Bruce Johnson 1954-2015

Diggers today.




As soon as I came in today I heard that Bruce Johnson, a great friend in recent times, has passed away. We had some very memorable conversations.

Mainly inspirational

Posted on September 12, 2014 by Neil

…On Monday I posted to Facebook: “What are the chances? I’m in City Diggers Wollongong today and chatting to Bruce who was at Keira Boys HIgh class of 1972. I have brought Baby HP to the club so we are on Lost Wollongong looking at a photo of Keira Staff in 1969. Bruce identifies one of his Maths teachers, also a sports coach. I recognise the name from my time at Wollongong High. And in that moment, literally, the guy himself walks past — that very same Maths teacher from 1969!”…

So long ago! I was teaching at Cronulla High at that time, only moving down this way – Dapto High initially – in 1970.

Bruce was Captain of Keira Boys High in 1972, and a surfer.

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Wollongong North Beach

Bruce was a real gentleman. He will be missed.

May 2010 recycles

Still in Surry Hills at this time. I was thinner then!

Sunday lunch: Sirdan back from South Africa

Posted on May 30, 2010 by Neil

He has set me up with the team colours and some newspapers:


And he’s fabulously wealthy in Zimbabwe dollars:



Wet Thursday night: time for 1950s food

Posted on May 27, 2010 by Neil

Perhaps it’s been the news from Les, my 1952/3 classmate, but after tutoring I decided on old-fashioned for dinner on the way home, instead of a pizza.

Not all quite as it was in 1953 though:


From where I was sitting:



No laptops in 1953 – not even any TV. We did have steam radio. Nor did we have pizzas… What’s a pizza? Even, what’s a hamburger?

This is more like it, and costs less than the pizza:


Yes, that is steam you can see. Didn’t have broccoli in ‘53 though, and the vegetables have been steamed in the Chinese manner rather than murdered in a pressure cooker. Some things have improved, eh!

And now look what arrived from 1954!

Posted on May 25, 2010 by Neil

Yes, I will be responding…

Hi Neil,
G’day if you are the real Neil Whitfield, and G’day if you are not.
I have lost touch with quite a few of my old classmates, and only see a few from time to time. Most recently, I attended the Funeral of Graham Taylor, who passed away after a long battle with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy. Eddie Messiter was there, David Anderson, and many others from the old Sutherland Woronora RLFC.
I had lunch with Peter Meadows about 18 months ago just a couple of km from where we live. That is, we now live in Qld., moving here in 1980 after a couple of breakdowns.
Our kids did well; twin boys, one Physiotherapist, the other Civil Engineer. the youngest, a girl is an IT Graduate and a stay-at-home Mum.
If you are the REAL Neil Whitfield, who always beat me for 1st in the class, flick me an email. If not, however don’t bother…………….Cheers……………..Les

Well I’ll be blowed!

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) – quite a phenomenon

I went with a friend from Diggers, Stephen H, to see Mad Max: Fury Road yesterday – not in 3D unfortunately. It is spectacular, no two ways about it. Of course it is mainly a car chase – or set of car chases – to top anything of the kind, but interspersed are scenes that are, for want of a better word, awesome:


Others that are beautiful, poignant:


There is more connection with another George Miller outing, Happy Feet, than you might at first suspect – thematically.

The link above takes you to the criticism aggregator Rotten Tomatoes: of 250 critiques at the moment only 5 find Mad Max: Fury Road “rotten”.

More typical is this from the Chicago Reader:

Even after two viewings, I feel as though I’ve only scratched the surface of Mad Max: Fury Road. George Miller’s action fantasy is astonishingly dense for a big-budget spectacle, not only in its imagery and ideas but in the complex interplay between them (Chicago Tribune critic Michael Phillips has aptly likened the movie to a symphony). In a sense Fury Road has been gestating since the late 1970s, when Miller first envisioned the character of Mad Max and the nightmarish future Australia he inhabits….

…The intricate spectacle of the Citadel exists not for its own sake but for its deep thematic significance. The more invested you feel in Miller’s fantasy world—or, better yet, our own real one—the more you want to see it saved from despots and violence.

One quote that tickled me: “Do not become addicted to water, it will take hold of you and you will resent its absence.”

I was intrigued by the mix of accents from “trans-Atlantic” to American to broad Aussie, I must say. One quibble (but this may have been our local cinema or my impending deafness) is that I could have done with subtitles at times.