Friday, March 30, 2007

happy fellow found in Bamberg

I found this fellow in the gardens of the Alte Hofhaltung in Bamberg. Bamberg is in the Franconia region of Bavaria. It is a town of 70,000 people. It has 9 breweries. No wonder my friend is happy. And nude.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Friday, March 23, 2007

aviatrix

Colonel Colonel's A Grave Affair prompted me to find this is my extensive catalogue of cemetery photographs. I'm fascinated by aviatrixes (aviatreaux?) and by headstones, so this grave of Maryse Bastie in Cimetiere du Montparnasse is a double pleasure.

In this boneyard also lies Marguerite Duras, Serge Gainsbourg, Samuel Beckett and many others. There are flowers on the graves (naturally), but also notes, letters & small objects. On Duras', the day I was there in July last year, was a heart made of shells and stones. Some of the notes were written on metro tickets, others on scraps from pockets, others still elaborately prepared.

I noticed the phenomenon at the Parthenon also. My favourite there, on Emil Zola's tomb, was a note which read "I never finished Germinal, mais quand meme je l'aimait beaucoup. Merci partout." ("I never finished Germinal, but all the same I liked it a lot. Thanks everywhere.")

I wonder what prompts people to leave these notes.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

pookie's boots

Nuala Fury says "Trust in floors, they will hold you up". I would add, The World is feeling shaky, time to lace up a stout pair of boots.

Friday, March 16, 2007

the time I met Mel Gibson

While Blogger is being a bugger about uploading images, I'll tell you a story. Are you sitting comfortably? Good, then I'll begin.

Last Sunday in Melbourne my friend Marlowe, with whom I stay, had a lovely luncheon party for a few friends (naturally I cooked). Marlowe is a wonderful actor but, like many artists of all stripes in this anti-Art country, he has to suplement his income doing Another Job. (Now, throughout this story I am going to try very hard to preserve everybody's anonymity, so please bear with me as I circumlocate various identifying aspects of the story.) Okay, so Marlowe works for some kind of governmental agency, outdoors on a scooter, going daily from street to street, stopping here and there along the way. One of the luncheon guests (remember, we are in Melbourne last Sunday) also works for this same, er, service. He brought along his wife, whom none of us had met before.

Well, she was charming & fun & a wonderful contributor to the day, which I must say went on a very long time. But what the hey, there was plenty of delicious food & refreshing domestic rose. As the afternoon wore on, stories were told, to the hilarity of the company. At some point, Charming Wife off-handedly told a story about how, when she was a teenager, she lived in a certain beachside suburb of Sydney starting with C. (No, not Bondi, but you can walk from there). She and her little mates had heard a rumour that a Certain Big Film Star lived in a particular house overlooking the sea. This Film Star was born in America, but had grown up in Sydney. At that time he was Madcap, now we would call him just Mad, I think. Anyway, she & her little mates would play "ring & run away" at the door of this Film Star.

"Oh," I said, "so that was you".

Let me take you back to the mid-Eighties. I had just finished Acting School. (Yes, there was a time Cissy had dreams of stardom, but it was not to be. Though I will say I am playing a Finn in a Korean advertisement for table salt filming on Sunday, but I digress.) One of my great pals from Acting School was a chap called, let's say, Onald. He was closely related to this Madcap Film Star. Onald lived in the house at C----- Beach owned by his brother (whoops) that was known in the neighbourhood and at which schoolgirls would knock & ring & run away. As I spent a lot of time hanging out there, I had witnessed for myself this after-school prank.

So Charming Wife & I had a laugh - just think, all those years ago we were either side of that door. "We never knew if it really was his house," she said. "Oh, it was, but he was never there," I said. But that is not strictly true.

I started by wanting to tell you of the time I met *ahem hemhem*. It happened one day that I called my friend Onald. Ring ring. "Hello" said a familiar, deep, slightly American-accented Australian voice. "Oh hi, Onald," I said, "it's Cissy calling, just wanted to say blah de blah cascade of crap." There was a pause. "Well, actually," lovely deep warm amused voice said, "it isn't Onald. This is Mel." My bottom fell off and my voice rose two octaves. "Oh ha ha ha ha ha," I quipped hysterically, "well, you certainly sound very much alike." "Yes we do". My voice then reached a pitch that made the dogs howl. "Just tell him I called would you?" and I hang up.

That's it. That's the story. (My mother loved that story.) But it's made me think about my old pal Onald. There was a time we were close & I thought of him as a very good friend. He disappeared to America, oh, long ago, saying he would be gone for six weeks. We never heard from him again. He pops up in every Icon film - a line here and there. For the sake of our old friendship, I hope he is happy and peaceful. And for me, well, I'd like to think I will meet him again one day.

And on the subject of the circling round of time (yes, that really is our subject) the Saturday before last by chance I met my best friend's husband's brother's girlfriend's sister, and she remembered me from twenty-five years ago when she was dating a man I was sharing a house with. Apparently, I gave her a shirt.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Altea la Vella

I'm flying to Melbourne this afternoon. This is not Melbourne. This is the village of Altea La Vella on the Costa Blanca where I spent June of last year..

Monday, March 5, 2007

Jacaranda mimosifolia

The jacarandas of summer have dropped their flowers. It is now Autumn in my beautiful country. I might wear a closed-in shoe (when my silver pedicure wears off.)

Saturday, March 3, 2007

get nude!

I used to be a shop chick in a small bookstore in The Rocks (the oldest European part of Sydney). It is a small & lively area, with the Museum of Contemporary Art (where I also once worked), lovely old buildings, nice shops & restaurants, and the best French Patisserie outside of France. (La Renaissance, Sydney readers. Go there.)

It also boasts the oldest pub in Australia, as well as the longest continuously serving pub. It is a popular street for drinking alcohol and being rowdy on a Friday night, with our little bookstore an oasis of calm.

One Friday evening, early in the street's long night of booze, a brace of young men came into the shop. They had started on their evening's consumption, but were at the maleable, cheerful stage of proceedings. I suggested that perhaps they'd like to continue their festivities out in the street, at a place which served alcohol, rather than books & chocolate (Haigh's).

One young blade suggested that I "get nude".

He then generously included all the shoppers in his invitation. "We should all get nude," he shouted. I proposed that, rather than taking all our clothes off, he & his friend might like to leave, and the rest of us might continue our quiet browsing. Our heroes agreed it was rather a good idea, though the Get Nude Boy was more reluctant than his companion.

As they reached the doorway, I was congratulating myself on keeping the mood jolly & avoiding any trouble. It was at that moment, standing in the doorway of the store, that the reluctant one turned and took his stand. "Get nude!" he cried, and demonstrated the procedure by pulling his trousers and underpants down with one swift, almost professional, gesture. He posed in the doorway aflame in the glory of his youth.

And it was rather glorious, as well as being the most non-sexual, non-threatening and rather sweet flashings ever in the history of public nudity.

The assembled browsers and I chuckled for many minutes after the two Knights of Sydney had gone on their way, reclothed. I hope they stayed as cheerful and fun for the rest of their evening. However, the shop's closing time of midnight meant I had witnessed Friday's alcohol aftermath too often to be more than faintly hopeful.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Manorina melanocephala

This native honeyeater is commonly called a Noisy Miner. Its call is "a loud 'pwee pwee pwee' and a piping 'pee pee pee' when alarmed" according to the Australian Museum's Bird Finder Fact Sheet. I shot this bird in a flowering gum growing in the grounds of the Museum. I once cleaned an oily penguin in the basement. My father worked there. He was a marine biologist.