Gardenias and Nyan Cat

I’m sitting here in my childhood home, shoulders still radiating heat from yesterday’s sun, yellowing gardenias on the kitchen table, revelling in Husky’s sweet indie folk in excitement/preparation for my scheduled interview this morning and I clicked on THAT FUCKING NYAN CAT LINK in an email from a friend. Did you find my use of caps lock excessive? So was the volume in my headphones.

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Grammar Warning

Y’know how right before you play an obscene track on radio you’ve got to give people a heads up in case they’re easily offended? Consider this a grammar warning for you pedants out there, as I’m likely to be bending all sorts of rules in my excitement/need to offload a bunch of information about what’s been keeping me tied up for the last few weeks. I’ve been feeling busy but most of my stories from the past little while seem to end with “and then I got really drunk”. Which is kind of worrying, but perhaps I’ll get drunk and obliterate my anxieties about wasting time. And not one of you will mention the words ‘vicious cycle’ in my presence.

Aside from getting drunk, I’ve been doing a little writing and a bunch of interviews* for Bobbysix.com, and in return I’ve been lucky enough to go to some incredible gigs over the last week or so. The Grates at the Metro was absolutely fucking brilliant – Patience Hodgson is such a dynamic frontwoman, and their back catalogue soundtracked much of my adolescence, so this was always going to be special. The opening chords from each and every song brought a smile to my face, and I couldn’t help but remember a flamboyantly wasted guy at Laneway a few years back who declared each and every song The XX played to be his favourite. It was that kind of gig – each and every song felt like your favourite. It was as if Barney Stinson curated their setlist – it was all rise.

Tuesday saw me heading to Florence and the Machine’s gig at the Seymour Centre. Her howling vocals filled the small space and brought the crowd to their feet during Dog Days Are Over, a song which has seen me refuse to allow people out of my car until its completion. I may have locked the doors. It’s found me confusing passing truckies as I weep while waiting to turn onto the Pacific Highway, and featured on so many of my playlists that I really should be embarrassed. Leaving Songs, Go Frock Yourself, Oxley Highway, We’re Awesome, For When We Get To Taree And Just Want To sing Along, What’s The Weather Like – its frequency is almost as ridiculous as the names of the playlists it plagues.

Then Harry Potter chipped my tooth. Well, sort of. We somehow wrangled media passes to the launch of the Harry Potter exhibition at the Powerhouse and upon hearing the news I clapped my hand to my mouth with so much vigour that I chipped an incisor with my ring. So that makes two permanent Harry Potter related marks on my body, one of which I displayed in an unashamedly pretentious fashion at the launch, courtesy of a stupidly cut shirt to show off my Deathly Hallows tattoo. The exhibition itself was a wonder -the forbidden forest was wreathed in mist which smelt of damp and dark and dead unicorns, Hagrid’s hut contained a huge dragons egg which periodically cracked and shook the table it sat on, the exhibits were insanely detailed and I had to restrain myself from running around, yelling and generally behaving in a very unprofessional manner. My full review will go up on Bobbysix.com in the next few days, so keep an eye out for it.**

Seeker Lover Keeper at St Stephens Church last night were absolutely beautiful and I gushed about them over an unseemly number of mic breaks on the Allnighter I went to immediately afterwards. I adore this sweet little supergroup, having been a fan of their individual music for some time now. Even Though I’m A Woman was a fitting close to a stunning set, and a song which resonates hugely with me. I do so love the danger in distance.

*Yes, there’s a big discrepancy right now between the number of interviews and the number of articles. Girl’s got some transcribing to do.

**edit: Text of my Harry Potter review which originally appeared here is now below.

It was with huge excitement that I headed along to the launch of the Harry Potter exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum. I’m an unashamed Harry Potter dork – with a back catalogue of books, movies, Harry Potter parties, more-knowledgeable-than-thou arguments and a Deathly Hallows tattoo to prove it – so this exhibition (in the largest temporary exhibition space in the Southern Hemisphere) was, if you’ll allow me to get all Anchorman on you, ‘kind of a big deal’.

Featuring props and costumes from each of the movies in a walk-through space, beginning with a cavernous room containing the Hogwarts Express train and meandering through exhibits for each of the major characters, a space dedicated to the Dark Arts and finishing in the Great Hall, the exhibition appeals both to fanatics and those with a more casual interest. Though I think my companions’ enjoyment may partly have been in watching the reactions of the former. Not only does it provide the simple joy of pointing out, remembering and interacting with objects from the series, the exhibition provides an insight into the huge amount of work and attention to detail required to make the films. Items such as the Half Blood Prince’s potions textbook are exceptionally detailed and instilled a real appreciation for those who work behind the scenes.

Robes and casual clothes worn by the major characters throughout the films are featured throughout the exhibition along with relevant items and useful captions for those with a less than exhaustive knowledge of J.K. Rowling’s imagined world. A personal favourite was the helpful “These are the casual clothes worn by Hermione Granger when she punched Draco Malfoy in the face in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.” Never has a pink jumper been so brilliantly contextualised. Other costume highlights include dress robes and gowns from the Yule Ball and various pompously embellished outfits worn by the delightfully vain Gilderoy Lockhart in the second movie.

The exhibits are interactive, fascinating and appeal to all the senses. Hagrid’s hut smells like smoke and old jumpers, complete with pink umbrella and a table upon which rests a huge golden dragons egg which periodically shakes and cracks, while the forbidden forest (above) is wreathed in mist which smells of dark and damp and probably dead unicorns. The Great Hall is filled with warmth and complete with talking and moving portraits, and the section dedicated to Dark Arts, Death Eaters and Voldemort contains wanted posters and Bellatrix Lestrange’s dagger (used to kill everybody’s favourite house elf), set to a background of whispered threats which emanate from overhead.

Professor Sprout’s corner features her robes, various Herbology books and a planter full of Mandrakes which actually scream when you lift them. There are robes and posters of famous Quidditch teams as well as a display containing several quaffles, which elicit a satisfying ‘ding’ and roar from a distant crowd when thrown through the hoops.

Torn between enjoying myself, explaining the various exhibits to my less knowledgable (read: nerdy/obsessed) companions, and gleefully texting everybody I’ve ever met when I explored each new section, the exhibition appeals to both children and I-guess-technically-I’m-an-adult-now’s alike, much like J.K. Rowling’s original books. I plan to return, in costume.

The Harry Potter Exhibition is open seven days a week at The Powerhouse Museum in Sydney and runs until 18th March 2012. Tickets  from $28 for adults and $19 for kids (off peak). For ticketing details, visit http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/harrypotter/faq.php.

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Oh, the perils of having your playlist on shuffle

Holocene just snuck up on me and I was in tears before Justin Vernon’s particularly desolate vocals even came in. You fucked it, friend.

 

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Hipster Gambino

This brilliant individual has gone and put Childish Gambino lyrics over typically hipster tumblr photos and oh, my. So much love for this.


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Patrick James at Hibernian House tonight

If you’ve spent your Sunday rolling around on some warm grass in the park and are looking for a lovely way to cap off your weekend, I can’t recommend highly enough that you get your good self, your friends and some beers down to Hibernian House in a few hours to see Patrick James launch his single Carry On. He’s co-headlining alongside Faith Lee, with support from Tim Hart (Boy and Bear) and it’s only ten bucks for  laid back evening of tunes and BYO good times.

 

There’s still a few tickets available here, otherwise get down there early and grab one on the door.

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Clap your hands say “fuck yeah”

Salty sheen of sweat on my skin, the shout of afternoon sunlight through my window, an overheating laptop and insects swirling about my desk lamp. Here’s to Summer. Here’s to FBi Social winning the Time Out Sydney Bar Award for ‘best entertainment’ tonight, here’s to Read&Rights book club, the Woodford Folk Festival*, to sitting in the bath with a glass of gin & pear juice** reading Anna Funder and marvelling at my wondrous day.

*Lineup announced on Saturday and it’s fucking lovely.

* This is now a thing. Alongside gin & tonic with a twist of kiwi. Gin and anything, really. Here’s to once again soundtracking my summer with Hannah by Freelance Whales. Because yes, I am vaguely attracted to rooftops. Mostly the part where I drink gin in the sunlight and get too drunk to climb back down.

-photo taken at Woodford Folk Festival 2009/2010

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Georgia Fair’s ‘All Through Winter’

Sydney duo Ben Riley and Jordan Wilson have released their debut album today, and Bobbysix.com has been kind enough to publish my review. My interview with Ben Riley will be up in the next week or so, as well.

In similarly self congratulatory news, Annabel Crabb tweeted at me today about myrtle leaves (as opposed to lemon myrtle leaves, because she’s not a snob). I made a few high pitched noises but somehow restrained myself from re-tweeting her and publicising our false intimacy to the entire world, because I’m totally cool, professional and unruffled like that.

*edit* Text of the review is now below:

Despite its name, All Through Winter seems destined to be something of a summer soundtrack. A warm breeze, gauzy curtains blowing through an open window and the folk-pop of Sydney’s Jordan Wilson and Ben Riley sit together almost as naturally as their vocal harmonies. Almost, because they’re pretty tight. It’s clear the duo have spent a great deal of time making music together and this ease is evident on their debut album, which is full of the unaffected and enjoyable songs we have come to expect from previous releases.

It’s music that feels familiar, partly due to the inclusion and reworking of songs such as opener Times Fly and Simple Man, which have featured on previous EPs, and partly due to the familiarly pleasant combination of two-part harmonies and acoustic guitar. The album requires a second listen in order to differentiate and appreciate individual songs. The addition of rolling drums on a number of tracks including Blind, which builds to a climactic chorus, and the jaunty Remember Me provide depth to a record which may perhaps be pigeonholed as roadtrip fodder but, to be entirely honest, music doesn’t always have to challenge you. It’s perfectly alright to sit back and thoroughly enjoy this gentle album of at times wistful, at times unabashedly joyful but always skillful songwriting. Put it on when you get home with salty eyelashes and the light sting of sunburn on your limbs and let the recurring themes of nostalgia and the passage of time tie together an album which feels like home.

Radio-friendly single Where You Been? is an upbeat, summery song which characterises their debut in more ways than one – the closing refrain is a reminder that, yes, the best is yet to come for Georgia Fair, if they continue to write to their strengths: sweet and clever songs based on beautiful male harmonies which go together like, well, summer and acoustic folk pop. Which is to say, perfectly.

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