Monday, June 5, 2023


Tim Rogers is one of my favourite Australians. His music and lyrics are simply spectacular, but in the most underrated way. I listen to his songs, especially his solo stuff, and I just go weak at the knees. He is a born storyteller. 

I do love his band, You Am I, but I have a real special place for his solo work. And most especially, What Rhymes with Cars and Girls, his debut solo album. Released in 1999, I was right in the middle of an awful break-up, and this was my soundtrack. I don't mind saying, I think this album saved my life. It was an album full of truth and heartbreak itself, and it went straight to the core of my being. I love this album so very much and it is easily in my Top 5 all-time favourite albums.

It is a little bit pop, a little bit rock, and quite heavily country influenced. It is melancholy and sad and also very uplifting. The vibe is Timmy has opened up his heart and soul and just laid it all bare for you. So much so, he only toured the album briefly and rarely plays these songs in solo gigs. He says the time was not a good one for him and to play the songs was too upsetting. 

I was lucky enough to hear him play a couple of the more uplifting songs when he did an intimate gig at The Edwards some years back. The joy they brought, I cannot begin to say.

So, during lockdown he decided to revisit that album and rewrite those songs, 20 something years later. The album, Tines of Stars Unfurled, takes the subject matter of the original songs and updates them, what are those characters or places up to now. It has the same vibe.

And he regrouped The Twin Set, his backing band to make it and them tour both albums. 

This is the gig we saw a Lizotte's, and it was magnificent.

It is easily the best I have seen him perform too, the band were magnificent and he obviously loves working with them and whilst playing tight they appeared relaxed and at ease with each other, which really makes a difference, a lot of laughs were to be had.

Tim told stories about the band and the songs in between songs and was a sheer delight. Jen Anderson, from Weddings, Parties, Anything, was the yin to his yang. They had a close musicality that shone through, she added the cherry on top to an already remarkable set. 

They opened to the Fawlty Towers tune and Tim praised Brian and his team at Lizotte's. The new songs, which were not as familiar as the old ones, felt familiar. He explained the updated versions. The old tunes were divine and the band looked happy returning to them after all these years.

It was the kind of night you didn't want to end. There were a couple of well chosen covers towards the end, unexpected but fun.

We walked out on air.

The setlist was as follows:

Bushell and a Peck

Been So Good, Been So Far

A Quiet Anniversary


Arse Kickin' Lady From the North West

Left My Heart in a Country Church Hall

Happy Anniversary

I Live Near a Train Station


Get High, Support the Band

Hi, We're the Support Band

You Just Don't Do it for Me Friend

The Drink They Drained as I Drove Away

You've Been So Good To Me So Far

The Songs They Played as I Drove Away

Eight Days a Week - Beatles cover

Don't Cry No Tears - Neil Young Cover

Saturday, May 13, 2023


I saw David Sedaris for the third time back in February. 

He is one of my favourite authors and one of the very few authors who always make me laugh. I first saw him at The Opera House, and was back there again this third time, the second time he actually came to Newcastle, which was amazing.

For those that do not know Sedaris - really!?! - he is American, from the mid-west and a very large family, gay and the brother of comedian, Amy Sedaris (the mechanic in The Mandalorian). He writes memoir style essays. He has a very unique way of seeing the world. 

If you want to start reading Sedaris, definitely start with The Santa Land Diaries, based around his time as a elf a Macys when he was much younger.

Once he got popular he started backing up his books with these extensive tours. The tours are a mix of him reading from previous books and specifically the book he is touring, along with new material for his next book. You see him on stage with a pencil making notes on the script, what to change. He talks about it in his books. It is always a fabulous evening.

He also loves and I really mean loves meeting his readers after the talk, and when you meet him, it is not small talk, he wants a conversation and he mines these encounters for his books! He is adorable to chat to. Quirky, funny, kind and with a twinkle in his eye.

You don't have to have anything to say, he will get things rolling.

He often gives little presents, and while you are chatting, he draws pictures with coloured sharpies in the book/s you are getting signed. And he will have key topics he is interested in that he asks.

One of his funnier accounts, is he decided to talk about monkeys one night during his signings. He asked a random lady when she last saw a monkey. The lady deadpanned, can you smell it on me? She had been with one earlier that day. You can't make this stuff up he says.

So in true Sedaris crazy, the first 2 times I met him he asked me exactly the same thing. I was with my friends Athena and Linda both times. Athena, like David, is Greek, but Linda is not, but he thought she looked Greek. So he asks me, why are you hanging with these 2 Greek girls? The first time we laughed and continued chatting. The second time I said you asked me that the last time we met, he thought that was hilarious and interesting. Still waiting to see it in print in his book/s, lol.  

This time, he was interesting in language and the app everyone seems to be into. Duolingo. I said a spoke a little French but that was it. We also spoke about weird names, Andrew is a high school teacher so he has seen it all, and Sedaris was amused by it all.

Andrew didn't really know him prior to the evening, I had sent him some youtube clips and he liked his sense of humour and his honesty. He had a blast and loved the show. I knew he would, I have never met anyone who didn't like David Sedaris.

The most recent book had a lot of dark subject matter, his father (who he had a fractured relationship with) dying, COVID, cyclones, Black Lives Matter, Gun control etc. Whilst staying respectful, he managed to makes these subjects funny. He spoke about some of them, about language, weird names in kids, punishment of children now compared to when he was a kid, and much more.

He took questions towards the end. I hate these things, it is always some dick who just wants to either suck up or grand stand. They are the worst. So this idiot asks this long winded question basically asking for help to grieve a loved one as he is obviously doing well after losing such a beloved family member. Sedaris, sadonic as ever, was well, I didn't really get along with my father, so I feel much better now he is dead, there was not much grieving at all. I couldn't stop laughing, that showed that idiot! How could he even be there and call himself a fan, if he asked such an idiotic question.

Meeting him, as mentioned, was a delight. We both walked back to the tram feeling lighter and happier. Laughter is always a great thing, and Sedaris gave it to us in spades.

PS, not many pictures, as he doesn't like photography in the event or the signings, so I just snuck one!


In my early 20s I saw Beatnix a lot. I was getting back into The Beatles, and whilst not the fan I am today, I was loving them and how wonderful to see this great tribute band if I couldn't see the real thing.

I should also add my Dad was/is a huge Beatles fan. He would order their albums and singles from overseas and saw them in Sydney. We grew up with The Beatles, and listened to their music like other children would listen to nursery rhymes. So they were always there. In my teens, I loved their early music and Lennon was king, then I withdrew for a few years, a mix of over-exposure and my way of teenage rebellion, lol. But I came back, we always find our way back to greatness.

I used to be at The Palais Royale most weekends, my lovely friend Jen's boyfriend was the head barman there. He would drive us in early, start work, we would have dinner somewhere and come back to see whatever was on, and then wait for him to close and drive us home. It was a pretty great period in time. We had to pay for tickets to big events, and our drinks, but an OJ would get a nip of vodka in it or a vodka and OJ would get a second nip, lol!

Beatnix toured regularly at the time, so we saw them a lot. I loved them so.

I had not seen them in decades, occasionally they would pop up at Lizottes, and I thought I should go and see them, but was worried they would not be as good as I remembered them. When I found out Andrew, also a huge Beatles fan (how lucky am i!!??), had never seen them but had wanted to, I knew we had to go and see them. Within weeks of this conversation, they were advertised as coming soon. I got us tickets to a Sunday lunch.

Lizottes is always a quality night out, and I had never done lunch but it was just as good.

We had a good table and a good meal and out they came.

First half in those grey matching suits and mop top wigs. The first number was a little shakey, but once they found their groove everyone was smiling and singing along.

It was pure joy!

We had smiles from ear to ear.

They were tight. 2 older members have probably been in it from Day one, and the younger ones were doing fine under their watchful eye.

They played everything and anything from the red period.

After a short break they came back out, this time in full Sergeant Pepper's regalia. The blue set was infinitely better, but these are my preferred songs. They kept to the well known and safe songs from this era, which makes perfect sense.

I was just thrilled that they really were as good as I remembered them, and Andrew was super impressed too. We had a great time, and I totally recommend checking them out if you get the chance.

Saturday, April 15, 2023


I have always loved the novelty song, and as soon as I heard Eat It, I was in!

Weird Al Yankovic, even his name was cool. But he turned out to be much much more than a novelty act.

In the 80s I had all the Weird Al cassettes, and played them to death, amusing myself with his wit. I loved everything, the covers gone in his own way and the other songs with clever lyrics that made me laugh or smile wryly.

I particularly loved the polka songs.

I had never seen him live, really no one I knew wanted to go.

When I met Andrew, we would tell each other about gigs we had been too. So much overlapped and so much envy, on both sides. Weird Al was at the top of my 'I wish' list.

So when I saw he was finally returning to Australia, I knew we had to go.

I was super excited, but kept my expectations low. Andrew had regaled me with tales of huge stage shows, costumes and so forth.

But the concert we got was very different to that, and so much better.

We really got Weird Al in all his weirdness and nerdiness and I bloody loved it.

After a support act that was best left unspoken, a roadie popped three stools at the front of the stage.

The band came out, a drummer and keyboard player towards the back left and right, 2 guitarists on the outer stools and then the man himself!

Dressed normally, those long curls left to their own devices. He sat on a stool and started talking. He said he hoped we all got the memo about it being a parred back show with no big hits. I must admit I was a little peeved and thought huh, I got no such memo. But it didn't last long, I just had a feeling we were in for something special. And I was not wrong, nor disappointed.

He sang a lot of the album tracks and a lot of early stuff. Stuff I had quite simply forgotten, I knew pretty much 90% of what he sang. And some were really tricky and complex vocally and lyrically. He was on freakin' fire.

4 songs in he sings Bob, which is probably one of my all-time favourites of his. I was in heaven, he delivered. There was accordion playing, and the band was tight, very tight.

Al, himself, sounded great, and was spot on with some very detailed lyrics.

The crowd slurped it all up. It was a very diverse crowd, from oldies to kiddies.

The encore of a very click, You can call me Al, was clever and brilliant, and the finale of a string of his big hits and some covers showcased the superb vocals, not only of Al, but the entire band. Their harmonies were so very good and spot on.

We left the show knowing how very lucky we were, and what a special evening we had witnessed, and to see it together was the cherry on top.


1. Lame claim to fame

2. Why does this always happen to me?

3.  Close but no cigar

4. Bob

5. One more minute

6.  Drum solo

7. I'll sue ya

8. your horrorscope for today

9. Skipper Dan

10. The night Santa went crazy

11. You don't love me anymore

12. Drum solo

13. CNR

14. Craiglist

15. Good old Days

16. Albuquerque


17. You can call me Al

18. Amish Paradise/Smells like Nirvana/White and Nerdy/Word crimes/Yoda

Enmore Theatre, Wednesday 15 March, 2023

Friday, April 14, 2023


10 years!

I can't believe it, it only seems like yesterday that we headed to the inaugural NWF with the brilliant Miriam Margolyes doing the most wonderful opening for the festival.

She had us crying and in stitches laughing, a better presentation to the world could not be thought of.

It was also the year we got to meet Richard Fidler, as we kicked on at a pub after a session he hosted with my friend, Anita. She invited him and his manager to join us for drinks after and we had a great time, a time that led to me driving them both back to their hotel. And thus led to the moniker, Richard 'I drove him in my car once' Fidler. And yes, he is as lovely and kind and funny and sweet as you would hope he was.

Seemingly, in the blink of an eye, we were seated at the 10th Opening night of the NWF. This year the guest was the inimitable Grace Tame. The evening was at the grand dame of the city, The Civic Theatre, and we had great seats.

Friday 31 March, 2023

In her own words: an evening with Grace Tame

Civic Theatre, Festival Opening Night

As always there were speeches and people to thank for making this amazing weekend happen. As always Rosemarie Milsom was a goddess, for her simply idea and making it happen, not just once but for an entire decade. She always inspires me to push through my own roadblocks and issues and get stuff done!

She spoke at length about the economy and kudos the festival brings to the city. It is a big deal that I do not think gets enough coverage or support, but luckily she has some great sponsors helping her along. It is my weekend of the year, always!

Whilst all the lead-up speeches were great, especially the one from University Professor, John Fischetti - he described Librarians as the Keepers of Civilisation - we were really eagerly waiting for Grace.

She is much smaller and fragile looking than you would imagine, yet has this impressive steely manner. Her stories were peppered with humour, sometimes dark, which was incredibly endearing and helped her, I think, be able to tell some of her less-amusing stories. She had us laughing and sobbing. At times, I was worried, I felt a little voyeuristic listening to her stories being told given she is still quite a fragile person and she was close to tears herself on numerous occasions. Yet, she explained she wouldn't have it any other way, telling her story in her own way was and is incredibly important to her and her survival, and connecting to others is also something she very much loves and needs. Maddison Connaughton from The Saturday Paper was her interviewer and didn't need to do too much, just keep her moving forward. Some would say she was redunant, but I feel she was incredibly important, as an anchor for Grace and I think others may have pushed and pulled her to tell certain elements in a particular way. Maddison did not, she was respectful and a calming influence. It was a lovely evening.

Saturday 1 April, 2023

World Traveller: Richard Fidler in Conversation

Richard was in conversation with Paul Bevan. Richard is a great raconteur, he can talk about anything. This is exemplified in Conversations, his hit radio interview show on the ABC. He talked about his new book, The Book of Roads and Kingdoms, is about the time when Baghdad was the centre of the Persian and Arabic worlds. It is full of otherworldly tales, tales of conquering cities and expanding empires. He has done his research and I cannot wait to read it. 

Afterwards I took my newly bought copy of the book, and was third in line to get it signed. He was lovely and engaging, and remembered our night, 10 years ago, fondly. It was a perfect exchange.

Sunday 2 April, 2023

The day started early, with a lovely brunch on Darby, at Wil and Sons. It was a beautiful day in Newcastle, as you can see.

The Beatles and beyond: Paul McCartney and his creative practice

Phillip McIntyre has written a fascinating book about McCartney and where his creativity comes from. He was in conversation with Scott Bevan. This was fascinating, a Beatles fan, Phillip lectures at the University on creativity. He has based his studies on song writing and the music industry, and has written a book specifically about the creativity of Paul McCartney. His theories on his creativity, which he believes is sparked from many different ways, is the genesis for his genius. He told some great stories to back up these ideas. With so much written on McCartney and The Beatles, this was a fresh and interesting take on the man.

The Life of Iris

Fiona Kelly McGregor has based her latest historical novel on Iris Webber and was in conversation with Nancy Cushing. Iris was brought up on the wrong side of the tracks in the early 30s in Sydney and soon became ensconced in the underworld and underbelly of Sydney as a gunslinging petty criminal. She was in and out of jail, and also quite possibly a lesbian. Fiona researched the era to fill in the holes of the story with tight information on the era. A fascinating insight into the era and Iris through a fictional background.

Women and words: Pip Williams in conversation

Pip William's Dictionary of Lost Words was a huge deal in Australian publishing. She was in conversation with Ailsa Piper about it and her new book, The Bookbinder of Jericho. Both are based on true events, but she has taken characters and fleshed them and their story out with fiction, writing very easy to access fiction. I enjoyed Dictionary of Lost Words, but felt it fell very short of what it could have been having read The Surgeon of Crowthorne by Simon Winchester. This was the real non-fiction telling of the same story and far more interesting and a much superior read. She does take the female view in both stories which in reality was minimal, but nice to read about. Her research was insightful and the stories she told about the new book had me curious to give it a go.

I didn't get to many sessions this year as you can see. I have had a very intense start to the year juggling a lot of work, teaching 2 nights a week on top of my FT job means I missed trivia evening, which was a bit sad. And I had to work Saturday and had pre-booked RocKwiz Saturday night and was tired. But I picked some quality events and liked the new location of the University building on Hunter Street. Not quite the same feel as City Hall, but easy to find and get around which is great. Nice views of the city too.

Saturday, April 8, 2023


What I've Been Reading

The Book that no one Wanted to Read by Richard Ayoade

This is a children's book by the very dry and hilarious Richard Ayoade (IT Crowd, Travel Man) The main character is the author who is indeed a book. And so the book tells you what it is like to be a book. Early on when the book gets upset about it's pages being turned back to mark where they are up to, I knew I would enjoy it! Very clever, very silly and amusing.  

Rooms of Their Own: where great writers write by Alex Johnson

This was a beautiful coffee table style book with lovely pieces on many different writers/authors, accompanied by illustrations of their writing rooms. It contains a little information about the writer and details of these surrounds. Writers include, Roald Dahl, Bronte Sisters, Virginia Woolf (of course), Colette, Emily Dickinson, Ray Bradbury, Hemingway, Haruki Murakami, Hilary Mantel and so on. The rooms ranged from opulent to sparse, filled with much, to sheds. It was a dreamy read.

Koori Princess by Anita Heiss    

A very sweet children's book about being your best self. I think loads of little girls will love this. It is a sweet but sassy story, about a little girl who loves to dress as a princess, but is still fierce! I think it will be very popular.

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox, and The Horse - Charlie Mackesy   

This is another children's book and quite the popular one - for all ages, adults especially. It is a parable of sorts, about a boy and his unusual friends, in search of a home. It is mostly about friendship and love and kindness. The illustrations are lovely and whimsical, it has been made into a short film which recently won an Oscar. 

Bodies of Light - Jennifer Down        

Bodies of Light is her third book and won the 2022 MIles Franklin award amongst many other most deserving awards.

I am unsure how to even explain this book without spoilers. I came at it totally cold, with no idea what it was even about, I had just heard how remarkable it was. I listened to it in talking book over a few weeks driving to and from work, the reader was phenomenal.       

It follows the story of Maggie and her very full and often tragic life. It is a long read and at times - for some - will be triggering, but it is exceptional. I felt every intertwined with Maggie for the entirety of the read.

The story commences in what seems like the present and someone from her past connects with her on facebook. She is quite upset by this and seems to be hiding from something. But what? Throughout the story you wonder if she is a reliable or unreliable narrator of her life.

To work through this initial connection she take you through her life coming back to this period throughout the story.

And so, she tells the vague story of her childhood, you can sense the gaps, is she hiding something or just cannot remember? Her childhood is not great, there is abuse and she ends up in foster home after foster home when her father is incarcerated. And so her journey begins. 

I want to say more, but I really got more out of the book not knowing what was coming up next, anticipating the next twist and turn, which you never really could. 

But the story is magnificent, huge and winding, twisting, and full of major moments. You will hang off every word. And the writing is stunning, the descriptions and sentences make you feel as if you are living Maggie's life with her! Down is a beautiful writer, Helen Garner has written lyrical about her sentence structure which is high praise.

This is a must-read book!

What I've Been Watching

Everything Everywhere All At Once

This is easily my favourite film of the year so far. It is utterly brilliant, and whilst it certainly pulls it ideas from many films that have gone before it, the way these threads are pulled together are unique. This film made me laugh and cry, but mostly it just made me smile.

Evelyn and Waymond - played by the goddess, Michelle Yeoh and international treasure, Ke Huy Quan - are a married couple who run a failing laundromat and about to undergo an audit. Their teenage daughter, Joy - standout Stephanie Hsu - has just come out as a lesbian and Evelyn's formidable father, Gong Gong - James Hong, remarkable character actor in his 90s - had come to stay with them after many years of being estranged. They head to the IRS office to meet with Deidre - played by the utterly brilliant Jamie Lee Curtis - and that is where things start to happen. 

From here it is difficult to explain but not too complicated or confusing to watch. Basically there are multiple universes of the characters, fractured from choices they have made in their lives. But the multiverse is being threatened by a monster and Evelyn must destroy the monster to get their lives back on track. And this is where the actors really get to flex their acting chops, from action to comedy to drama, they are simply outstanding. I have already watched this film twice, not because I had to but because I wanted to, and you see so much more on multiple watchings, I will watch again. Michelle Yeoh is fucking phenomenal, as is Jamie Lee Curtis. James Hong - especially for his age - is witty and nimble. Stephanie Hsu holds her own and then some amongst these established actors. But it was Ke Huy Quan who I loved the most, he was the heart and soul of the film, and gets 2 key scenes that absolutely killed me. And that was before I realised who he was. What a great story his is. 

Thor: Love and Thunder

This was a load of fun, great cast, loads of laughs. Waikiti's humour is perfect and works well with Marvel and these characters. There's not much to say, it looks great, the cast are fantastic, great action scenes, drama, and comedy. Stay for the end, for a little cameo by someone cool.


This show is everything! I am a real Addams Family fan from way back, the TV show from the 60s, and then the actual comics which are far darker and closer to this new tv show than other iterations. 

I was worried I don't mind saying, but when I knew Tim Burton was on board I felt better and when I saw the dance to The Cramps I was certain it would be great.

And it was!

Perfectly cast, great narrative, stunning cinematography. Dark and gothic and Jenna Ortega was perfection as Wednesday. I loved what they did with Thing, and Fred Armison as Uncle Fester was brilliant. The newer characters all worked really well, and fitted into the plot beautifully, I eagerly await the second season!


This third season was ill-informed, it was a hodge podge thrown together clips show and bad ideas. I still love Tennant and Sheen and watching them was great, but it just seemed not to place itself as well as the other 2 seasons. Never mind, it wasn't bad, just fell flat.

The Cleaning Company

A wonderful documentary about Sandra Pankhurst, who was written about so wonderfully by Sarah Krasnostein in The Trauma Cleaner. The documentary tells Sandra's amazing back story, and follows Sandra and her crew and their cleaning company. It concentrates on their humanity and kindness, helping others in their hour of need. It is a fascinating job that only really special people could do. Things do take a twist and turn, but hang in there, this is a special story that needs to be told.

The Stuff the British Stole

Great series by Marc Fennell, following the tragic stories of stolen art by The British (they are not the only ones) and following the story of those that the pieces belong to and how they want to have them returned. There are happy stories and frustrating ones. They were are compelling watches, but the final one about an Aboriginal leader's head was the one that effected me the most. Remarkable history.

Marc Maron: from bleak to dark

I love Marc's podcast WTF, and have not seen much of his standup, I know this was his first tour after COVID and he talked it up on his show. It was great, he is truly funny and very grounded in reality, you will nod at some of his schtick. He can be a bit bleak and melancholy and I wouldn't have it any other way. This one does get a little dark when we talks about his late girlfrend, Lynn Shelton, who died during the pandemic. But he always finds humour in every situation. This is great.

A-Ha: the movie

This was quite fascinating. I would not call myself a fan, although I think Take on Me is one of the best pop songs ever written. It was an instant classic and still holds up well today. The documentary follows their history intertwined with the band, now in their 50s, embarking on a world tour. Thing is there are strained relationships between all band members. It was very interesting to be a fly on the wall to this, and to hear how great they still sound!

Call the Midwife 

Season 12 is the lead-up to Trixie's wedding. Our beloved Trixie has finally found the man of her dreams, after 12 seasons and many misfires. But will everything go according to her well oiled plans!?

I love this show so much, it is a real comfort watch. Even though babies being born are totally not my thing, lol. I love the characters, the advances in medicine it shows, the social history of that world during those times and it has drama and well placed humour. Sister Monica Joan is my favourite character and they always tease us with her demise, I swear if anything happens to her I will not be happy.

What I've Been Listening To

Palomino - First Aid Kit

They get better as they age, their are experimenting with more pop and rock than folk these days, but still sound wonderful. Palomino is a great album, love these girls.

Fossfora - Bjork  

This is magnificent, much has been written about it. It is hypnotic and sounds unlike anything Bjork has done previously. The artwork is stunning, and pressing amazing. I love Bjork so very much, this is another masterpiece.

Special - Lizzo 

Still listening to this, another singer who gets better and better. Her stuff is so upbeat and positive, it is a great hit for the soul. As always she combines, pop, classical, and hip hop and it always works! Lizzo is a phenomenal woman - Maya would love her!


Andrew and I have hit 1981 for our Sunday Brunch compilation. Really starting to get into albums we flogged to death (or scratched) as children. We were so lucky to have a cool dad, who bought these albums for himself and for us to listen to. We played them a lot!

Pamela Adlon and Alan Alda podcast

Pamela and Alan go way back, her father was a writer and a great friend of Alan's and Alan helped them financially when they went through some difficulties when Pamela was little. It was lovely to hear this friendship and their banter and reverie for each other, a real gem of a podcast!

Helen Garner/Annabel Crab podcast

This was another gem, as part of Helen's 80th birthday at The Wheeler Centre. A lovely and fun conversation. Helen gets more cheeky as she gets older and is always a delight to listen to. Cannot recommend this enough, you can find it on the Chats 10 podcast list.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

2022: the lists


Well, my reading year was well up on last year's dismal 57 books, but I only got 91 in this year. 

For those playing at home, here is how the 91 break down.

13 Fiction titles

7 Books of poetry - I wanted to get back into Poetry this year and I loved it!

42 Non-Fiction titles

29 Memoirs

37 by men

46 by women

8 by multiple authors


38 Australian

2 Foreign

12 POC

I am finding myself busier than ever and that means less reading time AND I find myself constantly struggling to get into some books. For this I blame COVID and devices, there is a lot of research that says devices can stall the brain a bit in terms of memory and patience. So in 2023 I will endeavour to bridge that gap!

I will say that of those 91 books there were a lot of great books, so narrowing it down was quite difficult, but here they are!


1. Love Stories - Trent Dalton - non-fiction/memoir

2. Loud - Tana Douglas - rock memoir

3. Diaries Vol 1-3 - Helen Garner - memoir as such, but so much more

4. Nina Simone's Gum - Warren Ellis - memoir/museums/esoteric

5. Faith, Hope and Carnage - Nick Cave and Sean O'Hagan - rock memoir

6. Happy-go-lucky - David Sedaris - humour/memoir

7. Solitary Walk on the Moon - Hilde Hinton - Australian fiction

8. A Pocketful of Happiness - Richard E Grant - memoir

9. Left on the Tenth - Delia Ephron - memoir

10. Mirka Mora - Sabine Cotte - art/memoir

11. Alchemy - Wendy Sharpe and Kate Forsyth - art and poetry

12. Ciao Bella - Kate Langbroek - travel

13. Nothing Bad Ever Happens Here - Heather Rose - memoir

14. One Hundred Days - Alice Pung - Australian fiction

15. Drop Bear - Evelyn Araluen - poetry

16. Call Us What We Carry - Amanda Gorman - poetry

17. All About Me - Mel Brooks - memoir

18. This Much Is True - Miriam Margolyes - memoir

19. Unsheltered - Barbara Kingsolver - US fiction

20. You've got to be kidding - Todd Alexander - travel/memoir


Again, so much amazing, it is hard to pick faves.

1. Barry S3

2. Fisk S2

3. Only Murders in the Building

4. Our Flag Means Death 

5. The Mandalorian

6. Obi Wan Kenobi

7. Collin from Accounts 

8. White Lotus S2

9. The Twelve

10. Hacks S2

11. Better Call Saul

12. Curb Your Enthusiasm S11

13. Kominksy Method 1-3

14. Insecure final season

15. Upright S2

16. Lupin S1

17. Love Me

18. Anne with an E

19. Flight Attendant S2

20. Julia

Special Mentions:

The Walking Dead
Doctor Who Finale

TV Doco/Reality

I am not a huge fan of reality, but there are some gems that stick out.

1. The Great British Bake Off - baking -cakes and Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas!!!

2. Take 5 with Zan Rowe - music

3. Gogglebox - tv

4. The Sparks Brothers - music doco

5. Harry Potter Reunion - movie doco

6. Escape to the Chateau - French chateau DIY

7. Great Southern Landscapes - art

8. Old People's Home for Teenagers - sociology

9. Super Bob Einstein Film - comedy doco

10. KISSStory - music doco

11. Andy Warhol Diaries - art doco

12. Pistol - music series

13. Devolution: Devo theory - music doco

14. Adrienne - film/memoir doco

15. The Sit In: Harry Belafonte - tv, social justice doco

16. Salinger - author doco

17. The Parisian Agency - Paris real estate reality show

18. The Painter and the thief - art doco

19. Spike Lee: NYV Epicentres - NY doco

20. The Story of late Night - tv dodoc

Special Mentions: Zoo and Animal Shows: Aussie Snake Wrangles, The Zoo (Set in the Bronx), Who's who in the zoo (Taronga Zoo), Crikey: It's the Irwins.


I saw more movies than I realised, and most of them were really good!

1. Elvis

2. Nightmare Alley

3. Apollo 10 1/2

4. Days of Bagnall Summer

5. Weird Al

6. Moonage Daydream

7. Licorice Pizza

8. The Lost Daughter

9. Parallel Mothers

10. Belfast

11. Dune

12. Power of the Dog

13. Drive My Car

14. Quiet Place II

15. The Batman

16. Spiderman: no way home

17. Freeguy

18. Tick Tick Boom

19. Ammonite

20. Annette


So many amazing podcasts, so in no order, cause it is difficult to judge.

WTF continues to shine, it never gets old, Marc is utterly brilliant and his episode with Neil Gaiman was particularly so!

Ditto for Alan Alda's Clear and Vivid, and he had some great ones, including back to back episodes with Max and Mel Brooks.

Bang on and Chats 10 still make me smile.

I rediscovered Alec Baldwin's Here's the Thing, so much to catch up on.

Smartless, Unspooled, Strong Songs remain entertaining.

The Briefing and New Yorker Radio give me my news.

And two newies, one from ANderson Cooper about grief, and one from Brett Goldstein about film.

And as always, Conversations with Richard Fidler is the gold standard.


1. Special - Lizzo

2. Palomino - First Aid Kit

3. Carnage - Nick Cave and Warren Ellis

4. 30 - Adele

5. Fossora - Bjork

6. Love Will Be Reborn - Martha Wainwright

7. Cry Forever - Amy Shark

8. Raise the Roof - Alison Krauss and Robert Plant

9. Penny Century re-release - The Clouds

10. Beauty and the Beat re-release - The Go Gos

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

OSCAR WATCH 2023: the next day

Well yesterday was a delight!

I used to always take the day of The Academy Awards off so as not to have anything spoiled for me. It sounds silly, but it's my thing. However, for the past few years it has fallen on my roster day, so that is good. And I have been crazy busy juggling a lot this past few months. So I slept in, and then spent the day in my PJs on the couch at Club Cathy. I even outsourced my lunch, getting in a fabulous feed of Honey Prawns. After the show finished, I took a nap, then pottered on online reading what people thought and looking at pics of the red carpet before heading for a massage. A total me day and it was divine.

I thought the show was a solid good. I have definitely seen much better - but not for a long while - but it was most certainly the best in many years.

Mainly becasue the film I wanted to win...won...but more on that later.

Jimmy Kimmell, I wasn't much of a fan the first time he hosted, but I have watched more of his tonight show since and he has really grown on me. He works because he doesn't push the envelope too much. His entrance worked, he was funny (well, he made me laugh) and his serving of Smith was just about right. He kept things flowing and didn't get in then way. I miss the days of Billy, but time marches on.

I like celebratory packages and tributes and we really didn't get any of that. They are really going to have to lift their game in 5 years when it is the 100th anniversary. I remember the 70th and 75th anniversaries and they had a huge bit where everyone they could get there that had won an Oscar lined up for a 'class' photo, it was such a wonderful and emotional moment, seeing all those amazing stars together on stage.

This was a good year for music and original song, so the performances were all amazing - Lady Ga Ga, Rhianna, David Byrne particularly.

The presenters all did their job but no one really stood out as as super entertaining.

Everyone was all where is Tom Cruise and Jim Cameron - who cares, can't stand either of them!

Poor Harrison seemed more uncomfortable than his usual self, Glenn Close was meant to be his co-presenter but couldn't make it. But it was very nice to see Indy embrace Short Round on the big stage.

Which brings me to the winners. I haven't been so delighted about the winners in a long, long time. I wish there was a tie (it's happened!) so Austin Butler could have gotten one too. My pick up until a few days out had been Brendan Fraser but the ground swell felt like it was for Austin so I changed my mind. But that is ok.

The EEAAO trio of Michelle Yeoh (who I christened Michelle Yawwwo - as in hot - many years ago when I saw her in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), Jamie Lee Curtis, and Ke Huy Quan had me in tears. Exceptional speeches, emotional and lovely for all. Ditto for Brendan Fraser. The additional awards for EEAAO including Best Picture were icing on the cake for what was my favourite by far going into the show.

I got 16 correct which is pretty good, I have done far worse and I have done much better. I got Best Actor, Adapted Screenplay, Original Score, Costume and Make up, Production and Sound wrong. Here is a link to my predictions

The only controversial moment - that I could find - happened on the red carpet and really it was nothing. Hugh Grant has been slandered for being rude to some dopey chick asking dopey questions on the red carpet. I am not surprised about this, as those red carpet moments are usually tedious and dull when someone who knows nothing about film tries to ask 'meaningful' (sooooo not meaningful) questions. And this is what happened, like Harrison, Hugh is always a bit dour about such occasions, and always self-deprecating. So she asked a series of dopey questions where he started with a very witty comment that went completely over her head. When asked what he felt about the day he referenced it as a Vanity Fair. She thought he meant the big after party thrown by the magazine, Vanity Fair, which of course took it's name from that phrase. I think after that, he was get me out of here and answered short and quick, don't blame him. But the icing on the cake when she asked him about his role in Glass Onion and he said he was on screen for 3 seconds. I didn't even know he was in the film, so spoiler! Poor Hugh the media and I use that term very loosely do not care for him.

My favourite moments were - in no order - the Original Score winners singing their thank yous to the tune of The Carpenters, Top of the World, Jenny the donkey, Jimmy calling out his 'men' who would mess anyone up who even tried to get up on the stage a la Smith, Pedro Pascal (swoon), and David Byrne wearing the hotdog fingers (always a fan of big!) whilst singing his best song nom!

The red carpet and the Fashion was mostly sedate with whites, creams and silvers the trend of the evening, but there was some well need splashes of colour and some great suits from the men.

This, from Jessica Chastain, was my standout favourite. Fitted her perfectly, the black outline lifted the silver and made her look Ava Gardner goddess. Lovely necklace and hair work perfectly too.

My follow-up was Sandra oh, for the well-needed splash of colour, a lovely tangerine, that looked amazing on her, the draping look comfy but old hollywood, her hair fabulous as always and that necklace, oh my!

Here are the rest of my picks:

And that's a wrap for another year!