mockturle06: (Lewis)

So, Melbourne. It was just a week away, me trying to cheer myself up, a consolation prize to myself, because I can’t afford overseas holidays any more.

Also, tiny bit inconvenient, with the family situation and all. You know, that line in Hamlet, ‘When sorrows come, they come not single spies. But in battalions’, I always thought it was over-egging the plot a touch by having misery upon misery, but as my family has taken a turn for the gothic, it really does go like that, I’ve discovered.

Anyway, much like my anglophile trip to NYC (saw James Corden and Andrew Garfield on stage, and an exhibition on Mary Shelley, and I went to the cloisters to see the Lewis chessmen, etc.) I decided to do a faux-euro trip to Melbourne, seeing European art in galleries and sitting in French, Italian and Greek cafes. Catching trams. Stuff I can’t do here.  It sounds stupid and pathetic, and it is, but my Italian colleague gave my valiant attempt the thumbs up for trying, so there’s that.

So I went and saw the Van Gogh exhibition at the NGV. I wanted to see some VVG in Europe, so this would have to do. Maybe that’s why I was disappointed. I mean, I know they usually only send us the stuff they don’t care if it drops into the Indian Ocean, and quite right, too, (irreplaceable plant specimens from France destroyed in Australian quarantine blunder) but this was stuff they didn’t care if it fell down a volcano. Early juvenilia sketches and depressing scenes from when he was locked up in the loony bin. Exciting if you were a scholar, but it really wasn’t…there wasn’t anything to show you why people make a fuss about the man. So I was angry, because it’s crap shows like this that made me take a lifetime to understand why Vincent is considered a big deal. Because these muddy sketches in no way demonstrate it.

Also, it was far too crowded to properly look or consider, as each painting was surrounded by a deep scrum of tourists. Which was also annoying as I’ve had rooms full of Van Gogh to myself overseas (and I have the photos to prove it). Why should I have to pay a mighty fee to be jostled like I’m on my peak-hour bus, all to see a work nowhere near as luminous as the ones I’ve had all to myself to admire overseas?

Ah, well, if it was the bliss of solitary contemplation of great art I was after, I was right in my choice of the Hellenic Museum. The ticket price was off-putting to the same noisy tourists, so I had a room of ancient masterpieces all to myself to swoon over. And swoon I did. It was just a tiny room, with only a handful of statues, cups and the odd bit of bling to consider, but I prefer that, just one piece, one on one, to look, to study, to contemplate. To imagine if this was something the artist laboured over in tears, or something he knocked off before lunch? Ah, there was a lovely old pot I saw once at the Ian Potter museum that had clearly been started before lunch, but finished afterwards, because the careful lines became noticeably wobbly and skewed after a bit. So, that was me, chillin’ with Aphrodite, Paris and Hercules. Loved that.

And I loved the Love exhibition at the NGV. This one was free, uncrowded and full of treasures and delights from the NGV’s Europhile collection. The only time I grew cranky here was my outrage on the part of Aphrodite, whose statue was broken apart and stuck back together with plaster by so-called Edwardian gentlemen to better emulate their fashionable ideas of beauty. Yep, being a goddess wasn’t good enough. So they hacked her to bits and glued her back together like rough-handling Pygmalions. Because blokes.

The other one was my favourite print of Regency era dancers, arms upright and curved, no sharp-angled elbows akimbo like you see so often in period bonnet-pieces. I used to be (still am, a bit) an extreme nerd for that period and it annoys me when they don’t get the details right when it’s so easy to just look at the print and there it is, you can see how they danced, no need to guess.

Yes, you might have noticed that I don’t like huge liberties taken with history. Mainly because it’s just lazy and sloppy, but also because it’s unfair (as I don’t have access to see the real deal, be it costumes, mode or location), and it’s also bloody dangerous (to put misinformation out there).

Especially when folks take most of their history from the screen these days. Not just dangerous, but rude and insulting, too. Like, because America erases Australian forces from every single war film, despite having served alongside American troops for a hundred years, I get ignorant comments from so-called friends like ‘oh, were you guys in WWII?’ and if we hadn’t been on the freeway right then I’d have told her to pull over so I could get out. Harumph.

But enough about that. Back to love, and this exhibition covered it, from the sublime and the pious to the darn silly, filthy, dirty and dangerous, from Pamela (ah, to think I’ll never see the full set of Pamelas) to the cards pointing out the lewd imagery within symbols to cads and trollops and sweet pics of people and their pets. Love in all its forms and guises, good and bad, love gone bad and outright misogyny and yet also innocence and sacrifice. Fashions, flirting and faith. 

It was a small and eclectic collection and I loved it. Again, because it was small and uncrowded I had time to pause and consider, admire and appreciate.

Pausing even more (I’m old, and my knees are gone) in a café crawl across Melbourne, but they have so many, and they’re so nice, and kitted out to an almost but not quite Euro-Disney way, like super concentrated Euro café vibes, but that’s exactly what I wanted and needed. Unfortunately, one is paying for the vibe, because the food was awful, but, as I reminded myself, that was authentic, too (I did break down and go the nasi lemak at the Malaysian café round the corner, on my last day).  Still, I got to curl into various corners with my increasingly battered Rebus book, and order a coffee or three.

Trawling around Fitzroy was a bust. I thought it was because I was doing it sober and in daylight, but the problem was I was doing it years too late. All the cool ugly-beanie people have been priced out (they’re even being shifted/shafted out of Reservoir, so I hear now) and it was all ladies-who-lunch.

Who alas spoiled what had been shaping up to be a good time in a heartfelt parody of a French café, with their reeking perfume and painted faces and they went on and on like the real housewives of Melbourne over whose husband was cheating and/or beating. It was so horrifying it made me happy to be ugly and alone and forget my shameful tears earlier in the week. Good lesson. 

Theatre was ripe, but I’d seen most of the shows already in Sydney, so I saw The Book of Mormon, because it’s supposed to be a big deal. I didn’t mind it. I was just there mainly because I love Melbourne’s old theatres, though I loved it slightly less when the queue for the loo stretched out into the road (male-designed architecture vs women’s anatomy and fashion – discuss).

I had a wildly overpriced cocktail and spotted friends of my happy-clappy rellos sitting in the row in front of me – mutually busted, but oddly I get on better with them than the rellos so it wasn’t as awkward a meeting as it might have been.

That wasn’t the night I ended up in Little Bourke Street, though. Meant to, but decided on a burger and a night in front of the box watching Jude Law instead. Because Jude (and as I was missing him live on stage, watching the SBS screening of Young Pope would have to suffice).

Between Young Pope and Book of Mormon there was a lot of faith-based viewing going on, but there’s no escaping it these days, even if I take it no more seriously than a statue of Hercules. Besides, both kind of offered insights into the psychology of believers, scary and unsound as it appears to me. Sorry, I’m a rational humanist and will be until the day I die.

But anyway, yes, Little Bourke Street, in the rain, with all the neon dragons flickering in the puddles and bike couriers flashing up and down. Yep, totally a Blade Runner vibe there, damn shame I didn’t have my camera on me. The gongbao chicken was pretty great, too, though I had to settle for Tsing Tao to wash it down with.

Ah yes, my great White Rabbit crawl across Melbourne. I just cannot get dark ale in Sydney. They sell me these funky pale ales that always taste like possum pee. I lurve White Rabbit. They had it at Jackson and Young, in Chloe’s bar, where the famous/infamous painting of Chloe resides. It’s a landmark. It’s a lovely pub, too. Shabby genteel.

I also popped into the Melbourne Museum to see the WWI: Love & Sorrow exhibition. This was so distressing, and I was still fuming over Patty Jenkins’ comments about no-one knowing about WWI.  She meant Americans, though, as Mechad explained at the con, they don’t do remembrances there (he’d seen an ANZAC day service and was still affected). We do two a year, once on ANZAC day (25 April) when we wear rosemary for remembrance, lest we forget, and once on Armistice Day (11 November) when we wear poppies. We will remember them.

So I get there and there’s a packet of tiny souvenir playing cards like my Great Uncle had. I just reeled on from that, past the photos, drawings and casts of men without limbs and faces missing, past the letter from a child to her daddy, and the telegram that arrived instead, past the story of the soldier who came home, drank and beat his wife, then drowned himself. Past the wife who sent baby shoes to her husband from their newborn son, only to have them returned, unopened. Past the mother who waited two years to find out what happened to her son who was MIA, and when finally told he’d been blown to bits, drowned herself in the dam on the family farm. Past the mower that belonged to a blind soldier, who tended his garden by way of guide lines.

We remember them. I don’t know what the Americans do. Make cute adventure films sans ANZACs, I should guess.

So then I rambled about through the anatomy wing, where there were cases upon cases of 18th and 19th century bone saws, which is why most people (unless you make American movies) know that’s where the slang term ‘sawbones’ comes from.

Also hit the dinosaurs (just casts, but they’re always visually so cool) and the geology section (I’m from a family of geologists so I still know my igneous from my metamorphic). Zipped through the ocean and wilderness sections, because it was too much like work (my brain started pulling up work files, so no).

Café trawl was ok, I found a few nooks to hide in, and most made an effort with atmosphere. Weirdly, almost entirely staffed by French waiters, to add to the authenticity of the experience. I don’t know what France is doing for waiters. Maybe they’re all Australian? I never did get back to the café that had the absinthe, though, damn.

The con was more fun than I was expecting. Caught the 57 tram out to the showgrounds every day, past delightful but soon to be demolished heritage buildings, and Jude Law glaring at me from various posters, just to remind me I didn’t go see him in London. It wasn’t at all as bad as the set up in Sydney or that awful one at the Gold Coast, so I zipped from building to building, using and abusing the priority pass I’d bought (just because I thought I’d be way more concussed than I was) so I didn’t have to queue quite so much. There was still queueing though.

Ok, highlights: Me, making Tom Hopper nearly cry by questioning Billy’s actions in the last couple of seasons of Black Sails. Billy’s been hurt and betrayed by those he trusted most, poor wee orphan, and I ought to know that. Consider myself told. Pretty young Mr Hopper also seemed confused why his costumes never included sleeves. I didn’t burst his bubble on that one.

Natalie Dormer revealed herself to be a hardcore history nerd and passionate advocate for Anne Boleyn (all those uncharacteristic talky bits in the Tudors were her idea). So I kind of love her now.

Mehcad Brooks was a total sweetie, talking to all his fans at eye-level, and being very gentle with the tweenie Supergirl fans. It sounds creepy but it was really just him being a really nice guy. Cory Michael Smith from Gotham just about ran off with my passport, because he wouldn’t, couldn’t believe it. And the pic I got with Lee Majors was as awful as always, but the squee going on there could power my laptop for several hours (childhood hero). Besides, he’s pretty much the last of the TV cowboys (Big Valley) and, you know, living history. I honestly didn’t mind him letting a little light onto the magic of my childhood shows. As always, the never meet your heroes edict applied to Buffy more than any other show I’ve ever been a fan of (besides Trek in its many incarnations) but there always has to be one.

Oh and the swishy dress with the huge petticoats I bought on a whim was worth it for the smile it evoked from young Mr Mitchell. Well, that and he was desperate for a signing. That, too, but, oh, such a smile. I shall remember that smile.

That was Melbourne: food, coffee, history and squee.

My pics: https://www.instagram.com/mockturtle06/

My links: https://plus.google.com/u/0/113197665355692280218/posts

mockturle06: (White Collar kiss)
It's still winter here, all blustery and wet. We don't usually have winter here so it's most unsettling. I mean, I quite like the dvd weekends with hot chocolates, but I shouldn't ind an opportunity for one of our high teas in the back garden. Before the mozzies kick in (annoying pests).

I've been over indulging in tea. Big pots of tea. Though not as bad as that time I had the enormous supersized pot of tea in New York (and went wee wee wee all the way down to Battery Park). Heh, I don't think there's a cafe twixt Union Square and Battery Park I didn't have to race into in desperate need. And it's just like Italy, right, so you have to buy a drink to use the loo, thus becoming trapped in a vicious cycle...

Second only to that time in Scotland where we trampled the tweedy folk underfoot dashing into a remote pub after some desperate miles on the highway after an unwisely large pot of tea (well, it was cold).

But you don't want to hear about my teapot misadventures.
more: the joy of sucking balls )
mockturle06: merlin in a hat (Chuck)
Thurs: The house boy is attempting a Roman dish tonight. Yes, more Italian (just finished off a magnificent lasagne) but this time he's attempting something from Apicius that he saw on telly. He's ground up all the herbs already and had them in a jar. It smelt...wonderful.

I think it'll be much better for us, too, than the piss-taking straight out of a packet 70s repaste that was whipped up last Saturday as a giggle. That's the problem with being children of the 70s. What we ate was so bad, so entirely composed of fifteen syllable chemical compounds, so when we have nostalgia childhood treats we just know we're doing ourselves no good. But still, instant pudding....mmmm....
more: the proof is in the pudding )
mockturle06: (White Collar kiss)
Thurs: So, last night I toddled off to hear a talk being given by some gentleman travelling from England. Oh, alright, it was Mr Stephen Fry and I was in heaven, absoloute heaven.

And toddle isn't quite the right word. Bent over against driving gusts of rain, more like. It was so miserable a red double decker bus trundled past and it had gone a block and a half before my poor brain twigged that something was out of kilter, and I can forgive the poor old brain for thinking trudging in the dark and cold driving rain naturally goes with red double decker buses, from past experience, but this ain't London. No idea what the bus was about but it bemused and set the scene.

Then, just as I arrived at the Quay, enormous fireworks burst forth from the Opera House forecourt. Full on, for about fifteen minutes, and so very pretty. I stood, clung to the railings in my mittens and scarf, ooohing and ahhing at the unexpected show. No idea what that was about either but it sure blasted away the work merde with bright sparkly pretty so I was happy.
more: fry and chocolate )
mockturle06: (boyfriends)
I know you want to know: the coat passed. Just passed, mind, but it still passed. Hell, I even got a couple of smiles, though, to be honest, the friendliest people were, and are always, the STC staff who, unlike the gatekeepers over at the Opera House, always go way out of their way to look after the token westie subscriber and make her feel welcome. And you know what? I need it and appreciate it because it's very scary to go to these places where everyone else makes more in an hour than I make in a year. Seriously out of my league, but at least the staff don't scowl imperiously, which is something. More than something. I couldn't bear it if they did. Well done STC, and your bettering of this working class peasant, at least.

So anyway, went to see some proper American theatre, starring no less a personage than William Hurt. I've never been a huge fan but back in the day when friends from school and uni used to try dragging me kicking and screaming to art films, he was the art film go to boy of choice, and I'd always dismissed the possibility of ever seeing the man on stage, existing in a parochical backwater as I am.
more: mad, bad and past it )
mockturle06: (Neal)
(last) Wed: Still haven't thawed yet. Missed my bus this morning, just missed it too, because it had the effrontery to be on time for once when I was running slow due to cold (I couldn't button my blouse with numb fingers). So I had to wait another hour in the dark and cold. Not fun (well, it did remind me of some UK holiday unfun, but then I'm usually dressed for it, not in thin office clothes).

Spent most of last night uploading photos and trying to fix pc error (Win 7 hates McAfee and Dell software, there are conflicts) so there wasn't much tv viewing or any writing or typing (sigh). I did find the B/W Supernatural episode on cable, though. I'd forgotten, or rather, traumatically repressed, the sight of the lederhosen. And now I will have to do so again (shakes head as if to flick out the offending vision).
more: not waving just fanning )
mockturle06: (lom tea)
It's still one of my favourite statements, ever. It was a sign, stuck to a door in NYC, and clearly, the frogs, which are both dwarf and African, have arrived, but is this a good thing? Something I should be worried about? Should I be heading to the nearest bunker? Or is it code for something? Something that has arrived? Something that has arrived and is watching us even now, with its cold beady eyes? Who can say? It's just one of those odd signs that capture the imagination, or mine at least.

I know, way too much ITC telly as a child, but there you go.

Meanwhile, the office klepto is back. I've lost a stapler I'd carried through eight different offices, assorted pens and my spoon, which I was also attached to, because pens and spoons are personal items (to some of us) and, well, harumph. It's what I get for being tired and accidentally leaving my desk drawer unlocked but my gosh, they were in like Flynn. I think they've taken more but it was the spoon I missed most as I was feeling rather unwell and had been thinking on the freezing cold and overcrowded bus that a little warm museli might set me to rights. Museli denied.

I'm so glad I'm here and not in New York this week, it's been so much fun. You should see all the nasty emails and notes I have from my boss. Oh yeah, it was so worth giving up the chance to see the boys from White Collar for this. Whimper.
more: slippers, sinking of )
mockturle06: merlin in a hat (Default)
Okay, I meant to post this the week I got back but went down with t'swine flu and I'm only just beginning to surface again, so without further ado, a potted travel diary...
more: if it's Tuesday it must be Camelot )
mockturle06: merlin in a hat (Default)
Hmmm, how to update the old lj without whining about how miserable I am. Tricky. Let's just take it as read that I'm bloody miserable and being back at work is compounding said misery. Moving on...

At least I know now that if I were sitting in the sun by the river at Hampton Court watching the bees buzz from flower to bobbing flower right now I could be perfectly happy, blissful, even, so long as I was on the other side of the damn planet to those who would grind me down. So it's not me, it's them. That's something, anyway.

TV? Some, but not what you might expect because the jetlag is still biting hard so I'm either watching stuff back later (and never finding out who murdered who and why because the shows always start anything from 5 to 55 minutes later than the damn guide says, and that's checking the electronic guide before I go and crash. Grump), not watching at all tv shows I promised to watch, and watching guilty secret crap at midday like Blood Ties (nothing like a cheap Canadian vampire show when you're home with the flu). Ah yes, Blood Ties and a vegemite sandwich, oh how I miss you.
more: all of these things I do... )
mockturle06: merlin in a hat (Holmes)
"Who is going to want to see Downey Jr. and Law make out? I don't think it would be appealing to women" - NY Post

Au contraire, I should think. Clearly this gentleman has very limited intercourse with women. Or at the very least, certainly doesn't mix in my circles. Nor has he been on the interwebs, because, like, dude.
more: Wuh? August already? )

i spy

Jul. 24th, 2009 07:18 am
mockturle06: merlin in a hat (Default)
It is ridiculously, unseasonably warm. This hot sultry wind blew in during the night and now it's pretty much summer. I guess winter is like so last week. Mind you, last Thurs was freezing.

Speaking of tropical, I'm now the proud owner of a mango tree. We've got it sitting beside the banana tree to see how it goes. I'm hoping to turn it into my tropical fruit section. Said mango tree was picked up in Cabramatta. Went on a day trip which involved poling about in exotica, getting ripped off mightily and noodles. In fact lunch was defiantly Python-esque when the maitre'd of the noodle emporium briskly informed me that the menu was off, luv, and there were only two dishes available: the chicken or beef. I went chicken pho and it was pretty darn good. I suspect he was sheilding our delicate red faced barbarian sensibilities, and if I were younger and hot blooded I'd have ordered the klingon dishes as a matter of honour, but I ain't, so I just ordered the chicken.
more: how to remove cat hair from a Nehru jacket )
mockturle06: merlin in a hat (Default)
Gentle reader, I put it to you that the makers of Merlin have seen the Princess Bride.
more: spoilers, mary sues and unicorns )

ex fridge

Jan. 30th, 2009 04:58 pm
mockturle06: merlin in a hat (Armitage)
Oh boy. Of course, if you're an ailing refrigerator, there's no better time to give up the ghost than during the worst heatwave in seventy years. It wouldn't be any fun otherwise.

So that was yesterday, dead fridge, racing around to buy a new one (limited by time, money, transport and a tiny kitchen it's yet another case of making do rather than the best fridge for the price - sigh), waiting for various deliveries, tradesmen, etc. All the stuff I wanted to do is pushed back, again. Sigh. And I'm pretty sure it won't wait, either.

At least one of the deliveries was my long awaited banana lounge. It's been mainly a (constant) verbal lament, but I so wanted one for my once in two decades summer holiday, but no, they couldn't possibly deliver until after Oz day. Well, it's here. At last. And it's lovely. I eschewed the cheap models for one that swears it's Italian (yeah, right), but it is perfection. I had only half an hour in it, but oh, what a half hour, under the greenleaves, watching a trio of pelicans wheel in the sky as I sipped my lukewarm orange juice.
more: orf with 'er head )

terra firma

Dec. 9th, 2008 01:35 pm
mockturle06: merlin in a hat (tyler)
Tues: Home again, home again. And it's good to be home again. I know it's churlish to complain, considering how some folk's hols turned out, and there but for the grace of that I'm not stuck in Bangkok, but I've had/have this flu that put a bit of a capper on my enjoyment of things.

That and feeling guilty about being selfish and doing stuff I wanted to do, but if the worst my mature aged teenage rebellion can come up with is running away to watch Hamlet, well, other folks have done dirtier deeds.

But yes, anyway, home, back to warmth and sunshine and one of those golden November days that even made Redfern look pretty (was stuck there, in traffic, for ages). Finally staggered out of taxi (after three days on a plane) to the welcoming arms of a neighbour who knew I was coming home and didn't want me to arrive to an empty house. Am still verklempt at the very idea that she cared, undeserving (and selfish) wretch that I am. Then I discovered the house swept clean and coffee and cake waiting in the kitchen.

I've never had a homecoming like it. Yep, home again. Even my desk was left unmessed, my chair still there, ditto cup. Home again, home again.
more: downhill from here )
mockturle06: merlin in a hat (doctor fucksake)
Bemused by the description for next week's Lewis (btw, Evil Channel Seven isn't running them in order, which is hardly surprising and quite typical, but I did think it odd that Lewis had apparently cooled on Hathaway considerably after the great stagger through the flames bit, but never mind, now I know I'm watching them wrong, or in the wrong order, at any rate).

Anyway, the description runs thus: "teenage girl is found wandering naked on the Oxford planes [sic]". Firstly, I think they meant plains, but mostly I am bemused because even though he is in no way credited as being any where in the vicinity of the script, it is very much the motif, shall we say, of one of my favourite tv writers and it's a device that pops up quite often (Danger Man, Thriller, The Professionals).

Basically, it just means score! because if an episode ever starts with a lone scantily clad disorientated female staggering across the landscape it's a bonus jackpot round on our ongoing drinking game. Yes, we have no lives.
more: I'm Henry the VIIIth I am )

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