Sunday, April 5, 2009

marimbas and holiday reading

I have absolutely no idea what time it is. I have a weird lump at the nape of my neck. My feet stopped working on holiday. I thought I was going to have to find a crap job but we might be out of the woods. Today I saw the Stunned Mallots Marimbas Band - Masterblaster on home-made marimbas - it was great, and also made me a bit sad - If I'd spent my teens making marimbas, not rocket fuel how different things would be ... They seemed to be made out of wood and ordinary gutter pipes...W was similarly entranced and had to be dragged screaming, literally, awfully, for the many kilometres back to the car.

The Castlemaine State Festival has been and gone and I missed most of it because I was in Byron Bay. The one night we went out we saw a laughable white reggae band and I had a pina colada. Sadly, most of it ended up between my teeth (first law of pina colada construction - use a strainer). My squeeze had a Long Island Ice Tea that made his face turn English.

Books read: Black Rabbit Summer by Kevin Brooks (loved loved loved); Paper Towns by John Green (alterately good and annoying ... I don't know, is it a rule that your secondary character shouldn't show up your main? And then it seemed like it was the negative space of Margo that was so fascinating ... it just didn't come together for me. Noting the Chris McCandless connection: like Alexander Supertramp, Margo seemed to be made up of quotes. It was clear to me what strangers were getting from McCandless, but it's hard to see what Q gets from Margo other than blue balls) And in the most hoary femmo sense I wanted Margo to tell her own story. So it's funny. It's a story about a made-up person. But this was terrifically cool : I borrowed Paper Towns from Fairfield Library in Brisbane and there was a note inside from a previous reader saying that if I enjoyed it I should check out Nerdfighters. It made me very happy to think that people like the note-sticker-inner exist. John Green is coming to Reading Matters and I hope I'll get to hear him speak because despite being frustrated with Paper Towns, I loved Alaska and much of his vlogness. Also I hear he plays the banjo.

I read Agatha Christie's Endless Sleep - a long time favourite. It's got gypsies and an unreliable narrator, and a modernist architect character... I read Melina Marchetta's Saving Francesca and once again got pangs of the why-was-I-such-a-fup-in-high-school variety? (I must be having some kind of mid-life crisis due to the looming twenty year school reunion or something...) I love how you can see the spark of Jellicoe Rd in Saving Francesca - I found it a slow build but very satisfying. Read it til the small hours. What else, what else?? I read Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden which I think is one of the first lesbian YA fictions (or was it ME Kerr?) - it was written in the early 80s but it felt like the fifties - the poor girls! I hope it's still in print. I mostly loved it's New Yorkness with scenes at the Cloisters, and the Met and on the Staten Island Ferry. And it's not trying to win you over, but it did feel very dated...and made me think about that old movie about the school teacher. I can't remember her name. I just googled 'Lesbian teacher movie' and got all sorts of shit.

In an attempt to prove that I CAN read adult fiction I began a biography of Kafka when my Ipod conked out on the plane... And I am now reading And the Hippos Were Boiled in their Tanks by messrs Brroughs and Kerouac about the Dave Kammerer killing - great so far. Burroughs is dry as all hell and Kerouac's a stumblebum - my boys, my boys!


  1. Yes, "Annie on my Mind" is still in print! After 25 years too! it is probably the formost title in making real headways in lesbian fiction, and they realeased a 25 anni ed with an interview with Nancy in the back-its a gorgeous edition

  2. Hey Simmone,

    Were you thinking about The Children's Hour with Shirley Maclaine and Audrey Hepburn?

    Sounds like you had ample time to read on your trip!

    Our new YA blog launched today, you can find us at Lots of partying and giveaways all week!

  3. diane: no - but that looks great - and I have this little bell of recognition going off somewhere ... maybe I saw it years ago...argh! I just remembered it's the killing of sister george. she's not a schoolteacher though...

    great news about your YA blog. I look forward to reading.

  4. I can't read adult fiction no matter how hard I try. good luck to you though... It never gets to the plot!

  5. oh fuck i couldn't read past -
    If I'd spent my teens making marimbas, not rocket fuel how different things would be ...
    you kill me S!
    jus xx