Friends and Dark Shapes by Kavita Bedford is to the early 21st century what Helen Garner’s Monkey Grip ( considered Grunge genre) was to the Melbourne drug scene of the late 1970’s, and what Puberty Blues by Gabrielle Carey and Kathy Lette, was to the young adults living life on the southern beaches of Sydney’s with it’s sexism and culture wars during the same period.
In essence, Friends and Dark Shapes focuses on a group of friends who move into a share house in Redfern. They are all on the cusp of thirty and navigating insecure employment, cost of housing issues, second-generation identity, online dating, social alienation and questioning superannuation. Amongst all this anxiety, the connection between these friends is often fun and supportive, though our narrator is also mourning the recent death of a parent. Yes, it’s a contender for the currently in vogue Sad Girl genre of literature, but if you are at all familiar with people within that demographic, or have a passable knowledge of the tribalism of the city of Sydney, this is a book that will resonate. I loved it, and yeah, I get the references to gentrification of inner Sydney and how it has changed the landscape.
Talking of friendships, I recently celebrated a birthday with a lass I worked with some twenty years ago. It was one of those environments where it was said that if you survived you “gained the training to work anywhere”. True, and I was fortunate enough to escape with the mortgage paid out and my sanity intact. It was an environment that either encouraged friendships or destroyed them.
Anyway, this woman is also a Gemini with a birthday only two days after mine.
Gemini Traits :
- Uses humor as a crutch
- Could talk to a brick wall
- Arguments as flirting
- Knows a little about everything
During these volatile years we would exchange small gifts to acknowledge our birthdates. Sometimes you did these things purely to survive.
After we both headed in different directions we would catch up every couple of months, yet celebrate our combined birthdays over a flash meal and/or attendance at a musical or theatrical performance. $260 a ticket for the Moody Blues was worth every damn cent.
When we both started to prefer being in bed by 9pm we would celebrate our birthdays by sharing an experience. Neither of us are materialist and you do get to the stage when you just don’t need anymore STUFF. So we enjoyed events like pottery and painting lessons together.
Twenty years on and my friend suggested something new for our birthday. This year we each donated some money to the Guide Dogs Association to cover the purchase of jackets whilst the dogs are in training. This year we went to the organisation’s Brisbane Head Office and met Michael, the Labrador who is the local ambassador for Guide Dogs.
BEST CAREERS FOR GEMINIS
- Likable politician
- Actor who plays a quirky side character
- Devil’s Advocate
- Bubble gum wrapper joke writer
Isn’t it amazing how friendships evolve and last the distance?
Note : Number 3 in both Traits and Careers is on the money.