Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Saddle Shoes!

So I logged onto ASOS the other day to see if I could find some nice, classic, reletively inexpensive heels to replace my poor worn out ruined by alcohol and general klutzyness pair. Instead, I found these

How friggen cute are they?! I desperately want to be trapseing around Europe in these shoes pretending I'm some derranged character from Twin Peaks, even though that mesh is totally impractical for the cold weather and Twin Peaks is not a town in the south of France. Sigh....
You can check them out here at ASOS, but please leave me a pair of size 8's! 

Word Wednesday - Ninety Summers, 1969

Happy Word Wednesday everybody! Even though my following is on the small side, I'm always grateful for those who do visit, and take the time to read my work. That means you! Thankyou! 

Today I'm sharing with you a much newer poem, it's actually less than a week old. I wanted to share this in contrast with last weeks poem, which was written and posted back in 2010. I like to think I have come quite a long way since then, although I still have a ways to go. As always, all constructive feedback is not only welcomed, but encouraged! Enjoy!

Ninety Summers, 1969

bitter, the sweet divide
the gap widens with each
the earth beneath bare
feet crackles, peels like
withered skin
from bones
ninety summers old
it could swallow me up
that fissure hewn, that earth wound
from a skipped generation
the one who is all ideals
and no conviction and skin clearer than
mine ever was and
blonde hair that
falls down to her knees

I was the kind of girl
who would have wanted
to be her best friend
I would have read all the books she borrowed and
and bought all of her dresses
in contrasting colours
I would have stopped drinking coffee, smoking
or buying groceries
when people would ask me why I no longer ate
I would lie
and they would think me a matyr
or a communist

At dusk, I travel daily,
through those pink
clouds of time
to the day
they took us out to
church country
to visit the graves and the architecture
and find the fresh air that can
cure old age
the teenagers
they got their kicks by pressing their
long bodies into the
cracks, trying to scare us
not knowing that we were too old
for fear, even
they wanted to stay
until darkness came
to wait for the ghosts and the fairies
she doesn’t believe in
spirits, just spirit
And so I know she won’t go
for my ghost when I go
next summer

And so
I get that hollow feeling my bones
hollow enough to blow glass
into shapes that could reflect my soul
warped, brittle,
it can hold water and catch light
at certain angles
to appear beautiful
Sometimes I feel as though I’ve lived
through ninety winters
without a sun

Monday, May 28, 2012

Music Monday - Regina Spektor

Regina Spektor's new album is out! Thanks to the lovely people at Frankie Mag I have already had a listen to 'What We Saw From the Cheap Seats' via their exclusive album stream, and I have to say that I adore it! It's got plenty of the strange, quirky Regina that I fell in love with after listening to Soviet Kitsch for the first time as an angsty teen. The song I'm going to share with you today, however, is one of the more conventional tracks; I chose 'How' because I just happen to be in the mood for a simple, unabashed love song with a classic Regina twist.

Because it's so new I couldn't find a studio version on YouTube, but I think this live version does the song justice. I really hope she comes to Melbourne (or just happens to play while we're in Europe! I can only hope...) Enjoy!

You can check out the full album stream here

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Paper Chain Scarves and Palm Oil

My new paper chain scarf making kit has arrived, just in time for this wintery weather! In Melbourne, you can never have too many scarves.

I bought this from the lovely people over at Lark, who sell lots of pretty knick knacks, craft things, beautiful home decor and a great collection of books, too! I got a $10 voucher from them in my Frankie lucky dip at Finders Keepers, which prompted me to check out their website. So much lovely stuff! I ended up choosing this scarf kit for a number of reasons; it's made of 99% recycled post industrial and post consumer materials, every kit is unique, and it has a pun-derful title. Who thought being environmentally conscious could be so fun and cool?

I haven't been able to start making it yet, as I bruised my finger pretty badly at work and it's making it very difficult to sew :( but I will be updating you with photos in progress and the finished product eventually.

Speaking of being environmentally conscious, I have just launched my new project today! Starting on the 1st of June, I am cutting out all foods that contain or are suspected to contain unsustainable palm oil. Palm oil can be found in 50% of our supermarket products, but you wouldn't know it because it isn't actually labelled anywhere. This wouldn't be such a problem, if it weren't for the fact that the palm oil industry is doing a lot of damage to the rainforest of SE Asia, in particular Malaysia and Indonesia, and putting already endangered animals like the Orangutan and the Sumatran Tiger at risk of becoming extinct. 
No more Orangutans? I couldn't dream of such a world. But sadly, it's a world that is getting dangerously close to becoming a reality, unless something is done to stop it.
I was originally going to blog about it on here, but I realised I had a lot more to say on the subject, and a lot more information that I wanted to share. So I've made a new blog! 'It's Not Me, It's You: Breaking Up With Bad Ingrediants for the Good of the Planet', is specifically for my month without palm oil. The idea is that I will be writing about my experiences and sharing all that I find out over the thirty days, in the hope that other people will be compelled to take action too. I promise you won’t have to stop shaving or showering or sell all your personal belongings and live in a teepee with 20 other people who don't shave or shower. It could be as easy as giving up Tim Tams, or in my case Arnott's Mint Slice (although this could be harder still!)
If you would like to follow my palm oil free adventures, please head over to the new blog, have a read and leave me your thoughts! All feedback is appreciated!

Ok, I think that's it for now. I hope you're having a wonderful day!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Word Wednesday: The Actress

This week Word Wednesday shall feature an original piece of work from yours truely dredged up from the archives of yesteryear. I uncovered this poem whilst trawling through my old deviantART account. Do you guys remember deviantART? Some of you probably still use it, am I right? I haven't used it in ages, and some of the stuff I posted on there is, well it's less than brilliant. But it's also nice to see how far I've come with my writing in the last two years, most of which I can attribute to my dear writing circle, my classes with Francesca Lia Block, and constant practice. I think I've written more in these past two years than all years prior! And I've never been more determined to finish my novel! Hooray!

This poem was posted on the 16th of February, 2010! And although there are quite a few things I would like to change, like my overuse of bracketed lines for starters, overall I still really like how this poem feels. I'm posting it, in all it's pre polished glory, so I hope you like undiluted borderline teen/twenties angst!

The Actress

The actress
Dipped her fingers in ink
And used them as a pen
To write love words on his body
Because she could not find her voice
It got buried under all the stories told
To her by starlet women with perfect boyfriends
Who only existed in their minds
Varying personas painted on crumbling marble statues
Clouded by a masochistic martini
Of gin and gossip

They say she loved too strongly
Because she was in the theatre – she was too dramatic
Too emotive, they said
As if emotion could be measured in units
And used by prospective men to asses
And reject her
But do not mistake this for lack of passion, oh no
Passion and pathos are a winning combination
Yet, it must be executed with style and grace
In costume in character and a perfect script
He will sweep her off her feet because he knows
She will not fall
And she will kiss him because she knows he will not leave
Until the curtain falls

There is this perfect portrait of the real world
Outside her dressing room window – a crumbling wall,
Painted candy pink bruise purple and ocean green
Dripping in words with such a domineering presence they seem to scream at you
But mean nothing
A rusted shopping trolley – no point no destination
An empty bottle of vodka and a broken fit – no feeling, no reaction.
No story, no script
And with all this solid suffocating emptiness
There's not much room for her emotions here
It is only on the stage and screen where the air is clear
Enough for her to let the love run free
Like a plague of locusts.

How do we go back to the way it way it was before
we kissed the boys we shouldn't have kissed?
Before we loved girls we should never have loved
Wrote the right words to the wrong people
Burned ourselves out with lust and love and loving alcohol
And other substances?
Using to get back there – to the way it was before
our emotions grew up and out of our skins – too potent for our physical bodies
Too capricious to tie down on just one man
Choking poisonous vines
What will we do, when we drown our lovers with our tears,
Smother them with our paper poetry, fleshy limbs and
Beat them with our beating hearts?

The actress stands on the edge of the stage
Eyes closed, she's on the ledge of a building
She is all our emotions
And played out in a storyboard sequence
Skipping our stone hearts across the water
Beating them like hollow drums
Never mind the lipstick
She is you (she is me)
Before we stopped trusting our own voices
(now my mind is a cast of schizophrenic players
Who all wear my face )
And listened to the ones we're to become

 Louise Brooks; showgirl and silent film actress. I used to have hair like hers, but she pulls it off way better than I did. Sexy as.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Amanda Palmer and The Grand Theft Orchestra: Do It With A Rockstar

 So this week's Music Monday song is by none other than the amazing woman that is Amanda Fucking Palmer. I don't like to swear much on this blog, but in this case it is completely necessary, because that's who she is! If you've read either my Dresden Dolls or Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra Posts, you'll know how much I love this lady; I love her music, her musical tastes, her attitudes, and her intense passion for the arts.

Her new album is set to come out later this year, and not only does she push the boundaries with her new songs, both lyrically and musically, she's also pushing the boundaries of how to make and distribute music to the masses. Her notoriously enormous fan base and reputation for being SUCH A NICE LADY to us has allowed her to cut out the big wig record labels and take ownership of her music in a completely new way, via her revolutionary Kickstarter campaign. To put it in perspective, she reached her goal value of $100,000 that was needed to make, mix and distribute the record DAYS after launching the campaign. And it's still going!!!! I love this idea of independent, fan funded projects, because you know that everyone involved is so damned passionate about the end product, and I'm so glad that I could be a part of it by being a backer! I really hope that this is the way of the future for musicians, and that it will force the record industry suits to reassess how they treat the musicians on their label.

As a wonderful treat for backers, Amanda and the Grand Theft Orchestra leaked a single from the record exclusively to them, before releasing it to the rest of the world. It's been unleashed now to the rest of the public, so I'm allowed to blog about it now, and I'm so glad because it is a doozey! I cannot wait for this album to come out, I haven't been so excited for an album release since Ceremonials by Florence and the Machine.

Anyways, have a listen, and then if you like you should head over to her Kickstarter where you can get yourself some special exclusive backer goodies whilst contributing to a musical revolution. This is our Woodstock, people!!! We are the media!!!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Elde Mittens For Winter

It's so freaking cold here, and it's not even Winter yet!! But if I had any pair of these mittens from the super talented Elde, I would probably be a lot less grumpy about it!

You can peruse her other lovely knitted goods over at her etsy store

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Word Wednesday: Word Snacks

Word Wednesday! This week I thought I might share some of my favourite literature themed twitter feeds that inject little pieces of literary goodness into days when I don't even have time to pick up a book (this does happen, much to my dismay).
I'm a new convert to twitter; I'm ashamed to admit that until a couple of months ago I thought it was only used to stalk and or judge shameful celebrities. But I am happy to admit that I was very wrong, and that there is so much good stuff out there, wonderful stories and events and photos and contests and people that I never would have heard of otherwise! Not that I need any other social media sites aka tools for procrastination, but oh well.

 Sylvia Plath Quotes:

This is my favourite lit themed twitter feed. All these wonderful musings by one of my most favourite writers are served up to my mobile in bite sized pieces, and they never cease to move me, and to paint the world outside my train window a little more melancholy and beautiful.

I lean to you, numb as a fossil. Tell me I’m here.

Lit Hum:
Lit Hum is a celebration of literature, with a big focus on poetry, with strong roots in the humanities. I enjoy these tweets, because it is often easy to forget how poetry relates to the rest of the world. This reminds me that it will always have relevance.

The self forms at the edge of desire, and a science of self arises in the effort to leave that self behind. - Anne Carson

Poets House

Poets House: a place for poetry—library, literary center, locus of poetic inspiration. Tweeting poetic fragments and things-to-know.
I really like Poets House, because it exposes me to a lot of new poets and poetry ,and I like how each tweet is only few lines (there are few poems 140 characters long), and then they provide a link to click through to the full poem.

This is the way the blues works/Its sorry wonders,/Makes trouble look like/A feather bed ~ Cornelius Eady

This is one for the Australians. Readings is probably the best, if not one of the last, bookstore chains left standing, and I for one am very glad that it is still around. I could get lost in the Carlton store for hours, and come away with more books that I could realistically afford. This twitter feed keeps me up to date with all the fabulous literary events they put on or are involved with, as well as upcoming releases, reviews and recommendations for books to try. Hooray!

I hope this brings some written word inspired joy into your day, but don't forget to pick up a book when you can, because there really is no substitute.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Pia Blair Collages

How pretty are these collages by Melbourne expat Pia Blair?! I wish I could collage like this

You can check out the rest of her work and life in Vietnam over at littlelandofpia

Monday, May 14, 2012

Music Monday - Wintersleep

Music Monday! This week is a song that I found whilst listening to the Emerging Tracks playlist on
We Are Hunted. I often put this playlist on in the background when I'm catching up on blogs, checking emails and the general procrastination that comes with the internet. So I often find that my brain begins to zone out, and the music becomes nothing more than a background humm in the presence of my more urgent thoughts.

However, the opening of "Resuscitate" by Wintersleep was enough to make me sit up and take notice. I love the orchestrated chaos of this song, the feeling of hurtling forward, but also the rich depth of the lead's voice, and the way the ominous lyrics are coupled with such an upbeat rhythm. I'm definitely going to keep an eye out for albums and EPs at JB.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Josh Pyke - The Forum

Do you ever find yourself feeling nostalgic for times or places that you've never even lived through or been to? I do, a lot, especially through music. When I listen to Joni Mitchell, I feel nostalgic for Woodstock. When I listen to Hole, I feel nostalgic for the nineties girl punk scene, even though I was listening to Hanson in the ninties, and watching Rugrats and wearing butterfly clips, none of which are particularly riot grrrl. When I listen to Josh Pyke, I feel nostalgic for the ever elusive perfect summer. 

 This photograph seemed most fitting after the depature of the dear Mr. Sendak

I went along to his show, with my friend Holly, and her friend Hollie, at the Forum, which is the perfect venue for him, really. He's the kind of musician you want to listen to, in fields under a sprawling starlit sky, and the Forum's perpetual midnight ceiling is the closest thing we have to that in the city. 
I was excited to find out on arrival that he was being supported by Gossling, an artist I had heard and enjoyed many times on the radio, but knew little about. Well, she did not disappoint; in fact, she surpassed my expectations with her almost too adorable, pitch perfect voice. And she's also quite funny; the first thing she did after introducing herself was admit to being on our side of the stage many a time, looking up at the one Grecian statue with the rather large package. Needless to say, I came away with her latest EP, three parts because her music is gorgeous and one part because of that story. 

One of the many things I love about Josh Pyke's music is that he has an amazing handle on words; his lyrics are unsurpassed for their ability to tell stories, expertly weaved into melodies that are of equally good quality. One is never sacrificed for the other, they are perfectly complimentary. So when he's standing right there in front of you, unravelling these story songs, you can't help but be transported to another place, somewhere where houses are living organisms, people run around without shoes on, sand and salt is stuck to everything, and love is a tangible thing you can hold in your hands, even if it's just for a short time. That's how I feel when I listen to his albums, and it's multiplied by about one hundred when experiencing it live.

Although this was the third time I'd seen him, this time had to be my favourite,  in terms of venue, vantage point and setlist. This wasn't an album tour, this was a Josh Pyke tour; he played a lot of songs from his first EP, Feeding the Wolves, including Beg Your Pardon, which is still one of my favourite songs of his, and chose a lot of quieter, more melancholy tracks over more upbeat numbers or the 'hits', songs like Vibrations in Air, Follow Me Down, and an amazing rendition of Punch in the Heart, with Gossling coming out again to do an exquisite job of Katy Steele's part; urgh, just thinking about it now gives me shivers. It was almost like a pied piper-esque adventure (minus the children stealing), him leading through the maze of his back catalogue, and us following , anticipating  but very unsure of which song he was going to play next. There were songs in there that I hadn't listened to for months, and it was like discovering them again for the first time. He did choose some crowd favourites, however, like 'The Summer', 'Memories and Dust' and of course 'Middle of the Hill', all of which stirred up some rather moving sing a longs. And he can entertain a crowd just by speaking; his banter included a story of how he smashed his two front teeth, and used the insurance money to take a trip to Europe instead of getting them fixed properly, and a hilarious impression of Richard Mercer from Lovesong Dedications. I'd love to pick his brain one day, but my nerves turn to jelly any time I'm even in the same room as someone I admire this much.

All in all I had a wonderful time, and I am sad that he won’t be touring for a while now, as he's off to work on another album. But once that's out, I urge you to jump on some tickets as soon as you can,
and in the meantime, give his any of his records a spin. And then let me know what kind of places they make you feel nostalgic for. 

Highlights: Punch in the Heart feat. Gossling, Sew My Name, Love Lies, Beg Your Pardon, Middle of the Hill, Feeding the Wolves, The Summer, The Lighthouse Song. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Self Dating for the Creatively Exhausted

So yesterday I had a full day off from work, and I decided that I needed to take a break from writing as well, to replenish the creative well that of late has been a little overdrawn. So I let myself wake up naturally ie no setting the dreaded alarm, made myself some eggs and a cup of tea, and then headed off into the city to take myself on a much needed date.

First stop was Cinema Nova. I like going to movies on my own, sometimes, and for certain movies that I just want immerse myself in.
I originally wanted to see the Artist, but turns out I missed the last showing by a day (curses), so I picked the movie Trishna, based on what I had learn from At The Movies by Margaret and David (they both liked it very much, which can only be a good sign), and the fact that it's based one of my all time favourite, Tess of the D'Urbervilles.
If you're a regular reader, you will know my love hate relationship with Thomas Hardy, in that I love everything he writes desperately, but hate the fact that it always makes me feel so desperately sad. Actually, that’s not true, otherwise I wouldn't keep going back, book after book, tragedy after tragedy. Sometimes it feels good to just wallow in the sadness for a paragraph or two.
Anyway, having read Tess numerous times, and sat through the entire BBC telemovie (Gemma Areton and Eddie Raymond!! Swoooon!), I knew what I was in for. But Michael Winterbottom's adaption was a fresh take on the story which I thoroughly enjoyed; for one, it's set in India, and two, the characters of Alec and Angel have been combined into one main antagonist. At first I was a little wary of this, because my feelings towards Angel and Alec are so polarised, but by the end I was completely converted to the idea of the dual archetype, as it seems a more realistic portrayal of humanity. Sadly, there was more Alec than Angel in Jay, but this was key in playing out the progression of Hardy's original story.
But Trishna (Frieda Pinto) was gorgeous, of course, and so was the sweeping Indian landscapes and cityscapes, it really made me want to travel there. One day...

After the movie, I needed a little pick me up, so my next stop was Readings bookstore. This place is everything Boarders should have been if it wanted to survive; the selection of books there is unsurpassed, and the atmosphere is so cheerful and comfortable. There were so many things that I wanted to buy, but I exercised enough self control to only come away with one book: Woolgathering by Patti Smith. I am two pages in, and already it has surpassed my most whimsical expectations.

After making my purchase and hopped on the tram out to East Brunswick, to see the She Raw photography exhibition by Lilli Waters. A believer in finding magic in the day to day, Lilli has put together a stunning collection of 41 woman-centric photographs that I could just stare out for hours; each one has its own special quality, and a luminescence that draws you in to all aspects of the picture. I didn't take any photos, because my iPhone camera would not do them any justice, but she's released a few teasers on her she raw tumblr, and will be releasing a book, with half the profits going to White Ribbon, an organisation that fights violence against women. How incredible is this woman? You'll know if you take a look at her photos! The exhibition is at the Blak Dot gallery in East Brunswick until tomorrow, but you can visit to order one of her amazing She Raw photography books.

So it ended up being a day filled with my exposure to some incredibly powerful women who each left their own unique imprint on me. Leaving the exhibition, I was struck by how many wonderful creatures exist in this world, and how many of them are women, and the plethora of creativity that abounds from us. With my almost empty well now filled to the brim with inspiration, I met up with Lovely for some Friday night drinks and ended up having dinner with him, the lovely Holly, and her friend who was also named Hollie, at the Post Deng cafe, before heading off to see Josh Pyke! I'll be writing a gig blog to follow up on this later.

But in the meantime, I highly recommend taking yourself on a date, to do some things that are just for YOU! You will only come away feeling good, I whole heartedly believe it!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Drunk Monkeys: The Cycles

Hullo lovely people! This is just a short blog to let you know that my story 'The Cycles' has been published in Drunk Monkeys! Hooray! This one is about a woman and her unnatural, almost unhealthy attachment to material things, an idea that came about during my own exhausting wardrobe overhaul.

I was instantly drawn to submit to this publication by their charming description on Duotrope.

'1,000 years ago the only way to produce a Bible was for some poor monk to sit hunched over his table and painstakingly transcribe a new copy word by word. The resulting illuminated manuscripts are still among the most beautiful pieces of art ever produced-but sometimes, if you looked in the margins, you'd get a pretty big surprise.

Some of the monks doing the transcribing would get a little punchy after hours of work. When the time came to produce the artwork around the words they would draw filthy, silly doodles. Often these bizarre doodles involved monkeys playing games of chance, dressed in priests' robes, flinging poo, and getting drunk on sacramental wine.

These manuscripts sit at the conjunction of art, religion, literature, and juvenile humor. There's no better symbol of mankind's history of expression than that.

Here at Drunk Monkeys we carry on that tradition. We are open to all forms of expression: critical analysis, opinion pieces, and creative work of any type. We set snark aside in favor of appreciation for where we've been and where we can go together. '

How cool is this? If you would like to check out my story, it's up now in the Short Stories section. And then you can peruse the rest of the website, there's so much great content to check out! Personally, I am enjoying the Mad Men Season 5 recaps, although I'm already two episodes behind! Ack!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Word Wednesday: For Maurice Sendak

I can't remember the first time I read "Where the Wild Things Are", because it is a book that has been a part of my life as far as my memories go back. But I do remember the one copy held by my primary school library, and how on every library day, all I could think about was getting my hands on it before someone else did. Of course this didn't always come off in my favour, although I'm sure I was bratty enough to try every time, but when it did, Library Monday would easily become the best day of that whole week.

I remember knowing all the words by heart. Whenever it was selected to be read out on Playschool, I could recite it verbatim, and I would. I would half pray against, half wish for a Wild Thing to be living under my bed. I wanted to be Max's travelling companion, in my own wild animal pyjama suit, sailing that boat in and out of days. It would make me want to seek out my own adventure (as long as I could come home and still have hot supper waiting for me). I would learn that it was ok to think wild thoughts and to feel wild feelings.

But most importantly, 'Where the Wild Things Are' was the book that began the grand love affair with books that I am still engaged in today, one that I'm certain will continue for the rest of my life.

For all of this, I must thank the incredible Maurice Sendak. He will be sorely missed but always remembered by all the inner children of the world, including my own, who were affected by his rare, unique imagination.

“But the wild things cried, “Oh please don’t go - we’ll eat you up - we love you so!”
And Max said, “No!”
The wild things roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws but Max stepped into his private boat and waved goodbye.”

Goodbye, beloved storyteller.
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