May 2005 revisited

Sunday had its unusual moments…

22 May 2005

Sunday wound down nicely with 2MBS-FM and a program of an Italian tenor that I should have heard of, but hadn’t: Ferruccio Tagliavini. Great voice.

Lunch earlier was at Johnnie’s Fish Cafe, where we were meant to go last week. Sirdan and B had an appointment with Star Wars so they were not there, but Lord Malcolm, Simon H and I were, and it was as ever – really good. Afterwards we all went to The Oxford where I had the very rare experience of being lusted after… Really. In quite a big way. The person concerned was pleasant and interesting, Hibernian, and I think could be reconciled to the lusting, while flattering, being not quite what I have in mind these days… We shall see.

And yes, younger than Lord Malcolm and S H but older than Mister Rabbit… In fact about half-way between, come to think of it. These things happen, of course, but not often to me, or not lately.

Back to books. Yes. A good pickup from Surry Hills Library last week was Australian writer Andrew Masterson, or rather his novel Death of the Author (2001) which does blend literary theory into a crime fiction plot, as the title suggests. It does it very wittily too. Bit of a shock ending though. Highly recommended.

Captain Cook Hotel

29 May 2005

There are times when Surry Hills is just delightful, and this afternoon has been such a time. I met Lord Malcolm at the Captain Cook, having not been there for quite a while, and yes the food leaves The Shakespeare for dead. My $7 steak (280g) came with mushroom sauce (featuring real mushrooms), mash, and generous vegetables perfectly steamed. Great.

Artist Andy and a friend joined us. Since the Captain Cook is also a gallery and encourages patrons to draw on the tablecloths, a fine artistic time was had during lunch. Lord Malcolm’s Graham Kennedy face looked remarkably like Tony Blair.

Walking home afterwards — I didn’t go on to The Oxford — I came upon a beautiful little part of Surry Hills I had never seen before behind the back streets near Arthur Street. It led me to Cafe Niki, which of course I know as the coffee shop nearest the Mine.

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Cafe Niki: found this on the Internet, but I’m sure  I took it! It is now (2016) Fico Bar Baretto.

Exeunt omnes…

25 May 2005

Fancy that, eh. Graham Kennedy dead; another marker on one’s own progress towards the grave, isn’t it? Morbid maybe, but true. One year older than my brother…

Who will ever forget the famous “crow call” that got him banned from live TV for a while? “On the show of 5 March 1975 Kennedy imitated a crow (“faaaaaark”) during a live read of a Cedel Hairspray advert by Rosemary Margan. Apparently it wasn’t the first time Kennedy had used the joke, but for some reason it stood out this time and Nine supposedly received hundreds of complaints, followed by a rash of predictably scandalised newspaper headlines the next day. The incident was reported to the Broadcasting Control Board and as a result Graham was banned from performing live on TV for an indefinite period and was forced to pre-record the show on videotape.” Link

Actor and author Graeme Blundell said Kennedy was “a genuine celebrity who seemed to have come from another planet… (and) that’s why he retired so early, he was only 50 when he disappeared”.

The biographer and close friend of Graham Kennedy said the television personality was frail and appeared much older than his years when they met recently.

“He was very frail and he looked much older than 70.”

“His tone was comic but he was a very frail man … he couldn’t walk or dress himself. He was in a pretty bad way,” he said.

Blundell said he left the last few pages of Kennedy’s biography blank for readers to insert their own ending to the “king’s” life.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comThe amazing Father Ted Kennedy of Redfern died last week too. The pic shows an Interfaith service that was held at St Vincent’s Redfern on the anniversary of the Mass of Compassion for the Muslim community in Australia in 2002. Link

Fr Ted Kennedy sided with the Redfern Aborigines around Mum Shirl and became a close collaborator in her work. His genius was to privilege the excluded in such a way that they became friends. His deep and profound love of the Aborigines in Redfern and all their relatives around Australia was expressed in his extraordinary memory of names and places and where those names belonged. He could identify where each family was based geographically and knew members of visiting Aborigines’ families. This practical knowledge was matched with a keen theological insight and edge that came straight from a political reading of the gospel that left fellow travellers enthralled with its freshness and cultural critique. Ted had an eye for the angle that gave hope to the underdog and a passion to those who stood in solidarity with the underdog. Redfern parishioners – that strange, diverse and sometimes tortured group of all kinds, all colours and even various beliefs – somehow created a community that would have made Jesus proud. Link

Ed Campion did a nice obituary in the Sydney Morning Herald last week. Link

PK mentioned Ted Kennedy’s death last Saturday when I told him about Father Ken Sinclair. It’s Ken’s funeral today, by the way. Link

If your name’s Kennedy, you’d best be careful just now, it seems.

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Bourke Street boys – Surry Hills, Spring 2008

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