Early-afternoon snorkelling attempt from the northern side of Gordons Bay. Things were going well until I decided to swim across the bay, thinking I'd check out the rocks just north of my usual swimming spot. I ran straight into what seemed to be a flotilla, perhaps even an armada, of blue bottles. Initially I thought I'd gotten snagged in someone's fishing line and cavalierly started bulling the blue threads off my mask and snorkel, until I realised I was surrounded by the pesky little things. Suffice it to say I got stung on the lips, cheek, neck and right inner-forearm. Good thing I was wearing my spring suit or it would've been carnage.
I tried the cold shower then the hot shower, and came away thinking that the hot one reduced the discomfort the most. The bubbling of the skin went away in an hour.
Apart from that the water was very pleasant and I did see a few fish in the few minutes I was in.
Dave C gave this to me many, many years ago, around the time he departed Australia for good. I can see what attracted him to this experiment in fiction, and also why he so freely parted with it.
Reader feels less appreciation for the non-novel on completion than whilst reading it. Pages were turned, jokes occasionally apprehended.
Artifice wears thin, preoccupations of author too banal, reader opines. Speculation, questions of a rhetorical nature, seem a cheap device. Particularly in the era of reductive analysis. Even more particularly in the face of millenia of art, much providing substantial insight.
To reference is not to create. To refer in French is to posture. To refer in Latin is to solipsistically enjoy the firing of one's own neurons. Reader would have preferred characters and plot to a toilet roll of death notices.
Reader can almost perceive the genesis of Nick Cave's circa-2004 renaissance in this book, with structure and themes closely parallelling There She Goes, My Beautiful World. Reader is relieved that the benefit was not solely the author's.
Early-afternoon paddle at Putty Beach with Sarah. Flat-as and a bit cold, but plenty secluded. We also drove around Woy Woy a bit but didn't find anything too interesting to look at.
At the afternoon session at The Ritz.
Lengthy mid-afternoon snorkel with Rob at Long Bay. We got in at the relatively young Malabar baths, got past the scads of floating detritus and headed out along the southern side of the bay. I was comfortable in a wife beater, Rob in a rashie and a spring suit. Loads of fish, especially immature blue gropers.
Eller på svenska, Låt den rätte komma in. Very well constructed, but Moodysson can be that creepy without recourse to the supernatural.
Well, that took longer than I expected: a derivative of the ACMA blacklist has been leaked, or least that's the claim; WikiLeaks is presently overloaded, and Conroy is not saying otherwise. I guess that if this censorship gambit is going to stake a some kind of claim to legitimacy by being consistent, they must start down the path of blacklisting Slashdot and all the other sites that, however indirectly, point at this list. Heh, they'll also need to make sure all the derived web filtering software locks it down properly too. Good luck with that.
Seems I was too hasty last month in welcoming the slide of web censorship further down the crapper; the latest is that ACMA will fine you $11k a day for linking to black-listed sites. The scary bit was the turn-around time, between the plant, the complaint, and ACMA's response. One wonders just how routine this is going to become, especially while an increasingly erratic Fielding First remains in the senate.
Absolute dreck. Guy Richie must've needed to pony up some cash to pay off Madonna.
Daz gave me this one after he got back from Việt Nam, the idiomatically-Saigonese photocopied edition. I found it much better than Paradise of the Blind, containing a lot less food porn. The plot ambles through the northern theatres of war, skipping lightly over the details of battle, up to the final throws of the struggle with the puppet Southern regime. The author does a much better job of drawing her predominantly male characters than your average male author does on his women.
Mid-afternoon snorkel at Long Bay. Absolutely perfect day for it, clear and warm but not hot. The bay was a bit too rough to just float around and see everything, or perhaps the spear fishermen had been working hard. The water temperature was just right, though a bit cloudy.
Here I am, finishing reading the summer's Griffith Review at the tail end of its shelf-life. I think I started back in November. While it is less patchy than last time's, on the whole it failed to grab me. The highlights:
- Edwina Shaw's tale of teaching in a coughJuvenile Justice Centre, The heaviness of keys, is wryly amusing.
- I missed the point of Jonathan Raban's Just two clicks, where the activities of a hitherto-unknown-to-me Neil Entwhistle are recounted and somewhat analysed. What the subject did was bizarre and perhaps inexplicable, but for Raban to close out the essay with a string of caveating maybes is weak. It is well written though.
- Something for the weekend is Tony Barrell's potted history of Rupert's infamous shock rag News of the World, which I always thought specialised in alien abductions. I guess the sordid sells more.
- Peter Ellingsen recounts his coverage of Tiananmen Square in his memoir China on my mind, reminding me of all that the modern newspaper fails to deliver.
- In Love Thy Neighbour, Craig Scutt discusses Australia(n men)'s relationship with South East Asia, well, Thailand in one particular, and sexual in another. I think the excerpt in the SMAGE is the better piece as it contains more innuendo.
- Mary-Rose MacColl was charged with reviewing maternity services in Queensland in the recent past, and her experiences and summary findings are recounted in The birth wars. I expect her book of the same title will make riveting reading for those with a specific interest in this topic.
- Rachel Robertson's Bonus ruminates on how her mothering of her son, who has autism, defines her as a "carer", worthy of a cash bonus from the Federal Government, because she is "eligible". The art of this essay is to enliven what I'd usually find to be a tedious word-semantic game with life experiences and a style of societal analysis that lacks obnoxiousness. Perhaps the stand-out piece.
- The "reportage", My Banker, by Wayne McLenan would have been better billed as "bullshit". It's a long and rambling account of a dodgy investment arrangement in Central America, and like a story in a pub, didn't coalesce and didn't end soon enough. The best bits are set in Europe. His weakest piece yet.
- Charlie Stansfield's The Last Taboo artfully explores the fraught sexuality of people with severe disabilities, based on her experience as a professional in the disability sector, and with professionals in other sectors. Another stand-out.
I found it funny that so much of MoneySexPower was concerned with disability; I was expecting the majority of the articles to cover the topical Wall St big swinging master of the universe type-A's.
Fairly tedious. I got the feeling that George H. W. Bush would have made a more interesting subject than Junior. It pushes all the buttons, too many buttons, unconvincingly. Brolin is as good as could be hoped for.
Mid-afternoon paddle a mildly rough Gordons Bay. Beautiful day for it, apparently only 22 degrees but feeling a lot warmer, even with the wind. Hardly anyone about down at Coogee. The water is finally generally warm enough to be pleasant throughout the bay.
Braved the dumpers at Coogee in the later afternoon. Quite pleasant in, not many fellow beach users about.
Back to Gordons Bay in the early evening for a swim around (half) the bay, starting at the beach. Beautiful, even as the storm clouds rolled in.
Another beautiful late-summer's day in Sydney. I figured I'd try the northern end of Gordons Bay — just south of the Clovelly carpark — and sure enough it turned out to be blue-bottle free. Apparently not too many people were game after yesterday's extreme jellyfish event.
Much better than it had a right to be; not much happens, the narrative is entirely predictable to anyone who knows anything about the IRA and Bobby Sands. The scene in the middle, a twenty-minute plus dialogue between Sands and the priest, makes the movie. The lead actor must have a huge future, like Christian Bale (cf The Machinist) before him.