Monday, March 31, 2014

Don't Think Twice It's All Right: the moment I 'discovered' Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan!!!
I don't know what to say, I adore his music more than almost anything, except The Beatles.
And that my friends, is really saying something.
But it wasn't always this way, I knew Dylan, knew his stuff, as a music lover how can you not? But I think I got caught up in the whole he can't sing, he's a bit too precious, and he's difficult, and I just didn't GET him. Funnily enough, these are the things I love about him the most now! I also was overloaded on his popular folksy stuff way too much in music lessons when I was younger, no matter how good something is, if it is shoved in your face too much, too often, it becomes tiresome. 
And so it went.
When his book, Chronicles, Volume 1, came out, I read it purely out of curiosity, not knowing how much I would love it. Or how much it would make me smile, because of his history and knowledge, and because he was bloody funny.
But also...because he is a wordsmith, a poet, a man with a turn of phrase that delights me, and now has a profound effect on me.
And then one day out of the clear blue sky I heard Don't Think Twice It's Alright on the radio...I song I knew, knew well, but up until then had never really heard.
I remember it so well, it was about 7 years ago, I had my new car about a week, and was driving and thinking about a boy long gone, and this song came on, and I just like that I got Dylan.
I remember going home and digging out his greatest hits and playing it over and over again, sobbing and smiling.
And I was the best possible way.
And it wasn't really about the long gone boy, or every other long gone relationship, it was just the right words to express those feelings, the culmination of life's disappointments and the calmness I felt about them upon hearing that song. Which is why it is my go to song for comfort now. At least that's my interpretation of the feeling of it.
It is not his best song I guess, but for those reasons it will remain my favourite forever, and one song I will never tire of hearing.
I know it is about Suze Rotolo disappearing overseas and abandoning him, mostly as he'd been a bit of a dope and a bit too intense for her, but of course he was bereft and missing her. I read her book and can appreciate both sides of the situation, it's also a fine book.
To me Don't Think Twice It's All Right is also about self respect and love and yearning. All the things that make the world go round really.
And it's a very polite fuck off too, and I love the ambiguity of that.
"You just kinda wasted my precious time, don't think twice it's all right."

That could possibly be one of my favourite lyrics ever.
I think it's also about people not realising the impact they can have on others, for good or for bad, and how we can unwittingly treat others not as well as they deserve, or be treated similarly ourselves, sometimes without even realising until after it has happened.
Other lyrics that really sing to me from it are:
"It ain't no use to sit and wonder why, babe" - advice I need to pay more heed to!
"But I wish there was somethin' you would do or say. To try and make me change my mind and stay" - That moment where you're waiting for that last grand gesture.
"I gave her my heart but she wanted my soul" - that thing where you give the very best of you to someone and they kinda stamp on you and destroy or try to destroy your soul, purposefully or not.
"Goodbye's too good a word, babe. So I'll just say fare thee well" - the ultimate kiss off!
Bless you Bob, whenever I feel down or used or hurt I listen to it and somehow, melancholy as it is, it makes me feel better, it warms my heart, hugs me lyrically and assaults every sense in my body in such a way it can bring me to tears. Sometimes tears of joy, sometimes tears of genuine sadness. I don't mind either way, to me that is the testament of a perfect song.
Musically I love it's rhythm, and the fingering on the guitar is so sweet and intricate. Add in the mellow harmonica and his voice (forlorn and melancholy), to me, sounds pretty perfect and that is why I love it so.

I could go one forever about Bob, but many have done it before me and so much more eloquently.
So instead, here is a list of my favourite things:
The Blonde on Blonde album cover
Blonde on Blonde 
The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan
Blood on the Tracks
Time Out of Mind/Love and Theft/Modern Times trilogy
Christmas in the Heart
Like A Rolling Stone - his best song
Subterranean Homesick Blues - all those words, all that attitude, musically fluid, and THAT video!
If Not For You and the pretty xylophone riff
Don't Look Back AND No Direction Home
The vibe and sentiment of Knocking on Heaven's door and Forever Young
His sense of humour...probably moreso in later life
He wrote the Ab Fab theme song...many years earlier of course
Chronicles, Volume 1
His wild hair and those cool black sunglasses
He's daggy AND the epitome of cool simultaneously
His authenticity
His intelligence
His way with words
His politics and hippy peace
He does it his way
He is fucking important musically
The perfect poetry of Blowin' in the Wind
"You may call me Bobby, You may call me Zimmy" in You Gotta Serve Somebody
Manfred Mann's cover you You Angel You
The Band and The Last Waltz
Theme Time Radio Hour
The beauty and fragility of Just Like A Woman
And the way I'll be your Baby tonight makes me melt
It's all over now, Baby Blue - his voice is not great in this, but the intent in there and his phrasing and rhyming is fabulous
Every single lyric he has ever written

An aside, I've been working on this for over a week, and could do forever and still not be happy with it. No doubt, once I hit publish I will think of something to add or change, but I'll let it go for seems the right thing to do...


Documentary Review: A Band Called Death

I've just seen the most wonderful and inspirational music documentary called A Band Called Death.

I watch a lot of docos, they are probably my favourite genre of film. I had not heard of this one, it came through my hands ts work and it sounded interesting.

It was more than interesting, about a 'proto-punk' band called Death that formed in Detroit the early 70s. This is before The Ramones, before The Sex Pistols, really before punk took off, but they are punker than punk and extraordinarily good. Actually, one of the best punk sounds I have ever heard.

The band were an African American trio of brothers, David, Dannis and Bobby Hackney and their roots were in RnB, but then they 'discovered' The Who, and added rock into their riffs. You can hear the genesis of this in their songs, big Townshend guitar sounding riffs. The mix of styles formed this sharp proto-type of punk. Moved by the death of their father, David insisted on changing the bands name to Death. He felt it was the right word, a positive and spiritual thing, but back then it was just too hard a sell. Here were three black dudes, playing a new style of music, and they were called Death!!

Looking back it was authentically visionary.

They cut some demos and made a single of Politicians in My Eyes (which is a fucking fantastic tune, musically and lyrically). Clive Davis was interested in recording them, but on one condition.

They had to change their name!

Dannis and Bobby were like sure. David stuck to his guns and his vision, and refused to have his integrity changed, and so the deal went south.

And that was that for many years...but there's more...

And I really want to write about it all, so if that is enough for you to seek out this fabulous documentary, stop now and go forth and find out for yourself....otherwise, spoilers are coming...

The boys continued to play, write, and record, but not as Death, it was sporadic and mostly gospel then Reggae, and they thought Death was not meant to be. David, always the thinker of the three, was still sure they had something good. He recorded solo work under the name Rough Francis. Time went on, David got lung cancer and died. Ever the visionary, prior to passing he ensured Bobby kept all of their demos, because he felt someday someone would see how good it all was.

And then the Politicians in My Eyes single popped up underground in the vinyl collectors movement, especially among punk collectors, and people started to talk.

Bobby's son, Bobby Jnr, was really into punk and someone gave him a copy. Not knowing the back story, he realised it was his father. Hearing Bobby Jnr talk about this in the film is nothing short of amazing. He approached his father and his father told him the story. Bobby Jnr and Bobby's other 2 sons, formed a punk band and began playing songs by Death and their Uncle David.

They called themselves Rough Francis.

Death had a resurgence, people wanted to reprint the singles and make an album, and Rough Francis were getting asked to tour. Then Joey Ramone's brother found out about it all and asked Death to reform and play with Rough Francis at the annual Joey Ramone Birthday Bash.

David Hackney's vision was on the money...but he wasn't there to share it.

Listening to the brothers talk about David and the bittersweet feelings of joy and sadness, joy of his/their vision finally being achieved but sad David wasn't there to be part of it was absolutely heart wrenching.

By this point I was in tears, who would have thought a punk story would be so bloody sad and yet so incredibly uplifting.

They felt they couldn't really reform as David was their guitarist and it was his riffs and licks that really made the band. However they asked a friend, Bobbie Duncan, to have a go at David's work, and he nailed it. It left them a little broken as it was like a divine intervention. And so they now tour and play and record.

And if that is not a story about following or never really letting go of your dreams then I don't know what is. 35 years later they made it!!

I really need to get their records, I think the music is fucking awesome!!

The documentary goes into a lot more detail, has loads of cool Musos talking about Death, including Jello Biafra and Henry Rollins. It is a well presented documentary and you go ever so willing on this crazy ride with these gentle yet funky family men. It's not just about following a dream, punk music, and redemption, but about love of family and a bittersweet tribute to the vision behind it all, David Hackney.

Even if you are not into punk, but love music or a good story, I urge you to check out this film. It's one of the best I have seen.

Saturday, March 29, 2014


February - you seem so long ago and I thought you exhausted me, but truly you were gentle compared to March. Not complaining, well maybe a little, but life is too short not to grasp it and live it hard, but even I need a little down time to recharge my batteries!

The month commenced in Melbourne which is always a wonderful thing, but I wrote all about that in January's Round Up

When I returned from Melbourne I still had another week off work. I had a few days rest, babysitted my niece and nephew, and spent time at their property.

Brunched with L one day, S the next. Had a last look at Brett Whiteley at Newcastle Art Gallery, Caught up with N & V over Chinese, had dinner with A & J, and watched some movies. Did this really even happen, I can hardly remember it!?!

Oh and my friend, L, caused a media sensation and kinda saved the world with #SPCSunday! Proud as punch I am!

So I was well rested for my first week back at work which was the lead up to Library Lovers Day on Friday 14. We had events during the week culminating with a Movie Night on the big day. Our first movie night, the brainchild of my colleague, T, was well received with a lovely group of people all dressed in their fineries for a viewing of Strictly Ballroom.

Also during the week I went to my first GenXWomen event where L, B, and myself breakfasted with about 60 other women our age and listened to the fabulous Shirva Geepta talk. I had dinner at Bocados, Warners Bay with J, and sobbed my way through 12 Years a Slave. 

I had lunch and spent time with my family, had my first Bibliptweeps Bookclub for the year where we discussed The Book Thief, a modern classic by Markus Zusak. The afternoon turned to rain and I took my other book, Unbearable Lightness of Being, up to Bar Beach Carpark to read.

I then met with L and S for an evening at The Ocean Baths, and to see Diving Off the Edge of The World by Tantrum Theatre. What an experience, with dance, short plays, fun, a documentary and synchronised swimming at various locations around the stunning Deco Baths. We had a delightful time and even the weather held off (mostly) for us. We also indulged in the most amazing Pork Belly Burgers and Beetroot Scallops at Scotties prior to the show.

I also guest posted for the now sadly defunct iamnewcastle account. Hosted generously by my good friend M, I got to tell everyone over the course of a week about me and my connections to Newcastle. I really enjoyed this and got splendid feedback from those who were interested. I surprised myself by loving talking about past generations of my family, their influence on me and those around them. I reminisced about days gone by, things I got up to as a kid and a teen, and what I love about my surrounds now. It was a really great feeling to share such things.

My beloved Regal Cinema reopened, oh how I've counted down the days. I was lucky enough to gain an invite to the special opening night, I was thrilled to locate my chair with a special plaque on it. It is for everyone I know, so please go and have a seat on me!!! It is located on the right hand side as you look at the screen, three rows from the back right on the wall. Two days later, we returned, A, J, L and myself to see the fabulous Dallas Buyer's Club. Wow!!

In between we all went to see Frances Ha at the Carriage Shed Cinema, it was a crazy night but we managed Scottie's takeaway, some Pimms and an outdoor picnic prior to the film. We'd seen this film when it first came out and loved it so much, I think I enjoyed it even more the second time! It's about having great friends, so pleased I saw it with my great friends, J, L and A! And we checked out a cool new bar in the west end, The Edwards.

A and I also saw Nebraska, which we loved.

Reviews of Oscar movies watched this month can be read here.

Work was busy, I worked on a Dr Seuss display, went conferencing at Singleton, visited Lake Macquarie Art Gallery, and worked really hard to promote the Anita Heiss Tour.

Oh, and I bought a Ukulele...finally...


I don't have much to share for February, was too busy.
Books read
Yours truly: cathartic confessions, passionate declarations and vivid recollections from Women of Letters curated by Marieke Hardy and Michaela McGuire
This is the third volume in this wonderful series. Again chock full of heart wrenching, honest and fun stories. This time my favourites were:

Amanda Palmer - to the person who told me the truth, which was about her friend Anthony

A letter to my other half - Megan Washington and Benjamin Law about their fun and long friendship

Hamish Blake and Zoe Foster Blake - cute letters back and forth working planning what they want to say.

To the woman who changed my life - William McInnes to a hairdresser who gave him a perm, hilarious! and Richard Fidler's love letter to his wife...sigh...

Anita Heiss - The moment the lights came on - a hilarious and honest appraisal of academia

The fault in our stars by John Green
All the kids are reading this, so whenever something is popular I guess I have to read it, part of the job! This was ok, a bit like Nicholas Sparks for teens, soppy and sad, not my thing at all! But I can see why it's popular.

The Forgotten Affairs of Youth by Alexander McCall Smith
I do like his Isabel Dalhousie series, they are my guilty pleasure, nothing much happens in them, but she is a philosopher, and he uses words so beautifully, I just escape into the melancholy that is Edinburgh and breathe in their lives. Having said that, this one did not hold me as previous ones have, so I am possibly starting to tire of them.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
I read this when it first came out, a follower of Zusak's work from his early teen days, I could see his writing develop into something fine, but never for a moment thought he would deliver such an instant masterpiece. I recall when I first read it, I was holidaying at Fingal Bay, in this holiday hut thing. The afternoons were warm, so I'd crank up the old air con, pour a drink and read, read, read. I'd often have Max on in the background, it was the Summer of Bernard Fanning's Wish You Well, to this day that song and The Book Thief go hand in's all rather odd. 

But the worst thing was I found it difficult to get into. I only brought one book with me, knowing it was a big book and how much I loved his work. I realised it just took a while to get used to the style, which once understood is haunting and stunning and humourous and devastating. I laughed and sobbed my way through it. And so on to now, with a movie coming out, I scheduled it as the first read for my work Movie Book Club and for my personal Bibliotweeps Book Club. 

This time, I listened to the talking book of it in the car. So much more detail when you listen, and the reader sounded awfully like my beloved Neil Gaiman, I was in heaven listening to it. I did not anticipate the impact of the end of the book, it finished as I was driving to visit my parents, I parked my car outside their house and sobbed (if you haven't worked it out by now, it doesn't take much to make me cry!). Dad was hosing the garden, and tapped on my door to see what I was up to, lol!

If you haven't read The Book Thief, you simply must. It is a Holocaust story (a subject matter that kills me, but I oddly have always been drawn to), but a gentle one, told from the perspective of a young girl. The narrator is death, who tells the story with a little wit and the right sort of dry humour. I've yet to meet anyone who has not appreciated the story.

After Dark by Haruki Murakami
Murakami is one of my most favourite writers. I have devoured his essays and short works of non-fiction and after proclaiming Norwegian Wood (the first fiction title of his I read) as one of the best, romantic novels I have ever read and placed it firmly in my top 10 books of all time, I bought a huge stack of his other titles! I started this in Melbourne last year and been savoring it ever since...he is that kind of writer, he is poetic and scrumptious, and sensual and stunning. His pace is slow and even and ponderous in the right possible way. Barring Norwegian Wood, he writes most of his fiction in the magic realism style. After Dark is one such example. Set in Tokyo late at night, a range of characters run into each other over the course of the evening, each drawn to each other and connected in the most intricate ways. It is romantic, and rough, and freaky, and beautiful.

Love Marilyn - a doco about her life with footage but actors reading from her letters/dairies/writing. I really enjoyed this, a fresh take on the subject.

Parades end - English mini-series about a love triangle between Rebecca Hall, Benedict Cumberbatch (sigh) and Adelaide Clemens as the world turns towards World War I. Also stars Miranda Richardson, who is always a pleasure to watch.

Sherlock S3 -  More Benedict, and this series, whilst, not as great as the two previous, was still outstanding.

Derek - I loved this series so very much, I was worried at first, that it was making fun of the subject matter, but it was beautifully told, funny and melancholy, brilliant acting, and made me weep.

Rush - the epic tale of James Hunt and Niki Lauder's show down in F1 in the 70s. As a huge F1 fan, my expectations were high, I am a fan of Lauder and in awe of his comeback. The film was a sheer delight, thrilling, attention to detail, great acting, and of course what a story. I only wish I had seen it on the big screen.

Metallica: through the never - I always loved Metallica, they are my heavy metal band of choice. But then I saw Some Kind of Monster and will never really be able to look at them again in the same light. A better doco you'll never get, but boy it had it's funny moments. This is another doco and to be honest it was very ponderous in the wrong sort of way, set against a Metallica concert, a young roadie is sent on a mission - of which I forget - it turns surreal, but really who cares, it's the music we want and they do sound good!

Hmmm, I bought a lot of music this month but have hardly listened to anything. I know I listened to Bob Seger and Nick Cave at work a lot, but then, that's nothing new. They are my go to comfort music or calming music when I need to concentrate...usually on budgets and statistics. My brain is wired for words not numbers!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Neil Finn: falling at his feet...

I saw Neil Finn for the upteenth time on Thursday night.
I've seen him so many times now I have lost count, I've seen him play solo, with various backing bands, with his brother Tim, with Split Enz once, and of course many times with Crowded House.
I guess you could say I'm a fan. 
He's never ever delivered a bad performance, but this last performance, at the beautiful Civic Theatre - my Mecca for all things wonderful in Newcastle - was superb.
He played a mix of everything, songs from the new album, Dizzy Heights, solo tunes, obscure tracks rarely played live, Crowded House tracks, and a large selection of Split Enz.
He also channeled The Kinks and Michael Jackson, playing the guitar and drums almost at once, which was fabulously fun!
He also played a lot at the piano, songs he hadn't played on the piano before too, and they were superb!
And he was loving every single minute of it, having fun with us the audience, playing and joking about. This is not unusual for him, but it just made me appreciate what a consummate yet genuine performer he is. It's a rare thing, I have spoken about this before. I go to a lot of concerts, and it's really rare to go to a dog (I have good taste you know!) but sometimes whilst the performance is great you just don't feel the love, it feels somewhat perfunctory. You never ever get that with Neil.
His band was not Split Enz or Crowded House but they were pretty good. His wife is playing bass with this incarnation of the band, and I wondered how she felt, and indeed how he felt, hearing these stunning songs, so obviously written for her, performed with her own interaction. It must be the ultimate romantic notion...or at least to me.
But really, it's all about Neil. His stage presence, the way he glides about on stage, his spectacular voice, and those songs.
For me, as much as I love his musicality, it's the lyrics. They bring me to my knees, his way with words is second to none. They are poetry in motion, and filled with emotion and romance.
As he writes in one of my favourite tunes, "Where your words devour my heart. And put me to shame, put me to shame."
Neil, that's what we think about you.
My heart was caressed, melted, and devoured for the entire time you were on stage. 
I think at some point in the future I will have to post about my favourite Neil Finn lyrics...

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Songs that make me smile: TUSK

I love how certain songs and music you love (or not) can take you to a place, time, and feeling and just make you smile.

Tusk by Fleetwood Mac is one of those for me.

And I have to say just listening to it today has brought me so much joy and happiness if I could bottle it I would!
It's the title track to their 'experimental' album from 1979. Their own White Album if you will. At the time one of the most expensive albums ever made. A follow up to their instant hit album, Rumours, Tusk sold nowhere near as well.
There are two reasons the song strikes a chord with me; the song itself, and my memories of it as a child.
I would have been 8 when Dad bought the album Tusk, and I remember him particularly playing that song really loud. It is a song that needs to be played loud I think.
I also remember it's unusual but now iconic film-clip, set in a large stadium with a marching band (The University of Southern California Trojan marching Band) and Fleetwood Mac mucking about on it. I remember them carrying a cardboard cut out of John McVie and I couldn't work that one out, where was he? I know I spent a lot of time thinking about that. I now know he was in Tahiti holidaying. I was a strange kid but it all intrigued me somehow, it was funny and weird and large, in sound and in look. I have always loved large and overblown anything.
I also thought Mick Fleetwood was a bit weird jumping around all over the shop and Christine wasn't featured much. As an adult I realise Mick was probably on something, and as a drummer his mind must have been blown hearing his drum solos played out so amazingly, and that Christine never liked the limelight.
I remember the film-clip being played a lot on Countdown, so much so I figured it must have been number one, but I don't think that was the case. Maybe it was just played a lot or maybe I thought it was played a lot, the mind is a funny thing.
I remember Lindsay had no beard and looked so good looking, and he was laughing and having fun and I was so in love with him. Also a few of the marching band members hugged him and I thought I need to play an instrument to get into a marching band! I remember Stevie looking fabulously cool in a see through cream strapless dress and a floppy straw hat, I loved her baton twirling. I do remember Mum mucking about with some of her own marching girl moves which amused and embarrassed us equally. To see your Mum bust moves like that when you are 8 is strange. Mum had been a champion marching girl when she was a young girl.
That film-clip is ingrained into my soul, my childhood, my memories!
The song is also one of those great songs, an instant classic and because it is essentially an instrumental song, you don't hear it on the radio so much these day. In fact it's a song I rarely hear at all.
It starts with a tribal drum beat and what sounds like an audience over it and then after a few bars the vocals come in very soft but in beat with the drums. And then a few guitar chords in between beats. It builds slowly then a funky guitar beat with more singing and some tribal style chanting, and Lindsay shrieking, "Don't say that you love me". Very anthemaic and very addictive.
And the manic drum beat to the steel guitar solo, all the while that same original drum beat continuing and finally the brass section of the band striking in. Building to a loud cacophony of perfection.  
It is such a positive and uplifting image from my childhood, it awakens every sense and I will never tire of hearing it!
And I'm sharing it here today as I've had a rough week and I always revert to comfort music when I'm feeling weary. A Fleetwood Mac compilation came through my hands at work and the timing was serendipitous and I was also playing it in the car today feeling good after some time spent with fabulous friends. I flicked the volume up high, very high, and played it on repeat all the way home.

And just like that I got my mojo back!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Oscar Watch, Part Five: The Fashion

I not much of a fashionista, but I know what I like. 

So here are my favourites from The Oscars today.

There was a lot of blush and nude. This disappoints me, I love a splash of colour on the red carpet. But there were the best of this trend:

Cate Blanchett - I also loved her hair and earrings

Lady GaGa - seriously stunning

Penelope Cruz, always a goddess

And Julie Delpy - love how it fits and the brooch

Then there was white:

I love the detail on Calista's dress

Old Hollywood glamour on Kate - with a cape!!

There was a little black and grey:

Anne Hathaway looking very modern and very sexy

Kerry Washington perfecting maternity

Not much red this year:

Jennifer Lawrence looked great in Red

Navy was also big:

Amy Adams played it safe and disappointing

Sandra Bullock modernised 50s glamour

Sticking with a blue theme:

I loved Liza's hair!!

My runner up is:

Lupita Nyong'o stunning in pale blue

And my winner:

Jennifer Garner shimmying in silver

Oh and we cannot forget:


Oscar Watch, Part Four: The Show

The Oscars are over for another year, much like Christmas the lead up takes forever and then before you know it they're gone!
The Winners

For the record I scored 20, which equals my 2009 top score, so I did well. I bummed out on the 2 Short Films (the hardest category to guess and I think I've only gotten them once or twice anyways) and The Original Score and Sound Mixing. Never mind.
So Gravity was the real winner of the evening, picking up most the technical awards, 7 in all, including Alfonso Cuaron for Best Director.
My favourite wins were Spike Jonze for the original screenplay of Her, I cannot think of a more original story ever than the magnificent Her, so was thrilled. And I think the audience were too, they gave him a standing ovation. I loved Catherine Martin grabbing another 2 Oscars making it a double double of 4 all up - now that's impressive. I was thrilled with all four acting awards and loved 12 Years A Slave won best picture. It was not my favourite, yet it was surely the most important film of the night...if ever!?!
There were no real surprises, everything was pretty much as you would imagine. I guess Jonze, and 12 Years winning Best Picture, were surprises as such, but pleasant ones.
The Speeches
Best speech was a tie between the Best Supporting roles - Lupita Nyong'o and Jared Leto for thoughtful, heart wrenching speeches regarding the subject matter of their films and also about following your dreams no matter what, and the people in their lives that inspired them to do so. Not exactly original I guess, but when you see the speeches you will agree.
"Our Cate" as she is forever known, was also incredibly eloquent and very Australian, and McConaughey was audacious in the right kind of way. Although I can see he is coping flack online for not acknowledging the subject matter of his film...I guess you can't please all the people all the time.
I also loved hearing the joy in Darlene Love's voice as she sang through part of the acceptance speech for 20 Feet From Stardom. And the winners of the Doco Short about the 110 yr old piano playing Holocaust survivor who had passed away only a week earlier.

The director of The Great Beauty thanked my hero, Fellini. I am yet to see the film, but could tell it was Fellini-esque, so was pleased to hear him thank the great man.
A lot of the above brought tears to my eyes, cause I'm a sook like that!
The Host
It was a good show and I thought Ellen kept things 'nice', she was Ellen, and there was nothing controversial, and she kept the show flowing.
I'm not complaining, but I like a spectacle and to be honest this year had nothing in terms of that!
The Good
Jim Carrey - always funny
Sally Field - always glorious
Karen O singing my favourite song, from Her
Kevin Spacey - cause Kevin Spacey!!
Sidney Poitier and Angelina Jolie (Oh, an aside, I think I have changed sides and joined Team Jolie!)
Kim Novak - cause KIM NOVAK, Vertigo and Hitchcock
Pink - who I can normally take or leave, was pretty pretty good singing Over the Rainbow
Idina Menzel singing - always a pleasure
The Bad
That happy song by the dude in the big hat and red plastic shoes. Urghhhh. I do love his stuff with Daft Punk, but that happy song makes me anything but for the kids I guess!?!
Will Smith presenting Best Picture...surely there was someone with gravitas out there???
Tyler Perry - Who?
Kim Novak - what has she done to that beautiful face?
Bette Midler singer Wind Beneath My Wings - I love Bette as The Divine Miss M, I was thrilled she was going to be in the show, had hoped for something way more sassy
The Ugly
Harrison Ford - not ugly in looks but ugly in manner or rather lack thereof. I do think he was channeling Clint Eastwood, or maybe he needs glasses, either way there as a lot of squinting AND as someone on Twitter said, Indiana Jones should not be wearing an earring
John Travolta - looking more plastic than ANYONE there and totally fucking up Idina Menzel's name - I mean she is Broadway royalty!!!!
My favourite moments
Lupito Nyong'o winning
Cate Blanchett winning
Spike Jonze Winning
BILL MURRAY -cause he's the freaking best
Ewan McGregor - cause he's gorgeous
Benedict Cumberbatch cause he's Benedict Cumberbatch
Group Selfie that broke Twitter
Whoopi's stockings and shoes
And so wraps up another year...stay tuned for Fashion next!!!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Oscar Watch, Part Three: The Predictions

I love this time of the year more than anything!!! Oscar time, Oscar, Oscar!
I love film, and I guess I do love a spectacle and it doesn't get much more spectacular than The Academy Awards.
As a classic movie fan, and an avid Oscars watcher for many years, I love the ceremony and little nods to it's history.
For years I have put it out there who I think will win and who I would like to win - more often than not very different answers.
Who I think will win is difficult, I try to think like the voters and guess EVERY category. Some years I do well, others not so much.
The best score I have had is 20 correct in 2009. My average is 15/16 out of the 24 categories, which isn't too shabby.
Who I would like to win is much easier, as this is my personal choice.
I do get ranty about commentators who have no idea about the show and it's history, and whilst I love the fashion it's the little moments I live for in an Oscar telecast.
So onto this year... 

Best Picture
I have seen all films except Captain Phillips.
Who Will Win: 12 Years A Slave
This is a really hard category. This is between Gravity, American Hustle and 12 Years A Slave. And I have been teetering over it for weeks. As soon as I saw American Hustle I had it locked in but then I saw 12 Years A Slave and I think it is more of a masterpiece, but it's difficult viewing. Gravity seems to be a late winner. Alfonso won the Director's Guild and that is usually an indicator. And also the Producer's Guild (along with 12 Years A Slave, of which it tied!) It is rare the votes are split with Director and Best Picture being different, and it happened last year but two years in a row? I am going with 12 Years A Slave, but really I have no idea!
Who I Want to Win: American Hustle
It was my favourite movie of the lot.
Best Director
Who Will Win: Alfonso Cuaron
You can't beat those scenes in space. And he won the Director's Guild.
Who I Want To Win: Alfonso Cuaron
You can't beat those scenes in space. Plus, I have never been so physically affected as I have in the first 30mins of this movie!
Best Actor
Who Will Win: Matthew McConaughey
A divine performance, a transformation character and a transformation of the actual actor, from pretty boy to contender. The voter's love this!
Who I Want To Win: Matthew McConaughey
I never rated McConaughey, but in the last couple of years, since The Paperboy I think, he has chosen interesting role after interesting role and knocked them all out of the park. I just love that, and he killed me in Dallas Buyers Club. Having said that I think Leonardo Di Caprio is long overdue for an Oscar, and his range in Wolf of Wall Street was stunning. And I loved Chiwetel Ejiofor's solid performance in 12 Years A Slave.
Best Actress
Who Will Win: Cate Blanchett
She's won everything, it's a go for Cate!

Who I Want To Win: Cate Blanchett
The rest are fine and on any other year all deserving, but seriously, this is a no brainer.
Best Supporting Actor
Who Will Win: Jared Leto
He has won pretty much everything. Transgender character. Disease. The voter's love this!

Who I Want To Win: Jared Leto
I actually loved Jonah Hill in Wolf of Wall Street, a similar transformation to McConaughey. But Jared Leto broke my heart, and you had no idea it was him!
Best Supporting Actress
Who Will Win: Lupita Nyong'o
This is hard I do think it comes down to Lupita Nyong'o or June Squibb. I guess for her first role Lupita will have more opportunities and Squibb may never get the opportunity again. But Oscar loves young women. Julia Roberts could be an upset, due to her movement into the Supporting Role. Jennifer Lawrence has also been thrown around as a contender, she was outstanding, but I doubt she'll get back to back wins. I have sat on this one until the last moment and realised at almost every Oscar there is a wild card, the least expected and this year this is that category. But I'm going with Lupita.

Who I Want To Win: Sally Hawkins
Really!?! How do you choose? They all should win. Julia Roberts (another I never rated) should be up for Best Actress, she acted Streep off the screen. Jennifer Lawrence, a bona fida star, showed her astonishing range. June Squibb was luminous AND sassy. Lupita Nyong'o was simply outstanding. But to me Sally Hawkins has been so overlooked for Blue Jasmine. A fine actress, I've been following her for some years, she is always solid and more than held her own against Blanchett which is a force to be reckoned with.
Animated Feature
Who Will Win: Frozen
It's the favourite!

Who I Want To Win:  Ernest and Celestine
I have not seen any of these films, I am not a huge fan on animation. However I love the books, Ernest and Celestine.
Original Screenplay
Who Will Win: Her - Spike Jonze
Won the Writers Guild, the Academy love Jonze and it is a highly original concept.

Who I Want To Win:  Her - Spike Jonze
Stunning screenplay, original, full of heart, unusual, touching. I loved this film's story.
Adapted Screenplay
Who Will Win: 12 Years A Slave
Usually goes with Best Picture win, and it's a formidable adaptation of a loved historical tome.

Who I Want To Win: Before Midnight - Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke
Because between the three of them they make magic. I also adore Steve Coogan, so if he wins for Philomena I would be equally happy.
Production Design
Who Will Win: Catherine Martin - The Great Gatsby
Stunning attention to detail, she is the real deal.

Who I Want To Win: Catherine Martin - The Great Gatsby
Stunning attention to detail, she is the real deal. Having said that, each nominee has created a visual masterpiece, so a difficult one.
Who Will Win: Gravity
This should be a no brainer

Who I Want To Win: Gravity
I thought I was in space. That is all. Shout out to Nebraska which was postcard picture perfect
Costume Design
Who Will Win: Catherine Martin - The Great Gatsby
Those costumes, but American Hustle comes very close I must admit.

Who I Want To Win: Catherine Martin - The Great Gatsby
Those costumes, but American Hustle comes very close I must admit.
Documentary Feature
Who Will Win: 20 Feet From Stardom
This was hard, up until today I really thought The Act of Killing would win, but I read a whole lot of blogs from people I rate and this is their choice. The thought is The Act Of Killing should win, but won't as it is simply too difficult a subject matter. I am torn, but gone with the crowd pleaser. I guess we will see.

Who I Want To Win: N/A
I've not seen any of the films
Documentary Short
Who Will Win: The Lady in Number 6: Music saved my life
I did some research on each of the films, and this about a 109 year old piano playing Holocaust survivor ticks all the boxes.

Who I Want To Win: N/A
I've not seen any of the films
Film Editing
Who Will Win: Gravity
I am guessing Gravity will win most of the technical awards.

Who I Want To Win: Gravity
Stunning editing. You thought you were in Space.
Foreign Language
Who Will Win: The Great Beauty
This is the one film that keeps coming up again and again. I've seen the trailer and it looks stunning and rather Fellini-esque!

Who I Want To Win: N/A
I've not seen any of the films
Hair and Make-Up
Who Will Win: Dallas Buyers Club
The transformations of both McConaughey and Leto make this a no-brainer.

Who I Want To Win: Dallas Buyers Club
The transformations of both McConaughey and Leto make this a no-brainer.
Music (Original Score)
Who Will Win: Saving Mr Banks
This is the contender from all my reading, and it makes sense. Though I imagine Williams' score from The Book Thief is stunning and Gravity was also very good.

Who I Want To Win: Her
I loved the soundtrack to this.
Music (Original Song)
Who Will Win: Frozen
This is the favourite plus Idina Menzel!!!

Who I Want To Win: Her or Mandela
I love both equally and cannot chose, love to see U2 or Karen O win.
Short Film (Animated)
Who Will Win: Get a Horse
This seems a lock in from my reading. It was the opening short to Frozen and stars Mickey Mouse!

Who I Want To Win: N/A
I've not seen any of the films
Short Film (Live Action)
Who Will Win: Just before Losing Everything
A French film about a woman escaping domestic violence.

Who I Want To Win: N/A
I've not seen any of the films
Sound Editing
Who Will Win: Gravity
A lot of time there was no dialogue and nothing but 'sound', and it worked.
Who I Want To Win: Gravity
A lot of time there was no dialogue and nothing but 'sound', and it worked.
Sound Mixing
Who Will Win: Inside Llewyn Davis
Music films almost always win these.
Who I Want To Win: Inside Llewyn Davis
Music films almost always win these, and I've heard most of the music and love it.
Visual Effects
Who Will Win: Gravity
You thought you were in space!
Who I Want To Win: Gravity
You thought you were in space! Although I did love Smaug in The Hobbit.

I'm also looking forward to Ellen as host and the fashion on the red carpet. Stay tuned to find out how I went with my predictions. Unsure how I will go this year, some difficult choices there!