Thursday, April 26, 2007

Hamlet, et al

So, I went to go see Hamlet by the State Theatre Company last weekend. It was good. I have a post about how much I love the Festival Theatre and all the wonder ful things that I've seen there. but for now, let me just tell you a bit about Hamlet.

First, Hamlet. Is. An. Emo.

Has no one noticed this before? You know how the first scene is the ghost scene, and then the next scene you have the court and Claudius is talking, and Hamlet is off to one side. He gets a couple lines, then everyone parades off the stage, leaving Hamlet to his 'too, too solid flesh' solil.

So, in this production the stage is set up with this huge circular war-memorial, covered with Danish names (like Karl and Olufsson, you know the deal), in front of which the ghost scene takes place. This then opens up to reveal the court scene - and Hamlet, standing folornly at the front of the stage, staring, miserably, into space over the audience. He is dressed, head to foot, in black. No surprise, his father just died and he's in deep mourning. He is wearing, however, a black knee-length coat with its fur-lined hood pulled up over his head. With Cameron Goodall's gaunt, tragic face staring out.

At this point, let me say that Cameron was excellent. The whole cast was excellent (except for one person, *cough* first line in play *cough* overacting *cough* but we'll move on) but Cameron Goodall was wonderful. And I'm not just saying that because he went to my University and I now have a crush on him. No, sir.

The thing I liked best about his performance was how normal he was. He was perfect for the crazy scenes, the rants and the soliliquies, which I admit is important in your Hamlet. But when Hamlet is sane and normal... Cameron was sane and normal. you could imagine having a conversation with him in a bar or whatever. The whole cast were obviously comfortable with the language (you'd want to be) so that sometimes I stopped noticing that it wasn't the kind of language I use day-to-day. I went to go see it with my 16 year old sister (it was her easter present from me) and she didn't know the plot prior to seeing it, and she had no trouble following what was going on or being said.

I also liked that the Hamlet-Ophelia bit was played sweet rather than nasty. So I'm a sap. So what. In this one, he loses it at her because he figures out that they're being watched and he's had enough, not because of anything she does, per se. And his 'get the to a nunnery' was without double-meaning, for once. I cried twice, once when Laertes (who had a ripping Aussie accent and looked like Jean Reno) sees Ophelia mad, and once at Ophelia's funeral, when Hamlet looses it and comes out of hiding and L and H have a fight over who loved her more. This is the thing - even the overblown bits Cameron managed to pull off well, so that they seemed to come from the heart not from an overblown sense of drama.

I guess that's what acting is all about, right?

Anyway, the thing is, I really enjoyed the play, it made me realise how much I love theatre (when I was in high school I wanted to be a Stage Manager) but it's left me a bit sad. You see, it reminded me of when I was like that, of when everything was hugely significant, of when I was in high school and in love and deep and angsty.

I'm glad I'm not that now. I like my life without overblown drama and bad poetry and pretentious pining. But somehow I miss that depth of feeling, that sense of wonder that you don't get without the gloom. Over the gloom, but I guess... I just miss it. I feel old. I'm 23! I should still be swanning around imagining myself in love and feeling like I'm the centre of the universe!

Only, I just don't have the energy.

However, it was a timely reminder that life is not just for knitting and chocolate. Or, whatever. Martha Stewart and Simple Magazine.

On that note, I was thinking these thoughts and I came across this post. I think it is appropriately themed - obviously, since I commmented.

Also, I think I should tell you that it is raining, and it has been doing so since last night, and everything is wet.

It's so good... I've missed the rain.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Oh, the horror! The horror!

Peoples... Fun fur and toilet seat covers SHOULD NEVER NEVER BE COMBINED.

Each substance, highly volatile on its own, becomes EXTREMELY explosive when exposed to people with any decency and taste, and may cause their head to EXPLODE!!!!

Excuse me, wont you. I need to lie down. In a dark room. With some sort of alcoholic beverage...

Breaking News: Stupid Internet Test Gets It Right

You are Bettie Page

Girl next door with a wild streak
You're a famous beauty - with unique look
And the people like you are cultish about it

I luff her, she is my hero... one of... anyway, let me put it this way: this picture was almost my avatar, but I thought some members of the patriarchy might take it the wrong way. This made me happy. Also, this:

You Are the Very Gay Velma!

She might not even realize it...
But Velma is all about Daphne... not Fred!

So the best one. Totally satisfied with this test.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Art and life

I just watched this slideshow about Van Gogh. I've never really been a fan of the man - or of his paintings, I should say. They either scared me, disturbed me, or left me a little bit cold and confused. Which was fine, a lot of art does that. Then I watched the slideshow. I'm not sure what the legal requirements are for showing paintings like these, but I'm going to put my favourite one up here and use their subtitle, I figure that ought to cover it, right? If anyone knows otherwise, let me know so I can take it down. (You should check out the essay, too. I love the boats picture and the Italian woman, and I can't explain how much I like this bedroom picture without at least a reference to how much I hate the one after it. Also, Slate rocks, especially Andy Bowers - rockage.)

Vincent Van Gogh, The Bedroom, 1889. Image courtesy Art Institute of Chicago and Neue Galerie, New York.

I saw that and I read the essay and I thought: you know, I think he's after what I'm after. What we're after. What I read so many posts about every day on the blogs of articulate, crafty (mostly) women. Speaking for myself, though, this is what I want.

I want a beautiful life. I want things around me to be beautiful. If that means orderly, fine, but if it means beautiful clutter, that's fine, too. Just not ugly clutter.

This is my front door from my kitchen.
I don't know why, but when I got up last

Saturday and the light was streaming

through, it made me happy.

Maybe because I was the only one in the house... I like that...

So I took a photo.

Which doesn't look anything like what
it felt like, but still...

I want to be able to see the colours and meanings of things shining through. I want to see them and feel them and make them a part of my story

This was one of many fabric hangings around one of the tents at Womad. Beautiful, non?

I want to share this with others - I want others to see the shininess I see, the colours and the beauty.

Some Shiny Things - Womad again.

My camera is shit at night...

uh, I mean, isn't it arty and pretty?

I want peace. I want a room like that where I can sit and think and look and feel. I want not to be harried and harrased, to have time to sit and think and breathe and feel and know. I want contemplation and maybe even relaxation. I want to know where I fit in the world, and since that changes everyday, I need that sitting thinking time to know where my new place is.

This is a Rosella in an Apple tree

Can you see his tiny tocks?

Can you see him?

I want to be able to show these wants to people. I want to put them out there so that others can see them. Then, if they share them I would like to know about it, to know that they feel the same way, share the same world. This doesn't have to be direct - it's enough to know that there are people there who know this world, too. I don't mean in an 'I am not alone' kind of way. More in a 'we are part of something special that other people don't know about it. Isn't it beautiful?' Blogging is part of this, but so is crafting and baking and all that.

Apples from my parent's tree

Some of which are now pie.

Well... were pie...

When I looked at Van Gogh's picture I felt things I had never felt looking at a Van Gogh before. I felt calm. And happy. I felt that feeling you get when it's a lazy summer afternoon and you're lying on your bed doing nothing much, just feeling the rest of the world out there doing nothing much, too. I felt that feeling you get when everything in the room with you is something you want there, when there's nothing left to change or move and you can just look at it. The feeling you get when you seam something perfectly, or m1 perfectly, without leaving a hole, or turn the heel of your first sock. I felt good.


But the thing I felt the most, even though there's not that much in the picture, was light. Not as in 'I felt light'. As in 'there was light. And I felt it.' Here is what I felt:

My parent's house.

I love it.

For a comparison, there's a photo from the same angle

in this post.

'Nuff said

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Coming Out

Knitting has always been private for me. When I first knitted, when I was younger, I used to work away at .Jean Greenhowe's knitted toys, in 8ply acrylic on 3mm needles. I would sit in my room and I would knit, knit, painstaikingly knit until it was done, and then bring it out for approval and perhaps some suggestions on how to seam it together. Or else, if I got stuck (what the $%&# is a SSK? How, exactly, do you m1?) I could ask my mother, who would help me out (she used to know the answer back then. Now, I find the internet a handier tool for explaining, for example, how to m1 without m. a hole, or how to find the right cast on for your project and learn it. But more on that later)

When I found out last year that I was A Knitter, it was also mostly private. Sure, I would talk about it, and members of my family and friends went with me to choose yarn and drool at knitting books (I was the only one with a saliva problem) but the actual knitting was mostly done in private. In the same place I used to do it as a child - sitting on a beanbag in my teeny, dark room, watching my needles flick back and forth, watching the fabric grow at amazing speeds - it will do that when you use knitting as an avoidance mechanism. Also, this time I had my iPod to listen to, I had Brenda and Jacey and Heather and David and Christina and Wendy, et al. This helped, partly because I learn best when I'm listening, I like to listen. Also, because it let me know that even though my sister mocked me for my knitting (it did get a little crazy there for a while, I'll cop to it) it was a good thing to be doing, a valid thing to enjoy. The things I made were good things and she should stop that mocking if she wanted any more scarves made. My sister is a fiend for scarves. She still mocked. But I got this:

See the start here.

Seriously, can you believe I knit that? This is going to get a post of it's own later, but for now, let's just revel in the glory of the time I had on my hands and the lovely lovely thing I made... sort of lovely.

Anyway, so now I knit at home, where I share a house with two of my cousins. For a bit of background, I don't know if I said any of this before, but they are T and J. (I feel a bit dumb doing the whole initial thing, but I think it's prubent and I can't think of any appropriate blog-safe, cutesy names. Suggestions, anyone?) They are brother and sister, T is the youngest in the family and J the eldest (of four). He is also the only boy of my generation on either side of my family - and his, I believe. Anyway. So, I lived with J before, when I was in uni. And one of his friends became my (now ex) boyfriend. Not so relevant, except that one of their mutual friends, E, bugged me. In fact, I hated him. He was misogynistic and condescending and he would come around NEVER LEAVE.

Ahem. Anyways. So last weekend he was over on the Friday. I don't mind him so much now. Partly he's not as disgusting, partly I don't rise to the bait. Partly I just don't care, especially since he no longer spends whole weeks at my house. I like my space, people.

So, I'm knitting, and they come in to the lounge room and start playing their computer game - it's a soccer one, if you want to know. There I am, knitting on my entrelac scarf, knit knit knit. (anyone else love saying 'entrelac'? It just means 'interlocked', right?) I'd just started, and it was looking unimpressive and prompting swearing. More later on the scarf, this is a metapost. Although, you saw it yesterday.

So, knit knit knit.

E starts asking about it. Mostly for something to do, I think, just for some conversation. His lead-in question was "why knitting?" I think that's a good question. I might have to think about it a little more, maybe it could be another post. I don't think I can even articulate all the reasons 'why knitting', even the ones I am aware of at the moment. I'm sure there will be more reasons that I discover along the way, as I increase my skill or just grow with it. Which is one of the things I love.

I keep getting disctracted, don't I?

The other day there was someone knitting on the bus on the way home. Brown wool, with k2/p1 ribbing alternating with eyelet lace. It was elegant and she knit so fast, so gracefully. The way I knit is English style, but I don't loop the yarn around my index finger and flick it back and forth like you're supposed to. Instead I use my thumb and middle finger to squeeze the needle so it flicks out and in, back and forth. Kind of like the way Stephanie Pearl-McFee says she knits, only not as traditional. I remember my mum trying to teach me the proper way to do it, but I couldn't grasp the forming of the stitch together with the flicky thing. I'm happy with it and it gets the job done, so why quibble.

I watched her knit all the way home, craning my head and peering through people to watch the needles flick and the lace expand.

The other morning it was cold. I can't find my scarf that I knit last year. I wanted a scarf. The only scarf I had was about 5 inches long and counting. So I took it with me. I whipped it out at the bus stop in front of my house. I knit. No one cares. I was surreptitiously scanning the people in the cars going past. They didn't care. Freedom! Now I had not only my iPod but also my knitting to occupy the sometimes-frustrating commute. I knit all the way there and all the way home. On the way home it's great because not only am I not bored, I get a head start on my relaxing-after-work stage of the evening because I am doing exactly what I would be doing anyway once I got home.

Then the other day I got to work and one of the people here says "I saw you knitting at the bus stop" Aparently it didn't occur to him to pick me up, but whatever. His partner was driving, so, you know. And he asked me a bit about it and although he wasn't any more condescending than usual, I bristled. I don't know if this was warranted or not. Today he saw me knitting at the bus stop again and did stop and pick me up. (There's a particular thrill when you are picked up by a sleek car with two gay guys in the front seat. I think it's called the public-transport-sucks-please-drive-me-to-work thrill) The two of them asked me how my scarf was going. Then they chuckled. Not a snicker, not condescending, but - I don't know. Not welcoming, either. Like "aren't you a little weird. That's sweet". Well, my work is full of people that are a little weird, so I guess I fit right in.

Thankfully now I don't get upset. Thanks to Brenda, I just think to myself: Poor dears. The resurgence of craft is a bit of an underground thing. I'm not surprised they didn't get the manifesto.

Thanks Brenda. You rock my socks.

For Jac:

I love it when you're dirty!

*ew, ick*

Aren't my sheets purty?

As you can see, it's a very taught and firm Hills Hoist, which leads me to believe that there has never been any children living in this house - especially since it's an old skool one - no bright yellow and green plastic for us!

Let this be a warning to you, people: this is the kind of incoherent post you get when you write it on and off during a hectic work day. Heed my warning and repent!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

What I Saw on Sunday Evening

Yes, yes, I did just show you my underwear on the washing line. Does it make it better that it's a Hill's Hoist?