Land’s Edge – A Coastal Memoir

Tim Winton

I couldn’t put it down the first time and I couldn’t put it down the next.  For a fairly slim book that started out as a love present to my husband, it has rapidly become a personal favourite with its impact pleasing on many levels.

From page one, your senses are put on High Alert with delicious little morsels of texts like ‘the briny smell of the sea’, ‘whitebait cracking the surface’ and ‘fat tide’, peppering the page. Initially, Mr Winton takes you back to his childhood summers and though yours may have been completely different, or not too dissimilar, I found myself experiencing his narrative on a truly personal level. You easily respond to his unsurpassed imagery. You are there. These are your memories as well. His thoughts, understanding, observations and experiences are yours too.

He describes the beach, the sea, the wind with innate experience, admiration and poetry. As well as providing the reader with a little context of where his passion for reading and writing was born.

He depicts 1960s/1970s Aussie suburbia to a T. And this is where you might need to take some deep breaths and prepare yourself, for I’m about to provide you with a little further background…for I, yes I, am indeed a child of 1970s Aussie suburbia… A place where you’d have to run really fast over the fat, sharp, dry grass to avoid bindis; having a second hand bike was your ticket to freedom; and a setting where you could sit for hours admiring the intelligent design of the Hills Hoist.

Carrying forward from his childhood reflections, you gain further exposure to his previous (and present) existence and adoration of living with the land behind him and the expanse of sea in front.

Sharks never being a particular favourite, I now somehow understand (though not fluently) and respect.  Additionally, the sea and coast are explored with reverence.

He beautifully details dolphin majesty – so be warned you might find yourself also searching like a crazy lady for cheap flights to Perth.

The experience of near drowning is described, not in a terrifying, best avoided at all costs kind of a way, rather more matter of factly, something that’s part of the programme.

This wonderfully crafted homage to Land’s Edge is delicious prose at its peak.

Be Wise. Go find it!

Ballgowns at the V&A

I’d been itching to take in this particular display since seeing it first advertised, so happily met my 2.15pm Slot (just), armed with supreme company, last Saturday, post a little Albarino, some spicy squid and a lunch that was stuffed with laughs. Thus, it is fitting to say, our entry couldn’t have been more optimal.

Dear Readers, Fashion – Room 40 is where it’s at and where you’ll find not only a beautifully fitted out exhibition space…look for the cool iron gate off the mezzanine and marvel at the roof…though also approximately 60 evening-wear treasures, dating from the modern day back to the 1950s.

For me the exhibition’s Top Treats pretty much sit in the 1980s…though I could obviously rave about the exquisite 1950s & 60s satin, velvet, beading, diamante, sleeveless (and strapless) beauties; and Roland Mouret’s (2010) fitted, one-strap, detailing in the just the right place, peach number…however I do honestly feel the pizazz factor was owned by the eighties.

Please appreciate this last point with a little background as clouding of judgement may be occurring:

  1. My number one desire during this period – to somehow master the lock of my sister’s wardrobe and get my hands on and into her Adam Ant inspired jewels
  2. Believing that one day, if I tried really hard, I could be Demi Moore in St. Elmo’s Fire
  3. I’m quite simply an obliging slave to cloth that shares its thread with purple, royal blue, bright reds and gold lame. And did I happen to mention I’ve just become the happy mother of a longed for glomesh coin purse

So back to the frocks and I promise I’ll try and compile a list which isn’t completely focused on New Romantic expression and may provide you with a couple of ‘ahhhh’ moments.

  • Atsuko Kudo’s (2011) extraordinary lace-look Latex gown
  • Gareth Pugh’s (2011) silver/metal, long sleeved, probably a little heavy to wear all evening, something Grace Jones would look ‘wicked’ in, floor length, conversation stopper
  • Wonderful video footage of several very pleased models elegantly displaying gorgeous floor length fantasies as they glide past the admiring throngs
  • A strapless, beaded, black, exquisite creation once wore by Beyonce
  • And Mr Bruce Oldfield comes through with a red hot night time decision with black bow detail

And further findings – Hollywood Costume – opens 20 October at the V&A, featuring outfits from sweet little Dorothy from Kansas; the not so sweet or little, Darth Vader; Mr Jones of the Indiana variety; and the always perfectly attired Holly Golightly.  Five days and counting….

The Sacred Flame

Back doing what I pretty much do best – participate by watching – I was once again stationed midpoint, approximately ten rows back at the Oxford Playhouse, two nights previous.

Very excited, perhaps more so than usual, as I’d been anticipating the return of the ETT, since seeking high level pleasure from their production of The Real Thing (29 June).  In fact I was so excited during the afternoon lead-up, that I started to put together ideas for an Outfit and prepared well with a pre-theatre G&T (try Tanqueray – Export Strength, Rangpur for its subtle limey-botanical favours).

Following the bus trip down, which was theatre in itself as I was able to eaves-drop on a highly amusing attempt by one, not bad looking 40 year male, to chat-up a presumably ‘new the area’, very attractive 19 year old student. Unfortunately, my stop arrived so I’m unsure of the proceeding Act(s) in this particular drama, thus can’t provide greater detail….never mind, to the Playhouse we go and taking one’s seats.

First impressions and what carried through, good staging and excellent costumes, especially the selection of correspondent shoes sported and Stella’s outfits, particularly her white trousers, knit and scarf combination.

And to the belly of the drama:
Great that I hadn’t swatted-up on the storyline prior to attendance, for my ignorance played to its advantage. Yes, I was kept in continued uncertainty (and suspense) as to the outcome of each scene. Slowly forming my opinion of what would happen next or who was the actual bad-doer, to have these ponderings abruptly sentenced to the ‘you’re completely wrong corner’, thereby providing me with ample scope to think hard, concentrate hard and be entertained hard.

Additionally, I discovered that when subjected to Nurse Wayland’s example of ‘virtue’ and ‘uprightness’, my money’s on the not so well behaved. She was really hard work and as it turns out not really a champion of integrity, rather someone who had her nose out of joint at having to work for a living and had a crush on someone’s husband, so struggled to have kind thoughts for the wife.

My favourite characters – perhaps very much to do with casting – award goes to….

  • Robert Demeger – for his role as the Major
    There wasn’t a moment when I thought you were anyone but
  • Jamie de Courcey – for portraying a perfect Maurice
    When you were really involved in the action you were good and when having to sit still for extremely long periods, you were (are) the Master.
  • And ladies – Mrs Tabret, Stella and Nurse Wayland
    You did the show well. And the more you were all on stage, the better the production became.

My advice then, if you are planning or contemplating attending… go flying the flag of ‘don’t find out about the plot’ or try and erase the knowledge you have of it if you have already engaged with Mr W.Somerset Maugham’s text – for not knowing only adds to the fun.