And fifteen years ago I was already blogging…

Thanks to Wayback, a June 2001 set. I don’t think any  of these entries have been recycled before.

02 Jun 2001

Comic relief…Thanks Graeme

I was going to write something serious, but this came from Graeme just now–the guy who took the star track photo on my Link Page. Despite the fact that a correspondent called Phil Dirt (or Dirty Phil?) tells me it is as old as Methusaleh, I still like it, Graeme 🙂 And the serious stuff is now on My Gay Page, which has just been totally revamped–on Angelfire, not on Talk City.

NEVER LIE TO YOUR MOTHER

John invited his mother over for dinner. During the course of the meal, his mother couldn’t help but notice how handsome John’s room mate was. She had long been suspicious of a relationship between the two, and this had only made her more curious. Over the course of the evening, while watching the two interact, she started to wonder if there was more between John and his room mate than met the eye.

Reading his mum’s thoughts, John volunteered, “I know what you must be thinking, but I assure you, Justin and I are just room mates.”

About a week later, Justin came to John saying, “Ever since your mother came to dinner, I’ve been unable to find the beautiful silver gravy ladle. You don’t suppose she took it, do you?”

John replied: “Well, I doubt it, but I’ll email her, just to be sure.” So he sat down and wrote: —–

Dear Mother,

I’m not saying that you ‘did’ take the gravy ladle from my house, I’m not saying that you ‘did not’ take the gravy ladle. But the fact remains that it has been missing ever since you were here for dinner.

Love

John

Several days later, John received an email from his mother which read:

Dear Son

I’m not saying that you ‘do’ sleep with Justin, and I’m not saying that you ‘do not’ sleep with with Justin. But the fact remains that if he was sleeping in his own bed, he would have found the gravy ladle by now.

Love

Mum

Lesson of the day……..Don’t Lie to Your Mother

10 Jun 2001

As I promised: Weeping like a child for the past

D H Lawrence’s poem “Piano” is as powerful an enactment in words of nostalgia as I know. Like sentimentality or grief, it is a quality that defines us as human; to be without it is to be less than human. Like those, it is also dangerous, or can be. It is instructive sometimes to check a dictionary, in this case the latest Shorter Oxford:

nostalgia | n. L18. [mod.L (tr. G Heimweh homesickness), f. Gk NOSTOS + algos pain: see -IA1.] 1 Acute longing for familiar surroundings; severe homesickness. L18. 2 Regret or sentimental longing for the conditions of a period of the (usu. recent) past; (a) regretful or wistful memory or imagining of an earlier time. E20. b Cause for nostalgia; objects evoking nostalgia collectively. L20.
2 A. TOFFLER “This reversion to pre-scientific attitudes is accompanied by a tremendous wave of nostalgia.” Country Life: “Nostalgia for a world of Norfolk jackets, muttonchop whiskers, penny-farthing bicycles.” A. BROOKNER “She alone remembers her father with nostalgia for his benevolent if abstracted presence.”  B  P. DE VRIES “Her potato bread was sheer mouth-watering nostalgia.”
Also nostalgy n. (rare) M19.*

The earlier use confirms my feeling that nostalgia can be a form of grief. Migrants, I am told, especially involuntary ones such as refugees, spend their lives going through the stages of grief over and over again, even when on the surface they may appear settled. In a sense we are all migrants, and our home country is childhood, or some warmer world than the present, which may be a world of imagination. I am a nostalgic person, and it is my own childhood that draws me, or even my mother’s childhood, a more bucolic world or apparently more settled values. My mother’s father, whom I dearly loved, was a teacher; in a sense it was my nostalgia as a 16-year old that made me become a teacher.

I would not be without the sometimes sad pull of nostalgia, yet I also recognise it is a force that can lead away from maturity and contentment in the present moment. I think it partly explains why I am drawn to younger people than myself; if I am honest, it must be seen as a reluctance to leave youth behind–the “Peter Pan” principle, or what the Jungians call puer aeternus. That is part of my make-up, not in itself a bad thing but bad if allowed to become unbalanced. “To be young at heart” and all that is the positive side. Paradoxically, nostalgia also draws the young to those who are older, as part of their appeal is that they may represent a “lost world” to those on the edge of the complex and possibly dangerous choices life offers. And you thought it was “wisdom” the old had to offer; well, partly so–but it is also a retreat into a “better” past through the old sometimes I suspect. Certainly there was a lot of that in my affection for my grandfather, apart from the fact that he amply deserved such affection.

In politics the role of nostalgia is well worth exploring. I would hypothesise that much of the appeal of reactionary or conservative politics is nostalgia, which can be easily distorted or manipulated. From the Nazis to Pauline Hanson to George Dubya Bush to John Howard–consider these not as equivalents–it would be silly to say Howard has much in common with Hitler–yet nostalgia is a crucial factor in all four, I suggest. Not to mention the present ruling party in India, fundamentalism worldwide, and so on: a force to be reckoned with is nostalgia.

In education, nostalgia governs attitudes to schooling, often to the detriment of education, which needs to be future-oriented as well as conservative. To prepare students for a world that existed for their parents or grandparents is to betray those students. Yet there are lessons from the past, and things worth preserving: respect for the rule of law and human rights, for example. Hence I again stress the immense value of studying History–but critically rather than nostalgically or sentimentally.

So much more could be said, but that is enough for one Sunday rave!

———————————————————
*Excerpted from The Oxford Interactive Encyclopedia
Developed by The Learning Company, Inc. Copyright (c) 1997 TLC Properties Inc. All rights reserved.

13 Jun 2001

Harmonious activity: Translating

Well, I wasn’t, but M was.

M took on the task of translating the rather eccentric menu of the restaurant he works in into Chinese. It has taken days, as so many of the words were not in the dictionary. How do you say “Beam me up” in Mandarin? A problem we never quite solved.

My task, and it tested the limits of my rather low-end computer’s graphic powers, was to do a decent-looking layout with the English items, leaving sufficient space for the Chinese, which was being handwritten. It took me five hours, but I learned a lot! The shared task has been good too for other reasons.

17 Jun 2001

Tripe!…Another Sunday, another yum cha

Today was the mid-month yum cha at The Emperor’s Garden. I had tripe for the first time since–who knows when? The food was excellent, particularly the pork belly, and they definitely win the barbecue pork bun contest. Ian Smith was there, of course, with PK, Sirdan, James and a new candidate, Paul. Ian really is a good conversationalist.

I might also mention Ian has bought a new computer, a Gateway much more powerful than mine. Apparently he needed it to access the Internet by cable. It could take ten years to fill its hard disk!

The next yum cha (first Sunday in July) will be at the same place, most likely, and is the one nearest my birthday. Hard to believe it is a year since the one last July, which I remember especially as it was a shared occasion of some significance–it is a warm memory. I would like to think the company will be similar, but that remains to be seen.

It occurs to me that a nice sequel next yum cha would be to go in the afternoon to the Norfolk Hotel in Surry Hills at 4.00 to listen to the jazz band. There is a world outside gay venues (especially in gay friendly places like the Norfolk) and we should explore them more. For us the virtue of a gay venue really is that one can be with friends and be unselfconscious, but there are places these days where that is just as easily done, especially here in the inner city. After all, the Chinese restaurants we frequent are not in the ghetto, and we never feel out of place. Admittedly, we would have to draw the line at hugging (except in a blokey way) at the Norfolk, lest we scare the pensioners…

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Image from More “Neil’s Decades” – 11: 1986 – 2001 at The Albury

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