What I’ve Been Reading
Good Girl Stripped Bare – Tracey Spicer - I didn't mind this memoir of her life in the media as a feminist. Tracey is a feisty gal and parts of the story are quite eye opening.
Books for Living – Will Scwabe - this was an interesting audiobook about the books that changed the author's life. Good read about some books I knew and loved and some new ones.
A Writer’s Life – Helen Garner - A year by year guide in the evolution of Helen's writing. Which is quite interesting, but as a fan, not that much I didn't know already. And really it just made me want to read her actual work.
Bad Feminist – Roxane Gay - I re-read this great book of varying essays and it was delightfuland compelling as the first read.
A Paris Year – Janice MacLeod - this was the most glorious illustrated book of the author's year in Paris. Showcasing the obvious and the hidden Paris, it made me want to be back there.
Venetian Voices – Christine V Courtney - lovely poetry by the author set to classic paintings of Venice.
Scribbles in the Margains: 50 eternal delights of books – Daniel Grey - small essays about books, reading, and literature.
Scribbles in the Margains: 50 eternal delights of books – Daniel Grey - small essays about books, reading, and literature.
Sgt Peppers 50th - great coffee table, pictorial book of the Sgt Peppers album. There's nothing new there but nice to have/read anyway.
Speaking Out – Tara Moss - the second of Tara's books in feminism. This is more a handbook on talking about feminism or combating it eloquently and backing your argument up with facts and figures and statistics. She is remarkable and intelligent and definitely a leader in our field. Totally worth a read!
Gone-Away World – Nick Harkaway - set in a post-apocalyptic world with an unnamed narrator. He is ex special ops and now working on a special project, a pipe that allows people to live fairly freely away from the horror of the world they now live in. But is our narrator as he seems, as the story rambles on (sci fi and humour blended with flash backs to the 'war' and a cast of many), he may not be as we thought. Strap yourself in for a wild ride with this one, it is pretty out there, but rather clever.
Believe Me – Eddie Izzard - memoir of Eddie's younger years and his coming out as trans, and his subsequent years as a stand up and actor.
The Helen 100 – Helen Razer - I have a love/hate relationship with Helen. I read some of her work and think it is genius and other pieces are like fingers down a chalkboard. How can one person get is so right and then so wrong!?! This is the story of 'recovery' after a break up of a long term relationship and her experiments on Tinder. Some of it is gold, some of it irritating. What can I say, she is consistent!
Colette’s France – Jane Gilmour - Lovely illustrated and photographed book telling Colette's story from childhood, and through her many lovers, her writing, and her love affair with Paris and indeed France.
Devotion – Patti Smith - ahhh Patti, I wanted more. This little novella, is about writing, how she write, how she gains inspiration and showcases a small novella she writes to demonstrate her art. The novella is grand, but I wanted more of her, her thoughts, her insights... I'm sure there is more on the way.
Working Class Boy – Jimmy Barnes - devastating tale of Jimmy's upbringing, from Glasgow to Adelaide, Jimmy and his family live on the edge of society. How he got through it I have no idea, but his subsequent behaviour makes a whole lot of sense. Finishes as she begins to meet the mates that will make up Cold Chisel. Stunningly written too, well worth a read.
Law School – Benjamin and Jenny Law - collection of self help columns by the mother and son duo. Hilarious, clever, and actually helpful.
The Flaneur – Edmund White - memoir of White in Paris, and his description of a Flaneur, the streets he strolled and the things he thought about, or researched that matched the walks. Fascinating insight into little pieces of Parisian history, and lovely reminisces for anyone who has walked the streets of Paris. Plus White is a wonderful writer.
Logical Family - Armistead Maupin - memoir of Armistead's memoir and growing up and coming out, but nowhere near as compelling as I thought it would be. I adored Tales of the City, and maybe it's been a long time between reads, but this just didn't hold up.
Juliet’s Answer – Glenn Dixon - Wonderful memoir of an English/Shakespeare teacher who is lost in his love life and decides to take a long trip to Verona, to find out about himself and love. Verona is where Shakespeare staged Romeo and Juliet and whilst that is a work of fiction, Verona makes much money out of the tale as a tourist destination. Within that there is a myth that maybe the story is true and going way back the story actually happened. Dixon decides to investigate that too. So he gets a volunteer job answering all the love letters that are posted to Verona, hoping to hear how they can solve their love lives. The first 2/3s of the book are split between Dixon telling of a term teaching Romeo and Juliet to a group of misfit kids, and his experiences in Verona, a stunning travel log of the gorgeous city. I spent half a day there while travelling through Italy and fell in love with the mini Rome, it was lovely to read about places I went to and find out more about other places I missed. The last third of the book tells what he learnt and what happened when he returned home...you'll have to read on to find out. I really loved this book, and highly recommend it!
Our Souls at Night – Kent Haruf - lovely novella about two elderly windowers who decide to spend time together - during the night! This starts off as company and moves into something more. As this happens, ripples run through the community and their families. A well written tale, that features elderly people as real people with needs and wishes, I really loved this too.
Grant and I: Inside and Outside the Go-Betweens – Robert Forster - I know the story of the Go-Betweens is fraught with he said/she said and this is definitely the he said version, having said that Forster washes over those incidents and concentrates on his relationship with Grant, and for that, it is a beautifully written (yet real) love letter to his friend and writing partner.
What I’ve Been Watching
Why Him - this was a silly comedy with James Franco as a multi millionaire dating the daughter of Bryan Cranston. Nothing that fab, but an ok laugh.
Hatari - oh dear, I remember this from when I was a kid, as an adult it horrified me. It was sexist and racist and they actually killed animals or wounded them. AND it was sooooo long and tedious.
Kong Skull Island - disappointing, and overblown
Alien Covenant - this was ok, but really Alien and Aliens are perfection, why have they bothered to continue with the sub-standard films.
Passengers - this got really bad reviews, and whilst it wasn't great, I didn't mind this last two people left on a spaceship (or are they!?!) fantasy.
The Founder - I was quite surprised about this biopic about the man who made McDonalds what it is today, of course in great American tradition, he stole pretty much everything from the McDonald brothers who in fact were the ones that started things rolling. Keaton was great as the scoundral and Offerman solid as one of the brothers.
Mr Robot 2.0 - I get sucked in by Mr Robot, yet I am unsure I really like it or even get it, lol! It's a hard one to explain, I was struggling with this series until a big twist and I shall say no more.
Girl in the Lake - I don't really know what to make of this one despite being such a fan of Elisabeth Moss and Gwendoline Christie. It was a bit of a mess, too many chance happenings and an odd ending. It was nowhere near as dark as the first series which is a good thing, but it left me short.
Handmaids Tale - I cannot recommend this highly enough, it IS dark, and there are times you feel the wind knocked out of you but as a sublime piece of acting (from all involved but especially Elisabeth Moss) and a great piece of writing, this is must see TV! Set in a dystopian future where children are hard to come by, women are treated as servants purely to have children (if they can), but it is more than that. It shows the breakdown of society, the rise of the patriarchy, and war on a whole other level. Based on Margaret Atwood's classic novel (which I am yet to read) this was just remarkable.
Glitch - I cannot rave enough about S1, but S2 fell way short of S1. Having said that, it was still compelling television. The original premise was, one night a group of people from various eras rose from the dead from their graves. Local cop (the brilliant Patrick Brammell) finds them and takes them under his wing to protect them with the local doctor. One of the people is his late wife. He is now remarried to her best friend, who is very pregnant. It was horror, thriller, mystery, drama, historical, and fantasy all wrapped up in one and it was great. S2 picks up where S1 left off but it just didn't grab as intensely as last time. New characters added, key characters are murdered, something is definitely up, but it feels a bit dragged out. It finished with a third series obviously in play, let's hope it is the final one and they lift their game a bit.
Wrong Girl S2 - this is pure fluff, but I didn't mind it. IN the vein of Offspring, about a single gal producer of a weekend breakfast show and her love life and personal life in disarray. Great ensemble cast and funny.
Transparent S 1-2 - I love this show so much, every character is so flawed and so layered and so unlike anyone you've seen on tele. There is a beautiful melancholy that underlies the entire piece and it will have you in fits laughing one moment and in tears the next. Just beautiful!
The Tunnel - loved this French/ENglish thriller about two half bodies found right in the middle of the French/English tunnel, harking a duel investigation between a very much on the spectrum French female detective and a rough older male English detective. Fast paced, well acted, great story, twists and turns, exactly what you want from a European drama.
Castle – final season - look this would notwork if it was not for the formidable Nathan Fillion and the nerdy references. Basically a procedural cop show set in NY, and I think it went a season or two too long. I think it meant to continue as the ending felt false and rushed. I'll miss Fillion but not the show.
Fringe – final season - it has been some years since I watched the second to last season of this time travelling fantasy show. I really loved Fringe but I struggled to get into the final season, possibly my distance or possibly they took it too far, it rambled and stretched but ultimately got it's happy ending. I really enjoyed the cast, especially the father/son team of John Noble and Joshua Jackson.
The Young Pope - a young, saucy pope, well who would have thunk it. Set in the now, Jude Law is the pope, but he is not as forward thinking as you'd think and refuses to reveal himself to his ever loving public. This is so beautifully filmed, there are lots of lovely long shots and the costumes are divine! It's dramatic but also rather funny, in a dry way.
Screen Time - new ABC show about film, television, the Net and it's not bad. As many have said, it is not Margaret and David but I don't think it means to be. Interesting panel, I'll keep watching.
The Archibald - fabulous 4 piece documentary following some entrants into last year's Archibald Prize, utterly captivating behind the scenes look into our art world. Narrated by Rachel Griffiths, I loved this so much and wanted more!
American Epic - documentary series about the birth of recording music and how the early blues was recorded. Fascinating and great music.
Punk Singer -awe inspiring doco about Kathleen Hanna, lead singer of Bikini Kill and feminist and why she disappeared from public view. Kick arse music and fabulous woman, totally worth a watch!
One More Time With Feeling, Nick Cave - this doco follows Cave and his family some months after the death of his teenage son. It feels like it should be wrong, yet it works. You see this dark family at their darkest, and yet at their driven and whilst raw, you feel the love. It talks about art adn whether personal tragedies can be milked for art (Nick believes no), and it utterly fascinating. My heart broke many times in it, but it was really worth it.
Paul Simon in Central Park - Great new concert from Simon, showing no signs of slowing down in old age. Loved where he brought out the original Africans who worked on Graceland with him. All the hits are there and then some. Perfection!
What I’ve Been Listening to
Love and Blood – Shane Nicholson - solid alt country from the master.