Lara finally gave birth to Inigo this afternoon. Sally has some details first hand; I guess we'll have to wait for the rest. Welcome to the world, Inigo Nettle. And I hope you like hand-knitted clothing; there's an awful lot in your immediate future.
I was excited to be going to a play at STC that is contemporary and written here in Aus by someone who isn't David Williamson. Not only that, it was produced by Philip Seymour Hoffman. But, in the event, it was....meh... The acting was brilliant, the script had bite and rang true, the lighting was fantastic, the characters wore exactly the right clothes. The set was a bit ho-hum - modern but, to my mind, not dramatic enough for the kind of man that the main character was. What was not to like?
In a word: the characters. Every single one of them was unsympathetic. They were angry and abusive, homophobic, venal, grasping, sleazy, defensive, secretive, evasive. I didn't care a fig about any one of them. Most of them reminded me of four-year-old boys (not an attractive stage for me) - crashing around without thought of the consequences. Mostly, I wanted to smack them or send them to the naughty step. Whch probably says more about me than the play.
And yet... it's sticking in my head. Several bits of it, but mostly the last scene: Is it an act of unconditional love to promise your long-term lover - who has desperately tried to stay clean but who tells you that without her drugs she isn't really living - that if you make a lot of money on the next tour you will give it all to her so she can shoot it up her arm? Maybe it is, especially when you really know that the chance of that tour being successful is pretty small. And you can afford the best medical care.
Next year World Youth Day is being held in Sydney. This is a Catholic bunfight, and it's big - you'll get millions of results on a google search (and many on the first page are for travel and accommodation agents). The Pope is coming to say a Mass which will be attended by hundreds of thousands of people. Well, this has to be good for Sydney, doesn't it? And good for Australia and the tourist $$$ that will flow in?
Not necessarily. The state government has decreed that the Mass will be held at the Randwick Racing Club. This will disrupt the running of the club and cause losses to the racing industry. So they are being compensated. Taxpayers are going to be paying $95million to this private organisation (loosely referred to as sporting) so that their property can be used by another private organisation (the Catholic Church) for a one-day event. You may not be surprised that both the racing industry and the Catholic Church rank very highly in the personal lives of many members of our state cabinet.
It's not as if we are short of large venues in Sydney. Remember the Olympics, seven years ago? There was a stadium in a huge complex built for those events, and a special rail line was put in just to get people to and from the site. Apparently that's not big enough, or the sightlines aren't good enough, or something. A man in Camden offered his 1100 hectare property for $1million. Sure it's a way out of town, but just think what fun it would be for all those World Youth to experience an Aussie Catholic Woodstock. I'm just glad I don't live near Randwick, which doesn't have trains anywhere near it.
So I'm offering you this (thanks Jonathan), which I'll add to the sidebar and link to this backgrounder. It's a joke, so please don't tell me I'm anti-Catholic. I'm not; I'm anti-corruption. Frankly, this stinks to high heaven.