Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Sex sells at primary school concert

There is a time and a place where you expect to see young girls bouncing about, spouting misogynistic lyrics about being dollies to be touched, played with and undressed at the whim of an adoring male. Hey, it's a material world after all, right? And sex sells every time.

The time and place is Video Hits on a Saturday morning.

So, imagine my shock and horror when the time and place also turned out to be at my son's primary school concert. The girls (and boys) were seven and eight years old. The song was Aqua's 'Barbie Girl'. The person who had chosen the song and taught the kids the lyrics was their teacher. And the school principal was looking on.

What is wrong with this picture?

What is really, truly wrong is that nobody at the school seems to have seen anything wrong with it. I don't know if it's worse that a teacher chose it or that the school principal or deputy didn't see something amiss at the rehearsal stage.

"The teacher must have chosen the song for the Barbie connection and not the lyrics," was one comment. (Yes, I have been raving about this to everyone I speak to for the past day.)

I bloody well hope so, or it's even worse than I thought!

But surely she must have noticed the lyrics as she was helping the kids to learn them by heart? And isn't it her job to notice?

Here are some choice excerpts:

I'm a blonde single girl in the fantasy world
Dress me up, take your time, I'm your dollie
You're my doll, rock and roll, feel the glamour and pain
Kiss me here, touch me there, hanky-panky


You can touch, you can play
You can say I'm always yours

one more:

Make me walk, make me talk, do whatever you please
I can act like a star, I can beg on my knees
Come jump in, be my friend, let us do it again
Hit the town, fool around, let's go party

You can touch, you can play
You can say I'm always yours

I can't help but feel very concerned indeed about the values that are being taught and held at my son's school. Either that teacher has precisely one brain cell, or those materialistic, sexist, misogynistic values are so deeply embedded in her being that the thought of teaching them to young children doesn't even give her pause for thought. One thing is for sure. I don't ever want her teaching MY child.

And so is one other thing: if that had been my daughter on stage, I would be raising hell up at the school.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

House hunting blues

Just finished first official day of house-hunting feeling decidedly glum.

It's not that there aren't that many good places out there (though there aren't) or that at every inspection we attended there were fifteen other people looking just as desparate as I felt (though there were), or even that at the last house on our schedule - one that we were expecting a lot from - the tenants didn't turn up to open the door, the agent didn't have a key, and fifteen people trooped awaylooking pissed off/shattered (yes, you guessed it, this did happen). I think it's a combination of all these things.

I love and hate moving in equal measures (I think - I started off at love and am cascading towards hate right now).

The 'love' part comes from the anticipation of the unknown. You just might find your perfect place, and will PROBABLY end up somewhere that doesn't have all the features you've grown to hate about the place you currently call home. (Last house: that was the outside toilet - even though I didn't actually want to move that time around. And distance from somewhere nice to walk the dogs. This house: the 20 minute walk to the train station and laughable bus service. And same distance from a decent coffee and newsagent. And anything, really, apart from The Boy's school and a very nice park, where we don't walk the dogs as often as we should.)

The 'hate' part: the enormous hassle of finding a new place to live. Prostating yourself before real estate agents. Packing. Cleaning. Discovering subtle ways in which you have altered the house and which will cost you bond money. (Previous discoveries include dogs having scratched paint off the back door, dogs leaving urine stains on carpets, brother/flatmate having cracked glass door panel moving a cupboard, child having daubed blue paint on white weatherboard exterior). Twisting your stomach in knots over whether you'll find a property worth applying for/be accepted for the dream property. Spending your hard-earned savings on overlapping rent and bond and other moving costs. Unpacking.

More good things: having a clean, sparkling new start of a house. Getting rid of all the crap you've stockpiled since the last move. Discovering a new neighbourhood - or at the least, a new corner of your neighbourhood, if you haven't moved far. (Mmmm ... stomach knots slowly untwisting as I think of a return to civilisation and PT.)

I have been dying to move out of my house for the past six months. We locked ourselves into a two-year lease before I realised how much the public transport thing would kill me, as a non-driver. I have to admit that my partner told me so.

I just hope that it turns out and that we manage to make ourselves look good enough on paper (grrr, grrr) to elbow fifteen other applicants out of the way.

And, yes, Virginia, I believe that Melbourne is in the middle of a rental housing crisis. It's all true. Even in the West.