Thursday, February 26, 2009

Of Animals.

I've been doing a lot of thinking, and i've come to the conclusion we need to post more music. So, i'd like to share with you my love of Merriweather Post Pavilion (and yes, i don't care that this album has already had the shit hyped out of it), and introduce to you Ophelia, the greatest rabbit that ever there be.

Roughly three weeks ago before departing for the shambles that was Melbourne Laneway, i bought season 2 of Weeds (omg, brilliant! Right?), The Crying Light by Antony, and Merriweather Post Pavilion by Animal Collective. I got home with my loot, pretty desperate to put on Animal Collective (whom, as a group, i love, love, love) and closest friends, I almost died.

My dear little heart almost exploded with joy on first listen to 'In the Flowers'! I can't remember the last time my body erupted in goosebumps from the simple melody of a song. And then, every single other song on the album turned out to be pure bliss! They're songs to dance to, songs to sing with, songs to sit in awe of; and they're all so accessible! There is no reason why any one shouldn't like this album! It's brilliant! It's going to be hard to knock this album off the pedestal of 'favourite' for this year.

My other favourite song from the album is' Brother Sport'.

And then there's Ophelia....

My god, cutest thing in the world? Definitely.

Agghh! So cute!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Nice Day for a Sulk

When i first started having boy trouble (way back when i was 16), i listened to Belle and Sebastian pretty much on repeat. I expressed my anguish towards said boy through song lyrics and took comfort in their twee-melancholy. I guess my turbulent, self deprecating teens, set the scene for how i was to deal with boys later in life, because every time i ever encounter boy troubles, all i seem to want to do is listen to Belle and Sebastian. This round of current masculine drama is proving to be no different, and i'm glad. I've rediscovered one of my favourite bands, reclaimed a piece of my old self, and am feeling more 'normal' than i have for quite a while.

MP3: Century of Fakers

MP3: If You're feeling Sinister

MP3: Lazy Line Painter Jane

Belle and Sebastian have a question and answers section on their website. A few years ago i found this question and this very useful reply from Stevie. Being the nerd that i am, i saved it to my computer for a rainy day. There have been many rainy days since, and each time this advice still, somehow, can be applied...

From: G.N.
Q.Hi Stevie! As you are always giving great love advice, I have a few questions to ask you. Why is it so hard to find the right boy? I mean where are great guys hidden (not in France, that's for sure). Are they endangered species? When people ask you some advice, you often answer things like 'I bet you it's just around the corner' or 'there'll be something better'. I looked around ALL the corners and there were no sweet boys waiting for me!!! When will this end? Sorry I'm a bit depressed today and you must be tired of playing the shrink... Well thank you for reading this.

I'm no shrink, I only answer these questions because I'm the one who needs the shrink, I always feel like I'm talking to myself when I say these things, life isn't always easy and God forbid if anyone thinks I have any answers, I don't. I do however feel real empathy at times with what people write and I think it's important to have faith and hope. Life is up and down anyway, to a degree, yang and yin and all that, without pain who do you judge pleasure? Still, I think it's a good thing to have at least an eye on the opening door, to remain curious and pure of heart, I mean I've got a long way to go, I'm not a kid, I'm a man and I feel deep down inside that I've taken a few false turns along the way, I always feel that if I can just get back everything will fall into place. Have you ever heard "Last thoughts on Woody Guthrie" by Bob Dylan? It's a poem which says it all. As for looking around corners, maybe the reason there are no sweet boys waiting for you is because they're off looking for you down another street, avenue, boulevard, whatever, it's all in the timing. I know it's easy for me to say but if I had any advice it would be simply remain pure of heart and do what you do and do it well, times do change, have faith and try not to worry.

Stevie - 11/07/06

Although, for the time being at least, i have found my sweet boy (who was waiting around the corner all along), I guess i have to follow Stevie's lead and remember to remain pure of heart and know what ever is meant to be, will. Though, it doesn't really stop me feeling (just the tiniest bit), like confused sweet-16 Jaimie.

Good night my loves, i'm glad to be back with you all again.

Friday, February 20, 2009

When I'm feeling blue

I know in my last post I promised a rundown of all the exciting and interesting things I did in Melbourne, but the last two weeks have been a bit average for me and unfortunately I haven't gotten around to it. But soon, maybe. In the last couple of weeks I have managed to start a great new job, a job which I really enjoyed (rare). Then get fired, one week later. How tragic is that? The recession has finally affected my life in a tangible way, it just had to be the worst kind of way. Apparently the reason I was "let go" or "put to pasture" (I'm not kidding, this phrase was actually used) was to do with money, but I can't help wondering if it was really because I was crap at my job. Which I don't think I was, but one can't help wondering.

Either way, this whole episode has left me feeling rather blue and when I'm feeling blue I like to cheer myself up with a nice hot cup of earl grey tea, served in a pretty blue teapot. Accompanied by a mint slice (or two, in this case it was definitely two) and a couple of my favourite magazines. Bliss.

A day trip to Sydney yesterday with my lovely friend Grace, also helped lift my damaged spirits. We had planned to go to the Yinka Shonibare exhibition at the MCA, but unfortunately it had finished so we decided to go shopping in Surry Hills instead. I kept my purchases to a minimum, I thought it wise considering my lack of income, and only bought two things.

This ball of string, perfect for wrapping up all my brown paper packages. Check out the helpful label.

And this bad-ass belt, perfect for the amateur wrestling league I recently joined.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Chocolate Gingerbread


This recipe needs little introduction. It is as delicious as it sounds. Chewy, rich and dense, yet lighter than a brownie, and with complex, intriguing notes of ginger and spice, and a zingy, zesty icing.

It comes to us via my beloved Nigella (and her fantastic book, Feast), who, in the words of my housemate, just "really gets chocolate, you know?".



175g unsalted butter
125g brown sugar
2 tablespoons caster sugar
200g golden syrup
200g golden syrup
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
2 tablespoons warm water
2 eggs
250ml milk
275g plain flour
40g cocoa
175g chocolate chips, or roughly chopped dark chocolate

250g icing sugar
30g unsalted butter
1 tablespoon cocoa
60ml ginger ale


1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celsius. Prepare some form of baking vessel. Nigella recommends lining a roasting tin of approximately 30 x 20 x 5cm deep with baking parchment. I just used two smallish square silicon cake pans.
2. In a large saucepan, melt the butter with the brown and caster sugars, golden syrup, treacle, cloves, cinnamon, and ground ginger. Take off the heat.
3. In a cup combine the baking soda with the water. Beat this into the melted mixture along with the eggs and milk. At this point it should fizz up all excitedly!
4. Sift in the flour and cocoa and beat with a wooden spoon until well mixed, then stir in the chocolate chips/pieces.
5. Pour into your tin/tins and bake for about 40 minutes until risen and firm, and passing ye olde skewer test. Do not fear if it is still slightly moist at the base, this is exactly how you want it. Moist and delicious. Leave the cake to cool in its tin.
6. Once the cake is cool, make the icing. In a medium sized saucepan, heat the butter, cocoa and ginger ale. Once the butter's melted, whisk in the icing sugar. Pour all over the top of the gingerbread, and cut into fat 'wodges' to use Nigella's term.

Most delicious (like all good things) served perched aside a hot cup of earl grey.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

To knit away the afternoon

I've been trying my dang hardest to take advantage of this sharp and beautiful temperature drop and my current (and hopefully short lived) state of unemployment. After weeks of temperatures in the highest of thirties (or forties for our poor unfortunate friends in Victoria*), it is such a relief to be able to sleep, cook and think again. For the past four days I've been practically permanently latched onto the boy like some kind of cuddle-addicted limpet (much to his frustration and slight alarm - some people simply do not appreciate the romantic value of cold weather), and am unlikely to emerge from beneath my beloved doona until at least11am unless forcibly wrenched.

Cold weather is also perfect for my second favorite leisure activity: eating. Right now I've got two half eaten roasted chicken carcasses defrosting in the sink (what a beautiful image, no?) in preparation for what should be a glorious chicken, leek and noodle soup, and the ingredients for a moorish chocolate gingerbread in the cupboard. If I could, I'd bring quaint little lunch packs wrapped in brown paper and twine round to each and every one of you, but instead I think I'll just post recipes. It's the least I can do.

I've also been craving snugly woolen jumpers, so you can imagine my joy and delight when I stumbled upon this, the best knitting pattern (hah, I almost wrote recipe) I think I've ever seen. It's lucky my mum is pretty much a knitting professional, because I think I'm going to be asking for this for my birthday.

It's called Owls, and you can find it on a stunning blog called needled.


* I'm sure everyone is still reeling from the shock of the devistating Victoria bush fires, but if you would like to donate a metaphorical knitted jumper to someone who has none, please click here.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Laneways and Hellish-Days

I thought I would share my similar, yet vastly different experience of St Jerome's Laneway Festival. Or the festival where I could have gone for free and not spent half my time in a line NOT seeing any of the bands I went specifically to see, just because I needed to pee. Bladder control is a skill not appreciated nearly enough. If I hadn't needed to to pee I also would have been able to see the Drones and Architecture and most importantly, Girltalk - just like the sexually deviant Julia. The only bands I got to see that where actually included in my ticket price were Augie March (who I have seen several times and whom I am often disappointed by) and the Hold Steady (who don't play particularly earth shattering music, but do have an amazing live show. Their energy was completely infectious and as my friend Will commented, the lead singer was like a rock star trapped in a fat man's body). Oh yes, and I also almost got crushed. Overall I found the festival disappointing, even more so because I had been two years ago when the festival was much, much smaller and had a really laid-back and relaxed atmosphere which wasn't completing missing this year, but was definitely scattered.

I did many, many other fun things on my week long trip to Melbourne, which I'm dying to share with you all (to make you ooze jealousy, of course!), but I think I shall stagger them over a few posts to keep you kids interested.

Lastly, to jump on the bandwagon a bit, I also encourage everyone to make a donation of some kind to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal, because as they say, every little bit helps.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Laneways and Holy Days

Architecture in Helsinki play Laneway.

Another year, another festival, another reminder that sometimes you share the music you love with complete dickwads.

But fun times were to be had at St Jerome's Laneway Festival in Melbourne town, at least by those of us who avoided spending the whole day in lines with our very clever, very cunning, faintly sexual ways*.

Highlights included The (magnificent) Drones, whose set was simply captivating.

In some of my more pretentious moment I've claimed not to like "guitar music". I'm sorry, I take it back (I truly am a twat). Listen to this song (incidentally one of my favorites of last year) and I think you'll understand why.

The Drones - The Minotaur

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and presume most of you think this blog is a shrine to all things pretty. Which I guess it is, a lot of the time. But just so you know, we like dirty shit too (or I do, anyway. I have no intentions of implicating my perfectly sophisticated blog sisters here). The Drones are the antithesis of pretty. They're all raw and grimy and somehow quintessentially Australian. I pretty much love them.

Architecture in Helsinki (back to the pretty), were a grand lot of fun. Which sometimes is all I ask from these people. Bouncin' beats, party moves, a slow, sexy jam and a cover of Break My Stride and I'm easy pleased. Their new song is pretty sweet, too:

Architecture in Helsinki - That Beep

Whilst resident in Melbourne town, I also got my arty on with a couple of great exhibitions.

Jaimie, Vanessa and I ventured to
the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art to check out Gerda Steiner and Jorg Lenzlinger's installation exhibition, The Water Hole:

And the boy and I checked out Andreas Gurksy's photography at the NGV:

Pyongyang I, 2007

I shall not dazzle you with my admittedly rusty art analysis skills now, but instead will simply recommend both of these exhibitions to any one who finds themselves looking for something fun (and cool) to do in Melbourne. They're both brilliant (and cool).

* I deliberately made that sound more debaucherous than it actually was. In reality I just stayed at the one stage all day and did not pee.