Saturday, February 25, 2012

new records!

Before I start, let me share my excitement that the blog called  'Wok and spoon' is back! A good friend started this years before I ever thought of blogging, and now that the young children are at a point where mum, can sneak a couple of minutes to herself. Wok and Spoon is back and has a yum recipe. If you have time, do check it out.

Now... me, me me!!!!

Speaking of which, I treated myself (for my birthday), with some new vinyl. Being online purchases means these are only recent arrivals (yes they took that long to arrive).  However, better late than never! So now, let me share these little beauties with you.

First off the starting block is The Black Keys and their Lp- 'El Camino'.

A sticker on the cover of this Lp advises to play it loud! It is such a great,fun and rocking record... and yes.. play it loud!

'Dead and Gone':

Kate Bush- '50 words for snow'

'50 words for snow' is a beautiful and meditative record. Every time I listen to this I feel that I should be curled up in front of a fire, with winters rain or snow falling against the window and this record playing in the background.

Wild man (segment of track with animation). This is one of the more 'groove driven' tracks on the LP.

Little Dragon- 'Ritual Union'

The great title track 'Ritual Union' was posted on a past blog. Click here for their great tune 'Ritual union' performed live!.  Let me remind you that this tune can in at number 82 on Triple J's hottest 100!

Pet Shop Boys- 'Format'. A collection of B-sides and bonus tracks from 1996-2009. I love the  cover of this collection. Unfortunately this is not on vinyl, but cd.

The pet shop boys are famous for the high quality of their B-sides, as this compilation demonstrates. Here is the Pet Shop Boys with Elton John- 'In Private' (7 inch version). This track was originally written for Dusty Springfield and appeared on her 1991 LP 'Reputation'. Let me dedicate this track to the married 'straight' men out there, who say one thing in private, but something different in public.

Lastly, Lana Del Rey- 'Born to Die'.. poor thing... so many haters, so what if she changed her name, her look (including lip injections (not that I agree with it)), but judge her on her music, not how she looks.. Sure her SNL performance was a bit dodgy, but she was great On 'Live later with Jools Holland'!! I guess everyone has a bad day ...

Her beautiful track Video Games was posted on a prior blog. Click here to see her great clip for 'Video Games'. Let me remind you that this song came in at number 6 on Triple J's Hottest 100!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The good, the bad and the ugly: Feb 2012 (where for some reason, Death seems to feature).

The Good: Bored to Death.
As you may or may not know, I have a crush on John Kellogg Hodgman. This was indicated in a previous blog post which also had a Photoshopped image of my love and I. Just to be creepy (again).. here is my hubby John Hodgman and I, at my graduation (pic kindly 'taken' by my mate Ric):

Ok, so J.H. (ekk!! I just realised, This is the third straight man I have had a crush on who's initials are J.H.!),  Anyway enough about me, and more about the love of my life John Hodgman, who is in a great television program called 'Bored to Death'.. (If you haven't seen it, go straight to season 2). A mate of mine was recently fortunate enough to see season 3 of this American series and teasingly told me that J.H. 'gets it on with a man'!! I suspect it might just be a kiss, rather than full-blown 'let me take you to a special place' type intimacy.. still.. There is a God and my heart is a flutter.. because maybe, just maybe if his character in this TV series kisses a man on screen, then maybe my Hodgy Podgy (we are friends here, I feel I can share my love and I's pet names for each other), will turn gay, fly to Australia, somehow bump into me and then we live happily ever after behind our white picket fence.

If you are reading this my little Hodgy Podgy, you do know that I love you, but that facial hair you've recently been sporting?.. seriously? It has to go!

The Bad: Arguing with Death... well kind of.

I guess I could call it a result of living alone for so long, every now and then I find myself talking to myself out loud. This doesn't just take place at home, but also in public spaces such cafes and public transport.  So.. today I was showering, thinking about being forty (as you do) and how some people really hate aging and see forty as a death knell. I was thinking about how I like it and how we are all getting older and closer to death each moment... death could be a just heartbeat away, a blink, or much further off.. who can say?... So I suddenly think about death approaching me, and how I am feeling ok about it.. sure I want to live, but the next adventure lays ahead. .. and sure, maybe if I had someone special in my life, I wouldn't be feeling so 'ok' about it all. Anyway, as I am showering I start to imaging meeting death and chatting...My hands start to gesture (as they do when I am in conversation) and death tells me that it is not my time...
I reply 'really?.. well I am happy to go out on a high..seriously'.
Death thinks I'm a fool and says 'no you have to go back'..
"Well, I have had a bit of a crazy life and yeah things are much better now.. but if I go back are they going to stay good, or is there more crap to come.. cause I am over crap and drama?" I am not convinced that Death knows my story or what is best for me.
Death sighs heavily 'look, it's not your time, you need to go back'
'umm well if you want to swap for a while.. I mean you can go back as me and I can take you scythe and just do the whole reaper thing, that might be fun for a change, at least for a while.. you know there was that TV series 'dead like me'..?'
Even though death has no eye balls, I can tell he is rolling his eyes at me.. so like an idiot I take that as an invitation to continue...
"You know,  I can do the whole sneaking up on people, say something like daggy but cool, like Arnold Schwarzenegger does in his films and then 'scythe' them".. I even do the actions...
Again Death 'rolls his eyes'.. well he gives off the whole eye rolling vibe and exasperatedly says 'no'.
At this point I realise I am in the shower talking out loud to myself with hands gesturing madly. So I stop.

Maybe I have been living on my own for a little bit too long?

Speaking about Death, Neil Gaiman had an amazing comic called "The Sandman'. It ran from 1989-1996. In it 'Dream' a.k.a 'Morpheus' (as well as a host of other names) is part of a family called 'the endless'. His older sister is 'Death'. Death is a portrayed as cool, fun, perky and kind Goth-looking young woman.  According to Wikipedia "One day every century, Death lives (and dies) as a mortal, in order to understand the value of the life she takes. She does this by becoming a mortal fated to die that day."
Here are some pics of Neil Gaiman's Death. The top one is definitely drawn by Chris Bachalo, not sure about the others:

The Ugly: The Death Of Whitney Houston

 Some might say that the Whitney we knew died years ago, with substance use...I won't weigh in on that discussion, but rather will just acknowledge the death this past week of an artist who filled my early years with hope and happiness. Early in my record buying life, her debut LP was on my turntable often. In my bedroom I sang and performed the songs, escaping from the life we lived. 'How will I know', 'Saving all my love' and of course 'the greatest love of all'. With this last song, Whitney taught me that it didn't matter what anyone else thought, It only mattered what I thought about me. She helped get me through so much. So to you Whitney, thank you and may you rest in peace.

The greatest love of all:

"I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone's shadows
If I fail, if I succeed
At least I live as I believe
No matter what they take from me
They can't take away my dignity
Because the greatest love of all
Is happening to me
I found the greatest love of all
Inside of me
The greatest love of all
Is easy to achieve
Learning to love yourself
It is the greatest love of all "

Find your strength in love
(find your strength in you).

Saturday, February 11, 2012

pics with the new camera

A new camera means working out how to use it and taking a billion photos along the way. In all seriousness I have at least an extra 20Gb of photos on my hard drive now. Allow me to share some of the fun I have been having with the new camera and my 50mm fixed/prime lens :


If you hang out with me, your photo gets taken.. as my brother now knows.

Strolling the streets at night with my mate Dean:

My famous friend (doesn't everyone have one?)

Famous friend again! (yes I am milking it). (please note that an unattractive fan was 'Photoshopped' out of the window.. you didn't want to see 'fanboy' gushing and finger pointing did you?)



Westgarth at dusk

Photographing stuff as I waited for a friend at Rubicon cafe in North Melbourne

The city on a Sunday evening:

North Fitzroy backstreet:

All photographs copyright matthew schiavello 2012

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The big 4 Oh

January was a busy month. I turned 40 as did a close friend (who is older by a huge 5,760 minutes!!). I had a great birthday, made more special by being able to spend it with loved friends and family. A fragment from my birthday speech follows.. (yes, I wrote a speech..):

"Life is indeed beautiful, and in time we all find our way. Patience and love are gifts that are never wasted, not even when we think they might be."

Something I definitely need to remind myself of often!

 Speaking of beautiful, here is a beautiful 'one-off' card, given to me by a beautiful 'one-off' friend:

If you would like to have something similarly cool like this in your own home then check out this site for original 'one-off' art!

My friend Ric loaned me his amazing camera...all of  the below pics are all taken with his camera and his beautiful lens! I am happy to report that with the kind monies gifted to me on my birthday, I was able to buy the same camera as Ric... albeit without his amazing lens... Santa if you are listening, you now know what to get me!

After a yum birthday dinner of Thai , Double D and I headed back to Danni's for this gorgeous surprise! Someone needs to marry that woman, Pronto!:

The day after my birthday my friend Julie and I went to Phillip Island. She surfed, I watched.
Julie's Board resting at Smiths Beach:

Soon the clouds parted and we went to a bird sanctuary at Swan Lake, Phillip Island. While the wildlife were too far away to capture decently on film, I did photograph the sun setting over a rise as we made our way back to the car:

So far 'Forty' has been really good! I haven't put on heaps of extra weight (yet!), but, I have spent most of my spare time taking photos and gazing lovingly at my new to those who chipped in for my new camera 'Thank you'... and for those that have been 'modelling' for me as I practiced with my new partner.. er I mean camera, another heartfelt 'thank you!'

all photographs Copyright Matthew Schiavello 2011
Artwork- Copyright Tomboybill 2011