S&B Wedding – Part 2, the Hens Night

25 08 2013

yes, yes… a long time between posts, I know….!

The nice thing about my blogging slackness is that this whole wedding series might be wrapped up just in time for the 1st wedding anniversary at the end of November – I’ll get a guest submission from the happy couple to see what married life has been like.

…but for now, be satisfied with Part 2, The Hens.

Being Maid of Honor meant that myself and my fellow bridesmaids, Schmoorsy and Emma Z, had to keep the bride sane, provide support, help with the preparations, but most importantly of all – organise a killer hens night.

Despite having many friends who have gotten married I’d only been to one hen’s night prior to this. (I like to think that that is due to me being in the wrong country every time one happens, but perhaps there is something more to it now I reflect on it?! oh dear…). But I generally know what is expected of a hens night – drunken frivolity, penis shaped paraphernalia and a selection of saucy activity – be it pole dancing classes, going to see the male strippers, etc. So we started the planning down that route and realised pretty quickly that it didn’t really fit with the Shan we all know and love, so pole dancing/strippers got scrapped and we restarted by figuring out what Shannon loves most of all and what she’d do on a dream day out. We concluded that Shannon’s top 3 favorite things were:

1. Drinking

2. Op-Shopping

3. Cheesy Glamour photography such as…

(in theory if you click the image it will take you to the original gallery I nicked this pic from in case you’re after a little extra entertainment)

So with all our ideas compiled we decided on a day-plan of pre-drinks, an op-shop mission to find fabulous outfits to be photographed in on bearskin rugs with vaseline smeared lenses then on to dinner.

Schmoorsy took the planning of the Hen’s and ran with it, being our girl on the ground. She opened up her home to a mix of friends and strangers, booked buses, found op-shops, organised a glamour photography studio and made reservations at a nearby Mexican restaurant with a convenient 2 for 1 Margarita happy hour.  That woman has a promising career in Events should she ever choose to change jobs. Also, what a great opportunity for further embarrassment to the bride to be by using the fabulous glamour photos Shan had taken when she was 18 as the invite!

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Shannon’s day started with a champagne and a hairdressers appointment, attempting to detract attention from her recently broken wrist

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Now appropriately styled Shannon and the other Hen’s descended on Schmoorsy’s beautifully decorated house covered with photos of Shannon and Brendan at their best

the gallery

After a quick champagne toast the hen’s all shared the story of how they met shan – the tales bringing tears, screams, mimed reenactments and many, many laughs.

champagne toast

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Deeper friendship bonds were forged during the banana game. Pairs of hens raced to see how fast bananas could be consumed when fed to each other.

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a winning pair was crowned


and Shannon learned some important lessons from her grandmother

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Schmoorsy directed the Hen’s onto the bus where Shannon was met by her cardboard substitute for the absent Kyoung and off to the Op Shop we went…

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To keep things extra glamorous every Hen was paired up so that they would have a personal fashion advisor to help them choose their glamour outfit. The Hen’s descended on Good Sammy’s in Perth and began the frantic rummage for a winning outfit.

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With outfits selected and donned it was on to the glamour photography studio – but not without strutting the hot new looks through the city streets and jelly shots on the bus

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The glamour photos involved bear skin rugs, red velvet, thrones and calls of “you’re a tiger! you’re a tiger!”. Solo, group and even boudoir sessions were completed under Shannon’s demure supervision

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All too soon, the night ended at the local mexican restaurant where we finally got to the obligatory penis paraphernalia which included penis straws

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…and Shannon and Colleen’s favorite – the 6 foot inflatable penis. A great way to end a fun and unique Hen’s night and a great way to start of the wedding party calendar



A romantic interlude

1 02 2013

I’ve not prepared the next Shan and Brendan wedding update yet, but here’s a little distraction which sticks to the love theme.

This is Disney’s Oscar nominated short ‘paperman’. It’s very sweet and was shown before the Pixar film ‘Wreck-it Ralph’

Aw!! I’m keeping an eye out for lanky boys and paper aeroplanes!

S&B Wedding – Part 1, The Bucks Party

29 01 2013

And so begins a short series on my sister Shannon and her wedding to my new brother-in-law Brendan in November last year.  

Too much happens around a wedding to condense it into one single post, particularly a ‘destination wedding’ like this where people flew in from all corners of the world to attend. 

To kick things off in real style I’m starting off with the coverage of the bucks night with the help of a very special guest author – my dear old Dad, Durham!

Here we go…:

I was quite chuffed when Brendan invited me to his bucks party. As well as being an ideal opportunity to meet my future son-in-law’s friends and family in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere, it was also a great way to study first-hand how the buck’s party has evolved over the last 35 years … (I felt like David Attenborough about to observe lowland gorillas in their natural habitat, forgetting that I might actually be perceived by them as an old silverback trying to protect his family from a raiding party of rogue males)

The last buck’s party that I can recall attending was my own back in 1978. Buck’s nights in the 70’s were a very basic affair – 20 blokes would turn up with huge quantities of long necks and cans … (back when VB tinnies were actually made of steel and could be consumed in under 2 seconds by ripping the ring pull from the can, inverting it and quickly piercing the base with a can opener) … and everyone would just drink themselves blind. To lighten up the night, someone would do party tricks like removing the tops off beer bottles with their eye socket, and then when things got boring the groom-to-be would get his balls covered in toothpaste – (an old boy scout trick). In the morning (and with scrote still burning), you fought the urge to either barf or squid yourself as you cleaned up the flat which was almost as trashed as you were. All quite simple really …

The modern buck’s party has become a major logistical (not to mention expensive) exercise involving multiple sessions of organised fun and acts of blokey bonding … (but still observing the time-honoured tradition of consuming excessive amounts of alcohol). The plan for the day involved a 7:30am start (in reality it was closer to 8:30am!) for a bus-ride beyond the burbs to play paint ball, back on the bus to go to a nearby pub for lunch and a couple of beers, followed by another bus ride to play nine holes of Supergolf and visit a micro-brewery, then back on the bus to Brendan and Shannon’s place for more beers served by novelty beer-maids, before moving on to the “Paddo” for dinner and more beers … and did I mention that we had a couple of eskies filled with beers for all the bus legs?

For anyone who has contemplated playing paintball but not got around to it yet – it REALLY hurts! The rules are simple, if you get shot anywhere on the body (except in the head) you are officially out of the game and are supposed to put your hand up and leave the field of combat until the next game. Unlike real warfare, head shots don’t count! You can get hit in the head as many times as you can stay un-concussed and keep on firing at the other team (or occasionally “killing” your own team members with some poorly-aimed friendly fire!) Before even one shot had been fired, I was betrayed by Brendan and Michael (my son) who both waited for me to pick a side so they could join the opposing team and shoot me wherever and whenever possible. They didn’t necessarily want me out of the game, so took great delight in shooting me in the head as often as possible – a cowardly act, as I have an undeniably large head and make an extremely easy target.



My only chance at revenge against my future son-in-law was the “buck’s run” – where the groom, best man and groomsmen are forced to run without cover in front of a firing squad. Tempted though I was to obliterate Brendan’s wedding tackle with rapid-fire paint balls, I had to be satisfied with shooting him in the lower back in order to maximise pain without reducing my chances of having a grandchild one day.


Supergolf is an interesting game – but unlike paintball, it is relatively pain free. As someone who sucks at normal golf, I enjoyed playing a game that is such an equaliser. Brendan and Michael may have managed to beat me on almost every hole, but I was seldom more than 2 shots behind them. When teeing off, it was tempting to take a long run-up (Happy Gilmore style) when belting the crap out of the large plastic balls with a colour-coded set of Mickey Mouse’s golf clubs.


At the end of a hard day of physical activities and sitting on the bus, it was clearly time for another beer. So the buck’s party relocated back to Brendan and Shannon’s place to finish off the afternoon. In order to make the experience more enjoyable, Glen (Brendan’s best man) had booked a couple of girls to fetch us beers for the afternoon. There is something about scantily clad girls handing you a beer that forces you to make strong eye contact and pretend to engage in intellectual conversation … all the while wondering whether we had really evolved very far from our primitive gorilla relations? (Eat your heart out David Attenborough!)

So, was it all worth it…?

13 09 2012

The last time I posted on here it was to question people’s thoughts on crowdfunding artistic projects. Here

This question was prompted by two of my favorite artists who were simultaneously crowdfunding their new albums, Amanda Palmer and Ben Folds Five.  Amanda used Kickstarter, Ben Folds Five used Pledge Music.

One of the points I made in my previous post was that you are essentially buying a product sight unseen (and actually at the funding stage, product non-existant…) – so its a gamble, but possibly not too much of a gamble when you consider the strong back catalog that both Amanda Palmer and Ben Folds Five have.

Well, this week both the albums dropped, so I thought I’d do a review of them to answer the question as to whether it was worth it – do I feel I got my money’s worth in the end?

Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra – Theatre is Evil

Amanda hasn’t released a polished, new material album since 2008’s “Who Killed Amanda Palmer” – her first solo album away from the Dresden Dolls. The main difference between WKAP and Theatre is Evil is the musical direction that Amanda is taking.  While WKAP still had quite a Dresden Dolls sound, Theatre Is Evil is much more of a departure from this.  I think the main reason for this step change is that this time Amanda has recorded with a band rather than session musicians – clearly the bouncing of ideas and contributions from the other members of the Grand Theft Orchestra has helped yield wildly different and exciting ideas in the studio.  The 80’s New Wave influences are strong with lots of Depeche Mode, Cars and The Cure sounds in the musical stylings – especially in the upbeat numbers like ‘Do It With a Rockstar‘ , ‘The Killing Type‘ and ‘Want It Back‘ – its instant 80’s dance hits! As always Amanda’s strongest skill for me is her uncanny ability to capture imagery and imagination with her beautifully crafted lyrics – ‘The Bed Song’ is a sweet, sad tear-jerker as is ‘Trout Heart Replica’ . As with every one of my favourite albums there are songs that I’m not crazy about just yet – but based on my previous experiences these albums I know that usually such songs tend to unravel in front of me and take a hold before becoming songs I love, so a few more listens and I know I’ll be completely won over.

If you are interested in getting the album click the linked album name above, Amanda has released this on a ‘pay what you feel’ basis, so if you want your music free you can do that (but really, don’t be an asshole –  throw a busker a few dollars to say thanks for the art!).

Also, keep an eye out for tour dates – Amanda on recording is good, but when she’s live she’s in a whole other stratosphere – one of the best nights out you can have.

Ben Folds Five – The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind

Ben Folds Five haven’t had a new album in 13 years. It’s been a LONG wait. Ben Folds did a lot of solo recording in between (including the University A Cappella! which was great), and producing albums for other artists including ‘Who Killed Amanda Palmer’. The other guys presumably did things too – I didn’t keep up with their activities so much…!

So, that being said – its exciting to hold a new Ben Folds Five album in my hands (metaphorically speaking of course – everything bits and bytes these days). And its good. Like finding an old loved comfy jumper in the back of your wardrobe – you put it on and its that same old familiar fit and feeling. The album is not so different to the albums from the late 90s/early 2000’s.  The production is slicker, there are more lush strings than previous offerings, but fundamentally it’s all about Ben’s sweet vocals, impressive piano skills, some heavily distorted bass-lines and nice harmonies.  I’m not sure there is anything on there that hits the highs of ‘Army’ or ‘Underground’ or “One Angry Dwarf…’ for me, although the Pledge Music teaser track from the album ‘Do It Anyway‘ is pretty good with its faux-western feel. I like the 10CC sound of ‘Sky High’ and I’m still not convinced that ‘On Being Frank’ is not a cover of another song – its so familiar sounding. I guess that’s the mark of a well written song huh?

Overall its a good album – this and reading in a sunny spot with a coffee in hand would make for a pretty spectacular Sunday afternoon. Its not ground-breaking, its not huge musical evolutions, but its familiar, well made and sweet – and sometimes that’s all you want.


So was it all worth it? Sending chunks of money off to random artists in the faith of new good material to come?

Yes. Absolutely. These artists have given me two new albums worth of high-quality work. Better still, they didn’t have to jump through record company hoops, they didn’t lose a chunk of money to some dude who just makes life hard for them. They were able to do what they do best and still make a living. This is exactly the desired outcome and yes, it was all worth it.

Plus, in addition to these new digital albums, I get to look forward to 2 CD’s, a t-shirt and an art book arriving in the post over the next couple of weeks. Which is also pretty sweet. Getting parcels in the post is awesome.



Old Hollywood in downtown Singapore

20 03 2012

Im turning 30 this year. It’s scary

Actually, Im turning 30 in two days. It’s scarier!

And after a mini-crisis at approaching 25 (oh, how i wish to be approaching 25 again) I wasnt sure how I’d handle the big Three-Oh. Still, instead of running and hiding I decided to grab it by the horns and step up to not only face, but embrace it.

Fact of the matter is that at 30 you have a much better grip on who you are and what you want. I have surrounded myself with people I choose to surround myself with , I have bought a little flat, I have lived across three continents, I am more confident in my work and feel comfortable in my (admittedly stretched, but slowly recovering!) skin. It is a better mentality than the confused early- and mid-twenties so it feels like a good beginning to a new decade.

also – I totally went to a psychic and it sounds like even better things are just around the corner – so I’m sure part of the serenity comes from that!

Part of my ‘grabbing 30 by the horns’ is making sure I usher it in with the important people in my life – and this means Celebrations of INTERNATIONAL PROPORTIONS!!  Beginning with an ‘Old Hollywood’ themed party in Singapore…

The venue was the very beautiful Divine Wine Bar in Singapore.  Its an incredibly art-deco themed triple height space which is so decadent and beautiful. It sits within Parkview Square – or what most people know as the ‘Gotham Building’ because it looks just like a set from the Tim Burton Batman films. Funny how many of my guests remarked that they had never been inside considering how iconic the building itself is.

Bizarrely despite being one of the most beautiful spaces in Singapore it is near empty on a Saturday night – last time I was there we counted about 12 people (including us) and on the night of my party there were maybe 15 people other than my group of friends. What a waste. I am assured that weeknights are busier with the local office crowd and a band that plays. Having said that, the customer service is not of the highest standard – even if they do ‘fly’ angels up to retrive wine from the 3 storey wine cellar – alike so:

Flying up to retrieve wine from the 3 storey wine cellar

The management are difficult to deal with too – telling me to “just order from the menu” when I asked if we could do a better price on some bottles of champagne  and food platters despite tripling their clientele for the night.  (although when I looked at the menu two-thirds were not in stock despite knowing they were expecting a large booking who wanted food…!? so fried chicken bits and somosas all round…!)

Anyway, for a casual drink in Singapore its a pretty sweet spot and I recommend dropping in some time.

Aside from earlier frustrations with management – the night was so lovely and I so appreciated everyone’s effort. I was so pleased that my friends who joined me bought into the ‘Old Hollywood’ theme. The costumes were great and completely in keeping with the surroundings – I couldn’t have been more pleased. My friend Hannah baked and decorated a themed cake too! Yum! The easiest way to summarise the night would be just to share a whole load of photos taken by my friend Xin – apologies to anyone not captured in this photo set, send me your pics so I can add them too!

Enjoy the glamour!

…and Melbourne? You’re next.

Bowie has landed

1 09 2011

Ladies and gentlemen, earthlings and aliens.

The man walks among us.

Bowie has arrived.

Big congratulations to jess and simon on their lovely little boy and lots of hugs to bug brother Jagger.

(Bowie actually arrived a few weeks ago now, but it took me a while to get a photo!!)

The greatest collision

11 08 2011

This is possibly the coolest thing I have EVER seen.

Goddamn, that Miss Piggy makes me laugh. It’s terrible to be able to relate so well to a muppet.

Enjoy. (and a link in case this embedding doesn’t work)