Kenneth Cook is an Australian writer who was fascinated by the bush and died in 1987. A friend of mine gave me the French edition of The Killer Koala, published one year before Cook’s passing. I searched for the book online, but it seems to be quite a rare find these days. Amazon has got a few copies at an outrageous price. The Killer Koala is a compilation of short stories about animals from the Australian bush. Apparently they are true store which happened to Cook while travelling in the outback. Some of them are quite funny, others incredible, and they all tell something of the true Australia, this remote country at the heart of our continent. It’s an easy read, and for anyone who’s been here and enjoys the outdoor, a breath of fresh air – so to speak.
Tag Archives: Australia
“The three mistakes of my life” is a book by Chetan Bhagat, an author from India. Bhagat is quite successful and has written many good books. In this one he tells the story of Govind and his two friends Ish and Omi, who live in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Govind wants to become a businessman, Ish loves nothing else but cricket and Omi is just happy being with his friends. Together they open a cricket shop and become somewhat successful in their business endeavours. This is the background to the story of how they discover a young Muslim boy called Ali, who has a gift for cricket. Ish trains him hard and tries to make him an elite cricket player. But things don’t come easy to any of the three friends. Govind’s business dreams are shattered by a powerful earthquake, Ali does not want to relocate to Australia to become a successful cricket player, and Omi has to face the political ambitions of some family members. The politics and religious clashes between Hindus and Muslims are part of the story, and in fact, will contribute to its tragic ending. This novel reminded me of the tensions I myself felt between Hindus and Muslims when travelling through Rajasthan. The story is okay, although a bit superficial at times – and the cricket thing can be a little tedious. It’s a nice story of love, passion, money, politics, and hate. Well written with fun characters, but it would benefit from more depth in its character depiction. A good read, and one in a different setting for once.
We went to the Great Otway National Park, Victoria (Australia) in the New Year for a two-day break. It’s just right by the Great Ocean Road, and is truly beautiful. Last year we nearly stepped on two brown snakes when going for a walk there (second most venomous land based snake in the world) but this year, as we were driving around, we came across a much cuter animal… Have a look at the video (Please forgive the low quality, it was taken on my iPhone). Isn’t Australia the best?
Just back from a lovely weekend 3 hours southeast of Melbourne. Wilsons Promontory is a beautiful national park, with great walks, empty beaches, lots of wildlife and few people. The water is pristine and the air clean. Highly recommended!
Tania’s deceased husband has left her with bills to pay, no job and no idea where he stashed the money. Will consulting a Psychic provide her with the answer she seeks?
Published by Smith & Kraus, 2011 (THE BEST TEN-MINUTE PLAYS 2011)
Produced for Ten in 10, Shepparton, Australia, July 20112008
Produced for Short & Sweet Malaysia 2008, Judges’ choice, best runner-up actor (male and female)
Produced for Short & Sweet Melbourne 2008
Produced for “Eight-in-a-Box”, Drama Centre Black Box, Singapore 2009
Produced for Favourite Shorts 2009, Armidale, NSW (WINNER)
Produced for Short and Sweet Sydney 2009
Produced for SHOWOFF!, San Juan Capistrano, California, 2009
Produced for 10 Min Madness Festival, San Diego, 2009
Produced for Pint-Sized Plays 2009 (UK)
Produced for PLAYTIME @ World Bar 2010 (Sydney)
Produced at the Otterbein University in Columbus (Westerville), Ohio, May 2010
Broadcast on audiobookradio.net, May 2010
War Horse has made it to Melbourne!
After being premiered in London in 2007 , War Horse went on to win a number of awards including two Laurence Olivier Awards and five Tony Awards. It has been played at London’s National Theatre, the West End’s New London Theatre and New York’s Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Centre. And it has just hit Melbourne.
War Horse – the show – is based on a book by Michael Morpurgo. I have not read the book, but I have seen the movie by Steven Spielberg. The story is about Joey, the horse, and Albert, the boy who raises him. A strong bond develops between the two and Albert is heart-broken when his father sells Joey to the British cavalry at the outbreak of World War I. Joey is then shipped to France where he is caught up in enemy fire and goes through a number of terrible adventures between German and British troops. Amazingly, Albert who could not forget Joey and has enlisted, manages to find the horse and bring him home. Okay, the story is a bit lame, but it does captivate the mind. It’s not a light story, the movie itself is very graphic, and so is the show. One thing that kept bothering me is how much time is spent weeping over the horse when hundreds of thousands of soldiers are being killed – often in horrible circumstances – around him. I know that this is the story, but it is at the same time a little disturbing. There are differences between the movie and the show, the story takes shortcuts in the show, but that’s to be expected, and sometimes it’s even outright different. I have not read the book, so I don’t know what the original story is like.
War Horse is quite the spectacle. I was amazed at the life-size puppets, created by South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company. They are totally amazing and look eerily real. It was wonderful to see those horses on stage and you quickly forget they are puppets. The way the ears move, the shiny eyes, the tail, the limbs, it’s all wonderful, really. If anything, that’s just worth going to see. The horses even gallop on stage! It was breathtaking. I found the second part too dark for my liking, but it’s all about the war after all. The episode with the French girl is puzzling – I found it lacked clarity in the show and didn’t add much. The casting was interesting, as the French girl is black in the show, and her mother white, so you have to assume the father was black – a very common thing nowadays (Thank God) but very unusual in 1915, especially in the Somme region. I can’t help wonder what the original girl was like in the book, does anyone know? Of course, the accents are fake (I, for one, can tell!) but they help wonderfully when the French, the British and the Germans are talking to each other. All together, a great show.
Here’s the movie trailer:
Melbourne is an amazing place: sunny one second, freezing the next; full of architectural surprises; multicultural; hidden lane-ways; water and parks everywhere; and more importantly, a pleasure for the taste buds – there are so many restaurants and eateries that you wouldn’t have enough a lifetime to try them all.
As a kid growing up in France I loved finding cuttlebones on the beach. I kept marvelling at the structure of this internal shell, which only cuttlefish have. The cuttlebones I could find didn’t exceed a few centimetres. Here on the Victorian beaches about an hour’s drive from Melbourne, you can find the biggest cuttlebones I have ever come across (see the photo below). This gives you an idea of the size of the cuttlefish which live in these waters… Cuttlefish have ink like squids and octopuses. Did you know that you can read a cuttlebone to find out how many times a cuttlefish has released ink during their lifetime? If the animal has released ink, there will be a thick black line on the inside of the shell structure. Easy!
I love my new iPhone! It took me forever to get one, but I took the opportunity that I was moving back to Australia to get on with the program and enter the world of iPhoners. No regrets. I am amazed at the quality of the photos it takes, so I keep taking random photos as I move around my day. I’ll post one or two here from time to time. This one I took at the office in Melbourne last week. I was about to start a meeting and realised the view was to die for. Enjoy!