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

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Festival Update

It’s January, which is always a busy time for arty events, what with the Festival and all. I haven’t managed to post about individual things, so here’s a brief round-up of things, mainly not festival related:

White Cabin – Theatrical rubbish from Russian experimentalists. I actually became quite angry watching this, because it must have bumped something else out of the festival programme. There was all sorts going on but it seemed to me like there were no ideas, just lots of stuff. Most people seemed bemused, although there were a few people in raptures and the reviews I Googled were rapturous. Pseuds.

Down The Line – Splendid piss-take of radio phone-ins from Radio 4, full of all too familiar non sequiturs and bigotry.

Volver – Deliriously entertaining new Almodovar. Not quite his best, but once you sit back and let it wash over you it’s a delicious experience, and Penelope Cruz is a revelation.

Clerks 2 – Desperately disappointing sequel to the genius original. Average user rating on IMDb is 7.9, as opposed to Volver’s rating of 7.8. Phht.

If you really want to disappoint your parents, and don't have the heart to be gay, go into the arts.

What kind of a word is girt anyway?

Tomorrow is my least favourite day of the year – Australia Day. I am always deeply suspicious of overt displays of patriotism because the lines between patriotism, nationalism and racism are so perilously thin. It seems to me that flag-waving has an exclusionary rather than unifying subtext, which is deeply uncomfortable in a multicultural nation in which the indigenous people are so marginalised.

In December 2005, discussion focussed around the Cronulla riots, in which Anglo-Celtic drunken flag-waving idiots got into running battles with police whilst protesting against “lebos and wogs”.

This year, there has been a big fuss kicked up over a suggestion that people don’t drape flags over their shoulders at the Big Day Out music festival, which falls today (i.e. Australia Day eve). Now, I was at the BDO last year and I saw a number of flag-draped pissheads doing the “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie” chant and demanding that people join in, all in a very intimidating and aggressive fashion. I was dreading being asked myself, a friend of mine saw somebody get whacked for not being sufficiently "patriotic", and there were reports of somebody copping a broken jaw.

Sadly, this sensible request from BDO organisers has been jumped on by media and politicians eager to pick up a few cheap votes. Insight and relevant knowledge has been completely absent in the debate, and the whole thing has been frustratingly awful. Sigh.

By the way, I should clarify to avoid offence. I hate Australia day because it emphasises all the things I like least about Australia (smugness, American-style uncritical patriotism, the godawful anthem) and de-emphasises all the things I like best (multiculturalism, vigour, curiosity, laid-backness, Nick Cave). I don’t hate Australia. Thank you, here endeth the sermon.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Music in movies Top 10

I just read an interesting article about classic music moments in movies. I found Bradshaw's a pretty good list, if sometimes a bit obvious. I would concur with Brief Encounter, 2001 and Jaws. I'd also have Mean Streets in there too, but I'd go for the Ronettes singing Be My Baby over the opening credits - electrifying. That's four, so let's see if I can complete a top 10:

5) The Cure's Plainsong in Marie Antoinette - A breathtaking moment in a mediocre movie, matched perfectly to the edit to denote the promotion of Marie from insecure courtier to Queen of France.

6) Ennio Morricone's theme to Once Upon A Time in America - The only orchestral soundtrack I own (although if anyone can track down a cheap copy of Rota's Amarcord, I'd be grateful).

7) East Hastings by Godspeed! You Black Emperor in 28 Days Later - The scene in an entirely deserted central London. the music helps you believe that the end of the world has come.

8) Cabaret in Cabaret - Before I saw the movie, I thought this was a trite bit of nonsense. It hit me like a brick when I realised it was a cry of desperate frustration. Joel Gray's Wilkommen is ace, too.

9) It's Always Fair Weather -
The bit with gene Kelly on rollerskates. It's the sequence that belatedly made me realise that musicals could be the best kind of cinema there is.

10) Just about anything in This Is Spinal Tap - I'm torn between Stone 'Enge and "Big Bottom got me out of my mind/how can I leave this behind?"

Anyone else?

Monday, January 15, 2007

Photos added at the Flickr site

Beth with Jenny, Dad and Nana in the Blue Mountains
Originally uploaded by Tom Goodfellow.

I've bunged a few photos up over at the Flickr site if you're interested -

Sunday, January 14, 2007


Ever have one of those weekends where you arrive somewhere and you are immediately thinking about where you have to be in 2 hours time? We overstretched ourselves somewhat over the last couple of days, and I'm glad that next weekend we should be having a quiet one.


1) Ollie's first birthday party
2) Dropping Beth off with her grandma
3) Afternoon at Atonal Parping in the Domain
4) The Twilight Singers at the Metro
5) Pick up Beth at 1am and take her home


1) M&B to Karen's for Yet Another Tupperware Party
2) Tom to the city for lunch with Bruce
3) Tom gets home and M goes to see a dance event
4) Football, DVD, book, sleeeeeeep

In other news, I listened to Disintegration and felt all nostalgic and teenage again.

I've been looking so long at these picture of you that I almost believe that these pictures are all I can feel

Revelations, unless you are my wife

Tagged! I think the idea is that I write 5 things that people don't know about me, which I'm struggling to come up with. Different people know different things, I guess, so if M is reading this there's nothing she doesn't know. Anyway, here goes:

1) I cry all the time at movies. At the end of Manon Des Sources, which I watched last night, I was a gibbering wreck. At least that was in my living room, the bit with the phone call in Brokeback Mountain had me wailing away in the multiplex - very embarrassing.

2) I am always dropping pointless film/TV/book quotations into conversations that no-one ever gets so the end up as non sequiturs. "The breeze feels good".

3) I have a desire to do stand-up comedy but I don't have the guts. I even have a small routine I wrote when I was thinking about doing an open mic night. Stand-up genius Bill Hicks is probably the greatest single influence on my politics and outlook except for my parents.

4) I bite my fingernails really, really badly.

5) I am about to have my first article published. Fame and fortune awaits.

That'll do.

Monday, January 08, 2007

G'day mate

I just caught an article on the insidious nature of the Aussie accent, and I smiled wryly because its something that has come up a few times for me recently, largely because my mum has been visiting and she listens carefully for any hint of "Strine" in my voice.

I would like to keep my Jamie Oliver drawl for as long as possible, and I still have it after 4 years living in Sydney, but I suppose it must have mutated a little. I don't think any local would have any problems identifying me as a pom but perhaps a Londoner would detect a certain antipodean lilt to my vowel sounds. The strange thing for me is that I can no longer tell the difference between an Aussie accent and a "generic" (ie south-east-ish) English accent - they both just sound normal.

So, I want to keep my accent but on the other hand I have gleefully taken up a great deal of Aussie vocabulary. I got berated by Nick the other day for talking about finding "a park" as opposed to "a parking space". I hadn't even realised that the former is an Australianism, and isn't it a much less unwieldy way of saying it? I reckon I can make use of such handy terminology without sounding like I'm asking a question at the end of every sentence or pronouncing yes as yiii.

Besides, life would be a whole lot duller without the bottle-o (1), the stubbie (2) and longneck (3), and of course the eyebrow-raisingly graphic budgie smugglers (4).

(1) Off licence
(2) Small (375ml) bottle of beer
(3) Large (750ml) bottle of beer
(4) Trust me, you don't want to know

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Is this guy a cabaret act or England's new wicketkeeper? Read on...

Wow! That was some long weekend.

Thursday and Friday were spent sobbing into my low alcohol beer at the Sydney Cricket Ground as England contrived a swift and humiliating finale to the Ashes series. Not sure what I can say about this other than what you will have already read if you’re interested, other than Australia were obviously the better team but England were still pretty shameful. The wrong team were picked, the players were lackadaisical and the attitude all round gave us no chance. I’m reluctant to use terms like “moral strength” or “lack of character” in sport but if they can ever be applied, it's with this shambles.

It was great to be at the ground, though, especially for the final day for both McGrath and Warne. Great players both and Warne is surely the most important player of my lifetime. Hats off.

Saturday was Mum’s birthday, so we made it a big one. First up we went for a walk around Bradley’s Head and Clifton Gardens on Sydney Harbour. I can’t believe we’ve never been there before – the views are the best of Sydney Harbour that I know, the path feels like proper bushland, and Clifton Gardens is like a beach only with less sand – perfect. The half-day has now been installed as a core component of the Goodfellow-Player Sydney tour (standard version).

In the evening we took in an excellent restaurant and followed it up with La Clique at the Sydney Festival. The show was a circus/burlesque treat featuring naked magicians, a midget belly dancer, strongmen, trapeze artists and so on. My favourite act was the hilarious contortionist comedy of Captain Frodo, but strangely M, Mum and Jenny all preferred the preposterously handsome German David O’Mer frolicking about in a bathtub. If you’re in Sydney this month, I heartily recommend it.

Mum’s heading home tomorrow – back to reality, as somebody once sang.

Skeptic's Horoscope

THE SKEPTIC'S HOROSCOPE for Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces, Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, and Sagittarius (Jan 1, 2007 – Dec 31, 2007):

The coming year is likely to present challenges; these trials are when your true character will show. Trusted friends can provide assistance in particularly pressing situations. Make use of the skills you have to compensate for ones you lack. Your reputation in the future depends on your honesty and integrity this year. Monetary investments will prove risky; inform yourself as much as possible. On the positive side, your chances of winning the lottery have never been greater!

(From Tim Harrod. Arf!)

Monday, January 01, 2007

Books read in 2006

In case you hadn't noticed, I also write a book blog and I've just completed my 2006 round-up. I read exactly 100 books last year, and here's the evidence. What a sad case I am.

Flaubert’s Parrot

Julian Barnes

The Silent Traveller in London

Chiang Yee

The Pickwick papers

Charles Dickens


To The Lighthouse

Virginia Woolf

A Study in Scarlet

Arthur Conan Doyle

The Bridge of San Luis Rey

Thornton Wilder

Midnight’s Children

Salman Rushdie

Rabbit, Run

John Updike

A Wizard of Earthsea

Ursula K LeGuin

The Moviegoer

Walker Percy


Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner

The Da Vinci Code

Dan Brown

The Final Solution

Michael Chabon

Vertigo (BFI Film Classics)

Charles Barr

1001 Albums You Must Listen to Before You Die

Robert Dimery (Ed.)

Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari (BFI Film Classics)

David Robinson

Bride of Frankenstein (BFI Film Classics)

Alberto Manguel

Maus – A Survivor’s Tale

Art Speigelman


Philip K. Dick

The Big Sleep (BFI Film Classics)

David Thomson

The Swimming-Pool Library

Alan Hollinghurst

Ender’s Game

Orson Scott Card

Pulp Fiction (BFI Film Classics)

Dana Spolan

Vernon God Little

DBC Pierre

Chinatown (BFI Film Classics)

Michael Eaton

A Year With Verona

Tim Parks

First Abolish the Customer

Bob Ellis

Little Dorrit

Charles Dickens

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Jack Finney

Zofloya, The Moor

Charlotte Dacre

George Melies, Father of Film Fantasy

David Robinson


Ian McEwan

The Code of the Woosters

P.G. Wodehouse

Right Ho, Jeeves

P.G. Wodehouse

Port Out Starboard Home

Michael Quinion


Don DeLillo

The Castle of Otranto

Horace Walpole

Losing It – The Inside Story of the Labor Party in Opposition

Annabel Crabb

Play It As It Lays

Joan Didion

Aberystwyth Mon Amour

Malcolm Pryce

Wrong About Japan

Peter Carey

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (BFI Film Classics)

A.L. Kennedy

Film Noir

Alain Silver and James Ursini

Paradise Lost

John Milton

Ivan The Terrible (BFI Film Classics)

Ivan Tsivian

The Grapes of Wrath

John Steinbeck

Jane Eyre

Charlotte Bronte


John Dos Passos

Wide Sargasso Sea

Jean Rhys

Lady Sings The Blues

Billie Holiday with William Duffy


Day of the Locust

Nathaniel West

Asterix the Gaul

Goscinny and Uderzo

Mapp and Lucia

E.F. Benson

Venus in Furs

Leopold von Sacher-Masoch


J.M. Coetzee


William Beckford

The Time Machine

H.G. Wells

A Confederacy of Dunces

John Kennedy Toole

The Essential Calvin and Hobbes

Bill Watterson

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Philip K. Dick

Cold Comfort Farm

Stella Gibbons

The Outsider

Albert Camus

London Orbital

Iain Sinclair

Notes from Underground

Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The Eyre Affair

Jasper Fforde

The Last Party – Britpop, Blair and the Demise of English Rock

John Harris

31 Songs

Nick Hornby

Running Wild

J.G. Ballard

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell

Susanna Clarke

The Lost Decade and other stories

F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Adventures of Caleb Williams, or Things As They Are

William Godwin

The Accidental Woman

Jonathan Coe

The Long Tail

Chris Anderson

Monsieur Monde Vanishes

Georges Simenon

The Painted Bird

Jerzy Kosinski

The Uxbridge English Dictionary

John Naismith et al

The Clerkenwell Tales

Peter Ackroyd

God Bless You, Mr Rosewater

Kurt Vonnegut

Words and Music – A History of Pop in the Shape of a City

Paul Morley

Vile Bodies

Evelyn Waugh

The Silent Traveller in Oxford

Chiang Yee

Apocalypse Movies

Kim Newman

The Conformist

Alberto Moravia

A Christmas Carol

Charles Dickens

Decline and Fall

Evelyn Waugh

The Eye

George Bataille (aka Lord Auch)

Riders of the Purple Sage

Zane Grey

The Floating Brothel

Sian Rees

The Man Who Was Thursday

G.K. Chesterton

Aesop’s Fables


The Loved One

Evelyn Waugh

Elizabeth Costello

J.M. Coetzee

A Room With A View

E.M. Forster

The Nun

Denis Diderot

I Married A Communist

Philip Roth

Slow Man

J.M. Coetzee

Where Angels Fear To Tread

E.M. Forster


Franz Kafka

Happy New Year and all that

OK, that's Christmas and New Year out of the way so I'm back to blogging. G'day all.

Christmas was fun. We hosted for my Mum, M's parents, sisters and sundry hangers-on, a total of 10 adults and 3 kids. Much to my relief things went without a hitch, thanks largely to everybody chipping in with contributions in the form of pavlovas and suchlike. The highlight was the entire mob decamping to the swimming pool at the end of the road for an afternoon dip. Christmas in Australia, eh?

New Year was spent with Nick, Lou and various other chancers at a dodgy old bierkeller in the Rocks. The mood was drunken and unselfconscious with an oompah ban leading us in renditions of The Birdy Song and The Banana Boat Song to much hilarity. It was also a chance to catch up with old mates, in particular Chico and the long-lost Beverly Dale. The fireworks were as amazing as you've heard, but felt almost incidental at the time.