Monday, October 30, 2006

Just Might Do

Due to a delicious banquet FEAST last night, I missed most of the ARIAs. And although I am generally out of touch these days due to studies (Youth Group? and when did Eskimo Joe become so big?), I was most excited to hear that Clare Bowditch won a gong for Best Female Artist. My favourite memory of Clare Bowditch is from a HiFi Bar gig where exiting punters were treated to birthday cake which Clare had presented to her mother earlier that night. Even if she didn't write lovely songs, she deserves some kinda award for punter appreciation!

** Oh and The Audreys won for Best Roots and Blues Album too! This has to be one of my favourite albums from this year - really cruisey soundtrack to a Sunday afternoon BBQ and bevvy.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Ole! Tarantula

My friend Pierre Burkensoir is a music connoisseur. Across most genres, he knows all the old stuff and keeps up to date with the new stuff. This has extended to trawling the internet discover something new or maybe download a mash-up or three. He even likes that four letter word, jazz. (Sorry, I like Ella and Louis but I don't get the modern noodling).
Pierre is a also font of musical knowledge, an amalgamation of Mojo/Uncut magazine in one source: "Hey Pierre, who is this Billy Childish guy?" and after a particularly bad episode of Australian Idol "what exactly is disco anyway?"

It's a shame then, that Pierre has an anti-gig stance. He reckons he's too old! too tall! but mainly he can't be bothered. In fact, in six years in Melbourne, Pierre has ventured out to only four bands. F.O.U.R.

So it is significant that the announcement of a couple of gigs by Robyn Hitchcock woke a dormant enthusiasm rarely seen in Pierre whereby he not only purchased tickets for one gig, but was seriously considering attending the second.

I went along to an instore at Basement Discs out of curiosity - what could be so great about this guy that would induce Burkensoir to actively go to a gig?

Most well known for his eccentric lyrics and floppy hair, Robyn Hitchcock of seminal late 70s band Soft Boys, recently toured Australia with the Venus 3 in support of his new album "Ole! Tarantula". True to Pierre's words, Hitchcock's songs were melodic and lyrical with an added bonus of a Bob Dylan cover and entertaining banter in between - my favourite line: "This song goes out to....all the people behind that pillar".

Afterwards, the band greeted fans and signed ceedees and it was at this point that I acquired this seriously goodget.
For those with good eyesight, this is an enhanced goodget: Peter Buck of REM fame is in Venus 3!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

George Orwell's 1984, 13 October 2006

Melbourne International Arts Festival
The Actor’s Gang
“George Orwell’s 1984”

In the dust of the raucous energy of public Singing or Dancing in recent times, this years Arts Festival seems restrained in comparison.

In 2006, one of the flagship productions of the Melbourne International Arts Festival is a presentation of ‘George Orwell’s 1984’ by The Actor’s Gang, adapted by Michael Gene Sullivan.

1984 is one of my favourite books and describes the creation of a futuristic world where the population lives under constant surveillance by the omnipresent Big Brother. It is within this totalitarian social order that Orwell explores the relationship of an individual to the state. It was frightening in its portrayal of a society where law, media and even language were designed to prevent free will and freedom of thought. Although it has been a few years since I’ve revisited the story, I still remember feeling completely devastated at its conclusion.

This adaptation is set during an interrogation of Citizen Smith, where four Party members re-enact the events leading up to Smith’s arrest at the direction of Big Brother. P Adam Walsh is convincing and heartbreaking as Smith, with the four other actors believably slipping in and out of characters from Smith’s past as his confession is extricated.
The set is designed to situate and thus implicate the audience within this process, as if we could be Big Brother. We are voyeuristically watching and made to feel as if we are participating - the audience flinched in response to the ‘torture’ perpetrated. It was confronting: at one point, Smith is presented in an electric chair at the front of the stage and the Party Members are standing directly in front of the first row, as if the audience are the jury at Smith’s trial. This was not a passive experience, it wasn’t always easy to sit and watch this play - the lady sitting next to me did not return from interval.

In our ridiculous world where the internet broadcasts real-life, real-war torture, it was worrying how much the themes connect to current events. In particular, the use of periodic interruptions from the telescreen selling state propaganda was effective in setting the tone of society outside the prison cell, but also striking in its familiarity of its fabrication or stretching the truth of war and how governments can manipulate media to generate fear as a means to justify the end.

The strength of the novel lies in its imagining of this future society and although the play is timely in some of its themes, I did find some parts in the second act a bit preachy and wordy. When Big Brother is revealed to be merely another Party member and comes out from behind the walls of the set, the story became less compelling and somewhat diminished the idea of the pervasiveness of Big Brother in society.

Despite the draining nature of the production, this production was well worth seeing and, if anything, will inspire people to return to the original novel.

As a side note, is it really Melbourne without an abundance of festivals? A stroll through Federation Square, previously populated with aforementioned enthusiastic Singers and Dancers, reveals fledgling festivals muscling in. Situated opposite St Pauls was the slinky-like white tent flogging the State of Design Festival, nicely echoing the new Design Centre at the East end of Fed Square. And how delightful to see the Fringe Festival burst out of the cool inner suburbs and claim a small stake in the heart of town (though one too many celebrity comedians in the program – the Fringe should be strictly for amateurs!).

Friday, October 06, 2006


It didn't seem enough to sit in the park to pass a sunny lunchtime, we strolled down to a new gelati shop. I put it down to reconnaissance for the summer ahead.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Kool Kimono Bits

I bought these fabrics in a textile/homewares-type shop in the country - they are vintage kimonos that have been cut into pieces *gasp*. Beyond quilting and patchworking, the small sample size of these delightful pieces could test the boundaries of your imagination/creativity. There's just not enough of each one!
Anyway, I don't think I'm quite at the patchworking stage of my life just yet...

Some questions: if they really are 'vintage', shouldn't they be deemed too precious to cut into small squares? And when does 'vintage' embody value and not just o.l.d.?

As much as it pains me to think that these beautiful handmade garments are being butchered, some of them are quite pretty to look at, aren't they?