2 December, 2012

Oscar

And suddenly, it’s that festive Yule-tide-y time of year again.

This is ace:

Oscar Wilde graphic(From here)

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6 November, 2012

School’s Out

Lots of sleep and general idleness.  Family and friends, old and new.  A spring wedding.  Quiet introspection and contemplation.  Watching, waiting, just being.  Savouring unscheduled, unstructured no-study freedom!  Good coffee.  Summer lightning.  Splashing through puddles.  Liberal lashings of Frédéric François, Mark Linkous and a touch of Paul and Art.  Hamstrung by my camera’s departure to that big electronic junk heap in the sky.  Paul Auster’s Leviathan and The New York Trilogy and Henry Miller’s Big Sur and the Oranges of Heironymous Bosch – all roads lead to Thoreau.  Thinking about lightness v heaviness and Milan Kundera.  Sloe gin cocktails.  Looking forward to the next Paul Thomas Anderson film.  Perservering with the guitar.

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2 September, 2012

Sprung

La primavera has been teasing us in this part of the world during the last few weeks – a twenty degree day here, a thirteen degree day the next; will she?  won’t she?  But now with September here, there is no denying that the unmistakeable ‘giddy-up’ of spring is in the air.

I even snuck in a bit of study al fresco today.

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12 August, 2012

Lovely day for a run

Like the rest of the planet, I’ve been enjoying the Olympics.  Particularly the Machiavellian strategising of  the middle and long distance runners.  Apparently man’s ability to outrun every other species on the planet is how we rose to the top of the food chain (so said one of the Australian commentators on the men’s marathon).  Hmm.

In any case, here’s some music from tweedy Scots Belle & Sebastian, to enjoy the marathon (and London’s landmarks as they dash by):

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21 July, 2012

Happy Birthday, Mr Thoreau!

Most of the luxuries, and many of the so called comforts of life, are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind.  With respect to luxuries and comforts, the wisest have ever lived a more simple and meagre life than the poor.

~Henry David Thoreau, Walden

One of the many pearls of wisdom (and I note the inherent contradiction with the subject of many of my posts) from my favourite semi curmudgeon / hermit who also celebrated a birthday recently.

21 July, 2012

Vegetables

Perhaps I would have been more likely to eat my veggies if they looked like this when I was young.

Or not.

If the vegetables had looked this beautiful, they would probably have ended up undigested and hanging on my wall.

(images from Taschen’s new release Album Vilmorin. The Vegetable Garden)

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15 July, 2012

Happy Birthday, Gustav!

Picture 2

Gustav Klimt, The Bride, 1917-1918.

(image from here)

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4 July, 2012

Sloughing Off Old Skin

It’s been awhile in between posts. There has been a move back home to Melbourne (huzzah!) and a new job to get used to in the last month. And most excitingly, I have new studies commencing in a couple of weeks. So, even despite the depths of winter, there has been a metaphorical sloughing off of skin – the hard, unpleasant, greyish, gnarly bits.  Already I’m feeling practically new, freshly scrubbed and gleaming.

And then I saw Preen Resort’s 2013 collection; their deliciously modern florals and prints are definitely my ‘new skin’ of choice.

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(photos from here)

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12 May, 2012

Adam Yauch aka Nathanial Hörnblowér, RIP

Bear with me.  I’m not in the habit of posting long entries nor of extolling the virtues of a celebrity who has died and whom I’ve never met.  But over the last week, I have been sorely puzzled as to why news of the death of Adam “MCA” Yauch of the Beastie Boys has so keenly affected me.

I am not a fan of hip-hop or rap but nevertheless, have all but the latest of their albums.  This is thanks to a couple of ex-boyfriends who were also not hip-hop/rap fans but nevertheless thought Beastie Boys were the bees’ knees of all kinds of awesome.

[In fact, having recently watched (as opposed to noting in the background) a bunch of their music videos, I’ve gained sudden insight into the aesthetics driving one boyfriend’s penchant during the 1990s for close cropped hair, backwards baseball cap, untucked, pressed, button down shirts and goatee.]

Back then, I didn’t really understand the obsession.  Intergalactic and Sabotage were great songs and their music videos sang to my generation, reared on a TV diet of Japanese anime and 1970s and early 1980s cop shows.  But as an overly-serious adolescent, I had dismissed the Beastie Boys and their screeching, sneering raps about rhymin’ abilities, hard partying, porno mag confiscation and ‘ladies’ as gauche.  [My probably expressed this then as ‘boys – eww!’] And hadn’t revisited this opinion since.  Interestingly, my adolescent self did not see the inherent contradiction of listening day-in and day-out to R’n’B.

But since news of MCA’s passing, I’ve had Beastie Boys on continuous rotation; rediscovering and reappreciating the tunes I knew and being blown away by the rest of their oeuvre.

Because, like all great bands (whatever the genre), the Beastie Boys evolved and took the music scene with them.  From their beginnings as enfants terribles, to sampling experts and funk beat purveyors, to their return to punk roots on the guitar and drums, through to their later incarnations as rap’s elder statesmen – pleading for unity and tolerance in the wake of September 2011 (2004’s To The 5 Boroughs), organising and playing Free Tibet concerts and apologising to the ladies for any prior lyrical disrespect (MCA in Sure Shot).  They began their careers rapping about their rights to party and never lost that, but expanded to cover more political and introspective, Buddhist-influenced beliefs.

As their success and fame grew, their musical and personal integrity became clear.  Their early lyrics may have been crude and their shows puerile (gigantic phalluses and scantily dressed women in cages, anyone?) but the Beastie Boys were never bullies.  Rather, they were the jesters – keen to entertain but also speak truth, often by taking the mirror to the emperors of our consumerist culture (and their new clothes).

This bent for hijinks and tomfoolery was plain from their music videos.  Just plain fun to watch, the videos veritably heave with irreverent takes on popular culture (see, for example, No Sleep Till Brooklyn which satirises the glam metal movement in 1986).

So I suspect the reason that MCA’s death has affected me so keenly is simple: I’ve grown up alongside the Beastie Boys and their music.  Adam was a Beastie Boy, but he was one of us.  And we are forever young, and forever invincible, right?  His passing has been a gentle reminder that this is illusory and even the emblems of our youth are mortal.

I read a great quip amongst the last week’s flurry of stories and chatter.  Someone had mentioned MCA’s death to his father and expressed sadness at the news.  The father’s response: ‘He’s a Buddhist – he won’t even have enough time to brush his teeth before he’s back.’

Lovely.

RIP, Nathanial Hörnblowér – it’s been a pleasure.  Thanks for the tunes, your music videos, the awesome costumes and the mustaches.

Here are a bunch of B-Boys vids.
















6 May, 2012

Strawberry Update

For a summer fruit, they’re doing very nicely – despite the crisp autumnal Canberra chill.

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