Sunday, April 02, 2006

Socialising on a chilly Autumn afternoon (namedrop alert :) )


Two weeks ago I was sweating in my sandals and today I'm freezing in my socks and jumper, with an overnight low of 2 degrees and my big thick doona back on the bed.

I rode my bike past the ABC Studios at around 11 this morning and the digital thingy said it was 12 degrees. I drove back past it at 7pm and it still said 12 degrees. I love feeling cold. I get so much ENERGY!

I've been working very hard, creating student notes on letterpress printing so that I can teach some workshops this week. The old notes I inherited were based on a semester-long course which included the finer points of typography and fine printing. Since my students have been allotted all of 3 hours to get up to scratch on how to set and print type, I have produced notes which are a bit more up-to-date, focussing mainly on how not to fuck things up while the students try and work out what to do in their own time. Basics like how to set up your type block, how to carry said block over to the press without dropping it on the floor and how to not crush it with the rollers while printing. Also how to tie up your type afterwards so that it doesn't get scattered throughout everyone else's work and the big exhortation to PLEASE PUT YOUR TYPE BACK IN THE DRAWERS WHEN YOU"VE FINISHED WITH IT! I mean that. I have backlogged type to put away that is at least ten years old. Sigh.

Anyway, today I finished my notes and then went to a party with my two boys, big and small. I thought I'd share this with you:

This is Bumblebee, sitting on an antique chair, surrounded by Charles Blackman drawings, at a soiree at Barbara Blackman's house to celebrate her 4th year of living in Canberra (and loving it). He's just oblivious to his surroundings, playing Lego Star Wars on his gameboy.

gameboy culture 2

This is a while later. Same game, different spot in the room. In this shot you can see the party through the doors. Geez, I make that boy suffer. Admittedly he was the only child in the house, but there were lots of interested people talking to him and plenty of cake to eat. The lady through the door with pink hair is Barbara. She recently dyed her hair and was wearing it in a wild style that was a part beehive at the top of her head. It was a deliciously wicked hairstyle and made me think of one of the bad fairies in a ballet production of Sleeping Beauty.

The table they are sitting at fascinates me. It is a big slab of marble on props, and she has secreted little things in the various holes under the table: rocks of various textures, shells, ocean-smoothed glass. Barbara is blind, and while her house looks normal (apart from being filled with fabulous paintings worth a house each), there are surprising little 'moments' throughout it. This table has been with Barbara for a long time, and she chuckles quite often at how many tales it could tell. It's had an amazing array of artists and writers sit at it. These days the sitters are not as illustrious, but they are all interesting, and quite often eccentric and very amusing.

Barbara is a friend of Best Beloved's family (mainly through his brother), and he tends to her the same way I tend to my Aged Poet. We really enjoy helping our 'Old Ladies', as we call them affectionately. They are as different in personality as chalk and cheese, but both are important cultural figures, and we learn a lot from them, which for my part, really feeds into my work. BB helps Barbara with her archives, and gets to do fun things like reading her late mother's letters back to her (those letters were/are a favorite of Barry Humphreys; he based many monologues on them). Also, BB often has to describe paintings to Barbara, something I find hilarious because he is profoundly colourblind!

I took these photos today as yet another chapter in my album of the amazing life Bumblebee is having. He gets to hang out with some cool people. One day he'll appreciate it, I hope! I certainly do...

No comments: