Tuesday, 1 December 2009


I am often a bit slow to change my desk calendar which means that when I do, I have a number of interesting quotes to read...

"Science may never come up with a better office communication system than the tea break." - Earl Wilson

"However rare true love is, true friendship is rarer." - La Rochefoucauld

Monday, 30 November 2009

Titus Set and Prop

I like sets and props. However sometimes they are not given any recognition.

Set by Sophie

What could I hide?

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Not Quite Coffee

Its not Terry's, its mine! Possibly the best chocolate in the world.

The unobtainable coffee. The line just did not go down.

A groovy t-shirt - Caffeine

Birthday Cake

Groovy cup cakes in a shop window.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Spring Reading

(in no particular order)


“And Another Thing” by Eoin Colfer
On behalf of Douglas Adams’s Trust, Eoin Colfer set out to write the next book in Douglas Adam’s Increasingly Inaccurately Named Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy, and as such we now have Part Six of Three. I enjoyed the book, however there was not the same amount of Science and Maths which existed in Adam’s books which I found disappointing. Instead Eoin Colfer uses religion. 6/10

“Unseen Academicals” by Terry Pratchett (twice)
I enjoyed Unseen Academicals; however I know that a lot of people didn’t. I quite like football, well, Australian Rules Football, and that probably helps. But, I thought the story was more about people then football. There were a few plot leaps, but enjoyable. “The thing about football – the important thing about football – is that it is not just about football” 6/10

“Perfume: The Story of a Murderer” by Patrick Suskind
I loved how Suskind was able to describe common everyday things in language that was gripping and made the book so lovely to read. At the end of every chapter you I wanted to keep on reading, I had to start making my breaks in the middle of chapters. My only negative would be why wasn’t there more people with that same unique scent. 9/10

“Stiff Upper Lips and Baggy Green Caps: A Sledger’s History of the Ashes” by Simon Briggs
This book was rather disappointing. With a sub-title such as “A Sledger’s History” I was hoping for a lot more sledges. “Which of you bastards, called this bastard a bastard?” 3/10

“The Complete Polysyllabic Spree” by Nick Hornby
I bought this book thinking that it had been written by Mark Haddon. Well not Mark Haddon as clearly Nick was written on the cover, but the person who wrote “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time” which turns out was by Mark Haddon and not Nick Hornby. The Complete Polysyllabic Spree is a collection of articles that Nick Hornby wrote for a paper which listed the books that he bought and the books that he read each month. It would be very interesting to keep a list of books read, however I think (sorry, I know) that some people will make fun of my choice of reading. A large positive about this book, is that it inspires you to read more. Now where did I put that Dickens… "If you are reading a book that is killing you, put it down and read something else, just as you would reach for the remote if you weren't enjoying a TV program." 9/10

“Fever Pitch” by Nick Hornby
This was just not my cup of tea. There are some lovely sentences and the descriptions of society are interesting, but you can’t like every book out there.

“The Sparrow” by Mary Doria Russell
It’s a good book, but I found the ending very very fast. I liked the constant changing from the past to the present, though it did take me a while to get used to it. I’m always a bit slow when two characters have similar names. 7/10

“Man Walks into a Bar” by Stephen Arnott and Mike Haskins (parts)
Quite punny. How can you grade a joke book? Actually how can you grade any books, it is so dependant on how you are feeling at any particular time. And the purpose for what you are reading. The 7/10 for Man Walks into a Bar is very different to the 7/10 for The Sparrow. Also when grading out of 10 for books, no book gets a 10.


“The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark” by William Shakespeare
It took me too long to read, partially because I lost the book. But it was okay. The question is: Will I go and see it as a play? Probably.

“Katerina” by Paula Armstrong
It’s a good play that will make you laugh

“Titus Andronicus” by William Shakespeare (read a million times)
Well maybe I didn’t read it quite that many times, but it would be close to one hundred times.

Monday, 23 November 2009


I always find it amazing how quotes from plays can stay in your head for days.

“Actually, it’s men that make women crazy”

“You whipped off your shirt in a heated frenzy – being the trollop you are”

“I’ve still got the Monaro”

“Had to rest my coldie on my hottie, if you know what I mean”
Mr Bob

“You’re a lovely girl you know. Always ever-so-helpful”
Mrs Wokowski

“Hi there, my gorgeous but somewhat frumpy cousin”

“I have behaved very badly. I can see that now”

For bookings/information go to:

Monday, 9 November 2009

Thursday, 5 November 2009

An Interesting Building

When you drive down St Georges Road in Fitzroy you can see a church spire towering over the surrounding buildings. The spire is made from a metallic substance that reflects the sky. On sunny days it is a clear blue and on cloudy days the reflective grey of the spire can seem to disappear against the clouds.

I arrived in Fitzroy one sunny Sunday morning and thought I would take a photo or two of the spire. And this gave me the opportunity to have a good look at the rest of building’s exterior.

Trying to find information about the church was next to impossible. Even the trust-worthy internet was no help. The Hungarian Reformed Church was probably built in the 1880s and started it’s life as St Luke’s Church of England. It is made from bluestone by architects Crouch & Wilson. It has an organ built by William Anderson which is listed with the National Trust.

Crouch & Wilson were also the architects for; the Prahran Town Hall, Victorian College for the Deaf, Hawksburn Primary School, Royal Institute for the Blind and the East Melbourne Synagogue.

I want to know what the church was before it was reformed... Or what the church is now that it is reformed...

Wednesday, 4 November 2009


As I'm moving office, I have to clean my whiteboard. These quotes have been there for a long time and are going to get removed:

"There is more wisdom in humour than there is humour in wisdom" - P Shaw

"Mathematical puns are the first sine of madness" - anon

"Hanging is too good for a man who puns. He should be drawn and quoted" - Fred Allen

"Puns are like mathematics, people claim to hate them and then use them without realising it"

"Humour is something that thrives between man's aspirations and his limitations. There is more logic in humour than in anything else. Because, you see, humour is truth." - Victor Borge

Monday, 2 November 2009

Coffee Update

In Strathmore before rehersals for Katerina

In Strathmore again - the barrista remembered that I like taking photos of coffees and made this one for me.

From "Caffeine" in Swanston Street. I had a few during rehearsals for Titus, but did not get a photo. This one was bought for consumption before helping out with a sound recording session for a friend's assignment. Be careful - they like putting sugar in drinks even when you dont want any...

Erin's favourite coffee place is The Tin Pot Cafe on St George's Road in Fitzroy. The coffee was good! And the company better!

Dad's house - I always feel weird drinking tea and coffee from football cups... I wonder if he has a stein...

Hot Chocolate at a cake shop in Chadstone

From the place that I refer to as "The Italian Place at Melbourne Central". This was their new cup. Visited once or twice during Titus Andronicus...

This was their old take-away cup. The floor is the Union Arts Office.

New take away cups at work.

Gran's house - photos are never in focus at Gran's house...

Sunday, 1 November 2009

An Affair to Remember

I’m doing something that I have promised never to do. Again and again I have made this promise to all parties concerned but I have not been able to keep it. Seven at once! It’s not fair for them, and it's not fair on me. And the juggling is impossible. But I keep on doing it. Isn’t that horrible? Irresponsible? They deserve better; more time, more savouring. Some people seem to be able to do it and not cause trouble. But it always causes trouble for me which makes me feel bad. I’m Shocking!!! I am going to promise not to do it again, and hopefully this time I can keep my promise.

I promise to never ever read more than one book at a time. I will read books one by one and give them the time and effort that they deserve.

The only good news is that I have managed to finish Hamlet – it only took me two months. Thirty down, a few more to go...

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Head Space

I’m not in a good head space this day, this week, this month. I’m not coping. I’ve got too much on. I am organising a kids’ play, stage managing another play and trying to improve my health and fitness. Trying to teach dad how to write an essay. Listening to everyone’s problems. I have a pile of books to read, but no time. In addition work is being ‘interesting’, and I’m not sure if I’ve done the ethical thing. I thought that it was the ethical thing when I did it, but in hindsight maybe not. And one of my colleagues seems to have stopped talking to me and is avoiding me. And I’ve gone and let someone annoy me, and this has really really really effected me. Last time this happened I stopped going to the Last Tuesday Society and became a bit of a hermit. I need a high quality hot chocolate (I think the caffeine in coffee is making me worse) and a Good Chat with my Good Friends, and perhaps I also need to get lost in a good book.

I don’t want to give up the plays, because it makes me feel saner when I am involved in plays, and I don’t want to let any one down. My name is Andrew and I'm a doormat. I don’t want to stop my exercise routine because my osteoporosis has improved by about 12% which is, to quote my specialist, ‘bloody fantastic’. She said that in two more years I should be able to stop taking osteoporosis medicine (technically it is not osteoporosis, just the same symptoms – ie pretty shocking bones). A 4% improvement is on the good side of average, and the large change the specialist put down to me exercising.

What can I do?
- I’ve told Julian and Chantell that I’m not feeling 100% at this moment in time, and other important people will read this.
- I’ll either visit Chantell this weekend or go on a reading and coffee drive through Victoria, I might go Geohashing (Yes I did spell that correct) or retro-Geohashing.
- I’ll ask the director if I can always leave early on Monday nights, that way hopefully the rest of my week won’t feel as bad.
- I want to blog every day in November, but that might give me too much stress, so it might be a photo a day, or a quote and I won’t worry if I miss a day. I won’t officially join NaBloPoMo.
- I will eat less biscuits and chocolate and drink less coffee.
- I will eat more fruit, drink more water and remember to have dinner.
- I will clean my car.
- I will put on rubber gloves and search the peke for fleas (If I have time).

And to make matters worse, I don’t think that I can trust my doctor: all of her patients are sick.

Monday, 26 October 2009

The Coffee Club

After one hours sleep I drove into the city. The car’s radio was on SEN1116, and it was an exciting thing to listen to the pre-race build-up as you drive to the starting line. I parked at the Melbourne Exhibition building and caught a taxi to the MCG. There I power-walked to the starting line just in time to hear the national anthem and the Melbourne Marathon contestants start. It was an amazing feeling to cheer the start, cheer these athletes who were setting off to do something that I couldn’t do in a million years. We clapped for three minutes as they all ran across the starting line.

All up $296,842.84 was raised for the Cerebral Palsy Education Centre (the official charity (CPEC)), which was above the goal of $209,000. I ran for CPEC and was decked out in their t-shirt and cap. Other charities had teams competing as well. It was interesting to see the backs of people’s t-shirts, advertising their charity, sporting group, university or workplace. It would have been amazing just to sit down and photograph all the different team’s jerseys. But I had a task. I had to travel 10km. Prove to myself that I could do it.

My event, The Coffee Club 10km was the second race to start. There were so many competitors we left in two waves, the first wave had white bibs and would complete the race in under an hour. The second wave, including me, had black bibs and would take a bit longer to complete.

It was a beautiful morning, clear and crisp, a nice warm 7 degrees Celsius, the perfect temperature for running. We set off, up Batman Avenue, Flinders St, Swanston St, around the Arts Center, Alexandra Av, Linlithgow Av, Birdwood Av, Domain Rd, St Kilda Rd, Birrarung Marr, William Barak Bridge, down Brunton Av and into the Majestic MCG. The Arts Center, St Paul’s, Flinders Street Station and The Shrine of Remembrance all looked so very very beautiful and heroic in the morning’s light.

I ran/jogged until the Arts Center, where I slowed down into a quick walk and enjoyed the stroll (at roughly 7.695km/hr it was a very quick walk). About every three k’s there were water stations which were greatly appreciated. I would grab two bags of water and run on. Water comes in bags!

Monash University had a large running team and a lot of supporters around the track. I was near their runners, and you felt that the supporters were cheering you on as well. Everyone was cheering you on.

I only saw one person from my work, I walked next to her for a couple of hundred meters, however as she was running and I was walking I thought that I might be putting her off, so I slowed down.

The last drink station was on the Princes Bridge, a drink of water, and you knew that you were nearly home. I picked up the pace down Brunton Ave, with more people cheering you on and then entered the MCG, your heart picks up, no longer feel exhausted and I ran around the MCG, the eighth largest stadium in the world, one of the seven wonders of the sporting world, home to cricket, home to the 1956 Olympics and the Spiritual Home of Australian Sport.

I sped up, enjoying the lap. The MCG looked a quarter full, with most of the 10km competitors already finished, and with people who came to support them, and to watch the end of the marathon. And then I readched the finish line. I could sit down and watch the Marathon winners enter the stadium. I did it. I can walk 10km.

Well not exactly. The following day re-measurements showed that the track was actually 9.2km. I had a good laugh, and remember fondly the TV series “The Games” with John Clarke, Gina Riley and Bryan Dawe where the Sydney Olympic 100m track, was not 100 meters. Hehehe.


Andrew’s Official Time: 1 hour 11min 44sec
Average Speed: 7.695km/hr
Overall Position: 4230/4807

The Coffee Club 10km winners:
Mark Tucker 28min 47sec
Sarah Jamieson 30min 17sec

Average time: 58min 30sec
Slowest time: 4hours 13min 25sec

(The half marathon competitors)

St George Melbourne Marathon winners:
Asnake Fekadu 2hr 17min 32sec
Lisa Flint 2hr 34min and 8sec

(Inside the MCG)

Monday, 19 October 2009

Quote of the Day

After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.
- Aldous Huxley

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

The Final Scene of Titus

Titus Andronicus is over.


Sam: “Are they creating an I-Phone application of you, so that I can carry you everywhere and ask you what I have to do next?”


I am sitting off stage. Aaron, Lucius and Lusty Goth are on stage. Lucius tells the Goth to hang Aaron, and Aaron is viciously led up a ladder, around where nooses hang from the ceiling.

“And hang the child as well,” Lucius orders. Then I notice that the child, a green doll, is not on stage. The actors are looking like everything is proceeding correctly, but I know better. I look around and see it sitting down near me.

I pick it up and the Goth is looking roughly in my direction and so, after one moment’s hesitation, in one mammoth throw, I send it arching up between lights and hanging plastic, over the entire stage, towards the tall Goth who stretches up her hand and just catches him, ready to hang, ready for Lucius to save him.
And the audience delights at the perfect choreography.


Going to the pub and after parties with the cast, can be very interesting and a lot of fun. I talked to an English linguist who told me that I sound English, but don’t, have an English accent. I thought that that was very interesting.

I have none of the colloquialisms/conjunctions/expressions that can be found in Middlesbrough, or Liverpool, or Coventry, or London, or anywhere else in England. I just sound English.

However there is never enough time to talk to everyone, I wish I had a chance to talk to Lynne, Nell, Julian, Colin, R, A and S. And I think that I didn’t get to talk to N, A, B and R. I’m starting to wonder who I spent all my time talking to…

I guess that is one of the problems with having a large cast. I did have a lovely chat to A, V, V, S, E, and P. And played two games on ‘Guitar Hero’. Note: There are too many people with the same initials, think up different pseudonyms.

“So much of me is made of what I learned from you, You'll be with me like a handprint on my heart. And now whatever way our stories end I know you have re-written mine By being my friend … Who can say if I've been changed for the better? But because I knew you I have been changed for good”
- Stephen Schwartz “For Good” from “Wicked”


But I have to go. I leave at about 3:30am. I have a 10km race to run in the morning. I need to be at the MCG by 6:00am. 5:00am if I want any chance of parking the car. So off I go, I dropped Aniko in Brunswick and head to Clayton and to the Land of Nod.


Act V, Scene III

LUCIUS: Some loving friends convey the Emperor hence,
And give him burial in his father's grave.
My father and Lavinia shall forthwith
Be closed in our household's monument.
As for that ravenous tiger, Tamora,
No funeral rite, nor man in mourning weed,
No mournful bell shall ring her burial;
But throw her forth to beasts and birds to prey.
Her life was beastly and devoid of pity,
And being dead, let birds on her take pity.

- Titus Andronicus (Act V Scene III)

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Titus Andronicus

I think opening night went well!

“I’ll find a day to massacre them all, and raze their faction and their family, the cruel father, and his traitorous sons, to whom I sued for my dear son’s life; And make them know what ‘tis to let a queen kneel in the streets and beg for grace in vain.”

“So pale did shine the moon on Pyramus, When he by night lay bath'd in maiden blood.”

“Poor harmless fly, That with his pretty buzzing melody Came here to make us merry!”

“I say, my lord, that if I were a man,”

“Lord Titus, by your leave, this maid is mine.”

“Revenge, ye heavens, for worn Andronicus!”

“Brothers, help to convey her hence away, And with my sword I'll keep this door safe.”

“She is a woman, therefore may be won; She is Lavinia, therefore must be lov'd.”

“And here's thy hand, in scorn to thee sent back- Thy grief their sports, thy resolution mock'd,”

“Aaron, a thousand deaths, Would I propose to achieve her whom I love.”

“O gentle Aaron, we are all undone! Now help, or woe betide thee evermore!”

“Farewell, Andronicus, my noble father, The woefull'st man that ever liv'd in Rome.”

“Thou canst not come to me- I come to thee”

“O, how this villainy, Doth fat me with the very thoughts of it!”

“And at thy feet I kneel, with tears of joy, Shed on this earth for thy return to Rome.”

“Die, frantic wretch, for this accursed deed!”

Act I, Scene I: Tamora, Lavinia, Mutius and Bassianus
Act II, Scene I: Demetrius and Chiron
Act II, Scene III: Martius and Quintus
Act III, Scene I: Aaron, Messenger and Lucius
Act III, Scene II: Titus, Marcus and Boy
Act IV, Scene II: Nurse
Act V, Scene III: Saturninus

Monday, 5 October 2009

The Beginning of October

The Beginning of October is an Artistic Wonderland... The Beginning of October shows Melbourne’s Artistic Side... Melbourne is Creative in October... Melbourne’s Creativity Shines in October... When the footy’s gone the Artists come out to play...

This is a funny post; it is two tense; current and past. Edited too many times and too long to read. Just read the bit concerning Hamlet (Thursday) if you wish, or any other titbit or topsy-turvy, or look at the coffee (singular, not plural)...


I don’t visit many Art Galleries, I don’t know why. Perhaps I’m lazy. There is a Salvador Dali exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria titled “Liquid Desire” (http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/dali/#id=Dali&num=01). It has been there for three months and is about to close, and I have not yet scene it.

There is a lovely YouTube clip of the show “What’s My Line?” where Dali is a guest and four contestants are blind folded and trying to guess who he is, by asking questions. It is available at: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXT2E9Ccc8A) if you are interested.

The Age columnist Danny Katz, wrote a rather humorous article about attending the Dali Exhibition with his inner Dali. Available at: (http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/dali-makes-an-exhibition-of-himself-20090923-g2m9.html)
''Let me show yoo a proper surrealist exhibition right here in your own city.'' And he led me down to Swanston Street. ''Look! It izz neither for cars nor for people. Thiz izz absurdo road.''
- Danny Katz in The Age – September 24, 2009

Anyway I finished work at Bundoora, drove down Plenty Road, caught a traffic report which listed accidents down three of my fastest routes into the city, made quick adjustments and forty minutes later I was in Melbourne, running the kilometre and a half from my car to the NGV. I had about an hour and a half to see the exhibition before I had to leave, but the line of people was so large, I couldn’t risk entering.

But I did buy a Dali book from a happy retail assistant who seemed happy to be talking to a happy person which will make a good Christmas/Birthday present. That is, the book will make a good present, not the retail assistant – I try not to participate in slavery. I assured the retail assistant that the only reason I was happy at 5:30pm was that I didn’t see any reason not to be unhappy and that I was happy at 9:00 as well, but 5:30am can be a different story. The only downside to the day was not seeing Dali, but I will try again!


Jane has been writing, directing, composing, a play about fashion. Erin is in charge of marketing and I know about a third of the cast. I enjoy Jane’s writing and with excitement I head into the city to watch ‘Retail’. (http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/retail). Having lots of rehearsals for Titus, this is the only day I can make it, and will be joined by Erin, Lynne and possibly the Tamoras. Retail’s tagline is: “The cuntsomer is always right”

The story is set in a street with two shops, one that sells high quality suits and one that sells wedding dresses. An empty mirror frame faces part of the audience which gives you a good view of the action. You sat in rows looking over the performance space and past that windows looking out over the QV square where further action was performed, lines delivered through radio mics.

Jane’s play was amazing. The two hours zoomed by, your emotions and feelings going out to Jennifer, Fleur and Bernadette whilst the play builds up to a dramatic surreal interpretive dance scene. Not everything is resolved, and why should everything get resolved, life doesn’t get resolved. But a humorous epilogue with Jen made the audience content and honoured to see Jane’s story.

TW played Mark and Young Man and did a superb job. TW is a very very pleasant, poetical, intelligent person to talk to and we said “going to the theatre is healing” which is something I tend to forget. I really respect and honour TW’s point of view, he doesn’t dismiss anything as not being worthwhile, his smallest acting parts are just as important as others including listing in his bio “man dressed as poodle in The Stupid Play”. The cliché/saying that belongs here is “there are no small parts, only small actors” sometimes attributed to Milan Kundera and sometimes attributed to Konstantin Stanislavsky. I wish I could have caught up with E2 as well.

It is as fun being Firs in “The Cherry Orchard” as Bad Bart in “How the West was Warped”. I feel with acting, you see your part, no matter what size, as a bit that is essential, that the other parts play off and are made ‘richer’ because of you. Otherwise why would the writer have created your character? Creating something where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Damn clichés, I can’t avoid them.

You feel special when you leave when the director, the actors and the marketer all thank you for coming. And while I went to support them, I left feeling supported (and happy in me).

(hot chocolate at Max Brenner's in QV, because someone arrived a little bit early)


I am not needed at rehearsals for Titus Andronicus. I wonder if Lynne has found another actor to do my part? It would have to be someone tall to fit into the costumes… What a piece of work is man… I’ve lost my Billy Book, and I’m in the middle of Hamlet, which is slightly annoying.

I’ve booked a ticket to see “The Hamlet Apocalypse” (http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/the-hamlet-apocalypse). The play is about a group of actors who are staging Hamlet on the eve of the apocalypse. But to go or not to go that is the question. It can sometimes feel weird, very weird when you go to a play on your own. Especially in such an intimate space as La Mama. And I have been very very tired, To sleep: perchance to dream.

Said Hamlet to Ophelia,
“I’ll do a sketch of thee,
What kind of pencil shall I use,
2B or not 2B?”
- Spike Milligan

I went. And I’m very glad that I went and I’m glad that I’m re-reading Hamlet as it made it easier to tell when the actors were being ‘people’ and when they were performing Hamlet. The performance of Hamlet was brilliant, told within an hour, with six actors.

M - Hamlet
F - Queen Gertrude
M - King Claudius
F - Polonius Laertes
M - Ghost of King Hamlet
F - Ophelia

There was no Rosencrantz and Guildenstern but they were not needed. But they have their own play so I am sure that they wouldn’t have minded missing out.
“Heads” - Tom Stoppard (1966)

It was amazing to see the character’s reaction to the upcoming apocalypse and also their reaction to each other’s reactions “I love you” “that’s not your line” “do the scene properly” “restart”.
The characters breaking in and out of their Hamlet personalities sometimes overflowed, sometimes juxtaposes, sometimes sat alongside, or complemented, or fought against the story of the play.

It was excellent how the Ghost of King Hamlet was present throughout the play, when in Hamlet he is only in small bits throughout. And he was ‘killed’ in the most beautiful manner. He stood in front of the LaMama stair and his brother Claudius standing half way up the stair gently poured sand onto his head. The sand covered him, giving him an unearthly look, and further grains of sand refracted off his head and spiralled around him, catching the light, like fairy dust, and slowly spiralled to the ground.

"My Lord, I have Remembrances of yours,
That I have longed long to redeliver.
I pray you now, receive them"

Early in the play, Ophelia tries to give Hamlet’s love letters back to him which Hamlet refuses to take back. Ophelia sits down and gently folds and turns and twists the papers into flowers, wherefore she smells them and carefully places them around the stage saying:

“There's rosemary, that's for remembrance. Pray you, love, remember. And there is pansies, that's for thoughts … There's fennel for you, and columbines. There's rue for you …”
Ophelia - (Act IV Scene V)

She does this, ignoring everything on the stage, dancing through the other scenes, dancing through the dialogue. And as she is walking she is so smoothly picked up by the ghost of the King and is gently, smoothly, spun around until they are both calmly lying on the flour signifying her descent into madness and her death.

It was so beautiful. And there was such beautiful and magnificent imagery and ideas and execution throughout. My words can not do the play justice.

(Melbourne Exhibition Building - when walking home)

(hot chocolate in borders, because someone arrived too early - is there a theme here?)


Julian, Nell and I decided to head off to see Matt and Richard in “The List Operators for Kids”. (http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/the-list-operators-for-kids) This is a show only for kids, however as we generally act our shoe size and not our age, we should have fun. If they don’t let us in, we will kidnap someone… Ewan and Elspeth, are you busy… If Matt or Richard are in a play near you, go and see it – or else… “or else what?”… Or else you will miss out on an entertaining evening (or afternoon).

For my Yarrawongian and Canberrian friends, “The List Operators” make up lists, sometimes with and sometimes without audience participation and have fun doing so. Here is a list that Richard and Matt prepared earlier:

Eight Lesser Known Roald Dahl Books.
1. James and The Medium Sized Peach
2. The Whiches (which which is which?)
3. The MCG
4. Charlie and The Potato Factory
5. The Twitters
6. Bouye
7. Danny Champion of Dingley!
8. George's Perscription Medicine

The show was very good! And we didn’t need to kidnap anyone. We three adults sat at the back and laughed so very hard, I nearly wet myself. “How do you wake Lady Gaga? Poke her face”. “All Nans are ninjas”. I picked up one or two references to Lynne’s Kid’s Shows.

J, N, E and I had Thai for lunch at Lemon something. Lemon Bistro it ended up being called. It was beautiful food and great conversations. I recommend it. Lemon Bistro is on the North side of Little Bourke Street between Swanston and Russel.


"And you ask me why I love her
Through wars, death and despair
She is the constant, we who don't care
And you wonder will I leave her - but how?
I cross over borders but I'm still there now"
- Anthem from Chess, Tim Rice, Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson

Julian and I have been singing Anthem from Chess at nearly every rehearsal. I played clarinet in the Healesville town band, and the music is so full of emotion it is beautiful. When I sing it, and play it, I am feeling the notes, the music, swelling up, crescendo-ing, into a huge climax of love and musicality.


“I’ll find a day to massacre them all, and raze their faction and their family, the cruel father, and his traitorous sons, to whom I sued for my dear son’s life; And make them know what ‘tis to let a queen kneel in the streets and beg for grace in vain.”
- Tamora in Titus Andronicus (Act I, Scene I)

With the director busy with other scenes for hours on end, we run through the lines (and actions) once or twice and then stop, and go off track. I would be happy to go through them a thousand times but it seems to me that the others aren’t as fanatical. Home at midnight. Dead!


Missed it. Slept and slept and slept. Read a book about a goblin and tin cans and tyrants. It had a lot of references to Jane Austen and William Shakespeare.


Today is a special day; today there are five time zones in Australia. Rehearsals are due to start at:

11:00 Melbourne Time (Australian Eastern Daylight Saving Time) NSW, VIC and TAS
10:30 South Australia (ACDT)
10:00 Queensland (AEST)
9:30 Northern Territory (ACST)
8:00 Western Australia (AWST)


We started a bit slow and unfortunately on of the Tamoras fainted but we did a run starting at 7:00ish which went well. Which was a huge relief! Titus has a huge role and needs to fix up three little bits and other people have some trouble with other difficult bits, but opening night should be good. I am feeling more and more confident.

For one scene I read Lucius’s lines, which included: “But who comes here with this lusty goth” (Act V, Scene I). I wonder if anyone will notice that it is not one of Shakespeare’s original lines.

Victoria, Nell and I went to get ice-cream and toasted summer. Chocolate, vanilla and butterscotch, yum.

Spring has sprung, the grass was wiz,
I wonder where the birdies iz?
People say the bird is on the wing,
But that’s absurd
Because the wing of cause is on the bird

Afterwards we went to the Groovy Train where I had a coffee. And we found an interesting thing about the play: Chiron and Demetrius change costumes and accents in each of the seven scenes that they are in. Five actresses play Tamora and change costumes, including hats in every scene. Five actresses play Lavinia who also change costumes in every scene. While Nell plays five characters without changing costumes or accent – We enjoy messing with the audience’s mind.

We were talking and something was said which made me think that EK doesn’t hate my guts, which is good as EK is great person. EK said something a while ago which I obviously took the wrong way (and had a good cry about it), but all seems fine now, which is a huge relief.

(Mitch's elbow)


Theatre and songs, remind me of other theatre and songs. Driving home listening to Monty Python and the song “sit on my face and tell me that you love me” came on the CD, which these days always makes me smile as when I did a small monologue there were a number of actors who I had previously seen perform “Richard the Third”, which was the most amazing Shakespeare that I have seen. And we all sang “sit on my face” together.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

A Very Theatrical Week's End


I arrived at rehearsals about two hours early. So I did the only sensible thing which was to throw off my shoes, lounge on the beautifully comfortable leather couch and start reading the epic play that is “The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark”. The last time I attempted this, it was a chore, and I gave up. This time I was in, understanding the language, understanding the story. “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy” (Act I Scene V)

And then busy rehearsing “Titus Andronicus” by Little Billy. Titus and the cast exit and I as Marcus, on an empty stage: “O heavens! Can you hear a good man groan, and not relent or not compassion him? Marcus, attend him in his ecstasy, that hath more scars of sorrow in his heart than foemen’s marks upon his batter’d shield; But yet so just that he will not revenge. Revenge, ye heavens, for worn Andronicus!” (Act IV Scene I)


Went with Julian to see a bit of Gilbert and Sullivan. Informed Julian that Lynne said to ensure a St Kilda victory in the AFL Grand Final everyone has to wear their underwear back to front and burn a green candle after rubbing it with sandalwood. Sadly I did none of this.

The first piece on the bill was “Cox and Box” with words by Burnand and music by Sir Arthur Sullivan. I had never seen it before and wouldn’t recommend it. However “HMS Pinafore” never disappoints (by G and S), and to my shock, one of my former work colleagues was in the cast, and did a very good job. The Captain and the Ruler of the Queen’s Navy were very very enjoyable, but sadly the crew was not as sharp or vocal, which I feel makes the performance lose a bit of its appeal. However a number of the jokes and insults were played superbly, much better than I’ve seen any one else do it – and I cracked up when Cousin Hebe whispered what she wanted to do to the Ruler of the Queen’s Navy which made his monocle fall out. Hehehehehe!!!!!

“For he might have been a Roosian, A French, or Turk, or Proosian, Or perhaps Itali-an! But in spite of all temptations To belong to other nations, He remains an Englishman!” (HMS Pinafore)

At the end of the play, Julian checks the footy score, turns around and says, “You should have put your underpants on backwards” which got a very good chuckle from the lovely granny sitting in front of us.

“… We are Geelong; we’re always on the ball. We play the game as it should be played; At home or far away; Our banners fly high, from dawn to dark; Down at Kardinia Park.” (lyrics by John Watts)


More rehearsals for Titus Andronicus, but this time I only arrived fifteen minutes early, and was almost the last to arrive. There is one line which four of us say, and I think Erin, Bree, Julian and Myself all thought that everyone one else would know it, so there would be no pressure to say it. I’m glad we rehearsed that line, and now we all know it, and there wont be just silence where it should be. “No man shed tears for noble Mutius; he lives in fame that died in virtue’s cause.” (Act I)

Afterwards I allowed Erin to convince me to see “The Rise of General Arthur” which is showing as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival. (http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/the-rise-of-general-arthur). We walked to the café where it was to be shown and the techie told us that it was cancelled as the manager was sick and couldn’t come to open up doors and whatnot, however the techie thought that she might be able to get another venue. So Nell, Julian, Erin and I had a coffee, two hot chocolates and a honey-lemon-hotwater-drink (photos to follow).

A new venue was located and the actor, Phillip (I believe his name is), was all set to do the show. Using the techie’s script, instead of his own and without props and costumes. The techie using what limited light and sound effects she could use, knowing that another show would start in an hour and that she couldn’t change anything. But Phillip was wearing a groovy T-Shirt so we all knew that it would be fine. The T-Shirt said “I’m trained to use words you’ve never even heard of. You understand? Why, sometimes I use words I’ve never even heard of.”

And the story was, the tale of Pellinore but transported to the Gulf War.

The story was gripping, and the language poetical, painting perfect scene’s within our heads. I was gripped in the story, part of the story, and was transported away… Phillip’s story telling was superb, his emotion divine, his pronunciation clear…

At the start of the session Phillip said: “Six years ago, I formed a company called Maximum Verbosity, out of the belief that words could do damn near anything. Tonight, we're going to put that hypothesis to the test. Normally, this is a show punctuated by visual cues: by costume, props, and carefully-rehearsed changes in lighting and mood. I believe that this story is strong enough to survive without any of those things. It should be: it's already survived for over fifteen hundred years.”
Phillip Low, “The Rise of General Arthur” Maximum Verbosity, Errol Café, 27/09/2009

And it was.

Here is my coffee (photo by me).

You can tell that Erin took these photos as they are in focus.

Julian and Nell drinking hot chocolate. Erin, where is the photo of you? Where for art thou?

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Fathers Day

Late Friday night you are told that it is up to you to find a place for Father’s Day Lunch.

Saturday morning I wake up, it is my birthday, and as there is no fun in letting your fingers do the walking, I set out to find a place for Father’s Day Lunch.

I suggested Montrose, as it lays half way between Dad’s house and Brother 2’s house. So down Mt Dandenong Tourist Drive I drove.

I passed a nice looking Chocolate Place, but as Chocolate is not good for lunch I continued driving, up and down the winding road. I passed a few more eateries, but was travelling too fast to stop. And then a helpful lookout sign appeared and I pulled over, hopped out of the car and said “This is where we will eat tomorrow”

And luckily enough there was a café on the other side of the road, or I would have had to organise a picnic.

On Sunday, Dad and I had cappuccinos

My brothers had iced-chocolates

Brother 2 sat too close to the fire the night before and his money melted.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

A Storm is Coming

Most of my friends don’t care much about sport, and I don’t either, unless I get caught up in a tipping contest (I think I’ve won this year) or if it is the cricket and perhaps if it looks like Richmond is going to finish ninth.

I put on the radio last night to listen to a program about television, and as I put it on a bit early and caught the end of The Storm Hour. Probably the only hour on radio in Melbourne dedicated to the Rugby League team Melbourne Storm.

The Storm is playing in a final on the weekend and the weather forecast is for a storm, ie hail, rain, thunder, lightning, wind, etc. However the nice Melbourne Storm supporters in Sydney interpreted the weather forecast, not as a forecast for the weather but a forecast of the match, the Melbourne Storm will triumph – which tickled my sense of humour.

Bring your raincoats and good luck.

The AFL grand final is on this Saturday and instead of watching it, I’ll be watching a play – does this mean that I’ll have to move to WA or Tassie? (I dont think I'ld enjoy QLD or SA. And I'm too much of a Victorian to move to NSW)

Monday, 7 September 2009

What is Intelligence?

What is Intelligence?

For a number of people intelligence is perceived to be linked to what you/they have read. Who hasn’t heard someone say: “You haven’t read Niffenegger? What sort of slime have you crawled out of?”

I love lists of books. I love circling the books that I would love to read. My friend Erin sent me this list of 100 books (And most of them are very well known – there are only six that I have not heard of) and I have read 29 of them. That made me feel a bit un-intelligent, also because the ones that I have read are mostly either kid’s books or science-fiction. Then again, I think people should read the types of books that interest them, and not read books just because the book is a “classic”.

Working at a leading educational University I showed the list to an academic and she said “I’ve read ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ and it is an awful book” . Movies on the other hand, any one who hasn’t seen “The Dish” should be deported...

...However, getting back on topic… “The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books” If I only have to admit to reading six, I will choose…

5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
I quote it almost every day (well definitely every day that I talk to Stace – thanks for suggesting that I read it, it’s just a shame I didn’t read it for about three years after you suggested it)

3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
Because of how it relates to Jasper Fforde – and I shouldn’t hide my geekiness (thanks E and S).

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night - Mark Haddon
Amazing book and I like it how list incorporate new books, especially books such as The Curious Incident, which I can imagine will be seen as a classic in ten and fifty and a hundred years time.

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
Because I read most of it to my nephew which was a very nice experience.

I don’t like how the list contains both: “The Complete Works of Shakespeare” and “Hamlet” I have not read Hamlet. I’ve started Hamlet, and I’m sorry to say that I couldn’t get into it and I couldn’t finish it. It just might not be my cup of tea. I’ll give it a rest and have another go in a year or two. But I think the list would be better served by replacing Hamlet with: “The Princess Bride – by William Goldman.” Or something else…

Am I a book snob? I hope not – though I probably am. Anyway I’m not going to let the list get me down. I will use it as motivation (though that is not quite the word I want) and find five books that I would like to read (I leave the fifth book as your suggestion):

1. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
2. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
3. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
4. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
5. ___________________________

Or what books would you like to add to the list????

Anywhoo here is the list, do to it what you wish.

The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books here. How do your reading habits stack up?

Instructions: Copy this into your NOTES. Look at the list and put an 'x' after those you have read. Tag other book nerds---and that would include me. I want to know who's read what.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

Total Read: 7

11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (about half of them)
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger -
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot

Total: 3

21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

Total: 3

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne

Total: 3

41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown -
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan

Total: 2

51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley -
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Total: 3

61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville

Total: 0

71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Inferno - Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt

Total: 2

81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton

Total: 4

91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Total: 2

Grand Total: 29

Monday, 31 August 2009

In Search of Relaxation

After a very busy and stressful month at work it is nice to take a few days off and go in search of that weird concept called rest.

People have different ideas of what rest is, for some it is gardening, and for others it is sports. However I think that you can’t go wrong with a good book and a coffee or two. And while I’m searching for a coffee perhaps some music…

The forecast was for a fine day with strong winds developing at 5:00pm with hail, rain and lightning. But I would be fine. I’ll be back by four (famous last words?).

The day started out fine. The sky so clear and blue, as if it had been newly washed and the trees and grasses were green!

David has been rehearsing the trumpet part for Miserable Les for his symphonic orchestra which made me want to hear Phillip (from Play School) sing about stars, (as it naturally would) so I put on the CD as I drove down the Monash and the South Gippy Highway. Enjoying the nice trip and the nice scenery.

A calming two hours and 201.7km later I find myself in Yarram. A sign informs me that the time is 11:45 and that the temperature is 14 degrees Celsius. I stepped out of my car (after parking it), breathed in the fresh air, flipped a coin to help choose between “The Brightonomicon” and “The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse” and took the winner to find some coffee.

And lo and behold, Coffee was found at the Crazy Dog Café.

One cappuccino and a couple of intriguing chapters later and the wanderlust hit me again, so I staggered up, returned to my car and drove peacefully to my next stop. Which is roughly where I caught Hunters and Collectors singing “Throw Your Arms Around Me” on 96.7 (Triple J) – I think it is a conspiracy that previously I have only heard Paul McDermott sing it, once extremely, extremely well. And the other times not at the same standard.

A salad sandwich and a coffee and more chapters of THCBOTA were consumed in a helpful town where large flags proudly boasted the town’s name outside shops in bright patriotic spender.
Though their music shops had a lot of CDs covering both kinds of music (country and western), sadly I couldn’t find the Blues’ Brothers soundtrack for my brother. However I did see this nice pun on a furniture shop.

Which made me think of some of Weird’s music, which I listened to on the way home (Poodle Hat). But then hunger set in. I drove through Morwell, no cafés jumped out, and the only prominent places to eat seemed to be fast food joints.

I continued driving to Trafalgar where I found Café Obsession whose staff and cliental were happy and jovial and I ordered a cappuccino and a bite to eat. The chocolate muffin was superb – not too chocolately, just right. And the cappuccino was delicious. - by far the best stop on my route.

And I had a groovy second coffee and read in total relaxation, enjoying the atmosphere and gazing out the windows.

And what lovely windows they were:
Near the bottom were swooping birds and a list of substances available at the Café; cupcake; chocolate; experience; latte; hope; etc. And that is what I associate coffee with; experience; love; acceptance; friends; happiness…
And then a gentle drive home (with a little bit of rain a bit of wind (gusts up to 100km/hr) and a bit of radio 774am)