Posts tagged ‘moment’

20 November, 2011


A new film from Studio Ghibli – preferably one in which director Hayao Miyazaki has a hand in (he did not direct Arietty but wrote the screenplay) – is always an event of significance for me.

Thanks to the Embassy of Japan and the Arc Cinema, the inhabitants of the Bush Capital were able to catch Arietty  at the 2011 Japanese Film Festival, ahead of it 2012 commercial Australian release.

On a rainy Sunday afternoon, I popped along to the sold out screening, gleeful at the prospect of losing myself in another of Miyazaki’s lovely, whimsical tales.

Based loosely on Mary Norton’s The Borrowers, Arietty is the story of a family of ‘little people’ who get by in this world by keeping out of the sight of ‘human beans’ and ‘borrowing’ things misplaced or lost by humans.

The eponymous heroine is a fourteen year old ‘borrower’ who lives with her parents in the foundations of a large, rambling Edwardian house.  Things come unstuck when Sho, a sickly boy who comes to stay in the house, sees her and, in a great movie tradition, an unlikely friendship begins.

I adore Miyazaki’s films for his plucky, pacifist heroines (and heroes).  I love his subtle portrayal of the grander emotions such as duty, honour, guilt, sadness, love and the more pedestrian ones such as boredom and frustration. Miyazaki favours characters which are grey, rather black or white, and is particularly adept in showing their spiritual and emotional development .  Though his characters may negotiate war, natural disasters and people out to do them (and their friends and families) harm, they are not merely people of action. Miyazaki seems to delight in showing moments where the characters take time out to simply enjoy a quiet moment, or to reflect on things.

Arietty ticks all these boxes. If I do have a complaint, it is that this movie touches on grander themes such as environmental destruction and extinction of species, but doesn’t explore these issues any further. The film also feels like the first of a series, rather than a complete, self-contained story. As such, Arietty doesn’t have the grand sweeping scale of Nausicaa and the Valley of the Wind or Princess Mononoke but it’s always a pleasure to disappear for an afternoon into one of Miyazaki’s worlds.

Oh, and the hand-drawn backgrounds are always beautiful.

(French movie poster taken from here)

(Stills taken from the official UK trailer from here)

23 July, 2011

A Space of One’s Own

It’s just over a year since I came to the Bush Capital.

A year when I’ve been finding… finding my feet, finding my voice and many other things I didn’t realise I’d lost or needed.

I’ve also found a space of my own. A couple of weeks ago, I moved into an apartment on my own. It is the apartment of a now ex-colleague who has headed off on a worldwide adventure of her own, but still nevertheless, my own space.

Whether by design or chance, she left this little book on her bookshelf. My ex-colleague (now landlord) is a jujitsu practitioner/buff.

It’s lovely way to tie this space to her.

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11 July, 2011


Lovely Granada! City of delights! Who ever bore the favors of thy dames more proudly on their casques, or championed them more gallantly in the chivalrous tilts of the Vivarambla? Or who ever made thy moon-lit balconies, thy gardens of myrtles and roses, of oranges, citrons, and pomegranates, respond to more tender serenades?

-Washington Irving, Recollections of the Alhambra

On a chilly, alpine grey day in the Southern Hemisphere, this terracotta urn and these three floating roses, put me in mind of that beautiful, faraway castle on a hill.

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14 March, 2011

Cardigans and sweaters

A sombre weekend in light of the horrible events unfolding in Japan and the continuing tragedy in Libya.

I headed down to Melbourne to catch my beloved Belle and Sebastian. Stuart Murdoch et al provided a night of toe-tapping, cardigan-ed, sweater-ey fun. Well, sans cardigans and sweaters, actually, because it was a stinkin’ hot Melbourne night.

I’ve been listening a lot to Scottish band Frightened Rabbit of late. Their creed: Keeping pop music alive by getting it out of that dress and into a sweater. Admirable sentiments indeed from a band who no doubt own a wardrobe full of comfy knitwear.

So give me soft, soft static
We won’t need no electricity
If we both get old fashioned
We won’t have to rely on our memories

And for the rest of the weekend, hung about the inner city, enjoying the surprisingly warm and well-missed summer weather. And wondering how daily life can carry on in this little corner of the world even as other parts of the globe face disaster.

Thoughts and prayers to the people of Japan.

9 March, 2011

Perfect summer

Just back from a lovely weekend spent in Bondi, Sydney with a couple of old friends. When I sat down to download my photos from the weekend, it came with some surprise to find that I hadn’t taken many photos at all. There is always some tension between enjoying a moment and capturing it. And I suppose that this weekend, I suppressed my inner shutterbug in favour of living in the present.

As for the weekend itself? Perfect, perfect summer.

5 December, 2010


I’ve been feeling despondent of late.

Canberra is, for all intents and purposes, a small, provincial town of 340,000 people.  Much as I’m enjoying work, being fitter than I’ve ever been, the lack of traffic and good, clean, fresh air, family and old friends are a long ways away, and much of what I loved about growing up in Melbourne and living in London can’t be found here.

My mood has coincided with some stormy weather in this part of the world.  During the last week, steady, heavy rain and occasional hail was punctuated by bolts of lightning, rolling bursts of thunder, a temperature drop and only occasional bursts of sunshine.  I was feeling blue and all I could see were grey skies and stormy weather ahead.

And then yesterday, after a day of ominous clouds and hot, humid temperatures, all went dark, stopped and fell silent – a moment of quiet – before, with a roar, the heavens burst open, unleashing sheets and sheets of torrential rain.  The gutters filled, water spewed from storm drains and the roads flooded. Not an unusual happening in tropical parts of the world, but definitely atypical for Australia’s capital.

‘I’ve never seen it rain like this in Canberra before,’ said a friend (a fellow refugee from Melbourne who has lived in Canberra for six years).  We watched cars, their headlights yellow in the purple evening, proceed gingerly through the free-flowing streams snaking across a broad Canberran avenue from his balcony. Earlier, only a quick gutter unblocking had saved his balcony from turning into a swimming pool and then a waterfall onto his neighbour’s balcony below.

And then, as the stormy turbulence ceased and the pounding rain turned into an insistent drizzle, this:

And I was reminded that all storms eventually cease and wondrous things may emerge.

2 November, 2010

A Good Egg

Isn’t it lovely when you catch up with someone you haven’t seen in years and it doesn’t seem like any time has passed at all? You just pick up where you left off, even if it is four long years ago, and find – unexpectedly – that the things you’ve been thinking about, reflecting on and enjoying, well, this kindred spirit is right there with you.

A sand, sun and surf-filled afternoon on Balmoral Beach and Kirribilli – probably the Sydney most people think about when you mention the city.

Looking for whales (unsuccessful).

Waxing lyrical about kings and cabbages, music (the National), television (Mad Men, 30 Rock), books (D.H. Lawrence, Ian McEwan), politics, hipsters, vampires, Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and London, life, love and everything in between.

I even got a little sunburnt.

6 August, 2010

How to be Alone

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

Wonderful stuff.

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11 July, 2010

Une Année

Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.

~Terry Pratchett in A Hat Full of Sky

Only late tonight did I realise it has been a year to a day since I arrived in Melbourne after 7.5 years in London.  Odd, and mildly disconcerting how the 365 days have flown by since that jetlagged funk of a day.  Any regrets? plenty of people have asked.  None, I can still say, despite a somewhat rocky re-entry into life back where I started.  Save the friends which I left in London.

It has primarily been a year of internal and external realisation, reconnection and recalibration.  Knitting together my disparate Melbourne and London lives has been an involved, necessary process.

And now the road has opened up once again, and is about to take me down an unexpected, but not wholly unwelcome path.

Life is pretty cool like that.

Sunset over Battersea Bridge, London, 2005

21 June, 2010


Real needfire – from which Midsmmer fires should be lit – can only be made by rubbing two pices of wood together… We were always fascinated that such a tiny flame could make the twilight seem deeper and so much more blue – we thought of that as the beginning of the magic; and it was tremendously important that the taper shouldn’t blow out as we came down the tower steps and crossed the mound… Once the fire is blazing the countryside fades into the dusk, so I took one last look round the quiet fields, sorry to let them go. Then I lit the twigs. They caught quickly – I love those early minutes of a fire, the crackles and snappings, the delicate flickers, the first sharp whiff of smoke. The logs were slow to catch so I lay with my head near the ground and blew. Suddenly the flames raced up the wigwam of branches and I saw the snowy moon trapped in a fiery cage. Then smoke swept over her as the logs caught at last. I scrambled up, and sat back watching them blaze high. All my thoughts seemed drawn into the fire – to be burning with it in the brightly lit circle of stones. The whole world seemed filled with hissing and crackling and roaring.

And then, far off in the forgotten dusk, someone called my name.

~Dodie Smith, I Capture The Castle (1949)

° ° °

The solstice doesn’t have quite the same history or importance in this part of the world (Lat 37°47’S Long 144°58’E). Here, the length of days do not noticeably wax or wane with the seasons and we’re more worried about a drought, rather than a harsh, interminable winter. Still, it’s nice to pause and mark the Winter Solstice and realise that the warmer weather will soon be here.

High Summer, 2003