Sunday, July 28, 2013


A couple of mates and I watched the folk music documentary Big Easy Express last Friday night. The film, which depicts a recent train journey across America made by bands Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Old Crow Medicine Show and Mumford & Sons, as well as concerts performed en route, is a swirling, joyous thing, packed with moments of poignancy and buoyancy. I'm not a huge fan of folk, but travelling across the States with these three dynamic bands, made me rethink things. Alex Ebert, lead singer with the Zeros, really has the messianic role play thing down - he's eccentric and captivating. I love his anthemic track Home, it's one of the great American songs of the last few years. LJ, July 29 2013.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


This daily inundation of refugee spin is driving me mental. Neither Abbott or Rudd are offering up compassion or rationality in their approach. There's not a sliver of decency there. As long as the asylum seekers are out of sight and out of mind, all is well. As long as asylum seekers are demonised, all is well.

And this PNG deal - don't start me.

Everything's about scoring the PM position with Rudd and Abbott. Whatever. It. Takes. It's sad, bloody sad, that so many Aussies get caught up in the spin and swallow the cold-blooded rhetoric our fearless leaders feed us time and again. Many Aussies really do believe that asylum seekers are (a) jumping a queue (b) a threat to our livelihood, jobs, way of life etc (c) only interested in economic gain (d) possibly terrorists and (e) going to take over Australia (as if they're aliens in a b-grade sci-fi flick). How can their minds be changed? Will they ever change?

Australia is not taking as many asylum seekers as we could. Full stop. We have room for people. Full stop. Most asylum seekers are genuine refugees fleeing various forms of persecution. Full stop.

Interestingly, and tragically, the boat that sank off Java yesterday contained human beings fleeing Iraq and Afghanistan. Australia has played a part in the rebuilding and unraveling of those two often anarchic, stricken countries. By degrees. Surely, we owe people from these two destinations empathy, a chance at a new life. 

The Greens are a lone, sensible voice of compassion, deep thinking and strategy at this time (with the odd saint like Julian Burnside). They're about bringing the boats to us, processing here, working things out. UN principles, my god. 

And I'll be voting for them this year. As usual. 

LJ, July 25 2013. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

POEM #29


Brad plays Back in Black 
backwards: Hanging Rock's
girls come back from blackness.

LJ, July 22 2013

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Hamish and Andy's Asian adventures are cracking me up. We need more ridiculous comedy like this on TV right now. LJ, July 16 2013.

Friday, July 12, 2013


On the 12th, I was down at Racecourse Beach to watch the sun slip from the horizon just after 7am. It was sublime. An angler, casting from a rock platform, was framed by blood orange light. A lone walker powered from one end of the beach to the other. A few Silver Gulls cruised about. My Cocker Spaniel barked repeatedly at the surf. Perhaps she was asking the ocean what exactly it is and what its purpose is. Maybe, she wanted it to stop its relentlessness.

I'm ashamed to say that I haven't seen the sun rise from the ocean since the 90s. I suppose that comes from never living by the beach. Still, I should have made more of an effort. One feels they are really ready to take on the day when they see the sunrise over the Pacific.

LJ, July 13 1013.

Thursday, July 11, 2013


A few hours wandering along Racecourse Beach today - this time in glorious sunshine - brought some sort of prion above the breakers (it's been a long time since I've seen one; pity I couldn't identify it; I'm no prion expert), 2 Hooded Plovers (endangered in NSW) feeding on a rock platform at the north of the Beach, Sooty and Pied Oystercatchers, a couple of albatrosses way out, an immature White-bellied Sea-eagle and five whales. Not sure exactly what whales they were as they were way out on the horizon. Only a handful of people and the odd dog were on the beach. Perfect. Who says a beach holiday in winter isn't the way to go? LJ, July 2011.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


I put in 3 hrs today watching for whales a bit south of Ulladulla, at Racecourse Beach, in cool, overcast conditions. No luck. Not even a dolphin.

I may have seen, fleetingly, a Sooty Albatross, a bird I've never come across before. Unfortunately, it got swallowed up by the swell and spray and light and day and pelagic magic and I lost it and it fell back into abstraction and states of real grace. So, I can't say it was that species I dearly wished it was; Sooty Albatrosses are rarely encountered by birders.

LJ, July 10 2013.

Sunday, July 7, 2013


For three hours the other day, I worked a Makita jackhammer for the first time in my life. I was doing some home reno's. What a feeling - the chaos, the destruction, the immediate results. Incredible. For a while there I was a real man! LJ, July 7 2013.

Saturday, July 6, 2013


How tremendous it is to have Luke Davies' mesmerising 80s pamphlet Four Plots for Magnets resurrected, complete with 53 additional old poems, a foreword by Luke and an afterword from SK Kelen, courtesy of Pitt Street Poetry. In April 2012 I suggested to John Knight, head honcho of PSP, that he think about bringing the collection back to life. And here it is! My thanks to John for going with my suggestion. And thanks to Luke for dusting off all those old poems. LJ, July 7 2013.

Friday, July 5, 2013


Next month, Inkerman & Blunt, new publisher on the block, is to release Australian Love Poems 2013, edited by Mark Tredinnick.

At the Imaging Centre, a poem I penned about someone very close to me, is in the volume. It's a poem I'm proud of, a work that didn't need rewriting, rethinking; it was written in one take, in Bowral. Part of it addresses survival when faced with the curse that is breast cancer.

My sincere thanks to Mark for accepting the poem. It's an honour to be published with some major Aussie poets.

LJ, July 2013.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


A couple of mates at work and I signed up for Dry July. I'm very happy to be having an alcohol-free month, all in the name of raising money for cancer research. LJ, July 3 2013.