Friday, February 18, 2011

Whatever Happened To That Girl?

Look what I found in the studio move. Sorry about the John Lennon glasses, but it was 1989 after all.

Some have said that it is actually my seventeen year old son in a wig. But no, it is Leonie at twenty-five. And for those of you who didn't know me then, that was my real hair colour.

It is strange that I clearly remember this photo being taken, and yet I barely recognise myself.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Open Stage, Feb 2011

Our second regular Folk Club gig for the year went swimmingly. Loads of local talent graced the stage of the Community Hall, along with a new voice.
In the brave first position we had the pictured young man. He opened the night with gusto and two original songs. Next was our very own Bill. Warm and engaging, with a fabulous voice.

Next was our very own Bill. Warm and engaging, with a fabulous voice.
Alan wheeled out his usual style and panache, with some excellent tunes. (Including a Dylan number, always an perfect choice).

Ted held us all captive with his mighty fine finger-pickin' and humour. My feet start dancing of their own accord when Ted takes the stage.
Raymond knocked us all sideways with his acapella performance. He followed with an original and then a traditional Scottish song.

Phil also treated us to three of his original songs. Great voice!

It just wouldn't be a folk club night if we didn't hear at least one of Dave's bush ballads. When Dave takes the stage you can just step back in time and smell the gum trees.
We stopped for a short break, dining on home made bread, hommus, cheese and home grown tomatoes.We exchanged chook raising stories and gardening tips. I think some people were talking about music too. With full bellies we waddled back into the hall.
Newcomer Shane jumped in boots and all. He had us all at hello. The whole room was singing along, breaking out into harmonies and stamping our feet.
Simon sang us three of his original songs. Nice guitar work.
After that Bruce was hijacked and dragged up onto the stage to support yours truly. Didn't get any photos as I was sweating over a hot guitar. Bruce's amazing guitar/mandolin/banjo work didn't go un-noticed. While he was up there strutting his stuff Rob jumped on board. Rob's oh-so-low bass voice had us all a-quiver. He hit some notes that were so low that we couldn't even hear them. However some dogs were getting amorous outside as a result.
And as if that wasn't enough, Greg J finished off the evenings with tales of his recent trip to South America, through to the Galapagus Islands. (is that how you spell it?)He did some show and tell, and played for us the pictured instrument. Sorry Greg, can you help me here? Can't remember its name. But it was most impressive.My favourite of his exhibits was a goat's tonails shaker. And I checked, it really is made of goats tonails! It makes the most beautiful chime. Unfortunately my camera battery died, so I didn't get a photo, but it was gorgeous!
We all left the hall on a high note. A great start to 2011.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Choir at Yarraville Festival.

If you haven't been to the Yarraville Festival
before, try and make it along. There will be loads of fun for everyone. It is a fabulous showcase of all the amazing talent that we have here in the West.

And speaking of which, The Newport Community Choir will be strutting our stuff. At 12.00 on the Orange stage. That will be in Ballarat St. just outside the Sun Theatre.

We have been practicing madly, singing ourselves hoarse and learning our parts. We think we sound pretty damn good, but come along and judge for yourself.
After our spot, I have to make a mad dash back to Newport for Life Drawing. But hang around, there are lots of fabulous acts.

Watch out for the Gypsy Djangos, they'll knock your socks off!


And so the musical year begins. The first of our regular Folk Club events began last night with Ragusa. (A new Croatian eatery in Williamstown, hosting ambience and delicious food). Held on the second Thursday of every month, this is a good one to mark in your calendar, it is always a fabulous evening.
Last night we were treated to the fancy fingerpickin' antics of the internationally acclaimed, Nick Charles. And what a show it was! One MSG, (male solo guitarist), held the room spellbound.
Nick was supported by the fabulous stage antics of the Tin Pan Cowboys. (and cowgirl). Western Swing and then some. The gobsmacking voices of Danny O'Connell and Melissa, supported by the mellow tones of Steve Martin on double bass, mando man himself, Bruce Williams, the guru of sound, Greg O'Leary on fiddle, and the man who makes it all happen, Michael Stuart on guitar.
Apologies for the less than dynamic photos. Due to the lovely ambient lighting of Ragusa I couldn't get many decent photos. I had to use an old one of the Cowboys.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


A visit to my parents today gave me the opportunity to catch up with my sister. We were able to chat, while her five-year-old ran around and explored the garden. As we were engrossed in conversation, the wee-one flitted in and out, bringing interesting things that she had found.
She was very excited about a cactus needle that she had pulled out of the mother ship, without injury. It could be used for sewing, we were told. Next came some agapantha straps, which could be used as fabric, and some fragrant diosma, it would make great thread.
'Mummy, Can you make a cat out of these? We could give it to Leonie!' As you can see, her Mum rose suitably to the challenge.
Do you like him? I've called him Agapanthus!

Friday, February 4, 2011

What are you reading? The Blood Of Others.

The Blood Of Others. Simone de Beauvoir.

This is one of those books that stays with you, and calls you back to read again and again. The book in the picture is my own well thumbed copy. Downloading a clean snazzy cover from the internet just wouldn't do it justice. I even left the price tag on, look how much I paid for it.

It begins and ends with our heroine, Helene on her death-bed. Mortally wounded, with a bullet to the lungs, her friends can do nothing but sit with her. Her ex-lover, Jean Blomart, riddled with guilt, relives the whole tale.

We are taken back to pre World War 2 Paris. We meet a very young and lively Helene. Engaged to the well meaning and principled Paul. Self centred and impulsive, as the young often are, Helene soon bores of him. When she follows Paul into his political activities, she meets and falls in love with Jean.

Jean is from a comfortable background, but chose to take the side of the worker. Guilt has haunted our hero all his life, it is the root of all his motivation. His links with the communist party alienated his father, who had made his fortune in the printing trade. Despite ill feelings, Jean chose to stay in the family business, and use it for political advantage.

Jean is always torn. He tries to escape his background, but knows that he can easily return. He nurses the regret that he has betrayed his parents. He wants to love, and does not want to hurt Helene, but cannot return her intense feelings. He is strangely detatched from emotion, putting all his energy into political causes.

Helene's journey is different. The self-centred adolescent we first meet soon grows up. As war breaks out and people all around her become displaced, she finds her strength and learns compassion.

Meanwhile German troops have occupied Paris. Small underground activist groups are seeing the need to unite and get organised. Nobody is sure who they can trust, or what to believe in.

'War could bring about the fall of Fascism, could we stand with our arms folded, beside blood-bespattered Spain, beside the pogroms that defiled Germany, and the brown tide which was rolling toward Austria? ...........I was ashamed, but shame was no argument; the moans of the wounded on the shell-torn and bloody battlefields filled me with pitiless horror. Beyond the Pyrenees, the workers of Spain fell beneath the Fascist bullets - but could I redeem their blood at the price of French lives, at the price of a single life which was not my own life? Jews died like flies in concentration camps, but had I the right to exchange their dead bodies for the innocent bodies of French peasants? I could pay with my body, with my blood, but the remainder of mankind was no coin for my use;'

When their affair is over, Jean throws himself into his work. His contacts, leadership skills and ingenuity makes him indispensible in the underground. Here, once again, Jean finds himself torn. His own life cannot be risked, and yet he must send loyal followers and friends out on dangerous missions. Jean is forced to gamble with the blood of others.

Helene tries to get on with her life, although everything is turned on its head. She even forms a brief aliance with a German soldier. As things get ugly in Paris, Helene feels compromised and stops seeing the soldier.

Jews are rounded up. Helene watches in horror as friends and neighbours are taken prisoner by the Germans. Other political friends disappear. She takes her dear friend Yvonne, a Jewess, into hiding. Now she must turn to Jean for help. In smuggling Yvonne out of the country, Helene finds that she can help others as well. She offers her services and continues to work for the underground. And now we are back to the bullet-in-the lungs scene.

A rich and satisfying novel.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thanks Ted.

1. A man in his shed, a match made in heaven.
2 & 3. My fabulous new frames.

A few months ago Ted, a musical friend mentioned that he had a whole lot of cabinet doors in his shed that could be used as picture frames. Given that I'm always up for an adventure and can never knock back a freebie, the answer was, of course "Yes Please!"

It wasn't until I saw them that it became clear what a prize I was being given.

The wood is stunning. Ted, the master craftsman sanded and tweaked them so that glass and backing can easily slot in. Just add art.