Friday, June 15, 2007

Braindead, or not

The trouble with finishing a book after a rager is that the brain cells you need to comprehend what you’re reading, many of which are shaky at the best of times, either have died or are waiting at the station to be transferred to the junkyard of after-party detritus. But you persist because you like to read. The novel (I was attempting to read) was Nabokov’s Transparent Things.

It’s a fairly straightforward effort by him, but nevertheless, brain matter does help. What I can recall is that an uncoordinated publishing assistant under mysterious circumstances beds a glamorous, impulsive, frigid femme fatale, and even though she likes him only for his brilliant mind, she subjects him to a series of physical tests accompanied by two beefcake Nordic twins and before you know it the odd couple marry and flit between NY (where they live) and Switzerland, where he applies pressure on an enigmatic novelist named R to finish his damn opus.

Brain dead or not, every sentence is like devouring emphatically fine foody prose replete with marvelous expressions and hilarious adjectives. Just don’t ask me to explain the title because I’ll make something up about pencil shavings and atoms.

Party the night before was rightly bitchin. I was showered with “unexpected” attention and unexpected gifts (two bike bells, OZ mix CDs, tablecloth, countless other goodies), felt very overwhelmed, ate kangaroo shish kebabs, De Campo burned a hole in Catherine’s tights, Matt made a bloody great Pavlova, I fumbled my way through an impromptu speech and tossed vegetables in the air, the shattered capsicum of which Matt used as a dummy to sing The Birthday Party’s Release the Bats (there really is no other way to tackle this).

Woke up, tad bleary, finished TT and contemplated my next choice. I had wanted to read Snugglepot and Cuddlepie next, but then I started on Philip Roth’s Anatomy Lesson (excellent, by the way; much better than The Ghostwriter and Zuckerman Unbound), so I may have to do S&C after this.

Snug and Cud is a beautifully illustrated childrens’ book (wicked banksia man pictured above) written by May Gibbs about a hundred years ago in Western Australia), a gift from Michael & Fiona (also from Western Australia) for becoming citizen of their country. Funnily enough M's mother H — who performed a supremely intoxicating piano recital on Sunday that we were present at — knew May Gibbs' niece and spoke to her on the phone on at least one occasion. She talked like “THI-I-I-S-S-S”. Apparently she had a very deep voice, not sure if Helen was talking about May or the niece. Anyway back to the recital — De Bussy was the subject and it reminded me a little of Gershwin and when I told H this, she busted out a few bars of Rhapsody in Blue. Just divine. Later an angel named Rodrick laid down some Fats Waller voodoo and it was GOOOD (deep mean voice). But then the coffee table shattered, luckily no one was hurt, we barbequed homemade sausage rolls, finished the champagne listening to Thin Lizzy and then scooted home (wasn’t far, we live on the same street as the hosts).

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