Thursday, November 22, 2007

'A Poet, a Visionary and a Dreamer'

It's ten years today since Michael Hutchence died in a Sydney hotel room, for me a more significant loss by far than a certain royal who was killed a couple of months before him.

INXS was the band when I was a lad, and one of my best memories from being a teenager was seeing them perform in the high-point gig of their career, their 1991 Wembley Stadium concert, playing to more than 70,000 people.

I'd only been living in Sydney for around four months when news broke of his death (I heard about it in the car, switching on the radio to hear the tail end of the band's song This Time, followed by early reports of the discovery of the body). I was working in an office one street away from St Andrew's Cathedral at the time, so when the funeral took place some days later I was able to duck out to stand in the crowd of mourners who watched as the coffin was carried out.

Now, ten years on, I'm on the other side of the country and I'd hoped that I'd be able to complete the circle somewhat today by popping into the Broadway pub, where the band played one of their first ever gigs. Miscalculating the days I was needed to work, however, meant I couldn't go during the day - the kids mean I can't get away tonight. So I'll be wandering along there tomorrow instead for a swift drink or two.

Today, though - back catalogue on the iPod. Seems the least I can do.

Head Up My Arts

The busy period continues, although things are starting to ease off a bit now. Last week was a race-to-the-line to complete the first draft of a story for which I was on deadline. The job was well in hand until it became obvious that I was going to blow-out the word allowance by a not inconsiderable figure ...

Now I'm reasonably good at editing things - I can trim the dead wood from a piece of writing without too much trouble. Unless it's my own writing. That's when it turns into carnage.

The thing with editing my own work is that I know how the story is meant to play out, and so my mind fills in the blanks in the narrative. It's only when I leave the story for a while and take a step back that I realise I've chopped something absolutely essential for anyone other than me to understand the yarn ...

Still, 2000 words were consigned to the recycling bin, which still left me over the limit, but thanks to an understanding editor all's well.

In fact I actually have to put something back in ...

Meanwhile I'm double-booked for the next two weeks thanks to a misinterpreted email. That may or may not get sorted by next week. If it doesn't, no sleep from Monday.

So yes, apologies again for neglecting you - if it's any comfort, I was so wrapped up in work that I also failed to notice the not-too-quiet demolition of a house three doors down yesterday.

Apparently my comedy double-take when I walked past the pile of rubble that used to be a residence was something to behold.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Right Tool

Still fiercely busy, but since I stopped to laugh at this anyway, I may as well share it.

I'll leave it to you to decide if the title of this post refers to the man in the article or the spanner he should have used ...

Monday, November 12, 2007

Pig Out

Under the cosh with multiple deadlines for multiple editors at the moment, the cumulative effects being that everything I'm writing reads like a chimp wrote it, plus there's bugger all time to fix it.

Which is why I was so happy to spend an hour of precious, precious time in the garden at the weekend. Hunting.

It was my daughter's turn to look after the school guinea pigs, you see - the bizarrely monickered Piccolo and Oboe. Now from the little I've seen, guinea pigs are up there with goldfish on the boring pets stakes. They just sit there.

Until someone opens the cage, then they're off like fat, stumpy little greyhounds, diving into the thickest, nastiest vegetation possible and looking back at you with 'Well, come and get us' faces.

Every time I got close, they'd redeploy to distant parts of the bushes. After an hour, I was about to resort to the Troughton Manoeuvre ('Bung a rock at it') when the first one got close enough to grab. Robbed of his playmate, the second followed soon after.

And that's how I came to be in the garden, cut to bits by thorns, eaten alive by mosquitoes and my feet finding new deposits of dog leavings every minute or so, all hidden away by my faithful hound where there was no chance anyone would ever, ever set foot.

Oh, and how I came to be not writing.