I’m back at uni, hence the delay. I’ve been learning lots about developing applications for Android, “Software Architecture and Design” (which apparently used to have the much more tertiary-degree name of “Programming 3″) and discrete mathematics. You’ll just have to take my word for it that I do enjoy all of these things.
Still, there’s always time for a weekend in the country, namely a trip to Golden Plains. You may have noticed that I’ve been before. All the things I’ve said and all the things I’ve wanted to say about this festival can be summed up in the official festival “blessing”.
Welcome to Golden Plains, a multi-dimensional musical portal where invention, inspiration and imagination converge… with you at its centre.
Surrender to the music; it’s the sound of victory, a triumph of the will, a cavalcade of the senses… sight, sound, touch and smell…
Inhale deeply, it smells like home.
The Golden Plains Blessing, by Stephen ‘The Ghost’ Walker
It’s the “smells like home,” line that gets me every year.
While festival matriarch Aunty Meredith encourages punters to remember that the laws of both the human body and the civilised world still apply when in attendance, you can understand why people forget. It’s a world where you’re not required to wear shoes, you can have dessert first, there is music all day long and you don’t have to go to work tomorrow. Even I, the certifiable neurotic, the person who suits computer science so well because it is about processes and doing things in the correct order, manage to abandon most of my routine for a weekend of pretty dresses, street food and beer before midday. (Obviously, I’m still an oddball. That’s unavoidable). This reckless abandon is the reason why people return to work after the weekend with a crazy look in their eyes, proclaiming never to miss one of Aunty’s parties again.
As for the specifics, it was definitely hot, but due to clear skies, it was refreshingly cool at night. Cooler than what our flat would’ve been. Music wise, highlights included Money for Rope, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, surprise hit the Melbourne Ska Orchestra, and George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic. My personal favourites were Sunday morning’s Dick Diver, and Chris Russel’s Chicken Walk. I’m not sure I could find a consensus about this, but I also enjoyed hearing a DJ at 8pm. I’m never awake for the DJ’s, and to a) actually hear one, Keb Darge and b) hear one play soul, rockabilly and 50/60′s was a real treat.
There was a little bit of talk on the lineup this year. Stu Farrell of Triple RRR interviewed Jack Nolan, who’s son Chris started the Meredith Music Festival back in the early 90′s (due to a brain injury, Chris can’t talk). That was like listening to a parent or grandparent’s stories, very sweet. ”I told the boys they couldn’t stop running the festival until they got Johnny Cash to play,” explained Jack. ”So we’ll be at this for awhile.”
xoxo Nyssa on the 20th March, 2013 | no comments
filed under music | out and about
and tagged with | golden plains, meredith
It has been well documented that I gave Neil an excellent Christmas gift this year. He also gave me an excellent gift — a Zoos Victoria membership. We get free and unlimited entry to the three major zoos in Victoria (Melbourne, Healesville and Werribee), discounts on events and, most importantly, we’re pitching in to help wildlife conservation efforts.
Melbourne Zoo has been hosting Zoo Twilights, a series of concerts aiming to raise funds and bring awareness to saving some local critters that are critically endangered. I love the Zoo and I love music, but most of the fare on offer has been a little safe for my tastes.
Then I noticed Tim Rogers had been booked to play with The Bamboos. There is nothing safe about letting Tim Rogers perform in front of families with picnic rugs.
To his credit, he toned down most of the swear words and alluded to sex acts instead of describing them. His advice to the underage set was rugged but sweet.
“Keep doing what you’re doing, keep being you. One day, those bullies will be… mucking your crap. They will be fucking cleaning your shit! I’m sorry, it had to be said.”
- Tim Rogers
He was well suited to The Bamboos, one of Melbourne’s best soul bands. There is some soul music knocking about that is a little thin on the ground and while you can hear the 60′s in it, there seems to be a lot of trouble missing from it. The Bamboos are tight, they’re rehearsed, but they’re not afraid to let go and get into a groove. Rogers performs in a similar way, in that while it appears that a show may go to hell in a handbasket at any moment, with Rogers leading the charge, he is actually too much of a smart and intuitive performer to let that happen. He is something of a gifted troublemaker, a true rockstar, and worth any penny you spend to see him.
So all of this made for some exciting, searing, sexy soul music. Rogers and vocalist Kylie Auldist looked to be having so much fun together, the original songs were a clear and true collaboration, and the covers were a treat. There was a Rolling Stones song in there, plus the band knocked out some rich and raucous renditions of ‘Radio’ and ‘Heavy Heart’, two huge You Am I hits.
It was weird to be watching this and eating soft cheese with crackers. Neil said he felt almost uncomfortable, as in this is not where rock ‘n’ roll belonged and it was perhaps all a bit grown up. I think it would be cool to see a set like this at a music festival, or indeed, at a proper venue like The Evelyn. Somewhere just a little more dangerous. Nevertheless, wildlife conservation and rock ‘n’ roll (and soft cheese) all in one place? How could I be annoyed at that?
xoxo Nyssa on the 6th March, 2013 | no comments
filed under music | out and about
and tagged with | melbourne zoo, the bamboos, tim rogers, zoos victoria
With Chris Altmann back in town, I doubt I was the only one hanging out for The Vandas to play a gig or two. Altmann let slip at one of his residencies at The Retreat that a show was in the works, and then a couple of days later, a show at The Spotted Mallard on December 14th was announced. No expense was spared putting together a worthy rock show, with Tim Rogers and Davey Lane’s band The Gung Hos being named as the support.
So much Melbourne rock in one room and it was all happening within walking distance from my house.
I showed Becc this picture, explaining that I was a bit unconvinced if it was okay, but she liked it, so I’m going to put it up for her. It was very dark in the venue by the time the two main acts started and I don’t use my flash because it is a bit obnoxious and bright. Besides there was an actual photographer there and the internet makes so easy to find these photos after a gig. I like taking pictures and it can be hard to put the camera down, but putting away the lenses to sing and dance along does make enjoying a show so much easier. It’s kind of like a John Mayer song (remember when Mayer wrote tunes? Those were the days. Anyway).
So there are no usable pictures of The Vandas on my memory card. (The two pints probably didn’t help my case). Plenty in my head though!
Their set was an ultimate retrospective. They did songs from all their releases, plus a couple of numbers that never made it onto a recording, but I remembered from when Zoe and I used to see them every other weekend. Neil struck a realisation that he probably hadn’t seen the band before. I sang along to all the words; it’s amazing how much you can remember!
They played right up until the 12:30am curfew, squeezing an Easybeats cover into the last remaining minutes. When gigs run late, sometimes I feel like I’m tapping my watch just itching to leave. Quality, not quantity, you know? I’ve never felt like that at a gig by The Vandas, and last Friday was no exception.
I even scored a T-shirt afterwards. I’ve always managed to wear my Vandas shirts into the ground. It’s a smidge big for me at the moment, so perhaps I will do a neat DIY to style it up.
xoxo Nyssa on the 20th December, 2012 | no comments
filed under music | out and about
and tagged with | davey lane, spotted mallard, the vandas, tim rogers
I think many of my friends and I approached Meredith a little differently this year. In the past, we’ve made a Big Deal about it, which is very easy to do. Not only do we all remember how much fun we’ve had in previous years, but significant events have also happened at Meredith. The major one for me is that Neil proposed at the 2009 Meredith Music Festival.
See what I mean? Big shoes to fill.
So because of the hype and the excitement, some of my pals felt that they burned out last year. A couple didn’t reappear for this year’s lineup. Meredith is a non-negotiable event for me and a few others, so we resolved to scale it back this year, let the festival unfold, and not get caught up in the details. Aunty Meredith even said it herself in the weekend’s program:
“We’ve spent a lot of time planning every detail of Meredith so it’s as smooth as it can be, from the biggest band to the thickness of the loo paper to the make-up of the mulch, whilst also still leaving ample space for Things To Just Happen. So… let it rip.”
– with love from Aunty
Aunty had already done the planning for us, that nitty-gritty kind of planning anyway. What on Earth were we worrying about? The bones of our plan never change — meet at the servo, aim for a large campsite in Top Camp near the Meredith Eye, enjoy some beers and, of course, enjoy some tunes. We ditched the stupid little things we sometimes stress over, like costumes and plotting every minute of the weekend, and waited for Things To Just Happen.
This year will probably be remembered as The Windy One, or The Dusty One. We all have come home an unusual shade of orange. The wind took out our tarp on day 2, which meant that our campsite was not a central location really worth hanging out at. There were also some intense rays beaming down, which look great in photos, but there’s a giant hole in our ozone layer here and as a result, sunburn is serious.
However, these annoyances were easy to overcome, because all the traditions and knowledge were already in place. We slip, slopped and slapped. Easy, we learned that one in school. The wind, well, the ladies made sure to wear shorts instead of skirts. Sorted. A little bit of dust never hurt anyone anyway. The tarp did alter the weekend a little bit. We often hang out at the campsite, talking shit, waiting for the bands we came to see come on. We’re often not all there at the same time, but it is nice to know that if you’ve lost everyone, you can return to base and someone will probably be there to talk to.
Instead, we were to be found “near the Red Tree,” our regular spot in the Amphitheatre. It worked out very well, some of Neil’s friends were able to find us because they remembered this is where we liked to meet when away from home, which was lots of fun, plus we could chase the shade and stay cool for the most part (midday was a struggle).
That, and we saw a boatload of awesome music.
My favourites from this year included Pond, Twerps, Royal Headache, Big Jay McNeely, The Toot Toot Toots, Saskwatch, Regurgitator (that’s their poor lyrical grammar in the title of this post), Fraser A Gorman, Boomgates, and The Murlocs. This doesn’t include bands like Hot Snakes and Turbonegro, who play music unlike anything I own or have bought. I’m not really into hard rock like that (“hard rock” being a general, catch-all term here), but they were both so fun and energetic, it was hard not to get involved.
My favourite act of the festival was Primal Scream. I found them for myself quite a few years ago, ‘Country Girl’ was a single I loved, but I never followed up on the band. Neil has periodically reminded me of their existence, but it’s only been in the lead up to Meredith that I discovered how much I really like ‘Screamadelica’. To me, that combination of dance and rock, of hippy love and serious craft, of timeless music that reminds you of precise moments like this one is a sound that sums up the Meredith Supernatural Amphitheater Experience. And while there may be a reasonable argument for why they weren’t the best act of the festival, as mentioned, details like that don’t matter. To me, they sounded just right.
I probably say it every year, but Best Meredith Yet. Thanks to my Regular Crew and Neil once again for a top weekend in the country.
Happy Meredith everyone!
xoxo Nyssa on the 10th December, 2012 | no comments
filed under music | out and about
and tagged with | go to bed it's 3 in the morning, meredith, primal scream
I did see a suggestion written online that perhaps every week is Melbourne Music Week, but sometimes you’ve just got to dedicate a week to something you know you’re good at.
Last time we met, Neil and I had just disembarked a tram. Where do we go next?
TUESDAY: ROOFTOP CINEMA SCREENING OF ‘SHUT UP AND PLAY THE HITS’
We ran into friend and looker Kellie when we hit the Rooftop Bar atop of The Curtain House. She went on to succinctly sum up the night by saying on Facebook, “What a show! And Melbourne- what a total babe she was last night. No need for your well equipped jackets.”
We were all there to see ‘Shut Up and Play The Hits’ (also here), a film about LCD Soundsystem’s farewell show at Madison Square Garden last year, and how lead singer James Murphy spent the following day. Every year the Rooftop Bar have a cinema season, with comfy deckchairs laid out, and I must admit I was expecting a similar situation after trekking up the 6 flights of stairs. Instead, they kept their normal beer garden furniture out around the edge of the space, which meant most people stood up for the film, yours truly included. It was initially a bit odd, it’s not how you expect to enjoy cinema, but I think the idea was you could groove along should the desire strike you.
The film is pitched as a balance between a documentary and a concert film, however I found that it brought these two elements together much more elegantly than it sounds. It’s very art school — the concert shots are black, the day after shots are white, and it’s very aware that it might be construed as pretentious. However, if there was ever anyone overthinking such things, it’s James Murphy, and so the film would be much less interesting and engaging if it were not so overwrought. It depicts Murphy and LCD Soundsystem in a light that reflects them just as they were.
LCD Soundsystem always had the tastiest tunes, but this film reminds you that none of these songs are by chance. They’re crafted and deliberate, which is most likely the reason why the band experienced the success that they did (despite not expecting to reach such heights). The film is the same, and so it fits perfectly within an LCD Soundsystem canon, if you will.
This means that there is silence in the film, and there is quite a bit of conversation. Once we got stopped thinking about how we were going to watch a film standing up, Neil and I got into it and were engrossed. Others around us struggled and we heard lots of people talking through the film, asking why all the talking. After the film, we decided we’ll probably get a copy on Blu-ray or DVD so we can watch it again. Besides, a best-of LCD Soundsystem would suit our flat perfectly.
You can check out the trailer below:
THURSDAY: LIVE MUSIC SAFARI
There had been some criticism aimed at Melbourne Music Week for snubbing rock music in favour of electro and dance music. The festival hub, where?house, was modeled on the idea of secret raves in the 90′s, and while it was a neat idea, not everyone wants to reach for the lasers ten nights running (Cherry Bar’s passionate, although poorly worded, rant may have made me laugh). There was one garage-rock party at where?house, but I know personally it would’ve been great to have a night of live rock music there perhaps as well. However, I also understand that the hub was art in itself, and that perhaps next year, it will all be different again.
(Neil and I did visit the free portion of where?house, where the vintage market and food stalls were. It looked amazing, perfectly derelict and noisy. It was some amazing work.)
Outside of where?house though, Neil and I were getting pumped for the Live Music Safari. Venues across Melbourne were throwing their doors open and telling their door bitches to take a night off, as they hosted some top local talent. The opportunity to see acts like Eagle and The Worm, King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard, and Barbarion for free was one not to be missed. We decided to go visit Cherry to see The Frowning Clouds, after brief stopovers at £1000 Bend and Pony (I will reminisce about Pony and it’s closure/reinvention on another entry).
We hadn’t seen The Frowning Clouds since a Laneway appearance a couple of years ago. I’d made a note to remember them, and then never followed up on it. They struck me as a band who had perhaps heard The Beatles one or two times before, while their Facebook describes them as “Filling the gaps where The Kinks left off,” which I think pretty much sums them up. They’re young, cute, lots of girls come to see them, and they’ve got an arsenal of choons to dance to. I took my camera to take some pictures, but when a top-notch band plays for free in one of the town’s best dive bars, you bet that dancefloor better be danced on. No need for me to be elbows out with a point-and-shoot. We grooved up the back, near the bar and their parents.
And then that was it for Melbourne Music Week 2012. I am so glad we got into it a lot more this year. While every week is music week in this town, it is great to celebrate what makes this town so livable. And dance-able.
xoxo Nyssa on the 3rd December, 2012 | no comments
filed under music | out and about
and tagged with | cherry, lcd soundsystem, melbourne music week, rooftop bar, the frowning clouds
Melbourne Music Week was all but over last year when Neil noticed it might be interesting. ”Don’t worry about it,” we told each other. ”We’ll go next year.”
Well I must say, we did not let Melbourne Music Week sneak past us this year.
MONDAY: TRAM SESSIONS W/PAUL KELLY
Tram Sessions are a not-for-profit organisation that put bands on trams around Melbourne. The gigs are often guerrilla style, with local acts surprising peak-hour punters. (Friends of the blog Johnny Rock and The Limits have participated, along with others such as Amanda Palmer and Ben Kweller).
This year, organisers tried something different. They charted a tram and sold tickets, promising an iconic Melbourne set for the evening. Tempted by not only the mystery, but by the fun as well, Neil pitched in for two tickets. I admit, I was a bit skeptical. Fifty dollars is a lot of money to lay down without knowing who you’re going to see. (That, and we ride trams all the time. Not special!)
However, I am very glad Neil splashed out on this one. A couple of days out from the gig, Neil was emailed instructions to meet out the front of a cafe on Bourke Street. Mountain Goat Brewery had some drinks on ice for the ticket holders that gathered. After a warm up bev, we were ushered into a laneway off the side of the cafe to enjoy a set from Tram Sessions alumni, The Tiger and Me. It’s hard to describe their sound, although I think a story from their lead singer-songwriter about backpacking through Spain explains the kind of thing that they get up to. Being completely unplugged was an interesting experience for both band and audience, although the band seemed to understand the situation and those with instruments that allowed them to move would approach the audience so that we could hear.
I should also mention that the double bass player broke the bridge on his instrument. Rock ‘n’ roll is here to stay!
Bonjah were surprise band number two as the audience boarded the tram. They had a cruisy and laidback sound, and appeared to be quite natural at jamming on a tram. Within the confides of the carriage, they didn’t experience the same sound problems (problems? Challenges) that The Tiger and Me did. Of course, you have the rumble-rumble of the tram rolling on the track, but that is as much a part of the experience as sudden stops are (of which there were none. Nice one!).
There was a break in the Flagstaff Gardens before Paul Kelly. Now, I should confess, I knew Paul Kelly was the guest of honour and that he was bringing nephew Dan with him. Neil had had a dream about the gig and that it involved PK, so when I got to work the next day, I started Googling. I didn’t have to go far, Paul Kelly had written on his Facebook fan page, “… Tomorrow? Dan and I are playing on a tram somewhere in the city.”
However, once in the presence of those who didn’t know, we kept our gobs shut. When we picked up the Kelly men at a tram stop, the surprise rippled through the tram, as one person after another gasped. If there is a next time, I think I would like to have a little bit more patience and enjoy a similar feeling as those audience members, however I am not that upset about it. I mean, it was Paul Kelly!
His set was an even mix of new songs from his forthcoming album ‘Spring and Fall’, and older songs like ‘From Little Things’, which would definitely rate as the loveliest sing-a-long I’ve ever participated in on a tram.
I believe there will be more videos on the Tram Sessions website soon, but that video of ‘Dumb Things’ is a nice teaser.
It was an experience that could have gone haywire very quickly, and to the credit of all the organisers, nothing did. For we, the punters, shuffling on and off the tram, digging the tunes, entry into the after party, it was all easy and effortless. My only critique was the presence of so many official and press photographers. They crowded around the acts, snapping away, and yes, filming that amazing footage I just linked to. I understand that it was a unique situation that needed to be recorded and preserved — as mentioned, it was Paul and Dan Kelly! On a tram!! — but it was difficult to see past all the photographers, which bummed me out a little bit. Perhaps on future events (because I do hope there will be more, and it’s an organisation I will continue to support) only some of the songs might be recorded, or the press guys are kicked off at Collins Street, something along those lines anyway.
NEXT ON SHOES AND BLUES… MELBOURNE MUSIC WEEK CONTINUES!
Summers nights on a Melbourne rooftop, rocking out to the tunes of LCD Soundsystem AND a safari through the city’s rock venues, including a farewell to a small equine friend.
xoxo Nyssa on the 25th November, 2012 | 1 comment
filed under music | out and about
and tagged with | dan kelly, melbourne music week, paul kelly, tram sessions
Neil and I have made a conscious decision to go see more live music. We used to go to gigs all the time when we first started going out. Rather than sigh wistfully and reminisce, we’ve instead made an effort to get back onto the mailing lists, listen to the radio shows and double check the gig guides every week.
We thought we’d have to start again because the bands we saw five years ago probably weren’t still kicking around. It’s an effort we put in when we travel to different cities and we were ready to do it here in Melbourne too, but in a bit of a coincidence, many of those aforementioned bands have started gigging again.
Some bands, like Them Swoops, are rebranded iterations of former bands. They recently played a sold-out show at The Worker’s Club which was very exciting for both band and punter, I must say. Plus they gave away super-sweet handmade CD singles with presale orders, which is just the kind of incentive I like (thanks Dave and Chris!).
Other bands, like the 67 Special, are as they were — loud, obnoxious, and just the way I like it. They have been on hiatus, but you could never tell by their performance. They’re still one of Melbourne’s best and their gig at Cherry Bar on Saturday was no exception.
And then, last night Chris Altmann played at The Retreat Hotel. There is no exaggerating how close that pub is to my house (well, it’s close enough). I could also go on about Chris Altmann. The short version is that he used to play in a band called The Vandas, who played the first night I ever went to The Tote. I feel so silly admitting it, but that was the day I realised that there was a lot more music out there than the man would have me believe. I didn’t realise it then now but I’m fully aware of it now.
Since then, my best fangirl Zoe and I have written songs about Altmann, danced to records by The Vandas in our kitchen, and have tried to explain their importance to our menfolk. I do believe we’ve even been successful on that last one.
When my brain was not at its best and music just kind of sounded like static, lots of this kind of stuff faded away for me. It’s a shame because I probably have missed out on a lot of tunes and gigs, but the upside is now there’s suddenly a “back catalogue” of sorts to catch up on. And I mean, what’s better than finding a hot album? Finding out there’s more!
So now I’m catching up on Chris Altmann. He’s back from Canada temporarily and there’s plenty of gigs to choose from. I became thoroughly excited about the November residency at The Retreat after his surprise guest appearance with Henry Wagons at The Thornbury Theatre on Monday night (Jane: “You must’ve lost your mind then, Nyssa.” Why, yes I did, Jane). Unfortunately Neil was struck by man-flu last night, and my usual crew were off defending their honour at a trivia night. Nevermind, I wheeled out my bicycle and made for the pub, almost knocking over the main act on my way in.
The Retreat has a proper stage out the back, but for their more intimate acoustic gigs, they set up the cosy front bar instead. It makes you look less like a loner, because you can perch at the bar with all the other
The set was wonderful. Altman’s songs still make me feel like goofy fangirl again; they make me want to daydream, sway along, wear cowboy boots and, most of all, swoon. Who knew country music could do that? I was so inspired that while hooning around on my bike today I made a special trip to Polyester Records to pick up his 2010 record ‘Que Paso’. That was a thrill on its own, and I don’t mean navigating Brunswick St on a two-wheeler, but being so excited about an artist that you race straight to the record store to get some more.
It’s definitely good to be back. Well, at least on my way.
xoxo Nyssa on the 8th November, 2012 | 2 comments
filed under music | out and about
and tagged with | 67 special, cherry, chris altmann, the retreat, the worker's club, them swoops
Last night was Johnny Rock’s now-annual Halloween on a Boat! party. In the hours before we docked, Johnny announced the gig had actually sold out, which deserves a round of applausein itself. Expectations were suitably high, and absolutely smashed.
There was DJ’s on the first floor, and bands on the upper-deck, which made for plenty of variety and room to groove, despite hitting the 300 person capacity. The DJ’s played party classics (apparently ending the night with Lonely Island’s ‘I’m on a Boat!‘), the bands were very rock ‘n’ roll, and oh my, the Massive Weiners were so tasty. Combined with a fully stocked bar with enough bartenders to man it, and it was a night that, at least from the punters perspective, ran smoothly and without fault nor excessive lineup, booze shortages, and other problems that often plague original ideas. However, Johnny’s organisation was faultless, which contributed hugely to the success of the evening. Johnny’s words this morning summed up the enthusiasm, “The birth of my first born child will pale in comparison to how awesome this night was.”
As it was a Halloween party, I have to mention the costumes. No expense was spared, if you weren’t dressed up, you were well and truly in the minority. Neil was dressed as Bond, James Bond (yes, that’s beer in his plastic martini glass). I went dressed as Dorothy from ‘The Wizard of Oz’.
I love dressing up, but it can be costly, whether you rent or buy, so I try to DIY where I can. Many of my previous costumes have been sourced from my own wardrobe, which is handy, but I like to source op-shops as well for pieces to use as well. I went a bit further with my Dorothy costume and made the dress from scratch, after being inspired by The Insider’s post on The Warped and The Weft. His description of the pattern, Simplicity 4136, said it was “the perfect frock to last from Halloween party season right through into breezy summer days.” I figured if I could wear the dress again, it would justify the time and the cost I would be putting into the costume.
When I got the pattern home and started to pick out pieces to make the toile with, I realised that the blouse is attached to the dress, and that the dress is actually more like a pinafore, with the very top of it hitting me at a really awkward point just under my bust line. The whole thing required a bit of a rethink.
I decided to use the blouse piece, rather than the pinafore piece, on the front. I cut across the top where I was comfortable the dress starting, then removed the excess fabric the blouse has by creating princess seams. I shaped the side fronts the best I could based on the underwear I would be wearing with it. The was the alteration that I feel would be better solved by using a different pattern, however I am glad that I took on the challenge.
The front alterations affected the band that goes along the top of the dress, and I ended up redoing the band once the dress was complete, because it affected the shape of the front sides. As the band is cut on the bias, it does follow the slightly round shapes of the front sides quite nicely. Phew.
I made the back of the dress with the back pinafore piece of the pattern. The only alteration I made was a swayback adjustment, my first successful one too, and holy moly, it made so much difference. The zipper no longer ripples down my back.
Speaking of, the zipper is a hand-picked lapped zipper, mostly because I’m not very good at installing zippers with a sewing machine. Zippers used to frustrate me no end, but after reading Gertie’s tutorial, I’ve come to embrace taking the extra time. I even like handsewing now.
One of my favourite parts of the dress is the embroidery on the inside that attaches the top band to the dress. I know you can’t see it when it’s worn, but I know it’s there.
The other major alteration I made to the dress was ditching the full skirt that the pattern included. I love a full skirt, but I figured it would keep the dress firmly in costume territory, so I decided to be a little more subtle. The skirt is instead from The Coletterie’s Truffle dress, with the darts converted to pleats.
Jane posted this picture to Instagram last night of Kathryn, The Queen of Hearts, and I in costume.
All up, a happy Halloween!
xoxo Nyssa on the 3rd November, 2012 | no comments
filed under out and about | sewing
and tagged with | fo, halloween
When Neil and I first started going out, The Basics were one of the bands we’d often see. They used to play a lot. We first saw them on a hot summer’s day in the basement of The Espy for St Kilda Festival one year and promptly got their tunes stuck in our head. Their album launch for ‘Stand Out/Fit In’ (also known in our house as “the record with The Espy on the front cover”) was a variety show at The Athenaum Theatre, complete with stand up comics. None of this was done with the intention of being cool for The Basics’ style was more about longevity and originality. This doesn’t always align with the here-for-a-good-time-not-for-a-long-time ethos of contemporary music and they were routinely snubbed by radio. It appeared to just make them work so much harder.
Then, their drummer Wally wrote a song about somebody that he used to know, and suddenly The Basics had to become the side project.
When The Basics announced their hiatus, I figured, along with many others, that was the end of the band. That’s what “hiatus” means right? However, credit to the band, the band that never gave up, they’ve used the word correctly. They play when they can, they record new songs when they can.
As you can imagine, The Basics are as prolific as they are busy, so they’re releasing a “Basics Anthology” of sorts. ’Ingredients’ is the best-of, aimed at the international market just discovering Gotye. ’Leftovers’ is all the rarities, the B-sides, the favourite covers that had never made it to a record yet. It was meant to be ready for when Kris and Tim played a very special show at the Northcote Social Club last night, but, according to Kris, “the label’s… well, they’re being lazy.”
We wondered what The Basics would be like without Wally. Neil thought they might get a replacement drummer in. I figured the back-catalog was big enough for Kris and Tim to just perform their songs (lead vocal duties were always shared). It turns out they did a little bit of both.
Without their drummer, Kris on acoustic guitar and Tim on electric guitar/occasional piano-freaking-accordion were a little lost. They were frequently looking at each other in panic, fell out of time every now and then, and forgot some words here and there, especially on the songs that Wally used to sing. Wally was always the straight-man, keeping time and the two jokers in check. The jokes were still funny and the enthusiasm still high, but it was palatable to see that these two really missed their friend.
So what do two mates do when one of their own is in New York and they’re in Northcote? You Skype them of course.
I was standing on the wrong side of the room to take a photo, but a projecter was set up and the two boys dialed Wally. It didn’t really go to plan, we could hear New York, but New York could not hear us, evidenced by the cries of, “I can’t hear you!” Nevermind, it was kind of funny, plus like anyone who has ever tried to teleconference (has anyone ever done it successfully?) they had a backup plan. Wally had prerecorded a video of him singing ‘Just Hold On’, which Kris and Tim played and sang along with. It was very sweet, and possibly the highlight of the show.
Given the nature of pop music, I’m sure it will be no time at all before the band are back together for real, thinking up the next crazy idea. The great thing is I’m sure more people will be there to cheer them on.
xoxo Nyssa on the 25th October, 2012 | no comments
filed under music | out and about
and tagged with | northcote social club, the basics
In addition to the yogging, Neil and I have been attending a group personal training session once a week, hosted by our dear friends Aaron, Claire and their beautiful baby girl Mollie. Exercising with friends on the weekend sounds like a great idea until you try to move on Monday. Oh my, ouch!
In an attempt to loosen up, Neil and I went for a walk around our neighbourhood. It also served as a chance to go have a look at some new and whimsical street art that has cropped up recently.
These are all on the west side of Sydney Road, although we know there’s plenty more, including some along Dawson Street/Glenlyon Road. I don’t know anything more about them, other than they’re unlike any other pieces of street art in our neighbourhood. Mind you, I kind of like the mystery…