Bunch of Fives newsletter NUMBER SEVEN! And you are still with us! Thanks so much to everyone who has subscribed (and hasn’t unsubscribed yet), we love sharing our useless and trivial knowledge with you! Please let a friend or 2 know about us and send them the link to this page, we would be ever so grateful. Hope you enjoy this fortnight's (slightly late) newsletter.
From My Bookshelf:
My friend Milly introduced me to this fantastic magazine from San Francisco many years ago. Its called Bunnyhop magazine and its made by Noel Tolentino. Its more like a zine that has little articles about quirky stuff or comment pieces, and interviews with some of my favourite artists and musicians. In an upcoming Bunch of Fives I will be writing about one of my favourite ever comic book artists who was featured in Bunnyhop so stay tuned for that, the artwork is incredible. Anyhoo, I only have 2 issues of Bunnyhop and Im not even sure you can get it anymore. This particular issue was all about Old Age and Nostalgia and the articles look at why we are all drawn to or influenced by things from the past. This mags design is top notch and so is the writing, and its printed on the most delicious matte paper...years before Frankie and Lunch Lady were doing cool little mags (two of my favourites by the way!!) I really wish I could find more issues....does anyone know of any out there? Drop me a line and let me know!!!
Before They Pass Away Jimmy Nelson
This is by far my favourite coffee table book; the photos are incredible and fill me with joy that there are ancient cultures still in existence living relatively untouched by modernity. The book is filled with powerful images of ancient tribes and peoples in distant parts of our world. Nelson celebrates the connection between man and nature with pictures of proud men and women dressed in traditional clothing and body paint customary to their cultural practices. It is visually stunning and I can get lost in the faces in the crowds for hours. Nelson tells some wonderful stories about the dangers and difficulties obtaining some of his images but one in particular warmed my heart; it occurred whilst he was trying to capture the Kazakh eagle hunters’ in action in freezing conditions. After days waiting for the right conditions to get the money shot his hands literally froze in the sub zero temperatures. Crying with frustration he found himself surrounded by two women who, unbeknownst to him, had followed them to the top of the mountain. They quietly enveloped him in their coats, held his frozen hands and began humming softly to him, warming him just long enough to finally get his picture. I adore this. It is so maternal, so protective, such a natural response to seeing someone in distress. But can you imagine doing this in our world, in this day and age? Going up to someone on the street or a sad child in a playground and doing the very same thing!? Cue police sirens, cuffs and some kind of assault charge added to your squeaky clean record. How sad that we are all born with an innate sense of compassion and yet in the world we have created with technology etc we are so disconnected. We have come so far in so many arenas but we are repressed in some of the places that truly matter.
P.S. It is also the best book for shoving at someone when the conversation becomes tedious and you just want some peace. So I guess if you're ever visiting and I push this on you, you’ll know I'm delicately trying to shut the conversation down.
I went through a phase in the early 2000’s where I would go to farm clearing sales and antique auctions and dig through all the junk looking for coloured art glass from the 50s and 60s (like I really needed to collect another thing). Some of these bits are quite valuable and some are worth no more than a few bucks. I contemplated selling it all but I am a sucker for colour (as much as I wish I could do that restrained grey, white, beige interior look but am too much of a bower bird to pull off) that I just cant part with it. So it sits on this bookshelf gathering dust and daddy long legs, prompting visitors to say “Hey, my Nan had that ashtray!”
Whilst this little piece of gaming history is not exactly ‘old’ old timey, put it in front of any millennial, maybe even a Gen Y’er and I reckon it would blow their fickle over stimulated minds. By comparison to the types of games and consoles available to today’s gamers, it’s an archaic form of entertainment that I can guarantee would garner maybe five minutes attention with the younger demographic before the novelty of it wore off. (I can just imagine showing some young 7 year old this game and watching them trying to swipe and drag Mario along the game path before throwing it down in frustration). However, on Christmas morning in 1983 it was on, as they say, like Donkey Kong. My brother and I spent hours helping Mario jump random barrels and trying to outmanoeuvre a giant monkey in a bid to save his lady love. I’ve had a few games lately and it’s just good clean fun; no graphic scenes of bloodshed when you mistime your leap and fall off the building site, but apart from the stages getting faster not much really happens. Still, my brother and I -sometimes quite violently- tried to outscore one another for hours on end. We loved it so much I am actually surprised it made it out of our childhood in working order. I guess once Tetris came along a few years later poor old Donkey Kong was left by the wayside…and I have the hide to call millennials fickle.
@stickfigurefish is the Instagram account of Dr Lindsay Marshall, a bloody talented artist who draws and paints fish and other underwater creatures. She illustrated the entire book “Rays of the World” for the CSIRO! I met her and her fella at the Bondi Markets about 3 years ago, drawn to their lovely simple plywood stall selling cards and mugs printed with her amazing paintings. I picked up a few cards for my animal obsessed sons and chatted to them about their work. They were super nice and also super good looking which made me even more jealous. Check out her work on Instagram if you like lots of drawings and paintings of sharks and rays.
My humour never really graduated past Year 1 level so I find my daughter and I laughing at a lot of the same things lately which is a lovely bonding experience, but I digress. I think I may have mentioned before that I love starting the day, ending the day, or faffing about during the middle of the day with silly Instagram feeds that make me laugh out loud. @awkwardfamilyphotos has taken my fancy of late and I love it when I scroll through my feed and see someone’s hilarious/frightening/insane memory flit by. I back up, and then it starts…I fall into that wormhole of suspended time and stupidity. I love that people are celebrating their bad style, their extreme uncool-ness, their bad hairdos and Christmas jumpers when most of us are trying to hide all of our true crazy in our daily feeds. Seeing an old video cassette (google it if you are unsure of what those two words mean) with the words “Matts First Birthday” scribbled out and replaced with ‘Ghostbusters II’ kills me. As does the look of disappointment on the faces of the poor little sisters holding onto their home made Cabbage Patch Dolls (I didn’t think they could look any worse!). There are man-child babies and some of the best 80’s mullets, perms, puffy sleeves and glam rock styles that just crack me up. Like I said…grade one level of humour.
I've decided to do a High Five playlist each newsletter to let you in on what I have been listening to that fortnight (see below) but I first have to make a special mention of our musical experience this time which was the Beck gig in Canberra that Amber and I went to last week. I kept jumping around in my seat until ‘Devils Haircut’ started and I ran down to the dancefloor and had one of the best live music times ever. All those songs I knew and loved since I was 17, it was a joyous night. The man is a musical genius. This guy has put out 13 albums and is never able to be pigeonholed into a musical genre. He is pop, funk, hip hop, rap, country, folk, rock and funkadelic all rolled into one. Oh and his dad is a classical conductor. One of the best podcasts around is Take 5 with Zan Rowe of Double J, where she talks to musicians about 5 songs they love or deem important. Her episode with Beck last week was the best ever, he spoke about musical leaps, songs that changed the game for music at a particular time. He is extremely knowledgeable about all kinds of music and never snobby. Give it a listen and you will get a better understanding of the man and his work.
- Hollow Log – Beck
- Take Me Back – Sarah Jarosz
- Blackbird – The Beatles
- Hi, Ho The Rattlin’ Bog – The Nields
- People Everyday – Arrested Development
Ladies, we need to talk…
Covering topics that some women find a little taboo or are uncomfortable discussing socially, your host, Yumi Stynes, dives in headfirst and brings it all to the fore. Ladies, we need to talk… is a podcast for women by women and is filled with lots of “Me too!”, “Oh my god!” and “YESSSSS!” moments. The mental load, low sex drives, the –shock! horror!- regret of motherhood and fat shaming are just some of the topics that are dealt with in Stynes’ brash brand of honesty and humour. She just has a way of getting people to share their stories without fear or judgement as she delves into some pretty serious conversations with women brave enough to discuss stuff that many ladies are too embarrassed to open up about, yet are more than happy to hear someone else intimately divulging. You can find it with a heap of other great podcasts and radio programs on the ABC listen app.
I am attempting my first sourdough starter. I have tried many times to do the ‘quick’ version of a sourdough but as any purist will tell you, good things take time. And this little starter takes 6 days. Feeding it every day. And thats before you even bake the bread!! I am into day 4 and I cant wait to see how it turns out. I am using a recipe from a website called The Perfect Loaf that sets out what you have to do each day. Its very simple, just water and flour, but I am not using organic rye flour, just bakers flour so I hope its not all in vain. Maybe next newsletter I will have some news on the outcome of the bread...hopefully its good. Stay tuned...
We have a new addition to our clan; a little Blue Heeler called ‘Pickles’. She is, as all pups are, adorable but OMG she has torn the place apart. It is like a mini cyclone blows through the garden every day. It has been years since I had a four footed friend to care for and I had forgotten how much work you have to put in to training them. Thankfully she is pretty smart and food is a massive motivator for her (just like the rest of her new family) so we’ve already got the ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ commands down pat but she is desperate to be inside the house with us. I suspect this is because when I am not around she is allowed free reign of the place but she has mastered slipping past your feet like a stealthy ninja every time the door opens. EVERY TIME. I have had the bejeezus frightened out of me when I thought I was home alone only to be suddenly attacked by a long pink tongue lashing at my face a little too eagerly. I’m constantly finding an assortment of dead animals in various stages of decomposition at my front door that’s really not the greatest look when people rock up unexpectedly. Oh the place is a mess but it could be worse. She is proving to be a pretty good guard dog and is ‘kind of’ managing to keep the rest of the working dogs out of the garden which makes me happy. For some reason the working dogs, who have ACRES of space to do their business, had decided my garden was the spot for it and in amongst the mix there’s a Great Dane… so you can imagine how pleased I was to have an open Canine Crapper at my back step. She is slowly cleaning the place up in that respect at least. It took me a long time to even think about replacing our beloved girl, Triggsy, that we lost 5 years ago but my girls are ready for the responsibility and I, the company. Pets just bring the kind of companionship that calms you, their unconditional love softens you and I find moments of true peace in her company sitting silently together. I love having her pad along beside me as I wander about the garden. She finds the fun in everything; hoses, the leaf blower, the washing, shoes, the veggie patch…she is exhausting. But she is also a sweet new confidante that quietens my soul.