Aug 27, 2016

Eloise Meanders Towards High School

I don't really like to think of myself as the competitive dad type but I made Eloise work very hard to get these piano tunes going well, and she's only been properly learning piano for a little while now, just a few months.

So there were tears and this was take fifty three (roughly) but she got her audition video for the KG Music Excellence Programme sorted in the end and has been judged successful.

...which will probably cost us a small fortune,

Dec 20, 2015

A Note on Privacy

I found the Ins key. Which is a relief. On with the bollocks.

I should point out that, now that Eloise is growing up, and of an age where she may become sensitive should I ever divulge to her the existence of this thing, that I am becoming aware that there are certain privacy issues surrounding my somewhat tenuous reportage of her progress as a person, and so I will be making allowances for this as we move forward.

I'm Going to Blog Like There's No Tomorrow

It's come to my attention that I have been remiss over a number of weeks, nay probably months, in my blogging activity, which has led certain individuals to become disenchanted and possibly even suspicious in my commitment to the medium, and by extension, somehow, themselves.

I will seek to redress this by transferring my evening-time wine-drinking activities away from pointless word-games on the back deck to inside where I can type away like a thing possessed until I lose the use of my fingers or decide that transferring images from my phone to the cloud then back again to transfer them to some third-party image-hosting site where I can embed them into a blog post is just too much trouble to carry out in a highly repetitive pattern while trying to hold onto this temporary zeitgeistish enthusiasm I now find myself possessed by.

I've already fallen at the second hurdle. You see after some shall we say problems installing windows 10 onto my laptop the laptop after a while carked it leading to the new computer upon which I am now typing. I can no longer find the Ins key which as you afficionados will know is critical to editing success and therefore you will have to forgive errors in spolling while I figure out what the shell is going on.

So, anywany, soarry?

Nov 15, 2015

Jazz, in the Loosest Possible Sense of the Word

Eloise is a member of the school jazz band. Watching a performance of the jazz band is a strangely surreal experience, as the various members of the ensemble, and there are many, struggle to play their instruments in time with the teacher, who plays his guitar rather than conducts. And as they are beginners, it's fair to say they struggle to play their instruments at all. In combination with this, there are several singers who struggle to stay in time with everyone else, and everyone else being out of tune with each other, they struggle to stay in tune with them.

The resulting dirges can only really be described as cacophonous. Truly, mind-bendingly, teeth-jarringly cacophonous. I have a video. I could post it. But I won't.

Generally they perform each year at the Customs House in the City apparently but this year they'd been gazumped by a fee-paying wedding so to the Brisbane Jazz Club we wended our wary way on a bright sunny day.

The performance was in an open-air area right by the river. The sun was beating down. The tide was high. When a city-cat went past its wake would lap at the feet of the performers. Some canoeists ambled by, the buzz of traffic filtered across the river from the city. All was calm and well with the world.

The calm was shattered by the Macarena, or something loosely resembling it. It struggled to recover amidst a spattering of well-intentioned applause, only to be beaten down again by a song which proclaimed that it liked to wave its hands up in the air sometime; many in the audience felt like waving the white flag, I'm sure. The Time Warp took us by the scruff of our necks, put its hands on our hips then did unspeakable things to our ears.

They're only beginners.

They are only beginners.

Nov 11, 2015

Nov 8, 2015


I may previously have alluded to Nicole's prime motivation around our children's birthdays, which is to bake cakes of stupendous complexity and art.

Due to work commitments we were unable to schedule Nicole's birthday party until a week after the actual birthday that was supposedly being celebrated but regardless we had a cake to make and more to the point to decorate.

This year's theme was the Octonauts (not Frozen, take note) and we made icing-sugar citizens of the deep to accompany Peso the Pungent Penguin, Kwazi the Cretinous Cat and Barnacles the Bollocks Polar Bear down our gullets and into the Midnight Zone of our digestive tracts.

They'll all look the same coming out, possibly not that dissimilar to how they looked going in, for works of art they were most definitely not.

Especially Kwazi, who looked like he'd had an unfortunate encounter with Salvador Dali's Sausage Making Machine.

Nov 2, 2015

Birthday Number Three

Is it wrong to put a toddler into Childcare on its birthday?

Lyra probably understood the general concept of birthdays this time around, insofar as the toddlerof logic of event = outcomes goes. For birthdays = presents and that's all that counts.

For Nicole of course birthdays = cakes, but she's so much more advanced, isn't she.

So present-opening wasn't undertaken until the evening, and many presents there were to be opened, thanks to Lyra's generous grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends. Oh, and immediate family.

Three glorious years. Here's to three more. At least!

Oct 31, 2015

Hallowe apostraphe en

Hallowe'en's always good for a laugh, isn't it?

Around the corner from us they literally foam at the mouth for it, with legions of kids swarming the streets, ram-raiding everything in sight in the hope of collecting armfuls of sugary treats, marching around in post-apocalyptic peripatetic posses of potential paranoia, escorted by parents exhibiting varying to degrees of bemusement.

Houses are bedecked with cobwebs, jack-o-lanterns and various accoutrements from Bargain Shitty and the locals really throw themselves into it.

Just before sunset.

So at sunset we set out with our gory group of grotesque girls, to find that the fun was over really, and the sullen teenagers were hauling themselves from their tomb-like boudoirs to shuffle around being surly to all and sundry.

And once again, Nicole and I were in toddler-control mode as Eloise made off with Marion and the others, and we were left behind to tour the streets before we had had enough and headed home.

I suppose I should pay lip-service to the preparation part, which afforded us a well-intentioned but ultimately painful retail experience followed by a time-consuming, fraught and counterproductive dressing and make-up session.


Oct 29, 2015

Choral Fanfare

You may remember that previously Eloise's school choir won their competition to decide on the best choir in Brisbane and their surrounds with a rabble-rousing performance of closely-harmonied ditties that were impressive and catchy.

The time came around for the Choral Fanfare Grand Finale at the end of October. The Wilston Warblers were not just disappointed but dare I say mildly disgusted to learn that the Grand Finale would not in fact be a Grand Finale in the sense of a winner-takes-all slugfest of singing skill, choral cohones or indeed musical mastery, but a Showcase instead where the choirs would perform for the sheer enjoyment of singing itself, with no prizes and no endless compromises to shatter the illusions of integrity.

It was a post-school evening affair and so for us poor parents took on the pallor of a toddler-control event. Eloise travelled down on a chartered bus while we poor plebs were forced to transport ourselves and join the queue outside the Old Museum, uncertain even as to the sufficiency of the auditorium to accommodate all the parents and family members who had travelled from far and wide (and in Queensland, far and wide means Far and Wide).

Nevertheless, after the assembled choirs had had some time to practise some sort of massed ensemble thingy, we did indeed file in and we did get seats, and before long the choirs began.

The first half of the evening was devoted to the primary schools, and quite impressive they were, as would befit a performance of the winners of the local Fanfare competitions.

Then a short break before the high schools came on.

If only!

"A short break," the bloke said "during which everybody can get to know each other" or words to that effect.

Forty minutes later everyone knew each other intimately, and we were all looking at each other askance and wondering when the bloody singing would start again so we could get ourselves home. We all have homes to go to, you know!

Lyra was by this stage running around like a fly with a teal tush and we knew that whatever writing there was was in fact on the wall. We waited agog with anticipation while the interval went on and on and on and on.

And then, finally, perhaps even funereally, the wait was over and without a hint of explanation, as though a forty-minute interval is a totally normal thing, the proceedings proceeded once more to proceed.

I have skipped over a detailed deconstruction of the performance of the primary schools because the high school performers just blew them away, completely out of the park. There were six-part harmonic reconstructions of Gotye, street-acapella renditions of Rachel Platten, performances ranging in complexity from the sublime to the ridiculous. It was very good indeed.

Of course much as we were enjoying it the toddler was playing up and after Mum and Lyra retired to the sidelines to give her some space to express her tiredness and restlessness through the medium of dance, bringing her until full view and altogether over-closeness with the supposedly sitting-down massed primary choirs who were supposedly spectating the choirs but actually spectating the terrifying toddler, things went south.

When Eloise decided to jump up and intervene I decided to jump up and intervene as things threatened to get out of hand and escorted young Lyra from the scene of potential crime, leaving a sonic trail of wailing behind that I hoped would be less disruptive than whatever unpleasantness might result if the trajectory of events were to take its natural course.