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

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Historic achievement

Last night was the last night of David Stratton's monumental History of World Cinema course at the University of Sydney. I call it monumental because it was a TEN YEAR course covering the history of movies chronolgically, from the very earliest days through to the 1980s. I started attending 6 years ago (in 1949, so to speak) and it has been a wonderful experience; educative, fun and constantly surprising.

Stratton has a phenomenal knowledge of cinema. He knows as much about the soundtracks of the Czech New Wave as he does about the big Hollywood stars, and will often follow a film screening with a self-deprecating anecdote about the time he met the director at a film festival. More prosaically, the course has been a titanic effort of organisation, and he didn't miss a single week in the entire decade.

The feature that screened on my first week was All The King's Men, and we ended last night with Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (if you've seen it, you'll know why he chose it).

The best thing of all is that the whole course starts again next semester, which will account for my Thursday nights until Spring 2018. Huzzah!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Blessed are the cheesemakers

The Name That Quote idea has been discontinued due to a frenzied outbreak of apathy (if nobody gets the first line of Brown Sugar then I give up) but a line I noticed yesterday in The Fall's Touch Sensitive made me laugh.

You say what about the meek?/
I say they've got a bloody cheek


Sunday, November 23, 2008

That would be an ecumenical matter

I was ill at the end of last week, so a quiet weekend was called for and enjoyed. We did make it out for dinner with Mark, Tanya, Adam, Rhyll and Andrew plus various offspring, and that was fun. I know I've had a good night when my hummed rendition of "Land Down Under" has made an appearance.

2 interesting moments of cultural dislocation for me though.

First, I made a reference to avatars (the online kind) and was met with blank looks all round. Nobody knew what the hell I was talking about, which makes me worry about my assumptions re how clued up people are online. It's not like that group of people are dim or uneducated (except Mark, obviously).

A later remark about Father Ted was also received with general incomprehension, and it turns out it was never shown in Australia (as with Only Fools and Horses). It's a huge cultural touchstone for me, so its very odd that it isn't shared by my peers in this country. I've been in Oz for 6 years now, and I still occasionally get blindsided by differences like this.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Do you ever have those periods when things just never quite work as they are supposed to do? At the moment I possess a malfunctioning computer, camera, DVD player and lawnmower. All very frustrating.

As a result I have no pictorial representation of a very enjoyable weekend at Avoca, but here's an old pic of M and B2 from our trip to England in July.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Looking forward

I spent most of the weekend preparing for 9am on Monday, which was the moment that tickets went on sale for the Sydney Festival 2009. The programme was pored over, emails were sent and received and artistic decisions were debated. As a grand finale, I spent about $1600 on the credit card in one shot (we're owed a fair bit back by people we bought for). It was all a bit stressful, and January is going to be a bit of a blur, but to be in a position to do this stuff is a privelege.

What I'm doing is:

War of the Roses - 6 Shakespeare plays condensed into 8 hours, featured somebody called Cate Blanchett

Lipsynch - 8 hour play by the genius that is Robert lePage (I'm doing this the day after War of the Roses, which makes 16 hours of theatre in 2 days)

All Tomorrow's Parties - A one-day pop festival on the enticing Cockatoo Island, featuring Nick Cave, Spiritualized and lots of other interesting stuff

Fantastic Planet - 70s French animated movie with a live music soundtrack

Faith Healer - Brian Friel play from the highly regarded Abbey Theatre

Bon Iver - Utterly gorgeous sadpop

In other news, Sarah had a baby, huzzah! Welcome, Tess!

And tonight we're off to the Enmore to catch this sexysexy (and rather sweary) lady:

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A special moment

Hooray for Obama!
Hooray for the USA!
Hooray for us all!

Of course Obama 08 will be followed Disillusion 09, but let us savour this astonishing moment while it lasts.

I cried when they played this song on the radio earlier today:

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Thesis, antithesis, synthesis

Yesterday, I was looking after the Bs and we watched the end of the classic 1964 Italian film, Michelangelo Antonioni's Il Deserto Rosso.

B1 was impressed by the auteur's pointed dissection of contemporary urban ennui and the depiction of existential neurosis against a prophetic backdrop of environmental degradation.

B2 preferred to consider Antonioni's obsessively precise use of colour in the development of the mise en scene, following the monochromatic brilliance of his earlier trilogy L'Avventura, La Notte and L'Eclisse.

I thought that Monica Vitti had nice tits.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Phantom stroller

A kid-tastic weekend featuring Halloween shenanigans and 8 kids playing with syringes.

Friday was Halloween which is not a big deal usually, but we thought Beth might enjoy dressing up and trick-or-treating. We chose a superhero outfit for her and a sinister cloak for Count Barnaby von Evil. Our neighbour Paul did some community organising and it ended up with half the street marching around together. Much fun had by all.

I pretended to be a Byzantine emperor on Saturday, and on Sunday we had friends and offspring over for a barbie. 8 kids in one small garden was a little chaotic, but M had the inspired idea of giving them a bucket of water and some syringes we had knocking around so they had a blast spraying everyone and everything.

Now I just need a weekend to recover.