Thursday, February 29, 2024

Theatre Review: Rent

 The Production: Rent

The Theatre: The State Theatre at the Arts Centre

Stars: 4

Until 7 March. 

I don't really like musicals unless they are unexpected, edgy or fun. Think Rocky Horror, The Book of Mormon and Chicago. Some of the smaller musicals, like the Heartbreak Choir or Fun Home were magnificent. 

I will go to a musical once to see what it's like, then walk out stating, "Okay, seen that. Don't need to go again."

This has happened for the following musicals:

  • Miss Saigon
  • Cats
  • The Phantom of the Opera
  • Hamilton
  • Les Miserables (The best bit is when Javert jumps off the bridge)
  • Mary Poppins
You can add Rent to this list. 

Am I glad I saw it? Yes. Will I see it again? No. 

And that's okay. 

I mean, set in the nineties in the East Village of New York, this group of street people, junkies, creatives and odd bods have been evicted from their squat, and they sing about it. 

I can say that the singing was impeccable, and the acting, on musical standards, was great. The sets were inventive and fun. I loved the costumes. But it's a musical, and yeah, they don't really float my boat. It probably doesn't help that because of traffic, we got there ten minutes late. 

As there is limited info about the production on the Arts Centre website, I can't give details of the cast or creatives. From what I could see, that's why they were pimping the merch. I can say that I loved Maureen - she was fab. Mimi's septum piercing kept glimmering and I found it off-putting. Angel was fantastic. 

Jay said it was a very emotional musical. I didn't feel it, but I don't like musicals that much. 

The purists in the crowd gave this a standing ovation.

But I'm not a Rent purist. I clapped along anyway. They deserved the applause. 

So, yeah, I saw Rent tonight. I did enjoy the production. But I've seen it - I don't need to see it again. 

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Theatre Review: The Dictionary of Lost Words

 The Play: The Dictionary of Lost Words

The Production: Sydney Theatre Company

The Theatre: The Playhouse at the Arts Centre

Stars: 4

Until 17 March

As with any play that’s been adapted from a book, you run the risk of either missing the point or not doing the book justice. In this case, the Sydney Theatre Company’s production of Pip Williams’ The Dictionary of Lost Words does a great job of presenting the book on stage. Admittedly, I liked the book, but did not love it, for stylistic reasons. I loved the story. I mean, set in Oxford, about the Oxford English Dictionary – a staple for any English Lit. student. Esme Nicholl is the precocious daughter of one of the dictionary’s compilers, hanging out at the ‘scrippy’ from a young child. 

The play follows Esme’s life from the age of four, to her life as a married woman. Over the years, we see her life, the words she collects from the scriptorium, her relationships, her family, and the world events surrounding her life in Oxford. 

If you've read the book, you'll get a lot out of this. It's very true to the book. If you haven't, no drama. You're just going to be told a wonderful story about a girl, her relationship to words, and a mammoth task that they undertook from the late 1800's where they began to document the English Language. 

There is a lot to love about the production. It's not a cerebral play, but it is fascinating. Where the whole premise is quite simple, the staging is inventive, making brilliant use of the split stage - a downstairs back wall made to look like the pigeonholes of the scriptorium, the upstairs area used as anything from a towpath to a bedroom, to street scenes. It made for easy transitions. Making this even better was the use of an overhead projector (remember those) which the actors manipulated from a desk central stage to great effect. Sure, it doesn't have the clout of production like The Picture of Dorian Gray, but this

My theatre buddy loved this, having not read the book. She passed a comment that it was wonderful to see something which isn't full of sex, drugs and violence. Sure, there's a little bit of swearing, in context, which brings out some delightful moments of humour. 

For me, who likes the book, this proves a great representation of the story. Jessica Arthur's direction is on point, and James Oxlade's set is incredibly inventive. 

Another thing I loved was the open captioning at each side of the stage, allowing everybody to read the script as well as see the action. This accessibility was really appreciated. It's a bit like watching television with the captions on. 

What also interested me was the crowd demographic, which was primarily women in their middle and older ages. The book group set. I have a feeling most of the people there had read and appreciated the book. It was definitely a book group type of crowd.

This is the perfect show to take your mother to, or if, like me, you're a lover of the English language and enjoy a very good night out. The three-hour run time (with a 20-minute interval) went very quickly.

This comes highly recommended. 

And if you're interested, here are some things to read about the history of the Oxford English Dictionary

The Surgeon of Crowthorne by Simon Winchester

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Black Beetle Night

 I'm just back from a play. 

Leaving work at 5.30, I hopped on the train and made it to the theatre with plenty of time to spare. 

But I'm not going to write about the play tonight. It was very good, but that will be a job for tomorrow, when there's a bit more time. The play deserves more than a cursory review.

After depositing my friend at the cab rank, I made my way to the tram. 

It's a black beetle night. 

One of those warm nights, a cloying night, when the black beetles come out of the ground. 

You don't see it in the city so much, well not where I am, but it's only on these warm, damp, still nights that the beetles come out. I remember as a child, how we'd wake to a verandah filled with beetles. Some alive, but most dead. I'm not sure of the moon phase, but last night, a large waning moon hung in the sky. 

It was walking back from the tram last night that remembered this strange fact. I took a small detour last night. On alighting the tram and crossing the road, I checked my surroundings - as you do. I was the only one who got off the tram. There was one guy in the street. Tall. Sloppily dressed. He didn't give off good energy. Instead of following him, I turned and took the longer way, passing in front of the strip of closing restaurants and down the street next to the pub. My keys and mobile phone were in my hands.  It felt safer. You do this coming home from the tram after dark.

As I walked down the road, I noticed the cockroaches skittering over the footpath - away from the restaurants. Maybe they're acting like the humidity and warmth seeking beetles. 

Arriving home safely, I texted my theatre friend to tell her I arrived home safely.

The tall man I'd seen at the tram stop was rifling through the possessions of my neighbours in the carports. I didn't challenge him. Rather I slipped quietly into the stairwell and made sure the doors were locked. 

Today's song: 

Monday, February 26, 2024

The Project

, In my head, I'm preparing for the weekend. 

Yes, it's only Monday, but my neurodiverse brain needs everything in order so that I can leave work on Friday at around two p.m. and drive down the Great Ocean Road. I also need to be doubly packed, as I'm taking off for Darwin on Sunday night. 

This means double packing, one bag for the retreat, the small suitcase for Darwin, then all of the accoutrements, such as my knitting, a book or two, all of the peripherals (which get packed regardless of where I'm going, as you need all of your cords, your power pack, a mouse or two, the small keyboard and various other bits of plastic you didn't need to pack ten years ago). 

I've got other things for the retreat set aside already. A couple of books for the trading table. My spare yoga mat. A bottle of gin and some tonic. I'm undecided as to whether I take the tarot cards (and then they get transferred into the Darwin bag - the guys in the call centre love that stuff.) 

I'm going to take my light dressing gown - mainly so I can mooch around in it like Poor Dear Pamela in Saltburn would do. It should be the weather for it. There's something very cool about mooching about in a floral apricot kimono and sparkly pink wellington boots. And why? 

Well, why not?

But my big thing about going on retreat is the question of what am I going to work on? 

Of course, I could go and do the set writing workshops, which are always great - but I've done a lot of the exercises a couple of times over. I think this is my eighth retreat to date. I go because I've made friends as much as I go to write. There's something very nurturing about hanging around with a mob of like-minded women. I also have my little room off the chapel, known as a 'nun hole'. The beds are comfortable, even if you get woken up by the morning disco on the Saturday. 

But I digress. 

What am I going to work on? 

Well, I think I'm going to pull the worst of a novel I wrote a few years ago out of the bottom draw. I've got nearly 90,000 words written. The bog-standard novel comes in at around 100,000 words. 

And yes, it's a crap novel, and yes, it needs a shit ton of work done on it, but I think now might be the time. 

Like 90,000 words is a bit of an achievement - and I'm curious to see what I have written. 

But do I take this on a stick down to Officeworks and print out a double-spaced manuscript, so I can start marking this up - or do I read the last two chapters and try and remember where I was? Do I start a new sparkly notebook for notes on this tome - as all writer's know, a new notebook works wonders for old projects. 

Or do I maybe work on something else. 

After five-years in the bottom draw (or in this case, hidden on an external hard drive away from harm) maybe it's time to become a proper writer - even if it is a bad novel.

Bad novels still get published sometimes. 

And like 99% of wannabee writers, I'm entitled to write my bad novel. 

Maybe this is what I need to get back on the fiction horse. 

Today's song:

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Sunday Stealing: Day to Day Questions

 I'm just back from a dinner at a friend's place, which was lovely. 

I've also found myself knowing I'm off on retreat on the weekend. 

And I've found a novel that I was working on a few years ago - there's nearly 90,000 words in the file. So, I've got something to work on while I'm down the Great Ocean Road. I'm a little bit excited. 

Anyway, on with the weekly questions, provided, as always, by Bev at Sunday Stealing

1. Have you ever smoked cigarettes?

I used to smoke socially, but I gave that up fifteen years ago. One of the best decisions I've ever made. 

2. What do you think of hot dogs?

Hot dogs aren't a huge thing over here, but I don't mind them. The best ones used to come from the roadhouses on the way to Adelaide, where they used to toast the bun, butter it, then put in the sausage with lots of sauce (and maybe a bit of mustard). This may sound very strange to the Americans out there, but we do hot dogs differently. I'm also quite partial to the hot dogs they have at IKEA - little ones, where you can lather on the sauce and mustard. 

3. What do you prefer to drink in the morning?

I'm a coffee girl - and I can't survive without my almond decaf latte. 

4. What's your favorite piece of jewelry that you own?

I have three strands of a Pandora bracelet, which I love. I often wear a couple of Pandora beads on a leather strap - it's a bit more casual. I also have a pair of cherry drop earrings which I found at a market in town. They are fun to wear. 

5. Name three drinks you regularly drink?

  • Water
  • Coffee
  • Kombucha

6. Like to travel?

I love to travel. It's one of my favourite things to do. Long haul, short haul, to little local places, or going overseas. I love traveling. There should be more of it. 

7. What should you be doing right now?

My ironing. The ironing pile is huge, and I need to get it done by Wednesday when Kat is coming over to get the keys. 

8, Your phone rings. Who do you want it to be?

Anybody other than a telemarketer. 

9. Do you like to ride horses?

Do I like to ride horses? Umm, I haven't ridden a horse in probably 40 years, so I couldn't tell you. I know that I happily talk to horses when I see them. 

10. In a social setting, are you more of a talker or a listener?

I'm a bit of both. I love to listen. And I like to talk. It's good to give other people a say, just as it's good to be heard. I can talk to anybody. But I will listen to anybody too. 

11. What's in your pocket right now?

Nothing. I'm not wearing anything with pockets. 

12. Last thing that made you laugh?

I'm currently reading a book called When God Was A Rabbit by Sarah Winman. I'm loving the book, which I'm listening to on audiobook. It's laugh out loud funny in places. It's situations I can completely relate to on a cellular level. 

13. How many TVs do you have in your house?

Two. One in the lounge room, one in the bedroom. 

14. Who's your loudest friend?

Do I have to name just one? That person is probably going to be one of the people I go on retreat with. They are fantastic people, but there's a lot of rather loud people in the group. I love them for it. 

15. Favorite sports team? (If you don't have one, just state that ...)

The Adelaide Crows - they are an Australian Rules football team. 

Today's song: 

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Theatre Review: Meet Me at Dawn

Theatre Review

The Play: Meet Me at Dawn by Zinnie Harris

The Theatre: The Fairfax Studio at the Arts Centre

Stars: 3.5

Until 16 March

I'm filing Meet Me At Dawn as not the worst thing I've seen, yet not the best either - which is why I've given it a 3.5 stars. Strangely, the more I think about this short play, the more I think I like it. But it's taken a few hours of ruminating to arrive at this sentiment. 


And oddly enough, my Facebook page reminded me that a year ago today, I was seeing the same actress, Sheridan Harbridge, in the same space in Prima Facie. And she was excellent. 

So, what is this two-hander about? 

The play starts when our two characters, Robyn and Helen are washed ashore on a beach. It appears that the couple have had a day trip on a boat go wrong. We learn that the couple are very different people, Helen being more free-spirited, and Robyn more tightly sprung. You're not sure what is happening, until you find out just what is going on. 

Unfortunately, it takes 45 minutes of this 75 minute play to get there. The last half hour of the play is incredibly moving. 

I'm being vague about the plot as not to spoil it. but as the MTC blurb on the website says, this is about " One day. One wish. Two lovers find themselves shipwrecked on a strange shore. As Helen and Robyn slowly piece together the nature of their predicament, what emerges is an unravelling of everything they thought they knew about themselves, each other and the life they’ve created."

What I can say is that once they get going, the performances are excellent. Jong-Xuan Chan is particularly good as the injured Helen. Sheridan Harbridge, coming off of her stellar performance in last season's Prima Facie, is also good as these two lovers negotiate their strange world. 

Scottish playwright, Zinnie Harris' play is an exploration of grief, and the processes we go through to find solance. It has as many laugh-out-loud moments as it does those which bring tears to your eyes. Katy Maudlin's direction keeps the production moving, even when the context on stage is slow. 

This is one of those plays which will stay with me for a while. Even though I wasn't convinced early on, it grew on me. Which is the sign of a good play. 

Today's song: 



Friday, February 23, 2024

The Tickets

 It fell to me to sit online and get the tickets, and that was okay. It was my turn to do this. It was my turn. And I could do this while I was at work, having the Ticketmaster tab opened in the background, watching the queue go down from 37000 to something more reasonable over the following half hour. I got some work done while watching the queue diminish. 

The concert - Pearl Jam. 

But I'm not going for them. I don't mind Pearl Jam. I like their early stuff. I know their lead singer is Eddie Vedder, but that is about the end of it. 

No, I'm not paying $225 to get a general admission ticket to see them. I know that Barney and his mate Bossman are big Pearl Jammers. My friend El is coming along too. 

Nope, I'm going for The Pixies - who are playing as the support act. 

Yep, The Pixies are coming to town. And while I know very few facts about Pearl Jam, I can tell you all sorts of weird stuff about my favourite band. I will spout daft facts like: 

  • Black Francis's real name is Charles Thompson IV
  • That they come from Boston, Massachussetts
  • That Dave Lovering, the drummer has a cat called Norman
  • That there was a bassist who took over from Kim Deal, but she didn't work out, but Paz Lenchantin has forged forth and is very much a part of the band
  • And that Joey Santiago is one of the most underrated guitarists of the twentieth century. 
Yes, I need to be there, even if I go home before Pearl Jam goes on.

Especially as I'll be getting there early as Glen Hansard is coming on at the start. 

Glen Hansard you ask?

He was responsible for the music of the Movie / Stage show Once - and if you haven't seen it - dig it out, Irish music at its absolute best. 

See below:

Mind you, this is all happening on a Monday in November, as by the time I got to the front of the queue, the first concert had sold out. 

Nevertheless, it's still something to look forward to.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Orange Sun, Orange Shadow

 I was walking down Wellington Street, St Kilda. The wind ran hot, even at the early hour. I stopped for a coffee, noting, as I waited for the barista to do their thing, the orange glow on the footpath, the sun a bright orange. A cloying smoke haze sat over the city. 

Then there were the 2009 fires. We were going back to Adelaide for my parent's big party. There were four of us. Parking the car at the long-term car park in the early morning, the wind was racing. 

"This is not good," I said to Blarney.

"Why not?" she asked. 

"This is a bushfire wind." Blarney grew up in Ireland. Bushfires aren't front of mind.

By the time we got back to our hotel later that night, after a day of driving around the Fleurieu Peninsula, half of Victoria was alight. 173 people died in those fires. They were brutal. 

And in 2019, when Scomo was on holiday in Hawaii, when the continent was on fire, and the smoke from the flames went around the world, we had an orange sun, and smoke in the air, and the feeling that Armageddon was approaching. 

Sitting at my desk this afternoon, I saw this. 

The sunbeams shone orange through the window. My stomach dropped. No, that isn’t orange highlighter on the notepad.

And later, as the thunder started to sound, looking out the window, there was this.

A scary sight. 

Animals were on edge. 

People were nervous, even from our places of relative comfort and safety in the city. 

Then the reports that Beaufort residents were told to leave the town immediately, with a fire front fast approaching. 

And we think, "Here we go again."

An orange sun will forever put me on edge. Nothing good will come from it. 

Today's song: 

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

The next ten days

 I offered to bring the book to Jonella after work. It would mean doubling back, as I worked in the office today, but that's okay. Get home, feed the cat, go back into town, drop off the book, then go home. But we decided otherwise. I got a night at home watching MAFS, she had a casual dinner with a friend. All good. 

And as much as I was willing to drop off the book group book, I'm rather grateful because I'm looking at the next ten days and I'm wondering how I got myself into this mess. 

It looks like this. 

Tomorrow: Easy. Meet a mate for breakfast at a local cafe. Then work from home, then see Twelve for a training session after work - hopefully the heat has gone by then. The gym gets super-hot in weather over 30 degrees - and it's going to be a warm night. 

Friday: After work I've got a mason's meeting, where I'm going up a degree. It appears I'll be receiving a new pinnie and sword. Fun. 

Saturday: I'm planning on going to the gym, then there's sound meditation in Brunswick, followed by a play at the MTC. 

Sunday: Go to the gym, then more masons (Normal lodge) then out to dinner with friends in Blackburn - I believe they do a roast on Sunday night. Never say no to a roast. 

Monday: After working from home, there will be a session with Cleo in the lounge room. It's good that we're still seeing Cleo. We get to hear about what is going on in Barcelona. 

Tuesday: After working from home, we're off to see The Dictionary of Lost Words at the Playhouse. I enjoyed the book, so I'm interested to see how they stage this. As this has a really limited run, it was the only time I could fit in to see it. 

Wednesday:  Work from the office. Lunch with the team and some new team members. Go home. Kay is coming over after to get the keys and instructions for cat sitting the following week. 

Thursday: Work from home, then out in the evening to see Rent at the State Theatre. The tickets were booked months ago. 

Friday: Work about three quarters of the day. After lunch, drive down the Great Ocean Road and go on retreat for the weekend. Flop down on a couch and read a book and attempt to write for the weekend with a group of like-minded women. 

Saturday: Participate in the retreat. Maybe go down the beach. Attempt to write. Drink some gin. Dance. Talk. have fun. 

Sunday: Go skinny dipping early morning. Participate in the retreat until just after lunch. Drive to the airport. Fly to Darwin in the evening. And try to read the book group book while I'm in Darwin. 

Fun, eh?

Oh, and somewhere in all of this I need to clean, wash, iron and pack. Oh, and sleep. And watch MAFS. 

At least after this, I'll be able to get some down time...

Today's song: 

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

When you don't like the book at book group

Book group tonight brought that age-old dilemma - how far do you go when you don't like the book you read for book group. 

It happens. 


As we have a very democratic way of selecting our books, there is no malice in your reviews. And you certainly don't hold it against the person who selected the book. There's no point in that. It's a book. 

So tonight we had book group and I really didn't like the book. 

We read Holly Ringland's The Seven Skins of Esther Wilding. 

I gave it a three stars out of five. Just. 

Two point seven five is probably a more accurate review. 

And although I didn't mind the story, I had the following concerns with the book. It's 

  • I've never seen a book more in need of a good edit. At 544 pages, it could have lost 150 pages with ease. 
  • There were some really dodgy editing decisions. The one that got me was for continually referring to Hobart as Nipaluna, Hobart, and Lutrawita, Tasmania. I onboard with referring to places by their indigenous names, but do this once, then stick to the later nomenclature, maybe clarifying if explaining the place to new people. 
  • There was a hell of a lot of repetition. Enough to piss me off. 
  • And there were numerous references to 80's songs, which if you weren't a Gen-Xer or very fond of eighties music, would be confusing. 
It's like the book was written as a pre-cursor to a screen play, and for no other reason. 

It's a book that could have been so much better. A book of great ideas, but badly executed.

Oh well. 

Monday, February 19, 2024

Thank you, MAFS

 When you've had a hard day, at the end of the day, there is MAFS. 

No matter what sort of bad day you've had, there is MAFS. 

MAFS reminds you that you are half sane. 

MAFS lets you know that you've not made bad tattoo choices. 

It also reiterates the fact that you may have made some good life choices after all.

And that you may have some hope after all. 

Tonight, after a long and pretty tough day, I flopped down on the couch and watched MAFS. 

My guilty pleasure taking away some of the strain of the day. 

And now I have to go and try to finish my book group book. Making it harder is I'm not really enjoying to book. It's The Seven Skins of Esther Wilding, written by Holly Ringland, who also wrote The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart. The former is suffering badly from second book syndrome. The latter was amazing. 

I will stop complaining now. I have a cat. I have a roof over my head. There may not be a man in my life, but I have MAFS - and I'm feeling thankful. 

Today's song: 

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Movie Review: Force of Nature - The Dry 2

 Movie Number 7 of 2024

The Movie: Force of Nature - The Dry 2

The Cinema: Hoyts Victoria Gardens

Stars: 4

I remember loving Jane Harper's The Dry. I also loved The Lost Man. Exiles, not so much. 

I've had her novel Force of Nature sitting next to my bed in preparation for reading this before seeing the film. Alas, it didn't happen. 

Did it matter that I hadn't read the book? Nope. This was an enjoyable two hours of Australian cinema. 

In a nutshell, five corporate types from a mean and nasty finance company (that looked at bit like Macquarie or Deloitte Consulting) go on a team building weekend in one of Victoria's national parks. The Girawongs look a hell of a lot like the Dandenongs, but we'll let that one slide. 

Of the five team members, only four find their way to safety. The fifth, Alice (Anna Torv) is listed as missing, and a lot of the movie is spent looking for her in the driving rain. 

Alice is also a witness for the police case that are trying to bring her boss (Richard Roxburgh) down. 

She has been in cahoots with Aaron Falk (Eric Bana) who is pressuring her to get more evidence against her boss in return for immunity.  

And the movie is spent hunting around this mythical landscape, looking for Alice, working out just what went on between these five women, learning a bit about Aaron Falk's back story and not much else. 

This is a good Australian film - not the best, by any standard, but it makes for an entertaining two hours. Robert Connelly's direction is steady. Having worked with both Jane Harper and Eric Bana before, it feels like he's taken on this job with confidence. 

For me, the highlight of the film was the scenery. The Dandenongs and Otway Ranges make a wonderful setting for the made up Girawong Ranges. The cinematography is stunning. 

Yet, as movies go, this is fine. Nothing to rave about, but nothing to complain about either. 

I think, that like The Dry, read the book first. From what friends have told me, Force of Nature is even better. 

This was a passable way to spend a Sunday afternoon. 

Today's song:

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Sunday Stealing - Music

It's Saturday. I'm knackered as I got back late from my return trip to Darwin. As much as I enjoy going up there for these weeks, they really are draining. But I'm back home now with my very needy cat, trying to get some energy back. It's nice to be home. 

Questions, as always, have been provided by Bev at Sunday Stealing. These are my sorts of questions.

Name a song that...

1. You enjoy, in another language.

Funny how this is the first question. We were only talking about something like this at work as I was leaving for the airport in Darwin yesterday. There are a lot of French songs that I enjoy, but this one has history. It's all over the place and makes me happy. (Ca Plane Pour Moi). This just pips Nena's 99 Luft Ballons.

2. Recently introduced you to a new singer.

I know she's been around for a while, but the song Bad Guy put me onto Billie Eilish. I like a lot of her stuff. She's ace. I love how in this song she mixes in the sound that our pedestrian crossings make as you cross the road. 

3. You listen to energize yourself.

There is no way you can't not dance to his gem. Uptown Funk has to be sung with the slightly blue lyrics, but I love this to pick me up. 

4. Is your favorite song from a musical.

I'm not really a musical person, or if I do like a musical, it's normally one that's a bit obscure. However, I do love the old-style musicals that we used to watch as kids on the television on Saturday afternoons. This is one of those songs. 

5. Reminds you of an old love

Ah, I could put this song in so many categories, but this song has a lot of memories attached to it. it's probably why it's been my favorite song for over forty years. 

6. Make you think of one of your children

I don't have children, so I can't have a song that reminds me of them. 

7. Makes you smile when you hear it.

I'm a bit of an 80's music freak, so anything from the eighties normally goes down well with me. There are a lot of songs that make me smile from this era. But this one gets to me, because you can dance to it - and they are a great band.

8. You love but is quite unknown

Not many of my group know about Alt-J, an English electronic band that I discovered many years ago while I was in Geetangeli's favourite cafe down Cuba Street. I'd love to see them live. 

Another song came to be via the show Suits. I adore this song. I know nothing else from them, but this song by the Eagle Rock Singers is fantastic. Suits had the best music. 

This song was also another one that came off the Suits soundtrack. It's magic.

9. That annoys you.

I have quite a few artists that I don't need to hear again. These artists include Ed Sheeran and Adele, particularly the latter. Ed Sheeran I tolerate more easily. I'm told he puts on a great show. But I never need to hear this next song ever again. It's just not for me. 

There are a few songs in this bucket, including James Blunt's You're Beautiful and INXS's The Swing album. These have been overplayed - don't need to hear them any more. 

10. That your parents used to listen to.

I don't remember my parents playing much music when I was a kid. I know they had a record collection, but they weren't like me with this almost cellular need for music in my life. I am the person who sings along to Coles Radio (our local supermarket has a radio station in house - it's great). But I know Dad liked Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack, so I've picked this song. I know it would have been in their record collection. 

11. From your early years of childhood

This song came out in 1970. I was two-years-old in 1970. This song also could have gone in the songs to be played loud. Australia has some fantastic music. The was the start of our local music getting out there. 

12. That has a color in the title.

This is another song from my childhood. I remember it playing when we were on one of those everlasting road trip holidays we used to take as a family, when you're out the back of nowhere trying to search for a radio station. Tape decks, streaming and iPods were not available them. 

13. That needs to be played loud.

There are a lot of bands I like to play loud, but one that comes immediately to mind is The Pogues. Shane MacGowan, heaven help his soul, is just the lead man to have you singing the lyrics loud. 

You also can't play AC/DC quietly. It's against the rules around here. 

14. That is perfect for a road trip.

I listen to audiobooks on long road trips, as it's good to have somebody to a story. 

But I'm a big one for music you know and love. Any eighties or nineties mixed playlists are the way to go. And it wouldn't be the 80s or 90s without George Michael. 

15. That reminds you of yourself.

I'm a hopeless romantic at heart. This sorta reminds me of me. 

Today's song: 

Friday, February 16, 2024

Damn you, Taylor Swift

I'm not a Swiftie, and that's okay. Other people can be Swifties if it makes them happy. I don't dislike her - I just can't see what the fuss is about. 

I didn't hold any animosity towards her before tonight, and even now, it's a feeling of irritation, rather than rage. 

But I'm still blaming Taylor Swift for my delayed return to Melbourne today. 

First up, my and a bit hour flight back from Darwin ended up being well over four and a half hours. The airlines, in their wisdom, put on extra flights for the Taylor Swift concerts here in Melbourne, meaning my flight was sent into a 30-minute holding pattern around Lake Eildon. 

Then getting into the airport, my bag went walkabout. I waited for the carousel for half an hour. Bags came and went. I walked over the baggage services counter and asked about my bag. The woman at the desk said that the bag had been scanned through and that I should keep an eye on the belt. It would be in soon. 

20 minutes later, still no bag. I went back to Baggage Services to state my claim. I was served by somebody else. Told of my standing around like I was waiting for a non-existent date for nearly an hour now. He looked at his screen, verified that the bag had made it to Melbourne, but agreed that waiting for it for nearly an hour was a bit much. 

"I will see what I can do. Blame Taylor Swift," he told me. 

"What did she do, other than send people ga-ga?" I asked. 

"Her concert made the airlines put on a heap of extra flights and the place has gone mad. We're not used to so many people around here."


He went off in search of my errant bag, arriving back ten minutes later with the recalcitrant item.

"The baggage handlers put it on the wrong carousel. Sorry for the wait."

I was now an hour late to go pick up Lucifer. 

The Taylor Swift Concert meant had to go another way to my friend's place. There was no way on God's green earth I was going anywhere near Swan Street. 

We extracted the cat from his cupboard at my friend's place. It was his choice to sit there, and he seemed happy enough - and now we are home, after another half hour drive. 

But I would have been home two hours before if it wasn't for Taylor Swift. 

Regardless, I hope all of those who've forked out money to see her enjoyed/enjoy themselves.

Me, I'll save my funds for Pearl Jam with Glen Hansard AND The Pixies in November. 

Today's song:


How to eat Laksa


Bane of all and sundry, particular enemy to the white shirt, the pale chino trousers and the uninitated. 

Against my better judgement, when the team said that instead of curry lunch (which I've also ended up wearing on my 'shelf') I put in my order. Chicken Laksa, medium, I felt my anxieties rise. 

Why, why, why did I agree to laksa?

I remember being introduced to laksa by my friend Mariah. We used to go to the Penang Cafe just off of Hindley Street, where they did a fabulous vegetarian laksa. Which I also ended up wearing a lot of. 

But that is the joy of laksa. As good as the coconut broth, the chili oil, the fried tofu, the egg noodles, the veggies... it's not easy to eat. 

So, I paid my money and a little later, along with half the office, my bowl of laksa turned up, complete with a flimsy plastic spoon, a fork and some chopsticks. I made my way back to my desk after dropping off a colleague's in another part of the office. 

The task, which had been accepted, was to eat this without destroying my dress. 

The first port of call, drink as much of the broth as possible. Using the big spoon, and ensuring I was leaned over the bowl. Pushing down on the noodles and other goodies, you strip off the liquid. 

Then you tackle the meat and vegetables with the fork. The trick here is to drain off the liquid before raising it out of the bowl. Once the fluid level comes up again, use the spoon to drain off some more. 

Repeat these processes are left. 

Once the worst of the liquid and meat has gone, then, and only then, should you attack the noodles with the chop sticks - again, leaning over the bowl to minimise the drips. 

I can say that this method bore fruit. I managed to come away from the whole adventure not smelling of curry and covered in drips. 

Laksa is a big thing here in Darwin. There is even a laksa festival, a celebration of all things laksa

And I am going home tomorrow, but I'm slowly aclimatising to the place. 

Today's song:

Thursday, February 15, 2024

The Laptop is Misbehaving

 So no blog tonight.

First happen very often.

I’ve had a productive day. 

And a nice dinner.

And now I’m watching MAFS.

Life is fine.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024


My podiatrist banned me from wearing thongs over five years ago. 

Now that is a middle-aged statement if ever there was one. Yes, I have a podiatrist - but I only see her once a year, normally for a foot checkup and to get my toenails cut nicely. She got me onto Birkenstocks back then, and I have never looked back. 

Coming to Darwin this time around I've been bewildered by the rain, and very scared that the said rain is going to wreck my wonderful shoes. I was then told by some of the Darwin-based team that a pair of thongs was necessary up here, to be kept in your drawer for when you had to go outside in the wet. You take your ordinary shoes in a bag and take them with you and walk the streets in your flip-flops, changing back into your work shoes at your destination. 

As the rain was unrelenting today and I had to go down the other office on the other side of town, I needed to get some thongs. Remembering that my podiatrist had said that there were some specialist things, with arch support, available from podiatrists, and, having a podiatrist around the corner from work, I went in to source some. 

Bloody expensive things. $40 for these things. But they are comfortable, and they won't ruin my middle-aged feet. They're called Archies. They're surprisingly sturdy. For $40, they should be. 

I went to the other office in the driving way, turning up looking like a drowned rat, my new umbrella inside out, but my feet comfortable - thankfully, I wasn't slopping around in wet Birks. 

It was pointed out that I had become a local. I was once told by a friend that Darwin people change into their good thongs to go out. 

These will stay in my Darwin bag, in the office, with my new umbrella, the bug spray, the eye makeup remover and the spare water bottle. 

In the last meeting of the day, we were talking about today's purchase when my Canadian big boss came on the line. He smiled, and asked what we were talking about, stating that where he comes from, thongs were something completely different. 

"Do you want to see them?"

He shook his head.

I got them out of the bag anyway and showed the innocuous rubber flip-flop/shower shoe/ plugger on the screen. 

"Boss Man, these are thongs."

"Not where I come from," he stated. 

"Well, your mind should not go there," I warned him. "Just don't."

The meeting was off to a good start.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

And the rain it rains

 At heart, I'm a country girl, and we country girls talk about rain. 

I've not experienced rain like this in my life. 

Darwin has received just over 200 mm (eight inches in the old language) of rain in the last 48 hours. 

This is enough to blow my tiny mind. I went to bed last night and according to the BOM, Darwin had already received 20 mm when I arrived. I got to the hotel. About an hour later the rain came in. 

It stayed. 

When I woke at 6.45 a.m. it was grey outside. My view, which currently looks out over to the airport and what is know as the Duckpond were nowhere in sight. The torrential rain kept coming. 

Darwin is different when the monsoons come in. The street people go into hiding. What are already quiet streets get even quieter. Only the office workers, scuttling between buildings, a coffee in one hand, an umbrella in the other, are seen. 

The rain is unrelenting, yet peace-bringing. Although you could cut the air, it being here in Darwin when the heat backs off is wonderful. A friend who hails from here said that they loved this time of year for the monsoons - not so much the heat that comes before and after the rain with a vengeance. But I get it. 

My colleague and I had to take a walk down to the other office late morning. We gathered one of the work umbrellas from near the door and made our way out. The great thing about this town is there are canopies over most of the footpaths. The only time you get really wet is when you cross the roads. 

Subsequently, we've each bought and umbrella, which will be left here in my Darwin bag, that sits in a cupboard (like my cat...), along with things like bug spray, eye makeup remover, tissues, a water bottle... things that have little monetary value, and it means you don't have to buy them again or bring them up from Melbourne. 

By this evening, there was a dry spit. it was still spitting, but we could make it out for dinner without having to run across the roads and pray that you don't come out of this sodden. 

But the country girl in me is still puzzling at the amount of rain we've had. I know what 100 millimetres can do to the Yarra - this is double the amount - in a day. 

I just don't understand. All I know is that I feel happy. 

Today's song: 

Sunday, February 11, 2024

How to catch a cat and other observations

 2.00 p.m.

The game of chess has begun.

In the spare room, the cat carrier sits on my reading chair, open and waiting for it's cargo. The door to the room is shut, much to the annoyance of His Lordship who has been sitting by the door, baying to go in. You see, my reading chair has become his throne. He loves it. 

A load of washing is nearly finished in the machine. Being a hot day, I will be able to get it out on the line and dried in the time I take the cat around to Aunty Debbie's place.

The car is loaded with his accouterments. I've been sneaking them down slowly over the last day. His bed. The spare litter box. Some toys. Food for a week. It's all there waiting. 

And somehow, I managed to get him into the box, after going in for a cuddle, picking him up and taking him into the spare room and into the carrier without a scratch to me, or him going absolutely berserk. 

4.00 p.m.

Now, his lordship is sitting in Aunty Deb's cupboard. He doesn't have to sit in Aunty Deb's cupboard, but that's where he gravitates to, coming out when nobody is around. Deb has threatened to buy him a spider plant. What a lovely Aunty. I did tell her that although spider plants are not toxic to cats, they are slightly hallucinogenic. I did warn her that he may much it down to the nub, as he did with the one I sent to Jay's place when he stayed there. Junkie pussy...

5.00 p.m.

Driving to the airport. It's a hot day. Thankfully the air conditioning in the car is good.

7.00 p.m.

Sitting on the plane. Qantas advises the plane does not have WIFI and the entertainment system was down. Fun. Quickly downloaded a couple of movies before the plane took off. Also had my book - The Seven Skins of Esther Wilding - which I'm rather indifferent about. The  bloke next to me worked all of the trip. Nice and quiet. Mostly smooth flight. You can't ask more for that. 

11.00 p.m.

And now I'm ensconced in my hotel room. The room is up near the top. Over the last year I've managed to get up to Gold Status for the hotel chain's rewards program. Not only are you given rooms with a view, you are also greeted with little party favours, things like muesli bars, and water, and little slice bars, along with a welcome card. It's rather nice. 

I should get used to this. I'm going to get used to this. I'll be coming up here once a month until at least September...

But for now, I'm going to watch the rain and listen to the thunder. We flew over storms on the way up. I like watching nature. 

There are some good things about coming up here.

Today's song:

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Sunday Stealing: Jigsaw Puzzles

 I've got the double whammy of getting ready to go to Darwin and a flat inspection. The former is for work. The latter is one of the joys of renting. Surely, after being here for so long they know that I'm not running a meth lab or hosting 16 Chinese students in my spare room. I also don't put holes in the wall. Ah well. 

So I'm doing what I normally do when I have a deadline. I'm doing a few questions and doing a couple of jobs. 

Questions, as always, come from Bev at Sunday Stealing

1. What is a big dream you have for the future?

I have had the dream of getting a book published for years. I have the write the bugger first, but that is a dream. 

Another dream is to go and live in Paris for a while. I really like that idea. I'd love to get my French fluent. 

2. What are your favorite hobbies?

Other than watching movies, walking and writing? I really like knitting and crochet. I love making things. 

3. If you could change the world, what would you do?

I'd love to get rid of right-wing politicians. Particularly Donald Trump - he's a very dangerous man. 

4. What places have you traveled to?  What was your favorite?

I'm really lucky to have travelled all over the world. Asia, America and Europe. Each one of these locations has something special about them. 

But I'm still torn between naming Paris and London as my favourite places. Both are very special city, each of them has their own charms. I'd live in either of these places in a heartbeat. 

I've also got a love of Thailand and Bali. I love being in Buddhist countries. I love the vibe.  

5. What is the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?

As an adventurous eater, I've tried a lot of things. So, take your pick from this list: 

  • Pickled herring
  • Snails
  • Kangaroo
  • Chicken's feet at the local Chinese yum cha (dim sum) place
  • Fresh oysters (yum)
  • Wasabi and white chocolate ice cream
  • Some of the things I ate in India
  • Anything you find in an Indonesian 7/11

6. What are your favorite places to eat?

Again, as I'm an adventurous eater, but I love a good French Restaurant. We went to a local one for my birthday this year and it was delightful. 

7. What kind of music do you like?  Talk about a favorite artist or songs.

You can file me and my music tastes under Adult Alternative. I've got a healthy respect for rock and a bit of pop, and I like jazz and classical. It's easier to ask me what I don't like - which is Death Metal and Country and Western.

As for my favourite bands - well that would be Talking Heads and The Pixies. 

And my favourite song has not changed in over forty years. It has been, and always will be this:

8. What was the last book you read?

I finished Trent Dalton's Lola in the Mirror the other day. I love Trent Dalton - he's one of Australia's best writers. Approachable, fun and gritty, and he writes Modern Australia really well. His non-fiction book, Love Stories, get's a mention in this book. 

9. If you could meet a character from a book, who would it be?

Of course it would be Dumbledore. He sounds fun. The other character than comes to mind is John Parlabane from Robertson Davies' The Cornish Trilogy. He's more trouble than he's worth but he'd be fun to hang around with. 

10. Do you prefer books or movies?  Why?

Oh, this is hard. I love them both equally. I love a well written book, but then again, I adore a good movie, I love being shown a well crafted story as much as I love reading about them. 

11. What is something you used to be scared of, but aren’t any more?

Computers. Once, many years ago, I used to be a complete luddite. I now work in IT (as a writer, but I have to be a little big good at computers). 

12. What is something you were never afraid of, but are now?

Right wing politicians. Peter Dutton. Donald Trump. Take your pick. 

13. What item is your most cherished possession?  Why?

I'm not really into things, but I am into my books. I have a copy of Lady Cottington's Book of Pressed Fairies signed by Terry Jones of Monty Python fame. I've also had my tattered copy of Captain Corelli's Mandolin signed by the author. Both are very dear to my heart. 

14. What awards or contests have you won?

I've won a couple of short story competitions. That, and I went on a game show once and won $700. 

Oh, and I won a book from my online book group. That was a bit of a result. 

15. Do you like working jigsaw puzzles?

I do like working on jigsaw puzzles, but I can't remember the last time I did one. We have one in the Darwin office we can work on if you want to have a break from work for a bit. 

Today's song: 

Friday, February 9, 2024

Journal Cards: The best boss

 I've had a week of it and writing is coming a bit hard, so I've turned to my trusty Journalling cards for inspiration. 

And today's card reads, "The best boss you've ever worked for was so good because...

Well, I have a few of my old bosses on my social media pages, so I won't be naming names. 

And remember that as I change my jobs fairly regularly as I'm a contractor, so I've run the gamut of bosses, from the really terrible to the fantastic, and a lot somewhere in the middle. I've also managed teams. I'm not sure if I'm a good or bad manager, but I know I try to walk the walk with what I've liked from the management styles I gel with. 

I'm thinking of a couple of the good bosses I've had over the years, and they had the following things in common. 

First up, they give you the autonomy to do what you have to do without micro-managing, carping or being too much in the detail. They trust you to get on with your job. That's a big thing. Being older, it's good to be able to get on with things. 

Another good trait in a boss is when they get down in the trenches with you. Some of the best bosses I've had are the ones who've stayed back with you with a tight deadline and helped out. They've really come into their own when it comes to helping out the team. I remember one good boss calling me up late one night. The day's trades had not gone into the system. It was critical that they get re-keyed. We got to the office at 5 a.m. He was there doing the work alongside me. It meant a lot. 

The other thing a good boss will do is foster the team spirit. Good bosses build good teams. When they're interviewing, they're looking for team fit. Some of the best teams I've been in are the ones when everybody has a different skill, and we complement each other. And a good team is one that can laugh together. You're spending forty hours a week with these people, it's like a mini marriage. And again, I look at my socials and see so many ex-colleagues among their ranks, many of with whom I'm in regular contact. I have one friend with whom I have lunch once a month - we've been doing this for fifteen years. We have nothing in common other than we worked together and like each other's company. 

A good boss will also back you up - and protect you when necessary. They'll give you credit for your work. And when necessary, provide constructive criticism. The criticism that helps you move forward, rather than put you in a hole. 

There's lots of other stuff I could write about bosses, but I'll leave it there. A good boss doesn't have to be your friend, but they do need to be approachable and trustworthy. They'll keep your counsel and have your back. And they let you be you. 

Have I missed anything?

Today's song:

Thursday, February 8, 2024

And so it starts

 Tonight, Twelve announced that he was leaving the gym in a month. 

My first notion was to ask why he had to tell me that when I was leg pressing around 150 kilos. Piss off a woman, why don't you. 

"Was it something I said?" I asked.

"Nope, I've just got a better offer."

"One that doesn't have the exorbitant personal trainer buy in." My gym is well known for screwing over the personal training crew. 

"Something like that."

He's been working around the suburb at other gyms, and he's been offered a stable gig at one of the other places. One without the horrific fees to the trainers. 

"So, now what?" I asked. 

"I'll keep training you until I leave. After than, if you want to follow me to the other gym, we can see what works."


He continued. "The good thing is at the other gym there'll be no gym fees to you."

"Okay." That might be something. "It's a good opportunity for you."

"And it's more of a strength gym, which is more my thing."

This is the personal trainer who says he doesn't do cardio. He's also big into his strength training. Hell, he's even got me into heavy deadlifts. He had me pumping 40 kilos on the bench press tonight. 


"And you want us to come with you."

"That would be good."

"So, you like having two malevolent aunt substitutes around the place."

"You make me laugh. And you tell me what to do."

Today's advice was don't get into Bitcoin. And don't become a no-neck (term for grunty-boy weight lifter who ends up bulking up his shoulders that much that he loses his neck to muscles.)

Jay and I must be good for something. 

As to whether we're in the market for a new personal trainer - we will see. Jay's overseas until the weekend, I'm in Darwin next week. He's fun to have around. 

Today's song:

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Wont do that again in a hurry

 Middle-aged Issue Number 215: Medication

I had a lousy sleep last night. Which is unlike me. I'm normally a pretty good sleeper. Shove on the fan if it's warm, a drop of lavender oil on the pillow if sleep is being elusive, but generally, I get my six hour of sleep pretty easily. 

Not last night.

I was complaining about this to my similarly aged workmate today. 

P: Forgive me if I'm a bit grumpy. I didn't sleep well.

Workmate: What happened? The cat keep you up?

P: No, I forgot to take my blood pressure meds yesterday morning. Only worked this out late, so I took them around 9 p.m. Thing is, there's a diuretic element to the tablet - I had to get up to piss like a racehorse every two hours. Not happy. 

My workmate laughed. It appears they have a supplement they take for a condition which they have to take in the morning too. If it's after 3 pm they're up all night too. 

Middle aged is a bitch. 

Thankfully, the pill was taken at 8 a.m. this morning and I'm hoping that I'll have a better night's sleep. 

At least I don't have a CPAP machine. One of the joys of watching MAFS was seeing one of the older couples with his CPAP machine. Dead sexy. 

Mind you, it's a lot more palatable than Man-Bun One's veneers. 

I get you want healthy, straight teeth. 

What I don't get is why you might want them to shine like a lighthouse. 

Truly awful. 

Tuesday, February 6, 2024


 Reasons to be cheerful: Coles Radio.

I know I go on about how I love Coles Radio, but today, after going to the gym, I popped in to the supermarket to pick up a few incidentals, and what should be playing, but Smooth, that gorgeous Rob Thomas and Santana song that came out over twenty years ago. 

Smooth is one of those songs that makes me wish I knew how to dance. It starts from the arms and works its way down your body and in 30 seconds, you're dancing down the aisles. 

The only other song that does this to me is the song, Havana. 

Maybe I should take salsa classes. 

Or maybe I should go to Cuba on my next long holiday. 

Regardless, it cheered up a middling sort of day. 

Today's song: 

Monday, February 5, 2024

Movie Review: Argylle

Movie Number 6 of 2024

The Movie: Argylle

The Cinema: Hoyts Victoria Gardens

Stars: 4

Needing some respite from the heat, I took myself off to see a film - a favourite thing to do when the weather gets over 30 degrees. Today's viewing fare was Argylle, starring Henry Cavill, Bryce Dallas Howard and Sam Rockwell, among others including Alfie the cat. Please note, no cats were harmed in the making of this film. 

What drew me to the film, other than the inclusion of Henry Cavill, is the director, Matthew Vaughn, who's responsible for the Kingsman franchise. I love these films, so there was a good chance I'd enjoy this. 

So, what is this about? Elly Conway (Bryce Dallas Howard) is a reclusive, best-selling author who's spy series, Argylle is mirroring life just a little too closely. In the background, we see the fictional Argylle's (Henry Cavill, oh be still my dear dead ovaries) and the mischief he gets up to.  On a train ride to see her parents, she encounters Aiden Wilde (Sam Rockwell) and the fun begins. Wilde explains how her books are being freakishly accurate in predicting world events. With the arrival of some weaponised goons, she, and the cat, are dragged along for the ride. 

We meet some wonderful characters. The boss of The Directive (Bryan Cranston), Elly's mum (Catherine O'Hara), another hired good (Dua Lipa) among others, and slowly, but surely you work out that there is a bit more to Elly's history and you work out that there is more to this Argylle guy than meets the eye. And yes, it's Henry Cavill. Swoon. 

And there is a big twist about halfway through the film, when you work out just what is going on. I will say no more than this. 

As with many of Michael Vaughn's films, there's great action scenes. The action is full on, but not too gory or messed up - just the level of violence that I can do with ease. This is also very funny in places. Perfect for the day when you want to escape the heat in a nice air-conditioned cinema. 

If anything, it's Jason Fuch's script which lets this down a bit. it's pretty convoluted and maybe just a little long, but the action, the laughs, and Henry Cavill make up for it. I mean, it's got Henry Cavill in it. You can forgive him for just about anything - except maybe the dodgy haircuts he sports in this film - they are pretty terrible. 

Argylle is great fun. Everybody on screen looks like they are having a hoot. Even if you don't see it in the cinema, check it out on the streaming services, even if it is to just perve on Henry Cavill. 

Today's song:

Sunday, February 4, 2024

The Concert: Ludovico Einaudi

The Concert: Ludovico Einaudi

The Location: The Concert Hall at the Sydney Opera House

Playing: Tomorrow at the same place, at the Myer Music Bowl on 7 February and Perth Concert Hall 9-11 February. 

Stars: 5

This was my Christmas present to myself. A night in a lovely hotel, followed by a short mooch in the Museum of Contemporary Art, then a restricted view ticket, up in the nosebleed section of the Sydney Opera House to see Ludovico Einaudi. 

"Who?" you might ask. 

Well, he is a bit of a case of IYKYK (if you know, you know). 

Einaudi is sublime.

"And?" you continue. 

It had to be done. I love Einaudi, and it appears, so do the five thousand people who packed out yesterday's matinee at the Sydney Opera House. Standing ovations. Wolf whistles. The desire to take him home for a barbeque because he looks like a good bloke, even if he is pushing 70, he'd happily be there with a glass of wine in one hand, barbeque tongs in the other. 

Yes, that's what I like about Einaudi. For classical music, it's very accessible. It's meditative, quiet, often gentle. He reminds me a lot of Michael Nyman (think of The Piano soundtrack) with a bit of Yann Tiersen (think the Amelie soundtrack). A lot of his music relies on the premise of a variation on a theme, building on melodies, then coming back to them. You could say that all music does this - but Einaudi does this so well. For those who like arthouse films, he did the soundtracks for Nomadland and The Intouchables (brilliant French film, if you haven't seen it - must be seen in French - the Brian Cranston version doesn't hold a candle to it).

I'd chosen a restricted view seat in the nosebleed section, leaving the closer seats to watch the man and his hands in detail. To be honest, I spent a lot of time sitting there with my eyes closed drinking in what he can do on a piano. A little later he was joined by a cellist, a bloke on the violin and a percussionist, adding to the soundscape. 

He played for the full two hours. Do not ask me the names of the pieces he played. I don't know them. I just know I love his music. 

He introduced his ensemble to loud applause. "And I am Ludovico on the piano," he said humbly.

He received a ten- minute standing ovation. 

He is very loved. Loved so much that there was a queue at the merchandise stand both before and after the performance. 

Maybe it's the excitement of being in the Sydney Opera House, iconic building that it is. You see it all the time, but you rarely go in there. Maybe it's the joy of watching the very mixed crowd of people, being a lot younger than your average classical music set. It's fun seeing how many really dress up for these events. Those in jeans and t-shirts mixed with those dressed up to the nines - even up in the gods where I chose to sit. 

All of this made for a great afternoon, but essentially, this man, his piano and his genius made it memorable. 

If you can score a ticket to one of his concerts, just do it. He comes to Australia fairly regularly. 

You can thank me later. 

Today's song:

Saturday, February 3, 2024

Sunday Stealing on a Saturday

 Greetings from a swanky hotel in Sydney. I managed to pick up a bargain on the room, complete with a big bathtub and even bigger bed - my Christmas treat to myself before seeing Ludovico Einaudi this afternoon. A healthy breakfast of fresh fruit salad and a proper coffee. Life is good. 

Questions, as always, brought to us by Bev at Sunday Stealing

1. What three words best describe you?

Eclectic, kind, bonkers. 

2. What makes you unique?

I don't think I'm that unique. I know that being a little arty and eccentric makes me a bit different. That I have a mix if highbrow tastes mixed in with a love of some very low brow things (for example, I religiously watch Married at First Sight and I can sing along to most Cold Chisel songs, the latter being an Australian thing. Oh, and I like Australian Rules Football).  A lot of people don't get that it is very okay to love arthouse movies as much as you like romantic comedies. 

3. Who is someone important in your life?

I have a funny feeling it will be my new financial adviser. 

4. What is something that always makes you laugh?

Cat videos. Cats are such little cretins at times. So proud yet so dopey. 

5. Who is someone who can always cheer you up?

I have a group of women, with whom I've gone on retreat. Loud, proud and unabashedly themselves. I love spending time with them, and I always come away feeling refreshed, ready for anything and glad to be alive. They're known as the Gunnas and I am very proud to be among their ranks. 

6. When was a time you were really proud of yourself?

Other than when I completed my Masters degree - that was a big thing. Actually getting off my bum and seeking financial advice - that's huge for me too. I'm starting on the journey, but I'm optimistic. 

7. What is something that is difficult for you?

Losing weight. Once you hit menopause it's so hard. At least I'm eating well and keeping fit, even if the kilos aren't shifting. 

8. What three places would you love to travel to?

I love to travel and want to do a lot more if it. And I really want to go and live in Paris for a while. A temporary move, but I'd love to get my French better. 

But three places I'd love to go to are:

  • Japan - it looks amazing. 
  • Cambodia, in particular, Angkor Wat - in spite of the heat. 
  • And I want to go back and do more of Spain - I love that country. 

9. What is a fun memory you have with your best friend?

I have a number of best friends, not just one. So I have lots of good memories with all of them, whether it be hanging out with Geetangeli at some foodie place (Can't wait for Easter when she will be in Melbourne), swimming with Jonella in the bay, Christmas with Blarney and Barney in Tasmania. I'm very blessed. 

10. If you could have dessert for breakfast, what would you eat?

Creme Brulee. There is a French cafe near where I live - and they let you do that. It's very popular. 

11. If you published a book or wrote a movie, what would it be about?

I have three novels in various states of disrepair. 

The first is a modern dystopian novel about what happens when the Conservatives get even more bonkers. 

The second is a lighter comedic book about the Lady Freemasons of Gilgamesh Lodge. My own lodge is providing a lot of fodder. 

The third is a kid's book about the daughter of an accountant and a rock star who has to go and stay with her grandmother. Her grandma is a big hippy. 

12. Which is easier, math or English?

English. Just. I used to be pretty good at maths. I'm also normally the person who sorts the bill out when there's a big group. 

13.What three things make you the happiest?

Lucifer - my cat. 

Holidays in Europe. A big thing. A wonderful think. 

The turn of a beautiful sentence in a well crafted book. 

14. What is an event in your life that has shaped who you are today?

Staying in England in my 20s. I'm not sure where I would be if I'd come back like I was supposed to after two years. 

15. Which is more important, being kind or being honest?

Both of these things are really important to me, but being kind is paramount to everything. Honesty is a very close second. 

Today's song: 

Friday, February 2, 2024

The Room

 I love the decadence of a five-star hotel room. I love the little touches. The carriage alarm clock. The coffee maker. The white fluffy bath sheets which have been plumped into clouds. The proper air conditioning which feels like an Antarctic breeze - the perfect foil for the Sydney humidity. 

Somehow, I managed to find a deal on this wonderful room. For an extra $50 I could trade in booking at a nearby hotel, cheap, but nowhere near as nice, for this, with the promise of a long, deep bath, and quiet hallways (the other place gets a bit noisy - it's a haunt for air crews) and the armchair in which it is great to read. 

The king-sized bed is the perfect mix or not to hard, and not too soft. Goldilocks wouldn't have to think about it. 

And the bathroom products are Balmain.

The room service, comes with crispy chips and a very polite server who was enchanted when I thanked her in Thai. (ขอบคุณ - the only bit of Thai I know.)

"How did you know I'm Thai?" she asked.

"There's about 20 letters in your first name?" I smiled. 

"Can you say it?" she asked.

I gave it a crack. Seems I did good and didn't stuff up the pronunciation too badly. 

Nice people appear to work in five-star hotels. Well, the service staff are exceptional. 

I'd forgotten how nice it is to treat yourself to a big room and a comfy bed and room service for a night. This is my Christmas present to myself. Well, this and the Ludovico Einaudi concert at the Opera House tomorrow. He's playing at the Myer Music Bowl next week - it wouldn't be the same. 

I'm now going to drink my gin and tonic and read a book.

Today's song: 

Thursday, February 1, 2024

I hate training

 Let me qualify this. I actually like training in the exercise form. And I don't mind sitting through all sorts of training sessions. 

I really don't like delivering training. Which is what I was doing this afternoon - providing training to a lot of people online, showing them around the new system. 

It's awful. 

You have to talk for an hour - while your camera is on

And while fielding questions. 

And keeping the tone right. 

And not throwing out too many red herrings. 

And keep reiterating that the system is still being built. 

While trying to remain positive.

And keeping to the time limit. 

And yeah...

Coming out of the session all I wanted was a gin and tonic.

Some say I'm good at it. 

Personally, I'm not so sure. 

Today's song: