Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Cox Plate Birthday

On Saturday I turned 30! Surrounded by family and friends, I had a brilliant day to see the end of my fabulous and full Twenties, and to see in the next decade of my life in style. Being the day of Melbourne’s Cox Plate seemed perfect!

Starting with breakfast at our Carlton North terrace, hosted by Jane (thank you!), Melissa, Clinton and Katie arrived, soon followed by Jessie and Heath, all dressed up for the day of races. Mum, and then Brad and Fiona joined us, as the weather warmed up, and the champagne flowed freely!

The house was further filled with Narelle, Miss Emy, Nancy, and Andrea and Dean, for a great spread and preparations for the day. Patrice arriving signaled the beginning of the trek for the racegoers to Moonee Valley, all piled into a maxitaxi, with the rendition of Happy Birthday along the way.

Arriving at the race track, we managed to get our fully stocked hampers in for the day, and found our posse beside the track, after finding Mariead amongst the punters. Again the champagne flowed, snacks were passed about, and we even saw the races!

A flutter or two in vain, and being right next to the stage, we all joined in to the crowd backing of Darryl Braithwaite’s As The Days Go By, and in the second set, the all appropriate Horses. Very funny.

Met up with Mary and her posse of lads, we watched the main race, after a few more uneducated bets, before continuing to devour our food and drink stashes. Eventually left as the last group on the grass amid the sea of racegoer debris, we were herded out of the Valley, and onto an overcrowded tram into the city. I remember getting a tram filled version of Happy Birthday here, amongst other songs, with the Katie and Jessie led attempt at getting Hold Music going much too ambitious!!

Discovering the early hour by having a drink at the Purple Emerald with just ourselves, we had a few more drink stops, including Three Below. My iPod tells me I got home safely just before midnight, tired feet and aching legs all feeling their 30 years!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Angus and Julia

On Thursday night Jessie, Health and I headed to The Corner, for the must anticipated gig of Angus and Julia Stone. We had been looking forward to this, their album launch since it was announced, and having got the album and loving it, we were all a buzz over dinner, and red wine.

Opening with Wasted, Julia’s voice had the crowd hush in an instant. So cute, and such a storyteller. A hairy scary, and yet so cute and sweet, Angus on guitar, the two of them had us mesmerized. Julia played piano, guitar, trumpet and harmonica throughout the night - such a talented pair!

Songs like Mango Tree, Paper Aeroplane and Private Lawns, from their EPs were hits with the crowd, however hearing a song as yet untitled that Julia wrote at a wedding they recently went to was awesome and so lovely!

Angus’ Just A Boy is so cute, so sweet!! And I love his The Beast. Hollywood, and Soldier by Julia, also favourites of mine. They even played their version of Tubthumping, originally done for Triple J’s Like a Version show, which was awesome.

The story behind Another Day, and the chatting between songs once these two shy kids warmed up was so sweet. A group to melt your heart, and bring an involuntary smile to your face……love them!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Australian BookCrossing Convention 2007

This weekend, after months of planning and lots of work, was the 4th Australian BookCrossing Convention, in Melbourne. Being part of the committee that put this event together, much time was put into ensuring that the interstate and international guests had a good time, and experienced the weekend of expectations, to mingle with fellow BookCrossers.

Friday night we had pizza, and an author talk. Shane Maloney, creator of the Murray Whelan series of political satire and crime, spoke to us about character development, transformation into living personas, the effects of his characters on fans, and the occasions where going along with the notion that he is Murray has been to his advantage. He had also completed some research into the BookCrossing of his books, and related BookCrossing as an authors’ way of keeping his eye on his books, like a parenting role. Funny and charming, Shane was a hit!

Saturday morning had us walking around in groups around the city, releasing books and taking in some of the sights. Meeting at Reader’s Feast, who had sponsored us very generously, we listened to Mary tell of setting up a bookstore, developing relationships with bookbuyers and authors that would come in, and also of changing people’s lives through books. After this, the walk I led walked up to the State Library, before making our way to Carlton Gardens, one of my favourite spots in the city thanks to my daily walks to work through here, and then we trammed around to Federation Square to meet up with the other walks. We hastily put together a flash mob idea for a bulk, eye catching release in the city, and filed to Southbank, to leave a cluster of books along the ledge near the food court.

Many of us then had lunch in Southbank, with a group of us heading to the Blue rain café. Here at lunch I met a couple of the Melbourne BookCrossers I had been sending and receiving books from for quite sometime!

The evening was the traditional trivia night, with groups of BookCrossers going head to head, for knowledge and wit. The tables were randomized, and thus I sat with Queenslanders, New Zealanders, Western Australians, and Melbournians. And we had a ball! Our tables, named Wombles due to our mascot from Brisbane, we actually managed to come last! Thought we were so smart too! But had a great time meeting a new group, all of whom BookCrossing names have been familiar for years.

The Convention was based at Mary Kehoe Community Centre, in Albert Park, and getting here in Sunday morning to meet the caterers for brunch proved to be a challenge due to the Melbourne Marathon. Bronwyn and I made it eventually, and set up for the final event of the weekend. The Table of Temptation, set up from the beginning of the Convention was still well stocked, albeit with some doubtful quality.

An exhausting weekend for committee, and attendees alike, it was great celebration of a group of people into reading, passing on good books and recommendations, and leaving books out in the wild to serendipity.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Art After Dark

Jessie, Noodles and I attended the Guggenheim Collection in Melbourne last night, in it’s final days. We walked down through the city from work, across the Yarra to the National Gallery of Victoria.

The Collection was pieces from the Guggenheims around the world, but mostly from New York, and Venice, moving from the 1940s to modern.

The puzzling art, like a ‘blue curve’ being a shape of canvas painted blue, to a suspended wooden room, to a series of large orange blocks….all drew many funny comments from the people walking through.

The pop art I enjoyed the most, with a sculpture depiction of Michael Jackson and his monkey in a compromising position, use of recent advertising, the colour and piss take of much of our everyday images.

Walking through the rooms, there was one space used as an interpretation of an artist’s basement stair, the series of photos of miniature people, and then horizon landscapes, before the audio visual display. In here I sat and watch two screens at once, and then also kept my eye on the faces of people watching the screens opposite. Erotic and interpretive, these films were disturbing, and quite funny.

The last room featured a table of teeth from a range of people and animals, a hanging dummy, blood and gore, and lastly a pile of black licorice rods – of which you got to take a sample!

Friday, October 05, 2007

The Waifs

Last night, Jessie, Noodles, Trent and I went along to The Forum, after dinner, to see The Waifs. Having never been to The Forum before, walking into the foyer was like walking into an outdoor ornate theatre in Europe somewhere, with a rich blue sky overhead.

The theatre itself also featured the sky-like ceiling, making you feel like you were outside. Having not seen The Waifs live before, and after hearing good things about their live performances, I was very much looking forward to it.

Opening with Pony, the first song of their new album Sun Dirt Water, their set featured new and old, and older songs, with Vikki on the harmonica much of the time. The two sisters and Josh were amazing, despite Donna having the flu!

Finishing with Gillian, which is such a lovely song. They are such great story tellers, with Bride Train retelling the story of young Australian women being sent over to be brides for American troops during the war.

Favourites like Highway One and Lighthouse were great, and the all time homesickness song, London Still was awesome - I still remember the first time I heard it, sung by Dom at the open mic night at Peace Café in Phnom Penh!
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