Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Well August was pretty darn wonderful, so busy I had no time to think of anything but what's happening next! As Warren Zevon said "I'll sleep when I'm dead"! (September has been much the same hence my tardy delivery of this blog!)

So a quick look at the 42 things (to do while I am 42):
3. Have one night a week where I turn off all electronics and read
Still not weekly, but taking moments of complete silence to read, be it at home or somewhere out and about. It's my form of meditation.
4. Walk more and explore my own surroundings...there is so much I haven't seen in Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and other areas nearby
I have been on a few walks in Newcastle and around Belmont and Warners Bay, not necessarily new places but I always find something new to look at. 




5. Read more of my own books. I tend to purchase these, but they get pushed aside for books I bring home from work
Some of the books read this month were my own. But being so busy, reading is very difficult to fit in.

6. More live music - the very poor list above is very abnormal for me. I'm open to pretty much anything, though snooty about venues!
I went to the album launch for Oliver Mann whilst in Melbourne, a friend of my new friend M, this was a fabulous afternoon of true indie music. I love finding new artists, especially one as talented as Oliver. His voice was remarkable doing folk/guitar type tunes but with an operatic feel.
I also won Mum and Dad tickets to see Ross Wilson at Lizottes. I have seen Ross a few times and thought they might enjoy it and they did. I even managed to tweet Ross and let them know my parents would be there and he gave them a shout out, which was so incredibly kind and very cool. Mum and Dad, but especially Mum, were rather excited by that. 

17. Mini breaks to my favourite places - Melbourne (not been since 2011!!), The Blue Mountains, Mid North Coast, and try new ones
After 2.5 years I made it back to my beloved Melbourne. You can read about it here:

And I will be back in Jan with C for the Doctor Who Symphony! And heading to the Gold Coast next month!

19. Eat and drink out more/20. Get through my list of local restaurants and cafes
How I have maintained my weight this month (and I have!) I really have no idea. Must have been all that walking in Melbourne. I have eaten out A LOT!!!

See Melbourne post, PLUS a few visits to Le Passe Temps, lunches at Honeysuckle, Crepes at Coco Mondo, Hamburgers at Brown Dog (nice meal, but small, overpriced and very ordinary service, not planning on going back and it seems everyone I talk to agrees...shame!) and Thai with C.

22. Wash my car more often
Not really doing the best of job with that, however, whilst I was away my car was left with my parents (so they could do my airport drop off/pick up) and Dad spent seemingly days washing, polishing, cleaning it inside and out. Bless you Dad!!!
26. Go to the farmers markets regularly
Yep, have discovered the Dumpling man now...oh my!!
27. Really listen to in the dark with a glass of something distractions
Yes, I had a Midnight Oil blast earlier in the month, you can read about it here:

31. Have fun and laugh more at work
Great month at work, I had the pleasure of popping out to give a talk to the local Book Club. There were a small group of elderly ladies, who were really interested in the digital collection, ipads and the 3D printer. This warmed my heart to see cutting edge technology embraced with such tenacity. They gave me a lovely arrangement of camellias.
We also had Children's Book Week, where the local retirement village put on a play of Dot and the Kangaroo for the kids and it was marvellous. The kids loved it, the seniors had a blast and the community were thrilled. The following week we had Craig Smith from NZ, doing his Wonky Donkey show. If you don't know Wonky Donkey, you must seek him out. A fabulous and uber-popular kids book set to music.
33. Go to lots of fun social events 
But of course. A couple of movie nights, and some theatre. King Kong (see Melbourne review), Ruben Guthrie (a Newcastle production of Brendan Cowell's confronting play about alcoholism) and Frankenstein.
Drinks and eats as above. I visited the Wildlife Exhibition at the Lovett Gallery, re-read Zeitoun for my Book Club and went to a Travel Writing Workshop. I had my monthly lunch with my gorgeous sisters, plus celebrated the birthday of my sister, A and good friend L. Good times!
36. Take time to do nothing and daydream more often
I did a lot of that in Melbourne, but have been doing it in bits and pieces back home too. Usually finding a spot to plonk myself down and people watch whilst out and about on my walks.
DVDs Watched:
I enjoyed the following: The Sessions, The Letter, Marilyn and Me, Ides of March, Celeste and Jesse, Two days in Paris, Blue Valentine and Barney's version. Bully - a documentary about kids being bullied in Middle America - was well shot but made me cranky and sad. And This is 40 was very ordinary, would not recommend.

The highlight of the month for me was Searching for Sugar Man: If you haven't seen this musical documentary, you simply must! It is about Rodriguez, a South American musician living in the US, he made two albums, toured a little and then disappeared, the story being he committed suicide on on stage. Over the years he got a cult following and in South Africa where he was bigger than Elvis, became a hero to many. The two amazing albums, are now considered classics, his style a slightly more upbeat Bob Dylan. I won't say anymore, though I imagine most now know how the story goes, suffice to say, it is incredibly compelling and touching. If you love great human stories and music, this is the film for you.

And Rockshow: I do not think I can love Paul McCartney any more than I do. I adore The Beatles and he is my favourite. Of course I also love Wings, they are the soundtrack to my childhood. Other kids got to listen to nursery rhymes and the like, me I got Wings and all the other cool 70s music. Rockshow is the re-release of Wings Over America, a triple album of live music recorded over a few shows in 1976. At the time, it was released as a film. I definitely knew the music, but had never seen the full footage. Oh! My! It is remarkable, remember McCartney is only 5 or so years away from The Beatles and really still a kid himself. His voice has never sounded better, he is loving touring with a band of excellent musicians and it is hit after hit after hit, most of which I have not heard in a long, long time. It gets off to a rocking start with the punch of Venus and Mars, Rock Show, Jet and Let Me Roll It! A little further in he does Lady Madonna and The Long and Winding Road and the crowd goes wild. What I love are the faces of the audiences, they are in heaven, it's fabulous! Live and let Die kills, then a little further there's a lovely section of Paul (without the band) singing Bluebird, I've Just Seen a Face, Blackbird and Yesterday. It made the hair stand on the back of my neck and brought tears to my eyes, the audience looked much the same. It moves through oodles more including  My Love, Listen to what the Man Said and Silly Love Songs, before blowing the place up with Band on the Run. It's as perfect a performance as you could ever imagine. I've lent it to my Dad to watch, cause without him I wouldn't love this stuff anyway!
I also watched the following Television:

Breaking Bad S5 - Walt has sunk down the rabbit hole and there is no return for him I suspect and I loved every freaking single minute of it! YEAH BITCH!
Smash S2 - still have a few episodes left. The first season was great, but not popular so they decided to change almost everything about didn't really work. However with a cast of Jack Davenport, Angelica Huston and Debra Messing and fab guest Broadway stars and great music I still watched.
Mr and Mrs Murder - only caught bits on tele, simple husband and wife amateur detectives but it's the pairing of Kat Stewart and Shaun Micalef that make it
Lilyhammer - This is ok, Steve Van Zandt (Sopranos and E Street Band) is a Mafioso sent to Lilihammer on witness protection after dobbing in another. He choose Lillehammer as he thought it looked nice when The Olympics were there. As someone on witness protection he is meant to behave and blend in, two things that are impossible for him. It is a mix of light humour and light drama and the backdrop is magnificent.
Offpsring - This was the season of the looming death, who would it be? I guessed early on it would be Patrick, how could it not be? I think Channel 10 really fucked up in the way they advertised this. It was easily the best season yet of the crazy Houseman family, Kat Stewart's storyline being the most catching. She just kills me, her acting, especially her facial expressions, are second to none. To me, without her, there is no show. I still think killing off anyone was an unnecessary stunt, but am sure single parent Nina will allow for some fabulous screwball comedy. But yes, manipulative as it was, I still cried buckets! Beautifully done.

Broadchurch - this was outstanding television from the Brits. Stunning set and cast with twist and turns and a shocking ending. This could have been a usual predictable UK murder show (yawn) but it was anything but that, each week I held my breath, trying to work out what on earth had happened. Olivia Coleman was brilliant and real, but David Tennant gives good melancholy and his character was a heartbreaking revelation, bravo!
Rockwiz - this is still my favourite show on tv. I think I have missed maybe 2-3 episodes over it's entire run. It's a no brainer, music quiz set in a classic pub with a great band, brilliant guest musical stars, the wonderful Brian Nankervis and the perfect host, Julia Zemiro. Even the audience participation (normally a cringe worthy ingredient to such shows) works perfectly. What a season, culminating in the most perfect finale with Tex Perkins, Don Walker, Charlie Owens and Mia Dyson. Laughs, music, duets and chills.


The Short History of Everything by Bill Bryson - I listened to Bill read his fascinating book on a talking book in the care, well worth a listen!  

After by Morris Gleitzman - this is the 4th installment in this series about a young boy against the backdrop of the holocaust. Gleitzman writes for children beautifully, I have been a fan of his books for many years, he incorporates humour and intelligence with such ease and cleverness, thought this series is low on humour (obviously) it is still a wonderful read. I also had the pleasure of meeting him last year and was pleased to find him as agreeable as his books. He is also married to Mary-Anne Fahey (a children's author herself now) who you might remember as Kylie Mole from the Comedy Company!

Zeitoun by Dave Eggers - this was a re-read for my book club. It's Non Fiction set against the backdrop of Hurricane Katrina and about one man who makes a difference during the storm, but it all goes pear shaped. Quite a riveting read on the human nature, politics, the US and Katrina.

Mom and me and Mom by Maya Angelou - I have no words to explain how much I adore Maya Angelou. Just read her books and you will understand my love for this amazing woman. This little gem is about her relationship with her mother, and her mother with her. It's a fascinating read, and beautifully constructed. I wish she would release more regularly.

Amber Amulet by Craig Silvey - this is another's children's book, but has a great noir feel and I think a book that appeals to both kids and adults. It's about a young and very sensitive boy, who patrols his street at dusk as a super hero. He just wants to make sure everyone is ok, but when he comes across someone who is not, what will he do? Highly recommend.


Depeche mode - new album, really good

Midnight Oil - as mentioned above

Went a bit old school listening to the newish Led Zep compilation, turned to 11 of course!

Fleetwood Mac had a re-release of Rumours, with various versions of the songs on it, was excellent

And at work I have been listening to a lovely French compilation.


Behind the Candelabra - I had been hanging out for this movie for some years. When I first heard it was cast with Michael Douglas and Matt Damon I was intrigued, I could see it and I was impressed they accepted the challenge. The movie was a load of fun, with some great cameos by Rob Lowe, Dan Ackroyd and Debbie Reynolds. But Douglas and Damon were unashamedly dazzling. Not only in acting but in their costumes. The costumes, and indeed the set, were outstanding, more rhinestones and gold than one could ever imagine. They were brave to take on the roles and should be proud. This is a must see!

Red Obsession - this is a documentary about the high end wine business in the South of France and the obsession of it by those in the East. Narrated by Russell Crowe, this is an eye opener. Beautifully filmed, especially of the properties and vineyards in France, it opens right up how business is done and it's not pretty. If the wine industry interests you or you are a Francophile you will love this, but I think the greed and the business part would be interesting to most people too. Quite shocking to see how a very small percentage live.

And finally, the new Doctor for Doctor Who was announced and I was thrilled.

You can read about it here in an article I wrote for Social/Life Magazine:


Simon said...

Some wonderful photos there! What a flat out month!

Some quick comments in response - a friend at work is a mad fan of all things Sugar Man; saw PM and Wings live at Wembley in about 1979/80; brush with fame when I was in Sydney with Ben when he was about 3 (1991) and as we were going past a music shop with a large crowd gathered outside, out came PM, after he done some kind of promotional appearance! Probably about 20 meters from him!

Cathy said...

No rest for the wicked here ;)

I knew Rodriguez and his music, but had no idea about the story behind the man...brilliant!

Totally jealous of your McCartney meeting and Wings experience. I saw him live in the 90s and one of the most exciting nights of my life!

Anonymous said...


I wholeheartedly endorse your comment re: McCartney and Wings in Sydney. My absolute all-time favourite concert. Wasn't it terrific? As for "Sugarman", I loved that movie/doco and I love his music . . "I wonder", playing it now!


Cathy said...

Wendy my love, how are you!?!
We had a blast at Paul McCartney, was thinking of you when I wrote the comment. Glad you enjoyed Sugarman too :)