Friday, June 25, 2010

A Midsummer Night's Ultimate, Super Awsome, Life-Goal-Achieving Dream

So this post is completely out of time, as a) it is winter where I live, b) it isn't midsummer's day today and c) my Midsummer Night's Ultimate, Super Awesome, Life-Goal-Achieving Dream day was in winter, in London, 6 months ago. HOWEVER I am trying to coincide this post with the end of Carl's Once Upon A Time IV's challenge (and he is from a part of the world where it IS summer) and frankly, this is a far too exciting thing not to share with EVERYONE I know. As part of the challenge, there was an option to read or watch a performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Now I have seen this play this year (not within the time-frame of the challenge though, but what can you do?) and wow. It was epic.

Some background: When I was 12, I distinctly remember seeing a preview on TV for the movie Her Majesty Mrs Brown which starred Judi Dench (an actress I had never heard of). So like a good dutiful child I begged my mother to let me stay up and watch it because it looked so so good. Well of course she said no, it was on on a Wednesday night and I had school the next day, but she did let me tape it to watch it on the weekend. And I LOVED it. Not the standard movie that a 12 year old would love, but I was always a bit quirky! To this day this scene moves me to tears:
"I cannot live without you. Without you, I cannot find the strength to be who I must be."

So over the next few years I became increasingly obsessed with Judi Dench and watched everything I could and read all the books I could about her and I still love her. Ever so much. And then last October I had a skydiving accident in which I dislocated my shoulder (hardcore) and tore lots of important inside shoulder bits and had to take 5 months off work. So feeling rather sore and sorry for myself I decided to do some googling and find out what Judi Dench was up to and discovered that she was starring in A Midsummer Night's Dream on stage in London. Now it would have been far too reckless and unrealistic to go all the way to London to see a play. Even if it was Judi Dench AND A Midsummer Night's Dream AND even though I had wanted to see her on stage since I was 12. But you know, the weeks dragged on, I had an operation, I broke up with the boyfriend, felt really sorry for myself and thought why the hell not?


And oh my, it was one of the most fabulous evenings of my life.I was in London, one of my favourite places, I was with one of my best friends who had just moved to the UK, and I was watching Judi Dench on stage, in my favourite Shakespearen play. I could tell you all about it, but what can I possibly say to convey the magic and wonder of that night?

Images from here and here

So was it worth the trip? Lets just say, isn't it just wonderful when something you dream about for half your life actually happens? I can tell you, it is bliss...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Politics and Gingers

Wow. As I'm sure most of you have heard, as it has been worldwide news, we have a new Prime Minister. A woman. A red haired woman. Yay! I don't like to get involved in political debates as they make me feel extremely uncomfortable and that whatever my opinion may be, it just MUST be invalid and that everyone else knows so much more than me about EVERYTHING. However, I do really like Julia Gillard, especially because she's a woman, especially especially because she has the same colour hair as me, but mostly because (even though she has a bogan accent) she is super intelligent and I think (really hope) she can do great things for this country.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Joshua Bell and The Academy of St Martin in the Fields

So on Sunday I went to this concert that I had been wet-your-pants excited about for months. Joshua Bell (awesome violinist) who has a Stradivarius (awesome violin), playing the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E Minor (super amazing concerto) with The Academy of St Martin in the Fields (pretty damn perfect orchestra). They also played a couple of Beethoven masterpieces but the Mendelssohn was really the highlight for me. I. Just. Loved. It.

It was a couple of hours of classical music nerd heaven for me. Plus at the end I got to meet him!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ron Mueck

I love going to the art gallery, I find it rather exciting and it makes me feel intelligent! My last trip was to see an Anthology of Hats which was sensational and this trip was equally fabulous. I went to the Gallery of Modern Art here in Brisbane to see an exhibition of hyperrealist sculptures by Australian artist, Ron Mueck.

His sculptures are incredible. This baby is so convincingly real (apart, obviously, from the massive proportion), it even has visible veins and squashed red patches!

This man is 9 feet tall and super realistic. Even his toes have that blanched white look of clenched skin.

This is a fabulous exhibition!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Orange Prize

So the Orange Prize winner was announced, and this year it went to...

I haven't read this, or any of Kingsolver's other books, but do think that the cover is beautiful. And isn't that the best reason to read a book?

Have you read this year's winner? Should I read it? Should it have won?

Monday, June 7, 2010

West Side Story

On Tuesday last week I went and saw West Side Story at the movies. In a cinema. Don't you just love it when new cinemas play old movies? Well our beautiful Regent Cinema here in Brisbane is closing and they are playing some old movies to see it out with a bang.

Last Tuesday it was West Side Story. I had never ever seen it before (something which I now consider a travesty) and it is just divine. It is based on Romeo and Juliet, but all singing all dancing Romeo and Juliet. It is funny and moving and fabulous and if you can find an old scratchy copy to watch, I really think you should. Here is the preview.

Natalie Wood plays the beautiful Maria and although she doesn't actually sing her bits, she is divine. Did you know that the person who dubs her in this film is the same person who dubbed Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady and Deborah Kerr in The King and I? And another interesting fact about Natalie Wood, she had a terrible fear of water due to a near drowning in her childhood and she passed away at age 43 after she drowned in a yachting accident. I find that so sad.

West Side Story is a wonderful movie and has inspired me to watch more old films, especially musicals, ESPECIALLY if Stephen Sondheim has anything to do with them. What is your favourite old film?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Embarrassing Celebrity Crush

Oh Em Gee... I have an increasingly embarrassing celebrity crush on none other than... Simon Cowell.

This crush resurfaces about this time every year, Britain's Got Talent time of year!! Woot!! Living in Australia I don't have ready access to BGT (as the cool people call it) and will spend hours mercilessly youtubing it. Tragic yes? Piers is a nice guy, yes, but a bit squidgy, a little bit pompous and quite annoying. Amanda is lovely, really nice, I like looking at her hair and dresses. But Simon. Oh Simon. When you smile with your very white very straight teeth... and get cranky at people who in fact DON'T have talent... and call the little old ladies Darling... well I love you just a little bit.

I usually forget about him once BGT has finished for the year. I suppose it isn't true love.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Wolf Hall Wednesday

1. It is Thursday so I am veeeery late. I'm sure it's Wednesday somewhere!
2. Leah and Melissa have finished Wolf Hall and I have not, as it turns out that my copy of the book has about 120 extra pages!! Interesting.

For for some insightful discussion about the end of Wolf Hall, please head over to Amused By Books and Gerbera Daisy Diaries. As for me, I will continue to plod along and put my review up asap!!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Ow Wouldn't It Be Loverly?

Do you know what I would really love? To live in the English countryside, somewhere like here:

And read books all day, knit, sew, be artistic and do intellectual things like watch Shakespeare in the local theatre. I would still love to work because I lovelovelove my job, but still have plenty of holidays to go to places like St Petersburg, Carcassonne, Venice... I would be a masterchef and have my friends Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver over for dinner and they would compliment me excessively on my culinary delights. French and Saunders would be my friends and we would meet in little nooky London pubs and laugh uproariously all night long and Josh Groban or Hugh Jackman would drop everything and marry me.

However this isn't case in REAL life. I wish I could read and knit all day but alas, not until retirement. I have recently bought some fabulous books that I intend to read over the coming weeks and I am excited about them.
Just started on this new one from Philip Pullman. I am really liking it so far. A fabulous exploration of the life of Jesus and his brother Christ. Interesting perspective.

I found this in a little tiny book shop in Angaston, SA. It is fictional, but tells the story of the girl who inspired Alice, of Wonderland fame.
I bought this because I loved the cover. Good reason right? The story looks sweet as well. I shall report back once finished.

I'm also in the process of winding up Wolf Hall for a read-along with Gerbera Daisy Diaries and Amused By Books.

So many books, so little time. Right I'm off to put on another load of washing and ring the bank. Ain't real life romantic?