Thursday, February 26, 2009


I read in Metro magazine that dark princes of snarl-folk and gloomy-ambient, Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, have teamed up to paint the score for John Hillcoat's upcoming film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's bleak and brilliant The Road. This really is something to look forward to. I was blown away by Hillcoat's last film, the Ray Winstone and Guy Pearce vehicle The Proposition (a sublime and gothic Aussie western); Cave and Ellis's soundtrack for this was subtle yet commanding.

I hope Hillcoat's film grabs the majesty and lyricism of McCarthy's novel and doesn't let it go. The fired flare falling on a grey sea, unexpected discoveries in empty houses, a grieving woman holding an executed crossbow-firing assassin, the father's constant support for his son, the son's pain over his father's death, the entrance of surrogate parents: all these moments need to be kept intact. It'll be most interesting to see how Cave and Ellis explore these vignettes if indeed they are in the film.

I think Viggo Mortensen is an excellent choice for 'The Man' in the film. His work in Eastern Promises and A History of Violence was absolutely captivating. Incidentally, my brother-in-law once, accidentally, had a drink with Viggo Mortensen in a bar in Melbourne. He said he was completely down-to-earth.

On another note, a few years ago I visited a desolate place of spinifex, ghost gums, silence and bustards, called Skull Hole, which is part of Bladensburg National Park in Western Queensland. Skull Hole was the site of an Aboriginal massacre last century. History's imprint made me feel uneasy when I was out there. It was in this area that Hillcoat filmed some of The Proposition.

LJ, February 27 2009.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


Some animal stories have caught me eyes and grabbed my ears in the last few days...

Firstly, two illegal loggers in Indonesia were mauled to death by a Sumatran Tiger today, bringing to five the total of Indonesians executed by tigers in the last month on the island of Sumatra. The Sumatran Tiger is the world's most critically endangered tiger. According to an article in The Sydney Morning Herald, there are about two-hundred and fifty left. The deaths of these loggers does not sadden me. How dare these guys illegally destroy this animal's habitat? Still, these people were sons, brothers and fathers; loved people battling to provide for their families.

A five year old boy was killed by a four metre saltwater crocodile on the Daintree River last week. The boy's parents, who ran a rainforest touring business in the area, insisted the crocodile that attacked their son not be killed. The beast is to be taken to a farm. This astounds me. The boy died trying to protect his boxer pup.

In Connecticut a few days back, a woman had her face ripped off by her friend's pet chimpanzee, Travis. Apparently Travis' owner had given the ape some drug and this made the animal hysterical. Police were called and Travis, once a TV star, was shot. Travis could use computers and televisions. Who knows whether he loved his safe, suburban domesticity? I'm sure he yearned for the wild's barbaric and civilized yawp.

LJ, February 22 2009


Today is a National Day of Mourning for the 209 people now dead courtesy of Victoria's fires. Meanwhile, I live my life well... I'm breathing, thinking, laughing and creating whilst many other Aussies have nothing.

How does one mourn for those who are complete strangers? I've given some money to Red Cross and led prayer sessions at school for the families of fire victims and talked about the destruction with family and colleagues...

Perhaps absolute recognition is enough.

LJ, February 22 2009

Monday, February 9, 2009


131 Victorian people, 'good' Victorian people, as Kevin Rudd described them, are dead as a result of the cataclysmic infernos that have engulfed Kinglake and surrounds over the last 40 hours. My heart goes out to these people and their surviving loved ones. News footage from the scorched zones brings to mind 80s film The Day After, Cormac McCarthy's The Road and the road to Basra in 1991. This afternoon I told my history students that this grim hour will be in the history books of future Australian school students. Our nation is not used to this amount of death in peacetime.

God, stay with the Victorian people.

LJ, February 9 2009.