Tuesday, January 26, 2010


In Patagonia! - how long I've waited to say that Bruce.

(click to enlarge)

Ushuaia is the frontier town at the literal bottom of the world, in Tierra del Fuego, Fire Land, between the Magellan Straights and the Beagle Channel. The little ship that is the middle of the front three in Ushuaia harbour in this morning's early sun is the one we are about to board to head off down that channel into the infamous Drakes Passage and onto Antarctica. Excitement doesn't even begin to describe the feeling.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


This is a big eclectic city of 12 million, at the moment sweltering in summer heat and humidity, on the edge of the mighty Rio de la Plata which by the time its muddy waters flow by on their way back to the Atlantic is the widest river in the world.

It is seriously a city of eat, drink, and tango. Palermo is the place to stay, the 'bohemian' quarter of derelict cool, groovy and very slick bars and clubs, tree lined streets, small hotels, hip shops, and proud unassuming and friendly locals. One cheek kiss only. I am desperately sleep deprived - the nights go late.

There is time only for a few glancing snaps.

boulevardes are boulevardes

dogs are walked in big numbers, watch your step

harbour front

plaza de mayo pink house from where the Perons faced the crowds

no one forgets

malvinas memorial, no one forgets

la boca

tomb general st martin

Saturday, January 16, 2010


( naked rambler )

Now that I've got your attention - that's not me; you can tell because I don't own a watch.

But we are off on a bit of an excursion. We're heading east and I can tell you one thing - I'll be wearing clothes, and recording what I can when I can if I can. The only thing is, there's a lot on here now, and a few things are hard to miss.

I'm still trying to get to see the Martin Sharp exhibition, though there's time yet.

I missed out on tickets to IOTA; that was bad planning.

There has been some strong recommendations, even exhortations, but I'm strangely sated with that opera theatre. I'm haunted by the Peter Grimes still, seriously, and just not ready to go back.

The Peter Sellars Stravinsky I regret not being here for - a rare opportunity, never mind.

But most of all, I'm sorry I'm not seeing the fabulous Marianne Faithfull.

Her show at the Enmore a few years ago is well embedded and together with Lou Reed's Berlin at the State Theatre, remains unbeaten in memorable memorable Rock. Speaking of Lou Reed, that was the night I first heard the astounding Antony, and there's no way I could be in this city and not be there.

Here he is...Abbey Road Studios...

What can you say?

Have fun. Talk soon....

Sunday, January 10, 2010


No sooner had thoughts of Barry Humphries' recent performance begun to slip away than I stumbled on this remarkable 1965 doco film about antipodeans in London, The Australian Londoners. It's an eclectic bunch with a not surprising strong skew towards the arty farty - most of all, they saw the need to leave.

There's the great, but not-as-yet Dame, Joan Sutherland, looking a little startled and self-conscious, with Richard Bonynge in a pose that was to become almost a trademark - behind and slightly above her, protective, corrective, directive, like a steersman, guiding the great vessel, the mighty SS Sutherland always seeming at any moment about to plow on regardless leaving all else in her wake. It rarely if ever happened, except perhaps her studio Turandot where she unleashed unequalled fire and ice, and pushed herself to some outer limit.

Margreta Elkins, who died last year, is gorgeous and natural and assurred At 26, Brett Whiteley looks so young but leaves no doubt his comet is already ablaze. And Barry Humphries is outrageous, pointed, cutting, and yet somewhere there is a love for his country, a wry smile and a twinkle giving the game away. Bobby Helpmann looks, as ever, as if he's just left some plastic surgery clinic, he didn't ever seem to change, and his emphasis on the umbilical is as insightful as it gets. Don't miss him.

You have to ask - how much has changed?

Anyway, while we're on the subject, her she is, another recent find, the mighty SS Sutherland (with steersman, and a peep at Margreta) dispensing with Donizetti in an almost matter of fact but brilliant hair curling display of her incredible vocal powers. Love, love, love that smile Joan. (She's got a cold, lesser mortals would have stayed in bed - Turn it up, go full screen, let it all load if your speed is slow - time will stand still)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Monday, January 4, 2010


If you'd come walking with us early this morning, a new year morning still shrouded in the mists and constant soft drizzle of the last few days, you would have seen our own local fireworks without the crowds, or smoke, or noise. The only break in the stillness is near the house, where the constant tinkling of water from the roof corrugations into the gutter gives the hint that there's any rain at all. From the gutters there's another trickle into the rain water heads, as the water collects on its way to the house tank, from where it's pumped to the big tank up the hill. It's the water we drink and wash in.

The forest Angophoras (Angophora floribunda) are in flower and there's one just outside the bedroom.

The closer you look the more incredibly beautiful they become, held in a slow motion explosion of dazzling creamy white.

On the edge of the gully, now a ghostly white out, the wild pink spider flowers of the Grevillea sericea bob with the weight of pooled droplets.

Deeper into the woods the damp has woken the lichens, studding the tree trunks on their south side only, ...

... and weaving a complex pattern of colours and shapes so hynotising that you stare at it till it exhausts your comprehension.

I know of no four walled gallery anywhere that has anything more beautiful. Only some of our indigenous painters can approximate such a masterpiece.

Closer to the ground there's a multi-headed burst of tiny white bomblets dusting the track to knee height. I thought they were Pimelea sp, though now I'm not so certain. The good book will tell me, but for the moment who cares.

Happy New Year.