Blogging

  • Movie Weekend - My mind was taken back this weekend, to my last visit to Stockholm in 2017. In particular, to Gröna Lund, the amusement park on Djurgården, located on one of the central islands of the city. Swoon Although you would normally associate the idea of an amusement park with a story that is light and fluffy, ...
  • Breakfast Thoughts - “There are too many awful people, who I don’t care about”, I thought to myself as I scrolled through today’s paper. I got to about page fifteen or thereabouts, and decided I really didn’t want read any more. So I pulled out my laptop, and went looking for some more interesting reads. I also put ...
  • Midwinter Update - “I was in Sweden once, and it was minus twenty three, and I don’t think I was this cold”, I whispered into the ear of a friend. She has also been to Sweden and knew exactly what I meant, as we stood on the Bondi headland, as the icy winds and rain combined. In some ...
  • He was not “Saint Bob” - The first funeral for a former Prime Minister I remember, was the funeral of Sir Robert Menzies. It was many years since he had been the Prime Minister, and I was only a young child. Since then, in adulthood, I’ve remembered the deaths of Malcolm Fraser and Gough Whitlam. I’m sure there have been others ...
  • Long Weekend - Though many people like to go away for long weekends, I’m far more inclined to be a home-body. It’s quiet and relaxed. And so, I’m starting the third day of the Queen’s Birthday Weekend with nothing much planned, aside from a very vague idea I’ll go for a swim, and maybe engage in some more ...
  • Surry Hills Update - In 2007, I wrote on this blog “Surry Hills must be the only place outside the former Soviet Union where people queue for bread.” In the time since, the very popular Bourke Street Bakery has expanded, with a number of other venues across Sydney. Though it’s only a short walk from where I live, I ...
  • Swedish National Day - A few months ago, a friend and former colleague sent me a “Thankyou/Swedish Care Package”, which consisted of some famous Swedish confectionary – Daim and Bilar – along with some yellow and blue balloons, and some Swedish flags (to be used at a Eurovision Party). As I never had or went to a Eurovision Party ...
  • Lazy Sunday - After a couple of weeks of daily activity, I’m taking it easy this Sunday. Though I need to go into work later this afternoon/evening to catch up on a few things, I woke late this morning (about 8am). Instead of watching “Insiders” on ABC TV, I stayed in bed and listened to it on “ABC ...
  • Surry Hills Trams - Though I spent the first hour or so waiting, seated on the footpath, I soon went home to grab myself a foldable chair. It’s just as well, as I live only about 100m away from the new Sydney tram-way, so it was no biggie. I was there, at the corner of Devonshire Street, for the ...
  • Vote One Eurovision - “We know this stuff, but most people don’t”, a colleague reminded me the other day, as we spoke about the appropriateness of what you share online, and in particular on social media. We were talking about the number of political candidates who have lost pre-selection in the Australian election in the last couple of weeks, ...
  • Over The Bridge - As we caught the L90 bus to Collaroy today, we travelled through the federal electorates of Warringah and Mackellar. Both have been safe Liberal seats for many years, but for possibly the first time, Warringah (held by Tony Abbott) could vote next weekend for an Independent, Zali Steggall. I suspect a mate of mine who ...
  • Live Radio - Quite by accident this week, I found myself attending two “live radio events”. The first was a recording of “A Rational Fear”; the second was a live performance of “The Unauthorised History Of The Sausage Sizzle”, a documentary which goes to air this weekend as part of “The History Lesson” on RN. The first, “A ...
  • Four Day Weekend - Even though it’s Monday, the fourth day of a long weekend, I’m still doing some of my Sunday “ritual”, such as catching up on my homework for Swedish class, and doing my clothes washing for the week ahead. I remembwer vividly, when I first moved to Sydney, I had a fairly aged washing machine. It ...
  • Sunrise in Sydney - I woke early this morning, and set out with determination to the Opera House, hoping for a beautiful sunrise. Though the moment didn’t last long (only a few minutes), I wasn’t disappointed in any way, shape or form, with the spectacular colours in the sky.
  • My Local Pedestrian Crossing - I’ve been thinking about this local issue for quite some time. Tonight, I wrote to the relevant authority in NSW. I’ll update when I get a response. My concern is about the pedestrian crossing between Devonshire and Cleveland Streets in Surry Hills. Though I (as a pedestrian) really appreciate the introduction of this crossing, I ...
  • Out & About - The view from Sydney’s “Ensemble Theatre” is one of Sydney’s hidden delights, both from the restaurant below, and the bar upstairs. Even though the theatre has been there for over sixty years, I’m guessing most Sydney-siders have never visited “The Ensemble”. “There is , however, a large, loyal subscriber base”, I told the guy I ...
  • Vale Google+ - Do you know what shits me most about the end of Google+? Aside from losing a really terrific forum, and an introduction to some awesome people? It’s the way “tech journalism” has maintained a “campaign” against this platform over a number of years. This article describes Google+ as having a “few loyal fans”. WTF? What’s ...
  • Face for Radio - Twenty years ago, or so, the ABC used to feature a state-based TV show called “Snapshot”. It went to air just before the 7.00pm news. Hosted by people from ABC Radio, it was a brief “what’s on” program, focussing on arts and cultural events happening in each state. Put simply, the radio presenter would come ...
  • Life Right Now - Though I’m not exactly sure what they are, the back laneway is full of these at the moment. Are they gumnuts? There’s lots of them, and I think they’re absolutely gorgeous. Should I pick one up and taste it? They look like they might make the basis for a tasty jam. Either way, they’re a ...
  • Some Photographs - In the last few weeks I haven’t found much time or inspiration to write, so this is a bit of a photographic catch-up.
  • Swedish Class - Like Sydney, Stockholm is a city under construction. In Sydney, it’s the light rail; in Stockholm, it’s the development around Slussen. I noticed this first two years ago, the last time I visited Stockholm, hoping for a break from the construction in Sydney https://jamesobrien.blog/2017/05/19/stockholm-under-construction-2/, only to find the same thing was underway in Stockholm. From ...
  • Captain Moonlite and James Nesbitt - Having spent a few years in the early 1990s, living in Wagga Wagga, I was well aware of the story of Captain Moonlite, the bushranger, and the hold-up at nearby Wantabadgery Station in 1879. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captain_Moonlite What I wasn’t aware of until the mid 1990s, was the suggestion he had been involved in a same-sex relationship ...
  • Life Update - “You got a big weekend coming up?”, a number of people at work asked me this week. “Are you planning a big outrageous night”, Maggie, the bar manager at my local pub, asked me earlier tonight. Although I’ll often pop up the road for a look at the start of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian ...
  • Flying Home - Back in the day, one of the oddest things about flying in and out of Lismore was the stop-off in nearby Casino. Literally half-an-hour away by road, and eight minutes by plane, the aircraft would take off from Lismore, head towards “Parrot’s Nest” a location half way there, and immediately begin the descent. Passengers from ...
  • Tourist In My Town - I spent some time on the weekend as a “tour guide” for some friends visiting from the US. On Saturday, I took them to “Wendy’s Secret Garden” https://jamesobrien.blog/2018/04/22/wendys-secret-garden/ and the “Cartoon Walk”, both at Lavender Bay. If you’re ever visiting Sydney, or have visitors, they’re both highly recommended things to do. Catch a train or ...
  • Federal Election Predictions - Tonight I went to an event a Twitter in Sydney about the federal election, with an awesome panel including people from Fairfax (Tory Maguire), Sky (Laura Jayes), Nine (Chris Uhlman) , Buzzfeed (Alice Workman) and New York Times (Damien Cave). As well as awesome drinks, canapes and views, there was also an awesome discussion. These ...
  • Lunar New Year - “This is better than Vivid”, I said to my friend, visiting from Canberra, as we walked around the Lunar New Year Lantern Display around Sydney’s Circular Quay. “Every year”, I told her, “it rains at Vivid”, the festival of light held in Sydney. And even though it was awfully sticky tonight – we’re waking most ...
  • Pigalle - “I really love French disco from the late 70s to the early 80s”, I whispered into the ear of my friend, Sue, as we watched and listened to the DJ, and waited for the show to start, a production called Pigalle at Sydney Festival. As examples, here’s a few clips from the period. Heavily influenced ...
  • Canberra - I had the most fantastic nap this afternoon. I caught the bus from Canberra, and was asleep before we even left the city limits. When I woke, we were already at Liverpool. In preference to the train, or a car, or a plane, I really like the bus trip between Sydney and Canberra. Although it’s ...
  • The Start of 2019 - It’s almost fourteen months since Reko Rennie’s beautiful artwork at Taylor Square was painted over so the building could be “more attractive to rent out”. The other night, wandering along Oxford Street, I noticed the “For Lease” sign was still there. A sad start to the new year, I thought, as I really love public ...