Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Off Topic: Why Weird Al Pisses Me Off

Actually, I just lied in the title. Weird Al doesn't piss me off. I find his parodies clever and entertaining. But you know what does piss me off? Having those same lyrics pushed at me by his fans. You know the deal. The radio is on, you're humming along to a classic rock song like Another One Bites the Dust by Queen, or maybe you're just nodding your head to the music, listening or otherwise appreciating their musical genius and the whole mood of the song. Maybe it even brings up memories of some great day or experience that you've had. Or you know, it just puts you in a good mood. And then some fuckwit comes running in the room and starts shouting, "Another one rides the bus!" over the top of Queen's lyrics because Weird Al's version is just. So. Much. Better. 

Except that it's not better. It's parody and there is a time and place for it. And that time and place is when you're listening to a Weird Al song or album and not when you've just decided to ruin my listening experience with your enthusiasm for novelty songs. See, here's the thing. If I went out to JB HI FI and bought a Pearl Jam CD, I'd be pretty damn annoyed if, when I played it, Weird Al's song My Wife is in Love With Eddie Vedder started playing instead. I don't care how funny that song is, I was in the mood for Pearl Jam. And to get a parody version instead is just poisoning my ears.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Review: The Delinquents by Criena Rohan

Reading The Delinquents was a lovely reminder of just way I take part in the Aussie Author Challenge every year. This book shook me well out of my comfort zone and took me to a part of Australian history that I knew little about Brisbane in the years following the Second World War. This was a Brisbane that I knew little of, where trams rolled through its main streets, where the locals were still reeling from the American soldiers that had occupied their city during the war, where the currency was still the pound and where the hardest and edgiest youths aspired to be bodgies and widgies. In the middle of all of this are Brownie and Lola, two kids from Bundaburg whose only crime was to fall in love too young. Kept apart by their mothers, and by the state, the pair eventually find one another again and do their best to stay together and survive a tough life in Brisbane, fending off police officers, nasty landlords and a host of other colourful characters.

Before purchasing this book, I was familiar with The Delinquents only because when I eight years old someone made a film of the book. That film became something of a hit at my local primary school (despite it being completely inappropriate for kids,) due to the casting of Kylie Minogue as a surprisingly white incarnation of Lola. (In the book, Lola is of mixed Asian and British heritage, and it is hinted at that she receives greater brutality from police and welfare for this reason.) The book isn't terribly well-known in Australia. After its initial publication in the UK in 1962 it remained out of print until Penguin Books Australia acquired the rights in 1986 (a film tie-in edition was later published in 1989,) and in 2015 it was republished as a Text Classic, along with a number of other forgotten Australian novels. 

I found the book itself to be a well-written and at times, a brutal melodrama. Parts of the novel seemed quite rushed, though the reason for this is utterly forgivable. Author Criena Rohan (whose real name is Deirdre Cash,) wrote it from her sick bed at a specialist TB hospital. Sadly, the author had been misdiagnosed, and the underlying cause of her illness--cancer--was not detected until it was too late. She lived just long enough to see The Delinquents published.

While not my favourite Australian novel, this novel certainly shed some light on a part of Brisbane's history that I was unfamiliar with. 

This book was read as part of the Aussie Author Challenge 2017

Monday, 24 July 2017

Around Adelaide (Best of Kathryn's Instagram)

Following on from last week's Furby find, this week I am sharing another find--the wicked Odlaw from Where's Wally (known as Where's Waldo in some parts of the world.) Where's Wally in Adelaide is a fun game that a number of people have been playing in recent times. Most of the stickers are on the sides of cafes and other fun places. 

Friday, 21 July 2017

Friday Funnies: Garfield vs Grumpy Cat

Ha! Now that's telling Grumpy Cat!

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Review: Too Late by C Hoover (aka Colleen Hoover)

When bestselling American author Colleen Hoover decided to self-publish Too Late online chapter by chapter as a side project, she had no idea just how she would enjoy writing it, or how popular the story would become with fans. Inevitably, the came demand for a paperback version. Lucky for her fans, Colleen Hoover is no stranger (or no snob) to print-on-demand and produced a paperback version, publishing under a slightly different name. Too Late is a little bit darker, and perhaps a bit less polished that some of her other work, but it makes for fast and addictive reading.

Too Late tells the story of Sloan, a young woman caught in an abusive relationship with Asa. At first, one might think that Asa is simply a jerk, then it becomes apparent that Asa is a criminal, then we learn that he is a narcissist and then, finally, Hoover delivers the final shocking revelation--Asa is a paranoid schizophrenic. Sloan, meanwhile, is a young college student who has grown up without a great deal of parental guidance and wants only to have enough money to care for her severely disabled brother--money that Asa can provide. A problem arises however, when Sloan falls in love with undercover cop Carter, untangles a whole web of lies and tries to escape. And Asa will do anything to keep her ...

Too Late is a fast paced melodrama with a bit of gore, plenty of dark themes and some surprising twists. It's not perfect by a long shot--it's pretty unrealistic. There are two epilogues that make up an entire third of the novel and they drag on a bit--I suspect that the author was reluctant to say good-bye to Sloan and Carter/Luke. As pure entertainment, it works well and I found myself greedily snatching a few extra pages whenever I had the opportunity. 

This one is entertaining, though it is probably more for fans of the author than for a wider audience.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Around Adelaide (Best of Kathryn's Instagram)

I spotted this Furby outside Her Majesty's Theatre during the week and just had to share it! Over the past few months, the Find a Furby movement has been quite popular and these little Furby shaped stickers have been popping up everywhere around Adelaide and the inner-suburbs, with people sharing their finds on social media.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Review: Before You Forget by Julia Lawrinson

Sweet and sad is the flavour of the day in this tale of a young woman who is coming of age just as her life is falling apart. Amelia is in year twelve at a visual arts school in Perth. She loves art, but her teacher hates everything she does. Her best friend has stopped talking to her, and it soon becomes obvious that Gemma is suffering from a serious illness. At home, her parents marriage is strained and her father is acting peculiarly--and he seems to be forgetting a lot of things, including Amelia. The year will prove to be a challenging one for Amelia, and she learns some valuable life lessons along the way ...

Though this novel was quite sad, and a bit depressing, I found myself lapping it up. The author perfectly captures something that a lot of novels and authors have missed--just how lonely year twelve can be. The author offers a sympathetic look at a year in the life of a young woman who is expected to behave like an adult, yet treated like a kid, just as her life is falling apart. Amelia's growth as a person--and as an artist--was pleasing to read, as was the subtle backstory about her disagreeable teacher. Surprisingly, I found Poppy to be an interesting side character, someone who drifts through life and is able to succeed because of, rather than in spite of, a complete lack of depth. (The ending of Poppy and Amelia's friendship is bittersweet, as it becomes obvious that while Poppy has a perfect right to do things on her terms, she lacks the depth to understand Amelia's deeper motives.)

Overall, this is an enjoyable YA novel. Recommended.

This book was read as a part of the Aussie Author Challenge 2017.