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

Monday, February 25, 2008

More journalism

I mentioned David Stratton in my last post and I now have more news about him.

Before Christmas, I interviewed him for an article to be published in GQ Australia. That article has come out today, so I am now a print journo as well as a web commentator.

The interview was based around I Peed On Fellini, his soon-to-be-published memoirs, so it was mainly just him telling anecdotes into my tape recorder, but the resulting article is pretty good I think. I was also able to give him a DVD of an obscure film I knew he had never seen before, so he was pleased too.

Unfortunately, the magazine article has been printed with completely the wrong picture and caption above it, but what can you do? I blame the deputy editor.


As you may know, I have been attending a course on the history of world cinema for some years now. It runs on Thursday evenings and is run by a formidably well-informed guy called David Stratton, who Aussies will know from the telly but poms can grasp by considering a brainier, more liberally minded Barry Norman.

On Sunday I took it to the next level by attending one of his all-day sessions on a Sunday. When I say all day, I mean it - a 9.30 start, a 7pm finish and 3 feature films in full. I went for a day on Martin Scorsese, which probably wasn't the wisest move because I know a fair bit about his work anyway so I felt I didn't learn much knew. On the other hand, seeing Taxi Driver on the big screen at alst was an intense experience, to say the least.

Saturday was rather more relaxed. We went to a Christening at a Greek Orthodox church, which was all new to me, followed by a reception type affair at a surf lifesaving club on the Northern Beaches. The kids were wonderful fun, and I met another librarian so we could make jokes about cataloguers all afternoon.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Another ABC thingo

Another blog article published on the ABC website. This one is about the Oscars and why they are rubbish.

Read the article! Leave a comment! Tell your friends!

(Edit: As I write, the piece is being promoted on the ABC homepage. Crikey!)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Movies, sport, books...the usual

I've been off work for a couple of days with a tummy bug. A genuine illness, but it was actually OK. I just sat under a duvet watching movies (now up to 701 out of 1001) and a brilliant cricket match. It would have felt very indulgent had I been able to eat anything.

M&I had a little indulgence on Sunday when we went to a fancy bar at Star City (Sydney's opulently tacky casino) for a book launch. We were invited because I had done a little research for the book and I am mentioned in the acknowledgements. It is about famous hotels, so we had a Basil Fawlty/Manuel impersonator double act which was odd. I also had an unexpected conversation about goats giving birth.

Hope you like the little Flickr gizmo I've just added over there on the left of the screen, by the way.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Red Letter Day

Wednesday was a good day all round:

1) Kevin Rudd said sorry. At last!

2) I was off work, so I was wable to go and watch B1 enjoy her second ever swimming lesson. She had a whale of a time (arf!) but she also had a tendency to clamber out of the pool and run over to M&I in her excitement. Once she learns to stay in the water I expect her to be swimming like a dugong in no time.

3) M and the kids had a lunch appointment, so I enjoyed a rare few hours of solitude which was lovely. I curled up with Graham Greene novel and fell asleep.

4) We took the kids to the park.

5) M cooked me a fantastic lamb tagine - mmm. In fact we all ate well yesterday.

6)It was my birthday. I am now halfway through my allottedd three score years and ten, but more significantly I now have to tick the "35-44" age bracket on forms. I felt so much younger when I was in the "25-34" group.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Tom Goodfellow, Freelance Journalist

I'm a journalist, oh yes I am. In any case, I have had a piece of work published on the ABC Unleashed website and I am being paid for it and everything, which is all very exciting.

If you do go and look at it, and should you feel the urge, then please do leave a comment on the piece. The idea of the site is to generate discussion so a certain level of intelligent debate will help me get more stuff published in the future.

"I can do big news, I can do small news, and if there's no news I'll go out and bite a dog" - Ace in the Hole

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Big Trip Review pt.6 - London

Throughout our Big Trip we had a few opportunities to head into London, a place that I regard as home despite only having lived there for a few years. We concentrated on visiting a few favourite places; Borough Market, the sublime Soane Museum, the National Theatre, a few pubs and so on. We also took a trip north to Highgate Cemetery to see the graves of Karl Marx, George Eliot and Douglas Adams. It was all highly enjoyable and made me very homesick.

A couple of standout moments:

1) Driving through London with our German friends Marko and Katherine and becoming increasingly impressed with their portable GPS system. It was very cool, and for added comedy value we could not change the settings from German, so we would get a calm female voice saying "Achtung" every time we approached a speed camera.

2) Going to the new Arsenal Stadium for the league match against Birmingham with Liz, Boo, Laura and Hev. Magnificent stadium, dismal performance, fantastic experience.

Big Trip Review pt.5 - Portugal

We figured that at some point during our Big Trip we would need, you know, a holiday. We duly booked a week in a villa in Portugal with our Aussie friends Lari and Rob who are living in Germany. UK, Germany - Portugal makes sense, right?

To be frank I wouldn't particularly want to re-visit the Algarve area (a mix of grim tourist areas and poverty haunted farming districts) but the villa that Lari had booked was glorious. The house was lovely, there was a boules pitch and plenty of space for B1 to run around searching for snail shells. Bizarrely, it also had broadband access giving us the fastest web connection of the entire trip. The best days were when we just hung around and chilled out.

Lari and Rob looked after us completely. They had already booked the villa and hire car but we didn't expect them to do all of the driving, navigating, shopping and cooking. Wine was drunk, canasta was played, and M&I had the most complete rest we've enjoyed since B2 was born.

Big Trip Review pt.4 - Bakewell

Over New Year we spent a week near Bakewell in the Peak District with the friends I loosley refer to as "the Sheffield crowd", some of whom I was at uni with back in more innocent times. These days it's all toddlers and mortgages, but times change and we must change with them I suppose.

The cottages had an indoor pool and a ping-pong table which kept us occupied - Frances beat me at ping-pong which wouldn't be emabarassing but for the fact that she was 8 months pregnant at the time. We did manage a few trips to local attractions such as a pub in Bakewell and, er, a pub in Monyash. As you can see from the photo, we also braved the extreme cold to enjoy some of the lovely countryside in the area.

Unfortunately we brought the nanovirus with us and it made the rounds of all of our party during the course of the week. I don't think that it stopped anyone enjoying their week, though, judging by the bottle-filled recycling bins at the end of the week.

Big Trip Review pt.3 - Christmas

Christmas was a chance to rest, recuperate and spend some time with my family. Dad had been kicked out of his own home to make way for us, so he was based at Mum's while we were up the road (yes, they are very cordial divorcees). My sister Amy and family were also in town, so it was the first time that the Bs had met Phoebe, who was around 8 months old. 3 grandchildren in one place was a real treat for everyone.

Unfortunately Christmas coincided with the spread of a particularly virulent bug which did the rounds of all of us except B1. Phoebe's vomiting was particularly explosive, bless her, and I wasn't able to attack my Christmas dinner with the usual gusto. A great time was had by all despite the bug, and I was able to squeeze in a few spouts against my better judgement.

Here's one for the Back In My Day department; this photo shows B1 playing with her favourite present, a digital camera. Not a toy camera but a genuine, fully operational digital camera. She still loves it too and definitely has the gist of how to operate it, although we have an inordinate number of photos of her feet.

Big Trip Review pt.2 - Round Britain Whizz

We'd only been in the mother country for a couple of nights before we set off on a typically over-ambitious trip to catch up with friends and family around the place. First stop was Manchester to see Sacha, Jon and Alfie which was a pleasure. They've got a great place and luckily they have Sky so I could watch Arsenal beat Chelsea while I was there.

Then we continued up the M6 to the Lake District for what was possibly my favourite day of the whole trip. When I was growing up I used to get up to the Lakes 3 or 4 times a year and it was one of the first things M&I talked about on the night we met. The weather was perfect and Keswick was just as I remembered, so we all enjoyed the walk down to Derwentwater and trips to Ye Olde Friars sweet shop and The Old Keswickian chippy. The next morning we drove over Honister Pass to Buttermere which was absolutely beautiful - there are some lovely shots on the Flickr site.

Forward to Edinburgh, where we spent 3 happy days with my aunt, uncle, cousins and nieces. Edinburgh is my favourite town after London, and it was great to have a few days to wander around and take in the vibe. B1 was particularly taken with Kessie the cat.

Final stop was Durham, to see more family. It was so important to us that (a) my family got to see the Bs, and (b) B1 got to know my family. She has such an incredible capacity to remember people that she is still asking about people a good 2 months after she saw them, and remembers who gave her which gifts. By combining regular trips to Blighty with video-conferencing, we hope that the kids will grow up thinking of my side of the family as an integral part of their lives just as much as their Player counterparts.

Big Trip Review pt.1 - Journeys

I confess to finding the subject a little dull, but so many people have asked about how the Bs coped on the plane flights I feel obliged to cover it here.

On the outward journey we had the luxury of a one night stopover at Narita (Tokyo) so we headed to a servicable airport hotel and grabbed a few hours kip. As to the flights themselves, neither was full so we were able to spread ourselves around a little bit and B1 didn't get as stir crazy as we had feared. B2 was his usual placid self throughout.

On the return journey we were anticipating a miserable 8 hour wait at Narita between flights. In the event it wasn't too bad because we found a pretty good, and completely empty, kids room. Give B1 a slide and some space to run around and she's happy for hours. B2 was happily ensconced in his KinderKot so M managed to get some sleep too.

The Narita-Sydney leg was probably the worst of the lot. The flight was full and B1 inexplicably refused to go to sleep so I had to stay up with her. She behaved well though, and wasn't half as infuriating as the drunken couple behind us who stayed up all night exchanging ill-informed and tedious flirty banter about sex, drugs and rock'n'roll. Believe me, they made sex, drugs and rock'n'roll sound like the most inane things on earth. They fell asleep just in time for breakfast, by which time I wanted to strangle them. Did I say anything? Of course not, I'm English.