Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Selamat siang

Good day from Bali. Well, not quite yet. I should be taking off from Sydney at the moment this is published (assuming the flight is on time).

And in six hours time I will (should) be in Bali, Indonesia.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Baby Driver

'Baby Driver' has arrived with considerable fanfare for its extensive musical soundtrack and its hip, modern style.

Baby (Ansel Elgort) is a young man who drives getaway cars for teams of bank robbers. 'Drives' is an understatement. He is an artist of the getaway craft zooming, weaving, twirling, burning and many others 'ings' a stunt driver - and CGI effects - can muster. He has a good heart; witness the care he takes of his deaf step-father but bank robbing can only end badly if you don't know when to stop.

I'm not certain what age group this film is targeting. The relationship between Baby and his girlfriend seems to target teens and twenty-somethings but then the assorted gangsters, all heavily tattooed, and their mild accountant style leader Doc (Kevin Spacey) seem aimed at other demographics altogether.

And then there is the continuous sound track which is a scattergun of styles. Speaking of guns, the violence comes fast and thick the longer the film runs.

Not a film for me.


Sunday, 16 July 2017

Australian Graffiti

(Sydney Theatre Company)

'Australian Graffiti' is a current production at the Sydney Theatre Company. A Thai family is struggling to earn a living in Australia. They have operated a series of restaurants each of which has failed under pressure of competition. As a consequence the family has moved regularly to increasingly remote areas to the point they have landed in a tiny town where locals are treating them with suspicion.

An earnest effort at portraying the migrant experience in Australia.


Saturday, 15 July 2017

The Glenmore

The Glenmore is located in the Sydney's historic district known as The Rocks; the site of the first European settlement by the British colonisers of the Australian continent in 1788.

The hotel dates from 1921 and so pre-dates the nearby iconic Harbour Bridge by more than a decade. Apart from its maze of various saloon rooms the main attraction of the Pub is its roof top dining/drinking area with glimpses of the harbour and the Opera House. On a personal note, the Pub is located next to a building where I was an employee for several years. I won't confirm or deny whether many lunch hours were spent on the rooftop but, if they were, I'm sure that time spent there did not detract from work performance.

Four of us spent a very pleasant five hours over lunch at The Glenmore today.

Highly recommended for locals and visitors.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

The Riverboat Postman

I was born and raised in Sydney and have lived something in the order of 52 of my 68 years in this city and yet I had never heard of the Riverboat Postman until last Sunday. Four friends and I took a trip on the Riverboat today.

It makes for a fine day of activity when you include the one hour each way journey between Sydney CBD and the Hawkesbury River at Brooklyn where the Riverboat is docked. We made those journeys by train.

The Riverboat experience itself lasts about three hours. We travelled on the Zarapito. A comfortable enough boat although it could do with some refreshing. At a guess it caters for about 70 passengers.

The hosts serve coffee/tea and Anzac Biscuits for a morning tea and later on a no frills Ploughman's Lunch accompanied by coffee/tea and a chocolate. You can purchase some other refreshments during the journey.

The journey covers a number of islands where the post is delivered to smiling, occasionally eccentric, locals. We were blessed by a lovely sunny winter's day and it was a lovely, peaceful, leisurely experience.

The journey is accompanied by commentary from the Captain who informed us that this is the only Riverboat postal service in Australia.

Highly recommended for locals and visitors.

Monday, 10 July 2017

I've succumbed

I got through 'The Rover' but finally have succumbed to my cold missing out on seeing 'Cloud Nine' tonight.

The cough is mostly under control but my nose is running and running. I think it could win an Olympic Marathon so persistent is the malady.

Off to bed after a hot tea with lemon and honey.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

The Rover

(Belvoir Theatre)
Set in the 17th Century (I think) 'The Rover' starts off as a sort of cabaret/circus with bawdy references before it morphs into a farce with bawdy references. It is festival time in Naples, a time for revelry when aristocrats, the working classes, whores and nuns alike mingle and mix and match with total abandon.

Despite a long running time (three hours including interval) this production is vibrant, hilarious, fast paced and engaging throughout. It also features what must be the three thinnest, skinny legged actors treading the boards in Australia at the moment. Beware that the production includes language, sexual references, some nudity and (shock/horror) occasional harmless audience participation.


Saturday, 8 July 2017

Should I?

I have a theatre date today.

At the Belvoir Theatre where my bum hurts after just 45 minutes of sitting and today's play runs 3 hours 30 minutes including interval!

Plus I have an irritating cough and my nose is running. My cough will annoy everyone else, not just me.

Should I go?

I have just under six hours to decide.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Thursday, 6 July 2017


At the age of 13, 'Una' was the target of sexual abuse by Ray, an older man and former neighbour. Fifteen years later she discovers Ray is working at a large organisation under an assumed name. Una confronts Ray at his workplace. Is Una seeking revenge for her abuse as a child? Does she have other motivations? Does Ray feel guilt for his actions or is he unrepentant?

Don't expect answers. Everything about the issues canvassed in the film remains inconclusive.

Ruby Stokes and Rooney Mara as Una and Ben Mendelsohn as Ray give strong performances in this dark film which never quite escapes it's theatrical origins.


Wednesday, 5 July 2017


(Sydney Theatre Company)

'1984' is a stage production of the famous George Orwell novel of that name which sets out three authoritarian regimes where history changes on political whim, where the citizens are subject of total monitoring and where individualism does not exist.

The play seems to sit outside of this world at times observing events both contemporarily and retrospectively. The time frame is fluid being both now, in the future and in the past.

The staging makes much use of sound and light design and is impressive. The ensemble of nine delivers beautifully timed and choreographed performances.

My one reservation is that the play doesn't deliver sustained menace. There are moments but the tension tends to ebb and flow.


Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Wonder Woman

'Wonder Woman' opens with a long introduction explaining the title character's origins as the sole child on some Amazonian idyllic island protected by an invisible shield which proves less than impregnable when breached by an American airman spy dressed as a German. Gal Gadot and Chris Pine prove attractive and eminently watchable as the adult Wonder Woman and the airman.

The two embark on some spy activity which I didn't completely follow supported by a motley international trio of mercenaries.

'Wonder Woman' is quite interesting visually and the CGI effects work well. It is refreshing to have a female heroine for a change even if (inevitably?) a man is depicted as sparking her action. Other than that there is not a lot to a film that undoubtedly will be followed with multiple sequels.


Monday, 3 July 2017

Safety, please

Three workers on the roof of a nearby multi-storey building. No safety fences and no other safety features evident.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Saturday, 1 July 2017

To the point

A gathering to farewell the retiring, long standing gardener and general handyman for my apartment block. About thirty in attendance, all sexagenarians and much older.

S is speaking to me about being a 'benefactor to the arts'; a gross inflation of my frequent attendance at the theatre. S draws the passing T into our conversation despite the latter's obvious intention to join another group nearby.

S: 'I do love the Wharf Revue. It is so topical and entertaining'.

T: 'The subject does not interest me'. And with that, T moves on.