Sunday, April 6, 2014

we are all clapping, all of the time

Sometimes a girl has to put down her books and go in search of a song.

Fortunately, this girl didn't have to look very far.

Beyond the Bathroom Choir is a weekly singing group for people who just want to sing, whether or not they're great singers. You can come every week or just drop in when you feel like it. We all have a couple of drinks during the evening, meet new folk during the break and learn songs by ear (in four part harmonies).

I think we sounded pretty darn good during our performance at the Sydney Road Street Party last month.

The title of this post came from a recent confusion while learning Pharrell's Happy. There's so much clapping in this song. Clapping in time, out of time... But Pippa set us straight. We are all clapping, all of the time. It'll probably be the title of our biography when we're famous singers beyond the bathroom.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

dirtbag little women

Follow @mallelis on the twitter.

Friday, February 28, 2014

And this was our day

 Andrew Smith's Grasshopper Jungle is certainly strange. It won't be for everybody. However, it is dangerous, violent, very funny and exceedingly compelling. The narrative voice is engaging, honest and completely unique (well, perhaps a younger brother to a certain Caulfield or Billy Pilgrim), Throughout his winding narrative Austin Szerba explores war, history, lust and human nature. Oh - and the end of the world.
 But no historian could ever put everything that happened in a book.
 The book would be as big as the universe, and it would take multiple countless lifetimes to read.
 History necessarily had to be an abbreviation.
 Even those first men - obsessed with recording their history - who painted on cave walls in Lascaux and Altamira, only put the important details down.
 We killed this big hairy thing and that big hairy thing. And that was our day. You know what I mean. 
 It was hard for me, at times, to separate out the connections that crisscrossed like intersecting highways though and around my life in Ealing.
 It was the truth and I had to get it down.
 And that was our day. You know what I mean.
 I took off my boxers and went to bed.
 It was 6:01 a.m.
 The end of the world was about four hours old. Just a baby. 
So it's the story of the end of the world, brought about after Robby and Austin discover a strange strain of a mysterious plague. But various threads intertwine throughout the narrative and you've got to keep up. Amid the the newly-hatched Unstoppable Soldiers, Austin talks about his ancestors, who came to America from Poland and had their consonants taken from them on the way (Szczerba became Szerba), in almost the same breath as he talks about life in (very "middle America") Ealing Iowa, Lutheran Brothers' reading habits (no books about masturbation, please), urinals, diving bells, his mother's addiction to Xanax, his brother deployed in Afghanistan. Then there's his feelings towards his girlfriend Shann and his even more confused feelings towards Robby.

This is smart, weird YA. Like Going Bovine by Libba Bray, How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford, or King Dork by Frank Portman* – and I’ll admit it’s a massive story to take in. But it is totally worth it.

You know what I mean. 

*Did you hear? There's going to be a sequel soon, King Dork Approximately. Isn't your delight just doublish thanks to the Bob Dylan reference? Yes, yes it is.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Begin as you mean to go on

And I am a creature of habit, so 2014 will contain many books and much coffee. Fortunately these things are in ready supply, especially icy lattes from Top Paddock (pictured) and A Minor Place (not pictured, but often consumed).

February also heralds the release of Grasshopper Jungle. It’s as if John Green and Stephen King had a baby. Plus giant, horny, flesh-eating bug people. Grasshopper Jungle has the feel of a smart, cool, laconic contemporary YA – complete with an edgy, cynical male narrator who is always thinking about sex, cigarettes and sex (a little reminiscent of Holden Caulfield) – but this is also a story about the end of the world, as a manmade plague creates a strain of Unstoppable Soldiers in the form of giant praying mantises who take over a small town in Iowa (and then the world). I goddamn loved it.

So roll on 2014. You're looking awfully pretty so far.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

For now, a short break

Be kind, we are regenerating over here. Percolating content and deciding on direction.

There will be more read.

There will be more bean.

I'll see you all next year.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Visiting Fitzroy

From time to time you meander from Brunswick to even more inner inner-north suburbs. You can go to the artists' market and buy tea-towels as presents for friends who think butter makes everything better.

When you lived on the cusp between Carlton and here you knew this place like the proverbial back of the hand. But that was a frightening number of years ago.

Visiting now, you might get a shock when you realise there is now a cafe where the Rose Street brothel used to be.

It's called Grace. The Syndicate coffee's good and breakfast is tasty (and you can order a berocca, with no judgement, it says so on the menu). This change isn't quite as good as a holiday, but perhaps not a bad weekend.

Rose Street Artists' Market website
Visit Grace's website
Buy stuff from Able & Game

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

catching up


Isn't Cold Comfort Farm just wonderful
It's what I wanted Evelyn Waugh to be...



Visit The Ampersand Project tumblr for writing tips &
 other sundries by me and the team at HGE.
Working some more:

A sneaky peek at something new for next year. 
More on Anastasia another time.

And puppies:

But how are you?