Even the Grass…
Sisters Beach sunshine is beaming this morning in one of my homes away from home. Whilst Hobart and surrounds received a drenching, I was having the vagaries too – but for a couple of days it was divine as if She up there was saying, ‘See what I can do. You didn’t expect such bliss at this time of year, did you?’
And at Sisters I am blessed to have some local friends – Richard and Narelda, Mary and Cheryl – to visit for company. Of course there’s a dog and beach walks. My dear mother’s close by, as are old friends and teaching colleagues.
On such a dazzling day to my new eyes, even the North West grass looks so much greener. Tomorrow I head home, but I’ll be back – over and over again I hope. Thank you Kim and Ruth.
Nanny Naps and Blaze
During COVID days the afternoons saw me more often than not taking to my bed for a few hours. I insisted to myself it was to read, lying on top to start with back in those March days. But as the iso went on and on, gradually I succumbed to slipping under the doona as autumn morphed into winter. Instead of copious pages of my novel, I’d soon pass into slumber to the accompaniment of my man-cave music machine or, increasingly, the radio. During that period a skilled practitioner was in the process of righting my eyes for the remainder of my days – and they needed resting, especially after some screen time. Well that was as good an excuse as any for continually drifting off. Leigh had her shows to watch and pod-casts to listen to and I was more than content in the world I had fashioned for myself in the once spare bedroom. Here my photographs surround me and my books were stacked – if only I could get to the latter. As the news become worse before it became better, I was insulated.
One such afternoon I was emerging from a restorative shut-eye when the local ABC radio presenter announced, ‘And here’s a special voice for you now…’ and on came Townes Van Zandt. ‘Fancy the Auntie playing Townes,’ was the thought that crossed my still sleepy mind. But, listening more closely, I started to realise that it wasn’t the legendary Tennessee troubadour, but this voice had the same low lonesome drawl. ‘That was the wonderful Blaze Foley. And now it’s news time.’
Wide awake now, I reached for my hand held device and did some delving for this guy, to me, was an unknown. And as I read his biography I soon realised I could have been reading about Van Zandt himself. Strike me down with a feather – turns out the two were mates back in the day. Like Townes, he too met an untimely and unseemly death well before his time.
The Arkansas singer/songwriter, born 1948, was a scruff of a man who lost numerous gigs, the love of his life and ultimately his life, full stop, to an overindulgence in alcohol. His stage name was a tip of the hat to his namesake and hero, Red Foley. Former partner, screen-writer Sybil Rosen, stuck with him for perhaps longer that she should have, but eventually she had seen him drunk senseless too many times and when he moved on, she didn’t. When Foley and TVZ crossed paths, they would go on unholy binges together and any progress he had made with the demon drink was blown away. He thought he was made when Merle H recorded his signature song, ‘If Only I Could Fly’, but there was no follow up to lead him to stage or recorded success, so he drifted back to his old temptation. At various times names such as Lucinda Williams and Kimmie Rhodes tried to give him a helping hand, but eventually he was beyond assistance. He could not be swayed from his destructive ways.
In 1989, after a night on the booze, he had an altercation with the son of a friend and was shot. He hardly went out in a blaze of glory. Despite attempts by some, including his former love interest, Rosen, who made a film feature of his life, he has not reached anywhere near the cult status of Townes – and perhaps never will. It’s a tragic story I woke up to that afternoon from a nanny nap.
Mark Seymour and the Undertow – ‘Slow Dawn’ – Music for these Times
He’s getting on now, like the rest of his demographic, but the former lead singer of Hunters and Collectors has lost nothing of his vocal chops, has Mark. His 10th studio album again excels.
On the Couch
It is its most popular foreign language series and Netflix is milking it for all its worth with four seasons to date. ‘Money Heist’ features a well organised gang’s raid on the National Mint in Madrid. The expertly drilled drilled crew soon find themselves besieged by the city’s finest. But how will the police coordinator’s relationship with her mysterious new friend pan out? Series One was quite riveting, so I’ll soon be taking in the next. Moving north to Belgium, another group is also besieged – but this time it is by fact or lie as a jury attempts to nut out if the one culprit is responsible for two murders a decade apart. It’s a tad clunky in places, but well worth time spent in SBSonDemand for ‘The Twelve’. A viewer will see the back story of the case as well as that of some of the jurists, for they are all not squeaky clean either. And he’s madder than ever, is Tim Roth’s alcoholic Jack Devlin in the second instalment of ‘Tin Star’ (SBSonDemand) – with a third and final season approaching. There’s mayhem a plenty as the daughter joins a religious community whose leader just happens to be in cahoots with a Mexican drug cartel. Stay tuned for the final shootout as Jack’s Liverpool back history arrives to bite him on the bum big-time.
A Tome to Re-emerge With
It’s a rude, raucous and vibrant picture of an extended indigenous family of entertainingly disparate parts, but so powerful it took out last year’s Miles Franklin. See the Blue Room’s review of Melissa Lucashenko’s ‘Too Much Lip’.
I’m Hanging Out
‘Mozzarella and pickle croquette, African chicken curry with eggplant and okra, Katso fish sando’ – I don’t think so Mr Durack. I’m a more ‘days of yore’ man. Why, last Saturday night, at Launceston Best Western’s Tram Bar, I partook of the ever ubiquitous parmi – and darned good it was too. A reasonable steak does me just fine too. Yep, the pubs have reopened and the aforementioned venue was my first sally forth. I waited till the iso was far enough in the background so certain watering holes were operating close to their past glory, but I still couldn’t have what I have really been hanging out for. Sadly, I am yet to enjoy a pulled pint. The Tram Bar offered only table service and bottled brew. Good, admittedly, but it’s not the full experience till on tap comes back on. And please, She up there, we are back to you, can we not follow Melbourne’s example and have to pull our heads back in? Obviously not only for this reason, but I’m craving draught beer again.
More about Blaze Foley here – https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-country/blaze-foley-movie-biopic-songwriter-ethan-hawke-718036/
Mark Seymour’s website = https://markseymour.com.au/
Trailer for ‘Money Heist’ = https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMANIarjT50
Trailer for ‘The Twelve’ = https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aL9uDVYIrkY
Trailer for ‘Tin Star S2’ = https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_dI36NYpgs
FB for the Tram Bar, Great Western Launceston = https://www.facebook.com/thetrambar/