Of toothpaste skies and male voice choirs.

Of toothpaste skies and male voice choirs.

It is a crisp, clear day in my mountain village and I am shopping on the main street. I have my calico bag which is looking quite haggard from use, and as I go from shop to shop I throw all of my shopping in together.

On the street I find the crisp, clear sky dazzling. It is sharp and fresh like toothpaste.

Just before 9 am, replenishing the cottage’s stock of Stone’s Green Ginger Wine, I suspect I am the bottle shop’s first customer of the morning. The attendant asks me about my plans for the day and I am at pains to assure him my plans involve sensible, responsible activities, not lolling on the carpet with the peppery remains of the bottle. I mention something about replacing the filament in the lounge-room up-lamp. There must be a goodly proportion of his clientele that he doesn’t believe and I wonder if I am one of them.

My husband and I saw the Spooky Men’s Chorale yesterday. They were gorgeously amusing as usual, although somewhat hamstrung by the low house lighting which interfered with that connection to their audience which is the engine of a lot of their non-verbal humour. The first time I saw them was in a bright community hall at Lawson and I loved the way the Spooks would gain eye contact with an audience member and then stay connected until it became a contest of who blinks or looks away first. I lost a few times. The buggers.

The Spooky Men announced on Facebook about a week ago that they were holding auditions for new members and at that moment I was more genuinely upset that I was not a male than you can possibly imagine. I have triangulated these results with other women and I am not alone in my misery. Who would not want to be one of these guys:

That clip was lifted from the Spooky Men’s Chorale page.

The show was doubly wonderful because not only did I enjoy the music and comedy of Spooks, I also got to see my local theatre at close to full house. I’ve got this desire for the Springwood Hub to be such an attractive place for entertainers that I will never have to go into the city to see another act ever again. In this dream, weekends unfold like this: my husband and I walk out of our cottage, along a few streets and then down to the local theatre where we are entertained by world class live acts the likes of which New York, London and Sydney enjoy constantly. And we enjoy these fearsome acts and then, depending on the time, we wander back down the main street of our mountain village for a coffee with cake or a glass of red or a pub meal and then we meander home to the cottage for the donning of my generic Australian ugg boots and maybe the last half of this week’s episode of Dr Blake Mysteries, where I spend the entire time wondering what on earth is going on and why yet again is Dr Blakbeing immediately relieved of his duties as coroner and didn’t that happen last episode and wasn’t that a marvellous time at the theatre that we just had.

This morning I asked myself which Bible verse would go with the mint-fresh toothpaste sky. And I have the answer. It is Job chapter 37, verse 21:

But now, the sun cannot be looked at — it is bright in the skies — after a wind passed and swept the clouds away.

May the clear mint skies blow fresh on you. Or may it rain, if that is what you need.


[I am flogging off my novel, Stroke the Tiger’s Tail to raise money for Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group. Read some reviews here and buy it from Createspace or Amazon.]

It sneaks up on you in a gentle but real way. So beautifully constructed. It got right into me and at points brought me to tears.


Safety Last!

Safety Last!
excerpt from Don't Bring Lulu (1925)
excerpt from Don’t Bring Lulu (1925)

I bet you’re all wondering what I look like when I’m playing the flute! Here’s your chance.
This is also your chance to hear me introduce music using my hoitiest-toitiest voice, which is very important when introducing highbrow cultural activities in Australia.

Ha! Just kidding! This isn’t the 1950s!

Of course not.

It’s the 1920s! An era of silent film, live musical accompaniment, foley sound effects and sheet music without nearly enough key signatures or bar numbers for my liking.

This was a performance I did with a group of students from my university. I feel I should credit them by name, but I don’t have permission to type their identities all over the internet. It might be enough to suggest that quite a number of them are named ‘Ben’, that you can hear their names on the video, and they would all willingly play for remuneration, and leave it at that.

The footage starts a little early, so if you are up for a hoity-toity introduction but don’t want to watch us fuss over our instruments, start watching at the one-minute mark.
Or you can skip the spoken introduction read the it below and begin the silent movie experience at the three-minute mark.

The act is actually kinda cute in parts. I’m quite proud of what we achieved.

Now, on with the show…

Ladies and Gentlemen, today we will be showing an excerpt from The Goat, an American short comedy film from 1921 written, directed by and starring Buster Keaton:

An innocent man is on the run from the law after a case of mistaken identity. After providing assistance to a young woman in distress he is invited to supper, only to discover that her father is the chief of police.

Starring Buster Keaton, Joe Roberts, Virginia Fox and Malcolm St Clair.

We will be accompanying the visuals with Don’t Bring Lulu, a circa 1925 song by Rose, Brown and Henderson, along with a touch of My Melancholy Baby, by Ernie Burnett, written circa 1916.

Our second offering will be an excerpt from Safety Last!, a 1923 romantic comedy silent film starring Harold Lloyd, Mildred Davis, Bill Strother and Noah Young:

Harold is a store clerk who arranges for his construction-worker housemate, Limpy Bill, to climb the outside of a department store in a bid to attract more customers. Before that can happen, Limpy Bill finds himself in trouble with the law. Harold must take his place on the climb as Limpy Bill tries to evade the cops.

Harold Lloyd lost a thumb and forefinger four years before Safety Last! was filmed, making his climbing feat all the more impressive.

We will be playing Somebody Stole my Gal, by Leo Wood written around 1922, and a Spud Murphy arrangement of Walter Donaldson’s My Blue Heaven from circa 1922.

Like my writing? Consider buying my novel. It’s much more literary and high brow than this blog. All profits go to supporting people fleeing from war and persecution.

My dissonances are beautiful

No doubt you are all champing at the bit to hear my latest musical composition.

It is a three-minute flute solo called Open Hole Fretting. I had originally intended the work to be played with a simple guitar piece written earlier in the semester entitled FrettingTurns out that commitment to predefined structure is not a big priority for me at the pointy end of the semester, and I have had to let the flute do what a flute wants to do, giving up on the idea of a duet. Nevertheless, for musical theorists there remains enough relation between the two separate works to fill an essay. But who wants to do that when it is not prescribed by the Learning Guide? Not me. I’m an artist. A mature-aged, undergrad artist. And you, you are the listener. The listener of the world wide web:

[Think about buying my book, Stroke the Tiger’s Tail. All royalties go towards assisting those fleeing war and persecution. You can buy it from amazon or my createspace site.]