Monday, November 29, 2010

Fly by night

Huzzah! My sister flies back into Sydney tomorrow!

But before cocktails and dancing can ensue, I have to turn the record player on and bust a move cleaning the house.

The playlist includes:
- Mark Ronson + Boy George "Somebody to Love Me"
- Art Vs Science "Parlez Vous Francais?"
- Motor Ace "American Shoes"
- John Fred and His Playboys "Judy in disguise (with glasses)"
- The Box Tops "The Letter"

Red Hill

I'm a wimp of the worse kind.

So it probably wasn't the wisest move seeing Red Hill the other night. At least i could cower behind the seats when there was blood, guts and gunshots. It was the unnerving suspense as the killer roamed the streets that wrinkled my brain and gave me palpitations.

Yet I really rated it as one of the most enjoyable Aussie films i've seen for a while.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Hunter-Gatherer of pretty pictures

I've been gorging myself on the deliciously decadent and sickishly stylish photographs from The Cool Hunter's travel blog.

This is a disastrously foolhardy past time to indulge in when I'm a few short months shy of my year of backpacking. I’ll be staying in shacks not in charming chalets, in dorms not in Regal Country Estates, in tents not in tastefully renovated castles.

Cheap and cheerful right?

Somehow I think these lush images will still pepper my dreams.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Toiling away

French artist Anastassia Elias has constructed these fragile snippets of life out of toilet rolls. The interplay of light and shadow would have taken more than just a steady hand, and gives the scenes a beautifully surreal quality. Tres bon!

So Frenchy, So Chic

"No matter what you do, your person comes through. You can't completely change yourself on the screen. I had in mind someone colder and more in control, but I couldn't do it. This human note just crept in and maybe it's better." Leslie Caron

Mud pie! Oh my

I read an interesting tibit of scientific info the other day, the soil bacteria - Mycobacterium vaccae, may speed up learning via improving mental acuity. Scientist Dorothy Matthews managed to demonstrate this with a niffy experiment involving a maze, mice, dirt and peanut butter.

I've entered a Mud Run, held the weekend after next - judging by the pictures I'm guaranteed to ingest a couple kilos of the dirt!

mmmm i can tasty the braininess already...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thursday toast

Thirsty for technicolour yumminess!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Emma Davis - Machines

Forget nepotism - this video is neat! The fact that my brother made it, just makes it even neater!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Catching up on couch time

Comfy jeans and oversized cardigan. Tick

Banana + honey smoothie. Tick

A delightfully escapist read - 1932: A Hell of A Year by Gerald Stone. Tick

A mind bending match of Wordplay. Tick

Box of tissues for this blasted flu. Tick. Tick. Tick.

Faster Pussycat! Skate! Skate!

Saturday night the Hordern Pavillion was transformed into a sporting arena worthy for Russell Crowe to prance around in a leather skirt.

It was Roller Derby night and spectators were allowed to watch from the suicide circle sidelines, or like me from a safer distance in the stands.

Fishnets and eyeliner, this isn't a fashion show, it's a full contact sport and these girls are fierce, with the tatts and names to match (Deb-O-Lition, Trippy Longstockings, Bitcheshire cat, Malice in Wonderland).

The first bout was a battle of the sexes between the all male Mustachio Nuts vs. the feisty Pussywhips. To the backbeats of David Bowie and Daft Punk, sweat and sexual innuendo, it was an evenly matched contest. Despite the heavy hits, speedy skating and tight tactics, the game ended in a nail biting draw.

The second bout was between Sydney's Pistola Cholas vs. Newcastle's Dockyard Dames. These teams are at the top of their leagues and brought it up a notch in skill.

It's a fast game, with a scoring system so complicated it takes 2 people with clipboards, 3 people with white boards and 6 umpires to calculate the points - so even the players have wait in anticipate to what the scoreline is after each "jam".

I regret not taking my camera with me - but you can feast on these images by Melanie Birt of a match earlier in the year between the Screaming Assault Sirens and the D’viants.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Bed Bugs

My voice has dissolved into a croaky squawk. I bypassed a husky, lilting whisper and went straight into a gender-bending, prepubescent, mucosal drenched grunt.

With a whole swag of flu symptoms, i've dived into the bed. I've been sleeping so much, that i now loath my bed and quilt.

So I'm pining after this sultry summer creation by Jane Brocket.

When I haven't been sleeping, I've been sipping mugs of sweet tea and watching musicals. Including the docile tones of Judy Garland in "Meet me in St Louis".

And the ballsy, rough as nails Calamity Jane, played to perfection by the ever lovely Doris Day.

I also got a present in the mail today, from the delectable Blanket Magazine. Sure I bought it for myself but shhhhh

Out from the individually wrapped, origami envelope emerged this yummy quilt of art

Straight to the pool room you go my friend.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Mother Tongue

The most dire social faux pas possible may well and truly be a lull in conversation. Awkward silences don’t just prejudice newly acquainted persons; it may pop up in friendships fostered since childhood. Nothing stings more than a steady drip of silence, it is enough to drive anyone insane or suddenly develop an expert grasp of Meteorology.

To save face at your next social outing, read “Mother Tongue”. The man with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek, Mr. Bill Bryson examines “how a second-rate, mongrel tongue came to be the undisputed language of the globe.”

Bryson has a brilliant talent of imparting information. He broaches topics in a relaxed, chatty manner that makes you feel if you were to run into him on the street you wouldn’t be at risk of shouldering a stony silence. However even with all his wit and enthusiasm, it’s “the endless versatility of English is what makes our rules of grammar so perplexing” and at times a trying read. So just like you won’t drink a bottle of straight cordial, I found that I had to take frequent breaks from “Mother Tongue”, diluting the overwhelming bombardment of facts with healthy doses of fiction.

Since reading the book, I’ve been regurgitating facts left, right and centre. Sure most are probably inaccurate, frankensteinian versions of the original statements – but gosh darn they add fuel to the fire. Like did you know that the Bell Telephone Laboratories detected that there are “more than ninety separate sounds just for the letter T” – heck I didn’t even know that such a laboratory existed.

With travel a topic never far from Bryson’s thoughts, the chapter on “Names” dovetails nicely into a delightful exploration of the historical context of English pub names. Some old pubs took the traditional approach of adopting a name influenced by the ruling monarch – such as “White Hart” (indicated loyalty to Richard II) or “Royal Oak” (commemorated Charles II). However when the crown changed hands (or heads) the name would have to be changed. So to avoid the expense, some public houses used popular catchphrases or puns such as “Romping Donkey” or “Ram Jam Inn”. While other names appear more obscure and may be because they have deviated from their original titles – “The Goat and Compasses” might have come from “God Encompasseth Us” and “The Elephant and Castle” may have been derived from “Infanta de Castille”.

From this cheerful recount of pub names, Bryson neatly jumps onto the topic of surnames. Bryson is the master of the seamless segway, managing to leap from descriptions of Norman scribes to American Spelling reforms. It is with this superior dexterity of language that Bryson manages to cover the origins to the future of English within a mere 244 pages.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

"Eye" know that

I think I've been scarred for life.

The unfortunate incident of the fingernail in the eye became a saga this morning when i awoke to discover that the nail was still in fact lodged in my eye.

To save you from the gory details, its now been removed and my eye is healthy, but in a somewhat irritated state.

So with the day off work and Don Draper proving to be a sight too sore for eyes, I decided that this would be a perfect opportunity to catch up on Sunday Night Safran podcasts and organise my bookcase.

Besides unearthing an unhealthy amount of dust, i stumbled across a surprising number of double ups, including:

My obsession with books is to the extent that i enjoy reading about reading.

And i made the painful realisation that stray coins really do add up to a substantial amount when all those $10 penguin classics are piled together.

The after picture makes the bookcase look surprisingly untouched. With there being too many books to be organise them in any other fashion besides stacks three books deep, the exercise seems to have been somewhat pointless.

Except now the books are dust free, as i did an exceptionally through job of inhaling it all.

Despite knowing that i have more books than i know what to do with, i couldn't help but buy this little beauty when i went to the optometrist today.

For less than the price of a magazine it was positively nipping at my heels to be taken home, who am i to say no?

Social graces

If Brian Eno and the F--- Buttons had a baby it's name would be "The Social Network score by way of Trent Reznor". Quite a wordy name i know - but I'm sure it'll make friends at school.

Deliciously broody, my ears are swimming in joy.

Oh and a life lesson just learnt:

Don't lean forward over your hands as you trim your fingernails, as a stray shard of nail in your eye hurts like a mofo.

A Fraction of the Whole

Novels are generally deemed “classic” when it’s a weighty (albeit outdated) tome. There’s fine line to thread between what is defined as cheesy and classic. Cheesy novels are drenched in unfashionable references not yet far enough removed to be yearned for.

Won’t it just be safer and wiser to avoid contemporary events all together? Just zip lock your novel with timeless references to avoid becoming an irrelevant pile of paper. For debut author, Steve Totlz, there is no safe option. Toltz grabs the reader by the scruff of the neck, pulls them into a hotted up car and drives full pelt into modern Australia.

However it was 2008 when the novel hit the shelves with great aplomb, would it still be “devastatingly funny” when read today?

The short answer is – hells yeah it’s funny.

Essentially a story about a Father raising his son. While the Father takes his role as an educator very seriously, his advice and childrearing techniques aren’t quite run of the mill. With the family motto “there’s safety in looking crazy”. These bizarre thoughts flow forth from the “My Father the philosopher – he couldn’t even give a simple haircut without reflecting on it”.

The father and son relationship is more reminiscent of “Dad and Dave” than the Mr. Brady and Greg. Full of inappropriate jokes and naff notions “Most of my life I never worked out whether to pity, ignore, adore, judge or murder my Father.” The characters are so well fleshed out they have everything but a pulse.

Between all the bombastic, batty thoughts and tangents, there are some real gems of insight “there seems to be no passion for life, only for lifestyle.” Yet for all the navel gazing and bar stool philosophizing, the story has an unrelenting pace.

The novel is brimming with ideas, pulsating with energy, without feeling like we’re furrowing through the dregs of every last creative writing task Toltz has ever attempted.

In fact Toltz is a tidy writer - reining the plot with more skill than a cowboy born and breed in Wyomy, when it could have easily veered off the cliff into a sea of crashing absurdity (much like this metaphor of Toltz being a cowboy cum pirate).

Totlz captures contemporary Australia without resorting to cheap sucker-punch of stereotypes of a homogenous Home and Away society of surfer bums lounging at the local corner store.

Other books which will wrinkle your brain with wonderfully bizarre characters include:

And of course Catch 22, which has hidden itself somewhere in my bookcase...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

One spring day

A treasury of trees in the backstreets of Sydney.

Lady of Leisure

I’m going to be working for the next nine days straight, so I decided that I needed to indulge in a spot of luxuriating laziness today.

Starting off with a visit to the Sweets Workshop, I broke a sweat just taking a mental stock-take of all the gorgeous art I wanted to buy. My heart (and future pay packet) was robbed by Kate Banazi’s series of Victorian Gents.

As I was on my way Bourke Street Bakery, I passed a place that my sister and I have been calling the ambiance café. With a pair of antique winged-back chairs upholstered in lime green velvet sitting on the sidewalk – we’ve been meaning to check it out for months now.

Already savoring the thought of richly bitter coffee and buttery pastry awaiting me, I suddenly decided that I needed to mix things up. Turning the car around, I headed back.

I still don’t know it’s actual name – so I’ll continue to call it the ambiance café. But it wasn’t the industrial meets granny chic setting that justified its namesake – it was the super friendly staff. Booty shaking to Beyonce and experimenting with tangy fruit juice concoctions, they bubbled with chatter.

Even though I was stuffed from a Portuguese Chicken burger, like any practiced lady of leisure I had enough stamina for a spot of afternoon tea.

The Tea Parlour hasn’t been opened long, but it has the feels like stepping into a little old lady’s sitting room. A cozy affair of mismatched chairs and soft armchairs, the vibe is deliciously feminine with crystal chandeliers, silver candlestick holders, fresh roses and china tea sets. Surveying the scene is a stuffed peacock.

A soundtrack of Kanye West and The Kinks reminds me that I’m still in Redfern and not at a CWA meeting.

It felt like I was performing highway robbery when I was charged only $6 for two enormous homemade scones, served with generous dollops of jam, lashings of freshly whipped cream and washed down with a massive pot of Chai.

It felt delightfully decadent to sip from china cups...and so worth the painfully stuffed belly ache that followed.

Girl with the Pop-art Earring

I've just stumbled upon this amazing pop-art image by Sydney based illustrator Jefferton James.

Besides being so pretty - what makes me adore it even more, is that it reminds me how much i enjoyed reading "Girl with the Pearl Earring" by Tracy Chevalier.

While the details of the story have blurred since reading the book a couple of years ago, I remember the incredible restraint between the artist and the housemaid. Yet every brushstroke by Vermeer is steeped in broody, lusty subtext.

I think that it's going to have join the pile of books to read this summer.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bull vs. dog

I've been like a dog with a bone, listening nonstop to Andy Bull's song "Dog" - i just can't get enough of it. So i was pleased as punch to read the story behind the song on his blog.

For those who are like a bull in a china shop for Andy - then you can check him out this Friday night at Spectrum on Oxford Street. Hopefully he'll be joined by some of his mates that helped him with his new Ep including - Lisa Mitchell, Little Red, Adrian Deutsch, Hungry Kids of Hungary or Deep Sea Arcade.

Now i'll stop with all the terrible animal puns...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tom "Selling it" Selleck

My sister is still galavanting overseas - this week she's hitting up Berlin, before bouncing back to London to check out We are Scientists, then jetting off to Ireland.

It'll take some super spy skills to keep up with her, looks like Tom "Selling it" Selleck is the only one up to the task with his whiz-bang phone.

Hubba hubba.