Monday, December 17, 2012

Paris: City of My Waking Dreams

So we're home! After what seemed like some kind of suspended dream, Lovely and I have returned from the extraordinary continent that is Europe. I cannot begin to describe the last two months, other than to say it was mind opening, soul feeding, and beyond all my feeble expections and wildest dreams.
Although I took what seemed like a million photos, I'm going to be posting only a few of my very favourites, alongside a playlist of songs inspired by my visit because for some reason all important moments in my life must be accompanied by a soundtrack.
Each country will get their own post, and first up is Paris, the city the of my waking dreams.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Oh, The Places We'll Go!

Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own.  And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go.

You'll look up and down streets.  Look 'em over with care.
About some you will say, "I don't choose to go there."
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you're too smart to go down any not-so-good street.

And you may not find any
you'll want to go down.
In that case, of course,
you'll head straight out of town.

It's opener there
in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.

And when things start to happen,
don't worry.  Don't stew.
Just go right along.
You'll start happening too.


Lovely and I leave for Europe tomorrow. I've just finished packing, and now I'm just sitting in my room, soaking it in. I won't really be updating this blog much, as I will be trying to only use my computer for booking things and emergencies.

I will however try to document some of the places we visit on instagram (ohtheplacesillgo) and Lovely has set up a travel blog of the same name (or similar: Oh, The Places You'll Go. This was already taken by some clever person on instagram who also enjoys a bit of Dr Suess, so I had to resort to I'll, or ill :/).

So to you, dearest reader, I say; have a wonderful two months, and I shall see on the otherside, hopefully a little more world wise, and full to the brim with stories to tell!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Shrine on Sydney Road

We drove past the shrine today. I was sitting in the passenger seat, closest to the side of the street that she had walked, and so I was the first to see the flowers. The blockades of blooms spilled out from the stoop of the shop that had caught her last moments on camera. Candles flickered in the last few breaths of the storm that had threatened to spoil the Big Game. Strangers stood, legs apart, heads bowed, hands clasped together in silent prayer. The Channel Ten camera crew; a man untangling long black cables. 

I saw all of it, at once; it was a streak of unfamiliar colour on a backdrop that I knew so well. I was prepared to feel upset, and maybe even angry.
What I was not prepared for was an influx of raw emotion. A slew of feelings without names, that came on as fast as we had driven past the scene. Some of the roots were easy enough to identify; the brutality, the unjust ending of a life. The thoughts of the husband, of the mother and father. The friends and family living overseas and around the corner, nursing holes in their hearts and fistfuls of unanswered questions.
But there was something else that tugged at me, that still tugs at me. A feeling of...of.  A feeling very close to dread, but not quite as palpable. A lingering.
Was it because she was women of my mid to late twenties age bracket? And that being a woman, and in that particular age bracket, had seemed to amplify her vulnerability? Was it the sometimes subtle, sometimes not so subtle inclinations of the media, suggesting that because of the hour of the morning, her physical appearance and her intoxicated state, she had unknowingly facilitated her own abduction?  
Or was it simpler than that. Was it just because she had chosen to walk?

She had walked. She had left the pub that my friend Anne had once chosen as the perfect place for us to see her off to South East Asia. She had walked past the Blythe St intersection, home of the Blythe St share house that I had frequented when my friends from university had lived there. A house that I had walked to from the tram stop on Sydney Road, sometimes in the dark, and often alone, clutching a Biology text book in one hand and a cask of wine in the other.
She had walked past the Turkish restaurant that I had eaten at the week before. The pub that I had got drunk and danced at until two in the morning the night after, to celebrate my Lovely’s birthday; the day before the posters had gone up on  the tram stop shelters and the telephone poles, before people had made Facebook groups and implemented hashtags. 

I've always been a little scared of the unknown, but right now it isn't the unknown that's scaring me the most. It's the knowing. It is knowing that if it were me, I would have walked it. If I had been out drinking with my work friends at the Bar Etiquette on a Friday night, and I had being living in the Brunswick/Coburg area, I wouldn’t have even given it a second thought. Hell, I’ve walked it before! What would have been different this time? What would have been the reason for me not to? There’s nothing out there, lurking in the residential darkness of driveways and backyards and poorly lit side streets, that could be worse than the things I have thought up in my own head! I’m always looking for stories in places where there aren’t any stories to tell.
I would have walked it.

And I have walked it since, but only in the day time. And I know that there will come a time when I will have to face it in the dark, and that I will have to decide; is it worth it to risk my life on a few hundred meters? Is it worth the fourteen dollar cab fare, the four minutes of awkward conversation, and the chance that I might accidentally leave my phone in the back seat?
If you were to ask me now, of course I would say no. But what about next week? Next month? Next year? Can I trust myself to remember what this feels like? To remember that, despite all my pride and femenist sensibilities, women will always come off as the preferred target?

I think I know what this feeling is. This burning in the hollow of my throat, the hollow space below my heart. It is the knowledge that I am not invincible. My life could be snuffed out as easily as the candles that now burn in memory of hers, beneath the Irish flag buntings on the steps of the church where loved ones and neighbours and strangers now gather to grieve. It is knowing that there doesn’t always have to be a pattern; no plot points or character arcs or a conclusion that might lead to understanding, or in the least allude to it. And that there will be no big reveal. There’s not even an answer, yet, to the simplest question; the one that everyone has asked at least once, if not one hundred times. Why did this happen?
It is the feeling of knowing that death is not a spell that can be broken. That monsters live and breathe and walk on the same streets that we do. That I do. That she did.
This is not a good story. This is not even a bad story. It is just a horrible thing, and it need not have happened to anyone. But it could have happened to me. 

Rest In Peace

Tunesday: Sara Watkins

The closest I can usually get to enjoying country music is when it toes the line with something else, be it folk or rock or one of the million sub genres of music that have evolved or have been created. It's hard to catagorise Sara Watkins into any of these, so instead I'm going to make this easy, and put it in the catagory of music that I like. I was turned onto Sara by one of my favourite podcasts of all time, The Nerdist Podcast; seriously, if you have any inclination towards nerd-centric pop culture, or are just a fan of good comedy and conversation, you should definitely give it a listen! It's free, and the last episode that was released is with Joseph Gordon-Levitt. If that's not reason enough to hit the download button, well then, you're just going to have to trust me.

Anyways, this is my favourite song of hers from that Podcast, but I also really love the duet she did with Fiona Apple on her album, Sun Midnight Sun. I found this really cute video of them singing it live, so I'm going to post that too! Yay for double tunes!

I want Fiona Apples ridiculous hat. I really really do. 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Creature Feature: No Vacancy

 Belinda Suzette

You may know from reading previous posts that I am a frequent visitor of the No Vacancy Gallery. Here are some of my favourite pieces from the Creature Feature exhibition that I went to back in early September It was truely something to behold.

 Belinda Suzette

I forgot to write down the name of this artist, and I can't find it anywhere on the internet! If you know, please tell me so I can credit their incredible work!

This is not my photo (as if you can't tell), I poached this from Pixie Kitten's website. You should definitely check out her tumblr, it is equal parts whimsy and macarbe, just like her work, which I have a feeling will be making it's way into my house in some form or another, once Lovely and I return from Europe!

And of course, the always superb Emma Leonard and her disarmingly beautiful Rusalka! I bought a copy of this print from her Etsy store, and I can't wait to frame it and hang in a dark and creepy hallway (opposite a mirror perhaps?). A Rusalka is a Slavic mythological being, akin to a sucubus or mermaid like demon that haunts the waterways of eastern Europe.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Patrick Wolf: Forum II

A couple of weeks ago, Ruby and I fulfilled another of our teenage desires(I was going to say dreams and now all I can think of is Katy Perry and herridiculous whipped cream bikini), by attending Patrick Wolf's Melbourne'Acoustic' show at the Forum II. Did you know that the Forum had a II? BecauseI didn't, and now I think I like it even more than Forum I! 
Ruby and I had both been fans, nay, devotees Patrick Wolf, and now thatshe's back in Melbourne again I don't have to go to all these 'nostalgia' showson my own. Hooray! 

Now before I launch into the almost overwhelming wonder of this gig, I willsay a little bit about the support, Brous, because I really, really liked them.I liked them so much in fact that I bought their EP on the way out!
It might have had a little bit to do with the way she was dressed (all in blackwith a fan shaped headdress), but as soon as Sophia Brous began to sing,accompanied by autoharp, I couldn't shake the feeling thatthis music was travelling through time, either from the bohemian squalor of anAnne Rice-esque New Orleans, or some elaborate steampunk pirate ship. I thinkit also had something to do with their obscure choice of instruments, includingbassoon, harmonium and autoharp. And the gorgeous little folk song that Sophiasang, acapella and in a language completely foreign to me, whilst drumming the beats out against her chest with her hands.It was wonderful, enough to make me spend $10 on music instead of cider. 

Apart from perhaps dear Tori, I am yet to find an artist that I have managedto stick with through as many transformations as Patrick Wolf. Since his firstalbum Lycanthropy (an album which still gives me the creeps in the bestpossible way) in 2003, Patrick has been reborn in the eyes of his audience amany number of times, from angry youth railing wildly against the city he ranaway to, to brooding journeyman traipsing across the English countryside withhis tweed, his ukulele and his violin, searching for a place to rest, to aflamboyant bird of paradise adorned in sequins and feathers and golden hairextensions, strutting and leaping about the stage. 

I have songs that I love from every album he has put out, despite theirvarying themes and sounds. I would just as easily recommend Paris as I wouldBermondsey St, or Teignmouth as I would the Magic Position. And so this waspossibly the best tour that I could choose to go and see him perform for thefirst time; the fact that is was 'acoustic' levelled the playing field, andallowed each song come forth from its place in his vast, diverse career, and beplayed in it's basest, and in my opinion, most beautiful form.

This set was a culmination of all the things I love about Patrick Wolf; his baritonevoice, the depth of which can stir many a sleeping memory or forgotten desire,his multi-instrumental talents (instruments he played included piano, violin,harp, guitar, ukulele, drum, some of them alongside each other with the use ofloop pedals), and his cheeky, almost boyish charm. As he played, I was remindedof my borderline obsession with his first two albums in my teenage years, andthe deep appreciation and joy I felt for his new works, specifically his mostrecent offering, Lupercalia. The clarity of the harp, the stirring of the grandpiano, the drum beat that beat and looped and beat again, created such anintricate framework of acoustic performance, so that the songs themselves wouldunfold like flowers. 

The set itself was not without flaws; a couple of technical difficultieshere, a couple of forgotten words or bars of music there. But they were allhandled by Patrick with grace and humour, with a shy laugh and a cheeky smilethat would have made my knees weaken had I been sixteen again. It reminded usthat although they were almost painfully beautiful creations, these songs weremade by a human, and this human is not perfect; and isn't it our flaws thatmake us interesting. 

Highlights: Overture (he opened with this, and I really truly couldhave honestly died because I had dreamed of hearing this song live ever sincehearing it for the first time as the opening for the Magic Position),Teignmouth, Tristen, Paris, Wind in the Wires, Armistice, House, Wolf Song,Bluebells

He also seems to have moved away from the glitter and golden hair extensions,in favour of shirts with ballooning sleeves, suspenders and a solid wreath ofgolden olive branches. I'm not going to lie, I am rather thankful for it. I love wildling Patrick the most.

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