Saturday, 26 July 2014

The Lunchbox

I've seen documentaries on the Dabbawalas, the daily system in India of delivering lunch containers from residences to office workers and returning them following use and I have marvelled how well this seemingly antiquated arrangement works in a high tech 21st century world. It seems a peculiarly and charmingly Indian procedure.

'The Lunchbox' uses the Dabbawala arrangement to tell the story of two sad people. One is a young married mother who is neglected by her husband and the other is a widowed and lonely man, an office worker approaching retirement and fearful of the emptiness he faces.

The two become connected when the lunchbox prepared by the mother is incorrectly delivered to the office worker.

This is a slow film and not one for lovers of high action but it is a film with its own low key charm.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Trying to slip it on

No, this is not a safe sex message.

At the risk of boring you with 'old men's' issues can I complain how difficult it is to find men's slippers? I've just spent a couple of hours trawling department stores and the range of men's slippers they have on sale is, quite frankly, pitiful.

Half a dozen supposedly different styles but mostly variations of the one theme and even when I found a pair that vaguely attracted my interest they had no pairs available remotely near my size. And just in case you are wondering I do not have a pair of King Kong size feet.

I might have been attracted to these slippers, if the wearer came with them...

Chace Crawford wearing Etro dress slipper

...but no, they don't look at all the snugly warm pair I am looking to wear these cold winter evenings.

I'm not keen on them but perhaps I will have to resort to purchasing the dreaded...

Ben Affleck wearing Ugg boots

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Sourdough Five Ways

Sourdough bread seen through the windows of a bakery/cafe at the Five Ways.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Five Ways

On two of the five corners of the Five Ways intersection in suburban Paddington.

'Eat Thai' Restaurant

Royal Hotel

Monday, 21 July 2014


A touch of France and a traditional Eastern Suburbs terrace house in Paddington.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Jersey Boys

'Jersey Boys' is the film adaptation of the internationally successful stage musical of the same name about the musical group the Four Seasons and its lead singer Frankie Valli.

In recent decades film versions of stage musicals have mostly failed to match the impact and success of the stage originals; 'Chicago' being a singular and outstanding exception. Although it has its moments 'Jersey Boys' does not buck that trend.

The stage show was an exhilaration; almost a concert with bite sized digestible bits of plot inserted between and within a seemingly endless and continuous stream of toe tapping hit tunes. And it was fast paced.

For the movie, Director Clint Eastwood has chosen to give greater prominence to the drama and to pull back on the music, especially for the first 30-40 minutes. This makes for a laboured start that drags and I became impatient for the hit tunes to arrive. When at long last the first of those tunes, 'Sherry' is sung and is immediately followed by two more hits, the film finally takes flight.

The second hour is clearly more entertaining than the first so at least the film concludes on a high note. Just a pity about that start.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Lobby Hero

'Lobby Hero' is being staged at the tiny TAP Gallery and Theatre. The small performance space allows for an audience of about 60 people.

The play is set in a New York residential lobby where two security guards work and two police officers frequently visit. The guards and the police have a few issues and dilemmas to face and they spend the best part of two and a half hours talking these through to no clear resolution.

I have the sense that this work, which originated off-Broadway, is a draft of a play intended for bigger things which haven't quite been realised.

Jeremy Waters gives the stand out performance. Although frequently funny, the play is overlong and in the end not entirely satisfying.

Thursday, 17 July 2014


A priest in a rural seaside part of Ireland is hearing confession. The congregant says he was abused by a now deceased priest from the age of seven. The congregant promises to take revenge in a week's time by killing the priest who is hearing the confession. The rationale for this threat is that the murder of an innocent and well loved priest will make a greater impact than revenge taken against a guilty man.

This is the shocking commencement of 'Calvary', a film which, perhaps the title gives away, struck me as a modern reconstruction of what Hollywood might once have called 'the Jesus story'.

This Irish film is brilliantly acted and its brutal conclusion left me stunned.


Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Dreamboat chef

This year's version of that amateur cooking contest on television is reaching the pointy end with only a week or so to go before the winner is declared.

Each year there is at least one contestant who attracts my interest for his...ah...qualities as distinct from any perceived cooking skills.

This year my fancy is

Brent Owens

I like his smile, his physique, his seemingly even temperament. Apparently he is a reasonable cook too even though he constantly finds himself on the losing side in team events. Yet again this week he will have to compete in the elimination round.

Although there are two other male competitors still in the running who I know from social media comments are very attractive to viewers Brent remains my favourite. I hope he lasts until the final night because once he is gone the eye candy element of this year's series will disappear for me.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Another day, another code

Quarter time at Swans v Carlton

Another day, another code of football. On Wednesday night it was Rugby League in Brisbane and tonight it was Australian Football in Sydney. By Sydney standards it was bitterly cold sitting in the stands tonight and we left the ground at half time. I was home before the third quarter ended to watch the reminder of the match on television in warmth and comfort.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Flying home

I flew home yesterday after my overnight visit to Brisbane. The flight descent was a little bumpy with strong winds over Sydney.

Generally flights into and out of Sydney Airport use one of the two north/south runways. There is one east/west runway which is used far less either to provide a relief for those suburbs over whose roofs the majority of flights pass or when there are strong westerly winds. The latter was the case for our flight. This meant an unusual approach to the airport and some interesting photo opportunities, albeit through the aircraft's dirty double windows, the bumpy descent and at times into the glare of midday sun.

Sydney's western suburbs; the Olympic Stadium is dead centre
We were approaching the airport from the north and then the plane turned sharply to the east.

Sydney Airport and Botany Bay
Travelling east we flew over the harbour, over the coastline and over the Tasman Sea. In the process we flew above Sydney's eastern suburbs where I live. My apartment building is in this photo; just above and to the left of centre.

Double Bay (left), Rushcutters Bay (right)
As we now approached the airport from the east I looked out to the north at Sydney's Pittwater Peninsula and at the Tasman Sea through the glare of the sun.

Continuing our descent flying past Bondi Beach.

Bondi Beach and Sydney's eastern suburbs
Lower still, flying past Randwick Racecourse.

Randwick Racecourse

Thursday, 10 July 2014

The match

Well, that was a mixed outcome. For New South Wales supporters the satisfaction of winning the series for the first time in nine years but the disappointment of being well and truly beaten in the final dead rubber. For Queenslanders the disappointment of losing the series but the satisfaction in having the final word with the most emphatic win of this year's series.

Some photos from last night.

Arriving at the Stadium

The view from our seats in the north-west corner before the match

The match is over; Queensland 32 NSW 8

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Brisbane overnighter

Have flown into Brisbane for tonight's State of Origin (Rugby League) match between Queensland and New South Wales.

The flight was delayed half an hour by the late arrival of the incoming flight from Melbourne where strong winds this morning affected services.

The flight to Brisbane was full and plenty of Blues supporters (NSW) have made the trip north. Two of the Sydney based television commentators (Ray Warren and Ken Sutcliffe) were on board and the National Rugby League's Integrity Officer was seated next to me.

He told me he has to return to Sydney early tomorrow to participate in a press conference effectively confirming news reports this morning in Sydney that an announcement will be made concerning one (more?) senior player having been involved in gambling contrary to the League's rules.

I've changed into blue clothing for tonight's match as instructed by Mt (a Queensland - maroon - supporter). Mt has paid for my match ticket in appreciation of the times I have hosted her at matches in Sydney.

Checking into my hotel a few minutes ago I ran into a couple of Brisbane resident friends in the foyer. We were not expecting to see each other here, indeed they had no idea of my visit tonight. It's a small world of coincidences at times.

I'll try to take some photos at the match and stadium for those breathlessly in need of seeing such information.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Yves Saint Laurent

This French biopic is apparently authorised by the long time partner of 'Yves Saint Laurent' and presumably bears some resemblance to the truth whilst I guess trying to show the subject in the best possible light.

The costumes, apparently the real thing on loan from the designer's archives, the musical soundtrack and the settings in France and Morocco are all impressive and the performances, especially the leads, are good. YSL himself is not all that likeable. He is shown to have a short fuse and to be consumed by his work, drugs, alcohol and sex. If he had other interests then this film does not touch on them to any extent.

The film covers Saint Laurent's life from the 1950s to his death and whilst I found the film visually (and musically) satisfying I came away with the feeling that I hadn't learnt much new about him.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Plus 1

I was Ae's 'plus one' tonight at a 60th birthday. The celebrating sextagenarian was a teacher with Ae years ago and there was a fair sprinkling of school and higher learning teachers in attendance. Most of these teacher friends brought their spouses/partners to the party and Ae was keen to have me there as a sort of 'beard' in reverse. Apart from Ae I knew only one other person at the party and that was not the birthday 'girl'.

On what was by Sydney's standards a very cold night and in their home near to the ocean our hosts had set up a marquee in the back terrace; a totally tiled area. There was recorded music playing loudly when we arrived so that conversation was difficult to follow. I was in for a night smiling and nodding affirmations to conversations I could not hear.

All the trappings for a live band including microphones were set up at one end of the terrace awaiting a live performance but when it came for the speeches, one each by the birthday girl's husband and the birthday girl herself, for some reason they chose to deliver these from the other end of terrace minus any amplification. I strained to hear their words.

The live band performance followed. This was from a group of four retirees, amateurs all. The birthday girl's husband and three of his mates delivered a concert of about six songs from 'our' era (The Beatles, Eric Burdon, etc) at a decibel level which another partygoer commented to me (shouting at top level) 'artfully concealed that they were singing completely out of tune'.

At a pre arranged moment some guests threw their spare underwear at the band in a vaguely Tom Jones memorial moment. I did not participate although when I made to remove my jacket Ae looked at me horrified thinking I was about to undress to remove my underpants. There was never any chance of that.

Finger food was in abundance as was the range and quantity of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. It was a generous evening and despite the noise levels I did enjoy myself even if I had little idea of any of the conversation around me.

But my days of standing on solid tiles for hours on end are well and truly over.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Ruthless! The Musical

(The Theatre Division)

We saw Ruthless! The Musical last night at the Seymour Centre and the Wikipedia site for the high camp musical tells you all you might want to know about the work.

This production, which was due to end tomorrow but has been extended a week to July 12, is hilarious from start to finish and a delightful spoof for followers of Broadway style musicals and Hollywood classic movies of the 1950s.

It sends its own genre up mercilessly to the extent that this is a musical whose big musical production moment is a song called 'I Hate Musicals'.

The all female cast of five and the partially visible band performed brilliantly tonight. The key role of eight year old Tina Denmark is performed alternately by two youngsters in Sydney and tonight we saw Jade Gillis. Check out the link and you'll get an idea of how bright these young girls are. The adult performers are worth seeing too.

If you enjoy a couple of hours of camp musical fun, go see it.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Memories from the cruise

Only a couple of days ago, not yet fading, still fondly remembered.

A glimpse of the dining room

The ship held a Market Day in the Atrium.

I wasn't tempted

The ship churned through an active sea into a strong wind.

The morning sun

Leaving our trail

Sheltering from the wind

One chocolate scoop, please!

The Motown music concert.

'Reach Out, I'll Be There'

'Dancing In The Street'