Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Drowning in a small pond

The House of Pants Snr lily pond

I suspect I’m experiencing a kind of madness. It’s not normal to think everyone hates you, is it? No doubt I’ll look back on these days as something of a watershed, or perhaps just a therapeutic cold shower. It’s not that I’m having a bad time in Australia, far from it. Ma Pants feeds me on a nourishing diet of cardboard, grass and polyurethane and I’m on the verge of qualifying as Kate Moss’s great aunt’s double. Even alcohol rationing, while tedious initially, can be adjusted to eventually and results in a certain tautness of belly that has been absent this past year or so.

Each morning I jog down to the waterfront. Whereas being overtaken by highly competitive power-walking retirees with orthopaedic straps holding their thighs together is not great for one’s self-esteem, I find I’m able to lose myself in my own thoughts semi-indefinitely. These largely comprise imagining that I’d had an entirely different life. There is little else to do in Australia but contemplate, and that can be very liberating for a time.

Who needs a stimulating media? When I left this country to go and live in Britain, its primary social concerns were inflation and motoring accidents. The great advance in twenty-five years is that the country is now fondling the worry beads for teenage binge drinking as well as inflation and motoring accidents. Current affairs programmes contain tutorials on how to make sandwiches and peg your clothes on the line. Who knew there was a correct way to hang up washing? If reporters are feeling particularly probing, you might be treated to the tragic tale of a family of ‘battlers’ whose six bedroom house has been repossessed because they spent all their money on Happy Meals and had nothing left for the mortgage or a scholarly investigation into whether it is possible for a family to survive with just one car, which apparently it isn’t.

‘Battler’ is a peculiarly Australian term meaning a person on a low income. It assumes of course that everyone who falls into this category is doing their utmost to contribute to economic growth. If you are surviving perfectly happily on little money and covet nothing, you are not a ‘battler’ and furthermore, you should be ashamed of yourself because you have no ambition. I have not quite come to grips with inflationary theory yet. No one ever bothers with it in Britain as British people think that even things that are free are too expensive, rendering actual prices more or less irrelevant. What I have been able to glean is that some kinds of spending (e.g. increasing salaries for low paid workers) contribute to inflation and are bad whereas other kinds of spending (the purchase of unnecessary consumer goods) boost the economy and are good.

Like Britain, Australia has no interest in the elderly, disabled or unemployed as these people don’t pay tax and hardly buy anything. Yesterday the new Labor Government brought out its first budget. On the face of it, the most exciting thing in it is the proposal to ask the wealthy people to pay a little tax. Like the elderly, unemployed and disabled they don’t pay any at present. This is not because they aren’t eligible to be taxpayers, it’s just that they would rather spend their money on buying airlines and Pacific Islands than building hospitals and schools. It’s a radical concept and no one has tried it in Britain since Moses got his first iPod. If you ask wealthy Brits to cough up their share, they just threaten to move to Monte Carlo and slag you off in their friends’ newspapers, which can be highly counter-productive. Australia is fortunate in that no one else wants its wealthy people living in their country except Brazil.

Australia is also desperately worried about global warming and would definitely make some effort to reverse it if it weren’t for the fact that the damage caused by China and India is so great that it would render any gesture meaningless and tokenistic. Besides if we didn’t sell them coal they would just get it from Russia and everyone knows the Russians care far less about the environment than we do. So that’s another thing I need not lose sleep over. I am getting rather a lot of sleep lately.

Since I have little else with which to concern myself now, I often gratefully surrender to whichever form of external entertainment chooses to fling itself across my path. I am very much looking forward to catching the new Harrison Ford film - Indiana Jones and the Lost Superannuation. Ma P and I often gorge on Bollockbusters DVDs on Cheap Chewsday when you can get four for $8. We have enjoyed such thrill-packed senior filmic moments as Die Hard 4 – Of Natural Causes and Rocky V – A Bout of Flu. Who would have guessed that the only people with jobs for life in the twenty-first century would be newsreaders and action heroes? Apart from the fact that I have been John Malkovich for the last three days, I think I’m doing just fine…


Bwca said...

while you are at Bustblocker,
please do find HOT FUZZ.
no sex, no nudity, hardly any obscenity, and absolutely BRILLIANT. brilliant film.
Manny from Black Books in a dual-role, Billie Whitelaw, Edward Woodward satirising his own Wicker Man ...

Copperwitch and I had already anticipated Indiana Jones And The Home For The Terminally Bewildered.

Those aged, disabled, unemployed of us, did not even bother watching the budget.
Tony Mokbel's baby probably got the baby Bonus.
screw 'em.

now i'm off to look for carl Williams Facebook page ...
mwah mwah

JahTeh said...

I missed the last 20 minutes of Die Hard 4 thanks to a large scratch on the rented DVD but I guessed Bruce Willis won.

Indiana starts here next Thursday but I'm going to the pensioner Tuesday cheap show.

Dame Honoria Glossop said...

I'm disabled & I pay loads of tax. Where did I go wrong?

Is 'Star Wars Episode VII - I've run out of plots but look what we can do with CGI' out on DVD yet?

Wisewebwoman said...

How's the novel, Pants?
I see your post is at your usual high standard.
All the empty blathering by everyone on global warming is maddening. All fiddling while we burn.
It's getting worse.

R.H. said...

Mrs Pants (if I may) this sort of writing is your strength, rather than fiction.


That's So Pants said...


I haven't forgiven Simon Pegg yet for Shaun of the Dead.

Hi Jahteh

That's the spirit.

Your dameship

Good to hear from you - Star Wars - Return of the Sub-Plot you mean?


Progressing well thanks. First draft nearly finished - despite discouragement from all corners of the world - see RH below.


Not even I can be funny all the time.



Jen&HerBoat said...

I'm working on a "round the world" trip (actually, only to Peru to visit Vanessa "Sarsparilla" and a brief stop in Scotland if I can track down PB again) then on to Indonesia, NZ to visit the fambly and on to do some volunteering in the Daintree (bats! crocs!) before heading over to Perth to visit the ex and assorted friends.... would love to mash you in there somewhere for a drink, a coffee, a little Canadian boredom-lifting interlude. Are you in Noosa Head, really? It won't be until things here are sorted for me - the sale of my condo etc etc, hoping to leave Canada in October/November. Email me @

:) Hang in there.....

R.H. said...


Well listen, having outed myself as a peeping tom my opinion is worth quite a lot. Not everyone admits to a life of back lanes, okay? So don't get uppity. The Way Of The Pear is a damn good book! You'll get it published here in Australia, no worries, just change the title: The Way Of The Banana.

Pears aren't popular here anymore, that's all, you've been living too long in pommyland.

-Robert. Nerve to Perve.

R.H. said...

Jokes aside, I admire your writing.

R.H. said...

Follow it up with essays: The Way Of The Pineapple: a spotlight on this ridiculous little country.

That's So Pants said...


Thanks. I like the idea of the way of the banana!



That's So Pants said...

Hi Jen & Boat

Didn't see you there. Great to hear from you. Will do.



Bwca said...

dear rh - nobody ever says

"and that's when every went pineapple-shaped"

(they may have in Shaun Of The Dead which I have not seen)

R.H. said...

Last week at the long table in Werribee I noticed Miss Naomi hesitate before accepting beetroot on her plate, which prompted me to remark, "If you don't like beetroot you'll have to leave this country," and which startled the Arabs, but impressed them as well. And so Miss Brownie surely you've heard of people getting 'the rough end of the pineapple'. Yes you have, which is what aged pensioners just got from Socialist Kev's Budget.
But if you haven't heard this expression -or claim not to have heard it, then I'm sorry but you also will have to leave this country.

Okay? That's all.


R.H. said...

Don't put on airs: the way of the truffle.

Dame Honoria Glossop said...

I am considering writing a slim volume of short stories in the French language to pass the time, and practice the language before our next Paris trip.

How does la manière de la poire sound for a title? Or perhaps la route de la poire?

Pretentious, moi?

R.H. said...

Marvellous! Bang on! Who says women have no brains!

I'm doing la route de la carrot cake, for my next trip to Brunswick Street.

That's So Pants said...

Ha Ha everyone

With friends like these...

Political Umpire said...

Fine post as ever pants, I've stolen part of it I should warn. Can't make my mind up about this global warming thing. Hum.

That's So Pants said...

Hi Pumpie

No problem - what's my intellectual content is your intellectual content, you know that.