Posts Tagged ‘Australia’
I’b been there before and knew exactly where to go so please tell me why I didn’t go straight up the stairs as soon as I got through the doors.
As I was going up the stairs the adrenalin started as I recalled the last time I was at the Sebel. It was called the Carlton Crest and we abbreviated it to CC I tried to refrain from silly comments at the time. I recalled the last time I’d been in the foyer, wearing a witch’s hat and cape I entertained the queue of very excited people while we waited for the volunteers to finish assembling the paperwork, bags and badges.
Today we sat in the part we’d previously designated the breakout room. It had tables, chairs and we used it for the odd occasion that had missed the programming or didn’t need a designated room. It was the room Sir Terry Pratchett sat down in for a chat to a few people and ended up being surrounded by a large group totally disrupting the carefully planned programming.
Have you guessed yet? It’s the location of the First Australian Discworld Convention. Yes, my conference today is in some of the exact same rooms and it’s helping to make things that much better.
Discworld in Australia is moving into a new era. We’ve gone from a little convention in Melbourne to another convention in Melbourne, to another in Sydney and this year there’s a little something happening in Adelaide with another one planned in Melbourne next year. We’re also putting together groups for Discworld related events, tomorrow is one of these events and people will be meeting at Realm of Legends for a games tournament, search for Nullus Anxietas IV on Facebook for more details. I’m blogging on my iPad from the conference sitting only a couple of metres from where Sir Terry Pratchett sat in 2007 and can’t figure out how to put in links.
This is another Murray Whelan Thriller. This is book five out of six. In this book Murray Whelan is a Minister in the Victorian Government and his lover shows him a significant ultrasound photo, minutes later she’s dead. This is the story of Whelan and his travails a couple of years later. His son, Red, is 15 and starting to date, Whelan sees his lover’s killer and from there the journey begins.
I have a distinct liking for Maloney’s writing. He has a free and easy style, describing situations and scenes with just enough words so you understand what’s going on without being overwhelmed. He situates the action in recognisable parts of Melbourne and makes it possible for me to place the location when I’ve been there. At one stage, Whelan is sitting eating in Lorne and it is so easy to figure out where he’s eating and that he probably bought his new shoes at the same place I bought shoes about 10 years prior to the time the book is set.
Just a little digression. There’s a reason I bought shoes in Lorne. Many years ago we were in a bushwalking group and we were doing the walk down from the falls. I’d been very careful to put my walking shoes ready as I’d wanted to wear my sandals during the drive. We get up to the falls and are all ready to walk when I discover I’ve left my shoes next to the front door. It’s a long drive home so I just head out in my sandals; this is such a stupid idea. The walk is not easy and they fall apart; thank goodness for the head of our group who had duct tape in his pack. He taped my sandals to my feet and I finished the walk. When we got to Lorne I bought some shoes, cutting my sandals off my feet and threw them in the bin.
Anyway, back to the book. Actually, now I think about it I don’t have anything more to tell you. It’s a great book, in a great series, written by a great author; who I suspect also signed the Wikileaks petition.
This is about his father, their relationship together and included a lot about his siblings and mother. They all seem quite intriguing characters and made me feel like I wished I’d grown up with them. It seemed like quite an idyllic childhood with a father who talked to the people on the TV and a mother who bashed out tunes on the car horn. With parents like that it would be hard not to grow up with a rather quirky attitude. McInnes grew up in Redcliffe, Queensland during the time of Sir “Joh” Bjelke-Petersen. He is married to director, Sarah Watt; you might have seen him in Blue Heelers or Sea Change.
I do like his style of writing, it is very friendly and open while containing a massive amount of information. He starts off in the present with a yarn about what he’s doing and uses that as a springboard to delve back into the past to show us a number of anecdotes connected with whatever he’s doing, finally connecting the dots back to finish the yarn about the present. In the first part he’s looking for a phone number and describing the room where the phone is meant to be which in turn takes him back into the past to describe some neighbours, his parents, his siblings and their interesting meal times and finally takes us full circle, back into the present back into the room where he’s searching for the phone number. He hasn’t managed to find the phone number as he’s been totally distracted and eventually just puts the search to one side to go outside and look at the house with just time enough for another anecdote and a meeting with an old neighbour. It’s a fabulous method of writing and I loved reading the book and watching him do this time and time again.
Laughter which may happen explosively at any time.
Tonight I’m going to break with tradition and give you three-in-one book review.
I’m shamelessly pinching some stuff from Shane Maloney’s website as his summary is nice and concise.
“There are currently six Murray Whelan novels.
Each is a stand-alone story. Sequentially, they follow Murray’s journey through the ranks of a well-known but entirely fictional Australian political party. The action takes place mainly in Melbourne, a city on the way to nowhere.”
I’m currently reading the first Murray Whelan trilogy containing: Stiff, The Brush Off & Nice Try. Actually, I’ve read Stiff and The Brush Off and am partway through Nice Try. Stiff and The Brush Off were made into movies with David Wenham as Murray Whelan with John Clarke directing Stiff and Sam Neill directing The Brush Off. In the books our hero looks like he actually knows what he’s doing but in the movies it looks far more haphazard. I saw Stiff some time ago as David Wenham is a drawcard in my books and with John Clarke directing I knew it had to be good so when I saw this trilogy in the op shop I just had to buy it. It’s been sitting on my shelf for quite a while and I’ve been saving it for a rainy day.
I think you could class them as political thrillers and they give a very nice insight into the way politics works. They are based in Melbourne so it’s lovely for Melburnites as we get to see our landmarks and we can actually picture the streets and walk in Murray’s shoes, so to speak. Stiff is partly set in the trade unions in Brunswick with all the colourful sights and sounds around there, The Brush Off is set in the world of the Arts so you get to see more of the city with the Arts Centre and the Botanic Gardens right in the centre of the action. In Nice Try he’s moved to the Olympic Bid and Fitzroy Street so we see that area and also Heidelberg. The descriptions are fitting and I love reading the descriptions of buildings that are no longer there and just picturing them. I’m thinking most specifically of a building that used to be next to the Arts Centre.
One of the colourful aspects of the books is the totally Australian phrases the author has thrown in. And wouldn’t you know it but it’d take me a month of Sundays to find one of them now. I have just spent a few minutes trying and come up with nothing so I might edit this with one or two next time they come up.
Warnings: Violence, death, sex and swearing.
Reflections on Grug
When I was a child, my family were missionaries in Nepal. Every so often we would receive a “blue barrel” from Australia. This would contain all sorts of goodies, including presents for myself and my 3 siblings.
One barrel contained a gift for my brother – the first book of the Grug series. This book was a favourite with all of us and was read over and over. We all committed it to memory, simply because we read it so often. Even now, after 20 or so years, I still remember “Once the top of a burrawong tree fell to the ground, and the grassy top began to change. It became… Grug! And off Grug went to search for a place to live.”
Over the years, we collected most of the Grug books for my brother. When he grew up and moved out of home, the books were left with my parents, including the much loved first book, which now is a little worse for wear.
The advantage of the books being with my parents is my children have had the opportunity to read and love the Grug books too. My 7 year old learned to read with them and we are about to start reading them with my 5 year old.
The news that Grug is being reprinted has caused a lot of excitement – we are planning to buy a copy for my brother and keep it safe for when he has children, so he can share the joy of Grug with them.
Melissa Khalinsky is the mother of 2 boys and the oldest of 4 children. She runs the Business Mums Network and often has various kids story books on her desk and in her handbag!