Sunday, March 22, 2015

Australia v England - World Cup Cricket

With the 2015 ICC World Cup hosted in both Australia and New Zealand this Summer, we got the priviledge to get along to a few games, the first one being the dual opening match at the MCG between Australia and England.

Taking our seats in the outer, we soon started melting in the sun, and the sweltering Melbourne weather. A hot day, made even more so by an unusual humid air. We needed to move from row to row in the first innings to avoid it - and then were bemused by the use of fire bursts to add to the hot conditions with every boundary scored!

Australia took to the bat in the first innings, and Victorian opener Finch blasted away, scoring an exciting 135 before being run out, essentially setting up the match.

Good Aussie support from in-form Maxwell and Bailey had the home side poised at 9/342 for the innings change.

As the sun dipped behind the stands towards the city, we took our proper seats for the second innings, and watched in delight as March took 5 wickets, leaving a gallant Taylor on 98 without any more partners.

Australia had the win, and a great start for the World Cup.


Saturday, March 21, 2015

Summer Zoo Twilight Sessions

The Zoo, Melbourne's summer, and good Aussie music as the sun goes down is a perfect evening pass time. A chance to wander through the animal enclosures before taking a spot on the grass in front of the stage, is also quite a treat. I managed to get along to two shows this Summer, and both were really great musical nights, but two of my favourite Aussie singer songwriters.

The first night was the ever amazing Sarah Blasko. Having not been in town for sometime, we were pretty excited to see her live again, and gathered for a picnic on a blanket before the show.

Thinking that maybe she had some new material for us, we found that she played selections mostly from her last release, I Awake. The drum beats of the the tracks of this album, like the title track and Cast The Net fit right in with the sounds around.

Many favourites were scattered through the set, but then the encore gave chills. Sarah gave us her version of the classic Flame Trees, which was beautiful, before finishing with We Won't Run.

The next show I went along to at the Zoo was first rained out, in one of the those crazy, all of a sudden, wild thunderstorms of Melbourne. Lightening, power outages, flash flooding.....only Melbourne weather!

But luckily for me, the rescheduled date was one when I was in town, and I got to see Dan Sultan at the Zoo also.

Also playing from his recent release Blackbird, Dan told the crowd that his 2014 release has just gone Gold, which is very impressive for such a great album.

In addition to these tracks, he played the emotional and favourite Old Fitzroy - in the middle of this track he explained his emotions for the night, which were connected to 2 losses of people close to him in the past few weeks. It was intense and raw, and real.

He ended the evening with the beautiful and moving Kimberly Calling.


Monday, March 16, 2015

Our Beautiful Names: Art And Poetry In Castlemaine

Yesterday, as part of the Castlemaine State Festival, the Writing Through Fences group opened their Our Beautiful Names exhibit at St Mary's hall.

The title of the show is taken from a poem within the exhibit, referring to the practice in the Immigration system to refer to people by a number:

...
let us be strong,
let us forget numbers,
let us call out
our beautiful names.

The art works on display, and poems available in a booklet for purchase, have all been created by people held in Christmas Island, in detention centres around Australia, and some from both Manus Island and Nauru.

Such beautiful works, showing such pain, the fluctuating hope and despair, and the humanity of those stuck in this highly politicised situation.

The hall also contained an area at the back dedicated to those lives lost recently within the Immigration system, with one death this past week making the dedication all the more emotional for the room.


The room at the opening was filled with people now living in the community, under bridging visas or whatever their circumstances have allowed. The joy and energy from the young artists, so proud of their works on display, and the gathering there to see it, was infectious!

The photography from Fly Camp in Nauru caught my eye, along with several pieces from some of the men I know from there.

The exhibit is open until the final day on the 22nd March, with donations and proceeds from the booklet on sale going towards finding more way to promote these works, and support the ongoing work of the group to provide an emotional and creative outlet for the people in these circumstances.

Please get along if you can, and see and support this amazing collection of works.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A Church In Perast

A visit across the Bay Of Kotor to Perast discovered many architectural treats, like this.


Saturday, March 07, 2015

Scoring Half Price Theatre Tickets In Melbourne - Seeing Once


Last month in a respite break, I spent a spontaneous afternoon at the theatre. Having enjoyed the benefits of the discounted ticket sales of Broadway in NYC and in the West End in London, I confess that I did not know that this option was also available right here in Melbourne.

I was keen to get along to see Once for some time, and when time and the matinee schedule lined up, I discovered that the Half Tix Melbourne were listing these shows. As the name suggests, this allowed me a ticket at half the price. The key to snagging these tickets is to monitor the 'Today's Listings' online, and then get down to the office at the Melbourne Town Hall when it opens in the morning. There was a line up at the door when I arrived, but there were a few shows on sale, which meant I had no issue with getting the ticket I wanted for that afternoon.

Upon making the purchase, I was told that I could collect my actual ticket at the Princess Theatre, and that for today's show there was a special pre-drinks call up on stage. When I got down and found my seat in the beautiful, old theatre, I watched as the stage was lit and reflected from all the mirrors all around the stage walls, and people gathered for drinks. The band then came out and mingled among the people, playing typical Irish pub music, setting the scene completely.

Thinking I had not seen the film which the production is based on, I was quickly reminded of the story as soon as the show started - Irish lad busking his sad songs of love, and an edgy Polish girl who comes along and challenges and inspires him. The music channels Damien Rice, and the story pulls at all heart strings.

The show was totally delightful, and moving, and very well done with set and the musical arrangements. A little transportation into Dublin and the music of Ireland.
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