Sunday, December 4, 2016

December 4. Day 339. Quite a splash

And so I am prepared to call it.
I've scaled the mountain of the work year and now I have earned the right to start a bit of a slide down the other side into the summer holidays.
The work isn't over - indeed there will be form after form to process tomorrow.
But the weekends and nights are now my own and marking free and I intend to make the most of it. And part of that will be catching up on the friends I have sadly neglected for most of the year.
And today we did lunch with friends - the type of lunch that takes hours and the type of friends you want to spend a long lunch with.
It was refreshing - and not just because we ended up in the pool.
Roll on summer, roll on...

Saturday, December 3, 2016

December 3. Day 338. The final curtain

Parting is such sweet sorrow (although the sweet bit might not be so evident at the time). That's where we are at tonight. Drama Teen performed with Fame Theatre Company for the very last time today ending a 14-year stint as a student. There were tears - lots of them - and not only from me! Fame has been such an integral part of our weekly routine since Mr O was just five. He's grown up with Fame. It was the stabilizing influence through the not so wonderful high school years. The skills learned at Fame will be skills for life. Next year it's a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Drama) at QUT and who knows where that will lead (but I have already told him I want first mention in the Academy Award acceptance speech. He's told me Fame will also get a mention). Even if that doesn't work out, the confidence, the ability to perform in front of an audience and a love of theatre will be with him forever. And so will the Fame family. My boy may have left the family home but the family is the family, forever.

Friday, December 2, 2016

December 2. Day 337. So long and thanks for all the fish

Waking up in Brisbane will never be the same. For 11 years, the voice I have woken up to is that of Spencer Howson. But while we will never tire of him, apparently Spencer has tired of an alarm at 3.30am. (What's wrong with the man, seriously?)
Let's be honest, 11 years is a long time in any job these days and more than a decade of those hideously anti-social hours is worthy of an award. Personally it has been a pleasure and an honour to join Spencer in the studio every week for those 11 years. And our association on radio goes back more than 15 years and started with an email. The subject line was Would you take a three-and-a-half-year-old boy to the ballet? At the time I was editor of the now defunct publication Kids in Brisbane.  I had just returned from a Queensland Ballet children's performance with the individual now known as Drama Teen. It seemed to me at the time that many in the media reported children as problems - kids with obesity, kids with ADHD and so on. The bee in my bonnet was that day was that there were so many positive things happening in Brisbane for families but finding out about them was hard. Basically Spencer said "let's talk". That afternoon was my first ever visit to a radio studio. I was invited back two weeks later and weekly after that. Drama Teen is now almost 19 and, fittingly, will be studying the Bachelor of Fine Arts (Drama) at QUT from next year. It is possible that without that email and Spencer the doors to so many theatrical productions would not have been opened for Oliver and me. I don't know. But I do know that that it has been a wonderful opportunity and it has certainly enabled me to expose both myself and my son's mind to a world of theatre and live entertainment beyond the reach of a mere mortal on a university lecturer's wage. It has been a privilege. It was also an honour to be in the studio with him when he bowed out from the breakfast spot. Who knows what next year will bring for Spencer and for my involvement with the ABC in Brisbane. Right now I'd just like to say thanks. As Douglas Adams, a man both Spencer and I are very fond of once wrote So Long and Thanks for all the Fish ...

Thursday, December 1, 2016

December 1. Day 336. Fan girl

 What exactly is the correct collective noun for a whole bunch of Matildas? A talent of Matildas, perhaps. Anyway, all four of the awesome young performers who share the role of Matilda and all the children who are performing in the Brisbane season were on parade at the opening night party tonight. As was Tim Minchin she says in the slightly hushed tones of a complete fan girl. Yes, I was so close to Tim I could have touched him (to be clear could have not did. Occasionally I show restraint). Sorry, I think I got distracted for a second there. I was talking about the actors not the writer, right? Those child stars ... Absolutely bloody amazing. Venus Harris, the opening night Matilda was a show stopper. In fact the talent of all those children was phenomenal. It's not like they are great performers for their age. They are great performers full stop. And yes I did see the show twice in two nights. It's a long story. I'll tell it some time.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November 30. Day 335. A big fat drip

Tim Minchin, I'm sorry. I've been a big fat drip. In January I travelled to Sydney and saw Matilda. I expected to be blown away. I love your work. I love Roald Dahl' s work. I loved both the book and the movie Matilda and of course I'm a music theatre tragic. The stars aligned on this one. I would leave the theatre with my heart singing. But I didn't. Frankly I left going "meh". I didn't hate it by any means. Indeed I liked it but the rest of the world raved and I just didn't see it. Tonight I saw it. Tonight I felt the magic, the earth move. Now here are the possible reasons. I saw Matilda in Sydney on January 14 two weeks before the end of the Sydney season. Perhaps the energy was gone. Perhaps it was just because I had an idea in my head about what this would look like and it didn't. The show didn't live up to the pictures in my head created from a combination of the book and the movie. There may be a bit of me a little jaded because there was no flying car, witch, nanny or carpet. No helicopter appears. No chandelier falls. With fresh eyes and a better idea tonight the magic worked. This is a beautiful, quality production. It's clever, funny and heartwarming. And it is a story of justice and a little person with a strong sense of right and wrong taking on the system and winning. Matilda is a heroine in every sense of the word. And the magic I thought was missing? That X factor? Come on. There are kids swinging out over the audience, there's a little cutie being flung by pig tails, chalk writes on a blackboard by itself and glasses of water miraculously tip over. Plus a chocolate cake that pretty much eats itself. I left the theatre singing. I'm glad I give second chances.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

November 29. Day 334. For crying out loud

I sometimes wonder is one of those party girls whose here for a good time not a long time. And like the parent of any young party animal she is determined to take years off my life. Today she escaped twice. The first time she did a runner she took advantage of the pool man moving a barrier. I caught her next door. That was just the warm up act. The next time I decided to take the dogs for a walk after dropping Drama Teen off in the city. We were in the QUT car park, which is only under the freeway and next to a river and a bike path. I stopped the car. The dogs jumped on my lap. I clipped two leads on and opened the car door. Winkle jumped and ran - I'd somehow managed to clip both leads to the same collar. Rumple was very secure and Winkle as free as a bird. I screamed. Oliver screamed. Winkle skipped around having a great time. Across the car park and out on to the bike path she went with me in hot pursuit.  She dodged a couple of fast moving cyclists and then came back. I clipped her on the right lead and pushed my heart back from my mouth to where it belonged. Cats have nine lives. Dogs - and their owners need at least that many.

Monday, November 28, 2016

November 28. Day 333. Open house.

See that kookaburra photo? It's not so unlike many others I have taken at my neighbour Margaret's house before except for one key thing - I was outside looking in and the bird was inside looking out. It's pretty much an open door policy at her place, as long as you have feathers or fur. With people she is far more cautious and that's probably fair enough. Animals are often more honest about what they want with you. My pair make it quite clear. They will take treats or tummy tickles, preferably both. People can be far more devious and manipulative.  As a reader of tabloid newspapers and a consumer of commercial TV news, Margaret is not exactly paranoid but has a healthy eye open for those whose intentions might not be honorable. You'd have to work reasonably hard to pull the wool over her eyes. Still I was a little surprised at the latest development. This one came not from her diet of news but her other favourite media Bold and the Beautiful. As I never watch the program the details escape me but someone was in a coma. He hadn't updated his enduring power of attorney and an old partner was busily cleaning him out. Margaret's not worried about that but she thinks as the person who spends the most time with her these days, I would be the best placed to know what she wants and she trusts me. It's an honour and a responsibility. I rather wonder if the dogs would get it if they could sign ...