Archive for August, 2009

31 August, 2009

Sunday Lunch

You sure can’t beat antipasti and a good solid round of sourdough, encrusted with olives for a light, satisfying lunch.

Below, a toasted green olive sourdough slice, topped with marinated grilled eggplant, marinated artichoke hearts. For a spicy fusion twist, I substituted the usual tapenade or tomato paste spread for crushed garlic and chilli oil beneath the eggplant and artichoke layers.

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30 August, 2009


One of my current projects involves Melbourne buildings and how they relate to design.  And so off I went, shod in my trusty military boots, armed with my camera (the Powershot SD800 JS, a simple point-and-shoot) and a tonne of layers in my backpack to deal with any inclement weather which this city delights in unexpectedly putting on.  But Melbourne laid on a beautiful balmy late winter’s afternoon.  And it was an absolute joy to flâneur about this town with newly opened eyes.

“I’d never looked up before,” Madelaine, my fellow flâneur stated, “until I came back from London.”

Architecturally, Melbourne may not have the historic weight of those old European cities – the stately grandeur of London, the gezellig avant-garde of Amsterdam, the flamboyant modernisme of Barcelona, the breath-taking beauty of Paris, the faded glory of St Petersburg, the art deco brilliance of Budapest and so on.  But the city has plenty of charm, and a quirky architectural aesthetic of its own.  It is a city which I once knew like the back of my hand.  Certain nooks still glow with familiarity, warmth and affection.  Other crannies brim with nostalgia and a thousand ghosts.  But the rest lies at the moment on the far side of a thick, translucent glass pane, to be eventually chipped away as I slowly rediscover the city.

A few of the buildings and spaces I became (re)acquainted with below.

26 August, 2009

Mind the Evil Squirrel

It’s not often that a music video comes along these days which makes you shout, ‘jumping jehosaphat, how’d they do that?!’  London animation outfit Shynola have made such a video with the cinema-release-only music video for Coldplay’s ‘Strawberry Swing’.  Shynola animated meticulously hand-drawn chalk drawings on the floor around the real life Chris Martin, as he quests to save a (chalk) damsel from the attentions of a villainous squirrel.

Richard Kentworthy of Shynola said in a recent interview, “we are not particularly interested in making or watching slick animation. We are attracted to the more unusual uses of it, and the inherent charm that something hand-crafted has.”

The whimsical, dream-like animation certainly possesses the traditional, pastoral, slightly dark charm of classic nursery rhymes or  children’s stories, in keeping with the wistful, joyous tone of ‘Strawberry Swing’.

Here’s the vid:

And a few of my favourite stills, taken from the HD version of the video at babelgum.

Chris Martin wakes up…

Picture 1

“What’s that?! A Beautiful (Chalk) Damsel is in distress?”

Picture 3

Super Chris meets his arch nemesis, Evil Squirrel.

Picture 8

Flying over LA.

Chris Martin doing a headstand

Super Chris and the Evil Squirrel do battle.

Picture 15

Vive la Revolution!

Picture 34

Picture 52

Picture 57

Picture 62

True love’s kiss.

Picture 66

The Shynola team and Chris wrap up.

Picture 69

25 August, 2009


Ephemeral summer is about to flit by in the Northern Hemisphere and it’s all about Autumn/Winter 2009.  But winter – the wild and woolly, stormy, windy part of it – is clinging on tenaciously in the Southern Hemisphere.  Which means the AW09 Toast clothing catalogue makes the ten thousand kilometre transition nicely.  The catalogue always features gorgeous, lush photography evoking the company’s vision of luxurious, English living – bluestockings, Bloomsbury, Oxbridge, the Jazz Age and wild, isolated country life in sparse, weathered rooms of rambling, dilapidated mansions.  This season, there are nods to the Roma and Fairisle and the Far East.  And not a bodycon dress or high-heeled platform shoe in sight.  Just beautiful, comfortable clothing which slightly bookish (moody!) women leading busy lives can throw on and look lovely in.

(Images below taken from Toast)









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24 August, 2009



Malaysian Chicken Curry which I cooked up

Miffy & Ikea Cushion Cover

Chris & ickle Jackson

22 August, 2009

Mrs Woolf

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.

~Virginia Woolf, A Room Of One’s Own (1929)

Mrs Woolf’s truism called to mind my tastebud tingling farewell London dinner.  It took place at St John Bread & Wine Spitalfields, a London restaurant specialising in back-to-basics, no-squeamishness allowed British dining.  A bottle of Moët, good friends and a fabulously no holds barred menu (ox tongue and rabbit offal, anyone?).  It’s enough to make a girl salivate…

St John Bread & Wine

St John Bread & Wine

St John Bread & Wine

20 August, 2009

Old Skool

One of the great things about coming back to Melbourne is the incredible amount of stuff out there; plenty of Australian and, in particular, Melbourne designers, painters, artists, artisans, craftspeople bringing their incredibly stylish, creative imaginings into being.

This bag below caught my eye.  It’s from the Spring/Summer 09 range of Melbourne outfit, Nancybird.  Teal – check.  Old-style vintage print – check.  Retro bicycle – check. Vintage-looking camisole – check. Fresh-faced model with a high swinging ponytail – check. Summery vibes galore – check.


Perhaps it’s not just the bag but the whole image which I find so appealing.

Image from

Image from

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17 August, 2009

These Days

My CD collection (yes, that quaint ridiculously chunky media) seems to have dated quite badly.  The only CDs I’ve wanted to listen to are Radiohead’s OK Computer and The Bends, Teenage Fanclub’s Bandwagonesque (unexpectedly classic), the Reality Bites soundtrack and the Royal Tenenbaums soundtrack.

Nico’s rendition of ‘These Days’ (lyrics by Jackson Browne) particularly resonates with my current reflective state.

And is there a more poignant cinematic moment than when Gwyneth Paltrow’s Margot emerges from the bus, looking slightly gawky in a full length fur coat, into the view of Luke Wilson’s Richie who is waiting for her?  All falls silent.  Margot’s blonde bob, pinned back, stirs in the wind.  Then, the gorgeous guitar opening of ‘These Days’ opens and Nico sings.  And Margot begins to walk towards Richie, slowly and bathed in a golden light, because time has slowed for Richie, as the woman he loves nears him.

Margot Tenenbaum

I’ve been out walking
I don’t do too much talking
These days, these days.
These days I seem to think a lot
About the things that I forgot to do
And all the times I had the chance to.

I’ve stopped my rambling,
I don’t do too much gambling
These days, these days.
These days I seem to think about
How all the changes came about my ways
And I wonder if I’ll see another highway.

I had a lover,
I don’t think I’ll risk another
These days, these days.
And if I seem to be afraid
To live the life that I have made in song
It’s just that I’ve been losing so long.
La la la la la, la la.

I’ve stopped my dreaming,
I won’t do too much scheming
These days, these days.
These days I sit on corner stones
And count the time in quarter tones to ten.
Please don’t confront me with my failures,
I had not forgotten them.

17 August, 2009


I was heading down the M1 towards the city the other day.  The weather had been tempestuous – the kind Melbourne is famed for; one minute pouring rain; the next, bright sunshine and holding it all together, a high, whipping wind.  The road was still wet but it was no longer raining as my car crested a hill late that afternoon.  And there in the distance, like the fabled city of Oz (excuse the pun), glistened Melbourne; its buildings reared out of the green grey mass of suburbia, backlit in orange and gold by the magnificent setting sun which had broken free of the dark clouds above.

It had not been long since I’d gotten back.  And I had been feeling quite disconnected from friends and family and their lives which have gurgled merrily along, gathering up partners, houses, children and more during the last seven years.  But in that moment, when I espied Melbourne’s gleaming spires, I thought, ‘yes!  I’m home!’ and was grateful and relieved to be in a place where I could feel such a sentiment.

Last week, my lecturer was waxing lyrical about a sunset she had recently seen, but added ‘but no one is ever interested in anyone else’s sunsets’.  She’s probably right.  But as long as we each have our own sunsets to dazzle and beguile ourselves with.

I didn’t take a photo that day because I was driving, but here’s one I took of a sunset at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon last year.  (Thanks, Poladroid!)


17 August, 2009

Back to Black (or White)

No, not the Amy Winehouse album.  Rather ‘black’ (or ‘white’, depending on your world view) as in the basics, the beginning.  Before things became grey, and life got overly complicated.  Because it isn’t, really.  At the core is family, friends, health and doing something you enjoy, you love or even better, something that is all those things and is meaningful.  But to get to this, I’ve had to do a bit of unravelling.  And to this end, I’ve left the life I’ve built up over on the other side of the world for the better part of the last decade and travelled back ten thousand miles to the city I grew up in.  And am taking some time out to rethink the Box.

It’s been a little hairy at times, but yes, it’s good to be back.