It's a completely cool, multi-purpose blog.

Monday, March 26, 2007

The running of the....oh my

I know that some of you that are reading this are not librarians, oh poor benighted souls. Should such sad individuals be wondering how the enlightened among you spend their working lives, well 90% of it is like this.

I finally saw Borat last night, and I've never felt so ambivalent about a film that has made me laugh so much. The great moments are several and quite brilliant - the hotel fight, the horse collapsing at the rodeo and the rationale for not flying ("in case the jews repeat their attack of 9/11"). However, whilst many of the people he meets deserve a right kicking, some of the attacks seemed to be directed at people who really didn't do anything wrong except be a bit naive and maybe stupid. It was like the anti-Best In Show, a movie that made me feel all warm and fuzzy without actually making me laugh very much.

I also got tix for the first ever Australian show by the mighty Pixies, this Friday. Yeeeeees!

You think I'm dead, but I sail away
On a wave of mutilation

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Once upon a time, there...doh!

There's not been a great deal happening in these parts so I'll just give some updates relating to previous posts:

1) Pregnancy - We had the 18 week scan and everything went well despite the ultrasonographer (?) being a bit of a cow when it came to her dealings with Beth. A very efficient professional with no concept of people skills. Anyway, we chose not to find out the baby's sex so we're in for a surprise come August. We don't care either way.

2) Germaine Greer has written a characteristically curious article about The Bridge. Is any of it true?

3) I really enjoyed these 6 word stories by various authors. The Hemingway is brilliant and unutterably sad, John Crace is unnerving, and Blake Morrison is predictably poetic.

Ate responsibly, exercised occasionally, watched DVDs, read books, yada yada...

Your husband sweats more than any man I know, and now I can understand why

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

One day we'll be able to add the Quarantine Station to the itinerary...

We had a Sydney Heritage Theme Weekend, which was lovverly. On Saturday we went for a wee stroll around the Brickpit, a modest tourist spot on the location of the industrial site where most of the bricks that make up Sydney’s buildings were quarried. It is now a reserve for a rare kind of frog, which were heard but not seen. Perhaps they were scared off by the excitable 20-month-old charging around the place shouting “ducks!” at passing wildfowl.
Sunday saw quite a major local event, the 75th birthday of Sydney Harbour Bridge. The bridge was closed to traffic for the day and 200,000 of us took advantage by rocking up and walking over. There was a wonderful atmosphere of festivity and civic pride, the whole thing reminded me a little of London on the day of the marathon.

As you know I am at heart a Londoner but I think the bridge is the symbol of Sydney that I feel most attached to. It may be because of my family roots to North-East England, where Newcastle provided the template and much of the materials and skilled labour fro its antipodean corollary. I also have an innate admiration for ambitious works of engineering genius, especially when they have such an impact both socially and aesthetically. I’ve done Bridgeclimb twice and visited the South Pylon museum several times, and my admiration for the designers and builders of the bridge grows with each visit.

In other news, our dear friends Jo and Jon had a baby called Ellie! I’ll be meeting her at the end of June and I can’t wait.

Meanwhile, I have been mostly listening to Augie March and Wilco.

Theologians don’t know nothing about my soul

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Separation anxiety

Beth recently changed kindergarten from one which was excellent but a fair drive from our house to another one which is closer and cheaper. Unfortunately, she had become comfortable and familiar with the old place so now we are going through a period of readjustment. She recognises the joint when we pull up in the morning and gives off the following signals:

1) Arching her back dramatically and flinging her arms in the air, like that bit in Platoon
2) Lying on the pavement
3) A-weeping
4) A-wailing

Its actually rather heartbreaking. We can hear her laments as we are leaving her behind, which leaves us with a somewhat glum feeling for the rest of the morning. The staff assure as that she's fine again about 2 minutes after we leave, but its horrible while it happens.

The things they don't warn you about, eh?

(I also blew up a tyre when I was last there, but that's another story.)

It's alright Andy, it's bolognese

An eventful week, in its way.

I spent the weekend sleeping a lot but not eating at all thanks to a chest infection, which kept me off work until Friday. Fortunately, M&B resisted my contagion and were fine, so I got to loaf self-pityingly on the sofa and cough and watch movies - about 10 I reckon, including the stunning Ugetsu (which made me cry) and the ace Hot Fuzz ("crusty jugglers").

In other health-related news, I am on a huge diet. I have 3 months to reduce my cholesterol level and avoid being on medication for the rest of my life. The easiest way to lose cholesterol is to lose weight, so no cheese or chocolate for me no more. I've even cried off booze except for special occasions (such as this Saturday's Augie March gig). Sad, but necessary. Once I've shaken off the last of this infection I'll start with the exercise and all. Hopefully I'll be ultra slim by the time of my trip to Blighty in June/July.

Sydney Harbour Bridge turns 75 years old on Sunday and they're closing the bridge so that 200,000 of us can walk across it. Should be fun, and it counts as exercise as far as I'm concerned.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

My new favourite movie

Last night I finally got around to watching the amazing Fitzcarraldo. Most of what I'd read about it concerned the act of film-making itself. This is fair enough given that the shoot involved a violently antagonistic star and director, a long shoot in a Peruvian rainforest and the shifting of a 340 ton steamship over a mountain. What I wasn't so prepared for is the emotional power of the film, and the fact that you end up sharing the crazy, ecstatic vision of the title character of bringing opera to the jungle.

I also watched The Fireman's Ball, a highly entertaining satire of communism disguised as a small-town comedy. Apparently the cast were selected because they resembled Czechoslovakian leaders, giving their petty bungling a political charge for contemporary audiences.

Not only that, but I took in my all-time favourite Python sketch and all. I think it's the Greek guys' socks that do it for me.

Our future leaders

Got 15 minutes to spare? Want to see some scary evil nutters brainwashing children? Well, you're at the right post - here you go.

Salient point: the preacher dude at the end is into methamphetamine fuelled sex with male prostitutes.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

How to dicover a new band

10 years ago: Listen to John Peel or Triple J, read the NME and ask the cool kids. If it sounds alright, buy the album.

2 years ago: Read about somebody in a newspaper, download the song from Napster or LimeWire. If it sounds alright, buy the album or download the whole thing.

Now: Check out your mate's taste on a social networking site or see something on Pitchfork that catches your fancy. Check out the video on YouTube or visit MySpace for instant gratification. If it sounds alright, buy the album, then go see them live and by the next day the whole thing will be on YouTube for repeat viewings.

I like the new way. What about you?

Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Future of Rock’n’Roll

How to do a music festival when you are 34 years old:

1) Rock up early and secure a table outside a pub, perfectly shaded and with a fine view of the main stage.

2) Enjoy the amenities including fully functioning ceramic toilets, Stella on tap and a café serving fruit salad.

3) Let the sounds of Camera Obscura, Fionn Regan and Yo La Tengo drift past as you chat with your mates.

4) Go home feeling refreshed and revivified.

All the kids will be doing it next year - it’s the new punk rock.