Tuesday, March 27, 2012


I sped past a truck on fire just after 7am today. Near Berrima. On the Hume Highway. Ablaze in the middle of mist and rain and grey, it was surreal. I called 000 for the second time in my life. The Illawarra Mercury, online, reported no one was injured.

I sent off my entry to the Voiceless Writing Prize a couple of weeks ago. Fingers crossed. I am proud of it. It's a song for my home town and for native animals and for family and a child's future amongst other things such as animal sentience, what we see as dominion, what we must do for animals, how people see animals etc. JM Coetzee is the chief judge of the Prize. Who knows what he'll be looking for... I recently read his acclaimed novel Disgrace, which was visceral, stark, economic in its language and throughly engaging; the behaviour of some of the characters disturbed and amazed me. I was left unsure of what Coetzee's message was.

Picking myself back up again after knock-backs from Cordite, The Judith Wright Poetry Prize and Abridged in Ireland.

Looking forward to hearing Anthony Lawrence (the Aussie poet I most admire) speak in Canberra next month about his chilling/bleak new collection The Welfare of My Enemy. This volume, which centres on missing persons, death, disturbed people, empty or unsettling Australian landscapes, really got to me. There wasn't much hope and light in there. Anyhow, an original, needed and uncompromising collection.

Impressed by these films new to DVD: Monsters, The Hunter, Drive, Warrior, Crazy Stupid Love.

The painting of Father Bob was the best thing in the Archibald.

Glad, thus far, that Bob Carr's back on the scene. He's erudite, articulate, focussed, a bushwalker, oceans defender, open to other cultures, concerned about inter-faith hostilities... what the ALP and Australia needs, basically. I recently heard writer/journo David Marr talking on 702 about what Australians now want from their male leaders: being blokey is no longer desired by most voters. The days of Hawkey and his beer, rough charm and larrikinism are done. From what I've read, Kevin was a success because he's nerdy, earnest, religious and conservative.

Geez, our coppers have been busy. Shootings and Taserings and car accidents. I felt for the Brazilian bloke who was shot with a Taser several times and killed for stealing biscuits in Kings Cross. Surely there was another way to have handled that.

And MKR is over. Beauty, I won't have to hear 'on the plate or 'plating up' or anything else to do with plates.

LJ, March 28 2012.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


I couldn't think of much worse than seeing the musicals An Officer and a Gentleman and Legally Blonde. Good Lord. Why? Why? Why?

Here are some other films that desperately need musical interpretations: Rain Man, First Blood, Saving Private Ryan, My Left Foot, No Country For Old Men, Lorenzo's Oil, Avatar.

LJ, March 19 2012.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Every day, I drive close to 200km along the Hume Highway, for work reasons; I teach English in south-west Sydney and live in the Southern Highlands. Every day, I shoot past flowers and a yellow heart with the name Sarah emblazoned on it. This memorial is by a southbound lane, between Mittagong and Berrima. Sarah Frazer, 23, died there last month. She was off to Wagga Wagga, to live and study. She and a 40 year old towie from Mittagong, Geoff Clark, were killed instantly when a wayward truck struck them. He was my age. The driver of the truck was from Marulan. He's just been charged with their deaths. Every day, I drive past the site at Menangle where another truck driver, this time the driver of a B-double, crushed 3 people in a northbound car. This happened in January. All these tragic, tragic deaths were avoidable. The majority of our truckies are focussed, disciplined and aware of their speeds and their consciousness. Some, are going too bloody fast and falling asleep at the wheel. Others have devices in their trucks which tamper with their truck's mechanics (the engine is tricked into believing it needs more fuel), so they can continually go faster than the permitted 100km/h. It's all about deadlines, pressure and money-making. This is a real problem. Our truckies have to slow down. More cops need to be policing this stretch of the Hume. And they appear to be. Every day, there is a highway patrol car at Menangle. Most days, there's another near Mittagong. Let's hope things change.

LJ, 15 March 2012.