Wednesday, March 15, 2017

'All the Bells Rang'

My introduction to Robin Klein's Came Back to Show You I Could Fly has been published in the Sydney Review of Books! You can read it here

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Girls on Film

In honour of International Women's Day I am posting some of my favourite women-centric movies in no special order:

Gas, Food, Lodging

Mi Vida Loca

Where the Boys Are  (both versions!)

My Summer of Love

Puberty Blues

The Dreamlife of Angels

Ghost World

How to Marry A Millionaire

The Craft


Imitation of Life

Grace of my Heart

The Girls of Pleasure Island

Valley of the Dolls

The Best of Everything

All Over Me

Mystic Pizza

The Group

The Stepford Wives

Thelma and Louise

Three Women

The Sandpiper

Mildred Pierce

Desperately Seeking Susan

Times Square


Heavenly Creatures

I guess I'll keep adding to it ... what are yours?

Sunday, March 5, 2017

"You look great, girl."

Enjoying the weird warped poetics of a pirated extract of Girl Defective translated from the Portuguese:

By the time it had all happened, I had known for three months Nancy. She was nineteen and sharp as a knife. I was fifteen And she was a bummer. We had met when my father Hired to clean the shop and the apartment. I remember her. Entering my room with the vacuum cleaner tube hanging in Round his neck, slumped and sassy as the arm of an evil boyfriend. It was only her mouth that opened and a thousand things were flowing. Did I happen to know that Could sharks shut down half of their own brain? That a person Averaged fourteen times a day? That in quiet neighborhoods Residential, middle-aged couples were having sex dressed as Stuffed animals? And I, who did not talk to anyone much, said: - No way! It did not take long and we were already talking out and killing The time, while the dishes were there, forgotten. My father had to send her. Though, but it kept popping up. Nancy's laugh - and I still I can hear her - it was a whinny that totally hit her. Glamorous appearance. "You look great, girl. "Girl". That's what she called me. Or "little sister," or "Amiga", or "little doll", or "macaquita". Sometimes she even wore the My name - Skylark, Sky -, always with that drawn way of speaking, that I felt like nails in my back, scratching an itch Which I did not even know how to have ...

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Electric Ladies, TO, wasted days

 My husband brought this book home and it sent me back to 1998, to a long, great day at the Toronto Library spent photocopying the 'Groupies' issue of Rolling Stone - I had heard about it but never seen it - I loved the pictures of these glam/scuzzy nightbirds with flowers in their hair and sleep in their eyes. I had gone to Toronto to try and work in publishing (I'd really wanted to go to the US, but no visa) turned out I wasn't particularly employable. In Toronto I found books like Mike Davis's City of Quartz, Susan Compo's Life after Death and Eve Babitz's Eve's Hollywood.  I saw Todd Haynes's Superstar, the Karen Carpenter Story, and Paradise Lost, an early doco about the West Memphis Three. In my TO folder I have a photocopy of Lynn Crosbie's poem Miss Pamela's Mercy and Ann Powers' chapter on fandom and feminism, 'The Love You Make'. I've never written about Toronto. Flashcubes of the time include Camel cigarettes, half-and-half milk, swimming in the High Park pool, the unexpected appeal of my flatmate's cats, watching a lot of Dawson's Creek. The Spice Girls were huge but I was already too old for them. You could get awesome cowboy shirts in Queen St. I didn't stay. I went a bit wobbly and ended up running away to England.

How is it that can time be slow and fast at the same time? I think about the line in Olive Kitteridge about our 'unconsciously squandered' days. Did I really go to Toronto in 1998? Who was that girl?

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

"Once I was a blithe singer..." interview with Shirley Collins

In the UK over Christmas I had the good fortune to meet and interview Shirley Collins. I was quite a latecomer to Shirley's music; once I'd made all the connections (Davy Graham, Incredible String Band, Alan Lomax) it seems crazy that it took me so long. Now rarely a day goes by where I don't listen to something by her. it's more than just the songs, it's the way she sings them; the way her voice feels like the first and last voice. My interview ran in the Spectrum on the weekend, I think the first time in my freelancing life where an editor has said 'more please'  - click here to read and for your listening pleasure here is the first song from the recent brilliant album Lodestar.