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Preview: Happy Antipodean

Happy Antipodean



A blog by Matthew da Silva since 2006



Updated: 2017-08-21T09:35:53.652+10:00

 



In conversation with Glenn Greenwald

2017-08-21T09:35:53.662+10:00

"The journalist has an adversarial relationship to institutions of power," said Glenn Greenwald at the start of this afternoon's talk. Greenwald today shared the stage with compere John Keane, the author of an important book on democracy, ex-Greens senator Scott Ludlam, and journalism academic Benedetta Brevini. (I enjoyed today seeing Keane in action as much as I did seeing Greenwald talk,



Movie review: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, dir Luc Besson (2017)

2017-08-18T06:41:38.266+10:00

The movie opens with a dream about a paradise lost that is dreamt by major Valerian (Dane DeHaan), a government agent who teams up with colleague sergeant Laureline (Cara Delevingne) to reclaim a stolen animal whose value lies in the fact that it can replicate anything, and that he had already seen in the dream. The two successfully complete their mission and return to space station Alpha



Pepper the dog, Bay Street, Glebe

2017-08-16T14:00:55.427+10:00

I stopped and gave Pepper's owner five dollars and asked if I could take her photo. He said it was ok but I didn't get too close because Pepper had already growled at me when I went to give him the money. The man said he lives in Wentworth Park. I asked him if he ever went to Martin Place of an evening for a feed and he told me that there are people bringing food to the park where he lives, in



Swifts on an unseasonally warm winter's day

2017-08-16T13:54:48.610+10:00

Today I headed off through Wentworth Park to Glebe to go to the office supplies store, and on the way I saw dozens of swifts skimming the grass, banking, and turning in tight circles. I went under the railway viaduct through the empty opening you can see in the photo, and there was a deep pit in the earth under the arch, big enough to cause someone to fall and hurt themselves if they crossed



Roxanne the dog, Pitt Street Mall

2017-08-15T06:50:17.415+10:00

Yesterday I stopped in Pitt Street Mall and gave five dollars to a man who had his dog in his lap and was stroking her head. Just before I came up to him the dog shifted position and got up to stand on the pavement. I asked if I could take a photo of the dog and the owner warned me that the dog had eaten the mobile phones of other people. "She's eaten mine too," he said. The dog's name is



Brutalism two: Town Hall House

2017-08-14T17:11:28.229+10:00

This post is the second in a series of blogposts on brutalist architecture in Sydney. I took the first photos of the building, shown below, from Pyrmont Bridge, then I walked south along Kent Street and came to Town Hall House from its major street frontage. In 1970 architects Archer Mortlock and Woolley were engaged to design a building to replace the nine-story office block the council had



We need a refugee processing centre in Jakarta

2017-08-14T11:18:02.206+10:00

Former journalist Mike Carlton tweeted this morning: "Before we disparage American society [for the riots in Charlottesville] we might reflect on the brutal cruelty we Australians inflict upon our refugee prisoners on Manus." He joined editors at The Age in voicing support for the detainees on Manus Island and Nauru; they published a comment piece two days ago on the subject. And the



Fountain, Darlinghurst Road

2017-08-13T12:57:28.890+10:00

Fountain on Darlinghurst Road is next to the El Alamein Fountain and the Kings Cross police station. There's a paddy wagon parked outside the cop shop sitting on the footpath so that you can't possibly miss it. Inside the cafe, you can sit next to the window. I had the Fountain duck fat hash, which is latkes (potato cakes) cooked in duck fat and stacked on the plate with interleaved layers of



Rare example of Sydney brutalism

2017-08-12T20:03:02.237+10:00

The Molecular Bioscience Building at the University of Sydney (known as G08 within the organisation) received National Trust heritage listing last year. It was listed after three staff members submitted an application for listing with the Trust. The building was designed in 1970-73 by Stafford Moor and Farrington Architects and is one of three brutalist buildings heritage listed by the Trust in



Chopper the dog, Bay Street, Glebe

2017-08-12T17:19:22.098+10:00

Just off Broadway in Bay Street, Glebe, you can see Chopper sitting on the pavement next to his owner, who makes drawings of cars. I was up there today and gave the man five dollars before asking if I could take a picture of his dog. He said ok. He said, "He's named Chopper because when he was born his ear was in-turned." His mother used to lick the gammy ear, the man told me as he stroked the



Young dandy, Kent Street

2017-08-11T19:56:31.588+10:00

This man was walking west down the hill on Market Street when the words on the back of his jacket and on his trousers caught my attention. I maneuvered myself into position so that I could snap this photo, which I finally managed to do as he turned south on Kent Street. Young Asians are the most fashionable people in Sydney and they sometimes wear the most incredible clothes. Not long ago I saw



Nala the dog, Pitt Street Mall

2017-08-11T14:19:20.351+10:00

I gave a few gold coins to the young woman sitting on the pavement in Pitt Street Mall as the lunchtime crowds flowed thickly around us. The woman had a dog lying next to her on a red rug and I asked if I could take the dog's picture. She said it was ok. The dog's name is Nala and I asked her why. "My friend called her Nala. Originally it was Princess but she's adjusted to Nala." The woman



Tent city residents take down their camp

2017-08-11T14:09:08.502+10:00

On ABC local radio this morning while I was driving home I heard that the Martin Place residents were taking down their camp voluntarily and so when I got back home I quickly put on my jacket and headed into town. It was very warm as I walked in the sun across Pyrmont Bridge and I reflected that the sudden change in temperature made everything seem a little bit strange, even the sounds I could



Tent city won't be in Martin Place tomorrow

2017-08-10T12:54:23.777+10:00

Yesterday the state government passed a law through the New South Wales Parliament that will allow them to dismantle the homeless camp that has been in Martin Place for eight months. Today, when I went up there to have a stickybeak, there were two policemen walking slowly east in Martin Place getting the vibe of the camp. They stopped at the east end of the thoroughfare and stood talking with



Beef kebab, Taylor Square

2017-08-09T12:40:33.734+10:00

Today I went up to Taylor Square to the Five Star Kebab shop. Kebabs are a favourite of mine because they are tasty as well as nutritious, with lettuce, tomato and onion as standard in Australia. At most kebab shops you can also get tabouli and cheese added for an extra dollar. So at eleven dollars it also makes a cheap meal. I asked the guy behind the counter if the Five Star Kebab places in



Tye the dog, Market Street

2017-08-09T12:42:06.836+10:00

On the way into town today I saw that this dog and his owner were on the corner of Kent Street and Market Street, so I stopped and gave the man five dollars. I asked the dog's name and he told me, but then when I asked him to spell it for me I could sense that he was a bit surprised. He wasn't voluble like Buddy the dog's owner had been the other day when I had spoken to him in Pitt Street Mall,



Martin Place homeless camp remains intact

2017-08-08T13:21:07.148+10:00

A report this morning that the Martin Place tent city would be dismantled "as early as Tuesday morning" turned out to be premature. At lunchtime the camp was still all there, although the media, I was told when I went up there this morning, had been around since 2am. At 11.30 there were still TV trucks from Channel Nine, Channel Seven and the ABC parked nearby and I saw a reporter getting ready



Documentary maker, Martin Place

2017-08-09T12:31:36.824+10:00

The guy on the right in this picture is making a documentary about the tent city in Martin Place. I met him last Friday when I was up there nosing around and we had talked then about the rights of people capturing images under Australian law. His name is Blake. I told him that making videos of people in a public place is perfectly legal, because he had mentioned something about getting release



Bear the dog, Pitt Street Mall

2017-08-07T12:31:06.952+10:00

On Thursday I mentioned meeting Bear the dog in Pitt Street Mall and today he was there again with his owner, a young woman. I gave her some coins and a five-dollar note and asked if I could take the dog's picture. She said it was ok so I did. I asked her to tell me again the reason for the dog's name, because she had told me before but I hadn't heard her clearly, and she said, "He was very



Jehovah's Witnesses, Fish Market

2017-08-06T15:10:02.171+10:00

Two men stand near racks of religious literature on Bank Street, Pyrmont, outside the Fish Market while two women wait to cross at the lights. Jehovah's Witnesses are very visible on the streets of Sydney, usually at places where there is heavy foot traffic. I have seen them also in Union Square, Pyrmont; at the end of the pedestrian bridge on Market Street in the city; and on Dixon Street



Nike advertisement, railway bridge, Newtown

2017-08-06T16:03:55.743+10:00

Two weeks ago I took a photo of the Nike ads on this wall next to the railway line in Newtown, when they had been completely painted over with white paint. Now, the ads have been restored to their original pristine condition, but grafitti artists continue to use them for their tags. In Newtown, it seems, it remains a battle of wills between the owners of the spaces where ads appear and the



Rough sleeper, King Street

2017-08-06T14:26:24.248+10:00

I passed by this poor devil at around 11.30am on my way down King Street, Newtown, and he was still there under his blanket when I came back toward home an hour later. He was sleeping on the pavement outside a fashion retail outlet; next door to the left there is a whole foods shop. On the way back there were a lot more people on the footpath, of course, but it didn't seem to phase him, he just



Mixed meat plate, Cairo

2017-08-06T15:13:38.829+10:00

This is my usual lunch at this Egyptian restaurant located on Enmore Road, Enmore. For a change today I asked what the different items on the plate were. At the top of the image you can see a small dish of garlic dip sitting on what they told me was "soft bread", or a disc of pita bread. Under that is a small dish of tahini. Then to the right of these, going clockwise, you have pickles,



Playing with drones, Victoria Park

2017-08-06T14:56:08.890+10:00

A man and three children play with two drones in the popular weekend spot, while another man relaxes in the sun. The man minding the children controlled a small drone, which is visible in the air near the head of the small girl standing to his right, while one of the boys had a larger drone, one which looked to be about 50cm in diameter. This is the first time I have seen people using drones in



Birthday party, Pitt Street Mall

2017-08-05T14:56:16.067+10:00

When I came down from Martin Place to Pitt Street Mall today on my way home there were groups of people all dressed in red. There must have been a hundred people with red clothing, hats, angels' wings, capes, and leotards. They sped up the mall toward the north and stopped at King Street where the traffic signal was red, then turned back into the mall again, hurrying on.  The sounds of horns