Saturday, December 31, 2005

The Woodford Files: 2

Ok. Speedposting... less than 15 minutes to write and upload on a very slow internet cafe server.

Apologies to Zoe, she hasn'y seen Eric Bibb live. but if it's any consolation, I only saw him the once. Of his three concerts, I skipped the first, thinking there were plenty of opportunities, saw the second, and then had the third ripped out from under me by an unannounced rescheduling. Meant to be at 2, went on at 11. GAH! Pig people. Anyway, small mercies I caught the first one.

Finished my workshops and had much acclamation, to my joy. Apparently there are great workshops being run by uptight people. I am not uptight and don't care if my class wants to make something I hadn't planned. This is apparently a great skill. Helps to have no set materials list! I love the look on someone's face when they make a book. It's wonderful.

Didn't get a chance to make any kind of Ampersand Duck t-shirt or apron so no one has seen my little logo yet. Maybe next year, when I've conquered the (bookarts) world. Mwah-ha-ha-haaaaaaa.

Highlight update:

-- Martin Pearson doing a fantastic reading from Seamus Heaney's translation of Beowulf, accompanied by two celtic musicians, nancy Kerr and James Fagan. He read an excerpt up to the death of Grendel. I'm sorry he didn't include Grendel's mother, a character I've loved in a hatey sort of way since childhood. Proof that every baddy has a mother that loves them. Martin said he might do that another time! Hooray!

-- Bewland's Bluegrass Circus. Bluegrass! Circus! Very good circus! Excellent bluegrass! Included a wild version of "The Devil goes Down to Georgia". Heaven!

-- Misinterpretato, a three-piece jazz combo who just play up a mellow storm.

I'm finally on holiday, my first day with non-work-related thoughts for over two months. Drinking and lolling starts now.

Hold that thought. Happy New Year. See you next year.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Woodford Files: 1

Hello from extremely hot and sunny Woodford Folk Festival, nestled in the hills of south-east Queensland. I finally found the internet café, and also the leisure to spend $8 on half an hour of blog-fix. Hooray!

Fuck it is HOT here, in every sense of the word. The kind of sticky, sweaty heat that make you drink gallons and you only need to go to the toilet once all day. I went to the toilet a short while ago, mopped myself off with some toilet paper whilst sitting there, and realised on my way out that I was flaking small bits of soggy bog roll off my neck as I walked. Eek! Mind you, of course no-one noticed. There are far weirder things to gawk at.

I taught my first batch of visual art workshops on Tuesday. (It's Thursday today, I have to keep reminding myself! NO sense of time here. The only reason I need to remember is that I’m teaching another batch tomorrow.) Went swimmingly, except for one small glitch – they forgot to order my materials! Or they did order them but nothing arrived. Or some such excuse. GAH! Luckily I am a very resourceful person, and managed to teach both a workshop in printmaking and one on simple bookbinding with very rudimentary materials. And the students were great. They didn't care that there were no water-based printing inks! They used the oil-based ones with gay abandon, and made terrific prints, which we then bound into star concertina books. They walked away toxicly (!) filthy, but very happy. I hope the 'cleaner' inks arrive by tomorrow!

Highlights of the festival for me so far:

- Eric Bibb (sorry, really no time for link-making, will do a picture gallery when I get home in a few weeks). The man is … oh, no words. Graceful, smooth, gorgeous, fun, GOD. Zoe will be green reading this. But she’s seen him live before, so now we’re even.

- people watching. When I'm not at shows or teaching, I’m helping with my brother-in-law's stall, selling hats and silk clothes (Never Give Up stall). Lots of people watching. Bikinis are the new black. So are cowboy hats. Especially with bikinis. There are costumes everywhere, and people of all shapes & sizes. People are strange.

- the storm last night. Thunder, lightning, rain! All over by brekkie, tamped the dust down, and gave a brief glorious coolness that has, alas, gone.

- Emma Dean, one of the Kate Miller-Heidke (sp?) band members, who is brilliant in her own right. If she had a cd I’d buy it.

No time left! Hate timed sessions. Back again another day. Hope you’re all having a great time. Oh, and nobody here misses Kerry. It’s a bit 'Ding Dong the witch is dead'-ish in the streets. But who would expect otherwise? :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Harpy Crossmast

Duckie, originally uploaded by Ampersand Duck.

Well, I'm out of here for at least a week. Woodford has an internet cafe, so once I'm settled in I'll try to give a reasonably live account like I did last year.

In the meantime, have a pain-free and jolly Xmas.

paper byrd songs

Thought I'd just post a few shots of byrd's advertising intervention artist book that I bought the other day. Taken with my camera, not flat-scanned, so a bit clunky, but you get the idea. If you want one (it's an edition of about 8 I think), hang out on byrd's site and drop him a comment or an email.

Last day before we leave for Queensland and I'm running out of packing time! Nice to sit down for a few minutes and play with html. Deep breaths. Feel like one of these creatures is lurking behind a corner waiting for me, ready to jump out and say 'Time's Up!'


Mr Padge thought he needed to be in as well. Since Mr Pooter got all the fun yesterday, here he is:

Time's up!

Monday, December 19, 2005

The ghost of Christmas early

The best thing about having Christmas Day on a different day is that there's none of that extraneous gumph around. Down at t'farm on Saturday we had a marvellous Christmas Day, with all the right ingredients:

-- child waking up at dawn's crack and squealing about presents, waking us all up as well
-- light breakfast in bed, listening to a radio refreshingly free of cloying carols
-- getting dressed in nice clothes, breaking open the champagne and the Santa hat and opening presents
-- playing with/reading the back of/ taking photos of said presents until lunchtime
-- sitting around the dining table with best china etc eating prawns, oysters, fresh Atlantic Salmon, ham, salads, adn drinking lashings of nice wine
-- lying bloated on the couch in front of the tv and having a nap
-- entertaining beloved guests in the evening until you all fall over from exhaustion.

The shops were open for those last-minute emergencies, there were no horrid tv presenters offering us feel-good Christmas stories, and no Queen's massage. We missed out on our traditional swim at Tathra Beach because it was frigging freezing -- we were all in long sleeves all day!

So it felt like the real thing, and now I find myself wondering why everyone else is rushing around looking frazzled. Admittedly I'm also frazzled, but not by Christmas. I'm trying to get my head around my Woodford art workshops. We're leaving on Wednesday, heading North, and I've only just started getting my head in the right space. Eeek!

My present haul was excellent this year. I got all the things I asked for (Clare Bowditch CD, boxed set of Black Books DVDs, Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones) plus a few surprising extras (B-52s CD, DVD of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, a juicer). Mr Pooter and Mr Padge got a set of mini-boules. I can't wait to set up a boule-playing cat photo. They gave each of us a pair of socks, separately wrapped -- left foot from Pooter, right foot from Padge. Very cute.

The cats were very happy at the farm, and Mr Pooter developed a fascination for the internal stairs between the upper and lower floors of the house. I had to stop him from trying to slide down the bannister a number of times:

Friday, December 16, 2005

Missing in Action

red roses 2, originally uploaded by Ampersand Duck.

It's a brutal time, this Christmas season. I'm off for my first Christmas Day, at my parent's place tomorrow. Taking the cats for a country weekend, which is always amusing.

Probably won't be near the computer for a few days, so here's my wish for everyone's weekend:

Red Roses (above),
Red Wine
Red wine and...
red hot sex

Speaks for itself, doesn't it?

Ciao for now.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Christmas Event Number 3458629038547, only 3848394 to go

Just been hanging out at byrd's booty-tique. Had a DOH! moment when I realised I'd forgotten my camera. Never mind. Look at his website, and what you see is what we saw, except for all the bits on walls. I bought part of an edition which is a bit like an advertising intervention -- he's taken one of those tabloid advertising liftouts, about A1 in size, and sprayed bits of graffiti through the pages. My favorite is the centre spread, with a very cool-looking male model, and a equally vapid female looking opposite ways, with a demonic skater skeletal figure bursting through the centre of them. Oh, for a scanner! That will be my first infrastructure purchase for 2006.

A lot of admiration for my Orange Pelorian Cat bag. It's been going lots of places with me (including to dinner with a famous acronym in Bathurst), but nowhere so appreciated as among a crowd of people enjoying the funky street art. Have I mentioned how much I love that bag? The pocket holds my mobile and clip-on sunnies, and the rest holds EVERYTHING. I'm having a week of being grateful. Today the gratitude goes south to Laura.

Feeling happy because I had my last day at the art school today in my present incarnation. Hopefully in the next few months I will be reborn into a better life. Chatted to a Very Important Person Who Has a Lot of Sway today and he lifted my spirits immeasureably. So much so that I had the energy to brave the shops again and have got all my presents except one. And I know exactly where that one can be bought. Not quite time for that big deep breath but getting damn close. Hold that thought.

Oh -- and absolute turn-up Brownie Points to Dean, who not only came to the meet the other day, but rolled up to byrd's today and as a reward got to meet one of the Coalition of Sedition dudes. Onya Dean!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

remember to breathe

redroses, originally uploaded by Ampersand Duck.

These red roses are for Zoe, because she gave me Aerial by Kate Bush.

Who knows who wrote that song of Summer
That blackbirds sing at dusk
This is a song of colour
Where sands sing in crimson, red and rust
Then climb into bed and turn to dust

I played it on repeat while doing some letterpress printing today, an experimental piece about the colour red for an exhibition in Redcliffe, Qld, next year. That album is a wonderful thing to print/think/get creative to.

We went up to the top of the highest hill and stopped

It was just so beautiful
It was just so beautiful
It was just so beautiful

This is where the shadows come to play twixt the day
And night
Dancing and skipping
Along a chink of light
Somewhere in between
The waxing and the waning wave
Somewhere in between
What the song and silence say
Somewhere in between

I heart Zoe.

Bored Tuesday

You Are Japanese Food

Strange yet delicious.
Contrary to popular belief, you're not always eaten raw.

Thanks to Kate for this one. I love doing weird tests on Tuesdays. Try this one:

You Are Prancer

You are the perfect reindeer, with perfect hooves and perfect flying form.

Why You're Naughty: Because you're Santa's pet, and you won't let anyone show you up.

Why You're Nice: You have the softest fur and the sweetest carrot breath.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Oh to be a child...

tattoo, originally uploaded by Ampersand Duck.

Check out the cool tat on Bumblebee's back. He got it in a showbag years ago, and I found it under a pile of papers when I was trying to clean up my deep litter style office today.

In retrospect I should have put it on his front, because he can't really see how cool it looks apart from the photos I took. But it does look better on his back. It's a lovely, smooth, child-skin back, and the bird is gorgeously glossy (at least until it starts cracking and flaking off!). It should impress his friends tomorrow at school. It impresses me.

He's playing with some of our Mighty Max Collection. He and I have been collecting Mighty Max toys for ages. They are the most imaginatively designed toys I've ever seen, and if you can find them with the miniature figurines intact they are hours of ghoulish fun. They are spin-off toys for an awful, awful American cartoon that only lasted one season, and the toys are waaay better than the original concept. We find a lot on ebay, but there's always something lurking at the local trash'n'treasure market.

Bumblebee and I had an exhibition at the art school about 18 months ago, in the library showcase. It features fun collections inbetween serious student shows, and we put everything up, with proper labels. It looked terrific. In fact, I might hunt out a few photos from that time and add them here:

Mighty Max Skullmaster box
Mighty Max Skullmaster box. You can see the real thing in the picture above. They have comic strips on the box to show you the sort of action Max is getting into!

Mighty Max Squishes Fly
"Mighty Max Squishes Fly." The titles of the toys are always descriptors, not names.

Mighty Max himself
This is Mighty Max himself. He's about 2 cm tall, and his feet make a particular shape. This is so that everytime you see a double footprint in the toy, Max can fit into it. The fun is looking for the footprints.

Lava Monster
This is a Lava Monster, and everything about him can be a vehicle or a weapon or a hiding place or a secret laboratory. See the two other figure at the front? MM tries to be educational as well -- Max time-travels with a Viking Warrior (Norman) and a weird little yoda-like figure called Virgil. They meet baddies in places like ancient Egypt and the jungles of the Amazon. We're making up a story where they meet Dr Who.

Dragon island
"Dragon Island", with it's own bomb-carrying dragon (go figure), a life-raft and various hideaways. you can aso see it in the first photo with Bumblebee.

Finally, Bumblebee in his best granny-knitted jumper, in the winter of 2004, checking out his first ever public exhibition.

Site du Jour

Well, thank goodness someone's doing something in Canberra. It's been all too quiet recently.

Oh, BTW, byrd's having an exhibition on Wednesday if anyone's interested in groovy paintings on car panels and other random bits of modern urban material.

Wed 6pm at 41 Hawdon St, Ainslie. Worth a look, and will probably be reasonably priced too. Whatever he doesn't sell has to be carted to Brisbane on the weekend, so he'd be grateful if they could go to good homes.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

In the Park!

1. OMG! So much fun at Eleesa's party!* LOL! After we put streamers all over the trees and got the stereo blasting, Milica put up the games! LOL! Jazmin had drawn a fully sick picture of Hilary Duff and while we listened to Kelly Clarkson we took turns trying to pin a medal on Hilary, blindfolded… LOL! :)


Then we sat on the castle and checked out how many cute guys were in the area. :) Lots riding by on bikes! Kaysahn thought we could lie across the path but Annabelle said that idea sucked. There was a cute guy sitting under a tree having a picnic with some older friends, and when he started sword fighting with some of the kids we knew he was posing for us! LOL!!!! :)


Nalinda and Tegan kept going down to the lake to talk about the way Brayden stole Kayla from Declan, but when they got back we put on some dance music and stood in a circle and danced a bit. LOL!! Then we wound it down with some Missy and lay on the grass yakking about all the goss. It was an exxy day. :) We never wanted it to end. :(

2. Text from TJ: Trees down everywhere and the place is deserted! I text back soothingly: I'm almost there!

It did look a bit ominous when Bumblebee and I arrived, but that was because there were trees down everywhere from the storm last week and the place was deserted apart from a couple of young teenage girls with a portable stereo. TJ was lying under a tree trying successfully to look nonchalant. Then suddenly people started appearing –- 14 y-o girls (squealing and posing like self-conscious supermodels), people walking or riding past (we peered at each one suspiciously), and the occasional arrival of another blogger.

It wasn't a big blogmeet, but it was fun. Rolecall was TJ, myself, Dean, and Crit with a flying visit from non-blogger but general nice guy Foo.

NEWSFLASH: Bloggers spotted lolling in park

We talked about many things, including shaving legs in the dark, can you wear thongs to confirmations, and the funny things test-i-cley do. We watched the teenage birthday party with keen blogger's eyes, and ate and drank some wonderful things, including an enormous pomegranate.
This was a bonding experience, all sucking and spitting pomegranate seeds whilst nattering

Snaps to TJ for most of the exotic food.

D'arcy and Bumblebee acquired two new friends in the castle who came with a vigilant Nana. So we opened the champagne and relaxed, knowing that Nana was on duty.
Then they went home, and Dean took over. Dean had never been to the Castle before, after gawd knows how many years he's lived in Canberra. He was rapt. It is pretty cool, with tunnels and walls to climb and nooks and crannies galore for hide'n'seek.
The Castle
Dean (left) and Bumblebee (right) play hide'n'seek at the castle

Dean has earned my vote in the Australian Blogging Awards for a new category called Best Children's Entertainer. D'arcy and Bumblebee were in raptures, having an adult not only play with them, but have real sword fights on a stone castle with them! [The fact that there was a gaggle of nubile teenage girls nearby meant nothing, I'm sure.] [Really. I know you just loved playing with the kids.] [I mean that. You were ACE.] [You’re on Bumblebee's list of favorite adults, and will be for YEARS.]
Dean and Bumblebee spar while TJ takes a photo and I take a photo of her taking a photo... self-referential bloggers!

I only intended to stay for a couple of hours, but ended up there for a lot longer. It was exxy.

*all names taken from yesterday's Canberra Times Birth & Deaths column.

Friday, December 09, 2005


As I'm typing this with one hand I am on hold to Telstra.

For about four fricking years I have been getting a monthly bill for 5c. I've tried to pay it, to no avail! It's not like I care a whit about Telstra, it's just that a lot of probably very nice trees are dying for a lost cause here.

Today (as if I didn't have enough to do) I decided to tackle it again. I'm regretting that impulse.

First contact was the recorded voice saying, 'If you know what your call is about, please say it clearly now'.
I said, 'A STUPID BILL!'
The voice paused, and replied, 'That would probably be Accounts and Enquiries. If that is correct, please say Yes clearly.'

Next time I'll say something ruder. They're obviously prepared for it.

I'm still on hold. Mohammed (to his credit he didn't call himself Wayne or Bluey) is having a complete computer meltdown trying to transfer the 5 cents from my closed landline account to my active mobile account.

It's time someone wrote a revised Dante's Descent into Hell. I'm in one of the outer circles right now.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

A hair-raising tale

I've been thinking about a haircut for a while now. I have very straight, very thin hair. It likes to just be itself, and resists flippery.

My mother hated her straight hair, which I think was a hang-up from the generation before, who still spend every waking moment in curlers and have perms every few weeks. So I suffered from Teenage Perm Syndrome until I learnt to love my lack of curl. During my twenties I had long straight red hair. Durng my mid-thirties I have had mostly long straight black hair, occasionally with quirks like blonde ends or grey roots. I've been keeping it a fairly dark red-brown lately, trying to avoid the scariness of the grey roots. My aim is to have a very very short cut in my forties and purge myself of the need to colour. It will take a level of bravery akin to when I grew out my fringe and aired the Scary Brow to the world. I get taken a lot more seriously without a fringe. My wrinkles look serious too.

Anyway, until today I looked a bit like this

and I could do this

and this

and this

and this

You get the idea [only quick sketches, my nose and chin are not as perky as that! Fun though, a bit like playing with a Barbie head in Photoshop].

But every few years a girl likes a change. I went into a hairdresser at lunchtime on a whim, one of those no-wait places. Made sure the girl kept my ponytail so I can add it to my samples-of-past haircolour collection, and let her cut upwards. Nothing amazing, but I did get a shock towards the end...

I had my glasses off, and she'd put the usual black plastic cape around my shoulders, and with my myopic eyes I looked at myself in the mirror. GAH! my inner voice said. HOLY CRAP!

I'd gone from this to this!

Then the hairdresser did a bit of a blow-dry and I put my glasses on, and I looked like a nice, harmless, fluffy duck. Phew! Don't want to be taken THAT seriously.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Hearty reminder for ACT Bloggers' Meet

This Saturday, 10th December, 12.30pm onwards (I'll stay for a couple of hours, anyway... can't speak for others) at the Castle playground in Commonwealth Park.

Easiest park is off Constitution Ave, turning in at the lights next to the CIT. Park, walk through the tunnel into Commonwealth Park, and turn right and walk towards civic. You'll find yourself walking past a big stone playcastle.

Look for something vaguely piratey on or near a picnic blanket. It'll be me and probably the delectable Ms Teejmahal, since crazybrave Zoe has been unfortunately doublebooked and won't be making an appearance (still, 2/3 broads ain't bad!)

If the weather is wet, we'll raincheck until someone can be arsed organising something else.

BYO anything you want to ingest. Kids welcome. Especially big ones.


Revolving Swonnicles

I made a comment in the last post, but realised I should post it, as I might get a better response. It's about that little clip I linked, with the singing test-i-cley

I found the actual post it belongs to fascinating -- the only other man to mention revolving testicles in my consciousness is Spike Milligan, and most of the time you think he made that sort of stuff up to get a laugh.

I know that film clip is sped up, but do testicles really do that? How often? How fast?

My man is travelling around Australia this week, so I can't ask him until he gets back -- not the sort of thing you ask on the phone! So come on, all you men of my [virtual] acquaintance, 'fess up. You probably hear female plumbing stories all the time. Give me some male plumbing deets.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Boring Tuesday #2

Dear Blogspot
Next time you have a day off, could it not be a Tuesday? I really need to vent between menial jobs! Going off soon after arriving at work, and coming back on air just before hometime is just teasing.

Any hoo, this is what I collected along the day:

1. Now here’s a fun tale of blogging woes…

Here at the art school, when you graduate, you put up your graduating work in one big exhibition throughout the school. A few days before the opening, we have Patrons' Day, when people and businesses who sponsor scholarships and funding programs get to wander around and have first dibs on what they want to buy or bestow awards upon. Then a few days later the big exhibition opens with a awards ceremony, and speeches and everyone walks around happy or sad or, as is usual with art school students, acting very cool as if they care about shit like that, man.

But they DO care, don't they? One of the students here got a bit pissed off at the process and blogged about it just after Patrons' Day.

The Deputy Director (who also blogs, albeit very academically) read the post, and made a comment rapping him gently on the knuckles responding to his accusations. Then, at the opening, the student actually got an award!

To his credit, he posted a big slice of humble pie.

Heh. I like the way the second post suddenly becomes less about him, and more about feeling angry on behalf of other people. That lovely tone of righteous indignation. He's not backing down, oh no.

And he's suddenly realised that you’re not just writing to your mates on the web… you're writing to THE WORLD.

Yeah baby.

2. Innocent fun with testicles on Loaded Dog (or test-i-cley, as they say on Little Britain).

Ok. Home time. Bumblebee's Christmas concert and the launch of my school cookbook! Cooking Ninja didn't make the cover, but he's on the title page. Hooray!

Boring Tuesday #1

Lurking among some art school bloggers, I followed some links and found this Madooona video clip review -- hilarious, but not for those on dial-up unless you want a bit of a wait. comicstriphero might enjoy just the piccies, if she happens to lurk this way. I know she likes Madge a tad!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Recovering from bathrust

Well, Mother Nature had a word or two to say in Canberra on Friday, didn't she? HUGE storm! Riding to work today I had to detour around three fallen trees across the bike track, and then when I got to the Art School I caught up on all the gossip re. the Graduate Student Exhibition opening. Trees falling on school vehicles in the carpark, horizontal lightning flashes, intense rain, and the huge crane in the building site next door rocking like that ominous cradle in the nursery rhyme. Here's the aftermath:


I went to Bathurst on Friday for another opening, an exhibition that I've been preparing for the last 12 months.

Bathurst was also hit by the wave of storms that seem to run straight through south-east Australia. We were staying at a lovely ex-orphanage Bed & Breakfast that had a marvellous view over the valley.


I sat on the verandah and watched a wall of grey move over the view:

Then another wall of grey moved through the first, and as it moved across, everything in its path bent over. I was mesmerised. Lightning flashed everywhere, and the wind was akin to a typhoon. I felt very safe in my doorway, looking out across the 2-metre wide verandah, and I just stood there, fascinated, until the rain started hitting me in the face.

This sequence of photos is within about 15 minutes!

The electricity ran out, which meant candles for all, a very romantic thing in a 150-yo building stuffed with antiques. I couldn't read, so I spent lots of time playing with makeup in front of a candle-lit mirror… was relieved to see, later in the evening under fluoro light, that I hadn't overdone it!

I expected no-one to go to the opening. We barely made it ourselves, but never underestimate art-lovers! (This was apparently the same for the grad show in Canberra.) The opening had enough people to make it interesting. It was fantastic to see all the work up, even better than when we took it to Mackay in February, because this time we had the funding to frame it properly, build custom-made plinths, and really make it look schmick.
This is just one view of the exhibition. There are 91 works in the show, 9 years worth of collaborative work by my boss and various artists! I've been involved for the last 3 or so years.

Afterwards, we were invited to the home of the local Great Artist for dinner, along with the Director of the Regional Gallery. After a few recent blog conversations about mentioning names in posts, I am reluctant to type his name here, but maybe an acrostic would be fun (bearing in mind I'm not even going to try to make it good poetry):

That he is amusing is undeniable; I am
In awe of the beauty of his high-ceilinged
Mansion, built in gold-rush times,

Stuffed with fabulous art and books,
The six dogs and a cat, seven children and an
Obviously doting privately-schooled third wife.
Red walls around the twelve-seater table, candles in old silver; he
Relaxes at the head of the table, surrounded by his paintings,
Inciting mischievous arguments, dropping names, calling them cunts,
Expounding his right-wing theories with champagne while the world
Revolves widdershins around him.

Hmm. One of those situations where you look at someone's art and think: how did it get from there to there (ie, personality to canvas)? Because it's beautiful, sensitive art. Anyway, to put it plainly, he's an talented, frustrating but endearing bugger. I quite warmed to him through the evening. I'm certain, despite sitting next to him all night and being reasonably engaging, that he'd walk straight past me if we ever ran into each other again. I liked his wife. She was very sweet, and sharp as a tack, despite looking completely fluffy. I'm sure it's a survival tactic.

Anyway, got home in one piece, albeit completely hungover from the vast amounts of champagne that flowed in the Victorian mansion. I even managed to have a heart-to-heart with my boss and tender my resignation for next year (effective sometime around March).

I had my first proper day off yesterday for weeks. Took Bumblebee to see Harry Potter (will post separately about that later!), and tried to catch up with sleep. But today I'm almost dead on my feet, and to be honest, I think it's because I feel so much relief. It's just hit me that the exhibition is on its way around regional Australia, and I'm on my own way to a few changes…

Friday, December 02, 2005

The thing about grief

Yesterday was not only World AIDS Day, but my dearly departed brother's birthday. Normally I don't worry too much about it, just flick him a few passing thoughts during the day, but the thing about grief is that it rises up and catches you by the throat when you least expect it. This year, for some bizarre reason, has been full of these moments (probably because blogging has made me think about stuff more!).

So I'm driving along Northbourne Avenue, heading south, with JJJ on the radio, heading towards the AP's house. they mention World AIDS Day, I remember it's The Birthday. Flick him a quick affectionate 'stupid dickhead' thought (he committed suicide a long time ago) and suddenly, at that exact moment, JJJ plays Clare Bowditch's The Thing About Grief, from her latest album.

Readers, it was a freaky coincidence, and I cried for at least 10 kms. I love and hate crying in the car. You feel so private, but when you're at lights you realise that the person next to you is watching the snot run down your face with an odd look on their face. Especially when you have a wildly painted car like mine. They look at the car, then they peer inside. And there I am, bawling. Ay yay yay.

If you've ever lost someone, whether to death or a bad break-up of friendship, do listen to that song. It's fabulous. Sharp, insightful lyrics, catchy and not too sad tune, delivered with deadpan emotion. It works. It's like picking the most painful but satisfying scab from your heart. I'm going to buy the album as soon as I return from Bathurst (so easy to type Bathrust!), where I'm heading in three hours, for an exhibition opening.

And I managed to pull myself together before arriving at the AP's house. The thing about 85 y-olds, they don't have brilliant eyesight.

POSTSCRIPT: suddenly realised how much this applies to poor VN in Singapore. My heart goes out to him, his mother and his brother. That's a heavy load to carry -- for all of them. Apparently it's all happened, according to the news on the way to B's school. What a stupid waste of life. I guess a lot of people around Australia are going to be thinking about the nature of grief today. Hopefully some while they're enjoying the cricket.