Thursday, December 31, 2015


What I’ve been Reading
Girl in a band by Kim Gordon
This is a great memoir about Kim and her life in and out of Sonic Youth. I enjoyed her writing style and stories. It begins with her final performance with Sonic Youth after finding her husband had been cheating on her for some time with a groupie. This paints a fascinating picture and shows her tenacity, shame on you Thurston!!! But it’s more than a break-up story, it’s about life being ‘that rock chick’ in a band, being a mother on the road, being a feminist, and all round interesting person. This book really kicks A and I loved it!
Paris in Style by Janelle McCulloch
Janelle puts together the most beautiful travel books, part travel guide, part memoir, part art book. This lovely one on Paris covers all of that and more. The perfect companion for the Francophile within.
Green Nomads by Bob Brown  - a lovely coffee table book of photos and musings about travelling in the country of our beloved land but the great Bob Brown
Sick in the Head: conversations about life and comedy by Judd Apatow – this is a fun book with conversations or interviews with a wide and varied range of comedians including Garry Shandling, Lena Dunham, Amy Schumer, Albert Brooks, James L Brooks, Mike Nichols, Steve Martin etc.

Flesh Wounds by Richard Glover – I’ve been listening to this brilliant memoir in the car. Dry, funny, and heartbreaking, this is the story of Richard’s unusual family. Through his columns in the SMH, you get the idea his upbringing has not been ideal but until the story is laid out as he does in his own voice you just don’t grasp the severity of it. Yet he seems relatively unharmed, this is a great story and despite it’s weirdness and at times darkness, absolutely enjoyable.

Reckoning by Magda Szubanski – this is divine, the most stunning story, told eloquently and uniquely in beautiful prose in a dramatic way with shades of humour. Mostly about her family and upbringing and only tipping around the edges of her fame, this is one of the best reads of the year. Highly recommended

M Train by Patti Smith  - I am almost finished this remarkable book and plan to by days end. It is as good, if not better, than Just Kids, and that is saying something. Musings on her life, inner thoughts, he love for her late husband, poetry, crime shows, dreams, favourite cafes and so on, you feel like you are part of her inner world, her head, her thoughts and this is the most divine thing. Patti is a goddess amongst goddesses, the queen of modern poetry and punk, someone to look up at and to. There is something serene and meditative about her writing that I find calming, intuitive, and inspirational. I cannot wait for what comes next.

What I’ve Been Watching
2 Autumns, 3 Winters –  a sweet little French film about three young Parisians and their interactions, including love and loss, over 2 Autumns and 3 Winters.
Sex, love and therapy – a very French comedy, about a recovering sex addict (Patrick Bruel) who becomes a marriage counsellor and becomes infatuated with his lovely assistant (Sophie Marceau). This was a lot of fun.
Two days, one night – as always Marion Cotillard is stunning in this dramatic film about a young worker who has been off on stress leave from her factory job. She finds out her co-workers have taken a pay rise in exchange for her job, and has weekend to convince them to change their stance. This would be a boring movie if not for the stunning performance by Cotillard, who I believe is the greatest working actress today.
Living is easy with eyes closed – this is a great Spanish film about a school teacher who is a Beatles fan and finds out John Lennon will be shooting a film across the country. He goes on a road trip and picks up two young adults along the way. This is essentially a coming of age story/road trip story, but is funny and dramatic and beautifully filmed.
Going Clear – doco about the craziness of Scientology as told by those from the upper echelon who are no longer within. Fascinating, haunting, and unbelievable!
Dior and I –   a gripping documentary about Raf Simons, the new head designer at Christian Dior Fashion House, and his first Haute Couture collection. Raf is a genius but also part shy and part diva which makes for fascinating viewing. But really it’s about that stunning Dior style.
Love is strange – I really wanted to love this melancholy little film but found it dreary. It is a weird premise about an older couple, John Lithgow and Alfred Molina who due to Molina being outed at his school is sacked and they can no longer afford to live in their NY rent controlled apartment. The move into separate places with family and friends (which makes no sense) and they are sad. I’m just not sure why and what the movie was trying to do.
Unbroken – the extraordinary story of an Olympic athlete who survived atrocities during WWII including 47 days on a raft before being captured and placed in a Japanese POW camp. A beautifully written story (The Coen Brothers) and sublime direction from Angelina Jolie. This deserved more attention.
Adult Beginners – sweet, little indie about a young guys who loses everything after his start up company crashes. He returns home to live with his sister and her young family with the realisation he needs to grow up.
Woman in Gold – this is the true story of Maria Altmann, who tries to recover a famous Klimt painting of her aunt that was plundered by the Nazis. Helen Mirren is stunning as Maria and Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black) is luminous as a younger Maria.
Age of Adaline – a sweet little story about Adaline who has a car accident when she is young and never ages. Blake Lively is perfect as the ageless old soul, Adaline, and it’s a simple story. No great shakes, but sweet.
Cake – is a dreary movie about a drug addict, Jennifer Aniston. As the movie unfolds you find there is more to Aniston’s character that meets the eye, it’s heartbreaking. This movie is nothing new but it worth looking at, though I think it lacks the depth it needed, possibly Aniston did not have the chops to pull it off.
Spy – this is my movie of the month. Oh, how I loved this movie. Melissa McCarthy is brilliant and sassy in her first decent lead role. Thank goodness. I have loved McCarthy since Gilmore Girls, but found the work she has been given has never lived up to the brilliance of her role on that beloved show. This let’s her goddess shine through and is genuinely funny. Add in Rose Byrne, Jason Statham, Miranda Hart, and Peter Serafinowizc with great comedic turns too. This is pure entertainment and funny, which comedies these days rarely are!
Castle S6 – I love Castle, mostly because I love Nathan Fillion. It’s a basic crime of the week cop show set in Manhattan, but the humour and charm Fillion brings to the show makes it better than the rest. This season sees the lead up to the wedding between Castle and Beckett, and it looks like the pairing of the leads will not mess with the charm of the show.
Brooklyn 99 S2- great ensemble cast, funny show, quick witted script, loveable and silly in the best possible ways. If you’ve not checked out Brooklyn 99 – a cop show with a difference – you must. It will make you smile.
Utopia S2 – where do they get these scripts from? Freakingly spot on, scaringly much so that watching it made me a bit stabby and agitated. Too clsoe to home, but still brilliant and clever. Rob Sitch is a National Treasure.
What I’ve Been Listening To
The Hoops – The Rubens –  I do love The Rubens and this sublime laid back album
25 – Adele – it’s everything you imagine, I don’t normally get into best selling artists, not my thing...but Adele breaks all the rules. She’s a goddess, beautiful, a voice of perfection, great songwriter and kicks A. I love her and this album does not disappoint.
Album Deux – Baby et Lulu – sublime French duets from Abby Dobson and Lana Goodridge, their voices harmonise perfectly. This is a sexy album!
Songs in the dark – The Wainwright Sisters  - speaking of harmonies, the first album collaboration by Lucy and Martha, and wow! A mix of folk and ballads, this is stunning.
Transmutant – Katie Noonan – boy there are some amazing female singers out there and Noonan’s operatic voice is right up there. This is an avant guarde album but still beautiful. Always love listening to Katie, this is a must hear!
If I can Dream – Elvis Presley with the Philharmonic Orchestra – OK, this is a remastered piece, with the Philharmonic Orchestra added to key Elvis songs. They are a mix of songs chosen by Priscilla that Elvis loved performing and are seminal recordings of his sublime voice. He often performed with some orchestration but never a full Orchestra, it was his dream and this is that dream realised and it is supremely brilliant. As soon as the first song begins, Burning Love (a personal favourite) you get shivers up your spine, the sounds is out of the world. This is for fans only I guess, but if you are, go get this now, and crank up the volume. (Points lost for adding a stupid duet with Michael Bubble...oh gah, how gross)

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