“The optimist sees the donut, the pessimist sees the hole.”
– Oscar Wilde
– Oscar Wilde
I’ve read and loved a few Maugham novels without realising that he also excelled at short stories. This is the first one of a four volume collection, which I’ll no doubt complete one day as I love both short stories and Maugham’s brilliant writing. As in any collection, the quality varies somewhat, but most entries are great little gems of economical, elegant storytelling.
The thirty stories contained in the volume are grouped together by geography, as they move from the islands of the Pacific Ocean to England, France, Spain and back to Borneo. They vary wildly in length – some stories take up forty pages and others stop at four – and in tone, with some stories light-hearted and dryly comical, almost resembling a witty punchy epigram, while others are almost luridly tragic.
I first saw Gogol Bordello almost exactly eight years ago, and that was honestly one of the most fun and memorable gigs I’ve been to. So when this rowdy transcontinental gypsy-punk eight-piece collective showed up in Melbourne once again, I jumped at the chance to catch them in concert.
Yeah I was one of the many people who went to see The Dark Knight at the cinema without ever watching Christopher Nolan’s first installment in his dark and gritty Batman trilogy. Almost thirteen years later is still better than never I guess.
A brutal and confessional break-up record; excellent second album from a genre-mashing sister duo.
No I’m not talking about the large subspecies of brown bear inhabiting North America, but rather the American indie rock band, whose live show at the Melbourne Zoo grounds I got to enjoy.
I finally watched the film considered by some to be Citizen Kane of bad movies, Tommy Wiseau’s infamous The Room. Yes I can see why it’s become a cult classic instead of sinking into the obscurity many other, less inspired terrible movies are usually consigned to.
Another one for the book club. I’ve actually read this dystopian novel some years ago, but I was happy to revisit Atwood’s nightmarish yet highly imaginative envisioning of the future where messing with nature comes to a no good, very bad end for the human race.
This is not a spoiler, since the book opens in the post-apocalyptic future where the world’s population has been wiped out, and follows what could be the last human survivor who calls himself Snowman. The only other inhabitants are a mysterious new breed of humans called Children of Crake: physically flawless and beautiful, lacking sexual drive and violent impulses, unable to create art or technology, devoid of envy, anger and existential angst. Despite their reverence for Snowman, his chances of survival look pretty grim, with the dwindling supplies and no real weapon to protect himself against the genetically engineered animals now running amok (including some nasty mutant pigs you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark narrow alley).