Wednesday, August 15, 2018


I was still at home recovering the first couple of weeks of July. But I started to feel better and my skin healed as such so I tested the waters with some little trips out and about. I got tired, but I managed.

I did a little walk around Warners Bay to see all the fabulous new sculptures that have been installed.

I finally made it to the hairdressers and beautician and started to really feel human again.

I babysitted my niece, took her to soccer clinic and we watched Edward Scissorhands, what a delight.

And caught up with C for lunch.

There was a lot of family occasions as my sister moved to Melbourne.

And Kate Bush Day - what fun!!!

My final day of sick leave was super special. I went into Nobbys for lunch and saw the most magnificent turnout from migrating whales. It was amazing, too far out for pics, but plenty burnt into my memory!

My first day back to work was lovely, with my team missing me so. That night I headed into Foghorn for dinner, Popolo Gelato for dessert, and the Civic to see The White Album Concert. What sheer and utter joy!

There was the usual markets and kids soccer and just slowly easing back into real life.

Work was good but very tiring, mentally and physically, but I will get there.

I ended the month back at Nobbys, no whales, but a lovely lunch as always.

Here's what I have been reading, watching, listening to.

And a few extra pics...

Wednesday, August 8, 2018


What I've Been Reading

Less by Andrew Sean Greer - this is a sweet little book about a writer who wants to escape going to his ex-partner's wedding. To do so he organises a round the world trip from literary invites but to do some of this he still has to confront some of his past. I really enjoyed the first 80-100 pages of this, but felt it lost me a little after that. I did like it but really couldn't understand it winning the Pulitzer Prize. As a friend in our bookclub said, it was Eat Prey Love for gay men!

Sing Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward - this was outstanding. I am such a fan of Jesmyn Ward. Her subject matter will take you to the edge, and certainly make you think, but it is so worth it. This is a novel about an African American family in the South, told from the perspectives of most of the family. The main character is a young boy, his mother is around but absent, on and off drugs, his grandparents are his lifeline and his baby sister who he dotes on. Dad, a white man, is in jail and they take a road trip to collect him when his time is up. Characters from the past arrive, and this ambiguity adds to the plot and gives an interesting perspective. So much happens, and yet so much doesn't, life really.

Brett Whiteley: art, life and the other thing by Ashleigh Whiteley - there has been many books written about Brett Whiteley. But this is pretty much the best I have read and the most definitive. With direct access to Wendy, we hear loads of idyllic stories from early on as they travel as a couple and with a young Arkie. It is almost heartbreaking to read, these times were seemed so wonderful, so lovely, and you know serious drugs and heartache are around the corner. It paints a real picture of Whiteley, warts and all. I highly recommend this one.

Sticky Fingers: the life and times of Jann Werner and Rolling Stone Magazine  by Joe Hagan - wow, what a ripper of a book, so much salacious information. I admit I didn't know much detail about the man himself. And the book covers not just his life but the history of Rolling Stone magazine. So many stories, so much gossip, so many oh my moments. Loads of music insight. It was quite the ride. 

Paul Kelly: how to make gravy by Paul Kelly - great concept for a book, 100 of his best songs, the lyrics, and the stories behind them. Of course a song writer as wonderful as Paul Kelly can write a wonderful book, his storytelling in song and in essay form is evocative and perfect. You can dip in and out of it, or go from cover to cover. If you love Paul Kelly or are interested in where songs come from, this is for you.

They call me Supermensch by Shep Gordon - Shep Gordon is a name you might not know but what a sensational man. He was the agent to a huge array of diverse clients including Alice Cooper, Anne Murray, Blondie, Luther Vandross, Gipsy Kings, George Clinton, Groucho Marx, Pink Floyd, and the Pointer Sisters. He has also produced film and in the 70s created the celebrity chef with Emeril and Wolfgang Puck. The thing about Shep is everyone loves him, no one has a bad word to say about him, he's been there, seen it all, and just behaved well throughout. An anomaly in Hollywood. But it's been a great ride. I saw a documentary on him a few years back and loved it, this it his own take on his life, and well worth reading.

The Tattooist Of Auschwitz by Heather Rose - I heard about this story a while ago and it caught my curiosity. I have a history with Holocaust stories, I go through periods where I read about the subject matter ferociously, and then get wiped out and don't go anywhere near it for ages, but I always get drawn back in. This is a fiction story based on a real life, about a man who became one of the men who tattooed the number on each prisoner in Auschwitz. What a heavy price to a pay. I read this in one sitting, a little less than 3 hours, it is an easy read, it is a lightish read - especially given the subject matter. But it did show some of the more cruel aspects of war, and it does pack a punch. 

Walk This Way: footwear from the Stuart Weitzman collection of historic shoes - Just gorgeous pictures of shoes...divine.

Sharp: the women who made an art of having an opinion by Michelle Dean - this was a great book about the intertwined lives of fabulous women such as Dorothy Parker, Rebecca West, Hannah Arendt, Nora Ephron, Susan Sontag, Pauline Kael, and Janet Malcolm. Brilliant!

What I've Been Watching

Dave Gilmour: Live at Pompeii - Some people like Roger Waters, some like David Gilmour. I like them both BUT I am def in Camp Dave. This is a take on the now famous Pink Floyd: Live in Pompeii, and it is truly splendid. Not only do you have decades of stunning music under the supremeness of Dave Gilmour, but the stunning backdrop of Pompeii. Truly excellent stuff!

Mr Dynamite: the rise of James Brown - this was a good but basic documentary of the great man, loads of music and information, but nothing really new.

All Things Must Pass - the story of the rise and fall of Tower Records, interesting economic story and sad given the new rise of vinyl now.

Score: a film music documentary - a fantastic documentary about film scores, from the big John Williams blockbusters to newer styles. Really loved this.

Trauma - British 3-parter with John Simms as the father of a son who was stabbed. Adrian Lester as the doctor that couldn't save him and how Simms copes - or does not - with the death. Compelling drama.

Versace - this was a great biopic series that wasn't really about Versace at all, but the megalomaniac that killed him. Darren Criss is absolutely amazing as the crazed Andrew Cunanan, a serial killer of the worst kind. It follows his childhood and murderous past until his final murder, that of Versace. Really worth watching

Nashville - final season, this was a nice wrap up of a good show. The music was always the star in this melodrama, and that is how it ended, on a high with loads of great music and most of the storylines tied up sweetly.

The Wire S1 - finally caught up with this gritty drama that helped start this wonderful new golden age of television. Of course I loved it, and cannot wait to watch more.

Arrow S2 - Arrow is pure fun, superhero saving his city from the baddies and loads of people once thought of as dead showing up...not dead.

The Affair S4 - I have always been conflicted about this show. None of the characters are terribly likeable, they have all behaved badly, the original affair is now long gone and really what more is there to say. And yet, I am still drawn to it, what makes people make the decisions they make in love and life. This interests me and S4 goes off on many unexplored tangents, I found S3 a little tedious, but S4 seems rejuvenated.

Better Things S2 - I love this show so very much, Pamela Adlon is everything as a single Mum of three very fierce young girls. She is also a working actor. Her crazy British Mum (the brilliant Celia Imrie) lives next door. Her eclectic and very real bunch of friends support her. The storylines are very simple and yet so emotionally complex. It is a comedy, but the drama will suck you in. Everyone in it is brilliant, especially the three girls, but Pamela's Sam is the star, she just kills in this role. Series 2 introduces Henry Thomas (yes, that Henry Thomas from ET - he is just gorgeous) as a potential partner. I love the love in this show and the serious feminism from all the characters. It's definitely one of the best things on television at the moment.

Detectorists S1 - very dry, and very funny series about two guys with metal detectors hoping to score big on the Saxon front. Toby Jones and Mackenzie Crook are the hapless, melancholy duo, and they are excellent! I also love their nemesis couple, who are nicknamed Simon and Garfunkel, cause they look just like them, it never fails to make me laugh.

Nanette - this is everything you have heard and then some. I have always liked Hannah Gadsby, she has this type of melancholy about her, the kind I am always drawn to. She was great in Please Like Me and her series on Art. But this, this is just one of the most remarkable hours you will spend. It is honest with seering anger and angst. Full of such remarkable lines, you wish you could use them in your own real life. This has been reviewed to death, many people feel it is life changing. I am simply going to say, watch it, everyone should watch it!

Soccer/Le Tour - really enjoyed watching the World Cup and always love Le Tour, all that castle porn

Escape to the Chateau - fabulous show where an English couple buy a fabulous French Chateau with a moat and do it up before they get married. The Chateau was very run down and they had minimal money left after the purchase, but were very clever in ideas and do it yourself. Only 4 episodes, I wanted more.

Escape to the Continent - I should not watch this show about English couples looking to move to Europe - usually Spain and Italy on the coast. It just makes me want to do the same...sigh...

London Calling - 4 part series about British music, but through various platforms, like videos, photography and fashion. Really interesting concept for a well known subject.

What I've Been Listening To

The Worms Heart by The Shins – a rejigged version of Heartworms from last year. Everything was flipped, fast becomes slow, a ballad becomes disco etc. Clever and not bad.

Depth of Field by Sarah Blasko – always stunning, love her voice, her songs. You cannot go wrong with a Sarah Blasko album.

Colors – Beck – a little different, more melodic but good

Always Ascending – Franz Ferdinand – Haven’t listened to anything by them in a while, but enjoyed this a lot.

Walks Between Worlds – Simple Minds – still sound much the same, not bad, a few songs sounded like older songs rehashed.

Restoration: reimaging the songs of Elton John and Bernie Taupin – Nashville and country workings of their songs – really really good.