It’s nearly Spring and I’m feeling the need to start exercising more. I missed weight training at Cinch PT last week but Mr Rosanna was there for Super Heroes week! I didn’t get to see Nikki Ellis all dressed up as Wonder Woman but she’s always inspiring whether in costume or not. Mr Rosanna and I have been watching too much Netflix over the winter and have more recently got right into The Defenders about modern day super heroes Jessica Jones, Daredevil, Luke Cage and Iron Fist fighting crime in New York City.
Speaking of getting physical, we have both signed up for the Olivia Newton John Wellness Walk and Research Run which is being held at La Trobe University on Sunday 17 September. Despite currently having cancer treatment, Olivia is expected to make an appearance and was there last year, along with Bindi Irwin.
Melbourne Fashion Week also starts this Friday and tickets are now on sale for runway shows. I’ve booked in to one of the NGV Friday Nights where you can enjoy after hours access to the House of Dior fashion exhibition while listening to some funky beats from a number of Australian and international acts, DJ sets, dining and bars. The Kate Miller-Heidke gig is already sold out so best to book quickly if you see a show you like.
On a more local note, there’s a Speaking of Sustainability – Banyule Toastmasters event being held tomorrow night at Hatch Community Arts Space in Ivanhoe from 7.15 – 9.30 pm. They’ve just held their 33rd meeting and a number of members won Community Sustainability Awards at this year’s Banyule and Darebin Awards. It’s a topical subject and the ability to speak publicly is a very useful skill to have both in work and life, coming from someone who was quite shy as a child. You can’t shut me up now….
It’s the appropriately titled final Avant Card postcard printed in July by my ex-client and friend Pat Mackle signifying the end of a 25 year era and over 20,000 postcards produced. What a ride it’s been for her and her family and friends – many of whom have been involved in the business over this time across three separate states and all over Australia. We caught up today for lunch at Japanese raw food cafe Shoku Iku on High Street in Northcote right next door to the Good Vibes Yoga studio (owned by artist Kirra Jamison) near the Westgarth Theatre. There’s not many people I know who’ve had the courage of their convictions to follow their dreams and go out on their own so I take my hat off to Pat. Many young people now will have a very different life journey with as many as 17 different jobs across 5 different industries so the times they are definitely a-changing.
I had my sold out La Trobe Three Bold Thinking Series lecture last night at the State Library Theatrette which was a very big night for the three former student activists involved, who finally had their turn in the spotlight to tell their story and perhaps gain a sense of closure from the events of 1972 for which they were imprisoned in Pentridge Prison without sentencing. I was taken back in time to a very different era when the stakes were a lot higher with Anti-Vietnam war protests, conscription and the women’s and gay liberation movements taking place against the backdrop of global social, cultural and political change. I can’t help but feel we now live in a very corporatised, sanitised and more vanilla era compared to those heady times where the struggle was very real. What struck me was how all three men, despite their differences and the hardship and trauma they endured, were absolutely resolute in their belief about the right to protest and at no point in time were ever going to apologise to the University. To this day, as as much as it has impacted their lives, they still stand by their principles united in solidarity – it was a pretty amazing thing to witness. It was a bit ironic leaving the building last night to see the new La Trobe branding All kinds of clever splashed over a massive billboard opposite my old University RMIT on Swanston Street.
It’s Hanya Yanigihara’s Booker prize shortlisted book that I picked up at Andrew’s Books in Ivanhoe over the weekend after being motivated by Literacy week to buy a decent sized novel to read as it’s been a while. I had been in previously and had a look at both Pulitzer Prize winner All the light we cannot see by Anthony Doerr and Stella Prize winner The natural way of things by Charlotte Wood (also a fairly dark topic) but had put both books down again. I’m not expecting it to be an easy read both in terms of content and length but it’s one that’s grabbed my attention and pulled me in and reminded me a bit of Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch.
I spent Saturday night celebrating my best friend Jules’ birthday at The Cellar Door in the Town Square restaurant area at Eastland in Ringwood where we’d previously been for drinks only. It was jumping on Saturday night with all tables full as far as the eye could see although this time I didn’t venture up to the rooftop bar. The food and service are excellent – I had the barramundi but would have the hand made squid ink seafood pasta next time and I only remembered we were in a suburban shopping complex when I chose to use the centre toilets near the restaurant entrance instead of taking the stairs to the third level.
If you are a creative person, I think the Northern College of the Arts & Technology (NCAT) in Preston would well be worth visiting and a number of mature-age people I know are currently studying there (it’s never too late!). If you are a local business, there is a business tour this Wednesday if you’re interesting in partnering with NCAT and its students. There are some other events on this coming weekend (last weekend of Winter) and I’ll be back later this week.
It’s the name of my lecture in October with ex-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, which is being held in conjunction with the Ideas & Society series convened by La Trobe University’s Emeritus Professor Robert Manne – tickets are already on sale given the Paul Keating lecture held earlier this year sold out within a week. Kevin Rudd is a different person altogether from Paul Keating but they share in common an interest in the Asian region and what it means for Australia. This lecture will also be different in that it’s a lunchtime event (light lunch provided at the Sofitel!) so targeted more at a CBD-based business audience. Kevin’s an interesting man from what I can gather from my friends and colleagues who’ve previously worked with him in the media space.
It’s Spring in another fortnight and I can’t wait for it to begin. This house at 43 Alexander Street in Montmorency has caught my eye. It’s an Alistair Knox home with gardens inspired by Gordon Ford and it looks just beautiful – it is the home of a local Montsalvat studio artist and I think it would be well worth a look if you’re in the area or looking to buy in the area given how close it is to the Were Street village and surrounding parkland – Monty is a lovely suburb.
We’re about to start some minor renovations at home and I’m looking forward to finishing the painting that we started last Spring but never quite finished, and continuing to de-clutter. Mr Rosanna’s Dad has told me that you never finish once you have a house of your own – there’s always something to do maintenance-wise! Argh!
It’s the name of local author Les Zig’s debut novel published by Pantera Press which is being launched at a special event on 2 September at Beer DeLuxe as part of this year’s Melbourne Writer’s Festival, which starts on Friday 25 August. Les and I were having a chat when I attended Busybird Publishing’s Karma Kinglake writing retreat last year and I know he loves his beer so no surprises there. The book is a psychological drama that explores the complexities of human relationships and I think a lot goes on in the suburbs, where most of us live. My own street is a microcosm of society at large with all sorts of things happening that I didn’t anticipate when I moved to sleepy Rosanna almost 10 years ago from the inner city. It’s not as sleepy as I first thought!
If you have kids, the Harry Potter Day on Sunday 3 September at Fed Square in the city, also as part of the Writer’s Festival, looks like a lot of fun if you have a Harry, Ron or Hermione in your household.
Locally there’ll be a pop up book swap at the Harmony Centre in The Mall at Heidelberg West during Literacy Week, also starting next Friday and running until 1 September. The Eltham Bookshop too has recently celebrated its 20 year anniversary, which is a real achievement by owner Meera Govril. I’m still not making a lot of head way with my reading and seem to be drowning in paperwork at the moment – it’s almost de-cluttering season again and I need to continue with a number of rooms in my house.
I was also reading with excitement about the upcoming exhibition The House of Dior at the NGV and associated Gala ball being held on Saturday 26 August – two tickets of which you can actually win through Telstra. It’s being compared to the Met Gala in New York and I think is one for all the fashionistas out there.
It’s the story of the La Trobe Three – Brian Pola, Fergus Robinson and Barry York – three young student activists who were jailed indefinitely for disobeying a University order to stay off campus almost 45 years ago and my next Bold Thinking Series lecture brings all three together for the first time to talk about their story – what happened then and what has happened since. Tickets are almost sold out but if you’re interested in coming along to the State Library Theatrette on Thursday 24 August, you can still purchase these on Eventbrite.
I’ve spoken to all three men and the gravity of what they went through has stayed with me and I have no doubt that their time in prison as young men has left an indelible impact on their lives – I’m very much looking forward to hearing them speak. The lecture will be facilitated as usual by MC Francis Leach but La Trobe historian Professor Katie Holmes will also be on the panel to provide some wider context about that period of time in the early 1970s.
I’ve been interested reading Michael Kirby’s remarks in the news this week about the same sex postal vote and it was an honour to meet the great man in May – it’s been a humbling experience to work on the whole Bold Thinking lecture series and witness some real change taking place in the community as a result of a staging an open discussion with both sides having a chance to voice their opinion and further action being taken post-event, as was the case in Bendigo (multiculturalism) earlier this year.
My lecture next month in Shepparton will be along similar lines to Bendigo while the October lecture will see me working with another former Australian Prime Minister…I will reveal details soon but may also need to catch my breath at some stage. Winter’s almost over and I’ve started seeing blossom on the trees and a blaze of bright yellow wattle at work, which means the Wattle Festival in Hurstbridge isn’t far away. Bring on Spring!
It sounds very Zen but it’s the name of the upcoming show curated by Dr Anne Bennett at Hatch Contemporary Arts Centre in Ivanhoe, which opens this Wednesday. The exhibition continues to explore this year’s theme of water, and its elemental importance, and will showcase 9 different artists’ work including Anne Bennett. Anne and I have both been members of the Banyule Arts and Cultural Advisory Committee.
Speaking of ceramics, Angus and Celeste currently have The Slightly Imperfect Sale on until Sunday 13 August meanwhile the Northcote Pottery Supplies Open Day is Saturday 19 August from 10 am – 3 pm. It’s a popular day as Artists on Were Street in Montmorency also opens on 19 August and runs until 3 September. I’ve long said that if Mr Rosanna and I had moved further out, our next suburb of choice was Montmorency. We’re spoilt for choice in the north-east…