Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Unknown Author Questions

Supposed to be writing assignments for uni. Slightly daft questions this week so mainly monosyllabic answers.

Questions, as always, from Sunday Stealing.


1.      If someone wanted to really understand you, what would they read, watch, and listen to?

Read: Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Slaughterhouse Five, The Moor's Last Sigh
Watch: Six Feet Under, Orange is the New Black, the Harry Potter Movies
Listen to: Doolittle and Surfer Rosa by The Pixies

2.      Have you ever found a blogger who thinks just like you? if so, who?

No.

3.      List your fandoms and one character from each that you identify with.

No idea what a fandom is. Next.

4.      Do you like your name?  is there another name you think would fit you better?

Being so banal and boring it allows for anonymity in an anglo-saxon world. I write under Pandora Behr and Trellawney Thom.

5.      Do you think of yourself as a human being or a human doing? do you identify yourself by the things you do?

Human being. You finish doing after a while. I write and read. Yay.


6.      Are you religious/spiritual?

Spiritual. can't see a point in being religious. Too many wars have been faught in the name of religion - like the one going on now in America - and don't try to tell me it's not.

7.      Do you care about your ethnicity?

Not really. White Anglo-Saxon of Cornish, Welsh, English and Scottish extraction - nothing exotic.

8.      What musical artists have you most felt connected to over your lifetime?

The Pixies and Alt-J

9.      Are you an artist?

I write. does that count?

10.   Do you have a creed?

No,

11.   Describe your ideal day.

Lots of sleep, sex and ice cream - and throw in a great meal a good movie and some reading that is not uni work.

12.   Dog person or cat person?

Love both, but I identify with cats more. More independent. Less allergic to dogs too.

13.   Inside or outdoors?

Both

14.   Are you a musician?

No. I can sing and play the flute - but not terribly well.

15.   Five most influential books over your lifetime.

Who Moved My Cheese by Dr Spencer Johnson.
The Secret History by Donna Tarrt
Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres
The Harry Potter Books by JK Rowling
The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood (The book I would like to write)

16.   If you’d grown up in a different environment, do you think you’d have turned out the same?

There would be some differences, but generally I would be me.

17.   Would you say your tumblr is a fair representation of the “real you”?

What is tumblr?

18.   What’s your patronus?

A cat.

19.   Which Harry Potter house would you be in? or are you a muggle?

Probably Griffyndor, but maybe Ravenclaw.

20.   Would you rather be in Middle Earth, Narnia, Hogwarts, or somewhere else?

Hogwards - haven't read Narnia or the Lord of the Rings.

21.   Do you love easily?

I fall in love with every dog I see in the street.

22.   List the top five things you spend the most time doing, in order.

Today: Procrastinating, cleaning, writing assignments, walking, drinking.

23.   How often would you want to see your family every year?

I see them 2-3 times a year. They live interstate. That's enough.

24.   Have you ever felt like you had a “mind-meld” with someone?

Yes, and it's scary.

25.   Could you live as a hermit?

Very easily. Some say I do in some ways.

26.   How would you describe your gender/sexuality?

That's a bit personal. Female, cisgender, 95% hetero. The other 5% is up for discussion.

27.   Do you feel like your outside appearance is a fair representation of the “real you”?

No. But there are good bits and I'm not ugly so I deal.

28.   On a scale from 1 to 10, how hard is it for someone to get under your skin?

Depends on the day but normally a 6-7.

29.   Three songs that you connect with right now.

Where is my Mind? The Pixies


Hooked on a Feeling - Blue Swede



Reckless - Australian Crawl



30.   Pick one of your favorite quotes.

Be the change you want to see - Gandhi.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Part 2

Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2 - Four Stars

Okay, action is not my genre, but strangely, I can do the odd bit of Marvel. Yes, I'm hooked.

See, I am Groot..

A bit like Deadpool, I can do these strange, fun, featherweight action movies. They're fun. Take  out the brain at the car park and go and go enjoy them for what they are films.

I am Groot.

So, when my Punjabi kid brother (and everbody needs a Punjabi kid brother) said lets do Tight Arse Tuesday movie night and I asked if he wanted to see this, he was thrilled. After all, it's a movie you'd take your kid brother aged 12 or over to quite happily.) First of all, I needed to catch up on Guardians of the Galaxy  - the first part. A little bit of downloading and I hit pay dirt. What a great film!

I am Groot.

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume Two takes off a couple of months after the end of the first movie. Peter Quill / Starlord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) continue their adventures out in space, where Peter's parentage is explored.

I am Groot.

There are plenty of explosions and fights for the boys to enjoy (and the girls too). The CGI and special effects are fantastic. The script is tight and funny, even if it lacks the 'road movie' feel of the first movie.

I am Groot.

The soundtrack is equally as awesome as the first movie as it is based around the Awesome Mix Tape #2 - and as a child of the seventies, I loved every minute of the music.

I am Groot.

This is a silly, funny, action-packed movie. The characters are lovable as they are flawed. Baby Groot is one of the highlights. There are also cameos from some pretty famous actors, including Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell, Elizabeth Debicki and Glenn Close, among others.

I am Groot.

As somebody who is quite averse to violence, I sat through this with a smile on my face and a level of comfort that  the violence is what I call "Bang-bang you're dead" violence and thankfully nothing too malicious (says she who got freaked out over last night's episode of Law and Order: SVU).

I am Groot.

I think Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 is my new happy place movie. There are purists who say that you have to know about the Infinity Stones. I don't think so. If you're looking for two hours of fun an entertainment, not requiring a brain that is very funny in places, this is your film. It delivers.

Also, Baby Groot steals the show.

I am Groot.


Oh and I have to put this here too: Ouga chaka, ouga ouga ouga chaka... bet you're singing this for the next two days.


Monday, April 24, 2017

Film Review: Their Finest

Their Finest - 4 and a bit stars

Okay, I am a sucker for English films. A big sucker for English films, but if all films were a bit like this, I think the world would be a much better place.

So Their Finest (released in Britain as "Their Finest Hour and a Half") is a historical comedy set during The Blitz. One Mrs Catrin Cole, from somewhere deep in the valleys of Wales is called up by the Ministry of Information to assist in writing the scripts for their "Keep Calm and Carry On" propaganda films. The film tells the story of a British Ministry of Information film team making a morale-boosting film about the Dunkirk evacuation during the Battle of Britain and the London Blitz.

Okay, Dunkirk, the Battle of Britain. Romantic Comedy. Well, yes - and it works delightfully as we embark on a two hour journey into what it was like to live in through the Blitz and be a part of the spin machine that operates during wartime (Funny, it feels a bit like that now).

The cast are excellent. The film's prtoagonist, Catrin Cole, played by Gemma Arterton is just the right mix of plucky, resolute and fragile and the rather downtrodden screen writer. Her love interest, Buckley, is played with ablomb and a stunningly awful moustache by Sam Claflin - who seems to be doing a great line in playing redeemable arseholes of late (Think Me Without You and The Hunger Games Trilogy.

Stealing the show, in his own inimitable way is Bill Nighy, who plays Bill Nighy. Other notable mentions include Eddie Marsan, who plays Nighy's crotchety manager, and Helen McCrory, who ends up being his manager. Lovely cameo parts which bring warmth and humour into what could have otherwise been a heavy film.

The direction of the film is another of its strengths. Lone Scherfig, who is responsible for wonderful British Films including An Education and One Day. She has a steady hand and knows how to milk the British psyche for its wonderful nuances and failings.

Part farce, part romantic comedy, part look at the horrors of war and just what the British put up with during world war two, I will be recommending this movie for a long time.

I also love it when you have a film that has you doing spit-takes for most of the film only to have you crying buckets for the last ten minutes. (I haven't sobbed like that in ages)

Set in the back streets of London as well as somewhere concocted as "Devon" (it was filmed somewhere off the Welsh Coast) this is a film which you can take your Mum along to and know she's not going to be offended. I know I got out of the cinema and called my Mum, telling her to go and see it.

This is a marvelous film, with just enough lightness to make a war story very human and very enjoyable. It's also a fantastic insight into the propaganda machines which drive our world today.


Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Mommy Time Questions

Despite the dodgy title of these questions, they are not too bad.

I'm in assignment mode - for which I am not doing too badly. 2000 out o a 3000 word story is complete and the planning is done for the monster 5000 work paper due on 8 May.

So I'm not in a bad place, but I have a LOT of work to do - thank goodness for ANZAC Day on Tuesday.

Questions, as always, from Sunday Stealing.

1. What are five passions that you have? (If you have less than five, tell us what you do have interests.)

  • Writing
  • Travelling
  • Cinema
  • Movies
  • Reading

2. List up to ten random facts about yourself.

  1. I topped my school in Chemistry and French.
  2. I have webbed toes on my right foot
  3. The scar in my eyebrow comes from when my sister donged me over the head with a golf club when I was eleven.
  4. I lived in London for eight years
  5. I love the smell of dog's paws first thing in the morning.
  6. I would love to run a writer's retreat one day.
  7. I have a birthmark on the back of my left calf - my niece had the same birthmark.
  8. I have never worn my hair shorter than a bob.
  9. I am a passionate fifth-generation South Australian.
  10. I am VERY proud of my five uncles who participated in the trenches of World War One (Gallipoli, Alexandria and the Western Front - all support crew - drivers, ambulance men, signalmen and a bugler)

3. List five people (personal, historic, living or dead) who have had a major impact on your life or the way you think.

  • JK Rowling
  • Dr Spencer Johnson - author of "Who Moved My Cheese"
  • Thomas a Becket
  • Leon the hypnotherapist
  • Shakespeare

4. List 5 things you'd tell your 15 year-olds self, if you could.

  1. Things ARE going to get better.
  2. Exercise more - you will learn to love it.
  3. Just shut up - pick your battles - there are some not worth fighting.
  4. You are not fat. Seriously.
  5. Learn to let go with grace. It is a skill you will learn to love.

5. What is a major strength that you have? (You can list more than one. Staying with our no rules approach.)

I am loyal, kind and tenacious. I think these are wonderful strengths.

6. What is a major weakness that you have? (You can list more than one. STILL staying with our no rules approach.)

Other than ice cream?  I get bored easily - and it can get destructive.

7. Describe the family dynamic of your childhood versus your family dynamic now.

Passive-aggressive. It wasn't a particularly happy home.

8. What popular notion do you feel that the world has most wrong?

Other than that trickle down economics works (For fuck's sake, it doesn't) Conservative values are really not a good thing at all - they're a crock of shite - particularly where it comes to women's and reproductive rights. Get your hands off my ovaries and go find something of your own to fuck up.

9. Name three things that always cheers you up when you are down.

  • Cuddles
  • Ice Cream
  • Movies

10. Name three things would you like to be remembered for?

  • The fantastic novel that I will write
  • My kindness
  • My sense of humour

Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Place for Pumpkins Questions

Happy Easter / Passover / Insert your public holiday here.

I'm trying to have a nice and peaceful Easter, but the hacking cough going on at the moment is not helping matters. After a week, I think it's time to go see a doctor.

Anyway, no idea why these are called "The Place for Pumpkings" questions but I will give them a go.

Questions, as always, from Sunday Stealing.

1. If "happiness" was the global currency, what kind of work would make you a gazillionaire? 

Probably being a fiction writer. I do like the thought of that. Breeder of Bernese Mountain Dogs - that would be very cool too.



2. Would you break the law to save someone you loved?  And, if so, how far would you be willing to take it?

Probably not. I'm not made up that way.
   
3. Is it possible to really know the truth without questioning it first?

I think so. Some things you just know. Matters of the heart you have to trust your gut. Everything else, question it. Especially the news.
   
4. Do you remember that one time . . . oh, about 5 years ago or so . . . when you were really, really upset?  Does it really matter now? If not now, then when?

No, it doesn't matter. I've moved on.

5. Is it possible to know, without a doubt, what is good and what is evil?

No. As somebody who is not a Christian, with the possible exceptions of Hitler and maybe Donald Trump ( who's ignorance is evil) I'm not that sure. Not sure I believe in good and evil.  The goalpost move too much.
   
6. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?

Nothing. I really don't give a crap what people think.
   
7. Would you rather have less work to do, or more work you actually enjoy doing?

More work I enjoyed doing. I don't mind work, but I like to be productive.

8. Would you rather be an anxious genius, or a tranquil fool?

Rather be a tranquil fool. Anxious geniuses are very, very concerning.

9. Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?

Much prefer to do the right thing. Doing things right is good, but it is always better to do the right thing.
   
10. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?

Young enough to have fun without knowing better.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Sassiest Questions

Well, I am quite proud of myself - I have done my two tutorial responses, I'm about to do my ironing and make my lunch for the week - and even better - I'm off to see Book of Mormon tonight. Yay. I feel like I've done some stuff this weekend.

Questions, as always from Sunday Stealing.


1. If you could say anything you wanted to say to Donald Trump, what would you say?

Resign, NOW. Before you lead us into World War III, you orange fucktard.

2. If you had to be the mother of Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan, who would you choose and why?

Britney Spears. Despite some very hard years and some rather awkward decisions, she appears to have turned into a reasonable human being.

3. You get to be Queen for a day. The kids are all taken care of, and you can spend as much money as you want. What do you do all day?

Probably go and have a massage and spend a lot of time (and money) in a book store. If not that, buy a last minute First Class Ticket on Emirates Airlines - and go somewhere for a few hours that way. That is supposed to be amazing.

4. Is there a song that brings tears to your eyes every time you hear it? If so, which one?

This. Every. Freaking. Time.



5. A fairy taps you on the shoulder and tells you that you can either have a perfect face or a perfect body for the rest of your life. Which do you choose?

A perfect body. One that doesn't break down and get old and cranky. I don't mind a few wrinkles but I would love to be as flexible as I was in my 20s. I promise I'll look after it.

6. If you could live any place in the world and money was no object, where would you live and why?

Probably London. I love London. But you need money. Rome would be great too.

7. What is your biggest regret in life?

Not getting therapy sooner.

8. If you could go back and visit one person in your life who is now dead, and ask one question, what would that question be and why would you ask it?

I would love to talk to my paternal grandfather - who has been dead nearly forty years. I would love to get his perspective on things. There were always a lot of things never said on that side of the family. Lots to talk about.

9. If you had the choice to age forward (like we are now) or aging backwards (think Benjamin Buttons) which would you choose and why?

Age backwards - and get all these middle aged grungy thinks I'm feeling over and done with. Middle age is not for sissies.

10. What will the epitaph on your headstone say?

Nevertheless, she persisted.  (It's a bit of a feminist battle cry - and I do live to persist) I doubt I will have a headstone as 1) I want to  be cremated and 2) I want my ashes scattered somewhere where a headstone would look out of place.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Film Review: Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast - 4 Stars




Okay, so I must be the only one on the planet not to have seen the original Disney “Beauty and the Beast”. Seeing that it came out in 1991 when I was moving myself to London, I like to think that I had better things to do at the time. Besides, I was aware of the general story, why did I need to see it?

So this new Disney live action film come out and I’m a bit interested. I do like Emma Watson. It’s been great to see her grow out of Hermione Granger’s shadow and into a decent actress. I’m rather fond of Luke Evans. I sort of like Dan Stevens even if he will never come out of Lady Mary Crawley’s pall after that car crash on Downton Abbey – besides, he has lovely blue eyes.

Sam and I took ourselves off to see this on our semi-regular girls night out – not the animated version, but the 2017 Emma Watson, “gay-scandal in Malaysia” version. 

And we loved every minute of it.

The story is quite simple. Belle, a bit of a misfit in her village is the daughter of a local merchant. The Merchant goes off to Paris to sell his wares. Belle asks him to bring back a rose for her. On the way back from the trip, the merchant strays off course where he ends up at the castle of a once handsome prince, who having pissed off a local witch.  The witch has turned him into a beast – and quite a gnarly one at that. He has until the last petal falls off of a rose to find somebody to love him as he loves her back. (Yeah, not the greatest feminist message out there and as I have written this word thirty times today it is front of mind) While picking said rose for Belle, the Merchant the beast captures him – he’s not very happy about his roses going missing – even if nobody has been around the place for years.

Back in the village, a vain git called Gaston is trying to win Belle’s hand. She sees him for the rubbish suitor he would be and tells him to go get stuffed. When her father’s horse returns without him, Belle goes to search him out. Finding him inprisoned, she takes her father’s place. You'd think he'd like a visitor.

Okay – they you have the middle bit of the movie, the Beast and Belle fall in love, Gaston comes to search her out, but not after being rebuffed by her father. There is a big fight scene and then the witch reverses the spell and they all live happily ever after.

Okay, you don’t think about the slightly creepy through that there is this bloke – turned into a beast, who is keeping a woman against her will (though thinking about it, he does treat her well in captivity). You also overlook the fairly bad case of Stockholm Syndrome which Belle appears to procure. And you can forgive the overacting by most of the cast as this is a Disney Musical.

We loved it. It was a fanstastic film to just sit back and enjoy. Emma Watson is the quintessential Belle. Kevin Kline is both believable and fun as her father. I was quite taken with Luke Evans as the dreadful, arrogant and redemption-less Gaston. He was superb. And Josh Gad was brilliant as Le Fou, Gaston’s sidekick.

Much has been made of the homosexual overtones from Le Fou’s admiration / love for Gaston. Malaysia banned the film because of this. In my honest opinion, stupid move. There is nothing to it. It’s very fun to watch, completely inoffensive and could happily be construed as one many admiring another, if you wanted to. I was shocked at Malaysia’s over-reaction to some fun scenes.

Other cast members who provided voices, Ewan McGregor, Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci and Ian McKellen, to name a few, were great as the CGI furniture and cutlery who keep the beast company.

This is a fabulous film to take kids to, or bigger kids. It’s great fun. There isn’t an over commitment to the songs and you leave with a big smile on your face, even if you do wonder why Malaysia was having such a hard time with the fact that two guys are dancing on screen. And they weren’t even twerking. 


Sunday, April 2, 2017

The Cannon Fodder Questions Meme

I should be studying.  At least it's a short list today.

Questions, as always, from Sunday Stealing.

1. Is there someone you'd like to be kissing right now?

Yes, but I'm not going to tell you who that is.

2. When you're being extremely quiet, what does it mean?

I'm either tired or thinking. Both states are a bit dangerous.

3. What are you listening to right now?

The cat talking to me and the morning news.

4. Are you a big fan of thunderstorms?

Love them - a long as they aren't right over me and lightning isn't striking within 100 metres.

5. Do you believe in perfect?

No.

6. Are you a jealous person?

No. Pointless emotion.

7. What was the first thing you thought this morning?

Where is that duvet - the cat had stolen the covers.

8. What do you think about when you are falling asleep?

Can I go to sleep now? Side or tummy.

9. Are you satisfied with what you have in life?

Yes. I am very lucky.

10. Do people ever think that you're either older or younger than you actually are?

People tend to think I'm about ten years younger than I look. Thank goodness.

11. Do you think men truly understand women?

Of course not.

12. How about women understanding men?

Do you really want to?

13. Did anybody ever call you handsome or beautiful?

Yes, but it was a long time ago. I'm lovely on the inside.

14. What is one fact about the last person that called you?

She's my mother.

15. Other than your current one, tell us about the longest relationship you have had either a romance or a particular good friend.

I'm still great friends with a couple of university friends. We don't see each other often, but it's like old times when we do meet up. It's great.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Kathy Ann Questions

It appears Kathy Ann is Sunday Stealing's wife. I've just come back from a Short Story Bootcamp hosted by Maxine Beneba Clarke. Awesome and thought provoking weekend.

This will be a quick one - I want to get short story writings seeing that I've just got the lunches ready for the week and watched Married at First Sight (Susan, Susan, Susan....)

1. What is the meaning of your blog’s name?

Denial is a big river in Egypt... and I am its princess.

2. Why did you start your blogging?

I wanted to chart my path to a marathon. I've run five half marathons, but the big one is fifty pounds of weight loss and a year of training away (and I'd rather train for the Camino now)

3. What’s your usual bedtime?

Somewhere around 11 pm. Rarely earlier, sometimes later.

4. Are you lazy?

At times, but generally now.

5. Do you miss anyone right now?

I'm pretty good at the moment.

6. How would you describe your fashion sense?

Melbourne black with a few quirks. Lots of stripes and a bit of Adelaide navy for good measure.

7. What are your nicknames?

Panda. Dory. "Leave the cat alone."

8. Are you a patient person?

To a fault for the most part - then I snap and walk away.

9. Are you tight-fisted or frivolous?

A bit of both. I wouldn't say I'm frivolous, but I do consider what I'm spending my money on.

10. What magazines do you read?

NY Times magazine. Sometimes overland, Sometimes Marie Claire. I do most of my reading online.

11. Are you stubborn?

Sometimes.

12. When is your birthday?

In August. Winter baby.

13. What book are you currently reading?

Maxine Beneba Clarke's "Foreign Soil".

14. What phone do you have?

iPhone 6.

15. Do you have any pets?

No, but I borrow cats when their owners go away. I seem to have a cat in my flat about half the time.

16. Do you have siblings?

One sister, one step-sister.

17. Any children or grandchildren?

No. Not that silly.

18. What do you order at Starbucks?

Nothing. The coffee is crap. I live in Melbourne where you only go to Starbucks if there is a gun put to your head. At normally coffee shops I have a large skinny cappuccino.

19. What did you do for your last birthday?

Went and saw Matilda with some friends and ate a lot of meals out.



20. What’s your occupation?

Currently I'm a technical writer / process analyst / project dog's body.

21. Do you live in the country or the city?

Inner city, though I come from the country.


Saturday, March 18, 2017

The TV Show Questions

I am supposed to be studying. But no. one tute paper is in, the other is looking at me funny, so I'm giving up for the night and doing my questions.

Questions, as always, come from Sunday Stealing.


1. Name a TV show series in which you have seen every episode at least twice:

There are quire a few of these, including:


  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • The West Wing
  • Six Feet Under
  • Outlander
  • The Affair (though I still haven't seen the Third Season)
  • The Hour (Love English drama)
  • The Dr Blake Mysteries

2. Name a show you can't miss:

Currently, I'm a little into Married at First Sight. It's train wreck telly, but I love it.

3. Name an actor that would make you more inclined to watch a show:

I do love Mary Louise Parker. Also having love Quantam Leap all those years ago, I rather like Scott Bakula. Dominic West and Romola Garai are great too.

4. Name an actor who would make you less likely to watch a show:

I don't get Will Ferrell. I he were on telly I'd turn it off.

5. Name a show you can, and do, quote from:

The Young Ones. Ra ra ra, we're going to smash the oiks. I still quote The Young Ones.



6. Name a show you like that no one else enjoys:

I get a lost of stick for watching really bad reality television - like Bondi Ink, Ink Master Embarrassing Bodies and Random Breath Testing. I have truly dreadful taste in bad telly. I do love a good/bad tattoo show.

7. Name a TV show which you've been known to sing the theme song:

The Addams Family and the Muppets.



8. Name a show you would recommend everyone to watch:

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • The West Wing
  • Six Feet Under
  • Outlander
  • The Affair 
  • The Hour
  • The Dr Blake Mysteries
9. Name a TV series you own:
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • The West Wing
  • Six Feet Under
  • Outlander
  • The Affair (though I still haven't seen the Third Season)
  • The Hour 
  • The Dr Blake Mysteries
10. Name an actor who launched his/her entertainment career in another medium, but has surprised you with his/her acting chops in television:

Kylie Minogue can act when she puts her mind to it. So can Snoop Dogg.

11. What is your favorite episode of your favorite series?

Other than the Outlander episodes with all the gratuitous sex. Probably an episode of Frasier called "Moondance". It's delicious.



12. Name a show you keep meaning to watch, but you just haven't gotten around to yet:

With the advent of streaming, there are a lot of them out there - but I would like to see This is Us - have heard good things about it. As I love Paul Giamatti, I'd also like to see Billions. And The Gilmour Girls. (I know of it but have never seen it all)

13. Ever quit watching a show because it was so bad?

Ummm, other than Game of Thrones, because it is too violent - I used to love Grey's Anatomy. That jumped the shark a while ago

14. Name a show that's made you cry multiple times:
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Six Feet Under
  • The Hour  (NOOOOOO, Freddie!)
I'm also not allowed to watch animal shows as they make me cry. I just have to hear the Lassie theme and I dissolve into tears.

15. What do you eat when you watch TV?

Dinner. And sometimes icy poles as I am off ice cream for Lent.

16. How often do you watch TV?

Daily. Well it is on in the background most of the time.

17. What's the last TV show you watched?

I watched When We Rise this evening.

18. What's your favorite/preferred genre of TV?

Good drama or comedy - and thrown in some dodgy tattoo shows for good measure.

19. What was the first TV show you were obsessed with?

I used to LOVE Santa Barbara. But my mother will tell me that as a kid, our home grown music show Countdown was a must see, much to her chagrin.



20. What TV show do you wish you never watched?

I don't have regrets like that, but I do advise everybody not to watch Antiques Roadshow under the influence of strange tobacco. It's hysterical.

I actively change the channel when "The Footy Show" is on on a Thursday night. That should be driven off the telly.

21. What's the weirdest show you enjoyed?

Probably Six Feet Under. Who enjoys a show about a family of undertakers, with a death at the start of each episode?



22. What TV show scared you the most?

Any episode of Q&A with any dreadful right wing politician being buoyed by a Murdoch stooge is dreadfully scary.

The news scares me a lot too.

23. What is the funniest TV show you have ever watched?

Hands down, Fawlty Towers. 30 years on and it still has me laughing.


Friday, March 17, 2017

Movie Review: Jasper Jones

Jasper Jones: 3 Stars

I write this with a bit of a heavy heart. See, we did Craig Silvey's "Jasper Jones" in book group a couple of years ago and it was one of the highlights of the year. It's a young adult book which looks at themes of country towns, outcasts, racism, family violence and growing up. It's a fantastic book.

Then last year, the Melbourne Theatre Company put on "Jasper Jones" as a play - and did a fantastic job of it. Atmospheric and edgy, it caught these themes of he book very well indeed.

In Rachel Perkin's film of Jasper Jones, I came away both disappointed and a little bemused. How could they take my most wonderful book and play and sanitise it with the vengeance of a bleach bath. This was not my Jasper Jones. This was pretty much Jasper Jones for 12-year-olds - which is what I think the director and the screenwriters might have been aiming at.

Okay, the story in brief. Misfit, Charlie Bucktin, is woken in the middle of the night by Jasper Jones, a half-aboriginal youth, who is the town scapegoat and tearaw. Jasper needs Charlie's help - something that Charlie could never envisage. Going with Jasper, they walk to a nearby billabong where they find a local girl hanging from a tree. Jasper and Charlie, after some discussion, place the weighted body of the girl in the billabong.

The next day, we find out that a girl is missing (said girl now at the bottom of the billabong) and the town is on high alert. The town of Corrigan, just out of Perth, is in a state of disarray.

Add to this, Charlie's parents marriage is in its death throws, there is a mad old hermit who half-terrorises the neighbourhood and the dead girl's sister has a bit of a thing for Charlie. Oh, and this is set in 1969, so add to this a Chinese / Vietnamese family into the mix with all the Vietnam War tensions.

Yeah, there should be a lot of tension.

Well, sort of. They've turned my wonderful and edgy book into a coming of age movie. This is not the worst thing in the world, but it's not the same as the book.

Levi Miller plays Charlie - and he is excellent. Aaron McGrath is similarly great as the misunderstood Jasper. Angourie Rice makes a very fetching Eliza, sister to the dead girl. Hugo Weaving is also great as Mad Jack - a pivotal role in the book which misses the mark despite the great performance. Dan Wyllie and Toni Collette are very credible as Charlie's parents.

And somebody who I loved more in the film, than in the play, Kevin Long was great as Jeffrey Lu, a 13-year-old Vietnamese cricket tragic and Charlie's mate. They got him right. He also provides some light relieve among the darker themes.

But this films falls short of the mark. The tension is not there. It feels more like  a coming of age story than the edgy social commentary which is provided so well by the book. They only touch lightly on the racism that is set towards Jasper and the Lu family. The family violence theme is only lightly handled. The sense of being an outcast isn't as pronounced as it could be. At the end of the film, you feel this is more a film about Charlie and his journey to becoming a man and falling love, where Jasper's role is played down. How Mad Jack and Jasper play out is also not shown, which is more the pity. There is a lot of the small town dynamics which could have been handled better.

There are some terrific lines and scenes in the film, as well as a number of great laugh out loud moments. (What would you rather, a hat made of spiders or have penises for fingers?). Also, the town of Manjimup, playing Corrigan, is perfect in it's role as every country town in the Australia in the late sixties. The soundscape, the caw of the magpies and the hum of V8 engines is fantastic.

But this misses the mark.

With the themes of suicide so prevalent, I wouldn't be taking anybody under the age of twelve to this (Saying this, the once scene is brief and very well handled), but this is a film for young adults, sanitised to the point of the Australian Public Service Political Correctness with an injection of fairy floss.

I did enjoy the film. I just reckon that this could have been a lot better given a bit of courage from the director and screenwriters.


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Movie Review: Saint Joan

Saint Joan: 4.5 Stars

A free afternoon in another city. Seen everything in the movies that I want to see. What do I do? Go to the Arthouse cinema and hunt out a film which is showing a play which has recently been on the London Stage. George Bernard Shaw - how wrong can you get?

I love Gemma Arterton, I have done ever since she was in "Tamara Drewe". The timings would mean I could get to the airport with time to kill. Why not?

This was a great decision.

The National Theatre in London has a number of spaces. The Donmar Warehouse is their theatre in the round space. The stage goes back four rows - it's tiny. And in this space, this band of players puts on George Bernard Shaw's "Saint Joan". Written and first performed in 1923, the play has a timelessness which is both unsettling and uncanny.

I won't go into the story of Joan of Arc - it's a well known story - and the play / film takes this on board. Why labour a story you already know. What the play does well is move this to modern times.

Director Josie Rourke has taken Joan from the farms of the East of France to a modern boardroom, giving this production extra clout. Adding to this an element of the 24-hour news cycle, social media and the BBC Newsnight and you have a thought provoking and timely production of this Trump era.

I loved this production. Not being able to go to London to take this in, the film version is a great  - brilliantly filmed and very, topical. With a  cast of "Oh, yeahs" (Those English actors whose faces you know, but you can't name them) Gemma Arterton carries off the lead role of Joan with ease - from the fervent farm girl, to the soldier, to the Christian martyr, betrayed by everybody and left to her fate at the stake.

What takes this play to the next level is the setting. All of the action takes place on a revolving stage around a board room table. All of the men in the play are dressed in modern day suits - sharp, corporate suits. Joan is left to her peasant, soldier and prisoner clothes. This juxtaposition is stark and telling. What is most disturbing, from the modern angle, is how Joan, once her mission is completed , is thrown out with the trash. In this corporate setting, the message could not be more unsettling or clearer.

Gemma Arterton steals this production. Eminently watchable, she's a force of nature, channeling Joans fervour and resolve. The "Oh, yeahs" do a great job too, though with the exception of Niall Buggy (you will go, "Oh, yeah" when you google him) most relatively unknown, but excellent  jobbing English stage actors all the same - you will have seen a few of them on Midsummer Murders. My favourite kind of actor.

Look out for this film of this play. It's great.

I'm looking forward to the National's season which will be filmed and shown in arthouse theatres around Australia in the coming months. It's a way of making the London Theatre accessible. I wish it happened more.




Sunday, March 12, 2017

The Eight/Ten Questions

Sitting in a hotel room waiting for the university server to come up so I can post my tutorial paper, listening to the post mortem of the Western Australian election (smile, Hanson did badly. Most excellent)

Interesting batch of questions this week. Lots of monosyllabic answers will abound. Questions, as always, from Sunday Stealing.

TEN TO START:

1. Are you single? Yes.

2. Are you happy? Yes.

3. Are you bored?  No. Too much to do.

4. Are you naked? Under the bathrobe.

5. Are you a blonde? No.

6. Are you moody? Sometimes. I am a woman it is my god-given right to be moody now and then.

7. Are you a lover/hater? Lover.

8. Are you hot/cold? Always hot. Joys of peri-menopause.

9. Are you Irish? No. A funny mix of Cornish, Welsh, English and Scottish.

10. Are you Asian? No - although I live on Australasia and love noodles.

TEN FACTS:

1. Name: Pandora

2. Nickname: Panda

3. Birth mark: A chocolate stain on my right calf.

4. Hair color: Currently chocolate brown with a bit of red.

5. Natural hair color: I have no idea what my real hair colour might be - I suspect a lightly greying brown.

6. Eye color: Dark green/grey

7. Height: Five foot six or 166 cms

8. Facebook Mood: No idea what this means.

9. Favorite color: Pillar box red

10. One Place to Visit: I really want to go to Angkor Wat.

TEN THINGS ABOUT YOUR LOVE LIFE.

1. Do you believe in love at first sight?  Not sure.

2. Do you believe in soul mates? Unfortunately.

4. Have you ever been hurt emotionally? Hell, yes.

5. Have you ever broken someone’s heart?  Not sure. Maybe.

6. Have you ever been cheated on?  Yes.

7. Have you ever liked someone and not told them? Yes. I am a girl who was one a teenager.

8. Are you afraid of commitment?  Yes.

9. Who was the last person you hugged? Him. (That is all I'm staying)

10. Who was the last person you kissed? Him. (Not divulging)

TEN THIS OR THAT.

1. Love or lust? Love.

3. Cats or dogs?  Both - but cats are easier as they are more independent.

4. A few best friends or many regular friends?  A bit of both  - a few close friends is all I need.

5. Television or internet?  Television.

6. Chinese Or Indian? Depends on the day.

7. Wild night out or romantic night in?  Romantic night in.

8. Money or Happiness?  Happiness, but money does make happiness slightly easier to attain.

9. Night or day? Day.

10. Skype or phone? Skype. Cheaper.

TEN HAVE YOU EVER.

1. Been caught sneaking out? No.

2. Been skinny dipping? Yes.

3. Stolen? Yes.

4. Bungee jumped? No.

5. Lied to someone you liked? Yes.

6. Finished an entire jaw breaker?  ?? American thing - no idea.

7. Cheated on a lover (yes kissing counts...)? Yes.

8. Wanted an ex bf/gf back? No.

9. Cried because you lost a pet?  Yes.

10. Wanted to disappear? Yes.

TEN PREFERENCES IN A PARTNER.

1.   Smile or eyes? Smile.

2. Light or dark hair? Dark hair.

3. Hugs or kisses? Both.

4. Shorter or taller? Taller.

5. Intelligence or attraction? I'm attracted to intelligence.

6. Romantic or spontaneous? Romantic. Though spontaneous is fun.

7. Funny or serious? Bit of both.

8. Older or Younger? Older.

9. Outgoing or quiet? Quiet.

10. Sweet or Bad Ass? Sweet.

TEN HAVE YOU’S.

1. Ever performed in front of a large crowd?  No. But public speaking doesn't phase me too much.

2. Ever done drugs? Yes, but only on a very limited and social way many years ago. Can count these times on my hands.

3. Ever been pregnant? Yes. But we don't talk about that.

5. Ever been on a cheer leading team? Not American, so no.

6. Ever Been on a dance team? No.

7. Ever been on a sports team?  No.

8. Ever been in a drama play/production?  Yes.

9. Ever owned a BMW, Mercedes Benz, Escalade, Hummer or Bentley? No. I own far less ostentatious cars.

10. Ever been in a rap video? Why would I be in a rap video? No.


TEN LASTS.

1. Last phone call you made: I called a Masonic friend after she had a car accident on Wednesday.

2. Last person you hung out with: Him.

3. Last person you flirted with: I don't flirt.

4. Last time you worked: Friday.

5. Last person you tackled:  ?? I tackle people on their beliefs all the time.

6. Last person you IM’d: My mate Damo - the university site is down.

8. Last person(s) you went to the movies with:  I went with Jonella and Spiro to see Hidden Figures last weekend.

9. Last thing you missed:  I've given up ice cream for Lent. I miss ice cream.

10. Last time you did the nasty: Yesterday.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

The Questions of Age Meme

Oh this should be fun. I'm feeling a bit delicate after The Pixies concert last night. There is something quite cathartic about having a couple of thousand middle aged people screaming along to "Debaser". It makes me very happy indeed.


Questions are from Sunday Stealing.

1. By a certain age, women should 

... do as she effing well chooses. Just be nice to others, kids and animals and take responsibility for themselves.

2. By a certain age men, should 

...do as he effing well chooses. Just be nice to others, kids and animals and take responsibility for themselves.

3. When I was young I thought by now I would 

... be dead.

4. Now that I am older I wish 

... I got therapy earlier.

5. You know that you are too old to do an activity when 

... you are either dead or in a wheelchair and they don't have ramps. (ie F*ck limiting yourself- bollox to that.

6. You know you are too young to do an activity when 

... okay, you should have some rationality. If you can't see the consequences, doing things aren't good. This is why they wait until you're about 18 to get a driver's licence and drink.

7. When I was in high school I listened to the music of 

... oh hell. Phil Collins, Billy Joel,The Police. The Rolling Stones, Hoodoo Gurus,  INXS - to name a few.

8. When I was in college (or the next four years after high school) I listened to the music of

...THE PIXIES!!!




9. These days, at my age I find myself listening music of...

Tash Sultana, THE PIXIES, Chet Faker, Damien Rice, ALT-J to name a few.



10. For my last birthday I ...

Went out a lot for about a week.

11. On my next birthday I want to 

... go to Toyko and have a look around a new place.

12. The best birthday present I ever got was

... a Pandora bracelet. Love that bracelet.

13. The first time I felt that I was an adult was when 

... I moved to London and worked out I was on my own.

14. The last time I felt like I was still a kid was when

... last night at The Pixies concert, going off like I was 18 years old.

15. I would sum up 2016 by saying

... it was pretty shit for the world at large.

16. I hope I will sum up 2017 by saying in December

... that Donald Trump and the Liberal Party have been kicked out.

17. So far in terms of age, I feel my first big milestone was

...Actually turning 40. That was a while ago now.

18. As I look forward to the rest of my life’s journey, I feel my biggest milestone of my life will be

... getting a book published. I really want to do that.

19. By the time I was the age I am now I am surprised that I haven’t yet

... died or got married or owned a house, Oh well to the second two. I'm glad I haven't died.

20. By the time I am 65, I hope that I have ...

Published a book, own a house and maybe even got married. You never know.

Have some more Pixies. I have a movie to go see and a paper to submit. Enjoy Black Francis back when he had hair and didn't look like Uncle Fester.



Thursday, March 2, 2017

Movie Review: Hidden Figures

Hidden Figures: 4 Stars

Being a woman in the work force, I do get the joys of what it is to be very occasionally seen as a second class citizen. It's very occasional and to be blunt, bloody annoying when it happens. Mind you, as a Caucasian in a very inclusive workplace, sexism and racism, though present in a very, very minor way, is not something I have to think about daily. I still get 'man-splained' to every now and then - and it's very annoying and completely diminished the man who things that "your pretty little head can't take in these big facts", but you roll your eyes, make a note of the jerk and see if you can circumvent him, and get on with things.

Hidden Figures portrays some phenomenal women doing an amazing job under some of the worst of circumstances and is based on real life events.

In the late 1960's the state of Virginia in the United States was segregated. African Americans were very much second class citizens, although thankfully, the Civil Rights movement was well underway to ensuring changes were made.

Hidden from view were the women who worked at NASA in computing and computational roles. Katherine Johnson, one of the Maths legends of our time, Dorothy Vaughn, a computer scientist, and Mary Jackson, a woman with the mind of an engineer all work in important, yet overlooked roles on the space program.


This movie follows their journey towards equality, not just in the workplace, but in their worlds at large.


The movie is inspirational.What really inspires is Katherine, Mary and Dorothy's refusal to give up, to work within the bounds provided and then get on with things.

What really irritates the modern viewer is the sensibilities of the white folk as they continue to denigrate these amazing women.

What effected me most of all is in working for the Space Program, doing specialised work, they were still discriminated against for the colour of their skin. It left me shaking my head, and feeling very thankful that I haven't had to work in such an environment.  

Themes of racism, civil rights, equal opportunity abound in this very watchable, very interesting film. What is most inspiring is how these women overcome these obstacles with grace. I found myself cheering when Katherine (Taraji P Henson) forcefully explained to her boss (Kevin Costner) that she had to walk half a mile to go to the coloured women's bathroom - and gave the rest of the team a serve seeing she was doing the work of ten men.  When Dorothy (Octavia Spencer) sadly looked at her boss and explained, "You might not believe you're racist, but the truth is different." was a watershed moment. When Mary (Janelle Monae) hit a nerve with the judge hearing her case to attend classes at a segregated school, you had to give her a fist pump.

Hidden Figures is an enjoyable, understandable look at coloured women in a white man's word. Though lacking the emotional punch of movies such as "Moonlight" and "Manchester on the Sea", its well worth a look, if, for anything, to see how far the world has thankfully come in the last fifty years.





Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Movie Review: Trainspotting 2

Trainspotting 2:  Four Stars

On hearing that there was going to be a Trainspotting 2, my first question to myself was "How the hell are the characters all still alive to make a movie?"

See, I was living in London when the first iteration of Trainspotting came out. I remember reading the book on a train bound for Brighton and nearly throwing up at the 'Worst Toilet in Scotland" scene. Having a good friend from Aberdeen, I somewhat got the accent."Trainspotting" is a part of my twenties.

Now in my forties, T2: Trainspotting has come out - and it's going to be a part of my life for ever more. I enjoyed it. My friend, who's 15 years younger than me and never really got the first one, enjoyed it too.

Catching this film late on a Friday night, I made the decision to watch the first film before seeing the movie. My friend wasn't going to get to mine until late, why not.

I'm glad I took a new look at the first one before seeing the second. Looking at Trainspotting and its new incarnation, as well as living in the heroin centre of Melbourne, I got to see these films in a very different light.

I do think that you probably need half a knowledge about the first film to get the best out if it. Knowing the characters as there former selves makes this film far easier to understand, although there are a lot of flashbacks which help viewers get the point.

The movie picks up 20-odd years after Mark 'Rent-Boy' Renton is seen walking across London Bridge with a bag full of money into a potentially drug free unknown.

Essentially. T2 shows you what has happened to the crew. Renton (Ewan McGregor) has been living in Amsterdam, married and drug free. Simon "Sick-boy" (Jonny Lee Millar) is running his aunt's old pub in a run down part of town. Francis Begbie (Robert Carlyle), not surprisingly, is in prison. And then there's Spud (Ewan Bremner). I'll get back to him. Oh yes, and of course, Tommy (Kevin McKidd) didn't come back either, but he died in the first movie from toxoplasmosis.

The plot, which is a little thin on the ground, takes up when Renton comes back to Edinburgh on the death of his mother. He has not been back in this time. He's not been in contact with his hapless friends who he left cashless and sleeping in a hotel room all those years ago.

And all hell breaks loose. What follows is a very entertaining two hours of a caper movie which reminisces about friendships lost and found and just how your choices can impact upon your world at large.

There are a lot of laugh out loud moments along with quite a few gross out moments  - for how could the writers not go for another few toilet scenes. There's also some very identifiable moments of middle age, because ostensibly, this is a film about middle aged men. They're not putting any gloss on that, thank goodness.

For me, the film was made by Ewan Bremner's brilliant performance as Spud. In the first film, he was the loser mate, not good for much at all, a bit of a non-entity compared to the exuberance of Sick-Boy, Renton's witty repartee and Begbie's barely contained violence. Now, in his mid-forties, still addicted to heroin, unemployed, miserable and just plain sad, Bremner's nuanced performance is captivating. During the two hours of the movie, we watch as he tries to clean up his life. It's as poignant as it is harrowing. I'd like to see the film again for this performance alone.

This film won't be everybody's hit of smack. The humour is black and vicious. The script tight and funny (particularly the new take on the 'Choose Life" speech". The soundtrack is not far from the brilliance of the first film (Iggy Pop still features - and surprisingly, he's still alive too)

It was great to see cameos by Kelly McDonald and Shirley Henderson. The gross out moments are pretty gross - and there are some very funny, very unexpected scenes that show Scottish live at its best and worst.

I loved it, but I know I am biased.



And this has to come too:




Sunday, February 26, 2017

My New Favourite Author Questions

Sore back (nothing bad, just irritating), a bit tired and a bit grumpy. Nothing new. maybe these questions (sourced from Sunday Stealing - a great job they have done today) will make things feel a bit better.


Where do you go to decompress from the world?

The cinema or the bathtub if one is available. not at the same time. Also good at losing myself in a book.

If given $10,000, what would you do with it?

Pay off my last few subjects and my car loan. That nearly cover both.

What is one major renovation you would love to make on your house?

I rent, but my landlord was talking about putting in wooden floorboards. doing out the kitchen would be good too.

What is one movie that you love and didn’t expect to love?

Moonli\ght. I wasn't sure that I'd like it. It's too important not to like.



What is the oldest knick-knack you own and what is its sentimental value?

Not so much a knick-knack, but I have my grandmother's colander - and I think of her every time I strain pasta.

Do you own any books you keep out of obligation, but actually hate?

There are a few books in the shelves that I've had since I lived in London and haven't read. I don't hate them - I'm just not sure they deserve space in the shelves any more.

How many countries have you visited outside of the one you live in now?

Let me see:  New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, U.K, US, Germany, Ireland, France, Spain, Italy, The Netherlands, Greece. 14. Not enough. Japan and Cambodia this year, maybe.

Have you ever read only part of a book, but claimed you’ve read the whole thing?

No. I'm too good at putting books down after page 30 and not going back. I have read bits of Ulysses - but not the whole thing.

Have you ever spent a lot of money on something? What was it?

A car. Far too many cameras.

If you could change your name, what would it be?

I'm okay with my real name - but I write under Pandora Behr and Trellawney Thom. Numerology wise, they work well.

What is a nickname a former (or present) lover gave you?

I've never had one. I've been called "Babe" and "Baby" now and then - and I hate it. Will tolerate "darling" and "sweetheart".

How do you style your hair? If you just would say "cut" what style is it?

It's long with layers. I have set and forget hair. Wash it, it dries on its own. It gets brushed. That's it.

How many colors are you wearing now?

Three. Black bra and shorts, navy blue dress, white undies.

What's one piece of fiction that changed your life?

Not so much fiction, but Dr Spencer Johnson's "Who Moved My Cheese" completely changed how I look at life, and very much for the better.

Hannah Kent and her "Burial Rites" put me on the path of my current Masters studies. If she can do it, I can do it.

Is there anything that has made you unhappy recently?

Work has been a bit challenging.

Tell us about the job that you did before your current one or last one.

Oh, that was in the training and development area of a large telecommunications company, and it was frightfully dull with "different" but nice people. I was only there for six weeks, and this job came up, thank goodness. The other one was doing my head in.

What was the last song to get stuck in your head?

This:



What is your least favorite thing to do that you have to do everyday?

Have a shower (or two - I shower morning and night). I love being in water.

Best time of your life?

Now. I was saying this to a friend yesterday - there are some challenges, but I'm content at the moment for the most part.

What are you most looking forward to in the coming year?

I'd like to get away to somewhere new. So I think a holiday will be good. Maybe Japan, maybe Cambodia to see Angkor Wat. I'm also looking forward to finishing my Masters.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Film Review: Moonlight

Moonlight: 4.5 Stars


I'm not an ordinary Australian movie viewer - and I loved this, even though it was confronting and unsettling at times. Juxtaposing this is the fact that it looks at life in the raw, without blinkers and with a stark beauty which is rarely seen. There's a slightly disturbing feel to this film, like your watching something you don't know whether you should be seeing - and this is what makes the film great.
Despite the numerous awards and brilliant reviews, very little is known heard about this film in Australia - which is a pity, as this is an important film. A very important film, even if it will not appeal to all viewers. The elements of the film which make it less desirable to ordinary Australian viewer are due to the theme and the content. In ordinary Australian life we see little of sexually conflicted men on the mean streets of Miami.

The film is based on three iterations of the life of Chiron (pronounced Shyrone in the film). On finding out the spelling of his name, something kicked in. Chiron, in Greek Mythology is both a nurturing centaur and the wounded healer. This element, which would go over most viewer's heads, only makes this film the more poignant - supplying a key to the film's true meaning.

Known as Little as a boy, Chiron is rescued from bullies by an imposing but kind drug dealer, Juan, played by an impressive Maharshala Ali. Juan rescues the lad from bullies and takes him back to his partner, Teresa (Janelle Monae) for nurturing and a touch of normality. The couple become parental figures to the conflicted boy, whose drug-addled mother and the knowledge that he's not like everybody else - though he cannot put a name to this.

Here is where this film's importance lies. Moonlight shines a light on what it is to be gay and black and on the fringes of an underbelly which many of us never see. It's subtle and incredibly powerful as we see the young Chiron begin to blossom under the gentle firm care of Juan and Teresa, while his home and school life begin to crumble.

The second section presents Chiron's teenage years. Things aren't looking up for the kid, who is still a misfit, still being mercilessly bullied and his mother's drug dependence has increased to a point where she sells herself for her fix. Teresa remains a calming and stable influence on the boy.

This second part of the film is brutal in it's power. As Chiron is still struggling with his place, his sexuality and his dreadful home life, made a little less awful by the presence of the Kevin, a confident kid who becomes Chiron's ally , the film present an aspect of real life that is familiar as it is shocking. What effected me most about this section is how universal these themes of questions, exclusion and how life can turn on a dime. The conclusion of this section is gut-wrenching.

Finally, we see Chiron, or Black as he is now known, as a hardened adult, dealing drugs on the streets of Atlanta. After calls from his mother from the rehab facility in which she now lives, he makes the journey back to Florida to reconnect with his past, including Kevin. The last section of the film is about forgiveness and redemption.

You cannot help but empathise with Chiron. There is little which any feeling, emotionally connected person will not understand from this child, then teenager, then man looking for some sense of peace and self.

There are far too few films which look at what it is to be gay, especially at a young age. Moonlight looks at this unflinchingly, but with a sensitivity that very few films can achieve.

This film deserves the numerous awards and nominations it has received. A Golden Globe for Best Film - Drama. It has been nominated for Academy Awards for Best Film, Best Supporting Actress (Naomi Harris is up there, but I'll still give this to Michelle Williams in "Manchester on the Sea") Best Supporting Actor for Maharshala Ali and Best Adapted Screenplay.

There is a reason why this film has so many award nominations. It's too important not to have them. We need more cinema of this quality and honesty.

This film isn't everybody's cup of tea, but it is very worthwhile.


Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Bungalow 26 Meme

Lazy Sunday morning in Sydney. Going to see a film soon. Watching Remington Steele on Fox Classics (Oh, Pierce Brosnan - still cute) with a cup of coffee in my hand. Life doesn't get much better than this (Though they're good questions, Sunday Stealing)

1. Which living person do you admire the most, and why?

I have a huge respect for Catherine Hamlin. She's done so much to make better the lives of so many women. Incredible. Fred Hollows is up there too. His foundation gets money off me each month so people can have their eyesight back. I like people who make the world a better place.

2. When were you the happiest?

I think, at this stage of my life, I've been the happiest I've ever been. With friends, a good mind and a bit of security, I'm doing okay.

3. Besides property, automobile or furniture, what is the most expensive thing you have bought?

My Pandora bracelets are probably it. I don't wear them enough.

4. What is your most treasured possession?

My battered and signed copy of Captain Corelli's Mandolin - that and the small teddy my grandfather gave me when I was born.

5. Where would you like to live?

I still would love to have the ways and means of living well in London. To live in London you need to live well. But it is expensive.

6. Who would you get to play you in a film of your life?

I think Melissa McCarthy would do a great job of it.

7. What is your favorite book?

Just one? Louis de Bernieres' "Captain Corelli's Mandolin" and Richard Flanagan's "The Narrow Road to the Deep North" are equally stunning. Honorable Mentions to:

  • "The Signature of All Things" by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • "The Natural Way of Things" by Charlotte Wood
  • "Burial Rites" by Hannah Kent

8. What is your most unappealing habit?

I still have a security blanket - though it's more a security ribbon. It hurts nobody so it stays.

9. Twitter or Facebook? (Or if both share the differences in your opinion.) 

Facebook. I really don't get Twitter.

10. What would be your fancy dress costume of choice?

Hack off a branch from a tree and go as Burnham Wood from Macbeth.

11. What is your earliest memory?

I have a flickering memory of being in a bassinette under a tree at a picnic ground listening to the broadcast of man landing on the moon. I also remember visiting my mum in hospital when my sister was born.

12. What is your guiltiest pleasure?

Ice cream. It's the sixth food group.

13. What do you owe your parents?

Nothing except thanks for letting me having opportunities and giving me the knowledge of how to be resilient and cunning.

14. To whom would you most like to say sorry, and why?

Far too long and complex to write about here. So I'm not going to.

15. What or who is the greatest love of your life?

Reading and writing. Quite simple really.

16. What does love feel like to you?

A cup of coffee and a cuddle first thing in the morning. Being completely comfortable in the presence of another. As an introvert this is a very rare feeling.

17. What was the best kiss of your life?

I had one of those wonderful kissing in the rain down a dingy London Street kisses many years ago. It was wonderful.

18. Which words or phrases do you overuse?

Actually... I put that in to sentences far too often, actually...  And when I write, I have to go in and remove all of the "that"s. They aren't that needed.

19. What's the worst job you have done?

Putting on price tags at a Department Store when I was at university was dire to say the least.

20. If you could edit your past, what would you change?

I'd make sure that I got fitter far earlier than I did. Would have made life much easier.

21. What is the closest you have came to death?

I've been lucky. Nearly mowed down by a car a few months ago wasn't fun, but I've been healthy all my life. The nearest I've felt to death was when I had both ears infected and the drums were about to burst. Never felt pain like it - never want to feel that again.

22. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Running five half marathons. With my fitness history, this is a miracle.

23. When did you cry last?

I went and saw "Lion" on Tuesday. Shed a few tears then.



24. How do you relax?

Read, write, see films and have the odd gin and tonic.

25. What single thing would improve the quality of your life?

Losing 20 kilos. I'm working on it.

26. What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

Never give up. Never, not ever. What you give you get back - maybe not in the way you expect, but it does come back.