Stir Slowly, Drink at Leisure
The May edition of the 2012 Ubud Writers and Readers Festival newsletter made it out with a week to go before it was June – it popped into the Diary’s in-box on May 26. And since it was leading off with a bit of a blurb about the Bali Emerging Writers Festival (which had been advertised as scheduled for May 25-27) one assumes deadlines in festival-land are as notional as any on this island.
But never mind. BEWF is beaut, even if acronyms are as prevalent as litter. This year’s was the second and organisers said it presented a more colourful line-up than the inaugural acronym last year. Said UWRF community development manager Kadek Sri Purnami, and we quote verbatim (it’s not our grammar): “We are trying to present as diverse and colourful voices as possible. These young writers, some write with words, some with lights and images, will take the audience into the kaleidoscopic world of contemporary Bali.”
We’re sure it was a blast – and we’re glad about that too. Perhaps the 2012 UWRF Newsletter for June, which apparently should reach us just before it is July, will give us some idea of how it actually went.
The festival took place (May 27-29) at Serambi Arts Antida, the hot Denpasar alternative art space.
Meanwhile, festival founder and fragrant coffee drinker Janet DeNeefe is being as shy as ever about the international programme for this year’s big show, scheduled for October 3-7. A little note in the aforementioned newsletter coyly states: “While the list of international authors for the UWRF 2012 is tightly embargoed, several of the authors on that list were featured at the Sydney Writers Festival, recently concluded.”
We do know of one author invited to participate: Uli Schmetzer, who lives half the year in Venice and half in Australia and the Philippines. He and his lovely Italian wife Tiziana, who cooks the most marvellous pasta, lent us their pushbikes in Beijing 20 years ago (we gave them back) as well as their driver, a redoubtable fellow called Fang who knew but one word of a language other than Mandarin. Unfortunately this was “nyet,” which did not get us very far. Well, only to the nearest bit of the Great Wall.
As to other internationals, well, just for fun, we’ll scribble out a list, blindfold ourselves, and play a literary version of pin the tail on the donkey.
Help the Cause: Buzz Off
As noted above, a diarist’s reading must be very wide. Or else you miss all sorts of things that give you a huge laugh. So we propose to share with you some other advice recently to hand – we found it online and it would be amusing to suggest this resulted from a tip-off – that urges women to select a vibrator that is eco-friendly
It notes – this was a surprise to the Diary – that there are more makes of vibrators on the market than there are models of cars on the roads. Gee, that intelligence hits the spot. It’s a wonder poor old Gaia hasn’t been knocked out of her orbit with all the under-the-counterpane buzzing that must be going on. And it says that choosing a brand, let alone a single product, can be daunting; it kindly offers to help narrow your search.
It suggests you choose a rechargeable vibrator for maximum sensation with minimum ecological footprint. Apparently a typical user can deplete up to four batteries a week on a battery operated vibrator – that’s more than 200 dead batteries a year. (How many extinct libidos, we wonder?)
Oh yes – and we’re thinking that would have to be the Big O – it also says that responsible manufacturing is important for your vibrator (they are sentient as well as sensory?) and suggests you seek out companies that share your values. Perhaps you should just look for one that gives you a nice warm buzz.
A diarist also needs a quick eye, as well a deep appreciation for delicious double entendres. LinkedIn’s handy People You May Know feature – which as we noted recently unearthed for us poor Angus McCaskill, who is no longer counted among our population – popped up another unknown name the other day. We won’t name the fellow, since he seems to be a Canadian and might therefore respond by saying “Eh?” or else entirely miss the joke.
But he’s the manager of a mining industry outfit whose name might cause an involuntary appreciative intake of breath among any number of distressed gentlewomen hereabouts: Cougar Drilling Solutions.
Fame à un Prix
Those among us who like to follow the risible side of Australian politics – it’s a broad field of study – have been transfixed of late at the thought of supersized Queensland mining magnate Clive Palmer running for parliament, though not for the Whirling Dervish Party, which is such a pity. He’d like to be a Liberal MP instead, which he’d surely find is absolutely no fun at all. Apparently he’s serious about it all but the idea went straight into our Too Silly file, along with some of Palmer’s other titanic ideas.
As well as desiring to pay no tax on his mines (paying tax is for wimps and non-whirling dervishes) Palmer wants to build an “unsinkable” modern version of the Titanic that some people – Céline Dion, Kate Winslett and Leonardo DiCaprio prominently among them, one imagines – will clearly remember was also unsinkable but which nevertheless sank on its maiden voyage in 1912 after running full-pelt into an eminently avoidable iceberg. He also wants to build a Zeppelin, though he promises it wouldn’t be a Hindenburg exploding one.
It was therefore fun to find in a recent edition of the fine French satirical newspaper Le Canard enchainé – it had been donated to The Cage by some kind French visitors – a little item by Jean-Luc Porquet, who writes a lovely column aptly named “Peouf!” It was headlined “Trésor national vivant” (“Living National Treasure”).
The piece primarily concerned the discarded Nicolas Sarkozy who was recently unelected as President of the Republic. It was Sarkozy’s titanic political misadventures which principally informed Porquet’s pointed prose. But unfortunately, while Palmer’s Australian national treasure feat may be recognised in France and be of some peripheral utility to satirists having a go at poor M. Sarkozy, his living clay is less well known.
Porquet called him Clive Barker. Perhaps he was thinking of Ronnie, the Brit comic who was nearly as round. But he could just have been joking. He seems to share the widely held view that Clive Palmer is barking mad.
More Sax Please
The delectable Edwina Blush will soon be back in Bali, which is good news for Villa Kitty at Ubud – of which she is an ambassador – and people, like your diarist, who love saxy jazz and the (unfortunately now largely notional) concept of smoky bars and attractively accommodating company.
She’ll be playing a six-week gig here with her Balinese sextet at Three Monkeys Sanur after the June 15 launch in Sydney of her latest album, Sea For Cats. We’ll get along to a session or two. The album’s available from various download sites including iTunes, the Diary’s preferred legal provider. Half the proceeds of sales go to Villa Kitty to provide veterinary care and – as Edwina unblushingly puts it – much needed population control measures (she adds: “Frisky little darlings”).
Villa Kitty is on Facebook, by the way. Founder and Chief Meow Elizabeth Grant Suttie would love to hear from you.
El Kabron, the cliff-top watering hole at Bingin on the Bukit where host David Iglesias Megias tempts patrons with all sorts of delights, including Catalan and other Spanish treats, celebrated its first birthday with a great little party on June 10.
It was a good chance to catch up with old friends – though none of them are old in the literal sense – including our Most Favoured Argentine, artist-architect Leticia Balacek, who has recently been in Shanghai. We buttonholed her at the do and asked if, as a result of her Sino experiences, her word was still her Bund. Sorry.
We hear from the delightful Alicia Budihardja, chief spruiker at Conrad Bali where Frenchman Jean-Sebastien Kling is now general manager that the property is going after the kids in a big way. It has launched a new family package that offers free meals and recreational and cultural activities to youngsters while their parents are enjoying the definitely more relaxing and possibly more cerebral aspects of the place.
Kling wants to help parents unwind on an ultimate getaway. That’s a nice thought. They deserve a break.
Hector's Diary is in the fortnightly print edition of the Bali Advertiser, out every second Wednesday, and on the internet HERE. Hector is on Twitter (@scratchings) and Facebook (Hector McSquawky).