30 November 2008

Revisiting 'Brideshead Revisited'

"We ate the strawberries and drank the wine. As Sebastian promised, they were delicious together. The fumes of the sweet, golden wine seemed to lift us a finger's breadth above the turf, and hold us suspended."
I'm having something of a Charles Ryder moment tonight: I can't quite believe it's been 26 years since I watched Brideshead Revisited when it was first broadcast. I was 17 years old, still living at home and in my final year at high school.

The following year I would turn 18, leave home, start at a grand old university, fall in love and be dazzled by new worlds outside the one I grew up in. I found my own Sebastian Flyte (or was I Sebastian and found my Charles?) and didn't have a clue what I was doing. I was immortal and reckless and life was magnificent and hectic and hopelessly romantic, just the way it should be.
"Here, at the age of 39, I began to be old."
Although I'm now even older than Charles Ryder was as he begins his "Sacred & Profane Memories", I don't feel like I'm beginning to be old at all. While my original infatuation with Waugh's novel was completely shattered by my subsequent literary "education" and the discovery that Jeremy Irons and Anthony Andrews were both 33, playing 18-year-olds, if I listen carefully I can still sense the echoes of that first, innocent thrill at my initial encounter with Brideshead.
"I was in search of love in those days, and I went full of curiosity and the faint, unrecognised apprehension that here, at last, I should find that low door in the wall, which others, I knew, had found before me, which opened on an enclosed and enchanted garden, which was somewhere, not overlooked by any window, in the heart of that grey city."
The series is being rebroadcast on ABC2, all 660 minutes of it over the next 11 weeks, starting tonight. For my readers who had the temerity to be born in the 80s, it's just like Queer as Folk, but with much better accessories.

21 November 2008

The scariest sentence in the English language

"This is Entertainment Tonight in high definition and I'm Mary Hart."

19 November 2008

Really, Detective Senior Sergeant? Do ya think?

From today's paper:

Police are searching for two men who fled after dumping a body with a gunshot wound to the chest outside a Melbourne hospital's emergency department early this morning. 

"Certainly the fact that they didn't stick around leads us to believe that they have got information that can assist us," said Detective Senior Sergeant Stephen McIntyre, of the Victoria Police Crime Department.

18 November 2008

Well, hello, fellow Grits to Glitz listeners!

There's been a spike in my reader numbers lately and it's all Amy and Bay's fault. Hello, Amy! Hello, Bay! Thanks for the shout out!

To all my fellow G2Gers, welcome to my sandbox on the web. It's a pretty random affair, and I do encourage you to try out the Lucky Dip button to the left because the more randomly you are willing to face it, the better. Just like life.

For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about – and believe me, your number is legion, at least in my daily life – I'll back up and explain. There will be a test at the end, so please pay attention.

Way back in the heady days of winter 2006 (remember, I live in the upside-down hemisphere), I was in the grip of The Devil Wears Prada fever. I was scooching around the net and there was a reference to a review on a tiny, unpopulated site. Just a single entry: "Episode ONE: July 12, 2006".

Abandoning what little caution I possessed, I clicked a link. Something strange was happening with my iTunes. What? This is an audio file? (Yes, I confess was a total podcast newbie.) I hit play and within minutes, an international love affair began.

Amy and Bay are sisters. They both lived in East Tennessee until Amy moved to Las Vegas. Life in Las Vegas is not like life in East Tennessee, and the differences between the two places, an eternal compare-and-contrast conversation, was worth broadcasting.

Since then, they've covered a lot of ground in their weekly podcasts. There have been dogs and Disneyland, cocktails and Vegas shows, holidays and birds and recipes and grammar lessons and pigeon-squirting machines, three seasons of Project Runway and weeks of obsession with Tim Tams – a very funny international saga that culminated in this moment – and a big-ass Christmas wreath. Contests and scrapbooking and April Fools pranks and lots and lots of dish. And I now know what grits are and what the boonies are, too.

They might be on opposite sides of their country, and I'm so far away that it takes a whole day to fly here, but their podcast always makes me feel like the three of us are just sitting around the kitchen table, drinking coffee, having a chat. I don't get to say much, but I laugh the whole time.

It's hard to believe that a tiny bunch of pixels could lift my spirits, but when that little blue dot turns up in iTunes next to Grits to Glitz, that's exactly what happens. Like standing in front of a birthday cake, I know there's some fun to be had.

For the uninitiated, start your journey into Amy and Bay's world at the Grits to Glitz site, here. Have a look around. Download an episode or two. Subscribe in iTunes. You'll be a better person for it – trust me.

Grind up some greasy, greasy coffee beans . . .

11 November 2008

1,000,000 for setting yourself up for failure

You have a point. You believe in something. You think other people do, too. So you create a Facebook group to collect 1,000,000 people – or more! – to show that you're right. You fail. The numbers don't lie.

[You can click through, if you must.]

05 November 2008

Good morning, America

Two moments from an extraordinary day. If Bush got anything right in eight years, it was phoning Obama and saying it was "an awesome night". 

02 November 2008

Crazy for Mad Men

I'm only two episodes in and I've already fallen hard for Mad Men, the series about Madison Avenue advertising people set in 1960.

The visual style is exquisite, down to finest detail. The storytelling itself is brilliant because the range of values seems like it's from another planet, yet we recognise it as being modern.

The men are all jocular buddies, constantly drinking and smoking. The women are fascinating. Secretaries, wives, mistresses and call girls, chirpy on the surface and conflicted, libidinous and, well, real people underneath it.

In the first episode, the new secretary turns up and her supervisor, taking the cover off a huge IBM Selectric typewriter, says, "Try not to be overwhelmed by all this technology. It looks complicated but the men who designed it made it simple enough for a woman to use."