Sunday, 11 January 2009

Festival First Night

Yesterday was the start of the annual Sydney Festival, which is a bit like the Edinburgh Festival except nowhere near as big and nowhere near as many tourists! See photo album to right of this for a snapshot...

To mark the occasion, K and I had a day of cultural activities, starting with a visit to the Art Gallery of New South Wales to see their current Monet & the Impressionists exhibition (very good) and a photography exhibition called Portraits from Black Australia which was variable but very good in places. It felt a bit like the curator had been obliged to fit in as many photos as possible by lots of different artists so it was a bit cluttered and there was no interpretation of any of them, so difficult to get a sense of context. But some of the portraits were very beautiful and moving (and some of them were just a bit forced and overly trying to say something).

Then, as it was a lovely day, we wandered round Sydney’s green spaces taking in the sights and sounds of “Festival First Night” (which started in the afternoon) and was a series of mini-concerts etc all over the city.

Finally, we went to see a play called Rabbit at the Wharf One Theatre, which is on the end of one of Sydney’s “finger wharves”, strips of land that stick out into the harbour (like fingers) and that have been redeveloped from their original use as trade wharves into a variety of arts venues, restaurants, boat moorings and apartments. The play was entertaining, very well acted and well written although I couldn’t really tell you what its main message was. It was set in a club on the occasion of the main character’s 29th birthday and was a bit of an exploration of male-female relationships, sex and family from the perspective of, well, my generation, I suppose.

Today I spent the whole day lying on our couch reading The Chimney Sweep’s Boy, by Barbara Vine (aka Ruth Rendell) which was an excellent novel. It was billed as a psychological thriller and I wouldn’t say it lived up to that but I really enjoyed it – it centres on an author who dies suddenly and whose life is then explored by his daughter after his death, with all kinds of mysterious secrets being discovered slowly until the truth of his life is revealed. It’s better than it sounds, honest!

Sometimes I get so engrossed in reading that I forget to eat or drink or go to the loo – and today was a bit like that. I only meant to read for an hour or so this morning until K got up, but by then I was hooked! I felt a bit queasy after only reading for 7 hours, but then went for a run and had a lovely dinner, watched an episode of Heroes and spoke to one of my old pals on the phone, so feeling more balanced again now!

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