Winter has arrived in Sydney, and announced itself with a sudden drop in temperature. I am not a big fan of winter, or the cold, so this time of the year I tend to turn up the heat to what I like to call a ‘comfortable Piña Colada temperature,’ and stay indoors.
With one exception. Vivid Sydney!
Vivid is the one thing that gets me off my warm, comfortable couch this time of the year – the sound, the sights, the colour! Here is a small sample from previous years.
Do yourself a favour and make sure to explore Vivid before 17 June.
Don’t be disappointed after that delicious Piña Colada reference in the opening paragraph, but this month’s cocktail is a medicinal, wintry Butterscotch Martini. Guaranteed to soothe a winter sore throat at the height of the flu season.
50ml Butterscotch schnapps
Method: Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice, shake well and serve in a martini glass.
* As usual, I recommend Absolute, a vodka I find clean and crisp, a perfect mixer for cocktails.
While you are enjoying your Butterscotch Martini, here are a few of my favourite tunes I am currently listening to …
‘Anymore’ by Goldfrapp
Goldfrapp, led by the incomparable Alison Goldfrapp, just performed at Carriageworks in Sydney as part of Vivid Sydney.
Goldfrapp at the Carriageworks in Sydney, on 2 June 2017
Goldfrapp delivers a unique, experimental and ethereal electronic pop/rock sound experience coupled with Alison Goldfrapp’s distinctively operatic, yet soft pop vocals. Their latest album ‘Silver Eye,’ was released earlier this year, with the first single ‘Anymore’ hitting the airwaves at the end of March. The music video for the single was directed by Alison Goldfrapp herself.
You’re what I want
You’re what I need
Give me your love
Make me a freak
‘Fine Line’ by Douwe Bob
Although this song is now two years old, it’s sadly very relevant in our current political climate.
I first discovered Douwe Bob when he represented the Netherlands at Eurovision in 2016, coming eleventh with ‘Slow Down.’ He is an incredibly talented young singer and songwriter, with a soft sound that fuses country, folk, and pop music.
‘Fine Line’ is an outstanding political protest song for our age, that calls out the hypocrisy of both an arguably misguided political establishment, and a sheepish citizenry.
They drew a fine line between the good and evil
They drew a fine line between the right and wrong
See one man kills and gets the chair
Another kills and gets a medal
They drew a fine line between the right and wrong
They drew a fine line between the man and people
They drew a fine line between the blacks and whites
See one child is born free
While the other is born in shackles
They drew a fine line between you and me
They drew a fine line between the grave and cradle
They didn’t draw no line between the state and church
See one child grows up to command
The other child to listen
They drew big fat lines all across the earth
They run their country on amphetamines
They run us over with their limousines
Waiting in line for the cash machine
Beggin’ for my money and my hopes and my dreams
‘Dangerous Woman’ by Ariana Grande
Ariana Grande is not an artist I usually listen to. In the aftermath of the appalling terrorist attack at her concert in Manchester, I decided to explore her work, and I learned a few interesting things. In the process I think I also worked out why her concert may have been targeted: she is the embodiment of the modern, empowered, self-made Western young woman.
Her latest album ‘Dangerous Woman,’ was titled ‘Moonlight’ during production. The concept change was inspired by Ariana Grande discovering the work of Egyptian feminist writer Nawal El Saadawi, in particular her 1975 novel, ‘Woman at Point Zero,’ and her desire to portray herself as a stronger person, and to empower her fans.
Her recent visit to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital to spend time with her injured fans shows she is on her way.
They said, ‘You are a savage and dangerous woman.’ I am speaking the truth. And the truth is savage and dangerous.
Nawal El Saadawi
‘The Republic’ by Plato
If you prefer a literary journey with your Butterscotch Martini, this month my choice is ‘The Republic‘, by Plato.
This Greek classic, written around 380BC, is a Socratic dialogue about justice, politics, and the ideal nature of the individual. The Republic is arguably the most important work ever written on ethics, philosophy, and political theory.
Plato was one of Greece’s most eminent philosophers. A student of Socrates, teacher to Aristotle, he went on to become the most influential single contributor to the development of Western philosophy, and scientific thinking.
Plato’s influence is practically hardwired into modern Western consciousness, and through one of the most important Christian philosophers and theologians, Saint Augustine of Hippo, his influence is deeply embedded into the so-called ‘Judeo-Christian tradition’ of Western democracies.
The Republic asks the big questions that have plagued humanity since time immemorial:
- What makes a good person?
- Why do people behave justly?
- Is a just person happier than an unjust one?
- Is law merely the powerful forcing the weak into submission?
- What is justice?
- Is justice a good thing in and of itself?
The Republic is fundamental to the comprehension of the very foundations of Western societies, and in the current cultural, political, and social climate it continues to assume a critical role in aiding our understanding of justice and human nature.