Get Back on the Damn Horse!

Get off your arse!!!

Well, it’s been another one of those weeks. You know the one: The one where you walk out the front door and a bird craps on your jacket. So you go inside, get changed, check for collateral damage, head back out into the thick of it and the little bastard craps on your head. Yeah, that one. It was also the one where you’re desperately groping around in the dark for the exit because some comedian thought it’d be funny to switch off the exit sign. But nobody’s laughing!

Yeah, so I’ve been sick and I’ve been miserable. But it’s a new week, the exit has miraculously appeared and I’m moving onward and upward. Enough about that though, let’s reflect a little on last week’s adventures instead.

Top of the list was my trip to The Art Gallery of NSW for another black and white Japanese flick. This time, it was Akira Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood. Now, with a name like Throne of Blood, you’d expect something akin to the wonderful Game of Thrones. Sure, there were supernatural elements, there were sword fights and powerful warriors. But I couldn’t get over the feeling of the uncanny when Toshiro Mifune graced the screen. Could Mifune be the long lost Japanese ancestor of Deadwood’s Al Swearengen?





Throne of Blood is a reworking of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, which in itself is nothing to feel uncomfortable about. But seeing “Swearengen” in a samurai suit was absolutely off-putting. I kept expecting to hear filthy expletives flying from Mifune’s mouth. But there were no cocksuckers. No whores. No pissing or farting or demands to know who cut the cheese. Not from the actors, anyway.

Calamity Jane wasn’t there to save the day or protect me from the dirty animal sitting in the seat behind me, who burped his way through the entire film. His belching was so bad, I was seriously concerned he was going to vomit all over the back of my head. It was a truly terrifying experience! And to top it all off this supernatural Shakespearean Deadwood samurai tale ended with a Tolkien-inspired Ent attack. Seriously, what was Kurosawa thinking?! It was too much for me to handle, so I raced off into the night, my (thankfully) vomit-free hair flapping in the wind, and made the ferry home with seconds to spare.

But I can’t complain. An adventure is an adventure. As the wise Bill Shakespeare once said:

 There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

And my thoughts on the rest rest of the week are pretty good. There was a trip to Chatswood to overindulge in Yum Cha with my wonderfully funny and highly decorated brother, Matt and his beautiful and forgiving (when it comes to chocolate thievery) bride-to-be, Lan; a healthy dose of multi-tasking as I did the Spit to Manly walk-and-talk (and brunch) with the delightful Sarah; a fabulous farewell to Cambodia-bound Ronan over a much enjoyed mulled wine. And I even had a small lottery win!

So there you go, proof that when life looks tough and you feel stuck in the mud, if you get off your butt and get back on the horse, there’s always another sunset to ride off into.

Who Doesn’t Love a Good Demon Hag?

Where’s my damn coffee???

It’s been a beautiful sunshiny weekend in Sydney, and I’ve been stuck in bed with the flu. Thank you to all of the filthy disease carrying commuters on Sydney buses who coughed or sneezed on me last week. And an extra special thank you to the drivers who insist on blasting us with air-conditioning in this bitterly cold winter, recycling other peoples germs and farts so I can breathe them in. This one’s for you.

So, I rolled out of bed today (at noon) and looked in the mirror. Sure enough, I looked exactly like Onibaba, in the picture above. Before I was so rudely infiltrated by the latest flu virus last week, I took myself off to the Art Gallery of NSW for a delicious post-Ramadan glass of wine with my friend Sarah, and a screening of the 1964 Japanese horror flick, Onibaba (literal translation: Demon Hag). I’ve got to say, I am very partial to a good black and white Japanese horror flick. These guys really knew how to create good scary movies. And still do. You’re lying if you tell me you didn’t have nightmares after you watched The Ring or The Grudge!

But back to Onibaba. In a nutshell, it’s a simple tale of vengeance, and what can happen to you if you let it take over your life. During 14th century war-torn Japan, a woman and her daughter-in-law murder samurai soldiers and sell their possessions in order to scrape together enough money to eat. When the daughter-in-law starts running off in the middle of the night to shag one of the neighbours, Mum tries exacting revenge by scaring the bejesus out of the girl by chasing her through the creepy reeds in a terrifying demon mask. But the ugliness of vengeance soon deforms the heart and face of Mum.

No Children of the Corn in here

Onibaba is visually stunning. I loved the haunting shots of the reeds swaying in the wind, the close ups of the actors, and the frightening Hannya mask. The Hannya mask is supposed to represent a hideous demon, but I found it quite beautiful. So, when I rolled out of bed today and looked in the mirror, I didn’t run screaming. Instead, I greeted Onibaba with a smile, blew the snot out of my sinuses, and felt beautiful in my own hideous hag-like way! Mind you, I was probably delirious thanks to being drugged up to the eyeballs. But I think it still makes for a lovely lesson. At times there’s beauty to be found in the the hideous, the sad and the ugly. Just take a look at it from an alternate angle, or put it in a different light.

So if you’re disease-free and looking for something to do in Sydney this Wednesday night, the Art Gallery is screening another black and white Japanese horror flick. This time it’s Akira Kurosawa’s adaptation of Macbeth, called Throne of Blood. Come join me. Just remember to leave the germs at home. I don’t want to be waking up on Thursday morning and having an “out, damned spot” moment!

Onibaba Image

Reed Image