Blogs are like Tequila. They should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Monday, November 25, 2013

What I’ve Learned From Four-Year-Olds.

After an overwhelming response to last week’s blog, I was panicking to find a topic this week. A whole week of panicking. My Nutella levels went through the roof. Then I had one of the best conversations of my life with a four-year-old boy, and things made better sense. Things always make better sense when you spend a few minutes with a four-year-old.

I’m an actor, which means I am a nanny and a children’s entertainer (because most actors don’t work as actors). Working with children was a natural choice for me. Children get me, and I get them. It doesn’t say much for my maturity levels, but I don’t care. The other day, I chatted with a kid about what animal Grug might be for a good hour and a half (seriously, what the fuck is that thing?) and it became a existential chat about what defines a creature. Four-year-olds don’t worry about asking big questions. They don’t edit their imagination, or filter their statements. Four-year-olds just say it. And sometimes, their wisdom just about knocks me out.

What I’ve learned from four-year-olds.

Have faith in yourself and your work.
I watched a little girl, four years old, scribbling on a piece of paper as if her life depended on it. I asked her what she was doing. “I’m writing a really good story!” she responded, arm moving frantically. “What’s it about?” I asked. “I don’t know! I can’t read!” she said, shrugging her shoulders incredulously at my stupid question.  I asked her how she knew the story was good if she couldn’t read it. She looked up at me, thought for one second, and saidI feel it in my tummy”. Then went back to scribbling. If only we could all have that much faith in our own intuition.

Everything has a silver lining.
I get a major kick out of reading bedtime stories. Lying next to the kids in bed, I go into ‘actor’ mode, inventing voices for the characters and pretending I’m on Play School, meanwhile defeating the purpose of trying to calm the children down before sleep time. One time, I got right into a book about zoo animals. Rhythmic rhyming structure, characters with accents – this book was brilliant. After one of the greatest performances of my career, I finished with gusto, closed the book and said, “That was a GREAT book! Did you like that book, Lachy?” to which he replied “I hated it. But it did have a monkey”. If that’s not finding a silver lining, I don’t know what is.
If you have everything you already want, just spread the love.
At a fairy party, there is always a special moment where I teach the kids how to make a Special Fairy Wish. To make a Special Fairy Wish, you blow a kiss in the air, catch it, and then whisper your wish to it. Once you have whispered, you rub your hands together until the wish gets warm with magic (or friction...) and then throw it into the air. One time, there was a gorgeous little chubby-cheeked girl, concentrating so hard that she had her eyes screwed up and tongue out, and I just HAD to lean in and listen to her wish. To my astonishment, she whispered “I wish... I wish... I LOVE PRINCESS DIANA”, and then, looking extremely satisfied with her choice, rubbed her wish between her hot little hands and threw it in the air. It was 2009, 12 years post-Diana*... but if you have nothing to wish for, why not throw some love in the air?

Technology is nothing to be scared of.
I was at the playground (nannying, not hanging out) and a little boy runs up to me.
Boy: “Hi. I’m Ned. I’m four. My favourite TV show is SuperTed.”
Me: “What? That was my favourite show when I was little, how have you seen that?”
Boy: “Duh. I just YouTubed it on my iPad.”
(This kid was wearing Velcro-ed sneakers, so he was still unable to tie shoelaces, and yet he was capable of using a YouTube search engine. I’m not sure if this is a good priority system or a bad one, but it was intimidatingly awesome, and made me want to learn how to properly use the new version of iTunes. I did... and then they bloody changed it again. I need Ned.)

Keep your feet on the ground.
A four-year-old girl asked me "what did you want to be when you growed up?”. I said "I still want to be an actor!" She looked me up and down, seeing me in the colourful outfit I wear as a party entertainer, and said, "Oh... It's not really working out for you, is it?". Then she sort of patted me on the hand and went off to play with some cushions. Humbling to say the least.

All you need is love.
At the end of a party, we often will do a little dance concert for the parents. Right before the parents walk in, I say to the kids “Okay! What do we have to remember when we show our Mummies and Daddies our dance?” aiming for the essentials of remembering to smile, to have fun, to shake our pom poms (LITERAL pom poms, not euphemistic pom poms, before you call Child Services), and so on. This year, I got a golden response from one little girl, who simply said, “that they love us”. I almost burst into tears. She was right – their performance quality didn’t matter, or whether they remembered to smile or shake their pom-poms (again, literal). The parents love it every time. As long as your parents love you, you can’t put a foot wrong.


Never worry about trivial pursuits such as what to write on a little blog page, because some people have far more important shit to deal with.
At work, a spider dropped down from the ceiling and landed in front of a little boys’ face. I was alerted to this fact by an almighty blood-curdling scream (pretty sure the spider will need hearing aids forever more), I turned around as the white-faced, wide-eyed little tacker threw himself off his chair and into his mum’s loving arms. A couple of minutes later, after his mum had performed some grade-A soothing cuddles and I had removed the spider**, he returned to his chair, still hiccupping and with wet eyelashes. I knelt down next to him, apologised, and told him that when I had taken the little spider outside, the spider had turned around and told me he didn’t mean to scare the little boy, he just wanted to be friends. I asked the little fella, somewhat jokingly, if maybe he thought he might be Spiderman. He took this very seriously, and slowly responded “I might be. I do really like my Spiderman costume. Maybe I’m just too little to know yet.” He asked if I thought it likely that the spider had looked through his roof and seen him in his Spiderman costume, then followed him to the party. By this point, I was on a high from imagination excitement and being close to so much cuteness. I agreed with him that yes, the spider probably had seen him in his costume and known that this boy was the future Spiderman, so they better be friends now. My little man looked off into the distance, with a furrowed brow and dreamy wide eyes, and said “Wow.... I have a lot to think about”.

I thought I had a lot to live up to. 

The biggest lesson from the small stuff: Don't sweat the small stuff.

Thanks for the beautiful response to the Adelaide post last week.

To the negative responders - hang out with a four-year-old ASAP.

*In case you are curious why a four-year-old could have such an interest in Princess Diana 12 years A.D (After Di), I asked her mum at the end of the party, and she sheepishly admitted to having a lot of Diana paraphernalia including a wall of collectable china plates. Like mother, like daughter.

**I am absolutely terrified of spiders, to the point where I still have nightmares around once a week. But this spider was smaller than a 5c coin, looked mildly friendly, and had had a pretty bad day, so I was sympathetic to his condition.

By Lucy Gransbury. Follow her on Twitter @LucyGransbury. Or follow her in real life. She's probably Googling 'what the fuck is Grug?'.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Adelaide Doesn’t Need Your Approval.

This is going to be a rant, but I’ll try and make it funny and I’ll include the word ‘asshat’. Bear with me.

I’m from Adelaide. I’ve lived in Melbourne for seven years – not because I don’t want to live in Adelaide, but because I wanted to challenge myself by moving away – and I find myself having to defend my city’s honour on a daily basis. That much, I can deal with (since I took up kickboxing). But then, this happened.

A douchebag who shall remain nameless (alright, his name is Anthony Sharwood) recently wrote a sarcastic article* about Adelaide’s recent accolade as one of Lonely Planet’s Top Cities in the World. I read his article a couple of weeks ago, and I put my anger on simmer. And then today I stumbled across a photo I’d forgotten about that I took earlier this year of a man on a tram in Melbourne wearing an Anti-SA t-shirt. And my blood went from simmer to boil. But you know what I realised about these two dickwads who couldn’t tell their ass from their elbow? You know what I would say to these wankers if ever I felt like starting a conversation with two men who, put together, have less personality than a box of hair?

Adelaide doesn’t need your approval. If you don’t want to live here... bugger off. Shut up about it. We are doing fine without you.

You know what, dirty tram-man? You are wearing a leopard print hat, three old Sexpo wrist tags and a Hustler bag.
Adelaide didn't want you anyway.

Sharwood referred to Adelaide, among other things, as ‘dysfunctional’ (as well as calling us ‘bitchy’. People in glass houses shouldn’t throw catty articles across the internet, ASSHAT). Our city is fucking brilliant. Everything is easy to find because good ol’ Colonel William Light planned it properly, on a grid. We have a beautiful, syringe-less beach only a tram ride away. Our CBD is surrounded by parklands that harbour far less sexual activity than yours by a buttload (pun intended). Yes, Elizabeth may be our ghetto suburb, but you can bet your ass we’d fiercely protect it against the slumlords that might travel over from Sydney’s bogan areas. At least our ghetto doesn’t cause riots that make the WORLD FUCKING NEWS (way to make Australia look good, Redfern. I mean, Maroubra. Cronulla? Shit, I don’t remember, there’s been too bloody many of them).

And as for referring to the Fringe festival as “an excuse to get really drunk in the park while watching B-Grade acts because no decent act ever makes it to Adelaide”. Come a little closer and say that. Our Fringe is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere, second only in the world to Edinburgh, with over 4000 performers and 1.5 million audience members. Yours is three years old and the biggest in New South Wales between Woy Woy and Wollongong. Accept defeat and don’t be a bitch, Sharwood. Your city is also notoriously bad at nurturing the Arts and new acts. You may have NIDA and the Sydney Theatre Company, but when it comes to the Arts, we are more supportive than a DD-cup push-up bra. You also used a forty-year-old photograph to criticise our fashion sense, and made fun of a lagoon ecosystem. Were you running out of ideas, much?

I frigging loved growing up in Adelaide. I love that the three most magical places of my youth had magical names – The Lost Forest, Dazzleland, and Magic Mountain. What’s even more magical is that they no longer exist, except perfectly in my memory. I love that getting stuck in peak hour traffic means only having to slow down to 30kph for twenty minutes of the day. I love that you have a good chance of bumping into people you went to school with, most likely out at a pub that has been around for years but a recent revamp has made it become cool again. I love that there are a million great restaurants and bars, and that you people from interstate seem to have no idea where to find them (what are you, idiots? Ask locals, get on Google - the good places in any city are easy to find if you have half a brain). I love that I have no knowledge of wine, but I feel safe that it will be good enough when I read ‘made in SA’ on the label. I love that we speak with a slight English accent. I love that, on my 21st birthday, I got to dance with a local celebrity – Johnny Haysman**. I love that we reportedly live longer than Melbournites and Sydney-Siders (maybe from being kinder humans, dicknose). I love that we have special terms like ‘heaps good’ and ‘fritz’ and ‘yiros’, like our own little language. I love that I once saw some door graffiti that said "Look at yourself. Go on, look. You are beautiful." (And a week later in Sydney saw door graffiti that said "You are a c*nt-fucker"...). I love that Farmer’s Union Iced Coffee outsells Coca-cola by almost three-to-one, the only city in the world where a milk drink is more popular than Coke. I love Adelaide.
I casually snapped this myself (and then instagrammed it in a never ending attempt to be cool), of one of my many favourite Adelaide spots.
And you know what the absolute best thing about Adelaide is? We laugh at ourselves. We admit we aren’t perfect. We admit we have a stupid expressway, and a few shark attacks. We admit we own the heritage of Snowtown as proudly as you admit you own that of Ivan Milat (a.k.a. not proudly at all). But at least we have never required a season of Underbelly. We don’t feel the need to be arrogant about which is the best city or put others down (unless they piss us off with stupid sarcastic articles). We are also happy to openly love other cities. I love Melbourne. Despite my rant, I actually love Sydney (so thanks a lot for forcing me to play dirty and say mean things, Sharwood). And maybe it’s that lack of arrogance and bitchiness that keeps getting us voted as one of the BEST AND MOST LIVABLE CITIES IN THE WORLD. And we are more thick-skinned than any of the other cities because we get so much crap from Melbourne and Sydney (except probably Hobart, those two-headed Tassy freaks get a lot of flak). Adelaide is the harmless little kid at school who got picked on by the self-important bullies. She stayed quiet and kept true to herself, and slowly started to get recognised for being beautiful and kind. Unlike the coke-snorting, king-hitting, street-walking bullies, who will wake up one day and realise they have no friends left, no money for rent, and a bad reputation for being a bitch.

I once heard that Adelaide and Los Angeles are the only two cities with lights that twinkle from outer space – something to do with the shape of the hills that surround the city, trapping in twinklifying gasses. Whether the outer space thing is true, I don’t know – I’ll get back to you once I’ve been up there. But I know that I can see them twinkling and blinking from the hill behind my parent’s house. Like the million good things we have to offer, our twinkly lights are only appreciated by those who have the perceptiveness to notice them. So, Anthony Shart-wood and dirty tram-man, come on back to Adelaide. Let me show you around properly (and I promise not to push you in the Torrens... more than once). And if you end up hating it, that’s fine. Thanks for giving it a real go, and have a safe onward journey. Adelaide will be okay without you. In fact, it will be more than okay. Adelaide will still be awesome, quietly rocking out behind your back as you drive away, its’ lights twinkling in your rear-view mirror.

*If you want to read that article, I hope you read it with a sneer on your face and a snarl in your throat. Feel free to leave him a rude comment, or pee in his fuel tank.

**For those readers who are not familiar with Johnny Haysman, he is a local who can often be found wandering around Rundle Mall in gumboots, briefs, and a fluoro vest. Like New York’s Naked Cowboy, but with crazier hair and an incredible outlook on life. We danced to a Spice Girls song at Flashdance HQ, and I was giddy with happiness.

Me and Johnny Haysman - An extremely happy moment.

By Lucy Gransbury. Follow her on Twitter @LucyGransbury. Or follow her in real life. She's in Melbourne... ironically.

Monday, November 11, 2013

How To: Not Be A Shitty Flight Passenger

Air travel. Be it known that I am not the perfect flight passenger. I once fell asleep and drooled on the shoulder of the lady next to me. She was very polite and did not say anything, but I woke up from a deep sleep leaning over her shoulder with a little wet patch near the lapel. Neither of us looked each other in the eye all the way to the baggage carousel and beyond. I also once fell asleep (sensing a pattern?!) so heavily that I didn’t hear any of the soon-to-be-landing announcements, and when the plane touched down and jolted me awake, I screamed because I thought we were crashing. Although my fellow passengers were highly entertained, I couldn’t look ANYONE in the eye to the baggage carousel and beyond.

Regardless of my (usually sleep-induced) flaws, my recent international flights have tipped me over the edge on how much other passengers can piss me off. If we all just followed a few simple guidelines (ignoring the obvious rule that I have already broken, do NOT dribble on your fellow passengers), then perhaps some of the angst would be taken out of travelling on the steel birds, and our only concern would be how much Jetstar is charging for a shit cardboard sandwhich, and why the pilot sounds stoned*. So here ’tis.

How To: Not Be A Shitty Flight Passenger (or, How To: Give a Flying F*ck)

I have both hated and been all of these passengers.
  1. Calm the fuck down, we all WILL get on and off the plane. There is no need for you to stand in a huge queue to get on board. There is no need for you to push in the line. There is no need for you to stand up the moment the aeroplane wheels connect with the tarmac, with your head bent at an uncomfortable angle under the seatbelt sign, in a bid to be the first to de-board. The flight attendants will stand there calmly until the plane is full/empty, and whether you are the first or last one on/off the plane, you are still going to have to wait for another fifteen minutes until the flight taxis out or the baggage hits the carousel. So Calm. The fuck. Down.
  2. Get your shit out of your bag BEFORE you board. The reason we end up standing in line on the plane for so long is because some wanker sat in the gate lounge for twenty minutes, got up, swiped his boarding pass, got to his seat, and THEN decided to remove his jacket, change into his jumper, get out his laptop, locate his iphone in his wanker briefcase, put his briefcase in the overhead locker, go back to it to get his wanky book out, and then FINALLY sit down while we all aged twelve years in the line. Dear wanker, think about what you need before you get on the plane, and we can avoid all the stupid hold-ups.
  3. Keep your elbows to yourself. We are sharing that arm rest between us, so SHARE. And stop poking me in the ribs.
  4. When you put your seat back, do it gently. (And preferably, if you are in front of me, don’t put it back at all...)  More than once the dickhead in front of me has slammed his chair back at a random point in the flight, and I have spilt coffee all over my lap. Gentle.
  5. If the seatbelt sign is on, put your frigging seatbelt on. You are not special, even if you are in a rush to get off the plane (see point one, moron). Sit down, get over yourself, and put your frigging seatbelt on.
  6. If you have a naughty child, at least pretend to look guilty. I was once sat next to a kid who made Dennis the Menace look like an angel. He would not sit still or put his seatbelt on, he kept aiming his little Army tanker at me and pretending to shoot me in the boob, he sang “the song that never ends” for a solid half hour, and he burped and blew it in my direction at least three times. We were both lucky to survive that flight – I could’ve died from annoyance, and he could’ve died from strangling. But the thing that pissed me off the most was that his mum just pretended nothing was happening. Didn’t even TRY to shut him up. If she had at least pretended to care, I would’ve smiled sympathetically and politely blown his burp back away. But instead, I fantasised about opening the Emergency Exit and either jumping, or throwing him out of it.
  7. Don’t be annoying. If you are playing games on your phone or some other device, turn the bloody sound off. Or risk me hitting you over the head with said device.
  8. Politely say hello to your neighbour at the beginning of the flight. Chances are, you will be touching intimately at some point or other, so if your neighbour says hello to you, say hello back and don’t be rude. You might even get to eat their dessert if they don’t want it (providing you are on a fancy free-food flight like Qantas).
  9. Extra wide seats. This is not a rule, but it is an interesting concept. Apparently Airbus is considering offering wider, 20-inch aisle seats to obese passengers, while the other two remaining seats in the aisle will be decreased from the standard 18-inch seat to a slightly squishier 17-inch seat. Given that I spent my recent 10-hour flight back from USA with only 75% of my seat, as an obese 12-year-old boy’s rear end** claimed one quarter of it, I could make do with a 17-inch seat... BUT only if it meant I got to pay 3 inches less than the extra wide seat passengers. I’m happy for people to enjoy their doughnuts, but I’m not happy when it means I’m caught between a butt cheek and a hard place. 
  10. And lastly, but possibly most importantly: No gaschambers. Just because the engine is loud, doesn’t mean we all lose our sense of smell. Even if your fart is silent, it still smells deadly. And there is nowhere for us to run.

Most passengers are excellent and abide by these rules subconsciously, because they are polite and functioning human beings. But if any of these have surprised you, then perhaps you should take them on board (pun intended). Whether you’re a seasoned flying professional or a nervous rookie, follow these guidelines, and at the very least, you will avoid getting thrown out of the Emergency Exit by a disgruntled fellow passenger. Me.

I can’t promise I won’t dribble on you, though...

*This was drawn to my attention recently and now I can’t stop noticing it. Pilots have a very specific.... uhhhh, laidback.... way. Of speaking. In short.... uhhhhh, broken.... sentences. Almost as if they are not quite concentrating, or too relaxed to form a whole sentence. They also sometimes give way more information than necessary – “we are currently flying at 66,000 feet.... uh... with a ground speed of  blah blah... uhhhhhh.... the temperature is currently... uhhhhhhhhhhh. We have a tail wind, the humidity is peaking, and my Grandma’s name is Hilda.”

**Please let it be known that I felt sorry for this chubby little fella, and a little judgey of his mum who fed him four doughnuts during the flight. And also, jealous of the four doughnuts he got during the flight.

By Lucy Gransbury. Follow her on twitter @LucyGransbury. Or follow her in real life. She is probably dribbling on a stranger.