Sunday, April 05, 2009

One more thing Elanor. This is your meal.
Goodbye Elanor, and good luck on your Aeroflot adventure. I won't say I'm worried, 'cause while, yes, 1994 was a bad year, I'm sure things have improved. I note their website boasts of a "New World of Safety", which is much better than an old world without safety. And here's the safety card you might get if you fly an ILYUSHIN 96-300, which incidentally has had no fatalities since it commenced operation in 1988. 

But anyway. I'm actually sadder to think of the Australian goings-on you'll miss while abroad. Yes, you'll have lots of rich culture to observe, but you still may miss Australiana such as Joe Hockey accidentally threatening to block supply on Meet the Press this morning. I will attempt to keep you updated.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Where I will be for the next two months

Sunday April 5
On some aeroplanes

Monday April 6
Moscow, Russia

Friday April 10
St Petersburg, Russia

Tuesday April 14
Warsaw, Poland

Friday April 17
Krakow, Poland (and Auschwitz-Birkenau)

Monday April 20
Berlin, Germany

Saturday April 25
Prague, Czech Republic

Monday April 27
Budapest, Hungary

Thursday April 30
Venice, Italy

Sunday May 3
Florence, Italy

Wednesday May 6
Rome, Italy

Saturday May 9
Madrid, Spain

Wednesday May 13
Avila, Spain

Thursday May 14
Madrid, Spain

Friday May 15
Toledo, Spain

Sunday May 17
Valencia, Spain

Tuesday May 19
Barcelona, Spain

Sunday May 24
Avignon, France - also a base for trips to Nimes, Arles, Aix-En-Provence, Marseille...

Saturday May 30
Paris, France

Wednesday June 3
York, England (including Castle Howard, ie. BRIDESHEAD)

Friday June 5
London, England

Thursday June 11
Hong Kong

Saturday June 13

Any suggestions about things in these places what are good?

The week of no sleep

I haven't slept since Tuesday night. It's not a whole week of no sleep, I know. Only four days. But before I slept on Tuesday night, I hadn't slept since Saturday night. See, I've been finishing an editing project that is very time consuming, and requires extended hours in the studio that you can only really secure at 3CR at night.

Anyway, before I went to blessed bed on Tuesday night, I went and recorded the Women Working Together book launch, hoping for some sterling Zelda D'Aprano action to gift me with a bit of useful pre-produced content to tide over my share of Women On The Line shows, because I'll be absent from pitching in once my travels begin on Sunday. But it was not exactly what I had hoped for, in that it exposed me to the contradictory glibness of Moira Rayner, who did an A to Z of the enemies of feminism that included pot-shots at Paris Hilton's wish to have a child, followed by "J, is for judgemental. We shouldn't be judgemental of other women." Stellar. All hopes then rested on Zelda D'Aprano, who I had really enjoyed listening to and including in the Feminists Making Waves archive program I made a few years back as part of a series we did to mark Women On The Line's 20th anniversary. I died a little inside as I listened to Zelda say sentences like, "In low-cut tops, how can women expect men to take them seriously?" OH. DEAR.

On Thursday evening, went to the State Library to record Bob Ellis speak at the launch of Overland 194, on the topic - I had thought - of his essay that appears in the publication: Ruddism. But... no. He read from his diary. At length. It will apparently be published in book form in May. So instead we were treated to his musings on the death of Heath Ledger and some other things of which I have an incomplete memory. I was in a fog, fighting to keep myself conscious. I had not slept since Tuesday night, remember. And the thought that this will not do for my Stick Together radio purposes could only keep me roused intermittently. Andrew was there too, but the same night that was such a complete failure for my own purposes suited perfectly well for his article in Crikey. Something I do remember very clearly, though, is that the man fucking loves Kim Beazley... but not so much as to hesitate to bring 'father issues' to public notice. Question time was definitely the most interesting part of the evening - because the audience questions were good (which can be so rare at a public meeting, you know) and tended to prompt Bob to talk about what people had maybe come to hear him speak about. ie. THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY. Anyway, Ellis stated in passing that he thinks Penny Wong "has never drawn an honest breath" ... which shocked me a little. He seems to vehemently dislike her. Now, I don't like her emissions reduction target either, but I had always thought that Rudd's fault. He doesn't like Rudd either, of course. And yes, Andrew's Crikey article accurately stenographs Ellis' line that Penny Wong is the "lesbian Chinese bureaucrat Rudd wishes he was." Anyway, Ellis has "got a hell of a lot of time for Shorten" (compares him to early Hawke), and thinks "Maxine McKew is the best Prime Minister we'll never get." My head was cocked quizzically at this point, and my face scrunched to express an "Eh?" I mean, all I remember of Shorten's electoral campaign was his excessive use of football analogies. And did you see how bad Maxine's first appearance on Q&A was? We do not love the same people, Bob Ellis. But he was making a wider point, really, that Rudd might be keeping talent down at the voiceless Parliamentary Secretary level because he's a bit petty and doesn't want to foster others who could reasonably be expected to shine, or something. And Bob knows who loses in that equation: THE LEFT.

Anyway, here are some Bob Ellis quotes from the night:

  • “Rudd is so competitive, he would put a waste of space like Penny Wong in charge of the most important issue on earth, and sideline and humiliate – and daily humiliate - a man who’s cause it was. You know, it’s a terrible fate and it speaks ill of the Prime Minister and I would not be surprised if Garrett walks out of Parliament in the next election.”
  • When asked what he thought about the Greens: “Well, Bob Brown has never been wrong about anything, that I can think of, in about 35 years. And I can’t think of any other politician like that. It’s an extraordinary Party. I mean, that being said, there are an amazing number of not only Greens but Green candidates who are mentally incompetent. And, ah, beyond neurosis. And, ah, so far into early dementia that they cannot be readily invited to dinner in even McDonalds without humiliation. They are not, not a bright bunch as a rule. But the ones that were there twenty years ago are fantastic, I think. And history has shown how tragic it is that we weren’t listening back when Al Gore was. And that, ah, a corrupt judge put Bush not Gore in power, and the world will therefore end very soon.”
  • “The thing to say, I think, is that um, if we’d had our druthers there would have been a Green/Labor Party coalition fifteen years ago. Of course there would.”
UPDATE: Andrew has put my Bob Ellis recording on the Crikey blog.

After Bob Ellis, I went to Hamer Hall to see Lucinda Williams. We were hanging out for "Atonement" and "Sweet Side", but they were not forthcoming. There was, however, my singalong favourite, "Drunken Angel", as well as the excellent "Joy". But a bit too much samey other material. Her voice is bloody marvellous.

Then I went home to have a shower, because I stanked, having been editing in a studio since the early hours and then a day of more editing / hot weather / farewell afternoon tea / Programming Sub-Committee meeting / Bob Ellis / Lucinda Williams.

Anyway, once I'd had my shower, I went back to 3CR to produce this week's Women On The Line. Used my recording of Rachel Johnson's report back from Gaza. The show will be available at the Women On The Line website shortly, if I get around to updating it. Or, more definitely, as a 3CR Women On The Line Podcast.

After completing Women On The Line overnight, I went shopping yesterday and finally got me a winter coat to meet Moscow on its own terms. Then I went back to 3CR to continue the edit-a-thon. I'm at 3CR now. I really should be editing.

Anyway, I'm having some drinks with friends tonight to farewell myself and bid myself a good journey, and I doubt I will have slept by then either. Sleeping is what long-haul flights are for, right?

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

April Fools.