Small Talk


Melbourne Cup day marks the beginning of the period officially known as the “silly season”. It’s highly appropriate given that the Cup is arguably the silliest event of the year. I enjoyed it immensely back in my child free days. Whilst there is always a chorus of consternation about crass displays of drunkeness from the punters, I’m all for this type of horse play.

drunken horseplay

Drunken horseplay

Giddy up

Giddy up

In times gone by the Silly Season meant behaving in a ways that would make Austin Powers quip “Oh behave baby!” and regretting this behaviour until the next silly season swung around so I could disgrace myself afresh. Nowadays the pointy end of the year is heralded by a few tame school and daycare functions. Nobody over the age of five gets naked at these events. Typically modest quantities of chardonnay are consumed and the conversation is politely child-centric.

AP med

While I have no desire to relive the shenanigans of yesteryear, I sometimes wish I could take the festive small talk off on a tangent. I’ve been thinking about ways to inject the tangential into otherwise bland social pleasantries.

To begin with, when Miley is mentioned, as she no doubt will be, I may strike back with something like ” Yeh Wrecking Ball was interesting for all the wrong reasons but have you seen the video of Commander Chris Hadfield covering Bowie’s Space Oddity actually in space?” Ground Control to  Major Tom – Booyeh!

When the former commander of the International Space Station was filmed performing the Bowie classic ( in weightlessness), it caused a collective Nerdgasm. The earth moved for geeks and space junkies everywhere even though our hero was floating 370kms above it.

World's coolest music video is technically off world.

World’s coolest music video is technically off world.*

I’ve fallen in love again and God himself (aka David Bowie) has given Commander Hadfield his divine seal of approval.

Lamest excuse ever to post a photo of Bowie but c'mon it Bowie man. Bowie is hawt!

Lamest excuse ever to post a photo but c’mon its Bowie man. BOWIE! Bowie is hawt!

If my party companions haven’t abandoned me by this stage its an easy segue from Bowie classics to the question “Is there life on Mars?”. The answer is looking increasingly negative but the effort to find life further afield is ramping up. Astronomers have discovered over 1,000 exoplanets (planets outside our solar system) so far and serious dollars are being pumped into technology that can pick up the chemical signals of life across the galaxy. Well life as we know it Jim.  Astro biologist types think that the presence of methane and nitrous oxide is a good indication that ET is at home. The unimaginatively named European Extremely Large Telescope* (due to go online in 2022) should be sensitive enough to make out chemical concoctions on planets over 4,000 light years away. I wonder how people will react if/when they detect something. It’ll cause quite a stir despite there being exactly two thirds of five eighths of sod all chance human kind will have any meaningful contact.

I'm guessing this wont be a problem.

I’m guessing this wont be a problem.

In my experience some people are total suckers for the alien conversation. Forgive my gross stereotyping but these people often work in IT and spend too much time playing Dungeons and Dragons. As I can’t just talk to my husband at these functions, I’ll have to come up with a fresh tactic. Politics can be relied upon to stir the blood.

I may try raising the threat of double dissolution should Tony Abbott’s repeal of the carbon tax be blocked by the senate next year. The prospect should have most people howling “Oh God Nooooooooooooooooooo” and diving for the drinks esky. However there’s a certain percentage who will get really riled up and that my friends is entertainment. Some will strike up the war cry of “bring it on! I can’t wait to kick that d#@k head Abbott out before he takes this country back to the 1950s”.  Others will dig their heels in and declare “Damn straight those pinko, greenie clowns must repent the carbon tax and stop masturbating while they are at it”.  If you get one of each in your  group just sit back and enjoy the fireworks.

Ironically just releases more carbon.

Ironically just releases more carbon.

So will I be talking rockstar astronauts, exoplanets and politics at my next Christmas function? Probably not before three chardonnays and a good helping of cabanossi.

Classic hors d'oeuvre

Classic hors d’oeuvre

Would you be game enough to make chit chat with me at a Christmas party? How do you plan to deal with tedious small talk this silly season?



* What is it about heroic types and homo-erotic moustaches? Its a look that only suits one person, and he’s technically a polar bear.

Captain Barnacles rocks the porn star mo.

Captain Barnacles rocks the ironic mo.

* European Extremely Large Telescope – Oh my there’s fun to be had renaming that thing.

26 thoughts on “Small Talk

  1. I would definitely make small talk with you over the silly season (not that I am any good at small talk but I’m sure we would find heaps to talk about !!!
    Have the best day !

  2. Surely you are teasing us. I would have thought a lissome, chardonnay-sipping, exo-planet conversant music expert would have a queue leading up to her at any social gathering.

    I would definitely pursue the musical question angle. If you don’t get a satisfactory response to “Life On Mars?” you could follow up with “Is It Really So Strange?”, “Who Stopped the Rain?” and, if need be, a frustrated “Do You Realise?” If that doesn’t work, just mutter “How Much Is Enough?” and get another drink.

    Good luck in the silly season.

  3. HATE small talk so I tend to start shoveling food into my mouth in certain social situations just to avoid talking. Then I wonder why I’m fat and feeling ill from eating too many of those cabanossi sticks. Classy.

  4. That’s a spectacular bit of cheese and cabanossi you have there Brenda. I reckon Brian Cox himself could use something like that to describe the big bang theory. Politics is a little scary here in Queensland right now, so I think I’ll stay away from that lest I fall victim to anonymous computer hackers. Rock star astronauts though – definitely a conversation starter!

  5. It would be the best party ever if someone made chit chat about aliens. That might be my new challenge to steer the conversation there…stay tuned.

  6. Love me some good alien/space/parallel universe shit-shat, especially after a few savs under my belt. I’m a bit sad really as it’s unlikely we’ll have any big Xmas functions to attend. The Husbands starts at 10am in the casino and is for blokes only (boo) and unless I host one for myself, then it ain’t happening 😦

  7. I’d love to do small talk with you. Be much more interesting than what you get out here! And there is something about David Bowie’s eyes. I’ve wanted him to spirit me away since the Labrinyth.

  8. If I meet you over the silly season I will happily chat to you!!! 🙂

  9. i would love to chat to you at any soirée! And as for aliens, My glass of sauv b, and I have been working on getting that convo off the ground for years – we usually wind up talking to each other, though 😉

  10. I confess that I kind of enjoy just the standard small talk – as long as it is with someone over the age of 5! I would love to have you inject a bit of life into our preschool-gate conversations though.

  11. I’ll chat with you! You really have to pick who you can be weird with don’t you. If you get it wrong, it can be very awkward….

  12. Scary thought :)..I did have to google tangenital..not every day do you hear that word in a sentence. Very entertaining post and i think the Christmas party would be boring without you!

  13. I’ve got the dreaded P and F Christmas party coming up soon and given that they already all think I’m a little mad, I shall jot down some of your suggested conversation starters and really get them going 😉

  14. If only I could have chats to an entertaining brain like yours it would make a change from the usual niceties. Although I am sure as the wine begins to flow you will be heading off in a rocket with Abbott himself. Loving your posts!

  15. It kinda sux that these days for me the ‘silly season’ is only silly because it’s silly-busy. There were times when I would get about 3 nights sleep in the whole of Nov – Jan and even that felt unnecessary. I’m actually exhausted just thinking about it…

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