Monday, June 26, 2006

Things are looking up

I feel like things have turned. The winter solstice is passed, the days will slowly start to get longer, the mornings less pitch black. I have cleaned off my desk, read David Allen’s Getting Things Done, listed all my projects and to dos, and set myself little reminders in my PDA. This morning I tuned my harpsichord at 8:15am, and then practiced until midday. I have a rehearsal tomorrow for a gig on Sunday, and for the first time in a long while I actually feel prepared. I had lunch with friends today, and even found the time to stop by the supermarket and buy coffee and packet mix to make cookies for tomorrow’s rehearsal.

Right now I am sitting in front of my fire, because the rest of the house is too cold, and I have been typing away into a document called “Random Thesis Stuff”. Just scribbles and starts and snippets, but I am taking baby steps.

I feel like I am finally taking some definitive steps in the right direction, that progress is starting to happen. This is a good feeling to have. Finally in the last couple of days I have felt really positive about my practice – felt that I was getting somewhere, and that it might actually be possible to do what I want to do.

I am listening to Ella Fitzgerald singing Gershwin, and drinking coffee. The music makes me want to dance.
If I should suddenly start to sing
Or stand on my head or anything
Don't think that I've lost my senses
It's just that my happiness finally commences

The long long ages of dull despair
Are turning into thin air
And it seems that suddenly I've
Become the happiest girl alive

Things are looking up
I've been looking the landscape over
And it's covered with 4 leaf clover
Oh things are looking up
Since love looked up at me

Bitter was my cup
But no more will I be the mourner
For I've certainly turned the corner
Oh things are looking up
Since love looked up at me

See the sunbeams
Every one beams
Just because of you
Love's in session
And my depression
Is unmistakably through

Things are looking up
It's a great little world we live in
Oh I'm happy as a pup
Since love looked up at me

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Afterculture

Can we imagine instead a future where songs are heard drifting in the twilight? Where great forests rise again? And rivers run clean and sparkling to the sea, and a million buffalo roam, and people meet face to face without fear in the marketplace, and children are secure?

From Afterculture Art - An Anthropology of the Future

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Another death in the family

Hiroyuki Iwaki died yesterday in Japan. He was the Chief Conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra for 15 years, was appointed their first Conductor Laureate in 1990, and celebrated his 30th year with the orchestra in 2003. His name is well-known in Melbourne, and the auditorium at the ABC studios in Southbank is named after him.

In the words of the MSO's Managing Director, Trevor Green:
Maestro Iwaki was one of the great architects, a builder of the present Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Many of our finest musicians were appointed by him during his years as Chief Conductor and his musical stamp on the Orchremains today. This will be the real legacy that he leaves for us all in perpetuity.

RIP Gyorgy Ligeti

Gyorgy Ligeti died earlier this week. He was one of the few well-known twentieth century composers who wrote music for the harpsichord, and I remember playing his Passacaglia Ungherese for my recital at the end of high school. I also tried to make sense of Continuum a few years later, but gave up after a couple of attempts. Maybe I should actually learn to play it one of these days!

Sunday, June 11, 2006


I just finished watching Seven Years in Tibet on DVD. It was a strange film, and I really enjoyed some aspects while at the same time disliking others. I wanted to watch it for the scenery, and wasn't expecting much from the plot, but I did get drawn in, and it has inspired me to find out more about Tibet and the plight of its people.

The most frustrating thing about the film is the ridiculous German accents adopted by the two main characters. If an actor is speaking in English, rather than the character's original language, then I think they should just speak English with their own voice. Brad Pitt's character in this film would not have spoken German with a dodgy accent, so why should we hear him speak English with one? Unless a character is speaking a language that is foreign to them (say when Pitt's Austrian climber speaks halting Tibetan) then it is fine for them to have an accent, but when they are speaking a representation of their own language they should speak it fluently. I felt that the silly accents really compromised the integrity of the characters and distracted the attention of the viewer.

Accents aside, this film was beautiful to watch. The Tibetan culture was probably unrealistically idealised - it was certainly portrayed as a "paradise" in the midst of a world of chaos and war. The landscapes were stunning, the people beautiful and generous, and everyone had enough food to eat. Despite this fairy-tale gloss, I did feel an undercurrent of genuine expression - of Buddhist serenity and principles of kindness and non-violence.

The plot was pretty straightforward, and the film seemed to meander along in its own time, which suited the setting. Pitty about the annoying accents, because this film could have been really lovely without that constant reminder of fakery.