Saturday, June 15, 2024

Movie Review: Inside Out 2

 Movie Number 18 of 2024

The Film: Inside Out 2

The Cinema: Hoyts Victoria Gardens

Stars: 3.75


As a big fan of Pixar's movies and a fan of the original Inside Out, I was always going to see this. Unfortunately, like most sequels, this doesn't quite live up to the magic of the first film. Very few sequels to reach the giddy heights of their predecessors. The Incredibles II, Deadpool II and most of the early Marvel films did it. Sadly, this one didn't quite get there. But it's not too far away. 

One thing about this film - if you don't know the premise of the first film, don't bother going - it would be too confusing. Knowing what went on in the first film is critical for understanding the second. 

In the first film we meet the emotions who run Riley (okay, well all of us) when we are children. 

There's Joy (Amy Poehler), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Liza Lapira), Fear (Tony Hale) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Riley's primary emotions who have negotiated her life for the last thirteen years. 

But Riley is now thirteen, about to embark on a hockey camp with her best friends and life is looking good. 

Until puberty kicks in - and the emotions are at a loss with what to do with emotions who have just turned up on the doorstep. Bring in Anxiety (Maya Hawke), Envy (Ayo Edebiri), Embarassment (Paul Walter Hauser) and the wonderful Ennui (Adèle Exarchopoulos) take over the joint. I really loved Ennui - she was great. 

Much of the film is spent getting the original set of emotions back in their rightful place, running the Riley show. 

What is good about this film is that it portrays the tumultuous time that puberty tends to be. It also puts Anxiety in sharp focus, and gives an accurate portrayal of what this horrid emotion can be like if it's not tempered by other, less problematic emotions. 

Looking at RottenTomatoes.com, this movie is seen to be a stellar film by the critics (92% Fresh). Their comments relate that Pixar has made a movie that keeps the charm of its predecessor while tackling more difficult and complex emotions. I see their point but think that some of the original charm is lacking.

This is a film you could take younger children to as it only runs for an hour and a half and most of the heavier stuff would wash right over them. For me, I did like that the film portrayed the way emotions can change with lightning speed as you learn to deal with them. Ennui, in particular, is brilliant. 

Being a Pixar film, all the colour and movement in the animation was there. As I was a little late to the cinema I did not see a short, which Pixar used to release with their films, however, there is a post credit release worth sticking around for, which could portend to a third film in the offing. 

Oh, and there was no Bing Bong. Bing Bong was the best thing to come out of the first film. (The film about imaginary friends, IF, has lots of characters like this.)


I won't say I was disappointed with this film, or even let down by it. I just didn't think it quite met the standards if it's stellar predecessor. 

Maybe I'm getting picky in my old age? This really isn't a bad film. I just feel it has a touch of "sequelitis." Getting a second film in the series just right is notoriously difficult.

Friday, June 14, 2024

Theatre Review: Julia

  The Play: Julia by Joanna Murray-Smith

The Company: Melbourne Theatre Company

The Theatre: Southbank Theatre, Melbourne

Stars: 4.5

Until: 13 July - season extended, but tickets are scarce. 

Julia Gillard. Love her or hate her. And depending on your feelings about the 27th Prime Minister of Australia will probably sway how you feel about this play. 

I've long been a Gillard fan, so there was a fair chance I was going to like this. 

To be fair, it's awesome. But if you don't like the woman, which the bloke next to Jay clearly didn't, there might not be much point going. 


The play is ostensibly a single hander, with Justine Clarke playing Julia through various stages of her life, from her childhood in Barry, Wales, to her schooling in Adelaide, her law degree and student politics and the rise up the ranks of the Labor Party. The play starts just before Question Time on 9 October 2012, moments before she is about the deliver one of the most memorable and hard-hitting speeches ever delivered in the Australian Parliament - and it goes on from there. 

Justine Clarke is stunning. Yes, this is the Justine Clarke from Home and Away and Play School. She embodies Gillard, playing with her accent - using her own moderate Australian accent, occasionally delving into Julia's distinctive nasal voice at times. Her costume is pretty simple. Flared tailored trousers and a shirt - with a jacket for effect every now and then. Clarke is not just a mimic, as her fabulous take off of both Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott goes to show. She embodies Julia - and it is wonderful to see. 

It all comes to a head near the end of the play, when Clarke expertly dons a red wig, and the well-known accent, and delivers the Misogyny Speech without missing a beat. 

She's incredible. I give them rarely, but this performance was worthy of the standing ovation she received from most of the audience. Funny the number of men still on their bums. 

Joanna Murray-Smith is one of Australia's leading playwrights. She's hit this one out of the park. Sarah Goodes direction on this occasionally incendiary, rather funny, though provoking play is peerless. The minimal set, which uses lights, projections and mirrors to great effect, is simple, but it only supports Clarke's amazing performance. 

This is one of the best plays to come out of this already good season at the MTC. 

Loved it. 

And if you can't remember what the Misogyny Speech is all about - here it is, set to music with a professional choir. Just magic. 



Thursday, June 13, 2024

It's Bridgerton Day .... Again

 You're getting no sense out of me today. 

At 5 pm I'll be logging off my computer, shoving on my pyjamas, and watching the second half of the third series of Bridgerton. 

I might have a gin and tonic too. 

Regardless, I'm not writing tonight. 

See you tomorrow. I'm choosing to go into my own little fantasy world tonight. 



Today's song:

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Naked

 If you want to feel naked, have your watch strap break. 

Yep, the trusty Apple Watch, which has sat on my wrist for four years, the watch strap broke. Broke to the point that even though it's can be fixed, it is falling apart. As somebody who likes a leather watch band, they do have the tendency to perish over a couple of years, and this one is nearly dead. I've had a hair tie in place of the little bit of leather that keeps the end of the watch strap in place. 

Why leather? I like the feel of leather. It's very much a sensory thing. I've also got a sensitivity to rubber and I really dislike the feel of metal straps, so leather it is. Leather straps are also a bit steam punk - edgy - classic - but they do get manky. 

Regardless, I've been walking around without a watch and I've felt naked. 

I have no idea if I closed my rings, something I've been taking pride in. (Your rings tell you if you standing, exercising and moving enough through the day).

                 
While exercising after work at the gym, I couldn't easily check on my heart rate. 

I tried to pay for my eyebrow waxing at Myer with my bare wrist, and then pay for lunch ten minutes later with it as well. Thankfully, I had my phone on me to pay for things. Then I remember the time when you had to get your wallet out and find a credit card - or heaven help us, cash. 

Regardless, I've felt naked for most of the day. Thankfully I have a spare watch strap at home - the old leather one will be given a decent send off, and I can stop having this pending sense of doom because my life is being disrupted by the small computer on my wrist not being there for a few hours. 




Tuesday, June 11, 2024

I can't be the only one.

 It is a truth universally acknowledged that a cat's mother, on a cold day, will take a trip down to KMart to buy her cat a new blanket. 

At $4.50, this is a steal. 

Will he be grateful for the purchase? Of course not.

Will he be kept a bit warmer? Yes. 


Will he see it as his divine right to be spoiled rotten? Of course. I am his slave after all. 

I think he looks happy enough on his throne, on his bed, under his blankie. 

Of course, he gets tucked in at regular intervals. 

I'm such a bad cat mother. The poor, half-starved, under-loved, neglected beast. You can see it in his eyes. Just dreadful. No consideration for the cat at all.


Today's song: 




Monday, June 10, 2024

Croque Monsieur

 As I do most weekends, I popped out to Blarney and Barney's today for a cup of tea this afternoon. On arrival, I found Blarney in the kitchen helping Chance, one of the twins, do a school project for Food Science. He wanted to make a Croque Monsieur

First of all, what is Food Science? What happened to cooking, or home economics as subjects, and when do you, as a year eight student make something as poncy as Croque Monsieur? Why not make a grilled cheese sandwich and be done with it. 

I have to admit that I love Croque Monsieur. I love the bechamel, mixed in with the Swiss and Gruyere, with the ham and Dijon mustard, which is then baked, then grilled. And unlike the Croque Madame, it doesn't have a fried egg on top of it. 

Croque Monsieur is a favourite thing of mine. 


Photo thanks to RecipeTinEats.com.au.

The again, I grew up a child of the seventies with something called Cheese Osh-Mi-Gosh, which was really just cheese sauce on toast. And Cheese Savouries, also known as Savoury Toast, which I have long, involved discussions about the addition of tomato sauce and whether the bacon goes on top or is put in the mixture, and how much is too much Worcestershire Sauce. (There is never too much Worcestershire Sauce). We also won't tell any god-fearing Tasmanian that the really just a bastardisation of Wesh Rarebit



Call me a cheese on toast fiend. I'll own it. 

Regardless, I watched as Chance turned his hand, under Blarney's make the bechamel. For a first effort it was excellent. I hate making anything like that - too much stirring.

Then they assembled the sandwich, spreading over the bechamel, then some Swiss Cheese, some ham, some Dijon mustard, which was found at the back of the fridge where all good mustards go to die, then the gruyere. The sandwich is then buttered, a grated cheddar and parmesan mix is sprinkled on top, and the whole thing is then baked for a few minutes before being put under the griller for a few minutes. 

To me this is bliss. 

To Blarney and Chance, it's not worth eating because there is mustard in it. 

"Are you going to at least try it?" I asked. 

"Suppose so."

"But it's one of my favourite things. How could you not love Croque Monsieur?"

"Mustard. Disgusting."

"Well why did you put it in? You can leave it out. And Dijon mustard is the mildest of all mustards. It just gives a bit of tang." I will say that being of Cornish stock, mustard, pickles and any sort of tangy condiment is just up my alley. 

Blarney and I have polar opposite palates. It's okay. 

Regardless, I was very happy. Both Blarney, Barney and Chance tried a bit of the Croque Monsieur and I got the rest. 

I left happy, signing off on Chance's Food Science assignment saying that his version was better than he ones you get at Patisserie Laurent.  Blarney said it would have been even better with ham off the bone. I reckon what he put up was ten out of ten.

It made for a good public holiday. 

When the family come back from their holidays, I think I might have to go over and cook them dinner to say thanks. 

Today's song: 

Sunday, June 9, 2024

Sunday Stealing: Quick Question

 After a red-eye flight yesterday morning, and an eleven hour sleep last night, I'm working out what time it is and where I am. It's a bit cooler than Darwin down here. Maybe that's why I slept so well last night. 

Now for this week's questions before I put myself back to bed. 

Questions, as always, come from Bev at Sunday Stealing

1.  Are you afraid of the dark?

No. Am I afraid of what goes on during the night, also no, but I know I am a lot more wary of walking the streets at night around here. In Darwin, I won't go out alone after dark. 

2.  Can you curl your tongue?

Yes. I have that genetic mutation. 

3.  Can you wiggle your ears?

No. 

4.  Did you ever participate in a talent show?

Not that I can ever remember. They're not big things over here. 

5.  Do you have any piercings or tattoos?

Yes. Both my ears are pierced and I have a small tattoo of the Chinese symbol for love on my hip. 

6.  Do you prefer Mac or PC?

As much as I love Apple products, I have only ever owned PCs. 

7.  Do you still have your wisdom teeth?

I have two of my wisdom teeth. The top and bottom ones on the right are gone, both taken out in the chair in my 20s in different sittings. The one at the bottom got a dry socket - some of the worst pain I've ever experienced. The other two are still there and are fine. 

8.  Do you watch cartoons?

Not now. I used to really like cartoons as a kit, and was a big fan of Rugrats and X-Men in the 90s when they played on telly on Saturday morning in England. It was perfect hangover viewing. 

9.  Have you ever been hospitalized?

Yes, but all were planned and it wasn't for long. I've had two overnight stays after having a gynae procedure and once when having my gall bladder out in the last five years. I'm lucky.

10. Have you had braces?

No. I missed out on that rite of passage. 

11. Were you ever a Girl or Boy Scout? (Or a brownie)

I was a brownie for about three months, just before we moved to the country, where they didn't have scout or girl guide troupes. 

12. What is one food you refuse to eat?

I can't think of anything I'd refuse to eat as I'm a pretty adventurous reader, though I think Century Eggs, a Chinese delicacy, would be pushing those limits. I'm also no fond of bananas or lasagne. The former is about the texture and that there is about a three-hour window when they are just right. I don't like the latter because I got really bad food poisoning from a lasagne many years ago and I've not been able to look it in the eye ever since. 

13. What's the most expensive item of clothing that you own?

I bought a wonderful silk kimono in Darwin that was a lot more than I pay for most clothes. I love it. It's an art piece. But it won't be worn until summer now. 

14. What's your favorite foreign food?

Define foreign. In Australia, food is food, and being a very multicultural place, we have all sorts of cuisine that makes it onto our tables. But here are a few things I like.

  • Indian food - Kadai Paneer
  • Vietnamese food - Bahn Mi (good bahn mi - pho is good too)
  • Japanese food: Any dessert with yuzu in it. Sake's deconstructed yuzu cheesecake is amazing. 
  • Spanish food: Patatas Bravas if you please. 
  • Chinese food: Yum cha (also known as dim sum)
  • French food: There's a long list here, but steak tartare and anything with French butter in it. Love French Butter. 
  • Greek food: Glactoboureko
  • I also love the spice palate of Middle Eastern food. 
  • And flat rice noodles that hail from Thailand and Indonesia
  • Oh and for Malaysian food, there's Char Kway Teow, and their satay's are to die for. 
  • In New Zealand there is this feijoa soda which is incredible....
Do you want me to go on?

15. Who's your favorite fictional character?

At the moment I have a little thing for Benedict Bridgerton. Just because...



Today's song: 

Saturday, June 8, 2024

Movie Review: The Way, My Way

 Film Number 17 of 2024

The Movie: The Way, My Way

The Cinema: Village Cinemas, The Rivoli

Stars: 4


A few things before I start with the review. 

Firstly, I was hoping to see The Way, My Way at the Deckchair Cinema in Darwin, but by the time I went to get tickets it was sold out. 

Secondly, the Camino de Santiago is very high on my bucket list. And like the protagonist, I can't quite tell you why I want to walk 800 kilometres across the top of Spain, but it sounds like a good thing to do, and I've got numerous friends who've walked it and have said that it's a transformative time. 

Thirdly, this is a bit different to other Camino films, the best known being The Way starring Martin Sheen. 

What makes this film different is that it comes across as a memoir or docu-drama. 

Regardless, I really enjoyed this. 


Very quickly in the movie you learn that Bill (Chris Heywood), a film maker and baby boomer, is a bit of a prick. We learn that while on a motoring holiday with his wife he encountered Camino pilgrims and became a bit obsessed and took the journey on, despite a dicky knee and with no real distance walking experience. 

I think if I'd met Bill on the camino, I'd be giving him a wide berth. Regardless, Bill meets a lot of very different people along the way, from Balacz, who's coming to terms with his wife's terminal diagnosis, the religious Laszlo, who's trying to find himself, the Gabriella, who's inbetween careers, to Laure, who's trying to find some self-forgiveness.

What is really cool is that some of the players are the actual people Bill met on his camino. Oh, and on screen, Jennifer Cluff plays herself as Bill's eminently sensible wife, Jen. 

This movie shouldn't be seen as a documentary, nor a drama. It comes into that strange genre of film memoir.

And other than spending the first half of the film wanting to throw something at Bill and scream, "piss off, boomer," (possibly because he reminded me of a boomer work mate who drove me up the wall) it was great to watch him develop, even if anybody remotely sensible would have packed it in and taken a taxi with this wretched knee.

The film gives a real look about what the camino is really about. And with the scenery, and the complex characters and the stories being told, it's made me want to pack my swag and head for Biarritz to start the journey at St Jean Pied de Port...

I'm saving now. 

Definitely a film for Camino boffins or those interested on the road in front of them. 

Today's song:



Friday, June 7, 2024

Why is it...

Why is it that you mention to somebody in Melbourne that it's 28 degrees, sunny, without a trace of humidity in the air and a lovely breeze, that people tell you to...

  • go away (this happened)
  • shut up (this happened)
  • fuck off (this happened)
  • go to hell (this happened)
  • stick a thistle up your bum (this happened)
  • or just hang up the phone on you? (and yes, this happened too)
All of this has happened to me this week.

Is it because it's cold and wet and rainy in Melbourne?

Darwin in June is a marvel. The weather is almost perfect. It's not too hot. Not too wet. Nice and sunny. Cool nights, warm days. People are happy. You're not drained by the humidity. You can sleep at night.

It's good. 

But I'm going home in a few hours. Back to cold Melbourne and a stroppy pussycat, who will be happy to see me after he's given me an hour or so of sass, abuse and a solid dose of the "poor me, you left me with that child, you bitch." (He's a cat, that's what they do.)

I'm a bit torn. 

As much as I'm looking forward to my own bed, my friends, a long weekend and the knowledge I can walk the streets at night safely, I'm going to miss the wonder that is turning up to work in light cotton dresses and Birkenstocks. I will be wanting to go and get an ice cream in the evening because it is warm and it is what you do. I'm not going to like having to put on ugg boots and a thick dressing gown when I get up first thing in the morning. 

Then I realise how lucky I am to have this job and that I get to live two lives. 


Today's song:

Thursday, June 6, 2024

Odd Jobs Night

 Tonight is my last full night in Darwin. I'll be arriving back in Melbourne very early Saturday morning. 

I hope my cat is still alive. 

I'm looking forward to the cool. I find it strange that the air conditioning in this one-bedroom flat is set to the same temperature that I have my heating on at home (22 degrees). As it's now the dry, I'm finding it's not as necessary to have the air con on full blast. There's even a very thin doona on the bed, which also fills me with joy, but it's not the thicker one I have at home. 

Tonight is odd jobs night. 

  • I had dinner with a colleague down at the hotel restaurant. The barramundi is good here. 
  • I've done my ironing, after doing the washing last night. And yes, I even iron when I'm up here in Darwin.
  • I'm half-packed
  • And now I want to go to bed.

The week has been good. I've kept the pact with myself and managed to do more than 10,000 steps a day - which the warmer weather makes easy. A loop around the waterfront each night has been great. No swimming this trip, but that is okay. Finally, the hotel pool looks like it will be ready to swim in in the next few weeks. 

But it's been a big week, and a tiring week, so I think I will leave this for tonight. 

I'm just not feeling it. 

Today's song:



So Unfair

 The nasty Uber driver man made me feed my ice cream to the crocodiles. 

We had had a lovely night down on Stokes Hill Wharf, where a number of small restaurants are housed at the end of the pier. We'd been told that the tacos were really good at this hole in the wall Mexican place - and they were good. One colleague had chicken tostadas, which they loved. The other had a bowl of loaded fries that could have fed four. Me, I tried the pork and fish tacos, which were very tasty (But I think I preferred the fish tacos I had at the other Mexican place on the waterfront - but they were still good.)

A nice cheap and cheerful dinner. 

We'd ambled down there after work. It's always good to get a decent walk, even better when you have a bit of company. 

After dinner, we found an ice cream place. I was happy. Hokey Pokey ice cream and Macadamia ice cream are two of my favourites. Rather than selecting one, I paid the exorbitant price of $12 for a double scoop. And it was worth it. (One of my colleagues got the same mix in a cup).

We wandered slowly back down the pier, talking about how we were getting home. I was up for a walk. I had an ice cream to walk off - and Darwin is not somewhere you walk alone at night. My colleagues wanted to Uber home. I was outnumbered. 

The Uber was ordered. 

I continued to enjoy my cone. 

The Uber turned up. A very nice Haval car. Large and comfortable. 

We made our way to the car. I still had the cone left.

"No eating in the car!" came a booming voice from behind the wheel. 

Dammit. 

I am one for not disobeying Uber drivers. I have a very respectable 4.83 Uber score - I'd like to keep it.

 And yes, it's his car, his rules, and I was not up for a fight. (He was a very nice Uber driver, all things considered)

But what was I to do? Stay behind and get another Uber for myself? Scoff down the rest of the cone and give myself a cold headache? Race to the nearest bin, which was a good 100 metres away?

In the end, it was simple. Being foodstuffs, with no plastic or wrappings, there was one solution. The cone and the last of the ice cream was thrown off the pier into the water. 

It felt horrible. 

I gave up my ice cream to go with the flow. 

It was so unfair.

Macadamia ice cream is one of life's joys. It shouldn't be fed to the fishes and the crocs. 

I got home and had a compensatory gin and tonic to soothe my weary soul. 

It is, however, lovely being in Darwin, where it's warm enough to have an ice cream after dinner. With the breeze, and the light and sunset, and tacos and ice cream, life is not bad at all. 


Tonight's sunset from the Pier. 

Today's song:


Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Freestyle Evenings

 There is something to say of business trips to Darwin, where there is music, and beer, and easy company. 

Being away from home brings the opportunity to do different things, particularly as the weather is warm and dry and life appears to be pretty good. 

My evening started after work, when I donned my exercise gear and a pair of runners and did a lap of the Darwin Waterfront, fulfilling my need for some exercise. I've made a pact with myself to do at least an hour's exercise or 10,000 steps a day. It's nearly midnight and my watch says I've done nearly 14000 steps, so this requirement is fulfilled. 

On the way back to the hotel, I grabbed some dinner - a Subway wrap. A healthy version with grilled chicken and lots of vegetables. Cheap and easy dinner.

Then it was a quick visit to the Smith Street gym to see what sort of FIFO packages they have going. I was quite pleased as I miss the gym while I'm up here and there's a decent package that runs over six weeks which will fit the bill. Just being able to go to a gym while I'm up here would be great. 

Then home. Eat the Subway wrap. Have a quick shower. Dress. Then head out to a dodgy bar down Mitchell Street for some live music with a colleague. We were joined by his boss and the big boss. 

Beer is a great leveler. 

It's difficult to get drunk on beer. 

And in the warmth of a Darwin night, just sitting in a dodgy bar, drinking beer, not talking about work was great. 

There were no plans, other than to see whoever was on at The Tap. 

And that was the night. 

Coming home, we watched as some happy, tiddly backpackers drive a couple of girls along a shopping trolley along the footpath.

"Youth is wasted on the young," my colleague reminded me. 

"But in our youth we wouldn't have had such a fun, mellow night."

True. 


Today's song:



HRT is a Feminist Issue

<rant>

It's the second doctor's appointment I've had in about six weeks about this. 

HRT patches, at the moment, in Australia, are in short supply, which means many middle-aged women who are managing menopausal symptoms are scurrying to find their medication, if, they can find them at all. 

I went to see the shopping centre doctor because I'd managed to track down another brand of patch, but even though it's the same strength, same chemical compound, same way of using the patch, I had to get another prescription. No such thing as a generic oestrogen patch it appears. 

That was $60 out of the holiday budget I won't see back. 

Being told in the weeks before that these patches are in short supply, I started looking for my next round of patches early, because the thought of being hot, sweaty, grumpy, leaky, dry, sleepless, exhausted and partly psychotic doesn't really interest me, and knowing that you can't get your patches means you can make choices.

So, I had a telehealth appointment with my doctor today, to look at the options. 

It's a daily pill, or a gel. 

"How can they let patch production dwindle to a point where we're running out? What are the TGA, or whoever controls when these things come in and out thinking about letting these crucial strips of plastic, which you plaster to your body twice a week be not available. 

Oestrogen is a life force for many of us. 

It provides more than just a comfortable body temperature. 

It helps regulate your moods.

It stops your pelvic floor from dropping out from between your legs. 

It keeps your skin feeling a bit more pliable. 

It allows you to have sex comfortably for all concerned, especially keeping your vagina from tearing or feeling like a sandpaper encrusted vice. 

It helps you keep the psychos at bay - whatever your flavour of psychosis may be. 

And yes, you can tell me that this is all a part of life. 

But if menopause was happening to a man, we would have had a lot more solutions, which would not go into shortage at regular intervals. I mean, when was the last time you heard about a Viagra shortage?

Talking to my lovely doctor, she recommended a gel, still topical, but not the set and forget of the patch, more a daily application to the upper arms and thighs once a day. A bit messy, but at least the oestrogen will get in. And it's available. 

Of course, the messy option is readily available. 

There is also a tablet form, but that could play with my blood pressure, so we're not going that route. 

It galls me that this crucial, non-PBS medication, which makes life worth living for so many women, is allowed to sell out. 

It's fucked. 

/<rant>

On the other side of things, as I was signing off from the phone call with the doctor, sitting in the tea room, at work, looking out over the Darwin duck pond, she raised the other point.

"So, when are we going to talk about you getting that ADHD/austism diagnosis. You don't know what can help if you don't know."

"When I get more than a few weeks back in Melbourne and I've saved up the $1000 it costs to get yourself assessed."

"You should do it. It might be of benefit."

"I know. Have you watched Geek Girl on Netflix?"

"Not yet." (My doctor and I talk about what's on Netflix - we have very similar taste in streaming telly.)

"Well, if you watch in, when you see Harriet Manners, know that her thought processes mirror mine. It's a hard relate. Just without the modelling and maybe a little more self-awareness."

"Okay."

"Hey, I'm neurodiverse. So, I don't quite know what flavour that is. I like the wine. I maybe don't need the label."

"You're quoting Schitt's Creek."

"It's a good analogy."

We talk the same language. 


Today's song: 

Sunday, June 2, 2024

Teenage Boys

 I'm nearly ready to head to the airport to go back to Darwin. I've got nearly everything ready for Liam, my house sitter. 

I've known Liam since he was two-days old. He's now 18. 

Yes, I'm letting an 18-year-old look after my flat and cat for a week. 

He's a good lad. Quiet. Responsible. At university, but on a break, so he reckons he'll make the most of having a television to himself for the week, while feeding my ratbag cat. 

I've done everything a good host should do. I've cleaned the toilet and bathroom. The kitchen is in order. I've made the bed with fresh linen, and there are clean towels for the bathroom sitting on the bed. My vibrator has been hidden away out of sight. I've even done a bit of dusting. 

And of course, I asked if I could get any food in, after all, he's used to living with his Mum and Dad and I'm pretty sure they keep him fed. He also got told that he was welcome to anything he found in the cupboard or fridge - with the exception of the bottle of French Champagne - if that gets drunk, that needs to be replaced.

It seems 18-year-old boys have very simple needs. 

He asked for a loaf of light rye bread (because when he came over he noticed my KMart special sandwich press) That and six litres of lite milk. 

SIX LITRES OF MILK! 

What the? 

Sorry, I buy one to two litres of almond milk a week. I don't really drink milk, haven't done for years - I run better on limited dairy. 

But SIX LITRES?!

I've never had a teenage boy of my own, but many of my friends possess one of two of them. They seem to improve with age. Liam is definitely out of the grunty stage and is well on his way to being a fully formed human being. 

But SIX LITRES OF MILK!

What's he going to do? Bathe in it? Is this normal? 

I spose it's calcium, good for the bones. 

Today's song: 

Saturday, June 1, 2024

Sunday Stealing on a Saturday NIght

 It's Saturday night and I'm getting ready to go to Darwin once again. So, as is the tradition, I'm going to do a job and do a question to get both things out of the way. I have my house sitter coming just before I go to the airport tomorrow night. 

Questions, as always, come from Bev at Sunday Stealing

1. If you like art, who is your favourite artist and why?

Yes, I love art - I seek out art. I go to art galleries as a regular occurrence. I love that art makes you feel things, though this is not all art. 

As for my favourite artists, I have many, but the one that comes to mind tonight is Francis Bacon. I love the sensitivity and brutality of his paintings. Irish, gay, an alcoholic, an iconoclast, his paintings speak to me. I hunt him out in major galleries. 

Job: The dishes. 

2. If you were able to learn any three skills or talents instantly and with success, what would they be? 

I would love to be able to play the piano - I should look into lessons. 

I'd love to be able to sing better - I can carry a tune, just not that well. 

And I wish I had neat handwriting. I have a doctor's or serial killer's handwriting. It would be good to have better penmanship. 

Job: Scrub down the stovetop. 

3. If you were to live in Ancient Times, where - in what country - would you want to live in?

What do you describe as ancient. I don't think I'd like to live anywhere before the 1500s - even then, it's pretty hairy. At least in the times of say the Tudor court people are somewhat literate. 

Then again, ancient Rome had running water... but then they had Caligula. No thanks. 

Job: Put the dishes away. 

4. What is something you’re embarrassed to admit to liking? Whether it be a guilty pleasure show, or unusual hobby, etc.

Phil Collins. The Channel Nine News (the only way I get in half palatable right wing news). Beans on toast - best quick dinner ever. 

Job: Torment the cat - he was tormented enough, he went from his spot on the bed to his spot on the cushion on the couch. 

5. What is the worst job you’ve ever had?

That would probably be my first proper job. I've had a lot of dodgy jobs, but spending eight hours a day putting price tags on things at a department store at the end of university was not a great thing. 

Job: Set up the ironing board. 

6. What is something that you wanted to do as a child that you would still like to do now?

Learn how to play the piano. I'm quite musical. I used to play the flute. I'd like to think I'd get the hang of it pretty quickly. 

Job: Plug in the iron. 

7. What do you hate being judged for more than anything else?

My size and weight. I've had this all my life. Unfortunately, it's the one thing I wish I didn't judge myself for - years of being judged as a child has made it's mark. 

Job: Pack underwear for Darwin. 

8. What is your life’s mission?

To be happy. It's as simple as that and it is a mission every day.

Job: Iron one item of clothing. 

9. If everyone walked around wearing warning labels, what would yours say?

"Mad, bad and dangerous to know." That is what I was once told I was. 

I think now I'd probably have something like "Sensitive and would like to stay that way." It reads better than, "Gently neurodiverse. Intermittent filter settings. "

Job: Iron something else. 

10. At what age did you first feel like you were an adult?

About 27. I'd been living in London on my own for a few years and had to make some pretty big decision. It was then that I knew I could do this adulting lark. 

Job: Pack cereal for Darwin (so I have something for breakfast ready on Monday morning.)

11. When did you not speak up, but wish you had?

I tend not to make mention of conflicts on my socials - whether that be Palestine or Ukraine or wherever these awful atrocities take place. I don't feel like it's my place to speak out, though many would disagree. I know that the standard you walk past is the standard you accept, but there are some things I'd rather talk about in private. 

Job: Get clothes ready for tomorrow. 

12. What is something that makes your skin crawl?

People who are rude to service staff. And men who wear clothes that got left in the washing machine for too long, then dried them and they smell musty. Ick. 

Job: Put away the clothes horse. 

13. What was the last thing to give you butterflies in your stomach?

Oh, I can't remember. Maybe walking into the first session of the Faber Academy at the offices of Allen and Unwin. That was a strange feeling. 

Job: Iron another piece of clothing. 

14. What's your favorite type of media to work with? (Paint, clay, pens etc.)

They keyboard. I'm a writer - though I enjoy painting even though I'm not good at it. 

Job: Iron another piece of clothing. 

15. What question do you hate answering?

Tell me about your family / love life. I prefer to keep this one mostly under wraps. 

Job: Put away the iron and ironing board. 

Today's song:



   

Friday, May 31, 2024

Film Review:The Three Musketeers: Part I: D'Artagnan

Movie Number 16 of 2024

The Movie: The Three Musketeers: Part 1:  D'Argtagnan

The Cinema: Palace Cinema, Balwyn. 

Stars: 4

And now for something a little different.  With all of the decent looking new films coming out in the next few weeks, Jay and I were looking for something to watch. Jay wasn't interested in the John Galliano documentary, but we found this. A French action film. Who knew?


And yes, the film is in French, with subtitles, but, as a lover of French cinema, it was a change to see an action film, in French, with elite French actors, having a lot of fun. And of course, it was set in the 1600s. 

Such fun. 

The story starts with D'Artagnan (Francois Civil) on his way to Paris to become a musketeer. On the way he gets into a skirmish, is buried for dead - but he's really okay. He finally gets to Paris to find out that all is not as it seems. Becoming a musketeer is a process, and in this process he managed to piss of Athos (Vincent Cassel), Portos (Pio Marmai) and Aramis (Romain Duris) who are after his blood, but he manages to save, so D'Artangnan is taken on as their mascot. 

In the background, the Queen (Vicky Kreips) is having an affair with the Duke of Buckingham, the King (Louis Garrel) is suspecting something, and the Cardinal de Richelieu wants to take over the country by bringing the king to decide on war.

Oh, yes, and there is some romance as D'Artagnan fall for the queen's maid, Constance (Lyna Khouri), which doesn't make much sense as the maid is always found in places she shouldn't be seen, but hey,. it's the 1600s - maybe maids got to go all over the place. Okay, this bit didn't ring true, but the actress is so pretty, she'll be forgiven anything. 

And then there's the mysterious Milady, played by Eva Green

This is a really enjoyable film. The action scenes, which involve lots of things blowing up and sword fights are wonderfully done. Martin Bourboulon's direction is fast paced, fun and on the mark. I also loved the cinematography and settings, showing a very different Paris to what we are used to seeing. Although sumptuous, it's dirty and grimy and rough around the edges - probably a lot more like it actually was in the day. 

In all, this is a fast paced, well-acted, enjoyable film, and as Jay pointed out, the subtitles were clear and easy, and as a fledgling French speaker, I could understand a good proportion of the dialogue. 

And even better - there's a second part to this entitled The Three Musketeers: Milady, which is also out, you just have to find it. I'll ignore the fact that Milady did a swan dive from the White Cliffs at Dover near the end of the film. 

This is great fun. Comes recommended.

Admin Night

 I'm doing admin. 

Joy. 

It's not my favourite thing to do, but it I'm powering through it, answering queries about joining Freemasonry, getting some insurance docs up to date.... you name it, I've done it tonight. 

But I've come to the end of it, as always, breaking up the drudgery with the odd chore, some tormenting of the cat and the odd line of knitting. 

And I'm sitting here wondering how it was, years ago, I used to do a tenfold of what I am doing at the moment, and it seemed easy. 

Is this because work is pretty full on at the moment? Or because I'd lost some interest in doing other people's admin. (Big yes)

But I used to be able to sit and do this until the cows come home. Now, I'm really not that interested. 

Yet I've done it, and I feel better for it. 

Okay, I'm meeting a friend for breakfast. Best stop admining before I got even more loopy.

I've had this song in my head all day. Grrr. Maybe I needed the admin to settle it down. 

Today's song: 



Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Gig Review: Angie McMahon with Ruby Gill

The Gig: Angie McMahon supported by Ruby Gill

 At The Forum 28-30 May (Sold out so good luck getting a ticket)

4.5 stars

I went to this on spec after being introduced to Angie McMahon through friends a while back. I love her song Slow Mover. I love her voice. I love that she’s a woman singing about all sorts of stuff – often feminine issues, other times, more universal themes such as the environment, Palestine and other things. 

And though they be little, they be fierce. 

I was lucky to score a ticket to this, buying the tickets off a friend who was laid up with COVID, so I was able to join my friend El in going along.  I wanted to get tickets earlier, but she had sold out all three nights – which is saying something for an artist who thought she’d never fill the Forum. 

The crowd was mellow – wonderfully chill. I mentioned to El that I’d never been in a room with so many wolf cuts in my life. Wolf cut? This haircut. Billie Eilish wears it well. As seen on Sydney Road in Brunswick. It was like somebody had transported the population of Brunswick into the 2000 person capacity auditorium. 


A wolf cut, as worn by Fitzroy and Brunswick's finest. 

El and I made it in to see Ruby Gill play - I was keen to see her having looked her up online. 

She didn't disappoint. That wonderful fun, slightly melancholic, rather folky music from this young woman with the heart of a poet. I really enjoyed her set and would hunt her out again. Her song about a room full of white male politicians was particularly apt. I really enjoyed her sense of humour. 

After a short break between sets, Angie McMahon came on.

She was brilliant. 

Starting with her song about Fireball Whisky, it was clear to see she way playing to an adoring crowd who knew her work. 

As a novice, I just loved her sound. If I'm honest I was there because I love her song Slow Mover, but she is SOOOOOOOO much more. 

She played for an hour and half and wonderfully nuanced set of alternative, folk and rock, with intelligent, thoughtful lyric with her soulful voice, it was just magic. El and I had different experiences. Feeling rather claustrophobic on the floor, I moved to the back of the auditorium and listened in the comfort of a bit of space. El stayed near the stage and loved being in with the crowd.

The highlights for me were two moments where she did covers. 

Firstly, she reworked Australian Crawl's Reckless, giving it an environmental bent. It was brilliant. (See link) (Those who know me well know that Reckless has been my favourite song for forty years). 

She then called Ruby Gill back to the stage where they did a stripped back duet of Bob Dylan's Blowing in the Wind. I had tears streaming down my face. It was sublime. 

More songs were play to her adoring audience before finishing off with El's favourite song, Pasta. (See  Today's Song.)

I would happily go and see her again. Angie McMahon is a living treasure. 

It was worth the aches and tiredness that came the next day from going out on a school night. 

Utter magic. 


Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Out on a School Night (Part 2)

 This being sensible thing is strange. 

We made arrangements to meet at 6.30 p.m. This gave me time to put my face on, change my clothes and pack my banana bag ready for tonight after work. 

Then the text came in, "Can I meet you later? I'm starving. Meet at the venue at say 7.45."

Suits me. 

I've had dinner. 

I've done my face. 

Packed my bag to go into the office tomorrow. 

Put out clothes to wear to the office tomorrow.

I've done another odd job or two, including this blog. 

It's strange. We used to go out on a weeknight regularly, now it feels foreign. 

I had a similar conversation with Dave the tradie this morning at the temple - he comes over every six months to check the fire extinguishers. I told him I was going out tonight. I told him who I was seeing. 

"Off to the Forum to see Angie McMahon."

"Who."

"Look her up. Alternative rock. Melodic. Edgy. You might enjoy her."

"At The Forum, you say. I'm going to see the Hoodoo Gurus there in November."

"I'll be there too."

"On a Thursday night."

"Not looking forward to the next day," he said. 

"Me either. The trick is to pace yourself. And remember if you dance too hard you might do a hip."

"At least tonight will be a bit more mellow."

"But it's a school night."

"When did we get old?" asked Dave.

"I don't know, Dave."

"But it's the Hoodoo Gurus. It has to be done."

"I know, Dave."

We bid each other farewell, knowing that we may meet up in the general admission section at the Forum in November. 

It's a Gen-X thing. 

Today's song:



Monday, May 27, 2024

Out on a School Night

 Tomorrow night I'm off to see Angie McMahon at The Forum. On a school night. 

She's being supported by somebody called Rubie Gill, who listening to her music on Youtube this afternoon, is just up my alley. 

This is all happening on a school night. 

I'm 55-year-old and I'm going to a gig at The Forum, and I'm thinking about what will I put on my feet, and how am I going to get home (easy - Uber/cab or tram, depending on the timing) and what am I going to feel like after standing for two hours in a crowded hall (She's sold out over three nights at the Forum) and will I have more than one drink and... and... and...

Why is it such a big deal to be going out on a school night? I used to be second nature. 

It's going to be a long day. I'm letting in a tradie at the temple at 8 a.m. Then there's a full day's work, then I'll leave around 6, meet El, have a drink before we get to the Forum for around eight, as I'd really like to see Rubie Gill - I've been looking her up on YouTube, and she's great too. 

But as much as I'm looking forward to this jaunt tomorrow night, and as much as my work colleagues rib me for being out a lot during the week, there is also something in me which thinks that being at home, talking to the cat having a cup of tea. 

Wish me luck. It will be fine. 

Today's song:

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Movie Review: IF

 Movie Number 15 of 2024

The Movie: IF

The Cinema: Hoyts Victoria Gardens

Stars: 4.5


This film is being reviewed by an adult who went to a kid's film. Stupidly, she who went early on a Saturday night. The 6 p.m. session of a kid's film on a Saturday means one of two things. It's Dad's weekend and he's at the end of his tether, or Dad has custody of the kids because Mum is out with her mother's group slurping prosecco and munching on antipasto. And with Dad being in charge of the kids, all hell is bound to break loose. 

So, the cinema was full of energetic kids, many of them young girls turning cartwheels and walk overs at the front of the screen. Could somebody please tell me why young girls feel the need to cartwheel everywhere, at any opportunity?

Thankfully after the trailers, the kids settled down until the final credits played. 

Anyway, I'm an adult, and I took myself along to see IF because the premise had tickled my fancy. It's a film about imaginary friends. 

As a young child, I had an imaginary friend. His name was Sparky. We got into all kinds of mischief. There's still a story in our family lore about how I lost Sparky at John Martins when I was about four - and I wouldn't stop screaming until my grandparent's took me back inside Marion Shopping Centre to get him. 

And like most imaginary friends, Sparky disappeared into the ether when I started at kindergarten or school. 

I brought my imaginary friend up with a hypnotherapist years ago. He was adamant that imaginary friends were real. They were there to give sensitive kids the support they needed.  I liked his way of thinking. 

Anyway, back to the film. 


In IF, we find Bea (Cailey Fleming) not having the best of times. Through a montage we find out that her mother has passed, and her beloved father (John Krasinski) is in hospital awaiting surgery. Bea is sent to her Grandmother's (Fiona Shaw) place while her father is incapacitated. Cailey Fleming is particularly good, encapsulating the child who's had to grow up well before her time.

While she's with her grandmother, she discovers the IFs in an upstairs flat, all wanting to get back to their children. It's Bea's task to assist the IFs in finding their kids, with the help of Cal (Ryan Reynolds) who's somehow chief in charge of the IFs. 

There's a lot to love about this film. Firstly, the mix of live action and animation is flawless. The characters look like they're out of the Pixar stable and are voiced by actors including Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Steve Carrell, Awkwafina and Matt Damon, just to name a few. 

John Krasinski's screenplay is excellent. He's pitched this perfectly, allowing kids to enjoy the film for its big, animated characters while the adults can bond with the film on an emotional level. His direction is also good, even if the start is a bit disjointed, but by the middle of the film, even if you see what is coming fairly early, everything comes together well and you'll forgive him. 

Krasinski knows how to relate to kids - which is a good thing considering he has two children with Emily Blunt. 

The soundtrack is good too. Subtle, and the songs they used are there for good effect. The Tina Turner scenes are wonderful, and I loved the inclusion of the Faces song, Oh La La.

I have to admit, I cried buckets in the second-half of the film. And it's not like the five-minute cry you have to have when you watch Up. I was sniffing along for the last half hour of the film. It got me where it hurts. 



I really enjoyed this film. It's perfect for families with young kids - there's no swearing or violence and the emotional stuff will wash right over them. It's also fun, colourful, full of humour both adults and kids will love. And being the adult in the auditorium, there was enough in the story to keep me happy. 

Find a kid and take them along to this while it's at the cinemas - and if you're taking a young girl, let her do the cartwheels out the front if you're not prepared to buy her a pony. Take tissues.

If not, hunt it out when it comes out on the streaming services. 

Lastly, Sparky, if you're reading this, thank you for being my friend as a kid. I'm not sure why we parted company and I wish you were still in my life. 


Today's song:



Saturday, May 25, 2024

Sunday Stealing: More SwapBot Questions

 It's Saturday and it's jobs day. I huge ironing pile to get through. Dinner to be made. Floors to be done. You name it. And nowhere to be or go, so I think I'll do my normal do a job, do a question thing and feel like I've achieved something at the end of it.

Questions, as always, come from Bev at Sunday Stealing


1. Have you ever been stung or bitten by an animal?

Both. Thankfully nothing too bad. 

I got a bee sting as a teenager when a swarm flew over our house. A bee flew down my top and stung me on the nipple. I was a 16C one side and a 16DD on the other for a few days. It was horrible. The last bee sting I had made me feel horrible for a few days. I avoid bee stings at all costs. 

My cat. Lucifer, nibbles at me regularly, but they are love bites. I got more of a bite from a dog when I was a teenager, trying to separate my dog from another when they were fighting. It didn't draw blood, but I was badly bruised. Generally, animals like me, so I don't get bitten. 

Job: Write out shopping list for later

2. Do you have a favorite bird? Do you feed the birds at your house or park?

Not really. I'm not fond of birds. They flap and squark and generally make a nuisance of themselves. I don't mind feeding the ducks when I'm around a duck pond. I like watching the swans. I love listening to the bell birds when I walk along the river, but that is about it. 

Job: Ironed the duvet cover. Yes, I iron my quilt covers. 

3. What is the last thing you said to somebody before replying to this email?

I had a chat to my sister on the phone. Had a bit to catch up on. I did this while I was driving back from meditation. 

Job: Did the dishes. 

4. How do you get yourself ready to sleep at night?

I don't go to bed until just after midnight. Normally I have a shower at some stage in the evening, do my face care routine, turn down the lights and relax a bit. At midnight I have a couple of small games I like to do - Framed, the Wordle, Connections and a block puzzle. They normally take me about ten minutes. Then I clean my teeth and go to bed. Lucifer joins me as soon as I've turned off the light. 

Job: Iron the other quilt cover. 

5. When was the last time you wrote a proper letter?

To be honest, I can't remember. It would have been years ago. I did write a stroppy letter email for a friend who needed to get their point across to a company a few weeks back. I am the queen of the assertive letter to corporations. I have great success getting people what they want or need. 

Job: Ironed a dress. 

6. What is the worst injury you have ever sustained?

That's Bruce the bum bruise. I tripped over at a friend's place, and my left butt cheek connected with a star dropper at ground level. Had a lump the size of an orange in my left butt cheek. It took a full 18 months to get my body properly right. In hindsight, I should have gone to the hospital and had the hematoma drained. It wrecked my gluteus maximus for months, plus all the other muscles around it had to compensate causing leg, knee and foot pain. 

Job: Cleaned the toilet. 

7. If you could choose your career based strictly on what you think would be fun instead of your qualifications/salary/etc., what would it be?

Possibly a small animal vet or a travel guide. The former has a lot of drawbacks (nasty animals, even nastier owners and when you have to put the animals down, but I could handle playing with kittens and puppies and day, every day). I would love to be a Parisian travel guide. That would be very excellent. 

Job: Ironed another dress. (Note: The ironing pile is large because I was away last week and it's taken an age to get all the washing dry)

8. You can live on another planet, which one and why?

Possibly Saturn. With those rings and numerous moons, the sunsets would be amazing. 

Job: Ironed a couple of pillowcases - and yes, I am that person. 

9. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Oh, this is a loaded question. 

  • At Johnn Johnn's in Darwin that would be either rum and raisin, Snickers or Black Sesame. 
  • At Cups and Cones it's their coconut ice cream. 
  • At Messina Gelati, I love the Hot Cross Bun or Smashed Biscotti and Fig Jam (Messina Gelato is the bomb)
  • From the supermarket, it's Maggie Beer's Caramel and Burnt Fig Jam
  • Or a good vanilla ice cream
Don't get me started on ice cream. 

Job: Ironed a pair of jeans - just to get the last of the moisture out of them - no creases., 

10. What do you think of tattoos? Do you have any?

I have one small tattoo on my hip. The Chinese symbol for love. You only get to see it if I show it too you. I love hearing the story about people's tattoos - but for me, if I was to get another, I'd keep it small and discrete. They're fine on other people. 

Job: Iron the last of the pillowcases. 

11. Are you very active or do you prefer to just relax in your free time?

I'm a bit of both. Depends on the day. 

Job: Cleaned the sink in the bathroom. 

12. If you could bring back one TV show that was cancelled, which one would you bring back?

The Hour. It was a BBC production. There were two series. I am desperate to know what happened to Freddie. 


Job: Put away the dishes. 

13. Do you prefer to watch movies in the theater or in the comfort of your own home?

Definitely in a theatre. In fact, once I've finished this blog post and the last of the incidental jobs, I'm off to the cinema to see IF. Something light. Just up my alley. I had an imaginary friend when I was a child. I wonder what happened to Sparky. 

Job: Pack my gym bag for tomorrow morning. 

14. If you opened a restaurant, what kind of food would you serve?

British or Modern Australian comfort food. That's what I'm good at. Or maybe a dessert bar. I love making desserts and puddings too.

Job. Iron the last item in the ironing pile. 

15. If money were no object what would you do for your next birthday?? 

I would take a couple of friends to France. Business class of course. There I'd stay for a few weeks all over the place, eating butter, sniffing around all sorts of places, drinking champagne and having a whale of a time - and giving my French a bit more practice. Nice thought. 

Job. Put the iron and ironing board away. 


Today's song:

Friday, May 24, 2024

Movie Review: The Taste of Things

 Movie Number 15 of 2024

The Movie: The Taste of Things (Original Title: La passion de Dodin Bouffant)

The Cinema: Village Cinemas, The Rivoli

Stars: 4

Je reve de la France. J'adore la France. Franchement, j'aimerais etre Francaise....

I'll stop writing in French now. I'm just showing off what 623 days on Duolingo will do for you.

This film made me want to go back even more. Yes, it's in French with English subtitles. Suck it up. 

This film is stunning to look at, not only with the inclusion of Juliette Binoche in one of the main roles. Juliette Binoche is my hall pass actor (or the actor you'd turn gay for). She's awesome. 

This is also a foodie's delight of a film, along the lines of films like Big Night (1996), Eat, Drink, Man, Woman (1994), Mostly Martha (2001), and Chocolat (2000). Just watching Eugenie (Binoche) and her boss / lover / husband, Dodin (Benoit Magimel) cook for two hours in an entirely French way is utter bliss. 

This is a very gentle film. You meet Dodin, a master chef and his cook, Eugenie in their middle age. Dodin is obsessed with food; Eugenie helps him get to the lofty places of French Gastronomy. Dodin comes up with the ideas. Eugenie executes them. There are a lot of characters that come over and eat, as the films teases out this central relationship and their love of fine food and wine. 

And really, that is about it. The film looks at this couple, their relationship, and their relationship to food. 

The thing that impressed me about this little film, where not very much happens, is that so much is going on while not much is happening. For one, there is next to no soundtrack, so instead of hearing music, you listen to the sizzling of meat, the flicks of the knife as vegetables are prepare, the simmering of sauces, the clattering of plates. 

The cinematography is sublime, although you barely see out of the walls of the chateau in which the action takes place - the bulk if this is found within the walls of the large kitchen, where we watch Eugenie, her housemaid, Violette (Galatea Bellugi) and the child who will soon be apprenticed, Pauline (Bonnie Chagneau-Ravoire, who looks like a young Anya Taylor-Joy) prepare these sumptuous meals. 

Anh Hung Tran's direction is flawless as he takes you on this journey of love, loss, obsession and redemption, with food being used as a metaphor for obsession and love. 

Piqued you interest? Well, there's next to no swearing (unless you speak French, then you get the odd 'Damn and Blast'). Nothing blows up. And you'll come out of this film salivating. 

Simply stunning. 

And my 623 days of Duolingo helped me ignore the subtitles for some of the film. 

And Juliette Binoche, at sixty, is still one of the most beautiful women in the world. Always has been, always will be. 

Go see this if you want to be transported to another time where things were just as complex, but much more simple. Mind you, any film that takes you to the Loire Valley for two hours can't be bad. 

Today's song:

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Sometimes she dreams of distant places

 A friend of mine is currently swanning around Bali - Ubud, to be precise. She's swimming and writing and eating wonderful Balinese food and looking after herself and I am very, very envious. 

She deserves the break. She's making big adjustments to her life. Two weeks in Bali sounds like a great circuit breaker. 

Ah, Bali - warm, calming, lush Bali - well the bit I go to is anyway. 

Then I think that I'm probably not going to see a holiday for a good few months. Sure, I have a writer's retreat and a weekend in Sydney to see a play to look forward to, but no holiday to go on. 

Currently Jonella is in Morocco and Norty has gone to Japan. Blarney and Barney take off for Tokyo in a few weeks. My current manager is heading over to Tassie for a few days. 

I want something to look forward to. 

Maybe that something might be a housesitting a garret room somewhere in Paris - around the Marais would be good, maybe Montmartre - or Belleville. Go discover more of Paris. There is so much to find in that city. 

Or maybe tackle a bit of the Camino - go for a long walk along the top of Spain - but that would take a bit of training. 

Or even get a holiday house for a few days and go away and write. Somewhere close by which has a wood fire and I could take the cat with me. He likes a holiday. 

Or go for a drive through America and visit Reindert in Colorado. 

Sometimes she dreams of distant places. 

Darwin, unfortunately, is not far enough. 


Today's song:



Wednesday, May 22, 2024

The Cheque

 I received a cheque in the mail today. 

A physical cheque.

For $11.68. 

This from an insurance company who made a slight error on my premiums between May 2017 and June 2019. 

Yeah, 

And it's not so much that it's a dilemma, but...

Where can you bank a cheque now seeing that so many branches have closed? Where there used to be three ANZ branches in Richmond, they have been consolidated into one, on Bridge Road. There used to be one on Victoria Street, but that closed years ago. There was one on Swan Street, but that's not gone too. 

I would put the cheque in at a cash machine, but they're nearly all gone too. Like there used to be a cash machine on every street. Now, you almost have to go to a branch to find one. The cash machines which dispense money for all banks don't do deposits. I know that nobody uses cash anymore, but this is a bit ridiculous. 

And why did it take five years for this clerical error to come to light? (Okay, I know this one - I've worked in banks for long enough)

And do they take into consideration the utter inconvenience of sending a cheque for only to have to find a way to bank it. It's really not worth my time to go and bank it. 

Even though I will. It's the principle of it all.


Today's song: 


Tuesday, May 21, 2024

They're selling the Loi Loi

 Imagine my surprise, when walking home from the post office, on my way to get a coffee from my local coffee shop to find a big for sale sign on the window of the Loi Loi?

The Loi Loi? 

Well, I live just off of Victoria Street, on which there are numerous Vietnamese restaurants including: 

  • The Min Tan
  • The Vihn Ky (Favourite for one dish)
  • The Tho Tho
  • The Thy Thy
  • The Thy Thy II
  • The Co Do
  • The Thahn Ma
  • The Tran Tran
  • The Mihn Mihn
  • The Vihn Vihn
  • I Heart Pho
  • The Pacific Barbeque, complete with roast ducks in the window
  • And a number of Vietnamese bakeries. 
The Loi Loi has been there as long as I've been in the neighbourhood. 

Like all good Vietnamese restaurants, the place has rickety chairs, formica tables, various Chinese idolatry, a box of tissues on the table for serviettes, a look of utter despair - and in early days, a child at the back table doing their homework in between serving customer. 

This is what a good Vietnamese restaurant looks like. 

One thing about the Loi Loi is that it seemed to attract the Anglo crowd, unlike the "meat on sticks" place three doors down, which is always heaving with Chinese students, no matter the day. 

The Loi Loi has been a standard for many years. 

It's the place when I really can't be bothered cooking that I go for a cheeky takeaway. 

The neighbourhood won't be the same without it. 




Monday, May 20, 2024

Five things from out of my head - with music

 Still being tired from yesterday's adventures with the Fuck Up Fairies - also known as Qantas, here are a few things that have been front of mind - with music. 

1) I got my flu shot today. Had a meeting, got out of the meeting, then went down the chemist to get jabbed. 

But I got jabbed twice. 

I've been getting flu jabs after getting a noxious dose of it about twenty years ago. It makes sense. If you get your vaccination and you get the flu, it's hopefully going to be a lot milder version of it. 

While I was there, I asked about COVID jabs

According to the pharmacist who was doing the sticking, it seems healthy people between 18-70 are due a COVID booster annually, unless they're immuno-compromised or doing a lot of travel. 

I asked if by a lot of travel, a trip a month to Darwin would count as lots of travel. I last had a COVID shot in August. 

I walked away with a shot in both arms. I might be radioactive, but hopefully I won't get massively sick. 


2) Baked beans on toast for dinner tonight. I haven't been food shopping today as I had a full day at work, then saw Cleo for a training session. 

Why are baked beans some of the best food in the world? Simple, easy, comforting on a cold winter's night. The only thing maybe better would be canned tomato soup - and it must be canned, with cheese savouries - or savoury toast as it is known in Tasmania. I think Barney and I need to have another savory toast off again. He puts the bacon in his mixture, I put it on top. 

I'd also like to know why Lou Reed was in my head while making this delightful dinner. And why to the coloured girls go doo, de doo.?


3) I should stop watching Bridgerton

Bridgerton is one of my guilty pleasures, and this season it cutting things a little close. 

For I am Penelope Featherington, and I so get Penelope Featherington. This season is all about her. And Colin, the Bridgerton she's been in love with forever. 

But there was one scene in the second episode, where Penelope asks Colin to kiss her, as she doesn't want to die without knowing what it is to be kissed. Instantaneously, my heart went out to her. 

Know exactly how you're feeling, love. Not that I have never been kissed, but it has been sooooooo bloody long. I think I've reclaimed my virginity.

Penelope and I have a few more things in common: 

  • We're both the black sheep of the family
  • We're a bit on the chubby side
  • We like writing
I say good luck to her for asking for what she wants. It's very courageous. I mean, she tells Colin to kiss her so if she dies she'll know what it feels like. Colin then tells her that she won't know anything because she'll be dead. Such a bloke thing to say. 

Oh, to even have somebody like that in your life. 

I'm not sure I could be that brave. 


(This is the best song James Blunt has penned - it's incredible). 

4) While I was away, my cat got very spoiled. 

I came back to a very spoiled, slightly petulant cat. 

Aunty Kat spoiled him big time. 

He also nearly destroyed the curtains in the spare room - mostly my fault as the big chair was pressing them against the wall, and they were crumbling, but still. 

And Aunty Cat bought him some other treats. I'm not sure where she got them from, but he loves them. 

Daft critter.


5) I have not watched Baby Reindeer yet. 

I'm wondering if it really is worth the hype. 

I like the actress who plays Martha too much in Pride - she was fantastic as Sian. 

We'll see. 

If you haven't seen Pride, it's on ABC iView at the moment. Fantastic film. How can it be bad? It's got Andrew Scott in it!





Sunday, May 19, 2024

Bass in the Grass

 "Come on, where are you?"

"Huh?"

"Get your arse down here, you should see King Stingray - they're on at three."

I had been summoned. And it was okay. When my old colleague, Drew says I need to listen to somebody, I take heed. His taste in music is impeccable. And despite a little reticence, I slopped on some sunscreen, shoved on my trusty green baseball cap, shoved on my runners and went along with my colleagues to Bass in the Grass, Darwin's premiere music festival. 

Bass in the Grass is a young person's festival, yet it caters for all. The group of us did the sensible thing when buying tickets and bought a premium package that gave us access to a couple of drinks (excellent), some seating (never a bad thing) and shade (absolutely critical). Oh, and toilets that weren't going to be used by every man, his dog, crocodile, drug dealer and wine merchant. Best $220 I've spent, just to have a bit of comfort away from the big noise, crowds and general rabble.

A quick Uber ride to Mindil Beach and we were there.  

I've not been to many music festivals. There were becoming popular when I left England. Glastonbury was the big one, but the thought of camping, rolling around in the mud and being stoned among 100,000 of my nearest and dearest never sat well with me. Besides, I didn't have friends who were into that sort of thing while I was over there - more the Michael Buble crowd. 

I went to the V-Festival in the Gold Coast in the mid-noughties, mainly to see The Pixies, but I also got to see some great acts. 

But as a purveyor of music, I'm better off going to see acts one or two at a time as I find festivals are overwhelming.

Regardless, a short Uber ride to Mindil Beach, a very thorough course through security and we had arrived, just in time to see King Stingray on the main stage. 

They were excellent. (See today's song)

But this was under the full Darwin sun, at 3 p.m. on a Saturday. 

Once the band went off, one of my colleagues and I went to find our special area. The place with drinks and shade and toilets with running water, away from the big noise. The space we'd spent good money on - and it was worth every dollar. Being out of the sun, and a way away from the main speakers and dancing was a good thing. You could hear everything, just as you could hear yourself talk. (Also, in my defense, I was struck down with laryngitis most of the week and wasn't up for racing around in the heat. Besides, we found a possie which suited my purposes - a place to congregate, meet. drink and eat without being overrun by the revelers. 


My colleagues, chilling at Bass in the Grass.

There were two main stages where the big acts played - the set up allowing for one act to be on while the other one was being set up. There was also what I call the doof doof stage out the front, where various DJ's plied their trade.

Me, I was happy the back on my covered milk crate, drinking hard Solo and eating fresh cinnamon donuts. 

And I got to listen to Middle Kids (enjoyable), Northlane (a bit like a harder Metallica without the heart) Bag Raiders (wonderful dance music which I could identify) and Ziggy Alberts (an artist I've got a lot of time for). 

Did I go back out to the main area - no - but I didn't have to. 

And yes, I could have stayed around for Jet, and Macklemore, or gone and seen some more dance music, but after a day in the sun, knowing that drinking too much while you're still on antibiotics is not a good thing, but as the sun had gone down and my energy was depleted, I made my way out, walking down to the Casino with a nice random bloke chatting all the way, where I found a cab back to the city. 

Did I enjoy myself - absolutely. 

Being a person who hates crowds and noise, I knew what I was getting into. I also know my limits, and at 7 pm, it was time to go, but I'm very glad I went. 

Drew did say it was a young person's event. Good for those with the energy and stamina to last well into the night. 

I was just happy, in the end, to arrive back at the hotel, get in Uber Eats, do the worst of my packing and watch Bridgerton

But if King Stingray ever come to Melbourne again, I'd happily go along. I know they're touring America with King Gizzard and the Wizard Lizard in the near future. And yes, that doesn't mean that much to me either...

It was a good experience.   

Today's song: