Wow – a week can be a long time in politics and what a week it was. I’ve found it really interesting now working in the public sector remaining apolitical given I deal with people like myself who are there to serve the public, no matter the government of the day. Whether you swing left of right (or neither) in terms of politics, it’s not easy being a leader and in the case of NSW this week, the woman in the arena.
It’s been obvious here in Victoria that people’s resolve has been sorely tested with home visits now a factor in a third of cases and other LGAs outside of the north and west being hotspots. It is a great pity -while I understand it has been desperately lonely for many not to have social contact with others – we are so close to the end and I just hope we can all hang on for that little bit longer and know the sacrifices we make today, will make all the difference tomorrow. Greater freedoms are only a matter of a few weeks away if we can hold our nerve and stay the course.
I’ve spent a lot of time outdoors again this weekend and the walking trails around here have been like Bourke Street – I’ve bumped into a number of local friends walking the Yarra trail along the old Boulevard from East Ivanhoe to the Warringal parklands in Heidelberg watching out for slithery friends now that it’s October.
The spring real estate market is back in action and this 1920s house at 1 Rockbeare Grove in Ivanhoe sold yesterday. I love its period features with modern extension at the back but the extra wow factor is the studio apartment with its own separate entrance built on top of the garage – way cool. It was also Love Your Bookshop Day yesterday and I will have to visit Fairfield Books now that Andrews Books in Ivanhoe is no longer. I’m pleased that Eltham Bookshop too is still open as is Robinson’s Bookshop in Greensborough. I did finish The Labyrinth by Amanda Lohrey and have moved on to Lucky’s by Andrew Pippos. While I no longer have a room of my own, I also love the look of this coffee table book (below) ‘A room of her own’ – inside the homes and lives of creative women.
Is where I do prefer to be. I have friends and family who live in the inner west, eastern and south-eastern suburbs but have largely been a northsider since leaving high school (with a brief period house sharing in Windsor during my university years). There’s a new photography book called Northside: a time and place by Warren Kirk which has just been launched by Scribe Publishing with it being a praise for suburbia – where many of us are now working and living our lives in lockdown.
I hope today’s easing of restrictions (and steps being brought forward based on cases not dates) has brought some greater hope and happiness that things will return to some semblance of normal. I’ve been amused reading about scarecrows in Thornbury and it also brought a smile to my face coming across some hand decorated wooden ‘spoonies’ at Rivergum Walk in Heidelberg the other day – there is definitely life in the suburbs!
I’ve been suffering from Covid brain and finding there’s too much noise on social media these past few weeks so have gone back to basics catching up with my handful of ‘heart’ friends I’ve known since my childhood and teenage years. Exercise helps as well as immersion in activities like cooking. We’ve enjoyed watching My Octopus Teacher on Netflix and The story of Science Fiction on SBS Viceland as a family, while Mr Rosanna and I have loved the QuincyNetflix documentary on the extraordinary life and musical talent of Quincy Jones – it’s a very inspiring story.
I completed the first of four online professional development sessions last week as part of my recent scholarship award. Unfortunately I’ve been unable to attend these live given US/Canadian eastern standard time slots but it’s still been a really valuable experience for me as an early career professional in the world of Alumni Relations. All the more interesting was watching presentations from African American education professionals and their segmenting of university graduates not only aligned to affinity ie shared professional backgrounds or disciplines studied, but along race and gender lines with identity.
The changing student demographic in the US will shift from predominantly white Anglo-Saxon backgrounds with minority black and brown groups to the reverse in coming decades, reflecting the greater racial diversity that some businesses and organisations are already preparing for now. Given the recent backdrop of Black Lives Matter, it has felt quite prescient and it’s been interesting to see diversity play out in Australia with the recent Archibald visual art prizes being awarded to Indigenous artists and in the UK and Ireland with the Booker prize in literature. It’s an interesting time to be in the world! I’ve not yet watched the Cathy Freeman documentary with her running performance that stunned the world at the Sydney 2000 Olympics but consider it one of the all time greatest moments in sport.
Grossly materialistic and over the top? Well yes, but I think that point was a bit mistaken by some of the film’s detractors given the intention was creating something all about froth and bubble on the surface. While it’s a story about old and new money in Singapore and the prevalence of conspicuous consumption (tasteful and otherwise) in the movie Crazy Rich Asians (based on the book by Kevin Kwan) I really enjoyed its underlying, and universal, themes of family, love, duty, class, the transformative power of education and the importance of personal integrity, identity and self-worth. Class to me is not a question of birth but of personal values, and how these are demonstrated in different ways by different people. Money doesn’t buy class, nor does it buy taste or style as I’ve previously said on this blog. My sisters and I had a great time at the Kino Cinema (where the recent Persian Film Festival has been on) watching the movie yesterday and there was more pathos and depth to something that initially presents itself as being more light-hearted and lightweight.
We’d caught up earlier in Chinatown at Shark Fin House for a quick yum cha where my Uncle George’s restaurant Golden Orchids can also be found in Little Bourke Street (pictured below on a somewhat dreary Sunday afternoon). After decades of working in hospitality, my uncle has decided to finally retire and his restaurant will close at the end of the month signifying the end of an era. Like much of the street, the old guard of Cantonese Chinese are making way for the new Mandarin-speaking northern Chinese and their dumplings.
But back to the movie, it was surprisingly emotional and there is a pivotal, and powerful scene, near the end that centres around a strategic game of mahjong, another thing that reminds me of Uncle George as his late wife, my Aunty Faye, would play most weeks at their house and my sisters, cousins and I would marvel at how fast, and noisy, the game was. I won’t spoil the ending but it’s also been lovely to see how many of my non-Asian friends have loved the movie as well.
It’s the name of the book being launched at the Eltham Library on 10 December on the power of good people and I think it’s an important thing to remember when we’re bombarded with media images of violence and terror happening on the international stage. There are more good people in the world than bad and I wish the world more peace in the lead up to Christmas. Hosted by the Eltham Bookshop and published by Wild Dingo Press, the book is a story of courage, resilience, hope and hearts filled with compassionate friendship between Sri Lankan refugee Para Paheer and local penfriend Alison Corke – things which are greater things to meditate and ruminate on.
There’s also some interesting performing arts events on around the place including local heats at Deadly Funny at the Darebin Arts Centre on the 10 December if you’re cheeky and loud, black and proud. If you’re a fan of Tim Winton’s books, a sprawling stage adaptation of Cloudstreet is being held at the Bundoora Homestead Art Centre from 5 – 16 December, tickets of which are now on sale at TryBooking.
If you’ve started getting your house in order for Christmas celebrations, it’s worth noting that local homewares store Marmoset Found is having a warehouse sale, along with neighbouring outlet Sage and Clare on this coming Friday and Saturday at 21 Albert Street in Northcote.
If you’re a fan of bespoke fashion, local maven Kara Baker is launching her Beach collection on Wednesday 6 December from 5 – 9 pm at 1/414 Bourke Street although I prefer some of her latest Spring Summer range including this beautifully tailored dress above. You’ll need to book a private appointment if you wish to attend at firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s the name of local author Les Zig’s debut novel published by Pantera Press which is being launched at a special event on 2 September at Beer DeLuxe as part of this year’s Melbourne Writer’s Festival, which starts on Friday 25 August. Les and I were having a chat when I attended Busybird Publishing’s Karma Kinglake writing retreat last year and I know he loves his beer so no surprises there. The book is a psychological drama that explores the complexities of human relationships and I think a lot goes on in the suburbs, where most of us live. My own street is a microcosm of society at large with all sorts of things happening that I didn’t anticipate when I moved to sleepy Rosanna almost 10 years ago from the inner city. It’s not as sleepy as I first thought!
If you have kids, the Harry Potter Day on Sunday 3 September at Fed Square in the city, also as part of the Writer’s Festival, looks like a lot of fun if you have a Harry, Ron or Hermione in your household.
Locally there’ll be a pop up book swap at the Harmony Centre in The Mall at Heidelberg West during Literacy Week, also starting next Friday and running until 1 September. The Eltham Bookshop too has recently celebrated its 20 year anniversary, which is a real achievement by owner Meera Govril. I’m still not making a lot of head way with my reading and seem to be drowning in paperwork at the moment – it’s almost de-cluttering season again and I need to continue with a number of rooms in my house.
I was also reading with excitement about the upcoming exhibition The House of Dior at the NGV and associated Gala ball being held on Saturday 26 August – two tickets of which you can actually win through Telstra. It’s being compared to the Met Gala in New York and I think is one for all the fashionistas out there.