The past twelve months – 17 – October-November 2014

Began a (new) series Friday Australian Poem – that will continue in due course. I had noticed on 4 October that Poetry dominates my most viewed archives.

October was the month of Barry Spurr, since resigned from his position of Professor of Poetry at Sydney University. See Barry Spurr is still trending (21 October), Did the wind blow the flies away? Plus history retrieved, and Spurr revisited (28 October), Answering Vancouver Visions, and more on Dr Spurr (4 November).

Former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam died: He transformed my country (21 October), Gough – a view from Wollongong (22 October), Gough Whitlam memorial service – in and out of Diggers (6 November).

Back at Diggers afterwards


These delightful Japanese students from University College Wollongong were part of a class group visiting the club. I felt nostalgic about my time at Wessex College in Sydney in 1990-91. Our friend B, whose daughter happens to be in Japan, bought them their drinks. These four have been in Australia for one to three months. A nice token too of how in many ways the world has changed for the better after all when you reflect on the club they were actually in!

At the end of November Phillip Hughes 1988-2014.

28/29 October: Thomas – 2014 teacher of the year and Thomas recycled.

Thomas has been part of our blogging community for some while now, particularly famous for his analysis of the US elections before the first Obama term. I have never met Thomas, though I feel I have. In fact he came my way as a friend of The Rabbit, a former student of mine who is now Head of English at a west Sydney school. Actually when I first met Thomas online I’m afraid I really was rather rude to him. He would have been around 18 at the time.

But now we have this:


Islam etc showed up over the two months: Tony Abbott-Credlin, Islam, and the burka problem… (2 October); How to Fight Islamist Terror from the Missionary Position (18 November).  See also How do you solve a problem like Elmir? (27 October). Recent events make this post of continuing relevance.

Back to the idea of reporting “anything that is disruptive behaviour in class or not abiding by the local school expectations of behaviour” or “any unusual behaviour “ to police. That is really not as simple as it may seem. For example, would expressing dark views about US policy, about Palestine, be sufficient triggers of suspicion? Would merely being religious – especially if you were a Muslim – be enough? Look back on times not all that far in the past. Is fear driving us in directions we really don’t need to go, directions that may indeed add to the numbers of the radicalised?

It is worth carefully reading recent posts by Irfan Yusuf.

The weblog of Irfan Yusuf, bush lawyer, humorist and award-winning author, once a small-c conservative but now politically left right out. His often irreverent take on things appears in some newspapers in Australia and New Zealand and online. His comic memoir “Once Were Radicals: My Years As A Teenage Islamo-fascist” was published in May 2009 and won the Iremonger Award for Public Issues Writing.

I have to say I did a double-take when I read in one of the stories above: “A departmental source denied claims within some sectors of the Muslim community that Fayez had been conducting prayer sessions on school grounds” — given that I sat in such prayer sessions of a Friday year-in year-out for some time in the 2001-2005 period….

There was of course the famous victory of the Rabbitohs which I saw on WIN. On 20 October: Outnumbered, Merlin, and other recently seen TV. Some may have seen this as gratuitous:

Of course it was. Tyger Drew-Honey (left) was in Outnumbered, not quite looking like that. The post also dealt with The Adventures of Merlin, Please Like Me, Changing Minds, a rather wonderful QandA, and ABC News 24’s One Plus One. See also ABC decimated (25 November).

I talk about some ebooks in Curiosities of Puritan Nomenclature, and Scottish Saints (12 November), and other things that impressed me include Johnny Depp’s John Wilmot, and another dvd (13 November) and the “reality TV” show First Contact does provoke thought (19 November).

Who can forget this in October?

That post — Is it time to save the world again? – dealt mainly with the National Curriculum Review, in fact.

Family history is a recurring element in this blog, and in my other archives. See 103 years ago yesterday… (26 November) and More Whitfield family history (27 November).

I did ONE cat post.

Finally: Something different (19 October).

Who is this person? When do you think such a photo may have been taken? Where? Why?