Raspberry Kiss

Sunday life: May 2017

Before I get started, I would like to send all my love to those affected by Cyclone Debbie, and the subsequent floods. The human cost and economic damage caused by this natural disaster is enormous, and it will take a long time for the victims to recover. When disasters strike, these days the 24-hour news cycle tends to quickly move attention away from the aftermath, and those who long continue to deal with the consequences.

If you are in a position to help, please consider making a donation to the charities assisting those in need. My recommendation would be to donate through the National Australia Bank to support the work of the Queensland State Emergency Service.

Meanwhile, in Sydney Easter and the school holidays offered a brief relief from the usual speed of city life. Although the weather now started to cool down, we have been treated to some amazing autumn weather over the past few weeks, with plenty of sunshine.

Hopefully this divine autumn weather will continue, as May brings us great cultural and fun events, with the Sydney Comedy Festival already in full swing until 21 May, the Sydney Writers’ Festival, from 22 to 28 May, and Vivid Sydney, from 26 May to 17 June!

The Sydney Comedy Festival presents Sydney with some of the funniest people from home and abroad and, given the current state of the world, the healing power of laughter should not be underestimated.

The festival runs over four weeks and offers over 200 acts at 19 venues across Sydney, so do yourself a favour and give yourself permission to laugh!

The Sydney Writers’ Festival will bring a smorgasboard of literary and media talent together, as usual, including Armando Iannucci, the creator of such cult shows as Veep and The Thick of It.

As for Vivid, this festival of light, sounds, and ideas is an annual treat for the senses and the mind, which Sydney had grown to adore, and this year’s program is a stunner.

This month’s cocktail is a sweet and delightful Wild Strawberry Kiss. Yes, it is as delicious as it sounds.

Wild Strawberry Kiss

50ml vodka*
50ml Crème de Fraises**

Method: Combine in a cocktail shaker with ice, shake and serve in a martini glass.

* As usual, I recommend Absolute, a vodka I find clean and crisp, a perfect mixer for cocktails.
** Use the Gabriel Boudier brand for a natural flavour that pops.

While you are enjoying your Wild Strawberry Kiss, here are a few of my favourite tunes I am currently listening to …

‘Silver Horizon’ by Trey Pearson

You may be excused for not having the slightest of clue who Trey Pearson is. That’s because, until recently, he was a Christian rock star.

That was until June 2016, when he decided to come out of the closet. He was immediately officially booted from the lineup of the upcoming Christian music festival Joshua Fest, but was then invited by another band to join them on stage for a song.

He is back with his first single since coming out. The video is a collaboration with Stephen Cone, the writer of Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party,’ a film which tells the story of a preacher’s 17-year-old son coming to terms with his sexuality.

The music video, shot in a church, deals with that very same subject: coming out of the closet and faith. The story unfolding at the church is interlaced with images of Trey finding his own silver horizon..

‘Silver Horizon’ is a love story, and a story of reconciling faith and love …

The song it is a toe-tapping pop tune with a nice dance beat, coupled with a beautiful social message to young gay teens everywhere, and a challenge to churches which continue to denigrate the LGBTI community.

‘Beautiful Ones’ by Hurts

The video accompanying this comeback by Hurts, the follow up to their successful 2015 album ‘Surrender,’ also has a strong pro-LGBT theme.

The video opens with the disturbing scene of a bloodied Theo Hutchcraft, the ruggedly handsome singer of the popular pop duo, behind the wheel of a car, with three men dead around him.

As the music video continues, the viewer realises the story is being told in reverse. We learn that Theo’s character is a gender fluid young man who went out to a club earlier that evening as her female self.

After one of a trio of young men drinking at the same club hits on her and is politely turned down, the three men follow her from club and proceed to chase and strip her, and then viciously beat and kick her.

Bloodied and confused, she breaks into a car and runs down her vile assailants …

Don’t be ashamed
Honey, one day this will fade
So put on your coat, give them a show
Make them all desperate to be you
Make them all desperate to be you
Make them all desperate to be you

Don’t think twice
Give yourself to another night
Hold on tight
Hope that you make it out alive
Ohh, we are the beautiful ones
Ohh, we are the beautiful ones

The music video reflects the dangerous reality of genderfluid people around the world.

‘Beatiful ones’ is a glorious pop track with a video that delivers a stunning and timely social message.

‘Sign Of The Times’ by Harry Styles

The first single by Harry Styles, since leaving One Direction behind, is a treat. We don’t have an official music video yet, but the single is musically brilliant, with distinct shades of David Bowie’s influence.

This song is a great example of how to go solo, and establish an independent and mature new image after starting your career in a boy band.

I was not a fan of One Direction, but I like Harry Styles the solo artist. No doubt he will cop a lot of flak because of his history, and will have to work extra hard and be very consistent to win over the doubters, but if ‘Sign Of The Times’ is anything to go by, he’s on the right track …

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ by Margaret Atwood (and Hulu)

The Handmaid's TaleIf you prefer a literary journey with your Wild Strawberry Kiss, this month my choice is ‘The Handmaid’s Tale‘, by Margaret Atwood.

This dark political and social tale is the perfect companion for the strange times we currently occupy in history.

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ is a 1985 dystopian novel by Canadian writer, Margaret Atwood. The book tells the story of the violent rise of a far-right, totalitarian, fundamentalist, Christian government in the former United States of America, now called the Republic of Gilead.

With the Constitution suspended women are subjugated, not allowed to work, control money, or even read, and are used as mere breeding stock, or worse, and gays and lesbians are hunted down and executed for ‘gender treachery’.

The harrowing and powerful TV adaptation of the novel by Hulu brings the book to life in the most terrifyingly realistic manner. However, given our current political, cultural, and social climate, this is an arguably timely and necessary depiction of a potential dystopian future, and an illustration of how such a tragic future could unfold.

While the TV version makes some changes as is usual with such adaptations, including moving the story line into a more contemporary setting, helping the audience to relate to a tale which feels absurdly distant, yet uncomfortably plausible, it remains faithful to the thought-provoking source material.

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