Monday, July 31, 2023

It has to be done...

 The plans for my trip abroad are continuing at a pace. 

  • The writer's retreat is paid off in full. 
  • I've got my flights
  • And my travel insurance
  • And the first and last night's accommodation in London sorted. 
And knowing I'm in London, and knowing how good the theatre is over there after a week of Melbourne Theatre, I had a look at the listings to see what's playing around the traps on my last night, the night before I take off to Paris. 

And there it was. 

ANDREW FREAKING SCOTT!!! Doing a one man show of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya!!!

Who is Andrew Scott?

This is Andrew Scott. 

He's and Irish actor - and he steals the scene in everything he's ever been in. Think of Gethin in Pride. Think Moriarty in Sherlock

Oh, and best of all, think of the Hot Priest in Fleabag - probably the role he's best known for. 

He turns up all over the place. And when he does, you know what you're going to see is good. He's eminently watchable. 

Just seeing those clips of him in Hamlet from a few years ago, the stage craft, the emotion.... it has to be done. 

As stage actors go, I'm going to put him up there with a young Ian McKellen, Kenneth Branagh and Alan Rickman - all superb. He's up there. 

And did I tell you that as much as I hate Russian Literature, I love Uncle Vanya. For anybody curious, Vanya on 42nd Street is streaming on SBS On Demand. 

So as somebody who loves good theatre, this has to be done. 

I've got my ticket. One in the cheap seats. The cheap seats are still 120 quid - double that for Australian dollars. But it's bought and paid for. 

I might need to sell my left kidney to afford it, but, as I keep getting told, life is for living and you should do what you love. 

I'm jumping up and down so much, my boobs are giving me black eyes. 

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Sunday Stealing: The Swap Bot Questions

 Another day of theatre. Another day of appreciating what Melbourne has to offer.

Now on to the weekend questions, thanks to Bev at Sunday Stealing

1. Does love come from the brain, the heart or elsewhere?

I like to think that love is an all over experience. I've never thought about where it comes from - it just is. 

2. Have you ever given a shot?

Do you mean have I given an injection? Plenty of times. Other than vaccinating animals and looking after a friend's diabetic cat, I used to give myself a needle everyday. It's no biggie. 

3. Can you lick your elbow? (Come on, didja try?)

No - it's impossible to like your own elbow. Everybody knows that - and no, I didn't try to do it. 

4. If I was going to be talking to you for 10 minutes, what would be something really interesting you know a little bit about but would like to know more??

There are far too many topics that I would like to know about. Can you talk to be about how I can finish my bloody novel? That would be good. 

5. What do you think of the Sopranos?

The television show? It was a bit too violent for me back in the day. Never went back to it. 

6. Have you ever had a crush on your teacher?  How about your boss?

Yes, to both. Not saying any more. 

7. Have you ever seen a movie in 3D?

Of course. My favourite 3D movie experience was Scorcese's Hugo. The 3D effects were done brilliantly - it's really subtle. A movie buff's movie. 

8. How difficult do you think it is for immigrants to come into your country?

They are making it harder and harder here in Australia. For a country that prides itself on it's multiculturalism, we can be VERY hard on migrants. Unfortunately, it seems to depend on your ethnicity as to how hard a time you're given. 

9. Do you have what it takes to go live in another country, maybe for years, where you don't speak the language as your first language?

Yes. Thankfully, I'm a polyglot - I pick up languages pretty quickly. I moved to Greece for a few months about 20 years ago. It was a good experience. 

10. Have you ever died in your dreams?

No, thank goodness. I don't dream much anyway. 

11. What book should our political leaders read and why?

There is a really good book edited by Louise Swinn called Choice Words. It's about abortion and a woman's right to choose. 

Also, Jess Hill's See What You Made Me Do, which is about domestic violence in Australia.

There needs to be more diverse voices in our parliament. But at least we don't ban books over here, even if the wowsers kick up a fuss every now and then. People who complain about books should read them first before complaining about them. 

12. What is your favorite glass object?

My Brok beer glass. It was pilfered from the work beer club I used to work. It holds about 600 mls of fluid. it's a great glass. 

13. Do you like to window shop?

Of course. It's the best kind of shopping. 

14. Are you more likely to buy one really nice expensive outfit or a couple of cheap outfits?

I tend to get my clothes either cheap or second hand, but I dream of one of those people who buys a small number of quality clothes. I don't have the body type for expensive clothes. 

15. If you could, would you wear everything once, throw it out and buy something new?

Absolutely not. Fast fashion is the scourge of the Western World. What a waste of time, money and resources. 

Today's song: 

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Theatre Review: 2.22 A Ghost Story

 The Play: 2.22 - A Ghost Story

The Theatre: Her Majesty's Theatre, Exhibition Street

Until 20 August

4 Stars (with some reservations)

We went to see this on a whim. With the offerings around the traps at the moment, it was the only thing that appealed. A ghost story! Terrifying! Electric! Lots of blurbs with exclamation marks after them. Normally a warning sign for me but given time and budget constraints being a time poor single mum and her arty fart friend who sees most things, and knowing this was in preview, we decided to give this a go. 

I'll preface this review by saying we saw this in the preview period, and there's some things which need to be ironed out, but otherwise, this was a decent two hours of solid entertainment. 

I also have to preface this by saying that somehow we tuned up on the media night where every D-List celebrity and their rented Birkin bag was out in force. There were lots of pretty people floating about the place, dosing up on the complimentary cheap champagne before the show. We saw Anthony La Paglia, who's in town rehearsing for Death of a Salesman and Eddie Perfect. The other people looked like they thought we should know them. We didn't. We're middle aged Gen-Xers . We don't care. Taking our glass of pilfered free poo, we made our way to our seats in the nosebleed section. 

So, what's this about? 

The script has been Melbournised. 

Jenny (Gemma Ward) and Sam (Remy Hii) two upwardly mobile new parents have bought a house in the inner North for what seems to be a steal. The nonna who owned the house before them asked them to look after the place. Being inner Northern yuppy types, of course the did the place out, replacing the font nook with a coffee bar, ripping out the wall for glass windows. you know the drill. 

When Sam goes away for a work trip leaving Jenny on her own, strange things start happening in their daughters room. Footsteps, noises. All of these happen at 2.22 a.m. Jenny is scared shitless. They bring their old friend Lauren (Ruby Rose) and her new man, Dan (Daniel McPherson) to have a dinner party and try to get to the bottom of things. 

I will no say any more on the plot. There is a big sign saying "Don't tell the secret". So I won't. 

Needless to say, I clocked onto what was really happening about ten minutes into the second act. 

This is a solid play and very entertaining. Neither Gemma Ward or Ruby Rose are known for their stage work, but they are good. Remy Hii is NIDA trained, and this shows through. Daniel McPherson was relatable as the cashed-up bogan tradie who they let know is not good enough for the refined Lauren. 

There are some pretty cool effects too. 

In all, this is a solid night of entertainment. The two hour run time makes it not too long or short and you are on the edge of your seat for a bit of the show. Is it terrifying? No. Is it electrifying? In places. As somebody who doesn't like being scared, I was fine. 

What I will say is that if you're triggered by noise, you might want to have your dimmer earplugs available. I'll say no more than this, but it does get a bit loud in places. 

This is worth a view. 

Today's song: 

Friday, July 28, 2023

Things I Learned in Yoga Today

 Friday lunchtime yoga is becoming a staple activity. It's a great way to start the weekly wind down. Even though I'm very crap at yoga, I enjoy these classes. The instructor, Jess, is very encouraging, which is something. She hasn't thrown me out of the class yet, which is a bonus. 

I learned a few things today. 

Firstly, don't try to do yoga when you've put on hand cream in the last hour or so. It makes things very slippery. For a lot of the class, this is fine, but trying to get stable in Downward Facing Dog is an absolute killer. I won't be doing that in a hurry. 

Second thing I learned in yoga. It can find all of the small, niggling injuries you don't even clock. Once again, in the Downward Facing Dog position, I'd get myself into position, only to find my left hamstrings were squealing at me. I put myself back into Child's pose, then try again. Nup. Ping. 

Thing is, I walk around, no problem at all. Jog a few steps. Again, no issue. But stretch the buggers out and you really know it's there. I got home, shoved an ice pack on them and did about five minutes with my bang-gang machine (the tympanic massager - get your mind out of the gutter). They will be fine. Serves me right for doing 150 kg leg presses last night.

The third thing I learned today - when you tell me to switch my head off, don't expect it to happen. It's like being told to not scratch an itch. Never happens. 

It's something to work on. 

Right, off to the theatre. This should be fun. 

Today's song: 

Thursday, July 27, 2023


Sinead O’Connor was the rebellious friend that you wanted to have in your life. The girl with the traits you wished you had the guts to grab by the balls and take on as your own. Somebody who you could admire and relate to and wish you could have her world view – although at the time, you didn’t quite know why. 

She wasn’t just a singer.

She was an iconoclast.

She sang your pain. 

She sang about the pain of generations. 

From my cloistered little life in the late 1980s, there was a recognition that this woman spoke to you, and for you. Because as much as you wanted to, you would never shave your head or rave about the despair you were feeling. You were far too caught up in your parochial little world framed by a Methodist upbringing in a blindly conservative state, where women were advised to not drink beer in Front Bars, and it was a virtue to be nice. 

The album, I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got was required listening. I’ve listened to it thousands of times. Yes, there’s the 90’s standard, Nothing Compares 2 U, penned by Prince back in the day. It haunts everybody.  But there are better songs on the album. 

The mention of Sinead O’ Connor takes me back to a coffee shop off one of the Rundle Mall side streets, where the coffee was bottomless and the newspapers national – and free to read. Mariah and I would meet there regularly. I remember her telling me about how she understood one of the songs. She had just started a new relationship with a new bloke, a refugee, who’s stories were horrific. We didn’t know about horror. This was Adelaide in 1990. Other than the 17.5% interest rates and the unavailability of work, all we knew of was sunny days, studying while on the hill at the cricket and lazy evenings down the beach. Our innocence was blinding. 

Sinead provided another view to this soon to be more complex world. I look at the lyrics of this song.

“England's not the mythical land of Madame George and roses

It's the home of police who kill black boys on mopeds

And I love my boy and that's why I'm leaving

I don't want him to be aware that there's

Any such thing as grieving..” (Black Boys on Mopeds)

We were innocents. Sinead was not. She was our gateway to the wider world. 

Over the years we’ve watched her battle through life. Seemingly barking mad, she got up to all sorts of stuff, majorly pissing off all and sundry. She was one of the first people to publicly condemn the Catholic Church – and she could do this with the knowledge from within the Magdalene system of institutionalised punishment for those who didn't stay in their lane. She protested. She complained. She was out there. Her struggles with mental health were sizable and noted. She was ordained as a priest at Lourdes. She converted to Islam in 2018. A tortured soul, I could only admire her chutzpah. 

"Everyone can see what's going on

They laugh 'cause they know they're untouchable

Not because what I said was wrong

Whatever it may bring

I will live by my own policies

I will sleep with a clear conscience

I will sleep in peace..."  (The Emperors New Clothes)

And now, she’s no longer here. May she rest in power. May she rest in peace. 

Me, I choose to remember her as the screaming banshee woman who sang for a generation. She provided the voice I didn’t know needed to be heard. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Oh so quiet

 One of the things that make me think I'm neurodivergent is my complete dislike of noisy environments. They trigger me. 

I've never been good in crowds. I have to psyche myself up to go to concerts. Living near the Formula One track used to wind me up beyond measure. Being stuck in a noisy pub used to send me spare. 

Recently, over the last year, I've stopped going to my favourite pump class, mostly because I've been triggered by the loudish music in the room. And I hate being the one to ask to turn the music down all the time. As much as I like the exercise, being triggered by the music isn't fun. My Apple watch has a loud noise detector - that gets triggered in Pump class too. 

My shrink has me creating a list of things to do when my anxiety presents itself. Being triggered by noise and having it stop me do things I like, a solution needed to be found. 

And it has been. 

Noise reducing earplugs

They cut the noise down by about 16 decibels but you can still hear conversation clearly - good for pump when you have to listed for the choreography instructions. 

Also, these will be good for other noisy places - like the office, where I've been tending to stick on brown noise to drown out everything going on around me. 

Sure, they're a little pricey, but they're reusable. 

Like everything with this perceived neurodiversity (still to be diagnosed, it's on the list of things to do) admitting there's a problem is the first step in finding a solution. I can't wait to try them on Sunday morning. 

Today's Song:

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

The Cathedral Tour

 My most ideal holiday ever would be spent driving around the United Kingdom visiting every cathedral I could lay my hands on.  I'm not religious, but I love the architecture and the feelings of tranquility you get from these places. 

I even have this little map in my head of where I'd go, starting at Canterbury Cathedral, in Kent, to go commune with Thomas a Beckett. I've spent hours sitting with Thomas. He's a good dude. It's now £16.00 to get in there. 

From Canterbury, I'd make my way to Chichester to have a look around the old Cathedral. This one's free, but they'd like a donation. The art work in the building is amazing. 

Then over to Winchester, which has a £12.50 annual ticket price. Glorious building. 

From Winchester, I'd make my way to Salisbury to see the magnificent spire that can be seen for miles. That's got a £9.00 entry price. 

Then up to Bath to visit that gorgeous little Bath Abbey which sits on the riverbank in the middle of town. This bit of gothic glory has a £6.50 entry fee. 

I have fond memories of Bristol Cathedral. Some 30 years ago on a foggy December morning, where I got to hear the choir practicing St John's Passion in the days before Christmas. Free to enter, it appears the cathedral also has its own distillery. 

From there it would be either down to Welles and Exeter, or up to Gloucester.

And this is only the South of England. I've not gone into the joys of York Minster, or Lincoln Abbey, or Durham Cathedral, or my favourite, Ely Cathedral just out of Cambridge. 

Yes, I am a Cathedral nerd, and I am very proud of this. 

But I was doing some research today for my pending trip. I've only got five days, of which a chunk of it will be spent with friends. One set of friends lives near St Albans - and there is a lovely little cathedral to visit there. 

I also thought about visiting my favourite old stomping grounds, St Pauls and the wonderful Royal Peculiar, Westminster Abbey. I was a regular visitor at the latter. I remember the days when you could go up and commune with the Stone of Scone and the tomb of Edward the Confessor. You could say hi to Henry V and Queen Elizabeth I. 

St Pauls was always a bit too clinical for me. If the original building had been standing, maybe I would be more fond of it, but that burned down in 1666...

Regardless, I checked online to see what it would cost to have a proper visit - and not just to sit in the nave and pretend to pray. 

£27.50. Each. That's over $50 Australian dollars...

I think I'll take myself off to the National Gallery or the British Museum or the V&A Museum. All of which are free (and full of stuff that the British have pilfered over the years).  My other place of pilgrimage will be Postman's Park, in the shadow of St Pauls. It's one of those little peculiar places which makes London so special. 

I'm getting all nostalgic now. 

Today's song:

Monday, July 24, 2023

Movie Review: Barbie

 Movie Number 29 of 2028

The Movie: Barbie

The Cinema: Hoyts Victoria Garden

Stars: 4

From the sublime (Oppenheimer) to the seemingly ridiculous. I completed the Barbenheimer set and was reasonably happy with the outcome. 

Thinking about it, I would have liked to have seen Barbie first up, leaving the excellence of Oppenheimer to stand by itself, but them's the breaks. They're both good films, but to compare them is like putting the Sistine Chapel next to Tracey Emin and saying that they're of similar value. They're different beasts, both good, both art, both entertaining - but in very different ways. 

And there's SO MUCH FUCKING PINK in Barbie. I don't like pink - the colour, not the performer. The performer is grouse. (Will Ferrell is in this as well. I don't like him much, but I'll let it slide).

Yet, this is a fun, and surprisingly good film. 

I won't go into the plot other than to say this is a quest movie. Barbie (Margot Robbie) goes to the Real World in search of the answers to her existential crisis, while Barbie Land falls to pieces. 

That's the plot. 

But there is SOOOOOOOOO much more to this film. Like many other films that span the children and adult divide, this does this seamlessly. A lot of the jokes will go over kids heads and strait to the keeper. Adults will love the pithy, quirky humour, a lot of which comes out of the mouth of Helen Mirren, the film's narrator. 

For adults of a certain age, you may remember playing with Barbie and Ken and some of their stable. Who remembers Ken's friend, Alan (Michael Cera) and his pregnant wife Midge (Emerald Fennell)? Yeah, me neither. Oh, and Skipper (Erica Ford), who, by moving her arms, her breasts got bigger? Hmm, problematic...

And of course, Barbie and Ken come in all sorts of colours and sizes, like Barbies do now, and this is a great thing. If you have a look over at the Mattel site you'll see that they have everything from Barbie with Down Syndrome to Jane Goodall Barbie, Day of the Dead Barbie, Wheelchair Barbie, complete with accessibility ramp... Barbies have come a long way since the seventies. Barbie still lives in her Dream House. My sister had one of them. 

But back to the movie. Margot Robbie is perfect as stereotypical Barbie. What's more, Ryan Gosling nearly steals the show as Ken, who spends most of the movie wanting to get Barbie's attention and failing miserably. He begs Barbie to take him to the Real World with her, much to her chagrin. 

The other standout performance for me was Kate McKinnon, who plays Weird Barbie. She's having FAR too much fun here. 

Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach wrote the punchy script, full of sly one liners, fun in jokes and a lot of nostalgia for simpler times, whilst keeping the sense of irony throughout. Who said Americans had an irony deficiency. It also addresses some university level feminist theory, which somehow dovetails seamlessly into the film.  Also, Gerwig's direction is spot on, helping the laugh-out-loud humour to come out. 

You could also take your girl children along to this without and issue. Other than some mild swearing, it's very kid friendly. Little girls will also love all the pink. 

Barbie is a lot cleverer than it pretends to be. 

The only people who will really dislike this are the non-woke wowsers / No to the Voice voters and those who see no value in inclusivity or change. Barbie lives in a utopia of her own making. Good on her. 

This isn't Oppenheimer. But it's fun, and shiny and funny and surprisingly smart. It's worth a look for this alone. 

Well, that and Ryan Gosling's abs.       

Today's song: 

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Sunday Stealing: Either/Or

 I'm in the middle of Barbenheimer. Saw Oppenheimer last night. Seeing Barbie tonight. Has to be done. 

It means I'll get the normal Sunday questions done early. 

Oh, for the record, Oppenheimer is amazing. Hard to watch, but amazing. 

Questions, as always, come from Bev at Sunday Stealing.

Would you rather....

1. Live on a boat or in a treehouse?

On a boat. I love boats. Particularly if it's moored well. There's too much of a chance spiders would come in from the treehouse. 

2. No computer use for a year or no sweets for a year?

No sweets for the year. It's something I should do anyway. 

3. Have $2,000 right now or be given $100 every month for the rest of your life?

$100 a month for the rest of my life. It could go towards groceries. $2000 wouldn't go too far - pay the rent for a month, which is not a bad thing, but still.

4. Be an astronaut or an athlete?

I've wanted to be an astronaut, since I was a kid. Unfortunately, I was crap at physics as school. With my body type, as an athlete, all I could be is a shot-putter. 

5. Have 50 good friends or only one best friend?

I'm undecided on this one. I can see the value of both of these situations, so I'm not going top decide on it. 

6. Have bright blue teeth or bright blue hair?

Oh, bright blue hair definitely. Mind you, I'd probably look like Mrs Slocombe, but I could rock it, I reckon. 

7. Have the power of flight or the power of invisibility?

I already have the power of invisibility, so I'd love to see what the power of flight would be like. 

8. Have a fun friend who is snarky or a boring friend who is kind?

Oh please, the boring friend who's kind. Give me them any day. I can only take snarky for so long before I back away. 

9. Be incredibly rich but without love or be poor but have a happy marriage?

Poor and happy has to be better than rich and loveless. 

10. Have a freezing cold shower every day or a pleasant hot shower once a week?

Oh, this is a hard one. I shower twice a day on any given day, so I reckon I'd be going for the cold showers. You can always heat up some water in the kettle and warm up that way. 

11. Be an only child or have many siblings?

I have a sister and a step-sister. I think I would have liked having another sibling or two. 

12. Quit video games forever or live in a desert for a month?

I think I could live in the desert for a month. I live in Australia - at times it feels like we live in the desert, so it's not a stretch. 

13. Go on a one week trip to a foreign country of your choice or a month long trip in your own country?

See, this is a hard one. There is so much of Australia to see, but I love travelling overseas. I'll pass on this one. 

14. Celebrate your birthday every day or go on your favorite holiday once a year?

I'm not big on birthdays. (That reminds me, I should start to organize mine in the next week) I'll go on the holiday. 

15. If fish could talk, what would you ask them?

I have no idea. I find fish a bit freaky. 

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Movie Review: Oppenheimer

 Movie Number 28 of 2023

The Movie: Oppenheimer (70mm version)

The Theatre: Village Cinemas, The Rivoli, Camberwell

Stars: 5

It feels like half of Australia are in the cinema the weekend. If you're not seeing Greta Gerwig's Barbie, you'll be seeing Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer. The cinemas are packed to capacity which is a wonderful thing to see. 

I'm off to see Barbie later today. 

But back to Oppenheimer. Jay and I wanted to see one of these blockbusters and Oppenheimer won out, due to ticket availability - and that it was playing on a large screen in the 70 mm format, knowing the added depth would give more to this film. Also, the Rivoli's comfortable seats are great when you're watching a three-hour long film. 

Oh my goodness, this did not feel like it was three hours long. Time, like physics, is a fluid concept. It felt a lot shorter than the 180-minute running time - but saying this, I'm glad my bladder was empty. You don't want to miss a moment of this. 

This is movie making at its best. 

For those who didn't pay attention or missed history class, this film looks at the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the man responsible for developing the atomic bombs that decimated Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the Second World War. A verified genius, a flawed man, a person with a conscience, this film meanders through his life before, during and after the Manhattan Project - the secret mission to develop the bomb. It also goes into his life as a student, working with the great physicists of Europe and his relationships with the Communist Party before the war, and after, when the McCarthy  threats were making life intolerable in the fifties. The film looks at his life as a whole, but non-linear fashion. 

Cillian Murphy is incredible as the complex Oppenheimer. Having lost a lot of weight to fit Oppenehimer's slight frame, his cheekbones could cut glass. This is Murphy's chance at an Oscar. You can see behind his eyes the gravity of a man who's given the world the ability to destroy itself. 

On top of this, there are some brilliant performances. Emily Blunt is excoriating as Oppenheimer's long-suffering wife, Kitty. There is a scene at the end of the film where she turns a committee into a pile of mush. Great stuff. Robert Downey Jr. returns to serious acting playing Lewis Strauss, Oppenheimer's ultimate nemesis - another one who will probably be up for and Oscar. Matt Damon is great as General Leslie Groves, the head of the military arm of the project. 

There are so many great actors in the backgroup. Tom Conti embodies an aging Albert Einstein. Australian Jason Clarke and Tony Goldwyn are menacing as part of Groves' examination committee. Kenneth Branagh shows up as one of Oppenheimer's early mentors. A lot of the film you'll be scratching your head wondering where you've seen the actors before. 

But the real draw of this film is the cinematography. Yes, Christopher Nolan's screenplay and direction are exemplary - if you've seen Inception or Tenet, you'll be aware of the way he layers his storylines and themes. This is no different. 

Hoyte van Hoytema's cinematography is the read drawcard here. It's expansive as it is intimate, from the university scenes in Germany, to the Los Alamos village where they developed the bomb, to the seats of power in Washington. It's amazing. As I mentioned before, we say this in the 70 mm cut, given added depth to it. It's been said if you can, see this at an IMAX screen, which would bring even more to the equation.

On top of this, Ludwig Goransson's soundtrack brings everything to the edge. I had a visceral reaction to a lot of the soundtrack, and this only went to enhance the film. 

My only small criticism of the film - why did Florence Pugh, playing Oppenheimer's mistress, have to be naked in most of her scenes? Nothing wrong with a naked Florence Pugh - but it felt a bit gratuitous. 

So, this is not a comfortable film to watch. It's an all-body experience. Rated MA15+, it's the context rather than the content giving it this rating. I don't think anybody under 15 would be interested in this any way. It's wordy. But fascinating. 

I can see at least seven Academy Award nominations. 

It's brilliant. 

Now off to Barbie

Today's song:

Friday, July 21, 2023

Char Kuay Teow

 Happiness is Char Kuay Teow. 

Thick rice noodles glazed in thickened, sweet soy sauce, some veggies, often with chicken, beef, prawns, Chinese sausage topped with bean sprouts. These a best eaten with chopsticks straight out of a takeaway box. 

Like this: 

I was coming home from visiting a friend in a local hospital. Walking back to where the car was parked, I passed the donut shop where in the hour before, I picked up some donuts for my friend. She'd had a big operation on the Wednesday - and we all know that donuts have magic healing properties. 

I did not need to know about The Oakleigh Donut Company. I did not know that they are open late. However I can highly recommend their Galactoboureko donut - it's orgasmic. My friend and I went halves in one. 

But my noodles, which were ready in five minutes, hit the spot. Okay, they're not the best Char Kuay Teow in the city, but they do okay. I like that they're not overloaded or too salty like other places do them. 

The only better noodles around are down Centre Lane in town. The Zen Noodle Bar. It's been there for years. Can highly recommend their flat rice noodles with chicken and hot chilli. Amazing. 

As I'm heading off to see Oppenheimer in the 70 mm format in a few minutes, I needed something quick, easy and filling enough to see me through a three hour film. This just hit the mark. 

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Tattoo You

 There is some talk among the group going to France of getting a small croissant tattoo while we are over there in remembrance of the trip. I'm not sure how serious they are. Do I want a croissant tattoo somewhere on my body? I'm not sure. Will I go along with the group if done? I don't know. 

I mean, an innocuous little croissant somewhere on my body can't be the worst thing in the world. It would have to be out of sight. That's a me thing - for myself I don't really want visible tattoos. 

A friend of mine once told me she would never get one as it would be something by which she could be identified if she ever went missing. Odd that. 

According to the internet, the meaning of a croissant tattoo is "As with bread, the croissant is a food that symbolizes blessing and joy. When we eat it, our body and soul feel emotional and spiritual peace. The croissant is also a sexual symbol."

And how is a croissant sexual? Is it because you have to lick up all the crumbs off your fingers? Or does the shape of it remind you of other thingies that I can't really remember what they look like.

I always said that if I was going to get another tattoo it would be a small one of the World Wildlife Fund panda. I'd probably put it with my other one - on my hip, out of harm's way.

But tattoos have come a long way since I had mine done. Every Tom, Kick and Harpreet has a tattoo - normally multiple tattoos. The provide me with a source of fascination - like Joshua Godfrey, the influencer. I have this small hankering to trace a finger of his designs. (I rather like Damien Broderick too - more of a sense of humour)

And you look at the quality of some tattoos, they're incredible.

It's not like it was when I got mine. Getting a tattoo was a big deal - and few people had them. The were career limiting items back in the day. Not anymore. 

I remember getting mine soon after my father died. 1997 was a shocking year for various reasons. After seeing some small tattoos on women in the gym, I bit the bullet and went down to the local tattoo parlor. I did my research, as you should when you are emblazoning a symbol in another language on your body. I have the Chinese symbol for love on my hip. It does not read "Chop Suey you fat fuck." I remember it being a savage tickle when the bloke who did my design put it on. I remember his Harley was sitting out the front. It was in a little shop near the West Hampstead tube station. It cost me twenty quid.

I look at the fine line work out there and I marvel at what they can do now. It's incredible.

And I always thought that if I ever got another tattoo it would be of the World Wildlife Panda - again very small, and again, out of the way.  

Another thing I wonder about. Would it feel any different being tattooed when there isn't a bikie on the other end of the needle. 

We'll think about it. Mind you, it will mean I can't donate blood for four months. And where do you put it? And why would I do such a silly thing? 

Ah well. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

The Runaround

Wednesday is office day, and I look forward to my lunchtime walk more than anything. Today's chores were to fill some prescriptions, collect the mail and get some lunch. 

Easy, you say. 

Maybe not. 

Walking along Elizabeth Street, I spotted a chemist. I went in. I tried to have my prescription filled. 

The chemist looked at the script. 

"Oh no, sorry, we don't have that in stock. Try Chemist Warehouse. "

I went to Chemist Warehouse, just down the road. 

Same thing. 

"Oh no, sorry, we don't have that in stock. Try Priceline"

I went to Priceline, which is just next to the Post Office.

"Oh no, sorry, we don't have that in stock. We'll have some in early August."


They expect me to go without HRT for three weeks!

I calmed down, and went to find some lunch. The hope was to go to my favourite salad place, but the queue was twenty deep. Sod that. I found a sandwich at BlueBag. At least they're nice of fresh. 

On arriving back in the office, I called around some pharmacies near home to see if they had any of my drug of choice. 

Five pharmacies later, I found one who could help me. They could get me the drug, just not my preferred brand. They put it behind the counter for me and I collected it on the way to the shrink. It's not ideal - these other patches feel like you're wearing roofing plastic on your skin - but any port in a storm. 

What gets me is that going without your HRT is bloody awful. Those patches save lives - literally. It isn't bad enough that there's going to be a lot of hot, sleep-deprived, itchy, stroppy to the verge of homicidal women out there. People have to live with these Viragos. 

When was the last time the chemist ran out of Viagra? Yeah?

Don't say you haven't been warned. 

Today's song: 

Tuesday, July 18, 2023


 First up, I'm about as sporty as a fridge. Yes, I love going to the gym, but when it comes to actual sport, I can take it or leave it. I go to a football game once every two years, normally when the Crows play the Hawks. I sit between Barney and Norty, drink my mid-strength beer in silence and sometimes take a book (or my knitting). 

This morning's news blared that the current Victorian Government had cancelled the hosting of the 2026 Commonwealth Games in Regional Victoria. This, to me, seemed like a good idea. 

These games, one of the last vestiges of the British Empire, have been fading into insignificance for years. I'm told that Victoria only took on the games after a number of British and South African cities said they didn't have the budget to hold them. Also, when Victoria announced the Games, it was on the proviso that they would be held in regional centres - Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo and Shepparton, not in the centre of Melbourne. This would mean that money would be funneled into the regions for facilities and housing - and give these regional centres more of an international profile. 

In his announcement, Dan Andrews said that all of the money sequestered for the Games would still be spent on the regions, providing all of the facilities and the like. What they weren't happy to do is spend even more money to ensure the games run. The figures were astounding. Something like six billion dollars was going to be spent on these Games preparations - but it was going to cost nearly double that. Economically, these Games were going to be disastrous. 

The Federal Government were not contributing a cent to these games either. 

I say fair play for backing out of the agreement (while supporting the regions). 

Around the country, all of the State Premiers were holding up their hands stating they weren't comfortable holding what appears to be sports version of a large white elephant. They had the ring of Roy Kent about them as they all gave very prompt simpering grins and backed away quickly. 

The papers are all over this, stating it's a embarrassment, bad planning, you name it, let's all jump down Dan Andrew's throat. 

Surely, this is a sensible decision. Sure, it's disappointing for the athletes, but not every country is a member of the Commonwealth - they don't get to go to these. 

Also, with the amount of money we pour into sport - a pastime, a recreational activity, don't they get enough of the public purse already. That the regions are going to be furnished with better facilities is good. You look at the miniscule amount of funding available to the arts - with a participation rate even higher than that of sport. As fairness goes, this stacks up. 

I'd also like to know how many people watched the last Commonwealth Games on the television? Maybe you watched the 2018 ones in Brisbane - the 2022 Games were held in Birmingham. They're not the Olympics. These have a much lower participation rate. 

As I said before, I feel for the athletes. This isn't about television reporters rubbing their hands with glee over Australia's frankly embarrassing medal tally. 

But this just makes sense and I wish people would get off their Imperialist, entitled, jingoistic high horses as see this for the sensible decisions it appears to be.

Today's song: 

Monday, July 17, 2023


 After a not great working week last week, I've made a pact with myself to change tack on a few things. 

In the past, when work has got a bit tough I've turned to daily affirmations to help get me through, not that my job is in some of the places I've been over the years, but I've decided to nip things in the bud to help me to smooth over the rougher patches. 


Well yes, they're hippy shit, but it's hippy shit that works. 

I mean if they're good enough for Colin "I'm a strong and capable man," Hughes, it's good enough for me. 

So on waking, I told myself repeatedly the following:

  • I'm going to have a productive day today. 
  • I'm made of teflon, no shit sticks to me. 
  • I am good at what I do. 
This was done before I got out of bed setting the intention for the day. 

It was repeated on and off during the day. 

And strangely, I had a good day today. I got a lot done between meetings, and looked at my tickets at the end of the day and saw that there was a lot to show for the day. 


I also Pomodoro'd the crap out of the day. 


It's a system where you set your timer. When the timer is on, you work consistently for that time. In my case, it's 25 minutes. When the time goes off you can do something else for a bit - make a coffee, bring in the washing, you name it. But then you go back to your next block. For productivity, it's great, particularly if you tend to let your mind wander. It's one of those hacks I've discovered over the years. 

Tomorrow is a new day. Let's see if this attitude adjustment keeps things on a more even keel. 

Sunday, July 16, 2023

Christmas in July

Masterchef is over for another year, and like the other half of the nation, I've dried my tears over Jock Zonfrillo, who turned out to be an awesome human being on the show, and he's going to be missed. I'm going to miss watching this group of happy cooks storming their way through the kitchen four nights a week. 

I went to Christmas in July at Jonella's place last night, and a bit of time was spent talking about Masterchef, of which the five of us at dinner were all fans. We all enjoyed on contestant's catchphrase, "WOW!" We loved her enthusiasm, even if her voice was a bit grating. She made it into the top five, but her "Wow!" has made it into the Australian vernacular (I can see it being as popular as, "NOT HAPPY, JAN!" Click here to see what we mean. )

Christmas in July at Jonella and Stav's is a lovely thing. This is the third of fourth of these I've been to. Jonella and Stav love cooking and they've got a great setup for having people over for dinner. They provided the starters, the main meal and the Christmas Pudding. Norty made the mulled wine, Bee brought some dessert as she doesn't like Christmas Pudding. Me, I was on nibblies, so the table was furnished with olives, stuffed peppers and a big of cheese. 

I'm still gob smacked that there is somebody out there who doesn't like Christmas Pudding. 

It was a delightful meal. Stav got the turkey just right. The entree of road onion and goat cheese tarts were lovely. And after the aforementioned pudding, with custard and ice cream, there was chocolates and more mulled wine. 

It was a great night. I arrived home, still stuffed, at midnight. 

I wonder if our counterparts in Europe and America have ever thought of doing Australian Christmas in July, where they have a spread of salad, seafood, maybe a barbeque, and, of course, a pavlova, fully laden with strawberries, mango and passionfruit. 

Maybe we should send our Christmases over at some stage, see what they thing. \

For me, Christmas in July just makes sense. 

Today's song: 

Saturday, July 15, 2023

Sunday Stealing on a Saturday.

 It's Saturday. 

I'm doing my Sunday questions nice and early as I'm just back from Drone Sound Meditation and I'm heading out for Christmas in July in about half an hour - so I want to get this done. Christmas in July, you ask? It's an Australian thing - we get to have a proper hot Christmas Dinner with all the trimmings in appropriate weather (we have hot Christmases over here). It's a good tradition. 

I best get on with this. 

Questions, as always, have been sourced by Bev at Sunday Stealing

1. What are the 3 most important things everyone should know about you?

  1. I'm kind. 
  2. I'm a lot quieter than you think I am. 
  3. When in doubt, feed me ice cream. 

2. What is the strangest thing you believed as a child?

I believed I was English as a child. There is still a part of me that believes I'm English. I also thought my eyes were blue. Goes to show how often I looked in a mirror, because my eyes are dark green. 

3. Thinking of school classes, which were your favorite and least favorite?

Favourite classes were English and French. Least favourite were Physics and P.E. I've recently reconnected with my old P.E. teacher in Darwin. She's chuffed that something she taught me sunk in as I love the gym and being active now. 

4. What is your favorite fast food?

That's a toss up between a Hungry Jacks (Burger King) Whopper and Kentucky Fried Chicken. 

5. What song comes closest to how you feel about your life right now?

Give this a try: 

6. Have you ever taken martial arts classes?

One or two taster classes. It's not for me. I am, however, a dab hand at boxing when I put my mind to it. Love boxing. It's not martial arts, but it keeps you fit. 

7. Does your life tend to get better or worse or does it just stay the same?

Life goes up and down, but that is what life is about. 

8.What arts and crafts have you tried and decided you were bad at?

I love to paint, but I'm crap at it. I'm good at knitting and crochet, but I'm terrible at embroidery - though I can do tapestries on a pre-made canvas, I can't do cross stitch for quids. 

9. What is the truest thing that you know?

Keeping a positive attitude will get you through tough times much better than being negative about things. 

10. Are you more of a giver or a taker?

As an inveterate people pleaser, I'd definitely more a giver. I try to take only when required. 

11. Do you make your decisions with an open heart/mind?

I try to. it's hard at times. But I try. 

12. What is the most physically painful thing that has ever happened to you?

Other than gall stones, I had a dry socket when they took out my bottom wisdom tooth. I still remember the pain now. It was awful. 

13. What is the most emotionally painful thing that has ever happened to you?

Losing my niece to leukaemia had a long-lasting effect. 

14. What is your favorite line from a movie?


15. Can you eat with chopsticks?

Of course, I can. I've got many Asian mates - they taught me well thirty odd years ago.  Most Australians under the age of sixty can eat with chopsticks - it's one of the joys of living in a multicultural society. (It's like wrapping your spring rolls/egg rolls in lettuce leaves - it's just better). 

Today's song: 

Friday, July 14, 2023

Movie Review: Mission Impossible - Dead Reckoning: Part 1

Movie Number 27 of 2023

The Movie: Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning: Part One

The Cinema: Hoyts Victoria Gardens

Stars 3.5

Like Indiana Jones, you know what you're going to get with Mission Impossible films. Lots of action, great locations, unbelievable stunts and a too good to be true storyline. 

Like all the other Mission Impossible films, Dead Reckoning has all of this, and a bit more.

The film starts out ominously on a submarine. As we have seen from the last weeks, nothing good comes of submarines, and in this case, a computer system onboard is infected with an AI computer virus which sees the sub destroying itself and everybody on board. On board are these mythical keys, the only way to shut down this machine. 

Of course, these keys are somehow released back into the general public for the baddies to get their hands on. And it's up to Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his gang of Luther (Ving Rhames) and Benji (Simon Pegg) to sort all of this out. 

Bring on the big guns of the American Security world. Henry Czerny is back as Kittredge, effectively Ethan's boss. Cary Elwes is his wonderful foppish self as Delinger, the head of the CIA. 

The job of the guys is hampered by a wily pickpocket, Grace (Hayley Attwell), as is the involvement of Ethan's past flame, Ilsa (Rebecca Fergusson). And on the way, they pick up Ethan's old nemesis, Gabriel (Esai Morales) who wants this key more than anything. Oh, and Pom Klementieff, also known as Mantis from the Marvel universe, is great as Gabriel's psychotic, monosyllabic hired goon. 

I won't go into details of the full plot, it's too convoluted. 

But, you get a lot of bang for your buck here. 

The action scenes are incredible. The car chase through the streets of Rome, and what they do with the Orient Express is fantastic. Things blow up, there are great fight scenes and a few laughs along the way. 

The big thing with this film is it showing a nightmare scenario about what can happen with Artificial Intelligence - like an overblown episode of Black Mirror, this shows the potential horrors of what could happen if computers take over. 

I enjoyed this. It's fast paced, fun and the violence is that bang-bang-you're-dead type of gun and knife fights that don't muck you around too much.

And they've left the movie at the point where you half want to come back and see what happens in Part II. 

Some would say that they could have made these two movies as one. I don't agree - the action, which is unrelenting, would have suffered if it was any other way. 

Take your dad, your brother or your bloke. They'll love it. You'll probably love it too. 

Today's song: 

Thursday, July 13, 2023


 It's the little things that make your day. 

After a few difficult days at work, something to make things a little better were needed. 

This morning, around 9.30, the doorbell rang. 

"Hello, Amanda?"


"It's Dave the postie. I've left a parcel in your letterbox. "

"Thanks, Dave. I'll be right down to get it. Do you need a signature?"

"No, that's all good. You have a good day."

"You too, Dave."

I know, this is a very short conversation about something very banal, but...

1) I know my postie. In the big city, this is rare. 

2) My postie rings my doorbell when he's leaving anything more than a letter. I'm not sure he does this for everybody. 

3) My postie is a lovely man who is really pleasant - and always up for a quick chat. 

I was absolutely thrilled that he called to say that there was a parcel. Living where I do, you don't leave your mail sitting in your mailbox for long. The local riff-raff, who were much more plentiful when there wasn't a needle exchange/injecting room 500 meters away, have a tendency to go through your mail.  

Also, as anybody working from home will tell you, couriers are not overly reliable and will more often than not, take you parcel straight to the post office at best, or even worse, to some random shop where you'll be forced to go, during office hours to collect your stuff. 

And yes, I do go out of my way to try to be polite, particularly to the people who are providing me with a service meaning people are pleasant back. Saying please and thank you and not being a pain in the arse are not difficult things to do, but when you live inner city, building these small relationships, like the guys at the coffee shop and the post office, and other places where you frequent, makes it feel more like a village than a city. 

Regardless, today's little joy was somebody doing their job well and going just a little above and beyond.

Today's song:

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Shit Things About Being Australian: Part Two

 Food (Part One)

We are defined by the food we eat. And Australians have some very funny food habits. 

We love our funny foods, and heaven forbid if you try and take them away from us - or make us go without. And everybody will have a different take on what's the best way to consume these foods. 

Last night, for no apparent reason, I was craving Milo. 

Nowhere else in the world has Milo (well, maybe New Zealand has Milo, but that doesn't count.) Milo is something that you eat straight from the tin when you're a kid. One of the best ways to have Milo, as any adult will tell you, is to have it sprinkled on vanilla ice cream. It's a chocolately, crunchy, scrummy kick that you need after work. 

I can't remember the last time I had a Milo craving - and I'm also wondering how it will go with almond milk. That stuff is okay in coffee, but not so great in tea. What will it do to Milo? After battling all day, I went and got myself a small tin of the stuff. It's lethal.

Then there is the eponymous vegemite. On my journey to France in October, I think I will be carting around a large jar of the stuff, that is if I can get it through customs in England. I'm hoping to visit a friend in Brittany - and she LOVES the stuff. Anybody who goes to visit her is obliged to bring over a large jar for her - it might be banned in France... I will be travelling with a Dutch/American friend who loathes the stuff. Most people from overseas don't get vegemite. 

As any Australian will tell you, it's all about the butter to vegemite ratio and the heat of the toast. Vegemite on toast is what you're fed as a kid when you're getting over illness. Vegemite toast is that easy breakfast. Some people add teaspoon of the stuff to their stews and bolognese sauces - as it provides a umami hit. 

We are brought up on vegemite from a young age. Maybe it's a taste that you have to  acquire. I remember making a ritual out of introducing an Indian friend to Vegemite. A good friend will teach overseas friends how to apply Vegemite to toast and in what amount. Think I’d it like wasabi. Good in moderation.

I also like vegemite because despite the Best Before date on the label, it will last forever. After the last nuclear bomb goes off and all that is left are the roaches, there will be a perfectly good jar of vegemite sitting in a pantry, waiting to be consumed. 

There are so many foods that we, as Australians, love and desire when we are overseas. 

These include but are not limited to: 

  • Cherry Ripes
  • Burger Rings
  • Polly Waffles (have they come back yet?)
  • Fantales
  • Bunnings Sausages (Barbeques need a blog post of their own)
  • Barbeque Shapes
  • Roast Pumpkin (Another blog post here)
  • Milkshakes served in a tin cup with a paper straw

As a race, we are faithful to our quirky foods. What is shit is when you can't get your hands on them when the need presents itself. 

Today's song: 

Tuesday, July 11, 2023


 Please explain. 

Why is this song all over the interwebs. 

It's on ads. 

It's on reels. 

It was playing on Coles Radio when I was at the supermarket tonight. 

It's everywhere.

And the song is six years old. 

I have two questions. The first is how do you get this song out of your head. 

The second is who is Miriam Makeba and why are we singing about her.

I have some research to do. 

(For those being a bit lazy, here is her Wikipedia reference. )

Today's song: 

Monday, July 10, 2023

But where do the men go?

On Sunday, for something different, I took myself off to Ballarat for the afternoon. It's a $10 each way ride on the train out there, a pleasant ride in clean carriages, with plenty of space. Even better, there's a quiet carriage where music and talking are kept to a minimum. The hour and a half ride goes really quickly. 

Once in Ballarat, I went to a nearby pub, a couple of minutes' walk away. 

"Hi, I believe there are some knitters in here?" I asked Hamish, the barman. 

"Though those doors," he said, "Jess is already here."

I thanked him and went and found my friend. 

Jess has a side hustle running yarn tours and events around the Goldfields regions. You can follow her on Instagram at Yarn Trail Victoria. I like to support my friends and spending an afternoon knitting in a pub sounded like fun. Jess is just back from a trip to Japan - I wanted to hear all about that too. 

So that's what I did between the hours of one and four. Sat in a pub with a pint of soda, lime and bitters and I knitted. 

And talked. 

To Jess's mild surprise, soon after the start time, there were 16 of us, sitting around and knitting. Other than Jess, I knew nobody. 

I'm what you'd call a seasoned knitter. My grandmother taught me when I was about five years old, and I've been knitting fairly plain patterns ever since. I've taught myself to do cables over the last few years - and I can do lacy patterns with some internet tutorials for assistance, but that is about it. 

There were knitters of all sorts of abilities from the rank beginners to those who sort out everybody else and do the intricate things like Fair Isle, advanced lace or making socks (never have I felt the need to turn a heel - my grandmother hated doing those.)

And we sat and we talked and we knitted. I've never met these women before. That's okay. The average age would have been somewhere in the mid 50's range. And we came together thanks to Jess's clever marketing on the socials. 

We talked about all sorts of things. Not just knitting.

Women, it seems, long for a bit of connections. Sitting in a room at a pub, knitting and talking, is connection. It was lovely. It's not as if anybody there will be coming a best friend, but it was lovely to be around good people who share an interest. 

The pub was great. The North Star Hotel in Ballarat was great. It's been recently renovated. I can see a few years ago it would have been one of those places that had sticky carpet, sodden beer mats and a number of ageing regulars with names like Barry or Dave. Not now. This is a really comfortable establishment with lovely staff and a decent kitchen. 

Then, three hours later, after some great conversation and getting a footy scarf for Jay underway, I walked back down to the train station and went back to Melbourne. 

It was a lovely afternoon. 

But my question is where do the men go after they turn 40? It's like they disappear. Do men have knitting groups, or book groups, or go on day trips to interesting places with other like-minded people? Or do they just sink into oblivion waiting for death to take them away once they turn 40?

I feel lucky to be able to do stuff like this, even if it is a bit hygge.

Sunday, July 9, 2023

Theatre Review: The Rocky Horror Picture Show

The Production: The Rocky Horror Picture Show

The Theatre: The Athenaeum

Stars: 3.75

Until 30 July. 

My friend Alice and I bonded over two things some seventeen years ago. The Pixies and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. We are pretty tragic for both of these things. We LOVE The Pixies, and we LOVE Rocky Horror, and if either of these acts turn up in Melbourne, we're there - normally dressed up for the latter. 

Over the years I've seen the following people play Frankenfurter. Skater Robin Cousins, Todd McKinney, a well renown Kiwi actor - George Henare, and of course, the best, and unfortunately now disgraced Craig MacLachlan. It's a shame about the latter as he really was the best Frank - utterly filthy, but brilliant. 

I've also got distant memories of seeing Jason Donovan as Frank. He was drugged up to the armpits at the time. It was the nineties and it was in London. I was interested in seeing what 30 years, some clean living and a new staging would bring.

If I'm honest, The Comedy Theatre is the natural home of Rocky Horror. It's a bit rough and ready. The stage is large. You know you're going to have a good time. The Athenaeum has a smaller stage, a smaller audience - it's the theatre a lot of elite private schools book out for their Year 12 performances. 

And it's also worth noting that I hadn't been feeling great all day - to the point that I nearly didn't go. I didn't dress up, much to Alice's chagrin. I could have thrown on some double denim and gone as Eddie. Or hunted out some Mickey Mouse ears and pyjamas and gone as Columbia, but no. Next time. There will be a next time. 

So, what did I make of this new Rocky Horror Picture Show?

I can think of a few adjectives. Rushed is one of those words. Enjoyable is another, if you take away the fact that they've really sped up the action. Polished is another work. 

You are given what you expect for the money you've paid. A polished night out, where the singing and dancing are great. 

But it was SOOOOOO rushed. After seeing the version with Todd McKenney (after Craig McLachlan was ousted) that production was rushed as well.

But the singing and costumes were top notch. Brad and Janet, Ethan Jones and Deirdre Khoo were excellent. Riff Raff (Henry Rollo) was fanstastic, creepy and with an excellent voice. Magenta and Columbia (Darcey Eagle and Stellar Perry) were also fantastic as the two female stooges. 

And Rocky (Loredo Malcolm) gave the women in the audience something to look at. 

I like blind casting (where the cast are not all white). This production is on par with Australian theatre's desire to play more representative casts. Ten years ago, I could not see an Asian Janet or an African American Rocky gracing the stage. The performers were great - what more do you need?

As for Jason Donovan in this iteration - he steals the show. He's a great Frankenfurter. Great vocals, strutting around on his heels and making merry hell, every much in control. The hairy chest was the icing in the cake for me.  This was his penultimate performance as Frank, the role is being taken over by another actor from Wednesday for the rest of the run. The show is then going around Australia. 

If there is one issue, it's Myf Warhurst as the Narrator. Her timing was off. She was sulky. She wasn't quite up to the job. Then's the breaks. (Sean Micallef was great when he took on the role - just saying...)

In all, this is a bright, fun, rather naughty show that feels rushed. 

My biggest beef of all with this was with the audience. Looking around, there were people in their 40s and 50s. We got talking to somebody outside the theatre who remembers when Reg Livermore and Daniel Albineri on stage. We Rocky Horror fans are aging. 

But barely anybody was dressed up. People weren't dancing in their seats. They were sitting politely watching the performance like it as an Opera. Sitting down politely, hands folded in their laps. Cats bum puckers on their lips. The cast did mention that this is what happened on Saturday nights. My response to this is ROCKY HORROR IS NOT MEANT TO BE FUCKING POLITE. Go hard or go home!

I think I would have been happier with the evening if the audience were more rambunctious. I think the audience are getting old. Just because we're getting on in years doesn't mean you can't muck up. 

Today's song: 

Saturday, July 8, 2023

Sunday Stealing: More Questions from Swap Bot

 Another Saturday, another set of Sunday Stealing questions to do. It's a big and busy day, so best get on with them. 

Questions provided, as always, by Bev at Sunday Stealing

1. Do you trust people at restaurants who handle your food that they aren't doing anything gross to it while you can't see them?

.I like to think I can. I'm generally, if not polite and friendly, then civil to my servers. Hopefully that keeps them from doing anything too gross to my food. It's a bit of a social contract. You be good to them, they'll be good to you. 

2. How do you wear your hair each day?

As it falls after it is brushed. I'm pretty low maintenance when it comes to my hair. 

3. Have you ever worn:

A gas mask? No. 

A blindfold? Only for party games. 

4. Would you be willing to go hang gliding?

Maybe, but I'd need a very qualified person to be driving the thing. I like the thought of flying by myself, but after nearly losing a friend in a paragliding accident, I'm wary. 

5. What is the difference between a man's button down shirt and a woman's button down shirt?

The sides on which they button up. One is on the left, the other on the right. Don't ask me which one is which. This clip explains it. 

6. Have you ever taken a lock of someone else's hair?


7. Have you ever given anyone a lock of your hair?


8. If you had a locket what would you put inside?

I have no idea - maybe a picture of Lucifer, my cat. As he is black, he's not that easy find a good photo. 

9. Have you ever written something on a bathroom wall?


10. When was the last time you fell down in public?

A couple of years ago walking to the train station. I tripped over my own feet and nearly face planted. Upset me for the rest of the day. 

11. Are you more aggressive or mellow?

I'm generally pretty mellow. Long may that remain. 

12. What have you done with yourself to keep your life worth living?

Lots of things. 

  • I exercise regularly. 
  • I try to eat good food. 
  • I have friends who I love. 
  • I have a cat who I love. 
  • I'm going overseas in a few months. Looking forward to that. 
  • I donate blood and plasma regularly to help give back to the community. 
  • I read books and see films and go to the theatre. 
  • I try to participate in society. 
Will that do? 

13. What is the most incredible thing you can do?

I'm in my mid-50s and I'm still pumping weights like a demon. I can leg press around 170-180 kilograms - not bad for a woman my age. 

14. Do you bury your pets, flush them, or throw them away?

With the exception of a few goldfishes, which I have flushed, I've not had to dispose of a pet's body. I think if I was to let a pet go, I'd have the vet have them cremated. As a child, dead pets were buried in the garden. 

15. What's your favorite thing that is yellow?

I have a back and mustard dress that I wear to work. Though not a true yellow, I like the dress and it gets a lot of comments. I don't own many yellow things. My Rider Waite Tarot deck are in a yellow box. There you go. 

16. Do you have any tattoos or piercings?

We get asked this question most weeks. I'll say if I was to get another tattoo, I'd probably get a very small World Wildlife Panda put somewhere out of the way. Other than small tattoos, they're not really me. Panda is my nickname. I don't want any more piercings other than those in my ears. 

Friday, July 7, 2023

Movie Review: Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

 Movie Number 26 of 2023

The Movie: Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

The Cinema: Hoyts Victoria Gardens

Stars: 3.5

I walked into the theatre having left my sense of wonder at the door and came out mildly satisfied. 

The great thing about Indiana Jones movies is that they are formulaic, fun and you know what you're going to get. If you want anything more than that, you're going to be disappointed. 

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is going to be the final movie in the series. Which is probably a good thing because Harrison Ford turns 81 next week and he'd be lucky not to break a hip doing another one. Saying that, he's doing well for 80. 

This is also the only Indiana Jones film which was not directed by Steven Spielberg, however, James Mangold sticks to the formula of unrelenting action with some humour thrown in and all is well. 

So what is this about?

It's the late sixties- and Indy is about to retire. He's as curmudgeonly as ever, tolerating the last of his students and getting in the fact of with his noisy neighbours. It's the presence of a mystery girl, (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) who shakes things up. The girl turns out to be Helena, his god-daughter, who wants to continue her father's work. 

And all hell ensues as the pair try to stop history from being corrupted. 

As with all Indiana Jones movies, the pair are after some ancient, priceless artifacts while chased by Nazis. Mads Mikkelson is great as Dr Voller, Indy's nemesis. 

Other small parts include the return of John Rhys-Davies as Sallah. Antonio Banderas has a small part as Renaldo, a sea captain and Toby Jones is wonderful as Shaw, Helena's father and Indy's fall guy. It was also good to see the return of Karen Allen as Marion, even if only for a few minutes. 

Like all Indiana Jones movies, the locations are fantastic. Sicily, Tangiers and New York in the seventies have never looked better. 

And John Williams' soundtrack hits all the right notes, as he has done for the last four films. It wouldn't be an Indiana Jones film if the soundtrack was different. 

The other bit I liked was the start of the film, where CGI was used to its best advantage. In flashback, we see Indy as we remember him, taking on the Nazis to get back Archimedes Dial of Destiny. The CGI is done well, the action sequences superlative. It's what you expect for these films. 

This isn't the best of the franchise, but it is very enjoyable. 

I still remember the clout the first movie had when I came out of the cinema as an eleven-year-old, adrenaline pumping through my veins. This doesn't have the same feel too it - then again, it's 40 years later and action movies have come a long way. 

Still, this was a fun way to spend a Friday night. 

Today's song: 

Thursday, July 6, 2023

Shit Things About Being Australian: Part One


Australians have no concept of distance.

None whatsoever. 

It's a notion that doesn't compute in our brains. 

Tell an Englishman something is 100 kilometers (or 62 miles) away and they go into paroxysm of fear. Australians just shrub their shoulders, get behind the wheel and get on with it. If you're lucky, it will take you and hour. Unlucky - like there are sheep on the road, or roadworks, it might take an hour and 15 minutes. 

Australians think nothing of driving three hours for a party, sleeping behind the sofa and driving back the next morning after the host's mum makes you breakfast and offers you a shower. (See Shit Things About Being Australian: Part Two: The Expectation of Hospitality).  

Long distances, particularly when you're travelling by road, are something in our DNA. You used to wind the window down. When you were a kid you looked forward to interminable games of Spotto or Car Cricket. (Black Car, six and out). As you got older, the game became "What's That Dead Thing on the Road".

You also look forward to roadhouse food. I still ascertain that the Keith BP servo on the way to Adelaide does the best milkshakes in tin cups - which is the only way to have a milkshake (See Shit Things About Being Australian: Part Three: Food Nostalgia)

And if you're told that something is across the country, you don't blink about getting on a plane and going there. It's just what we do. 

Distance is in our blood. Over 98% of the current citizenry of Australia have roots from elsewhere. If you listen to the colonials, the white population were shipped over or were forced by poverty and the thought of a better life. This at best, took a long plane journey. At worse, three months on a rickety boat. 

And travelling to Europe or America. Australians look at the flight, chuck on a neck pillow, take some melatonin and veg out for the flight. If you want to do anything that isn't Australian, you're going to have to travel. 

Which is why planning a jaunt around Brittany and Normandy in France with a non-Australian friend is so hard. 

To me, 100 kilometres is nothing. To get from one place to another is just a fact of life. If there's old shit to see, I'm happy to drive miles to see it. 

My friend is not Australian. He was raised in Europe. He's used to old shit. 

Also, because he's used to driving on the incorrect side of the road, where the steering wheel is on the other side of the car, I think he'll be doing the bulk of the driving - if he lets me drive at all. I don't want it to be a Driving Miss Daisy experience, but we could be in for an interesting road trip. 

Today's song: 

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Today's Meme

 I could write about the shemozzle that is Melbourne traffic at the moment. 

But I won't. It's always a shemozzle. 

I could write about how mean Cleo was this evening in our training session. 

But I won't. She's always mean. 

I could write about how much I'm craving ice cream. 

But I won't. I'm going to make myself a sugar-free hot chocolate with home made hazelnut mylk. I am that sad, but it is a small, sweet hit. 

Today was an ordinary day. I worked from an office. It's amazing how much you get done when there isn't a cat sitting on your keyboard giving you side eye. I had lunch with my engineering friend with whom I've been having lunch one a month since 2010. I got the train home.

The thing that tickled me most today was this meme. 

It is so true!

From the pages of the internet, never a truer sentiment spoken. 

And I'll leave it at that. I have to start thinking about where I'm going after the writer's retreat. 

I love planning holidays, but it is harder when you're planning for somebody else who is ten time zones away. 

Best get on with it. The cat wants his chair back.