Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Feeling poorly

I am STILL sick. Bit worried about getting to work tomorrow. Because of the Easter holidays it's been very hard to get an appointment with a doctor - so many people are on holiday already. I have to wait until Saturday before I can see anyone. Suspect this means Easter will be a cycling-free holiday.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Domestic update

I've been gearing up for an autumnal fashion spectacular but now Melbourne's thrown us an Indian summer and it's just impossible to think of gloves and woollies at this stage. I have been delighted to come across fashion inspiration of a sort - it's paper dolls! Bobbins and Bombshells has this fabulous 1940s set. I would love to dress with this much style! I used to play with paper dolls when I was young and I absolutely adored them.

We have new neighbours and they are already driving me dotty. Two hapless Gen Ys with a little fluffy dog (interesting to see what the cats make of that!) They are doing the most half arsed, feckless job of moving in. I swear it has taken them three weeks already. I'm of half a mind to march over there and take control. At this rate it will be spring before they get into the place. Most ineffectual.

Other domestic news, my former housemate from the Jessie Street days, Jo, has had a baby. I'm looking forward to seeing little Daisy. Former neighbour Juanique moved to Singapore today. So happy sad.

Lots of library books came in for me today so I'm looking forward to the Easter holiday. Lots of lovely reading! Several histories of the British thriller. Yay! As long as they're not like to Marxist one...

Here's a sneak peek of my autumn wardrobe, a new Rocket Original fairisle jumper, modelled by the lovely Fleur de Guerre. Sneak peek because it arrived today and I've discovered I've bought the wrong size. Sigh. So that parcel will be heading back to London.

And I've still got a tummy bug.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Silver lining

I've been feeling poorly and a little at odds with the world. The book I've been reading has let me down (Cover stories: narrative and ideology in the British spy thriller - turns out it's a Marxist postmodern cultural theory piece. I can't make head nor tail of it and I'm finding I have limited interested in 'protopolitical responses to the historical dilemma'.) Sbs news is depressing. The Grand Prix at Albert Park is giving me a headache and I have to work tomorrow. One of my friends, Penny, is moving to Canberra at the end of the year so that's sad too. Plus, the football season's started. Meh.

On the plus side, there's Jean Harlow. Sexy, funny and apparently a real swell lady too. I've a great deal of affection for her.

What an absolute honey. She died sadly young at just 26 years of age. I managed to watch Dinner at eight while I was sick. What a magnificent cast! Marie Dressler, some Barrymores, Billie Burke and Wallace Beery. Harlow plays the most magnificent gold digging floozy, seeming to relish the role. The other great thing is that she doesn't wear any underwear at all, in satin dresses so tight she was famously sewn into them. I followed this with Red dust - a pre-Hays code ripper. Gable can be a little too emphatically masculine for my taste but Harlow is a real delight. I couldn't find Public enemy - a surprise because I love James Cagney - so I'll be ordering some more dvds soon.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Round the back of the arches

We've gone multimedia crazy here at Robot Command! It's a shame that the only person who reads my blog doesn't have speakers to enjoy it...



This is Flanagan and Allen in what appears to be a morale boosting performance in a factory canteen. Looking at the workers makes me realise a) that I have a very cushy job and b) that I scrub up awfully well for a 40s lady.

Round the back of the grey skies, there's a lining of blue
There's a crack in the grey skies, for the sun to come through
And when the storm clouds all roll over
I shall meet old pals again
Round the back of the arches
Down in Sunnyside Lane

Charles or Vera?

Went for a leisurely bike ride this morning, Mr C, Miss Donna Soo and myself. Big news is that the Soo family is expecting a baby (finally I can tell people!) So no one unleashed the fury and the ride was conducted at a civilised, matronly pace. A fine breakfast was had at local cafe Grindhouse before we headed home. I was feeling a tad resentful about having to work at the library in the afternoon - I've worked ever so hard this week and been ever so busy - but it was a lovely shift. I was having a bit of a Frances Langford day, with a snood, my Freddie's of Pinewood jeans and a wrap top from Heyday (bare midriff!) Had a amiable chat with an elderly chap about Ginger Rogers, and with a young lady whose Auntie Em always wore a snood and red lipstick. I'm a vain, silly little piece and I do like the compliments - but the nicest thing is when I set people off reminiscing. I'm very happy to have people share their stories with me.

Being a helpful sort of lass I thought I'd give Donna a hand choosing a name for her baby (admittedly, it's the size of a prawn at the moment but it's always best to be prepared / have time to browbeat your partner round to your way of thinking). Most popular baby names of the 40s are a bit meh, so I went for those popular in the 20s, figuring that these would be the names of women living through the war years. So most young women in the 40s would have been called: Marjorie, Dorothy, Frances, Betty, Evelyn, Irene, Florence, Ruby, Edna, Lucille, Phyllis, Pauline, Geraldine, Patricia, Vera, Minnie, Alma, Margie. I believed I proposed a similar list when suggesting names for mum's chickens but don't let that put you off. (Yes, I'm overlooking boys names as they are largely tried and tested: Michael, Charles, Edward... Though there's a lot to be said for good old fashioned names. Which is why we have a cat called Lyle.)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Songs that won the war

Only for the stout at heart! Really, I did try and spare you the worst of it.

Don't let's be beastly to the Germans - apparently Churchill loved this when it was performed for him but somehow it didn't go down so well with radio audiences. Ultimately banned by the BBC.

I'm going to get lit up
- written by Hubert Gregg, who worked for BBC Germany and spoke German so well that Goebbels assumed he was a German traitor.

London pride - 'Extraordinary how potent cheap music is' - so said Noel Coward and this song proves him right.

I did what I could with my gas mask - chiefly because I love the ukelele solo at the end. In the Jasper Fforde novels George Formby is prime minister of England for life.

Run rabbit run - the story goes that when the Luftwaffe launched their first air strikes all they killed where two bunny rabbits. Wierdly influential on Pink Floyd and The Clash, who both referenced the lyrics in their songs.

I've got the deepest shelter in town - 'sung by Florence Desmond whose first husband, incidentally, was one of the winners of the 1934 London to Melbourne Centenary Air Race, Tom Campbell Black' (thanks to Airminded for that bit of info) A very naughty song!

(We're going to) hang out the washing on the Siegfried Line
- the BBC WW2 People's War has one Private Ronald Ritson who did indeed hang out his washing on the barbed wire of the Siegfried Line.

All other facts courtesy of Wikipedia. So it must be true.



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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

From the doorstep

I've locked myself out of the house so I'm blogging from the back doorstep. Not even a cat to keep me company.

I'll start with the nerdy part of the post. You’ve got to love resource sharing in libraries. I know this probably doesn’t sound all that thrilling for most of you but think, I can get pretty much anything I want from any library within Australia or New Zealand, be it a national, state, academic or public library – for FREE! This is fantastic if you want to track down an original edition of 1940s pulp fiction, an obscure turn of the century French mystery, or a classic movie only ever released on vhs – all things I have requested and received.

My current inter library loan joy is cds; in particular, songs of the war years. I’ve managed to track down such wonderful titles as….
  • We're gonna hang out the washing on the Siegfried Line
  • Shh, it's a military secret
  • Obey your air warden
  • This is the army, Mr. Jones
  • Comin' in on a wing and a prayer
  • Captain of the clouds
  • I left my heart at the stage door canteen
  • He wears a pair of silver wings
  • The deepest shelter in town
  • Cleanin' my rifle (and dreamin' of you)
I’ve also found a list of the number one books of the 40s. I’d be keen for this as another reading project but I’m still working through the history of the thriller – a project interrupted by my latest falling out with the crazy meds – so I’m not too sure when I’ll get around to it. And frankly, some of these hit songs aren't exactly iTunes worthy so I'm not sure how fabulous the books will be. I could end up with the Dan Brown of 42.

Other frivolous news: I finally got an order from Freddie’s of Pinewood. F of P and I haven’t had much luck together but as they’ve a new postal method and as I simply couldn’t resist their outfits, I just had to give them another go. And behold! My new F of P jeans and top!

As soon as I get around to putting a mp3 widget on the blog I'll share some of my new music with you.