Saturday, June 29, 2013


Last night I hurried into the State Theatre night to see Graeme Murphy's Swan Lake performed by The Australian Ballet and basically floated out.

I go to the ballet a couple of times a year and every single time I am transported.  I imagine eras when the ballet, theatre and opera were the social playgrounds of the aristocracy who would arrive in their furs and dripping with diamonds.  They would have names like Heston and Marguerite and sip martinis in red-velveted foyers.

There is so much respect in ballet - for the theatre with its ornate beauty; for the dancers who are just utterly breathtaking; for the orchestra (I love how they stamp their feet to set off the crowd's applause when the conductor takes his or her place); and for each other as audience members (I have never heard a mobile phone go off during a performance).

This contemporary version of Swan Lake is one of the most stunning ballets I have ever seen. The dancers make it look just so effortless, but anyone who has tried to lift a chubby kid further than their waist can imagine how hard they must have to work to make it look so easy.

I was reminded to visit the Behind Ballet blog and stumbled across these beautiful short films made by The Apiary.

As I was tinkering around the blog and clicking on random links I read one piece of info that tugged on my sensitive heart.

Yesterday, Friday 28 June 2013, was my first night-at-the-ballet for 2013.  It was also the five year anniversary of the death of great Russian ballerina Irina Baronova who I worked with eight years ago as a very young book publicist.  I adored her - she was one of the most intoxicating people I have ever met and her face pops into my mind at the most random times.  I can still hear her voice.

The year I met her, 2005, was the year I went to my first ballet.  I have been hooked ever since.

I'll never forget visiting her Byron Bay home and being slightly confused as she bent right down in front of me, trying to focus her failing eyesight on my feet.  When I confirmed that they were indeed a little 37 she excitedly went to her cupboard pulling out pair after pair of vintage Ferragamos and piling them into my arms.  She could no longer wear them and was going to throw them out if I didn't take them, she said.

I love having physical reminders of such a beautiful woman and a legendary artist.  I've been thinking of Swan Lake this morning and remembering Amber Scott's pirouettes but imagining dear Irina's young face spinning around instead.

Friday, June 28, 2013

New Zealand.

I've been wanting to visit New Zealand for quite a while.  And I'm about to book a trip for later in the year.  I cannot believe I haven't visited before, it's actually utterly crazy.

Since I've had it on my 2013 list I've been fossicking about for tips and places to add to my 'to do' list.  I've discovered and have fallen so deeply in love with the work of Melbourne-based photographer Brooke Holm - you can see her NZ snaps in all of their glory here and here.

I've also been watching Jane Campion's Top of the Lake and looooooving it.  It's like a modern-day Twin Peaks; Elisabeth Moss is terrific.

I can't wait to pack a camper full of travelling goodies and hit those roads.  To the mountains!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Wilson's Prom.

I've been going through some pics that I hadn't had a chance to download and file including this little batch.  I went hiking in Wilson's Promontory on the southeastern tip of Australia in April and it is one of the most beautiful places in the country; just utterly stunning.

My dear friend Loz (in the top pic) and I dreamt up plans for sailing in and day-hiking. For 'one day' but a real one day, not an imaginary one day.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Smoko.

Below the oft-treaded boards of this home lies a special, secret place. A haven where one man toils at his self-taught craft; that of making things out of wood and by hand – an old and revered pastime.

A craftsperson often rises early with the dawn, including on the weekend days, only breaking for a mid-morning meal and rest – affectionately known in the Antipodes as ‘smoko’.

At this home this certainly rings true. The first hours of morning light are for outdoor pursuits – a spot of gardening, a morning walk, and woodwork – until mid-morning when the springtime sun hits a patch of green in silent consent, signaling the time for rest and nourishment.

The art of preparing and sharing a meal is as old as the craft of working with wood, both commanding a sense of simplicity, slowness, careful arrangement and attention to detail. 

Enjoying a meal made for someone else, for a loved one, is one of life’s greatest pleasures. When you are preparing a meal for someone you know and love, you remember his or her favorite things and relish in watching them devour each bite.

A perfect weekend smoko is a complete meal, a mini degustation, a taste of all good things.

A fresh ruby red grapefruit, juiced by hand, alongside a steaming pot of Earl Grey tea.

A slab of wholemeal bread layered with caramelized onion chutney and sharp cheddar cheese. With a strawberry or two on the side.

A perfect hard-boiled egg and pickled gherkin followed by homemade granola with a fresh, creamy yoghurt and passionfruit topping.

At smoko, the food is at the centre, and a craftsperson is granted permission to refuel and bask in the morning light to prepare for a second stint of laboring into the afternoon hours. 

At smoko, the conversation should be as free flowing and easy as the dappled light on the walls of the house; covering plans for summer canoeing trips, future overseas adventures and rest-of-day activities like a leisurely walk, afternoon of reading and a small siesta.

A perfect springtime smoko is a small reminder. Of simple pleasures, the joy of manual labour and the rest time in between. And a taste – a promise – of shared meals to come.

*Set at the MM's Olinda home, which they move from today - *tears*

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Before Midnight.

I reeeeeeeally cannot wait for this.  I'm going to re-watch Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, of course. Which is your favourite?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Friday on my mind.

Usually I'm pretty chilled about individual days of the week, probably because I work for myself.  I used to have a problem with Mondays but not so much anymore, we've come to co-exist without incident. 

But today, dear Friday has arrived and it's the winter solstice.  And, for some reason, I'm particularly excited about this one.  

It's winter and I dearly love the rain so this season always makes me a bit nutty (in a good way).  But in Melbourne the sun seems to be peeping through the clouds today...golly golly! 

And it's my darling friend Floozie's birthday party this evening.  Who doesn't like a party?  This kid sure loves a party, I wish I could wear mixed stripes and rollerskates to the party.  Actually...

I think I might do some gardening and tend to my worm farm over the next couple of days.  I'm also going to try and sleep in, swim some laps, read the new Kinfolk mag.  I might watch a vintage movie and rearrange my collection of ceramics on the top of my piano.  Winter has also inspired me to dress like a loon so some at-home fashion parades will be just the ticket.  And soup, there shall be soup!

I'm going to have a brilliant weekend.  You try to as well, ok?

A few recent loves...

Leunig muses about happiness on ABC Radio National.
The incomparable Joni Mitchell chatted with CBC Canada
I remembered this beautiful track by cuties The Honey Trees this morning, it's so darn lovely. 

Monday, June 17, 2013


“Go after her. Fuck, don’t sit there and wait for her to call, go after her because that’s what you should do if you love someone, don’t wait for them to give you a sign cause it might never come, don’t let people happen to you, don’t let me happen to you, or her, she’s not a fucking television show or tornado. There are people I might have loved had they gotten on the airplane or run down the street after me or called me up drunk at four in the morning because they need to tell me right now and because they cannot regret this and I always thought I’d be the only one doing crazy things for people who would never give enough of a fuck to do it back or to act like idiots or be entirely vulnerable and honest and making someone fall in love with you is easy and flying 3000 miles on four days notice because you can’t just sit there and do nothing and breathe into telephones is not everyone’s idea of love but it is the way I can recognize it because that is what I do. Go scream it and be with her in meaningful ways because that is beautiful and that is generous and that is what loving someone is, that is raw and that is unguarded, and that is all that is worth anything, really." - Harvey Milk

(inspiration and pic via The Yard)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The National.

The National performed acoustic arrangements of four songs from their new album, Trouble Will Find Me, for an NPR Tiny Desk Concert.  Super swell.