Across Continents

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Murals wedding

April 15th, 2011

Mural - web

Bowen. Small town on the north Queensland coast. Two facts. Much of the 2007 Nicole Kidman film "Australia" filmed here. Pretending to be Darwin. And the place festooned with murals.

flyingboat - web

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Watch me…

December 19th, 2010

Felt a bit rotten. Noticed the hotel security guard was dozing in his small cabin by the entrance ramp. No hesitation. I’d always wanted to do this. Ever since I’d crossed into China. And I’d the perfect combination. No steps into the foyer. Sliding doors. Mid-afternoon so quiet. The day’s sixty or so miles completed at a faster pace than I’d anticipated. On a roll. Ending now with the grand entrance I’d always hoped for.

I’d a line from an old Burt Lancaster film in my head – “You can’t drive through an air raid!” he’s told. “Watch me” he replies. And so it was with the riding directly into the hotel foyer. Around the little fountain. Pulling up smartly by the reception desk. Bemused faces.

I’d a clear conscience. Besides, it allowed me to unload my frustration at the recent blocking of the BBC website in China. Albeit in a very harmless way. Not exactly road rage. Am very fond of news from Blighty. So attempt to thwart my efforts to keep abreast of affairs at home, and you will irritate me. But you won’t succeed. Quite the reverse. For there’s now a curiosity to be satisfied. An explanation to be uncovered. Which I’d done. Call it an intelligent guess. A Nobel one at that.

[Author’s note: And the film? “The Train” from 1964. One of my Dad’s all-time favourites. Rightly so. Compelling story of the efforts of the French Resistance to stop some of their nation’s art treasures being shipped back to Germany by rail. It’d be much easier to prevent shipment today. Just go out on strike. But it was World War Two. And the Germans no respecters of the right to industrial action. Not very British]

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Cruel world

November 15th, 2010

East. West. Capitalist. Communist. Familiar divisions. But ones that have all become blurred, faded. Less apparent. Classification a very human activity, a tool to simplify, to give structure, meaning. I’d chanced on one that seemed to be much more resilient, clear cut. Giving shape to the world. Subtitles and dubbing.

It’s not perfect of course. These things never are. But simple to apply. Turn on the TV, hunt for the local foreign film channel. And wait. It can only go one of two ways. And be quite cruel. I’d the TV on in the background. For company you understand. Nice little French film. Sophie Marceau. A picture of loveliness. But forget Chinese water torture. They’d dubbed it. Into Mandarin. I mean. In China? Unforgiveable. I’d turned the sound off. Attempted to lip read. But my schoolboy French not really up to the job.

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