Sunday, March 14, 2004

I get nostalgic a lot. I've been house-hunting intensively since Thursday, and on Friday I went to see one house in Brunswick Rd, Brunswick. The house itself was pretty ordinary, a scary commune ruled by a scruffy social worker guy. It smelled like incense. Still, it wasn't as bad as the legendary Parkville Cat Death House or West Brunswick Samoan Bonghead House from the last time I house-hunted. But anyway, I knew before I even walked in that I didn't want to live there, but I had to go through the motions to be polite. Why do people jerk each other around like that, in the name of mere politeness?

But after I left in the fresh air and autumn sunshine and waited for the tram on Lygon Street, I started to feel really sad and nostalgic. You see, in the words of Madonna, this used to be my playground. Brunswick was my turf for six years, and that tram stop, all the familiar landmarks I went past, just reminded me of what was happening in my life over those years, the anticipation of travelling down Lygon St to get to Penny's house, or frantically thinking up some shitty concepts on the tram for a copywriting assignment that was due that morning, or tipsily heading to a university ball (the time I sang Ain't There Anyone Here For Love? on the tram in my slinky red velvet dress!), or the Up Top Bar in the Reg Cole days, or to Giles' house on some half-arsed booty call.

Also, of 1999, the worst year of my life, with its gnawing sense of being useless and unemployed, and being in love with a guy who didn't love me, and then having to fight with him and ruin our friendship to make myself feel better. Back then I thought I'd never get over it. But amazingly, I did. I remember one day suddenly realising "Hey! I feel normal!" Now I'm horribly in love with another guy who (presumably; I'm afraid to ask) doesn't love me. Oh my god, it's such bittersweet torture, having him inhabit my thoughts so completely and yet not wanting to freak him out by telling him so. Plus ├ža change...

Then yesterday I was getting a liquid breakfast at Boost Juice on Elizabeth St, and I was served by this fat kid who was singing along with Guy Sebastian blasting out of the speakers ("All I need is you in my life forever..." ; Lynda's boyfriend Paul cynically thinks Guy is actually singing about his relationship with God!). And then Guy was replaced by Britney Spears' Toxic, which has been boring its catchy way into my brain for the last couple of weeks, and I was seized by a sudden, fervent desire to work at Boost Juice and get paid to sing and dance along with Britney, and wear a kamikaze-style headband and josh around with my perky co-workers.

Of course, that part of me that remains bitter from my experiences in the McWorkforce and from reading No Logo was thinking "You idiot! Think of all the cleaning, all the sticky juice, the shitty pay, the creepy corporate culture that makes you act all perky..." But it was the music that overrode that pragmatism.

I've been reading a lot about the Neptunes for an article I'm writing, and one reviewer said hearing Frontin' made him feel like he was back in high school. That song has a similar effect on me, a kind of boost (the juice bar name was appropriate!) of nostalgia. When it came out I was obsessed with it, I'd hear it out at Oreo parties and before I even knew what it was called or who did it, I loved that line of Jay-Z's - "like you were just another shortie I put the naughty on." I also loved that emphasis on the first beat of every bar, and the breakdown section with the bassline over which you can hear the Neptunes' trademark panting noises and Pharrell doing that sublime Curtis Mayfield "Ooooh-oooh, whoa-whoa." Anyway, hearing that song fills me with a kind of sadness that I just can't explain because it's not as if there's any personal meaning attached to the song. The only way for me to describe how it makes me feel is nostalgia.

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