Tuesday, November 29, 2016


October was challenging, my mental health dropped to levels I hadn’t seen in a while, mostly manifesting itself in severe anxiety and a lot of self doubt. Somehow I managed to keep the black dog from biting me, but only just!

Many things contributed to this, everything seemed to fall apart at once, but truly they are not worth focusing on now. I just did the best I could do, talked to people, went back into therapy, and tried to keep busy but have plenty of down time...but not too much. It was a juggling act all month and the only thing keeping me going was knowing I had a month off in November.
I have no shame in discussing this, I think it is important to acknowledge the bad times just as we celebrate the good times. And I guess as I write this I know I am very far away from the person I was in October. And many of the issues I was having are now resolved, which of course makes it easier to march forward brightly.
It can be very difficult to try and walk in this troubling world when you are a sensitive person. But you know, I refuse to become hard about things, I will continue to care and be kind, and look after those around me and just try not to let the arseholes win. I deserve better. We all do.
And surrounding myself with love and beauty is one of my favourite things. My family and friends were – as always - supportive and kind, and I really hate singling people out but my two lovely friends C and J could not have been more sweet and kind, and I owe them so very much for keeping me going during this time. When I felt low and sad and wondered why I was even here, they kept me boosted and gave me reason to feel like it is all worthwhile.
Also at the beginning of the month I said goodbye to a close friend and mentor, and I still cannot believe he is no longer with us. The funeral was beautiful and simply gut wrenching. When someone dies unexpectedly and young, there are no words that can suitably describe your feelings. It still hurts.
But it wasn’t all doom and gloom. At work I had the pleasure of some comfortable faves, we re-read (for the millionth time) one of my all-time favourite books, Pride and Prejudice, for our lovely bookclub, and Casablanca for Movie Night. These are both the book and film I am certain I have watched the most in my life, huge sentimental faves and utterly romantic and beautiful and everything.
C and I had a Thai Feast and watched the amazing Miss Peregrine at the beginning of the month.
I went on a date for the first time in ages, it was a good date, but he ended up being not for me. C’est Le Vie.
I did a lot of walking, this was good!

I had a lovely afternoon in Newcastle, at the Art Gallery, the beach, and being at the book launch for a fab book on Buffy and Feminism!

We celebrated my nephew turning 14! Oh my, where have the years gone.
My Twitter bookclub discussed The Narrow Road to the Deep North by RIchard Flanagan.

And I finished the month seeing Morrissey at our Civic Theatre.

And a bit of therapy photography.

And a pic to show I was really trying not to feel miserable!


What I’ve Been Watching
Catastrophe S2 – S2 kicks off some time advanced from S1, with Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan married with 2 kids, still finding their way with sass and black humour, but things start to fall apart. This is one of the best shows on tele, I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Raised By Wolves S2 – Following the story of Germaine Garry and her crazy family, including 5 siblings, all of whom are ‘home-schooled’ by their Mum and her Dad, Grampy. This is simply one of the funniest shows I have seen in a long time, a must watch!!!!
Masters of Sex S3 – Continues the true story of Bill Masters (the brilliant Michael Sheen) and Virginia Johnson (the fabulous Lizzie Caplan) and their study of human sexuality. They are now working in a new work space, are published and things are going swimmingly...until they are not... I love this show and it’s period attention to detail, not quite as great as Mad Men, but close.
Westworld – I am continuing to watch this new frontier show, but it is frustrating me. i feel like I am missing something so will continue. I do find the behind the scenes of the fake world more interesting than the fake world!
Everything is Copy -  this was a brilliant doco about the late , great Nora Ephron, directed by her son with Carl Bernstein. It is a marvellous and joyous exploration of her life, her legacy, by those who knew her the best, friends, actors, directors, other writers. I adored this and was thrilled such a thing existed. Nora was a trail-blazer and unlike no other.
Dream of Life – this is a great doco following Patti Smith around, with a mix of old but mostly new footage and Patti just at her most sublime best. My favourite bits were her visiting with her parents, just adorable.
Inside the Actors Studio – this is one of my faves, and mostly been watching repeats I had seen before, but this month I came across the George Clooney one – which somehow I had not seen, and it was perfection!
700 Sundays – is the Billy Crystal theatrical one-man show. It was taped for tele, and it was remarkable. He effortlessly glides through his childhood in little stories and pieces, from whimsical, to hilarious to poignant. One moment you are crying from laughing, the next you are crying.
Musicares Carole King -  This was a tribute to Carole with a lot of people singing her songs.
Musicares Bruce Springsteen – same thing and equally as amazing.
Hollywood Docos -   a couple of long running docos on Hollywood, filmmaking, various studios, actors, following through the decades. Great footage and old interviews too.
F1 Doco – fab doco going right back to the early days of F1 and how very dangerous it was back then. Absolutely terrifying footage.
Looking for Grace – an Aussie film about a runaway teen, this was very very different to what I expected. Filmed from different points of view and twist you don’t see coming. I’m unsure but still thinking about this film!
The Daughter – an epic story set around the wedding of the family patriarch (Geoffrey Rush) and his much younger bride, and with every family there are hidden secrets, will they tumble out and destroy everyone? Great story and fabulous cast including Miranda Otto, Sam Neill.
Mississippi Grind – Ben Mendelsohn and Ryan Reynolds meet up and take a gambling trip to New Orleans. Gritty drama at it’s best, Ben shines!
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies – this was a bit silly,  but loads of fun.
Deadpool – was my movie of the month! What fun to see a super hero movie not take itself seriously!
What I’ve Been Reading
Summer of ‘82 by Dave O’Neil – this was a fun hark back to being a teen in the 80s, following Dave through school, suburbia, love, and music. Hilarious and familiar.
Cosmic Quest by Heather Couper – a fascinating look at the Cosmos, from Galileo to Newton to Hailey. Telescopes, black holes, quasars, stars, planets, and astrophysics. Heather made it all simplistic to understand without dumbing it down.
Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo – Amy Schumer – there is a lot of what you would expect from Amy within this book – pushing the boundaries, and feminism, which is fab. But what surprised and interested me more, were the private things about her and her family, specifically her being an introvert and how she survives being on the road and being switched on. Fascinating!
My Brilliant Friend and The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante – I’ve succumbed to these popular novels. I want to find out what is so ‘good’ about them. Not that impressed so far, a rambling tale that needs a LOT of editing, about two friends, neither of whom are likeable characters, surrounded by even more unlikeable – really unlikeable – characters. Very soap operay and misogynistic.
Long Road to the Narrow North by Richard Flanagan – this was a Book Club book and completely enjoyable. I am normally not a fan of Australiana or War and this covers both, but done in a readable and interesting way. There are moments of frustration and drama but the story is infused with love and humanity and humour. You can see why it won so many awards, stunning!
The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson   - this is the most astonishing book, set in 1893 with Chicago bracing itself for the World’s Fair. There is a lot of construction with famous architects descending the city. Inventors, scientists and so forth flocking to make history. At the same time a young man is setting up shop in the local chemist in hope to lure young women into his trap, you f women that may be coming to the city for the fair, yes a serial killer is operating. Larson weaves all these factual events together (with a little license) for the most dramatic and real story.
The Boy Behind the Curtain by Tim Winton – this is looking likely to be my top book of the year. Finally! A memoir by Winton, and it is stunning. A mix of amusing childhood stories, poignant memories of his motorcycle riding policeman father, thoughts and musings on the beach, sharks, whales, conservation, and much much more. Written so beautifully you feel as if you are there with him at every turn. I am certain this is the tip of the iceberg and more books like this will surface in the forthcoming years.
What I’ve Been Listening To
New Beth Orton – which was sublime and beautiful
Carole King – because how can you not!?
Aimee Mann – live concert in a church on Fox, amazing. She gives me the shivers, love her voice long time.

Diana Krall in Rio – there is something spellbinding about Krall, her voice is not perfect but is perfect for whata she sings. Her nuances piano playing is fab, her seriousness of face, yet whimsy of interpretation. And the fact she is married to Elvis...sigh...I could listen to her and certainly watch her play the piano forever.

Thursday, November 24, 2016


I wouldn’t call myself a Morrissey (or even The Smiths) fan. Having said that, I really love the music of The Smiths, but came to it a little late (late 80s). And I also loved the first few solo Morrissey albums, but after the mid-late 90s, didn’t really listen to him after that.
So when it came to be that Morrissey was to play my hometown of Newcastle at my beloved Civic Theatre my curiosity was piqued.

Some friends who were fans got tickets, but I was still pondering the whole thing. Morrissey could be a challenging performer, as a not really a fan would I appreciate it? And so I kept pondering till the point of a few weeks before and asked around who wanted to go. No one of course. Anyone worth their weight in Gladiolis already had a ticket and I couldn’t persuade anyone else to come with.
So with less than a week till the concert I purchased a ticket to go solo. And I actually scored an awesome seat.
I arrived at the Civic unsure what to expect, caught up with friends and took my seat...solo...no problemo!

Prior to the concert was a small ‘film’ of meandering clips, songs, words, videos; presumably meaningful to and curated by Morrissey himself. It was quite remarkable and enjoyable.

And then he arrived on stage, looking as hot as one can at his age, and sounding breathtakingly wonderful. Men’s singing voices (well, those that can sing in the first instance) get better with age, and his was no exception. The timbre of his baritone was superb and I was hooked.

Now there was a spattering of songs I knew and the rest I am guessing newer material, but Morrissey songs sound like Morrissey songs so it all sounded similar and familiar to me.

There were some gals down the front losing their shit a little to be in his presence. I looked upon that with amusement, as did Morrissey and with a little enjoyment too by the looks of it.
He was on fire, and he knew it.

Towards the end of the show he took his shirt off (oh puh-lease) and the gals scrambled for it, causing a bit of a commotion (bitch fight!?!) and the security guard got some scissors to cut the shirt into multiple pieces to satisfy them all. All the while Morrissey singing and looking on the situation rather pleased with himself.
The show finished and we waited for an encore, he came back on for one song, a fab cover of Judy Is A Punk (The Ramones). This was executed wildly and well, I was deeply impressed, other around me not so much.

So in all, I am pleased I decided to go solo and see ole Suedehead, it was a great experience and evening.
1. Suedehead
2. All You Need Is Me
3. Speedway
4. Istanbul
5. Irish Blood, English Heart
6. Because Of My Poor Education
7. I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris
8. World Peace Is None of Your Business
9. Kiss Me A Lot
10. I Will See You in Far-Off Places
11. One of Our Own
12. The Bullfighter Dies
13. Jack The Ripper
14. The World is Full of Crashing Bores
15. All The Lazy Dykes
16. Meat Is Murder
17. Let Me Kiss You
18. What She Said
19. Good Looking Man About Town
20. Oboe Concerto
21. Encore: Judy Is A Punk