New Year 2023 — and then go back 15 years

Now to 2008

First of 2008

01 JAN

Happy New Year, everyone!

My first major post — which I commend as I took some trouble with writing it — is over on Blogspot (via Live Writer, which really helps!): Everyone has an opinion about Islam. And that is my posting for the day…

Otherwise I had a mission yesterday: to take a form M had sent me from Tierra del Fuego to the Redfern doc, who was fortunately open for business on New Years Eve, so that he could sign that M was fit to go on the sinking ship to Antarctica tomorrow. When I went in I said, “I’m OK, but I have this really strange request…” M had been to see him eighteen months ago, I should add, so he is on the books, even if such remote medical checkups did give the doc pause. “He’s as fit as a Mallee bull,” I said, “I mean, let’s face it, he got to Tierra del Fuego…” So the doc signed, I had the result scanned (I don’t have a scanner) and then emailed it back to M. I also tried faxing it with Skype + PamFax, the latter specially downloaded for the purpose, but didn’t have much success. However, all is well as M emailed that he received the email version and is now clear to go aboard.


There’s a problem with the ship so the cruise has been cancelled. M is trying for alternatives; he is very disappointed.

Happy M

05 JAN


M is off to Antarctica tomorrow aboard the above.


I checked out the MS Marco Polo. Built in Russia in 1965, thoroughly rebuilt in 1991-1993 when she became Marco Polo rather than Alexandr Pushkin. “Crown Odyssey left the Orient fleet in 2003, and Marco Polo became again the sole ship of the brand. Since 2005 she has also been the sole surviving Ivan Franko class vessel, the other sisters having either sunk or been scrapped. On June 4, 2007, Norwegian Cruise Line announced sale of the Marco Polo, effective March 23, 2008. The buyer was later revealed to be the Germany-based Transocean Tours. The sale of the Marco Polo will also mean the end of the Orient Lines brand.”

My archaeology

09 JAN

That, rather than a clean-up, is what is happening. I have been here in Elizabeth Street Surry Hills since 1992, and I brought quite a bit of unsorted rubbish with me. Some items go back, well, to Noah almost.

  • My first inspection report from Cronulla High School.

Mr W is an enthusiastic and resourceful teacher who is establishing good relationships with his pupils at all levels of the school.

His lessons are thoroughly prepared and informed: he uses a wide range of material and shows enterprise in presenting this material to pupils who respond well.**

Following advice earlier this year he has improved his supervision of pupils’ work, increasing his effectiveness in teaching. The results achieved in recent examinations testify to his successful teaching: the results in Form V History and Third Level groups in English V are especially commendable.

It is recommended that Mr W’s efficiency be determined as meeting the requirements for the award of a Teacher’s Certificate.

— E. Guthrie (Inspector) July 28, 1966

I see I had Forms 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 English and Form 3 History  — That is Years 7-11 English and Year 9 History. No Year 12 as 1967 was the first Year 12 in NSW, and I took that (bottom) Year 11 class through. ** I am sure Eula Guthrie was not suggesting my lessons only worked with “pupils who respond well”! 

Sirdan in London

09 JAN

Email from Sirdan, who went to London with The Empress on Boxing Day 2007.

Most days I do a long walk, yesterday, from Buck House, then all along the Serpentine Lake through Hyde Park, then down some road until I came across the Natural Science Museum, a fascinating place. Spent several hours there, eventually got back here to Kilburn mid afternoon, only to find the pub’s kitchen closed…, so had Chinese up the road, very good food there too.

Have been several times to the Admiral Duncan, had some good times there, met some very nice local people, who I hope to meet again.

Weather a bit wet at the moment, 7-9 degrees.
Have done the Tower, Globe, Buck House, Wax works, and everything in between, massive crowds.

Meeting The Rabbit [again] after all the years! I hope that you will meet again.

Doing the laundry today. We have a bedsit, with a small bathroom and kitchen, and laundry upstairs. Will be going down to Portsmouth in the next few days, to look at some old sailing ship, and will be staying overnight. After that I am planning to go over to Holland for a couple of days.

No doubt about it, is there? Sirdan’s life really changed at the tail end of 2007.

Interesting footnote on the Admiral Duncan from Wikipedia (linked above):

On April 30, 1999, the Admiral Duncan was the scene of a bomb blast when the Neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement member David Copeland, who was attempting to stir up ethnic and homophobic tensions by organising a series of bombings, detonated a nailbomb which killed three people and wounded around 70.

The dead were identified as Andrea Dykes, 27, four months pregnant; her friend, Nik Moore, 31; and John Light, 32, the best man at the wedding of Andrea and her husband, who was himself seriously injured.

There is a memorial and a plaque in the bar to commemorate those injured and killed in the blast.


Found — a whole stack of my old entries!

14 JAN

I mentioned the Way Back machine in the last entry. Now I find that an even earlier manifestation of my blogging habit is represented there: the dreaded, with 29 entries from 2001 to early 2005, a small sampling.

For example:


And this:

Ninglun’s Journal   Chippendale 1

Saturday, April 19, 2003

By 1984 I was back at work, but not in teaching. In travelling about distributing copies of the magazine Neos, within the limits my continuing agoraphobia allowed, I visited a number of bookshops, including a small one, Harkers in Glebe. I got to know the proprietor, a young man who was to be the Liberal Party candidate in the Federal Election that year. I put a proposition to him about an English Teachers’ Book Club, pointing out that thanks to my experience in schools and at the University of Sydney I had good contacts. He bought the idea and employed me to work in the shop six days a week, and to run the Book Club.

The Club really worked, by the way, being the only part of the business that was making a profit by mid 1985, not the proprietor’s fault as he was caught by the floating of the Australian dollar and made a significant loss on the American text books he was importing in quite large quantities for the University and other specialist markets; his profit margins had been cut to the bone to compete with his more established competitors, and though we sold books hand over fist, when it came time to pay for them the drop in the Australian dollar against the greenback took all the profit.

So the business eventually failed, and by that time I could go back to teaching. But I am grateful to Harkers for the experience and the work. The Book Club, or a version of it, though now run by an ex-colleague from Sydney University, continues in modified form as part of Gleebooks and also of St Clair Press.

Thanks to this employment, and to my friend Nina, I moved during 1985 from Glebe to Chippendale. Nina decided she needed a pied-a-terre in Sydney for her theatre and restaurant going, bridge competitions, and Communist Party meetings, so she agreed to share the rent. It was the most luxurious accommodation I had ever had, an enormous two-bedroom apartment in a warehouse conversion in Buckland Street. It had a master bedroom almost as big as the unit I now live in, and a space-age bathroom with spa.

It was also, though I did not know this, very close to a gay bar, known as Beau’s, formerly the Britannia Hotel. As the Britannia it had a formidable reputation. Those who have seen the docudrama Blue Murder will have seen it, as just a few years before it had been the meeting place of Roger Rogerson and Warren Lanfranchi, and it was in a nearby lane that Lanfranchi was gunned down. It’s transformation into a gay venue was something of a wonder with which many of the locals coped very well. The hosts when I first went there were David and Rene; David was about 20 (I’m not joking) and Rene was maybe ten years older, though he didn’t look it.

It was in Beau’s that I first really “came out.” But more of that next time.

Australia Day Sunday at South Sydney Uniting Church

27 JAN

We had Kev Carmody in church today; well, not really…

What we did have was a recording of this, just to think about:

…He’d stand with the down-trodden masses,
identify with the weak and oppressed.
He’d condemn the hypocrites in church pews,
and the affluent, arrogant West.

He’d oppose Stalinist totalitarianism;
the exploitation of millions by one,
and ‘peace’ through mutual terror,
and diplomacy from the barrel of a gun.
He’d denounce all dictatorships
and Mammon’s greed,
and the exploitation of others for gain.

He’d oppose the nuclear madness,
and the waging of wars in His name.
He’d mix with prostitutes and sinners,
challenge all to cast the first stone.
A compassionate agitator,
one of the greatest the world has known.

He’d condemn all corrupt law and order
Tear man made hierarchies down
He’d see status and titles as dominance
And the politics of greed he’d hound
He’d fight against The leagues of the Ku Klux Klan
And the radical, racist right…

— From Kevin Carmody’s “Comrade Jesus Christ” as performed by Aussie hip hop group The Herd, about whom see this cover version of Redgum’s classic “I Was Only 19”.

Different, huh?

We also had “A Litany for this Land”.

For the people whose dreaming gave birth to this land:
For those whose dreams of freedom and equality inspired our nation:
For those whose sacrifice and courage preserved this country in times of danger and indifference:
For all who quietly yet firmly resisted wrong without bitterness or vengeance:
For leaders who have placed righteousness and justice before concern for prestige and popularity:
For the multitude of people whose hope and deeds of mercy are known only to you:
We give you thanks, O God.

From good intentions gone astray in this country and across the earth:
From the irresponsible use of natural resources, of economic and political power:
From a narrow patriotism which ignores the needs and welfare of all people:
From the discrimination, prejudice, and racism of our cities, suburbs, and rural towns, that hurt and wound and ruin lives:
From a preoccupation with the past and a refusal to confront the future with faith and vision:
From false pride and blindness to our nation’s frailty, from complacency and timidness in speaking the truth:
O God, deliver us.

That the prime minister of our country and all executive officers, legislators, and justices may govern courageously, justly and wisely:
That the people of this land in all their rich diversity may live together in unity without fear:
That we who pray might hear again your call of grace that is ever good news for the poor, liberty for the oppressed, sight for the blind, and healing for the broken-hearted:
God, send forth your spirit.

That we may journey towards that day when your kingdom will be revealed in all its glory as your will is accomplished on earth as in heaven, and all people live together in justice, freedom and peace:
God, send forth your spirit and us as your light in the world. Amen.

Thanks to Nicole (and Dorothy) who took the service today.


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