Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Vanity

I had already polished off The Yiddish Policemen's Union (dirty?), so last night as I was getting ready for bed I was casting around for another book to read. (You know about my 'must read before falling asleep' ritual, right?)

Last week my flatmate lent me a copy of a book he really enjoyed, Vanity Fierce by Graeme Aitken. "Vanity Fierce" is a novel of unrequited love, jealousy, schemes and secrets and is set in the Sydney gay scene. That sounds kind of trashy, which is selling the book short because it is actually quite an engrossing read. I had planned on having an early night, but I was still turning the pages well after midnight.

I had quite a visceral reaction to the book. It was published in 1998, which is just after the time that I met a tall, handsome man with dirty blonde hair and a movie star jaw in a bar on Oxford St, in the heart of what was a thriving gay bar scene, fell madly in love, convinced myself he was The One, and hightailed it out of Sydney to live with him in my old home town of Adelaide. If you've read this blog for a while you'll know that that was an unmitigated disaster of Cecil B DeMille proportions. My role was played by Mary Pickford, or someone equally doe eyed.

Reading Aitken's tale of the Sydney bar scene at that time, of living around the area not far from where I once lived, of bar hopping and bed hopping, brought back lots of memories of that time in my life. Nostalgia always wears rose coloured glasses, I know. But, well I couldn't help but think about life then and life now, who I was in my early thirties and who I am in my early forties.

I'm not sure the me then would recognise the me now. And by that I mean both positive and negative, but some of the comparisons were a bit sobering. Eh, that's ageing I guess. I couldn't do the endless rounds of partying I did then now, even if I had the desire to.

Still, it would be nice to meet a tall, handsome man and have him pursue me with the same eagerness that the me then experienced. I wouldn't make the same mistake, but that's what I've learned in the years since, I guess.

5 comments:

thombeau said...

I had a similar reaction while reading the highly engrossing "The Time Traveler's Wife", by the charmingly named Audrey Niffenegger. A lot of it takes place in the alternative music/club scene in the eighties and nineties in Chicago. Totally made me think of me then and now. Very much what the book is about, actually. Well, not me, but, you know, time travel. It's a very moving, romantic and strange read.

The Other Andrew said...

I'll have to seek it out, it sounds like something that's right up my alley!

Michael Guy said...

And from the cheap seats on the aisle of one's 'early 50's'...those rose-coloured glasses?...they get rosier, love. Enjoy today for today. Only with more sex, like.

Keith said...

Oh, doll, definitely pick up TTTW, as thombeau suggests. I adored it, as you will. Wunderbar!

PS. They're translating it to the big screen with (wheeee!) Eric Bana in the lead. Yayum.

Also, I don't have so much of that NOW THEN joy or melancholy because I my life is exactly the damn same ten years hence, so looking at it that way......

The Other Andrew said...

MG, thanks for the words of encouragement. I'm working on the 'more sex' thing!

Keith, I love Eric Bannana! Him with a bunch of Trojans - I'm still recovering.

As to the 10 years perspective, you're working towards change though aren't you? Let's set a date for 10 years time.