Friday, 31 December 2010

2010 Reading

Here are listed the 77 books that I read in 2010 arranged roughly by author. However if I counted volumes separately it would mean that I read 90 books. Then some of these 90 books I read more than once this year… Then some of them I might have read in December 2009 and put on this list in error…

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe - Douglas Adams
Life, the Universe and Everything - Douglas Adams
So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish - Douglas Adams
Mostly Harmless - Douglas Adams
Zoo Story - Edward Albee
The Chronicles of Prydain - Lloyd Alexander
Man Walks into a Bar – Stephen Arnott & Mike Haskins
The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood

The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Last Days - Manuel Casha
The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha (part 1 – 482 pages) – Cervantes
White Tiger - Kylie Chan
Red Phoenix – Kylie Chan
Blue Dragon – Kylie Chan
Earth to Hell – Kylie Chan
Hell to Heaven - Kylie Chan
The Mousetrap and Selected Plays - Agatha Christie
And Another Thing – Eoin Colfer

Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

The Name Of The Rose - Umberto Eco
Dead Famous – Ben Elton
Past Mortem - Ben Elton

Shades of Gray - Jasper Fforde
The Last Dragonslayer – Jasper Fforde
Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
Stephen Fry’s Incomplete and Utter History of Classical Music

Coraline - Neil Gaiman
Fragile Things – Neil Gaiman
Smoke and Mirrors – Neil Gaiman
The Sandman Volumes 1-11 - Neil Gaiman
The Sandman: Volume 6 – Fables & Reflections - Neil Gaiman
Sandman: The Dream Hunters - Neil Gaiman
Death: The High Cost of Living - Neil Gaiman
Death: The Time of Your Life - Neil Gaiman
The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains - Neil Gaiman
Stories All New Tales – edited by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio
Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
Patience – W. Gilbert
The Mikado – W. Gilbert
Chinese Folktales - edited by Howard Giskin
An Abundance of Katherines - John Green
The Great Gatsby – A Graphic Adaptation - Nicki Greenberg
Asterix and the Big Fight - Goscinny and Uderzo
Asterix and the Great Crossing - Goscinny and Uderzo
Asterix and The Vikings - Goscinny and Uderzo

Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
Classical Mythology Images & Insights - Stephen Harris
High Fidelity - Nick Hornby

The Trial - Franz Kafka
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kesey

Weekend - Matthew Lambert
The Left Hand of Darkness - Ursula LeGuin

Her Fearful Symmetry - Audrey Niffenegger
Delta of Venus - Anais Nin

Nineteen Eighty-Four - George Orwell

I Shall Wear Midnight – Terry Pratchett
Soul Music – Terry Pratchett
Thief of Time – Terry Pratchett

Best Australian Political Cartoons 2010 – edited by Russ Radcliffe
Twitterature - Alexander Aciman & Emmett Rensin

Holes - Louis Sachar
A Midsummer Night’s Dream – William Shakespeare
Twelfth Night – William Shakespeare
Plays - Tom Stoppard

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court - Mark Twain
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - Mark Twain

Cricket Jokes - Max Walker and Brian Doyle
Complete Short Fiction - Oscar Wilde
The Importance of Being Earnest and Other Plays - Oscar Wilde
The Picture Of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde
Rudyard Kipling Mowgli’s Brothers – edited by Christopher Wormell

Arabian Nights – edited by Jack Zipes

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Mount Wellington

My grandfather would often tell this story: It was a dark and stormy night, a band of robbers sat round the fire place and the leader said, “Rupert, tell us a story”, so Rupert began. “It was a was a dark and stormy night, a band of robbers sat round the fire place and the leader said, “Rupert, tell us a story”, so Rupert began, “It was a dark and stormy night …

Mount Wellington rises 1270 meters above Hobart, its towering presence creating a wonderful natural back drop to all the action in the city.

It was a beautiful day, I had been to the south of Tassie, had had dinner and the sun was still shining with all its strength and I thought, “I know, I’ll drive up that mountain there.”

I should have checked what the internet said about Mount Wellington first. Discover Tasmania says: “Test out the windiest spot in Hobart” and “The interpretation centre at the top protects you from the blustering winds.”

Well, it was a little bit windy when I was driving up. I saw a look out hopped out of the car and enjoyed the view. And then continued up.

And the wind picked up. I started thinking that this might not be a quite such a good idea, but about two k’s from the top I pulled over in a car park and the wind died down, so I took some photos and once again continued up.

And the wind picked up again, I started wondering if my car could be blown over on it’s side. There is only so much The Beast can handle. I parked at the top of the mountain, and when I opened my door the wind blew it open with a bang. I jumped, thankfully it didn’t blow off, I hopped out of the car and slammed the door shut. And the wind became stronger.

Standing up became a struggle, and I thought “Andrew, you silly bugger, lets go home.” And the wind blew past my face, blowing off my glasses in a huge gust.

I saw them land on a bush a good five meters away, glint in the sun, and disappear. I ran to the bush and dived upon it, searching the branches and the roots for my glasses or a glint of sun, anything. But I couldn’t see a thing. A rash from the bush and insect bites painfully spreading over my arms, windburn lashing across my face. I searched desperately, how could I get off the mountain if I couldn’t see? And somehow I heard a couple of people running to their car.

I dashed to them and entreated a young lady to help me find my glasses, but unfortunately she couldn’t understand me, and neither could the other three Swedish tourists in the car. Thankfully an Australian was showing them around, and I begged him for help, and they all came and helped me search.

But it was fruitless, the bloke asked if I was from Hobart – subtlety hinting that he could give me a lift, “No, Melbourne” and realisation dawned on him my deeper trouble. How would I get the car back to Melbourne… And the search was renewed.

Fifteen minutes later they found them. A pair of glasses, the clip-on-sunnies had fallen off somewhere, but this meant that I could see. I grasped them in my hand, thanked my rescuers again and again and they were off. I wish I had something to give them. I got in my car, prised my fingers off my glasses and put them on my nose. Relief.

Note to self: put an old pair of glasses in the car.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Photo of the Day

Photo of a sign outside a shop in Beechworth.
Camera: SONY

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Tasmanian Coffee 3

For part one click here
For part two click here

Consumed at Queenstown Railway Station whilst waiting for the West Coat Wilderness Railway to depart.

At Tarraleah. Running out of petrol I found a cafe, they didn't have petrol but they did have toast and coffee, and could point me in the right direction. Tarraleah seemed to be a tourist town, a place for people to stay the night and get wed. A lot of blue houses.

At the cafe at the Tahune Air Walk. Easily the worst coffee of the trip - tasted like cough syrup. I will never buy coffee at tourist attractions. I will never buy coffee at tourist attractions. I will never...

A very nice cafe in Sheffeild. Skwiz Cafe and Gallery. They collect Tea Pots and have Folk Music on Fridays. They had a lovely note written on a newsletter, which silly me did not write down, it started like this "we believe in mix-matched chairs and tea pots"




Friday, 24 December 2010

Wineglass Bay

The drive to Wineglass Bay is through the Freycinet National Park, you pay money to drive to the car park, where even out of season there are hundreds of cars and then it is a two or so kilometre walk to Wineglass Bay. Not the easiest walk in the world, but short, and looking out from the high sections to Great Oyster Bay and Wineglass Bay is beautiful. And walking back is easier.

When I reached the beach, I threw off my shoes and walked across the sand to the opposite end of the beach, letting the waves run across my feet. Most of the people stayed near the walking track, so once you had walked half way around the bay it was peaceful and quiet. And the water was the most amazing shade of blue-green, fading to dark blue as the water became deep.

The water was cold, but the funny thing is it seemed warmer as I walked the k and a half to the end of the beach, and then seemed to get colder again as I walked back. Children happily swam in the waves. It would be lovely to kayak in the water. There is a kayak place in Coles Bay… Perhaps next time…

Wineglass Bay - taken straight with Nikon D3000

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Tasmanian Coffee 2

For part one go here

In Port Phillip Bay from the Lavender Cafe on the Spirit of Tasmania 1. Woken up at 5:30 for a 6:30 exit, the tables are littered with hundreds of coffee cups.

Had a coffee and pudding at my motel's restaurant in Lindisfarne. People look at weirdly when you just order dessert and coffee. Don't tell them that I had a pizza at Sorell.

A hot chocolate from a chocolate shop in Launceston, once again I had to stir it up, but this one was beautiful.

Best coffee of the trip from This Cafe in Launceston.

Coffee in LaTrobe - I had given up trying to find The House of Anvers.

Another coffee in LaTrobe after another unsuccessful search. I had a good vegetable pie to eat with my coffee. There seems to be a lot of pie shops in the north-west of Tassie.

House of Anvers's Chocolates. I had trouble finding Anvers. It is in LaTrobe, but on the highway, not in the main street. This is a small hot chocolate and it filled up my cup twice. I had fun taste testing free chocolates. I'm told that Anvers's chocolates are dairy free and egg free.

A Devonshire Tea from Ida Bay. This was the furthest south that I could buy food and when I saw that they had a Devonshire Tea, I knew what I had to order. There was heaps of jam and cream - you had to have a degree in engineering to work out how to put it all on the scones. Beautiful!

Monday, 20 December 2010

Tasmanian Coffee

In Tassie I had 23 cups of coffee, hot chocolate and tea. Which sounds pretty bad when you write it like that, but in reality it works out to be two cups a day.

Huonville - in the south. This was dessert after a beautiful vegetarian pizza that had artichokes, asparagus and other vegies.

I didn't spend a lot of time in Hobart. But just enough time to drink a coffee.

Hot Chocolate in Grindelwald from a 'swiss' chocolate shop. It was interesting having to mix it up yourself, but unfortunately didn't taste as good as I was hoping.

Coffee at Dubbil Barril - in the first class carridge of the West Coast Wilderness Railway. They treat you very very well in first class, I could have drank coffee for the entire trip if I wanted to, but I restrained myself and only had one with lunch.

In Devonport. I disembarked from the Sprit of Tasmania 1 at 6:30ish, parked at the Tourist Information Centre and went straight to the only coffee shop that was open - a place called Banjo's. I later realised that Banjo's is a bakery chain that has stores in other Tassie towns.

Coffee at Bellerive. I had driven for hours tring to find an Indian restaurant, or any restaurant that had good veggie fare when I found this lovely French place which is a restaurant by night and a patisserie by day. The menu had duck and snail dishes. I had a wonderful minestrone soup followed by a coffee whist reading Theif of Time by Terry Pratchett. This coffee was by far one of the best on my trip.

The polite French waiter was also a Terry Pratchett connoisseur and hailled from Footscray in Melbourne.

A free coffee at Beauty Point whilst I waited for a documentary on the platypus to start at the World of the Platypus.

Coffee in Bass Straight - at the Leatherwood Restaurant on the Spirit of Tasmania 1, drank while on the way home, watching the sun set.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Wouldn't It Be Nice

Mitch was doing an informal survey wondering how many people knew what came after "wouldn't it be nice" in the Beach Boy’s song of the same name. Thanks to a very effective advertising campaign by an Australian company many people will now sing “Wouldn’t it be nice if the world was chocolate”. It would be interesting to do the survey on a large scale.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we were older
Then we wouldn’t have to wait so long
And wouldn’t it be nice to live together
In the kind of world where we belong

“Wouln’t It be Nice” by The Beach Boys - Songwriters: Brian Wilson , Tony Asher and Mike Love

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Two Good Books

I have just borrowed two books from two wonderful people (Well that is not quite true, I borrowed them ages ago, but have only rust read them and I will return them this week). Both books were lesser known books from famous authors, and I enjoyed them more than other works by the same authors. Both books were about being human and about power, but I don’t want to write much in case I give away too much of the stories, go and read them.

‘The Left Hand of Darkness’ by Ursula LeGuin

I put on my winter coat and went out for a walk, in a disagreeable mood, in a disagreeable world.

A profound love between two people involves, after all, the power and chance of doing profound harm.

There are peoples who have no higher mathematics at all, nothing beyond the simplest applied arithmetic. Every one of them is capable of understanding the calculus, but ot one of them does or ever has.

I’ll make my report as if I told a story, for I was taught as a child on my homeworld that Truth is a matter of the imagination.

‘A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court’ by Mark Twain

You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus

You see, he was going for the Holy Grail. The boys all took a flier at the Holy Grail now and then. It was a several years' cruise. They always put in the long absence snooping around, in the most conscientious way, though none of them had any idea where the Holy Grail really was, and I don't think any of them actually expected to find it, or would have known what to do with it if he had run across it.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Photo of the Day

Screw found at Cape Schanck on a walk way. Photo by me.
22/12/20010 - A pointed out that it is in fact a bolt to go on a nut.
Camera: SONY

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Dove Chocolate

Dove has a range of chocolates, where every chocolate was wrapped in an individual piece of foil with a quote…

Change is inevitable, except from vending machines.

Don’t you look good naked. I’m talking about the chocolate.

Beauty is in the eye of the choc-holder.

Lead me not into temptation. I can find my own way there.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Photo of the Day

Cat and Mouse by me.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Photo of the Day

Lookout at Mount Buffalo, Victoria.

At the carpark. Photo by me.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Some Plays Are Just Odd

Another old draft...

Some plays are just odd, and odd things tend to happen... We had a couple of interesting performances...

B tried to light a letter, which did not work, so he threw the letter and the lighter onto a pile of props on stage. After a while the paper lit and smoke started rising. B2 told one of the Frenchies who managed to find the paper and put it out.

Z seemed to arrived drugged, and W and I spent every minute that we could spare watching him making sure that he was okay. Especially when he was carrying the Circular Saw and standing on a platform, swaying to some wind that only he could feel.

A glass getting smashed on stage, where actors had to crawl all over and die. L told me about the glass and so I spent a huge portion of the play trying to sweep up all of the glass.

Instead of hors d'oeuvers I set up little cup-cakes with a candle in one for B's birthday. Seeing all the actors smiling, wanting to eat cake.

Pretending to eat eucalyptus leaves and maybe getting a bit carried away and then later in the evening feeling ever so sleeping and wondering if I was as stoned as a koala.

A door being pulled off it's hinges and having to hold the door shut for the rest of the performance, and when the curtain calls came on, holding it shut with one leg as I bowed and then exited.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Photo of the Day

Door in a Potato Bar in Hawthorn. Photo in Black and White by me.

The sign reminded me of the Swallows and Amazons books that I used to read when I was little.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Suggestions for a lost voice

Whilst undertaking ‘The Real Inspector Hound’ I managed to carelessly lose my voice. It was amazing how many people came up with suggestions to help…

Ginger and lemongrass tea

Pineapple juice

Honey and milk

Honey and hot water

Honey, hot water and lemon juice

Diflam throat spray


Green Tea

Panadeine (codeine)



Lemon and Ginger

Monday, 15 November 2010

Photo of the Day

Statue in the grounds at the Cape Otway Lighthouse.

Photo by me.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Old Quick Thoughts

These thoughts of mine have been in the draft folder for a long time...

I have had a pair of long green woollen traditional Scottish socks in my car for four days. I think I look ok in a kilt.

I am happy that I have used “had had” and “that that” before in the one post.

I am trying to workout whether to increase debt and fitness or decrease debt and fitness.

I won $12.50 in Tattslotto.

I think the smaller prizes in Tattslotto are larger when there are less participants to share a part in it. Plus it is a waste of money.

I am tired

Work has put up posters saying “Coughs and Sneezes Spread Diseases” I think that they think being well is just as important as war time secrets – Loose Lips Sink Ships. – And if that is the case why cant I have more sick leave?

When you plan some blogs and then put in random blogs, your planned ones don’t make as much sense as they should.

My work colleagues don’t spy on me – they don’t notice odd things in my car that have been in there over a week like baby seats and book shelves.

I’ve had Derek Bourgeois’s song ‘Serenade’ stuck in my head. It was written to be played at his wedding when his wife walked down the aisle. The music starts in 11/8 (3+3+2+3) and then goes into 13/8 (3+3+2+2+3 I think)

I have worked out how to schedule blog posts.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Photo of the Day

Books on stage for the performance of 'The Real Inspector Hound'

I like how the spine of 'The Mousetrap' is reflected on the other book, over the dead body. Photo by me.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

I'm sure that I'm not clumsy

Monday was a beautiful spring day, I had arrived at the theatre a couple of hours early, and I thought that I would take the opportunity to have a good rest. I strolled down to the local shops and brought some fruit and orange juice from the IGA and some bread from the bakery, strolled back to the theatre and sat on the grass, with a lovely tall gum tree throwing his shadow over me to protect me from the strong, warm, spring sun.

After reading for quite some time I thought it would be nice to stroll down to the main street for a coffee, so I unfolded my legs and sprang up. But something was not quite right. I looked down, and my feet were struggling to keep me balanced, they turned sidewards and I came crashing down to the ground and a huge ‘crack’ echoed down the street.

I poked both feet and could not feel a thing, they were fast a sleep, and as I started reflecting on the crack I thought that they were both broken.

A few minutes later, took up by slowing finishing off the last of the orange juice, it was clear that I had sprained/twisted/turned by right ankle which was nicely swelling up, but thankfully the left one was fine. The moral of this story is to check if your feet have fallen asleep before standing up.

Two days later filled with comments like ‘That’s a very Andrew way to get injured’ and ‘Some people hurt them selves playing professional sport, some people hurt themselves running a marathon, Andrew hurts himself by standing up’ I have come to the conclusion that some people think that I am clumsy. I’m not, am I? I wouldn’t get hurt more than anyone else…

Interesting Quotes

Here are some quotes that I like, that I have had lying around for a long time...

“Language is part of a person’s character.” – Francis Bacon

Good guy to evil secretary:
“How’s the secretary biz these days? Scheduled any first-rate appointments lately?”
In Mary Doria Russell’s “The Sparrow”

“Trisha knew who Banquo’s ghost was. She had studied English literature at A-level, and had actually done three months’ teacher training before deciding that she was going to spend her life dealing with juvenile delinquents she would rather do it with full powers of arrest.”
Page 352 Ben Elton’s ‘Dead Famous’

The safest way to double your money is to fold it over once and put it in your pocket. - Kin Hubbard

Monday, 8 November 2010

Photo of the Day

The Road into Bright.

Photo by me.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Photo of the Day

Drinking fountain in Beechworth.

Photo by me. Has this fountain transported anyone to other worlds?

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Photo of the Day

Sign on store on Plenty Road, Preston.
Photo by me.

Ode to a Piano Man

I've got a backlog of posts that have never been published. This is from March 2009.

Hello my name is Andrew and I have a problem. I used to like Weird Al and would listen to him whenever any of my flat mates would put on a CD. However I have not listened to his music for years when I found “Running With Scissors” hiding in my room last December, I became obsessed. I can now sing The Saga Begins, My Baby’s In Love With Eddie Vedder, Truck Drivin’ Song and Albuquerque almost perfectly.

Well I thought I would buy another of his CD’s and I now have two more favourite songs. One is Ode to a Superhero. It is sung to the tune of Billy Joel’s Piano Man

Piano Man:

Sing us a song, you’re the piano man
Sing us a song tonight
Well, were all in the mood for a melody
And you’ve got us feelin’ alright

Ode to a Superhero

Poor Peter Parker was pitiful
Couldn't have been any shier
Mary Jane still wouldn't notice him
Even if his hair was on fire

Sling us a web you're the Spiderman
Sling us a web tonight
'Cause we're all in the mood for a hero now
And there's evil-doers to fight

I love how Weird Al Yankovic tells the stories of movies to music. But what is more enjoyable is his songs that are full of clever insights and word play such as

A Complicated Song to the tune of Avril Lavigne’s Complicated.

Pizza all day
And every day
This cheese 'round the clock
Is gettin' me blocked
And I sure don't care
For irregularity

Tell me
Why'd you have to go and make me so constipated?
'Cause right now I'd do anything to just get my bowels evacuated,
in the bathroom
I sit and I wait and I strain and I sweat and I clench and I feel the pain
Oh, should I take laxatives or have my colon irrigated?
No no no

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Work can be funny

This has been today's email chain:

>>> Head Honcho >>>
could you sned out please, hh

>>> Andrew >>>
done. Sneded.

>>> Head Honcho >>>
thanks for sneding

Sunday, 31 October 2010

It has been raining

View over Melbourne from Mount Dandenong
It is hard to catch rain drops and bubbles.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Mortality at the BMW Edge

Dr David Suzuki is a biologist and an environmental activist, he has an energy in him, that captivates the audience when he talks and holds us interested, no matter how uncomfortable the chairs. He has such a calming aura/feeling/presence. And is also good at using humour as a tool to get messages across.

He talked about how we are all connected to the world around us, the air we breathe, every breath we take, and the water we drink, and how the water and the air interacts with our body and disperses around the world due to entropy and the water cycle. And as a consequence polluting the world means polluting ourselves.

On a side note, the 'elements' fire, earth air and water have an understandable mysterious connection to the human being. I remember hearing about a study that even today many adults when asked what makes up an atom's electrons and protons will reply; fire, earth air and water.

Two questions were interesting in a weird way and so I though that I would try to answer them myself. Question 1, to paraphrase; is Dr Suzuki preaching to the converted? I am not an environmentalist activist, so in my personal case, no. No. It is so easy to forget, we need, well I need, some one to remind us to think about how we can help the world.

The second question was: how should we live our life. And at one stage I was also hoping that Dr Suzuki would tell me how to live my life, but he didn't, and I guess any choice I make is a choice in my head and in my heart, and would be more powerful than doing something that someone orders or suggests for me to do, would an audience go away and do things just because someone told us to?

I think the big thing is syntheses/application. What can I do? Think of water, waste and energy consumption. Having coffee outside with work, listening to my colleagues talk about buying air-conditioners, thinking why, I've never had one, is it needed. Installing solar panels, fruit and vegipatches, public transport, there are things to do. Cutting down on paper in my office - done, but can do more.

"Every breath you take, Every move you make, Every bond you break, Every step you take, I'll be watching you." - The Police.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Photo of the day

Memorial at Jindabyne. Photo by me.
The text says: This memorial is dedicated to the Irish men and women who worked on the construction of the Snowy Mountains Scheme.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Am I alone and unobserved

I saw Patience by Gilbert and Sullivan performed by an amateur company on Saturday. The stench of urea starts the performance with 'Twenty love-sick maidens wee'.
SFX: Phone rings. "What's that ... only one 'e' you say ... you sure ... if you insist ... well I guess it does make more sense... thank you."
That is, I mean, 'Twenty love-sick maidens we'.

There were good things in the performance and there were bad things in the performance. I particularly liked the colonel, the major and the duke.
SFX: Phone rings. "No I'm not being biased ... I know that I've met the colonel ... yes I have done shows with the major ... look they did a good job, ok?"
Ladies Angela, Saphir, Ella and Jane were also good.

But I don't understand having chorus members who don't sing. Give me feeling. Give me sound. And why aren't some of those lines sang fortissimo? I am sure the score calls for it. It is also very noticeable when on the first exit the last choir-member exits holding the tune beautifully, letting the final words and emotions cascade into the audience, when the next time the same choir-member is the fifth last to exit and the last four are not singing at all, so all you get is a muffled line of song off stage which does not convey the emotion or the story.

Costumes were nice. It is amazing how much good costumes can help, or perhaps it is amazing how distracting bad costumes can be. Saw a performance of something with horrible uniforms, it was really really distracting, especially when they were singing about pride in the uniform. And while I'm whingeing: Why do audiences in G&S shows, clap after each song? I can understand if it was a brilliant solo - but is it really needed after every song? And why are G&S lighting plots always white wash?
SFX: Phone rings. "No I don't want to buy any white king"

I feel that G&S needs military precision.
SFX: Phone rings again. "What's that ... yes I know that the saying is surgical precision ... military works better with my argument ... the male choruses are always policemen, in the navy, or dragoons ... look, can you please stop interrupting."
G&S needs military precision. Military precision with feeling. Tell the story. Let the audience hear the words, otherwise its just mush.

I like Patience, it might be one of my favorite G&S collaborations, and there were good moments in it, but unfortunately some horrid ones as well. Or perhaps I've just been spoilt, grown up with grandparents who would play an immaculate version on video when ever they could. Want to see the Mikado now.

The meaning doesn’t matter if it’s only idle chatter of a transcendental kind.
And ev’ry one will say,
As you walk your mystic way,
“If this young man expresses himself in terms too deep for me,
Why, what a very singularly deep young man this deep young man must be!”

Friday, 15 October 2010

Keating the Musical

This is not a political post. You can like Keating the Musical no matter what side of the fence you sit on, but I get a bit idealistic at the best of times…

Thanks to JR, I’ve just been exposed to ‘Keating the Musical’ which is a great story and picture of the Australian federal political scene in the ‘90s. There was great comedy with Kernot and Evan’s duet, great satire with Howard’s songs, but the part that touched me the most was Paul Keating singing ‘The Light on the Hill.’

They're counting up the votes across Australia
This time it seems the verdict is severe
Swan, McEwen, Fadden, Dickson,
Bass and Paterson and Kingston
But it's Oxley with the message, loud and clear

The Light on the Hill – From Keating the Musical

I remember watching the ’96 election, seeing 29 seats change hands from the red to blue, and hearing those words be put into Keating’s mouth, makes it so very poignant.

Also knowing where the eight electorates mentioned are and knowing the history of McEwen and Oxley, I think probably makes the song more moving for me than possibly others.

There are 150 seats in the lower house, I could name a fair few, and tell you where others are if you tell me the names, but I think that most Australians just do not know what their electorate is, yet alone the others around it.

But still I dream
That the stars will be aligning
As our fates are intertwining
Until every heart is shining with goodwill
Shining like the light on the hill,
Shining like the light on the hill.

I’ll dream of the day that 150 members can work together and not fight like spoilt children. I’ll dream of a day, when the political map of Australia is full of many colours, especially greens, reds, yellows, blues and greys. Until every heart is shining with goodwill.

You can sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow too.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

I've been to the theatre

The Melbourne Fringe Festival, is a time of acting, seeing, dancing, singing. A happy time, but a bittersweet time as well, as you can never see every performance that you want to.


The testimony of the minotaur, feels like a court case, with Matt Crosby as the minotaur pleading his case to us, the audience, as the jury. It is a story that waxes and wanes with sanity, passion, thought, feeling, hunger and pain. Matt was excellent, the ultimate story teller, swaying between these poles beautifully. Keeping us gripped the entire time. I loved the performance, would have liked to see it again, and want to see the next edition of Matt’s 101 stories.

Under Milk Wood

I had to see Under Milk Wood, as I fell in love with it when I acted in it a couple of years ago. Under Milk Wood is a play for voices, over sixty characters come alive through Dylan Thomas’s picturesque, exquisite words.

Hush, the babies are sleeping, the farmers, the fishers, the tradesmen and pensioners, cobbler, schoolteacher, postman and publican, the undertaker and the fancy woman, drunkard, dressmaker, preacher, policeman, the webfoot cocklewomen and the tidy wives.

It is a beautifully challenging piece with a cast of 17. But with a cast of one I would have thought impossible. But that is what Zoe Lodge has mastered at the Melbourne Fringe Festival. In a tiny room in the North Melbourne Town Hall we were transferred to Llareggub. It was amazing how all the characters were given their voice, easily distinguishable from each other, with conversations between multiple characters delivered superbly. It was hilarious, clever, thought provoking – I would love to see anything acted by Zoe.

And the suddenly wind-shaken wood springs awake for the second dark time this one Spring day.
- Dylan Thomas 'Under Milk Wood'

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Photo of the Day

Iron statute of bird on cow, at the Daylesford Convent - Artist unknown.
If any one knows the sculptor please let me know.
Photo taken by me.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

I Would Like a Fish

If I had a fish, I would call it Nero. And people would say, "Don't you mean Nemo, after the Pixar movie?" and I would reply, "No, Nero. The Roman Emperor."

Or two fish. A red fish and a blue fish.

I'm serious! I'm not trying to be funny. I would like some fish. A nice red fish like fire and another as blue as something that is very blue.

An old tumbled down castle and a laurel wreath on the floor of the tank.

A plaque that says, "So Long and Thanks for all the Fish". Some one must make plaques with that phrase... If not I think I have just started a new business... Or could I sell the idea to ThinkGeek...

Fish is one of the words in the English Language that if you write it down too many times it looks as if it is spelt incorrectly.

Friday, 24 September 2010

English Language

"English doesn't borrow from other languages. English follows other languages down dark alleys, knocks them over, and goes through their pockets for loose grammar."

Having stumbled on the above quote, and appreciating it's sentiments, I spent a couple of minutes trying to track down the original author. I found a couples of possibilities but no one who was a clear candidate. But in Wikipeadia, the fount of all knowledge, I did find a simular statement which is could have been derived from:

“The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.”
- James Nicoll (1990)

I've always pictured the English language like a pirate... Stealing words from other languages... Making obsolete words walk the plank... We have such a wealth of words from all manner of locations, Ancient German, Ancient French, Latin, Hindi... And I like how we use ancient foreign words in the manner that they were used hundreds of years ago, whilst the original language no longer uses that word, and the English words used at the same time have suffered from meaning changes...

In my search I also found:

If the English language made any sense, a catastrophe would be an apostrophe with fur.
- Doug Larson

Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don't see any.
- Orson Scott Card

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Photo of the day

Stair at Mount Buffalo in Victoria Australia.
Photo by Andrew Scarborough.
December 2008

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Painting the stage

A director approaches you and says, "Oi, Andrew, can you draw a mural for my play? I want a city scape, with perspective. One that someone might see if they lived in Brunswick or Fitzroy, looking over the house opposite, over a park and then the city."

And you reply, "No worries, I'll do my best." And then realise that you haven't actually drawn anything since year ten in high school and that was about ten years ago.

You start by working out a horizon, one that the audience can see and start outlining buildings and you paint in a few buildings to see what it looks like.

Lesson 1: When you paint, do all of the painting at the one time. That way you can remember how you mixed up those colours.

Realising that the city looks a bit odd with no suburbs before it, you draw in a few more smaller buildings, however as some of the painting has been done, you don't have much room.

Lesson 2: Do all of the pencil working out first.

Looking at the mural, the park looks dreadfully sparse, so you fill it up, realising that it goes on for far too long. And that it looks like the house is in Craigieburn, looking for miles over farm land to the city.

Lesson 3: Really think hard about perspective and actual distances first.

Then the director says, "How about you make it so that the city windows light up at night."
And we experiment with glow in the dark paint, which doesn't want to be worked so finely, and end up testing white envelope labels, cut down to size with fluoro blue lights.

But does it work?

Yes it does, and the director starts requesting other things, I started thinking of doing it all over again.

Lesson 4: You are the artist and can say no.

And by the end it looked okay. If I did it again I would do it differently. Really really plan everything. Pencil line everything. And paint at the end.