Summer is here and while Sydney is spectacular throughout the year, thanks to its amazing climate, in summer it truly shines, shimmers, and sparkles.
There is no Christmas like a Bondi Beach Christmas, on the shimmering sand, under a Southern sky, listening to the waves of the South Pacific Ocean crashing on the shore …
Admittedly, the joy of summer is somewhat dampened this year by the reality of president-elect Donald Trump. You can still sense the global grief over the unexpected outcome of the presidential election in the United States. It is hard to believe that billionaire Homer Simpson is about to become the President of the United States of America, despite trailing the popular vote by over 2.5 million votes.
I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.
Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope
But that’s what cocktails are for – to help us forget our troubles, and cheer us up! This month I pop a cherry for my cocktail to help me forget, and celebrate the arrival of summer at the same time with a sweet Cherry Martini.
40ml cherry liquor*
Method: add the ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice, shake, serve in a martini glass with a maraschino cherry on the stem.
* I recommend Badel’s Cherry Brandy for this cocktail.
** Absolut has a clear, crisp taste which makes it a great mixer.
While you are enjoying your Cherry Martini, here are a few of my favourite tunes I am currently listening to …
‘Straight Outta Vagina’ by Pussy Riot
With the conclusion of the jarring presidential election in the United States, and a new administration under construction which looks like may be declared a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center any day now, I thought to myself what better way to welcome president-elect Donald Trump than this fascinating, completely over the top punk rock number by Pussy Riot?!
Pussy Riot of course is the famous Russian all-girl punk rock band that has been offending sensibilities, and causing moral outrage, in Russia, and worldwide, for years with their uncompromising feminist and political messages.
In 2012, following a controversial musical performance in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior, three members of the band were convicted of ‘hooliganism motivated by religious hatred,’ with each woman sentenced to two years’ imprisonment. The politically motivated sham trial was internationally derided, and offended human rights and common sense. Following an appeal one of the women was freed on probation with her sentence suspended, but the other two were jailed. Amnesty International designated the women as prisoners of conscience. In 2014 the ladies were physically attacked and whipped by Russian Cossacks as they performed a protest song in Sochi during the Winter Olympics.
‘On Your Side’ by The Veronicas
This fabulous song from the powerhouse Australian sister-duo with a music video written and directed by Ruby Rose is a match made in heaven. It’s a fun, catchy, made-for-summer tune with an epic, sexy and sensual music video, that turns into a sobering life-lesson.
Life isn’t pretty, we all get a little wrecked sometimes
The song is about something we can all relate to: wishing an ex-lover happiness despite the heartache caused by the relationship ending.
And to top it all off, Ruby Rose and Jessica Origliasso confirmed that they rekindled their relationship, eight years after they first dated! That much is obvious from the music video … Enjoy!
‘Love Me Now’ by John Legend
‘Love Me Now’ is a gorgeous piece of music accompanied by a stunning music video in which John Legend sings to his equally gorgeous wife, Chrissy Teigen, and baby daughter. Yes, that Chrissy Teigen …
The music video also intersperses visions of people consoling each other in Orlando at the memorial to the Pulse Nightclub massacre victims, a couple at the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota, the people of the Domiz Refugee Camp in Northern Iraq, and the massive pollution in Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic reminding us of the fragility of life.
‘The American Democracy’ by Thomas E. Patterson
If you prefer a read with your Cherry Martini, this month my choice is ‘The American Democracy‘, by Thomas E. Patterson, which takes us back to the subject of American politics.
In light of certain recent events, I thought this may be the perfect time to brush up on American democracy … while it lasts. Get this book fast, before it is retitled by the author ‘The American Kakistocracy.’
Thomas E. Patterson is Bradlee Professor of Government and the Press at the Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government.
He is the recipient of the American Political Science Association’s Graber Award for the best book of the decade in political communication for his book on the media’s political role, ‘Out of Order,’ and his first book, ‘The Unseeing Eye,’ was named by the American Association for Public Opinion Research as one of the 50 most influential books on public opinion in the past half century.
His research work has been funded by the Ford, Markle, Smith-Richardson, Pew, Knight, Carnegie, and National Science foundations over the years.
‘The American Democracy,’ is a textbook which offers a balanced, relatively non-partisan look at the political system of the United States of America, a book which is on the reading list of many university courses.
Professor Patterson breaks down complex concepts of democracy and the American government, helping you to make some sense of America’s confusing political system …
I will be taking a well-earned break in December and January, and Sunday life will return in February 2017.