Tuesday, August 30, 2011

'Why I read'

The Melbourne Writers Festival is on, and again, I'm working during the best bits. So although I waited with anticipation for the program to be released, even subscribed to the newsletter to get early access to tickets, there's not a single thing I'm going to. So I'm keeping track of other people's coverage of the good stuff.

One of the sessions I would have loved to go to was 'Why I read' with Antoni Jach asking Kate Grenville, Tess Gerritson and Chris Womersley what made them fall in love with the written word. It's covered here, briefly in Meanjin's Spike blog. I'm going to venture out and try and find some video or audio to experience the rest.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The gender divide (according to Coca-Cola)



At least they think the wives and girlfriends are worth the same as the footy stars.

52 Poems (week 24)

Almost missed this week's poem - such a slacker.


This week I fell over a tiny, two line poem by Ezra Pound called 'In a Station of a Metro', much too short to excerpt as I'm sure the copyright police would tell me. But look for it. It's a small moment of the world but got stuck in there somehow. Here's a portion of 'Portrait d'Une Femme' instead, with a first line that I roll around in my mouth and suck upon for a few minutes.

Your mind and you are our Sargasso Sea,
London has swept about you this score years
And bright ships left you this or that in fee:
Ideas, old gossip, oddments of all things,
Strange spars of knowledge and dimmed wares of price...

Photo source: Pound (with the look of Dylan about him)

New songs on a Sunday morning (241-250)

As part of my ongoing effort to improve the range of my cultural consumption, I'm casting out for new things to listen to. Part one and an explanation of this musical escapade can be found here. You'll need to search for the rest yourselves.

241. Joshua Radin - 'What If You' - One of those lovely, heartbreaking songs they play during the sex scenes of sad movies or the break-up scenes of terrible TV shows. 
242. Joshua Radin - 'I Missed You' - much more upbeat.
243. Joshua Radin - 'Brand New Day'.


244. OK Go and the Muppets - 'Muppet Show Theme Song' - excellent remake.
245. OK Go - 'White Knuckles' - Somehow the video clips make the songs better. There's also something 80s-Prince about this tune.
246. OK Go - 'End Love'. Ditto.
247. Strange Talk - 'Climbing Walls' - more of those eighties sounds, this time in the hints and accents of electronica.
248.Nicole Scherzinger - 'Poison' - We have a covered version of this in the Sh'Bam dance class at my gym (perhaps the worst named of all the Les Mills classes).
249. Nicole Scherzinger ft. Will.i.am - 'Baby Love' - not quite as catchy as their collaboration on 'Beep'.
250. Pussycat Dolls - 'Whatcha Think About That' - eh.

Sweet-pea tangle

Had planted sweet-peas way back on St Patrick's Day, and then let them grow into a tangly mess while I tried to find something substantial to tie them back. Except they get growing and tangling.


So by the time I finally made a trip to Bunnings and bought the stakes and trellis wire, they were a very long tangly mess that didn't necessarily lend themselves to being upright. Still, they've now been tied back and are shooting on upwards. Just in a messy kinda way. Will be interesting to see if we end up with any flowers.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Bones









Exhibition

 


New songs on a Saturday morning (231-240)

As part of my ongoing effort to improve the range of my cultural consumption, I'm casting out for new things to listen to. Part one and an explanation of this musical escapade can be found here. You'll need to search for the rest yourselves.




231. Tom Waits/Cookie Monster mash-up - 'God's Away on Business' - Love both, and sometimes it is hard to tell the difference. 
232. Tom Waits - 'Chocolate Jesus'.
233. Lady Gaga - 'You and I' - awesomely awesome pop song; stupidly wanky music video.
234. Joni Mitchell - 'Coyote'.
235. Mama Cass, Joni Mitchell & Mary Travers - 'I Shall Be Released' - uh... The voices are all so familiar, but don't seem to work together at all. Two many leads in one sequined basket. 


236. Neil Young - 'Sweet Joni' - I don't care what Lovely Husband thinks; his ballads are heavenly.
237. Mama Cass Elliot - 'Make Your Own Kind of Music'.
238. Joan Baez - 'Forever Young' - God, she aged well.
239. Arlo Guthrie - 'City of New Orleans'.
240. Arlo Guthrie - 'Coming into Los Angeles' - more Woodstock footage I'd never seen.


Photo source: Joni & Neil

Friday, August 19, 2011

52 Poems (week 23)

I've been thinking of letters and letter writing, both sending and receiving. So poems on the topic seemed appropriate. The first is an abstract from Anne Michaels' 'Letters from Martha', and those last lines make me pine for something to arrive in the mail.

'I rip the envelope and I am in Bangkok.
I rip the envelope and I am in Varanasi
Allahabad Agra Delhi.
Christmas Greetings from the Katmandu Hotel...


...You pour from these squares, these blue envoys.
And just when I feel I've lost you in the world,
I can't keep up,
your postcard comes with the words
'wait for me'.
The second from Elizabeth Barrett Browning's 'Sonnett XXVIII: My letters':

My letters-- all dead paper, mute and white!
And yet they seem alive and quivering
Against my tremulous hands which loose the string
And let them drop down on my knee to-night,
This said,--he wished to have me in his sight
Once, as a friend: this fixed a day in spring
To come and touch my hand...a simple thing,
Yet I wept for it!--this...the paper's light...
Said, Dear, I love thee; and I sank and quailed
As if God's future thundered on my past.
This said, I am thine--and so its ink has paled
With lying at my heart that beat too fast.
And this...O Love, thy words have ill availed
If, what this said, I dared repeat at last! 
Photo source: airmail letter

Saturday, August 13, 2011

New songs on a Saturday morning (221-230)

As part of my ongoing effort to improve the range of my cultural consumption, I'm casting out for new things to listen to. Part one and an explanation of this musical escapade can be found here. You'll need to search for the rest yourselves.

I caught the tail end of Rage this morning, looking for something to listen to while I was folding the laundry. Instead of the usual modern blecch, they were mixing it up and I don't think there was a single song I didn't recognise or enjoy, or at least feel a little nostalgic about. INXS's 'Original Sin', The Knack's 'My Sharona', Youth Group's 'Forever Young', Bon Jovi's 'Blaze of Glory', The Boomtown Rats' 'I Don't Like Mondays' and The Easybeats' 'I'll Make You Happy'. 

I often forget about the Easybeats: Stevie Wright's screaming vocal and strange sixties dancing, Vanda and Young as musicians rather than songwriters, the matching suits, the shrieking girls, the shock of the Australian accents when the clips are introduced.



221. The Easybeats - 'Sorry'.
222. The Easybeats - 'Come and See Her'
223. The Easybeats - 'Wedding Ring'
224. Stevie Wright - 'Hard Road' - a Vanda & Young song.
225. Stevie Wright - 'Guitar Band' - Little Stevie's outfit might have been under the influence.
226. Stevie Wright - 'Black-eyed Bruiser' - another Vanda & Young creation.
227. Rose Tattoo - 'Black-eyed Bruiser' - Doesn't quite have that same...thing that Little Stevie did. Kinda like the difference between Bon Scott and Brian Johnson.
228. Meatloaf - 'Runnin' for the Red Light (I Gotta Life)' - a la Vanda & Young, with that one line that seems oh so familiar... 'gonna have a good time tonight...' but it never goes where I want it to.
229. The Rolling Stones - 'The Last Time' - How young they look. Charlie looked like a banker, even then.
230. The Rolling Stones with ACDC - 'Rock Me Baby' - I suppose if your career spans more than half a century, you're bound to play with everyone eventually.




Photo source: Easybeats

Friday, August 12, 2011

Little squidger

For the last week I've been feeling the bubs rolling around (now about 19 weeks along). I've only had one directed kick, just one certain foot or fist somewhere beneath my belly button; the rest is fluttering, roiling, tumbling. It's been happening in the morning, at work, when sitting at my desk and the waistband of my clothes is obviously constricting the space inside. But mostly it's been at night, sitting on the couch after dinner or lying on my side in bed. I keep grabbing Lovely Husband's hand but there's nothing to feel yet on the outside. And as soon as the hand lays on my belly, the movement stills. Apparently, Dad already has the calming touch.

52 Poems (week 22)

The brother of someone I know (but not well) committed suicide last week and his funeral is today. He was just 16. She was put in charge of music and asked all of us which song we thought was best. The first choice ('Hallelujah', Jeff Buckley version) was popular but there are lyrics in it that seems quite off message to me ('tied you to a kitchen chair, broke your throne and cut your hair'?). The second option, which ended up being the most popular (Green Day's 'Time of You Life') just seemed so inherently wrong to me, playing a song like that at the funeral of a boy who so obviously wasn't enjoying his life.

All of this got me thinking of funeral poems and the various things people have read or requested. The WH Auden funeral poem reading in Four Weddings and a Funeral always made me a little weepy.


One site suggests the final lines of Walt Whitman's 'Song of Myself', a long and lingering beast with 52 stanzas. With the sounding of the barbaric yaws over the roofs of the world, I am thrown back into the The Dead Poets Society.
...The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me, he complains of my gab
and my loitering.

I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable,
I sound my barbaric yaws over the roofs of the world.
The last scud of day holds back for me,
It flings my likeness after the rest and true as any on the shadow'd
wilds,
It coaxes me to the vapor and the dusk.
I depart as air, I shake my white locks at the runaway sun,
I effuse my flesh in eddies, and drift it in lacy jags. 
I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love,
If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles.

You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fibre your blood.

Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop somewhere waiting for you.


The other poem, more commonly read, is Christina Rossetti's 'Remember':

Remember me when I am gone away,

Gone far away into the silent land;

When you can no more hold me by the hand,

Nor I half turn to go, yet turning stay.

Remember me when no more day by day

You tell me of our future that you plann'd:

Only remember me; you understand

It will be late to counsel then or pray.

Yet if you should forget me for a while

And afterwards remember, do not grieve:

For if the darkness and corruption leave

A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,

Better by far you should forget and smile

Than that you should remember and be sad.

I don't think either works for a 16-year old boy. But then, really, nothing does. How could one poem sum up the sadness and grief, the lack of understanding, the rage, that situation that brings?

Photo source: Whitman; Rossetti

The indignities

The bloody nose. What is that about?

Because the blood vessels in my nose (and elsewhere) are expanding, and I now have a larger volume of blood pumping around my body, those poor little vessels are under pressure and prone to busting. Lovely. Combined with the cold I've had in previous weeks and the constant blowing of the nose, those vessels just aren't getting a chance to heal.

Solutions? Coat the inside of my nose with vaseline; avoid cold-dry climates; drink more water to keep the membranes hydrated. Okay, no to number one; two's almost impossible at the moment; but three I can do.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Stealing my sunshine


It seems that this lovely little creature of mine has been stealing all of my vitamin D, leaving me with alarmingly low numbers on my last blood test. I'm double-dosing on supplements to perk the numbers back up again but am still craving the sun. It appears for a few minutes some days but never long enough to go out and enjoy it. I'm longing for warmer climes, and for summer even though I know I'll be heavily pregnant by then and in need of a paddling pool in the backyard.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

New songs on a Sunday afternoon (211-220)

I can't even pretend it's Saturday morning. Same deal, though. As part of my ongoing effort to improve the range of my cultural consumption, I'm casting out for new things to listen to. Part one and an explanation of this musical escapade can be found here. You'll need to search for the rest yourselves.

211. Katie Noonan - 'Time to Begin' - Katie's voice is just lovely. After hearing her part of the Ship Song Project, I thought I'd see what she'd been up to since George.
212. Katie Noonan - 'Mists of Ruse'.  
213. George - 'Spawn'.
214. Sarah Blasko - 'All I Want' - Another intringuingly lovely Australian voice.
215. Sarah Blasko - 'We Won't Run'.
216. Little Birdy - 'Beautiful to Me'.
217. Clare Bowditch - 'You Look So Good'.
218. Clare Bowditch and the Feeding Sets - 'Divorcee by 23'. With title like that, this could be country.
219. Clare Bowditch - 'Miss Unavailability'.
220. Gotye (feat. Kimbra) - 'Somebody That I Used to Know'.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Sydney Opera House reinterprets Nick Cave

This Ship Song Project is a gorgeous audio/visual collaboration (and, I imagine, part of one of those super-expensive advertising campaigns - but gorgeous nonetheless). Some of Australia's best (and a few non-Australians thrown in) perform Nick Cave's iconic song, touring through the spaces and underbelly of the opera house.


Performers include: Neil Finn, Kev Carmody and The Australian Ballet, Sarah Blasko, John Bell, Angus and Julia Stone, Paul Kelly and Bangarra Dance Theatre, Teddy Tahu Rhodes and Opera Australia, Martha Wainwright, Katie Noonan and The Sydney Symphony, The Temper Trap, Daniel Johns and the Australian Chamber Orchestra.

Directed by Paul Goldman.
Arranged by Elliott Wheeler.
Photography by Prudence Upton.

Found via Eglantine's Cake

Thursday, August 4, 2011

52 Poems (week 21)

Talked briefly about Lord Byron in my lecture on the notion of genius today, tittering to myself over the painting with the rakish turban. He rejected the tenets of Romanticism but such a perfect romantic. 'Farewell to the Muse' seemed appropriate.


Thou Power! who hast ruled me through Infancy's days,
Young offspring of Fancy, 'tis time we should part;
Then rise on the gale this the last of my lays,
The coldest effusion which springs from my heart.

This bosom, responsive to rapture no more,
Shall hush thy wild notes, nor implore thee to sing;
The feelings of childhood, which taught thee to soar,
Are wafted far distant on Apathy's wing.

Though simple the themes of my rude flowing Lyre,
Yet even these themes are departed for ever;
No more beam the eyes which my dream could inspire,
My visions are flown, to return, alas, never!

When drain'd is the nectar which gladdens the bowl,
How vain is the effort delight to prolong!
When cold is the beauty which dwelt in my soul,
What magic of Fancy can lengthen my song?

Can the lips sing of Love in the desert alone,
Of kisses and smiles which they now must resign?
Or dwell with delight on the hours that are flown?
Ah, no! for those hours can no longer be mine.

Can they speak of the friends that I lived but to love?
Ah, surely Affection ennobles the strain!
But how can my numbers in sympathy move,
When I scarcely can hope to behold them again?

Can I sing of the deeds which my Fathers have done,
And raise my loud harp to the fame of my Sires?
For glories like theirs, oh, how faint is my tone!
For Heroes' exploits how unequal my fires!

Untouch'd, then, my Lyre shall reply to the blast--
'Tis hush'd; and my feeble endeavors are o'er;
And those who have heard it will pardon the past,
When they know that its murmurs shall vibrate no more.

And soon shall its wild erring notes be forgot,
Since early affection and love is o'ercast:
Oh! blest had my Fate been, and happy my lot,
Had the first strain of love been the dearest, the last.

Farewell, my young Muse! since we now can ne'er meet;
If our songs have been languid, they surely are few:
Let us hope that the present at least will be sweet--
The present--which seals our eternal Adieu.

Picture source: Byron

Disgustingly delicious

Almost went into a diabetic coma looking in the window of a local Greek patisserie. But couldn't resist the baklava, a slice of Copenhagen and a custardy caramel yoyo.


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