What was I up to one year ago?

At my age one does have to remind oneself. That’s what blogs are for

Eating halal food again…

Posted on September 27, 2015 by Neil

Yes indeed. See also Reclaiming Australia Persian-style in Wollongong and On being my own great-grandpa, and Shiraz again. Chris T and I returned to the wonderful Shiraz Persian Restaurant with a very clear purpose: to eat the one main on the menu we had not tried as yet: Lamb Neck. Melt-in-the-mouth slow cooked, it was a real winner. It looked like this, though the particular one shown may be found in Los Angeles. I am sure Wollongong’s version would be as good, if not better.


Our other main – we shared of course – was exactly as follows, given that the picture comes from Shiraz’s Facebook page.


What can I say but “Yummo!” Good to see yesterday quite a few non-Persian Wollongong people discovering and enjoying. Hope that keeps this great eatery going.

And yes – all halal. Not surprising really. But they do serve wine, if desired, including Shiraz.

Not at all surprising is this recent news item: No direct link between halal certification and Islamic terrorism, Senate inquiry told.

Alas, Shiraz recently closed. Greatly missed!

Thank God Tony Abbott’s not running the country

Posted on September 24, 2015 by Neil

Looking back over the past weeks my main feeling is a truly profound sense of relief. The fact that the usual suspects – so-called conservatives — are so unhappy about the toppling of Tony just proves how right it was that it happened. Bye-bye Tones…


One could debate some of it, no doubt, but there is more than a ring of truth about the trenchant editorial in this week’s Saturday Paper.

Abbott is an experiment that failed. He is proof that Australia cannot be governed from the far right, just as it cannot be governed from the far left. He was the last hope and final holdout of a group of people wishing desperately against a modern Australia.

His time in the office leaves a hole in this country’s agenda. A period of incompetent stasis. Two wasted years we must now hungrily get back.

He will not be missed. He should not be praised. He was a failure selfishly wishing that the world would fail with him. We can only hope his like will not be seen again…

Well, all bets are now off I’d say. Excellent example set by David Cameron in the UK though. 

“In modern politics it ‘isn’t really possible to be a backbench MP as a former prime minister’, he said, adding: ‘I think everything you do will become a big distraction and a big diversion from what the government needs to do for our country’.”


David Day on Keating, and some Aussie movies

Posted on September 21, 2015 by Neil

In the past year or two I have really enjoyed three of David Day’s political biographies: Andrew Fisher, John Curtin and Ben Chifley. This is his latest:


And what a storm it encountered!…

Three great DVDs from Wollongong Library too.


Charles Bean’s Great War: “A thoroughly absorbing new documentary about Charles Bean the courageous Australian war correspondent, intellectually honest, determined to publish unpalatable truths, and to admit where he had been wrong. His description of the, ‘tender Australian public which only tolerates flattery, and that in it’s cheapest form’, rings just as true today.” Melbourne Age.


Satellite Boy (2012) starring David Gulpilil and Cameron Wallaby, filmed in the Kimberley. Well worth seeing.

Catriona McKenzie blends a fairytale aesthetic with the immediacy of social change to strong effect in Satellite Boy, her feature debut and a gentle, timely addition to the growing canon of indigenous screen successes.

First-time actor Cameron Wallaby stars as Pete, a young boy tiring of the wisdom imparted to him by his grandfather, Jagamarra (David Gulpilil). The harsh but enticing outback landscape has intrinsic powers, the old man tells the boy, but Pete is too busy hunting game to concern himself with his grandfather’s sage advice…

Eliciting a lovely turn from Wallaby, who carries the film with his elder-statesman co-star, Gulpilil, McKenzie’s film has a lightness of touch that’s compounded by David Bridie’s feel-good score set against a visually arresting backdrop (shot by veteran director of photography Geoffrey Simpson).

As the boys’ plight grows ever bleaker, Jagamarra calls to the stars in a profound way that draws emotional resonance without resorting to cliche….

Ed Gibbs in the Age.


Message from Mungo (2014) – thought-provoking and scrupulously fair.

This film is about a defining moment in Australia’s past, marking the life of someone who was a modern human, yet lived so long ago – approximately 42,000 years ago – challenging the idea that Australian history began in 1788.

McGrath thought film would be the medium to open up Mungo Lady’s story to as wide an audience as possible, but also to open up the minds of many who may not realise the breadth of Australian history.

“There’s a thirst to learn more about Australia’s history, yet despite all the great work done by historians in recent decades, Australian history still gets taught as a story that started in 1788,” she says.

On a personal note:

End of an era: June 1992 to September 2010

Posted on September 21, 2010 by Neil

The longest I have ever been at one address: Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills.

Swept the garage today, gathered the last load of stuff, left the keys behind.