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Things Americans say to me when they hear my accent

15 May
  • Where are you from?
  • [Said without introduction] Are you British?
  • Ooh I love your accent! Where did you get it?
  • Oh you have an Australian accent! I can speak in one of those. (No, you can’t)
  • [Said accusingly] Hey, are you British?
  • Why are you here?
  • [Said in the tone of a man defending the colony of Massachusetts from Imperial aggressors] YOU’RE BRITISH!
  • My aunt went to Australia once
  • Are Australia and New Zealand, like, the same?
  • No, really, where are you from?
  • Bitch, just tell me where you’re fucking from
  • Excuse me, my daughter was wondering where you were from. (Lady, your kid is 18 months old. She doesn’t know where she’s from.)

When this happens, when someone talks to me as though I’m leading a British invasion of colonial Boston, I like to fuck with them. Sometimes I tell them I’m from Cape Town and remain in my version of a South African accent all day, knowing most Americans won’t hear the difference. Most of the time though I just fire back “where are YOU from?” and watch these very comfortable white people plunge into existential crisis before my eyes. It’s the best part of my day.

I wrote about the damage done by America’s cultural navel-gazing in my essay Australia’s moment: why NBC didn’t need to make The Slap.


Things I’ve taught my Dad recently

4 Jun
  • What the snowflake button on the toaster is for
  • How to clean a laptop keyboard using a vacuum attachment and a fork
  • That wheat is different to gluten
  • To skype
  • That croissants and crumpets are not effective dietary alternatives to toast
  • That gay people can have children*
  • How to cook risotto
  • What I do for a living (I’ve been doing it for 3 years)
  • The difference between the internet and the world wide web
  • How to burn CDs into iTunes

Most of these are because computers “just crept up on him” (sneakily, over about 20 years). I’d write a list of all the things he’s taught me, but the world wide web would become full and servers would have to automatically delete stuff like our family’s orginal Macintosh Classic.

*This made him happy.

The six levels of friendship

26 Feb

A black and white rabbit sipping from a large red tea cup.

  1. You should come round for tea sometime.
  2. Can I come round sometime for tea?
  3. I’m outside your house expecting tea, but I brought a cake.
  4. I let myself into your house and made myself some tea. And then I ate some cake I found. Sorry, there’s no cake left. Also, you need milk.
  5. You’re in my house. Make me some tea.
  6. I’m in your mum’s house drinking tea. She says hi.

10 things your English teacher should have told you

17 Jan

I spent three years as a private English tutor. It’s less glamorous than it sounds so to make up for it I liked to imagine myself as a 19th Century governess who was destined to rebel against society’s restrictions by stealing the heart of her rugged and brooding aristocratic employer. This never happened but to this day it remains my favourite gig. It’s something about the way their eyes light up when they master narrative voice or iambic pentameter.

Not being an actual qualified educator, my tactic was to win my students’ trust by swearing like a drunken wharfie and talking about drugs. Below are ten pearls of wisdom.

  1. The Romantics were really just hippies before there were hippies. “For I have learned to look on nature, not as in the hour of thoughtless youth, but hearing oftentimes the still, sad music of humanity”* sounds a little better than “double rainbow!” but it’s really the same concept.
  2. Shakespeare had no idea what the fuck he was doing.
  3. Movie adaptations aren’t always worse than the book.
  4. There are many people worth swooning over. At this stage all of them are in literature and none are sitting in the back row.
  5. Listen to Hermione.
  6. A person isn’t right just because they’re on TV wearing a suit in front of a bookcase.
  7. WWAFD? (What Would Atticus Finch Do?)
  8. Bladerunner could happen. Recycle.
  9. How to use a semicolon.
  10. No amount of cramming and rote learning can ever compare to a stroke of creative genius. This is unlikely to occur in high school. Do shit. Watch people. Pay attention. And if  that fails make like Mary Shelley and head for the woods. Or at least invest in good tea and a houseplant.

*Taken from Wordsworth’s Lines Written a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey. On a scale of 1 to spunkbucket how much of a wanker does this quote make me? Place your score in the comments below.

The 12 stages of a long distance relationship

10 Dec
  1. Uh-oh
  2. This so romantic! I bet they make a movie about us!
  3. My  judgment has been clouded by Hollywood. I’m sorry I bothered you.
  4. OK, let’s do this.
  5. This is awesome. I feel wanted but I never have to shave my legs – it’s every woman’s dream!
  6. Wow, this sucks a little.
  7. I’m going to kiss all the boys!
  8. Abstinence will enhance my creativity. Just look at Charlotte Bronte or that monk who invented the sun dial.
  9. What with the wonders of modern technology it’s like you’re really here.
  10. I know – the lottery! Why didn’t I think of that before?
  11. This sucks a lot and will continue to do so.
  12. As states of being go, constant longing isn’t so bad. I mean, it’s better than despair or a bad rash.