Saturday, April 30, 2016

Falling

I've written three novel manuscripts, met with major publishers about all three, but all came to naught. This was a long time ago. I destroyed all three manuscripts. Hard drives are long dead. None of them exist.

But in going through all of our stuff in storage I found there was a paper version of one of the novels. It is called Falling. The opening goes like this...

"The thin chime pierced the silence. Heads or tails. Life or death.
The coin landed.
He shrugged.
It was death.
Okay."

I might take a look at this survivor.

Great Expectations

Went down to our storage cage to find a book that has one of my short stories in it to give to my cafe helper (and friend) Loredana. Couldn't find the book; I must have given them all away.

But I did find millions of the books Ann and I have read (sooo many books) and all these long forgotten photos. Actual photos in albums. Strange to see who we were, what we were doing, who we were trying to be, compared to who we have become. This was me as an extra on the set of, I think, Great Expectations, this scene filmed in Balmain Court House.



Thursday, April 28, 2016

Please Forgive Me

Today walking along Smith Street... I love this song. It's one of my favourite songs ever. And the video clip... so fucking beautiful. Today walking along Smith Street, this song started playing from some unknown place. I smiled, because I love this song so much. La laa laaa, please forgive me, I never meant to hurt yoooo... la la la laaa

I vaguely wondered where the music was coming from until it eventually stopped. Then I remembered that I like this song so much that it's my ring tone. The Dreaded One had been trying to phone me.

This is not the first time this has happened

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Gone Doofing Again: Yemaya 2016

Sign on the cafe door before going to Yemaya. Such a good festival with good friends old and new. This is just kind of a bookmark: went to the festival, didn't catch up with Loredana. I hope to fill in more details later. Beautiful weekend with friends, but the Loredana thing was a big disappointment. Really wanted to spend festival time with her. Alas...

Friday, April 22, 2016

The Evolution Of Friendship

And so Badaboom Beverley's orbit leaves my realm. She will zing past again in one month before heading off forever into the future. We caught up briefly in the cafe today. It was the relaxed comfort of catching up with a good friend. Love the evolution of friendship. Once a stranger, now a friend. It's a beautiful thing.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Private Lives By Noel Coward, Balloon Head Theatre, Review

Private Lives

Reviewed by Lee Bemrose



This debut production by Balloon Head Theatre of Noel Coward's classic romantic comedy was also my first experience of the play, and although I know that it is produced regularly to mostly glowing reviews, and although I am a sucker for a good romcom, I can't say I'm a fan of the play. I honestly don't know what all the fuss is about.

For the uninitiated, Elyot and Amanda used to be married. Then they divorced. Elyot recently married Sybil and Amanda recently married Victor. By coincidence, Elyot and Sybil have booked their honeymoon hotel room right next door to Amanda and Victor's honeymoon hotel room. You're either the kind of person who reacts with “Ha! How funny is that?”, or the kind of person who thinks, “You've got to be kidding me.”

Elyot and Amanda discover that they are neighbours and decide, due to their acrimonious past, that they all must leave. They do not tell their new partners who is staying next door, just rather insist that they must leave. The newly-weds quarrel over this, with Sybil and Victor refusing to leave, and storming out for the evening. Elyot and Amanda reluctantly share drinks and conversation on Eliot's balcony. They reminisce and in the blink of an eye decide they are in love again, so much so that they have to elope at once without telling their new spouses what is going on. (Again... seriously?). Back in Amanda's Paris apartment, Elyot and Amanda hole up, booze up and talk incessantly about how much they love each other. Soon, however, they suddenly hate each other again. Sybil and Victor turn up, more shouting and bickering and insults and the play ends.

I once read that using coincidence as a device in story-telling was a pretty bad idea, so I admit that I was off to a bad start here with the coincidence of these former spouses ending up in neighbouring hotel rooms. I also questioned Sybil and Victor's obsessions with their new spouse's former spouses on their honeymoon – wouldn't this kind of talk have happened in the early stages of their relationships? Would they really happen on the first night of their honeymoon?

Thing is, the dialogue is pretty good and I found myself lightening up. WTF. Just a romcom. Lots of witty banter in this act and some pretty decent acting too, particularly from the driving forces of the play; Oscar Shaw as Elyot did Aloof Upper-Class-Twat really well, and Seren Oroszvary did Volatile Upper-Class I-Love-You-I-Hate-You-Psycho really well. The characters of Sybil (Rachel Shrives) and Victor (Ben Symon) appeared to be written as lighter characters and the roles were played accordingly, perhaps self-consciously going for the comic relief angle. This was most obvious in the second act when the mood was less fluffy than in the first act.

The second act seemed a little long and not as pacey as the first. This was because this was the serious part of the story, where shit was going to go down. The spirit of Elyot and Amanda being cocooned from the world in a drunken delirium of love was beautifully done, then a little over-done. The comedy to drama ratio was kept up even though a tapering of the humour to let the serious stuff bubble through might have worked better (if I had been Noel Coward's dramaturg... oops... back to reviewing).

By the time Sybil and Victor arrived at the apartment, I had long stopped wondering how this was all going to pan out, because I didn't care for any of these characters. I really didn't care how it ended. If we liked at least one of the characters and wanted things to go their way there would have been some tension. But as it was, meh, I don't care if she ends up with him or he ends up with him or if they all kill each other with rusty spoons.

In saying how much I'm not a fan of the text (did you pick up on that at all?), I did think this was a pretty good debut production. Lots of friends and family in the audience on opening night and so naturally some of the laughs came from said family and friends seeing, erm, a family member or friend doing funny things on stage. But not all; many of the laughs were a result of some very good comic acting.

Set design was minimally evocative, which is all you need. Sound was a slight problem in the second act when the hotel walls were pushed back on the stage and the balconies became the apartments walls and music was played loud.

The French housemaid Louise (Camilla Eustance) was funny without doing much, as was the Kate Bush piece, which I suspect
probably wasn't in the original text. Both these segments were absolutely enjoyable but didn't seem to move the story forward in any way.

If you're a fan of this Noel Coward guy, I suspect you'll probably enjoy Balloon Head Theatre's production of Private Lives. Looking forward to seeing to what Balloon Head does next.

Friday, April 15, 2016

This Will Be My Biggest Life Regret

Two of my favourite people ever. The one in the middle gets married this weekend. I loathe weddings, but I would gladly swap all the weddings I've ever thought I had to attend to be at this one.

My love for Ann is simple and obvious.

My love for Kat is more complex. My kid sister. Happy to be her older brother. Kind of crushed I wasn't able to be there for her marriage. Cried in the cafe today because I couldn't be in San Francisco this weekend. Actually cried. The moment has gone. I fucked up. I wasn't there.

And life goes on.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Dear Universe... Please Be Kinder

Today in the cafe... life is so beautiful and so fucking horrible. I love the meaningful friendships that develop with our customers. You get to know their name, you get to know a little about their life. Sometimes they become friends, because their art is good or their sense of humour is good, or just damnit, they just seem good.

Have been blessed lately too with the most perfect co-workers. Life is beautiful.

And so fucking horrible.

Long time Team Awesome member M... her mother has been unwell for a long time. Proper unwell. M has also recently become properly unwell. It's shit that a kind and intelligent and caring 21 year old shouldn't have to go through. Good person with a heart of gold, she has had enough to contend with.

Then today she tells us that her 8 year old sister - who she adores - has some kind of aggressive brain tumour.

I really wish these people would get a break. They deserve a break. Give them a break, Universe, you fucking prick.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

That Laugh, That Day

That day... do you remember that day? That day in the cafe when we talked about the serious stuff of relationships and love and history and the present and how it's all so beautifully confusing. Remember how I told you that story? Remember how hard you laughed your musical laugh?

I will never forget that laugh. I will never forget that day.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Cirque Adrenaline, Melbourne 2016 Review






Cirque Adrenaline

Reviewed by Lee Bemrose



I really don't know why I bother going along to these circus things; the physical excellence on stage always leaves me feeling like an uncoordinated slob. A complete oaf. A kind of knuckle-dragging, sloping forehead, slack-jawed, monosyllabic-grunting primitive. They don't just leave me feeling like I've just emerged from the primordial soup, they make me feel like I AM the primordial soup. Thanks, guys, thanks a bunch.

On the upside, Cirque Adrenaline really does live up to its name. It's a great big shiny production and clearly no expense has been spared. The sound and lights are indeed sensational and aid in ramping up the excitement, but when you get down to it, its the skill of those humans tumbling, twirling, balancing or flying through the air (sometimes all at the same time) that really gets the heart racing. There are no safety harnesses or nets. There is the very real possibility that a stunt may not go according to plan. They may be freaks of strength or balance, but they are also human, flesh and bone.

The show starts with the entire ensemble of performers exploding onto the stage (figuratively speaking) to much fanfare. There is a palpable sense of camaraderie on show. We are then treated to some clowning from LA based Ross Steeves. I wasn't really feeling the love for this part of the show... it seemed aimed more at kids than adults. The kids lapped it up, and there were lots of kids present, probably because I was at the Sunday matinee – not the best move if you are allergic to over-excited chipmunk voices. The clown segments later in the show worked for me and I smiled out loud quite a lot.

After seeing some of contortionist Sabrina Aganier's floor work on Youtube, I was keen to see what the French Canadian was going to do with a hoop suspended in the air. OMG, as the kids say. So flexible... so incomprehensibly bendy... but so mesmerisingly graceful. You can read an interview elsewhere on this site in which the performer says she enjoys every moment of this performance, and after seeing her live there is no doubting this. Her relaxed fluidity almost distracts you from the freakish contortions she is performing. Stunning. I fell a little bit in love with Sabrina after seeing this performance.

Also stunning were aerialists Alex and Nastaya Mischchenko from the Ukraine, the intimacy of their performance enhanced by the fact that they are life partners. Exquisite stuff.

There was nothing exquisite about balancing guy Alex Mruz, also from the Ukraine. Such an ordinary looking bloke, he did an extraordinary piece involving an impossibly fragile stack of tubes and balls that left no margin for error. This act simply doesn't look possible, and it's guaranteed to get your palms sweating. It did mine, anyway – actual power sweating.

There is some impressive fire work, trapeze and trampoline work, but the big boys are the slightly cheesily named Wheel Of Death (ooh) and Sphere Of Fear (ah). Cheesy names, yes, but the thrills are very real. The Wheel Of Death is a big twirling thing with... like... there are two big tread-mill circles at each end of the axis and... if you can imagine a couple of extreme hamsters... not that I'm saying Jhonathon Reina and Diectter Pastran are hamsters, it's just that this is a difficult device to describe. These same guys perform in the Sphere Of Fear, in the end having three motorcycles riding around manically inside what can only be described as a sphere of fear. Totally nuts, but somehow they manage to do all this stuff with no one getting hurt.

As mentioned, the soundtrack was fantastic and covered a very wide range of styles including (unfortunately) a dubstep. Dubstep is Satan music. Even so, somehow Cirque Adrenaline even got away with this musical faux pas.

The costuming was fabulous enough to have this Viking of a writer gasping and using the word fabulous. I want to shop where they shop.

So what's to like about Cirque Adrenaline? Pretty much everything. It's not just fun, it's FUN! It's so fun and so exciting that it shut down those chipmunk voices and left the adults unable to manage anything more than “Wow” at the end of the show. (Many wows and at least one “OMG those costumes were fabulous!”). Go with kids by all means, but the real pleasure in shows like this is that they put you in touch with your own inner child. You will be thrilled. You will be amazed. Just strap yourself in and go along for the ride.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Tutu Tuesday In Grumpy & The Dreaded One's Little Cafe Of Awesome

In keeping with Moustache Monday, we had Tutu Tuesday. Big hit with the customers. Tomorrow is French Friday, because it's Badaboom Beverley's last day. I shall miss her, although there are still plans to work on our duet of Solitary Man.

Still can't believe I sang with a musician playing an instrument and that she wants to do it again.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Moustache Monday In Grumpy & The Dreaded One's Little Cafe Of Awesome

I don't know which of my boys is more handsome - Kafka Woman or Badaboom Beverley. (Love these two).

Tutu Tuesday tomorrow. Yes, Grumpy will be wearing a tutu.

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Quietly Into The Night


Art by Xac Downes

Quietly Into The Night


Every now and then
Life breaks me
And quietly into the night,
I howl.

I howl at what we've become.
I howl at the cruelty.
I howl at the kindness
That is crushed,
I howl at the injustice,
Why them and not me?

I've sung to plucked strings
Have heard the harmony
In the voices of strangers
And I'm fortunate enough
To know true love.

But sometimes life breaks me,
And quietly into the night,
I howl.