Wednesday, June 25, 2008

NPP '08

My Newcastle Poetry Prize entry for '08 is almost complete... It's a long piece about the necessity of rising from ill health and death moves, to a state of more than grace... In many ways, it's a song to my son... I fell into fathomless continental shelf waters with mako biters to bring the poem alive... I'm proud of it, I think... Who knows how it will be received by this year's judges?

LJ, June 25 2008.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


I am mega-impressed with Coldplay's fourth album Viva la Vida. I think Martin, Buckland, Champion and Berryman, under Brian Eno's scholarly direction, have produced one of the finest ever British albums. Many of the ten tracks on the disc steer away from plodding along traditional Colplay paths and avenues; a handful are split in distinct halves that counter each other stylistically, showing a more daring, interesting band at play. Some of the tunes, particularly Lost!, Strawberry Swing, Viva la Vida and the latter half of Yes, are golden, triumphant. The shimmering electronic pulses with which Brian Eno (I have loved this man's work ever since the ethereal Prophecy Theme, on the soundtrack to David Lynch's Dune, filled me with a sense of the sublime back in the early 80s) has enclosed the recording are exquisite. So, with Viva, Coldplay are living life to the fullest.

LJ, June 19 2008.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


According to a recent article in The Sydney Morning Herald by regional reporter, Daniel Lewis, the Kangaroo Industry Association has permission to kill 3.65 million kangaroos this year. The president of the Australian Wildlife Protection Council, Maryland Wilson, has said that if the execution of roos continues at this rate "we are going to see a sudden drop of population to the point of no return".

This is deeply disturbing. I don't want a unique, iconic creature (indeed, a symbol on Australia's coat of arms) to be pushed to the brink of extinction because it's considered a pest by farmers and politicians alike. We need to work out strategies that promote co-existence between marsupial and man.

LJ, June 12 2008.

Monday, June 9, 2008


I'm thrilled to see that as many as 550 Australian troops are expected home from southern Iraq this month. By bringing these servicemen and women back, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has fulfilled an '07 election promise. I always questioned our role in The Middle East.

LJ, June 9 2008.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


The other day a student asked me why I liked birds so much. It's an interesting question; I have no ready answer really; I suppose birds represent a glimmer of a greater existence and that captivates me.

For over twenty years, I've actively gone looking for birds. One of my life's missions is to see as many of Australia's 800+ species as possible. Thus far, I've 'ticked' 515 of them. Birdwatching is a challenging activity that demands all your senses to be in overdrive. You have to be utterly in the moment (as if one is on a Zen quest), with your eyes and ears super-sensitive, if you are to really see the avian world around you. My passion for birding in Australia has taken me everywhere from Dove Lake at the base of Cradle Mountain in Tasmania to where The Great Sandy and Tanami Deserts converge in Western Australia...

I've visited mangroves, saltpans, montane rainforests of the wet tropics, sewage farms, botanical gardens, gibber plains, savannah, channel country, spinifex-fringed creekbeds, wet sclerophyll woodland, heath, beaches, lagoons, sand dunes, ponds, swamps, saltmarshes, high altitude forest, Antarctic Beech forest and the continental shelf off NSW in the name of finding new species...

I've had green-backed gerygones two feet away in Darwin Botanic Gardens, squatter pigeons following me around at Mt. Molloy State School (Queensland), a superb lyrebird flick leaf litter down on me in northern Sydney... I've seen a rare hepatic form of an Oriental cuckoo, an origma asleep in a sandstone gully overhang, powerful owls devouring their rosella prey, a peregrine falcon pursuing a feral pigeon over ocean, hobbies chasing starlings near Southern Highland springs, 100+ flock bronzewings take to morning outback air, a white-tailed tropicbird floating up from the horizon several kilometres off Magic Point, Maroubra, like some alien crucifix and a vagrant house crow, from south-east Asian or India, pull garbage from a bin at Dee Why... priceless moments...

Basically, birds bring every day to life.

LJ, June 5 2008.


I was thoroughly impressed with NY+monsters flick Cloverfield, which I saw on DVD last night. Its hyper-realism was hypnotic.

LJ, June 5 2008.