Friday, April 30, 2010

Inadvertent gatecrashing

Last night, P. and I turned up at 6pm to the Potter Gallery, Melbourne University to go to a talk on the new exhibition in their classics gallery. We were ushered into the foyer midst heavy security, our bags cloaked and we went upstairs for drinks. The talk included wine and cheese, I'd been told, so we were not suspicious immediately. However, the gallery seemed inhabited by an unusually large number of suits (we were not dressed for the occasion). Then the finger food and plonk seemed to be of a vastly superior quality to what galleries normally provide. Then P. spied Jeannie Pratt as one of the (diminutive) guests and we saw another with the highest (and probably most expensive) high heels I've seen in a while.

Nothing daunted we sampled the generous and delicious canapes. Then, instead of being herded into the classical gallery, we were herded off to Wilson Hall. By now we were suspicious. There was a decidedly Jewish flavour to the gathering and we were given special tickets for priority seating in Wilson Hall. It turned out to be the Richard Pratt Memorial Lecture. He was (posthumously) given an honorary PhD from the Hebrew Uni., Jerusalem, graciously accepted by Jeannie. Then we enjoyed a lecture by a professor of history from the same university about the interaction of Jews and Muslims in the medieval era. Given the audience, this was probably fairly controversial.

Turns out that the function we turned up for is actually a month away and it was a startling coincidence that there was a function at the Potter when we turned up by mistake. Even more startling was that no one challenged us and we ate and drank to our heart's content. Next month, the classics and probably less salubrious catering without the Pratt family subsidy.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bliss of several kinds

Again, it was a fairly quiet weekend, with a Convent market and normal shopping, but finishing with lunch at Charcoal Lane, the 'koori' restaurant in Gertrude Street. We had their two-course special (with glass of wine) for $35. I had oysters with granita topping and confit of duck which were superb. Frank and Peter went for mains (variously gnocchi and salmon) and delicious desserts. We left well satisfied. It was a pity there were no other customers while we were there, though a few people poked their noses in. Perhaps $35 is too much for Saturday lunch, but it was certainly well worth it.

On Tuesday night, we had Bliss, our first Opera Australia for the year. Again, it was well worth it: a good production of a new work, well performed and sung by a uniformly good cast. It was a long overdue brave venture, to originate a largescale work with full orchestra and chorus and a large cast but it was a huge success. We had a modest meal beforehand at Southbank.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Quiet time

On Monday, I sent the autobiography back to its author. We'll see how the putative publisher responds to the rewritten and reworked version.

Apart from that, I started to prepare for a lecture at Melbourne Uni. in a couple of weeks on Indigenous publishing. I'll revamp a two-year-old lecture at the same venue, but this time I'll write it out (even if I deviate in the actual delivery) so I can use it elsewhere. Maybe post it on Mark McLean's new Indigenous editing site (a spin-off from the Cultural Awareness Training for Editors organised by Aboriginal Studies Press).

The dialysis routine is going well, apart from the glitch of having a few dud glucose bags which refused to fill. Very frustrating, as what normally takes just over a half an hour can stretch into two. Now, I have a fresh delivery of bags, so perhaps the problem will stop. Here's hoping.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Lilydale House

Lorraine and Bruce outside the Lilydale Robin Boyd house with views of the Yarra Valley. Pic: Peter
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King House and Studio, Warrandyte

One of the studios at the leafy King House, designed by Robin Boyd. Photo: Peter
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Touring the suburbs

On Sunday, Lorraine, P. and I went in Nigel the Wagon on a journey to the suburbs. We were on the Robin Boyd Foundation tour to various Boyd-designed (and one related) homes in various places as far afield as Lilydale, Research, Ringwood East and Warrandyte. It was a well worthwhile day with all of the houses having great points of interest. Plus it is great fun perving inside other people's houses and looking at the art and book collections.

In the evening, P., Frank and David G. and I celebrated Peter and David's birthdays at The Commoner in Fitzroy. Sunday night is their 'we feed you' night, where there is no menu, but the food just keeps on coming. And very tasty it was too. The desserts were splendid (beignets and a kind of fruit/yoghourt dish).

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

More medical stuff

On Tuesday, I had an ear, nose and throat appointment in the afternoon. After a short wait, I was ushered into a session with two medical students, so the doctor in charge had to go through the whole catastrophe for their benefit. It did have its 'up' side. The doctor declared my nasal cavity splendid and I don't have to go back to them for TWELVE MONTHS unless anything untoward happens.

For dinner, I cooked the King Island steaks. I checked out the recipe for pepper steak in M.Oliver's French cookbook, but it was so complicated (in fact, TWO sauces), that I retreated to a simple anchovy butter. I'd got some white anchovies from Parisienne Pate in Carlton, so used them, and just peppered the steaks with crushed corns. It was delicious.

Today, I had to go to the health centre to pick up some pills, so on the way I got my hair cut (long overdue) and by way of reward, bought some coffee beans. I'm making good progress on the new autobiography (which I have seen before).

Monday, April 12, 2010

Who would have thought it?

A very quiet weekend with everything very normal, with farmers' market, mall shopping, excellent lunch at Caballero in Smith Street. Sunday was also quiet with crossword and lunch garnered from Leo's in Kew, then dinner of roast turkey breast, delicious.

Today is Peter's birthday and we had a nice lunch with Frank at Three Bags Full in Nicholson Street (in the old Denton Hat building). We then touristed the new Aldi in Victoria Street, prospecting for future shopping.

Between times, I'm working on another Aboriginal gay show business autobiography, number three that I've worked on from a burgeoning genre. It is a subset of gay show business autobiography, of which I've worked on one (Tony Buckley's Behind the Velvet Light Trap). I doubt that I can make it my life's work, but they seem to keep coming, so to speak.

Friday, April 09, 2010

A clear desk

The autobiography has gone to the publisher; the report on the novel has gone to the author. Invoices have been issued and the desk is clear. For the moment.

On Wednesday night, P. and I went to Frank's for a dinner of polpetoni with pasta followed by lemon delicious. Delicious! Apart from that a very large soto ayam has sustained us over two meals. Tonight will be Friday leftovers plus some new leek and potato soup.

The respite from work is probably the opportunity for a bit of tidying and cleaning. Somehow it doesn't seem very appealing.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Screen World at ACMI

We had a nice dinner chez Noel on Sunday night with his NZ friend, Rita, who is a delight. Delicious Moroccan style braise, very spicey, followed by a sinful chocolate dessert.

Then on Monday, P. and I trained into town with Frank to ACMI to check out their new 'permanent' display, Screen World (or is it plural?). P. went off to their other exhibition, Dennis Hopper, which turned out to be missable, but the Screen World was full of delights and will repay revisiting. There is a wonderful Zoetrope, plus acres of film and TV memorabilia, including some very clunky clips from Prisoner. The whole is a kind of history of audiovisual media, including some things like games which interest me not at all, but others like film and TV which do. Indigenous culture is well represented, both historical and contemporary. We lunched in the Potter Gallery and took in the Indigenous gallery as well. On the way out, I ran into Morris and Helen who were even less impressed by the Hopper exhibition.

Today, back at the desk, I've sent the autobiography back to the author for the last time and am valiantly ploughing through the large novel.

Sunday, April 04, 2010


I'm settling into my dialysis routine quite well. So far there are no problems, apart from my hands cracking up from all the washing and disinfecting. Meanwhile, I'm nearly finished the autobiography, on time, and am part way through the long novel which I'm reviewing. It's an historical novel, and, as always with those, there is a problem with getting the tone right. Too archaic and it sounds quaint, too modern and it sounds wrong. I am enjoying getting into the plot though, which is the main thing.

Yesterday, P., Frank and I did normal shopping at the Mall. I was very self-indulgent and bought cheap oysters and crayfish for a seafood dinner last night. It was well worth it. Part of Saturday routine was The Bill, which has been axed in Britain, but will be on our screens until September. Today will probably be quiet, with maybe a visit to the Convent to see the work of a neighbour at the art gallery. Tonight, it's dinner chez Noel T.