Tuesday, August 30, 2005

rebellion (lies)/the arcade fire

I always gravitate towards songs that have a sense of urgency about them, a great momentum. A feeling that they are rushing forward so fast they could fall apart at any moment. 'Rebellion (Lies)" by The Arcade Fire is one of those. The singer has one of those strangely sweet and childlike voices. Their songs have such a great mood to them. Probably why I like them so much.

I'm in a quandry about the book I am reading at the moment; "Mao's Last Dancer" by Li Cunxin. I don't want to let go of it, though it is having trouble maintaining my full attention. I find myself in the middle of a page thinking about what things I need to do first at work tomorrow, not actually taking in the words as my eyes scan across them. So I go back and start reading from where I remember fading out.

I really thought I was enjoying the story. I think I really like the guy telling it. I just can't stay into it and it bugs me that I can't work out why. How do you decide whether to abandon a book or not? I have a backlog of books waiting - begging to be read. Yet I'm too far into it to stop now...

Thursday, August 25, 2005

spiralling/antony & the johnsons

Fern Street, March 2001

I am in love with Antony. His voice is the most ethereal, wonderful, melancholy yet full of hope voice I have heard. Unbelievably expressive. It's indescribable. I love that. I am completely stuck on his latest album 'I Am A Bird Now'. That and Dirty Projectors 'Slaves' Graves & Ballads'.

My hours changed this week. I now work 9 to 5 (changed from 8 to 4.30). I was weirding out on Monday morning because on top of the change in work hours, my sleep hours appear to have changed during the last ten days as well. I wake, completely wake, in the wee hours with no chance of doing the whole check the clock - 'yay, two more hours to sleeeeep!' - roll over - back to sleep - thing. I am completely awake. So I'm finding I have a couple of hours to fill before heading off to work. I guess that's why I'm writing this now.

The last few mornings I've filled by taking my usual walk to Cleveland Point and, when I'm ready for work, turning on the computer, checking my email, checking out my flickr contacts and scanning some of my polaroid and instax photos onto my computer. Scanners are cool.

I was telling a friend about this 'spare time in the morning' phenomona and she suggested I find a hobby to fill it. This may be it. I am also thinking of making photo collage postcards out of my photos now that I have this scanner /printer (which was an early Christmas/birthday/Christmas/birthday gift from my parents, bless them). I'll keep you posted... get it... POSTed, as in POSTcard. Yeah, never said I was funny in the mornings.

In mentioning the change in working hours, it is with increasing irritation that I find '9 to 5' permeating my thoughts every morning without fail while in the shower. Yep, the Dolly Parton song from that kooky little movie starring the most fabulous Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda and Dolly Parton. The worse part is that I know very few words of it...

Sunday, August 21, 2005

a cup of tea

I have developed quite a habit recently. Late at night when I can't sleep.

I like to make a cup of tea.

In my pajamas with my deliciously warm blue 'Grover' (or 'Cookie Monster' or any blue Muppet) jumper made for me by Carly. I stand quietly listening to the kettle boil. Under the dull, warm oven light. I pop a tea bag in my only cup and saucer set which was a gift from a beautiful friend. And I have a cup of tea. And I think.

Whenever I have a cup of tea there are a few things I can't avoid thinking about. The best thing about this is that all the things that I can't avoid thinking about when I have a cup of tea are either funny or family oriented. Which is partly why, I believe, I can curl back into bed and doze off 'til morning.

I think of my Dad. He drinks tea. All kinds of tea. Lots of tea. Rarely is the tiny table next to his recliner chair or his computer desk at home devoid of his teapot and cup. Rarely is the air never filled with Dad calling out, "you guys want a cup of tea?".

I think of my Grandma Gebert. You would think that there was no other room in that old house other than the kitchen. It is where we all gather and end up staying. It was as though we orbited the kettle. It would be boiled many, many times and boxes of different types of tea passed around and chosen. It is where Grandpa sat in his old wooden and blue leather chair in the prime spot of the kitchen. His chair was opposite where Grandma would sit on a red stool next to the kitchen sink and oversee everything. Where we grandkids (and I'm sure some adults) would wait for the moment Grandma opened up a jar of Chico Babies or Kool Mints or Mint Leaves and offered them to us. Or when she would get a Collins Street Bakery cake tin out of the cupboard and hug the tin as she took off the lid to reveal her delicious Anzac biscuits or a homemade fruitcake. Better still her going into the cupboard in the sleep-out and revealing a box of her home made chocolates.

I think of my Grandma and Grandpa Birch. Always tea, coffee and biscuits or bun or cake. The difference here was that - now - I'm allowed to make the tea or coffee for everybody. An incident of any kind at Grandma and Grandpa's place was never lived down. At a Christmas dinner when I was little I knocked over a container. The container was holding beetroot in all its juicy glory. Don't think for a minute that it doesn't still come up when I visit. The incident that nearly had me banned from making coffee or tea for the family? I was making coffee for my aunt and uncle and cousin. Quite happily finding my way around Grandma's little kitchen. My cousin has sugar in his coffee. So I look around the shelves remembering that little yellow Tupperware container with the little flippy lid she used for the sugar. There it is! I grab it and, as requested, scoop two heaped teaspoons of sugar into his coffee. I pop the little yellow container back on the shelf and hand out the drinks. My cousin takes a big mouthful and without moving the mug from his lips looks up at me with a look of "umm...". He puts the mug on the table, runs outside and spits it out. Meanwhile, everyone is asking him what's wrong, including me and he says,"It tastes disgusting!" My uncle picks up the mug, sniffs it, takes a sip and states "It's got salt instead of sugar!" So, of course they all start laughing at my poor cousin and me and Grandma starts shouting "What did you put in his coffee? Where did you get the sugar from?" So I point out the little yellow container to which Grandma replies by opening the pantry and pointing to a shelf with the exact same little yellow container sitting on it, "THAT'S the sugar!!! You put SALT in his coffee!!" By that time, uncle, aunt and cousin are laughing their heads off and I am quite naturally fending off their teasing. To this day, if I ever make them coffee or tea, there tend to be little gibes like "one sugar thanks... that's SUGAR, not SALT." Chuckle, chuckle.

I think of the wonderful people of England. They are forever having cups of tea. Just thinking about having a cup of tea my brain says "cuppa tea, love?" in a thick Londoner accent. I love that.

I think of French and Saunders. They do a hilarious parody of an apparently existential, depressing Swedish film by Ingmar Bergman which I haven't seen but would love to in order to make comparisons, and in part of it Dawn utters with frustration at Jennifer:

"Listen! I am trying to cope with the presence of God and the universal human experience and I haven't even had a cup of tea yet!"

Always makes me giggle.

Time for a cup of tea now.