Monday, January 30, 2017


Oscar season has begun and Lion is the first film I saw knowing it was a contender. I have many many more to view over the next month and have missed quite a few too.
I do love this time of the year, it is exciting, and all these quality films fill my soul and warm my heart, and most importantly make my brain work overtime!
Before I get into the film I need to write about my experience today.  Because going to the cinema is so much more than watching the film.
I don’t like crowds, I don’t like people I don’t know sitting on top of me. This is why I prefer to frequent quieter cinemas and odd times where they will not be full.
I had planned my day perfectly, stayed in bed reading until the last moment, got ready and headed for the 11.40 session at Hoyts Charlestown. I drove around the three carparks for 25 minutes and failed to secure a park. By this stage it was too late to head to the Charlestown Square carpark and make it to the film on time. So I drove home.
Luckily I live fairly close to the cinema, so I made it back for the 1.30 session with plenty of time to make it to the other carpark if needed! I scored a park immediately...of course.
Anyway I took my seat, carefully choosing one near no one, which was easy as there was hardly anyone in the cinema. I must add that Hoyts have done up the cinemas there and they are amazing, only $12 and ALL the seats are recliner, comfy, and wonderful. I’m all set, and a few minutes before the film starts a family come in and sit in all the seats to my right including the seat right next to me where I had left my choc top wrapper. I was sitting looking gobsmacked, the entire row behind me was free as the lady picked up my wrapper like it was a layer of skin dripping in blood. I said I can take that it is mine, I left it there as I really didn’t think anyone would sit on top of me.
And she sat down, dripping in very strong, cheap perfume with the biggest bucket of popcorn (I hate the smell of cinema popcorn).
And the movie started.
I just do not understand people, they say hell is other people and I agree. Why would you do that? And it is not the first time this has happened to me.
And the thing that made it worse, we’re all reclined, so basically lying side by side, in a very very intense film. I felt vulnerable and annoyed. I just wish people would think about others. And I guess this sounds like I am thinking about myself here. Not really, I choose where I sat as I have bad sinus and I’m a crier and knew I would be a mess (and possibly a slightly noisy mess) during this film. So maybe that will make these people think twice before sitting on top of someone again. But stupid is as stupid does!
Enough of my ranting.
Lion...I knew the story, I had read an article about it a few years back when the story actually happened. I remember being very moved by the story and incredibly impressed by how he found his way back home.
Lion is the story of Saroo, who at 5 gets separated from his older brother in Calcutta, India. Ends up on a train, which takes him miles away from his home town and family and he ends up in an orphanage.
The first part of the film is the child’s story and the young actor, Sunny Pawar is astonishing. It is filmed beautifully and the cinematography is outstanding and sweeping, yet real and harsh. Saroo grew up in the slums, collecting coal off the train tracks to sell for milk. In fact this section of the film reminded me of a lovely indie Indian film from a few years ago called Crow’s Egg.
By the end of this section Saroo is adopted by a Tasmanian Couple, John and Sue Brierley (David Wenham and Nicole Kidman). Saroo settles, but a second child they adopt, not so much. I knew nothing of this part of the story, and it added depth to these characters. Wenham was solid, but Kidman was outstanding. I was such a fan of Kidman’s in her early years, and felt she has never really shown what she can possibly be on the big screen. In recent years, her plastic face and dramas off the screen seem to overtake any ability that may lie beneath the surface. Every few years, we catch a glimpse, and this is one of them. There is no vanity here for her and she is remarkable, especially later on in the film.
The end section is Saroo (now grown up as Dev Patel) coming to terms with his past and this is when it just goes straight to your heart. He uses Google Earth as suggested by a friend and starts to try and locate his little village with just his minimal memory. He struggles with his past, his loss, and the impact on his present family and love, Rooney Mara.
But finally he finds his way home.  This story is well known, I’m not giving anything away here.
What surprised me was how well it presented, how well it was acted, and what a great screenplay it was.
This is a large movie about a little story. Luke Davies’ screenplay is great. He has written a few screenplays before but I love his poetry the most, raw and heartbreaking, and from that alone, you knew it would be great.
And it is Dev Patel’s movie, he is just perfection. I’ve been a fan since his debut in Skins, and loved him in The Newsroom. He has grown into a gorgeous young man (can I add Phoar!) and a great actor, he nailed the Aussie accent.

Lion will give you all the feels, don’t hesitate to see it (like I nearly did) because you know the story. Watching the story you know unfold is mesmerising and totally worth it. And stay until the very end, it’s important!

Saturday, January 28, 2017


I’ve never called myself a Nick Cave fan, but I have always listened to his music, bought his albums.

And yet I had never seen him live.

Not because I didn’t want to, it’s just the stars hadn’t aligned that way. And in recent years he hasn’t toured that much.

When it was announced he was going to play in Newcastle, I was excited, but it was the ‘Tin Shed’ (Newcastle Entertainment Centre) and it was expensive, and I thought a bit too long and didn’t get tickets. As the gig grew closer I found out there were tickets left and they were not as expensive as I had thought. By this stage, I was on my lonesome but didn’t want to miss out so I got a ticket. 

I didn’t really think about it all until a day or two prior, when I sat down with my CDs, and kinda realised I probably was a fan, and this was going to be incredible. The excitement set in. I decided against playing anything leading up to the concert, as he had such a back catalogue, I would only be disappointed if particular songs were not played. I wanted to be pleasantly surprised.

And so came the evening of the concert, and I was excited beyond belief, and a little anxious...heading to a venue solo is always a little challenging. But once I was seated – fabulous seat too, front row to the left of the stage behind the GA area – I felt great, happy, and excited.

I love that lead up to a concert starting, and like to be seated well and truly before things start. You can feel the anticipation as the room fills. Watching the range of ages and types of people rock in and take their seats, it is interesting and exhilarating.

And soon the lights lowered and a ripple of acknowledgement and excitement went through the stadium. Out came The Bad Seeds one by one, Warren Ellis last. Then a pause, and the crowd roared as Nick took stage, and boom right into it they went with Anthrocene from the new album.

The first 5 or 6 songs were what I call the super dark, doom and thundery Bad Seeds type songs. Where Nick is preaching, and gesturing, and intensely giving it every inch of his body whilst the band bang and clang and support his every move with a cacophony of deep, dirty, dark sounds. It is something to behold! Every inch of you body is taken within the sound and you are transported to the stage wherever you are seated. I was truly transfixed and every hair on my body stood at attention!

Oh and it was truly sexy too, he just exudes it, even from where I sat.

So much so, his adoring fans close up must have been a little bit too much hands on, as he asked them to settle and laughed that it was harassment in the workplace. As he stepped away from their grasp, he muttered he should start a support group, he was sure Chris Martin would be in on that!

And there it was...completely unexpected...humour...and lots of it on and off through the evening.  I guess due to the nature of his songs, and his personality and the trauma of his past 18 months, humour and laughter were not expected, but they worked and it was a delight.

He loved the crowd, I had seen this before in concerts I’d seen on DVD and television. He kinda steps into them holding hands and singing directly to them, very sensual, and sexual yet respectful. I think I would pass out if I was in that position, lol! It seems to fuel his fire and add to the spectacle of the performance. It was mesmerising to watch.

About halfway through the concert, the intensity pulled back a little and then he sat down at the piano.

The Ship song.

I don’t even know what to write about hearing this classic song live for the first time. I was beside myself and weeping.  It’s just one of those songs, and it was sublime to hear.

And I had no time to shake myself out of that awe-inspired astonishment, as he went straight into Into My Arms, which just kills me. The lyrics are beyond perfection. Imagine having someone write even one line from that song about you, let alone the whole thing. Suffice to say, I was a mess when that 1-2 punch ended, and could have left right there, happy and satisfied...and sobbing.

But he continued, so I stayed...not that it was difficult!

A few songs later the clang of the cowbell sounded and they rocked a superb version of Red Right Hand. The crowd exploded.

The energy of the band has to be mentioned, the tightness of their musicality, the intensity of their sound, and the severity of their support of their leader. It lifted Nick to higher heights, and he in turn conducted their electric ferocity to levels unsurpassed.  It truly was something to witness.

And then the energy went higher with the most remarkable rendering of The Mercy Seat. Never once did anyone falter or make a miss-step, they are consummate performers.

The set closed with Distant Sky and Skelton Tree and they exited. Distant sky is a duet from the new album, with a Soprano, Else Torp, and she was shown singing her part via a screen behind the stage. It was breathtaking.

The crowd went bonkers, I never get that, unless the main lights go up there will always be an encore. Give the band a chance to catch their breath.

Hardly any time went by and they came back on and did a great encore of: Mermaids/The Weeping Song/Stagger Lee/Pushing the Sky Away. 

it was superb, and everyone knew it, you could feel it in the dark, this conspiracy of love and appreciation.

The Weeping Song was unscheduled, someone asked for it. Cave asked the band if they knew it, they all nodded, and he said this is going to be a disaster, but it was not.

Looking at other set lists, I noticed they often played Breathless there, this made me a little sad when I realised this, it’s one of my all time favourite songs, and one I really didn’t think they would play. But never mind, it was all just wonderful. My Nick Cave cherry had been burst but it was more than that, it was spiritual and for an agnostic like me, the closest I will get to church and praying at an altar than I’ll ever get...the altar being Sir Nick and his supreme band. 

The lights went up and the audience fell out, with this walking on air feeling, songs going round in their head, and I was no different as I glided back to my car.



Jesus Alone


Higgs Boson Blues

From Her to Eternity


Jubilee Street

The Ship Song

Into My Arms

Girl in Amber

I Need You

Red Right Hand

The Mercy Seat

Distant Sky

Skeleton Tree


The Weeping Song

Stagger Lee

Push the Sky Away

Saturday, January 7, 2017

I saw La La Land for the second time tonight.
This is quite unusual for me, even though I love films. See there is much to see, so little time, time is money, and well entertainment costs money.
After seeing it the first time I knew I wanted to see it again, it made me feel so joyous, so I went with a friend who missed out seeing it.
Everyone is saying it is their film of the year – which, in January, is a little ridiculous – but it IS that good. I saw it first late 2016 so called it my number 2 film of last year. And it was only beat by the sentimentality and goose bump raising documentary, Eight Days a Week – which any serious music lover would rate highly.
So what’s the big deal?
And why is it dividing audiences?
I guess there are movie goers and cinema lovers, and without sounding snooty, I think that is all.
Cinema lovers bring the whole genre with them when they discuss film, they love genres, and auteurs, and directors, and silent film, and all eras, and well...everything golden about film.
In fact, when I first described this film, I said it was like they got in my head and made a film especially for me!
And movie goers love going to the movies, and they prefer something a little simpler and easier to digest.
I also think some people just don’t like each their own...ha ha, they have no idea what they are missing.
People are already talking Oscars, as an Oscar commentator for many decades, I always hold back on such extremities so early on in the season. But again, they may well be right. Without seeing everything else on offer I cannot say.
But it is worthy, oh my yes!
I am much more emotional after my second watch. I think the first time there was soooo much to take in, so much beauty and wonder I was overwhelmed. This time I knew what was coming and could really soak it all in.
For those that don’t know, La La Land is a basic girl keeps running into boy but he keeps missing her story...until he doesn’t. Both have a very romanticised view of life and what they want for their careers. Girl – the sublime Emma Stone – wants to be an actress, on her own terms which hark back to a classic film sensibility. Boy – the perfect Ryan Gosling – is a gifted piano player who wants to play traditional jazz. Much singing and dancing and beauty and romance ensues.  Of course there is more to the story than that, but I don’t want to spoil too much!!
Emma Stone is one of those actresses, she can do anything. That face, its expressions, it makes you smile or can bring you to the verge of tears. I just want to be her, especially in this film and especially her glorious costumes. She just fitted this film so perfectly. Gah, she is my girl crush of the moment!

Ryan, Ryan, Ryan, is there anything this delight of a man cannot do. He could play piano before but learnt the jazz moves, it’s all him playing! He also fits the film perfectly, his louche is up there with all the greats, who of course all end up having a beautiful heart.

Much has been said of their amateur singing and dancing, but they are not Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Cyd Charisse, or even Debbie Reynolds. However they are very very good, sometimes great and that works perfectly for the film. There is a solo from Stone that made me weep. Her singing in it was terrific. So was Gosling. And the thing is they – in their third film together – have this wonderful chemistry. You believe them, and that is what makes this work so very well.
The first main dance scene in the Hollywood hills was when I knew this film would live up to its expectations and shine. The very basic tap and shtick number was indeed something you could see Fred Astaire and a starlet doing. There were moves from Singing in the Rain, Top Hat, and Shall We Dance. Funny and clever and romantic. The screen lit up along with my heart.
Of course I loved all the classic movie references, the window from Casablanca, the whole Rebel without a Cause section, The Broadway Melody homage,The Red Balloon, Funny Face, the posters and settings. And all the jazz, oh how they both worked so beautifully together.
And then there was the cinematography – this film was like watching a whole lot of masterpiece paintings being spliced together. The use of colour and landscape and postcard stylings took my breath away. You can see the love and care taken by looking directly at the canvas it was painted on. From the opening – I believe one tracking shot – scene, every shot thereafter just topped itself. Stone’s colourful apartment, the costumes, outside walks against the backlot and LA, hues of colour in the sky matching a deeper colour in a costume or a poster on a wall. The thought and detail was intense and magical. Something I appreciated even more the second time around.
The music of course was divine, mostly original – bar one of the funniest scenes of the film – the 80s band at the party, oh I want that band to play my next party...Take on me indeed!!!! The jazz was funky and wild and crazy, and the traditional musical numbers catchy.

The feelings I felt watching La La Land moved me. I laughed and I wept. I danced in my seat and my jaw dropped at its intensity and beauty on more than one occasion. I loved its themes of following your heart, and being original, and that dreams matter. And they really really do, in this world when people want to suck the creativity out of us, it is more important to stick to our guts and our hearts and bring our own beauty into this world. Through story or music or other forms of art, this film insists we do our very best – not just for anyone, but for ourselves.
Oh my, this is just one of those films that makes you soar, makes you smile, and makes you wish they made more films like it. I felt so incredibly happy driving home from it tonight, the experience was so much better the second time around. I encourage everyone to go and see La La Land, leave your views at the door, let your hair down, get a little jiggy in your seat, lust after Emma or Ryan (or like me, both of them) and simply let it all take you back to a gentler, kinder time when a little whimsy and a lot of heart takes you on the road to sheer happiness.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

2016 ROUND UP and 2017 WISHES!

Happy New Year!!!!

I had a very quiet evening in, eating seafood, drinking vodka, watching old movies, and reflecting on the year that was 2016!

I don’t mind admitting I felt a bit off and melancholy on the 30th but a busy day of reading the next day and the lovely evening I had put me in a positive and happy mood for 2017!!!

Reflecting on 2016 made me realise as much as there was much upset during the year there was also much much much joy! But more of that later, let’s looks at the goals I set at the beginning of the year!

So for 2016 I had decided to:

Be freer with my love and let my poor wounded heart be transformed – and I bloody did! Ok this meant not only did my heart actually transform but I also got trampled on a little too. But that’s life and I guess it is how you bounce back or take these tramplings. But I really prefer to look at the positives and know I met some special men, who really showed me I was worthy and loveable and that’s gotta be a good thing. Sure I’m still single at the end of the year but I have learnt a lot – mostly about myself – and grown and that is fine by me!

Continue my Online Journey for Love –  Yes, yes I did!

Travel More – this was smaller trips, I don’t think I did as much as I had planned, but certainly more than years past, with multiple weekends away to Wine Country, day trips to Sydney, holidays to Melbourne (twice), and The Entrance.

See More Live Music – again more than usual, but not as much as I would have planned, but still a great amount.

Keep Hold of my Clarity and Mojo -  this year was better than previous ones, but I still had some deep, down moments. But they didn’t last too long, compared to other years. I had a lot go on this year so pleased to be here typing now with clarity and most definitely my mojo.

Continue Project 42/Read/Declutter – yes, all these good habits from previous years continued, working on little projects, continually decluttering Club Cathy and reading more than I have in a long time.

So in all not perfect but not bad at all! 

High Five Me!!!

So what am I looking for in 2017???

Love  - this is my thing, Mr Right for me has got to be out there...surely!?! Otherwise, what is the point of life??? I came incredibly close this year, but alas no cigar! So I shall quietly, as always, continue my search...

Travel More – if you’re on a good thing, stick to it. Smaller trips, day trips, weekends away. I've already planned one for April (Sydney) and can see myself visiting The Entrance much more as I feel really relaxed there.

Read more of my own Books – this will sound weird, but as a Librarian I read mostly books from work and as a book lover I purchase a LOT of books, most sit there looking lovely but unread. I am going to try and work my way through some of these this year. Yes I have a plan, and it’s fairly simple – shelf by shelf, bookcase by bookcase. Won’t get through them all this year, cause that would be nuts. But I’ll give it a hot shot.

Be Healthier -  keeping this general, this is all aspects of health, including mental health. I do want to find a yoga/pilates/meditation class to attend and plan on going back to the gym. But also making time to day dream and think and ensure I am calm and rested and have my clarity and mojo intact.

Be more laid back and less intense  - I know I had my moments this year, moments of intensity and deepness and up tightness – I don’t like this at all, I like to be chilled and carefree, so I hope I can keep that up more this year.

Be More Creative – write more, play more music, sing more (maybe join a choir), draw and paint, take more photos.

I think that will do!

So 2016, everyone says it was shit, and I certainly had some heartbreak and upset, but funnily enough as I review my year I realise I had a lot of fabulousness and fun and great things happen.

So the bad, sooooo many people died and died unexpectedly this year – I’m still not over Bowie or Prince. They were both my touchstones for so very long, the thought they are no long there creating, well I have yet to come to terms with it! Leonard Cohen, George Michael, Garry Shandling, Sharon Jones, Alan Rickman, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds. I know there were more, but these guys really struck a cord!

And my good friend and mentor, Simon, passed away at 60, I still cannot really believe he is gone. Too tragic.

Then there was politics, world events and such, the less said the better!  But good god we've (well, not actually me) fucked up the world badly and it makes me equal parts angry and equal parts scared.

Work had its moments, but boy I learnt a lot and my team are so tight and adorable, I don’t know what I’d do without them!

And my mental health had it’s moments too, back in therapy later in the year. But there’s no shame in that, I find it so very helpful and wish more would utilise it.

My love life had some lows, but with lows there are really not so bad!!!

But what about the good!?!

I call 2016: The Year of Art. I was lucky enough to see a lot of amazing art and I find calming and good for the soul.

I got the NBN and Foxtel and loving both!

I finally got all my art framed and hung.

I went to the Newcastle and Sydney Writer’s Festival.

I holidayed at Melbourne twice, and The Entrance and participated in Wuthering Heights Day.

I walked from my place to Lake Cinema at Boolaroo and back!

I ate out a lot, spent time with my fabulous friends and family, got out and explored my neighbourhood.

I learnt Yoga and how to crochet, and continued to declutter my place.

I attended my school reunion, hosted Share The Story with Carol Duncan and many exciting people, worked on a team revitalising the physical environment of all our libraries. Swansea Library has it’s 10th anniversary and we celebrated with many exciting events, and I got to meet Thomas Keneally and William McInnes.

I also hosted my lovely friend Anita Heiss as she toured her latest amazing book.

And sooo much ain’t so bad you know!!!

So I hope there will be more fun and excitement (the good type) for 2017 with health and happiness, and hopefully some great dates with interesting men!

I wish everyone I know the same and send love and hugs to my close inner circle of friends, especially C and J, who really went above and beyond taking care of me during my time of need(s) this year!!!

And to end as always, here are some of my favourite pics from this year...