Other Stuff

 

What I'm up to. What I'm reading, listening to, writing, watching, cooking, thinking about.

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Some loves you outgrow, others stay with you for the remainder of your life. And so to Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music. I knew the name before I heard the music. I'd seen those racy album covers in record shops: of naked or near naked women. They were too 'grown-up' for innocent me. Now I just think they're a tad exploitive/sexist. Why didn't they feature the band, or Bryan himself? He was and is as handsome and intoxicating as the music - I think. From the Art School rock of their first five albums to the sophisticated (almost middle of the road), more commercial later albums, I still listen to and enjoy Roxy Music.

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Please let me introduce you to Kalliope X - a new online literary magazine that I am proud to be involved with, as a founding co editor. Our manifesto:

We challenge the dominant literary imaginary by building a forum through which we can encourage, engage and exchange with writers of different diasporas and communities. Check it out at KalliopeX.com

Where else to read a poem written in Greek and translated not only into English but also Mandarin? To access stories, interviews, essays and reviews that reflect the real Australia? A grab bag of identities, religions and ethnicities. Why there's even an excerpt of my novel in progress, titled The Rally 1928. 

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Nature Studies

Everyone is a photographer these days, but when I first started to take and print my own pictures, and carried my trusty Olympus OM10 with me everywhere I went, people often asked where I was visiting from. Most people only took photos when they were on holiday, not day to day. Now, like everyone else, I don't bother with my SLR camera, just my phone. I drive my husband mad when we go walking, constantly stopping to photograph fungi, flowers and bits of tree bark. What do you think of my nature studies?

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God but I love Helen Garner, not only as a writer, but as a person. I like the way her mind works and the way she sees the world. Her view is resolutely Australian, specifically Melburnian. Her books reminded me of the way I felt when I first heard Skyhooks in the 70s. The lyrics reflecting places I knew. Places I could catch a train to: not California, but Carlton, not Berlin but Balwyn.

I especially love Helen Garner's non fiction. Reading her books and essays, or hearing her read them on audio, is an intimate experience. When I learned that extracts from her diaries were to be published, I couldn't wait to read them. The first: Yellow Notebook: Diaries Volume I 1978–1986 (2019) was wonderful. Full of beautiful descriptions and startling observations.

The second, One Day I'll Remember This: Diaries 1987–1995 (2020) chronicled a bit more of her personal life. Then, at the end of last year, came How to End a Story: Diaries: 1995–1998. Talk about finishing with a bang. The main focus of this last volume is the breakdown of her third marriage. My stomach was in knots reading it. It was powerful and I felt like I was going through the ordeal with her.
I could not recommend it more highly.