Monthly Archives: January 2014


The billboard in Sydney. Photo; Edwina Pickles, Fairfax media

Are you thinking what I’m thinking, B1? I think many people are, B2. Photo: Edwina Pickles, Fairfax media

The ABC is under threat. Not for the first time, the Australian government feels that it is getting more than its fair share of criticism from the publicly funded national broadcaster. It has the option of cutting ABC funding in the upcoming May budget.

Former ABC Chairman and Managing Director David Hill put it well in his article in the Sydney Morning Herald.

My fear is that cutting ABC funding further will damage not only the ABC’s ability to be an effective independent news and current affairs service, but also the contribution it makes to Australian children’s programs, education, the arts, classical and alternative music, science, comedy, rural affairs and a host of other areas which are poorly served by commercial media.

I declare an interest here. The ABC took a big punt when it gave me my first ever job. Continue reading


Filed under Uncategorized


The Grand Fountain.

The Grand Fountain.

It’s always nice when Fairfax media publishes my work in the ‘Traveller’ section of the Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne Age. It means I can then release the full story on this blog…

The artists came to Saint-Paul-de-Vence because it was beautiful, quiet and cheap. The dealers moved in to hang out with the artists and buy their work. Their galleries attracted the tourists and smart restaurants replaced the artists’ smoky cafes and bars. The artists passed away or drifted away to find somewhere quieter and cheaper. Continue reading


Filed under Art, France


Normal Superfinger transmission will resume shortly.

Transmission of The Adventures of Superfinger will be suspended, temporarily.

It seems an age ago that we were rolling around on the rehearsal room floor as the fabulous cast of The 13-Storey Treehouse entertained us. Today they finish their extraordinary run, to sell-out audiences in the Sydney Opera House, after nearly a hundred performances.

Thanks so much Luke Joslin, Mark Owen-Taylor, Sarah Woods and Kay Yasugi for your creativity, energy, commitment and especially for all the laughs. Continue reading

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Filed under Theatre

SHOOTING THE FALLS – Valley of the Waters

Empress Falls, Blue Mountains, NSW.  Camera in point and shoot mode, letting the mist provide the blurring and the magic.

Empress Falls, Blue Mountains, NSW.
Camera in point and shoot mode, letting the mist provide the blurring and the magic.

It was a good day for taking photos of waterfalls yesterday.

I’d read a bit about how to do it, and practised the technique with a bathroom tap, trying to get that smooth, soft water effect that seems to be compulsory for waterfall shots in magazines.

And where better to try it for real than on a hike with my fellow amateur snapper Duncan down the evocatively named Valley of the Waters, in the Blue Mountains just outside Sydney? Here’s what we learned… Continue reading


Filed under Hiking, travel photography, Travel-Australia

RICHARD SAY: “Holiday should not be hard work”.

The Merricks-Red Hill trail. Where nothing much happens, fortunately.

The Merricks-Red Hill trail. Nothing to write home about, fortunately.

Trust Confucius to put it in a nutshell: ‘Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.’

That’s all very well for him to say. Chinese labourers swarming round him, slaving themselves towards an early grave, while he sat under a shady tree thinking up a few quotes. I bet he had days he couldn’t even be bothered being pithy and original. And he fell back on the same old lazy start to every sentence: ‘Confucius say…’

By Mr Confucius’ reasoning, most of a writer’s life is a holiday, and so it must appear to those who do jobs that actually need to be done. In vain do I grumble to friends about producers breathing gently down my neck while deadlines loom (or ‘whoosh by’, to quote Douglas Adams). There’s little sympathy for a writer from people whose work actually matters.

But there’s a flip side to my relaxing chosen career; in recent years most of my holidays have been taken for purposes of writing about them, either for money or in a pathetic attempt to attract blog hits. In other words, they have been work. But not this time. Continue reading


Filed under Travel


Happy New Year! We’re diving straight back into it here, with The 13-Storey Treehouse returning to the Sydney Opera House after a sell-out season there last September/October.

Nice news too that the show has just been nominated in the Sydney Theatre Awards as Best Production for Children. And I see that Andy Griffiths’ and Terry Denton’s The 39-Story Treehouse was the best-selling Australian book of 2013. That’s not ‘best-selling children’s book’; it’s ‘best-selling book‘ – a fantastic achievement. So naturally there’s pressure on to keep the crazy plays coming.

A workshop of The 26-Storey Treehouse is next and I’m looking forward to working with the great production team.

The promo video above includes a few clips of the play, and the ‘creatives’ (don’t you like that word?) saying nice things about each other and the show.

The 13-Story Treehouse
will tour Australia during this year, playing in Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide as well as regional towns. For the full touring schedule, CLICK HERE.

And for those able to catch the madness in Sydney, bookings for the Opera House in January can be made HERE.

This shameless self-promoting plug is now over (if you don’t do it yourself, who else will?) so I can wish everyone a great 2014!


Filed under Writing