Bet you didn't think we would make it this far did you? Bet you thought, ‘oh that Sarah Ryan, she never finishes anything’...well, ner ner ner ner ner ner!
Thanks for opening this email and reading our latest instalment of our ramblings on music, places, art, culture, instagram, old stuff and just...whatever.
From My Bookshelf:
Teapots and Tractors by Margaret Charlesworth
Nepotism alert! Totally plugging the family here but this excellent cookbook was written by my Aunty Margie, and was illustrated by my cousin Rachael Flynn. It came out in 2003 and a second edition was printed in 2005 (think another edition might have been printed since?) , quickly becoming a favourite around all of my friends kitchens. It’s country cooking, its tales of country farming life and its a celebration of the seasons. But dont be fooled, this aint no CWA cookbook for scone recipes (although the scone recipe is awesome) here you will find things like warm pork salad with wasabi dressing, lemon salmon with orange butter, and a delicious thai pumpkin soup. Fans of Red Tractor Designs will love the illustrations and the short ingredient lists will please the emptiest of pantries. I always turn to the marinated coriander chicken for a perfectly poached chicken breast every time. Available online from www.redtractor.com.au.
I haven’t been reading much at all lately (*see TV entry below) but I have managed to read the revelatory interview Quincy Jones gave Vulture journo, David Marchese, a few months ago that has caused a li’l controversy in the entertainment circles. He was certainly forthcoming with a few industry secrets but as I was reading it I couldn’t help wondering, if the people in question were still of this earth, would he still have had the balls to say what he actually said? It was very entertaining in a “he just said what?!’ kind of way but ultimately, I got the impression old Quincy just thinks that now that he’s old, he doesn’t really need to give a flying fig about whom he offends. Some of my favourite quotes that actually came out of his mouth include- but are in no way limited to- the following;
On Trump: “Limited mentally,— a megalomaniac, narcissistic. I can’t stand him. He doesn’t know shit. Someone who knows about real leadership wouldn’t have as many people against him as he does. He’s a f#@*ing idiot.”
On The Beatles: “…they were the worst musicians in the world. They were no-playing motherf*#!ers. Paul was the worst bass player I ever heard. And Ringo? Don’t even talk about it.”
And when quizzed on what he considered to be his greatest musical innovation he fires back, “Everything I’ve done.” (And Trump’s the narcissistic megalomaniac?)
I would love to hear an audio version of this interview if only to hear Marchese trying to keep from laughing throughout what I can only imagine being one hell of an awkward exchange of words. Jones claims to know (amongst a plethora of salacious gossip) all about who killed Kennedy, Marlon Brando’s sexual proclivities, Michael Jackson stealing songs, and being a dog- apparently. You can read the transcript here Vulture interview with Quincy Jones
I’m a sucker for great fonts and graphics (reminds me of that Simpsons episode when Homer tells the gay comic book store owner “ but you’re a grown man! How can you love graphics?”) and they are usually (and authentically) found on really old products and packaging. I found this tin of Doan’s ointment in its original box, in a cupboard when I first moved into this old house. I love the simple navy and cream colourway and the portrait of who I assume is Mr. Doan. Bet he is super chuffed to have his melon on a tin of stuff used to treat ones piles!
After a couple of nights in Sydney recently it became very apparent that the classic Aussie Pub is sadly a thing of the past. The noughties saw many old school working class pubs gutted and replaced with huge beige, polished, minimalist interiors with no soul whatsoever. Years ago, when I lived in Bondi, I witnessed the first complete renovation of the Bondi Hotel; the locals in their Bintang singlets and double pluggers, sucking on schooners of VB were replaced by a crowd of havaiana wearing, alcopop sipping, out of towners that made their way to the beachfront from the ‘burbs in their thousands. Overnight it had changed from a local institution into some schmaltzy place with enough downlights to be seen from space and more wooden flooring than your average bowling alley. You are flat strapped to find any classic pubs in the inner city that haven’t been assaulted by some yuppie stylist’s wand. Maybe I'm being harsh, but I miss the sticky carpets, yeasty smells, broken tiles and pull chain loos of a pub with soul. And it seems Sydney does too. There seems to be a shift back toward the ‘good old days’ as interior trends have come full circle, but sadly it just looks contrived. The subway and penny tiles are de rigeuer, the beech timber has been replaced by dark wood panelling and there appears to be a big nod toward the ‘Prohibition Era’ going on with the feel of some of the bars. Don’t get me wrong, some of them were very fun, and really well done, but you would probably be laughed out of the joint if you ordered a round that included the words ‘…and a schooner of New, thanks mate.’
Thank goodness for small rural communities keeping the old timey establishment scene alive and well, in particular, the Sir George in Jugiong. This pub is a wonderful mix of old and new. It is perfectly imperfect with its original exposed brickwork, beautiful blue stone walls and huge exposed timber beams. The owners have upheld the integrity of the building’s heritage with their renovations impeccably. There is no pretence here. The bar is well stocked, the food is delicious, they bake huge, crusty loaves of sourdough in their artisan bakery onsite and they source their food locally. Plus they have a big yellow bus for groups of 20 or more for a small fee. Check it out here The Sir George
If you want a simple laugh (OK, raucous guffaw) then this is where to find it. Full of Dad wisdom and relatable memes that I find hilarious. Check out the video of the two kangaroos if you are a parent of 2 boys. Truth bomb right there at www.instagram/thedad
My creative and lovely friend, Lisa Schaefer, has a gorgeous homeware and giftware store in Grenfell called Raffia and Co full of beautiful things ranging from unique jewellery to handmade furniture. She is also one very talented milliner who became a household name when a young woman from our little hometown won Fashions on the Field at the Melbourne Cup in 2015 wearing one of her creations. There are many on show and for sale in her lovely store at 58 Main Street, Grenfell NSW. Now that the racing carnival seasons are upon us, I strongly suggest paying her a visit and getting hold of one of her creations or sitting down with her to discuss some ideas on designing your own bespoke hat. Her workspace is above the shop and as of the 21st April 2018 she will be hosting millinery classes for beginners; places fill super quick so if you are keen to learn from the master herself, head to this page Raffia & Co and enrol ASAP or just browse the online shop for something lovely for someone you like or just treat yourself.
If you follow me or Amber on instagram you might have noticed the avalanche of posts about our recent trip to Sydney to see First Aid Kit at the Enmore theatre. I still cant stop thinking about it and how much of a girl crush I have on Klara. Oh my gosh, the harmonies, the stage show, the flawless melodies! They played a mix of songs from their new album Ruins as well as Stay Gold and The Lions Roar. These Swedish sisters are all sugar n’ spice, then growling she-wolf, and the next minute they’re giving us all a few insights into violence against women and how its not women but men that need to fix this.
The big warm fuzzy moment came when the entire theatre joined in to sing ‘Emmylou’, a tribute to singers like Emmylou Harris, Gram Parsons, Johnny Cash and June Carter, that celebrates that joyous thing that is simply singing with the one you love.
I was mesmerised from start to finish and if you can get a You Tube of their performance of Silver Lining I am certain you will fall in love with them too.
I managed to catch the spellbinding sounds of Jose Gonzalez (a man of very few words) a couple of weeks ago at the Canberra Theatre. He sat on the stage interchanging between two acoustic guitars with only his voice and the soft tap of his foot as accompaniment for an hour and a half and never missed a beat, or a note, for that matter. The crowd were so mesmerized by his uplifting and heartfelt performance that you could have heard a pin drop during the set but it was his incredible encore performance that gave everyone chills. He has the perfect voice and sound for Sunday afternoon sippers or as background music for a dinner party (or even just Wednesday wine’s when you’re cooking dinner, for that matter).
Increasingly I find I'm getting more and more nostalgic with my music choices. I distinctly remember having Tracy Chapman’s debut album on cassette at boarding school and a girl in my dorm stole it from me in her ‘sleep’. A few nights later I woke to her rummaging through the pile of tapes next to my bed, robbing me of The Cure’s Disintegration and walking back to her cupboard with it like it was no thing. It was both freaky and annoying…but mainly annoying. I started to think this whole ‘sleepwalking’ thing was just a ruse for being a brazen kleptomaniac but when she stole my speedo swimmers a week later I realised she really was a somnambulist as well. There was NO way she was fitting into that swimsuit! (Please, before anyone thinks I'm body shaming anyone, know that I am not in any way. She was older than me and much bigger and she just wasn’t getting into that cozzie. My point is that it confirmed to me that she really wasn’t aware of what she was up to during her sleeping hours).
Nostalgic school day stories aside, Jose and FAK are still getting a workout on my sound system, along with lots of songs I loved from my youth. Here are the High Five triggering big sentimental smiles and embarrassing mum dance moves at the moment:
- Crosses – Jose Gonzalez
- A Long Time Ago – First Aid Kit
- Still the Same – Bob Seger
- Baby Can I Hold You - Tracy Chapman
- Forever Now – Cold Chisel
It's been a pretty short Bunch of Fives for me this time around, and I’m not about to hit you with a long rant here but my random this week is my enamel wine cup. How good is it!? My cousin gave it to me for Christmas (she knows me well) and it has pride of place in my kitchen pigeonholes. Unbreakable and oh so elegant...I didnt even take it camping because I was afraid of losing it! My favourite thing is the ‘Always be prepared’ written on it which Im pretty sure is the Girl Guides motto. I was a Girl Guide once and the motto never rubbed off on my disorganised ways but at least when drinking wine outdoors, I’m prepared.
Netflix is in the Roles’ hoooouuuuse!!! (yelled in Oprah-like fashion)
Now, I’m not too proud of the fact that I recently swapped my nightly “I’m going to bed to read” holier-than-thou spiel for (quietly) squealing “WHAT ARE WE WATCHING TONIGHT?!” at the husband once the children are semi-retired to their bedrooms. It’s bloody insane. There are just so many things to choose from. We started our Netflix apprenticeship watching Stranger Things because it was the only Netflix show I had heard of that was meant to be good, but that is all it was. Good. I then moved on to Outlander one evening when hubs was away because I knew darn well Rolesy wasn’t going to commit to some lassie time travelling through bonnie Scotland with too much enthusiasm. Anyway, I only managed one episode. (Side note: I was almost ousted from my daughter’s day care for suggesting the male protagonist wasn’t ‘all that’ and some of them are still giving me the cold shoulder over it). It definitely has potential but with so much on offer I couldn’t see myself committing to it because, overnight, I became a greedy TV-watching-piglet eager to take a bite out of everything in the trough till I found that one thing I could binge on until I was sick. I even managed to watch a movie; a film that I hadn’t already seen twenty times, that was AD FREE, current -as in, made in the last couple of years- and wasn’t some Disney Pixar creation.
But this blind stumbling through the Netflix back catalogue got frustrating and caused evening arguments that were only solved/won when one of us went storming off to bed dragging their bottom lip behind them. With a little research we discovered that Jason Bateman has a new series out and so, naturally, I vetoed any further viewing suggestions in order to feast on him. Oh, and didn’t I gorge myself. Ozark stars Bateman (of the BRILLIANT Arrested Development series) as Marty Byrde, a very bright yet unassuming financial advisor who has made a decent living laundering money for a Mexican drug cartel. After things go awry, as they are wont to do when you're mixed up in that kind of tomfoolery, he is forced to relocate his family from Chicago to the “Redneck Riviera” in order to keep them alive. We were hooked after the first 2 episodes. It’s a dark and moody production, none of the characters are particularly likeable and there are some pretty sizable holes in the narrative (not selling this well, am I?) HOWEVER it was compelling viewing and I invested for the long haul. We finished the series a couple of weeks ago and haven’t watched a thing on Netflix since, even though we are still in the ‘one month free’ phase. We went too hard, too early and got our fill way too quickly. We are still rolling about every evening too full to even contemplate another show even though I have created a huge list of programs I’m keen to watch. I'm just letting the last morsels of Ozark digest for now and have gone back to the neglected dog-eared book on my bedside table.