Thursday, January 31, 2019

January 31. Day 31. What could possibly go wrong?

I've been in the theatre when sets wobbled and broke.
I've been there when the curtains didn't open, the sound queues didn't work, people forgot their lines, the sound queues were off, the props weren't where they were supposed to be, things were dropped or spilled or costumes failed.
There was the time the actor broke a leg at the matinee and the person filling in read lines off an A4 photocopied script.
Once the actor playing a role was too sick to go on so the understudy performed the second act.
I've pretty much seen it all - but not generally in one performance.
Today everything went wrong and it was hilarious. Peter Pan goes Wrong is almost painful to watch - and not just because you think the actors might get hurt by collapsing things. It also hurts because it might be an exaggeration but it's not too far from the truth... and we all know truth hurts.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

January 30. Day 30. Lucky Duck

 I was a lucky duck tonight.
I was a lucky duck because I saw Savage in Limbo in a sold out session. It's the first production from a new theatre company and one day I suspect I'll be able to say I saw them when they first started out.
I was a lucky duck because the venue - The Lucky Duck - is just down the road from my place.
But then the luck kind of ran out. The production was site specific - a piece set in a bar and performed in a bar. There's a great authenticity to that. But there was also a great discomfort if you are old like me. I need a chair with a back. I also need more than one fan in a Brisbane summer in a non air conditioned venue. This is a group to watch out for and if you are lucky you will see them on a night less hot.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

January 29. Day 29. If I only had a brain

The first big QPAC musical Oliver saw was The Wizard of Oz in the lead up to Christmas 2002. It was the one starring Nikki Webster fresh from the Sydney Olympics opening ceremony.
I recall it because he was transfixed. He barely moved.  He started channelling the scarecrow and demanded a  costume. Later he added a Tin Man costume to the collection as well.
So when his friend Virag decided on childhood heroes as the theme for her 20th birthday party, it was a no-brainer (see what I did there?!). The love for the scarecrow has shown no sign of diminishing in the intervening years.

Monday, January 28, 2019

January 28. Day 28. Aussie, Aussie, Aussie

I can't imagine the French celebrating Bastille Day on any date other than July 14. The Americans surely mark the 4th of July on the 4th of July.
But there really isn't anything quite as Australian as a long weekend. So on January 26 all the shops were open but today we had a public holiday.
It was a bit slow around our place. I'm sure that had nothing to do with the party yesterday (okay, it had everything to do with the party yesterday).
It was dark before I got out and about with my camera.
I decided to head to the bridge which would surely be decked out in Australian colours - it was. I set up the tripod, took some snaps and then it happened. A fire twirler set to work on the waterfront. It was totally cool and totally unexpected. Good things some to those who wait.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

January 27. Day 27. Party time

Because of the availability of certain key people on both of the two possible 21st birthday party dates for the only son and heir, we decided just to have two.
While there were potential drawbacks there was an advantage - separating the wild young things and the more sedate relatives.... or something.
 It actually was a good idea to separate the different stakeholders.
It brought together like and like, and it gave us time to speak to people.
It also meant the young things missed the opportunity to see how those with party experience kick up their heels.
This will be a party they will be talking about for a while and will go down in family legend. You may only turn 21 once but who said you only had to have one party?  Not us

Saturday, January 26, 2019

January 26. Day 26. Happy Australia Day

There is nothing wrong and a whole lot right about celebrating a national day. But a national day really should be about the things that unite us and not those that divide us. Australia Day on January 26 makes no sense. As a child growing up in school we were taught a version of history which made us feel all flag waving about the date. The date would never have been acceptable to indigenous Australians. It has just taken some of us longer to catch up. Some may never come along and personally I suspect the Invasion Day label will cement the entrenched views in many minds. I get it, but I don't think it's helpful right now. Then again I have no Indigenous ancestry that I'm aware of so it's really not for me to say. But I do want an Australia Day and I want it to be more than an excuse for a long weekend. I firmly believe it will happen. The question is when not if. 

Friday, January 25, 2019

January 25. Day 25. Cleaning up

The phrase "it's a tough job but someone has to do it" is interesting.  It's pretty much only ever used for jobs that are not tough and most people given any chance at all would do it in a heartbeat.
But there are tough jobs and people do have to do them, some which we never give any thought to at all.
For instance, until today I never knew they drained the duck ponds in the city botanic gardens and manually pulled out the weeds. There would be worse ways to earn a crust without question. However wading through mud and sludge and a whole lot of poo and pulling out weeds by the armful is not my idea of fun. Truthfully I'd be terrified about what I might pull up and that's without taking into account the heat. And I don't even know what the exact occupation on the blokes doing the job is ... gardener, parks and maintenance, landscaper. It's dirty work but I'm sure the plants and animals are better for it as are we who get to enjoy the area when they are done.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

January 24. Day 24. Train spotting

I spent time at Central Station today. Well technically I walked through Central Station and was distracted by shiny things in a shop on the concourse. I bought shiny things and continued at pace through the station.
In my defence I had business to attend to.
I rather like trains, at least in part because they are not buses. Too many trips to and from school on hot, crowded buses has resulted in a life-long loathing. There's probably therapy but I'm not buying it.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

January 23. Day 23. In the streets of our town

 If things had gone to plan the redevelopment of Anzac Square would have been complete by the centenary of the Armistice.
But the best laid plans of mice and men ....
It's getting closer now but still not quite there.
Today there were workmen putting on what seemed to be the finishing touches.
It's getting close and it's looking good.
It's a beautiful space, a bit of old Brisbane squeezed in between the new buildings and after the facelift it looks all fresh and new which is a bit of awesome.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

January 22. Day 22. Hair raising

Margaret is a woman who knows what she wants and she's not afraid to say so.
This is true in all aspects of life in particular her hair.
She had her hair set weekly and knows exactly how that should be.
She knows what the rollers should be and how it should be rolled, and brushed and dried. She even has a strong opinion on what scarf should be placed over the rollers ("not black, I hate black").
She wasn't too impressed at her last style so the bought in new rollers and pins and today she gave it another go.  She wasn't necessarily excited but she was considerably happier than last time. For what it's worth I think it looked great and if I reach that age with hair that good I'll be happy.

Monday, January 21, 2019

January 21. Day 21. Wheel of fortune

 We're back.
And for the 18th year in a row I'll be a regular on ABC Radio. This is both a privilege and an absolute blast.
Over the years this has involved chatting on many a subject. Right now it's television and movies.
I watch more than my fair share of screen content and I have an opinion on everything so it's perfect really.
And tonight the wheel was lit up red when I went to the studio. There was doubtless a reason although I have no idea what that reason was. It looked very pretty and sometimes that's reason enough. Goodness knows enough film makers seem content with that. See, it's comments like that they need me for. I'm just so insightful (not) but I'm pretty or something.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

January 20. Day 20. Parks and recreation

 It is good to take time to smell the roses - but even the roses don't smell like roses at the moment.
Everyone is wilting because it is so frigging hot and every threatened rain fall fails to be anything more than a sad spit.
We went to New Farm Park briefly this afternoon. There was a breeze coming off the river, in much the same way as hot air blasts you in the face when you open a fan-forced oven.
So the visit was brief and even then it required stopping at the water bubbler. There is no such thing as cold water in Brisbane at the moment. I think the lettering in the taps is in French where a c is for chaud or hot. But it's better than nothing - just.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

January 19. Day 19. Disguises

 Forget walking a day in someone's shoes, why not go the whole hog and dress in their clothes.
I suspect most people like a good dress up, although some hide it better than others.
When you discard your clothes and put on something less familiar, less like your normal get up you become a slightly different person.
It's fun to be someone else every now and again.

Today I found myself in Disguises, a costume place just down the road. I like the shop a great deal if only because of the window display. They change it regularly depending on the time of year or what's in the public imagination at the time. So there might be leprechauns around St Patrick's Day or Storm Troopers when a new Star Wars film is about to be released. But that's just window dressing' literally. When you get inside you expose yourself to a whole wide world of possibilities.
Today the aim was to find a costume for Oliver who is heading to a party where the brief is to dress as a childhood here. I told him the wear . blue skivvy and say he was a Anthony Wiggle. There aren't too many skivvies  in Brisbane at this time of year. Anyway it was fun considering the options. To find out what he decided on you'll have to watch this space.

Friday, January 18, 2019

January 18. Day 18. At the bottom of the gardens

It was a flying visit to the Gardens. After completing business in the city there was 15 minutes before where my car was parked became a clearway. Those who tow cars rate lower on the scale of people you want to do business with than journalists and that makes them the dung beetles of the human race. So I was a woman with a camera on a mission.
It rather seemed I was the only one in a rush. The weather at the moment means the thought of moving at any pace is enough to make you break out in a sweat. Everything was just hanging, a bit like the humidity. So I snapped and ran, well did an impression of moving at a pace slightly approaching a run which given it is me and bloody hot is the best you can expect.
And the parking inspectors were getting no joy from me today.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

January 17. Day 17. Beach babies

 There was this Channel 7 show Instant Hotel where people owning AirBnBs visited and rated other homes in other parts of the country. As part of their stay they were shown the local attractions. The property that eventually won was in West End in Brisbane, really close to where I live.
In the heats the visitors were taken to South Bank and our man-made beach. They put a lot of shit on it, basically describing it as a lame public pool.
These people obviously don't have kids.
Families love the South Bank beach and water park.
It is not unusual to see groups come from the train or bus station clearly equipped to stay and play for hours. It costs them nothing.I admit I'd much rather cool off in my own pool but I'm not a five-year-old or the parent of one. And I do walk through the area a lot and love to see the obvious joy on the people at play. So southern snobs you might not like our beach but we do and today I reminded myself why. I even got wet and it was fun. Take your beach towel and shove it.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

January 16. Day 16. Charity begins at the nursing home

 I know it wasn't my first meeting with Margaret but it was certainly shortly thereafter.
I was told about her love of all animals, the dog called Sandy who had slept on her bed, her support of animal charities and her love of birds.
She said she didn't trust anyone who didn't like dogs.
She talked of the old towels and dog food she would take to the RSPCA.
She scoured the TV guide for Attenborough documentaries and Bondi Vet.
And then my dogs came along and she loved them as her own.
So it came as no surprise that she decided she wanted to make donations to the RSPCA and Guide Dogs for the Blind. She was over the moon with excitement when she called me to say that both organisations were sending a representative to collect the cheques AND a guide dog would be coming along. This morning she beamed as the presentations happened and Hilde the guide dog put her head on Margaret's foot and snuggled. It was picture perfect.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

January 15. Day 15. Lone Pine

 Lone Pine is the world's biggest and largest koala sanctuary.
It is also awesome but people like me don't go there.
It's a place for tourists and people with small kids.
This is a shame.
Like so many things we often forget what's on our own doorstep.
Of course I'm a bit like Peter Pan - I decided against growing up so when given half a chance I'll join the little people and the kids and head there.
Today was my day.
My friend Alison, who resides in Singapore and is the mother of two small people invited me.
She ticks all the boxes so I borrowed one of her ticks or something. Anyway, I got to spend a delightful morning with the animals and my friend and her lovely boys.
And I fed the kangaroos.
I also narrowly avoided being lunch to a lizard who seemed to mistake my toes for a snack.
 But the real joy was watching the joy on the kids' faces.
 That, as the credit card ad puts it, is priceless.

Monday, January 14, 2019

January 14. Day 14. Nailed it!

There's this Netflix show called Nailed It where people people look at cakes on Instagram and try to re-create them, always with disastrous results. Anyway, if you can celebrate the failures you certainly should be able to celebrate the successes. I totally nailed the 21st birthday present. About 15 months ago at the opening on an exhibition by Brisbane artist Starr I asked about the possibility of a Times Square painting. I wanted one for a 21st birthday for a Broadway boy. She said there would be one in the next exhibition and if I wanted to send through pictures of my ideas she would work to that. I could have first refusal. And so the deal was done. Fast forward to November and the exhibition. Oliver walked in and saw the painting. He saw the sold sticker. He was crushed. He even posed with Starr in front of the painting. How excited was I to see the look on his face when he realised that the person who had bought his precious Times Square was me and he was now its owner. Today it was hung in our house. Nailed it!

Sunday, January 13, 2019

January 13. Day 13. Twenty-one today


Oh God, I'm officially old. My only child is now 21 which by every measure makes him an adult. I have claimed that I was 12 when I had him. Actually, I was 14 obviously in dog years or something.
In any event, he is all grown up and I am proud. I am proud of the fact that he is unashamed about who he is. I am proud of the people he has chosen to surround himself with. I am proud that he has shown such single-mindedness about his love for theatre. And I am proud that he still loves his mother.
Also, I shall totally take credit for the fact that two women dressed exactly like the lead characters of Wicked turned up in the venue where we partied.
I had nothing to do with it but who cares. It was awesome and just what a young man who loves musical theatre in general and Wicked in particular would want.
It was the icing on the cake.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

January 12. Day 12. The cat's whiskers

Today is the day before my 21st birthday. On this day 21 years ago, I went into labour. This means that tomorrow I need to be the cats whiskers. Also I need to give a speech. These things both stress me so I might as well knock them off together. So on the way to the hairdresser I stopped off at both the markets and an art shop. I wanted quality pen and paper. I wanted to write on quality paper with a quality pen, actually write. For a reason I don't quite understand there was a cat in the art store. I'm not sure that cats paint or draw or have any need for any other products in the art store. However, there was one and it looked right at home. And I took a photo and then I went to the hairdresser and scribbled things. By tomorrow those things may look like a speech.