Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tale as old as time.

Rachel Gilford at RAFW

Source: tuula

Where I assume her inspiration came from:
(all screen captures are sourced from google images)

Personally, I love the collection. I love the colours. I love the story.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Patterns of fairytales.

"Where is day 15?" you ask. Rules were made for breaking, after all. I'm a freedom fighter, a rebel against the system. I fight for a just and true cause- and nothing ever said we had to do this thing in order...

Day 16: Favorite book turned movie – Stardust

This book is beautiful. It's fragile and witty and addictive. The main characters are timeless but strangely naive, and that makes them all the more adorable. Gaiman's plot is seamless in its quirky world, tethered by the fringes to ours, yet so unique in it's own right. He spins off artefacts and ideas, all the while making them seem completely normal (e.g. Babylon Candles - how did we not realise they transport you from one place to another).  

The movie is hilarious - it captures Gaiman's unique outlook on life. I personally love how Tristan goes from pretentious, trying terribly hard to impress the local blonde-haired, brainless beauty-

-to this chance meeting. Serendipitous, don't you think?

Speaking of dreams, I finally got the chance to have a peek inside this wonderful little shop on Mt Albert Road. I drive past it pretty much every day when I'm in Auckland, and have done so for the last year. Dad finally relented...

Can you see those beautiful turrents?

Day 16: A Good Song That Does Get A Little Repetitive - 

self-explanatory, really.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

tired and wired, we ruin too easy.

Day 14: Book that should be on hs/college required reading list – Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

This probably is on a college required reading list. I have no idea, because we don't waste 4 years on silly undergrad programs that don't necessarily faciliate your entry to the career of your choice. Well, if you really wanted to, you could probably get a Bachelors of Arts or a Bachelors of New Media Arts, because that pretty much equates to the same thing.

If I did... This is something everyone should read, because it's crafted so well and it gets you to think of life in a completely different way without being completely bourgeois and crass.
I know how it feels to be a thirteen year old girl, feeling completely awkward and unaware and confused and this captures it perfectly. I can't imagine the flipside, but Jeffey Eugenides does it for you, and you're completely astounded by his brilliance. 

14. A Song By Your Favourite Singer

This challenge has an inability to discern what is possible for those of us plagued with indecisiveness. Or, you know, the general public, because how many people can honestly pin down one person and say "look, this is my favourite singer of all time". How often do we hear the words "I love this song right now!" or "this band is great at the moment". We fall in love with their words, those nifty chords, only to replace them with something newer, something catchier at a moment's notice. It's the same kind of outlook we have towards life - the constant search for something better, because something better must be out there, right? I guess that's what ambition is all about. Ambition and dreaming aren't exactly one and the same though, because we dreamers realise when the situation gets hopelessly futile. That's why we can continue to wish at 11:11, on stars and comets and planets and candles; it's harmless, it won't - it can't- destroy us.  

</rant on humanity> 

I've been good. I've narrowed it down to two of my favourite singers. Those of you who know me well could probably see this coming from a mile away.

Bon Iver - Skinny Love
I would do whatever Justin Vernon told me to. I've even listened to the Kanye album - hell, I was excited for the release of the Kanye album - which is unheard of in Archee Land. Goddamnit, that stuff is usually poison to my ears. I love him so much that everything else is infinitessimal, their faults nullified, until nothing else exists but the fact that I'm listening to something truly brilliant. 

Looking forward to the new album.

and the National - Mistaken For Strangers

I was originally going to post Apartment Story or Secret Meeting or Mr November or... you see how it goes. It's so difficult to post a song by them because I love them all. This was the first one that I heard and adored, so here you go. 

Seeing them live at Fall's was unbelievable in so many ways - I was front and centre, Matt Berninger was a breath away, he was in a waistcoat and pants in summer, he was rocking a champagne glass with white wine, I was there with my best friends... you get the idea. 

something adorable I came across at the restaurant we went to for dinner last night-

the silvery, silvery city bank lights.

Day 13- Favorite childhood bookFairies from A to Z by Adreienne Keith

It's just funny because I'm pretty sure this is the first book I bought in Auckland. And I'm here now. I used to put out the fairy box and watch for hours and hours for the fairies to finally appear in our backyard-

 lol jks

 Tamora Pierce’s Lioness Rampant is clearly what I meant to write about in the first place.

This cover is demented. It makes me want to projectile vomit a little. However, as it is Easter Sunday, I am at Home #2 (aka Auckland, NZ) and not Home #1. Thus, completely lack bookshelf to take photos of childhood favourites with. I'll post it when I get home so you can fully appreciate the repulsive, androgynous cover that this is.

Digressing - this book is what inspired me to take up fencing when I was 14. It didn't last for long, but it certainly makes you want to be bigger and better than the average book freak. As patronising as this sounds, it has great messages for teens and kids, and the plot is seriously kick-ass.

13. A Song With A Great Drum Rhythm - Broken Social Scene's KC Accidental.

If they had played this at Splendour, I would have died happy. It's a tempestuous mix: screaming of city lights, yellow cabs streaking past in the hope that they'll make that red light, of alley cats and hip cats and hipsters wearing fake ray bans at midnight. It makes you feel alive. 

Exhilarating. Like this, kind of.
View from Mt Eden, Auckland.
What you can't see: the gigantic crater beneath my feet, as I'm standing on the precipice. It's got nothing on Pompeii (Pompeii hisses and smokes at you, like some irate cat) but is still sizeable in its own right. If anything, it's the best view of Auckland, and $30 cheaper than Sky Tower (The harbour isn't anything much to look at, anyway). I'm pretty sure it's the penultimate spot to snog if you were so inclined, and kind of reminds me of Castle Hill at home. The difference is that this is Auckland, so instead of 70% humidity and 27 degree weather in Winter, every inhalation is marked by crisp, cool, wintery air. The cheek-reddening kind. With bronze, tarnished leaves scattered across the ground and everything. When the fam leaves and I have a bit more licence to escape the house, I'll capture it on my delicious 5mp iPhone Camera.

More, you ask? 
Stolen moments inside a faery circle in Davenport, NZ

Gypsy Carnival at Onewa, beachside. 
In case you haven't realised by now, Easter means family reunions. Specifically, my family, and our friends, uncles, dogs, great aunt's lounge chairs, INCREDIBLE AMOUNTS OF TEA AND FOOD OH MY GOD IF I EAT ANY MORE I WILL PUKE. PROJECTILE. VOMIT. SERIOUSLY I AM SICK OF EATING. Drinking, if you're a guy, because we have ridiculous amounts of Glenfiddich and nothing else, thanks, uncles.

the best $8.79 I have ever spent.
I went in for eggs and bread (feeding 13 people is not fun) hot cross buns and came out with this... love how NZ prolifically produces Cider, and then proceeds to sell it at ridiculously low prices. Took one of these babies (the Bulmers, naturally, despite its Irish Heritage) home, planning on drinking it tonight before my cousin's Anniversary Party thing. Super keen.

Friday, April 22, 2011

didn't anybody tell you how to gracefully disappear in a room?

Day 12- A book so emotionally draining you couldn’t complete it or had to set aside for a bit: Atonement by Ian McEwan

 I did something different with this book - something I regret doing wholeheartedly, but cannot apologise to myself for. I read the first three chapters or so of this before watching the movie. I.e the book was NOT finished at the time of movie watching.

If you haven't seen the movie, I can sum it up in about 2 lines: Keira Knightley is bitchy, sexually frustrated and pompous, James McAvoy is infuriatingly naive and resilient... and there's a whole bunch of beautiful cinematography.

You simply have to look at the before and after shots (stolen from google) to see why it took me 6 months to get back to this.

does he not look all of 18 and adorably untrained in the ways of the world?

add in a bit of heartbreak and you get worry lines... oh noes.

dirt and a beard automatically adds another 10 years. + furrowed brow = his soul has aged.
I knew what was going to happen. Apart from my amazing predictive abilities regarding the plot, I had see it first-hand and cried for an hour despite Keira Knightley's inability to act. Even she couldn't ruin the absolute desolation this inspires. Finished it eventually, and it's completely worth it. 

Day 12 - A Song That Ends Too Quickly: Maps & Compasses by Goodnight Owl

Ernest Ellis, the excessively talented Australian artist, made all the more awesome because he worked at a bottleo on the weekends whilst recording his first album-


- kindly linked shared these guys on Facebook a while ago. Luckily, all their songs were available on Tripe J unearthed, so I was able to grab a few of them. I don't think I've been back on the site since then, but it's still pretty amazing. It's partially because of them we have such a decent up-and-coming music scene in Australia - they discovered some of our more famous names, such as Art vs. Science, and so on.  I almost think I could survive on Aussie music alone, because we do have so much brilliant talent, and also because they're more likely to tour closer to home. Which is nice. SUPER NICE. 

Oh! Annika and I went shopping the other day in the aftermath of a truly terrible week, so here's a couple of photos to entertain yourselves with. Some of them are vaguely inspired by the '30s and 40's... some of them by our inherent Man-repelling nature.

I'll say, say, say

Day 11 - The Book that made you fall in love with reading: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Weirdly enough, this is the first HP book I ever read. It is also the book where we meet Sirius Black. Sirius is my one true love (or, at least, the 18-year-old version of him is).

For more Sirius - but, rather, amazing fanfiction that makes me love him a little more, read Shoebox Project. Soon, you, too, will be utterly enamoured by the wonder that is Sirius Black. The postcard JK Rowling auctioned off for charity just cements the fact that it's okay to be in love with a fictional character.

(yeah, who actually cares about Harry or Voldemort or the plot?)

Day 11, The Best Love Song You've Ever Heard: Coldplay - Yellow

This version, specifically the part where Chris Martin goes "If you stand up, I'll buy you all ice cream", makes me melt. Think pile of goo. Think puppies and kittens (or omg those little jaguar cubs born in St Petersburg!) and freshly baked cookies and adorable little children. Think that moment that you see someone and you're knocked senseless, breathless, and irrevocably attached.

your skin... = perfect intro
the intro = archee is speechless.

I think Thought Catalog captures it perfectly with this post.

she saw the water-lily bloom.

Day 10- The first novel you remember reading: The Snow Spider by Jenny Nimmo

I'm going to swap this around a touch, because the first novel I remember reading is the same as the one that got me into reading... awkward. Anyway, this is another book that I remember cherishing when young. I read so much that a lot of them are blurred into one giant blurry book with multiple plotlines and numerous heroes. (All the sidekicks got eaten by dragons.)
I think it's partially because myths and folk stories are my thing. Obviously everyone's grown up on King Arthur stories to some extent, but my obsession lasted for almost half a decade. I've always had some sort of novel retelling in hand/in my bookshelf/under my pillow/on my beside table/on my dining table/in my bag/yougettheidea. This is one of the special ones because it diverted me from the dark ages and threw me into an age of the omnipotent and whimsical. It made me fall in love with this country for its shadowy past hidden in frosted breaths and snow, and green that's just a little greener and darker than the rest of the world.

10. A "Classic" Song Everybody Seems To Like But You

No words. Really. Enough said.

But if you really want an explanation - we have this club at university (i.e. Uni Club) and for some reason unknown to the world, 11pm seems to signal classics hour. It starts with Grease Megamix and ends on this with the whole crowd of bogans screeching in happiness. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

it's been a long time, long time now

Day 09 - A Book you’ve read more than once: The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood


Images sourced from Opera gloves  and the La Times (with the exception of the book cover)

I love Iris Chase. Partially because I have this really strong mental image of her. I read this book in black and white, with smoke spiralling from her fingers into the corners of the room. I envision pearls and class and ennui dripping from her eyes.

Truthfully, I'd read pretty much anything she wrote. I have about 5 or more of her books, all nestled in my bookshelf. It's hard to decide which one I love the most, considering the fact that I've read several of them more than once, but A Handmaid's Tale and the Penelopiad are definitely up there, too.

Day 9 - A Song By A Band You Stopped Listening To, But Started Again

Beirut - Cherbourg

There was a stage where all listened to were these trumpets and violins and Zach Condon's... voice. I linger over this last word because I can't find a word to describe it adequately. It's world-weary, hardened with the age of the years, heartbreak and culture, which is oxymoronic considering how young he is. He saw me through Italy the first time:

- and the second (3 years later). It saw me through high school and graduation and pretty much everything that be shoved under that umbrella. In retrospect, it's funny how naive I was while listening to this the first time. A couple of years later, and it seems as if some sort of veil has been lifted - that there's new nuances to every string, that every word has a different meaning, but it means just as much to you as it did before. 

And these two go hand-in-hand. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

I'll explain everything to the geeks

Day 08- An unpopular book you believe should be a Best-Seller

This challenge is indistinct. Does it mean currently unpopular or always? Or an unpopular book by a popular author? It could have been a best seller in the 1930s and would be relatively unpopular now. Although, vintage is in so it would be hip and then millions of people would be discussing it in coffee shops everywhere based solely on the indieness of it all.

I was originally going to blog 2 or 3 to illustrate how vague this was, but... eh. I started wiki-ing a few, and decided on this one solely because if you were a best-selling, you'd have a Wikipedia page, wouldn't you? (No, I did not mean 'Rachel Carson'.) I never really thought it was unpopular, mainly because I haunt the Orbit site/Facebook like anything, and it's filled with Rachel Aaron lovers... but then, it's completely possible to have a strong following and still be relatively unpopular with the general populace.

What I like about it: it's got a crazy plot, absolutely complex and multilayered but elegant, like those old taffeta and tulle dresses my mum used to make me wear when I was one:
Source: Shinyorb
 It's so witty without being painfully pun-like, or crass. The last time anything made me laugh this hard was the Shoebox Project, and I hung onto that for years. By the time you've stopped to take a breath, you're utterly immersed in this book. You get attached to the characters, to their naivety, their charm, their personas. You wince a little when something hurts the spirits. Just take my word for it when I say read these books.

I half-think the reason that this didn't take off as quickly was because the sequels followed the first one relatively quickly - I ordered the first one in August/September and received the last in November. There was no build up, no anticipation blanketing the air because there was no wait. I, personally, thought that was fantastic, but there you have it...

8. The Song That Changed Your Mind About Music

Dashboard Confessional - Vindicated

I was 12. I'm nerdy. Almost being a teen sucked. So, I wasn't the kind of person to break anyone's heart - hell, I was so busy reading books - that there's no way I would have known what heartbreak felt like. I guess too much Sweet Valley HighTamora Pierce angst went to my brain... you get the idea. Whatever it is, this song got me, and thus began the emo/indie phase of Archee's life. I could quote these songs like Snape quotes potions ingredients. Hell, if I knew drug names as well as I still know the lyrics, I would be set for life. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

baffled by your symmetry.

Day 07- A Book that’s hard to read Shadow of the Wind
Okay, so I'm pretty useless at keeping up to date with things. A day behind again. 

"Hidden in the heart of the old city of Barcelona is the 'Cemetary of Forgotten Books', a labyrinthine library of obscure and forgotten titles. To this library, a man brings his ten-year-old son, Daniel, one cold morning in 1945. Daniel is allowed to choose one book...but as Daniel grows up, several people seem inordinately interested in his find..."

This book bored me to tears for the first three chapters. I understood it was going somewhere, but I wasn't entirely sure I had the motivation to get there. After taking a semester of Spanish, I realise it's because they're so avid in their description/have incredible run on sentences/etc. When you're on a bus for 10 hours a day, anything - anything that ameliorates your boredom is suddenly intensely motivating. We were about to reach Barca when I finished this book, so it was kind of exciting given the fact that I had just spent a couple of hundred pages reading about it. BUT IT'S COMPLETELY WORTH IT.

+ it has this awesome rustic map of Barca, and how you can follow the "Shadow of the Wind" trail... kind of like being given an intimate guided tour by Carlos Ruiz Zafon himself. This makes it automatically awesome.
A treasure map!
The cultured tourist: clutching a battered copy of 'Shadow of the Wind' rather than  Lonely Planet. 

Casa Battlo, in the flesh!
source: tom26er
It also has a recommended reading list, which is pretty perfect. I wish more authors did the same thing. When you've finished a book and there's no more to come, you feel like pulling it apart form its seams, to see how all the pieces are arranged, how the story came into being - how the author feels. And when you can't do that, the easiest thing is to push yourself headlong into another, and another, until your heartbeat stops racing and you can quell that niggling urge to consume another book.

(Carlos Ruiz Zafon recommends The Blind Assassin, Possession and The Name of the Rose, among others.)

Day 7-  A Song That Gets Your Heart Racing

I've seen Jonathan Boulet live twice, and they remain, to date, as the most energetic band I've ever seen play. It's dizzying, and all you feel like doing is jumping, moving, swaying like some kind of drunken retard despite the fact you haven't even had water in the last hour. It's indescribable, really, the way it infuses me with energy. For an instance, I thought they'd also head to Fall's in Marion Bay but they only played in Lorne, and that kind of broke my heart. He's also in another band, called Parades, which is fantastic.
This video is made of win. I guess you can see the similarities between that and Jonathan Boulet, but in the end, I don't care as long as he keeps making music. Parades toured last year with Ernest Ellis (another fantastic up-and-comng Australian artist) - or was scheduled to, at least.

Friday, April 15, 2011

between dreaming and waking

Two posts in one day - don't blame me! Just catching up!
Day 06- A Book that makes you cry – Time Traveller’s Wife
Audrey Niffenegger - The Time Traveller's Wife

Eilidh (i.e. someone I love very muchly) and I both commenced this silly challenge on the first day. We're alike in strange ways, considering the fact that she detests fantasy (I KNOW, I -KNOW-, see the wtf picture in my last post. It's necessary. But I'm working on that - she just finished The Hunger Games series and I'm hopefully getting her started on The Mortal Instruments series in the near future.) </tangent> She had this as her favourite book, which kind of vetoed me from having it, so I found an appropriate place to put it in this stupid list.

This book makes me bawl, pretty much from the word go. Simple equation: Henry + Claire = love. lovelovelovelovelove LOVEACROSSTHEDECADESWhatThe!? It's so emotionally draining, but then the height of their joy only serves to reinforce the depth of their sorrow. My pharmacology lecturer once said that people who have Mania have been known to say that they wouldn't give it up, simply because their highs are so good, that the lows are worth it - that's the price they pay. You kind of get that same feeling, just because what they have is fragile, endearing, all-consuming and greater than some basic urge to replicate - the kind of love that weathers life-times without fizzling out.

The movie's okay, I guess. I mean, I cried my way through that too, but mainly because I knew what was going to happen. If anything, the cinematography was kind of pretty.

6. A Song You Would Like Played At Your Funeral

I guess this would be pretty popular, as far as these things go. If you mindlessly follow read Thought Catalogue, you sheep! Don't worry, I'm one too, you would identify Amelie is one of those movies you loved when you were young and impressionable. I guess I can kind of qualify for that still, but I can't remove myself from how much I loved it back then. Yann Tiersen* is a genius, and I have his whole discography tucked into my iTunes. I've studied to this for years, and it worked incredibly well... until I got to the stage where I started humming the harmonies, and working in the crescendos and key changes and god-knows-what. (Me humming is not something you want to experience - it sounds like someone's fed a cane toad a whoopee cushion, and then they're proceeding to run over it several times with their car... )

It reminds me of France, and of Europe in general. Of experiencing dusk in picturesque little villages with cobbled streets, just after gorging yourself on a picnic of fresh berries and brie and still-warm bread. Fireflies and the last vestiges of summer, its grace lingering on in the wild-flowers scenting the air. Feeling every last cell in you hum with life, belonging - you are content.

Hills near Grasse, French Riviera

Bad photo, but it's the feeling I had when trying to take it that got me. This is the drive to Grasse from Nice, in the French Riveria. Grasse is this tiny town that hosts Fragonard (the perfumery) and is notorious for housing the exiled Princess of Monaco. This princess, if I recall correctly, tried to assassinate her brother and thus was banned from the country. (Fun Fact: Monaco is a principality, so there's no Kings/Queens/etc, the highest title is "Prince" - currently held by Albert the II.)

Adrian Johnston is also brilliant; he did the soundtrack for Brideshead Revisited. Check him out if you enjoy the instrumental side of life.

*Am I the only one who has noticed a passing resemblance between him and Neil Gaiman

You never mean what you say - why don't you say what you mean?

Day 05- A Non-fiction book that you actually enjoyed
 When I saw this... my face pretty much resembled the following picture:
Source: jehasnail
Seriously, who reads non-fiction books any way? When I think non-fiction, I think Encylopaedias. I think Atlases and Charles Darwin's Origin of the Species and the Bible. In fact, when I was 8, I was the geekiest little kid who used to enjoy reading that stuff (bar Origin of the Species, that's when I was 13 or so). I knew all the capitals of everything ever simply because when you're an only child, it's read, sleep or eat. Socialising doesn't occur to the introverted brain.

I guess all those years spent meandering through Dymocks and 'reorganising' the Non-fiction section eventually kicked...

This is something I received for my 16th birthday (if memory serves me), from a dear friend who appreciates my love for languages (though they may not love me).

for instance, drachenfutter [drack-uhn-foot-er] (noun): Meaning "dragon fodder", this is the offering husbands make to their wives - breathing raging fire at the cave entrance - when they've stayed out late or have otherwise engaged in some kind of inappropriate behaviour. (You know, like Prince Frederick shimmying up to that blonde. Not on when your wife's just had twins, Freddy.)

It's full of lovely words, awkward thoughts, some things that we just can't translate, no matter how many times you try to transliterate it.

Day 5-  A Song You Believe Has Great Lyrics

 A Perfect Sonnet - by Bright Eyes

Conor Oberst is the master of stringing together meaningful, fragile song lyrics - I would even go so far to say he's the best lyricist in our life time. As for his solo work under his own name, he probably used up all his creativity in Fevers and Mirrors. I don't know whether it's because he was incredibly sprung out or... whatever, just thinking of the way his brain works makes me think of Lithium carbonate, or something.

What gets me: So I stand in the sun and I breathe with my lungs/Trying to spare myself the weight of the truth

Sure, this isn't the best example, but as you work through his songs, you'll be struck by the elegance of his work.

Until next time.