Sunday, May 24, 2015

It’s thinking season at Sydney Writers’ Festival

The great thing about books is that the good ones always make you think and leave an impression in your mind. Since Sydney Writers’ Festival is a celebration of the written word it made me think and made me even more passionate about books and ideas.

After flying in to Sydney on a “Red Eye” and dumping my stuff I immediately made my way to Welsh Bay for my first session which was with Australian political Journalist Paul Kelly. Kelly’s Triumph and Demise is another book on the drama of Australian politics during the last Labor Government and since I am a political geek, I never tire of such books even of there have been dozens already published. 

The rest of the day was spent enjoying sessions on looking at WWI from the benefit of hindsight and stories from power women in Australia just to name a few.

The next couple of days were jam packed full of sessions that covered so many different topics, from the effects of the internet on the brain to the rise of the Australian political drama. I really enjoyed hearing former Queensland Premier Anna Bligh speak as well as seeing Dan Mori in a panel discussion on Government control.

My strategy for booking tickets for sessions was just to book a whole lot of different ones. Some were better than others but I always learnt something. Some writers were more verbally articulate then others and some were more animated. Some facilitators were more skilled at teasing out ideas from the panellists and encouraging debate and discussion between them.

I loved the venue although it does get a little packed. It does take a little while to order coffee and lunch choices are a little limited.

But honestly, with the Harbour Bridge in the background adds beauty to the festival. Being around other book lovers in such a lovely location was such a joy and is what brings me back every year.


Friday, May 15, 2015

Who is Lucky Chan?

To be honest, I have no idea but I know that we are lucky to have such a cool restaurant in Perth.

Lucky Chan’s Laundry and Noodle Bar is a relatively new outfit in Perth and one that I had been meaning to visit for months. So after seeing a mid day French movie at Cinema Paradiso with a friend my wish came true. Aren’t I lucky?

Lucky Chan’s occupies a tall and narrow building. Its laundry concept is random, how many places choose to put ironing boards as decoration on the side of the wall? There are about three washing machines at the front desk…..Interesting!

Because the weather wasn’t too bad today, my friend and I choose to enjoy our Raman on the Roof Top. As we climbed up the steep stairs we saw where they made the noodles and see where else we could enjoy our dinner/drinks.

Danny Ramen
Once we had settled in our spot, we were quickly handed menus and decided on some Ramen – a big bowel of Shio for me and a bowl of Danny Ramen for friend. They were beautifully presented and tasted great.

Lucky Chan’s also has a super cool drinks menu (including an extensive mocktails)and more great food. I look forward to going back and trying more of their great food.  

This place is quirky and fun. It is well worth a visit if you want a fun night out in a joint that is less than traditional.

Shio Raman

Lucky Chan's Laundry + Noodlebar on Urbanspoon

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Admitting to imperfection

If you are a believer it is often hard to discuss the negative aspects of your values. It is hard to do so because you don’t want to be seen as a doubter to others or to cancel out the many positive aspects to a political, social or religious movement.

In many ways, Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist is a discussion of Feminism and in a way that acknowledges the flaws as well as the complexities of this social movement. But in doing so she separates the concept of feminism with the people who believe in it.

Like with any other movement, Gay struggles to reconcile the good that feminism can do with the flawed people that promote it. It is not to say that flawed individuals can only be found in the feminist movement but people are complex and it is hard to live up to any ideological standards 100% of the time.

Gay writes ‘when feminism falls short of our expectations, we decide the problem is with feminism rather than with the flawed people who act in the name of the movement’. Like most people, Roxane Gay knows too well that she is flawed which inspired her to write this book of essays.

She conceders herself a bad feminist because she isn’t familiar with feminism’s seminal works, she confesses to liking pink and sometimes likes to play dumb with the tradie.

But really, although I may not like pink (is purple close enough?), I must confess that I am also guilty of such misdemeanours. I haven’t read all of feminism’s seminal works and I like the odd show that the feminist movement would class as objectifying women as well as being a fan of chivalry.

Roxane Gay’s book is more than just about feminism but also about race and diversity offers as well as how we consume culture. As I read the book you can’t help being reminded that personal is political. I also was reminded that while the political has such a strong influence on people, individuals are able to promote societal change.                  

Roxane Gay on Professional Feminists

As with any interest group, there are people who take it so seriously that it becomes part of their personal brand. Everywhere in society we can spot the professional young person, disabled person, refugee and migrant – all with their success story that they like to always tell us about. As a result, society associates them with the group that they represent and their stories and views become the only ones we hear about.

Gay views on this are ‘Feminism, as of late, has suffered from a curtain guilt by association because we conflate feminism with women who advocate feminism as their personal brand’. As professions are fully human like the rest of us, anything bad that happens to these people reflects badly reflects badly on their community and vice versa.  
When issues arise in regards to a particular community/interest groups, these people are often, and sometimes unfairly, knocked down. This is what Gay has a problem with. She argues that ‘when these figureheads say what we want to hear, we put them up on a feminist pedestal, and when they do something we don’t like, we knock them right off and then say that there is something wrong with feminism because our feminist leaders have failed us. We forget the difference between feminism and Professional Feminists’.

The separation of the ideology and the people that represent it is an important one to remember. It is essential not to give up on what is important to us when people (including ourselves) don’t always live up to expectations.        

Roxane Gay on race in film and literature

Since Roxane’s parents were from Haiti, she has strong opinions about how people of colour are represented in film and literature.

I get the feeling that she is slightly conflicted in this regard. On one hand she wants to be able to write from the perfective of people whose reality is different to hers but at the same time she criticises those depict African Americans in film and literature. She argues that ‘I write across race, gender and sexuality all the time. I would never want to be told that I can’t write a story where a protagonist is a white man or a Latina lesbian or anyone who resembles me.’

She uses the hit book/movie The Help as an example of how the creators of this franchise gets it all wrong. Gay spends several pages writing about the movie’s racial inaccuracies and how she feels that the author ‘doesn’t write black women. She caricatures black women, finding pieces of truth and genuine experience and distorting them to repulsive effect’. While she argues that it was poorly researched, I think that it is almost impossible to write from someone else’s perspective without reverting to caricatures unless we’ve walked in their shoes.  
Why read Bad Feminism

Read this book if you want more than a book on feminism. Bad feminism is a clever and funny book that puts contemporary society under a microscope. 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Sparrow’s Nest is a true gem

I love this place!!!

The Sparrow’s Nest is the kind of café that I fell in love when I was in my teens. It’s funky vibe and cool décor (including a piano in the corner) that includes a combination of tables and chairs as well as sofas which makes it a perfect spot to enjoy a Saturday lunch with friends.

My friends and I scored a spot on the sofa at the back. I went for the Chicken (with a bit of bacon and I think cheese) wrap which warmed to perfection. My fiends shared a plate of nachos which was plenty for two. They chose to add Pulled Pork to their Mexican which complimented the cheese and sauce.

The coffee was nice. While it didn’t have the power kick that coffee from other cafés give but it was still well made and tasted great.

The Sparrow’s Nest staff are friendly, efficient and they did well during a busy Saturday rush.

The Sparrow's Nest on Urbanspoon

Friday, May 1, 2015

Breakfast out is a perfect start to the day

I love the Australian tradition of going out for breakfast. It is such a nice way of spending time with friends while enjoying great food and coffee.

Today I caught up with a friend and we decided to visit one of the many cafés near my house.

Zucchero Espresso Bar is a Victoria Park institution and while I had been to it before, it had been a while. On weekends it is often it is packed both inside and out but because we went on a Friday morning it was less busy.

My friend chose the Brioche French Toast with berry compote which came highly recommended and was nicely presented. It was well complimented by her cappuccino.

I ordered the Bacon Stack which was very memorable. The serving was generous and the scrambled eggs were rich, creamy and perfectly done. The mushrooms were also perfect while the bacon was very crispy.

The only negative was that the whole dish was a little too salty. I know that bacon is normally salty and I don’t know if eggs and mushrooms had any extra but it was a little overpowering. Don’t get me wrong, I did love it and it kept me full all day.        

The coffee was OK.

Zucchero Espresso is pretty good but is probably at risk of being outshone but its upstart cousins down the road such as Harvest and The Imp but this shouldn’t be a reason not to visit. This is especially true because it has more space and is more family friendly.         

Zucchero Espresso Bar on Urbanspoon
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...