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Preview: Happy Antipodean

Happy Antipodean

A blog by Matthew da Silva since 2006

Updated: 2017-09-25T16:49:05.460+10:00


'Vote yes toot sweet' sign, Lansdowne Hotel


Up at Broadway on Saturday I snapped this photo. The sign looks out over the intersection of City Road and Broadway, which is very busy all the time, so I thought it was a fun play on words, from the French meaning "hurry up".

'Yes' graffiti, Broadway


A week ago I had seen this kind of graffiti further down Bay Street and in Wentworth Park, but it seems that the artist has expanded his or her territory. With the larger territory came a bigger number of graffiti, it seems, as you can see from this photo. The word 'Yes' was even visible on the footpath up in Newtown yesterday.

With Richard Gingras, Google's head of news


This morning at Google’s Sydney headquarters about 80 journalists came to hear from the source, the man who is spearheading the search company’s engagement with the media industry. Gingras said at the outset that Google is working to foster a healthier, open environment. “Why does Google do this?” He said that his career has been about the evolution of media. He worked for PBS under

Fred Williams, minimalist Romantic


This positing of the famous Australian painter using terms that might at first glance seem to be contradictory was suggested to me by an article I read written by Mark Dober in the Sydney Morning Herald last week. I got in touch with Dober and spoke with him for this interview because I wanted to explore in more detail the ideas he had put forward in his article. Dober has a PhD in Fine Art (

'Yes to equality' sign, Crown Street, Surry Hills


Yesterday up in Surry Hills we had breakfast - mine was a salmon bagel and a flat white - in one of the many cafes there, then walked down to Oxford Street. My friend and I passed this clothing store, called Pigeonhole, and I snapped a photo of the sign in the window.

'Yes' graffiti in Wentworth Park


Yesterday as I was walking back from Newtown down Bay Street I saw the word ‘Yes’ written in a familiar script on a construction site hoarding. And there it was again on a concrete stanchion nearby. Further north, in Wentworth Park, I saw it again and again written on the footpath as I headed home. The word was written in the same script as was used for so many years in the middle of last

Do we need to legalise illicit substances?


Today in the Sydney Morning Herald there was another story about drug gangs laundering cash through Australia's big banks. A few weeks ago the same charge was leveled at the CBA only but now it seems there are other banks involved as well. This is a major story, involving three journalists. The second story is from 2011, and it took two journalists to write it. It's about the State Crime

ACCC will look into damage from Facebook, Google to media


Last night the government's media reform laws were finally tagged for implementation after securing the support of Nick Xenophon, the independent from South Australia. The government had earlier secured support from the far-right One Nation for the laws. Labor would not support them, which necessitated the support of the cross-benchers. In return for his support, Xenophon has got the government

IT movie balloon, Sydney


I snapped this photo at the beginning of last week just up the street, and I guess it did the job because I had never heard of the movie when I saw it. I haven't seen any clowns around the place, and anyway it's a pretty quiet neighbourhood apart from the hoons who scream up and down this road in their cars late at night on occasion. The movie is showing in cinemas here at the moment and it is

Fairfax corporate archives to go to State Library of NSW


About two weeks ago I sent an enquiry to Fairfax Media, publisher of the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH), about Archer Russell, a journalist and naturalist who died in 1960. Russell, I believed, was the editor of the ‘Outdoor Australia’ page of the Sydney Mail, a Fairfax publication that ran from 1860 to 1938. There are papers in the State library holdings under Russell’s name that suggest this was

Vaxxed rally, Martin Place


Up at Macquarie Street at lunchtime today there was a rally for the campaign against vaccination, with probably 100 people gathered around a speaker who used a PA system to amplify her words. There were also tables with printed material on them, with a petition for concerned citizens to sign on one table. I saw some signs placed around the thoroughfare, such as one which read "No jab, no play,

'Yes' for Marriage Equality rally, Town Hall


Yesterday as I was walking west on William Street, Woolloomooloo, there were people with rainbow signs, hats, flags and feather boas. The young, carnivalesque folk were walking west in the same direction as I was. The council’s rainbow banners were hanging along William Street. At the corner of College Street I talked with a young man wearing a rainbow flag around his neck who told me about the

George Gittoes exhibition, The Yellow House


Up at The Yellow House on MacLeay Street in Potts Point there is an exhibition of George Gittoes paintings until 29 September. I met with Waqar in the gallery and we talked for about ten minutes about Gittoes and his work. The last exhibition I went to by this artist was in 2007, and it was titled 'No Exit'. In that exhibition the works were pen-and-ink drawings. In the new exhibition the works

New social housing plan in The Hills Shire


The photo shows an aerial view of the Castle Hill train station, currently under construction. The state government, in order to maximise the benefits of its new investment, has changed development restrictions along the rail corridor, raising the height to which dwellings can be built. As a result, groups of residents are selling combined lots of properties to developers for astronomical sums

Sign at Cuckoo Callay cafe, Surry Hills


On Monday I walked along Crown Street through Surry Hills from the south and took this photo. The sign was there on the pavement again today. On the obverse of the sign there's another message: "I'm interested in fitness. Fitness whole burger in my mouth." Chuckles aside, I thought today was a good opportunity to put up this photo because the High Court has just decided that the government's

Protective barriers, Pyrmont Bridge


This morning workmen were installing steel bollards on the western edge of Pyrmont Bridge. The barriers come after official decisions to change the streetscape to prevent terrorist attacks on pedestrians. The City of Sydney has already placed several enormous concrete barriers on the pavement in Martin Place. Such plans are taking shape in the wake of an attack in Melbourne in January this year,

Weekend operation of the Pyrmont Bridge


On Sunday I went for a walk and took the route that goes across the Pyrmont Bridge into town. When I was near the middle I saw that one of the gates used to close the thoroughfare when the bridge opens - it has this special swing mechanism that displaces part of the span so that, in the old days, ships could get in and out of Cockle Bay - had been shut. I sped up my pace and then asked the city

Roxanne the dog, Pitt Street Mall


Yesterday I stopped by to say hello to Roxanne and her owner where they were sitting on the pavement in Pitt Street Mall, and after giving the man five dollars I asked how the dog was doing. "She keeps jumping on people," he said. "Central police said that if she keeps jumping on people they're going to put me in jail and put her down." Roxanne took a drink of water out of the full ice cream

Gayageum player, Darling Harbour


This young woman was playing the Korean instrument today sitting in the sun on the pavement as pedestrians walked around her. She had the cover of the instrument on the pavement with a collection of coins on it, and a sign with her contact details written on it in front of her on top of the cover. I gave her the change that was in my pocket and stood listening to her for about five minutes. The

Performance art, Martin Place


As I approached the northern extremity of Pitt Street Mall I heard a brass band playing somewhere down the street, so instead of turning up King Street to go up the hill I continued along Pitt Street. Near Martin Place I could see from a distance there was a group of people and I could also see some placards being held in the air. As I got closer I could see that the members of the band I had

Getting the first interview transcribed


The little demon in the photograph is my foot switch and it lives under my desk on the floor. It connects to the PC via one of the USB ports, and is nothing less than essential for the journalistic process. Every media practitioner needs one of these. Yesterday I transcribed an 18-minute interview - part of the work toward my first story since relaunching to work as a freelancer - and the task

Pedestrian bridges, Liverpool Street


The work crew operating this earth mover must have experienced that sinking feeling today when they burst this pipe. The water was streaming down the pavement, when the photo was taken around lunch time, heading toward Harbour Street. There are busy workmen all over the place in Darling Harbour right at the moment as the council is removing the perfectly functional brick pavers that have been

The weaponisation of influence


The media is in the habit of putting out hooks that aim to grab our attention by flagging imminent threats, it’s true, so we’re used to being told to be scared of the future, but Mark Pesce is known for his solid grasp of that nebulous place we are all travelling toward at the speed of electrons. Or the speed of light. This morning’s talk by Pesce was a Rising Minds event held at the Golden Age

Rainbow banners, Taylor Square


On Sunday I was buying a kebab at Taylor Square and the rainbow banners the city has installed caught my attention. I asked the woman serving in the shop when they had been put there but she didn't know. She asked a man seated at the back of the shop if he knew, but he shook his head. "We don't notice things around here," she said to me with a wry smile. She has started to recognise me since I

Nala the dog, Pitt Street Mall


This morning around 11am I walked past this man and this dog asleep under this blanket on the pavement in Pitt Street Mall, and on the way back up the mall after lunch, about 20 minutes later, there was a young woman seated on the blanket as well. I put the coins in my pocket into the cap placed on the ground for money and asked her what the dog's name was. She said it was Nala. I had met her