Saturday, March 24, 2007

The FINA Openning Extravaganza!!!

Oh my God! As Tal and I raced up the stairs of the Rod Laver Arena - usually centre court for the Australian Open, but converted into an Olympic sized pool- we were handed goodie bags and just made it to our seats after dodging hundreds of children dressed from head to toe in cerise for the opening ceremony of the FINA world swimming championships. The lights dimmed and a volenteer who must have been a prefect in her past life, turned around and told us to get out our lights and start waving them around. What? And the we looked around - everyone had a star light which changed colours and was waving them around welcoming in the Diva to sing us a song and the Aboriginies to give us some spiritual meaning to the whole performance. This was only the beginning of the cheesiness - soon we were treated to a reinactment of the pool being built, had acrobats twirling from the ceiling before a hundreds of pengiun dressed from head to toe in licra tap danced for us to River dance. Then came Shannon Knowl the Aussie idol who was then joined by some chicky who is an ex Neighbours star, we had a Ian Thorp basically coming out of the closet and a parade of nations!! How Aussie could you get???

Afterwards Tal and I walked back towards the city and Fed square through Batman park which has some crazy art instalations which I think can only be truley appreciated if you have taken a large amount of drugs - weird light intalations and songs about fish, a feild of mushroom like sculptures with the city scape in the background, massive tiled and painted sculptures... But fun - we were like kids in a playground!

Peter Mac Ocean Swim

Well as part of the FINA world championships Peter Mac, being the goodwill partner held an ocean swim at St Kilda and I am very pleased that I decided to volenteer rather than swim as it was freezng cold, raining, blowing a gale and felt like the middle of winter. Needless to say there were a few hundred mad Aussies that decided to brave the waves and some celebraty footballers who swam to save us all from cancer. I survived unscathed apart from being extremely grumpy after slamming my fingers in a fold up sign and not having coffee for the first hour (I have become a caffie addict as the coffee is too good to resist) and despite a brief embarrassing episode where I had to jump off the stage and commado crawl under it after someone's prize which had blown out of my hands, it was fun and we raised lots of money. This unfortunately was only the start of the FINA madness!

Yo La Tengo

Tal, Holly and I went to watch Yo La Tengo at the Corner Hotel in Richmond earlier this month which was fantastic but load as we were right next to the speakers! But then again maybe I am turning into Granny Al...

Monday, March 05, 2007

A perfect day in Melbourne

Yesterday, for a change the weather in Melbourne was perfect, no blazing heat, no humidity, rain or howling wind… Tal and I met on the corner of Johnson Street (after my customary coffee from Dench) and headed down to the Abbotsford Convent – the site of Tal new production “In other words”. But, on Saturday night, after going to a cult themed party in Carlton, while walking past Dench, we spied the bakers at 1am making bread and dancing to music in the kitchen – so there are secret gnomes making pastries in the middle of the night!

The Abbotsford convent is on the banks of the Yarra River and even though it is a 10 min bus ride down Johnson Street, it feels like you are in the middle of the country – I got a real shock seeing the city skyline, after being there for three hours. The site consists of a number of beautiful red brick and stone buildings, with huge wooden staircases, stained glass windows, Victorian tiled floors and huge rooms. The convent is slowly being restored after being saved by the local community from being turned into a housing development, but there are still a number of abandoned buildings which I happily wandered around while Tal sat at the old bakery and worked. The main building has been converted into a site for artists and musicians and feels very much like Frank Jobert, but on a larger scale. Lot happens on a Sunday – farmers markets, art exhibitions, which included some rather strange and wacky stuff as my mother would say… families, dogs, hippies (but not the smelly kind) etc. Tals performance will be held in the basement in the old laundry of the main building and the site is surrounded by beautiful (a bit dry in the drought) gardens.

Next door is the Collingwood Children’s Farm, complete with organic veggie patches, orchards, horses, hordes of geese, a pair of peacocks and Brahma chickens – sorry Paula, there were no Chinese Silkies, though I did look, and a tiger snake that lives near the green house – I did not stick around too investigate. After the farm I headed back to the convent for lunch with Tal at Lentil is everything and spent the rest of the afternoon drinking coffee and eating g-free chocolate cake.

Lastly, I must report that Melbourne does have its share of nutters – namely Phil, the dodgy Frenchman, who followed Matt into our house on Saturday evening after seeing him in his skin tight leather pants (he is a rock star after all) and wanting to get some of his own Mardi Gras action – he was rapidly chased down the stairs with much shouting and followed by wails of laughter.