Monday, 31 August 2015

Holding the Man

Based on a memoir by Timothy Conigrave who fell in love with a star player in his school's football team and whose relationship post school days ultimately saw both contract HIV and based also on a play of the same name, the title 'Holding the Man' is a play on words being both a football term and a reference to the relationship.

The film version is a frank and harrowing depiction of the relationship. Conigrave and his partner John Caleo were about ten years younger than myself and their experience growing up gay at a time when homosexual activity was illegal in Australia and the sexual orientation mostly had to be concealed even from family and friends strikes a strong chord of memories of my own adolescence and early adulthood.

I would like to think that this impressive film would help those who even in these times think of homosexuality as a lifestyle choice rather than an innate characteristic reconsider their attitudes but I suspect that will not be the case.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Ricki and The Flash

Meryl Streep is an ageing band singer working in a supermarket to earn a basic living who is drawn back to her estranged remarried ex-husband and their three adult children when their daughter's marriage fails.

The trailer for 'Ricki and The Flash' suggested to me that this is a comedy but the film is very much a drama with some humorous moments. It seems to have been created as a vehicle for Streep to strut her stuff as a rocker and add to her collection of movie characters. There are a series of musical numbers most of which add little to progress the plot and frankly most characters are not well delineated.


Metro systems of the world

This post is for Andrew.

Which subway system is the largest: New York, Beijing or Shanghai?

Taken from this article.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Egg on face; hard boiled or scrambled?

Some of my regular followers know (or guessed) the career I had before retirement. It was not that far different from functions which fall within what is now rather unfortunately called Australian Border Force. However my work and the organisation that I worked for had a very different emphasis from the current 'control' focussed entity.

Today the ABF issued a press release about activities it plans for the city of Melbourne over the weekend. I can just imagine what thought went into the press release; all gung ho and macho in intent. They've ended up with egg on their faces with social media in particular pillorying this venture into fascism and Orwellian behaviour.

Immigration Minister, Prime Minister and ABF Commissioner
Goodness what a shocking Government we have at present and how appalling - perhaps under Ministerial direction - has our Public Service become.

UPDATE: Only hours after the announcement comes another. Police cancel plans for Border Force to check people's visas in Melbourne CBD, citing public concern. What a surprise!

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Mirror, mirror, on the wall...

A friend is undertaking a course in Design and has unilaterally offered her thoughts on ways of improving the design of my apartment.

All from the goodness of her heart of course and nothing to do with improving or rehearsing assignments for which she might be marked later. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. Actually I don't mind playing along because she has some interesting suggestions and my apartment could benefit from some design improvement.

Today we looked over mirrors, cushions, lamps etc.

Friend is somewhat taken with this mirror for my apartment;

but I have a preference for this;

No decisions yet - and no rush to redecorate either.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

All mod cons

Seen on the beach at Manly Cove today, beachgoers with a teepee protecting a laptop.

Friday, 21 August 2015

Thursday, 20 August 2015


A female journalist, leading a promiscuous life of one night stands, is sent to interview a mild sports doctor and begins to sense unprecedented monogamous thoughts.

This is my first exposure to actor and writer Amy Schumer. She is an 'in your face' performer and raw in manner but I like what I see. Her gender switching behaviour is pointed and clever and she comes across as open minded and tolerant.

'Trainwreck' may follow a predictable romantic comedy arc but it does so in an entertaining way. Tilda Swinton is delightfully unrecognisable in a key supporting role and I once again I've rather taken a shine to Bill Hader.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation

I've only just noticed that what is really rogue about 'Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation' and the earlier movies in the 'Mission: Impossible' franchise is the placement of the colon. It makes no sense to me. Surely the colon should follow the word 'impossible'?

Anyway Tom Cruise is back performing impossible stunts and escaping from impossible situations under implausible and often impossible circumstances. The plot revolves around identity and for much of its considerable length the 'goodies' and the 'baddies' are skilfully disguised leaving the audience guessing.

Despite the obvious nonsense of many of the situations, the film is mostly entertaining and very slick.

Saturday, 15 August 2015


(Belvoir St Theatre)

In Belvoir Street Theatre's current offering 'Seventeen' five actors, all aged in their seventies portray seventeen year old students celebrating in a park at night, their final day of schooling. Joy at leaving school behind turns quickly to reflective thoughts of their past relationships and the unknown future.

It is an interesting device to have mature, experienced adults take on the role of teenagers still finding their way into adulthood but the results are a little mixed. The dialogue often seemed to be at odds with the age of the characters and the body language of the performers seemed to range variously from primary age to adulthood.

Friday, 14 August 2015

More lunch in winter

Another lunch, another wintery day, another waterside location (Manly Cove) and another delightful view. This time the venue is the Manly Sailing Club.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Last Cab to Darwin

An ageing taxi driver has a painful terminal disease and on hearing of a doctor in the northern city of Darwin practising euthenasia he decides to make the long drive from his home town of Broken Hill to  put an end to his suffering.

Michael Caton brings the right mix of gravitas and wry humour to the lead role and has strong support from Ningali Lawford and Mark Coles Smith but the casting of Jacki Weaver seems a rare mis-step in her recent career; she does not seem suited to the role of the doctor.

Whilst the subject matter of 'Last Cab to Darwin' is on the surface a depressing topic and the portrayal of Indigenous Australians at times borders on stereotype the film traverses some uplifting material.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Lunch in winter

A wintery day and not many out and about but still a venue with a great outlook, the North Bondi RSL Club.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

What do we do? We Fly!*

(*From 'Do I Hear A Waltz', Lyrics by Stehpen Sondheim, Music by Richard Rodgers)

Flying Business Class can be heady but not all aspects of it are necessarily glamorous. Waiting in the Business Class Lounge of Air Canada in Vancouver recently for our return flight to Sydney we were confronted with two options for a hot meal.

And here they are.

Click on both photos to enlarge for a full sense of the quality of the offerings.

Looking at the food I was immediately reminded of the typically brilliant Sondheim lyrics;

The shiny stuff is tomatoes,
The salad lies in a group,
The curly stuff is potatoes,
The stuff that moves is soup.
Anything that is white is sweet,
Anything that is brown is meat,
Anything that is gray -- don't eat.

If you have a spare 3 minutes and 26 seconds play the full tune in the following recording. It is dated but it is still fun.

Here are the lyrics in full. I love them!


Lloyd tells me, "Never go by plane."
I tell Lloyd,"Flying is insane."
We agree -- we would rather die.
We see a brochure, and sign for a tour
And what do we do?  We fly!

It starts the minute you check in
Departure time is at noon,
A cup of tea and a schnecken,
And -- quick! -- it's leaving soon.
One o-clock and you're at the gate,
Two o-clock and the flight's delayed,
When you finally leave it's eight,
And what do we do?  We fly!

I hate planes, sitting three abreast.
I hate planes, never get a rest.
I hate planes (I hate...
Ev'ry single one.)
The crossing was rough --
Which wasn't enough,
The fun hadn't yet begun.

The seat was throwing my back out,
But there I was with a book,
When suddenly there's a black out,
And everywhere I look
Is a close-up of Doris Day,
Ninety minutes of Doris Day,
There was nothing to do but pray,
And how do we go?  We fly!

I hate planes, most of all the sound.
I hate planes, even on the ground.
Can't stand planes (I hate...
Even more than those....)
The kids in aisle
Surrounding you while
Their parents pretend to doze.

The kid I noticed the first was
The one who stood on my feet.
The kid I hated the worst was
The one who kicked my seat.
There was one in the left who bit,
There was one in the right who spit,
There was one in the back I hit.
But what did we do?  We flew!

I hate planes.  Never can adapt.
I hate planes.  Always feel I'm trapped.
Can't stand planes (I hate...
most of all, the chow.)
To know what is what
Is difficult, but
I think I've discovered how.

The shiny stuff is tomatoes,
The salad lies in a group,
The curly stuff is potatoes,
The stuff that moves is soup.
Anything that is white is sweet,
Anything that is brown is meat,
Anything that is gray -- don't eat.
But what do we do?  We fly!

You're zooming up like a comet
Your ears are starting to ring,
Your neighbors starting to vomit,
There's ice along the wing.
As you wait for your palms to dry
You can see your whole life flash by,
And they tell you it's fun to fly --

Your chance to survive is so remote,
You're far better off to cut your throat.
But who has the time to take a boat?
What do we do?  We fly!

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Mr Holmes

Sherlock Holmes is in his nineties and his memory is fading. His offsider Dr Watson has died years earlier and Holmes is ruing that he can't fully recall his last case which prompted his self imposed exile to a quiet corner of rural England. The young son of his housekeeper provides the inspiration Holmes needs to tie up the loose ends of his life.

The ageing 'Mr Holmes' is beautifully portrayed by Ian McKellen and the film is a gentle work with subtle humour and irony. However, it does proceed at a glacial pace constricted as it is by having a lead character approaching his centenary. I have to admit I nodded off at several stages yet I doubt that I missed very much.


Thursday, 6 August 2015

Time for a break?

I was in the city today and noticed what at first glance appeared to be one of those dumpling outlets where you can see the chefs making the dumplings by hand behind glass.

However it was a bit early in the day for dumplings and I noticed the unmistakeable logo of a certain chocolate covered wafer biscuit.

At closer inspection I discovered it is an outlet where customers can order their own exotically designed biscuits which are then created by those workers in the glass fronted booth.

I'm not sure I'd bother being a customer, especially after seeing this notice alongside the queue of people.

A two hours wait? Give me a break!

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Gastown Grand Prix

On our last evening in Vancouver we found ourselves briefly as unexpected spectators of the Gastown Grand Prix, a bicycle race.

Other spectators found a different vantage point in an adjacent multi-storey car park.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

This cat has no curiosity

When it comes to other people I have little innate curiosity. Catching up with friends I may ask the polite questions about their health and what they have been up to but rarely will I explore further.

Reporting those exchanges to mutual friends later they (our mutual friends) are always frustrated that I didn't ascertain more information. Is our friend travelling again? Did the sofa s/he ordered arrive? Did their auntie die from that rare disease? Have the neighbours reconciled after the blazing row s/he overheard? And so on and so forth.

Although I am quite partial to gossip I rarely remember the details and so am in no position to follow up on it later. Even on those occasions when I do recall such gossip and ask the related questions for reporting later I almost always forget the specifics of the answer by the time of the follow up 'debrief'.

If I were a cat all nine of my lives would be safely in reserve.