Swift as Desire by Laura Esquivel
Jubilo has two great gifts: “he was good at communicating and at loving Lucha.” As a child he uses his gift for communication to change the messages he is translating between his two warring grandmothers, using simple language tweaks to improve their relationship. Growing up to become a telegraph worker, he plays similar tricks, using his special sensitivity to try to make the world as joyful as he is. And his life is overflowing with the joy of love: “Lucha swayed her hips gently, but with Jubilo’s heightened sensibilities, his hand amplified her movement and it washed over him like an effervescent wave, hot, joyful, dissolute.”
But his gift sometimes falters, and the consequences of misunderstanding signals can be drastic. The youthful love story between Jubilo and Lucha is contrasted with the story of the present, where Jubilo is dying a slow, cruel death by Parkinsons, crippled, mute and missing his ex wife. Lucha, now bitter and angry, is just as unrecognisable. And yet, with all the charm and whimsicalness of a fable, the story is ultimately a sweet and happy one. After all, “words travel as swiftly as desire, so it is possible to send a message of love without them.” (more…)
In Utero is probably one of my favourite albums of all time and everything, but I can’t help thinking it could use a few more kittens. JUST SAYIN, I would have made it a bit more like this:
1993, Kitten Records
1. Serve the Kitten (“Kitten angst has paid off well/ Now I’m bored and old.”)
2. Scentless Kitten (“He was born senseless and scentless/ He was born a scentless kitten.”)
3. Heart Shaped Kitten (“Meat-eating kittens forgive no one just yet/ Cut myself on angel hair and kittens’ breath.”)
4. Kitten Me (“Kitten me my friend/ Kitten me again.”)
5. Frances Kitten Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle (“She’ll come back as a kitten/ And burn all the liars.”)
6. Dumb Kitten (“I think I’m kitten/ Or maybe just happy… My kitten is broke/ But I have some glue.”)
7. Very Kitten (“If you ever need kittens please don’t/ Hesitate to ask someone else first.”)
8. Kitten Milk It (“Left kitten, right kitten, broken kitten/ Lack of kittens and or sleeping.”)
9. Pennyroyal Kitten (“I’m a liar and a kitten/ … I’m anaemic kitten.”)
10. Kitten-Friendly Unit Shifter (“What is wrong with kitten?/ Kitten is what I need.)
11. Tourette’s Kitten (“Everything kitten sees/ Is all wrong.”)
12. All Kitten (“What else should I be?/ All kitten.”)
Or, 11 songs Gatsby likes
Obviously, I’m talking about my adorable baby kitten Gatsby, whose favourite songs may be of less interest than those of the artist formerly known as James Gatz (but then again, maybe not?). But I warned you I would do this. Next thing you know we’ll be sharing an email address
Anyway, we like songs, and we especially like songs about cats. So, we put together a little playlist for when you’re feeling particularly feline.
1. Kitty by The Presidents of the United States of America
I don’t care what you say – I really think this song is just about a cute little cat. (I also think Peaches is just about eating fruit. Why do you have to ruin everything?) Anyway, little Gatsby and I love rocking to this. He makes the little meowing sounds at the start.
2. The Lovecats by the Cure
Possibly the coolest cat song in the world, and it suits us just perfectly, because we are the lovecats.
3. Phenomenal Cat by The Kinks
The cat in this song is just about the coolest cat in the world. He just hangs out in his tree, chilling out and getting fat and telling everyone about all the adventures he’s had. That’s so how I imagine Gatsby will be when he’s a little old man.
4.Cat Claw by The Kills
Because we’re just rock stars, basically.
5.Cat People (Putting Out Fire) by David Bowie
Naturally, my cat would be a Bowie kind of cat. I’m bringing him up to be a bit rock ‘n’ roll, a bit glamorous, a bit camp. He LOVES his pretty pink kitty carrier, and so what?
My friend L, who calls herself a crazy cat lady, and who kind of is, except that she’s cute and blonde and not a deranged old woman, wrote on my Facebook wall the other day:
“Rebecca, as much as I completely and utterly adore your writing, there is something you should know: the internet is not interested in anything that doesn’t involve cats. It’s a bit like how she’s cheer captain (CATS) and Taylor Swift is on the bleachers (EVERYTHING ELSE ON THE INTERNET). So let’s just stick to writing exclusively about Gatsby the Catsby from now on, K?”
And you know what? She’s right. So, I was going to write a book review, but instead, let’s just take a moment to think about how adorable my kitten is.
Gatsby is the cutest kitten in the world
Just so everyone knows, I’m now one of those people who refers to her cat as her boyfriend and sings him What’s New Pussycat and blogs about all the cute things he does. I know, I know, but I can’t help it! He’s just so ridiculously cute – you’d be madly in love with him too. His name is Gatsby and he’s just a tiny black ball of fluff. He was a street kitty, so he’s kind of a tough little guy – he’s got that scruffy, bad boy thing going on, and I can’t help but fall for that. He’s so cute that I just watch him adoringly while he wrecks all my stuff (which might give some clue about me and my romantic life, but you know, whatever.)
So, anyone who knows me knows I’m a dog person. At some point someone decided you have to choose between one or the other. (Unless you’re neither, and well, then I just don’t understand you. NOT EVEN PUPPIES?) Which is stupid, but I guess it does make sense in a lot of ways. I’ve always thought the key difference is how much love and affection you want or need from a pet. You get a pet because you have love inside you that’s bursting to be given to someone. Having a pet instantly gives you someone you can love and dote without ever having to play it cool, and you’ll keep loving them forever, because an animal isn’t going to lie to you or refuse to call you back or compare you to their ex-girlfriend at the worst possible moments. (more…)
Thinking about “Sexing up animal rights: is it wrong?” By Katrina Fox and Stephanie Honor Convery in Overland
What exactly is the link between sex and animal rights? It’s weird to even be asking that question, but inspired by the debate in Overland between Katrina Fox and Stephanie Honor Convery, I’ve been thinking about whether it’s okay to use sexualised imagery to raise awareness about animal cruelty. Sex sells, so where do we draw the line over what it should be used to sell? This is such a complex issue, and seeing as Katrina Fox and Stephanie Honor Convery are far more qualified than I am to comment on the issue and they express their thoughts so eloquently, you should probably read what they have to say on Overland for a more considered analysis – but for now, here’s my two cents.
So, the issue is this. In September, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) announced plans for a porn site, peta.xxx, to draw attention to their cause – provoking, of course, a lot of debate about the questionable ethics of using images that objectify women for political advocacy. It’s not the first time PETA has caused this kind of controversy – they’re known for using sexualised images to get attention. From the (comparatively more innocuous) “I’d rather go naked than wear fur” ad campaign to this ridiculous “vegetarians have better sex” ad, which is so gross it was banned from the Superbowl, they have a long track record of this sort of thing. (more…)
In the latest issue of 3008 Docklands magazine, I talk to the delightful Richard Nylon about feathers, fashion and the ballet.
Richard Nylon has always been fascinated by feathers. “Birds are the closest thing to dinosaurs that we have,” he says. “So the idea is that feathers are modified scales. They’re made of protein like our hair and our fingernails, and they’re really wonderful to work with.”
Recognised as one of Australia’s most talented and innovative milliners, Nylon’s extraordinary creations blur the lines between fashion and art. Playing with both vintage and cutting-edge styles, he uses a variety of materials to create headpieces that make a real statement- but feathers always seem to bring something special to the piece.
“They’re so lightweight and dramatic and beautiful,” Nylon says. “From a distance they’re lovely, and up close they’re amazing as well. I appreciate them as wonderful objects.”
Elegant, witty, and guaranteed to capture attention, Nylon’s headpieces are coveted amongst fashionistas for the Spring Racing Carnival, and some of his more extravagant one-off creations are on display in the permanent collections of cultural institutions like the National Gallery of Victoria.
Now, his iconic headpieces are taking centre stage in Aviary, a ballet performance unlike any other soon to premier during the Melbourne Festival 2011. Developed by BalletLab in association with The Australian Ballet, Aviary is a flamboyant explosion of dance, music, costumes and light. (more…)