Thursday, August 30, 2012


Excuse me while I geek out for a second, but how cool are these? I wish I could say that these Pokemon were part of the original prints, but sadly no. Pokemon and Fashion is a fabulous tumblr that combines some of the worlds most famous high fashion editorials with Pokemon stills! There are so many great ones, I had to cut down my favorites to what you see below: I especially love the one with the Jigglypuff!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Word Wednesday: Melbourne Writers Festival 2012

So the Melbourne Writer's festival is currently taking place in various locations throughout the city, and although I have neither the adequate time nor funds to attend all the events that I wanted to, I did manage to get along to see 'Friendly Fire', a writer's panel featuring one of my favourite writers/people Marieke Hardy, alongside Benjamin Law and Sloane Crosley, who are also quite excellent.

Disclaimer: I do talk a lot more about Marieke than the other two in this post as I am yet to be as familiar their work as I am with hers. 

The panel began with each writer reading a passage from their book; Marieke from You’ll Be Sorry When I’m Dead, Benjamin from The Family Law, and Sloane from How Did You Get This Number? 

It was so great to hear all of them read passages from their books, especially Marieke’s because I had already read her book, and the story she chose to read from is hilarious in places but also very emotional. Hearing her own voice reading those words created an impact even more affecting than the story was when I had read it, and gave a bit more of an insight into what the audience should take away from the piece. I had never heard of Sloane Crosley before, but after hearing her read an excerpt from one of her essays, Take a Stab at It, I wanted to go out and buy her book immediately. And I could have, but I’m still on Europe budget and will have to wait until I get paid next week *sigh*.

The panel itself was full of jokes, laughter, gentle digs and great insight into the world of writing from personal experiences.  Although I am predominately a writer of fiction, I will always have my own feelings and fragments of my own personal experiences working their way into my stories, and so I was curious to hear Marieke and Benjamin’s (and Sloane’s, now that I know what a great writer she is) insights into dealing with some of the issues that come up for a writer who predominantly writers about his or her own experiences.
Issues like how writing memoir can affect your personal relationships with the people in your life, how you choose what to leave in and what to leave out, which parts to embellish and which parts to underplay in order to make it a readable narrative, and the dangers of exposing too much of your personal self. 

What struck me while listening to all of them talk is how they write with such an emotional honesty; their writing is entertaining, yes, and it has been tailored to an extent in order to entertain us, but the parts that stick with me in Marieke ‘s book are the parts in which she reveals some truths about herself, truths that in some cases would have been difficult for her to face, and then put down on paper. And then put out into the world, for anyone who happens to be meandering through Readings or Dymocks (or in my case Lorne’s local bookshop)! It is a very brave thing to do, and is something that I very much struggle with; I still have a hard time letting people read my stories, and the short answer to why that is is because I am afraid. Afraid of how much they might find out about me by reading them. 

Each writer gave some excellent advice and examples on how to deal with these types of issues: having faith your the readers to understand that this is your take on things, not the definitive factual account of what happened. How some curating of what you choose to say about the events is important if you want to tell a good story. . How important it is to stay true to your writing, and not letting a desire to please everyone encumber it.
A great way that Marieke deals with this is to publish the responses of some of the people she’s included in her essays alongside the essay itself. She was asked about this in the panel, to which she responded that she wanted the people who read her book to understand that these people in her life are real people, with real opinions of what happened. 

She also talked about the illusion of intimacy (she did talk a lot about David Sedaris, who I also don’t know but am also going to pick up at the bookstore/library/on my kindle), and how a good memoir makes you feel like you know everything about someone without actually knowing them at all. That exposing weaknesses and insecurities alongside the jokes makes for a richer story that is more interesting, and more likely to affect a person and stay with them for the long term. 

But I think the most important thing that I took away from her, and from the whole panel, was another story that she told about her friend Gen who is still suffering from breast cancer, and who features in the story that she read from in the beginning. She was saying how when she went to visit her recently, there was a nurse in Gen’s hospital room, a highly insensitive nurse who was making inane chit chat about his father’s funeral in an oncology ward. Spoke about wanting to smash his head against the wall, and that amidst that amidst the rage she was feeling at his insensitive stupidity, she came to realise that all she could think about was writing about the whole experience. And that her motivation wasn’t because she thought it would make for a good story to tell, but that she didn’t know what to do with all the sadness, the confusion and the anger she was feeling about the fact that a dear friend of hers was so very sick. The only way she knew how to deal with this onslaught if powerful difficult emotions is to write about it.
At this point of the story I wanted to just leap to my feet and scream out “Yes yes that’s exactly how I feel!”, but of course I restrained myself because I didn’t want her think that I was a fuckhead as well. I was almost overwhelmed with joy and understanding because this is pretty much exactly what I do, whenever I’m in uncomfortable situation, whenever I’m sad, angry, confused, frustrated, distraught to the point of hysteria, all I want to do is write about it, to use it in a way that creates something, something that exists outside of me, in the hope that it will either stop effecting me in such a strong way, or that it will help me come to understand it. 

All in all it was a wonderfully inspiring afternoon, and it made me feel more like I could actually do ‘this writing thing’ than I ever had before. I wish I had known that they would be doing signings afterwards, I would have bought my slightly waterstained copy of “You’ll Be Sorry When I’m Dead,” along with me. But I did nearly cut Marieke off whilst walking out of the festival bookshop, and even that was enough for me to get all fan girly. If only I had her talents, I could have turned our almost encounter into a witty anecdote of endearing awkwardness. Oh well.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Music Monday: Hiatus Kaiyote

Welcome to another Music Monday!
I'm going to throw in a bit of curve ball into this week, and post a song that is quite different to what I usually would post, or listen to for that matter.

This is song is by Hiatus Kaiyote, who I did not even know existed until today. This is another one of those songs that pulled me out of the Spotify listening haze that I seem to fall into quite regularly. I realised while listening to this song that I don't dislike soul music, I just haven't been exposed to a whole heap of it that has stuck with me. This sticks.

The description of this youtube clip describes this song as 'Future Soul', which I rather like, and it also says that they are from Melbourne! Hooray for local talent!

I would love to know what you think, this is a song that seems to be growing on me even more every time I listen to it.
And I also have to feature the cover art for their album, Tawk Tomahawk because, well, it's awesome!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Kate Miller Heidke: Corner Hotel

If Kate Miller Heidke and I, defying all logic of distance and age and time, had ever gone to high school together she would be the girl that I would be constantly be trying to impress. Even as I sit here, listening to her songs and reading her twitter feed (I'm not a stalker, I swear), I can't help but be struck by how COOL she is. Urgh, it almost makes my heart hurt a little, knowing that in my fictitious school scenario she and I would probably never be friends.

As I right these silly little things, I do not mean for a second that she comes off as pretentious or superior (although if you heckle her on stage be prepared to get severely cut down). Her songs are always honest and heartfelt, and whether it be in her lyrics, her social media presence or even on stage, it is blatantly obvious that she does not try and be anything other than who she is. She isn't ashamed of her weirdness, and that is what I admire most about her. The way she blends pop with opera, her style, the songs she chooses to cover (I'll get to that later, because oh my goodness), I've yet to come across anyone who can just go and carve out their own space in this oversaturated follow-the-formula music world. Except for Tori, but I fear that those days have long since passed. 

This was a highly anticipated gig for Lovely and I, not only because I had seen Kate perform once before, but because she was also being supported by none other than the Beards. 
If you have yet to be confused and amazed by the Beards, let me enlighten you a little. 

And here's another. I like this one because there's also a Schnauzer.

If you haven't caught on yet, these guys really love their beards. They love beards so much that they named their band after them. They love beards so much they've written all their songs about beards. Three full albums of songs. About beards.
Apart from being batshit crazy on stage, these guys are also make legitimately good music. Even though every song they've ever written features the recurring theme of beards, no two songs feel the same, nor did their set feel laboured or tired. The key, I think, is that they are all deadly serious in the execution of their comedy, thus making it hard to tell if they are brilliant comedic musicians, or four guys who have an almost unhealthy obsession with facial hair. And that's what makes them so hilarious; if you don't believe me, have a listen to some of the songs I've added to the playlist at the end of this post. I dare you not to enjoy it. 

But back to Kate. I've loved Kate Miller Heidke ever since her song 'Space They Cannot Touch' started doing the rounds on triple J; I can't remember how long ago that was, but I'm pretty sure I was still in highschool. Yeesh. Having said that, this is not me trying to prove how hardcore of a fan I am (I did enough of the 'I knew these guys before they were big' bullshit when I was in high school), but rather to illustrate what seeing her play again meant to me. It's been a long love affair, and a testament to the power of her music in that it has stayed with me throughout the most identity-defining years of my life, whilst many, many bands that I thought I would love forever have fallen by the wayside (Nightwish, anyone?). Through all the moving rooms, the moving out and moving back home, the wardrobe clear outs, op shop donation bins and iTunes purging, that Little Eve Tour poster that she signed for me back in 2007 still hangs on my wardrobe door.  

As a performer, Kate is witty as hell, enchanting to watch, and just goddamn beautiful; she doesn't hold back. She's not afraid to tell strangers her personal stories, both between songs and in them; some are hilarious, some embarrasing, some of them painful and terrifying. You might remember me posting her song, Sarah, a couple of months ago as part of a Music Monday? All true. She bares her soul in her songs and on stage, but she does it with such grace and humility that you cannot help but respect her. And I love how she lets her older songs breathe and evolve on stage; Caught in the Crowd now has whistling, the piano riff in Words was replaced by some killer guitar, and God's Gift to Women features a rather sultry intro.

She's not afraid to have fun either; case and point, the covers. I'd heard many of Kate's recorded covers; her beautiful rendition of River by Joni Mitchell, a stirring version of 'Your the Voice', and the bizarrely wonder opera cover of 'Psycho Killer.' Yet none of these would prepare me for a motherfucking Eminem/Kanye West mash up of The Real Slim Shady with Monster. If you can find it youtube (I haven't been able to yet), watch it!!! I am not the biggest Eminem fan, and even less of a Kanye one, but I LOVED THIS! The whole band reworks it incredibly and her rapping is flawless. Urgh. I have to stop drooling everywhere this is embarrassing. She also did a really hot lounge version of the Beards "You should consider having Sex with a Bearded Man', complete with creepy saxophone cameo from the Beard's front man.

All in all, it was a fabulous show, capped off perfectly by 'Space They Cannot Touch', my first and still favourite song of hers. If you can, you must go and see her!

Highlights: Space They Cannot Touch, Mama, Humiliation, The Devil Wears a Suit, Sarah, Politics in Space, The Real Slim Shady, Monster, Let Me Fade, You Should Consider Having Sex with a Bearded Man

Ok. I really have to go clean myself up now. Enjoy the songs!

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