Music and Movies
G’day Leila and everyone!
I hope you’re all having a nice weekend! I’ve sent Chris to the supermarket with a shopping list (what a lovely husband!) and Owen is asleep, so I’m all yours for the next couple of hours (unless there are any more monsters in the kitchen, and then I hope you’ll forgive me if I run away and hide …).
Leila, once again thank you for the photos – I honestly don’t think I would have believed it if I hadn’t seen it for myself! There’s an equally crazy custom in the north of England (around Newcastle) for people to go swimming in the North Sea on Boxing Day – it’s probably not as cold as Finland, but I bet it’s pretty close! By the way, what did you do with your unwanted possum visitor while you were in NZ?
I thought I’d write a bit about Aussie culture in the form of music, books and film today, as some of you have been asking about that. And next time, I hope to bring you an Aboriginal legend, if I can get my act together! As we haven’t done a quiz for a while, I thought we’d start with a few little questions … Look at the names below, and decide which people are actors, which are musicians (bonus points if you know the name of the band!), and which are authors. Ready?
1. Tim Winton
2. Peter Garrett
3. Russell Crowe
4. Kylie Minogue
5. Peter Carey
6. Neil Finn
7. Geoffrey Rush
8. Thomas Keneally
9. Cate Blanchett
10. Angus Young
11. Kate Grenville
12. Nicole Kidman
13. Hugh Jackman
14. Darren Hayes
15. Colleen McCullough
How about we do the easiest first? Aussies in the movies are …
Russell Crowe, Geoffrey Rush, Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman.
Peter Garrett (from Midnight Oil), Kylie Minogue, Neil Finn (from Crowded House), Angus Young (from AC/DC – Chris would have been furious if I’d missed him out!) and Darren Hayes (from Savage Garden).
So that means the rest must be writers!
Tim Winton – his most famous book is probably Cloudstreet (1991), which was adapted into a play. He’s written three since then, and has been shortlisted for several awards.
Peter Carey – probably most well-known for Oscar and Lucinda, which was made into a movie. His latest book (as far as I know) was The True History of the Kelly Gang, which is about Australia’s most famous outlaw, Ned Kelly. It’s a great book, but very hard to read, as it’s written in idiomatic 19th century Australian English!
Thomas Keneally – has written many, many books (fiction and non-fiction). You’ve probably heard of Schindler’s List, which was made into a movie by Steven Spielberg.
Kate Grenville – again, she’s published several novels, the latest of which is The Secret River.
Colleen McCullough – a prolific writer. Her latest novels have been a series about Ancient Rome (called the Masters of Rome); she has also published several other novels, the most famous of which is probably The Thorn Birds.
As I said last time, I am a total bookworm and will read anything! Probably my favourite types of books are novels, and I also like crime (I grew up on a steady diet of Agatha Christie!) and history (fiction and non-fiction). Some of you have asked for some recommendations – the following are among my current favourite authors …
• Joanne Harris (the author of Chocolat*, among other books)
• Tracy Chevalier (she wrote Girl with a Pearl Earring*, and has published several more since then)
• Robert Harris (he writes gripping, edge-of-your-seat thrillers)
• Mark Haddon (I discovered his books very recently and really enjoyed them)
(* You might have seen these as movies – both were great adaptations of the books!)
It’s just dawned on me that the above are Poms (and one American)! No Aussies! So, if you’d like to read something Australian, you could try one of the following:
• A.B.Facey, A Fortunate Life (biography - an account of his life in WA from childhood to old age; he fought at Gallipoli in World War I, and the book is an Australian classic. It’s very readable, and I’ve done some extracts from it in class; my students seemed to enjoy it, or so they said!)
• Doris Pilkington Garimara, Rabbit Proof Fence (biography again – an account of growing up in WA in the 1930s as an Aboriginal child, and being taken into care. It’s a wonderful story, but very confronting. It was made into a movie a few years ago, if you’d rather watch it than read it.)
• Kate Grenville, The Secret River (fiction – set in the 19th century, about a convict and his family who settle on the Hawkesbury River and what life was like for them.)
• Andrew McGahan, The White Earth and Last Drinks (fiction – very different stories but both quite dark and disturbing, if you like that sort of literature. I enjoyed both, but they’re not for the faint hearted!)
• Or, try one of the authors I’ve mentioned above!
• Or, if you’re feeling really inspired, have a look on the web and find out about some other Aussie writers, as there are many many more than I’ve talked about here!
Several of you have asked me about my tastes in music; well, I’m not ashamed to admit that I love anything from the 1980s, the cheesier the better! (Please don’t hold that against me; in most other respects I’m a very normal person, honestly!) I also like REM; I’ve been lucky enough to see them in concert twice, which was fantastic! Ana Paula, there are so many great REM songs it’s hard to pick my favourites, but if I can choose 3, they are: Find the River, Losing My Religion and Strange Currencies. Which are yours? And the British bands from the 1990s – Oasis, Blur, Pulp, (especially Pulp!). Oh, and Bon Jovi! Gosh, I’m really stuck in a time warp, aren’t I? Just to prove that I’m not a completely hopeless case, I also like James Blunt (unfortunately, Owen hates him, so I never get to listen to him in the car! Not fair!)
Chris is more of what I’d call a “sweaty rocker”; he’s a huge AC/DC fan, and also likes Placebo, the White Stripes and Snow Patrol. Owen really likes Chris’s music, so when the two of them gang up on me in the car I’ve got no chance!! When Owen was tiny (just a couple of months old), he used to like the Guns’N’Roses version of “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” to help him get to sleep – we’d have to have it on constant replay! We’ve got some world music CDs for Owen (to encourage him to take an interest in other cultures), and they’re great – we all like listening to them (and I’d much rather have those in the car than some of the others!).
As far as Aussie music goes, there are a lot of great bands and musicians around – “classics” like Midnight Oil (who aren’t really together any more since Peter Garret became a politician), AC/DC and INXS (now there’s an example of a band who’ve made a comeback!), and also more modern ones like Powderfinger, Silverchair, Pete Murray and the John Butler trio. And let’s not forget that all-time Aussie classic “Land Down Under” by Men at Work. If you’ve never heard of it, stop reading this immediately and look up the lyrics on the web. And then listen to it!
Rather than talk about Aussie movies now, I’ll leave you with a question – have you seen any Australian movies? What did you think? (We can talk some more about movies next time, if you’re interested!)
I’ve been a bit remiss about answering some of your language questions, so let me make up for it now …
Kirsti – wow! What a tricky question! Appear is used correctly here. I think in cases like this we use “appear” to talk generally about when the book became available to the public, whereas “publish” refers to the production date (this is usually linked to the date of copyright).
Benka – emigrate is to leave a country (e.g. I emigrated from the UK in 1999)
immigrate (used more as a noun; immigration or immigrant) is to enter the new country (e.g. I immigrated to Aus in 1999)
Passive with “By”Rocio – “by” can be used in any tense of the passive. Remember that we use the passive in English to focus on the action rather than the person doing the action. If we want to talk about the person, that’s when we use “by”.
e.g. This post was written today - the important thing is the writing.
This post was written today by Rachel – to talk about who wrote it.
Habooba, Rachel is a Hebrew name in origin, and it means gentle and innocent like a sheep. Chris always laughs at this! (Owen, by the way, is a Welsh name – I’m not certain what it means; we just liked it! And his middle name is James …) Do any of you know the meanings of your names? It would be interesting to find out!
in/for 24 years
Ana, in this case, you could use either! Good question!
Kakafung, a gerund is a noun (used as the subject or object of a sentence) whereas a participle is used as a verb (to describe what someone is doing).
In these sentences, which is a gerund and which is a participle?
• I’ve never really been interested in watching sci-fi movies
• I tripped over walking down the stairs
• Owen gets a lot of attention being so cute
• Going to the park makes Owen happy.
purchase/buy(I’m sure someone asked me about this, but I can’t find who it was – sorry!)
The meanings of both are the same, but we would use “purchase” in a more formal situation, for example in writing a letter of complaint. “Purchase” can also be used as a noun; e.g. “Look at all my purchases”. To use “buy” like this, we’d have to say “Look at the things I bought”.
Leila, you asked about off/of a while ago. (Did you think I’d forgotten?!)
Of is usually used to show a connection, or to talk about a specific thing:
• the colour of the jacarandas
• the noise of children playing
• I met Chris at the age of 22
(Notice how often we use “the” with “of”!)
Off can be used as an adverb as well as a preposition, and for this reason it’s very common in phrasal verbs. If it’s used as a preposition, the meaning is the opposite of “on” – e.g. I got on the bus in the city, and got off in Hurlstone Park”.
That’s a very brief description of the differences; a good grammar book or dictionary will give you more details and examples. I hope that helps!
I’ll just warn you now – next time I’ll be focussing a little bit on articles, so be prepared!
I’ll finish off with a bit of vocab (did you think you’d escaped? Never!) Here are the definitions, and there are some lovely questions for you below … Enjoy!
31st Oct – Goodbye Satya
to be spot on (expr) = to be exactly right
grubby (adj) = dirty
to crack sb up (phr vb) = to make sb laugh
to show off (phr vb) = to attract attention in a way that others find annoying
things are hotting up (expr) = things are getting exciting
cumbersome (adj) = awkward because it’s too large or heavy
take your hat off to sb (expr) = admire sb for sth they have done
2nd Nov – Welcome Leila
to pick you up on sth (phr vb) = to notice a small error or mistake
to work a treat (expr) = to operate very well
5th Nov – Remember, remember the Fifth of November
to commemorate (vb) = an official ceremony or day to remember sth
to nag (vb / n) = to complain or criticise repeatedly
to settle down (phr vb) = start living in a place where you intend to stay
to chuck sth out / away (phr vb - informal) = to throw away
a potted history (expr) = a brief overview
to persecute (vb) = to treat sb unfairly over a long period of time
to hatch a plot (expr) = to make a secret plan
an effigy (n) = a model or image of a person, especially sb who is hated, for display in public
to wind sb up (phr vb) = to annoy sb
And here are your questions …
1. What cracks you up?
2. What sort of things might you do or say if you were showing off?
3. Can you tell us about someone you take your hat off to?
4. Can you tell us something that works a treat if you have a headache?
5. Do you ever nag anyone? Who? What about? (Or does someone nag you?)
6. If you could settle down anywhere in the world, where would you choose?
7. What was the last thing you chucked out? Why?
OK possums, Chris is back from the supermarket (with mangoes, I hope – I have a new recipe that I want to try! If it’s nice, I’ll let you know, Naheed!) and Owen has woken up, so I’ll leave the virtual world for the real one …
Thank you all for continuing to leave comments – I really enjoy reading about what you’re doing and I promise I’ll get round to replying to you all again before the end of November! Keep it up!
See you later, alligators (another little rhyme for you – the response is “in a while, crocodile”),
And, of course, today’s vocab …
get my act together (expr)
to be taken into care (expr)
not for the faint hearted (expr)
cheesy (adj – informal)
a hopeless case (expr)
a time warp (n)
to gang up on sb (phr vb)
get round to (phr vb)
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