Looking back: May 2015

It really does not feel like over six months since I posted May 2015’s entries!

One event rather dominated the month.

Bruce Johnson 1954-2015

Posted on May 27, 2015 by Neil

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.

See also Funeral for a friend, family, Thorpe.

The Friday random memory series continued: Random Friday memory 11 — Keiraville, Random Friday memory 12 – the radiogram, Random Friday memory 13 – Humber Super Snipe, and Random Friday memory 14 – Gymea 1965. I note that it was in May I also began the practice of recycling (photos mainly) from my many years collection. This continues. See also Fifteen years of blogging and More on fifteen years of blogging:


1. Being in Sydney for the Olympic Games. Although I only saw a few things “live” it was just great being in this city at that time. I apologise again to Ian Thorpe for allowing my little infatuation with that Dutchman to divert my support from Ian–and then Ian lost that race!
2. M’s return from overseas–even with the ups and downs since.
3. Yum Cha Sundays–especially one that led to the Chinese Gardens and all that has followed–a truly precious friendship. Thanks especially to the Dowager Empress, who inspired this regular event. Quote: “What’s Cantonese for sixteen screaming queens sitting in the corner?” (Note: We rarely screamed, and quite often there were non-queens present: but always there was at least one Empress.)
4. Doing a few useful things at work, summed up in a card I just received: “If you only know how much your support is valued, if you could still see how grateful I am, then you could feel the warmth of my ‘thanks’. Thank you for being such a great teacher! Your student X. 19. 12. 00.” 🙂
5. The fact that the movement for reconciliation between Aboriginal Australians and the rest of us has gathered such momentum that even the Prime Minister has moved forward (a little).
6. Surviving the year more or less in one piece.
7. The success of PK’s “Gifting Tree” which generated much interest and a very satisfying quantity of food for the Luncheon Club Larder, a Sydney HIV/AIDS charity–especially in the context of PK’s own difficulties. He has been a good friend for many years.
8. Making friends on the Internet–especially Johnny Wu (the first one!), Atakan Ali, and various others through ICQ and chat.
9. Starting and developing this website. Thanks to G. who made it possible in the first place, to MTC and others for their encouragement, and to the many people all over the world who have visited–especially those who have left comments on my guestbook or by email.
10. The privilege of continuing to live in Surry Hills, thereby breaking my record for being in one place. 🙂
Happy Holiday Season all my readers…


Sometime in the early 2000s I discovered animated gifs. The one above is more tasteful than some were!

Also retrospective was My last uncle – one year on

In politics I found myself wishing Tony Abbott was in a land far far away…

We’ve always got to be decent…

Posted on May 18, 2015 by Neil

I find our Prime Minister’s recent remarks on the current migrant crisis unfolding to our north-west rather make my skin crawl…

Random Friday (Thursday) Prime Minister

Posted on May 22, 2015 by Neil

In lieu of the Friday memory today is yesterday’s “Did he REALLY say that?” moment.


Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott made a succinct, but perhaps inelegant foreign policy statement in Adelaide on Thursday when he said “nope, nope, nope” to resettling any Rohingya refugees in Australia — and the Internet’s reaction has been glorious…

‘Nope, nope, nope’: Tony Abbott says Australia will take no Rohingya refugees


I don’t think it is all that hard to imagine wiser and more diplomatic ways to handle the question he was asked. I am sure Julie Bishop would have done so with her hands tied behind her back. There are times — too many — when Mr Abbott should be kept away from microphones…

He’s gone, thank God!

Saw Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) – quite a phenomenon. Experienced some new tastes: Saturday in The Gong: Fuku and journos. Became intrigued by the SBS series Struggle Street.

SBS on Struggle Street

Posted on May 5, 2015 by Neil

The observational documentary hasn’t been screened yet, but it has surely stirred up some people. Struggle Street starts tomorrow night.

From blended families representing a range of cultural and ethnic backgrounds, to single parent homes, troubled teenagers and those dealing with issues of addiction, we’ll chart the stories of around a dozen key characters over the course of the series – and in doing so, give a voice to a neglected community.


See also To Struggle Street via Mount Keira Road and City Diggers, Another lunch at City Diggers and Struggle Street again and Poverty porn? Not really, but uncomfortable at times…


Chris (22) in last night’s Struggle Street