Monday, August 30, 2010

Quote of the Week

"Richard Burton rang me up once and said, 'Do you know you're my only leading lady I've never slept with?'. I said, 'Well, please don't tell everybody, it's the worst image.'

Julie Andrews

Saturday, August 28, 2010

So What? I'm Still A Rock Star

So back in June I wrote about going to see Joshua Bell and the Academy of St Martin In The Fields perform in Brisbane and that they were awesome. The following week I toddled off to my own orchestra practice to find that we were going to be playing the same Beethoven Symphony that old mate Josh played with his professional orchestra friends. Wowzers. Now a bit of background. I love orchestra. I hope that one day I will write a sitcom about my orchestra because it is hilarious. We are a community orchestra, not a single one of us professional musicians, most of us over the age of 250. But David, our enigmatic, music-obsessed conductor keeps us laughing. Well those of us that can still hear him.

Here is another orchestra (not us) playing the third movement of the symphony.

Not easy. At all. But I think overall we did a marvellous job. I think I even played most of the notes!! Yay me!!

Now I am at my parents house cooking curry for dinner. It is FREEZING in here. And by freezing I mean about 18C. And I'm wearing leggings, a jumper my Nanna knitted in the 80's, socks with owls on them and a Mimco headband. I look bloody amazing.

Sometimes I fear that my rock star lifestyle is getting to be too much for me.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Book Review: And This Is True by Emily Mackie

And This Is True is the first book by Scottish Emily Mackie. I chose it on my recentish holiday to Adelaide for three reasons. 1: the cover; 2: the title, 3: the blurb.
Once upon a time there was a boy whose home was a van and whose world was his father.
Be warned: this is not a fairytale.
Although it does contain love,
And most important of all, a kiss.
But you have to be ready for an unpredictable journey through a realm where nothing is black or white. That, of course, is why you should take the first step.
A startling new voice shows us a painful truth: you can't help who you fall in love with.
Doesn't that just sound utterly magical? I thought so. I thought that it was going to have a magical element (despite the fairytale warning) and was going to be about this delightfully wonderful forbidden love, and I would laugh and cry and be dazzled by the storyline. I wasn't though. Perhaps (definitely) my expectations were way to high and obviously way off the track so it isn't the book's fault, much less Emily Mackie's, that I didn't enjoy this one.

And This Is True is the story of introverted Nevis Gow who has lived in a van with his father since the age of 4. They lead what Nevis considers to be an idyllic lifestyle, moving from place to place, playing games, learning about science, while his father madly writes and writes. That is until the kiss. And this is where my little balloon of magical happy story was seriously popped. The kisser was Nevis. And the kissee was his father. That's right folks, this is a book about incest. After the kiss, Nevis' father (Marshall) crashes the van and tries to integrate Nevis into normal society. Following the crash they take up lodging at a nearby farm belonging to the Kerr family who are mourning the recent loss of a beloved family member.

This was my second ever experience of "oh my goodness this is an incest book!" and both of them have really snuck up on me. My first was with Ann-Marie Macdonald and 'Fall On Your Knees' (again, chosen for the title). It took me almost to the end of that book to realise what was going on (perhaps too young to be reading that one at the time) and I was quite horrified when I discovered the truth. Again here. Now now. I really must stop focusing on that 'I' word. There really was a lot to this book apart from the kiss. It is a fascinating exploration of an unconventional childhood, grief, loss, adolescence, love and incest.

The best bit about this book was the Kerr family. Underneath the experiences of Nevis and Marshall, the lives of the Kerr family twist and disintegrate until they reach their tragic fate. Father Nigel is mourning the loss of his wife Catherine, and their son Colin (the Duckman) appears to be becoming a troubled, delinquent young man. Come to help out are relatives Elspeth and Ailsa, both of whom Nevis abhors.

Emily Mackie is a young writer (27) and this is her first novel. And despite my misgivings, I must say, hats off to her. Although I didn't enjoy it, I have never read a book quite like this one and I think that hers is a name to remember. She tells this story unashamedly and really gets into the head of young Nevis. I was impressed with her writing style, her ideas and even the plot. I just didn't love it.

Monday, August 23, 2010

I'm baaaaack!!

Wowzers. It has been some time since I wrote on here. And I would love to say it was because I was holidaying with the Queen, or accepting my Nobel Peace Prize, but alas... I have just been busy. But now I aim to be back in the full swing of things, beginning with my upcoming review of this book:

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Red Tree by Shaun Tan

I read this book almost weekly. That isn't saying much as it is a picture book, and there are very few words. But The Red Tree is one of the most magical books I own. Shaun Tan is some kind of God when it comes to pulling at the heart strings and his illustrations are divine. I remember the exact moment when I first saw this book. I was in year 12, in the library after school, desperately trying to fumble my way through an assignment and my stress levels were somewhat high. To say the very least. And I looked up and saw this on a shelf and was immediately lured by the cover. So I read it and I actually felt lifted up. Though this is a picture book I don't think it is for children at all. It is about hope and depression and is illustrated in such a moving and meaningful manner.

I have never suffered with depression, nor have I had a difficult life at all so I feel that I really can't adequately comment on this book, or that I am a fraud. And I am by no means suggesting that this book is an accurate representation of depression or can have an impact on a depressed person. However, to me, this book was so life-affirming and hopeful that I couldn't help but feel utterly radiant by the end of it. It is a book of real life magic and every time I read it I am sure that I glow!

The story begins with a young girl waking up in her grey room, looking grey and evidently feeling grey. Before she knows it her room is filled and she is engulfed by black maple leaves. As she goes about her day things just get worse for her. Her depression is illustrated so poignantly.

But then at the end of her day she makes it home. And there is a little bit of hope waiting for her, you know, just as you imagined there would be.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Movie Review: Toy Story 3

Oh what a movie. Of course I loved Toy Story 1 and 2, when I was a child-type person although I did find that horrible doll head on spider legs terrifying. So of course I rushed out to the cinema with a crew of fellow paediatric nurses to suss out the wonder that was Toy Story 3. In 3D no less!!

And oh how my heart broke!! It was inevitable that this final instalment would be a tear jerker as Andy was heading off to college, away from Woody, Buzz and the crew. However poor Woody, Buzz, Mr Potato Head and Rex haven't been played with for years, resorting to tricks to try to get noticed. In the clean up all of Andy's toys accidentally get donated to the local childcare which is ruled by a cuddly yet tyrannical bear and a predictably vain and fashion conscious Ken doll. Can they escape and get back to Andy before it's too late?

I really really loved this movie. Even writing about it now makes me feel misty eyed!! As with so many children's movies, this film had so many levels, making it hilarious for children and hilarious for adults and fun and beautiful all round.

One of the most delightful thing about seeing a children's movie however, is the children in the audience. There is nothing more innocent or awe-inspiring than a child's laugh, and the complete lack of inhibition the possess when watching. Usually I am the only one gasping out loud in the scary bits!!

I give this movie a whole 5 stars, I laughed and cried with all my heart.

Friday, August 6, 2010


I worked night duty last night and then woke up this afternoon to find that Taylor Swift's new single Mine was on itunes. This made my day!!