Monthly Archives: September 2010

A rose by any other name;

I completed a little procrastination task today in a bid to avoid reading the Wills Act – a little feat of categorization! I have been wanting to do this for some time, and readers have always left that comment for reviews to be consolidated, so you can now observe that a box of categories now sits in the top right hand corner of this page, so that you can avoid what you don’t want to see and henceforth. They are quite self-explanatory really – except, the Grape Juice Badge section is specially yours Beansprouts, because you really deserve one after bearing with me all this time, after all. There is also a Personal Style/ General Fashion section which some girls have suggested.

Irving Beansprouts will be particularly happy, he can hop henceforth to ‘Grape Juice Badge’ and ‘Literature’ and ‘Epiphanies’. Though things are a little complicated and often entries fall within several categories.

As per past practice, not all comments will be made public, so do feel free to write to me a little note in the middle of your day. Most comments are not made public.

I didn’t know what to do with those entries that didn’t fit anywhere, so I just dropped them in Epiphanies. I was tempted to use eccentric categories really, but knowing myself, they would just wind up sounding like little hamster names.

Let me know if you like/hate the categories and any other quirky widgets that you would suggest.

My booklist keeps changing, I have given up updating it really! But for curious souls who always ask, I am currently on Vintage Amis by Martin Amis. Once again, a friend’s recommendation. I have something to remark on friends’ recommendations which Amy Tan wrote about very well. But maybe after the Wills Act matter gets settled. I’ve been reading nothing but family law cases otherwise and feel very Days of Our Lives.



Haven’t uploaded the photographs for ages! I want to go with S and R again soon~ One never has chances at work.

CIMG8869JPG_effected-001.jpg picture by maspicCIMG8872JPG_effected.jpg picture by maspicCIMG8877JPG_effected.png picture by maspic

Brought this adorable mint-pink clutch by the lovely lady of S-Chick!

There is a quirky sort of beauty to Clarke Quay at night.

What’s My Line

Debbie Reynolds was so absolutely divine, I absolutely loved her!!

An interesting appearance by Fisher at the end. For those not familiar with Debbie (why, I simply could NOT imagine), she was the leading girl in Singin in the Rain and other productions. Her life then with Fisher unfortunately did not have a happy outcome (why he left Debbie for Elizabeth Taylor absolutely befuddles me, but love’s like that)

Reynolds has been married three times. She and Eddie Fisher were married in 1955. They are the parents of Carrie Fisher and Todd Fisher. A public scandal ensued when Fisher and Elizabeth Taylor fell in love, and Reynolds and Fisher were divorced in 1959. Her second marriage, to millionaire businessman Harry Karl, lasted from 1960 to 1973. At its end, she found herself in financial difficulty because of Karl’s gambling and bad investments. (Under the community property laws of California, both spouses in a marriage are legally responsible for debts incurred by either.) Reynolds was married to real estate developer Richard Hamlett from 1984 to 1996. They purchased Greek Isles Hotel & Casino, a small hotel and casino in Las Vegas, but it was not a success. In 1997, Reynolds was forced to declare bankruptcy.

The lawyer in me is intrigued by those community property laws…!

Literary Speed Dating – Victoria State Library

Came across this article I had filed sometime back on speed-dating in the Victoria State Library. Have you ever fallen someone based on what he/she read? Admitably so, I’m a klutz, and it has happened to me in the past, though I should have seen the signs. I know I am wrong now, you are not always what you read, especially when you merely own the book and more time is spent with martinis and olives. But I am different now. I fell in love once with a boy who claimed to be forever reading Nietzsche and a certain book of poetry. I loved someone once who uttered Kate Atkinson as one of his favourite authors, and clung to his reading list like a messiah. But maybe the truth is that I had always been looking for the story of the person, a laughable impulse to see a sudden glimmer of a straying mind in the second between paella and the next gulp of evening sangria. The men between the pages are not always more appealing.

A week or so ago I took myself to dinner at Mario’s in Brunswick Street, accompanied by Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse 5. At a table nearby, a handsome young man sat poring over a novel of his own. He was oblivious to those around him, chewing on his fingernails, utterly immersed.

I fell in love with him instantly. So it goes.

Is it possible to fall in love with someone simply through their choice of literature? I’d say so. I have tumbled for countless boys and their dog-eared loans. Joel insisted I bone up on Bulgakov; Matty read Bukowski and then wrote countless pages in a similarly liquored-up style; Simon swore by the dusty prose of Tim Winton. I have never fully recovered from the boy who once handed over a copy of John Fante’s Ask the Dust with the whispered insistence, “This will touch you”. He was right and I am forever indebted to his mad Arturo-like passion.

Recommending a book to someone you have a blossoming crush on is an enormous
step for literature obsessives. What does the novel in question say about you? Does the fact that you’re a fan of George P. Pelecanos write you off as some borderline psychotic who will stand over a beloved’s bed with a stabbing knife and a watertight alibi? Does an appreciation of Nicholson Baker’s The Fermata paint you three colours pornographic? Should your copy of Alice Sebold’s Lucky be shelved indefinitely? (“I’m really glad we’re getting along, so I wanted to lend you this incredibly traumatic and graphic story about a rape victim. Call me.”)

When I was told the State Library was running an event they referred to as “literary speed dating” there was no way possible I could let it pass me by. Books and romance are such inevitable bedfellows, and the thought that I may lock eyes with some brainy Lothario carrying a copy of Raymond Chandler’s Cathedral pretty much made every one of my senses zing. The premise was so beautifully simple it was poetic: bring along a loved, loathed or recently read novel. Partner up for a five-minute discussion with a member of the opposite sex, breathlessly debate the merits of Peter Cook’s biographer versus the incessant punning of Kathy Lette, rub feet lasciviously
underneath the table, live happily ever after, fin. The idea of stepping away from the kinds of “so what do you do” conversations best confined to city bars with a 6am licence was just too enticing. I was in, I was in, I was in. Jeeves, hand me my bookmark.

Having never attended a speed dating night of any description, I could only guess at what to wear. It seemed simple enough – less plunging neckline, more flowery ’50s pin-up. Red lipstick and stockings. The book choice, however, was an entirely different matter. I consulted with anyone, everyone. Cab drivers and waiters. Dog-walkers. My best friend Gabi acted as head therapist.

“What about Martin Amis? You love Martin Amis.”

“His characters are all aloof arseholes. It’ll give the wrong impression.”

“He is a bit cold, isn’t he?”

“What about Bliss?”

She looked dubious.

“Peter Carey?”

“What’s wrong with it? It’s a love story.”

“Between a prostitute and a man losing his mind.”


Another of her looks.

“There’s a brother-sister incest scene too.”

“Oh. I forgot about that.”

Eventually it came down to Fante and John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces. It was pointed out to me (by more than one person, rudely) that both books featured an essentially deranged lead character – Fante’s Bandini driven to distraction by his passion for the troubled Camilla, while Toole’s Ignatius J. Reilly was simply a maddeningly overblown pompous genius. If any potential paramour ran screaming, so be it. The writing in both novels set my heart to swelling every time I had the honour of spiritually ingesting it. I wanted to share that with someone; to have that moment where two minds connect like Jenga pieces in an orgiastic mutual appreciation of literature. Surely that wasn’t too much to ask.

Then right at the last minute, Dunces in hand, one foot out the door, Gabi speaks.

“What if they hate it?”


“What if you meet some wonderful spunko brainiac with a copy of Catch 22 and
they hate Confederacy of Dunces?”

Pause. I hadn’t considered that such people existed. Could the spark of difference be just the thing leading to romance? Would my intended and I wrestle our love into being like the Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd of the library, snarling stanzas and tearing at dust jackets?

“I’ll deal with that when I come to it.”

And – stuffing a copy of David Sedaris’ Naked into my handbag at the last minute like a pair of back-up knickers – I’m gone.

The night itself is slow, earthy, alive. We are in a private room at the library and there are candles lit and peanut clusters of friends whispering nervy excitements. I wait to lock eyes with a gentleman clutching a matching copy of John Kennedy Toole’s masterpiece, leading to a slow-motion balletic run across the room and an intense but discreet tongue-kissing session behind a shelf of modern feminist poetry. This, needless to say, does not instantly eventuate.

What does is a fascinating look into the minds of readers, male and female. We are seated at a long and grand table, divided by sexes like tittering wallflowers. The Seeking Same participants are given their own section. A girl sitting two people away from me is holding a copy of Slaughterhouse 5.

“I’m reading that at the moment!” I say excitedly.

She looks uninterested. She’s not here to mingle with lady booklovers.

The two-piece jazz band is irritatingly loud. The emcee makes a couple of lame jokes about bringing along American Psycho. Tense laughter. I am seated across from an enormous gentleman in a suit and tie. He is holding a copy of Zadie Smith’s On Beauty. He inhales deeply.

Your time starts, now.

Men come and go; pages whirring. The music stops and starts. One by one, I am presented with a variety of male courters holding a variety of novels. David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas. Charles Darwin’s Origin of the Species. In Cold Blood. The Michael Palin Diaries.

“Oh, lovely,” I say when I see the Palin. “What’s it like?”

He glances down at the shiny hardback. Picks absently at an Angus and Roberston price sticker.

“I don’t know, I haven’t read it. To be honest I just thought it looked OK so I picked it up on my way here and …” he trails off, shrugging.

There is an awkward pause.

“So what do you do?” he asks eventually, trying to surreptitiously look down my top before our five minutes is up.

I am yet to find the elusive heart-literature connection, though I am presented with some fascinating choices. Whoever told one young man he should bring along The Coming of the Third Reich as his amorous placard was clearly having a lend of him. Additionally, the gentleman toting a copy of The Story of O and an accompanying leery expression appears to be making no friends whatsoever.

“I thought it would be a conversation starter. I mean, we’re not here for fun are we?” he says defiantly.

Third from last is a man who holds a thin, glossy tome. Daywalks around Melbourne. I ask if rambling is a particular passion of his.

“Not really. But if you’re free on the weekend …” he smiles, tapping the guidebook.

I can’t help but feel disappointed. There are some beautiful men with awful books, and some awful men holding frankly magnificent pieces of writing. An adoration of fine scribes can be such a random gift.

Eventually we all peel off and trip out into the night exhausted, after posting secret ballots as to who we rather fancied, who we abhorred, who we want to lie naked next to immersed in volumes of Roald Dahl til the end of time. My literate love may have evaded me that night, but there are a thousand more dinners, a thousand more novels, a thousand more precious, random moments. In the meantime I will bed Arturo, befriend Adrian Mole, dine with Ignatius and laugh helplessly with Bryson. Betrothed, for now, to the men within my pages.

in my dreams you walk dripping from a sea-journey on the highway

Ode to a Nightingale

Irving knew I was depressed, and read me one of my favourite poems over skype tonight. : ) He had memorised the entire poem, over two weeks of bus journeys to add some pleasure to his law studies!

Ode to a Nightingale was one of my very first Keats poems. I have a special fondness for Keats. I first read Keats in high school, and at 14 I was still quite new to poetry, and didn’t quite understand so much of it, but there was the magic of hearing the words and seeing the mossy walks in my mind. Suddenly so much came back, a little bit of high-school-hood and the image of a proud, beautiful and vulnerable nightingale.

Thank you Irving. Each time I speak with you, you bring back a little of Equalia. I still have my law completion account to finish, but already I feel more energized to calculate all the stamp duties and property taxes come what may.

And I just had to share this with the other readers of this blog again, Ode to a Nightingale.

My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
    My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
    One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:
‘Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,
    But being too happy in thine happiness, –
        That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees,
                In some melodious plot
    Of beechen green and shadows numberless,
        Singest of summer in full-throated ease.
O, for a draught of vintage! that hath been
    Cool’d a long age in the deep-delved earth,
Tasting of Flora and the country green,
    Dance, and Provençal song, and sunburnt mirth!
O for a beaker full of the warm South,
    Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,
        With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
                And purple-stained mouth;
    That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,
        And with thee fade away into the forest dim:

Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
    What thou among the leaves hast never known,
The weariness, the fever, and the fret
    Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;
Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last gray hairs,
    Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies;
        Where but to think is to be full of sorrow
                And leaden-eyed despairs,
    Where Beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes,
        Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow.

Away! away! for I will fly to thee,
    Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,
But on the viewless wings of Poesy,
    Though the dull brain perplexes and retards:
Already with thee! tender is the night,
    And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne,
        Cluster’d around by all her starry Fays;
                But here there is no light,
    Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown
        Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.

I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
    Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,
But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet
    Wherewith the seasonable month endows
The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild;
    White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine;
        Fast fading violets cover’d up in leaves;
                And mid-May’s eldest child,
    The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,
        The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.

Darkling I listen; and, for many a time
    I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Call’d him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
    To take into the air my quiet breath;
Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
    To cease upon the midnight with no pain,
        While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
                In such an ecstasy!
    Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain –
        To thy high requiem become a sod.

Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!
    No hungry generations tread thee down;
The voice I hear this passing night was heard
    In ancient days by emperor and clown:
Perhaps the self-same song that found a path
    Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,
        She stood in tears amid the alien corn;
                The same that oft-times hath
    Charm’d magic casements, opening on the foam
        Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.

Forlorn! the very word is like a bell
    To toll me back from thee to my sole self!
Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well
    As she is fam’d to do, deceiving elf.
Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades
    Past the near meadows, over the still stream,
        Up the hill-side; and now ’tis buried deep
                In the next valley-glades:
    Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
        Fled is that music: – Do I wake or sleep?

Salvador Dali

I am so addicted to this series. I absolutely adore Salvador Dali in this one, I had such a laugh! Irving you will love this, I just know it, you will.