Saturday, July 30, 2011

Terribly arty-farty

On Tuesday night, we joined Lorraine E. to wander through the Rick Amor opening at Niagara Galleries in Punt Road. There was a very arty-farty audience, but the paintings were good, ranging from a starting price of 22,000 (dollars) to a top of 100,000. We didn't get out our chequebooks.

On Wednesday, Noel T. joined us for the Victorian Opera Albert Herring. It was well played and sung, though the production didn't ever find an appropriate style. It was the same problem as the Malthouse Threepenny Opera, though in this case why have a fairly gloomy set for such a sunny opera (albeit with undertones). The music was very enjoyable though.

Friday was P.'s day off so we went to the National Gallery (St Kilda Road) for the Viennese exhibition, which is full of treasures, especially some of the Werkstatte teasets which are superb. The paintings aren't bad either. Unfortunately, the exhibition is a bit short on sociological detail (where did the money come from for example or who was Jewish). Overall, a very worthwhile show. Also, not to be missed, is the selection of colonial prints and drawings way upstairs. It is a splendid and illuminating collection of some of the earliest white Australian depictions of the country.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Archibald and other things

On Saturday, P. and I did a quick market shop at the Convent and got lots of goodies, including a curried scallop pie and rack off lamb, then picked up Drew the Wagon and headed for Tarrawarra Art Gallery for the Archibald Prize. To our surprise, on arrival, they had opened a large car park near the entrance to cope with the large number of people. Luckily, we were waved through to the top, as I had to do a dialysis change while we were there, in the car park. This was the second time I've done this at Tarrawarra and it worked a treat. The exhibition was a bit disappointing. The winner (Ben Quilty's of Margaret Olley) deserved to win but many of the others were simple photorealist efforts which said very little. Skilful but dull.

We then went on to Healesville where we had a splendid lunch at Innocent Bystander. I had oysters, then yellowfin sushi and pate and Pierre had a rather good spicy pork and buffalo mozzarella pizza.

Back home, I have continued to plough through the vast poetry book and have just received the latest version of vol. 2 of an autobiography. No rest for the wicked.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Social Studio Dinner

Last night, P. and I joined Lorraine E. for the 'African night' at the Social Studio in Smith Street. Unfortunately, we were the only customers, as the other booking was a no-show. However, they turned on a very impressive Ethiopian banquet for us, including the coffee ceremony (the coffee was excellent as were the African curries). At $30 a head, plus corkage (it's BYO) it was excellent value and the staff were very hospitable.

The whole enterprise is a recycling fashion manufacturing place for refugees, with the cafe and shop as add-ons. I hope they do better business at lunch times as they deserve it.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Cough cough, splutter splutter

This last week has been preoccupied with a bad cold/flu. Coincidentally, I had to visit the doctor for blood test results, so she gave me antibiotics, 'just in case'. They seem to have done their stuff and cleared me up substantially. I'm off today for a CT scan of the chest, 'just in case'. She also put me on Vitamin D pills as my count was low. As Noel said, everyone in Melbourne has low vitamin D in winter, as there's no sun.

Speaking of Noel, P. and I went there for dinner on Sunday with Michelle and Stephen. Noel had cooked an enormous turkey in southern style with succotash. It was delicious. His show went over well in London and Ipswich, and he has been invited back as well as to Vancouver next year.

Feeling much better for all that, we went on Monday night to the Magnormous production of Hello Dolly, or a partially staged concert performance. It was good fun and a good reminder of last year's Sondheim triptych. This year they did a Jerry Herman triptych, but this was the only one we went to. Lots of Friends of Dorothy in the audience. Trying to find time in all the medical saga to finish checking the poet's short stories and rearrange the big poetry book.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Dad's birthday

Phew! Finally finished the huge poetry book and the author has followed up with not one, but two other projects. I'll discuss them with him on Monday.

Meanwhile, after the Farmers Market, we went off with Dad and Helen to Mr Price's Food Store in North Melbourne for lunch with Sal (who organised it), Jo, Julie and Ian. Mr Price's is a kind of restaurant, but more like eating at Gary Price's house. He has a limited menu made from what he got at the market in the morning, and when something runs out, it runs out. The veal stock soup I had was a kind of minestrone and was delicious, then I had chicken with a white shitake sauce. The chicken was very tender and tasty. He finished off with a chocolate birthday cake. Because the place is so small, just a shopfront, it is quiet and very pleasant, like being in a home dining room. Gary only does lunch, but is well worth a try.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Quiet Sunday

It's been quite cold in Abbotsford, so it's a battle between keeping the fire going and getting supplies of wood. On Sunday, we did the crossword and only ventured out to go to the 3MBS book and record fair at the nearby Convent. We were modest in our spending, considering what gems were on offer: a few CDs, mainly Ravel and Saint-Saens and a biography of Noel Counihan by Bernard Smith were the main purchases. However, we've swelled the coffers of 3MBS by a bit anyway.

Our roll of pork from the butcher in Nicholson Street, Fitzroy was delicious, roasted with a good range of vegetables. Tonight, it's soto ayam, done the slightly cheating way, with real stock but with chicken breast rather than a whole chook. It smells gorgeous nonetheless. All good winter food. Meanwhile, P. has made some luscious beetroot relish to have with hamburgers. Coming up soon.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

A bit of a turn

On Wednesday, I popped over to see George P. in Diane the Yaris. George is fine though nearly bored to death in the 'special care facility'. However, he is writing away and seems in moderately good spirits in the circumstances.

In the evening, P. and I went to Turns, a show with Nancye Hayes and Reg Livermore, in a mother/son relationship which was far from healthy. It was close to being two monologues (which is how it originated) and was a very good chance to see two old troupers strut their stuff, which is very impressive indeed. The show lacked the bite of Livermore's earlier one-'man' shows and could have done with more songs, but it is possibly his last hurrah, according to a radio interview, and was definitely worth seeing.

The rest of the week was spent on the poetry book, and shopping on Saturday was very normal, except that we brunched, or really lunched, at Charcoal Lane, and their two-course lunch was splendid. I had oysters with lemon myrtle, and P. had a mushroom smoked mix which looked very exotic, then he had fish with heritage vegies, and I had kanga tartare, both of which were tasty indeed.