26 June 2010

Short-haired bee
“They can re-introduce the short-haired bumblebee
from New Zea
but they can’t re-introduce
he thought
Immigration rules apply
doesn’t matter that my ancestors had to
for Britain.
Nationalism is a strange, wondrous
double-edged sword.
but when it comes down to
it’s all about sex.
Pollinate, create
don’t let our food supply die
bring on the bees.
Joselyn Duffy Morton ©
Rory Bremner Miles Jupp, Newsjack

‘The Funny Business’was the heading in an article in Radio Waves, a radio review/preview column in the Culture Section of a national newspaper last weekend. The reviewer began his article: "What happened to political sketch satire in the Labour years? No series really emerged to replace Spitting Image on television or Radio 4's Weekending, which spluttered on to an end in 1998 after almost 30 years." After commenting on possible reasons for this dearth of broadcast satire, the writer continued: "BBC Radio 7 is doing its bit by bringing back Newsjack, a show that is exactly like Weekending and the News Headlines, but without the arthritic knee or odd back twinge. The key element of all these shows is listener participation". I was heartened to note that the reviewer had picked up on Newsjack's similarity to Weekending, as our intention when commissioning the series was to provide an outlet for new, aspiring comedy writers, encouraging them to send in sketches and topical gags and providing material for broadcast in exactly the same way as Weekending did. Several now well-established writers, including Andy Hamilton, Steve Punt and John O'Farrell got their first writing breaks by sending in sketches and jokes to Weekending, and now, 12 years after Weekending finally ended, we are hoping to nurture a new generation of comedy writers through Newsjack. The production office staff receives and reads through several hundred entries for each show and in last week's programme (the first in the current series) 24 writers were credited with sketches which had been accepted. For any of you budding writers who are somewhat daunted about sending in their material, there is extensive help available. There is a Newsjack website with tips and advice on writing for the series, www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/newsjack and for general information on writing for the BBC, you can also visit our writers' room at www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom Those of you who live in or near London can of course apply for tickets (free) to come to the show, which is recorded on Wednesdays for a Thursday broadcast. You can check if tickets are available on www.bbc.co.uk/tickets And of course, Newsjack is one of the few Radio 7 programmes which, I'm pleased to say, is available as a podcast. It can be downloaded on www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts

And finally … I began my letter by quoting from a newspaper article about the lack of political satire in broadcasting, and later this week, when flicking though the current copy of Radio Times (19th - 25th June) I noticed an article by satirist Rory Bremner, in which he posed the question, "Where are the next characters of British politics?" Lamenting the loss of great characters and personalities in today's politics, Rory wondered: "Where are today's rousing orators or dynamic personalities? Have they fallen victim to media culture, a school of presentation where the polished-machine politician is preferred to the maverick, the virtuoso, or the larger-than-life?" So for a Radio 4 programme, Archive on 4: the Character Crunch, Rory explored and celebrated some of the great characters of post-war British politics - Nye Bevan , Winston Churchill, Harold McMillan, Margaret Thatcher and Neil Kinnock amongst many others. It's a fascinating article which whetted my appetite for the programme, and thanks to the iPlayer, I was able to catch up with it yesterday. If you feel it's a programme you'd enjoy and would like to hear Rory introducing and discussing some colourful and memorable archive recordings of politicians, plus clips from satirical broadcasts, you have one more day to "listen again" to The Character Crunch on http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00sqh18 Do listen out for Neil Kinnock having a go at Jim Naughtie on the World at One. Mr Naughtie was totally lost for words. Great stuff. Happy listening! Mary Kalemkerian Head of Programmes, BBC Radio 7

China Pavilion, Shanghai

Too tired to write and edit photos - maybe on the plane. Basically China is new shiny stainless steel and granite with clean metros and clean fast trains. The people are friendly the rich look obnoxious. The French Concession looks like one of the most attractive suburbs I have ever seen. Complete with groovy little restaurants. The expo - especially the China Pavilion was filled with happy smiling faces. Very well organised with a sense that people were being well looked after 95%+ seemed to be locals. A good day at the show feel. Australia won its last game 2-1 but have gone. I look forward to seeing more of the games when I get home. Stephen O’R

25 June 2010

Poppy growing out of our ruin. Photo: Roger Morton

19 June 2010

UNHCR – Trees only move in the Wind: A Study of unaccompanied Afghan children in Europe.

Christine Mougne June 2010


(This report has just been written and published by Christine Mougne as an independent consultant for UNHCR after extensive interviews with 150 Afghan refugee children throughout Europe. Chris has been a contributor to the http://allextremelyprecarious.blogspot.com/ blog since its onset in August 2009... ed)

Chelsea Barracks was the place to be yesterday (18 June). It was a red carpet day for the 70th Anniversary of De Gaulle’s rousing BBC Resistance speech which galvanized the French into tackling the Nazis.

Nicolas Sarkozy flew in to celebrate the event with David Cameron and the Chelsea veterans. The glam wives were there also.

De Gaulle’s iconic speech was one of the historic moments of the 2nd World War. He crossed the Channel on the 17th just as Petard was announcing the Armistice with the Germans. He persuaded Churchill to allow him to make the broadcast and then sat up half the night writing it. (All those students who are busy swotting for their exams will understand what that’s about.)

He pretty much said, “All French people who want to stay free, listen to me.” France has lost a battle," the general further proclaimed. "It has not lost the war. "He stayed on in London to motivate the French nation with two further broadcasts of his ‘Call to Arms’.

President Sarkozy is the first French president to travel to London to celebrate this founding act of ‘Gaullism’ and the birth of the Free French movement. Sarkozy's decision to stage a series of London ceremonies has delighted the surviving veterans of La France Libre, now mostly in their 90s. They say that the visit will be one of their last opportunities to gather in large numbers. It will also be a ‘final’ opportunity to thank the people of Britain for the open-handed welcome that they were given from 1940 onwards.

The initially small band of Frenchies, no more than 7,000 strong by the late summer of 1940, were survivors of the Dunkirk beaches and the abortive allied expedition to Norway. They were given the choice of joining De Gaulle or going home. All but a few hundred chose to go home. They were then given free travel on the Underground. They often found that their restaurant meals had often been paid for by strangers.

Interesting that Sarkozy would want to align himself so publicly with Britain’s new Tory MP. I wonder what the German leader Angela Merkel is thinking about it all. Politics is a many-sided poisoned chalice.

Joselyn Morton

The Big news is my daughter Tamsin delivered her own baby in her bathroom. Quick and problem free. Damien, her and the two cats watched as she caught Gwen in her hands then sat cradling her until the ambos arrived. Good birth story for the mothers club eh? Shanghai is total grey like a steam room. Will download some pics soon. We had the screening of Bright Star which I felt went well. We had two Mandarin- speaking friends with us who said the translation was good and Jan was such a big hit they have asked her to close the festival. Too big to grasp this town - as yet. People are very friendly and the mattress is perfect. News soon.

Stephen O’R, Shanghai

A few years ago we contacted Domaine Musical de Petignac. We needed a paino tuner.They sent us Elisabeth and she pretty much rebuilt our piano – as she looked like a cross between Tilda Swinton and Cate Blanchet, it was a delight to watch.

For the past 24 years Gerard et Fabienne Fauvin of Domaine Misical de Petignac have been holding a music Festival. This year was the first time we went but I have already noted in my agenda the date for next year.

June 18. We will be there.

Evidently, they don’t need to advertise. A few weeks before the event, they email about 300 supporters. Last year 6,000 people turned up. I don’t know how many showed this year, but I would have liked to have taken them all home with me as they all looked so stunning.

We were there because 7 Sons were playing and also Anvar. I hope they play again next year because they are great and we will definitely be going. The pianos were magnificent. The pianists were tremendous. Their fingering was other-wordly. ETish infact. Long long fingers that worked independently of each other. Independently of anyone on this planet in fact. It truly was out of this world.

Joselyn Morton

…. and you thought you were the father… Silly! (ed)

photos Roger Morton

Luxury Sunday lunch

Twenty nine years after first noticing le Moulin de L’Abbaye in Brantome, we finally have lunch there. I’m a patient person. I happily took a coupe in a tall skyscraper glass offered by a svelte slender nymphe.

We ate on the terrace. It wasn’t too hot, it wasn’t too cold. It was just right and afterwards, when we had eaten every tiny deliciously crafted morsel and drunk every drop of delicious Bergerac white wine – if there had been a big comfortable bed on that pretty terrace, with the river water thundering by, I would have curled up in it and comfortably nodded off.

Joselyn Morton

ps The Benedictine Abbaye across the road has the oldest bell tower in France; it also has very good acoustics and often attracts a singer whose voice can make one’s hair stand on end. Some years ago our friend CK Stead was invited to be a key speaker at an Ezra Pound conference in Brantome – so it obviously yields up untold pleasures and delights.

Gaiety Girl Genes

I’ve got Gaiety girl genes

(from my Great Aunt Kitty,

my Grandmother’s sister).

That makes a difference

to my destiny.

That gives me

carte blanche

to be


to be


Joselyn Duffy Morton ©

The Carelton Hobbs Bursary Acting Prize, (or Student Acting Prize as the bursary was originally named) was established in 1953 and was re-named the Carleton Hobbs Bursary in 1978, after the death of one of radio's most distinguished actors, Carleton Hobbs. He worked on more than 4000 radio productions and became one of the first members of the newly formed BBC Radio Drama Repertory Company in 1939. Carleton, known affectionately as ‘Hobbo’ to his fellow actors and friends was famed amongst other performances, for his role as Sherlock Holmes (with Norman Shelley as Watson). These splendid dramatisations were first broadcast in the 1950s and 60s and the programmes retained in the archive have all been repeated on Radio 7. BBC Radio Drama has a great track record for developing new talent, launching the acting careers of many fine actors through the Carleton Hobbs Bursary and from 2003, the Norman Beaton Fellowship. These two awards come under the umbrella initiative, Soundstart. The 2010 winners were announced and presented at Bush House on Tuesday this week by the acclaimed actor Kenneth Cranham, who was also one of the judges. Kenneth introduced the awards with great style and as we listened to a voice reel with short clips from the winners' entries, it was such a delight to see and hear the enthusiasm of these young actors - some of whom are on the brink of their chosen careers. There were six winners, and I cannot think of a more appropriate prize than the opportunity to join the prestigious Radio Drama Company. The six actors will join the RDC in July, for 5 months, during which time they will be directed by the cream of radio drama directors, and take on many roles in more radio dramatisations than they possibly ever dreamt of. I shall be listening out for their performances and credits on-air. Carelton Hobbs Bursary

Iain Batchelor Pippa Bennett-Warner Henry Devas Claire Harry Norman Beaton Fellowship Adeel Akhtar Deeivya Meir You can find out more about the Soundstart initiatives, and read the names of past winners on the Carleton Hobbs Roll of Honour, by clicking on to: www.bbc.co.uk/soundstart Mary Kalemkerian Head of Programmes BBC, Radio 7

Put your piece on the blog as a response to mine. (Some weeks earlier, Stephen wrote a piece on ChCh, NZ …ed.) Stephen O’R

For Crying out Loud

I have been perusing Jos Blog and your piece on Christchurch. I take it that was Max Cryer, the smooth viper. I was interviewed by him when he had a radio show. He was very tricky and as it was Berkoff with ‘strong language’ or ‘contains language which may offend’ he was trying to lead me up that alley. I was trying to sell the show as you do when on radio or TV. I got the feeling that I was the subject of an attempted hijack, which I avoided. Most of the homosexual arts community was out to get us in NZ and eventually they did. (Even though our casts were bi-sexual, pan-sexual, gay and straight …ed). This was such a huge surprise after living in London in harmony with that community there.

There was one exception, and that was Eric Kearney the manager of the Civic Theatre in Auckland who was exceedingly kind and supportive of us. We had several of our opening parties there and he provided free booze and food from the corporate cupboard. We even rehearsed Kvetch in the theatre for 2 weeks, before our rehearsal space became available. When I was 20, I spent several months in Colombo St, staying in a flat and destined to work at Warren and Mahoney, the architects. On the first night my savings of 45 pounds was stolen, and some from the others. I could not afford to begin my work at only the promised 6 pounds per week (hopefully to begin a career in architecture) so I got a job as a waiter at the Christchurch airport, making shrimp cocktails, and wearing a cummerbund. In the evenings our flat went searching the nights of Christchurch for our robber, who was known to the lads.

We spotted him leaving a menswear shop where he was spending my cash, but lost him in the chase. The next weekend on info from a spy, we blagged our way into a ‘dance’ explaining that we were only looking for a friend. Found him, fought him and kidnapped him, back to our flat. After checking with the police that we would not get our money back if he was turned in, we got him a job, kept him under watch and collected his pay. This was our form of compensation. He complied because we had the threat of the police held over him. It worked for a couple of weeks, when the minder (on crutches on compo) was talked into going to the pub after work, where our robber beat up the barman and was arrested for GBH. Our ground-floor neighbours were Maori who set upon me one night all 5 of them and I was having a hard time, but staying upright, yelling to my mate who arrived and taking a shovel from the back of his ute, laid about him with it dispersing my assailants, who then apologised and offered us a drink. “Sorry mate we did not realise we were neighbours” I also have the honour of winning the middleweight inter-college boxing, in Christchurch, in 1960 because the Christchurch college decided that boxing was a contact sport and they did not enter. So I had a strange 4 days wandering the town, which had a dark underbelly. And the PX where you could get Phillip Morris cigarettes, Coke, and Jack Daniels. At the restaurant, the chef was totally demented, shaved his wrists, waved a knife around the kitchen and carried a 6-shooter in his back pocket.

Miles Warren would take me to lunch. Was I too being groomed? TTFN, Roger

As to were you being groomed; maybe but I would have thought the offer of a loan so you could take up the job would have been a more suitable grooming gift. Was Miles Warren gay? Me set upon by 5 Maoris (twice) but no friend with shovel. Why 'For Crying out Loud' ?

Stephen O’R

Cover shot of Jerusalem by Roger Morton

15 June 2010

This year the BBC Trust will be reviewing the services provided by BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 7, focusing on the quality of each station and whether they are delivering value for money. The Trust will also be examining proposed plans for Radio 3, 4 and 7.
Please note that this survey is different from the recent Strategy Review, which was submitted to the Trust by the BBC Executive and published last March, outlining future proposals for the BBC. This is a review of three specific stations and the services they provide. David Liddiment, the Trustee who is leading the Licence Review has said publicly,
"There are a lot of people out there with views on these stations…. We want to hear from as many listeners as possible with their thoughts on the services."
So I do urge you to fill in the consultation form. This is your opportunity to let the Trust members know what YOU think of Radio 7, in terms of quality of programming, distinctiveness, value for money - and future development of the network. The consultation form can be found at: www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust. You have until Thursday August 26th 2010 to submit the form, so with summer holidays coming up, please don't leave it too late - your opinions are very much valued.
Mary Kalemkerian Head of Programmes, BBC Radio 7

14 June 2010

Written by Joselyn Morton and Stephen Small, Meatworks was performed at Sky City Theatre in Auckland, New Zealand. Meatworks has many great rock songs and covers very current issues.

12 June 2010

Fear of Deer
I was walking a rough corner of land early one evening a few days ago with Lily our big Labrador, and our rather fierce hunt terrier, Gertie. Crossing a ditch into a field of long rye grass I saw a roe deer, a doe, not ten metres away with its head up looking directly at me. 
I and the two dogs stopped.  Rather than turning to flee as had happened countless times previously, the roe launched herself straight at us, tearing through the coarse grass with her head down and passing so close by me that I involuntarily lifted my arms to ward her off.  She thumped into Lily just next to me, bowling her over and striking out with a front hoof. She then turned towards the terrier and ignoring her snapping and growling, rammed her onto her back and thoroughly pummelled her into the grass.
Realising she must have young hidden nearby, I retreated smartly backwards over the ditch. The dogs were glad to come with me. 
We circled the field recovering our sang-froid, eventually emerging from behind a hedge onto a boundary track on its opposite side. The dogs ran (still a little chastened) ahead of me. There to our right was the same deer, this time a good hundred metres away but bounding vigorously across the field towards us, making that same tearing noise in the rye and exhibiting all the ferocious aggression that had cowed us earlier.  The dogs dropped low and slunk back towards me, drawing the deer that way too.  At this point, I became mildly alarmed and was relieved to see the deer hesitate when it caught sight of me and halt a few metres off, looking challenging.  The three of us hurried away.
During this unexpected attack by such a slender creature, I had been surprised to feel quite exposed, with nowhere to run or hide; exactly the same feeling I had last had when I was walking open-bush country in Kenya in the 1980s and I came across a lone, bad-tempered buffalo!
Cancel the safari – we`ve got it all here at home.
Giles Lewis

10 June 2010

Mr Mwezi from Afghanistan

Cherries and swallows by Roger Morton

Dark Upstairs Window

Across the Esperaza road
a dark upstairs window gazes
Can they see me lying on the bed?
Someone has hung knickers on the line.
Socks or pillow cases would be ok.
A pervert used to hang dirty knickers
on our clothes-line in London.
Who was that?
The police were always very non-committal when we
complained about the dirty-knickerman.
Who was he?
Yesterday I heard my first Tibetan bowl.
I instinctively touched it when I heard its sound.
The vibrations shot right through me.
I thought I’d been electrocuted.
I wondered if they’d made it to my brain.
Self-induced electro-convulsive therapy, the Tibetan way.
Joselyn Duffy Morton ©

The last few months have gone at TGV pace. As my little girl grows teeth, develops balance, rhythm and a sense of humour, the politics of the UK and Oxford go through the mill. As a city councillor for Oxford with the Green Party the last few months have seen a huge flurry of activity and some victories and more losses. We canvassed our ward, or St Mary's over 3 months and felt quite confident about the coming election. On the day we were overwhelmed by the turn out and quite worried. A great group of students came out to vote, and vote Lib Dem. Our huge majority ( I had been elected with 57% of the vote) of the previous election dropped as the numbers voting soared, due to the 'Clegg effect'? But we held the seat and welcomed Dick Wolff as our new councillor. We held two wards and lost 2 wards, no gains. So now we have a slimmed down green group and I have become deputy leader. There are several campaigns on-going, to protect public green space and our local pools, to improve University owned local green space, to establish Low Carbon East Oxford and develop a community culture based on the city block. 
Oxford has been released from the diktat to grow as the new government throws out much of the centralising processes installed by Labour. It will be interesting indeed to see how the Labour run council reacts to this, as it has put such committed effort into seeing Oxford grow and accommodate 400 new houses per year. I am very keen to see a change of focus and a comprehensive look at how we can increase food production in and around the city, how we can improve our fuel security and how we can do this in such as way as to reduce our susceptibility to flooding.
I have been giving a lot of attention to issues around narrow boats and moorings, British Waterways have been increasing mooring fees by 15% per year, the city council have been trying to evict a group of families moored on city land and I have been trying to encourage a change in policy to ensure more moorings for these low-cost low-impact dwellings. I have made some headway, getting a motion through council about mooring fees and another about the eviction. 
The other big issue has been student disturbance in the community, and what measures to take to control this. After years of buck passing the universities are accepting responsibility, the government has granted the council powers to control the licensing of HMO's (houses of multiple occupancy) and a warden scheme is being developed. So we may see some resolution before September, certainly over the next 12 months. It's a long time coming and residents in my ward are complaining about losing their community to the students. 
But Oxford carries on, and as long as the plans to expand Cowley and the North of the city, the Westgate center and other 'regeneration' projects are slowed down awaiting 'the recovery' it will continue to be the strange , quirky and magical mystic cerebral hub that it is. 
Matthew Morton
Green City Councillor
St Mary's Ward

Stephen O'R's Sydney
This week in Sinny has been a repetitive one, an exciting one filled with expectation, one of inspiration and one tinged with bad news.
The repetition comes from as usual from the pathetic world of Austrayan politics. The Buggie smuggler wearing leader or the opposition, who takes his lead from the American Republican party and its horror child the tea party movement, announced that he was going to turn back the boats and stop illegal arrival in Austraya. He obliviously is one of the few politicians who is not a lawyer (he is a failed priest and ex-champion boxer). If he were he might know that it is not illegal to land in Austraya, by whatever means and seek asylum. Austraya has signed agreements to accept refugees.
Leaving aside that most asylum seekers arrive in comfort by plane, his announcement simply was that when his party wins the next election he would just turn the boats around and send them back to whence they came.
The refugees of course will simply say “oh sorry mate – to put you to so much trouble we will just head back to Iraq, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Somalia or the Sedan and give it a bit of a rethink. Nah we don’t need petrol we brought a bit extra in case you chucked a wobbly – we are cool no fucking wuzzas”. Back home the mad Monk will say, “see I told youse. You just have to be tough with the bastards.”
My exciting bit was booking my ticket for Shanghai – my first trip to China i(f you don’t count two nights in a monastery on Lantau Island when I was making my way as an economic migrant from London to Australia.)
My bank manager at Barclays in Clapham Common had only loaned me the airfare plus a hundred quid to get here. “Why do you want to go? he said, “I read that lettuces cost 75c in Sydney.”
“Yeah well I guess people have 75cents to buy them there.” says I.
But real China! It’s got to be different eh! I made a little film about 30 years ago, no money, even with two sales, but now the Australian Government in a show of great enlightenment is showing it as a very tiny over there in the corner, part of an exhibition of early paintings from Papunya in the Western Desert.
Papunya is one of the concentration camps that the Aussies locked up a few hundred-desert dwellers from different clans back in the 1950’s and 1960’s. In the seventies a schoolteacher named Geoff Barton asked some adults to help paint the schoolhouse and what emerged is now known as the Papunya Painting style. Some call them dot paintings.
They come from the ground paintings or sand paintings around, and in which, ceremonies, songs and dances are presented to pass on knowledge to young people or remind the people of their history. The young pay for the ceremonies with Kangaroos and goannas as a fee for the education that provides pensions for the old fellars.
Anyway I reckon you will just have to see one to get the real message. This exhibition is wending its way around the world so catch it if it’s near your neck of the woods. Shanghai is its first stop. I have been studying Asia for the past 15 years and I have a grandiose project that I won’t bore you with just yet but which will benefit from a week or two on the ground.
First I heard about the Shanghai expo and thought ‘yeah that could be interesting’, then the National Museum of Australia rang up to buy the rights to show my little film (Sand paintings of the Western Desert) at the Shanghai Museum, then to top it off my wife gets invited to screen her latest film. At the Shanghai Film Festival.
What a couple of ‘now’ people we are to be sure. Will we meet Bono? Or Barrack?
Money and hotel rooms and tickets flowed and bobs your uncle I’m filling out a Chinese visa form. What price a 75cent lettuce now, Mr Bank Manager? I’m even an Aussie citizen by this stage.
My inspiration has come from reading Christopher Hitchen’s book “God is not Great”. This is a book that gives words to my feelings that teaching religion to children is child abuse. Hitchen’s says religion is where totalitarianism comes from. We can all appreciate gods were invented by us as an answer the big questions that we did not know and were afraid off. But now that we can see religions are just creative myths with bureaucracies that require blind faith to accept, how can we justify the harm that they do?
The Greeks were discussing the humanities, that Jesus gets the credit for, long before he was a twinkle in Gabriel’s eye. The god of the Jews was an angry spiteful vengeful monster who required child murder as a proof of commitment. You don’t need my clumsy words - you know, and if you don’t, read Hitchen’s book and help stamp out these liars and perverts.
The bad news was friend Roger’s brother run down by a hit and run driver whilst cycling home in the rain. Next morning I saw his tragic accident being used by an aging ingĂ©nue to run an argument that cyclists are too aggressive. This line sort of implied that maybe Ken was just an innocent victim of a poor frustrated driver striking back at the cyclists who daily deliberately lengthen a busy commuter’s journey home by a minute or two.
Get well Ken may all your titanium screws do their job and knit your bones quickly.
Stephen O’R

It seems that the mining tax beat-up, plus the promise of being horrible to migrants, is paying dividends. The Govt (labour) has slid to a defeat position based on these two things - plus the labour party's refusal to go to the polls over the climate change legislation, which was killed by the Greens the indpendents and the conservatives. The decision not to go to the people was greeted with howls of 'gutless wonders' by the conservatives (who had just voted against it) and this seems to have been echoed with a swing to the greens - who had also just voted against the labour program. Go figure! as they say in America. Saw an amazing film 'Wasteland' (English director Lucy Water) about an ex-Brazilian photographer 'Viks'. Viks, an ex street kid now big time art photographer in the US, goes to Rio selects the biggest rubbish tip in the world as his subject. Looks at from all sides including a helicopter. Selects 6 people stages 'portraits' of them (eg Marat in the bath at the tip)- projects them onto the floor from a great height so that a face is 4- metre tall then recreates the photo with recycled junk from the tip. The subjects do the assembly with him directing by laser pointer and a two way. When the work is finished Viks takes a photo of the junk portrait. Sells the photos at art auction in London $50,000+ US a pop, gives money to the people from the tip who collaborated with him. Changes peoples lives and make some pretty great photos in the process. Each subject ends up with the possibility of change and a large framed print of their portrait. Win Win. Catch it if you can Stephen O’R


Jan is jury of Film Festival so a movie every day. Tonite Todd Solenz (Happiness) this one was called ummm er ummm it will come to me "In Wartime" I think. Love it. It seems the most interesting part of this sad brave story is that the money which enabled the trip came from supporters of the current Turkish Govt.. The spin could be coming from Mossad of course but evidently action against Israel is seen to be very good for building support for the current Govt from voters. If this true then once again idealistic activists are pawns in a quest for increased electoral success in domestic politics. You probably know that the current Turkish Govt is the first Islamic Govt since the republic was created by Attaturk. The military has traditionally been the guarantor of secularism and it would take huge popular support to weaken the military's position I believe. If the Turks are serious they should escort the next flotilla with a Turkish navy vessel. That would be very interesting. I suspect the military would resist such a move. My feeling is that this increasing insanity by the Israeli govt shows a desperation which will only end in tears. Israel is losing (unquestioning) support from US Jews but unquestioning support from young Israelis is stronger than ever and rising. So indoctrination succeeds again. Christopher Hitchens in his book "God is Not Great" says the Rabbis and senior communitiy members supported the Russian Csars who carried out the pogroms rather than support the enlightenment which might threaten their power. Same old same old. This soap opera will play out even to the point where we can't remember how to log on to Google I think.

Stephen O’R

Wet weather dominates our lives. A tornado appeared off Maroubra beach 4 ks south of here but did not come to shore. In Lennox Heads in the North of the State - retirement heaven- it was hit by a tornado last night making roofs and politicians fly. Kristina our American gal Premier, with the zippy hairdo which is all the rage, flew to Lennox Heads late last night and was able to read out the damage report herself on radio. God knows what we would have done without her. Imagine the joy of the women made homeless by nature receiving nurture and getting a gink at the hair. Bliss. We are doing the film festival at the incredibly beautiful State Theatre - a well preserved relic of the 1930's and Hollywood's Heyday. The thinking here is - never let you film be a first night film at the festival - because it will be shredded by all us 'knowledgeable film watchers' and it still holds true. Shirely Barratt's film 'South Solitary' although liked by one critic was ripped to pieces by the mob who gave me a lift home. For me I liked the last third and wonder who will ever go and see it. The one comforting thing is that if I dislike a film it will probably do well. The Federal gubment is trying to introduce a reasonable price on behalf of the citizens of Austraya for the resources which are dug up and sold off- shore to the workers in China and India. This brave attempt is being fiercely criticised by those (mostly foreign interests) who my have their huge profits shaved. Whole page ads fill the newspapers telling us how badly doneby are the mynners. Basically we used to get $1 in $3 from mineral exports but it has shrunk to $1 in $7. Fortunately for the miners the mugs here in Austraya think that the miners should get the most they can. This thinking is evidently based in the fantasy that most Austrayins think they might win the lottery tomorra and get to be a big shareholder in a mining company and therefore they want the taxes kept low just in case. This is a serious, researched, reality for many people. The gubment however is breaking its promise to stop gubments making tv commercials to tell their point of view. This is so the all-knowing gubment it can fight this lemming-like behaviour. They say its incidental that its an election year. The Israelis managed to give the finger to the world yet again whilst the world just bends over further to make it the insertion easier. Lets drop the pretence - the Israelis will do whatever they want and kill whoever they want and we will just nod our heads and say 'well ya can't criticise them cos its anti-Semitic isn't it' love to all Stephen O’R

No cherries would survive the birds in our orchard. Even the Wallabies get in on the act. They stand tipi-toe and get the pears - I had of course thought your trees would be naked like ours but no! the French always have to be different. We are having a bumper crop of oranges and the limes never stop. The macadamias make me feel inadequate. Even a four pound hammer doesn't help it just crushes the whole thing.

For the first time in years I happen to see breakfast tv and they were doing a thing on the dangers of cycling. There was a perceivable anti-cyclist bias although the cycling representative was very strong about cyclists’ rights. There has been a couple of incidents of cyclists striking back, so now it’s ’aggressive cyclist attacks innocent driver’ but drivers hold the record - one FWD driver deliberately stopped in front of a cycling pack putting 6 of them in hospital. His defense was he did not mean it. Stephen O’R