A Darkside Downunder – MONA magic (Hobart, Australia)

February 1, 2015

I’m in Tasmania drinking with Dave; a giant of a man with broad shoulders and no neck. He’s lived alone all his adult life, and sits at his normal spot at the bar, in  brown flannelette shirt and singlet, jeans and mudcaked Blundy boots. “Changed? Yeah, sure has mate.” He looks around. “Mmm…not sure what […]

Lost and Found – a splendid memory (Cape Arid, Western Australia)

June 4, 2013

`The truck’ bumps from side to side, the wheels in deeply rutted tracks. Nearer our coastal camp, scrub turns to woodland and we both lurch to the left as we drop a gear and edge across a scary slab of sloping granite. Back on sand it’s our final descent, to a wild coast of dazzling […]

Private Wars – `lest we forget’ (Melbourne, Australia)

April 22, 2013

I met Becky in the supermarket dairy aisle; a vivacious 40-something, born and raised locally. I’d seen her around, but we’d never met before Ed reappeared. I asked how my old friend was. “Not so good,” she said. “Still can’t sleep. And he really struggles with ANZAC Day. He won’t see a doctor. I’m hoping […]

Down in the Lucky Country – beggars, charlatons and thieves (Melbourne, Australia)

April 17, 2013

Straight from a long lunch, I raised my umbrella and headed for the pedestrian bridge. Crossing the river, I turned onto the station path; Melbourne cold and soaked after 6-days rain. I recall the soulful sounds of an upright 2-string Vietnamese fiddle commingling with the distant strains of bagpipes that echo from under the bluestone […]

After the Opera – the sad passing of Marzipan the cat (Melbourne, Australia)

March 26, 2013

Many in Melbourne this week are mourning the passing of Marzipan, the grand old tortoiseshell diva of the city’s theatre scene. The much-loved Astor cat died on Sunday 24th March 2013 Australian time after a lingering illness, at the ripe old age of 21 years. It was back in the early 90s when Marzipan made her […]

Red Desert Dreaming – modern times, ancient magic (The Kimberley, Western Australia)

March 19, 2013

Strange figures are painted in broad strokes of red ochre – Wandjina spirit-men – eerie round faces with big pools for eyes. I stand next to Maurice, “a Worara blackfella” and a driver at local mines. I ask him why they have no mouths. His voice is hushed, as he points at the staring spaceman […]

Just a Matter of Time – a glimpse of old Cochin (Kochi, India)

March 1, 2013

I’m in Melbourne, startled as the nurse draws the curtain behind me, the click of the rings on the rail loud in the quiet of the ward; the sweet smack of cough mixture wafts through the room. I turn away from Sally, my long-time neighbour having a tough time but recovering well. First it was […]

Feline of the Opera – in search of a tortoiseshell diva (Melbourne, Australia)

February 22, 2013

Outside there’s a neon finger-sign soaring skyward, the oversized letters reading `ASTOR’. The building’s not much to look at; the high facade brick, of cream and red. The veranda is low and squarish, the fascia lined with a string of bare light globes. From a street clogged with trams, trucks and cars, we step up […]