Friday, 31 August 2012

Five for Friday no. 34

The 2012 London Paralympics have begun!  Full coverage is on the ABC. See the program online. I watched some of the basketball this morning and it is incredible!

Starting next Wednesday is the annual Brisbane Writers Festival. Check out the full program.

The Campus Satorialist. The style and fashion of over 40 different universities world wide. I suspect none of our Qld unis are going to appear very much. 
Image courtesy of The Campus Satorialist. 

An amazing trick for separating eggs.

Rich Kids of Instagram. Voyeuristic and annoying. Much like reality TV. 
 Image courtesy of Rich Kids of Instagram.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Book review: Me and Mr Booker by Cory Taylor

Martha lives in small-town NSW a couple of decades ago. Her home life is toxic, school is uninteresting and she’s desperate to leave town so her life can start. Enter the Bookers; glamorous new comers who sweep Martha up and add sparks to the dreary endlessness of summer holidays. The Booker are stylish, seductive and usually drunk. Lunches, shopping and parties quickly turn into something more as Mr Booker find himself unable to resist the temptation to be the life-changing event Martha has been waiting for.

Me and Mr Booker is not a romantic or sugar-coated coming of age story. It’s confronting and honest, hopeless and empathetic. It’s also sexy, if you ignore the borderline illegality of the central relationship. There are balls, Woolworths underpants and motel rooms. Right from chapter one you know what you’re in for, and I had to re-read the end of the chapter a couple of times because I just wasn’t expecting it.

Me and Mr Booker is primarily a coming of age story but it is also about relationships. It’s about the relationships you find yourself in almost as if lead by fate; or being trapped in a relationship because you can see no way out or because of the hold one person can have over another. It’s about possession, wanting what we can’t have and the people that make or break our lives.

What I loved about this book is that I could entirely relate to the central relationship. I was not a sexually precocious, charred and bored 16 year old but as you follow the passage of the relationship; the seduction, the snatched moments, the intoxicating illicitness of the affair, you completely understood why and how Marsha acts as she does. There are so many every-life moments that the reader can related to. You never stop to wonder why it happens; you know perfectly well why it happens and it all feels so inevitable.

There is more than a ring of Lolita in this novel. Though Mr Booker may be take the lead in the physical seduction, Martha is more than aware of the effect she has on the men in her town and does not at any moment question the seduction or make a move to halt what is happening. One character desperate to be older with a life to lead, one character intoxicated by youth and the endless possibilities being young affords.

Me and Mr Booker is successful screenwriter Cory Taylor’s debut novel and an incredible first novel it is too. I found I had to make myself put Mr and Mr Booker down, otherwise I was liable to finish it within hours. The pacing is fantastic, the jumps and pauses perfect. Each character is desperately fallible and utterly believable.  You understand them, even if you want to give some of them a vicious slap across the chops. You feel at home in small-town Australia with its boredom and dust. 

Me and Mr Booker is an engaging well-written novel and therefore a delight. 

Here is a proper review on ABC’s First Tuesday Book Club.
Following up on B's post about how awesome Post-It notes are - which they are, I'm a big fan - the internet has shown me something wonderful.

Toast Messenger - Burn messages on your toast

To which I say: would you call these TOAST-IT NOTES?


This makes me think of one of my best friends, who is getting married one month from today.

So co-dependant

Left my phone at home yesterday: wrote myself 9 post it notes of things to do and remember. This is why smart phones are great, they have a notes and calendar function!

So quietly co-dependant. I’d be embarrassed about it, but I know pretty much everyone else is too, so I needn’t feel so ridiculous. 

On a side note - how amazing are Post It notes? Seriously. 

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Movie review: The Bourne Legacy

I can’t honestly review this movie because I’m not enough of a fan. I like the series, I had this huge urge to re-watch it from the start a couple of weeks, but if I try to review the movie I’m just going to get something wrong. 

So, fourth movie in the series, first one minus Matt Damon as Jason Bourne. That didn’t bother me in the slightest because I have a screen-crush on Jeremy Renner so I enjoyed every minute he was on screen. 

The movie is utterly predictable and like every other action film, particularly the previous Bourne movies. Nothing is new, nothing is experimental. Which isn’t to say it isn’t highly enjoyable as an action flick. Good fight scenes, tough guys, CIA fuck-ups and conspiracies abound. 

This movie feels like a stepping stone of a film. The studio wants to continue the franchise, Matt Damon didn’t want to make any more, so they needed to find a way to continue. This is a stepping stone film to give them an excuse to keep creating Bourne movies and eek out this block-buster franchise. 

One thing I would say is that if like me, it’s been a while since you’ve indulged in the Bourne movies, try and re-watch or remind yourself of the previous three before going to see this one. There was a lot of reference to previous ‘program’ plot lines and I got a bit lost in it all. If I’d known what the CIA/agency people were talking about I might have enjoyed ‘the plot’ a bit more. 

So yeah The Bourne Legacy – go see it for a mindless action film night out. Buy a drink to take into the movie with you, it’s a long film.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Movie Review: The Sapphires

Last week, B and I (and a close friend of ours) went to see The Sapphires. And I don't know about the other two, but I thought it was excellent! I had high expectations of this film, and it did not disappoint at all.

The film is set in 1968, and follows a quartet of singers (Deborah Mailman, Jessica Mauboy, Shari Sebbens, Miranda Tapsell) from a remote Aboriginal mission, who are discovered by soul-loving manager (Chris O'Dowd). They start out briefly singing country and western, but Dave - the manager - steers them in the direction of soul classics like I Heard I Through The Grapevine, What A Man, Who's Lovin' You, and Sugar Pie Honey Bunch. The girl group take their act to auditions in Melbourne and are picked up - to sing for the troops in Vietnam.

One the one hand, The Sapphires is a light-hearted, fun movie. The music is great, the cast is charming, and there's a lot of warmth and dry, Australian humour. On the other hand, the film is set during the Vietman war - half of it takes place actually in the war, on site - and it also deals extensively with the endemic racism faced by people of colour. Not only are the Sapphires in Vietnam to perform for (only) black troops, but one, Kay, is a living example of the stolen generation. Kay's sub-plot explores the way she reclaims her Indigenous heritage, and I thought it was a subtly effective part of the story. In addition to the Australian racism on show, the American troops are shown to have similar experiences, with one white soldier refusing treatment by a black medic. The two sides - Australian and American - are brought together towards the end of the film, when the assassination of Martin Luther King is reported and the loss is shown to affect not only on the US troops, but on the Indigenous Australians in the mission back home.

But one thing I liked about this film is that these issues are carefully woven in amongst the charm, present but not overpowering. The film doesn't shy away from portraying racism and oppression, and the damage caused is visible. But it's presented in a way that's almost matter-of-fact, and the characters don't lose hope or succumb. They refuse to be victims, they take the opportunities they get, and they have fun as often as possible. These women are strong, confident and most importantly of all, they care about each other. They want better lives, they want to be in love; I really liked the message here. I thought this film was well balanced between real-world issues and the idealised fun of the musical genre.

So, overall? Go see The Sapphires. It's a charming, fun film, with a fantastic soundtrack and a real-world background.

Flight of the Conchords: Feel Inside (And Stuff Like That)

This is going to Make your Tuesday.

The boys from Flight of the Conchords have released a new song Feel Inside (And Stuff Like That) and it's fantastic. They enlisted a bunch of children to help them write the lyrics. They asked the kids questions about feeling sick and where money comes from and their answers make up the rhymes. The boys then enlisting professional musicians to sing and produce the song.

All proceeds go to New Zealand charity Cure Kids.

Check out the video - the first part is the interviews with the kids, followed by the song.

Monday, 27 August 2012

These are a few of my favourite things

I went on holiday with an old friend a few weeks back and he asked me a question: what are my 5 favourite things? He asks this question of his friends from time to time and as the years go by, their answers change. But it is an interesting to pose to yourself.

What 5 things – anything, any item, activity, anything – in the World – are you 5 favourites at this moment?

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Pastry, hot or continental?

I love breakfast. I love second breakfast even more. For the uninitiated, that’s the breakfast you have when you got out of bed, had a light breakfast, did some jobs, maybe went back to bed for a while, then got up and had breakfast all over again. BUT – and this is important – still at a totally normal breakfast hour. Otherwise it’s just a strange morning tea or brunch.

Like a lot of people, my average breakfast is totally-standard, easy to make, easy to eat before I got to work every morning.

However, in a more time-and-money rich world I would start every morning with a bit more of a pick me up then organic museli. I suspect many people are the same – we enjoy a bit of a special breakfast away from our toast and vegemite. Think of how much everyone loves brunch! But what would be your breakfast of choice?

What is your favourite breakfast type? Pastry, hot or continental?

I love a big proper continental breakfast. They’re the sort my family would have every single weekend morning as I was growing up and it was a chance for us all to sit down and eat lazily together before going to various sporting fixtures, visits to grandparents, grocery shopping etc. It’s a lovely, drawn-out way to enjoy the start of the day.

Hot breakfasts are perfect on the right day but can be very heavy. A full plate of pancakes and bacon may make me belly-happy but it also tends to send me to sleep. I worked in a coffee shop in London for 6 months and there were regularly who came in and had a full fry up every single morning. I don’t know how they or their arteries coped with such a slog of food at 8am.

If I had to choose a breakfast-type to have every day, I would choose pastry. Even more than continental breakfasts I love a day that starts with a pretzel. Or a truly delicious (sweet) muffin. Even this morning, having realised I’d run out of organic yoghurt for my organic muesli, I went and got a Danish pastry. It really set me up for the day.

Are you a big breakfast eater? If you could choose a type of breakfast to have every day, what would it be? Crispy bacon, hash browns and mushrooms? Muffins, brioche and butter? Or Rolls, salami, cheese and fruit?

 One of the best breakfasts I've ever had - a 'Turkish' breakfast at a Turkish cafe in Wein.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Friday afternoon drinks in Brisbane

I’m a fan of the after-work drink. I like to get together with friends over a glass of wine or a half-pint of cider, whinge about the work week, glory in the coming weekend and generally unwind. 

The difficulty I always run into for these post-daily grind sessions is where to go?

Obviously it depends on your anticipated numbers – two people can fit into Super Whatnot just fine, 4 to 6 can squeeze into Laneway, but where to go if your 8? Or more?

For a few months now, a friend and I have arranged for drinks at French Martini – good wine, charming French waiters, street traffic and plenty of eating options nearby. It’s a great Friday-afternoon spot. Unfortunately, being in Southbank, it can be rather a destination for some people. The same with Archive, which can be just too far out of the CBD for people to tag along. 

I have a few criteria for my after-work drinks. Not too expensive, not too crowded, not too drunken. That cuts out a surprising number of bars, particularly in the CBD and particularly if you can’t get in early to nab a space but have to fight with all the other shmucks who don’t make it onto the streets until 5pm.

So we’re taking a break from Bordeaux and Champagne at French Martini and trying The Port Office. A fortnight ago we were there for a drink and got free cider, so we’re hoping for a repeat. 

Any recommendations for where to go for after work drinks on a Friday?

Five for Friday no.33

A 'real life' temporary pop up store showcasing the work of QUT Fashion graduates

Brisbane's Retro Film Society, who host monthly film nights at the Old Museum. Coming up in September; Notorious, a 1946 film starring Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman.

A very pretty vintage shop, run by a Sydney couple through Etsy. 

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