INTERVIEW//Dinosaur VS SharkI had the pleasure of being interviewed by the lovely Maki from Dinosaur Vs Shark. I have only been interview twice before in my life, but I never quite like this. I answered these questions over a period of 13 days. Maki is a Russian living in Tokyo who knows how to get the best out of people, with clever words an open mind, and a willingness to understand what makes a person tick. I can't believe people like this exist sometimes and it makes me sad that they are so far away from me. Her blog showcases a plethora of beautiful images from her life and her drawings, side by side with her wonderful and intriguing thoughts (Also her relationship with her boyfriend is too cute for words.) it's a brilliant look into someone's mind. You can find her on Tumblr, too. I like how she sees the world, and she asked me some hard hitting questions too. I try to be a very open and honest person, so hopefully you find something in this interview about me that you did not already know. Thank you blog-followers, thank you internet, and thank you sweet Maki!
And if you're into it, you can read part 2 of the interview here where we discuss gun laws. pow pow motha fucka!
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Maki: I know, you traveled a lot when you were a kid before you finally settled down in Sydney. What was the reason your parents were changing countries so often while you were growing up? Do you think, they were doing it on purpose to let their child to see the world? I know about the Australian/nz/English passports system, so it seems to me like a great opportunity.
M.: You know what; I’m still not 100% sure why we moved so much when I was a kid. I never asked. My mum was quite young when she had me. I think my folks still had some travelling to do when I was born, so they brought me along on their trips. I think it had something to do with my Dad’s job, too. He was a computer programmer in the early 90s. I’m sure my parents wanted me to see a bit of the world, too. My parents were both backpackers, and they have both travelled a lot. My mum is an Australian citizen, my father is a New Zealand citizen and I have British citizenship. So thanks for the passports, mum and dad! Best present ever.
Maki: When did you realize that you want to continue changing your locations alone, without your parents? Having an Australian passport you can live/work in England with a possibility to live in Europe without a visa, so why did you choose such a remote place to live in? Did your parents play a major role in this decision?
My mum made the decision to move to Australia, I was too young to have a say. I’m glad things worked out the way they did. I live in one of the most beautiful countries in the world, and I can visit, work or live in any country in Europe whenever I want. My boyfriend and I have been talking about going to Europe to work for 6 months. We want to work in a scummy bar together, become alcoholics and live out the dirt bag dream. Kind of like Trainspotting but without the heroin.
Maki: I read, that nevertheless your parents are atheists, they sent you to an all-girls Catholic school. What kind of decision was that?!
Haha! As much as I resented my parents for that decision, they had a good reason. We were living in a remote country town in the middle of New South Wales. Education options out there are pretty limited, and I really didn’t want to go to boarding school. I had 3 options:
- A public school, where I would have been bullied into an early grave/meth addiction.
- A co-education private Anglican school with cute little straw hats, which would have sent my parents in to bankruptcy.
- The school I ended up at. Which was (sadly) the best option for me at the time.
Maki: You wrote that your school experience was pretty terrible. Did it make you scared of uni? It's interesting to hear about, because my school experience wasn't much better, but it only made me believe in finally finding a good life in uni, friends with the same interests, real knowledge of the subjects you really interested in etc.. Wow, now I sound creepy overly optimistic about it.
I like your angle. I wonder why I didn’t think the same way after high school... I think my whole high school experience left me pretty jaded, bitter and angry towards education institutions all together. I was never scared of uni. I was just listening to a lot of Le Tigre and hated everyone. My best friend B and I would always laugh about University together during our final weeks of high school. We wrote “Uni is for assholes” on our study books. I know - So edgy, so badass. After high school I was hell bent on finding like-minded people who want to play drinking games with me for the entirety of 2009. And boy did I find them.
My view of University was tainted at an early age. There was too much pressure from my grandparents, too much pressure from my catholic teachers. The way they spoke about University, they made it sound like the be all and end all. I know they were just trying to encourage me to further my studied because “you’re a bright girl!” but it wasn’t what I wanted. I wish graduating high school students were told about options other than University, because it isn’t for everyone. A lot of my friends ended up going to uni. I would always tag along to the toga parties and O-week nights. I had the university experience without paying for it.
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Maki: You don't look like a politically interested girl, but even if you don't speak about, it doesn't mean it doesn't affect you or your opinions. So just a few questions:
- Do you believe it's ok, that government has rights to interfere in your life, often leaving you no choice in such things like paying taxes, making abortions, being able to defend yourself with a weapon, doing drugs if you want to without overpaying ridiculously (especially if you need it as a painkiller), being able to sell things and offer all kinds of services you want to without having to get a special license (but of course, being honest with your clients about it) or at least, driving your own car without buckling up if you don't want to (New Hampshire passed this law not so long ago!)?
- Also: what kills people, guns or humans? drugs or decisions?
I don’t know a great deal about politics, Australian or international. I’m pretty useless with this stuff. But it does scare me that our governments have so much power, especially when it comes to what we share online. People have been using the term “surveillance state” a whole lot lately. There’s a lot of graffiti where I live, with big colourful slurs saying ‘the government is watching you’ and ‘do you want to live in a surveillance state?’ I don’t know who the good guys are anymore. I disagree with a lot of what has happened in the recent years. But I can’t say a bad word against the Australian health system, it has saved my life more than once. I am still stumped that abortion is illegal in some places, and I can’t get my head around why gay marriage hasn’t been legalized yet. Is this really still an issue? Are we living in the Stone Age? Male politicians making laws in regards to women’s bodies and our choices? – don’t even get me started.
People kill people. People kill themselves and others with bad decisions. People abuse responsibilities and privileges and end up hurting themselves and those around them. The phrase ‘Everything in moderation’ seems to have been forgotten. And this so called ‘war on drugs’ seems like such a waste of time and money.
I know very little about gun laws. I have shot a gun a few times before. It was really, really fun. You don’t see many guns living in Australia. I’m very anti-gun though, everything I hear on the news in relation to guns comes from America. It feels like every week there is another school shooting. When will they realize that the reason people keep getting shot is because everyone has easy access to a guns? I think their gun laws are an absolute mess over there. People walking around carrying guns every day, like it’s nothing. It’s just bizarre to think about. We don’t have that in Australia. Guns are for police men, hunters and farmers. It’s easier to get a gun than to get health insurance in America. What a mess.
Maki: I see how you stick to the aesthetics of the late 90s (hmm.. maybe, even some early 00s) but also deliberately filtrating it. I never saw you styled all punk-y or being in "nobody understands me, this world is so lame" kind of mood. On the contrary, you want to let everybody know how important it is to try to appreciate all you have, find beauty in the average things and be in love with yourself. The depression is one of these main elements of the whole thing and you just left it behind. I find it kinda touching and also cool. You picked casual chic, a little bit of grunge, minimalism in colors and forms (I know about your "funny socks" passion though!), something from the skater subculture and sports clothes, some drugs and now you're trying to make all these things work without any negative emotions. To be honest, it makes me curious.
I am all about the 90s and Early 00s aesthetic. I wasn’t always like this though; it was a painstaking and embarrassing journey to get to how I dress today. Yesterday I found a photo of me from 2008 wearing a cropped tartan blazer. I went thought my I-hate-the-world-let’s-listen-
to-bikini-kill phase pretty early on, and I never looked back. There is so much negativity in the world, and especially amongst teens on Tumblr right now. Depression is somehow working their way into fashion. I don’t know when it started. Probably around the same time those horrible self-harm photos with a cute filter over them started going around. I didn’t want to be another sad, broken well-dressed girl on the internet; there’s enough of that right now. I want everyone to know that we all have bad days where we hate the world, but that doesn’t define who we are. I try not to focus on the shitty things in life. There’s no point. Being sad spreads sadness. Being happy spreads happiness. I want to do the latter.
Everyone desires to be this dreamy care-free girl who is skinny from partying, with mental issues and bruises on her knees, who drinks heavily, takes drugs and parties really hard, and then cries herself to sleep at night because she is a tragic yet beautiful broken spirit, and nobody understands her. It all stems back to this Manic Pixie Dream Girl that Wes Anderson created. Pretty girls with problems. I don’t want to be this girl (because I’m not). I want to show people that being happy is cool, you don’t need to by cynical to be interesting. For some reason being sad is considered cool right now. I’ve seen people talk about depression as if it’s some sort of cute accessory. I have been medicated for depression in the past, and I know what it’s like. I recovered and I am a happy person now. And I want to help other people be happy. I’m not even sure where I am going with this now. Don’t do drugs, kids.
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Maki: You mentioned on your tumblr, that you generally watch funny films, "Old James Bond films, 60s Bollywood musicals". But I also notice two films that I really like on your FAQ page: American Beauty and Ghost World. I immediately felt like telling you about at least 30 just as good films (and even better)! However, I thought the topic that is addressed in American Beauty isn't your thing (?)
Anyways, have you ever hear of Wes Anderson? He is one of my favorite directors (as well as Quentin Tarantino, but I know, you like him too, so yeah, he's all clear) you should definitely watch The Moonrise Kingdom, The Darjeeling Limited and the The Royal Tenenbaums. Like, at least!
I discovered Françoise Hardy thanks to his movies! And the Ghost World is just perfect. Did you know, it's an adaptation of the comic book series? What do you think of the new Great Gatsby btw (it impressed me so much, i wrote an article about it)?
M.: American beauty is actually my all time favourite film. It is so perfectly done. The visuals, the music, the actors. Sometimes you see a film so perfect; it makes you angry that you didn’t play a part in making it. It makes such a beautiful comment on life, and people in general. I can’t even begin to talk about how life changing it is; I’ll end up writing a dissertation on it haha.
And yes! I know Wes Anderson really well. I loved his older films when I was a teen. Life Aquatic, The Royal Tenenbaums, Darjeeling limited and Fantastic Mr. Fox are my favourites. I had a big problem with Moonrise kingdom though! I was at home one day; one of my flatmates was watching it on TV. I walked in and tried to watch a bit of it. For the first 15 minutes I was convinced it was a parody of a Wes Anderson film. It was way too cutesy and ‘indie’ for me. Something inside me snapped. I couldn’t watch the rest of it. I still stand by his other films though, they are brilliant.
The new Great Gatsby film was brilliantly inspiring. The costumes, the sets, as well as the music were just stunning and very fitting. All really typical of Baz Lurmann (which is fine!) No idea what the hell the movie was about though. I found it hard to follow the story line amongst all the flashing lights and sparkly dresses. Which is also fine, because I love flashing lights and sparkly dresses. I couldn’t agree with you more! As you have written in your article, I also adore the modern take on 1920s culture. And I loved watching all the shops start stocking flapper-esq clothing after the release of the movie. I really like what you say, about our generation never being able to feel the way the girls did in that era. It’s sad, but one of the most truthful things I have heard in a while.
I have always wanted to read the Ghost World graphic novel! People go on about it. I’m going to add that to my reading list right now. I have a post-it note on my computer screen where I write down books that I want to read. Right now it says Lord of the flies, Under the Wolf Under the dog and now Ghost World the Graphic Novel.
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Maki: Tell us about your love for records. I saw a post on your tumblr where you were showing your new purchases. Do you collect them? You even have a record player ahh this is so nice! (▰˘◡˘▰)
M.: I am a vinyl addict. It sucks. They are so heavy and delicate, and I move house so often. I am definitely a collector. I have a pretty large collection; it’s growing by the week. I started collecting records when I was about 15. I have everything by the Stranglers, almost everything by The Beatles and an original Nat King Cole. I have a pretty broad collection, lots of different genres from Bing Crosby to Crystal Castles (which sounds amazing on vinyl btw!). My flat mate, he has a decent collection too. We both own a lot of Lou Reed, Bee Gees and Beach Boys records. We have some really wonderful old French records and some awesome reggae remixes, as well as an original Sex Pistols album. There is absolutely nothing in the world that compares to the sound of a dusty record playing on a warm evening. Nothing. My favourite sound in the world is the sound a record makes when it has finished playing but the needle is still stuck going round and round over and over playing for eternity, the sounds of the dust and dirt from 40 years ago, still stuck to the record.
Actually, speaking of Wes Anderson earlier, I own the vinyl single of Peter Sarstedt - Where do you go to (my lovely) rob because of The Darjeeling Limited. It’s one of my favourite songs! It took me ages to find it, trawling through charity stores. I almost cried when I finally found it in a box of dusty cassettes, in a rural country town.
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Maki: Finally! So, I have four questions about this topic:
Spice Girls! You like them, everybody knows it, but they're so endlessly bright and you're so endlessly minimalistic in your style, I'm intrigued now.
THOUGHT UPDATE: every time you mention them, I couldn't help thinking of your socks collection.
M.: Baby spice had some killer knee-high socks! I don’t just love the Spice Girls for how they dress; I love them for what they are all about. Which, of course, is GIRL POWER! Equalization between the sexes *peace sign*.
I have just taken minimalistic elements from the spice girls and twisted them to work for me. Baby’s squeaky-clean white sneakers and platforms Posh’s basic black dress with little spaghetti straps. I like leopard accessories, so props to scary spice for that. And shout outs to Sporty Spice for making Adidas the coolest thing ever. My love for backpacks comes from Baby spice too. She always had cool little back packs that I think were intended for children.
Maki: Speaking about minimalism. I've never-ever succeeded in it (I understand the minimalism in food though! I mean, when I want to eat cottage cheese I just take a pack of it and eat it with spoon. No honey, no fruits. Plain. My room in my mother's apartment is kind of minimalistic too, yay). I think, it's one of the most difficult looks to achieve, and you look like constantly succeeding. Growing with love to spice girls, Bollywood musicals and 60s/80s records, how is it possible?!
M.: Cottage cheese and a spoon. That is DEFINITELY a balanced diet. I might try that recipe for dinner tonight. And your mother’s place looks exquisite! My mum was very much into minimalism a few years ago, sometimes I feel like I stole her jam.
It was a long and embarrassing road to get to the way I dress today. Let’s just say there was a lot of trial and error (Mostly error). I had these ROXY jeans. They said ROXY across my arse in white paint. I wore them with men’s globe skate shoes. I don’t know what look I was going for. Something to do with skateboards and Avril lavigne. Dark days. My style evolution was not pretty. In 2009 I was all about bright floral dresses that looked vintage but were totally not vintage, with Doc Martens, and half a shaved head. I really had to work at refining my aesthetic. My style changes a lot and I will probably dress very differently in a year’s time.
Maki: When I think of your style, I think Comme des Garçons and Margiela, am I being too cliché now?
M.: Not at all! If you say that I remind you of CDG, then I have truly succeeded in achieving my dream aesthetic. I can pack up this blog and call it quits. My job here is done.
Maki: Tell us about your tennis players' style admiration!
M.: Oh man. Well I used to play tennis when I was 13. I wasn’t a bad player but I was at that age where I hated everything and everyone. But I always loved the clothes. It started with those 1940s tennis player outfits worn by Rita Hayworth. Clean cut lines, crisp white fabric, short pleated skirts. The little visors, the white socks and shoes. Drinking Gin & Tonic with cucumber by the tennis courts sounds so appealing. I wish I still played tennis. I really love the latest Stella McCartney for Adidas collection. I go into the Adidas store in the city sometimes just to admire the little mint green pleated tennis skirts they sell. So impractical but so cute.
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Maki: You go to Paris this spring! Will you be acting like Jenny Mellor from "An Education"?
I think, you'll win the internet if you have enough strength to update your tumblr non-stop while traveling Europe.
M.: Yes, I do. I am so excited! I can guarantee you that I will definitely be acting like the biggest most disgusting tourist anyone has ever seen. There is this famous photo of Françoise Hardy standing in front of the Eiffel Tower holding a red rose and wearing a black turtle neck.
My boyfriend said he want to recreate the photo with me wearing a similar outfit, holding a rose. I’ll post it to my blog. That should win me at least 100 internet points.
Maki: You never posted a single piece of art on you tumblr, though you said you enjoy drawing. Maybe, it's time?
M.: You know what; there is actually a reason why I have never posted my art on Anonymousgirl1990. Without realizing you have actually asked a very loaded question ;) Let’s just say, my art work is on Tumblr. Many people have seen it. You could see it too! You just have to find it.
Maki: Do you think you will be a good Mum? Do you want to send your child to school or you'd better be homeschooling him/her while traveling (I remember, you mentioned about your passion for traveling)?
M.: I would be a great mum. Not any time soon though. It seems stressful traveling with a child, I watched my mum do it when my baby sister was born. I would love to take my child traveling though. I think it would be worth it and they would grow up to be a really cool kid. I’d give them the best start in life that I possibly could. I would send my child to a regular school, I think it makes for better social skills. I would teach my child guitar and how to skateboard, and how to paint and teach them about lots of music.
Maki: I love your attitude towards feminism! Honestly, I was very surprised.
I’m really not into ‘man bashing’. I fucking hate all these glittery gifs on tumblr that say shit like ‘male tears’, it’s not helping the cause and it’s just promoting hate and aggression in and against the feminist community. Attacking men isn’t going to make anyone equal - Educating people is.
M.: Thank you so much! And I am glad you agree! I really thought my comment on Feminism would land me in a bit of Tumblr-trouble. I was surprised when it didn't. Somewhere between Myspace and Tumblr peo
ple forgot the meaning of the word Feminism. It’s upsetting how many people online (and in real life) are giving Feminism a bad name. Sexism sucks. I’m scared that we’re going in the wrong direction now. Calling all men scum bag rapists is NOT what it’s about. Equality is where it’s at.
Maki: Self-preservation or self-distraction?
M.: Self-preservation, with a dash of self-destruction. Be safe, but not so safe that you never take risks.
Maki: Reeboks or Nikes, ‘cause it’s important?
M.: So important! I've been wrestling with this question for the last month actually. I was about to buy a pair of white Nike Air Max, but I feel like I’d be betraying my beloved Reeboks (and my country) I’m going to have to say Reeboks. God Save the Queen.
Love Anongirl and Maki!