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Beautiful Sunset

Beautiful Sunset

Gosh we had a beautiful sunset this afternoon. Not that I had all that much time to sit around enjoy it, as my feet were aching after an exhausting today. I was more interested in having something to eat and drink, and so, after taking a brief happy snap of the sunset from the window near my office, I headed off with a couple of hard-working colleagues for a beer at the nearby Agincourt Hotel.

As the clock ticks closer to midnight, and the end the indoor smoking in NSW, I noticed smokers at the pub were making the most of their “final indoor puff”. I also noticed this a couple of weeks ago at the Newtown Hotel, when it seemed like every man and his dog had suddenly become a smoker. For just a second I thought maybe I should have a cigarette myself, but then remembered I’ve never had a cigarette in my life. Not even one.

It’s funny, though, since I often don’t mind being in smoky locations. For me, the irritation usually only occurs when I’m actually standing right next to a smoker, as opposed to general smokiness.

But tomorrow, they’ll be out on the streets, unless of course the hotel has undertaken some kind of architectural remedy which will allow people to smoke on premises.

And that’s no more evident than on Oxford Street. In stark contrast to the tinted windows of the 70s, 80s, and 90s, Oxford Street gay bars now have big open windows, and everyone is “on display”. And just when you thought that new open-ness might have reflected improving awareness and acceptance of the homosexual subculture of Sydney, you suddenly realise it’s nothing of the sort: it’s actually just the new anti-smoking laws.

ABC Open Day

ABC Open Day

Despite the smoke, it was good to sit around and have a chat with my colleagues at the end of a long day during which we had all worked very hard, the day celebrating the ABC’s seventy-fifth birthday. For me, one of the highlights was having to meet and briefly escort through the thick crowd, the esteemed ABC newsreader, James Dibble. He seemed like a very nice man, and as the crowd separated as we walked slowly through, I felt like I was with “ABC Royalty”.

Although I never talk about my work on this blog, I’ll say one other thing: with such a strong turnout, it made me feel very proud today to work for an organisation that’s obviously well loved, and an important part of Australian society. In a work environment, that’s something money can’t buy, I guess.

An organisation clearly in stark contrast to some of the commercial media, if you believe half of what I’ve read in the new Gerald Stone book, “Who Killed Channel Nine?”. I picked it up on Thursday night and I’ve so far devoured about 100 pages. So far, it seems “the bad guy” is John Alexander who Stone contrasts dramatically with Kerry Packer. Packer is the flawed, yet human media magnate who lived and breathed Channel 9 and understood the absolute core of Australian television. Alexander is the bureaucratic businessman, slightly out of his depth, who succeeded in taking away the heart and soul of what was an organisation committed to good quality television. Anyway, I won’t describe it in any further detail until I’ve actually finished the book.

The other book I’m trying to make some progress with at the moment is the new Armistead Maupin book in the Tales Of The City series, Michael Tolliver Lives. But every time I sit down to read it, I fall asleep either on the couch or in bed. I probably need to set aside a weekend, maybe next weekend, to get through it.

Culturally, the other highlight of the week was seeing the latest play at Ensemble Theatre, Stella By Starlight, which, in my kinder moments, I would describe as an “average” play. Were I to be a little more scathing… no, I won’t go there.

It was interesting to observe, though, how theatre audiences differ once you “cross the bridge” (which I did TWICE on Friday, is that a record?). Whereas Eastern suburbs audiences would have sat stony-faced for most of the night, the audience at Milson’s Point lapped it up. I’m not making any judgement, just observing a slight difference.

Looking ahead to the week, I’m off to see Wil Anderson at the Opera House, I have a farewell dinner for a long-serving colleague, and have two parties to attend on Saturday (lunchtime and evening) which means I’m probably not going to have time to get into Armistead Maupin.

And thus ends my first proper post after a week or so of jibberish.

We now resume your normal transmission.

  1. I’m an ABC tragic. Almost never watch anything else, although I’m presently making an exception for Torchwood, which I tape so I whizz through the ads. I think the commercial channels are all going to run into trouble, beucase they’re still stuck on the ‘broadcasting’ model. The ABC is cunningly adapting to the ‘narrowcasting’ model of the future, where people will watch what they want when they want, and the idea of receiving our news and entertainment through fixed ‘channels’ has died. James Packer has made the right business decision, IMHO.

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  2. As an absolute Tales of the City tragic, I am aghast that I missed the news of another the series.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for the heads up. I’ll be down to the bookshop quicker than you can say, “I hope something really deserving happened to Mary Ann Singleton” to grab my copy.

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  3. Michael Tolliver Lives is great. I read it a few weeks ago. But Armistead insists that it’s *not* really another in the Tales series, even though it’s centred on one of the main characters, and many of the others appear. And it is quite different to the 6 books in the series. For one thing, it’s written in the first person (Michael’s POV) rather than a third person narrative. I thought it started a little slow, or maybe it was the different writing style, but once it gets going – wow!

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  4. Witty knitter – I think the other problem faced by the commercial television stations is their over-reliance on American television programs. Because DVDs are now cheaper than they were once, heaps of people I know are buying the boxsets, as well as using downloads (more in the future) which means there’s not enough unique compelling content on commercial television anymore.

    Carol – yes, the news escaped me too until I saw an article online, and then decided to see if it was available at a nearby bookshop. I’m working quite hard at the moment, so unfortunately by the time I get around to some reading I’m half asleep. I also recently picked up the DVD box set of the Tales which has all three series for just $45. Bargain.

    Ian – thanks for the mini review. I’ll get to it this weekend.

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