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It rained today. Lots. Somehow though, I managed to find a two hour pocket of dry weather to quickly dash about the city, snapping a few pics and zipping in and out of a few of my favourite shops.

I discovered two new magazines at my beloved Mag Nation (seriously, I could live there – coffee, couches, mags… what more could you need?)

Dumbo feather, pass it on (visit the website for fantastic deals on both current and back issues) is part magazine, part book, and each issue features five individuals telling you their stories. I bought the Winter 2007 issue as it was the one that most appealed to me, mostly because the first story featured was that of Julia DeVille, artist, jewellery maker, leather worker and taxidermist. I’d never heard of her, and it was this that made me think she would be more than a little bit interesting to read about:

I had done lots of taxidermy pieces. There was a huge crowd around the one cabinet that my work was in, you had to queue to see it because everyone was just so fascinated… after that she was like, I want a mouse-brooch too.

Although much of her work involves the use of taxidermy and can appear quite bleak and morbid, she speaks of the fact that being aware of your mortality can often lead to a greater appreciation of your life, and that life is a special thing that doesn’t last a long time. She expands upon this further on her website, the nature of our culture is to obsess over planning the future, however in doing so we forget to enjoy the present. Her work might not be to everybody’s taste (I’ve spent a bit of time tooling round her website today, and I’d certainly have a problem wearing her jewellery pieces) but it’s definitely fascinating to read about.

The other magazine I bought was Harvest, a quarterly that features fresh Australian writing. I’m yet to delve into it, but I’m looking forward to curling up in bed with it later – it will be the perfect end to what’s been an unseasonably cold day here in Melbourne.

During my travels today I also stumbled across Polyester Records, a shop that I’ve been meaning to check out for ages. I could live there too. Happily. Not only did the ‘overseas’ section encompass every album I’ve ever wanted (it read like a who’s who of my favourite posts of all time), but it had a vinyl section that I spent countless sighs flipping through. I don’t have a record player, but just seeing all my favourite album covers four times bigger was enough to start me thinking about it. And quality of sound? Well that would just be a bonus!

We don’t have T2 in my home town either, which is why I’m stuck drinking boring generic supermarket tea until I can get my act together and pick me up some of the good stuff. This is a Japanese green tea and has a wonderful nutty ricey taste. Delicious.

While I head off to boil the kettle, why don’t wrap your ears around these totally unrelated yet still wonderfully delectable tracks?

Everything I Do – Whiskeytown Love this, I do. Love it.

A Sunday Smile – Beirut Ditto.

A Change Is Gonna Come (Live) – Lauryn Hill With that voice, why does she need to rap?

And I’m on a bit of a Josh Ritter kick lately, so I thought I’d post a couple of acoustic tracks and then I thought, well this live version of ‘Kathleen’ is full of that crowd participation that I love so much, so how’s about I chuck that in too?

You’re welcome.

Rainslicker (acoustic) – Josh Ritter

Kathleen (acoustic) – Josh Ritter

Kathleen (Live From Dublin Castle) – Josh Ritter

I will leave you with a quote that I came across while trying to find a suitable blog title.

Melbourne is the kind of town that really makes you consider the question ‘Is there life after death?’ – Bette Midler

Oh Bette. How much you miss.

(All images are mine, except for the Dumbo Feather pic which you can find at The Design Files)