Monday, May 31, 2010


I've had a photo of Dennis Hopper in Easy Rider on my work desk this year. That revolutionary film is a song to the critical pursuit of freedom and individuality, the greatest and most vulnerable of human states, and its punk resonance always travels with me. I thank Dennis Hopper for it.

Renaissance Man, counterculture hero, director, star of over two-hundred films and TV shows, photographer, poet, drug lover, artist, art collector, visionary, nutcase and maverick, Hopper showed us how to turn life into a carnival, something to relish. His death from postate cancer, at 74, is a blow. I can't think of anyone living who's another Hopper.

LJ, May 31 2010.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Let's tally the cliches in Sir Ridley (my only brilliant film was Blade Runner) Scott's take on Robin Hood...

Slow motion of hero in desperate situation. Tick.
Extended, animalistic battle cry from hero. Tick.
Panicking horses rearing up. Tick.
Spinning axe in back of villain's body. Tick.
Screaming peasants fleeing marauders. Tick.
Beach landing invasion sequence to end all beach landing invasion sequences. Tick.
Villain (the talented Mark Strong, wasted) with nasty scar. Tick.
Stale stir-up-the-unwashed-and-agrieved speech. Tick.
Boring credo to lift oppressed hero. Tick.
Gargantuan soldier who is made to feel small. Tick.
Damsel in distress who looks yearningly into the distance. Tick.
Megalomaniacal king knocking over tables in rage. Tick.
Climactic battle shown as blur. Tick.
Kiss between hero and heroine at film's end. Tick.
Religious and pious soul who actually has tough streak. Tick.
Heartless laughing soldiers torching village. Tick.

Sixteen... But I could have gone on and on and on... The film barely had an original bone in its peasant-during-the-Black-Death-thin body.

LJ, May 26 2010.

Friday, May 21, 2010


Les Murray's resplendent, variegated and heavily cerebral work inspired me to write poetry. I studied poems from his collection The Vernacular Republic when I was in my senior years at high school (1988-89). Those poems (among them An Absolutely Ordinary Rainbow, Spring Hail and The Widower in the Country), were precious, precious objects that lifted me out of the doldrums. I have most of Les' work and eagerly await each new collection. I turn to Les when I need to be inspired and challenged. Les has read some of my work and kindly offered up suggestions. I've heard him read, in his pure, honest way, many times.

I've just finished reading his latest offering Taller When Prone published through Black Inc. The volume's overall opacity is somewhat detrimental. I felt like I was staggering through rugged terrain in a remote corner of West Papua without water, decent boots and a compass or catching snatches of a conversation in a nightclub whilst The Chemical Brothers and Aphex Twin were being mashed up at blaring levels. But hey, who am I to judge? Maybe I'm just dim/stupid/closed-minded. Saying that, several poems shone, including Nursing Home, which contains this beautiful line, 'in the pastel light of indoors, there is a lady who has distilled to love beyond the fall of memory.' For that line alone, Taller When Prone is worth sitting quietly with.

LJ, May 21 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


When up in Sydney, I occasionally have lunch at Bill & Toni's in East Sydney. With its ultra-modest interior stylings (ah, how I love those plastic chairs and ordinary tables), old pinball and arcade machines, shoebox toilet, walls covered in gig flyers, gaunt Asian waitresses who barely acknowledge your smile as you place your order, but still call you 'darling' as if they deeply care about your welfare, polychromatic patrons (wheezing geezers, sleazy lizards, standover and rollover men, shifty drifters, merry young families wondering how they got there, haunted musos and Muse-hunters), cramped layout and super-affordable Italian food (I always opt for the vegetarian focaccia, which, year-after-year, contains, solely, eggplant, cheese and tomato, and is served with a gorgeous snowflake-like paper doily), it's a love song to simplicity, immovability and nonchalance.

LJ, 19 MAy 2010.

Monday, May 3, 2010


Yesterday, when I was at a cafe in Sydney's Breakfast Point, a mother called out to her toddlers, who were running away from where she was standing. The kids' names were 'Sahara' and 'Phoenix'. Brilliant names, though Gobi and Harpy would've been better.

LJ, 3 May 2010