Friday, December 28, 2012

So, maybe Antarctica for NYE

I might be flying to Antarctica on New Year's Eve. It's an 11-hour trip with a band and drinks and food. You don't land; you fly to the ice, fly around for a few hours, and fly back to Melbourne.

I just found out about this possibility yesterday and I have to say, I'm a bit excited.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Laughing and loving

So don't ask me why but I found myself just before looking at images of Jude Law and Sienna Miller. I swear, I think that's when I gave up reading NW and Who Magazine: when they broke up.

Only joking. Not really. Wonder what happened to the magazine sales after there were no more Jude and Sienna pictures?

And I can tell you how I googled my way to them: I was looking up the widow of the disappeared-Cuckoo Restaurant owner because she is in the news today, and I wondered if she was the very glamorous older woman I saw there a few years ago, sipping on a glass of sparkling wine. But no, different woman.

Then somehow I was looking at Jude and Sienna. Feast your eyes on the following 25 pics, a kind of Jude-Sienna Christmas present:

This last one is Sienna with her boyfriend. They've had a baby. Look happy don't they? I reckon once you've been loved by Jude Law nothing can compare. She was early twenties when she was with Jude; that first real love is something you never have again. At least she's picked someone who won't compete with her looks-wise and who won't be getting lots and lots of attention from women. Men who are ridiculously good looking are hard to keep, hard to manage, hard to live with and so easy to love.

Happy Holidays everyone. Over and out for a few days.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Orhan Pamuk on why he set his novel 'Snow' in Kars

Taken from The Paris Review.

Why did you set it in the small town of Kars?
It is notoriously one of the coldest towns in Turkey. And one of the poorest. In the early eighties, the whole front page of one of the major newspapers was about the poverty of Kars. Someone had calculated that you could buy the entire town for around a million dollars. The political 
climate was difficult when I wanted to go there. The vicinity of the town is mostly populated by Kurds, but the center is a combination of Kurds, people from Azerbaijan, Turks, and all other sorts. There used to be Russians and 
Germans too. There are religious differences as well, Shia and Sunni. The war the Turkish government was waging against the Kurdish guerillas was so fierce that it was impossible to go as a tourist. I knew I could not simply go there as a novelist, so I asked a newspaper editor with whom I’d been in touch for a press pass to visit the area. He is influential and he personally called the mayor and the police chief to let them know I was coming.

As soon as I had arrived I visited the mayor and shook hands with the police chief so that they wouldn’t pick me up on the street. Actually, some of the police who didn’t know I was there did pick me up and carried me off, probably with the intention of torturing me. Immediately I gave names—I know the mayor, I know the chief . . . I was a suspicious character. 
Because even though Turkey is theoretically a free country, any foreigner used to be suspect until about 1999. Hopefully things are much easier today.


Sounds to me like he was there mid-late '90s. I passed through Kars in April 1990, travelling east on a bus with a fellow Australian; both of us female, her very blonde, me more pooh-brown. All I remember is how desolate it was; isolated and grim and grey. We stopped for a break, got off the bus, tried to ignore the staring, then tried to find out waht was happening when an unconscious man with blood on his head was carried past and bundled into a car to be driven away.

'What happened?' I gesticulated to a man nearby. (I had no Turkish then.)

He replied with a stream of words, made the shape of a gun with his fingers and said something else which I took for 'bang bang'.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

CODA and girl on tram

Dinner at CODA tonight. It was yum but could I suggest that the oysters could be a little larger? They were defo on the puny side.

On the tram, back home along St Kilda Road, there was a girl. She was so elegant. She was wearing a black t-shirt and black suede slip on broguey things. Then a very lightweight camel cardigan and tight camel pants, like ski pants but that had a perfect cuff. Her hair was in a casual pony tail and she was wearing dark brown, maybe black, newsreader specs. Her phone was in a mint-green case.

She was gorgeous.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The process

Sometimes it just takes a second where a few words tumble out of someone's mouth and that's the moment. For me, right now, it was one Ms Marieke Hardy and her retro-lipsticked mouth accompanied by fetching Deco-ish-green gown. I LOVE HER STILL.

I'm catching up on First Tuesday Book Club, and in one episode they are discussing Iris Murdoch's The Sea, The Sea.

Marieke says this: 'Who we are when we first love; what we chase when we go back to find that first love.'

And this immediately gave me an answer to a question someone has posed.

At 1:27 mins

PS Mr E, please hold your fire, sir.

PPS Mr E. Two martinis down, this fine sultry, cloudy, muggy, grey, gloomy, December Melbourne Friday evening. What's your count?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Notes on a Scandal

I finished it and it's great. That is all. If you want to read something succinct, with not a word out of place, with two distinctive and interesting female characters, where moral or ethical concerns get hazy and where the author absolutely does not intrude a la 'this is what you should be thinking', then this is for you. It's a quick, easy read but that doesn't make it any less large. Oh no no no.

I can't wait to work my way through her oeuvre.

I love saying oeuvre.

Yesterday I made hors d'oeuvres and just now I got to wondering the meaning of the term.

Found the following here

What's the origin of "hors d'oeuvres"?

Dear Straight Dope:
What is the origin and history of the word hors d'oeuvre? I can't seem to find out anything about it!
Quoting William and Mary Morris' Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins: The French phrase hors d'oeuvres literally means "outside the works." Originally it was an architectural term referring to an outbuilding not incorporated into the architect's main design. The phrase was borrowed by France's culinary experts to indicate appetizers customarily served apart from the main course of a dinner. Thus hors d'oeuvres are, quite literally, outside the main design of the meal. Vraiment, c'est simple, n'est-ce-pas?

A related word is canapés, which are "savory appetizers made with a bread, cracker or pastry base, so that they can be picked up with the fingers and eaten in one or two bites." Canapés are a type of hors d'oeuvres, but the common tendency is to figure you've got your canapés and then you've got your hors d'oeuvres, which are everything else.

Although you didn't ask, we're on a roll (so to speak) here. The word canapé originally meant a canopy of mosquito netting over a couch or bed. In time it came to mean the bed or divan itself--and then into English with its present meaning of a bit of bread or cracker with a tasty mixture of meat, cheese, or fish spread on't.

Correct pronunciations: Say or-DERV for hors d'oeuvre (and for hors d'oeuvres, too) and kan-uh-PAY for canapé or canapés.

Friday, December 07, 2012

I'm reading Notes on a Scandal

So, the above are all covers of Zoë Heller's Notes on a Scandal

I remember seeing the movie a few years ago - you know the one: Cate Blanchett all blithe and gorgeous and SK-II dewy, and Judi Dench watchful and creepy*. The book was published in 2003 I think and the movie came out in 2006. So this is old news but I feel lucky to have found the book. It all came about when recently I saw a link to an article where Zoë Heller had slammed Salman Rushdie's new memoir Joseph Anton (currently residing on the floor beside me bed, no not him, the book.)

I looked up Heller and saw she'd written this, as well as a couple of other books. Found it at Readings and bazinga, just over half-way through.

The first thing I noticed about this novel is how slim it is, it's like a novella. I've had a good run with slender-volumes; in the last few years I enjoyed Michael Cunningham's By Nightfall (found a blistering review of that while I was googling around Heller; she didn't write it though) and also The Old Man and the Sea. Oh, and Cosmopolis. OH AND THE LIGHTHOUSE. How could I forget. Again, slim and perfect length though I don't know if any of the above technically fit novella length.

Anyway, second thing I noticed about Notes on a Scandal is how tightly it's written and how the words are arranged. Brilliant. The voice of Barbara, who narrates the story - everything comes through her as cipher, as taker of the said notes on the scandal in which her teaching colleague embroils herself. I don't think I've read a character with such a polished, wonderful, impressive vocabulary. Heller has definitely chosen the words that appear in Barbara's voice with such care. The choice she's enacted - the particular words selected - contributes to Barbara's character. Other words might have done but it gives the reader the message that Barbara is a very particular person, Barbara prides herself on her verbal skills (even if she doesn't speak them aloud, she feels proud that she knows these words and knows how to use them).

Words like: insouciant, parenthesis, orthodoxy, duress, soubriquet, calumny, lugubrious, bonhomie, imbroglio, glut, concupiscent, salacious, ribald, fecundity, ersatz and riposte.

Of the above words, it's only concupiscent that I didn't know. It means filled with sexual desire; lustful: "concupiscent dreams". Synonyms are: lustful - prurient - libidinous - salacious - voluptuous. I wonder why she didn't use libidinous or prurient.

I haven't read a book that has had such beautiful words all in the one place before. Sure, lots of literary writers use beautiful words all the time but there is something different about these words. They are on another level. I would bet that Heller had been keeping a list of words like this for years and then created a character who would use them. I reckon this because it's the sort of thing I would do - am doing - oh, those words. They are sublime.

So, the covers. I like the one with the apple best, hate the ones with the orgasmic blondes, but I got the one with the tattoo thingy on the front. Inside the back flap there is a mini feature of a tattoo artist, Valerie Vargas**, from Frith Street Tattoo, in London.

I will definitely be checking out Heller's other fiction, it's wonderful.

* can't think of a third adjective to use. I had lesbionic but took it out.

** cool name

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

God I love this

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee - ft Ricky Gervais

Freakiest gif evah

I've always been a late bloomer.
And so it is with gifs.
I've also never done the 'cat thing' on this blog.
But today's the day I do the cat thing in a gif.
Did you know you are meant to pronounce them 'jif' (like the non-scratch, household cream cleaner?)