UPDATE What's been happening? Well we seem to be shuttlecocking between Sydney, Melbourne, Corowa, and Nowra. All enjoyable of course but exhausting at times.
On the turntable, discovering now and reaching back to find gems:
Nigeria Special Modern Highlife Afro Sounds & Nigerian Blues 1970-76
Hat Fitz : Hat Manz On Hiz Way
Ronnie Lane: How Come
Ernest Ranglin: Modern Answers to Old Problems
Andy Palacio & The Garifuna Collective: Watina
C.W. Stoneking: Jungle Blues
Creedence Clearwater Revival reissues
Cannonball Adderley: Mercy Mercy Mercy
Kings of Leon: Aha Shake Heartbreak
Anyone interested in 60s musical culture in Oz, particularly around Kings Cross, Paddington, Darlo with all of its attendent loonery - the music, musicians, ratbags and queers, lefties and arties, witches and wierdos - those who navigated the cultural bar, visit Lyn at Musical Notes.
Books by the bedside, mainly fabulous hard hitting short stories
The Boat by Nam Le
Tales From Firozsha Baag by Rohington Mistry
The Deportees by Roddy Doyle
Every Move You Make by David Malouf
Blood and Water by Tim Winton
Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens good writing ages like wine, maybe cheese...
Suite Francaise by Irene Nemerovsky was first published in 2004, although the author died in Auschwitz in 1942. The writing is exquisite, the tragedy immense.
Brendan and Sharaine were married on 21 February 2009. A great success, a credit to the unparallelled organisational steam of Denise. Pictures can be viewed at my Picasa site. Use slideshow and increase to 5 seconds - sometimes the comments are too quick for the slides.
Last year we made the usual trip to S.E. Asia visiting Vietnam, Laos and Thailand, our first time to Laos which we loved for it's friendly people, spectacular scenery, Lao and French architecture, strong coffee, excellent beer, good food and value for money.
Beautiful tribal women and baby from a village outside Sa Pa, North Vietnam.
Some thoughts written at the end of the trip:
It is a humbling experience to meet illegal workers from Myanmar who are here to save enough money to support families back home or when you go off the beaten track and see people who live from the few 'crumbs from the master's table'. People who sleep on the streets because they are unable to function because of a medical or physical inacpacity, people with missing limbs, intellect or youth, thin, bent, aged and broken humanity; the economic downturn means nothing to them. But, bloody hell, whaaat can you do? We smile and dispense good humour, humanity and currency where we can. Of course it is inadequate but it is something, maybe all we can do; maybe the realisation is all.
Mostly life here buzzes about you in a beehive of industry. S.E. Asia just doesn't stop, the endeavour is enormous and relentless, buildings to be built, people to be moved, deals to be made. They understand but they don't understand, whatever suits the purpose, which is never lost.
A Burmese worker asked us the English word for giving something you really value as an expression of hospitality. We came up with charity, benevolence, generosity, altruism, appreciation and some others but I think he was after something more for which we don't have a word, or maybe it is just 'love'. god. I sound like Mother Theresa......