Sunday, November 29, 2015

Quiet Saturday

P. and I picked up Delila and did normal shopping, as well as coffee and copy paper (recycled of course). In the early evening, Frank joined up for a visit to Noel T. for dinner, delicious roast pork with crackling. Now we're in for a quiet Sunday as well.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Well occupied morning

Yesterday (Friday), I had to get up at 6am in order to get to the Melbourne Hospital by 8am for a CT scan. At the pathology service, the vampires inserting the cannula were efficient and painfree as usual. Then I had the scan to check out what Genie (my nephrologist) thinks is an ulcer on my tongue, acquired who knows how. Then I joined P. at ANAM in South Melbourne for a concert led by Anthony Marwood, director and violonist and guest faculty. A variety of ANAM students made up the ensembles for three works: 'A Soldier's Tale', by Stravinsky, the suite, not the opera, Shostakovich's favourite piano quintet in G minor, then the less well known Ernest Chausson's Concert in D major for violin, string quartet and piano. It was a wonderful concert for the middle of the day, followed by brunch near the South Melbourne market. Home again for a rest after all this activity which made me miss the new biographer (we'll catch up on Monday, I hope). Leftover beef rendang for dinner was delicious.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Frankie and Johnny and Dino

On Tuesday night, P. and I had a quick vera bolognese at home then went to 45downstairs to see 'Frankie and Johnny in the clair de lune', a play from 1989 by Terrence McNally. Performed by Kate Kendall and Damien Richardson, directed by Colette Mann, it was a very well done play with fine and gripping performances. Whether, in the end, it amounted to a hill of beans is debatable but it was certainly absorbing and suited the intimacy of 45downstairs pretending to be a NY apartment. Another big plus for the venue. Last night, we struggled in peak-hour traffic in the bus to get to Hares and Hyenas for the launch of Dino Hodge's collection: 'Colouring the Rainbow: blak, queer and trans perspectives'. Nearly every old gay and lesbian activist crowded into the uncomfortable venue (God, we suffer for our art) to hear a Bardi singer, two contributors, the editor (Hodge) and Marcia Langton, the launcher all go on at not too much length. I'm looking forward to reading the book which is, as Langton said, ground breaking. Afterwards, P. and I went to the Town Hall Hotel for a quick and good meal.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Night Music

P. and I and Uncle Tom Cobbley and all went today to 'A Little Night Music' at the Melbourne Recital Centre, presented by the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, this time directed by Lerida Delbridge. They had just returned from a fortnight's tour around Victoria presenting works by Boccherini, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Buc and Holst, with two solos by cellist Michael Dahlenburg. The concert was surprisingly fresh, having been performed so many times, and, though it was mostly very familiar pieces, had an energy which was amazing. Beforehand, P., Robin, Elaine and I had a good lunch at Blondie.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Shopping etc.

Very boring. Today P. and I did the shopping instead of on Friday (as P. had a U3A film). After the mall, we walked to Rita's after dropping Delila off and had a delicious brunch. Fish for dinner tonight from Fish Pier at the Mall. Nuff said.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Joe Hill

After a couple of days finishing off the Australian story collection and the book review, P. and I went to Trades Hall tonight to a commemoration for the centenary of Joe Hill. As well as a get-together for old lefties, there was a song by the Trades Union choir ('I thought I saw Joe Hill last night'), then a screening of the rediscovered Bo Widerborg film about Joe Hill, not a doco but a dramatisation which was a wonderful film. Thanks to Teresa P. for organising the evening which was very moving.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Molto musica

This morning, Frank, P. and I went to the Recital Centre for the last Coffee Concert for Musica Viva for the year. It was the Dean brothers plus Stephen Emmerson on piano in the unusual combo, Dean Emmerson, Dean (viola, piano, clarinet). The program centred around the work of Schumann and included arrangements, tributes (including one from Brahms, another from the modern Martin Bresnick). It was a very satisfying and well-thought-out concert. In the early evening, P. and I went back to the Recital Centre Studio for the last Ludivico's band concert for the year with Sally Anne Russell. It was a portrait of music at the time of the hapless Charles I (who taught monarchs ever after a lesson). Again, a very well-thought-out program of varied works for period instruments. We followed with a meal at Blondie who seemed to have run out of a lot of things for early in the week, but the food was satisfying nonetheless.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

A bit tuckered out

On Friday, P., Frank and I did normal shopping in Delila then lunched at the revamped Town Hall Hotel in Johnston Street. We tried the bar menu which also included the bistro menu. We had a reasonable lunch though not surprising. Frank's hamburger was a bit more like meatloaf than a pattie. On Saturday, Frank and I went to the Collingwood Historical Society walk this time in east Clifton Hill. It was as well prepared and organised as always, with some surprises for us. We hadn't heard about the infamous Lettsom Raid on Goulburn-area Aboriginal people near the Merri Creek. There was much more information about the Yarra Bend Asylum, including the revelation that in its heyday Melbourne was per capita the maddest city in the world (probably still is). The Asylum was showered with the stench of the large abbatoirs across the Merri, another revelation about their size, scope and pollution. We continued along Ramsden Street having left the picturesque creek (which was a wasteland about thirty years ago). Some gems included the old Ramsden house and the reminiscences of Jessie Lynch on the front verandah of a house she has lived in for all of her 82 years. However, having watched the exhausting 'No Country for Old Men' last night then stayed up late finishing a book review which is overdue, I am now exhausted and won't make the Gloriana concert this arvo which I was looking forward to. At least that will give me more time to make the soto ayam.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Bali retrospective

Yesterday morning, P. and I picked up Angus the Wagon, then Noel T. and went to the McLelland Gallery near Frankston for their exhibition of Bali paintings and objets from the 1930s onwards. Australian and Balinese artists were represented, some of the better known being Friend, Whiteley and Fairweather, but all the artworks were of good quality and roused a desire to go back to Bali in spite of it being overcrowded. We had a good light lunch in the cafe, then headed home.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

City of Angels

Tonight, P., Frank and I went to the Arts Centre where we had a quick snackette at their foyer eatery then went to 'City of Angels' at the Playhouse, presented by the Life Like Company. The show opened on Broadway in 1989 but has not had an Australian professional production to date. It's written by Larry Gelbart with music by Cy Coleman and lyrics by David Zippel. The idea of the show is fairly post-modern with about half being about a scriptwriter (ex-novelist) working in Hollywood (in full colour) and the script of the show he is writing about, a film noir (in black and white). The whole idea is a bit post-modern but doesn't dwell on that too much. Some of the actors had a bit of a scramble changing from full colour to black-and-white. One woman did it in bed on stage. A fairly rollicking score and a (not-too) wise-cracking script made for a good show, well designed and presented. Music direction from Kellie Dickerson was especially fine as were the performances. All in all a very good experience. May they do more.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Deadly sins and others

On Thursday, P. and I picked up Delila and went to Heidelberg to see George P. who is doing well at Liberty Parade, and seemed livelier than last time. We then did a couple of errands: pills from the Health Centre and coffee, essential drugs. On Friday, we caught up with the shopping at the Mall, then in the evening had a pre-theatre meal with Frank at Deck at Southbank which wasn't bad. We then went to the Victorian Opera sort of end-of-year panto for the completing students from their collaboration with Dream Large's Conservatorium. Unfortunately, funding for this training program for young opera singers has run out so won't be continued. The show consisted of a piece which issued a deadly sin for each of Australia's 'major' cities; Melbourne's was greed in a tribute to John Wren. The composers were Julian Langdon, Mark Viggiani, Jessica Wells and Ian Whitney, who made a good fist of the brief and no doubt enjoyed the rare treat of writing for a full orchestra. In the second half, Meow Meow starred in the Brecht/Weill 'Die Sieben Todsunden' which had a full-blooded performance. Sadly, the music rather outshone the first half efforts which were not half bad but couldn't match up to Weill's brilliance. All of the performances were good and, though in good voice, the shorter male singers are going to look a bit odd in the future in romantic roles with the more statuesque women singers.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015


I've been working away the last couple of days on the two story collections (one local and one Chinese) and the Chinese one is now finished. Roast chicken (P.) on Monday night and gnocchi gorgonzola last night (me) with strawberry and blueberry icecream. The Melbourne Cup passed without notice except that we had bubbly with the gnocchi as recommended by the Donnini's Pasta cookbook.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Soto and Mackerel

Yesterday, I slept most of the day and it seemed to have worked as I feel much better today and even did a bit of work on the Chinese short stories. I rested with dinner as we had leftover soto ayam which was quite good though. Same restful day again today after the shonky crossword (one mistake I think; we'll see with the solution next week). I suspect I feel better because P. made yummy scrambled eggs with smoked salmon for lunch with horseradish sauce. Tonight, he is making a lentil salad to go with the spanish mackerel. It sounds delicious, not to mention SO good for you. Kit has been having some 'me' time in Melbourne while Ben is at his gaming conference/exhibition. Any minute now they'll be winging their way back to Sydney in the clouds.