Festival First Night

“She looks a bit bored”, my friend Kate said to me, referring to the expression on the face of Emmylou Harris, as she performed tonight at Sydney Festival First Night. I’m not a huge fan of Emmylou Harris, but I was keen to see her perform. I thought she looked more like Deborah Harry, actually. To be honest, I was a little disappointed. She didn’t really seem all that excited to be here. I thought she was going through the motions, though I could be wrong.

Emmylou Harris at Sydney Festival Opening Night
Emmylou Harris at Sydney Festival Opening Night

At the risk of being seen as highly parochial, I actually enjoyed the Ruby Hunter tribute more. Although not entirely familiar with her output, I have a strong memory of interviewing Ruby Hunter and Archie Roach many years ago when I was doing the Morning Show on ABC Radio in the Riverland in South Australia in the early 90s. I don’t remember much about the interview, except that I remember Ruby was originally from the Riverland, and I think that’s why I interviewed her.

Ruby was a tremendous songwriter, with many of her songs focussed on her homeland on the Murray River, and her Aboriginality. There was everything from beautiful songs about the water to almost-angry songs about domestic violence. Tonight’s opening night at Sydney Festival was a really enjoyable evening, as they paid tribute to Ruby who died several months ago. The highlights? For me, Tiriki Onus was fantastic, Dan Sultan was way sexy, and it was great to see Tiddas back together.

Kate and I had enjoyed a lovely day together with started with lunch at Red Chilli. We had been there once before, about twelve months ago, and had enjoyed the food very much. The food we had today was not disimilar to the food we enjoyed together in Beijing a few months ago, though not as chilli hot. There’s a pork dish we had today which I can’t recall the name of which I enjoyed very much. And there’s a wonderful chilli chicken dish which is just spectacular. Twelve months ago I thought it was too hot. I had it in Beijing. And then today, I thought it was quite mild. Either way, I thought Red Chilli was a great place for lunch and I would highly recommend it to anyone.

In between that and Sydney Festival, Kate and I wandered around the city for a while. And then we went and bought some socks and razor blades for my friend who is currently in hospital. The socks weren’t so important to him, as the razor blades. We had a conversation on Thursday about how the Mach 3 by Gillette was probably the world’s best razor blade. He’s been struggling with some cheapies, and asked if I could get him some “real blades”. As soon as he mentioned the Mach 3, I knew immediately what he meant. Other blades hack your face to pieces. The Mach 3 is a little more expensive to start with, but last longer, and does a wonderful job on your face. So I picked up those two items, visited him at the hospital, and then re-joined Kate later with chairs for us to sit on as we watched and enjoyed the Ruby Hunter tribute.

Mary MacKillop statue at St Marys Cathedral in Sydney
As I made my way back to meet Kate, along the way I was rather surprised to discover the statue of Mary MacKillop now outside St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney. On reflection I think it’s a rather nice statue, particularly since it features Saint Mary with people, and you can actually sit down with her, as I noticed quite a few people doing.

A reasonably diverse Saturday, you would agree? :)

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