Monday, June 29, 2009

Growing Up with MJ

There is nothing to say about Michael Jackson that hasn't already been said. To me, his death was a particular shock because as a kid of the 80s, I grew up on his music when he was at his peak. He was the benchmark of a good dancer for our generation. When talking about someone who could dance, the defining test of if they were really that talented was if they could do Michael Jackson moves. How many childhood hours the world over were spent trying to moonwalk?

He was the only person me and my sisters ever wrote a fan letter to. I believe it was a critical dissection of his Moon Walker movie which we addressed to Michael Jackson, Neverland, America. God only knows where it ended up.

Our mother would go to the video shop and buy Michael Jackson music videos which we watched on an endless loop during our parents' afternoon siestas. This was before we had any sort of music channel in the Home Country.

People even teased me about resembling him and I once donned a pair of Aviators and white tape on my fingers for a picture, stood next to my Michael Jackson poster which is the only celebrity poster I ever bothered buying. It was flattering as a kid when he was still normal looking, but when the last comparison occurred just four years ago, I was deeply insulted.

As the years rolled on I abandoned my Michael Jackson fan status as things got weird and eventually he became not much more than tabloid fodder to me.

And then on Thursday night, as I was inspecting the skin peeling from my face from over enthusiastic spot removal efforts, my youngest sister rushed into the bathroom and told me that Michael Jackson had died.

It was only after that that I realised just how much fantastic music he made, and how much of that music appears as a backdrop to childhood memories and how my future kids would ask me where I was when I heard the news, the way we ask our parents where they were when Elvis died.

The Thriller video scared the living daylights out of me until I forced myself to watch despite my terror to the end and assure myself that the zombie does turn back into good old MJ. I defined what I wanted to look like when I grew up by all the women in Michael Jackson videos. Isn't it nice when you're a kid and you just think that you'll grow up to look like Iman simply because you want to?

And kids of today have no idea how cutting edge for its time the Black and White video was when the people in the end are all merging into each other, not even movies were doing that back then. As for that particular video, my sisters and I were beside ourselves with joy that an Indian woman got to dance with Michael Jackson in a video. Man, we knew the entire script to that video by heart.

And now all we are left from a life we literally picked and pecked to death is the music. At least I got to see Michael Jackson in the flesh for a few very brief seconds.

It was the late 80s and on one of our trips to the UK, our parents carted us off to Madame Tussaud's wax museum. Amongst the other attractions, a new statue of Michael Jackson had been unveiled. I was pretty young, but as far as I can recall the statue must have been stood under a spotlight because the rest of the room was very dark and gloomy.

All of a sudden, my mother shrieked "Oh my God! That's Michael Jackson!" I thought, yeah, it is Michael Jackson, it's his statue, why did you realise that all of a sudden? She repeated again that it was the real Michael Jackson and I spun around to catch a glimpse of the man himself flanked by bodyguards making a hasty exit as the crowd surged in his direction. That night, his clandestine appearance botched by my mother made the news.

When the news broke of his death and we sat together recalling how crazy we all were about Michael Jackson, I told her I wished she had quietly turned us around and pointed instead of notifying everyone in the room, causing his exit and making my one and only glimpse of Michael Jackson the back of him. At least I fared better than my older sister who turned in time to be hit in the face by Michael Jackson's shoulder bag and thus saw nothing at all. On our return to the Home Country, awe-struck friends told her she should never wash her face again.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Lying Under Trees, Looking At the Stars

I was a very little girl when we were dragged off one evening to see the great Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan who was making an appearance at our little town where nothing ever happens. Naturally all the mysticism and poetry went straight over my head and the only reason I even remember the night was because I was so bored and annoyed at being subjected to this fat man singing.

If only I knew back then!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Greek Tragedies

The following conversation took place in Greek:

Me: It would be nice to be able to wear those big sunglasses. Everyone looks good in those, it's hard not to look good in those!

Friend: Couldn't they make you a prescription pair?

Me: No, they'd apparently weigh too much because of the size of the lenses. But no big deal. On my next trip to the UK I'm going to see my eye doctor and get lentils for my eyes.

Friend: ...(looking blank)

Me: You know, lentils! You put them in your eyes and then you don't wear glasses? Come on! Your husband wears them too!

Friend: You mean lenses (φακόυς) not lentils (φακές)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Bollybutton's Friday Beatbox

It's been far too long since we put on our dancing saris and busted a move. It's Friday! We got through one more week of evil Bollywood villains and plotting, giant bindi wearing mother-in-laws! What better way to express our happiness than through the medium of Bollywood dance?


Monday, June 08, 2009

Find A Happy Place

After having my face practically ripped off my head, I thought I could not take any more wedding related shizz. But never say never!

Sore, irritable, and complaining to anyone willing to listen, I dragged my bridal ass downtown on Saturday morning to run errands, namely buying sugared almonds for wedding favours which I'm making myself (all that work and no one even keeps them afterwards) and picking up some fabric to make a dress for the casual part of the wedding day.

I went to the same shop I always go to for fabric and in the chit chatting about the fabric, I revealed what it was for. So the lady in the shop was kind enough to knock a few euros off the price since it was for a 'special occassion'.

On the ride home I was furiously running through all the things that were irritating me, like a kid picking at a scab. My thoughts sounding something like this:

* I can't BELIEVE I have to make so many of these favours when no one even keeps them afterwards!!
* My newly unblocked pores are sweating so much!

*Why is this flyer stuck to my shoe? Disgusting, melted chewing gum. Yet another thing to be pissed off at

* EUR 300 for hair and makeup? Are these people insane? I'll just do it myself and screw anyone who disagrees

And blahdy blah blah. It was a full on moan fest. I got home, threw the fabric into the washing machine to pre-shrink it and hung it out to dry.

A few hours passed and I forgot about the fabric. Finally on Sunday morning I remembered that I'd put it out but it had since disappeared from the line. Where could it have gone, one wondered.

Peeking into the back yard, I was horrified to see my poor dress fabric lying in a heap, crumpled and mashed into the mud of the yard. Yes, Brush-With-Death puppy had got bored of having no one to bark at and had a great time ripping a full variety of holes into the dress fabric, ranging from huge to teeny tiny. It was hard to find a square metre without some sort of hole through it.

I began to cry. And then I stopped. I rewashed the fabric and worked all around the holes to cut the pattern pieces. Not an easy task considering the dress is bias cut.

As a result of my pity party and lashings of negativity, all I did was attract even more bad luck. So from now until D day, I am no longer blogging about anything wedding related.Having found myself in a Catch-22 situation where giving my opinion results in people doing what they want to do anyway, and where not giving my opinion results in them insisting they know my opinion, then doing what they wanted to anyway, my new answer to any question is: "Do what you think is best."

I have adopted a zen-like attitude, a sort of mental hibernation. I'll wake up after the wedding.

Friday, June 05, 2009

This is the Death Mask of Womanhood*

There are times when I feel so out of touch with woman kind, that I really wish that I too was interested in all the stuff that other women are interested in - hair, nails, shoes, salon appointments, stupid looking handbag dogs etc.

I am on the whole happy with who I am, but sometimes I wish I found this stuff interesting, or could at least fake my interest in it, just to join in with the gang and have things to talk about.

What I'm talking about is the kind of woman who has been taught the 'rules of womanhood' by her mother. Who never leaves the house without makeup, who goes once a week to get her hair and nails done, who complicates her life unnecessarily but can't come to grips with you being female, not being a lesbian, and not being interested in those things.

My mother owned one eye pencil, one lipstick, one blusher and one perfume. That's it. She replenished the same exact shade and brand whenever she was done, and she always looked pretty great to me. But you might as well be from the moon if you admit that philosophy to other women, especially in Greece.

The build up to this wedding is turning into an exercise of first time rites of passage in womanhood for me. Since the Wedding Beast has now reached the size where it is devouring me, one nerve at a time, I thought I might as well join in and try some of this stuff women keep going on about. It might even be relaxing! A facial for example!

Since the resident spots did not even flinch when I began applying expensive spot busters to them, carpet bombing was the only option left. So I turned to my crazy friend M from bellydance, who happens to be beautician, but the good kind, ie she doesn't wear 6 inches of makeup or have fake nails.

She gave me a long chat about how careful I would need to be with my skin because the melanin would leave marks that would take forever to fade if I went to someone who had no experience with ethnic skin.

Now, I trust M. I know that all this will be worth it at some point and that at least most of the spots were evacuated from their posts this morning. But oh my GOD. I've experienced less pain in the dentist's chair.

The first facial of my life confirmed for me that women are completely insane. I had the living daylights squeezed out of my pores and then M declared "We'll burn the microbes now" followed by the bone-chilling sound of electricity crackling. "What the hell is that!" I wailed as she brandished a torture device near me.

And then, dear reader, I lay there while my face was electrocuted. And not only that, I paid for it afterwards. Do you know what they call this treatment? High frequency facial treatment. I suppose no one would submit to it if it was called what it actually is: Facial Electrocution treatment.

My face looks like a hot mess at the moment. Every pore on my face is screaming "FUCK YOU" at me and has turned red, swollen and angry. I feel like crying when I look in the mirror. With M's follow up schedule, I'm sure things will smooth out and at least those awful bumps won't come back. But when my face looks like I stuck it in a bee hive, it's really hard to hold on to that faith.

Preparations for the wedding is proving very revealing in terms of all the awful things women do to themselves to 'look good'. I was happy with my face. Experiencing all that pain on my face of all places has made me feel violated - I wish I could go back to this morning before I knew that ones face could feel such pain.

It's also made me realise that the women who are into this stuff are fucking crazy. Why complain about how long it takes you to maintain your hairdo when you could just walk out the door after washing your hair? The sky won't fall, you know.

And manicures? Seriously guys, these don't even last more than two days. You pay money to make your nails look like your nails do anyway. When I showed my french manicure to Mr Zeus's grandma, she said "I don't see any manicure. Why didn't she paint them with a colour?"

The excuse is that all this rubbish makes women feel good about themselves. Why do I feel like the only person thinking "But the emperor has no clothes... he's naked! Why all this oohing and aahing over how great his clothes are?"

And if you are a woman who goes for facials, waxing, laser treatments, salon hairdos where they yank and pull at your hair all the time, facial electrocution and suchlike, I don't EVER want to hear about your painful period again. And give birth naturally! I don't want to hear about your pain threshold, you big fat liar! You can't torture yourself for years like this and then decide pain is something you can't handle. Liar, liar, LIAR!

With a face like this I am not leaving the house for the rest of my life. I think it's time to freak out my neighbours and start wearing a niqab.

*Disclaimer: I am pissed as hell this week. And especially today, when my face looks like fuck and smells like wet metal.