26 October 2010

Mr Mwezi's Afghanistan

Sorry I haven't been in much contact during the past few months. I have just got back after 2 weeks break. I don't get the same time off in this job as in the last one. There has been a lot happening in Afghanistan over the past few months with the Aid workers being killed and military operations stepping up in the Southern area. Our company is trying develop agriculture in Southern Afghanistan and is getting ready to move from the basics into developing products and infrastructure for the Afghan farmers to export produce such as sultanas and pomegranates. As you can imagine we work in very isolated areas around Kandahar and Helmand and security is essential. Karzai's decree that all private security contractors are to leave by Dec 17 2010, has been a major factor in the last few months and if it stands, will have a major impact on our operations. We are already planning to shift most of our ex-pat staff to Dubai until the security situation has been resolved. What this means for the long term no one knows and the reasons that Karzai has for disbanding security is complicated. There is a lot of militant activity in the area and most of it comes from across the border in Pakistan, so with the global politics and more troops in the area I think that the situation here will become more tense, but winter is coming and usually that means a slow-down in the fighting. Text and photos Mr Mwezi

Stephen O'R's Sydney

Bali was good as usual. Pulled a ligament in my knee - got fiddled by the money changer - went back and shouted and banged a lot and recovered the funds -then went and over tipped the taxi by 100000Rupiah. Talk about Klutz. Back home weather warm pool warming and I finally signed up with the Australian Aracnoiditis Assoc. Looks like I will be educated ahead of my inevitable decline. Better finish all my travel including your joint. Have to have flat bed as a minimum to cope with flying. Upped my painkillers and had a pleasant day. The president of the AAsoci has a morphine pump inside her whoopee. What a future. Danced to a reggae cover band on Sunur beach thanks to the steroids. This diease is hard to predict and I find it hard to work out what I should do next. Jan is working on an Alice Munro story with Jane and Laura (who wrote screenplay for Angel at my table. She is enjoying it immensely. No stopping that lot. Tell Roger to wear a harness on the roof. I am paying for my 1972 fall at Freemans Bay. I think there is a chance that the President might be 'talker' who has invented arachnoiditis so that she can have an association so that will people ring her up. This way she gets her entertainment at home. She is off to Singapore to catch a boat that will take them up past Vietnam with two stops then another two stops in China and heaps of other places. 'How will you go on the plane' I sez. 'Well normally I have to get airlifted onto the plane but I think Singapore airlines will have one of those bridges so I can just wheelchair it right into the plane'. 'How will you go with the sitting for 7 hours' I sez. Oh I've got me morphine pump (inside her) and I can have three extra shots in a day. I just position the remote till I get it over the right spot and bobs your uncle. I want one of those pumps it can go 7 weeks before a refill. But Mauz doesnt have any trouble with morphine while it completely confuses me. I am looking forward to the meeting on November 14. The people come from all over NSW, Queensland and Victoria. Its quite a weird idea really -imagine an association for asmatic sufferers, or rebuilt shoulderers, or failed vasectomies or frontal lobe-ers. They are only there to discuss their illnesses. I wonder if they would let me video it. Of course I should do alright - I can talk for hours about me. For instance I have found a new way of taking my drugs blah blah actor blah blah England blah blah oscars blah golden globes blah real bad arachnoiditis blah (might have to be careful about that last bit there could be a few people who are much worse than me - I mean I don't even have a morphine pump) although when I get one it will be either black or stainless steel. Might get a tat on the outside describing it. 'A morphine pump! I sez to them and with a flourish I lift my black t-shirt and whacko there is the tat to tell the story. Maybe a polaroid of the pump in me before they stitch me up - I can't decide - what do you think? Blah Blah Stephen O'Rourke

25 October 2010

Roger Morton photos

Captions for Roger Morton photos

Green Stripe at Chateau Hautefort where friends invited us to visit on La journee de Patrimoine (19 September) We had a picnic by the river and it still felt like summer. Unisex loo – cute. The Sphynx at Chateau Hauteforte still had something to smile about.

Re-visited Andernos. Walked down the longest pier in France with our hosts Maggie and Jacques, admired the oyster-framed bike outside the beach restaurant where Jacques insisted we have huitres and vin blanc. Longed to be able to afford to buy the cepes (since we never seem to find them) Sunset over the boats at Port Betey. Took in the immensity and beauty of Cap Ferret (including powerful yoga in isolated splendour).

Finally made it to the scene ouverte at La Gavotte. Thankfully 7 Sons were there in full musical force. They certainly can pump it out. There’s talk of them going professional in the New Year. Do it and regrette rien. My wish would be that hopefully Freddy will play fiddle as well as harmonica. For me all that is missing is a sexy sax. But they’re pretty damn good all the same. In fact if Keith Jones was a footballer, he’d probably be called the Boot – in 7 Sons he’s the Voice.

Chez nous, the hibiscus flowered one last bloom – a radiant red and a tarty party pink.

On our way back from Jules’ favourite Chinese restaurant, he took us to Source de la Tourve. To our astonishment, 3 divers were emerging. Very Russian, very James Bond, very non-here! (ed)

Roger Morton Photos

Francesca Spille standing in front of her strong and forceful self-portrait at La Chateau de la Mothe vernisssage, St Privat de Pres. Other work included an andogynous figure in eye-catching head-gear. Very New York/Berlin. No sunflowers or hay stacks here.
Captions for Roger Morton photos
The charm of Angouleme – A family of three; a neighbour outside his blue doors (next to our friend's flat where we were staying); This year’s vintage cars for the race round the remparts included Roger's first car, an Austin 7 Boat-tail 1924, JAGUAR XK 140, Le Mans winner 1951, Citroen Cabriolet and Coupe 1936, and a Morgan 3-wheeler.


The following poem The Storm arrived in my possession via a woman (Margaret Harvey)who visited a friend of ours (Gordon Martyn) in Paris. It was published in the Otago Girls High School magazine some years ago and was written by me. I guess I was around 14 or 15 years old (because my lovely English teacher in my last two years at school, couldn't stand the sight of me.) Bizarre to read it again after all these years.

The Storm
Without warning it struck
Neither prejudiced or caring
Simply destructive
Sparing none, ravaging all
It struck
The elements rose in triumph against us.
Revengeful and cruel they struck
Unrelenting, unfeeling and cruel
Sparing none, hating all
With primitive passion
It strikes
Neither man nor his weapons can hold it
In check
For no power that is mortal can ever combat
So formidable an enemy, such a treacherous attack
Thus seeing ahead - when all else is o'ercome
The storm will rage on - conquered by none.
Joselyn Duffy

BBC, Radio 7

Hello again
It's always a pleasure for us to be able to clear the rights and schedule an acclaimed archive drama which has left a lasting impression on listeners and which sparks requests for transmission on Radio 7. One such drama is God's Revolution, written by the late, brilliant writer, director and producer, Don Taylor. This memorable 12 part serial proved to be very much appreciated, earning such listener feedback as:
"At last, after nearly twenty two years in abeyance, the BBC are broadcasting the late Don Taylor's magnificent 12 part drama series…"
"It was one of the best historical dramas the BBC ever put out, with a stellar cast… this is a real treat for lovers of good drama"
"This was Don Taylor's masterpiece. And I can’t thank him enough for it"
You can read the full feedback on:
The final episode of the drama went out last Tuesday - and that afternoon I received an e-mail from Ellen Dryden, the widow of Don Taylor.
I was very touched by Ellen's message in which she shared some background to this particular work by her husband, so I thought you might be interested to read what she said.
(My special thanks to Ellen for giving us permission to include a shortened version in my newsletter.)
" Don had a lifelong obsession with the Civil War and he - rightly! - regarded God's Revolution as some of his best work. He was thrilled when Richard Imison gave him the unimaginable luxury of twelve hours to tell the story - and what a wonderful job Ronald Mason and Shaun Macloughlin made of it!. All members of the cast were also absolutely brilliant. In 1988 after the broadcast, Don said rather ruefully. Well I suppose that's it then.
He would have been so delighted that people remembered it after all these years and that it now has been given another airing. He was working on his novel, God's Revolution , based on the plays, until a few weeks before his death in 2003, refusing morphine to keep his brain clear - typing, writing dictating to us (his family) for as long as he was able. It was a hugely important part of his life's work. I was moved, very impressed by it. And very proud to have been a small part of it....
Once again, thank you.
From me, and on his behalf, from Don
Warm regards
Ellen Dryden"

Ellen collaborated with Don on several projects, and she is also an established author and producer in her own right.
One of her best-known radio dramas, The Lake, a dark and brooding thriller, was broadcast on Radio 7 earlier this month.
I hope to broadcast more of Don and Ellen's work early next year.
And finally,
Recently we heard the sad news of the death of the Scottish actor, Graham Crowden.
Graham's acting career on stage, screen and radio spanned more than fifty years and he was well-known for his roles in popular BBC sit-coms such as A Very Peculiar Practice and Waiting for God.
In 1974, when Jon Pertwee left the Doctor Who series, Graham was offered the role of the fourth Doctor, but turned it down as he did not want to commit himself to the part for 3 years.
Tom Baker became the next Time Lord.
In 2005, Graham starred in the Radio 4 Sci-fi comedy, Nebulous, the first series of which is currently being aired on Radio 7.
The second and third series (new to Radio 7) will follow later on in the year.
Graham has left a legacy of wonderfully entertaining performances which, fortunately, we can still enjoy.
Mary Kalemkerian
BBC Radio 7