At last, 'tis the time when Christmas has been done, the presents eaten or shelved or put in their new place and we have a few days to run little errands or do those things around town that in ordinary times we don't have the time, energy or wherewithal to do.
With a voucher to encourage us to go, Darren and I went to see 'Good-bye Lenin', the latest German film to arrive on our shores with much fan fare. I think the last one to get reviews and a general release was 'Run Lola Run'. I enjoyed this film - especially its light digs at both capitalist and socialist wishful thinking about how happy these respective systems make people. I was glad, however, that I had travelled to Germany and spent time in the company of German postgraduate students who had given me some insight into the political undercurrents of reconstructed GDR life. 'Nostalgie' - that cultural phenomenon whereby the unemployment and undercertainty of life in capitalist Bundesrepublik, and now the EU, has spawned a longing for the old security of the GDR days - was the implicit frame of reference for the film's humour and I would have missed that without the 'backstory'. A good film - human and serious without being stodgy, which is quite a feat really.
I am reading my way through the latest edition of Heat journal and finding it good summer reading. It's nice to know that someone is publishing fragmentary and exploratory writing that does not have 'option for a film' stamped on it. I also get a sense of hope from seeing the diversity of writing that goes on without much publicity or fanfare, although Heat is fast becoming the 'new Meanjin' with its reviews in the Age and whatnot.
I am also reading One Art: The Selected Letters (of Elizabeth Bishop). I taught some of her poems to my year 11 English class this year and enjoyed her keen eye for daily detail. Her life, of course, was a bit of a mess, but shows such courage and good humour and bravery, too (she lived openly as a lesbian between the 1930s and 1970s in both the US and Brazil). She was an orphan, an alcoholic, a depressive and one of her partners suicided; but she kept writing and being honourable in her relationships with others through it all, which is so much more than can be said for most artists who become famous for their lives as well as their work (what did you think of the bio-film 'Pollock' and its postscript that his female partner Krasner completed her best work once he was dead?)
Today Darren and I went for a lovely day trip to Kinglake and thereabouts - beautiful country, although I did note that there is no lake nearby. There is, however, a picturesque reservoir, Sugarloaf, with surrounding park and BBQ area. We stopped there for a while and read beneath the shade of a generous gum tree. Earlier we walked to Mason's Falls lookout and also stopped by the top of Mt Sugarloaf from which you can see into the hazy blue as far as the city skyline in one direction, and the TV towers at the top of Mt Dandenong in another.
Before this we had a fine brunch on Smith street to say farewell and good luck to Jo, a member of Chi and Darren's Wednesday night Wellie soccer team. Jo has married and he and his wife are leaving to re-settle in North Wales. Bon Voyage.