The ninja neat warrior who sparks crazy

Image result for marie kondo

(Image: Decider)

Marie Kondo is having a moment. The diminutive beaming Japanese ninja neat warrior has tapped into the zeitgeist in a big way and is attempting to bring happiness and peace to the planet one neatly folded t-shirt at a time. Thanks to her recent Netflix series, she has become a global phenomenon. Who knew that tidying up was so Instagrammable? Who knew that sorting out stuff would lead to personal empowerment and who knew that a good old-fashioned cleaning session would spark joy. Certainly not me.

For anyone who has somehow missed her Netflix special, her books or massive media coverage, she is a Japanese de-clutterer expert who has devised a system, called KonMari to tackle tidying up. From what I can gather this really just means throwing things out and keeping the house clean. There are, however, a few signature moves. For instance, her approach to throwing out is that you should only keep things that spark joy. If they don’t spark joy, then you must hold the item (be it clothing, ornaments, books, whatever), thank it for its service and then toss it. She also has a special t-shirt folding and storage technique. T-shirts should be stacked upright in the drawer by colour. But first folded with love. (Why you can’t hang up t-shirts I’m not sure).

There is an argument that Marie, despite having released her first book in 2014, is having quite a moment now because of the global political situation. Because people feel adrift and have lost faith in governments and institutions to keep order, they are trying to create order in their own homes. That’s an argument I can get on board with and it’s the only way I can see tidying up being desirable.

It’s not that Marie isn’t likeable. She is. She’s positive with a beaming smile and neat, pressed pastel-coloured clothes and, refreshingly, she’s not an air-brushed Instagram model. She’s polite, she’s her own person and she doesn’t speak fluent English so she comes armed with an interpreter, which adds a different element to the program.

But from what I can glean on this program, there’s not a lot of focus on the root problem, which looks a lot like rampant consumerism. People have masses of stuff, be it fitness equipment, clothes, toys, kitchen appliances, because of the consumer model we live in. Western society peeps need big houses to store all this stuff they don’t really use. My problem with the KonMari method is that it doesn’t talk about what happens to all this discarded stuff. We never know if it goes to landfill or charity or is repurposed.

Also, another problem with the KonMari method is that it is a fact that some people are naturally tidy and others are naturally messy. But if you have never bought that much stuff to begin with then having a tendency to untidy is not a problem. For a start, you don’t need to spend forty minutes folding t-shirts. If I don’t have much stuff I don’t need to be neat! Also a subject Marie fails to mention, is that a little cluttery stuff makes a house a home, makes it personal, makes it real, gives it character. I’m not talking about a giant mess, just a little jumble here and there. If it sparks bemusement, keep it, I say!

I think all this tidying up is likely to spark anxiety, unless the root causes of clutter are tackled. Loneliness, too much stuff, spending addiction, fear of missing out on the latest gadget. And focus on the real things in life that spark joy. For me, what sparks joy is not having to do much housework. It’s life that should spark joy, not folding t-shirts.


Beware buzzwords bearing resilient, strong women



These days we are supposed to be agile, resilient, respectful, innovative, flexible, and if you are female, add a strong woman to the mix. I’ve heard the buzzword strong woman in recent years more often than I’ve had hairstyles and I’m still none the wiser. Of course, it’s never said, but implied that if you’re not resilient, strong and agile then somehow it’s your fault and you are a loser.

Of course, marketeers are very happy to have new buzzwords to play around with. The need for resilience can launch a thousand products. Anything really from deodorant to kale and linen to lipstick. Who doesn’t want resilient lipstick? It’s the lipstick of choice for strong women. Governments also love it. More mayhem, chaos, inconvenience plus a longer commute will just be absorbed by the population’s increased resilience. Hooray, win win. Governments can get away with cutting services, grinding down public transport, eroding parks and community facilities because the citizens are more resilient, agile and innovative. Never mind the extra 45 minutes standing up on the bus because the trains are out for ten months. Resilience people! Strong Women!

I wonder whether these words have crept into the zeitgeist because it’s the only way to get through the day let alone the year. Bombarded as we are with so much bad news, roadworks, austerity cuts during 27 years of economic growth that we are permanently just one stop away from a meltdown on a delayed train after a too-long day. Of course, these characteristics are useful personal qualities to have, but part of me thinks they sure as hell benefit the government as well. I wonder if public transport was upgraded, working hours reduced, community services restored and green spaces increased, if we would have a need for resilience and agility and empowerment. Something for a strong woman to ponder.

A picture tells a thousand words … or does it

When I was growing up, life was simpler. You knew where you stood so that you could wipe that smile off the other side of your face and be that early bird that catches the worm. Otherwise the wind would change and you’d stay that way. If you weren’t whisked up the faraway tree, that is.

In that black and white, yet strangely rose-tinted 70’s world, a picture also tells a thousand words. Which was bad news for me as I couldn’t draw and even Pagemaker hadn’t been invented yet.

But it made sense. It was also a good excuse to read a book as boringly earnest as Storm Boy, and just look at the pictures. Who doesn’t love pelican pictures?!

Segueway to WordPress in 2013. There is a weekly challenge called, strangely enough, the Weekly Photo Challenge, which I do on my other blog (shameless plug for I really like it as it’s a chance to connect with bloggers from all over the world and check out their blogs and take on life, in general. It’s also a chance to dust off some of those old photos. The premise it, each week a word is given as a challenge and you post a photo. Recent challenges have been words like Unique, Home, Beyond, Love … you get the picture.

Here’s the point – I reckon the point is to decide on that single photo that encapsulates the idea of say, Home. But many people post photo essays. Many of the bloggers are outstanding photographers and the galleries are a joy to look at. They clearly spend lots of time arranging these galleries – time they could spend drinking wine and gazing into the middle distance.

I haven’t read the fineprint, but I reckon a single word challenge on as broad a subject as, say Home, deserves a single photo entry. I also reckon it’s part of the photography process – making a technical and emotional decision on what captures the brief best.

But, I could be wrong. What do you reckon?

If you can’t handle the heat, step away from the beach

In winter everyone dreams of summer, with its fifty shades of fun: picnics, swimming, mangoes, champagne, cold chicken, colder beer, cabana boys… But anyway, back to the blog.

Summer is the place everyone dreams of through the cold and carb-filled winter. But 40 degrees is not part of the equation. Nothing is fun about searing heat, humidity straight out of South East Asia and air that feels like a fan-forced oven. Or seeing all your plants die and spending the day in the air-conditioning. That’s not living and it’s not summer.

So why (and 702 Twitter this question is for you) did you recommend that people go to the beach on a 40 degree day as follows?

#Hotweather 36 degrees in syd tomorrow, 42 out west, chance of showers and storms in late arvo & very hot overnight…enjoy the beach!

Que? Enjoy the beach? At 36-42 degrees with afternoon storms! This is irresponsible, as well as being not much fun. We’re talking sunburn, heatstroke, premature wrinkles, not to mention parking hell and overpriced hipster beach food.

So, 702 ABC Sydney, it might be time to take this Gen Y Tweeter by the budgie smugglers and give them a talking to about the dangers of hot weather. Because … just because it’s hot doesn’t make it good, even at the beach.

One must ask, where are Charles and Camilla?

Charles et Camilla are in Oz. It’s Camilla’s first time downunder, so that’s nice, and they are going to the Melbourne Cup. So it’ll be good to knock the US Election off the front page for a moment.

Speaking of the front page. Why is Camilla missing off the front page of the newspaper. Why aren’t we seeing pix. I know they are middle-aged and saggy now but where are the shots? I would like to know what they are wearing and how stupid they look in their tricked up royal RM Williams get up.

They went to Longreach yesterday to the Stockman’s Hall of Fame and ate some lamb cutlets. You can’t tell me that’s not photoworthy! It’s Chuck and Cam! Eating a chop! At Longreach! If this were Keith and Nicole or Princess Mary of Denmark and her dopey (yet princely) husband, the paps would be out in force. There’d be a week of chop-eating front page frolicking.

But no, because they are a bit wrinkly, it doesn’t matter that they have hot names, are royalty, cashed up and our future monarch, nah, page 23 will do, right up there with the Canberra elections.

I’m outraged. One must not put up with that and I hope the paps can find time to snap them today, even if Jennifer Hawkins has to get int the photo to make it worth taking.

Turn back the Tony photos

Another Sunday morning another Tony Abbott poster. He’s everywhere, like Athletes Itch, you can’t quite predict where or when he’ll throw up but there it is – reptilian, insidious and hard to budge, and often in budgies.

Online or hardcopy – there he is again. They seem to like photographing him in the quasi thinker’s pose. This is because someone has worked out Tony is better when he says nothing, so he is photographed with a moody backlighting scenario where it looks as though maybe for a nanosecond he could have just had a little thought. Or maybe it was just wind.

I would prefer anything to a Tony Abbott photo opp on Sundays. Even Anthony Mundine, Richard Wilkins, Sophie Monk – anyone will do.

That’s a core promise – and it’s written down.

ABC self-promotion channeling commercial networks

My remote is stuck on the ABC. I hate advertisements and most of the time ABC (and SBS) shows are better anyway.

But lately I’ve noticed that the ABC is big on talking itself up. Smug promo after smug promo run between programs. Some shows are not even starting on the half hour, as the ABC is too busy promoting The Slap, Crownies or just generally talking itself up. Big time.

This just doesn’t feel right. I’m used to the ABC of my childhood, where the ABC was modest, self-effacing and stuck to the facts. If there was any self-promotion, it was the test pattern. For hours.

This bright, shiny, uber-confident ABC is so far up its own yinyang, that I just don’t know it anymore. It’s like the Managing Director has been to a conference where they told everyone to talk themselves up, before walking on hot coals.

It’s not working, it’s just not cricket and it’s definitely not the ABC.

Loads of dosh – ask any adman

Budget cuts and we have no money is a common catchcry. From the government to any self-respecting banana muncher, the piggy bank has run dry.

Really? Because if the mining industry has paid $22 million dollars worth of advertising to stop the mining tax, well someone has some money. Mining magnates and adpeeps for a start, and possibly extended to Shane Warne and the Masterchef franchise and a roof restorer based in FNQ. Then there’s all those people (anyone willing to come forward?) who Tony Abbott wants to donate money to stop paying money.

So, actually there is loads of moolah floating around but it’s being spent on things that adpeeps like. So that would be ecstasy tablets and any bar run by Justin Hemmes.

As for flood rebuilding, cyclone rebuilding, public education, hospitals, swimming pools or public anything – including outrage – forget about it. As usual the taxpayer gets slugged. But here’s the thing – the people knocking back ecstasy and drinking banana dacquiris chez Hemmes are getting richer by the vatload.

We may as well bring out Silveo Berlusconi to come fix the mess. Why not? We have the drugs and as for the Mafia bribes and underage prostitutes – Joe Tripodi can fix the rest.

Classic shock – bereft of B side

When Vega was launched, it promised us it wouldn’t be like the others. As well as the latest hits, as a brand new concept it would play the B-side of the record.  It would be, said the press release, a mix of intelligent talk, hits and interesting music. For anyone who can’t stand listening to Hotel California more than twenty-six times a day, this was music to our ears. 

Well that little experiment lasted about as long as it takes to say Ange, Tony, Bec and Mikey. 

With the death of Vega and the resurrection of Classic Rock FM, it’s back to the same old same old. We have yet another radio station promising the best of the 70s, 80s and 90s plus today’s best music. Ream upon ream of Heart of Glass, Eagle Rock (a great song ruined by overexposure) and anything by Terence Trent D’Arby.

Forget that the B-side of the record – only the done-to-death three minute riff is played.

For people allergic to Alan Jones or 2UE, and can only take a smidge of 702 before a pollie lowers the tone, there is nothing else on the dial. 

What we want is interesting music, B-sides, some hits but not a hit parade, no talking and no ads. Sounds like my ipod.