The Good Life: 27 Nov 2017

Hello Good Lifers,

We ran out of time yesterday to remind you of so many interesting events that are happening between now and Christmas (sooooo close!) but I will list as many as I can at the end of this waffle. ……………………………

For weeks – longer! – Isobel Blackthorn has been teasing us with promises of her new book CABIN SESSIONS and I finally received my awaited copy Saturday afternoon! This did not allow very much time to read it before we had our interview on Monday’s program, but I dived in to absorb as much as possible.

It is NOT an easy read, Isobel has written a dense novel in which every word has been carefully selected and given full value.. so it should be respected and read that way!  Isobel has chosen a theme with which she became familiar during her years with the late local musician, Alex Legg, who appears in the book as the recently deceased Benny.

For several years Alex hosted the Wednesday night open mic sessions at our own local “Cabin”… Kelly’s of Mt Dandenong…. and Isobel was the “door lady”.

She emphasises, and so must I, that the characters in her book are NOT based on real people.. although no doubt some readers will be seeking to relate them to local personalities.

Set on a wild and stormy Christmas Eve, the book starts with a sense of threat and menace, as the regulars straggle in, carrying  their instruments. throughout the night.  We are introduced to these locals and their relationships, but share a great deal of the action through the eyes of Eve and her brother Philip.

Eve’s diary, which we follow, paints a picture of a strange, introverted young woman who exercises a weird practise as a way of asserting control of her life. Her brother Philip, with whom she lives, presents as an arrogant and self-centred man with a dark side to his character.

This is a book filled with ‘characters’… and we get to take a peep into their lives and thoughts as the tension rises page by page.

I can’t say too much … not only because I haven’t yet finished the book, but because I fear dropping a ‘spoiler’!   Read it for yourself!!

Isobel is a frantically busy woman at the moment… moving down the coast, promoting her book, and planning a MASSIVE launch on 13th December.  She is coaxing, pleading .. perhaps even threatening?…local musicians to assume the roles of some of the characters in Cabin Sessions! (I can’t wait to see who plays which role!)  We do know Andy Cowan will be hosting the event with Isobel and, of course, there will be copies of the book available for purchase.  (Oh, and Isobel promises Christmas cake, too!)

You can share in this celebration for the book’s launch and farewell Isobel at an evening which is usually devoted monthly to the celebration of the Alex Legg Foundation.   OSCAR’S, BELGRAVE- 7.30 P.M. WEDNESDAY 13TH DECEMBER LAUNCH OF CABIN SESSIONS by ISOBEL BLACKTHORN …………………………

Our second guest was local musician, RILEY JORDAN, who generously visited the studio and gave listeners a preview of her new single..which has a title too long for me to hope to remember .. but which extols the glories of the food served by her favourite Indian restaurant in Dandenong!

This versatile artist writes her own words and music and also has her own recording studio, which of course allows her a great deal in flexibility and control in the production of her music.

She spoke of her journey through a range of musical genres and of the various venues where she has performed over the years of her career. She enjoys now performing for house concerts and folk clubs, venues where guests are there for the music and not just to have a meal and chat!  So frustrating for performers when they have to cope with these situations.. as well as for those who really want to listen to the music.

Riley’s songs have a story to tell, she articulates beautifully and it must be so frustrating to have chattering and clattering in the background.

She spoke of music she has written over the years but never recorded and is planning now to look back and perhaps revamp some of these songs. No doubt she will find an enthusiastic audience for them when she does!

You can enjoy an evening with Riley as she launches her new single this week at Selby Folk Club. RILEY JORDAN- SELBY FOLK CLUB – 1ST DECEMBER 8.00-11.00 P.M. 1 MINAK ROAD, SELBY.  Bookings : <> …………………………….

Music, books and films.. we covered them all this week!  Unfortunately, we were not able to speak with author Jane Harper, who has written her second novel to acclaim which equals that with which her first book (The Dry) was received.

However, we did speak with George Field (AKA Sprockets), our film reviewer who lives ‘up North’. When he is not involved with live local theatre, he seems to be in a cinema and he spoke this month of two films he saw and enjoyed.

We had both seen MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS and although we had a couple of minor disagreements about it, we did agree it was thoroughly enjoyable. George found the opening scenes prolonged and unnecessary, but I quite liked the hustle, bustle and scurry of it, although I shared his feeling that Poirot’s search for his cabin on the train was unnecessarily prolonged. Perhaps some of the other sequences could also have been ‘tightened’ a little.

The scenery is stunning and this must have been a hugely expensive film to make!  Apart from the extravagantly filmed landscapes and the overhead scenes of progress of the train through the countryside, there is a mega-cast of so many well-known stars.  Kenneth Branagh is producer/director/ main character .. and we agreed he succeeded in all three roles.

I have read some critical reviews, mostly from critics who compared it with earlier interpretations. As I had not read the original Agatha Christie novel, nor seen any previous film versions, I approached it with an open mind and thoroughly enjoyed it.

George agreed that Kenneth Branagh was excellent in the role of Poirot and he gave the film 4 1/2 out of 5.

The second film he covered was GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN and he was most enthusiastic about it, with a 5 out of 5 rating!  His only reservation was that he felt some of the war scenes warranted an M Rating rather than G.

He admits that he was somewhat influenced by his own memories of the A.A. Milne books he read as a child and by the Pooh Bear he had loved as a little boy. He is always reluctant to spoil a film by giving away too much of the plot, but remarked on the quality of the acting and the presentation of that particular period.

Both films are currently showing at CAMEO, BELGRAVE so you can see them and make your own decision as to whether you agree with these assessments.


Great news for those admirers of the music and art of Tracery Roberts!  (And there is no shortage of them!)  Tracey will be opening a POP UP ART SHOP/GALLERY called ARTESYN in Lilydale as from next week!

You will find Tracey and her art and music at SHOP 3, 260 MAIN STREET, LILYDALE from Wednesday to Saturday (10.00 A.M. – 3.00 P.M.), 1ST DECEMBER to 23RD DECEMBER.

Her art work and her CDs will be on sale and of course these would make perfect Christmas presents!

PLEASE shop locally when you can…..our local businesses need the support of all of us and you can be assured of finding interesting gifts that are never available in the mega-stores of the big shopping centres. ……………………

As well as seeing the Cameo film last week I had the pleasure of spending an evening at the live theatre production of AUSTRALIA DAY, presented by The Basin Theatre Group at their venue in Doongalla Road, THE BASIN.

This show is in the closing stages and I do recommend you get to see it before it closes!  Hilarious, but with warmth and some gentler moments as well.  I have written a more detailed description of it on Face Book. …………………….

Lots of Christmas markets coming up in the next few weeks.. check them out on the internet! …………………….

Two interesting new art exhibitions openings during the past week, too. The work of students of artist and teacher Pamela Bradbury is on display at 5-WAYS GALLERY, FIVE WAYS, MT DANDENONG TOURIST ROAD, KALORAMA.  You will be impressed with the very high standard of these students, some of whom are pre-teens!  Calendars and cards are also available.

A new gallery opened last Saturday at PROSPERINA BAKERY, Mt Dandenong Tourist Road, SASSAFRAS.  It is owned by local artist, EMMA JENNINGS, and features a diverse selection of her own beautiful art work, including cards.

There is also an exhibition which is well worth a visit at ARVY’S GALLERY, OLINDA.  This features works under the title of EYE OF THE BEHOLDER and visitors are invited to cast a vote for their popular choice.  I look forward to seeing this exhibition during the week.

Of course, we all know BURRINJA, Glenfern Road, UPWEY always has interesting art works and a range of unique gifts in the little shops that add to the pleasure of a visit. …………………..

I’m exhausted just thinking about all these places to visit.. and Christmas looming so close!  Take the chance to shop now before it becomes totally frenetic!!!! …………………….

Thanks to John Weeks for all his sterling work on the panel.. and he is now also working in the 3MDR office with Phil and Ren!  Thanks, too, for sharing his website with this column.

And many thanks to good friend TJ, who finds time in her busy life to put this onto the Collections page!

Take care… do your shopping locally and early and please be listening next week to The Good Life, when we have our guest musician in the studio and will chat with our book reviewer, Clare Calvet of Novella Bookshop!

Best regards, Ann

(The Good Life on 3MDR 97.1 FM, streaming on – Live to air every Monday between 3.00-5.00 P.M.)



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