Sunday, May 28, 2017

Seeking a literary refuge!

There is something especially geeky about writers’ festivals. Days and days full of sessions with either a writer discussing their book or a panel of authors discussing a particular issue.

You come away feeling so inspired and all you want to do is to spend days and day just reading. Stuff everything else, stuff real life and adult responsibilities, I just want to read!

This year was no less perfect than every year before. The venue was perfect and so was the weather. The piers at Welsh Bay did seem a little crowed this year but that was just down to my perception.

My highlights were seeing prolific Feminist Author Roxanne Gay and hearing her talk on gender, politics, body image, race relations as well as David Marr and John Safran speak about the Politics of Fear.

Clementine Ford and Robert Jensen were part of a great session chaired by Catherine Fox on gender that covered everything from masculinity, male privilege, porn, men and feminism and women in public life, including the internet. In true style, when Clementine Ford’s baby work up from it’s nap she continued to breast feed it, etc. while carrying on talking without pause.


Another lovely session was a tribute to veteran broadcaster Mark Colvin whose life was cut way too short earlier this year. It interesting to hear about his early early life and work as a foreign correspondent.

There were many more sessions that I couldn’t get to but for those I’ll just have to be content to hear them in podcast mode.

I have to wait until next year, when the Sydney Writers’ Festival will again be my refuge and happy place.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Brunch in the name of love

Being in Byron Bay and a mecca for hippies in Australia and an icon for that idyllic Australian beach lifestyle. It’s cool if that’s your thing.  

So of course, their cafés reflect this beach lifestyle, especially the Byron Fresh café. It has a beach shack kinda vibe and the staff look like they’ve just come in for a surf while being efficient and quick.

My 4-grain porridge with chia seeds, hazelnuts and fruit were perfect, it was one of the best I’ve had and I’m English.

The coffee came out super fast and was pretty good. The Ancient Golden Milk was an experience but in a good way. Think spices, think autumn, think awesome.

Byron Fresh was fantastic, the food was amazing and the vibe was chilled and relaxed. They didn’t mind me sitting there catching up on stuff on my laptop while enjoying watching the world go past.      


They do more than breakfast and their Happy Hour starts at 3 which is good to know.

Byron Fresh Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Loitering on the East Coast.

I don’t know why I went on holiday. I couldn’t afford it and I should have my money elsewhere but what started as a cheeky trip to the Sydney Writers’ Festival became a two-week holiday on the east coast of Australia.

This is what happens when you’re obsessed with travelling, you just have to go regardless of the consequences. 

The Itchy feet become too hard to handle.

But it's done now and as I sit in this cute café in Byron Bay killing time until I go to the airport, I look back on this week (has it been that long?) and process the memories of this trip.

It started in Melbourne which was cold, damp and a little dark. As it turned out, I didn’t end up doing much except eating, walking and eating more with friends. This is why you go to Melbourne right? The food and coffee were amazing.

But I couldn’t go to Melbourne without visiting the National Gallery of Victoria which had a Van Gogh exhibition on. While the NGV is my favourite gallery in Australia, I thought that they surpassed themselves with this exhibition. It was beautifully presented and had a wide range of Van Gogh’s work based around the Seasons.

A Walking Tour of Melbourne was especially interesting but spooky.  

Anyway, soon enough it was time to move up the east coast to Byron Bay. Despite rain being forecasted, it turned out to be warm and balmy with pure sunshine. It was so beautiful.

As a stepped off the bus, it was like being set into slow motion, especially after an espresso-fuelled couple of days in Melbourne. It defiantly seems like a holiday town here.

Everywhere you look there are gaggles of pretty young things in their bathers and hot guys swaggering around like royalty. The smell of weed is as common as the smell of sunscreen.   

I had to visit the Light House even though it was a bit of a track but the views were amazing.   

I also had to visit Nimbin, not because I wanted to smoke a joint (trust me, that didn’t happen) but just to see what it was like. I had been before but that was years ago.

Nimbin was smaller than how I had remembered it but it was as chilled. There is nothing much to do except smoke weed and eat lunch as a few average cafés. But the drive out there was super nice and just so lovely.

Now it is time to go to Sydney before getting back to reality. This break has been worth it and totally fun, even if not the right thing to do financially.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Lets all be feminists

Based on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED Talk, her book is about her life from a feminist perspective and straight away stated that feminism is limited by stereotypes.

It is a lyrical book that could easily be a discussion over an evening meal or a glass of wine.

We Should All Be Feminists gives Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie a context that helped me to understand her books better. Like many people who straddle two cultures are influenced by many ideas and this sometimes causes internal conflict.  She writes about her early life in Africa and it comes into conflict with Western attitudes that she was exposed to while studying in America. She cites being called ‘Un-African” and a “Man Hater” because of her Western ideas that she incorporated into her worldview.

These are examples of how feminism is constructed by external factors. As Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie writes, what it shows is how that word feminism is so heavy with baggage: you hate men, you hate bras, you don’t care about your appearance, etc. None of these labels are flattering or positive. But one of these labels is true, Feminists are angry because genre inequality is a grave injustice.  But as she states, the good news is that anger has a history of bringing about positive change.

Apart from being a great novelist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a strong woman with great ideas and who’s opinion is vital in the public sphere.   

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