Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Top 5 Books

Oh lordy lordy, this is a very hard one. Also, it's kind of late, so I may have to do an Abridged Version Challenge for tonight's Top 5. Five words on each? Seems like a fair challenge to me!

5. If on a winter's night a traveler - Italo Calvino
Helped me understand postmodernism. Dense.

4. His Dark Materials Trilogy - Philip Pullman
Got me reading "grown-up" books.

3. Harry Potter Series - J.K. Rowling
I am an obsessive nerd.

2. Good Omens - Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman
Best appropriation of Genesis EVER.

1. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
Perfect portrayal of love and grace. (that one deserves six!)

Somehow that took me longer than writing full paragraphs... Oh well. I heartily recommend every single one of those books, each worth reading in their own way. I feel like a book can really change your life in a way that nothing else really does, and that's what Les Miserables did for me. What do you other bookworms think?

Top 5 Films

It's very hard for me to do a Top 5 Films list without at least three of them being film-musicals, I hope everyone appreciates that difficulty.

I'm not generally a feature-length sort of girl, really, due mainly to the combination of factors a) that I'm too much of a penny-pincher to see films whilst they're at the cinema, and b) that I fall asleep during anything over half an hour long when watching it at home. I don't go in for "movies" a lot, so please excuse how pretentious this list looks - I assure you it represents the films that have really stayed with me.

5. Picnic at Hanging Rock
This film was the first film I ever studied, in year 7 English. There are three things that really stick in my mind with this film - the opening quote: "All we see, and all we seem, are but a dream... A dream within a dream..." - the beautiful-slash-completely creepy panflute-dominated score, and the strange, sometimes disturbing aura of pubescent feminine sexuality that pervades the film. The howling winds (genuinely recorded at Hanging Rock), the omnipresent ants, the white roses pinned to every breast, Sarah's straining, tragic affection for Miranda, and the unanswered question of the girls' disappearance make the film so perfectly disjointed, truly one of the great mysteries of our culture.

.. That being said, if you read the last chapter of the book on which it's based, it transpires that they've all turned into bush-dwelling creatures. Which not only destroys the mystery but is a very crap ending. Great thanks go to Peter Weir for avoiding that one.

4. Slumdog Millionaire
Slumdog has got to be one of the best pieces of storytelling I've ever born witness to. The way that Jamal's story weaves so perfectly through the questions, the way his life is reflected back on to you as an audience is just so wonderful and engaging, not only did I sit through the whole thing, but I stayed awake watching it again at home. Jai Ho indeed!

3. Akira
If you haven't seen this film (1988, first example of a completely cel-animated feature) then I cannot explain it to you. Go watch it, it's a visual masterpiece and an unusually intricate and genuinely disturbing representation of a futuristic dystopia. No seriously, just go watch it. The reason that it's on my list (and it's the one film that hasn't left my top 5 since I was 13) is because I think it's so important to the way that film has developed as a medium, not to mention art and anime practice.

2. Y Tu Mama Tambien
This film hasn't left my Top 5 since I was 15, so that's also a pretty big deal. Y Tu Mama tells the story of two young men who pick up an older, married woman and whisk her away on a varyingly debaucherous and introspective road trip, learning many important lessons on the way. The reason it's imprinted itself so successfully on my soul is definitely due to the tragic ending it has - the two young men are estranged by their sexual experiences with each other, and the woman leaves their lives just as she entered them, suddenly and without warning or explanation. I cannot describe how hollow I felt after I watched it for the first time, its a beautiful sort of ache that I don't think I've ever experienced again.

1. Love Actually
And now for something completely different!
Well, we're coming up to Christmas and Love Actually is my favourite film. I'm not too proud to admit that four amazing, affecting and important films (and the rest) rank below this one for me. Because it's a British rom-com featuring all my favourite British boys (Liam Neeson, Hugh Grant, Andrew Lincoln, Colin Firth and Alan Rickman) that gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling and always puts me in the mood for that tea-and-biscuits, cuddly brand of romance.

Eclectic, no? That's definitely the case with me and films, they're not really my thing until one I love comes along. What are your favourites?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Top 5 Artworks

Because it's almost midnight and I've got some serious spooning to get to, tonight's top five will be in pictures.

Enjoy the brevity, it's brought to you by a solid two hour work-email writing session.

5. Marc Chagall - The Dance
4. Leonardo da Vinci - Leda and the Swan

3. Davide - The Death of Marat

2. Hieronymous Bosch - The Garden of Earthly Delights

1. Salvador Dali - The Metamorphoses of Narcissus

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Top 5 Songs

As someone who has been indoctrinated into a sort of classical mindset about music (thank you, dear) I find the word "song" very difficult to negotiate these days.

"Songs" are not "pieces", and some of Saturday's Top 5 are definitely "pieces". I've had to set myself one rule in making this list (a rule that makes things much easier, I will add) in that sections of musicals or operas, no matter how distinct as "songs", do not count. They are part of a greater work and therefore do not belong in the category of stand-alone musical "pieces". It also means that when I come to do my Top 5 Musicals, I wont have already mentioned them all now.

I think music triggers emotion and certainly emotional memory in a way nothing else really does, and that's why I think every song or piece someone puts in a list like this has to be meaningful, has to have a story. I know mine all do.

5. Danse Macabre - Camille Saint-Saens
Danse Macabre is pure classical pop, I know, but it was one of the first pieces I listened to after deciding to make an effort with the "classical" genre, and it stuck with me. I remember hearing it and being so taken in by the furious rhythms and strange tonality... until I played it in orchestra. Let me tell you right now there is nothing interesting about the double bass part, kind of ruined the whole thing for me.
Still, the fantastic waltz-beat of it and the amazingly eerie and supernatural sound-world it creates pulled me in and reawakened my passion for music, so for that it most definitely deserves a place on this list.

4. Hounds of Love - Kate Bush
From classical pop to actual pop... I love this song. This one's "story" is pretty crap, but the song is an absolute masterpiece of chipmunkery and for that I laud it's name. Kate Bush is, of course, a complete maniac, but I love love love her music, and especially this song. Nothing in the world motivates me to get up and throw myself out into the world like Hounds of Love does, a statement proven by the fact that I listened to it every morning on my way to school in the last month before I graduated. Before exams, before studying, whilst procrastinating studying - Kate Bush's greatest hits kept playing, and Hounds of Love kept on getting put on repeat.

3. Prelude to Cello Suite No. 1 - J.S. Bach
This story has to be picked around, for there is something of a risk of over-share in relation to this piece. Of course, this is the first section of one of Bach's most beautiful works for solo cello, the sound of which is instantly recognisable because of how widely it is used in film and television, but for me it just speaks volumes of earnest, straining, youthful love.
The first time I heard Roman play this piece, we weren't together. I think I was thinking about it, but I'm pretty sure he wasn't... that's kind of how it happened - I suggested it to him and he said "you know, I'd never really thought about it like that" - like all great romances, hey?
So anyway, I downloaded this piece and played it over and over, lying on my bed, worrying about whether my Great Love would ever love me back. And it's just the music for it.
A summer later, the Prelude's story came full circle for me. On some awful hot day, I lay on my back in my Great Love's music room, listening to him play it - just for me.

2. Call Me Al - Paul Simon
This is the Family Song. There are so many stupid, funny memories associated with this song that I can't think of any specifically, it's all melted into some silly pot of full family air-instrument bands whilst Paul Simon blares out unacceptably loudly over long car trips. Paul Simon, especially the Graceland album, makes me think of my dad, and my family, and all the wonderful, wacky love that exists there.
(I bags the air-trumpet).

1. With or Without You - U2
This song is not number one because I love the song. In fact, I've quite gone off it in the last couple of years, something about Bono being a rather large tool or something, but the moment in my memory that explodes into my mind every time I hear it is so pure and so clear that I can't ignore it.
When I was in year 12, I arranged a girls' vocal version of With or Without You for a concert, and the absolute most perfect moment in the entire song was decidedly the moment when the bassline comes in. It's low, even, and throbbing, it helps the music build in such an intense, emotional way that it's just perfect.
On the actual night of the concert, the music started, and as that beautiful bassline came in, I looked across the stage and saw Roman with my old electric bass slung over his shoulders, tapping away at it, and I couldn't help but beam.
That was such a moment for me, a completely still crystallised moment in time, in which I realised, so instantly that my inner-voice actually spoke the words, that I was in love.

I don't think it matters whether it's a song or a piece, whether it's interesting and artistic or a three-chord band job, the music that stays with you is always the music that was playing at that moment in time. We all have them, musically-triggered recollections. I think that's what is important to me about this project, that I can take all these moments where art has touched me and record them, leaving a perfect record of what matters to me at this moment.

Mission Lifestyle Rearrangement: Day Two

Last night I stayed up too late. Bad start to my Brand New Girl push, perhaps, but the point is that I woke up at eight thirty this morning and felt truly rested.

I hardly ever feel rested, so that was very exciting. I put it down to drinking lots of water.

I then hopped in the car with my family (including my brother, who was Not Happy about being woken... he's seventeen, which pretty much explains that) and drove to to beautiful Clovelly, where I had my first swim of the summer!

If there was ever something that deserved bold-ing, it is that. The water was perfect, the fish were swimming happily around my ankles, and although the blue groper eluded me, I saw a fish that I thought was a parrot fish and ended up being just a very clever regular fish carrying a stone in its mouth.

Getting physically active - tick!

I also enjoyed some pretty wonderful food, which I'd like to share in my slightly crazy, point-form way:
  • tabouli in pita bread pockets with baba ganouj
  • a big old strawberry milkshake
  • door-stop sized slices of a wonderful chewy sourdough bread we bought from a woman selling loaves over her garden gate in Clovelly, with olive butter
  • Fresh strawberries and grain crisps
Documenting food and exercise may be very boring for any readers I may still have, but is wonderfully helpful to me. I hope I can keep going like this for at least another little while...

Friday, November 27, 2009

Top 5 Television Programmes

I probably watch too much tv. Not actually ON the television, mind you. Most of the programmes on this list come care of youtube, or dvds put on to play in bed with Roman, as is probably evident from the sheer Englishness of them.

The whole concept of the Top 5 asks some interesting questions. How do "works of art" effect the people who watch/listen/experience them? Even television programmes effect us, the multitudes of online forums devoted to shows, characters and particularly relationships prove that they do.

Cults of personality run rife in tv-watching, and I am totally guilty of that. You'll notice some names that repeat over the course of my Top 5 this evening, starting with...

5. Qi
Stephen Fry's stomach-achingly funny BBC panel show, featuring my idee fixe du jour, Alan Davies, who looks less like Roman and more like Roman's dad in the present day. Still wonderfully funny, he is joined by three guest panelists and rigorously quizzed on Quite Interesting facts by Stephen Fry, a.k.a. The Lord of All Things Wonderful. Its series' are lettered rather than numbered, and every episode has a theme based on the series' letter. Also, it makes for great conversation starters, for example "Here's a Quite Interesting fact - earth has two moons!" You can't help talking with implied capitals and exclamation marks.

4. A Bit of Fry and Laurie
Stephen Fry's second but not final appearance on this list. Simply put, the best sketch show ever. The vox pops are incredible, the amount of drag costuming is incredible, the way that Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie interact is incredible. Totally worth exhausting youtube's supply of clips.

3. Absolute Power
Here he is again! Stephen Fry and John Bird star in a sadly short-lived comedy about a Public Relations company and their dirty dealings. Featuring such plotlines as "sexing up" the House of Lords, accidentally killing a performance artist by draining all his blood, spinning a British neo-Nazi party and everyone sleeping with Jaime.

2. The West Wing
I don't think there are many people who haven't seen The West Wing. I don't think there's much I can say about it, either. My dad has all seven seasons on disc... we didn't see him for a while after that happened. It's a completely engrossing series with amazing attention to detail and beautifully fleshed-out characters. I don't mind admitting that I've seen every episode at least twice, and every episode featuring Danny Concannon at least five times.

1. Jonathan Creek
Ah yes, the ultimate cult of personality. Jonathan Creek is the most wonderful concoction of a character. The idea of super-analytical mystery solving with a socially awkward, accidentally charming genius with his brash red-haired sidekick (who I really identify with... she's slightly uncoordinated and can't keep her mouth shut) is just immensely appealing. The relationship between Jonathan and Maddy (aforementioned brash red-haired one) is fantastically interesting and endearing. A will-they-wont-they that doesn't grate the way some of the American sitcom relationships do, just a perfect imperfect love story that is always funny and eventually just a bit sad.

Television can be decidedly banal, but I think we can all admit that it's sometimes exactly what you need when you have to switch off and relax. Speaking of, I'm off to watch season D of Qi... night all.

7 x 5

I'm starting a project. Sheer boredom really, but I feel it's moderately likely to help me streamline my ideas about art and life. Possibly.

The idea actually comes from a seriously bad/funny film called High Fidelity, in which the two main characters, who work in a record shop, are constantly quizzing each other on their Top 5 hit B-sides, Top 5 Drummer-turned-Lead Singers, etc, as you can imagine.

So - seven days of Top Fives.

SUNDAY - Artworks
MONDAY - Films
WEDNESDAY - Musicals
THURSDAY - People to get stuck in an elevator with

From easiest to write about to most difficult - and interesting - to write about, starting tonight.

Mission Lifestyle Rearrangement

I think I probably could have managed a snappier title. Oh well!

Yes, I am, to put it mildly, COMPLETELY FED UP with my failing immune system and as such have decided that I need a serious shift in habits to stop my body from giving up on me.

So, I've made some goals:

1. No more alcohol.
I don't drink that much, really, but occasionally I drink too much too frequently and make myself very unhappy. I think it has something to do with not drinking at all until after I turned eighteen due to a mixture of respect for the law (ha) and the fact that my liver just couldn't take it after I was seriously ill when I was younger.
Normal nineteen year olds are far more bullet-proof than I am, and I must remember that.
What I will do now is swear off the demon drink altogether until the 20th of March (the closing night of the next show I'm producing) and then reassess whether I really can't live without it after that.
Besides, less drinks = more shoes. Or something.

2. Get physically active.
This is a hard one. Apart from the effort it takes to actually get out of the house after you've had the flu or similar (as I've experienced repeatedly in recent months), Australian summers are unkind to those who wish to walk/jog/do anything out of the water. Luckily enough, I'm a very strong and fairly fearless swimmer, so that makes my choice easy.
I'm on holidays. My boyfriend drives, my parents both drive, they all like going to the beach (even though Roman swims like an Englishman*) so that's what we will do. I will go swim laps of Clovelly Bay every day I can this summer, and on days I can't, I will either go for a nice long walk after dark, or put on Paul Simon and dance like a maniac.

*Not very well

3. Eat Well
I know I can do better than I'm doing right now. I plan to eat healthy amounts of healthy food and stop buying meals wherever possible. For example, today (day one) I have eaten:
  • An organic cheddar, bean and tomato toasted sandwich with orange juice for breakfast
  • A small but awesome serving of Dad's home made veggie fried-rice
  • A parsley omelette with rye toast, fresh tomatoes and baba ganouj.
  • About to eat apple slices and raisins in natural yoghurt. Yum yum yum.
The great thing is I know it makes me feel so much better than eating the crap I usually buy at uni or work. So yay, let's hope I can keep it up.

3.1 Eat Meat!
My vegetarian period has coincided with the highest rate of recurring illness in my life. After watching far too much of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall on River Cottage, I've realised that as long as you eat good meat that has been treated organically and ethically in its previous life, it's not actually a sin to be an omnivore. Plus, my dad makes amazing lemon lamb.

4. Drink water
Seems dumb, right? Well I am dumb. Profoundly, apparently, because my doctor says that two days ago I was so dehydrated it was raising my heart rate. More fluids required. This is an important one for everyone, I think, especially anyone planning on dealing with Australian weather over the next few months.

5. Get on the self-respect wagon
This is the big one. When I'm staying up to all hours with no food and too much drink in me, I forget that I'm actually a bit of a goddess.
This sounds ridiculous, and in many ways it is, but I don't think it'd kill me to remember that I've got a beautiful, feminine body that needs a bit of care given and attention paid.
..Which is why I painted my nails! They're a deep, shimmery turquoise. Like the shadow of an iceberg under the southern waves.
It's the beginning of appreciating what my body does for me and thanking it just a little for that immense labour.

I know I'm going to get better.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Tales from the Sickbed

Hello dear chickens and roosters (a special nod to my dear uncle Loz right there... pity your team sucks), I am most pleased to inform you that my rate of posting will be increasing due to (I am less pleased to inform you) another bout of Caitlin's Mystery Illness Adventures.

Seriously, if life were a lucky dip I would be picking up all the packages filled with pathogens, and not even the interesting ones.

I know it's not that bad, I mean it's just a case of letting myself get run down - flu followed by meningitis followed by whooping cough followed by whatever I have now (nausea, dehydration and crazy low blood pressure) is not terminal cancer, and for that I am very grateful, but HONESTLY. I am bored of being sick.

Do you remember when you were a kid and taking a day off school for being sick somehow made you a bit special or something? You got to watch tv and read and the next day when you came back everyone would ask after you and make sure you were okay. That seems so far removed from what I've been repeatedly experiencing over the last couple of months, which is being exhausted, missing out on all sorts of work, social, and most importantly musical commitments, watching awful mind-numbingly boring television and trying to find a good book to read.

But it's a learning experience, isn't it? That which does not kill us makes us stronger... or whatever.

  • Orange Gatorade sucks. Full effing stop. I shall never drink it again as long as I live, I don't care how it replenishes my electrolytes.
  • Electrolytes have less to do with the Large Hadron Collider and more to do with fluid retention than I thought. Disappointing.
  • Trying to perform a week long run of a musical with Whooping Cough is pretty much the opposite of a good time.
  • Don't watch the news right before going to sleep when you're not sleeping well. You'll wake up at 4am and not be able to get back to sleep for thinking about escaped double murderers (Sydneysiders know what I mean...)
  • Having a boyfriend with the immune system of the Winged Victory is really very good. My Roman has never been immunised against anything, and has not got one of the diseases I've had despite being perfectly happy to sleep beside me whilst I'm coughing/feverish/vomiting. What a trooper.
  • My family are wonderful. That includes Roman, but also extends to my Mum and Dad, and Andrew and Lilly. Special mention goes to Lil for getting me a sick-bowl. Champion.
I've been very seriously contemplating how things got this way - how I've managed to make myself sick five weeks out of the last six - and I realise that I need a serious lifestyle re-arrangement. Details of said lifestyle rearrangement will no doubt follow, as soon as I've figured them out...

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Mystery of Edwin Drood

I've just spent the last three months of my life rehearsing and performing a great little (big) show called The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

It won the Tony Award for Best Musical (the benchmark for achievement in musical theatre) in 1986, an award which in the next two years was awarded to Les Misérables, and Phantom of the Opera, although it has pretty much slipped from the canon of musical theatre repetoire since then.

This is, I believe, largely owing to how difficult it is to stage. The thing about Drood is that it has a different ending every night - there are over 600 endings!

The musical is based on the novel Charles Dickens never finished. When he died in 1870, he was twenty chapters in to a serialised murder mystery, leaving 20 chapters and the resolution of the mystery unwritten and, well, ... a mystery.

Many academics and writers have attempted to "solve" The Mystery of Edwin Drood, including a psychic who apparently just asked Dickens' ghost what happened, but I think Rupert Holmes was the cleverest about it.

Holmes' musical adaptation of Drood is a camp nod to amateur theatre and the vaudeville tradition of the late nineteenth century, a play-within-a-play in which every actor is playing an actor playing one of Dickens' characters. Half way through Act II, the Dickens plotline falls apart and the audience is called upon to vote for an ending.

Four "ballots" are held over the next half hour or so: Who is the Disguised Detective, Dick Datchery? (don't you love the aliteration?) Who Murdered Edwin Drood? and then, at the conclusion of the first two revelations, Which Two Characters Will Fall in Love?

There are five possible Datcherys, eight possible Murderers, and eleven possible lovers (three female, eight male) which add up to over six hundred combinations of endings. A pretty epic task for a young amateur cast.

I played Miss Janet Conover, an experienced Actress, who plays Helena Landless, a Ceylonese noblewoman who accompanies her twin brother Neville to England in order to escape a shady past.

During the run, I was Dick Datchery twice, and a lover once. In fact, the night I was a lover, my male lover was Alex, who played Neville. Mmm, incest. It was hilarious and disturbing.

Anyway, I just had the greatest experience doing Drood, and I wanted to share some of the AMAZING show shots taken by the very talented Victoria Nelson. Stalk her on Facebook, tell her she should start a blog/website to showcase the photography she and her twin sister, Felicity (also very talented) do.

Mr. Harry Milas (the magician of my previous post) as the Chairman. He was a legend.
Me, with Alex (Neville) and Lizzie (Edwin), explaining the death of Dickens to the audience.
The Voting for the female Lover. Naomi (Rosa Bud), Marina (Princess Puffer) and myself, with Andy as Mr. James Throttle, the mentally handicapped Stage Manager.
My very talented twin - twin in the show, soul twin in real life, Alex.
Alex, confessing that it was HE who murdered young Edwin Drood.
The climactic scene just before Drood vanishes in Act I - with the incredible song "No Good Can Come From Bad" aka the crunchy crunchy close harmony death song. Heh.
Me having a little angst in "No Good Can Come From Bad". Alex on the left, Naomi on the right.
Roman (with RIDICULOUS hair), playing the Reverend Crisparkle, blesses the meal in "No Good Can Come From Bad".
I yell at Harry for a while, then he calls me a bitch and I glare for a bit.
The gorgeous female "Moonfall" quartet. Felicity, Naomi, myself and Minna.
And here's Roman as the murderer. He was truly truly scary.
What musical is complete without an epic kick-line?
... or side-stepping, top-hat miming?
Harry and Roman have a moment.

I am so proud of everyone in the cast, and so happy that I got to perform again... it might be the last time I get to for a very long time.

King of Diamonds

My dear friend Harry dropped over the most amazing book about magic tricks. I've been completely obsessed with magic and illusions since I started watching Jonathan Creek a few weeks ago.

I can't imagine why, can you? ...
Anyway, this book is awesome but I am SO TERRIBLE at the card-flipping thing...
I learned one trick, practiced it a couple of times, bamboozled my brother and then tried it on my dad. He was fairly unimpressed. And even the brother figured it out the second time.
Is this your card? No? Oh. (shit.) Hang on!
Is THIS your card? Still no?
I'm loving the book, but I might have to give up on the actual practice...

Cabin Fever

I'm being held captive.

... not really.

I have whooping cough and therefore am being literally quarantined in my house with no visitors for a whole week. I'm officially half way through that period of isolation and today I ventured outside for the first time.

It's funny, all I did was hobble around the back garden and I feel completely reborn. Look how lovely and sunny it's been today!

I had a nice sit in the sun and it was so lovely... Just before I took a (very) short stroll around the garden...

Oh, do you like my pyjama pants? They're so old and comfy, perfect for a week like this!
This week will be a good one for re-connecting with El Bloggo. I'm very much looking forward to it.

Monday, October 5, 2009

This is Patt.

Patt is my awesome friend. Look at his blog. It's funny and sweet and clever, just like him.

Consistency etc.

I'm going to blog more regularly. Yes I am. Except that right now the only thing I'm going to do is a "stuff about meeeee" quiz. Sorry about that.

Ahem, anyhow...

What is your current obsession/s?Currently/for several years: Stephen Sondheim and all his works. Oh my goodness. I adore him.

What is the most interesting thing that you will do today?
Write 1500 words on the appropriation of A Midsummer Night's Dream from play to modern opera. You wondered why I was posting, and now you know.

What's for dinner?
Lasagne and greek salad. Om nom nom.

What would you eat for your last meal?I'd start with my dad's pumpkin soup with sour cream, follow it with a main of cheese and spinach tortellini with peas and pesto cream (with nice white wine) and a desert of Roman's lemon pudding with lots of cream and fruit, and a big glass of the lemon, lime, and gin drink that my dear friend Naomi has perfected. The fact that I was about to die would make the massive amounts of cream and cheese in that meal less worrying to me.

What's the last thing you bought?
A yellow iced smiley-face cookie for my darling lovelorn Patrick.

What are you listening to right now?Sweeney Todd, Broadway Revival recording. The Johanna Quartet. Oh my goodness. Love.

If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be?
I'd have the Tardis, so I could go between elegant but homely terraces and apartments in Sydney (where I live... I'm very lucky), Melbourne, London, Vienna, Paris, and New York.

If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go?
New York, to catch a Broadway matinee of a new musical.

Which language would you like to learn?Welsh, I must learn Welsh before I die.

What's your favourite quote, for now?
Oh me oh my. Too many to think of. I'm a big libretto-quoter, rather than a person-quoter. This is my favourite piece of poetry, from Sondheim's (der) Sunday in the Park With George.

And when the woman that you wanted goes,You can say to yourself, "Well, I give what I give."
But the women who won't wait for you knowsThat, however you l
There's a part of you always standing by,
Mapping out the sky,Finishing a hat...
Starting on a hat..
Finishing a hat...
Look, I made a hat...Where there never was a hat...

What is you favourite colour?
It changes from hour to hour. Right now it's dark, burnished orange. Tomorrow it might be teal, or Sweeney-red, or forest green...

What is your favourite piece of clothing from your own wardrobe?I love my long, mint-green and white vintage dress I found at Rozelle markets right now. I do generally love long dresses. They hide my physical shortcomings and make me feel floaty and faerie-ish.

What is your dream job?
West-End producer.

What is your favourite fabric?
Naomi just gave me a beautiful grey silk scarf. So silk, today.

If you had $100 what would you spend it on?A nice dinner date with my darling boy.

Describe your personal style.
Heh. What a question. Anything that makes me look tall. Subtle vintage, lots of colour, but not a big mash of too many colours. I like to power-dress but rarely actually do it.

What are you going to do after this?
Aforementioned 1,500 words. And possibly go for a run.

What are your favourite films?Y Tu Mama Tambien, Akira, The Queen, Frost/Nixon, Up (so good, go see it), Four Weddings and a Funeral, The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Favourite fruit?
Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and cherries. Anything red.

What inspires you?
Very good music, and very good theatre. People. Traffic stopping for ambulances.

Your favourite books?Good Omens - Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
The Harry Potter Series - J.K. Rowling
Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Do you collect anything?
Owl things. Clothes that don't fit. Dust, according to my mother.

What are you currently reading?
The libretto of Benjamin Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream
Go to your book shelf, take down the first book with a red spine you see, turn to page 26 and type out the first line.
"... what I thought, I am sure it would move you. Forgive me, and believe that I cannot help telling you this, I live". - Love Letters, compiled by Antonia Fraser

What makes you follow a blog?
Shiny pictures or a good sense of humour.

What society would you most like to join?
Musical Theatre Society? I'm the president of one.
What is one thing you did as a child that you miss doing now?
Climbing trees!

If you could travel back in time and live in a certain period when would it be?
New York, 1957, to witness the birth of modern musical theatre with West Side Story.

Alexander and I in rehearsal.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My Dear Friend,

Words can not possibly express how joyful and hopeful you made me today.

For you -

Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue.

Because sometimes life is black and white... but sometimes it's bright bower-blue.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

I Also Like Lists

So I'm kind of busy and stressed. Doing production design for a really wonderful play called Eurydice (by Sarah Ruhl) for the Verge Arts Festival at Sydney Uni. Unfortunately I'm kind of rubbish at set/props/costume construction and thus, here I am, 9 days out from opening night, with pretty much everything still left to do.

"Fucking fuck" is the most appropriate phrase, I find.

So, inspired by that colourful phrase and by my dear Rebecca over at the charming if inconsistent blog Feff's Flights of Fancy (look for it in my side bar, something strange is happening with linking at the moment), here is a brief run-down of what needs doing tomorrow:
  • Buy fabric to make six cloaks, one skirt, six music-stand ornaments, 5m x 9m of "waterfall" set element.
  • Scrounge around op-shops for and alter some ten items of clothing, including finding a grey morning jacket and tie-dying it.
  • Learn to tie-dye.
  • Read a couple of 20-page articles and write a 400 word analysis of a particular school of performance theory and how it relates to modern ceremonies.
  • Cook dinner for five people.
  • Prepare myself to be yelled at by a many and varied collection of people for not getting enough done.
Want to see the set plan? It's pretty cool, despite the fact that Roman and I haven't quite mastered textures on SketchUp, the program we've been using to make dimensionally sound set plans.

So there you have it. If you want to help me dye fabric of a Sunday, let me know, you're very welcome.

Happy weekend, my lovely friends.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Twenty Eight!

Oh my goodness, dolphins and porpoises, it's going to be twenty eight degrees on Sunday!

I know it's only August, but summer is really on its way, the breeze has been so wonderfully zephyric and balmy and I'm starting to turn into Summer Kenny (a fundamentally unsound oceanid with a desire to jump into water from dizzying heights) already.

So, just to get me more excited, twenty eight glorious things Sydney summer is bringing to me: -

1. Icy Poles
2. Clovelly
3. Twilight Picnics (mosquitos and all)
4. Strawberries
5. Raspberries
6. Blackberries
7. Eurydice
8. Making a Dent in My Reading List
9. Getting Oil Paints all over my Hands and Clothes
10. Sleeping with the Windows Open
11. The Clovelly Groper and his Lady Gropers
12. Late Nights at the Duck & Swan
13. White Sandals
14. Sun dresses
15. Home-Made Lemonade
16. Summer Projects
17. Sewing Bags and Dresses
18. Early Sunrises
19. Late Sunsets
20. Late Nights with Good Friends
21. The Mystery of Edwin Drood
22. Colourful Flowers Everywhere
23. Straw Hats
24. Sleeping Nude
25. Swimming in the Ocean Every Day
26. Wandering Through Markets
27. Living in Bare Feet
28. Spending a Third Summer Kissing That Man of Mine

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Boleslawiec Ceramics

Further to my previous post on sentimental muggery, I must express my undying love for Boleslawiec crockery, awesome blue hand-painted Polish ceramics.
I own none of it myself, but have an unhealthy obsession for the large collection of mugs, plates, bowls, jugs and spoon-resters belonging to Roman's family, collected feverishly by his dear mother.

What I really love about these pretty pieces is how obviously hand-crafted they are. They're almost perfectly even and symmetrical but never quite, and the layers of blue ink betray each individual brush stroke used to create them. It makes them all the more delicious to eat from, drink out of and rest upon because they are so obviouslymade with looooooooove.

That and I love the patterns, they're all beautiful. One day I hope to have a collection of my very own.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Things That Are Warm

Clockwise from Top Left: "Day Off" T-Shirt at Threadless.com, Dadaya Mittens and Hat at Etsy.com, Katwise Arm Warmers at Etsy.com, Sparrownestknits Scarf at Etsy.com, DewberryVintage Boots at Etsy.com, and Sonia Rykiel Coat at ASOS.com.

Tea for Two

Hello Strangers,

I was just recalling an anecdote my darling boy once told me.

In the 1920's, the conductor of the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra, Nikolai Malko, bet the composer Dmitri Shostakovich one hundred roubles that he couldn't completely arrange and re-orchestrate the Vincent Youmans standard Tea For Two in an hour.

Shostakovich, of course, did it. From memory. In forty five minutes.

If you're interested, the arrangement is called the Tahiti Trot, and after first being performed in Moscow in 1928, has been performed ever since.

Anyway, that's a fun little story that actually has nothing to do with what I want to talk about. Well, very little.

In the winter months (fuck you, Northern Hemisphere readers, your balmy weather reports are not welcome here) I am a tea fiend, especially when I'm staying up ridiculously late for no good reason.

So, today I bring you a post-hibernation reflection on tea. Mmm, deep.

Five Amazing Cups of Tea:
1. Russian Caravan, home-brewed by Dad, with a big splash of milk and a heaped teaspoon of sugar in a purple flower mug.
2. Chai tea with steamed soy milk from the Frisky Goat at Wynyard Station, drunk half-asleep on the bus to uni.
3. English Breakfast with a dash of milk in a Boleslawiec blue mug at Roman's house on a Sunday morning with a good British fry-up.
4. Jasmine tea in a latte glass at Toby's Estate, served with good conversation with a dear friend.
5. Hot lemon and manuka honey tea with a drop of liquid echinacea, the perfect healing potion when one is ailing.

Finally, I'd just like to share an image I have, an image of what I want my life to look like in the indeterminable future - it involves mugs!

Just to have a little house with some mis-matched furniture and a cat or two, a big bed with a nice quilt, and perhaps a blue-eyed man napping in it... and mugs. I can't wait to have a mug that's mine in my own cupboard in my own home.

It'll be special because of the hundreds of times I'll raise it to my lips. Whilst reading a good book. Whilst skritching a cat behind the ears. Over a fierce debate, over comfortable silence, over a murmured "I love you".

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.

This little birdy is grateful to weheartit for the beautiful photos whilst I am devoid of camera.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Love and Art

The transition between childhood and adulthood doesn't happen suddenly.

It happens over time - first there are hormones, then physical changes, then new relationships and broken hearts and lots of teenage "firsts", and suddenly you've graduated from high school and turned eighteen and you realise that within the next few years you've got to be a Grown Up with all the associated responsibilities.

Things like finding a place to live, furniture to go in it, toasters and kettles and whimsical teacups, paying bills and affording any sort of comfort in your lifestyle... not to mention getting/keeping a job or an education.

And I don't even think that's the most difficult part of becoming an adult. I think what's hard is breaking free of the protective shell that is your family home and going out into the "Real World" to be independent and in a lot of respects, alone for the first time.

Roman and I have a little dream about buying a theatre together and living in the back of it with a cat called Claude (as in Depussey) who can help with the rigging and keeping us warm together when we're in bed in a little room behind the stage.

It's that little projection that makes me realise that however hard being Grown Up is now, I will grow up and as long as I always hold my love and my art in the highest regard, my life will be full and rich.


Monday, April 20, 2009


In a week that has so savagely filled me with vitriol towards some repulsive, disappointing and downright euthanasia-worthy excuses for human beings, I feel I should depart from my regular blogging pursuits (as infrequent as they are at the moment) to express my gratitude to people who are endeavouring to not be fucktards in my face.

Cecilia - I wish I could be as patient and kind as you. If someone slept with your husband and ran over your cat after stealing from your house on the way out, you would just feel sorry for them because they're obviously "not in a very good place right now". I love you dearly, thank you for your kind and patient friendship.

Tristan - You and I are kindred spirits, except that you are way more awesome. Thank you for making it okay for me to love nerdy things like lolcats and corsets, for being a lovely friend and not disowning me for the Week of Accidental Tristan-Beating.

Hugh - Your beard is extra luscious and I just adore you. let's start a band.

Emily - Your blog still inspires me to be creative and worship gently and lovingly throughout this time of trial for me. Thank you for being so inspiring.

Minna - You're an angel. We've been together since the beginning of uni and you're the only person who has been there so constantly in that time. You are beautiful and talented and well adjusted. I can't tell you how much I appreciate it.

Captain Pants - I look up to you more than anyone else in our age group. You're super intelligent, inspiring, and yet so easy to get along with. What a gift that is - thank you.

Roman - You have the patience of Atlas. You are solid, dependable, but always entertaining and quite the bunk-buddy... And thank you for letting me post crude references to our relationship on my blog. I love you.

Thank you all for helping me deal with the mess of feelings I've been trying to battle in recent days. It seems like a weird thing to post so publicly (although I garuntee that you guys and my dad who inexplicably checks this blog will be the only ones who read it) but I just want you to know how grateful I am for the amazing people and strong friendships I have.

In other news, here's a picture of fat people in tie-dye.

(Source - pictureisunrelated.com. Another perfectly whimsical Tristan recommendation.)

Sunday, March 22, 2009


A spider bit me on the face.

My cheek and my lip are now all swollen.

I look like that munted guy from 300 who limps around Leonides until he gets rejected and then goes and helps the Persians breach Thermopolae...

Worst Sunday Ever.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Random Thought Friday!

The concept of seasonal produce hurts my brain.

This, friends, is not because I am retarded or somehow incapable of associating fruit with weather, but because I live on that funny little island down the bottom of the world.

Raspberries and strawberries in summer, in England, makes sense. Because berries happen in summer, in England.

Berries are not from Australia.

So what are the poor little strawberry brains supposed to do - keep bearing fruit in June, or skip forward six months because it's too chilly out?

Think about it.

And then there's the whole issue of how strawberries got over here in the first place... Were there garden boxes on the First Fleet? I like that idea...