Tuesday, July 21, 2009

An eventful week

Last week, I flew to Melbourne to compete in the first round of the Australian Singing Competition (also known as the Marianne Mathy award, as the first prize of $30,000.00 toward overseas study is sponsored by the estate of the late Marianne Mathy). Naturally, I got sick. Healthy as a really healthy horse for months upon months, and then as soon as I start preparing for my first national singing competition, I get a horrendous headcold. HONESTLY. WHO DOES MY BODY THINK IT IS?!

In my defence, I did actually catch the cold from a bunch of ill singers at the Festival of Voices gospel workshops that I did the previous weekend. Now THEY were cool. We got to work with Myron Butler and his lovely wife Timberlyn. What a great experience. Worth the illness!

Anyway, so I went to Melbs to compete in the competition. I thought, considering how snuffly and drippy and coughy I was, that I sang quite well! I didn't forget any of the words, which I had of course panicked about due to leaving the memorisation 'til the last minute, and thought I projected nicely and sang OK. I mean, I didn't sing spectacularly but... anyway. I just got a letter today telling me that I didn't get through. And that's OK. I can try again next year, but that'll be the last time as I wil be twenty-six next July.

I started with "Chanson triste" by Henri Duparc, and was then asked (from my list of submitted repertoire) for "Tornami a vagheggiar", an aria from the opera Alcina by Handel.

Anyway, on to the more important aspects of the week!

On Saturday night, Elysia (housemate), Helen (sister) and I went to see the production of AVENUE Q currently showing in Melbourne. Can I just say first -- I am a huge fan of Avenue Q. My brother gave me the CD (well, "lent" - but I have "permanently borrowed" it) a couple of years ago, and I just fell in love with it. I have since seen a bit of a bootleg of a production of it on *cough* YouTube *cough* (can't remember if it was West End or Broadway - have seen bits and pieces from both on the special tube), so I already knew the show... but that didn't detract from it at all! What a fantastic show it is. It's so funny. So accessible to adults of all ages. I was surrounded by people of every generation (including the guy who plays 'Harold' on Neighbours, who was sitting in our row, but hey, I'm just saying - celebrities flock to me). There were a few Americanisms in the show that the Australian cast had altered for easy comprehension by Australian audiences, ie., "Mexican bus-boys" became "Mexican waiters", and "... change my major, or f*** my TA" became, "... change my major, or f*** all day". You know. And there is a line very late in the show about how, "George Bush! ... is only for now", that became, "Swine flu! ... is only for now", which I cacked myself at. Clever. Great show. Fully recommend it. Unfortunately, the show ends in early August in Melbourne so get a wriggle on and book your tickets ASAP!

On Sunday night, Helen and I went to see French and Saunders live. THANK GOD WE TOOK A TAXI. Man. I could never have navigated my way to the Palais Theatre in St Kilda. Roads were blocked and it was all complicated! Anyway, the Palais Theatre is gorgeous! Holy shit! What a fantastic theatre. I saw a poster advertising Ben Folds the night before I'm due to fly to Melbourne for the ASCAP "Broadway to Australia" gigs that I'm doing with the Southern Gospel Choir ... Can you imagine? Ben Folds in this gorgeous theatre! In Melbourne! Oh! I bet it's already sold out, too. Meh. I seriously love my Ben Folds collection ... but moving on from that - how fantastic are French and Saunders? God, do I even need to go into any detail? I'd already watched the DVD of the show (and yet I forked out over $200 for my ticket) but had a wonderful time regardless. The fact that I was seeing French and Saunders in the flesh was so exciting to me! Two people that I've watched on TV for years and years and years were suddenly there, fifteen metres away from me on stage. THAT was cool. I love those moments! (I want to have a Ben Folds moment like that. Must google the availability of tickets!) So star-struck. They were larger than life, infectious, funny, generous with their audience and seemed to be having a genuinely good time (even though they must've done that show, word-for-word, for a year now!). I got a t-shirt. I wore it with pride on the way home from Melbourne. LOL.

We didn't have much money so we didn't really do a lot else, just kicked around in our hotel on Little Bourke St and stepped out to soak up the Melburnian atmosphere around the streets. Tried to go to the Salvador Dali exhibition, but it was packed, and then I tried to go to the Star Wars exhibition at Scienceworks in Spotswood, but the "helpful volunteer" standing on a shop corner designed to help tourists didn't really know how to get there and suggested that I take a free bus ride instead. "Oh," I said, "Will it drop me off near Scienceworks?" He shook his head. "No, but it's free..."

... Riiiiiight.

On a health-related note, in addition to my head-cold (sore throat, sneezing, coughing, rivers of snot), I managed to get period pain, headaches, develop two enormous blisters on both heels that STILL haven't gone down (six days later), and slice my finger open with my razor as I was packing up all my bathroom products. Full marks to me in the "needy" stakes!

Had a great time. Recommend Melbourne.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Happy birthday to me!

I love my birthday. Despite the fact that I have been sick on a number of different birthday occasions, I still frigging love mine. Even though I had to work for nine hours at a service station on my birthday this year (yesterday), I still loved it. We went to Mezethes Greek Restaurant for dinner last night (that was AMAZING, as usual) and then had dessert and champagne at my house. Yay! So good. Had some really good cooking triumphs this time. Made a really yummy lemon slice (I was going to link to the recipe, but the tab seems to have disappeared from my Firefox... can't seem to stop people 'borrowing' my laptop to watch things on YouTube!), caramel slice, Mars Bar slice, chocolate crackles, truffles... Jess was my big, big helper on Saturday night. We made these things whilst dancing and singing madly to all the best musicals (I'm talking Little Women and Avenue Q, man) and it was great. Good times ahoy.

Can't believe I'm 25. WHAT HAVE I ACHIEVED?!?!?!

In the past, people have said to me that I am a really difficult person to buy presents for. I disagree! I am going to list for you what people bought me this year, as it suits me DOWN TO THE GROUND.

Many cards (I love cards)
The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde*
T2 French Earl Grey tea leaves
T2 Madagascan Vanilla tea leaves
A very dainty and sweet tea-cup
Bill Bailey The Classic Collection DVD
Grug Has A Birthday, by Ted Prior**
A big black umbrella with music notes and a piano keyboard***
An ethos bibita silver wine-rack
A Bonnae silver charms keyring!
Harry Potter Poster Sticker Annual 2009 book
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince mini sticker book
This Little Piggy Went To Prada, by Amy Allen****
A stack of three notepads reading: Some things are better rich; coffee, chocolate and men.
Notepads came with a cute pen and a leopard-print ribbon!
Reese's Peanut-Butter Cups
Reese's Mini Peanut-Butter Cups
A little notepad edged in music
A ruby and cubic zirconia necklace from Prouds, to match my graduation earrings
A Lush "Happy" box, full of delicious-smelling things from Lush
Pretty fresh flowers
Noodle-box of chocolates from Norman and Dann
The Sims 3 for PC*****
Bottle o'wine
Party poppers
Glow sticks

* I am so glad that Jen got me a new copy of this book. She didn't know if I already have it, and I do; I bought it second-hand, and haven't been able to read past the first chapter because the book smells like old, musty cigarettes, and I can't abide it!

** That was such a cute idea for a present. I loved Grug!


**** Dude. So cool. Natalie and B will be so proud. Thanks, Lucy!

***** From my siblings. So much love for them right now.

Kate has lent book three in The Mediator series by Meg Cabot also, which is the only one I haven't read yet. So I'm delighted!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

One Chance

I have just bought a new CD. (New as in it's new to me, cos it sure as hell ain't new to the CD market.)

Paul Potts - One Chance.

I'm about to listen to it. Let you know how it goes. I'm proud of Paul Potts for fighting for what he wants out of life! You go, girlfriend! And yes, I'm incredibly jealous that he gets to record CDs of songs that he loves AND make a packet doing it. I have this deep-seated jealousy of everybody who gets to do that. Il Divo, Josh Groban, Charlotte Church (though not anymore - oh dear - that pop album - er - where to look - awkward), Amici, Hayley Westenra, etc etc etc. Bastards, all of them. I WISH I could do what they're doing. I would TOTALLY sell out and record popera if it meant that I could have a blast doing it and pay the rent. Le sigh.

Anyway, back to the new CD business. I also just ordered yet ANOTHER limited edition thinger of Josh Groban's that he's releasing. Gordon Bennett, kid, slow down and let me catch up! He's going to send me broke. Lucy and Mikey reasoned that I didn't actually HAVE to keep buying the stuff, but hellooooooo... it's a collection now... therefore, it must be completed!

Also, I just got ahold of Chess In Concert (Josh Groban, Idina Menzel, other people I can't remember). WONDERFUL! I had never listened to Chess before. What a great show. How hot does Idina sound in it? It's so far removed from Elphaba the Wicked Witch of the West that I'm gobsmacked and impressed. What a genius. Love it. Can't wait for the DVD to arrive. Also, massive kudos to the Customer Service Team at Warner Bros, who let me re-download the pre-release digital tracks after my laptop was cruelly wiped by ASUSTek (but in a very timely fashion, I must say). Wouldn't have been so cruel if I'd learned to back up my files properly in the first place. Moron.

OK! Listening to Paul now!


OK, I love this Paul Potts album. What a champion. GO TEAM PAUL! He is obviously having a ball doing what he loves.

In other news, this has caused me to create a separate pile of CDs which I am naming "Lolly Music" (which is very complimentary, even though it doesn't sound like it, but I like lollies, and I like these CDs, so it's OK), and I have discovered that my PERSONALLY AUTOGRAPHED copy of Il Divo's first album is MISSING. All of my Da Vinci's Notebook CDs are missing TOO.

*low growl*

'Fess up.