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What The English Patient reminded me about life…and death

11 Jun

I’ve just finished watching The English Patient and am a blubbering mess. I’m not talking a tiny tear gliding down my cheek. No, I was wailing. Howling. I believe ‘Why do people have to diiiiiiiie?,’ was what I sobbed as the credits rolled.

Three hours earlier, I was happy. Rain was lashing the windows as wind whipped around the cabin. Glass of wine in hand, I thought a romantic movie was just the ticket for a long afternoon in front of the fire.

Of course, I knew that a movie about the war was bound to involve death. But it wasn’t the senseless deaths that disturbed me. It was when the little nurse (played by Juliette Binoche) broke down, wondering why everyone who ever loved her died. Thinking she was a bad omen.

It was when the nurse filled the syringe with half a dozen doses of morphine and cried as she realised what she was about to do. Release a man to meet his lover.

Even then, I was simply sniffing.

But then the nurse read the poem Kristin’s character had written:

“We die. We die rich with lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we’ve entered and swum up like rivers. Fears we’ve hidden in – like this wretched cave. I want all this marked on my body. Where the real countries are. Not boundaries drawn on maps with the names of powerful men. I know you’ll come carry me out to the Palace of Winds. That’s what I’ve wanted: to walk in such a place with you. With friends, on an earth without maps.”

And then I wailed. Heaved with tears and sadness. It was a sweet sentiment, sure, but how I hate to be reminded of death!

I know we all have to die and farewell our friends, our loves, life. But how I wish we could live forever.

Then again…Ralph’s character was ready to meet his death. He had heard his lover’s final words. There was nothing left for him in this world. He wished to be free from his body, so he could walk with her in the Palace of Winds. Eternally.

So perhaps that’s the meaning of life. To find meaning. To find a reason to live…and then a reason to die.

When we’ve given our all, when we’ve poured out our heart, life awaits somewhere else. Of course, some of us don’t have the chance to prepare. Life is whisked away and our loved ones are left behind to make sense of it all. So all we can do is leave our mark on each day and, when we head off to bed, know that we gave that day our best shot.

Now excuse me while I top up my glass of red and switch on The Hangover. I need a giggle!

5 things 2011 taught us

16 Dec

Oh, what a year! Social upheaval, natural devastation and far too much Kardashian koverage marked 2011.

With Christmas being a time for reflection and contemplation, I thought I’d pop open the bubbly (please, grab a glass!) and look back at 5 things 2011 taught us…

#1 – Mother Nature can be a bitch

Apparently, this year’s torrent of natural disasters made 2011 the costliest on record. And that was just by July! Floods, fires and cyclones battered our young country. New Zealand lost 100 people to a 6.3-magnitude earthquake. More than 15,000 lives were lost (and 7000 people missing) when a quake and tsunami ravaged Japan. The world wept. And continued to weep. I said a silent prayer for those who lost their lives and their loved ones. I prayed that prayer far too many times in 2011.

#2 – The world is Kardashian krazy

The KKK (sorry, I mean the Kardashian klan koverage) reached ridiculous heights this year. Twitter turned into a frantic finch cage (you know, those tiny little birds that dash about) the moment a Kardashian ate a salad, got out of a car, or said ‘Like, yeaaaah, like, you knowwww’. Kim’s quickie 72-day marriage caused a stir. Kourtney and that aggro pastel-wearing dude dominated magazine covers. Khloe apparently got ‘fatter’. And then ‘thinner’. And then ‘fat’ again. Then it turned out she was preggers. But then she wasn’t. Ugh. Over it!

#3 – On that note…the world loves butts (and it cannot lie)

The royal wedding of that hot dude Prince William to that thin lass Catherine was overshadowed by the apparently pert posterior of the princess’s sis. A Facebook page – Pippa Middleton’s Arse – was set up in the derriere’s honour. That picture of Pippa in a figure-hudding frock at the wedding turned the world butt-crazy. Second only to its obsession with Kim Kardashian’s kaboose. Which, according to gossip magazines, grows or shrinks according to her stress levels. Or the camera angle.

#4 – If you want to be a famous singer, be a bad one

Yes, Rebecca Black, I’m looking at you! Her cringe-worthy Friday Friday video, featuring lame lyrics and a heavy amount of auto-tune, amassed 167 million YouTube views. And more than 3 million ‘dislikes’. So kids, the lesson here is: if you want to make it in this world, don’t worry about being talented. Instead, focus on what you’re not good at and flog it! (By the way, I do feel kinda sorry for the kid).

#5 – Nothing in life is certain – so just live it!

Did anyone else feel that this year was a struggle – individually and globally? I felt like we were all being tested, stretched, challenged and reminded of just how precious life is. The ravaging natural disasters had us fearing the end of the world. Then the wars and social plights had me thinking it’s in fact us who will bring about the end of our world, not Mother Nature.

I don’t know about you, but I’m wrapping up the year relieved and a little uncertain about what 2012 holds. The only thing I can be certain of is the little ripples I will make.

I pledge to be more peaceful, helpful, loving and kind. I promise to try harder not to judge others, to trust and to be more open. It might not make any difference in the big scheme of things, but perhaps if each of us strives to live and love better next year, that little ripple will flutter out to where it’s needed most.

I wish you a safe and peaceful Christmas and an optimistic New Year.

Cheers!

Xoxo Kat

What are your most memorable moments from 2011? What are you looking forward to in 2012? Share by commenting below 🙂

Bridget Jones back in 2012!

14 Dec

Excuse me while I hyperventilate into a wine glass. It’s just been announced that Bridget Jones is making a comeback, with a third installment in the film franchise due for release in late 2012! Ahh. Maa. Gaad!

In the latest flick, Bridget apparently ends up preggers to slimy, smarmy, but oh so delectable Daniel Cleaver.

There are three reasons why I’m so blooming excited about this news.

  1. Whenever a Bridget Jones movie is released, I feel justified gorging on wine, chocolate and acting a little bit crazy. If Bridget Jones is allowed to do it, so am I!
  2. Another chance to perve on the sexy man meat that is Mr Darcy (aka Colin Firth)
  3. Another chance to perve on Hugh Grant. Granted (pun), he’s not as hot-to-trot as rugged Firth, but it’s still a nice little dose of eye candy.

Aside from all that, Bridget Jones is one of the most authentic, real and fabulously flawed female characters to grace the silver screen. She fumbles, she bumbles, she accidentally makes blue soup and seems to have a habit of falling bum-first on camera. While some of her actions might make us cringe, Bridget is relatable. She’s real. And that’s why we love her (and, of course, why Mr Darcy falls head over heels with her as well).

So here’s cheers to the return of Bridget Jones in 2012!

Are you a Bridget Jones fan?

Fear the fame monster

27 Nov

I ventured down to Melbourne this weekend to race in the Head of the Yarra rowing regatta. Unfortunately, the river flooded and the race was called off. Though I did get the chance to catch up with an old school friend.

As we sipped our lattes, my friend told me about her recent experiences teaching music at a ‘rough’ school in an even ‘rougher’ Melbourne suburb. Amid accounts of 11 year-old students attempting to punch her in the stomach and a ‘gang’ girl who took a knife to school, my mate mentioned that most of the kids in her class want to be famous. That’s their career aspiration. To be another Kardashian (and, I’m assuming, change their first name initial to a ‘k’).

There are no aspirations of fire fighting or nursing, or even being talented musicians. They just want to be famous. Whether that’s through a trashy reality TV show or even an amateur sex tape (which my friend says many of them do indeed aspire to), it’s fame they crave.

When I was sitting in careers class in year nine, selecting the subjects that would dictate my university studies and, in turn, my career, being famous didn’t even cross my mind. I considered following in my father’s footsteps and being a journalist, because I enjoyed writing and had an interest in current affairs. I even thought about being an actor, because I loved drama class and playing a character. Not because it fed my ego (quite the opposite in fact – performing on stage terrified me!) but because it gave me the chance to live the life of someone else and explore their flaws and dreams. When I imagined  myself working as a hard-nosed reporter, chasing a juicy story, I didn’t see the front page by-line or media parties. I saw myself making a difference. When I dreamed about life as an actor, I didn’t see the flashing lights of the paparazzi or signing autographs for my burgeoning fan base. Instead, I saw myself reading scripts and getting stuck into a challenging role. Many of my buddies from the WAAPA performance course I attended aspired to be actors. When we sat around in our lunch break rehearsing lines and gossiping, fame was never a reason why we wanted to act for a living. We just wanted to perform. And being famous might or might not result.

Sure, we all had moments of singing into our hairbrush in front of the bedroom mirror. A friend of mine, who has in fact gone on to have a successful TV career in Australia (and now America) and I used to put on singing shows for our families at dinner parties. But fame was still a very elusive thing. We didn’t feel entitled to it and we didn’t think it would just happen, either. There was a very slim chance of being famous and we knew that those who were had to work very hard for it.

It worries me that there are classrooms of kids who want to be the next Kardashian, ‘chk-chk boom chick’ or YouTube sensation. Finding a cure for diseases, being a counsellor or protecting the community as a police officer just doesn’t interest them. Well, unless they can be in a reality show about it! Fame just seems so easy these days. Simply audition for  a reality show in which you claim to be seeking love, fun or a record contract, say something controversial to get noticed and on the show and then ride the coattails of fame for as long as you can. The recipe for fame is a sinch – or at least, that’s what we’re made to believe.

What do you think? Is fame easier to come by these days, or does it just appear to be easy? Do you think kids aspire to be famous more than they aspire to make a difference or climb the career ladder or run the family business? And should we worry?

 

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