Sunday, 27 May 2018

Woof, woof...

Some friends just strain the relationship. Today is A's birthday. A couple of days back I asked what her plans were for the day and in the absence of any I suggested we meet for brunch bringing C along with me. A said she would bring B with her.

Selecting a venue was another matter. I invited her to make the selection - it is her birthday after all - but she resisted throwing the choice back to me. Knowing that she would usually be dog walking beforehand I suggested the cafe at Centennial Park...but would she still have the dog with her, I asked, given that outdoor seating which allows for accompanying dogs would be limited. No, A assured me the dog would be safely back home.

So when we arrived at the cafe I was slightly surprised to see A with dog in tow after all.

But not too surprised. So like A to do the opposite of what was arranged. The cafe was packed with no outdoor tables available at all and only one table for four unoccupied inside.

We'd agreed beforehand that whoever arrived first would get a table for the four of us. Naturally, in the interim A had invited two others to join us but said nothing to me. Luckily we were able to squeeze ourselves around that table.

The dog, however, had to be returned home whilst the rest of us waited patiently for the guest of honour to rejoin us.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Poo, poo to that....

C talks a lot of shit. Or rather he talks a lot about shit. His own shit actually. C studies his own poo closely from which he develops theories about his state of health. I suppose there is nothing wrong with that except that I don't understand his need to share his findings so often. Or indeed, at all.

When I was in New York in March I saw a novelty booklet entitled 'What your poo means' (or words to that effect). I couldn't resist and I bought a copy back as a present for C. I wasn't sure how C would react to this present but he seemed to take in good spirit. I noticed he spent a long time reading it afterwards.

Later I wondered if I had been too sensitive to this practice of C's. But I believe I have been vindicated. C recently returned from a long weekend away with his niece. He told me that half way through the weekend she turned to him and said 'Uncle C I don't mind you checking out your poo but please don't tell me about it all the time'.

Shit happens.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

The Bookshop

A widow (Emily Mortimer) decides to turn her home in a small seaside British town into a Bookshop. Resistance to this development comes from the town's society matron (Patricia Clarkson).

'The Bookshop' is nicely acted in that restrained British stiff upper lip way but it is slow and I found the ending to be unsatisfying.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018


Marlo (Charlize Theron) is a struggling mother of three. Between them, Marlo's hyper middle child, who is struggling at school, and her young baby are draining her of all energy. Marlo's husband Drew (Ron Livingston) is loving but useless in sharing the load with her.

Extraordinary help comes in the form of 'Tully'; a nanny seemingly organised by her brother and sister in law.

To record how the plot develops would be to give away the climactic twist which had C and I reliving the film in our minds to explain what we had seen.


Monday, 21 May 2018

Do you Henry Charles Albert David take Rachel Meghan?

Vanity Fair

There are many who probably wished that Henry Charles Albert David took Rachel Meghan as far away as possible from our televisions, radios, newspapers and social media sites. Their nuptials certainly took over the media waves to a degree rarely matched except by the most distressing of universal disasters or malevolent activity.

I joined my close friends for a curry night - that menu item was to prove strangely prophetic before the night was over - to watch the preliminaries, the ceremonies and the pageantry. After all, my Republican leanings notwithstanding, the British stage these Royal events so impressively.

Predictably just about everything was achieved with the reliability of Swiss clockwork. The one standout exception and the most impressive element were both contributed by the lost colony of those pesky United States.

The exception was the Most Reverend Michael B Curry, Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church. In front of six hundred mostly British guests, by definition therefore staid impassive and unemotional, Bishop Curry departed from his prepared remarks and became...well...flamboyant. And he spent a long time doing it.

In our private, in front of the television, party this proved too much for both I and C who began to hurl insults at the screen. Unsurprisingly these insults had no impact upon the faraway Bishop; no doubt as uncaring as he was unknowing of his impact in Sydney suburban Seaforth.

Bishop Curry continued to wave his arms, modulate his excitable delivery and generally chew up precious celebrity spotting time which proved too much for I and C who both fled from the television room refusing to return until confirmation that his sermon was at ended. During that self imposed banishment C consoled himself with a second, and if I may say so greedy, helping of curry (of the chicken variety). Too much of (Bishop) Curry meant too much curry for C.

And the most impressive element? Without question or equal that award goes to Doria Ragland, the mother of the bride. Dignified and stylish, Ms Ragland stole the show without uttering a word; flamboyant or otherwise.

Good Housekeeping

Sunday, 20 May 2018

The Book of Mormon

Just over one year since seeing 'The Book of Mormon' in Melbourne I have seen it again in its new Sydney season.

A couple of recently graduated Mormon missionaries are posted to Uganda in the seemingly futile project to acquire religious converts.

As slick and seamless a production as it was down south and still as offensive and hilarious as before.


Saturday, 19 May 2018

How's your day been?

6pm, weeknight and my mobile phone rings. No caller ID. I don't like answering calls from 'No caller ID' but several close friends conceal their numbers so I answer the ring.

'Is that Victor?' the caller asks.

Me: 'Yes'.

Him: 'My name is Ben and I'm calling for Opera Australia'.

(I now wish I hadn't answered the call.)

Ben: 'How's your day been?'

Me: 'Is that what you called to ask me?'

Ben: (Laughs) 'That's how we begin our calls.'

(What makes Cold Callers ringing to extract your money think that idle chit chat with total strangers is a winning start?)

Ben: 'We want to thank you for your patronage and your generous donations for young singers....'

Me: (Interrupting to push forward to the inevitable real reason for the call.) 'Are you ringing to sell me tickets?'

Ben: 'No. We have a number of funding initiatives and it is nearing the end of the financial year...'

Me: (Interrupting again.) 'Whoa, whoa (speaking over the top of him) I don't respond to telephone calls for donations. Please take me off your call list.'

Ben: Yes, will do... (Don't hear the rest as I hang up.)

Until the call, my day had been good.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Deadpool 2

The wisecracking Wade Wilson aka Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) is back for another wink and nudge comic hero movie spoof adventure. This involves a seemingly endless chase and attack sequence with an horrendous body count.

The dialogue is made up of countless one liners. The intent seems to be that miss one or fail to find it amusing then the next one might be more to your liking.

Perhaps the best aspect of 'Deadpool 2' is its soundtrack made up of past and recent hits. The original film was novel but with this sequel the novelty is quickly wearing thin.


Wednesday, 16 May 2018


Teenagers are a strange beast. A group of six teenage girls having paid, I presume, to attend a cinema spent the entire movie taking selfies of themselves.

Not only did they take selfies during the movie but they used flash photography to do so.

I suppose they grow out of it.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

No Such Thing As A Fish

We booked to see 'No Such Thing As A Fish' many months ago purely on the description that this is the title of a popular British podcast featuring four researchers behind the British television series 'QI'.

The performance was in two parts. The first half has each of the researchers providing a humorous presentation about their work and interests. The second half was a live recording of a podcast for future broadcast.

Many interesting and wacky facts. A little uneven but an interesting and mostly humorous experience.


Monday, 14 May 2018

Sign of the times

An awful day at the hospital today. Many patients about and insufficient staff to attend to them. Some of the staff who I saw present in the morning had mysteriously disappeared in the afternoon.

It was only when I signed off for the day that I learnt from my supervisor that several dozens of staff received 'their envelopes'.

I didn't understand at first. The hospital's organisation is being restructured (economising) and some positions will disappear along with their occupants. A pity. A dearly loved and respected institution in our city being torn apart in the name of making a profit.

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Snags? or a snag?

I suppose the writing was on the wall when A invited a court yard full of people for lunch to celebrate her new barbecue only to have most of them regretfully decline as she had unwittingly chosen Mothers Day for the occasion.

We few invitees without any maternal commitments who accepted the invitation arrived with our barbecue related contributions to find that, without telling us, A had decided to have a non barbecue, sit down lunch instead.

On this surprise, at least, A had gambled successfully. The weather turned dramatically after our arrival...

...and poured with rain whilst we remained dry, eating A's hastily re-jigged kitchen cooked lunch menu.

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Life of the Party

After dropping off her daughter for her final semester of University, Deanna (Melissa McCarthy) is shocked when her husband tells her he is seeking a divorce. Single again, Deanna decides to resume her pre-family interrupted University studies and finds herself socialising with her own daughter's classmates.

What could have been an amusing generation clash tale is mostly unfunny, at times irritating and occasionally unpleasant. The few moments of genuine humour become lost opportunities as 'Life of the Party' races on to the next unfunny situation.

Misses the mark.


Friday, 11 May 2018

Well, that was nice whilst it lasted

Sydney's extended summery Autumn weather - which seemed as though it was never going to end - did end quite abruptly today. Not with snow of course, Sydney just doesn't have snow, but with a sudden dip to much colder temperatures. And yet not really cold either. By some standards elsewhere it was cool rather than cold.

Will we ever see summer again!

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Quick on the trigger

Darren Criss

A small item in the newspaper on Tuesday alerted C and I that Darren Criss known for 'Glee' and other performances would be appearing in Sydney for one concert only next week and that tickets would go on sale at Noon today.

I arrived home from my weekly exercise session at 12.15pm and immediately went online to purchase tickets to find that the concert is sold out.

Sydney's Gays were certainly quick on the trigger today.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Faux pas

E has invited me to join her and friends for drinks to celebrate her forthcoming birthday. 'Is it a milestone birthday?' I enquired. 'Yes, it has an 0 at the end' E replied. 'Oh, so you will finally reach 40', I responded.

E reacted to this with what sounded like a hearty, genuine laugh. It was only an instant later I realised the risk of my comment. The fact is that I have no idea how old E is. No matter how you interpret my comment it casts doubt on what age I might imagine E to be and more sensitively what age I might think she looks to be.

I meant well - how many of us use that defence - and my intention was to be humorous. As someone rapidly approaching 70 myself, 40 seemed like a nice young age to hang my humour on but I may have miscalculated badly.

Monday, 7 May 2018


'Breath' is an adaptation of the Tim Winton book of the same name. A coming of age story of two boys, in particular 'Pikelet(Samson Coulter) and to a lesser extent 'Loonie(Ben Spence). The boys live in a small coastal township in Western Australia and are taken under the wing of an itinerant drifter who teaches them about surfing.

As the lights went up after the session C turned to me and asked 'what do you think?' 'Lots of water' was my reply. There are plentiful scenes of surfing and surf and when not surfing 'Pikelet' is sometimes seen fishing. A rather slow moving film with not a lot of plot or exposition. According to C, who had the advantage of having read it, the book contains more description and detail which the film either alludes to obliquely or doesn't include at all.

I did enjoy the ocean images, although some might find them tedious, and the film is saved by excellent performances from Coulter and Spence, both first time actors.


Saturday, 5 May 2018


Set in 2012 somewhere near Moscow, 12 years old Alyosha (Matvey Novikov) overhears his parents arguing over their impending divorce. Their conversation makes it clear that he is not loved and for various reasons neither parent wants to have custody of the child. So absorbed in their own concerns are the self centred parents that neither notices when Alyosha goes missing. The second half of 'Loveless' focuses on the actions taken to locate Alyosha.

It is not only the parents who have a loveless relationship, they seem surrounded by people unable to express love. The film comprises long, lingering scenes and long pauses suggesting that in the search for the boy a revealing moment is about to occur. Are these red herrings or genuine tips?

An unusual self reflection of middle class life in modern Russia.


Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Blind MKR

(Seven Network Australia)
The amateur cooking competition My Kitchen Rules has been a ratings winner for the Seven Network for years. The series has been a masterclass in manipulation; both of the contestants and in editing thus ensuring clear 'goodies' and 'baddies' for audiences to align with or against.

Currently at the semi final stage of the 2018 series, the teams that have reached this point are being judged in so called 'blind tastings' suggesting a guaranteed impartiality of outcome. Six judges, mostly chefs, are the adjudicators.

Frankly speaking the judges would have to be much more than vision impaired to be truely in doubt as to who has cooked which dishes.

For a start, two of the judges, the regular hosts of the competition, actually watch the competitors preparing and cooking their meals. A third judge is an occasional participant host through the preliminary rounds and so is also familiar with the competitors by that stage.

In the first semi final two Italian brothers competed against two Vietnamese mothers. The three course meals the judges assessed were an Italian menu and a Vietnamese menu. Can you guess which team prepared which menu?

I thought so.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

First impressions

I had my first appointment with Doctor D today. First impressions are favourable and I think I have chosen well. He looks as nice and welcoming as his Bio and photograph on the Practice's website suggest. He was thorough and non judgemental in obtaining my details and history and he expressed his interest to retain me as his patient.

As Bogie once said (in character), this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.