it’s been a while…

When it’s winter and nighttime in this great southern land, it’s summer and daytime up north, which means this fiendin’ sista gets no sleep – I’m nightly on the tube, high as a kite on sports. By day, with bleeding eyes and chilblained fingers, I groan through the perfunctory.

Welcome to zombie-land, you’re stuck on this fun ride for three months solid!

I’m not about to feign regret. It will happen again next year, and 2012 will be disgusting since it’s an Olympic year. Like I said, it’s the way daddy made me.

But wait, I recall musical digressions too.

Reggae/Dancehall is meant for sticky summer nights, if only for the batty riders and dry-humping. But Gyptian, my beautiful Jamaican brother, braved our Melbourne cold and so did I. He was beautiful. His stage presence and voice were incredible. Granted, there was no band, just some dude mixing riddims which shits me no end, but did I mention Gyptian is beautiful and brotha can sing?

The night was further blighted by a police incident. ‘Nuf said.

Wherever you are, nothing beats local talent and Karnivool is phenomenal. Ian Kenny is a weedy bespectacled musical god. I happily destroyed myself in an albeit lame pit – I know, I’m as weak as pus – but my hoarseness and aching neck paid tribute to those Perth boys. I close on them with Fade and testament to just how hard these fuckers work.

Oscar+Martin, a joyful answer to Friendly Fires and Sparkadia, and down-the-road local boys from Two Bright Lakes, was also a treat. I was nearly the tallest, a novelty, and definitely the oldest, sadly not a novelty, at this gig. The best bit by far was the kid taking puffs off his inhaler before dipping into a killer hip-hop skit. And those drums, man I loves me some drums! Here they are in video…

Finally, I mourn the passing of a legend.

On July 23, 2011, Amy Winehouse died. She was love too raw, too exposed. She numbed the hurt of love to death. I rend my shirt for the one who gave pieces of her soul in prescient lyrics and infallible tones unceasingly, and am ashamed that I have nothing but endless tears to give back…

If my man was fighting
Some unholy war
I would be behind him
Straight shook up beside him
With strength he didn’t know
It’s you I’m fighting for
He can’t lose with me in tow
I refuse to let him go
At his side and drunk on pride
We wait for the blow
We put it in writing
But we are writing for
Just us on kitchen floor
Justice done presiding
My stomach standing still like you reading my will
Still stands in spite of what his scars say
And I’ll battle til this bitter finale
Just me, my dignity and this guitar case
Yeah, my man is fighting some unholy war
I will stand beside you
And who you dying for?
B, I would have died too. I’d like to
If my man was fighting
Some unholy war…

You died and became immortal, Amy Winehouse. And I grieve.

Oh, and I ploughed through some heavies, On The Road, The Grapes of Wrath and All The King’s Men included. I have new thoughts on the blog, and will be changing The List accordingly.

So begins my battle – nearly dried out, newly rested and clutching sketchy drafts – to reclaim the second half of fiftytwoin52….

less than one week til i go cold turkey…

le tour de france, 2011

While on my Northern-Hemisphere-Summer-of-Sports fix, which is sadly and thankfully about to end with LeTour, I’ve been reading and tweeting. Check out the tweets here.

Beginning to miss my blog dearly, however, expect me to be off the wagon again in September when the US Open¬† begins in NYC, but only for two weeks as opposed to three months. It’z da way it iz…

freudian shits

you said your bother...

I just noticed ‘solomom’, fuck knows how long it’s been there. Funny, since that’s all I’ve been for two weeks solid – the padawan and princess are on holiday. Every thought has to be rushed at peril of interruption. Mommy, can I have _____? Mommy, _____said/did _____! Mommy, can you play with me? Must wrap this up now. The squinkies and clone troopers are…

the milk of wrath

So it turns out The Grapes of Wrath is not the kind of book one can ‘slam down’. It is in fact the kind of book that changes you.

Steinbeck is affecting me in ways I hadn’t anticipated. I cry when I read all the time, but never like this. Today I wept in the milk aisle at the supermarket because I. Am. Changed.

My children will inherit the earth not long from now and a worm farm, a little recycling and footing it where possible are simply inadequate in securing a healthy planet for them. My commitment to making this human-infested shithole better begins and ends with ethical consumption.

Everyday.

where ya been, woman?!

rafa and what's his face @ men's final french open, 2011

I’d like to blame it all on being very ill after a trip to Sydney (I really was), but the truth is, a little event at Roland Garros put a world-class moratorium on my book blog. I’m a little bit of a tennis fan, so May/June are write-off months for me. I watch live sports all night and sleepwalk all day.

I have a week or two before SW19 flu (a.k.a. Wimbledon) takes hold, so I’ll be slamming down the rest of The Grapes of Wrath and The Heart of the Matter before I become hopelessly distracted again.

The pains of blogging! Vamos Rafa and Serena!!!

bad manners on a platter

two words: bitter humour

a handful of dust, 1934

Don’t piss Evelyn Waugh off, or he’ll write a book about it.

He had a bone to pick with the 1930’s ‘tween-war English gentry and his cheating soon-to-be-ex-wife Evelyn Gardner (yes, her name was Evelyn too,) so he picked it to critical acclaim: He wrote A Handful of Dust, a charming but caustic comedy (and tragedy) of the spuriously sophisticated.

A Handful of Dust starts off as a hilarious satire of the meaningless indulgences of the English 1930’s aristocracy, then it pivots after a tragic accident into a harsh critique of a cold, cruel and doomed class. Tony and Brenda Last’s decaying marriage mirrors the failings of this generation ripe with entitlement and boredom, where sex, gossip and hypocrisy substitute for entertainment; elegant London landmarks as well as Hetton, the beloved but crumbling country estate of Tony’s childhood, are under threat of money-grabbing ‘conversion’; and unsuspecting spouses and sons are unconscionably traded in for insipid ‘second-rate snobs’ like John Beaver. At the bitter end of his dull marriage, Tony Last, complicit in his prolonged and deliberate blindness and after bearing the brunt of a callous society, duly rejects England entirely and sets out on a chimerical quest to the Brazilian jungle, where the laws, he suspects, can be no more feral. There he experiences a Dickensian symmetry that tests his will to survive in an inescapably savage world, and the novel closes on an exquisitely brutal note.

'he evelyn' and 'she evelyn'

While writing A Handful of Dust, Waugh was a man scorned, evident in his furious portrayal of Brenda Last – she is a silly, shallow and selfish caricature – and his inversely sympathetic portrayal of the male protagonist, Tony Last. Despite this, the novel is thoroughly enjoyable for its mitigating wit and flare,

Let us kill in the gentlest manner. p.207,

and inadvertently, women aren’t Waugh’s only target. So too are the men who love them. The humour is savory and the social assassination sublime, which makes me want to read more Waugh, since nothing is as delightful as a well-executed comedy (or tragedy) of unspeakably bad manners.

The novel was made into a movie in 1988, directed by Charles Sturrige and lead by a radiant Kristin Scott Thomas. As with other adaptations made for scholastic purposes such as¬†Clayton/Redford’s The Great Gatsby (the two novels read like trans-Atlantic counterparts) A Handful of Dust was not nearly as successful on film, which gives me hope for Brideshead Revisited, another novel by Waugh also on the Times List

Anticipate changes on My List.

soundtrack
beauty school-deftones