Category Archives: Books, Music and Films

#15 Compile a list of “Wake me from a Coma” items

Imagine you were in an accident and, perish the thought, ended up in a coma. Would your closest family and friends know what could rouse you from your unplanned slumber? Would they have a clear idea of what’s so important to you that it could trump unconsciousness?

With this in mind, I’ve decided on my next fun (though hardly frivolous) activity:

#15 Compile a list of “Wake Me From a Coma” items

It’s a big ask, I know. Would it be a voice? A perfume? Music? Or something else?

It turns out to be all these things.

There were times during my search when my heart  began to race, and times when it slowed to a glacial pace. There were the unexpected moments where I felt something inside me was melting. That’s when I knew I’d found what I was looking for.

There’s probably a name for the moment when an experience literally stops you in your tracks.  Whatever it is, I suspect that, paradoxically, it may be the very thing that could  wake you from a coma.

So in no particular order:

1. Schubert Impromptu in G Flat Op 90 No 3


I first heard this when it featured in the Australian film “The Getting of Wisdom” in the seventies, and was so entranced that I learnt to play it.  For a short, glorious period in my youth I could perform it in its entirety. It still gives me goose bumps.


2. A gentle scalp massage.

You’ve seen kittens purr. Now watch someone wake from a coma.


3. “Mon coeur s’ouvre a ta voix” from Samson and Delilah by Camille Saint-Sans

Sung by Marilyn Horne

If there’s no blip on my heart monitor at the 1’44” point, then I’m in serious trouble.


 4. Harry Nilsson’s “Can’t live without you.”

It turns out that I could, but it makes me feel young and in love again, so it’s in. For that matter, Starry, Starry Night – the Don McLean version – is another heart starter.


5. A whiff of Diorissimo® Perfume


It was my mother’s choice throughout her life. Say no more.


6. Mozart’s Laudate Dominum  sung by Dame Kiri te Kanawa.

How did Mozart get it so right? I melt.


7. Jesse by Janis Ian

And why has this been lost in the mists of time? At least Tina Fey, in her film “Mean Girls”,  paid sly homage to the fabulously talented Janis.


8. Schubert’s  An die Musik

A glorious Schubert song that celebrates the beauty of music. I wish I spoke German.


9. A live reading by James Mason. Or Gregory Peck.

Who wouldn’t wake for the mellifluous voices of these two? Alas it will never happen again, so I may have to settle for George Clooney by my bedside…


10.  A 1940s rendition of “You are my Sunshine.”

Screenshot 2014-07-24 10.53.31

My father taught us this on the drive to school many years ago and we’d belt it out when we were all in a happy mood. It makes me smile every time I hear it.




Albury East pan 2

So there’s my very personal list. It’s by no means exhaustive, but it’s a start – and the search has been such fun.


#6 Become an Extra in a Film or Telemovie

Have you ever hankered to have a moment, however brief, on the big screen?

If, like me, you’ve no discernable acting talent, this has probably seemed like a pipe dream, but now, I may have found the solution:

#6 Become an Extra in a Film or Telemovie

Extras don’t normally speak, so voice projection skills aren’t necessary. In fact, extras play such an unimportant, unskilled role in the background that they’re barely noticeable until – and this is the vital point – there are no extras present and it becomes glaringly obvious that something important is missing. That ‘something important’ is definitely a skill I thought I could bring to any film.

So when a recent advertisement in our local paper called for extras for the filming of a telemovie called ‘Cliffy’, I immediately put up my hand.

The film is about Cliff Young, a 61-year-old, unheralded potato farmer from Western Victoria who became famous when he won an ultra marathon race (or shuffle as it turned out) from Sydney to Melbourne in 1983.

His tortoise-and-hare approach to the race, where he beat out all the other showier, younger but ultimately slower contenders, was a real feel-good moment for the nation. Here was a chance to snatch a small role in a classic telemovie and live the dream.

After completing the registration forms, I awaited The Call from the Extras Casting Director. When it came I was slotted to play an audience member seated in a television studio as ‘Cliff’ was being interviewed after his race win.

So I plucked my best 1980s-style jacket from the back of my wardrobe  – no need for me to visit the wardrobe department on set – and arrived ready for action.

And waited.

And waited.

Because that’s what extras do. They wait.

Finally my moment arrived, but rather than play a part of the audience, I became what’s known as a “featured extra”. I was to stand in the background pretending to be a studio manager ‘chatting’ to another extra, as the actor playing Cliff was about to go on set for his interview. A real acting role!

My new colleague clearly had great acting aspirations too.

During the repeated shootings of that 10-second scene, he gesticulated in such an exaggerated and unusual manner that I just stood there open-mouthed, perplexed at what he was doing and wondering if I should be doing the same. So I did.

I now have an uneasy feeling that we’ll both end up on the cutting room floor…



I didn’t end up on the cutting room floor!

If you look very carefully behind Cliffy’s shoulder in this shot from the film, you’ll see the vital role that extras play.

Cliffy 2

The final word in vanity searches…?

#2 Create a Home Cinema…continued

Some birthday presents really hit the spot, and my sister gave me a beauty this year for my new cinema. A subscription to a DVD club called Quickflix where you order your choice of films from a vast catalogue online and titles are delivered to your door as quickly as you can watch them with a reply-paid envelope for easy return. It’s brilliant and this business is so efficient it’s amazing. I’ve ordered several for delivery over the next few months and sent out invitations to my friends with descriptions of all the DVDs on order, asking them to rate their viewing preferences, ranging from:

1: No, never, I don’t want to see this film, even if you paid me

up to

5: Yes, desperate to view this one.

They’ve been emailing their choices back and it’s interesting to study them and work out how I’ll best accommodate all the permutations and combinations, bearing in mind Cinema X can only seat six at the moment.

Someone has rated The Terminator with a zero, even though I didn’t give them that option.

I think they’re trying to tell me something.

#2 Create a Home Cinema

The previous owners of my house ran a small business from the converted garage, which I’ve used as an office and storage space for the last few years.  But now I don’t need a big office, I’m able to create a room for a small home cinema.

#2: Create a Home Cinema

So I bought a magnificently large TV screen, did some basic sewing to create thick black curtains to hang behind the screen from ceiling to floor and, with the help of a good friend who’s very clever and had several days to spare, a truly amazing sound system’s been connected.

Add a few old posters of scenes from Casablanca which I’ve kept for years (is that not one of the best films ever?) plus comfortable couches and it now seats six easily. With a platform to elevate the back row it will eventually seat more. I like to think it has the atmosphere of an old-style cinema.


So my Home Cinema is up and running –  and even has a name.

While I toyed with calling it Cinema Paradiso (there’s another great film), a friend pointed out that as our town has a nine-cinema complex, perhaps it should be called Cinema Ten.

Also known as Cinema X…

Cinema sign