Sunday, July 16, 2017


June, whilst still busy, was a little quieter than May. Whilst I love getting out and discovering things and being with my friends, I am an introvert at heart and need my down time, my alone time, time to think and dream and meditate and recharge, so I slowly made my way back to a little winter hibernation.

Health wise my anxiety was on the rise, though not so bad, and I had some moments of feeling low, but the bounce back on both was pretty good, so that is always important. But I have done a real number on my right knee. My poor ole right knee has always been a problem since my gawky pre teen age where i fell over a lot, and has moved to a bit of arthritis and other things. Nothing sinister or too painful, just always not quite right, and sometimes a little more than not quite right. I twisted it and one half of my leg went with the twist and the other stayed, urgh. That was a few months back and because I was busy I was slack on getting it looked at. My Osteopath is a genius, but this is taking some time to mend this time. Plus the more I hobble on it, the more it puts other joints out. I feel old and horrid, it is not great, but I am managing and it is very slowly getting better. I suspect the cold weather is not helping.

But enough of the whinge, what have I been doing?

I started the month with the exceptional indigenous play, The 7 Stages of Grieving, written by the magnificent Deborah Mailman and Wesley Enoch this is a wonderful shortish play about place and family. It gave you pause for thought and a little bit of sadness that in the decade or so since the play was written not much has changed.

I caught Daniel Champagne at The Commons, with A and L. What a charismatic performer and unique guitar player he is! I didn't know much about him, but was pleased I went along. It was a great little mid week injection of original music.

A, L and I had the extreme pleasure of seeing Sarah Blasko at 48 Watt Street. I had not been there for a concert, but what a special venue. L and I had dinner there prior and it was amazing, the back hall set up beautifully and we were fed good solid, winter food. We then took front seats in the church for the concert. What a stunning setting. The only annoying thing was the crowd was very disrespectful to the musicians, talking rather loudly throughout the concert. Sarah had to ask them to be quiet on more than one occasion, it was terribly embarrassing. But she was outstanding, singing a mix of new and old, just her, a guitar, a uke and her keyboards. Plus the most striking outfit that worked wonders in the eerie reflective setting.

Choir continues to amaze and delight me. I was saying to a friend, in life you are never really sure of your path, but sometimes things happen and you just know this IS the path to be on, with choir that is the most certain I have ever been about anything. I am so glad I found it. 

Our choir teachers are in a duo called Jack and Jel and they performed with friends at The Sunset Studio in Mayfield. So one cold, rainy night J and I headed there, bought some yummy pasta from the takeaway within the complex, took a bottle of red and settled in for a night of folky jazz, mostly originals, and much laughter. They are stunning multi instrumental musicians and singers with a casual, cabaret feeling to their performance. We left feeling warm and happy.

The choir also participated in Newcastle's first One Song, One Sing. We joined other choirs and singers at The Edwards on a chilly Sunday afternoon and lifted the roof with our rendition of The Church's Under The Milky Way. Given we had an hour to get it together, with complicated harmonies and parts, I think we did well. The video of our performance, whilst great, doesn't really show the joy and excitement (and nervousness) of such a performance.

M and I saw the French play, Therese Raquin mid month. We had a lovely meal at the Clarendon prior and were really looking forward to the play. But rather than being the drama we thought it would be it played out more like a Russian melodrama, with many laughs. It wasn't bad, just not that good. Them's the breaks!!!

Work seemed to involve a lot of meetings this month, being on a few projects will get you that I guess. I will be involved in the new LMS which is exciting and scary. Learning a new system, and teaching my colleagues how to use it, will keep me (and others) out of trouble for the next year or so! Mostly things are moving well, busy, productive, and happy.

Have had some lovely family gatherings, to see my niece and nephew play soccer, and to celebrate Mum's 70th this month.

And C and I saw Wonder Woman, what a great film. As a huge WW fan, I was very impressed, and I do not impress easily!!! PLus always fab to spend time with my bestie, having had yummy Thai prior!
Here are my reviews for the month.

And some pics.

Sunday, July 9, 2017


What I’ve Been Reading
The Philosophy of Andy Warhol: from A to B and Back Again by Andy Warhol – riffs, reflections and advice on love, sex, beauty, food, fame, New York and his work. -  I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this little book by and about Andy. I read it many years ago and listening to it was equally delightful. It is basically Andy riffing on his likes and dislikes as listed in the title with little philosophical thoughts.
Himalaya by Michael Palin – I could listen to Palin’s voice read the phone book. He’s my favourite Python and just perfection in my mind. I love his travel stuff, and this was a talking book of his Himalayan trip from almost 20 years ago. Even without the visuals (which of course I had seen) I was transfixed.
I haven’t been reading much, lost my reading mojo, thank goodness for talking books!
What I’ve Been Watching
Getaway of love- cute little French film where a middle aged married woman falls in love with would be assassin and they take off with the police in pursuit!

Rosalie Blum- loved this French film that starts with a middle aged man who keeps running into a middle aged lady, she never notices him, and he becomes a little obsessed. The Lady is Rosalie Blum, with a shady past. When her young niece tracks her down a friendship is formed and she gets the niece the track this strange man who keeps following her. The film is told from different perspectives. It twists and turns, and is funny and poignant. I really loved this.

The Banksy Job – this is a bizarre little doco, about a dude who steals a Banksy sculpture in London and appropriates it as his, only to have it stolen off him.

Fantastic Beasts -  oh, how I loved this Harry Potter spin off. Beautifully shot and directed, set design phantasmagorical, great acting, great beasts. I want more!!!!!!

Nocturnal Animalsthis was a spooky tour de force. I felt very uncomfortable watching this. Amazing acting.

Sully – I really loved this, even though you know the story. It was well shot, and left you on the edge of the seat. Can’t say I want to fly anytime too soon after this. Even Tom Hanks was bearable!

Doctor Strange – I did enjoy this new take on the super hero, especially with Cumberbatch. But ultimately it left me a little meh, and I think that has to do with not seeing it on the big screen.

Tony Awards – always enjoy The Tonys.  Bette MIdler in Hello Dolly seemed to be the big winner this year, I reckon it would be quite amazing to see!

Genius – I have been enjoying this National Geographic series about The Man, Albert Einstein. Geoffrey Rush plays him as the older Albert. What a fascinating life, especially his younger years, and it is well filmed and acted.

Doctor Who – loving the new series much better than the last series. The addition of Nardole and Bill is most welcome, but they still are not giving Capaldo worthy material, and that makes me a little cranky.

Shots Fired – this was a great series shot in the south, racial tension, bad cops, the whole deal. I really enjoyed this.

Veep S6 – this show just gets better and better. It takes place a year after Selina lost the presidency and she is hell bent of securing some kind of legacy, and has a book and a library on the go. Still funny, still relevant!

Orange is The New Black S3/4/5 – I binged these seasons back to back and loved every minute of it. Wonderful writing, superb acting, funny and heart breaking. S3 was a continuation on S1 and S2, looking more closely at the girls and why they were there. S4 shows changes within the system for the worse for the girls, with a rather confronting main storyline that ended with a great tragedy and then a huge riot in the complex. S5 is very different to previous seasons, I won’t say why (spoilers) but it was edge of your seat watching, extra joyous and funny, and extra heart wrenching. The creators really took it up a notch and I believe this has divided the fans, but I was super impressed. You really really got to know the girls and the workers from a whole other range. The writing was top notch and the acting was our of the park.

Kimmy S2 – Kimmy Schmidt is lite fun, it’s not the best thing on tele, but it’s a harmless palette cleanser after watching so much drama. It is funny and cute and with Tina Fey behind the creators turns out some great lines. I recommend it!

Twin Peaks – is continuing to amaze and delight. Truly THE best thing I have ever seen on television. I am highly impressed. Yeah, not all of it makes sense, but that is Lynch and indeed Twin Peaks. MacLachlan is outstanding in his multiple roles. Halfway there and looking forward to the second half!

Leftovers finale – Wow, this series has been a wild ride. The first season, based on Tom Perrotta’s book, has the world coming to grips with 2% of the population disappearing. No one knows why, and a few years after the event, the world is struggling to come to terms with it. S1 is set in a small town where Justin Theroux is the cop. It shows various families and their loss, also a group of isolated people, who are really unravelled by the events. The vibe is not great. It was an up and down season, difficult to watch, with tips into fantasy, but totally worthwhile. Damon Lindelof (Lost) with Perrotta worked on all three series, which takes the story beyond the book.

Season 2 moves some of the main characters to a different town – a ‘magical’ town where no one disappeared – the only town in the world in fact, which means many are flocking there. Again, it dips a little more into fantasy with a storyline around Theroux that is to be seen. During S1 Theroux falls in love with Nora (the brilliant Carrie Coon), sister of the local preacher (Christopher Eccleston), and this season has them together, and there is a very odd extended family between them. New characters are introduced, more spiritual, more fantastic, more out there, but a little less of the up and downs of S1, it was settling a little, but still mind blowing stuff.

Season 3 was outstanding and the finale, one of the best finales I have ever seen. It almost (almost but not quite) made me forgive Lindelof for the appalling ending of what was, at the time, my favourite show ever, Lost. The series moves to Australia this season, again the key characters from S2 are in it, and new ones added. This is a much more laid back season, yet it covers the most ‘out there’ material, but by now, it seems normal. It is beautifully shot, and acted, and produced. The finale is something all together. I do not want to spoil anything, suffice to say, the performances of Carrie Coon and Justin Theroux are beyond outstanding. It is equal parts heart breaking, and uplifting. It answers some of your questions, but not the ones you’d expect. It was completely satisfying, and made me cry like a baby. I’d love to say more, and I know this is a clumsy description. The show is very intricate and detailed, but entirely worthy of a watch. Truly one of the best things I have seen. I cannot stop thinking about it, weeks after it was shown. It’s been described as the best show on television that no one is watching...let’s change that, go and check it out!

What I’ve Been Listening To

Mark Vincent – A Tribute to Mario Lanza – spectacular voice spectacular songs. I’m a huge Lanza fan, and often get a little put off by those attempting his work, but Vincent it outstanding.

Madeleine Peyroux  - Secular Hymns – a little more laid back than usual, but still stunning. Peyroux has the most beautiful, almost Billie Holiday style voice. Been a fan for years, and whilst this is less jazzy than usual, it is still great.