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Monthly Archives: February 2019

Date with Kate: Sarah-Jane Clarke

Written on February 22, 2019 at 15:58, by

High fashion: Kate Waterhouse and Sarah-Jane Clarke. Photo: James BrickwoodSarah-Jane Clarke founded the fashion label sass & bide with Heidi Middleton in the late 1990s, when they began selling customised jeans in a market stall on London’s Portobello Road. Their designs have featured in the Sex and the City series and are a favourite among celebrities. Kate Waterhouse caught up with Clarke before she takes a six-month sabbatical and found out about her coming adventure, the secret to her success and opening the brand’s first international store.
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What is in the pipeline for sass & bide?

Sass & bide is in a really great spot at the moment and I’m really proud of what we are doing and achieving. We are about to open our first flagship store in New York, which will be incredible.

You started the label in London and have shown at London Fashion Week for many years. Why did you choose New York as your first international store?

We felt like we had to open in New York, London or Paris. Since we opened our online e-boutique we have noticed a lot of the international sales are coming from the US.

I hear you are about to embark on an adventure.

Yes, I’m about to live my dream – myself, [husband] Daniel and our three boys, who are eight, six and four years of age, are about to embark on a six-month sabbatical. We are going to Europe, South America and the Middle East, and just really exploring the world and opening the boys’ ideas on what the world is all about, and taking them on lots of adventures and teaching them about different cultures, languages and food. We have got a lot on the to-do list. We are also going to jungles [and] beaches, we are going skiing, we are going to hunt for truffles and pick mushrooms. We are also taking the boys to the sloth orphanage; I find them amazing little creatures.

What do you plan to do with the boys’ studies?

We are going to home-school them and when we get back they will go back to school. It’s quite an incredible experience for all of us. I have never had more than 10 days off since we started sass & bide and both Daniel and I have worked since we had the boys, so we have never spent 24 hours, seven days a week with them. I’m really looking forward to having just the five of us together and enjoying each others’ company while they are still young.

Will you have any contact with the business?

Yes, I’m going to be still in contact one day a week. While I’m over there I will be going to every weekend flea market and vintage fair, so hopefully I can be collecting a lot of inspiration for the design team and sending parcels back to Heidi.

You and Heidi started the business selling at markets. Back then, did you think your brand would be where it is today?

No, I think it’s just that we have always run the business quite instinctual and I think it happened to work for us, so I never thought I’d be where we are but I’m happy we are here.

Do you ever go back to the Portobello Market where you first started out?

Yes, every time we go to London it’s the first thing we do. We often land and go straight there on Friday morning and we go and say hi to all our friends because a lot of the stall owners have known us for 15 years now.

In this financially difficult time, designers have been struggling. What is the secret to your success?

I think the brand really has to have a strong identity and you have to stay focused on that and be original. It has to have the heart. And I think all those things combined makes it into something people want to be part of and belong to.

Who are some of your favourite celebrities who have worn sass & bide?

We have been really lucky that celebrities have wanted to wear the product because we don’t actively send too many parcels out. We always like the girls who wear it in a unique way: Beyonce, Kate Moss, Kate Bosworth and also Nicole Richie.

If you’d never gone into fashion, what would you be doing?

Well, I really love interiors and I love collecting vintage clothing, and I think would have to somehow have an interiors shop with vintage clothing or something like that.

What do you do to relax?

We go to the southern highlands. We have a place there and I have a vegie patch that I work on and really just relax.

WE WENT TO 10 William Street, Paddington.WE ATE Bruschetta with anchovy and basil, crudo di bonito and prawn cracker bottarga.WE DRANK Jean Foillard Morgon 2010 Beaujolais.SARAH-JANE WORE sass & bide from head to toe.

katewaterhouse上海夜生活m; Twitter @katewaterhouse7; Instagram katewaterhouse7; Pinterest katewaterhouse7

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Struggling hero’s complex relationship with the truth

Written on February 22, 2019 at 15:58, by

FICTION A Man in Love Karl Ove Knausgaard Harvill Secker, $32.95
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”What is the work of art if not the gaze of another person? Not directed above us, nor beneath us, but at the same height as our own gaze.” The line comes towards the end of this long novel, the second volume in Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgaard’s best-selling, prize-winning My Struggle sequence, and follows on from a passage in which he has declared he is no longer interested in fiction, in made-up stuff.

These autobiographical fictions aspire to meet our gaze; they also, to shift the figure, function like virtual reality helmets, in which we see and feel and think what Knausgaard does, often in real time and with an unstaunched mundanity of detail.

That the books come so close to eliciting outright boredom is part of their fascination; that they cleave so diligently to ordinary, uneventful life is just what makes them so monstrous.

Of course, the sense books give of unfiltered experience is a literary effect like any other. Knausgaard mentions in both volumes how poor his memory is, and even a good memory couldn’t be this lucid, so invention has stealthily played its part. In any case, although the writing might present as aimless, there is non-linear tectonic movement beneath, careful in the selection and placement of its random-seeming material.

The first volume, A Death in the Family, dealt with Knausgaard’s teenage years and the death of his difficult, self-destructive father. The second volume finds him living in Sweden, making a name for himself as a writer and starting a family with his new partner, Linda. The conflict between these two projects gives the book one of its prominent themes: although Knausgaard has sampled post-structuralism, he is a romantic, a believer in transcendence and the asociality of the artist, and he thinks he wants his writing to come before his wife and children. Linda has other ideas.

Knausgaard’s grumbles, to us if not to Linda, about the feminisation of the Scandinavian male also show the book’s ruminative side, which waxes curmudgeonly about the mediocrity of modern life and the inferiority of Sweden to Norway, the temptation of being a media whore and the lure of reclusiveness. Like any good introvert, Knausgaard tells us his real life is in his head; these abrasive, hypnotic books project that life into our heads. Four more volumes to go.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Nothing’s quiet on the home front

Written on February 22, 2019 at 15:58, by

Born for it: Kim Kelly has loved writing since her youth.When we think of Australia’s involvement in war, Kim Kelly says, ideals such as bravery, heroism and mateship all come to the fore.
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”I explore all of those wonderful things in my work but there’s also a sadder, more tragic and melancholy side of things that we don’t often think about,” the author of This Red Earth says.

”We have sacrificed an awful lot for conflicts which really had little to do with us.”

Abroad and at home, she says, lives were lost, loves lost, and a country was turned inside out. This Red Earth is the story of Bernadette Cooper and Gordon Brock, young lovers caught up in World War II. While they contemplate marriage, circumstances have different plans for them both, as Gordon enlists and Bernie prepares to fight her own war at home, a war against an unknown future.

”Both my first and second novels are about war and the way Australia has responded to war,” Kelly says. ”I have quite a deep desire to paint a fuller picture of what was going on.

”Black Diamonds was about the First World War and with this one I wanted to have a look at what the Second World War was like, not just for the generation of people who experienced it firsthand, but what it was like reflecting on their parents’ experiences of the first one. There are tragic tales behind these beautiful young people … even before it affected them.”

Kelly grew up around the southern beaches of Sydney, but now lives in Orange, in central-west NSW. She has always written, but university and raising two boys rattled her creative confidence. Instead she ”fell into work as a book editor”, which eventually led her back to thinking she could write books.

In her second novel she wanted to explore the idea of how life at home continued even while there was a war on: how relationships developed, how children were still at school, how jobs were maintained on the home front, or the effects of a drought that crippled the country. More than 30 million sheep were lost between 1939 and 1945 and many farmers lost everything.

”I had no idea about the drought at that time,” Kelly says. ”Things like that excite me. How could we not know? How could we forget about what’s happening at home? There’s a whole other life that’s still going on.”

The concept of love of country is one that interests Kelly. ”When we think about Australians at war we think about that love of country,” she says. ”And when we think about love of country we also think about people on the land, what they might go through in a drought. The two just seemed to intertwine.”

Kelly says Australians tend to look at their history with ”big broad brush strokes with slogans attached. And that gets confused because we’ve got politicians and corporations who attach themselves to those slogans”.

”What fascinates me as a writer is Australia and who we are and why we are who we are, and a great love of country that’s got nothing to do with politicians or corporations.”

Kelly’s interest in historical fiction began when she ghost-wrote the memoir of Ernest Brough, Dangerous Days: A Digger’s Great Escape, about his escape from a prison camp in Austria and his experiences as a Rat of Tobruk during World War II.

”Ern’s real-life experiences burnt into my soul and I knew there were stories to be told about the wars,” she says.

She first thought about telling stories as a 12-year-old. ”I remember writing a poem and realising for the first time that I could make pictures out of words,” she says. ”That was very exciting.”

But she started in book publishing when she returned to work after having children. Working with other writers ”reignited my passion for writing”, she says. ”When I finally decided to do it myself, the words screamed out of me.”

There’s a section of the novel in which Gordon, who is a geologist, moves to Canberra after the war to work for the then CSIR, the precursor to the CSIRO. It doesn’t paint the capital city in a particularly good light.

”It’s not called Bush City for nothing,” she writes. ”The centre of town, where the shops are, is not more than two miles wide. Who else has a capital city like this one? No one in the streets, all shut up in their offices napping for their country, around an artificial lake that famously hasn’t been built yet because of this flaming war … This isn’t a town. I don’t know what this alien place is … how can anyone live here? … I’ve got to get out of Canberra.”

Kelly laughs. ”I’m terrible, aren’t I?” she says. ”I did spend a lot of time in Canberra as a kid so my view of the place was probably coloured by that. Sorry!”

This Red Earth by Kim Kelly  is published by Macmillan, $27.99.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Books that changed me: Garth Nix

Written on February 22, 2019 at 15:58, by

The Owl Service – Alan Garner
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Alan Garner in his early period from the 1960s wrote a number of my favourite books, including The Owl Service but also The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and The Moon of Gomrath. As with all good children’s books, they also offer a great deal to adults. Compelling stories, drawing on myth and legend, told in spare but powerful prose, and always with a strong emotional punch.

The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R. Tolkien

I first read LOTR by myself when I was about 10 (my parents had read it aloud to me earlier) and I’ve reread it many times since. I love the work, while being aware of the flaws, and consider Tolkien a major influence, even though I have (so far) resisted writing imitative tales of elves, orcs and Dark Lords in their towers.

Goodbye to All That – Robert Graves

Like many Australians, my ancestors served in the First World War and my great-great-uncle was killed at Flers in 1916. Reading this memoir at age 13 transformed a kind of diorama view of the war into something more personal. Some of my lifelong interest in military history is undoubtedly due to Graves (and C.E.W. Bean) and the trench lines of the Perimeter in my novel Sabriel owe much to this book as well.

Uncle – J.P. Martin

Written by a clergyman in the 1960s and wonderfully illustrated by Quentin Blake, this book and its sequels are about an immensely rich elephant called Uncle, who lives in a seemingly limitless castle called Homeward and is beset by his enemies in neighbouring Badfort. I loved the quirkiness of these tales. All five books are being republished and can be ordered at gipps上海夜生活.uk/The_Complete_Uncle.html.

Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable

There are many editions of Brewer’s and it is online in various forms. The older editions are most fascinating, particularly that of 1892 (bartleby上海夜生活m/81). I have found countless ideas for my own writing in randomly browsing through its pages. Where else would you find an entry on Gemmagog, a giant who designed shoes with turned-up toes fastened at the knee?

Garth Nix has worked in many jobs in the book industry. More than 5 million copies of his books have been sold in about 40 languages. His new children’s fantasy, written with Sean Williams, is The Mystery of the Golden Card: Troubletwisters 3 (Allen & Unwin). 

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

take three

Written on February 22, 2019 at 15:58, by

Half Moon BayBy Helene Young. Michael Joseph. $29.99.
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Helene Young is an award-winning romance writer, having twice won gongs from the Romance Writers of Australia. She’s also a champion of the sub-genre ”romantic suspense”, which weaves a love story into a suspense novel and she does it rather effectively.

Ellie, an international photojournalist, returns to her home town of Half Moon Bay after the residents send her a cry of help when the mayor is suspected of some dodgy dealings. She’s still getting over the death of her sister in Afghanistan and once home comes face to face with Nicholas, the ex-military man who was there the day her sister died.

You’ll keep reading, not only to find out the truth about Half Moon Bay, but to find out whether Ellie and Nicholas will get a happily ever after ending.

Dear LucyBy Julie Sarkissian. Hodder & Stoughton. $29.99.

Sarkissian’s voice is an original one and took some getting used to but, once you got settled into her rhythms, this book became quite engrossing. Lucy is different, a mentally challenged teenaged girl who is living on a farm with Mister and Missus after being abandoned by her own mother. Here she forms a friendship with pregnant Samantha and when Samantha gives birth and the baby disappears, Lucy takes it upon herself to investigate.

Through the differing view points of Lucy, Missus and Samantha, the book explores the concept of motherhood in all its variations as the search for the baby unfolds. While it was hard to develop a relationship with any of the characters Missus, in particular, it was an emotional novel.

And When She Was GoodBy Laura Lippman. Faber and Faber. $24.99.

The idea of a suburban housewife working as a high-end prostitute is not one of fiction any more. Heloise is your typical soccer mum. She’s also a madam, servicing several of Baltimore’s most powerful men. This book flicks back and forwards to Heloise’s youth and while this element got a little confusing at times, it was interesting in explaining the back story.

But it didn’t make Heloise any more likeable – she’s more than a little bitter and not terribly empathetic. The interest came in whether or not she could keep her lives separate.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.