Other Stuff


What I'm up to. What I'm reading, listening to, writing, watching, cooking, thinking about.


Some loves you outgrow, others stay with you for the remainder of your life. And so to Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music. I knew the name before I heard the music. I'd seen those racy album covers in record shops: of naked or near naked women. They were too 'grown-up' for innocent me. Now I just think they're a tad exploitive/sexist. Why didn't they feature the band, or Bryan himself? He was and is as handsome and intoxicating as the music - I think. From the Art School rock of their first five albums to the sophisticated (almost middle of the road), more commercial later albums, I still listen to and enjoy Roxy Music.


Please let me introduce you to Kalliope X - a new online literary magazine that I am proud to be involved with, as a founding co editor. Our manifesto:

We challenge the dominant literary imaginary by building a forum through which we can encourage, engage and exchange with writers of different diasporas and communities. Check it out at KalliopeX.com

Where else to read a poem written in Greek and translated not only into English but also Mandarin? To access stories, interviews, essays and reviews that reflect the real Australia? A grab bag of identities, religions and ethnicities. Why there's even an excerpt of my novel in progress, titled The Rally 1928. 


Nature Studies

Everyone is a photographer these days, but when I first started to take and print my own pictures, and carried my trusty Olympus OM10 with me everywhere I went, people often asked where I was visiting from. Most people only took photos when they were on holiday, not day to day. Now, like everyone else, I don't bother with my SLR camera, just my phone. I drive my husband mad when we go walking, constantly stopping to photograph fungi, flowers and bits of tree bark. What do you think of my nature studies?


God but I love Helen Garner, not only as a writer, but as a person. I like the way her mind works and the way she sees the world. Her view is resolutely Australian, specifically Melburnian. Her books reminded me of the way I felt when I first heard Skyhooks in the 70s. The lyrics reflecting places I knew. Places I could catch a train to: not California, but Carlton, not Berlin but Balwyn.

I especially love Helen Garner's non fiction. Reading her books and essays, or hearing her read them on audio, is an intimate experience. When I learned that extracts from her diaries were to be published, I couldn't wait to read them. The first: Yellow Notebook: Diaries Volume I 1978–1986 (2019) was wonderful. Full of beautiful descriptions and startling observations.

The second, One Day I'll Remember This: Diaries 1987–1995 (2020) chronicled a bit more of her personal life. Then, at the end of last year, came How to End a Story: Diaries: 1995–1998. Talk about finishing with a bang. The main focus of this last volume is the breakdown of her third marriage. My stomach was in knots reading it. It was powerful and I felt like I was going through the ordeal with her.
I could not recommend it more highly.