Martha Hudsuckle

My hair is a bad dream that attaches itself to my head and follows me around all day.

Why I say “boo” to backyard swimming pools …


My name is Martha and I have recently had a swimming pool built behind my house. It’s a roaring success with the kids and all their school friends. They spend hours performing screaming cannonball bombs and playing endless games of ‘Marco Polo’. The bellowed demand ‘Watch this Mum!’ rings out across the suburb.

 All heart warming and life affirming stuff except, I’m not their mother. And it’s not my swimming pool. And it’s not actually in my backyard. But, thanks to the local council, and what’s known as a “complying development”, it is situated much closer to my home than the home of its owners. Yes, my Irish neighbours are living the dream having created their very own resort facilities just a few metres from my living space, thus ensuring I suffer all the disadvantages but none of the ‘benefits’.

 I only mention their nationality for one, sad reason- once charming and musical, the lilt of an Irish brogue now falls on my eardrums like fingernails dragged down a black board. And I only use inverted commas because I’m unsure if a home swimming pool bestows any benefits at all.

 The principle disadvantage of a home pool, for which I was naively unprepared, is collateral noise. The whirring of pumps and the Niagra-esque cascading of the water feature; the constant slamming of the glass pool gate; lunch orders and frequent admonishments shouted to and from the house- “BRAYDEN! Leave your sister alone!” ”SHE STARTED IT!!” (Ouch, the brogue!) Intimate, but never sotto voce, mobile phone conversations conducted poolside- I now have a thorough and graphic understanding of endometriosis.  

 I am not an unreasonable woman- perhaps the parents were simply unaware of the noise level being generated. I have called on the neighbours to draw their attention to my dilemma and request their consideration of nearby residents- once. I was talked over and informed in a patronising fashion that screaming is just the way little girls express themselves. No doubt true, if nothing more articulate or socially acceptable is asked of them. If it takes a village to raise a child then this villager would like to have a little more input. Even a dog can be trained not to bark.

 I have friends in Melbourne who had the reverse problem- a neighbour, whose habit of spending weekends in his backyard with a transistor listening to the races at high volume routinely ruined their pool enjoyment. It’s a tempting strategy but I’m not about to inflict punishment on my other, more considerate neighbours. And it’s a bit too passive/aggressive for my money- like the dead possum, the deciduous tree or the ‘barker’s egg’ options.

 As I have already mentioned, I’m a reasonable woman. I understand this is simply a family enjoying the privilege of a home pool. All I’m looking for is the recognition of the responsibility that comes with privilege. I’d like to hear the occasional “Hey kids, keep it down. There are other people living nearby who might like to enjoy their homes in peace and quiet.”

 The boundaries separating properties in suburbia can be physically and legally strong, but sonically and socially, they are disappointingly porous. They rely on good will and manners to make them truly effective.

Do you think Marco Polo should be outlawed in Australia?



What’s more offensive: pubes, fanny or frigid?


My name is Martha and I do not find the words “pubes” and “fanny” offensive. The article below was refused publication by the Herald Sun because it contains said offensive words.

The article’s author,  Kitty Flanagan will be performing at the

Melbourne International Comedy Festival

April 9th – 21st

Kitty’s yumorous article, however, will not be appearing in the Herald Sun because they are wowsers.

I am many things, (an old bag, a woman with a moustache) but I am most definitely not a wowser.

That is why I am publishing the uncensored version of Kitty’s piece below …

Celebrity Sex Rankings

by Kitty Flanagan

 Ryan Gosling is atomic. At sex. How do I know? I read a piece in a magazine that rated celebrities on their sexual prowess. And according to a source, RG is intense and stares right into your eyes while you’re “doing it” which is not creepy apparently, it’s atomic with an exclamation mark! That’s right, Ryan Gosling is a nuclear powerhouse in the sack.

This article raises a lot of questions. The first of which is, what was I doing reading such risable poppycock? In my defence, I was on a plane. You do a lot of stuff you wouldn’t usually do when you’re on a plane, you eat food you don’t want, you go to the toilet with 400 strangers sitting right outside the door and you read trashy magazines.

But lets get back to the big question. How do they know? How do they know he is atomic in bed? I’ve seen Ryan Gosling interviewed and he always comes across as fairly modest, so I can’t imagine he offered up this information himself.

INTERVIEWER: Ryan, can I ask what you’re like in bed?

 RYAN GOSLING: Yes, of course you can, I’m more than happy to talk about my sex life with you, a person I’ve never met before. Okay, let me think, what am I like “on the job”?  Well, if I had to pick one word, it would probably be atomic. On one occasion I actually singed a lady’s pubes off with my nuclear lovemaking. They don’t call me “Radioactive Goz-Man” for nothing.

So assuming these details didn’t come from the Goz-man, exactly where did they come from? (I suspect straight from the “journalist’s” arse.)  Because it wasn’t just Ryan Gosling in the frame, at least a dozen other celebrities were also reviewed and ranked for hotness.

Mr Gosling was by far the high scorer though. Others sat much lower on the sex thermometer, one was even given the grade “glacial”. Predictably, it was a woman who fell into this category.

Jennifer Aniston was not only deemed glacial but also “frigid”. Which stopped me in my tracks and threw up yet another question. Did I just travel back in time? Frigid?  When did we start using that pejorative again? I had to flick back and check the cover to make sure I hadn’t accidentally picked up a 1970’s Playboy.

Frigid?  Who says that?

More importantly, what magazine purporting to be for women says that? “This woman is frigid!” Oh come on. I’d expect it from Nuts Magazine or Balls To The Wall Monthly but a woman’s mag? Where’s the solidarity sisters?

Which brings me to either the most questionable or the most impressive part of the article. All these sources who provided first hand accounts of what it was like to sleep with a celebrity.

Who are they? And  how on earth did the magazine track them all down?

For if this article is true – and I believe it must be because it would be libelous and defamatory to print such things if they weren’t true – then this is a stellar example of investigative journalism.  It must have taken months to conduct all those interviews and compile all those sex stats, not to mention the science involved in accurately measuring carnal hotness. I only wish, in the interest of fair and balanced reporting, the celebs had been given right of reply.

But my guess is Frigid Friend “Jen” had no interest in talking to a magazine about her ice cold fanny.

I wonder why.

Have your say: have you ever conditioned your pubes to try and soften them?

Hello Optus, are you there?


“Our vision is to provide Australia’s leading customer experience for flexible and personalised services, anywhere on any device” – Paul O’Sullivan, CEO, Optus

My name is Martha and I have spent the last three weeks dealing with “Australia’s leader in delivering cutting edge mobile communications.” (See above claims.)

In that time, it has come to my attention their ‘leadership in delivery’ claim is quite simply, false.

As for the ‘cutting edge’ bit, well it’s laughable if not frightening.

My 13 year old tells me “having wi-fi in your home these days is like having an oven. It’s just standard.”

Well, had the installation of the electric oven in the late 19th century been dependent on “Australia’s leader in delivering cutting edge mobile communications,” we would all still be cooking with wood-fired cast-iron stoves.

Furthermore, if installing an oven relied on call-centres in South-East Asia we’d all be eating cold salads for dinner.

(And might I add as a sidebar: as I was transferred  deeper in to the call-centre the accent became concurrently thicker.)

Last year, I lived in France. (Yes, that’s right, I am quite the globetrotting sophisticate.) Once I landed (and disembarked from my diamond-encrusted private plane) I had to quickly set up a life with all it’s modern day trappings; home phone, mobile phone, internet…..and an oven.

But despite the fact that my French is scant, the process of becoming connected with the outside world was seamless.

Have Australians simply become resigned to the ineptness of the telecommunications industry?

Meanwhile,  “Australia’s leader in delivering cutting edge mobile communications” seem to have gone AWOL with my modem.

They assure me it will be delivered next week.  That will be almost a month since I first stepped foot into one of their outlets.

Is this the sort of “leading customer experience” Mr O’Sullivan espouses?

I am hopeful that by the time technology has moved on from wi-fi, I will have a modem installed in my house and can perhaps convert it into an oven.

Breast milk contains essential nutrients, vitamins and righteousness.


My name is Martha and I tire of women banging on about breastfeeding.

It’s not the breastfeeding I find offensive, it’s the righteous indignation of the few: those who spend their every waking moment defending their right to bare a breast  in public and provide life sustaining milk to their suckling offspring.

These are invariably the same women who demand the right to take a baby into a cinema or a theatre and wonder why other patrons get irritated when the baby cries.

“He’s just a baby! Babies cry!”

That’s right. They do. Which is why you shouldn’t take them to cinemas or theatres or cafes for that matter. Some places just aren’t for baby. Don’t fight it. Stop trying to live the same life you lived before you had children.

You have had a child and your life has changed immeasurably. For the better, many would say. So be gracious. Accept it. And pop your bosom away dear because the baby is no longer latched on so now you’re just sitting in a café with your tit out.

 In the 1960’s I breastfed all my children. It was no big deal. I never went on about my right to “nourish” my child. Mostly because I find the word nourish a little melodramatic. I never fed or “nourished” any of my children in a café.

Nor did I ever set up a protest outside a café or a television station demanding the right to do so.  Why? Because I was busy. Ladies, if you have the time to make colourful signs and join a picket line defending your right to breastfeed and your child’s right to “nourishment”, then perhaps it’s time you went back to work.

Clearly you need something constructive to do with your day.




My name is Martha and I am recently divorced.  But don’t mistake. I’m pretty happy about it. Apart from one thing:  I did not get to take my ex-husband to the cleaners.  In fact, it was more the other way around.  But let’s not dwell on that. Banging on about the minutia of one’s divorce […]