fisher
Australia’s ‘golden age of radio’ gave women a political voice like never before. Dame Enid Lyons, the first woman elected to the Australian House of Representatives, said that radio ‘created a bigger revolution in the life of a woman than anything that has happened anytime. Join us for the next in our House Talks series where historian Catherine Fisher examines how Lyons and other early female parliamentarians used broadcasting to shape their engagement with the electorate and develop their public profiles. Dr Catherine Fisher holds a PhD from the School of History at The Australian National University. Her first book, Sound Citizens: Australian Women Broadcasters Claim their Voice, 1923-1956 was published by ANU Press in 2021.
As “radio people”, my friend and I found the talk fascinating. In particular, the description of Enid Lyons as the “sonic embodiment” of “acceptable” women in public life during the 1940s. Her elocution was beautiful.
But we also laughed at the references to female voices on the radio during the 1940s/1950s. In particular, Catherine mentioned female voices on radio were often described as “shrill”. Though we’re both aged in our 50s, and you would have thought that kind of dismissal of women on the radio had disappeared in the 1950s, we have both that workplace experience. “Only a couple of weeks ago”, I told the audience during the Q&A, “…a very well known (legendary) female radio presenter I know, received a text message critical of her voice and diction, even though she has a beautiful voice and wonderful diction”. She also told me many older men and women described her as “shrill”.
I’ve actually been out a few times over the last week.
Last Wednesday, those same friends and I went to see an exhibition of “political posters” at the Lord Gladstone Hotel. As the curator of the exhibition was Damien Minton (a mate) who was an ALP candidate in last year’s council elections, there was a definite “lefty bias” to the posters. But there were still some great moments of humour.
And then on Saturday, another friend and I went to see a cabaret show called “Stage Fright ein Kabarett” which is described as “an enticing and touchingly twisted, droll homage to Marlene Dietrich by character comedienne Jude Bowler. Nobody’s muse, everybody’s icon, a modern-day Dietrich – bored and mad as ever”.
It was the first time in maybe a year since I’d seen some live music, and awesome that it was some cabaret.
I also caught up with friends for lunch to celebrate a 60th birthday.
And then on Sunday night, I went to the Sydney Comedy Festival to see Vanessa Larry Mitchell, a Lismore-based comedian who goes under the name “Larry Laughs Loud”. who I had seen perform a couple of times last year.
“I know your face”, she said to me, as we chatted after the show. Last year, I was the but of her jokes in a Wednesday night show at the Northern Rivers Hotel in Lismore.
We chatted briefly about Lismore.
As soon as I said where my family lived, and as soon as she told me where she lived, there wasn’t much else to say. We knew each other’s experience intimately. She, like many others, lost everything in the flood. It’s great, however, that she was able to see some humour in her own situation, as she did a monologue of about 60 minutes.
Her show has the BEST NAME EVER : “Tears On My Dildo”. In the show, she admitted she had, indeed, lost her sex toys in the flood. I have a family member who I chatted to a few weeks ago who also mentioned she had “lost her little battery friend” in the flood. “We don’t need food or clothes, Jim”, she said, “…but if you could organise to send us a collection of dildos or vibrators, that would be great”.
An election promise?