Henri’s Journey to the End of the Night

I like to think that I am an adventurous eater, I will try most things, but that is not to say that I am not fussy and that there is nothing that can put me off.  When offered a delicacy I feel I am often a little nervous, after all many so called delicacies can be hard to stomach.  Caviar, chicken’s feet and snails just to name a few.  But I always feel the need to try them, surely there is a reason these foods are so highly revered?

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A Day at the Fair

The Melbourne Art Book Fair is the perfect melding of the old and the new, the famous and the soon to be, global and local and the corporate and the independent.  Here zines sit side by side with monographs of well known artists, publications are created right before your eyes, and ideas are shared across time and space. Continue reading

No Longer Just Kids

I feel very close to Patti Smith.  She has shared with me the most intimate details of her life, her upbringing, her struggle as a young woman discovering art, life and love, and the inner workings of her mind through her writing and music.  I grew up with her as I bounced around my bedroom to Because the Night and Free Money. Together we shared a beautiful moment, her daughter performing live at Carnegie Hall in New York where Patti was moved to tears.  We share many of the same tastes and obsessions, Herman Hesse’s Steppenwolfe, Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita, and  the films of Akira Kurosawa.  And we have the type of friendship where I can absolutely trust her judgement when she recommends films, television shows and books to me. Continue reading

Henri’s Literary Digest: Rabbits Aren’t Gentlemen

I must confess I have a bit of a sweet tooth, but I am not overly fond of rich chocolatey cakes, give me a soufflé any day.   After all, not all great literature needs to be complex or heavy in flavour.  The hallmark of great literature is that it is forged using only the best ingredients.  The words have to be organic, carefully selected and locally sourced.  Great literature takes these ingredients and blends them to perfection.  And nothing is trickier than making the perfect soufflé, like comedy, one false step and the whole thing collapses on itself.   Continue reading

Henri’s Dangerous Liaison

Yes it was perhaps dangerous setting out to devour this novel, devoured by so many film makers before me.  You may know this story better as Dangerous Liaison’s Starring John Malkovich and Glenn Close, or the teen movie adaptation, Cruel Intentions, or less likely, as Valmont starring a young Colin Firth (yes ladies he does get his shirt wet… I know that’s what you were going to ask but I do not appreciate such filth in my comments).  But devour it I did.  Partly just because I happened to find a particularly beautiful edition whilst in a lovely bookstore in Launceston called MW Stevenson- Bookseller, Secondhand and Antiquarian Books.  If you ever go there it’s worth a visit, I was like a child in a candy store (coincidentally it’s right near a candy store).

Drawn to the luminous silk binding and the beautiful illustrations throughout I bit into the lavish pages, enjoying every nibble. Les Liaisons Dangereuses is like a richly layered cake.  Told in the form of letters the story jumps between the different flavours of each character, the biting wit of Marquise de Merteuil, the sickly sweetness of Cecile Volanges, the cleansing purity of Madame de Tourvel.  At first I was excited, drawn forward by the intrigue, all those different flavours wooing, fighting and betting against each other.  But then it all became too rich, like an incredibly delicious cake that you suddenly realise you are never going to finish, I began to slow down, take smaller bites, and then the end was in sight.  I took the last bite and collapsed, feeling queasy and pretty sure I should have given up while I was ahead.

It is certainly a story that captures the imagination, highlights the horrible things that humans are capable of, and challenges the upper classes.  By telling the story via the correspondence of the characters you end up hearing each event from every perspective, a technique that works well in the beginning but grows tired by the end.  It’s a shame because the flavour was there but there was just too much, the piece was too large, there was too much cream and not enough substance. And now I am left with just the crumbs of my beautiful book, some cakes look better than they taste.