Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Blowing the top off

Best Beloved has long been a keen collector of stories about cults, conspiracies and gullibility. His bookshelves are full of people seeking truth and uncovering lies; my bookshelves are full of people dreaming up stories that push the boundaries of reality and normality -- it pretty much sums up the complete opposites of our personalities.

Last night Media Watch had a segment about Channel Nine's screening of Peter Popoff* and his Miracle Water scam. BB was ecstatic in rediscovering one of his old obsessions. I can't wipe the smile off his face, and first thing this morning he sent me this:

It's pretty amazing, and while BB finds it hilarious, I find it poignant. So much faith, so much hope, and you know they're all just going to go home and find that nothing has changed, they're just a bit more tired and have a badly bruised forehead. And that man, wiping the tears from his eyes! Sigh.

I do like the bit where his wife says 'Can you hear me? If you can't you'll be in trouble...' It blows the top off everything, if only because the playful glee in her voice shows how irreverently they think of their 'business'.

And now he's doing it again. Unbelieveable.

* Popoff is, of course, a delightfully Dahl-ish name for such a scammer. I always laugh extra hard because when Bumblebee was in family daycare, I mentioned one day that he had eaten a lot of lentils, and might fart a bit. His carer pursed her lips prissily and said 'we don't use that word here, dear. We prefer POP-OFF'. Gawd, I laughed like a drain, all the way to work.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

I'm in a bad mood (parp parp parp), I'm feeling low, ow ow ow...

Happiness is finding that a double album of The Lighthouse Keepers is available on e-music.

Sadness is discovering this immediately after using up all my downloads for the month.

They are the soundtrack for a huge bittersweet and multi-coloured chunk of my young adult years. I managed to download Springtime and Bad Mood, that'll have to do for now. I often play them on vinyl anyway, but the thought of carrying them around on my ipod is just too delicious for words.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Leeping over sheep

I make good typos when commenting on people's blogs. I mean, no typo is a GOOD typo, but when they're typos that you can't go in and correct without starting a whole new comment, you might as well make the best of it. I've decided not to go GAH with rage anymore, but to adopt a TimT attitude and play with the mistake. see TimT? You have become a role model, with very little effort on your behalf. (That link to Tim, it makes me snort so hard I scare the cats. Repeatedly.)

I did a beauty at Penthe's blog the other day, and have been thinking about it ever since. I missed the 's' in 'sleeping' and decided that

LEEPing is the reassertion of innocence after a particularly naughty day.

Children, as was the context of that comment, are masters in the art of leeping. Haven't we all had those days when a child (sometimes not your own, one that you're babysitting maybe? Let's be inclusive) is utterly naughty and brat-like, then they go to sleep and look so utterly charming that you forgive them everything and actually look forward to seeing them awake the next day?

I'd like to think that people never grow out of leeping. Obviously some people do, like Hitler and Pol Pot, but isn't every night a chance to reprogram the brain and start the next day fresh? Oh gawd, I'm being overly Pollyanna-ish now. Sorry. But the idea really appeals to me. It's akin to the body healing while you're asleep. I always daydream about the outside of the body shutting down for the night, but all the busy little interior beings waking up for a big night of spit & polish, or manic fat generation. Sigh. Wake up Duckie, time to go make dinner...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Dog of a Show with a Cheshire Cat grin

Megalo, our local gem of a print access studio, is having a lovely little show about dogs at the moment, called Dog of a Show. I went to the opening tonight. I also have a piece in the show. It won third prize. I didn't even know it was a show with prizes! I just thought it was a member's show to raise money for a new press. I came away with a voucher for $50 worth of paper or printmaking materials. I am very happy. I am also gobsmacked. I don't win prizes very often.

I can't show you the piece because I didn't take any photos of it (I finished it JUST before I headed down to Bega, and had to rush it to the Gallery). But I can describe it. I wanted to do something about a cat, just to be contrary. But I thought it would be wrong just to have a cat, so I thought about a dog to go with the cat. And then I thought about cats and dogs for a while. I thought it would be fun to do a linocut of a cat and a dog. So I got a photo of Lucky, the dog we used to own but now belongs to Colonel Duck, and a photo of Mr Padge the cat. Lucky was standing with his back to the camera, and all you can see is his tail, three legs, and his little black bumhole. I cut him out in Photoshop, and made the background black. He's a very white dog, so the contrast was fab. Then I cut Padge out of his photo (he looks rather alarmed, as if he's seen a dog) and put him against a white background. Being a black cat, the contrast was fab. I printed them out, and used them as the basis for drawing up the linocut.

It was a simple idea, white dog on black, black cat on white. But by the time I finished cutting the lino, I just wasn't happy. it just wasn't doing it for me. I still liked the idea, the medium just wasn't right. So I decided to do something else. I ended up drawing Lucky on some stiff black scraperboard (you scrape the black away with a blade, and you get a result much like a wood engraving), and manipulating Padge on screen to make him a bit spooky, then printing him using my inkjet printer onto some white tissue (you have to be careful to stick-tape the tissue to normal bond paper, otherwise it clogs up the printer). Then I stuck one to the other and entered it like that. I called it 'Dichatomy', as a little pun on 'dichotomy' and the French word 'chat' for 'cat'.

And it won a prize! I'm chuffed. Can you tell? There's a lot of really good work in the show, which is why, when I realised they were handing out prizes, it didn't cross my mind that I would get anything. I'm still giggling at inappropriate moments and turning red.

I hope some of you locals go to see the show. Thank you to the staff at Megalo, who work really hard, and thank you to Helen Maxwell, who showed excellent taste as a judge -- I liked her pick of Best in Show, who was Karin Maier. My pick of the show, though, was Katharine Nix's dog sculptures, which you can see if you click the exhibition link above.

Poster printing

OMG they cut their own letters. Love it.

Via the letterpress listserver. If you're interested in letterpress, it's worth joining.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Just one more

funny pictures of cats with captions

This is not what I should be doing tonight. Must... get... back... to... work...

momigami is not a kitty name

funny pictures of cats with captions

Momigami paper is paper, preferably handmade, that has been coated in tapioca starch and dried, and then painstakingly scrunched by hand (or other methods if the sheets are large) until the sheet feels like soft chamois and can be used like cloth. It is very strong. The Japanese aristocracy used to have clothes made from it. I have gorgeous A4 sheets of cream handmade rag paper that I made it when I was a student and we still had a papermaking studio at the art school, and they're in various states of scrunch. It's very beautiful stuff, I'm really enjoying working with it.

If you make your own paper, here's a momigami recipe:

1. Put 1 cup water to 1 dessertspoon tapioca starch powder in a double boiler.
2. Stir while heating gently. Stir until clear; the consistency should be that of light cream.
3. Apply to both sides of your (preferably handmade) paper with a sponge.
4. Crumple paper well, then flatten and let dry.
5. Sit in front of the tv or radio and scrunch the paper again to soften it. The longer you scrunch, the softer the paper will be.

Monday, April 20, 2009

A week's worth of post

Wow, where did that week go?!!

It seems like every time I sit down with the intention of writing, an email arrives asking me to do something, or a real life distraction captures my attention. I think I'm only going to catch up by using the dreaded dot points...

-- Bumblebee was very excited about going to his grandparents last week. He kept himself busy for the ten minutes or so that we were in my (poor, under-utilised studio) with one of his favorite toys, the whiteboard:

yay board

-- And so went to Bega, where I discovered that Colonel Duck's new satellite internet connection is only marginally faster than his old dial-up, except that now their phone line is freed up when they're using the computer. So checking my emails took ages, and I just couldn't be bothered wrestling it to get a post through. So there went my resolution to write something deep and meaningful. Instead, I lost my self in Byatt, various trashy mags and op shops.

-- While in Bega, I persuaded the local museum (a.k.a. my mother) to formally lend me their wonderful trays of woodtype in return for an annual poster:

lotsa wood type

colour type

(If that last photo looks vaguely familiar, it's because when the trays were donated abandoned on their doorstep (as I've mentioned before), I was asked to help them sort it, and I took some photos that with a bit of Photoshoppery became my current blog header!)

The coloured bits are coloured because whomever used them last didn't clean the ink off their surface. Tuh. Still, very pretty, no? Anyway, I got them not a moment too soon, because they were dying in a dusty backroom, wrapped in plastic and going a tad damp and whiffy. Using the type is the best way to keep it alive, and I'm more than happy to use it for the benefit of the museum whenever they ask me to. Goodness, I'm so happy, my heart keeps leaping with joy at the thought of all that woody goodness, saved from a dusty death.

-- And then, still in Bega, I wandered into the Regional Gallery to say hello to Megsy in her bright new shiny job, and was pounced upon by Gallery (and Library) staff who had 'only just been talking about me the day before'! I was asked to give a public talk and a weekend workshop about artists' books and ways to incorporate them into an artistic practice, to coincide with this year's Meroogal Women's Art Prize. Wow, how cool is that! It'll be happening in early June, so if you're interested, I'll mention it again closer to time, or you can contact the Bega Regional Gallery for details (although they haven't been finalised just yet!).

-- STILL in Bega, it was Bumblebee's twelfth birthday on Thursday. I get a little lump in my throat just thinking about it, and impending doom as he hurtles towards his teenage years. He had a lovely birthday, wot with the archery set given to him by Colonel Duck (along with a target fashioned out of an old trampoline) and a long romantic silver velvet cloak given to him by myself and my lovely sister-in-law (from the Folk Festival, of course). He spent the next day or so dressing up and stalking around posing with the bow and long hours at the target, practicing his shooting (and getting better each time!).

The Silver Arrow, close up
Feeling dramatic and romantic...

The Silver Arrow, shooting
...undermined a tad by the green crocs. The day before he'd been in all-black, with black boots and the cloak, and wishing he hadn't cut all his hair off. But I forgot to get out my camera that day :)

The Silver Arrow
Note the target in the background. It was fantastic when he hit the centre, but if he hit the sides things got a bit weird.

He also made his own cake, with the help of Colonel Duck, since all the women had scarpered off to town to talk about important things like wood type.

birthday cake

They had a lot of fun with food colouring. The outside was yellow with myriad colours.

cake slice

The inside, as you can see, was red and green. We invited some friends over with their delightful children to share the cake (and the latest gossip) and discovered that the cake was actually really yummy.

We had more friends over for dinner, making our own pizzas in the home-made pizza oven, washed down with copious amounts of wine, and ended up in fits of laughter while B shot his arrows down the driveway with sparklers attached to the ends of the arrows. Kept him busy, kept us happy, and only one arrow lost in the dark.

-- Back to Canberra, to find that if the house wasn't cleaned very soon, my marriage was going to implode. So Saturday was spent channelling Annie.* The thing I hate about cleaning -- REALLY cleaning, not just giving the place a once-over -- is the fact that when you look hard at something you try not to look at, it grows exponentially. I wanted to vaccuum, for the first time in ages. But I thought I'd better clean the kitchen benches properly, so that if things fell on the floor, I'd get them with the vaccuum. And then I needed to wipe the shelves above the benches, and then I noticed the windowsills, which led to me cleaning the windows. I moved across the benches and picked up the toaster, which meant I had to clean the toaster. Oh, ecetera frigging ecetera. Finally, late in the afternoon, I managed to vaccuum, and then demanded that we go to the movies so that I wouldn't notice any more dirt. There was plenty around, but I knew that if I broke the obsessiveness, I could go back to just walking through the house blissfully NOT seeing.

-- So we went to see Good. And lo, it was good. And put me back into a mind for thinking about things I really WANT to think about, like memory triggers, and the way music can take you places you've forgotten about, or even into books you want to read.

Have I mentioned how much I loved AS Byatt's The Children's Book? Oh, how I loved it, let me count the ways. It's the book I've been wanting to read for a few years now. Stuffed with facts and references to an era that intrigues me, it is nonetheless extremely readable, and very hard to put down. It is set in the thick of the Arts & Crafts movement of the late 19th century in Britain and Germany, and takes you through to the end of WWI, over two generations. She is such a clever puss, she keeps the subject firmly in that time, but evokes such pertinent parallels to Babyboomers and Gen X as she does so. I can't really say more than that, since the book isn't released until next month, but I highly recommend it when you get the chance. I came out of that book in a spell which housecleaning absolutely trashed, and felt that I needed a voice of reason to snap me back into the world. I settled upon a re-read of Helen Garner's The Feel of Steel, which has formed an excellent buffer between Byatt and my next book, Tracy Crisp's Black Dust Dancing -- managed to get a copy today! Hooray!

-- On Sunday we entertained the still glowing newlyweds from Sills Bend, fresh from hanging out with obsessive Regency dancing obsessives. We love entertaining in the morning, it's when your friends are looking their best, all freshly slept and hungry. Best Beloved does a marvellous brunch menu of Eggs Benedict (or Florentine if our guests are vegos) followed by fresh coffee and cranberry crumble muffins (whole cranberries and a sweet crumble topping). It's pretty delicious. Zowen** came too, bringing as an offering an amazing mushroom/tofu baked dish with a zingy relish. Food heaven. Then I gave Laura & Dorian a tour of my still sadly-neglected studio, and then we went and mocked a lot of portraits for a while, which was excellent fun. I haven't had so much fun in a gallery since Fluffy and I mocked a whole heap of steel engravings in Melbourne a few years ago. Dorian decided not to take his faux top hat home with him (he would have had to wear it on the plane) and donated it to Bumblebee's hat collection, which made my young'un very happy, and it was in fact used today for his holiday learn-to-be-a-clown workshop.

-- And finally, there's only weeks to go until the opening of my bookbinding exhibition at Craft ACT. All the books are pouring in; I gave a pretty early deadline because I knew there would be stragglers, but also because I wanted to see the work properly before I started writing the room brochure essay for the show, and now we'll be able to install slowly and carefully. So I've been getting lots of exciting parcels, like this one:

parcel thonging

Bugger brown paper packages tied up with string; this one was wrapped in softly shining gold paper, and then a package tied up with soft leather thonging! very lush, and indicative of the gorgeous book within. I'll save that for a future post, when I can showcase some of the books together. How excitement!

When I first put the exhibition idea together, I fully planned to not only include the edition binding of Poems to Hold or Let Go, but also to create my own individual binding. But time and opportunity have rushed past, and I resigned myself to just being the 'provider' of the book, rather than a contributor in my own right. But the other day I unearthed a box of materials that I'd stashed, and came upon a stack of beautiful momigami paper that I'd made as a student. WIZZ! went my mind, and now I'm determined to make a special binding of my own. I think I've nutted it out; I'll document my progress and show you when it's done. And when I do, I'll tell you what momigami paper is. But for now, I'm posted out, and you've probably had enough too! Good night!

* Evoking the spirit of my late Grandmother, who was a dedicated and obsessive cleaner.

** The easiest way I know to say Zoe and Owen and their two sprogs.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

love a self-aware LOLcat

funny pictures of cats with captions

One more for my cat capshun collection

(and I can't resist this one, a day or so too late:

funny pictures of cats with captions)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Just a cupful of mulled wine makes the music go down, the music go down...

Last night I drank a number of mulled wines and thoroughly enjoyed a Martin Pearson concert where he'd had a fair (possibly equal) lashing of red wine. He was ace, especially the songs where he didn't close his eyes, especially the one about Japanese whaling in which the audience contribution ends with the screamed line "HACK HACK HACK!!!"

It's been a great Easter.

We had an Easter carrot hunt with a niece and nephew, and it was very funny: I'd found these chocolate carrots (this branch of the family are vegetarians) and when I unwrapped them I found that they were attached to little umbrella-like handles. So I hung them from all the trees in the garden, then scattered a few eggs on the ground. It's amazing how people never look up, and they looked for a fair while before the bright orange caught someone's eye -- then the hunt was on for real.

carrot tree

With the festival, I think I saw pretty much everything I wanted to see, plus a few things more. Pick of the festival for me was Pugsley Buzzard, who doesn't play bluegrass but was recommended to me by someone whose taste in art and music I trust implicitly, and I wasn't disappointed. I bought his CD, which I'm yet to play. I also bought CDs by Bluestone Junction (fab bluegrass) and Liz Frencham's latest, comprising duets with her favorite singers. Lots of good listening coming my way.

The bluegrass harmony singing workshop was tops, thanks for asking. It was packed to the rafters with people who didn't really want to learn about harmony singing (we're a very knowledgeable crowd, on the whole), but were very happy to have a huge, joyous singalong of huge, joyous gospel songs. Very satisfying.

I caught up with lots of good mates, and even a blog lurker, who isn't really a lurker, since we've talked by email and online and she has her own blog, but it was nice that she approached me and introduced herself (as I was hiding away amongst the clothes of the family's Wild Chilli stall, deep inside the pages of A.S. Byatt's The Children's Story Book, which is really as good as Bernice says it is -- so far).

I also got to Studio Duck every morning, worked on some prints and read through a few more old sketchbooks trying to raise ideas for a solo show I foolishly promised to mount in August. Tomorrow I have a troupe of big burlies coming over to check out how much equipment I want moved to the studio (printing press, standing press, paper drawers, typecases full of type, etc = LOTS OF HEAVY STUFF) and quote me for the move. This part of the move into the studio is taking longer than I expected, but this is a good, positive step towards full ownership of the space, and hopefully I'll be operational before too long. Huzzar!

Bumblebee returns tomorrow from Easter with his pater, and we are going to have an early birthday dinner before he and I travel down to the Bega valley to spend his real birthday (Thursday) with his grandparents. He has requested lasagne for his dinner, something I have cooked often and BB never; I don't have time tomorrow but Best Beloved does, since he's taking the day off work, so I'm looking forward to seeing him worry over the technicalities of cheese sauce and fresh pasta (he doesn't EVER take the easy path when cooking). I'll stay away until I have to be at the table, otherwise I'll get snapped at. He won't be so much as re-inventing the wheel as working on a wheel after reading every technical manual available. Heh.

OK, time to go to bed with A.S. Byatt and a big slab of left-over chocolate. Easter isn't completely over yet...

Saturday, April 11, 2009

People watching: the hat

Sitting in my studio, looking through old sketchbooks, and came across this on the back page of one:

I was walking behind a man who was walking along a path across a stretch of lawn. The path was a groove worn by countless students short-cutting across the rectangle of grass. About halfway along, the path became muddy and slightly slippery. The man was neatly dressed with a hat. As he felt the ground become less stable, he raised his hand to his hat, and he slowed down. He lifted his hat a couple of inches up over his head and trod very carefully until the ground was less slippery.

1 June 1999

-- Post From My iPhone

Friday, April 10, 2009

The National Folk Festival, 2009

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that not a single person at a folk festival can walk in a straight line. During the day this is because there are children to lunge after, or a hand-made organic fairy-wing stall to meander towards, and in the evening it is because of the vast quantities of stout or mulled wine consumed. I managed to walk from one end of the festival (from the Troubadour mulled wine bar) to the other (the Mary Poppins tribute heats at the Fitzroy pavilion) without spilling a drop of my hot red cupful, and considered it a miracle, mitigated by the fact that it was only my first cupful.

NFF moth

Sigh! another Canberra Autumn, another folk festival. This year I am determined to spend my mornings at my studio, hopefully working on wood engravings (I did this morning!) and the rest of the day at the festival. Usually it is hard to decide what to see when gigs conflict. This year I have decided to follow my bluegrass heart, and see things that I know are either bluegrass, or bluegrass-influenced. Plus the tribute concerts, which are a great way to sample a wide variety of festival acts. So far the stand-out tribute performer has been Anita GEORGE (sorry, got her name wrong for a day or so), who did a smokin', sassy, completely sexual blues rendition of A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down. Phwoar.

Tonight I caught a blackboard performance of Dev'lish Mary, four gorgeous women with talent to burn who are all in other bands but do this on the side when they get the chance. Tomorrow, once I've been to the studio (I know I keep saying this: it's for my benefit, not yours. I have to make sure I actually do it), I'm hoping to attend a bluegrass harmony workshop.

It rained a bit today, and it's meant to rain again later in the weekend. I don't think it's going to put anyone off. It's going to be an ace festival.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

just putting something here for when I start the data projector :)

funny pictures of cats with captions

Another blues song day

Was woken up this morning,
By the feel of kitty feet --
I'd slept right through their breakfast,
They wanted stinky meat...

So they stomped,
And they moooaaaanned...
And they moooaaaanned...
And they stomped,

So I got up.

Sigh. I thought this week was going to be a doddle, especially with Easter at the end of it, but it's just getting crazier and crazier.

After I fed the kitties and let them out, I got a text message to remind me that I was supposed to be speaking to a group of Professional Practices students after work about how my artistic practice is informed or enhanced by my interaction on the internet. Ooh, yikes, I'd forgotten about that... and I have family coming for dinner! Ay yay yay.

Anyhoo, remembering that I have to do that means I've been sitting here all morning in between running after students (I'm also standing in for our normal printmaking technical officer while she's off in China, lucky lady), trying to muster my thoughts about you and I. 'You' being, yes, all of you, and all the wonderful experiences we've shared.

And I'm feeling guilty, because I haven't shared much more in the last XX number of months than jolly personal stuff and excuses for being busy. No lyrical waxings about the joy of using my hands in my making processes, or how much I dislike the cover of the new Steve Carroll book, or where I'm up to with my latest fine press book and its satellite exhibition... and for that, I apologise. I'm going to make a resolution here and now to write something decent at least once a week, and by that I mean 'professionally relevant'.

Next week I'm going to spend a few days in Bega with Colonel & Lady Duck (Bega readers, this is probably the only notice you'll get before I get there!), so I might spend some time then making a meaningful connection between a keyboard and my brain. I'm making this promise because that's connected to something I'm going to talk about this afternoon to a room full of glazed end-of-day eyes: one of the reasons why I blog is a desperate attempt to force myself into action, because if I tell people I'm going to do something enough times, I sort of have to do it. It doesn't always work, but it works more than fails, so I persevere.

Here's another thing I'm going to say out loud so that it happens: I'm going to have a good Easter break. It's going to be my mantra over the next few crazy days...

Oh -- and if you happen to read this today, and have anything constructive to add to my thoughts about internet enhancement of artistic practices, leave a comment!

PS: and after all that, I forgot to add this link to a blogpost by Jeff Peachey that I absolutely adore, read when it was first mounted, forgot about, and have now rediscovered. And have remembered to add. yay! As you were.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Blogmeet of the century

Lightning trips by plane are always fun (as long as they don't get hit by lightning, a distinct possibility on Friday thanks to the freaky Melbourne storm) because they are so much like one of my favorite book genres, Portal Fiction.

Falling down rabbit holes, walking through a wardrobe of fur coats, discovering that a weird door in your bathroom leads straight into Pride and Prejudice, catching a large metal bird and finding yourself in a completely different city less than an hour later, what's the difference?

At the other end, a short drive into the city, was a tall 5-star hotel where we slept on the 47th floor overlooking (quite literally) half of Melbourne (thanks to a last-minute bargain via Zoe's cousin). Whisked to a Brunswick pub, we encountered a host of bloggers in a scenario not far removed from the Mad Hatter's Tea Party, presided over by Nabakov, who kept wickedly filling my wine glass every time I turned my head, so that it seemed to be magically self-filling, and I lost track of reality.

The next morning wasn't quite so magical. Our hotel deal included a lavish breakfast buffet that I couldn't even look at, let alone smell. Zoe managed a number of helpings, while I tried some fruit and something bready and then ran to hoik it all up again in the sink of what Nabakov had promised would be the most spectacular toilets in Melbourne. They were. The view, when I could look up from my chunks, was marvellous. Luckily no-one walked in on me as I admired it, doubled up and retching. I wasn't such a good sight.

The day did, fortunately, get a lot better. I managed not to lose my stomach lining on the train, and we met up with the lovely View from Elsewhere coming off the same train at our destination. She'd been up the front, and we the back, and we joined forces, all slightly head-sore (she'd been at the blogmeet too), to walk the long way around to the wedding.

Walking into Sills Bend the Second (a lovely retro house on the inner outskirts of Melbourne) was like walking into a fairyland: interesting people, lovely objects, and an atmosphere of general jollity and excitement. Laura and Dorian had spent much time in the garden, making it perfect for the event, and had sweated the smallest details: there was bunting hoisted around, small neat triangles of colourful patterned fabrics flapping jauntily in the breeze, there were gorgeous cushions scattered on the grass and retaining walls for folks to sit on. I was very grateful for the opportunity to sit through the ceremony, as you can imagine. I was also quite close to the ceremony, so I'm probably in many of the photos people took. Unfortunate, but ok, to answer Laura's request for permission...

If you click that link I just inserted, you'll also see better photos of the happy couple than I managed to take. Someone mentioned in the comments of that post that
It was [a] textbook how-to-have-a-wedding-that-actually-meant-something, you know, in these troubled times.

confetti / dress

And I agree. I have had two unusual weddings of my own, both of which were fantastic, and I know how much effort goes into making them unconventional. You have to not only struggle against the wedding each set of parents (and impending in-laws) want you to have, but you actually have to wrangle the celebrant away from the attitude that they know best just because it's their job and they do it every weekend. Watching both sets of parents at this particular wedding, I don't think L&D had much of a struggle (having been together long enough to have proof that nothing on this day would be 'normal'), but they did, I know, have to be firm with their celebrant. And he learned, and grew, just as my two celebrants did. He admitted as much during the ceremony.

It was so worth it. The poetry they read was meaningful, not platitudinous, and unusual. I was pleased to discover that reading 'Ithaka' by C.P. Cavafy doesn't evoke torrential rain, as it did when I read it at a friend's wedding years ago. The other poems all revolved around being in love while using public transport. The vows were sincere, provoking tears from nearly everyone.

The couple looked amazing, the (kitty) bridesmaids were nowhere to be found until much later in the afternoon, but the chooks were very happy, crawwwwwing to themselves amidst many admirers:

chooks @ sills bend

For the halibut, here's a happy shot of their wedding feast:

Our wedding feast was delicious, catered by Asylum Seeker Resource Centre Catering. Amazing vegetarian finger food and such friendly service, they made the day really wonderful.

Laura and Dorian had rearranged their house (and probably stashed a lot of stuff under the house) to make a number of social areas for the wedding horde. Bloggers attending soon found nooks to gather, and we had a lovely time either getting acquainted or re-acquainting ourselves with each other's physical appearances. It never ceases to amaze me how strange it is to see someone whose inner workings you know so well. In the case of Pavlov's Cat, I had an overwhelming sense of familiarity, something I really wasn't expecting, and felt quite happy about. I forgot to mention to her how I haven't stopped giggling about the treadmill cats, they haunt me at odd moments of the day. Well, now you know, Pav, thanks.

I didn't, thankfully, make a fool of myself, something I am wont to do -- at least I don't think I did. I didn't drink any alcohol, which decreases the chance of my usual foot-in-mouth issue, and not once did I call the day a 'funeral', something I often do (and did all through my first wedding, ominously). I did succumb to my habitual urge to take photos of feet, as you can see above. And TimT and I had a wonderful time playing with the origami squares and pipe-cleaners thoughtfully laid out for children like us.

By the end of the day the bloggers outnumbered the family, and we stayed and stayed, forcing L & D to open some of their presents, talking and talking and talking, and admiring the cats when they finally showed their beautifully collared necks.

Zoe and I finally went off to the house of a friend of mine (M) who conveniently lives one suburb away from the nuptuals; we stopped at a petrol station so that M could get petrol, and a beautifully lubricated Zoe wandered in to buy something while we waited. Five minutes later she came out, and the (white-haired, initially grump-looking) man behind the desk waved at us with gusto as we drove off. In that short time, she'd ascertained that he was being left by his wife, he has two children and she was a complete cow because he was so lovely. This morning she remembered none of it, not even the petrol station itself. And it was her turn to not want a lot of breakfast :)

The flight back, once we got to it (M doesn't do freeways, which was a bit painful for Zoe's head), was uneventful, but that journey back through the portal is always a bit sadder and quieter than the way in. Suddenly I was hurled back into routine, picking up child from father, preparing my class for tomorrow (on altered books). Sigh, back to normal. But all the better for having witnessed such an important, loving and life-affirming day.

I'd like to thank Tiger airways for being so cheap, Melbourne bloggers for being so hospitable, and Laura for issuing us with a golden ticket to magic-land. It was a wonderful weekend, and I wish them a happy marriage for ever and ever. They don't really need the wishes, they themselves are pieces of magic.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Blog meeting

So here I am, sitting in The Standard just off Brunswick Street, sitting at a table with a number of bloggers. Despite the huge storm today (that delayed our plan by two hours), there is no rain, and there is a ginger cat that prowls the pub and wood everyone. Auspicious signs for the wedding tomorrow.

I have, as you may be able to tell, quaffed a lot of verdello, compliments of Nabakov.

More soon!

-- Post From My iPhone

this weekend should be plenty of heaps exciting*

I'm downing tools to run away with Zoe to Melbourne for a weekend. The main purpose is to attend the lace-collared-kitty-&-chook-bedecked nuptuals at Sills Bend, but it will be nice to not rush between computer and educational facility for a couple of days.

I haven't spent a lot of time thinking about going away; I find at the moment that I am thinking coherently in 'chunks' of no more than four or five days ahead. I packed my bag thoroughly last night, but in the hour or so I have left before catching a lift to the airport, I will repack, as we are flying on an uber-cheap Tiger plane, trying to avoid paying extras like checked luggage, and I need to keep my wardrobe light and compact, not an easy thing to do when Melbourne is threatening four seasons in one weekend as usual.

I also haven't thought about social engagements; as a consequence I am allowing myself to float in Zoe's wash as she eagerly churns to various blogmeets that have been put together over the last few weeks. If you are in Melbourne, and are keen to join in, feel free to message me later today (contact number here) to find out which pub we're at for the majority of tonight. We're starting at one, moving to another, and ending up for dinner goodness knows where. As I said, flotsam, me. Or am I jetsam? go here.

For what it's worth, Braidwood, Two Fires, last weekend, was great. I was on a Small Publishers panel with the sweet and articulate Alice Gage (Ampersand magazine, you know, the funky one with the Penguin tribute cover), the serious Stephen Mathews (print-on-demand guru, Ginninderra Press) and the personable Rob Riel (another print-on-demand guru, especially with poetry, as in Wagtail) and the whole lot of us were presided over by Finlay Lloyd publisher and artist Phil Day.

I felt a bit like I was in one of those Sesame Street clips that sing one of these things is not like the others. All the others were digital or off-set print publishers, fraught with commercial pressures, hell-bent upon getting new writing out there, everywhere, in an attractive and affordable manner. I, on the other hand, put out small editions, hand-crafted, with a vague eye to making money (something I have to address very soon) but focusing more on the object than the accessibility. However, the more we talked, the more we had in common. For example, Rob Riel has a similar interest to mine, of looking at Australia's poetic history, and rifling through the dross to find gems to republish. He now has a series of poetry reprints called Art Box, reproducing what he considers to be good out-of-print volumes. Is he creating a canon? I hope so, to some extent. I don't think Australia has one for poetry apart from Lawson-Paterson-Gilmore-insert names here-big gap-Wright-Murray :)

We talked a wee bit about design, a lot about accessibility, more about the Future of The Book, had some healthy interjections and questions from the audience, and I got to poke Phil with a stick a little bit, a beloved hobby of mine for years now because he takes it so well (we used to go to art school at the same time).

We also got to spend some time in the Braidwood Book and Print Room a not-to-be-missed experience for anyone who loves eclectic books, fab prints and works on paper, and a gorgeous setting. This is a bookshop that doesn't care that it lives in a small country town; it has a distinctly European sensibility and doesn't stock anything you'd expect to find. It's very easy to find: as you're travelling through the Braidwood town centre on the way to the coast/Batemans Bay, you turn left onto the highway, and not far along on your right is a blue house and a sign saying 'bookshop'. Enjoy.

Ooh, I'd better go and have some lunch and finish packing. Hopefully there'll be a bit of liveblogging happening throughout the weekend, maybe some twittering. Have a nice whatever you're doing, too. Plenty heaps of excitement, hopefully.

* A phrase I picked up on TripleJ on the way home from the Aged Poet's house today. I'd had enough words, wanted some music. But five minutes of whichever dumbed-down girlie DJ was on shift today made me switch off. I love JJJ music, hate the perceived need to sound like a dumb illiterate Aussie, which seems to be standard Yoof Rad'o policy these days. GAH.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Oh yay

"Mum, you'll be happy to know I'm not playing Michael Jackson today"

[Opening bars of Hall & Oates' Maneater start up]

oh, yay.

Sorry. that's all I've got in me at the moment. Lots to tell you about, especially on the Two Fires Festival, but no time. Maybe I'll get to it later today, but so far my dance card is full. up.