28 February 2007

Week of Horror

Like my good twisted friend, I suffer from horrifying nightmares. While I've never dreamt of an imp as such, my nightmares usually have a complex plot, a nasty twist a la Night Shyamalan, wicked characters that disturbingly enough, spring out from my tenebrous imagination and usually, an added psychological bent. The so called twist in those dreams has my heart thumping so violently that often I've wished my subconscious would be so kind as to give me some hints, I don't know, a clue, so that when the dream reaches its climax and the horrible scene does unravel, I could at least not die of a heart attack in my sleep, that I could, instead, think, "oh, yep, I like what you've done with that part. Ok, what's next."

So Monday night, I had one of those. And I have to ask myself where, oh where, do I get this filth from? Because I certainly do not watch horror films (well, very rarely) and even if I did, my dreams are far too original to bear any resemblance to existing scripts...thank you very much. So when I finally awoke on Tuesday morning, oh Bliss! I was so grateful to the universe and never in my life did I love my alarm clock so much. Oh, you precious digital thing you.

But something good came out of this.
I have written down some notes about that particular dream. I think it has the potential to constitute a rewarding screenplay. Perhaps when I have time, after all my other projects. Just when you thought I'd actually share the dream with you, it now turns out to be copyright! Believe me you don't want to know. I narrated the dream to Jason and he said that once the script is written, "he doesn't want to read it please". It freaked him out too much.

Oh it does look promising...

But now to expand on this Week of Horror (hey, that's the title of the post!) I have to share what happened to me last night.

Well on Tuesday night, Jason was off in Melbourne for some business trip. This doesn't happen more than once a decade and as such, it was a momentous event. It meant that I would sleep alone. So before he left, I ensured that I would be prepared. I bought myself a can of Mortein. It's not as if we see many spiders, in fact we've spotted only 3 or 4 over the last 6 years, but you can never be too sure...

And what do you think happened on Tuesday night?

Yep. I was attacked by a spider. Just after I bludgeoned it with my black Roman sandal, on which the silly thing left a pulpous mass, (you can tell I'd never be a Buddhist), the paranoia set in. Note this: there had been NO spider activity in the appartment for at least a year. None. And now, THIS!!! So the question was: how did they know??? How did they know that I'd be alone tonight??? They know everything.

They are eight-legged demons.

23 February 2007

Mrs Dorian Gray

What are you wearing in this photo?
It's an upside down Scottish tulip with a black cropped jacket.
I bought the dress from Dotti during a moment of vanity. Worn here for my Valentine about a week ago.
What do you think is in fashion for Australia now?
I have no idea. Ask the Japanese. The are so far ahead of us. Anything I saw for sale in Tokyo, last October is what we'll be wearing shortly. At the moment I like the shape of bat wings and the sensual look of black leather. For colors, I can't think past black, dark purple and grey but there are also metallic notes. I'm through with the mustard.
What would you like to see more of in the stores?
Whatever happened to cashmere? I love the contrast of soft cashmeres and angora wool against black leather. And I want more grey, there's not enough of it.

What part of the body is in focus this season?
I am going to say what I feel: the neck. So anything that valorises the neck and is itself, valorised through the neck. Oscar Wilde used to say that clothes should hang from the neck down in order to be beautiful, rather than emphasise the waist. It's a bit like that for me this season. Besides, you have to think in terms of semiotics: bat wings = vampire = neck bite. Everything in fashion is related and speaks to us through subliminal messages.
Explain your last statement.
Sometimes when we believe that through our innate fashion sense, we independently choose to endorse this or that color, embody this or that latest style, we are in fact merely responding to all the messages that our subconscious has accummulated over time, either through music, media or film or fashion. They are all related. To be always one step ahead of fashion is to be a little more psychic in every sense of the word. It requires one to be extremely receptive to the undercurrents of our times and to reveal these messages through one's choice of clothes. On the other hand, actively following fashion is bad. Not because it speaks of lack of originality or social comformity or vain stupidity - as some people would want to put it, whatever - but because it implies a lack of receptivity. To be totally reliant on the influence of marketing for making one's fashion decisions may be an indication that one is shut off from their subconscious.

What's the last thing you bought?
A wrap around purple belt.
Your favourite item of clothing at the moment?
My brown puff sleeve tee from Zara. I found it while shopping at Venus Fort in Tokyo. I've been a big fan of Zara since 1999. In big gold print on the tshirt, it says: "Always on My Mind". It inspires me and keeps me grounded.
Aren't you embarrassed of this vain post?
I try as much as possible to avoid being ashamed of who I am. Sometimes it works. I anticipate reading this when I'm 60 and thinking "I can't believe i did that!" But it's much better than realising: "Oh, gee. I haven't changed much after all those tame years." The joy of acquiring wisdom comes from living follies. Enigma's first album promoted a known idea that "The path of excess leads to the tower of wisdom." I'm still on that path.

21 February 2007

Stripped of my Essence

I was supposed to be writing my novel today but I fear that nothing will come of it.
It just happens that I had a blood test this morning, and into this vile vial, I saw, the evil nurse draw out the essence of my creativity. I watched the blood as it swirled in its glass prison and forever entrapped the seeds of what could have seen the light as literary genius. It was a furious magenta, a rich hue so befitting on long velvet hooded capes, a color that though dark and opaque, verges on transparency. I stumbled out of the clinic, my mind vacant, my body weakened as I had not had breakfast, feeling dizzy from the aggression to which I had been subjected. Now I feel as if a part of me is gone and with it my prose. I feel like a lizard as it waits for its severed limb to regrow. The regeneration will be swift, abrupt and angry. I will use this to inhabit the mind of the most dangerous of my characters and see through His fury. But no extreme exists without the other extreme. And so I will be Her too, torn, desperate and with no hope left in the world.

19 February 2007


Last night I was feeling rather distraught. You see, I had just completed Richard Ellman's excellent biography of Oscar Wilde which, apart from re-emphasising the injustice and meanness that exist in this world, had reduced me to a teary mess. I consumed no less than 16 Kleenex tissues, blowing my nose furiously as if I were in Paris, in 1900, attending Wilde's funeral. The thought of this wonderful writer, once known to be so generous to his own friends, being abandoned, ruined by his trial, broken by his cruel 2 year sentence, subjected to the ostracism that followed his imprisonment and then spending his last days as a desperately lonely and penniless vagrant, sucked me into despair.

In the end I realised that putting aside his talent and tumultuous affairs, Oscar Wilde's life recalls the story of every man whose living art, or individuality is punished by society. It is the story of every person abused by their so called friends and cast aside when they are no longer of any use. I read De Profundis and once again broke down.


In New Zealand, there is a lovely chocolate bar called Perkynana. It's a banana flavoured chewy bar coated in milk chocolate although to me, it tastes more like pineapple than banana. Here is a picture of it, in all it's glory:

Makes me sigh just to gawk at this picture.

I have only visited New Zealand twice but each time, I remember stocking up on Cadbury Perkynanas. Only about 80cents per bar.
A small price to pay for a delicious sweet. One of my favourites by far.

I've often wondered why Australia doesn't import Perkynanas. It's not as if New Zealand is very far. Not as if Cadbury products are an exotic specialty that would require years of marketing to attract loyal consumers within Australia. But after years of waiting, I fear that neither the shelves of our Coles or Woolies supermarkets will ever be graced by arrays of Perkynanas in their delicate yellow wrappers. Why isn't anyone interested in importing Perkynanas????

It looked as if someone had finally heard my prayers. The other day, in town, I walked past a confectionery store which proudly imports a myriad of hard to find international sweets, catering for all those nostalgic expats. In this store which I will not name, lest I find myself making scurrilous remarks, you can even find Hershey bars and Peanut Butter bars from the US and all manner of Sherbety sweets from England. And behold, what do you think I saw? Newly imported Perkynanas!! Oh goodie! This was too good to be true. I was already rolling up my sleeves ready to stock up for the next 3 years. "But now, do get a grip Laura", I said, taking hold of myself, "and take some time to consider this extravagant folly that will surely be the cause of your ruin." For how much do you think those bastards charged for one miserable Perkynana?? $3.50!!!! That's right, I'm not kidding. $3.50 for one STINKING Perkynana!!! It was nothing short of outrageous, ripping off the honest public in such a shameless manner. Bandits! Well they could shove their Perkynanas you know where, I thought as I stormed out of the store with an offended sniff.

I will have to seriously consider importing them myself. Perhaps I could purchase a flight ticket to New Zealand some time, build my Cadbury connections, install a commercial fridge in my backyard...

17 February 2007

Kaali, Le Temps

Toi, danseuse immonde qui humilie l’homme déchu
La poudre de sang sillone, ton frond nu
L’éclat de tes seins luisants
S’offusque d’un collier cadavreux

Toi qui consummes l’offrande en deuil, Re-Vêtue
De son sari blanc,
Ton règne méconnu
Demeure effrayant

Tes mèches enflammées, oh, hirsute créature
Encadre la rage baveuse de ton visage enfièvrée
Ton rire déchire la nuit,
   Rompant les silences hypocrites
Ainsi se dresse l’esprit guerrier,
Que seul les vérités
Voudront appaiser.

Oh toi, reine noire, némésis assoiffée
Entends tu, par le gouffre òu gémissent les échos
Les mortels lassés
De ton trident d’acier.

Ni femme, Ni demon,
Mais mère -
Mère ensanglantée, Mère rageuse,
Celui qui te suit
N’a de sort
Ni la peur, Ni la mort.

Toi qui a comme nom
Ce cycle du temps qui nous défi
Ta transe envoutante mène aux chemins exquis
Ou le monde, enfin,
Connait son destin.

Oh celle qui ne prétends
Nulles vertues, Nulles graces,
Seul celui qui devine
Sage tes Exces
   Ton amour, reconnait.

Laura Bingham
2007 Tous droits réservés

10 February 2007

Wilde Anecdotes

Happily immersed in Oscar Wilde's biography, I came across a passage where he vaunts his fastidiousness as a writer. He spoke to his acolyte, Sherard.

- "I was working on a proof of one of my poems all the morning", he said, "and took out a comma."

- And in the afternoon?

- In the afternoon? Well, I put it back again.


And there is this most sordid scene that Wilde paints for a man should he discover that his wife has been unfaithful during a soirée. Oh, it is simply delicious. Read for yourself.

'Pretend to ignore the liaison and delight in watching them. It will get interesting as time draws near for his departure, after you three have been spending the evening together. You should yourself be more marital and you close the séance by giving him his congé with some such remarks as "Well, goodbye. We young married folks, you know...," and to the adulterous wife, "Au lit, darling, au lit." Then some minutes later you go in your pyjamas to the window of the nuptial thalamos and there of course Don Juan is standing on the other side of the road gazing at and sighing toward the place where Cressida lay that night. There you attract his attention and wave your hand towards him to imply that he must be on his way, while you hasten to the matrimonial delights that are awaiting you.'

Delightful don't you think? The man's a genius.

5 February 2007

The Departed

In my rush to rant about the Oscars I think I've made a grave mistake, much to my sheepish self-reckoning. You see, I watched "The Departed" during the weekend and I've now realised two things:

1. I have a serious crush on Leonardo di Caprio. Or is it more of an attraction to his character, Billy Costigan? I think it might be the latter. It's a crippling crush I'm afraid. It will take me a while to get over it, based on my experience with Tyrone Power in Captain from Castille.


2. Martin Scorcese may just win the Oscar for Best Directing. It makes this category possibly the most likely to divide the panel. I am still undecided. Scorcese managed to viciously test my suspense tolerance levels but so did Alejandro G. Inarritu. Half way through "The Departed", my abdomen was in knots from all that superbly paced screen tension. It was a first.

But getting back to my crush.
There's this scene. Billy (Leo) visits his counsellor, Madolyn, who (as we've managed to gather) he likes. His eyes rove about her place and he notices a photo of her as a young girl. A photo of a little girl riding a bike. It just happens to be the same photo that her boyfriend (Matt Damon) categorically dismissed from sight as mere nostalgic trinket. Madolyn is now intrigued. And what do you think Billy does next? He comments on the photo. Not only that, but he picks up the frame in both hands and hangs it up to gauge its effect on the room's wall. At that moment, I was hooked. There was a naive, almost juvenile tone in his gesture, it's so wonderfully offbeat from all the blood splitting and soul-crippling lies that he has to assume as an undercover officer. That scene was worth 20 tear-jerking Bollywood masalas. No, no, make that 50. Oh dear, I'm breaking up. It was a real nice moment, you have got to see it. Oh, and then the intense moments after that were great too. Although at that point, I was growing a little envious of Vera Farmiga.

And now there's this cold, empty void.
I'll have to watch "The Departed" a number of times to get over it.

2 February 2007

The Dictionary of Toxic Friends

Friends. You gotta love them. Both with their qualities and their faults. But sometimes, staying away from potentially toxic relationships is in one's best interest. Failure to do so leaves one exposed to all sorts of ruthless, callous behaviour, the kind that finds you nursing a broken heart and blaming yourself for being such a fool. Here's an example of the toxic creatures I have met so far in my 31 years on the Milky Way.

The Martyr - A veritable wolf in sheep's clothing. At first she's a blank page and seems to have no personality. She wouldn't hurt a fly. But don't be fooled. She's a vampire butterfly waiting to spring out of her ugly cocoon, all she needs is a template to emulate. That's where you come in. She'll constantly lament about her supposed lack of abilities and her clucky ways so that you'll feel so guilty and let off your guard. You'll bend over backwards to please her, defer to her in everything, polish her self-esteem, help make her over and basically let her walk all over you. In time, you'll find her adopt your style, endorse your brilliant ideas as if they were her own, steal your friends and just about scheme to take over the world. Soon, you'll be the one with no personality, you're nothing but a tool for her metamorphosis.

The Temp - As the name implies, this one's here for a short while. During the attachment period (defined by you and her sharing a common school, class or workplace) she's intensely involved with you. In fact you click like soulmates. She makes you laugh, shares life stories, gives you the best of her and you respond in kind. She's godsend and you quickly believe that she's your best friend for life. But all good things must end apparently. She begins a new job or moves interstate, and soon you find her ignoring your emails and making a speedy exit out of your life.
Recognise the temp and humour her. She lives for the highs and has very little endurance.

The Networker - She's a veritable dispenser of compliments. To hear her, she loves your clothes, your ideas, she'll do anything for you (except in deeds) and is desperate to find common grounds. She'll want to meet up or catch up or do lunch. You click with her? Unfortunately, so does every other person in her busy network schedule. Is she sincere? Hardly ever.

The Cult Seeker - She's tried every cult and you're next. She LOVES everything you do. You're her inspiration. She wants to know what you're doing next so that she can jump on your bandwagon. She's lost and looks for something to hang on to. Imitation is the best flattery, you say? I think it's downright freaky. Keep it cool and detached. Dont encourage the poor girl.

The Childhood Cousin - You grew up together in Dakar, you share unique common life experiences, you sleep in the same bed at family sleepovers, watch movies together, cuddle, go out...You understand each other. But puberty has surprises for you. Soon, she begins to see you as competition in her quest for social status and boyfriend material. She ceremoniously dumps you for another, more popular friend, hoping to catch on to the limelight. Then, you simply cease to exist as she sucks up to her other friends in order to secure potential dates with eligible Lebanese males. Cut the umbilical cord. Fast.

The Manipulator - She's your best friend for a while. Then she begins to slowly hint at behaviours that she thinks you should adopt, or clothes that you should wear. She makes unfavourable comparisons between you and her other more 'cool' friends and challenges you to live up to their daredevil ways. I had one of those in Grade 9. I stopped talking to her and never looked back.

So then, what about toxic male friends?
I have to say that my male friends have a pretty good record.
(Ex-Boyfriends, though, are quite another matter.)
Here's one I have to share.

The Prude - He's your best friend until he begins to develop unwelcomed sexual feelings for you, a married woman. At this point, he panics, freezes, begins to treat you callously as though to punish you for enticing these not so noble sentiments in him and slowly, but surely makes a clean, self-preserving exit from your life. In short, a wuss.