Monday, 11 December 2017

Escalators as art

Sydney's Wynyard Railway Station is undergoing a major refurbishment even as a new skyscraper is being constructed above it. The station has long been noted amongst locals for its long, slow moving wooden escalators initially installed in 1932.

You can read about them here.

Wynyard Station escalators
Wynyard Station escalators
The wooden escalators have been replaced with modern metal versions. For once, though, Government hasn't simply obliterated past glories. Sections of the now replaced wooden steps have been retained as an art installation hanging above their replacements. A nice job, I think.

Escalators to heaven

Oh, what Fred Astaire might have done with these!

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Sydney Light Rail and Trams

Two blocks of tracks for Sydney's new CBD and South-Eastern line under construction have been revealed on George Street between Park and King Streets.

George Street at Park Street, looking north towards Market Street
George Street at Queen Victoria Building & Hilton Hotel, looking north towards Market Street
George Street at Market Street, looking south towards Park Street
George Street at Market Street, looking north towards King Street

Meanwhile this photograph on a construction site at the nearby suburb of Paddington from another time when trams ran along King Street in the CBD.

Tram heading east for Rose Bay on King Street near Castlereagh Street
Postscript: I've just noticed the FREE WIFI sign which appears neatly to be on the window of the Surrey Hotel. I suspect someone has stuck that on the hoarding photo as a joke.

Friday, 8 December 2017

'Oh, you are cacky-handed!'

As a child I was often the target of this comment. For those unfamiliar with the term 'cacky-handed' it  meant 'left-handed'. (Indeed Apple spell check is clearly unfamiliar with the term autocorrecting my typing each time to 'cocky-handed' which I have had to manually over-ride.)

Nowadays, even though we 'cacky-handed' ones still represent little more than about 10% of the world's population, it is very rare for anyone to make that observation to me.

Today Australia's Governor General gave Royal Assent to Parliament's legislation allowing Marriage Equality. It is now the law of the land. Australia is the 26th country to legalise Marriage Equality. It has been a long and difficult road to reach this point.

I am aged 68 and life for me as a gay man is very different now from when I was teenager and my orientation was not only shameful but criminal and needed to be kept secret. Indeed as a teenager I was referred by authorities to a Psychiatrist who, I guess, investigated my 'deviance'.

It would be nice if Marriage Equality was the final step to complete equality for gays, lesbians etc. But still we are exhorted or encouraged to 'come out'; and having 'come out' we continue to 'come out' again and again. Yes, life for us is much better today but there is still a way to go.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Dutch glory

Some snaps from the Art Gallery of New South Wales where the current main exhibition is Rembrandt and the Dutch Golden Age.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Bernina Express: Milan to Zurich

Train and scenery enthusiasts, spend ten minutes with this beautiful video. I hope you enjoy it Andrew.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Hands free phone.....or magic thighs

I have a new toy.

My juvenile need to have the latest model. I took possession of my iPhone X last night. I set it up fairly quickly using the new facility to transfer all my former phone settings wirelessly from another Apple device. Very clever. Very convenient. Very easy.

I usually 'carry' my mobile phone in the pocket of my trousers/shorts. Today was my first full day carrying my shiny toy snug in my trouser pocket. It didn't go quite as expected.

Mid morning I felt a sudden heat on my left thigh. I pulled the phone out. Although I had earlier locked the phone, it had unlocked itself, opened the camera and taken a series of photos and videos of the inside of my pocket. Six photos and videos in total. Whoa!

I locked and closed the phone again and placed it back in my pocket.

An hour or so later the phone rang. A friend, having completed a long drive down the coast, was ringing with some concern. She had been unable, whilst driving, to answer my numerous calls to her. Was there a problem? Well yes, I realised. I hadn't called her. But sure enough my new phone showed unanswered calls to her. My phone had made calls to one of my contacts without any involvement by me. Whoa again!

A visit to the Apple Store revealed that last night's set up hadn't been fault free. One small but obviously important step had only partially completed. It took less than a minute to rectify.

I'll probably have a nervous day tomorrow, when the phone is next in my pocket, wondering what hands free magic activities it might initiate.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017


This restored tram ran on the last day of Sydney's former tram network which closed in 1963

Saturday, 25 November 2017

The show is over

The audience departs following a matinee performance at the Sydney Opera House

Friday, 24 November 2017

Q & A

They don't make discussion shows like this anymore. Gore Vidal and Norman Mailer go hammer and tong on the Dick Cavett Show. The intervention from the unidentified woman on the panel at the 1.35  mark to 2.30 hits the spot.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Merciless Gods

(Griffin Theatre)

A set of short stories by Christos Tsiolkas has been adapted for the stage as a sequence of scenes under the title 'Merciless Gods'.

The subjects of the stories are pretty confronting canvassing sexual relationships, mental and general health, family and loss.

The intimate Griffin Theatre performance space is ideal for this production with the audience close proximity. The six performers, Paul Blenheim, Brigid Gallacher, Sapidah Kian, Peter Paltos, Charles Purcell and Jennifer Vuletic are excellent.


Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Muriel's Wedding; The Musical

(Sydney Theatre Company & Global Creatures)

Muriel is an outsider spurned by her friends from school days and by members of her own family. She handles endless rejection by retreating into daydreams about ABBA and the lyrics of their songs.

'Muriel's Wedding; The Musical' is an updated adaptation of the 1994 film 'Muriel's Wedding'. The adaptation is by P J Hogan, the writer and director of the movie, and it contains a new musical score and lyrics by Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall which is supplemented by some ABBA songs.

This is a triumph.

The essential plot of the film has been retained with skilful updated elements that resonate in today's smart phone, social media obsessed world. The new music and lyrics brilliantly illustrate and progress the plot. The staging is colourful and clever. The cast of thirty-two performs enthusiastically and tirelessly presenting a memorable range of characters.


Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Silent Night

(Darlinghurst Theatre Company)

A couple is preparing lavish Christmas decorations for their house with the aim of winning a prize for the best decorated light display in their neighbourhood. Their thirty-three years old housebound and conniving son is proving a distraction and exacerbating tensions about how best to deal with his recalcitrant behaviour.

'Silent Night' is a new Australian play which appeared promising on paper and which we very much hoped to enjoy.

Unfortunately the first half was unfunny and crude. The cast worked hard, perhaps too hard, to win over an unresponsive audience. We didn't return to our seats after the interval, so I won't give a rating.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Three Sisters

(Sydney Theatre Company)

The Sydney Theatre Company's production of Anton Chekhov's 'Three Sisters' as adapted by Andrew Upton.

Three sisters live in a town dominated by a nearby Army base. They came to the town with their parents and brother from a larger city years earlier but now on the first anniversary of their father's death and with their mother long dead the sisters have varying views about remaining in the town and the play charts their interaction with town locals in the ensuing years.

I'm not familiar with the play but friends felt this is a poor interpretation. It is a curious production. Whilst using the original Russian names of the characters the setting is anonymous and sparse and could be anywhere which experiences occasional snow.

It comes across as quite humorous but few of the characters engaged me.


Sunday, 19 November 2017

Shock Jock Rules in the Interval

I was taking some snaps of the orchestra and audience returning to their seats ahead of the resumption  of the Broadway to La Scala concert in the Sydney Opera House yesterday. I didn't notice the raised finger at the bottom until later.

But therein lies a story. The finger appears to be against the grey hair of a gentleman. But that was no gentleman. That grey-haired head belongs to a Radio Shock Jock. A very well known Sydney Shock Jock. Probably Australia's most notoriously known Shock Jock in a city which has a gaggle of notorious Shock Jocks.

Blow it; I'll tell you who. Alan Jones; that's who.

Mr Jones spent the twenty minutes long interval in deep conversation with a gentleman to his left. Throughout the conversation he waved his hands about extravagantly in the manner of someone who is laying down the law to a recalcitrant. Mr Jones is well used to laying down the law especially to people who are to his left. Mr Jones is accustomed to lecturing Prime Ministers, Premiers, sundry politicians, rugby players and his many, many listeners.

Curiously Mr Jones had a pen in hand throughout what appeared to be heavily a one sided conversation. Perhaps he'd been taking notes during the concert and didn't want to let go. Perhaps he was anticipating autograph hunters although I didn't notice any. Maybe he is just one of those who has a pen handy at all times.

I imagine Mr Jones will make mention of his attendance at the concert in his broadcast tomorrow morning. If so he might mention his interval discussion. I won't know. I tired of listening to Mr Jones' lecturing a long time ago.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

From Broadway to La Scala

This one off concert in the Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House today follows on from similar concerts staged in 2015. Opera Singers Teddy Tahu RhodesDavid HobsonGreta Bradman and stage and screen performer Lisa McCune perform a series musical and operatic favourites. Limited concerts are also programmed for other capital cities.

Today's performance was enjoyed by an enthusiastic audience overwhelmingly of my generation or similar.

Two disappointments. One was the non performance of 'Au fond du temple saint' from The Pearl Fishers although it was mentioned in the (expensive) program. The second being the variable sound quality and levels in the Concert Hall.

Overall though I shared the general enthusiasm around me.


Friday, 17 November 2017

The House of Dior Exhibition

I visited the House of Dior exhibition that was staged recently at the National Gallery of Victoria. I'm not a fashionista nor do I have any particular knowledge about fashion but I enjoyed what was on display and I could appreciate that there was considerable art and skill on display.

Here are some photos from my viewing (without comment nor caption).

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Blade Runner 2049

In 'Blade Runner 2049' Los Angeles Police Department Officer 'Blade Runner K' (Ryan Gosling), a Replicant (artificial but human like fighter), is ordered to chase down rogue Replicants who revolted against a major corporation. K uncovers secrets from the past and goes in search of Deckard (Harrison Ford), a Blade Runner who has been missing for thirty years.

This is the sequel to 1982's 'Blade Runner' and it shares the original's dark and rainy images. Gosling's naturally deadpan manner and expressions are perfectly suited to the his character as a Replicant.

Very atmospheric and whilst the pace is slow I found the film intriguing.


Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Australia 2-0

It has been a good day for Australia.

This morning the announcement that the Government decreed voluntary survey which few Australians felt was necessary had returned a 61.6% vote in favour of marriage equality effectively committing the Australian Parliament to introduce the necessary legislation; something that should have been done without an expensive tax payer funded process.

Australia 1 win.

This evening Australia's soccer team, the Socceroos, defeated Honduras in the last chance play off match to qualify for the World Cup Finals 2018 in Russia.

Australia 2 wins.