Tuesday, 31 July 2012

I did but see him diving by.......

My good blogger friend Andrew observed that the male gymnastics and men's diving obviously had not yet commenced at the London Olympics or I would be aware that this sporting extravaganza was underway. As an aside, am I allowed to actually print the words London Olympics or am I in danger of persecution by the IOC police for unauthorised use of their 'intellectual' - commercial(?) - property?

Well, I am aware of that event. Who could not be with the welter of coverage it is receiving in the media?

On my return home from work this afternoon I decided I would take some time to view the coverage. After all, my cable television service has quite thoughtfully added eight - count them, eight - additional sports channels and those eight channels are televising nothing but the Olympic Games non stop, 24 hours per day, for the entirety of the Games.

Now, Andrew may not believe this but what should be on display on the very first channel I tuned to but Men's Synchronised Diving. Truly, I had no idea it was being screened at that moment. In fact I had no idea there was such a sport as Synchronised Diving. Let's set aside whether any activity involving synchronisation can be called a sport as distinct from an entertainment and I have to admit the images were immediately pleasing to my eye.

There they stand, young and fit male divers two by two, adjusting themselves whilst on that high platform with the unblinking television camera bringing it all to me and full frontal no less in my own lounge room. The dives themselves are quite thrilling, dangerous looking and best of all over in seconds when the pairs then pull themselves from the pool with speedos clinging to their...ahem...bodies.

As if this feast for the eyes were not sufficient most of the pairs then adjourn to a wonderfully clear watered spa where they frolic with other pairs of divers. Who dreamt up this 'sport'; George Michael?

I loved it and was hooked right through to the final medal deciding round. The Chinese pair won it. Apparently the Chinese have won everything. The audience poolside was disappointed that the British pair failed to secure a medal. One of the British divers was the popular Tom Daley. Curiously Daley seemed alone in shunning the communal spa following each dive choosing instead to shower in full gaze of the television camera. I didn't mind at all.

Tom Daley is rather attractive actually and here he is during one of his numerous showers.

(www.london2012.com)
And here he is with his synchronised partner, the rather aptly named, Peter Waterfield.

(www.london2012.com)

Now that event has been decided, I wonder which channel is screening the male gymnasts?

Bridge

Last night, 43.30% 11/13, a bit like Australia's performance so far at a certain sports carnival.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Handy Andy

Andy

Yes, I have been watching a certain cooking competition and tonight the last three remaining competitors cook off in the finale.

The gorgeous looking Andy didn't seem to be a serious challenge in the early weeks but he has come storming home. Mmmmm, he is a tasty dish all of his own. It's a pity we don't get a vote as Andy already has mine.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

The Removalist

(La Boite Theatre)

Hopefully I won't end up looking like the guy in this promo for David Williamson's play.

I've just spent an hour or so with a removalist who is quoting on my forthcoming change of apartments. I dislike moving. All that packing and unpacking, all that rearranging of dust, all that angst on what to keep or discard. Yes, all of it is too, too daunting for me.

This is my first move for 22 years and at the age of 63 I have a confession. This is the first time when a change of residence is my responsibility and mine alone.

For my first 24 years I lived with my parents and all my moves were initiated and organised by them. I just went along for the ride. From 24 to 38 all my moves, including four overseas countries, were employment related and taxpayer funded. The Government made the arrangements and I followed orders. Then at 41, my most recent move and for the first time I had to pay the bills. My parents were still around and active and they made all the arrangements whilst I enjoyed the fruits of their labours and organisation without breaking into a sweat.

My parents are no longer around and now I have to organise a move for the very first time. Like a real grown up. What a responsibility. A fellow volunteer at the hospital recommended a removalist to me and later when I saw the same firm's advertisement in a community newspaper I took that as a good omen.

A very bubbly and evidently efficient young woman spent an hour this morning with clipboard in hand taking notes and acquainting herself with my 'property'. I liked her. I liked that she didn't complain about walking up my steep driveway in the steady rain. "It's only rain", she commented cheerfully. I was impressed by her. Her firm provides a full range of services that I had expected previously I would need to coordinate with three or four service providers. She gave me confidence. I've already decided to accept her quote no matter what it is. Well, maybe I will need to rethink if her quote is, say, a million dollars but it won't be that outrageous surely?

Eat your heart out, David Williamson.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

The Dark Knight Rises


It was a bit eerie seeing 'The Dark Knight Rises' within hours of dreadful events at a screening in Denver, Colorado. Thankfully nothing of that kind occurred here.

The Batman narratives pit good against evil and that is the unsurprising theme in this film. Evil heavily outnumbers good with villains, real, imagined and camouflaged at every turn. Principal amongst them is an almost unrecognisable Tom Hardy trussed up like Hannibal Lectar and possessing a prostethic Darth Vader voice. Anne Hathaway reinvents the Cat Woman and confirms her versatility in all manner of genres. Amongst a host of sub villains is Australia's Ben Mendelsohn chewing up the scenery in the first half.

At two and three quarter hours 'The Dark Knight Rises' is overlong in my opinion. Much of the language is quasi philosophical, quasi religious which I found irritatingly pompous and worse it muddied the specifics of many scenes. It dawned on me during the film that the plot is a take on Charles Dicken's 'A Tale of Two Cities' and indeed the book's famous line

"It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known."


is spoken near the end of the film.

The previous Batman films have presented a Gotham City that is generically urban and dangerous but nondescript. This film makes no secret that Gotham City is modelled on New York City so the later scenes of dusty streets with law enforcement reclaiming control from terrorists is unmistakably symbolic of the post 9/11 events.

Technically impressive but 'less' of almost everything would have been 'more' for me.


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Monday, 16 July 2012

Not Suitable For Children


A young man discovers he has testicular cancer and decides he must father a child quickly before he is left infertile by his impending operation. Not an obvious subject for a romantic comedy but it works mainly because the two principal performers, Ryan Kwanten and Sarah Snook, make an appealing pair.

'Not Suitable For Children' was filmed around the inner suburbs of Sydney and the graffiti daubed streets make for a different view of the city with not a single stereotypical shot of the Bridge, the Opera House or the Harbour to be seen.


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Friday, 13 July 2012

Sydney in sunshine

I took a visiting friend from Brisbane to Sydney's North Head (the northern entrance to Sydney Harbour from the Pacific Ocean) last Sunday to show him the spectacular view.

Looking down the harbour with Sydney's CBD in the distance

Zooming in on the same view

Ferries crossing, the left ferry to Sydney, the right ferry to Manly

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Going, going, gone



I am financing the purchase of my new apartment by selling my current apartment and my late mother's apartment. Both were placed on the market two weeks ago for sale by auction scheduled for 24 July.

In the meantime interest in terms of viewing numbers has been encouraging and competitive offers ahead of auction have been received.

To my relief both apartments have sold ahead of auction. Contracts for my mother's apartment were exchanged last evening, the purchaser being my mother's next door neighbour. Contracts for my apartment were exchanged barely minutes ago and less than five hours after the purchaser made her first enquiry and viewing. Don't some people move quickly!

Now for the task of clearing both apartments and establishing myself in the new apartment.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

'Old Man'

(Belvoir Street Theatre)

'Old Man' is a new Australian play just 70 minutes in length. A mid thirties husband and father finds himself alone at home one morning with all indications that his wife and two children have left him and with no clue as to why or where they have gone. Later we see the wife and the children and it appears from their perspective that it is the husband and father who has disappeared. Still later the husband goes to meet his elderly father (the 'old man') from whom he has been estranged since the age of three.

The early mystery of who has disappeared from whom and why is never explained but in hindsight I sense those scenes represent the fears those characters have of the husband repeating the behaviour of his 'old man'.

It is an interesting play, very nicely acted by the cast of six.

Recommended. ✩✩✩✩

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Exhibition standard

The vey nice couple from whom I have purchased my next apartment have kindly offered access for my friends to view the establishment ahead of settlement should I wish. All they ask, quite reasonably, is some notice so that the place is at 'exhibition standard'.

I know how they feel. My current apartment would rarely meet the 'exhibition standard' test and then there is the thought of an unannounced viewing interrupting some delicate activity. The latter thought occurred to me in the dark of this morning as I was myself engaged in an enjoyably delicate activity. Perhaps I should terminate that line of thought here.

Returning to 'exhibition standard' I am learning quickly that one element of that standard, for the estate agents, is clutter, or more to the point the lack of it. The two earnest, yet attractive, young men marshalling me through the rough waters of selling property are very keen on the 'uncluttered look'.

Now, I am a gay man but a man nonetheless. That means I have a tendency to leave things where they drop. Literally. By no manner does that mean in the 'stowed' position as air stewards might say. I suppose that constitutes clutter. On the other hand my apartment, even after 22 years of habitation, would be universally described by my friends as minimalist in decoration. After all, I still have four totally bare walls in my bedroom. There are prints and other knick knacks decorating the other rooms but my bedroom remains resolutely for sleeping and...well...delicate activity...not for art appreciation.

I have found it difficult to 'declutter' my apartment to the estate agents' standards. There has been much stowing of material into cupboards, a useless exercise to my mind, given the clear evidence following each viewing that some viewers have inspected the insides of said hiding receptacles.

Without revealing too much, here is a photograph of part of my kitchen prepared by me to 'exhibition standard'. I would call the style, 'desert bare', but in the minds of the estate agents I have left them a rain forrest for clearance.

'Clutter' be gone!

Anyway I do try but the two agents looks of reproach towards me as though they are dealing with a schoolboy possessed of two left feet trying to emulate Fred Astaire are unmistakeable.

Monday, 2 July 2012

A Royal Affair


(In Danish with English sub-titles)

In the late eighteenth century an English Princess marries the King of Denmark only to find herself in a largely loveless arranged marriage. In time she enters into an affair with the King's physician. This odd threesome introduces reforms to a country which then had been a backwater in Europe.

'A Royal Affair' is based on historical fact and for that reason maintained my interest. It is well acted and nicely photographed but a trifle overlong.

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