It's a completely cool, multi-purpose blog.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Little bit lively this week, mainly revolving around a spectacularly undramatic car crash I had on Monday. In brief: driving to work, changing lanes, I look over my shoulder, look back forwards to find that the traffic ahead has stopped. Prang! My fault, luckily the other guy was unhurt and not too stroppy. Upshot is mainly financial and having to use public transport for a few days while the car bonnet is straightened out.

Beth and Michelle are both as gorgeous as ever. We are trying to get plenty of exercise when we can, mainly involving trundling round local parks pushing a pram. Looking forward to when Beth has more neck control so the backpack can be in full effect and we can walk around some more interesting areas.

Zie Franz are coming! Looks like they’re playing the Big Day Out this Jan, and Robert LePage is doing a thing about Hans Christian Andersen at the Sydney Festival, also in Jan. New Year is a very busy time in this city. I like it like that.

Long weekend in NSW this week, so we're off to Avoca. I promise I'll take lots of lovely baby photos, and post them next week for your entertainment.

Who'd fall in love with a chicken with it's head cut off?

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

What are nos. 101-200 then?

Here is Beth a couple of days ago being gorgeous as ever. The extreeemely exciting news is that she can now turn herself over from being on her front to being on her back. Unspeakably impressed, we are. I've yet to see this astonishing feat but M is going to try and get it on video asap. Apparently this new-found is slightly ahead of schedule, so we are happy to consider her a Genius Child, or at least a Turning Over Prodigy.

My health is not as bad as feared, but I do have a high cholesterol reading apparently. This means that I am now off fatty foods (cheese! ice cream! pastries!) which is a bummer. The good aspect is that I have to eat lots of nuts and legumes, and with summer just arriving here I get to eat lots of lovely salads. We have a tip-top salad cookbook we have started using and it's all yummy.

As for the booze, I should cut down apparently but the odd drink is OK. Well, they all say that "a glass of wine with dinner" is OK. Is this a class thing? A cold beer or a whisky for me please.

Final news on a busy day: I just finished my Top 100 Novel thingo! Yowser! Read all about it here.

Listening to Nick Cave, the Arcade Fire and Pulp. Oh Jarvis, how we miss you.

I think I can help you get through your exams

Fiiiniiished - so what's the top 101-200 then?

"There's more to life than books you know, but not much more"

Well, I've finally finished and what a lot of fun I've had. I've enjoyed the self-imposed discipline that using the list has imposed, and conversely I can't wait to get stuck into the backlog of stuff I've got waiting on my bookshelf - much of it non-fiction. I feel that I'm much more clued up about novels than I was 2 years years ago but I still don't consider myself well-read; further reading would include Middlemarch, Bleak House, Humphrey Clinker, Roderick Random, The Decameron, The Bible, The Koran, Dante, Milton, bits of Shakespeare...

Check out the original Observer article and a subsequent, largely ill-informed discussion.

Scroll down for the full list and my individual comments on each book. Meanwhile I thought I would answer a few of the questions that have come up throughout in the form of a few lists, as follows:

Vital Statistics
100 novels
63 I had never read before starting out
About 2 years - that's about 11 or 12 days per book
Longest book: (6) Clarissa - 1500 pages
Shortest book: I reckon it's (88) the BFG, but I could be wrong

Favourite books, in no particular order
Don Quixote
Tristram Shandy
Dangerous Liaisons
The Way We Live Now
Huckleberry Finn
The Great Gatsby
Wise Children

Least favourite books, in no particular order
Nightmare Abbey
Little Women
Call of the Wild

"What the?" - Right author, wrong book
Daniel Deronda - George Eliot (Middlemarch is the one most people rate as one of the great novels - though I've yet to read it)
Nostromo - Joseph Conrad (Heart of Darkness, innit?)
Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov (Pale Fire or Sebastian Knight for me)
Haroun and the Sea of Stories - Salman Rushdie (Midnight's Children makes all the other lists, and I have a soft spot for Shame)
Atonement - Ian McEwan (A close call, but Enduring Love is a remarkable book)

"Where the hell?" - Books that should be there, but aren't
The Monk - M.G.Lewis (Hilariously OTT gothic romp)
The Awakening - Kate Chopin (Everyone on my degree course loved it, no-one else has ever heard of it)
P.G.Wodehouse - The Inimitable Jeeves (My knowledge of PGW is scant, but surely he's one of the greatest of all comic writers?)
On Broadway - Damon Runyon (Short stories but with a novelistic feel, I'm saying. S'Wonderful)
Graham Swift - Waterland (Stunning stuff both technically and emotionally)
Not to mention American Psycho, Downriver, Possession, the Regeneration trilogy, The English Patient, Nice Work etc ad nauseam.....

See the full list with my comments at

As to what's next? I was thinking about this...

Monday, September 19, 2005

Latest news, incorporating a joke from "The Truth About Cats and Dogs"

A mixed week, it’s fair to say.

Beth is continuing to grow more adorable by the day. She is still smiley and laidback, and a very good sleeper. All this could change for no reason at any moment but for now it’s all good, mate. She also seems to like the Boo Radleys, which is a relief.

Michelle is also well, enjoying the maternity leave life and missing work not a tad.

I was off for half of last week with a fluey virus, which was very unpleasant. On the plus side I got to watch about 10 films in 3 days, most of which were foreign language. I particularly enjoyed the classic western Stagecoach, and a bunch of very early silent shorts. Fortunately I don’t seem to have passed the virus on to M or B.

The bad news is that I have had some dodgy test results and may have to moderate my diet or even – gasp! – give up the grog! Disaster! I like drinking. I like being drunk. Most people do, that’s why they do it, but I appear to enjoy it more than most. I’m seeing the GP tomorrow, and I’ll be going with a profound sense of foreboding. Should a have to become a teetotaller, I am considering the alternatives to regular pissedness:

1) Meditation
2) Heroin
3) A clocktower and an AK47
4) Regular exercise.

No, scrap number 4. That’s just silly.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Good morning starshine, the earth says hello

Saw "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" last night. I'm still laughing.

Everything in this room is *eat*able. Even I'm *eat*able. But that is called cannibalism, my dear children, and is in fact frowned upon in most societies.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Father's Day? Not in Blighty it isn't

Well, my folks went home last week amid much unhappiness at Sydney Airport. It was wonderful having them here for a month, there was enough time for them both to really get a sense of Beth’s personality. Now it feels odd having Beth back in her own nursery; next up, she will switch from the bassinette to the cot. Hopefully this won’t be too traumatic for her.

Beth is getting more adorable by the day. We’ve learned that if we really overload her with formula during her evening feed then she sleeps for a long time giving us the chance for a good kip ourselves. The other night we got 14 hours out of her.

We’ve taken the opportunity of having in-house babysitters to get out and about a fair bit too – bushwalking, shopping, the cinema and so on. We’ve also watched a whole load of DVDs and videos, which has been great of course. And I’ve even finished reading Clarissa – praise be!