30 April 2010

new slang

I inexplicably woke up at 6.50am this morn, happy as a clam, and a couple of hours (and a couple of cups of coffee) later I'm sitting at my old desk, soft light from an overcast Sydney morning making the whole window glow, and some delicious Lebanese cooking wafting over from my neighbours kitchen into my room. 

It's one of those moments you live for, just being really happy in the banality of it all, as the best times are often just the right mix of perfectly ordinary elements all thrown together.

I found this blog today...and it makes me think of how many other people like me there are in the world, how many undiscovered friends? the internet is cool like that, it is reassuring that there are others that share the same sensibilities...though you might never sit together and mix your own silly cocktails with kitschy umbrellas and straws, at least you get to read what's on their mind.

And so I present to you, a section of Design*Sponge's blog called 'living in'. This is about the feel of movies, the atmosphere and physical objects that have made an impression, so much so that you find yourself wishing you were living in the same house, or neighbourhood at the same time as the characters you watch with such love. 
To name but a few movies;  the virgin suicides, labyrinth, annie hall, little women, in the mood for love, bright star (BRIGHT STAR!!!!!),  gosford park, amadeus, the graduate.....and on and on.
SO brilliant, it makes me want to sweep all these movies up in my arms and give them a hug.

Go and take a gander...because truly, life should be a movie.


28 April 2010

tunes of an afternoon...

Rifling through the mountains of books and cds stashed away in my old bedroom...I started youtubing for videos, I hadn't listened to hardly any Australian music for so long (I don't count You Am I, because I need them like I do air in my lungs) but here are a couple of gems I rediscovered yesterday.

ahhh I almost forgot how good and gravelly and warm Paul Dempsey's voice is, I was never as fanatic as some of my friends were about this band, but they certainly have their place in my affections and in my musical landscape memory of Sydney.
This one kinda hurts, but I'm so grateful for it.


sadly I couldn't find a video for this next song, which Jeanette put on one of her awesome mixtapes for me all those years ago. I loveloveLOVE the part where he sings:
"this is you and I deciding which way we should slide"...
I don't know why, it just hits home when I hear it.

My dad and I have an exciting project we are going to attempt over one whole marathon day...he has some swanky machine that can convert tapes onto cd, I have a box full of the most amazing mixtapes made by such love from a handful of amazing friends who I trust implicitly with music and who have taught me so much.
It overwhelms  me to think of having their precious tapes transferred (eventually) onto my ipod just as they sounded originally almost a decade ago; scratchy fuzzy silences and jumps included. Oh joy of joys! 

my heart is stronger than you all / but I love to watch good dancers talk / when you think of your mind you've got a place to go now...

you know how I love a good flash mob, and how I wished I was dancing around with this lot to Custard in the back alleys!  this clip was a real hit when it came out.

oh my little heart can't take the amazing pop given to us by Ash Naylor, still perfect, perfect! I wanted to put 'sunshine comes' on here but couldn't find a link for it.


of course one of my all times favourites and the song that makes me conjure up home in a nanosecond. this makes me giddy with happiness and so many great lines, SO many!!! 


return to Oz...

Well wouldn't you know? all that praying to the gods of Olympus saw me delivered home safe and sound on my flight which was originally cancelled. The look on mama's face when I stepped out of my bedroom...the look on everyone's faces really, tears! shouting! bear hugs! more tears! laughter! more hugs!  lordy lord how I love my big crazy family...I had forgotten how loud they were, but I'd have it no other way.

Sydney is still the same...part of me feels like I never left. It's sort of like slipping into a pair of jeans that you haven't worn in ages but still fit you so well. How odd, but I don't know what I was expecting. I do feel taller though...for some reason.

Chrysi is so right about the sky...it's so damn big...stretches on forever just above your head, the blue yonder. I had a little cat-nap in the sun on Monday afternoon; how I missed the sky, the sun, the light. The golden light hitting the red roof tiles of suburbia and only needing a cardigan (if that) to step out into the autumn evening. Sometimes it makes me choke up to see the play of light, I didn't realise how much of me was made of sunshine until I moved somewhere that had such muted light.

I'm so happy, but am dreading the day I have to leave...my heart sinks just thinking of it. 

Here is how I feel though,  because life is really just a big movie isn't it?

home...home! And this is my room, and you're all here...
and I'm not going to leave here ever ever again! Because I love you all!
Oh Auntie Em...there's no place like home!


21 April 2010

the lost thing

I spent almost the entire weekend fretting and being mad at a volcano. Today my flight back to Sydney was cancelled and so who knows when I will make it back home again? 

I did something silly last night, I was watching clips from Crowded House's 'farewell to the world' concert on the steps of the Opera House in Sydney.
Big mistake... watching Neil Finn sing 'better be home soon' when all you want is to be home with your family, friends and dogs.

I am so sad, but I know it will work out ok...it's humbling I suppose to think one volcano can have an impact on so many people so far away from it, rushing about our lives and not thinking about how little and insignificant we all are compared to nature's fury. 

On a more magical note, I found this today...the song and the clip by 'a fine frenzy' are extraordinary, it made my brain jump around and hyperventilate with excitement at the wonder (not to mention a happy memory because it's similar to the title of a wonderful book by Shaun Tan). Hope you like it as much as I did.


17 April 2010

not bad Buk

so I'm currently reading 'Love is a Dog From Hell' (1974-1977) and I love Bukowski because for him there is nothing too prosaic to put in a poem; 
human waste, mindless sex, being drunk, being used and using....but then, out of nowhere it paves the way for the little realisations that hit you so hard. 

He could be a real ass you know, especially towards women; but then he reveals the fleeting moments of longing and vulnerability before pulling you away into the next train-wreck encounter with another crazy woman and his droll and mostly drunk perspective of the world.

quiet clean girls in gingham dresses ...
all I've ever known are whores, ex-prostitutes,
madwomen. I see men with quiet,
gentle women ­ I see them in the supermarkets,
I see them walking down the streets together,
I see them in their apartments: people at
peace, living together. I know that their
peace is only partial, but there is
peace, often hours and days of peace.

all I've ever known are pill freaks, alcoholics,

whores, ex-prostitutes, madwomen.

when one leaves

another arrives
worse than her predecessor.

I see so many men with quiet clean girls in

gingham dresses
girls with faces that are not wolverine or

"don't ever bring a whore around," I tell my

few friends, "I'll fall in love with her."

"you couldn't stand a good woman, Bukowski."

I need a good woman. I need a good woman

more than I need this typewriter, more than
I need my automobile, more than I need
Mozart; I need a good woman so badly that I
can taste her in the air, I can feel her
at my fingertips, I can see sidewalks built
for her feet to walk upon,
I can see pillows for her head,
I can feel my waiting laughter,
I can see her petting a cat,
I can see her sleeping,
I can see her slippers on the floor.

I know that she exists

but where is she upon this earth
as the whores keep finding me?

excerpt from 'an almost made up poem'

"I loved you
like a man loves a woman he never touches, only
writes to, keeps little photographs of. I would have
loved you more if I had sat in a small room rolling a
cigarette and listened to you piss in the bathroom,
but that didn’t happen. your letters got sadder.
your lovers betrayed you. kid, I wrote back, all
lovers betray. it didn’t help. you said
you had a crying bench and it was by a bridge and
the bridge was over a river and you sat on the crying
bench every night and wept for the lovers who had
hurt and forgotten you."


"your poems about the girls will still be around 
50 years from now when the girls are gone", 
my editor phones me. 

dear editor: 
the girls appear to be gone  

I know what you mean 

but give me one truly alive woman 
walking across the floor toward me 

and you can have all the poems 

the good ones
the bad ones 
or any that I might write 
after this one.

I know what you mean.

do you know what I mean?


Oh what a world!

"Oh what a world my parents gave me, 
always travelling....but not 
in love. Still I think I'm doing fine..."

a little dose of The Rufus for y'all...and nicely in keeping with my 'Wizard of Oz' theme getting ready for Sydney ( I officially say "HELL NO!!" to volcanic ash from Iceland). Lord how I love his grinning face in this video, and dramatic hand gestures. Bless you Mister Wainwright, for all the beautiful tunes you've given us.


14 April 2010

Mrs. Parker

It is no secret Dorothy Parker is one of my heroes....I heart her. Hence the blog subtitle, paying my respects to dear Dotti and drinkers everywhere. Have you seen 'Mrs Parker and the Vicious Circle" produced  by Robert Altman (who did another one of my all-time favourites, Gosford Park) ? 

It's just too much for me....prohibition era NYC in the 1920's, the dialogue heavily peppered with Parker's own quotes and poetry. Swoon-a-rama for me. I didn't think it was possible to love her even more than I already do....but I darn well do.

from the horses mouth:

"i never liked a man I didn't meet"

"tragedies don't kill us...messes kill us"

I hope you watch it; I'll be bringing back my copy of 'the portable Dorothy Parker' with me from Sydney, but until then.... "the cops are here, everybody speak easy!"


12 April 2010

the laughing heart

your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.

( i love you buk ) ....more poems to follow 


Madeleine Vionnet

One more thing that I adored in Paris was the exhibition on Madeleine Vionnet at Les Arts Décoratifs.
This woman is single-handedly responsible for some of the most amazing advancements in fashion from the beginning of the 20th century. It made me miss my mama as I'm sure she would have been right there with me, hand over heart, sighing and getting emotional at how stunning and how revolutionary her designs were.

I love her especially because she was really influenced by the ancient Greek peplos.  I am obsessed with them, and they are stupidly easy to make but so SO beautiful and easy to move around in, I want to make some using the finest silks and cottons one day (essentially it's just a large fabric rectangle with some pins/brooches for the shoulders and some ribbon, rope or a belt for the waist)  My little fantasy is to wander around Mt. Olympus wearing some artisan leather sandals from Athens (on my list to buy in summer when I return!) and a peplos...see how many raised eyebrows I get! haha. 

Back to Madeleine, among other things she made a dress out of two circles, created the first one-seam dress, and the pieces on show illustrated the most breathtaking pin-tucks, pleating, gathering, bias-cut draping and silhouettes..my little heart almost collapsed from joy.  It was fun walking around with Meg & Michelle and 'choosing' which dresses suited us and which we would like to wear on our imaginary dates to the Opera, or cocktails on an elegant Parisian terrace. One can dream right?

Here's one that is very much inspired from classical Greece, but I just love the whole atmosphere of the photograph in general too:

bless you Madame Vionnet  x

Les Puces

One of my favourite memories from Paris was our last day there on Sunday morning. 
Meg and I went high up to north north Paris  ( metro stop was 'porte de clignancourt') to the famous and enormously labyrinthine Les Puces de Saint-Ouen, the largest flea market in the world...the world!!  It sure felt like it, and my only regret is that I didn't take any photos because we were so busy swooning about the place and inspecting all the fascinating objects. 

It was so lovely wandering around the tiny alleys crammed full of individual shops bursting with anything your heart desires (anything vintage, that is) from mint condition 50's and 60's furniture, fashion, old glassware and architectural fittings, knick-knacks, magazines, old posters and books, buttons, bags and haberdashery....it was bliss.  I tried on a pair of original black cat-eye reading glasses c. 1940s-1950s that were so intense, I loved them but didn't think I had the panache to pull off wearing them everyday. They were so stylish, and so cheap! barely 10 euros. Sigh.  I am such a fool sometimes.

The only thought in my mind as we wandered around was 'this would be the best place when you are hungover'...it was such a good atmosphere, peaceful and so full of beautiful things, it was the equivalent of eating home-made chicken soup, nourishment for the soul and a weary body.  

We sat in a small cafe for a little rest before taking on more of the markets, and the lady behind the counter (bless her) didn't bat an eyelid when I ordered two coffees in my made-up French using my most quietly confident voice. The French language scares the hell out of me, and the Parisians surprised me by actually being really lovely despite the fact I literally knew 3 words! But smiling, apologising and making fun of yourself (and not dressing like a tourist) sure do go a long way towards not being treated with contempt by the stylish and street-wise Parisians it seems! To be fair, I was trying my absolute darndest to be as charming as possible and I was shocked that it worked, every time.

Anyways, there are several markets that make up Les Puces, my favourite one was the Marché Dauphine...a newer structure spread across two levels and full of specialised shops. It seemed that the top floor was crammed full of old books, old postcards (with messages lovingly or perhaps dutifully scrawled in French) black and white family photographs, prints, vintage magazines as well as some vintage clothing shops. 
(I wish I had bought this dress that was going for 30 euros. It was white polyester and had cartoon-isms all over it, very pop-art and very childish at the same time...how great would it be to wear a dress that had 'bing! baff! pow! kazaaaam!' all over it?!  Ah...so many marché regrets.)

One store on the 2nd floor was run by the most glamorous young woman who looked like something straight out of the 1940s. Everyone in the shop was bashfully gawking at her, she really was a beauty. I would go back there in a heartbeat, this time, camera in hand and notepad ready to scribble down the names of the little shops.


this is Maria, she is 19 and from Copenhagen...and when I saw this photo of her suddenly the grey drab London winter eased up for a moment and I felt very cosy.  Damn those stylish Danes....they intimidate me so!

Maybe I'll have to guts to return to Copenhagen one day....maybe...

via copenhagenstreetstyle

lo-fi London

this is a photographic guide around some amazing shops, markets, eateries and other places in London, from the brilliant Tommy and her blog 'this is naive'. Seriously, this woman has the best eye for detail and design and stomach for food..it's always a pleasure peeking over at her blog to see what she's posted up.

Not that I need any encouragement but it really does make me excited to be living in this city, I am adamant that there will be much exploring and fun weekends spent around London now that the weather is going to be amazing until October. 

all images via this is naive

11 April 2010

sky high

I couldn't resist this aptly named colour when I saw it, perhaps in anticipation of bluer skies now that spring has sprung upon London....and to see those big blue skies back in Sydney so soon as well.


Too many sighs from me watching this movie; Venice in 1955 steals the show and oddly enough, to me, it still looks and feels very much the same (of course with about 2 zillion more tourists). 
So beautiful to watch Katharine Hepburn flit between excitement, loneliness, humour and elegance in a matter of seconds. 
But it's not all dreamy romance, and I appreciated that it did not shy away from the not-so-lovely parts of human relationships.

The opening scene when she's on the train, I wanted to hug her...she basically said exactly what was running through my head as I headed off to Venice after a lifetime of dreaming about it;

"Like it? I've got to! I've come such a long way! I've saved up such a long time for this trip. 
 Do ya think that I...maybe....won't like it?"     

her and little Moro had such a great chemistry in their scenes,
I wonder how old he was here?

oh Rossano Brazzi....you looked so handsome 
in every frame, I couldn't bear it!

I love it when Renato tells her that when he was little, he used to call Burano 'the island where the rainbow fell'...that's a perfect description!

Also, I've invented a rather punishing drinking game to accompany this film, every time Jane Hudson says 'prego!' you down some Cinzano. Soon you will feel like you are floating on one of the canals I'll bet. 


10 April 2010


I love this image....bring on spring!

via snoflake

it's in the bag

The greatest perk of living my humble European dream from my base in London is that the most amazing, historic and stunning places are just on my doorstep...and I can duck away for a few days to another country and be back at work with no jetlag at all to show for it. The one thing I truly, truly wish I had on my travels is some old-school luggage.

You know, the kind you see in movies from the 1940's up until the 1970's. It makes my heart flutter. And I know they may not always be the most practical but I'll be darned if they ain't the most beautiful!

Consider the following:

How great would this be for your carry on bag? 
so sleek! Vintage Samsonite.

To my delight, the powers that be feel the same way about handsome luggage and are making breathtaking hard leather suitcases but also subtly incorporating the mod-cons like wheels and a retractable handle; because you know, not all of us can afford to stay in swish hotels with porters. 

But oh, can't you just imagine wheeling these pretties through the airport after touching down somewhere grand? 

Steamline are my saviours in the hunt for a beautiful suitcase. I want all of them! And the price tags are actually feasable. They are close to announcing new ranges and designs, so I am salivating at the thought of what they are going to surprise us with. My heart lies with the mustard (oh Chrysi would laugh so hard to hear me say that) and I can imagine the leather aging and wearing deep into a burnt honey colour over time. Delicious.

Also, love the use of natural woven fibres with this one:

...now for something a little sweeter, 
and more whimsical via Etsy (of course!!) 

I adore swallows, I have a lovely bronze necklace and a billowing beige skirt covered with a swallow pattern...can't get enough of their elegant and comforting shape. If I were braver, I'd probably get a swallow tattoo somewhere secret.  Perfect.

(I don't know why I'm drawn to yellowy luggage, 
I am completely confounded. But isn't it swell?)

     Feeling fruity? These made 
me grin like a maniac.

And finally, I am not a fan of pink really...but the design of this Kangol suitcase is spot-on what I've dreamed about. For some reason they only made it in pink leather, perhaps to spite me.

It's on my 'grown-up' list of things to do now that I'm nearing 30; along with finding my perfect martini mix and wearing make-up more often....yes, buying some seriously beautiful vintage-inspired luggage. Maybe then I will come closer to looking the part of a character in a movie having adventures around lovely European cities!

bon voyage


6 April 2010

ring ring

these are extraordinary....who cares if they are comfortable? a little world on your fingers!

from Philippe Tournaire in Paris.

the joys of swearing

I love you Stephen Fry...very much x

3 April 2010

goodbye yellow brick road....

This song has been my unofficial anthem throughout these 2.5 years of being away from Australia. 
It is my homeland but my bittersweet gripe has been that I never felt a deep-rooted connection to the country that raised me ( I find myself envious of people who don't even have to think about it)...even though it houses almost every single person I have known and loved in the first quarter of my life.  
I feel an ambivalence towards it, like I do towards Hellas. I am grateful too, for all the shit and bliss that comes with it. 

I guess some of us just keep going, looking for that one place we can really call home. 
London is a hard one to compete with, we are in love don't you know?

"It'll take you a couple of vodka and tonics
To set you on your feet again

Maybe you'll get a replacement
There's plenty like me to be found..."


de Chirico & Penn

how is it possible that every single image in the Irving Penn exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery was amazing? that rarely happens for me, but there was not one photograph in any decade that I didn't love for some reason or another.

This was the very first image in the show...and the quote from Penn above it made me want to clap my hands together with glee, it seems we both feel the same way about 'ol Giorgio then;

"Just arrived in Rome, a figure I saw coming down the Spanish Steps 
was de Chirico...I rushed up and embraced him. He must have 
thought me crazy. To me he was the heroic de Chirico; 
to him I was a total stranger, probably demented" Rome 1944


good to know

It’s good to know that you
aren’t the person I 
will be most happy with,
and my children won’t look like you
or shrug the way you do.
We won’t stay up till dawn talking,
dancing in the kitchen, red wine lips
or console each other after a crap day at work;
run around new cities
nor hide in the pockets of old ones;
light each others cigarettes and
grow sleepy in the back of cabs.
You won’t make me cups of tea
while I remain under the covers,
or read me parts of your favourite books
as my head hangs over the mattress
and my arm rests across your stomach
I won’t remind you how brilliant you are
when you feel so insignificant,
or sing the wrong lines in songs
to try coaxing out that grin of yours.
There will be no midnight walks or
stumbling up stairs, no hand against
my back or oversized jacket on my
shoulders. Arguing in supermarkets
and sniggering quietly in art galleries,
rolling eyes at parties and blinking
too much in the bleached sunlight.
sprawled on the fuzzy grass in the evening
while our friends are across the road at karaoke
waiting for us,nor fat raindrops 
under heavy tree branches that hang over us. 
No wondering if
everyone feels this way or
is as lucky as us, and our voices won’t change on
the phone to each other, growing soft and playful;

It’s good to know
I have been spared all of this
because it’s not you these things are meant for.

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