Thursday, November 22, 2007

Wednesday will I be famous?


Pants with Pa Pants taken by Ma Pants a rather long time ago

I know, I know. It's all about me again and the presumption that I somehow represent elegance. All I can say is I have only my fantasies now. This is me and Pa Pants who died just before I came to live in England. I don't know where we are. From the background, you might imagine it is in Pa Pants's birthplace of Egypt, although I'm certain I didn't actually go there until 2001. Besides, I don't think they had Holden cars in Egypt. The picture is probably taken in Queensland, Australia, and since I am in my party dress, the location is most likely close to my grandparents' home in Coopers Plains and around the time of my fourth birthday. I don't remember the dairy farm country of the Brisbane environs looking like this so I'm wondering if Ma and Pa Pants perhaps contrived a photo in front of a large billboard. That would have been a very 5os thing to do.

The dress was dark pink (and white, obviously). Ma Pants probably made it because she made all my clothes in those days. I also remember with great fondness the little baby pink angora bolero I'm wearing which probably means it was passed down to a succession of dolls. By the time my younger sister was born we were into more serviceable clothes. We were outdoor kids and I don't remember much about the clothes from then on until I was old enough to make or buy my own. This photo was taken just before my sister was born.

Another era is drawing to a close. Ma Pants was about the age I am now when Pa Pants died. When I left Australia for England, I was about the age she was when she took this photograph. I was living in Queensland too, in Brisbane. I was in a band and itching to get out of Australia. Pa Pants had died on Christmas Eve, 1981. Of all times to go, he had to pick that one. But, after the initial spoiling of Christmas for everyone for several years, the family got into Christmas being more special because it was a time to remember Pa Pants. We can half fill our yuletide cup as easily as empty it in my family. We're fairly resilient in that respect.

The following Brisbane winter of 1982, which I probably misremember as unseasonably cold, was salvaged for me by the ticket to London which was burning a hole in my pocket. Crazy spending ensued prompted by the frenzied sale of old furniture from my old house. The country was going mad for 'colonial' style furniture which I'd bought for next to nothing while the rest of the country was hoarding Swedish teak. I sold everything, including the house. When I say 'crazy', what I mean is I bought a state-of-the-art recording Walkman and a stupidly expensive pair of pink leather pixie boots. They wore out in a matter of months in the harsh London winter.

I remember those last days in Brisbane on temporary work, skipping through the city plugged into this new fangled device, listening to ABC's The Lexicon of Love. As a child veteran of 50s cool jazz, courtesy of the Pants parents and my own autodidact pop education and praxis from playing school orchestra 'cello and clarinet and folk guitar, I really felt I'd matured artistically and was ready to conquer the world. And I just couldn't wait to get started.

Cut to the present. On any given Wednesday, like today for example, I travel to my temporary job in Ilford, which is nice and pays very well. From Ilford Station, I cut through a big shopping mall rather than walk down the dim, cold streets to my workplace. The mall is draped with pretty lights and Christmas grottoes and has been since the beginning of November. I don't even bother to protest about that any more. I do wish though that we could have had fairy lights in the trees in those dim, horrid years of the 80s when it would been really appreciated, rather than now when many of us can at least escape Britain cheaply and the feast of lights just shrieks 'global warming'.

It's fair to say I'm a little sad with the way things have turned out for me over the last twenty-five years. I love my life and I've never been unhappy in England. Frustrated yes, unhappy no. I don't do unhappy. I wish I'd been able to contribute more to the society in which I live, but it hasn't wanted my contribution. It hasn't wanted the contribution of most of its citizens. I know this because I've spent most of the last fifteen years gathering public opinion only to have it dumped into reports that would be either ignored or cut to fit a corporate agenda.

This morning, shuffling through this could-have-been-anywhere mall, I heard good old ABC, distilled as walk-on-by musak. Shoot that poison arrow through my heart, world...

24 comments:

Reading the Signs said...

Maybe you don't do unhappy, but then some of us have done that to perfection so you you don't need to; but you do poignant very beautifully. Yes, carry on doing that - and the other things you are gifted with and you won't go wrong.

Pa Pants is a looker and clearly you are a chip off the block.

(your word ver is being quite eccentric these days btw - what am I supposed to make of kujpswij?)

Andrew said...

I can see your knickers Pants. I think you are correct about the backdrop. It is too perfect or your mother was just a brilliant photographer.

The post was a nice read. It is good to find out more about people and helps me build my stalker files. Now I must backread to find out why you are returning to Oz.

Dame Honoria Glossop said...

That is one beautiful outfit.

R.H. said...

I've just done a mee-mee for Miss Brown-ee.

I've never done a mee-mee for you-you:
a zulu in a mu-mu.

Political Umpire said...

And a masterful EDW it was. Is that an FJ? Never thought I'd miss Holdens like I do over here. It's not as if any of the recent ones have been up to standard. My family owned a 1972 Statesman for 18 years, and in retrospect it was a wonderful constant in family photographs: you can see just how much we've grown in each in comparison with the car. At the beginning I was knee high to a grasshopper in a booster seat; at the end I was driving the thing. And a great drive it was. Didn't do corners, really, even with the air shocks and the fat tyres we put on it, but with a column shift, bench seat and that throaty V8 roar (all the better for the straight through exhaust we put on it) ... well, elegance is only part of it.

Sorry, I digress.

That's so pants said...

Hi Signs

As always, kindness personified.

Hi Andrew

There's always SOMEONE now isn't there?


Your Dameship

Much more like it. And you, I know, have taste.

Hi RH

Thank you... I think...

Hi Pumpie

Actually, I think it might be an FE. I googled but there isn't enough of the car to make a judgment. Pa Pants had a few of them. Ma Pants had the most wonderful Monaro - metallic pink with cream vinyl hood for nearly 20 years though.

xxx

Pants

R.H. said...

Good heavens, are you mad? Fancy publishing that rubbish! Most ridiculous comment I've ever made!
And see what a mee-mee gets you; a nervous breakdown!

But tell the truth, I love a mee-mee, and golly, you're only hurt by the things you love, or what's memory for.

-Robert.
(Propagater of Homely Virtues)

R.H. said...

That car is a FC or an FE, and the background looks like a billboard, but the photo is a treasure.

R.H. said...

Ma pants car would have had a vinyl roof -not hood. And why don't you say bonnet? Hood is American. Do you say trunk as well -for boot? Fender, for mudguard? Ho, for prostitute?
Wake up to yourself.

Seachanges said...

Another opportunity to be famous: I've just memed you under 'Cats and Dogs' - apologies but it was random, promise.

That's so pants said...

Hi RH

1. Why are you still here? Don't you have work to do over at Ms O'Dyne's place? You know I'll publish your comment unless it's offensive - I have my targets to consider. If you don't want it published, don't write it.

2. I think it's an FE. I'd love to know what those letters mean.

3. You're absolutely right - I should have said roof. It's a while since I've owned a car in Britain - nowhere to park in London and the entirely unreasonable expectation that people would want to travel at anything less than the speed of a very fast train on the motorway are factors.

As far as I can remember, the British use bonnet rather than hood and boot rather than trunk.

Fenders and mudguards I think - and I know you'll correct me if I'm wrong - are two different things. I honestly can't remember and I'm too tired to look it up but 'bumper bar' rings a bell in relation to fender.

Re mudguards - I have seen them - but I think later. Pa Pants had a two-tone FB with a sun visor and possibly mudguards. There's a photo of Pants next to that car on her first day of school somewhere in the Pants archives.

Hi Seachanges

Oh joy, another meme - you expected my famous disgruntlement, right? Just joking. I'll pop over right now, despite the late hour and the hideous day I've had.

xxx

Pants

Andrew said...

Pretty sure it is an FE. The FC had the same body, but less decoration. And it would also be a 'Special'.

That's so pants said...

Hi Andrew

Has any nation loved it's car so much? I doubt anyone in England would be able to distinguish Rover models.

xxx

Pants

Andrew said...

Indeed. I used to love cars. We only had three makers really. I stopped being interested about 1975, but before that, I know them well.

Well, I also know about the Rover P5 and P5B. Similar, but they had different donks.

NMJ said...

hey pants, lovely photo, at first i thought it looked a bit like scotland, though egypt would be more exciting, and i know nothing about cars, so i won't even join in there.

i lived in seven kings in 1988-89, i remember ilford well, it was where you went for decent shops, and if i recall correctly, romford was even more exciting, though i have mixed feelings cos i got very ill again, london was too exhausting for me. it's probably the same ABC they're piping now as then x

That's so pants said...

Hi Andrew

Those were the days alrighty. What I'd give for a hot Torana. I suppose they're worth a fortune now.

Hi NMJ

Seven Kings - Gads. The words small and world leap to mind. I'm not much of a shopper but the Oxfam bookshop is my greatest blessing and Millets - the outdoors shop where I go about once a week to research backpacks for my trip to India.

xxx

Pants

Wisewebwoman said...

Aren't you the precious little thing, Pants. I knitted one of those boleros for my little sister back in the day. And Daddy Pants is one handsome dude, tossup between himself and his automobile for me.
Agree on the backdrop, rather strange, where would your mother find a backdrop like that? I mean bill boards are very high up normally....
You wax poignant, dear Pants,as we all do, for a world that never was and a populace that was never listened to, ever. I'm getting so much more cynical in my old age.....
XO
WWW

That's so pants said...

Hi WWW

See me - I want a Labor win in the Australian elections not because I believe in the party's ability to turn my birth mother country around but because I believe it will halt the frankly distasteful high value of the Aussie dollar for long enough for me to exchange my English pounds. Now THAT is cynical.

xxx

Pants

R.H. said...

It's a Holden Special.

The "Special" badge is on the rear mudguard.

Mudguard.

Would you like to see my little poem about a hot Torana? (Please say yes.) It's nice, but it starts funny:

I love a storm, a thunderstorm. It's the noise, I love the noise.
And the dare, the challenge, to be reckless.

LOUD.
Ministry of Housing
Sadly, smugly,
Ministry of Housing
Parking lot.
Ministry of Housing
Sadly, smugly,
Clapped out bombs,
Old sedans.
Clapped out bombs
And a hot Torana
Old sedans
And a Chev Impala
Here he is
Mister hot Torana
Starts her up
And off he goes.
Starts her up!
What a racket.
Cruises out
What a show.
It's his life
Don't you know.

It's his life
Don't you know.

His life
(Don't you know?)

Sadly.

Smugly.


-Robert.

Sorry. All my poems are written the moment I wake up, and usually after an interesting dream. And they're humane. Socially responsible.

dbadvqtp

That's so pants said...

Hi RH

I'm sorry but I'm pretty sure that's a 'panel' as in the thing that gets 'beaten' by a 'panel beater' when it gets 'crumpled' in an 'accident'. Where is Phil when he's needed?

I like the poem though.

xxx

Pants

R.H. said...

Terms are necessary to identify different parts of a car body: doors, mudguards, bootlids, bonnets, etc. Mudguards can also be called side panels, but they're all panels, beaten out by panel beaters.
I know more about cars than Phil.

That's so pants said...

RH

I bow to your superior knowledge. Can I go watch a movie now?

xxx

Pants

Ann O'Dyne said...

I hate those angora boleros - all my prissy city cousins had them and sneered at my country clothes.
and
I'm ignoring all the car-talk and going with ReadingTheSigns and WiseWebWoman: Pa Pants was a gorgeous looking man.

That's so pants said...

OK

Now this is officially spooky. Pa Pants has been dead for 26 years. I think he'd be very happy with 'handsome' as a retrospective description. He would have definitely gone with 'gorgeous' while he was still alive but he'd have got what for from Ma Pants if you know what I mean.

xxx

Pants