Happiness as Anarchy #120: Flower Arrangements

The Château de Chenonceau in the Loire Valley in France has immaculate gardens, exquisitely designed and carefully maintained, delighting the eye in every direction. In addition there is a prolific flower garden with blooms destined for the château. In every room and corridor there are fascinating flower arrangements, every bit as interesting as the furniture and architecture, adding a living presence to the historic site.


Happiness as Anarchy #108: Dress Up Parties

If there’s one thing I love more than dress ups, it’s dress up parties. This evening’s opening party for Daniel Kneebone‘s ‘Alice-ism‘ (part of the Ballarat International Foto Biennale) was a dress up event, and boy did people dress up! There were queens of hearts, rabbits, mad hatters, and all kinds of other fabulous creations. When one is a costumey kind of person it is so much fun to be with a group of fellow costume lovers. And to top it off I had a lengthy conversation with Marie from Marquis de Sade about costumes, corsets and creativity.

Alice Tea Party Final (APPA Final with logo's) 1200px.jpg

Happiness as Anarchy #94: Unsolicited dress-ups

I popped along to the Foto Biennale opening this evening in Versailles costume (doing a little promo for the next show on the 20th September in Ballarat). I was lucky enough to find my favourite after hours loading zone park outside Karova (heavy rock venue), where there was quite a queue of young people dressed in various shades of black. It was very fun to open my car door and emerge in my large and ruffly dress and wig! Twas also quite enjoyable to mingle with the trendy photographer crowd (who, incidentally, were also wearing a lot of black). Perhaps I’ll wear it to the supermarket next.



Happiness as Anarchy #87: Cultural Change

It tickles my fancy when I play a Sarabande that at one stage it was illegal. Bach’s Sarabande – the one I play is part of the fifth French suite – is a beautiful, restrained piece of baroque keyboard music. It doesn’t get much more refined that this in the classical musical world. However … in the 16th century things were different. Having it’s origins in folk music and dance in Latin America, the Zarabanda was considered “so lascivious in its words, so ugly in its movements, that it is enough to inflame even very honest people.” (Juan de Mariana). Public performance was punishable by two hundred lashes!

I’ll be playing the whole suite and telling tales of Versailles tomorrow night in Castlemaine if you’re in the mood for a little once-inflammatory entertainment.

Amie Brûlée Versailles 2 small

Happiness as Anarchy #84: Fixing dripping taps

If there’s one way to feel a sense of accomplishment, it’s through successful plumbing repairs. Today I successfully changed the washers in not one, but three dripping taps. I am filled with a sense of achievement and a new calm permeates the house in the absence of drips interrupting the aural environment.

If only my taps were as stylish as Versailles:

Versailles tap

Happiness as Anarchy #80: Sewing

I’m making an 18th century costume for my new show, Les Femmes de Versailles (The Women of Versailles), which has its first outing next weekend in Castlemaine. The dress has been quite a process – making hips, a giant skirt, stomacher (the fluffy bit that covers the front), jacket, and ruffles, lots of ruffles. I’ve been finishing it off today and am reminded how much I like sewing – hand or machine, I like them both. It’s a very calm and satisfying activity, and I can’t help thinking perhaps I should have spent all those years sewing instead of phd-ing.

18th century dress

Happiness as Anarchy #71: Sleeping like a log

There’s something very satisfying about waking up feeling like you’ve slept well. I never get enough hours, but I love it when I’m physically exhausted and wake up in exactly the same position as I went to sleep in. As though I fell asleep the instant my head hit the pillow and I didn’t budge until morning.

I’m not sure how well I would sleep in the quasi-public surroundings that the queens at Versailles were subjected to. All those seats were for people to watch her majesty get dressed every morning.

Chambre de la reine Versailles