I was going to call this post 'Foreign Cities' and say how appropriate it was that when I go to Melbourne this week my book of choice is called Foreign Cities. But it's not; it's Forbidden Cities by Paula Morris (see Bookman Beattie's recent interview with Paula here). I was getting it mixed up (again - sorry Paula!) with Charlotte Grimshaw's novel Foreign City.
So. I am going to Melbourne this week to visit friends and have a small holiday, and I shall be taking Paula's new book of short stories, which I'm very much looking forward to reading. Even though I'll be in a foreign city with much to do, I will also be in a nice quiet hotel with all the time in the world, and if there's one thing that I don't get much of these days, it's lolling around reading.
I love Melbourne. I've only been once before but if I was going to move to Australia I wouldn't have much trouble settling there I think. It certainly isn't what I would class as a forbidden city; at least, nobody has forbidden me to go there. It might be forbidden in as much as I'm a bit worried about shopping temptations and perhaps drinking too much with my lovely friends. Ah, the decadence!
The Melbourne Arts festival is on and I'm going to see Goran Bregovic's Tales and Songs for Weddings and Funerals on Saturday night. Bregovic made the music for Emir Kusterica's films Time of the Gypsies and Underground, both films I loved, with the music contributing significantly to that love. Here's the blurb:
"The maestro of this timeless new sound, Goran Bregovic, melds a 37-piece ensemble from the best of the Balkans: a 15-piece all-male choir; a 12-piece string orchestra, a six-piece brass 'Wedding and Funeral' band; two female singers from Bulgaria; a guest vocalist Alen Ademovic and, of course, Goran Bregovic! The result is a recipe for riotous fun, passionate performance and exhilarating energy – featuring Bregovic’s much-loved film scores, hot-wired revivals of traditional tunes and new fusions of flavours from Gypsy to rock."
I can't wait. Perhaps afterwards I'll try and give another stumbling music review, where I try and put into words things that I only feel with my gut.
I'm also going to see if I can't get a bit of dancing in, since Melbourne supposedly has one of the most vibrant swing dancing scenes in the world. And speaking of early-20th-century-dance-styles, Melbourne is also home to one of my literary guilty pleasures: Phryne Fisher, the can-do 1920s flapper detective gal, the creation of Kerry Greenwood. If you want maximum escapism with fabulous frocks and mint juleps, you need look no further than Phryne.