And I'm sorry I'm posting these one after t'other. Type them up on notepad I can, post 'em, not so much as I've not been near my PC since Sunday, tsk.
Anyways, off to Canberra we went, in one of the wettest weeks Canberra has ever had, but we booked this ages ago, so it's just one of those things. At least, that's what I kept trying to tell people.
The main mission was to see the NGA's Renaissance exhibition, which we did, and it was very much Ugly Renaissance Babies, the roadshow, oh my yes. What a collection of fearsome little homunculi they were. Yikes. Some looked like old dwarves, especially one hanging off a teat with a look that was truly disturbing, and, here's a tip, if you must paint from life, do try to paint from life and not use a baby that looked that it had been dead for at least a week. Ew. (And yes, bodies for models is not unknown). A couple of bubs were of the hilarious won't sit still category, or the even funnier I just filled my billowy sheets with something a little more earthly and profane, and my, so many glum Madonnas.
Only a couple of scenes of saints being tortured, my my great disappointment, because they're often so amusingly sick, in a Tarantino kinda way, but the portraits were fun. Not sure about the sad/angry looking woman clutching a pair of men's gloves and making an odd hand signal. Lots of weird gang signs going on. Shout out to the Firenze Massive. I did like the surly ginger youth with the curled lip (playlist includes Nirvana's Never mind) and the snotty Newtown revolutionary (playlist includes Radiohead's OK Computer).
But overall? Meh. All that way for meh. Yes, big names, but the lesser works, the shoved up the back of the basement stuff no one will ever miss. Himself described it like a petrol station cd compilation, featuring bands you like but the album tracks and b-sides no-one ever plays. In effect, the Renaissance version of David Bowie's The Laughing Gnome.
Also went through the West Australian exhibit, which was also a bit meh. The only thing in the NGA I adored were my Sidney Longs, gorgeous as always.
Much more fun was the Handwritten exhibition at the National Library, which we went to on Tuesday, which I was very intimidated about seeing due to a very nasty review in a weekend paper that spent three quarters of its length patronising the patrons and their oafish comments than describing the actual contents. Despite this, there were highlights, like seeing the extravagant signatures of Napoleon and Charles Dickens, having enough cafe Italian left to make some headway on a chit from Michelangelo and the scrawly crossings out of Einstein. Best of all were those notes written down by Beethoven. Dah dah dah dah.
Even better were the Treasures, and treasures they were, and much more irrelevant, which was sorely needed (and I was missing terribly that fabby British Library exhibition that featured the Blackadder Dr Johnston sketch playing next to the very man's dictionary, as an example of its glorious mischief. Best. Exhibition. Ever). I loved that very much, especially the ephemera.
Also fun on Tuesday was the National Portrait Gallery, where we were there to see the Impressionist exhibition, featuring a lot of heavily Singer influenced paintings by my favourite boys, aka the usual suspects: Bunny, Condor, Streeton, McCubbin, Roberts. This I loved, and we arrived just in time for the tour, and Himself impressed all by dropping this fact and that. I was just pleased to see stuff by some of my favourites. I love the way they capture our colours and our light, so well I can tell exactly what time of day it was, and what season (in so far as we have them, nothing like other countries, much, much more subtle). For the first time, they were painting our country (and not the weird Constable like things that went before). Lots of browns and yellows and bright blues for the sky. All rather wonderful and lovely.
Hilariously, and unfairly, there were two portraits of Frederick 'Pies' McCubbin, one were he's a slender and beautiful youth, the other in middleage, after a successful career and many pies (apparently his family ran a bakery so there was guaranteed access to pies). Yes, I am cruel, and so is time, and too many pies. There was a small pic of his mate Louis Abrahams, he of the house that takes Victorian excess to, well, excess. It's still extant, and so magnificent you'll find it on many a hipster's walking guide to Melbourne.
Also E Philips Fox, Hugh Ramsay, Lional Lindsay and Bertram Mackennal.
After that it was a wander through the rest of the gallery, on the lookout for moustached gentlemen, as per the Mo Show guidebook, which I was given and treasure. A great many facial fur folloies, from the slim-line Errol (such a gorgeous man) to 70s crickters and chaps from the 19thC when the old face fungus said all that was needed to be said. How much do I love a gallery that doesn't take itself so damn seriously. I mean, we're only a young nation of two centuries and change, and most of that, aside from a period immeduately after WWII, for some reason (cough), was just very beardy. Go to the NPG and you are going to the hall of bearded gentlemen, so why not embrace it. So much fun.
Less fun was the walk back from the Library in the pouring rain, after the shocking non service in the cafe, across sodden parkland, miles to the taxi rank (there used to be a taxi phone in the library but is apparently now only for staff personal calls). I was completely soaked, in a Jane Austen heroine way, especially as I was wearing again my ill-fated empire line dress, now absolutely ruined, but no Colonel Brandon to race up to the rescue, but we did flag down a cab. Eventually. Did I mention it was bucketing, as in major flooding, dams spilling over bucketing, not just getting a bit damp. Just so as you know I'm not just having a moan, the weather was emergency services awful.
I had to race off to the mall to get a change of clothes, being soaked to the skin as I was, which was not fun as I was exhausted, but I found some dry clothes to wear, what a mercy, in a cheap chain store (beggars, etc, etc) and anyway, I kinda liked the skirt, and then it was off to a very quick tea in our usual cafe. So quick I was still eating and supping my tea when Himself was up and paid the bill and pacing outside in the space of seconds. Whatever I did...oh well.
Back to the hotel, which was booked up so we had the big and three times the usual cost rooms but I wasn't faulting the big comfy bed then, not at all, or the bath, and there was W on the cable so I got my weekly shot of Mr Davenport and Mr Bomer.
Wednesday afternoon is best not talked about. The plan had been to sightsee and/or shop, but we ended up at the airport stupid early, because we were over rain and giant puddles, but if we'd begged to get on the earlier flight it would have done us no good as it was delayed until ten minutes before ours anyway, and we'd have had to walk miles across the tarmac in driving rain as it was a prop plane. We came down on a prop, and it was a gentle little beast. Alas, the muffins that were served, well, I'm still trying to digest it. Any heavier and it would have collapsed into a blackhole.
So yeah, the long, tired wait, the airline losing my bag, but happily one of the ground crew I asked/wept over actually went and had a look and found it, so no more mocking the silly Oxfam pompom-y keyring I have bobbing off it now, eh?
Long, expensive, exhasting taxi ride home, too, but we made it home in time for Sherlock on telly (we were so tired our heads were drooping at the airport but after the excitement of the missing bag we were awake enough to make it through to the end credits) and a supper of baked beans, which was as about as fancy as we could manage.
Amazingly, the almond blossom patterned cup and saucer I'd packed in the suitcase, and the large glass goblet I had rolling about in my handbag, both made it home intact. I like the large stupid faux medieaval goblet, especially for a lonely single lady drinker, and I've been promising myself a pretty cup as a present for taking everything on the chin so far, except Sydney had no pretty cups for love or money.
But wait, there's more.
Yesterday, apres a full day in the office, we met up in the pouring rain and had a large but comforting dinner and then rolled, with the aid of judgemental oompaloompas, to the Opera House where we saw Olivia Newton-John performing with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and I know, I am such an amazing dag but it was pretty fanastic and when Xanadu started up I was so happy. All the faves, including some of the early country ones, and when the leather jacket went on and David Campbell arrived to sing that song, squee!
So much fun. Really, so much fun. Apparently a coouple of auld aquaintance from school days were there (of course, when we were young daggy Livvie fans together) and it was quite the sparkling, celeb studded night, with Matt Lucas and Stephan Elliott both in the audience. Great night, so worth it even though we were so knackered. Great seats, too. Really good - I'll have to remember them if I ever see them available again. So yes, I am such a dag, but dammit, it was fun. Now I have seen both Amanda Palmer and Olivia at the Opera House. Heh.
The other thing I wanted to waffle about, just quickly, as I await an enormous sack of something that is circling above me to land with a splatter all over my desk at any moment, it now being past 3 pm on a wet Friday afternoon (and the only other window I have open right now is a job application, go figure), is Danger 5. This is an SBS series made with a budget from change they found down the back of the couch, but that's part of its DIY punkish charms, and it is by some folks half my age but apparently in possession of my dvd collection, because half the fun is spotting just what they're, um, referencing/ripping off/riffing on now: The Thunderbirds, Department S, The Champions, The Prisoner, The Avengers, Captain Scarlet, Man From UNCLE, not to mention Tarantino and countless bad European sixties films I watched as a student, like Modesty Blaise and countless MST3K flicks, a fistful of Japanese campery and a couple of things I barely remember, so how these children found them (I guess it's called the interwebs). Anyway, it's silly, bawdy, student humour fun, but I loved it. I'll never be able to watch The Champions again without thinking 'What?!'.
Next week: Nazi dinosaurs. Yes, it's that kind of show.
Oh, the other show I must pimp is Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, which again wears its tight budget and tight shots very tightly indeed, but's comparable with other non US, non UK budgeted shows like Murdoch Mysteries (Canada) re production vales and the quality of local thesps (being the best of the best are working offshore) but it was fun and cheeky and silly and so like the fabulous Mrs Bradley Mysteries, but there's no wrong in that, and some of the snappy lines had me laughing and grinning and I do like the clever shortcuts necessity dictates, like a wild night depicted by a stocking hanging from a light fitting and an improbably tossed shoe. That is how you do it, people.
It's not (cue deeply sonorous voice) The Most Important Television Show You'll See All Year, but for sassy, snappy, sparky fun on a shoestring, I like it. I liked it rather a lot. Do watch if you like smart and spunky 1920s girl detectives. Agatha Christie with an Australian bite.
Okay, the vultures are circling, better wrap this up. Damn, I never got to that job app. Too much of a flitty flighty day. If this makes no sense, being sketched in half sentences at a time, apologies.
Sunday: Was watching 8, or trying to, with a 4kps connection (only Samuel L Jackson could acurately describe how I feel about Telstra right now) but the blips I did see were impressive. Well done. Half expected the West Wing music to swirl when Mr Sheen finished his speech.
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