It took cold, wet and windy weather to sit us down and get back to your favourite newsletter, Bunch of Fives! Yes, we have been on extended leave but with my eldest starting boarding school this year, and Ambers youngest starting kindergarten, we have been in brain fog territory for about 6 months. But now we are back with lots of stuff to tell you about that’s worth looking into. Well Amber does, I’m just rambling on as usual.
From My Bookshelf:
On Eating Meat by Matthew Evans. Now this is very timely what with all the vegans running about stealing goats from farmers and bundling them into their cars to take them to...their suburban concrete courtyards? Anyway, it’s about eating meat in an ethical way, enjoying it knowing it was raised and slaughtered humanely. He understands animal activists care about animals but says he is increasingly seeing only an interest in the welfare of cute fluffy things like lambs and sheep and next to no concern for the millions of lizards and birds killed by feral cats every year. He makes a good point about the billions of insects killed in order to grow vegetables, fruit and grain crops. Let’s stop vilifying farmers (with good animal husbandry practices) for doing what they can to feed people for very little money. Let’s buy the more expensive, ethically produced meat so farmers everywhere can improve the welfare of the animals under their care.
Where the Crawdads Sing- Celia Owen I highly recommend this. It covers all bases with love, loss, betrayal and murder with an excellent kicker to boot. I couldn’t put it down.
Educated -Tara Westover The true story of one girl’s extreme upbringing in a Mormon household with a maniacal survivalist father. You couldn’t make this stuff up.
Bridge of Clay - Marcus Zusak Don’t let the size of this one put you off ‘cause it is worth it; the tale of a house full of brothers left to fend for themselves in the wake of tragedy. And, it is Aussie as which is another plus.
Land Before Avocado - Richard Glover Really great conversation starter about growing up (life in general) in 1960’s – 70’s Australia, compared to the decades that have followed. It’s kind of one big question: “who had it best” and as a child of the 70’s I thought we had it pretty good, but now I am not so sure. You be the judge.
Little Fires Everywhere Celeste Ng Two families from very different backgrounds are brought together (then torn apart) by their children. It explores themes of privilege, class, race and motherhood. A great ‘holiday’ read.
Burial Rites Hannah Kent Based on the true story of a woman condemned to death for the murder of two men in Iceland in the 1800’s. In the months she spends awaiting her execution, she reveals the truth to a young reverend who has been assigned to offer her spiritual guidance and try and save her soul. It really puts you right in amongst the characters and the landscape.
This one comes from my love of old clocks. I have a small collection of little bedside clocks that I picked up at an antique sale about 20 years ago. Not one of them works. But they look so cool, I just dot them around the place and pretend they do. Quite a few of them are from Westclox which is a clock company still operating today but started in the U.S in 1885. Apparently two teenage jerks tried to burn down the compound in 2012 and destroyed 25% of it. Hopefully that means my clocks are worth something! But I doubt it if not in working order. If anyone knows a good clock repairer, please email me.
I am off to see Fleetwood Mac in a couple of weeks. It’s not the original line up (I think Nicks kicked Lindsey Buckingham out cause she couldn’t work with him…again) but I don’t mind. Neil Finn is filling in so it’s a two for one kind of set up. This was meant to be a mother-daughter-Auntie weekend (and 8 of my mum’s friends on the side), but yadda yadda yadda, now the husband is joining me instead. It will be nice to feel young again as I am sure the crowd will be of the aged demographic considering the band has been around for yonks. I am already cringing a little at the thought of Stevie’s voice careening off key mid song but it’s one to strike off the list ‘cause I don’t imagine they will be back anytime soon.
I hope Amber didn’t already mention this one but I just go straight to this when I want to be crying laughing. Its @mouthbreather_. Think 80s aerobics classes with g-string leotards and sweatbands over perms, as well as creepy Christian evangelist singers *shudder*.
This is really stupid and a MASSIVE time waste but I have become slightly obsessed with the Instagram page @pleasehatethesethings. Not unlike the Fyre festival doco, it’s one of those feeds I just can’t look away from. I have NO idea why I trawl through the posts because they truly do make me feel unsettled and a bit icky but just knowing there are people out there who actually design their spaces in these hideous ways gives me some warped sense of enjoyment.
I suffer from terrible nostalgia, so yesterday I re-listened to Whatever and Ever Amen by Ben Folds Five. This was on heavy rotation for me in the late 90s. I may or may not have gone to see them live, I actually can’t remember because I saw a lot of live bands around this time and sometimes my friends descriptions of the shows they saw made me feel like I was there. Confusing times, I know. My son started playing piano so I was looking for good songs to show him that weren’t Billy Joel or Billy Field. This album took me straight back to my 20s and I belted out every song all the way to Young in the car. I love that jangly sound, and all the tricky time changes, and Ben Folds’ clever lyrics. If you only want to get a jist of this album, my song pick is ‘Fair’. It’s so clever, has a great tempo, and cool harmonies that remind me of a 70’s sitcom theme song.
Another list of TV shows I’ve watched over these long lost months.
Flowers (Netflix) Seriously, if I could list this five times I would. Sarah and I have been discussing this at length, recounting some of the shows beautiful moments and quoting (badly) some of the hilarious one liners to one another. It is quite possibly the best show I have ever seen. At its core it is about mental illness but the way in which it has been handled is just so affecting. It is hilarious and heartbreaking in equal measure -and it won’t be for everyone- but I adored EVERYTHING about it. The characters and the actors who play them are a joy to watch. Worthy of repeat viewing (that I may have done already and possibly will again).
Call My Agent (Netflix) French comedy drama about the dog-eat-dog world of working in one of the biggest talent agencies in Paris. It features lots of big name French actors (Juliette Binoche, Monica Belluci, Beatrice (where have you been, Betty Blue?) Dalle and has stars from all over the world clambering for a stint on the show. Throw in office politics, under the table deals and general celebrity assholishness and you’ve got a very winning formula.
Fleabag (ABC Iview) Just going to go ahead and spruik the show everyone is banging on about. I have only seen season 1 and it is gold but if crass talk isn’t your thing, this is not for you.
Fyre : The Greatest Party That Never Happened (Netflix) Doco about a spoilt privileged kid who decides to buy an island and throw a festival for other privileged kids but the whole shebang ends up unravelling in spectacular fashion. It’s a bit like watching a train crash in slow motion: you can see what’s about to happen but nothing can stop the momentum of it. And it is so delicious watching it all go to shit.
The Letdown Season 2 (ABC) Audrey and Jeremy are back struggling with parenthood and juggling a long distance relationship. Notable eps for me were Heavy Heart (ep 4) where Jeremy takes Audrey on a wine tasting trip to the Barossa Valley and Aud over imbibes, and Rat Park (ep 5) where ex drug dealer, Scott, is enlisted to give Barb (whose drinking habits have escalated) some advice on coping with her situation without immediately reaching for the bottle. But by far the stand out moment of the series had to be Audrey’s hair in episode 1, am I right?! Who hasn’t been to a hairdresser for a standard wash and blow dry only to leave with an outrageous bouffant towering over you that suggests you're skipping off to a fancy dress party as Marie Antoinette? You can see and feel it happening, can’t you: it just keeps growing and growing in height and puffancy (I know it isn’t a word but how else do you describe it?) but hell hath no fury like a hairdresser being told you ‘don’t like it”, so you keep your mouth shut tight and avoid eye contact with every single person in the room watching this shit show unravel (I’ve just realised there’s a train wreck theme to my newsletter this week). Once they’ve pinned that final strand of hair into place and gush on about how “amazing” you look, you mask your horror stuttering out lie after lie (“Ohh! Yep! I LOVE it !“) before running to the privacy of your car and either bursting into tears or calling your mate and telling them to meet you in 5 minutes at your house to witness what looks like the arse end of a wombat burrowing into your noggin. (You then take photos to laugh at later and spend the next 2 hours with your straightening iron.) Why is it, though, that we aren’t we allowed to say we don’t like our hair if we don’t like it? I hated my wedding hair-HATED it. It looked like something I usually whip up before I leave home on EVERY OTHER DAY OF MY LIFE but I was too scared to tell the hairdresser who did it and I have regretted since. Name me one other place you would go to and intentionally pay up to $200 for something that is horrible or makes you look ridiculous? My money says you can’t.
This is super important and exciting (and a little bit name droppy, probably) but you have to keep your eyes on YVE BLAKE. This pocket rocket has written a musical called FANGIRLS which will be playing at the Belvoir St theatre later this year. It’s about the passion of young girls for boy bands, music and life in general. She has done a fabulous Ted Talk about it too. https://youtu.be/Z0TAE9x9qc4
I was Yves babysitter for almost 5 years when she was a munchkin, and what an interesting child she was. I’m so excited to see this production, it’s going to be amazing! For all the passionate young females in your life, encourage them, celebrate them, and take them to this show!
We had nits for the first time last week and what a treat it was. My poor daughter had been scratching herself stupid for about a week before my husband found livestock in her hair. I have never had them so I didn’t know what I was looking for so by the time he found them they had made themselves very comfortable indeed. I asked for advice on the best method for treating them and I found that loads of conditioner and tea tree oil mixed together and endless hours of fine tooth combing seemed to do the trick. I would love to hear what you guys have found works well for you for future infestations because there will be, I'm sure.