Tuesday, August 23, 2022

JULY REVIEWS

 What I've Been Reading

Out of the Box by Izzy, Emmie, and Kerry Silbery

I bloody loved this. Izzy, Emmie and Kerry are three generations of Silbery and feature on Gogglebox. If you haven't watched Gogglebox, go now, you will thank me later. I am not a huge fan of 'reality' TV but this is kinda out there on it's own in terms of genre. It IS people watching tele and commentating on it but it is so much more than that. It is a slice of humanity and sociologically fascinating. You will come to love the people and also agree or disagree with their thoughts. It is like water cooler chatter in the comfort of your home. I love The Silberys, especially Emmie, who is 93 years young. They have all lived amazing and remarkable lives, especially Emmie, who has seen so much in her lovely long life. Each chapter is themed with all three ladies weighing in on the topic and the impact on it within their lives, eg Sex, childbirth, body images, education, love etc.  This is definitely a feminist book and holds nothing back. There are some really dramatic moments, some drop the mic moments, and a lot of laughs.

Misfits: a personal manifesto by Michaela Coel 

This is a teeny book based on Michaela's MacTaggart Lecture. It starts with a dream, her preparation for the lecture, and then the lecture itself. It covers a lot of her life story leading up to the writing and making of Chewing Gum. It is raw and personal and at times funny. It also includes some reflections on the lecture after the fact. I guess this is for fans only. I really loved it, but wanted more. You may know Michaela from the outstanding series, I May Destroy You.

Guillermo Del Toro: the iconic filmmaker and his work by Ian Nathan

A lovely coffee table book covering all his work with lovely pictures. Whilst this is an unauthorised book, there are a lot of interesting insights into each of his films. I am such a fan of his imagination and storytelling ability. He always makes me wonder, which is marvelous.

The Girl who Reads on the Metro by Christine Feret-Fleury

Juliette likes to watch what people are reading on the Metro. One day she is compelled to get off a few stops early and finds a magical bookstore and meets the owner. He selects books for the right people and encourages her to assist him. This was a wonderful, magical book about books and stepping outside of your comfort zone. It wasn't a big read, only 175 pages and totally delightful.

A Few Right Thinking Men by Sulari Gentill

I met Sulari a few years back at an author talk at work, her mystery series intrigued me and I got her to sign a copy of the first title. I recently read it for my book club and quite enjoyed it. Set in 30s Sydney, and based on history and newspaper articles, it follows the tug of war between left and right at the time. The First World War had ended and the young Bohemians were appearing over town. Sulari paints a vivid picture of the time, the characters are well fleshed out, the story fascinating, even if the mystery/murder was the least interesting thing about the book - these things usually are. I found it an easy read, fun, and learnt something too...and there are 9 more books to follow!

Paris Dreaming by Katrina Lawrence

This was a lovely book about a Francophile who has been visiting Paris since she was a child. She writes chapter by chapter about each period of her life when she has visited Paris and what she got out of the city each time and how things changed. Fascinating! She also adds in various Parisian History, depending on the area she is writing about. This was an easy and a fun read.

What I've Been Watching

The Parisian Agency

I drool over this show, a Parisian reality show about a family real estate business. Mum, Dad, and 4 sons, and they deal in very high end French (and European) real estate. It is pretty perverse in a way, but you get loads of stunning views of Paris, and see into the most extraordinary abodes.

The Godfather Trilogy

After James Caan died, we decided to have a Godfather marathon over three nights. It is one of our favourite films and we had never seen them together. Firstly, as expected, they hold up very well. Then we marveled over how young everyone looks. They are all (even 3 which is definitely the lesser film, but not the dog everyone talks about, although it did need a bit of an edit) exceptional films, wonderfully written, and beautifully filmed. Even the key grotesque scenes are filmed beautifully. A young Pacino broke my heart (again) as I watched him morph into a monster. And Fredo, dear Fredo, always my favourite character, mostly as I love John Cazale (what a stunning career tragically cut short). De Niro and Brando are the big shots for sure and for reason. Watching them is something else.

What really struck me with this viewing (and goodness knows how many times I have seen them), was the supporting cast of nameless people. The people who make up the wedding scenes, and all the other big people scenes. Each and every one of them authentic in their look, fitting in beautifully, from the era and the either Italian, or Italian American. This was exemplified by the terrific set design and costumes, you were truly transported into the era. And that stunning soundtrack by Nino Rota. 

The other thing that struck me this time were the women. Sure The Godfather is all about the men, Brando, De Niro, Pacino, Duvall, Cazale, Caan, and many more. But Talia Shire, Diane Keaton, Morgano King (stunning as Mama Corleone), and even Sofia Coppola are extraordinarily good. As wives and relatives to mobsters, they are usually fairly thankless roles, but Coppola serves them well with wonderfully written dialogue and strong scenes. So the verdict is (as if there was any doubt) The Godfather Trilogy is still a masterpiece, and if you haven't seen it in a long time or (quelle horreur) never seen it, you need to rectify that!

Uncut Gems

Woah, this was quite the ride. Adam Sandler is a gemstone/jewellery shop owner. He deals with rich clients and a lot of New York gangster types. When he gets his hand on a precious African gem, things go terribly wrong. Double and triple crossing ensue, all the while he is trying to juggle his wife and kids, and his girlfriend on the side. This is gritty and full on, violent and sharp. Sandler is freakin' superb in it. I have never really been a fan of his humour, although I do love The Wedding Singer, but when he pulls it out for a drama, he is brilliant. Not for the faint hearted, but truly worth it to see a remarkable performance.

Thor Ragnarok

I thought I had seen this, but obviously not. What fun. Hemsworth is better when he does humour, he is brilliant in fact. Taika Waititi definitely gives Thor the lift he needed, and is a fabulous as the wise-cracking side kick. Fabulous all star cast including Anthony Hopkins and Cate Blanchett. I really enjoyed this movie, except for it could have edited some of the fight scenes...but then I always say that about all of those types of movies.

Annette

This film was mentioned towards the end of The Sparks documentary and I realised I had it on my pile of DVDs to watch. Spooky. Written and scored by the eccentric brothers, this is something else. Adam Driver is a stand up comic who falls in love with an beautiful opera singer (Marion Cotillard). Their relationship is tempestuous, but they marry and have a child. The child is shown as a puppet, which sounds weird, and well the movie IS weird, but it works... trust me! Simon Helberg is Cotillard's pianist and he is in love with her. Tragedy strikes and things sail off course and to say any more would be spoilers. This is a very unusual film, it is a musical, and the music is operatic and haunting and stunning. It was unlike anything I have ever seen, and I guess it is not for everyone, but if you want to see something really different, give it a go. I really loved this.

Gentleman Jack S2

I really love Gentleman Jack, about real life Anne Lister, who chose to live her life as a man would with her wife in 1830s Yorkshire. Anne is a large landowner and industrialist and is working on having a casino built on her land. I am unsure how much of the series is based on Anne's diaries and what is fabricated, but it feels realistic enough. Suranne Jones is everything as Anne, and the supporting cast are superb, think Period drama with lesbians and a bit of humour.  It is really enticing watching, but sadly this was the last season.

Barry S3

Barry just gets better and better, and season 3 really turns it up. As per each season before it, Barry get a little darker. Gene is no longer teaching, and trying to get back into acting and directing. Barry is trying, unsuccessfully, to distance himself from everyone. And to tell any more would be spoilers. Noho Hank is still the break out star though, man he makes me laugh.

Bridgerton S2

This was nowhere near as good or salacious as S1, but still a great watch. I love the costumes, and set design, the rest - let's face it - is Jane Austen lite. But it is still pleasurable. This season focuses on marrying off Anthony Bridgeton, and introduces new characters to the familiar cast. 

Emily in Paris S2

Look, I hate-watch this. I love Paris, and the costumes and the food, but the characters, most especially Emily, are painful and unrealistic. Very much a cardboard cut-out show, where you leave your brain and soul at the door, but in these times, we sometimes need super lite to help us through.

Younger final season

This last season was lacking something, most notably the great Miriam Shor as Diana, and I think we are all over the will they/won't they of Liza and Charles, but I still enjoyed it. Set amongst a publishing house in NY, it ticked loads of boxes for me, great cast, fun, books, fashion, and New York!

Andy Warhol Diaries

A fabulous 6 part doco based on Andy Warhol's diaries. Featuring all the players with footage and interviews from then, and interviews from now. The diary entries are read and pull the whole thing together. Each episode features an era, I particularly loved the Basquiat one.

Salinger

Great documentary about the late, great JD Salinger. I was deeply moved by this. I have always loved his writing, and it still holds up today. But I know he was a bit of a challenging character, especially with women. It's difficult. But watching his life potted into a few hours, you realised this was a man with serious mental health issues, and that was before he fought in the war. Then to have so many people wanting the meaning of life from him when he wanted to live a quiet life, well that must also have been difficult for him. War definitely altered his perception of life, and his girlfriend left him for Charlie Chaplin while he was away and he read about it in the paper, such a devastating betrayal. And finally, to have not 1 but 3 murders (well 2 murders - Lennon and Rebecca Schaeffer, and Regan, the attempted murder) because of a book you wrote, that must be incredibly heart wrenching and upsetting. It goes through all of this and more, so much more, and is utterly fascinating.

The Sparks Brothers

When I first heard about this documentary it sounded more like a mockumentary. But it is not. It is about 2 brothers who formed a band, The Sparks, in the late 60s and are still playing today. Their quirky offbeat style - which is ever changing had a large underground following, but they never really found mainstream fame - which is fine by them.

I had 2 reasons to believe they are real, I remember a song by them from the 80s, When I'm With You, it was a great 80s electronic and eerie song with a quirky film clip. And I remember Paul McCartney dressing up as one of them in his Coming Up filmclip.

The documentary is exquisite and one of the best docos I have seen. With loads of footage and clips and music, plus so many interviews with famous people who love them or were inspired by them. And funny, it is really funny. One of their most recent projects was the story and soundtrack to the film, Annette. I thought hmm, and sure enough there was a copy of Annette sitting in my DVDs to watch pile, you can read the review above, but how bizarre. Days later I was watching The Andy Warhol Diaries, also mentioned above, and sure enough they were mentioned again! By the end of the doco I was a fan, and you will be too.

The $50 Million Art Swindle 

This was a doco about an art dealer who ended up swindling a lot of money from a lot of New York Collectors. He had set himself up in NY in the art scene, initially as a sort of broker helping others buy art, and then with his own house of art/business. He ran with the rich and posed as one himself, and to do that he needed money and this is where his downfall began. A fascinating tale of what greed can do to a person.

What I've Been Listening To

Kate Bush

Much Kate has been devoured in the lead up to Wuthering Heights day.

1980s Compilations

Andrew and I have been making our way through all the compilation albums each Sunday over brunch when we are at my place. These were part of the collection that were Dads, and he gifted them to me. We have now made our way all through the 70s and have finally commenced the 80s! I think I am going to blog about them as we go, so stay tuned!

Bang On Podcast

Myf and Zan look at the week past in terms of pop culture. Always fun and interesting.

Strong Songs Podcast

I love this podcast but hadn't seen a post for a many months. They had changed where you found the podcast so I had to re-join. ANd then had to play catch up. Nessun Dorma, Carole King, Madonna, Ska, Cover songs, Billy Joel, They Might Be Giants, Earth, Wind and Fire, Talking Heads, and The Cars were some that were featured.


Sunday, August 7, 2022

JUNE REVIEWS

What I Have Been Reading

Loud by Tana Douglas 

This is one of the best books I have ever read! Tana Douglas is the first female roadie and she's Australian. Her story, which she tells in Loud is extraordinary. Her parents split when she was young and as soon as she could leave home she did. She spent her mid-teen years up and down the coast looking for work and trying to find her flock and somewhere to fit in. In Sydney she went to some gigs and fell into the music scene. One evening she was seeing a band with a friend, and the band was travelling up the coast. Her friend had family there and wanted to travel with the band. The tour manager said she could get a ride if the band packed up by a certain time. So Tana helped them pack up to ensure her friend a seat. This happened but they were so impressed with Tana's work ethic, they offered her a job as a roadie. The band were Fox, who were popular in the 70s.

Tana toured with FOx for a while, but in time the band imploded. She was now in Melbourne and was told about some musos about to put together a band. They needed a roadie and also had a spare room in the house they lived in. She went to visit and the door was answered by 2 older guys in suits, she wasn't sure what was going on. THe men - Harry Vanda and George Young - took them in to meet the boys. The boys were Malcolm and Angus Young, and Bon Scott. They were about - but hadn't as yet - form AC/DC. The boys loved her like a sister, and she helped form the band and select the drummer and bass player. Her time living and touring with the band was absolutely unreal. The people she met, the things she did and the stories she has are brilliant, and this forms only a very small part of this memoir. 

From there she tours with Leo Sayer, Suzi Quattro, Neil Diamond, and Status Quo. And that is all before she is 21! ON her 21st birthday she meets Iggy Pop, and gets a gig with him. She tours the world, and her stories are remarkable. Santana and Status Quo love her and not only does she do everything from sound and lights, to helping with other areas of being a Roadie or Tour Manager. Tana also helped change the industry in terms of work practices. She spends time telling us about a gig with Elton John when he play Buckingham Palace for a birthday celebration. Seriously, these stories only tip the ice-berg. This is an awesome read, especially if you love music. I was so upset when the book ended, I wanted more. 

A Solitary Walk on the Moon - Hilde Hinton
 
Hilde Hinton is an astonishing writer, and her second book showcases that. Evelyn keeps to herself and runs her laundromat, she likes the precision of the work. She likes the young family that comes in once and week and treats the young boy to pastries from the local cake shop. She also observes some of the other locals, those that seem loners, without friends. She likes to make sure they are ok. 

A Solitary walk on the moon is a beautiful reflection on life, the people that transit in and out of our view, who we see, who we don't, how could we help them. Evelyn is very aware of all of this, but who is looking after Evelyn. And what happens when she crosses the line of observance to assisting others.

This is a beautifully melancholy look at life, Hilde writes in such a way you can see every teeny piece of action in your mind. Again, another brilliant book, one of the best I have read.

Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason
 
An interesting novel about a couple over a long period of time. She has mental health issues which causes fractures as time goes on. The story is Martha reminiscing on the relationship after they have split. She is an unreliable narrator, humourous in parts (the book is described as very funny, I wouldn't go that far), but ultimately a heart breaking character. The section resulting in her mental health diagnosis was the most interesting to me. Her inner monologue really shows what living like that can be. I don't know that it is worthy of all the praise being heaped on it, but it was a good read.

The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams

I thought this was going to be a modern novel about old words no longer in use. So when I realised this was not the case I was quite disappointed. But I still enjoyed the book, but it did have limitations. It is a fictional version the making of the OED - The Oxford English Dictionary. Now, many years ago I read The Surgeon of Crowthorne by Simon Winchester, which is the actual non-fiction version of this story and it is a brilliant read. SO this really paled in comparison, but it is still a worthy read. 

It follows the only child, Esme, of a gent working on the OED. She spends her time with him and the others working on the project under the watchful eye of James Murray. As she grows up, she starts to collect the words they discard. A lot of them she feels are worthy and commences on a project of her own. Realising the group working on the OED are privileged men, Esme collects feminist and cockney words, words they discard or are not even aware of. I loved the word sections the best, with discussions over words, trips to libraries for evidence and so forth. It was also a great time capsule of that time, that included a lot of what living in London and surrounds during the late 1800s.

My main problem was it was trying to be too many things, a historical-fiction novel, feminist tale, love story, and a few other themes that were clumsily thrown in. And when any significant life event occurs, they were washed over quickly, which given the attention to detail in other sections, I found rather odd. 

I wanted to love this book so much, and whilst I did enjoy most of the story, it did leave me a little frustrated in sections.

Rooms with a view: the secret life of Grand Hotels by Adrian Mourby

This was a great escape of a book. It delved into the world of top notch hotels in key cities over the world. The history behind them, the famous people that stayed there, the liaisons, the food, the architecture. 

What Would Frida Do: a guide to living boldly by Arianna Davis
 
This was a great little book with all sort of interesting chapters about Frida Kalho. Ultimately it was a biography of sorts, but presented in a very Frida way. With loads of illustrations and photos, by her and of her work. It had a fun slant, and was the kind of book you could just delve into if you wanted, you didn't have to read it cover to cover.

Living the Chateau Dream by Dick and Angela Strawbridge
 
This is the second book by the fabulous Strawbridges. They are the faces of the wonderful show, Escape to the Chateau, which showcases the stunning Chateau they brought back in 2008 and their renovations of it. This takes up after their first book, which spoke to their first year, and covers a few years. WHat is great about these books are they cover so much more than what you see on the show. More detailed information and stories on the things you see on the show and so much more you do not see. Family stories, trips and mini breaks around other areas of France and into Paris. Stories of other ventures in terms of making money to keep the Chateau rolling. There are also recipes, and tips for small renovation ideas. The other unique thing is both Angela and Dick write the book, and you can see this by the use of different fonts. Often they tell the same story, but from a completely different viewpoint, which is rather amusing. I really loved this book.

We've Got This: stories by disabled parents edited by Eliza Hull
 
This was a great talking book about disabled people who have become parents. It covers their struggles, their wins, and everything in between including the prejudice of other people. A fascinating read (listen) which really puts things into perspective.

What I Have Been Watching

Anne with an E S1/2
 
This is the latest adaptation of Anne of Green Gables. Shot beautifully in Canada with an exceptional cast. The showrunners have added additional stories to the original story but it feels seamless. There is an authenticity to the show, in all aspects, that makes this wonderful. I am really enjoying this walk down my childhood reading past.

The Handmaid's Tale S4
 
Equal parts brutal and equal parts uplifting. Sometimes I wonder why I watch this show, Almost every episode did me in, and the tissue count was high for most. I had this taped on my hard drive since it aired almost 2 years ago, I just couldn't manage it. Unsure what made me watch it then, but I did. So much devastation, and yet so many 'thump the air, yes' scenes. June, played by the utterly magnificent Elisabeth Moss, goes rogue and it is something to watch. Season 5, and I believe it will be the last, airs soon. I am so curious to see how it ends, having read the books I know the ending, but who is to say the TV show will follow the books?

Studio 22
 
Studio 22 was a great documentary series dealing with how The Arts can help people with mental health issues. A diverse group of Australians with varying mental health issues get together over a few weeks with mental health professionals and art experts to find their inner muse. Painting, and drawing, and music and writing are explored over the weeks with wonderful artisans like Wendy Sharpe and Eddie Perfect. At the end of the 'experiment' most of the participants had a significant positive shift in their mental health. Whilst this was quite heavy going at times, it was totally worth it to see the participants shine, very uplifting.

Obi Wan Kenobi
 
This was so very good, although short and it left me wanting more. Seeing my beloved Ewan back as Obi Wan/Ben was so wonderful. It is difficult to write about this one without spoilers, but the characters introduced in this series are utterly brilliant. 

The Mandalorian
 
What joy this series is, have finally caught up on both seasons and I love it dearly. I think The Mandalorian himself is an excellent character but then they made up The Kid - woah! Great action sequences, a really lovely homage to Star Wars, fantastic humour, and those last episodes of Season 2, thrilling!!!  And then there was Amy Sedaris as the mechanic - next level brilliance. Bring on Season 3!!

The Amazing Race
 
The Amazing Race is back, and we had such fun following the shenanigans. Some really interesting alliances this time, and some new twists and turns, and as always, Phil just doesn't seem to age. Really, we just watch it for the places they travel to, fascinating for a bit of arm-chair travel.

What I Have Been Listening To

Conflicting Emotions by Split Enz

Such a great album, but they were nearing the end. Neil was the major songwriter and singer, Tim had gone off to make his solo album, Escapade. The opening hits are Strait Old Line and the perfect, Message to my Girl. But really, the whole album is great.

James Brown

There is no one like James, he is incredibly funky, his voice is magnificent. You need to tap your toe and get up dn n                                                                                                                                                                                        Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul 

I got a beautiful blue vinyl re-release of this old gem. Otis never sounded better.

ABBA

I have been listening to everything ABBA, and absolutely loving it. You can read about it here.

Raise the Roof - Robert Plant and Alison Krauss

Plant and Krauss are at it again, they come from different musical backgrounds, and yet they sound stunning together, the new album is no exception.

Blondie

I have always loved Blondie's punk/pop, so have secured a few more of their albums on vinyl and been spinning them at Club Cathy. Joy-ous!!!

Sunday, July 31, 2022

MAY REVIEWS

What I've Been Reading

The Luminous Solution by Charlotte Wood

This was a fascinating book about writing and sharing of wisdom from being an artist. It also included some enlightening and funny details about ageing, and some details about behind the scenes of writing her wonderful books.

You've got to be Kidding: a shedload of wine and a farm full of goats by Todd Alexander

This is the follow up to Todd's first book, what happened next. Todd and his partner settle into their farm and their business heats up...literally. There is also loads of hilarious and sometimes poignant stories about animals. Such a joyous read, I cannot recommend highly enough.

Archie 100: a Century of the Archibald Prize

A fabulous coffee table book with 100 of the best - not necessarily the winners - portraits that describe the Archibald Prize over it's 100 year history. Also stories behind the artist and their sitter. Just glorious!

The Exhibitionists: a history of Sydney's Art Gallery of New South Wales by Steven Miller

This feels like a counterpiece to Archie 100, with a fascinating history of the NSW Art Gallery, told chronologically but also by exhibition and by key new pieces bought for the collection, how and why. 

Sex, Lies and Question Time by Kate Ellis

I listened to this on talking book, and was fascinated and shocked about Kate's stories of her time in politics. I didn't know a lot about her background and full time in politics. Of course, she was treated abominably, but even so, it was shocking to hear.

Revhead: my life as a motoring tragic by Shane Jacobson

This was a little talking book, read by Shane himself. It was about his life in cars. I am a bit of a car person - which you would never know - not necessarily a revhead, But I appreciate cars and car racing. So his stories were fabulous, from his first car to working with cars on movie and tv sets, and doing Top Gear Australia. Whilst it is not a full autobiography, it certainly covers aspects of his life and work. A real raconteur, this is a great listen. 

Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man by Emmanuel Acho

Emmanuel is a young African American, with a popular podcast called Uncomfortable Conversations, and I listened to the talking book of the book based on the podcast! He is great in getting his points across, easy to understand, and highly educational yet very listenable. Worth checking it out!

What I've Been Watching

Julia

A fabulous mini-series about Julia Child and how she originally got on tele. It shows the behind the scenes of how she revolutionalised cooking on television. Sarah Lancashire is utterly brilliant as Julia, and she had a formibable supporting cast, David Hyde-Pierce, Bebe Neuwirth, Judith Light, and Isabella Rossellini.

The Flight Attendant S2 

This such an underrated gem. Caley Kuoco is so very good as a kooky flight attendant who finds herself caught up in murder and espionage. We know she can do kooky and physical comedy from Big Bang, but she adds drama and pathos in this role. She also plays versions of herself which shows next level acting. It is difficult to talk about S2 without spoilers, but she is still a flight attendant, but is now working part time for the CIA. She is more responsible and getting her life together...or is she. This show is all killer, no filler, it flies along and makes you yearn for the following episode. I watched it week to week, rather than binging. Great supporting cast, clever storylines, and a very very special guest star with a  strong connect to Caley's Cassie. Those episodes scream Emmy. I was a little disappointed with ending, I saw it coming a mile off, and then there was another little add on that I guess was to make up for the ending, that I didn't see, but was completely unnecessary. But even so, it was grand watching!

Our Flag Means Death

Do we need more Taika Waititi, you better believe it!! Taika is Blackbeard, and easily the star of the show. He just lifts every scene. Our Flag Means Death is about a motley crew of pirates led by the effeminate Stede, played by Rhys Darby. They are all a bit crap at being pirates, but then Blackbeard comes along and is having doubts about his pirate career, and is a bit depressed. He decides to help Stede be a better pirate. Hilarity ensues. This is sheer delight, go get it now! 

Wellington Paranormal S4

I love this show, but it is starting to feel a little stale. Set in Wellington NZ with the paranormal police section. A documentary film crew follows the cops as they investigate the many odd occurrences in Wellington.

Sanditon S2

S2 picks up some time after S1, and starts with heartbreak, no spoilers here. The work on the resort is continuing, Charlotte returns with her younger sister in tow, the Army are in town (cue gorgeous men...possibilities!), and a few new mysterious characters. This is such a lovely show, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Atlanta S3

Woah, the wait was totally worth it. Glover pushes the boundaries and then some this season. Paper Boi is on tour in Europe, Darius, Van and Earnie are with him. They run into some eye opening people, and events, and cultures. But this thread is not every episode, there are some one off eps that really push those boundaries, especially in terms of racism. I love the clever gritty of this show. Zazie Beetz, who is always extraordinary, steals the final episode. 

Doctor Who

This season was fun, but I yearn for the days on one off episodes and 'monster of the week' episodes. They don't seem to go to other planets or universes anymore. I still enjoy the show, and love the energy of Jodie Whittaker, but feel like something is missing.

Tiny Oz

Cute documentary with the ever cheery Jimmy Rees, looking at all things miniature. Working on some special projects he meets artists that specialise in miniatures and follows their progress.

Blitzed: the 80s Blitz Kids Story

Documentary about the 80s nightclub in the UK, The Blitz. Featuring all the bands and artists of the day, Spandau Ballet, Boy George, Duran Duran, etc, this is a great walk down memory lane. Hear about the music, the dance, the fashion, the filmclips, the movies of that era.

This is Joan Collins

A great documentary about a great dame. Following on from her recent autobiography, Joan tells her story herself, and clips and other people's takes on the situations are included. It is a wild ride, full of drama and hilarity. And loads of information about the Dynasty ere. 

Adrienne 

A remarkable documentary about the life of the late, great, Adrienne Shelley. Murdered when she was too young, just as her star was on the rise, it is an awful story. But prior to that moment, she was the darling on 90s indie films, and a favourite of mine. I loved her films with Hal Hartley and the gorgeous Martin Donovan. The documentary was directed by her husband, and it is incredibly powerful. It celebrates all the wonder of her life, and the murder itself,  including how the murderer was caught. Don't let the traumatic parts turn you off this doco, this is a really uplifting remarkable celebration of a joyous woman.

Free Guy

This movie was loads of fun, Free Guy is a red shirt in a computer game who becomes aware of his situation and tries to break out of it. Free Guy is, of course Ryan Reynolds, and it utterly charming. A nice escape film.

What I've Been Listening To

10CC Greatest Hits

Such a great album, well written songs, uplifting and fun

Love will be reborn - Martha Wainwright

Martha's voice is sublime, this is her first album in a while and it was totally worth the wait.

Quasimodo's Dream - The Reels

The Reels are utterly underrated, they produce various styles of good new age music, and Quasimodo's Dream is a perfect album. Their best I think.

Strangeways, Here we come - The Doors

A new vinyl score, this is a classic album that will never date.


MARCH/APRIL DIARY

March commenced with a visit from my sister from Melbourne, and a lovely night out at Emilios.


Jayne and I headed into City Hall for the Newcastle Writer's Festival Launch with the amazing force of energy that is Costa Georgiadis. Now, I didn't really know much about him or gardening for that matter, and he was so very impressive. His nervous energy was catchy and admirable. He was absolute joy and it was a fabulous way to launch what looked like to be a great program.





Our work held their yearly GLAM conference, and I was lucky enough to attend on the Friday afternoon, listening to some creative and inspiring colleagues and being treated to the fabulousness that is Timberlina. Also these events mean long overdue networking and catch ups with colleagues all over the state.


I had my yearly check-up with my oncologist, the first one in real life for a while. And after 4 years I was discharged, what a relief and odd feeling it was. I was very emotional and the tears flowed once I made it to my car. I still need to have my regular breast check ups with my surgeon of course, but one more milestone passed and behind me. Whilst being a cancer survivor is absolutely a gift that I am blissfully aware of every day of my life, it can be a heavy thing to carry around.


We finally got all the gals together and headed back to Rombergs for drinks, supper and chats. It was as impressive as the first time, I don't think those view will ever get old. 




Andrew and I headed to the Burwood Inn for one of their big steaks for lunch one Saturday. I had been promising to take him for ages, and he was super impressed. It is an excellent meal there.



As always the Oscars were celebrated. Every year I say I am going to give it up, but every year I get sucked back into the vortex!

Here are my reviews of some Oscar films.

Here are my predictions.

And here is how I went along with some thoughts and fashion!

I also finished my first TAFE teaching stint at the end of March. I have been teaching Collection Management - my most favourite thing in the whole world of libraries. It was pretty full on juggling the teaching with FT regular work but I got there and enjoyed the experience too.

The month ended with a literary trivia night at The Stag for the NWF. Our group, which was initially 5 but became 3 ended up coming second, which was pretty impressive. It was such a fun night.



April commence with the Newcastle Writers Festival, as always it was magical and wonderful, you can read about it here.

Due to our brilliance at the literary trivia night, we won a table at the Moho Magic Bar that was in town, so headed there for an early show. What fun it was. We sat at a bar, where roving magicians moved around and did amazing tricks right in front of us. Some lovely cocktails were had, and many laughs.







I headed to our Toronto Branch to do a little guest gig, as you can see the views there are unparalleled. I don't think I could work there, well, I wouldn't get much work done!



We also had a belated Christmas dinner for work at The Argy Hotel and also had a go at their trivia.

I had a lovely 2.5 weeks off around Easter, commencing with a lovely family gathering at my sister's on Easter Sunday, then I spent the first week with Andrew at his place, which was a nice break, returning to celebrate my sister's birthday. MY second week was a chill week catching up on jobs around Club Cathy and catching up with friends and taking in the beauty that is Newcastle.












The month ended with a trip to Maitland and Morpeth, with a great lunch - as always - at Morpeth Pub.







AS always there were markets.










Bookclub and my radio spot at the ABC.




And some photography