20 June 2012


On Sunday night my partner played in his soul duo with Sharon Mack in the foyer of the Thornbury Theatre. The Grand Wazoo, one of Melbourne's hardest working and longest running bands, were playing on the main stage, and playing times were alternated. It was a popular night and people were having a great time. I went with a friend and cheered my darling on.
The theatre itself is a huge establishment, with its ornately decorative interior, and impressive staircase.
I'll be there again a few times to soak up the atmosphere in the next few weeks.

18 June 2012

Sunday at the Convent

Yesterday I went with some friends from Bendigo to the Sunday market at the Abbotsford Convent. The Makers Market is on the third Sunday of every month and takes place in and around the convent buildings. There are some gorgeous cottage industry crafts for sale including handmade fashions, knitwear, jewellery, and accessories by local designers, including a wide range of childrens' clothing. There are also homewears, ceramics and art pieces.
We wandered around, in and out of the drizzling rain, thoroughly enjoying the sights and textures.
Later, we had a bite to eat at Lentil as Anything, a wonderful vegetarian cafe where you pay what you can/what you think the meal is worth/or simply pay for your meal and 'pay it forward' for someone else. A great concept run on the hard work of enthusiastic volunteers. We ate well and enjoyed the atmosphere.
A great afternoon out which I can heartily recommend, even in the rain!

Super Humanz music marathon at Bar 303

On Saturday, I looked in on the Super Humanz music marathon at Bar 303, where my friend Liam Limebucket was playing. Arriving for Liam's set at lunchtime, I was delighted, as ever to hear Liam do his blend of yearning, soaring vocals and passionate guitar.

After this, I caught a band of young men around 1:30, whose name I didn't catch, but who were definitely Yes enthusiasts, and whose prog rock inspired tunes were interesting and satisfying to the ear.  They had a humour and rapport with the audience which appealed too.

Later, after a late lunch of Vietnamese fare at Bang Bang, I headed back to hear Kyle Taylor, whose heart-wrenching lyrics and dramatic guitar, piano, and occasional blues harp were mesmerising and moving. An inspired act indeed.

Next, I heard Grand Prismatic. These guys had a fantastic sound, somewhat reminiscent of Velvet Underground, and also of the Cure. Incredibly solid drumming underpinned a wash of sound in which, if closed your eyes, you could lose yourself completely. I was really impressed.

In the evening, sitting at a table in the front bar, drawing with coloured pencils on paper with my friends' children, I was blown away by the blues styling of Alastair Tyrell. He played a lap guitar, with a tambourine on his foot, but apart from his stunning blues guitar, the sheer power of his voice was unmistakable.  Opening with the blues classic I've got a woman, and going from there to his own brand of original numbers, Alastair gave strong performance which had the room captivated.

Lastly, I was lucky enough you hear a young woman named Nicolette Forte. Walking onto the stage in bare feet, and accompanying herself on guitar, Nicolette opened witha rendition of I will survive which had all eyes and ears on her. Joined by two drummers and an electric violin player, she proceeded to deliver a warm, big-hearted and vocally fantastic set to the appreciative room. This woman is one to watch.

We had to leave before the night was over and take Liam Limebucket and the Lovely Lea's children home to bed, but this was an absolutely fantastic showcase of talent, mainly from the Bendigo and Ballarat regions. I will definitely urge my City friends to get along to the next one!


On Friday night I went with a friend and my sister to the North Fitzroy Star Hotel for dinner. If you haven't been, do yourself a favour, as Molly would say. This is a gorgeous dining experience, in a wonderful setting. The decor is a kind of bohemian mix of fabrics and colours, and even a bit of decoupage on the room dividers.

Like the Tardis, the Star is bigger on the inside, the rooms seem to sprawl on for a while, and one has an appealing Moroccan theme.  A pretty little courtyard accommodates smokers, and on Friday, we had an open fire right beside our table. So cosy!

I had an entree of pan-seared haloumi with lemon and preserved fig, followed by a pork belly and ox -tail pie, of which every bite was delectable, and which I tried hard but couldn't quite finish, the generous sized serve.

My friend had a tasty polenta entree, followed by a linguini, which she enjoyed immensely, while my sister had a generous entree of meatballs, followed by a slow cooked lamb dish which I tried, and which melted in the mouth. I accompanied my meal with a Napoleone pear cider, while the others shared a sauv blanc, followed by a brandy.

The service was top shelf, and couldn't be faulted, and we had a wonderful time!

14 June 2012

The full Geiger treatment

I saw Ridley Scott's Prometheus earlier tonight.  Sleep deprived as I was, I didn't want to miss it on the big screen.

This looks fantastic as only Scott can do. The design is simply breathtaking and there is more beauty in it than in any of that which has gone before. He does vast (an emerging motif of mine this month), just so well.

Character development is strong for the protagonist, played by the feisty, (and by global consensus, it appears, indestructible), Noomi Rapace.  Ripley predux rocks, that's all I'm saying.

Other key players' motivations are revealed at a symphonic pace, and a couple of the usual deadly sins flag the soon to be deceased...

Design is not so much a character, it is rather that Geiger's style, in all it's beauty, organic lividity and sheer viscerality is the foreground and the background upon which all action unfolds. His memes drive plot and mark territory, and signpost change.

The larger themes explored here are reminiscent of Battlestar Galactica's eternal return, and there is sequel all over the last few scenes.

Ear worm

Yesterday I woke up and an old friend had said in facebook "I'm getting married in the morning". Immediately I got that song from My Fair Lady going around in my head, "Ding, dong the bells are gonna chime!"... Also my grandpa used to sing that song quite often so it's really been burnt into the synapses. After 8 hours it had worn a bit thin.

This morning I heard Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty and thought oboyoboy wouldn't it be great if I got this song in my head today, but no, it's never the song you want, in fact an ear worm is by its very nature an unwanted tune. You can't will it into existence.

Tonight, I had one of those weird phenomena which I will call the obscure double earworm - or ODE.  I had a song in my head where, on the tip of my mind I could hear a vocal tone, and then a backing vocal hook line and no words at all for ages. After about half an hour of looking at the shape of the song in my mind and singing the line out loud, I got two words: He's racing... I went on Soundhound and tried singing the backing vocal, nothing close. Then I searched on the two words 'he's racing' in Soundhound, and I found something! It was ' the distance' by Cake.

I listened to the song in You Tube. Okay, that was definitely the vocal I was hearing, but it didn't have my backing vocal line. What the dickens was that tune?!!

Suddenly I heard the words. 'I want a girl with a short skirt and a looong jacket.' That's it, by Cake! O frabjous day!

Well, I must say, that meme arrived apropos of nothing...

11 June 2012

Possum wool scarf

I've been knitting a New Zealand possum wool scarf off and on for a few months. I didn't know when I was given the wool that possums are not native to New Zealand, hence they are hunted and their fur is used in, among other things, a wool blend for yarns.

I thought I would try a diagonal mesh stitch for this scarf as it has worked well before. The only thing is, if you start daydreaming while knitting, as I often do, a few extra stitches seem to be born along the way, and the scarf ends up getting a bit wider, which is what has happened to mine lately. Oh well, I'll just decrease a bit towards the end.

10 June 2012


Last night I watched the film Sunshine. A crew of astronauts must fly their "payload" of a nuclear bomb and launch it into a dying sun in order to save the earth. They are protected as they travel ever closer to the sun by a massive array of moveable shields. The film is visually stunning, and the sun is as much a character as the people.

As the plot unfolds, the unfortunate crew are faced with one existential conundrum after another, and the tension heightens to an almost unbearable level. Some strange turns of events lead via a somewhat confusing penultimate action sequence to a powerful conclusion.

In the week in which we had the Transit of Venus, it was with a feeling of synchronicity that I watched the scene where the Sunshine crew view Mercury transiting the sun.

I felt quite distraught after watching Sunshine. Despite its beauty, it is quite horrific in parts and not for the faint hearted, which would include myself, in fact my level of susceptibility to participation mystique is often painfully high.

The fact that I'm currently reading Iain M.Banks' Excession probably didn't help the fear factor. I've been pondering that perfect and mysterious black sphere loitering with intent near the brown dwarf star Esperi for days now - and nobody does vast like Banks.  Later, I slept fitfully and had wierd and troubling dreams....

07 June 2012

June soup

Tonight I finally perfected my soup, which I have been experimenting with for years:

2L water
2 cups of vegetable stock
2 beef style stock cubes
3 chinese sausages, sliced into diagonal slivers
Tspn minced garlic
2tspn minced ginger
Tspn sambal oelek (minced chillies)
Tspn kaffir lime leaves (from jar)
Tspn lemongrass
2tbspn lime juice
Dash of fish sauce
Tspn kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce)
1 star anise
Tspn chinese five spice
Udon or rice noodles

Bring water and vegetable stock to the boil with stock cubes. Meanwhile in a small frypan, saute chinese sausages along with garlic, ginger and sambal oelek. When sausage pieces are browned, add all to the boiling water and stock. Then add kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, lime juice, fish sauce, kecap manis, star anise and five spice. Boil for about 30 mins until the soup reduces a little and the flavour develops.

Separately, boil and drain enough udon or rice noodles for everyone. Pour through a sieve into bowls of prepared noodles, then re-add sausage pieces. You could also simmer into the sieved broth slices of carrot, shallot, pieces of other cooked meats, seafood or dumplings.

06 June 2012

Astronomy Domine

Well, what a great day for a transit of Venus! After missing the morning first and second contact due to cloud cover, I tried again at the start of lunchtime but was foiled by clouds again. Walking back from lunch I tried one more time to line up at the telescope on campus at the right moment, and this time I saw it: the transit of Venus, through the filtered end of a telescope attachment. Woohoo!
Everyone was politely jostling to take a photo with mobile phones. I took a couple of pictures then stepped back to make room. Then a guy handed me a pair of solar binoculars, treated with aluminium lenses. I looked through these and shouted, ' that's incredible!', which made everyone laugh. I could see the sun as a golden ball of fire in the darkness, and Venus as a tiny spot on its surface. It was wonderful!
I'm so glad I was actually able to see it with my own eyes.
My sweetheart has named his latest musical composition after the event, and we're listening to it now for the third time.
Only 105 &1/2 years till the next one!

Horror movie right there on my tv

Last night I happened to see the second half of Diablo Cody's horror flick, Jennifer's Body. It was strangely compelling, like Carrie slash girl power slash bff slash exorcist slash slasher film with a big dash of 21st century irony, and some very snappy dialogue. I wanted to look away but I was laughing too hard, then I felt a bit sick, then I was laughing again. Everything you want from a teen demon-possession meets indi rock band themed gorefest. I still managed to sleep okay...

04 June 2012


I watched another Bollywood film today, the scifi adventure Endhiran. Starring Rajnikanth & Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, S. Shankar's over the top tale of an android's love for his creator's fiance has the full Bollywood shebang. Romance,  action, science fiction, cgi effects, and a fair amount of dance numbers featuring outrageous costumes and even a trip to what appears to be Macchu Picchu...

It seems there is an entire idiom I have yet to fully understand when it comes to these films, where the potential for sexual activity almost always involves a trip to dance fantasy land, and where genre is no barrier to plot development.

I might spend quite a bit of blog every day of june commenting on my initial forays into the fascinating cinema phenomenon that is Bollywood.

03 June 2012

Boys of summer

My partner is djing his playlist into the loungeroom and Don Henley's 'Boys of Summer' is playing.  I hated this song in year nine, but now it's strangely evocative, bringing back memories of swimming in a country channel and riding bikes home at the end of the day in togs and towels, and listening to the top 40 hits on the radio - the only couple of stations available. Casey Kasem's top 40 on Sunday night, like the Oracle of Delphi for a 14-year-old in nowheresville.

Now Prince's 'Sign of the Times' is playing. My final year in high school, when I was developing some understanding of the larger world around me.  I remember this being a very powerful funk anthem.

OH NO, now we've got Dave Edmunds' 'Girls' Talk' - back to year seven, a yellow skirt and neon pink sneakers with neon blue net socks, the fifties revival in 1979-1980.  We had a sort of social dance thing at high school and I remember I wore the dress my mother wore to the prom in the early 60's. I felt like a total bump on a log but I bet I was absolutely gorgeous.  I saw a photo of myself at 24 the other day, and was amazed that I could have worried about my looks, thinking I was fat etc.  If I had a time machine, I would go back and tell that girl not to worry about a thing because 'THIS IS THE PRETTIEST YOU ARE EVER GOING TO BE WITHOUT TRYING!'

Here comes John Cougar Mellencamp...


Now I'm watching Akihiko Shiota's Dororo. It's a fantasy horror film about a hero whose father made a deal with 48 demons in return for power over the kingdom. The hero's 48 body parts were given to the 48 demons before he was born. A sorcerer saved him and made him magic body parts, and raised him to become a warrior.
The hero is accompanied on his quest to kill each of the 48 demons and win back the 48 parts of his body, by a young warrior named Dororo, who is a girl in disguise. So far it is creepy and wierd but also visually amazing. Great special effects - like monkey magic only gorier.

02 June 2012

Dhoom 2

Just watched the Indian film, Dhoom 2. Hilarious action, detective, adventure comedy with all-singing, all-dancing cast including Hrithik Rashan, a sensation in India who has millions of fans, and Aishwarya Rai, who starred in Mistress of Spices, and Bride and Prejudice. Fantastic action scenes, stunts, romance and fabulous Bollywood dancing. Something for everyone!