As I write, a cool change has swept into Melbourne bringing relief from the sweltering heat (40°C) that has been oppressing the city for the last few days. Yesterday, New Years Eve, was the hottest day for the year.
The cats have been totally stunned by the heat, and have been lying around too hot to flick a tail or waggle a whisker, let alone take objection to each other.
To escape the heat for a few hours I went to see the new Dylan biopic, I'm Not There, at the Westgarth Theatre which is only a five minute walk from home. It was pleasant lounging around in a cool old theatre watching what turned out to be a terrific film. The premise of the film was to show different sides of Dylan, represented by different actors. None of the characters portrayed actually went by the name Bob Dylan, which was initially confusing, but somehow worked very well. Cate Blanchet's Dylan was a superb piece of acting. I found her to be the most convincing Dylan and she certainly deserves all the accolades accorded to her in the role. One is left at the end of the film with a series of impressions on Bob Dylan which ultimately leads one to the conclusion that the man is a mystery and his past has transcended truth and taken on mythical proportions in popular culture. The film was full of references to the songs and Dylan's image on record covers. It would be worth seeing the film again to pick them all up. The soundtrack was of course excellent.
We did not go out for any New Year's Eve celebrations and spent a sober evening watching music DVDs, then went to bed well before midnight. With the doors and windows open to catch any breeze during the hot night, I was aroused to wakefulness at 12.00 and heard the neighbours banging things to welcome the new year. I briefly considered a grumpy old woman response, but in the end figured I wouldn't spoil their fun.
Over the holiday period I have been doing a lot of reading. Fortunately I got several books for Christmas and I have been rattling through them at a great rate.
My brother and sister in law gave me a book voucher for Christmas, so as soon as I could I went into the city to redeem it. The bookshop, Dymocks, was having a 20% off everything in the store so I was able to get three new books for the price of two.
Altogether the book paints the portrait of the extremely eccentric duke and plots the course of his madness. The duke emerges as an endearingly lovable character and Mick Jackson's skilful writing brings him to life.
I was delighted to see this book on the shelves of an Australian bookseller, as I was very impressed with Mick Jackson's Ten Sorry Tales some years ago and did not think to see any of his other books made available locally.
Charles Dickens novel Great Expectations is central to the plot as a surprising and ultimately tragic deus ex machina. Dicken's novel is introduced to the village children by Mr Watts the lone white man in the village, when he takes over the role of teacher during the troubled times. He reads the book aloud to the class and it comes to mean a great deal to Matilda who finds a friend in the character of Pip. I will not reveal any more of the plot, but be assured it is a novel well worth seeking out and makes rewarding reading.
The third book acquired on the book voucher was the Booker winning novel The Gathering by Anne Enright which I started reading today. I still have to make up my mind as to whether I like it or not. It's a torrid read and makes me wonder again how the judges of the award go about choosing the Booker winner. Often I've found better reading in the runners up.
Back to Christmas, we had an enjoyable day at my brother's place and I did get to meet my new great niece, Zoe. She is going to be a strawberry blonde like her mother. (see photo).
We got back on boxing day to be greeted by all three cats hanging out for a late breakfast. They milled around in close proximity with apparent unconcern. There was no blood on the carpet and all appeared to be sweetness and light.