Archive for August, 2010

29 August, 2010


Today in the sunshine, one housemate fell asleep reading a book on his balcony; the other went running and I wandered around in sunglasses and a light cardigan.  Winter might still have in icy claws in during our zero degree nights, but spring is definitely around the corner.  Little pink and white blossoms are beginning to show their pretty heads all over town.

And a hearty huzzah to that!

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28 August, 2010


Canberra might be a world away from London, but it has Australia’s National Film and Sound Archives and any number of embassies, consulates etc. keen to showcase their culture. The NFSA are currently running, in conjunction with the Alliance Française, an Alain Delon retrospective of sorts, and I’m taking full advantage of it.

Il n’ya pas de plus profonde solitude que celle du samourai si ce n’est celle d’un tigre dans la jungle… peut être
– Le Bushido

(There is no greater solitude than the one of a samurai, except perhaps that of a tiger in a jungle – Bushido: The Way of the Warrior)

Le Samouraï by Jean-Pierre Melville opens with the above quote, made up by the director himself.  Apt because the eponymous character, played by the felinely handsome Alain Delon (they shure don’t make ’em like that anymore!) is profoundly alone. Only a bird keeps him company as he goes about the business of hired assassin. His alibi (played by Delon’s real-life wife Nathalie Delon) is in love with him, a nightclub pianist (below) bewitches him, the police are out to get him. But even in the midst of all this action, in the midst of a bustling metropolis like Paris, he is, at the core of it, truly and wholly alone. As we all are, in truth. But in le Samouraï‘s case, his work (and hyper-cool) make it impossible to make any sort of connection.

It’s a stunning film and Jean-Pierre Melville’s mastery of stillness broken by the startling bursts of action, and silence, interrupted only by a few carefully chosen words, is absolute. And the film looks fabulous too. The characters are extremely stylish, as only actors in a Nouvelle Vague film can be. And the action (or lack thereof) takes place against a backdrop of dark modish interiors and the grey blue buildings of 1960s Paris.

Le Samouraï‘s apartment. The distressed, eggshell blue walls, the birdcage, the shabby chicness of it all – the look is still going strong fifty years later.

Moroccan-born actor Cathy Rosier is the nightclub pianist with fabulous outfits. My favourites: the shimmering silver dress and a golden threaded jacket and the perfectly cut leopard-print fur coat. All simple. All chic.

*pronounced in the most Gallic of Gallic accents.

(Images are taken from the film)

22 August, 2010

Project: Chair

On a budget and with a specific look in mind for my furniture (shabby chic, provençal/scandinavian beach hut), I’ve been haunting antique/junk/vintage warehouses, and spending not a little amount of time in hardware stores, getting to know products, techniques and picking up tips from staff.

After much research, I decided on a whitewash which needed to be ordered from Sydney. One weekday morning, I turned up before work, suited, to a factory office in Canberra’s industrial district, to pick up the paint. The rather large bloke manning the office looked surprised by my attire but did not blink an eye when taking payment. As I struggled manfully to get the 10 litre tub the fifty metres to my car, I imagine he looked quite amused.

An unfortunate collision between one of my fingers and a serrated knife meant I won’t be able to tackle my bedframe for a few weeks, I’m estimating. But I experimented with a chair I picked up recently for a song at an antique store.

I’m quite pleased with the results.



21 August, 2010

Song of the Week #34

Saturday Sun by Nick Drake.

Lovely, lackadaisical, laidback music to dream the weekend away.

14 August, 2010

Small Touches

Moving into a new place has its benefits and its downsides.

Not having a bed is a prime example of the latter. Not one to rush into such a purchase and hamstrung by Ikea’s absence in this part of the world, it took me a little bit of time to shop around, choose and order one. It has finally arrived, but it is undergoing a Project (more later) which will leave me on the mattress on the floor for goodly few weeks yet.

But it offers an opportunity for a fresh start decoration-wise.  And it doesn’t take much to turn a formerly anonymous space, into your own. Even if you are sleeping on a mattress on the floor.

I found the Letters of D.H. Lawrence and the old silk thread wooden spools in a vintage store in Canberra.  The spools are sitting on my makeshift dresser just because I find them pretty. The photo frames were a bargain at one of the bigger department stores in town.  All images and other books have been collected over the years.

A makeshift bedside table of books.

And another  makeshift bedside table ie. the floor.

14 August, 2010

Song of the Week #33

Paris Is Burning by St. Vincent

I have such a grrl crush on Annie Clark.

Fabulous gamine, art-school style, gorgeous dark ringlets, killer songs, and by gum, she plays the guitar well.

Here she is in a trenchcoat, busking stylishly in Paris.

7 August, 2010

Saturday a.m.

Calm. Quiet.

The coffee maker (from Sorrento, Italy) burbling merrily on the stove.

The occasional call of the bellbird.

An intermittent passing car.

The smell of mushrooms, topped with blue cheese and butter, under the grill.

Baked beans heating on the stove.

And the scent of fresh lilies.

6 August, 2010

How to be Alone

How To Be Alone by poet/singer/songwriter Tanya Davis.

Wonderful stuff.

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5 August, 2010

Song(s) of the Week #31

Thirty Year Low and the bonus disc of outtakes, live performances etc. The Final Words of the Legendary Malcontent by the Mendoza Line.

A great driving album with songs about deception, broken hearts, ageing and acrimonious breakups from one of my all-time favourite bands.

Thirty Year Low etc. also features the oft-overlooked instrument, the cowbell, a crackin’ version of Cole Porter’s Anything Goes, a heart-wrenching rendition of Bruce Springsteen’s Tougher Than The Rest and a fabulous lyric, given my current location, in their track A Likely Nominee.

And I wish I could tell you dear
How much I dream of this election year
But you no longer want to hear
My thoughts on policy.

4 August, 2010


It’s out with the girl and in with the woman for the APC autumn 2011 collection. It’s all red lipstick, heels and a distinct Catherine Deneuve Belle du Jour vibe.


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