Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Christmas Miracle

This is the honest truth, yesterday I served a customer by the name of Mrs Clauss. Mrs Claus! (Almost, just overlook the slight spelling variation.) So I had to ask, and yes the novelty wore thin many years ago. Right about the time that she made her phone number silent.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The To Do List, Done.

Sometimes it irks me that I work every Saturday, when fun events are planned that I have to either miss or show up hours late for. What I don't ever mind though is that my "Sunday" is Monday. Having a week day to get stuff done, even if it's just to go and see a movie in a deserted cinema (bliss). When that Monday is on the same insanely busy week as Christmas it's extra appreciated. So this morning I woke up early and got the ball rolling on a day that came with a whole To Do List of its own.

First off I had to catch a bus to the hardware store. The hardware supermarket. Actually if anyone still uses the term hypermart then that's what this place is. My sister and brother in law are renovating their house, so the desired gift of choice this year was a gift card. A Bunnings hardware hypermart gift card. So I got on a bus and travelled the 10 stops to my nearest outlet, one of the hyperest of the hypermarts.

Here's a thing about hardware stores, of this variety... they discriminate against non drivers. Or more accurately we are probably just completely off their radar. First off there is no real clear pedestrian access to the place, you just have to take your life in your own hands and walk up the same ramp access that all the cars use. Then once you've made your modest purchases (because duh, one can't carry the bulky stuff home on the bus) any request for a carry bag is denied. It's a recycled box (handy for the boot of the car!) or nothing. So having bought an armload full of outdoor solar lighting (tall, thin, bollard style lights and a steal at $4 each!) I then did an inefficient juggling routine on the bus ride home.

All this before 9.30am. Then I headed out again and got on yet another bus and headed into the city to buy the last gift I had to get for my family. Fast forward through me wandering the aisles of a DVD almost-hypermart picking out about a dozen non-purchased gifts for myself, and one actual one for my sister. (Plus hanging out for a short while in the Gay & Lesbian section just to see who else shops those shelves.) A kind of brunch on the run, and then another bus ride home for a frenzy of gift wrapping prior to heading to the Post Office and squeezing in a haircut.

I'm so glad I made the change from getting $75 haircuts in a chi-chi salon to getting $15 haircuts in an old fashioned barber shop. 9 times out of 10 I'm happier with the cut, I'm certainly happier to leave $60 still in my pocketses, and I like the vibe of the place. The blue liquid the combs sit in. The 40+ year old formica*. The angled mirrors that line the narrow railway carriage of a place, designed specifically (it would seem) so that I can revel in the fact that my 46 year old pate bears no signs of impending bald spotness.

The guys that work there are friendly enough, efficient, and not the least bit interested in asking about where I plan on going on my holidays. Best of all there's a kind of pleasant yang quality about the experience. A kind of honour system that may well be the last bastion of gentlemanly behaviour is in operation, everyone knows where they are in the queue and as gentlemen one and all we all take our turns. Plus, in true Newtown fashion, it's a melting pot of all sorts of guys; young dads, old Greek grandpas, hipsters in what looks like vintage workwear (and ironic mustaches sometimes), and the gays. Like me.

Oh, score of the day! On the short walk home from the barber I found the Christmas cook book by one of my culinary gurus Elizabeth David further reduced to $9.95! Thank you Universe. It was $16.95 just a few days back. Given that it was originally about $30, and my need for more Elizabeth David in my life, I had to give myself a wee treat.

We're not quite done yet, but we're on the home stretch. I put my feet up for an hour and then it was another brush with bus going community of Sydney. Back into the city again for my work Christmas get together. Nibbles, drinkies and a fun present swapping Kris Kringle game ensued, before I caught my last bus of the day.

Maybe this non-driving thing has its drawbacks after all?

* Not a wild guess, the place proudly advertises it opened in '66.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Maths Is Hard


It has finally, thankfully, mercifully happened.

Like a stray fleck of glitter on my cheek I've finally developed the smallest little glimmer of Christmas Spirit, I bought my first couple of Christmas gifts. Not Earth shattering news, but a minor victory of sorts.

Tonight I'll make my list and check it twice. The naughty ones might even get something extra in their stocking.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Best Friends

[Photos via Vintage Photo.]

A Tribute to McQueen

A stunning tribute to the late designer Alexander McQueen by photographer Nick Knight, with music by Björk. Knight uses a series of black models wearing important McQueen gowns to celebrate McQueen's creativity, while Björk wails as only she can.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Upon The Deep Blue Briny Sea

OK, the 2 boys in lederhosen are kind of ring-ins, but who can pass up a pic that cute? Plus, lederhosen.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Good Times. Familiar Faces.

I've been a bit crook this week, after picking up a bug from my flatmate and I've spent the past 4 days or so feeling out of sorts, a bit achey, a bit of a sore throat, a bit hot and cold and with a headache for the past few days. So when I was considering whether of not to go out tonight I was originally thinking I'd pass, but as the day wore on the weather cleared and I felt a little bit brighter as well. I'm so glad I changed my mind because I had a fantastic night of catching up with old friends.

Back in 2005 I signed up for Flickr, at a time when Flickr was still relatively small but growing rapidly. Through Flickr I discovered a group of Sydney photobloggers who were arranging meet-ups and photographic outings. Anyhoo, long story short I joined them for an outing and met a fantastic group of people who not only shared a common interest, but that were also a diverse and fun crowd of people to be with. Over a year or so friendships solidified, relationships formed (including one between Morgan and I for a while), breakups, babies and mini dramas ensued.

So I was chuffed to get an invite via The Facebook to a nostalgic "mid week meet-up" (as they were known) for the core group of us that became quite close back in 2006. The venue for the meet up was the historic Harbour View Hotel, nestled gently under the soaring on ramp of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The Harbour View has always had a soft spot in my heart, since I saw the Aussie musical "Starstruck" as a teenager back in the early 80s. The Harbour View was used as the primary setting for the film. All the exterior scenes were the actual hotel, while the interiors were actually sets. The front bar in this clip above looks a little bit bigger in scale the real one, but the basic shape is the same. The decor is nothing like the one in the film, all gentrified and genteeled, and probably never was as iconically Aussie as this cinematic fantasy.

Unlike the old days I didn't even take my camera out of its bag, but everything else felt just like old times. Beers were downed, food scarfed, opinions shared and lots and lots of laughs had. Such a good night, and I left really hoping we could do it all again soon.

On the train home, feeling the warm glow of old friendships and 4 beers, I spotted a very Marilyn-esque blonde bombshell in a little black dress get onto my train. It was my friend Corinne who was heading home after the opening night of the show she was Costume Supervisor for. Corrine and I met years ago back when I was making a lot of costumes and she was doing the same, but for fun rather than profit back then. We chatted all the train ride home and it was a further reminder that we all have people in our lives that we may not see all that often, but the enjoyment of them and the impact they have on our lives doesn't really fade.

Old friendships that are renewed effortlessly feel really special, like a treasure you even forgot you were looking for until you found it.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

It's A Parade

Working in a little 'corner shop' style yarn store right on King St in Newtown is not without its entertainment value. (And frankly, as we've now entered the seasonal slow down for knitting and crochet, I'll take any entertainment where I can find it.) The first benefit of being right on the street is, naturally for me, people watching. Yes I mean perving, and yes I mean what the fuh? There is a rich tapestry of life that passes my windows and I couldn't be happier about it.

Another big fave of mine is the seemingly random question. Sometimes they're kind of obscure but you can at least see there was a logic string of sorts. Like yesterday when a woman who seemed a little worse for wear (drugs I suspect) came in to find out how much was the Christmas Tree in the window. Now we clearly don't sell Christmas Trees, either that or we are very low on stock (just 1 left!) and we have chosen to jazz it up with a shop full full of yarn as window dressing. Sometimes the logic strings are a little less obvious, and the requests a lot more obscure.

I can also hear people who stand outside the store. Frequently it's amusing and sweet, and boosts my ego when they are complimenting how the store looks or how the cute the window displays are. Every now and then I hear them be tickled/amused/gobsmacked to see a man working in a knitting store and/or knitting at the counter (if it's really quiet). Eh, nothing I'm not used to by now. Every now and then I just hear a snatch of something excruciatingly intimate being discussed. Sex. Body parts (male and female). Levels of drunkenness. Combinations of all three. I guess it helps that our store is just a stone's throw from the university (known hotbed of drunken fondling and genital obsessiveness).

And ah, Summer weather. That's when watching the passing parade becomes even more enjoyable.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Good One

Even though Tuesdays are essentially my Mondays (my weekend is Sunday & Monday), a quick mental inventory this morning revealed not a hint of Tuesday-itis. I was awake an hour earlier than I needed to be, but already the sun was shining brightly and my outlook was equally sunny. Who knew? So instead of rolling over and trying to get some more sleep I decided to carpe the diem and get going.

While I was pottering and getting ready it struck me that it has been a long, long time since I walked into work. Home to work is around 5kms (3-ish miles) and is far enough to get a bit of a sweat on, but not so far that I feel exhausted for the rest of the day. This morning was more like Summer than Spring, so I put on my sturdy shoes and some sunscreen and I walked to work.

I took a different route than I used to and I think it shaved a bit of time off my old walk. I made it in well under an hour without pushing it, and according to Google Maps my route was 4.9kms. Pleasant. You know how once you spot someone on crutches/with their arm in a sling or whatever, it seems like you continue to spot them for the rest of the day? This morning it was discarded televisions. In a half hour walk, and not walking through an area full of rubbish, I spotted three. That's statistically significant, surely?

My work day was pleasant. This morning's coffee was good. We had plenty of staff on for what turned out to be a fairly quiet day. The office was pretty quiet too, and I was able to concentrate on my work without too many interruptions. I even made enough space in the day to do some creative work, and make a big dent in the planning for the store promotions and windows for the 3 stores for the next 12 months. Yay.

Then when I got home there was a slim parcel poking out of my letterbox. Squee. A CD I should have bought years ago (considering what a huge fan I am) and finally got around to ordering from Amazon UK, after not finding it anywhere here in Sydney. (On sale too, it only cost me something like $10!)

The Platinum Collection. The very best of the very best. Even the crack in the back of the gem case couldn't put a dent in this day.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Golden Age of Travel Design

While web surfing recently I discovered David Levine's amazing collection of 1920s and 30s travel ephemera (luggage labels, advertising, timetables etc). Interested in graphic design and the romance of the travel of the era, Levine has amassed a huge collection of travel ephemera on paper. These pics are largely scans of his collection, rather than ones Levine found on the internet. The design of the website itself is quite simplistic but whoa, it's quiet some collection.

Timetable Adriatic Service, 1938. Yugoslavia.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

5 Things About Tuesday, 16th November 2010: Forwardslash End Tag Edition

  • After sleeping poorly for the past few nights I took half a sleeping pill last night and had a bizarre tossy, turny, fugue state sort of night's 'sleep'.
  • Consequently I got out of the wrong side of the bed this morning. Then got back into bed, got out of the other even wronger side of the bed, contemplated whether the foot of the bed could be considered a third 'side', and then decided no, my mood was probably bad enough as it was and turned to snarl at the day.
  • Because the Universe hates me back, for penance I spent most of the day uploading new products to the company website, a process that involves manually writing more html tags than anyone should ever have to write.
  • Dinner was nice. I'm clearly an emotional eater.
  • Do you know that if you Google image search on the text Jon Hamm trouser bulge you get some pretty substantial results.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Rainy Day Beauty

It's been a dull and rainy day today in Sydney, fluctuating between drizzle and downpour it essentially hasn't relented all day. As a consequence I've been relentlessly sedentary all day. It was the least I could do. The most active thing I did was get started on knitting a new scarf for myself, while I watched Season 4 episodes of Mad Men or surfed the web.

While I was surfing the web I came across a fantastic UK website choc full of visual arts and design collections, VADS: an online visual arts resource. Wow. Designed as an educational resource it is a compendium of collections owned by various educational institutions. I'm still trawling through the thousands and thousands of images, but some of my early favourite collections are:

The British Library's Russian Visual Arts, 1814 - 1909 collection.

Zhar-ptitsa’ by Polenova, Elena Dmitrievna, (1850-1898)

I'm also loving two of the London College of Fashion's collections, firstly the Woolmark collection.

Hardie Amies, 1956.

Chloe, 1966.

Secondly, the awesome Paper Patterns collection.

McCalls, 1936.

Vogue, 1957.

Next I plan on staring open mouthed at the loveliness in the Central St Martins Museum & Study collection, the The Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi (Medieval Stained Glass in Great Britain) collection and the Charles Rennie Macintosh's Northern Italian Sketchbook collection. To name just a few...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Spring Colours

A few pics I took recently while out walking with my camera.



There is so much beauty to be seen in this world. It's the looking that's the real skill, and I'm grateful to my camera for helping me to really see.

4 Months. REALLY?

Sorry about that. I popped out to put the kettle on and got distracted. Ooh, shiny.

Even though I haven't drawn back the grill on this little confessional for the past 4 months it's not as if I haven't had things to 'fess up about. There have been highs, there have been lows, and there have been shitty times. (Literally, along the way I either developed some sort of virulent bug or Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and although it has eased off just recently touchwood I was suffering there for about 5 weeks. All tests so far have been inconclusive.)

And bless me for I have also sinned. Yeah Gods I give thanks for the sinning, because I've met some truly gorgeous guys over the past 4 months. And not just in body, but also in spirit. There has been crushes, there has been friendly hook-ups and there has been lots of flirting. At 46, who knew? Turns out there's life in the old girl yet.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

5 Things About Tuesday, 6th of July: Bad Puss! Edition

  • Fewer experiences can be compared to waking in the wee small hours of the morning to find teeth being sunk into your wrist. (Nothing Anne Rice/Stephanie Meyer about it, but in preparation for cat sitting for a friend next weekend I spent the night in her spare room last night and ouch, that's a bad, bad kitty indeed.)
  • I spent all day today methodically, endlessly, stultifyingly, adding the next 6 months worth of classes to our store's website. Copy. Paste. Edit dates. Save. Rinse. Repeat.
  • Consequently I spent a half hour fiddling with the window displays, just to feel human again. A small dose of pretty, but it was enough.
  • The perfect antidote to a dull day was dinner tonight (and a bottle of red wine) with a dear old friend/ex boyfriend.
  • Walking home through the cold night, still warmed by wine and the long goodbye kiss lingering on my lips, rugged up in my big winter coat and a scarf I knitted a while back, was actually quite pleasant. There are worse ways to end a winter's Tuesday night.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sweet Chamomile Tea Kind Of Day

Today was one of those days that just sort of slips through your fingers without it feeling like you've done all that much. I had a bit of a big night last night, out drinking with the boys to celebrate the retreat of my chesty cold. So I had a bit of a sleep in (for me) until about eight, and then futzed all morning. Pottered. Noodled.

I did have a To Do list for my day off though, and given that it was bright and sunny I added Laundry (inc. bed linen) to the top of the list. Once that was out on the line, I headed out to the Post Office to pick up a parcel of books from The Book Depository.

Despite the fact that the Post Office only left the parcel pick up notice for me during the week, I arrived at the post office depot (which annoyingly, is about a 20 minute walk further away than my nearest actual post office) only to find out that it ceased trading on Friday. A notice kindly informed me that my parcels could now be collected at another post office, not closer to home but nearly a kilometer further away. No map on how to get there on the door, just the helpful information that it's located 850 meters away.

And the horse you rode in on, Australia Post.

As it turned out it was a nice walk anyway. Today was cool but sunny, and so long I walked in the sun it was quite pleasant. Once I'd collected my books from a tiny little post office in Annandale, with surly staff ("ID! Show me some ID!") and a queue all the way out the door, I quite enjoyed the stroll back.

And that almost covers it. I've futzed some more, gave the super cute vintage 2 tier side table I rescued from the street the other night a good clean (it might end up as a window prop in the new Newtown store some day methinks), web surfed and spent ages re-acquainting myself with Kwannum Chu's gorgeous photographs. I've just made myself a chamomile tea sweetened with honey, and I'm thinking about heating up a small tin of baked beans and making some toast.

One of those sorts of days.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Recharging - Do Not Disconnect!

Yesterday it struck me how much of my life is forever on recharge. I say 'struck me' because getting on the bus to go to work yesterday I discovered that there was no juice, no life, no anything left in my mobile phone, or my iPod. Ugh. (The real armageddon comes not with the fall of civilisation, but a couple of days later when nobody can listen to the latest Kylie through their earbuds.)

Toothbrush. Beard trimmer. All on the recharge list. If I was any butcher I'd probably add a cordless drill to that too.

So I'm on recharge this morning (in more ways than one). The phone and the iPod are plugged in and I'm doing my own recharge with a coffee, some web surfing from the sofa and a bacon butty. My cold of the week previous turned into the past week's chest infection, and coupled with an insane week at work, meant that by the end of this week I was running out of juice myself. As I said to my boss on Friday, this sale is breaking my spirit.

Oy vay. May you live in interesting times, as the Chinese curse supposedly goes. The last week of our big four week Winter sale coupled with having a class to teach yesterday (due to a scheduling snafu, we don't normally hold classes during our sale) and a mostly unrelated, but cascading series of resignations at work, made for a rather busy week.

That's understatement, fyi.

The previous week saw the resignation of our general manager and inhouse designer, who took a job in the fashion industry. Then our shop manager resigned, to take a job in the finance and banking industry. Then our Melbourne store manager (who is only 19 years old) decided she wanted to study, and resigned. Then one of our casual staff (and a favourite of mine, boo!) resigned because she can't keep pace with working for us and finishing her medical degree. Then my arch nemesis resigned, without even bothering to show her face and do it in person...

So, mostly bad.

After the required reeling, my boss and I were galvanised into action and we've already got two potential candidate's for the shop manager position in the main Sydney store. It's also allowed us to think about some restructuring of the Melbourne store, and to think about how we want the staffing of the Sydney store. I'm currently wading through many (frequently laughable) applications for the shop assistants positions we advertised. Seriously, would it kill you people to read the job description, and at least make some attempt to write English/address the job criteria/include a cover letter/use a spell checker?

Not all change is bad, and although it means some short term scrabbling I think it will allow us to make positive changes in the store and reinvigorate the place. Get some new juice back in the batteries, to risk overstretching a metaphor. Time for a recharge, indeed.

A New Love Affair

I've always been a big fan of the pop group Sugababes, ever since I heard the cool laidback rhythms of their first hit Overload (here's a fab live version from Top Of The Pops). Part of the charm for me was Siobhan Donaghy's lead vocals on the track, with an edge that I found really appealing.

Well, after four years with the group, still being a 17 year old teenager, and coping (by all accounts) a pretty tough bullying from fellow band member Keisha Buchanan, Donaghy was depressed and climbed out of a window while on tour in Japan, ran away and quit the band. Other band members would feel the wrath of Buchanan and her fellow band mate Mutya Buena, and the Sugababes history would be one of line-up changes. Last year Buchanan, the only original band member left, was sacked for bullying the other two current members Heidi and Amelle after they both threatened to quit. Buchanan has since been replaced, but the group has come under lots of scorn in the UK for bearing little or no relation to the group. (Which I think is a little harsh, given that Heidi has been with the group since Donaghy's departure in 2001.)

Anyhoo, I was following video links on youtube when I discovered that Donaghy had released some critically acclaimed, if not commercially successful, solo albums. I listed to a track from her first second album "Ghosts" and now I'm hooked! Her style is much more indie and edgier than the work the Sugababes would go on to do, with some interesting production and world instruments.

"Don't Give It Up" - Siobhan Donaghy's first solo single from the Ghosts album

I just downloaded the Ghosts album from itunes, and these are my two favourite tracks so far:

"Ghosts" by Siobhan Donaghy (unofficial video made by a fan)

"Halcyon Days" by Siobhan Donaghy (video made by the same fan as above)

She hasn't had all that much commercial success, as I mentioned before, but it's really a shame that she hasn't. Her sound sits nicely amongst other singers I'm a fan of, like Kate Bush and Roisin Murphy. I'm now a fan!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

My Kind Of Advertising

I love this. I know it's only a viral marketing stunt to sell more cars, but what the hell... I'd be down that slide in a flash! Watching the different types of people taking the Fast Lane option made me grin like a fool.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Husband Material

Every now and then, amongst a sea of black/grey/brown/navy menswear modelled by hollow cheeked 20 year olds with 28" waists, I'll spot something different that makes me sit up a little straighter and take notice. Anthony Keegan of the fashion label Commonwealth Utilities spiced up my morning when I spotted this trio of hockey player-thighed Fantasy Husbands he sent down the Fall 2010 runway amongst the bevvy of whippet thin 20 year olds.

I'm getting a Sunday morning just rolled out of bed and threw some socks and knitwear on over the long johns to grab the paper/let the dog out for a pee/put the coffee maker on sort of vibe.

With a bit of a honey, while I'm up do you want sourdough toast or a bagel? thing going on too.

Or maybe that's just me.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Rhinovirus And I. Not A Love Story

Blech. My second cold of the year. Yesterday a co-worker of mine shared her theory that colds come in three year cycles, and while I'm not prepared to trawl back through the past three years of blog entries for proof, I wouldn't be surprised if it'd been something around three years prior to this year since I had a streaming head cold. (Right now I'm too fuzzy headed to do any sort of maths, or thinking for that matter.)

So, a hellish busy day at work. Week three of our sale and I'm battling this cold and a serious case of Sale Fatigue. We were short staffed today on account of other sick staff, and I never had any less than two customers at the counter. One. More. Week. To. Go. I love our customers (at least about 95% of them) but I'm counting down the days until there are a few less of them, quite frankly.

So. Friday night. Nursing a cold and achey bones. Next on the agenda a hot honey and lemon drink, and then bed. I have to work tomorrow, but unless I feel better (or at least not worse) I might have to call in dead. In the back of mind though I know that that would mean a terrible day for the few staff left to serve the Saturday onslaught. Not something I would wish on any of them. Anyway, we shall see.

Now, to bed. Nighty night.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


One of my favourite design blogs Desire To Inspire has a weekly feature that is absolutely slaying me. Simply called "Pets on furniture" it does exactly what it says on the tin. There's pets, and they're on furniture.

But oh, the puppehs. (And sometimes, oh the furniture!)

Case in point:

"Here is my dog Baron on our Chesterfield. Sometimes I come home and see him sitting like that waiting for me! He's about 100 pounds at 18 months and cuddly like a teddy bear."
- Jeanette

I need to cuddle Baron immediately, once I've fetched him his pipe and slippers that is.

Popsicle Toes

I'm not sure why but I had the unusual problem of not being able to fall asleep last night. I've documented my sleep problems on this blog before, but normally it's only a question of whether I can stay asleep, falling asleep has never been an issue. FYI, 2.30am on a winter's night, sleeping single in a double bed, is a cold and lonely place.

I had been tossing and turning for hours, so after a long internal battle about the merits of getting up (the perceived wisdom that it's better and more likely to bring on tiredness) Vs staying in bed (the perceived wisdom that it's warmer, just for starters), I grabbed a blanket and headed to the couch and my laptop.

By 4am I didn't feel significantly more tired, but I was starting to feel significantly more cold, so I headed back to bed. Now, I often have cold feet in winter. Real cold feet, not the jitters. But by the time I'd been back in bed for 5 minutes I knew I had a series case of popsicle toes. Throwing on a pair of socks didn't seem to help, so much so that I spent a few good minutes considering whether you could actually insulate the cold in with a pair of regular socks.

At 4am it seems a real possibility. I was prepared to consider almost anything.

Toe wiggling didn't seem to help. Frantically rubbing my feet together seemed to have a short term benefit, but then raised my heart rate so much that I felt more awake if anything. I considered getting up and either firing up the heater in the living room so that I could jam my toes up against it, or boiling water to make up a hot water bottle.

But then the rest of me gave my toes a reality check and told them to just man up and deal with it, because frankly the rest of me was not prepared to countenance another trip out of bed. The harsh tang of mutiny was in the wind. To make a short story long, somewhere around 5am or later an equilibrium between tiredness and toe warmth meant that I finally fell asleep. Until the alarm went off at 7.15...

Oh, come on.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Newtown Winter

Today was one of the mild, sunny winter days that Sydney seems to do so well. In the shade it was quite cool, but out in the sun it was mild enough to take off the jacket and get some sun on bare skin. All that, and a public holiday too. Thank you QEII, and happy birthday!

Golden Light

Winter sun through vine leaves

Grey Green

Grey green foliage in the shade

I wandered into Newtown shops, had some breakfast, window shopped and cruised through the bookshops looking for desirable second hand finds or bargains (and found neither), took these photos, and generally enjoyed the sun. Not a bad way to spend a slightly hung over morning, before heading home to... clean the bathroom. (Sometimes being an adult sucks, FYI.)


Just say the word




My town, Newtown

No the cute earlythirtysomething boy I was dancing with last night, and very nearly went home with, didn't call. But that's ok too.


Yesterday afternoon my friends John, Mark and David, and myself, headed off to Circular Quay (almost under the shadow of the Opera House) to the Sydney film festival. John had organised tickets for us to see the gay themed movie Contracorriente aka "Undertow" from Peru. [Official site]

Wow. What a beautiful film! I can't recommend it highly enough. The film maker Javier Fuentes-León (um, woof!) spoke briefly before the film, and then stayed for a short Q&A session after the film, which really added to my enjoyment of it.

I found it really interesting to hear him speak about the realities of making a film about a gay love story in a deeply religious Catholic country like Peru. About keeping some of the plot lines until the end of the shoot, out of concern for the sensibilities of the local villagers. Many of whom were extras on the film. He also pointed out that although some people clearly disapproved of the developing story, many were actually quite accepting and the economic realities of the work the film brought to the village were such that nobody interfered with the production.

The story is primarily about the love affair between the closeted married bisexual Miguel, a local village fisherman who is only about a week away from being a father, and an artist called Santiago who has a summer house in the village. Santiago has a long history with the villagers, although he is still clearly an outsider. Partly because he is less concerned about hiding the fact that he is gay, something he only appears to be doing to try and protect Miguel. The action takes place within a few weeks, but it's clear that Miguel and Santiago have been lovers for a while at least.

What really makes the film is the performances. Wow. The chemistry between the two male leads (Manola Cardona and Cristian Mercado) is natural and really lovely to see. You have absolutely no problem believing that these are two men who love each other, even though the constraints on Miguel's upbringing and situation make it hard for him to admit it (although his actions express it more clearly than he probably knows). It's not just about the sex, there is support and love there. All the actors turn in fantastic performances, including Tatiana Astengo as Miguel's wife Mariela.

There is a plot turn (which I won't give away here) which takes the film in an unexpected direction, but it works beautifully. It tests the love between the two men, and makes Miguel face some hard truths about his situation. Ultimately the film is optomistic and positive.

...and I think I'm a little bit in love with Manolo Cardona who plays Santiago.

Those eyes.

[Updated: There is a new review of the film over at After Elton, but proceed with caution because it hints at spoilers.]


I thought I might take advantage of Blogger's new design features, and give things a little bit of a facelift around here. A freshen up. Maybe a brow lift and some lip plumping.

It's actually winter here rather than autumn, but I'm finding it hard to let go of the golden ginkos. Anyhoo, I hope you like the new(ish) look!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

5 Things About Thursday, 10th June: Blockage Edition

  • Much of today I spent being mildly aggravated by my glasses, which seemed to be suddenly and inexplicably ill fitting. On the way home I finally took them off to see if one of the arms was bent or something (because the only other thought that crossed my mind was that my face was suddenly lopsided), and I've lost one of the little nose pad thingies. Bugger.
  • Of all the things I've loaded on my iPod, it struck me today that two 70s disco compilations are by far the two CDs that get listened to the most. You can take the boy out of the 70s, but you can't take the 70s out of the man.
  • I bought a set of digital bathroom scales on the way home tonight. I'm pretty certain that I've been packing on the pounds lately (or all my pants have shrunk), and I need to a) find out how dire the situation has become and b) start fixing it.
  • I haven't been able to bring myself to put the batteries in it yet. Baby steps, m'kay?
  • I arrived home to find a note on the crapper bog toilet lavatory from my flatmate. Part plaintive wail and part cautionary tale that the toilet was blocked and a plumber was required. Oh puny mortal, you underestimate my plunger-fu. Like so many things in life, 5 minutes of enthusiastic pumping and it was all over.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Bake Sale

I had a lovely afternoon this afternoon. I hied off to the Bake Off fundraiser for the AIDS charity The Bobby Goldsmith Foundation with my friend Judy, her son David and David's friend Kai. The BGF Bake Off is a long standing tradition, a bake sale on steroids (so to speak), where intricate cake creations compete for prizes and are then auctioned off for extraordinarily generous donations.

BGF Bake Off
Festive decor in the Paddington Town Hall.

BGF Bake Off
A cake creation.

BGF Bake Off
Anyone for a sticky date?

BGF Bake Off
One of my favourite drag queens, the clearly insane Joyce Maynge.

BGF Bake Off
Quiet please, there's a lady on stage.

BGF Bake Off
GaGa phones it in.

BGF Bake Off
Another of the cake creations, Christiano!

I hadn't been to the Bake Off for a few years and it was a hoot, even though it lacks some of the crazy wildness of the early days. (For example, years and years ago I remember a certain German Mr Leather in backless chaps applying liberal amounts of canned whipped cream to his anatomy, and selling licks for charity. A bad time to be lactose intolerant.)

It was a nice mild afternoon but by the time we left the venue it was sigh dark, cold raining again. After negotiating our way through the crowds leaving the nearby football grounds, I stopped by at my regular Sunday afternoon watering hole to see if any of my friends decided to go for a drink. Not surprisingly it was quiet as few souls braved the rain and cold to go out for a beer, so I caught a cab home for a nice quiet night in by the heater.

Winter Colours

I could have sworn these mushrooms growing on a tree on the footpath just outside my house weren't there yesterday! They're huge, the largest one is about the size of my hand across. I mean, I know they can grow fast, but can they grow that fast?

Like Magic

Like magic.

Friday, June 04, 2010

After The Boys Of Summer Have Gone

While all the weather forecasts here are full of stats about higher than usual rainfalls, and the days are steadily marching towards their shortest and coldest, all I want to do is think of the boys of summers past.