Friday, August 28, 2015

This Latin Heart

Last night, P. and I went to the Recital Centre and had a very good meal at Blondie followed by an early concert in the Murdoch Hall. The Grigoryan brothers teamed their two guitars with Jose Carbo, baritone, for a set of Spanish language songs and some Brazilian guitar pieces. There was a lot of magnificent Piazziolla, finishing with a stirring rendition of 'Granada' by Agustin Lara. I arrived home to find a new government job had arrived, so I'm going to be busy.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Working away

The last few days have been spent working away, proofing the large novel. I'm nearly halfway through (or nearly finished Book 1). I should finish checking it today and send it to the author for approval of the changes. When I get it back, I'll print it out and proof it again. In the meantime, I'll get on with Book 2. For food, P. cooked a superb Stephanie beef burgundy, which made two meals. The leftover fish balls made another meal and tonight we'll have beer battered flathead. So, back to work.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Busy Saturday

Yesterday, P. and I started the day with the Convent Slow Food Market where we picked up lots of goodies for the larder including beef for beef burgundy and its associated streaky bacon, gnocchi (for gnocchi gorgonzola), leeks for leek and potato soup and the usual good quality milk. Then we picked up Delila and went to Victoria Gardens for the rest of the shopping. Then off to Backstreet Eating for lunch with Julie and Ian (my sister and brother-in-law) to view some of the slides of their Top End trip and as well Dad's estate. In the evening, P. and I went to South Melbourne for a good Thai meal near the Town Hall, then a wonderful concert 'American Bustle'. It was directed Lisa Moore, an Australian living in New York. There were two works for six grand pianos which are fairly rare, one very mesmerising one by Steve Reich and the other by Michael Gordon (one of the founders of Bang on a Can). Other pieces were 'My Twentieth Century' by Martin Bresnick which was a sextet including spoken word by all of the players, and John Adams 'Hallelujah Junction' for two pianos where Moore and piano faculty member, Timothy Young, gave a bravura performance. It was a concert which featured relatively modern repertoire. Moore thanked Yamaha for supplying the extra pianos and tuning them for the week.

Friday, August 21, 2015

New job and Artspeak

Yesterday, I started on a new job, proofing a very large novel which is being published in China. I am NOT proofing the Chinese version but the English version which will be published in a small edition by the Chinese. I suspect I will be the last port of call on this so I'd better get it right. Last night, P. and I had a good quick meal at Yoyogi then went to the Malthouse for 'A Social Service', a very good, short play (70 minutes) about art projects in high-rise flats being used as a trojan horse for commercial developments. It was a well-written, well-performed piece, though I doubt I learned anything I didn't already know. The sendup of artspeak was very entertaining though. This morning, P. has gone to the U3A film screening, while I am working away.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Wintring away

I had a very quiet weekend and Monday, though P. went to an oral history workshop on Sunday in South Melbourne which he says was very good with a knowledgeable leader. Today (Tuesday) I went off to see Eugenia the nephrologist who said the results from the vampires were all good, and so were the tests post-pneumonia. She altered my medication slightly and I left pleased, picking up some quiches from Parisienne Pate in Lygon Street for lunch. In the evening, P. and I went to the Recital Centre for Ludovico's Band, always reliable. This concert included works by Monteverdi, Purcell, Handel, Locke, Lully, Johnson and Banister. The band were joined by soprano Janet Todd and tenor Brenton Spiteri who contributed the excellent vocals. It was a wonderful concert of varied elements from masques and early operas. A packed-out audience was delighted, though I thought it was a shame there were not more younger people. We then had an after-concert dinner at Fatto, where we hadn't been for a while. It was quiet as there was nothing on at Hamer Hall and we had a good meal.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Off to the Yarra Valley

On Tuesday, P. and I went off in Delila through Yarra Glen to Tarrawarra Gallery. There was a good exhibition, mainly from their own collection, of Australian Modernists curated by Edmund Capon. There wasn't a lot of coherence about the paintings shown but they were mostly worth seeing. It would have been better calling it Tarrawarra's greatest hits. There were very few illuminating juxtapositions or matchings though placing Howard Arkley's houses near Joanna Lamb's paintings did show up an interesting comparison. We then headed to Healesville for lunch at the always good Innocent Bystander, then went to Badger Creek Weir picnic area, which was empty except for the ranger and saw a number of wild birds, mainly parrots. We checked into the Healesville Hotel where we had a good dinner, though the main course serves, or mine at least, of delicious corned beef and mash, was far too big. P.'s pork belly was more manageable and let him have dessert as well. In the morning, after the excellent hotel breakfast, we went to the Healesville Sanctuary. We were the first to arrive and as it was a day with occasional light drizzle, it stayed fairly deserted except for the odd tourist or school group. The parrots and lyrebird were splendid and we spied a helmeted honyeater and an orange-bellied parrot or two, which don't really count as they were in captivity. One of the staff also showed us a cute pygmy possum. We trotted off home to more soto ayam. This morning, we did normal shopping and brunched very nicely at the Bluebird Cafe who are not afraid to serve spicy food.

Monday, August 10, 2015

John Cale

Last night, after a lazy Sunday, P. and I went to John Cale and guests in 'Signal to Noise'. It was part of the Supersense Festival at the Arts Centre. After a snackette in the foyer eatery, as the concert was at 6.30pm, we found that the theatre was full of mostly (but not all) older folk like us. Sadly, John Cale obviously does not have a producer saying things like, 'Lighten up, John' or 'That one's going on a bit long.' As I expected, the video background was fatuous, though some audience members were conned by it and Cale's lyrics were banal and predictable (I played a game of trying to predict them and got around two out of three). However, the music was mostly good, and so were the support players especially the doo-wa girls (two of which were men) and the band players (brass and strings). We went home for a late dinner of soto ayam.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Movie and music

On Thursday, P. and I went to the Asia Centre for a screening of 'Fallout', a film about Neville Shute and 'On the Beach' and the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was the first screening of the film in Australia with Japanese subtitles. There were lots of Japanese people there to see it on the anniversary of the bomb being dropped on Hiroshima. The film made abundantly clear that it was dropped to SEE WHAT HAPPENED, not to end WWII. One of the producers was there to answer questions. Afterwards, we had a good, quick meal at Tiamo. Normal shopping followed on Friday with Frank, followed by lunch at Backstreet Eating, a pleasant return to an old favourite. In the evening, we had the salmon from the mall fish-shop which P. cooked with homemade Stephanie tartare sauce. It was Farmers' Market at the Farm on Saturday, followed by an MSO concert, an all-Russian affair, though the first item was Ripser-corsets-off's 'Capriccio Espagnol', an ersatz Spanish piece which is nonetheless quite charming. Tchaikovsky's number one piano concerto was next, which starts and finishes well but is fairly humdrum in between. The soloist, Macedonian-born Simon Trpceski, was excellent. The prize was Scriabin's symphony no. 3 'The Divine Poem'. The orchestra has only played it once before, probably because it requires 18 brass players. It was a spirited performance. Conductor Vasily Petrenko was described by the woman next to us as 'conducting with every fibre of his body'. Perhaps, but maybe she just fancied him. In the evening, we had the rolled turkey from the market which was delicious.

Thursday, August 06, 2015


Last night (Wednesday), P., Frank and I went to the Recital Centre to see Syzygy Ensemble present five modern works for ensemble. Works by Haas, Wesley-Smith, Berg and Maxwell-Davies were a delight as were the enthusiastic and intelligent performances. Afterwards, we headed to Lonsdale Street for dinner and had a good Japanese (not Yoyogi).

Monday, August 03, 2015

Busy, busy, busy

On Friday, P., Frank and I did normal shopping at Victoria Gardens, then, after returning Delila to her pod in Palmer Street, walked through to Gipps Street to Le Bon Ton at the old Glasshouse Hotel. It's the latest in a trend to US-style eateries offering barbecue, cajun etc. The food here was good. I had crab cakes with chili chips while P. and Frank had varieties of hamburgers which looked very good. I rounded off with some banana pie, though the others settled for coffee. In the evening, P. and I went to the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, after a cheap-and-cheerful at Yoyogi. The program was mainly baroque with THREE triple concerti for three violins by Vivaldi, Finn Olli Mustonen, and the old Johan Sebastian. The soloists were Iona Tache, Kristian Winther and for each concerto a different member of the ensemble, Caroline Hopson, Anne-Marie Johnson and Katherine Lukey. Other pieces by Scarlatti and Bach made up the program. Because of our Sunday lunch, we had transferred from the Recital Centre concert to Feb Square Edge, quite a good venue for a concert like this. The MCO even provided cushions for subscribers. On Saturday, we got ready for the Liz Kelly Memorial Lunch on Sunday. The usual suspects appeared bearing loads of food (we're still eating the leftovers). We had a good four-hour lunch with an innovation: Elizabethan-style roundels on political themes in honour of Liz. We obviously have political influence because we bagged Bronwyn B. and the same day she resigned. We ate onion and rosemary fritatta, gado gado (with a fiery sauce), lemon tart, lemon cake and lots of cheese and nibblies. Plump little lunchers. Ann de Hugard gave us all a copy of her full-colour leaflet of her writings on refugees. It is very good, but sadly won't have the same effect (at least immediately) of our bagging of Bishop.