The arts season is starting to wind down as we get to the end of the year. Hobart Rep's final production for the year was Table Manners - unless you count their Christmas pantomine.
The second-last show at the Moonah Arts Centre this week was billed as "A Colourful Interlude with the Spondooli Brothers" and features acoustic guitar duo Luke Yates and Brad Dumpleton. Their guitar playing is so good that the tongue-in-cheek patter about their mythical Balkan homeland soon becomes an interruption to the show that is to be endured rather than enjoyed.
The programme claims that their music will "sweep you on a journey of moods," blending Gypsy, Spanish, Brazilian, jazz, classical, folk and middle-eastern music into their own unique style. And they're right actually.
Also of note is the third of the Jacques Tati season at the State Cinema, the 1953 comedy Mr Hulot's Holiday. This is the third time I've seen this film, and only the television screening failed to delight. Tati's elaborately choreographed long-shots mean little on the small screen, but in the cinema they had the audience rocking with amusement.
I especially like the first few minutes where Hulot is not visible, but the camera is following the misadventures of a little two-seater car that could belong to nobody but Hulot.
I think it was Terry Jones who said that Tati's films aren't actually silent, but they possess many of the virtues of silent movies. Amen to that.
No luck with seeing any more of the aurora. Cloud and drizzle the next day meant any stargazing was out of the question. Still, it's not as though I've never seen it before. (I met a woman once who had seen ball-lightning – "I 'm really envious!" I told her.)
Saturday I felt a little strange at the end of the day. Finally I realised that I had gone two days without speaking to anybody except strangers. I have been so accustomed in recent years to having to fit everything into my busy schedule that it took a while to realise that was what was different.
For once I had not had contact (unless you count an SMS message from my sister) with family, friends or acquaintances. This must be what it is like to be "a solitary man" as the old song puts it.
McKay's Bookstop, the old-established bookshop in New Town, is closing its doors. The business will (probably) open up again somewhere else, but the proprietor is having a big clearance sale next weekend and the following weekend.
But he has a lot of books to shift. I didn't often go in there because it used to make me dizzy. Every wall of the shop was lined with bookshelves from floor to ceiling and you could just stand there and pivot round and round, looking up and down until motion-sickness set in.
So what does he do with the ones he thinks won't sell? Well, I drove past there today and there were a few people hanging around the front of the shop, with piles and piles of books on the sidewalk in front of them. I stopped the next time I drove past, and there was a sign above them "Free to a good home"!
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