1. Barbara Blackman on Compass last Sunday:
Tell me about friendship. What — because it rolls off the tongue easily, but I think it’s more than that for you?
Well I think friendship is the sharing of fun and profundities. And there’s a time when you meet someone, you meet them here and there and you have snippets of conversation and I will say to that person, “Please come out and have dinner with me, have a whole conversation,” I ask them, I give them your sort of interview, “Where do you come from? What do you believe?… And um, that’s a making of friendship. Or you might say, “Well, we haven’t got enough ground for friendship.” But I think once there’s that one-to-one depth of intimacy, then the friendship builds up on that.
Who are you likely not to be friends with? Who don’t you enjoy being friends with?
People who want me to join in their bitterness and anger, and I won’t have a bar of it. Or at my age, a lot of people I’ve known when you say to them, I haven’t seen you, how are you getting on? They tell you all about all their grandchildren. I love my grandchildren but ah, you know I find they’re not letting you into their life, they’re giving you the mirror or the outside of their life.
See also on Floating Life Sans Words: The end of all our exploring….
2. Julian Burnside QC on Talking Heads last night:
PETER THOMPSON: You refer in your writing to a play by Tom Stoppard and you say there was a moment in the play, where one of the characters says he’s moved by the impulse “It’s not fair”! When did “It’s not fair” first occur to you in life?
JULIAN BURNSIDE: Well it wasn’t just a single experience, of course. But one captures the rest, I think. And that was when I matriculated. I got some prizes and scholarships, which was a big surprise to me and I also got colours for swimming and diving and rugby. I had represented the school in all of those sports for years. I’d been very good at them but I got second colours, because they were second-class sports. I’m not complaining about getting second colours and the whole thing amuses me now in retrospect. But it’s easy as you grow up, to lose the sense of unfairness, especially when you see it happening to other people. Most people are fairly quick to respond to unfairness directed to themselves. But if you stop noticing injustice that happens to other people, well then I think you’re heading in the wrong direction…
PETER THOMPSON: The apology to the Stolen Generation must be a milestone personally for you too, to some extent.
JULIAN BURNSIDE: It’s not a milestone for me, I’ve got nothing to do with it but it’s a terrific thing because it’s clear that if people have suffered a great wrong, that will never be fixed until the fact of the wrong is acknowledged. Meeting members of the Stolen Generation, people now in their late 40s or 50s, you can see just how damaged they are from what happened to them as children and you can see the damage they inflict on their children. It’s a desperately sad thing to watch, probably the best argument for being serious about saying sorry.
PETER THOMPSON: For both you and your wife Kate, your work with refugees goes beyond the courtroom.
JULIAN BURNSIDE: Yes, yes, it does. Kate set up spare rooms for refugees partly as a symbolic response and partly as a practical measure, because people who come out of detention centres need somewhere to live. Kate had the simple practical idea that many Australian houses have got a spare room, so that’s a neat way of solving a housing problem.
PETER THOMPSON: You’ve opened your own spare room?
JULIAN BURNSIDE: Absolutely. You can’t encourage people to do that and not do it yourself. So, we’ve had refugees living here since early 2002…
PETER THOMPSON: In life, we move towards some things and away from other things over time. What do you feel you’re drawn more towards and what are you moving away from?
JULIAN BURNSIDE: Um… Well, I do like red wine. And I love making sculpture out of found objects and I love writing, I love reading, I love my job. I’m not attracted to hypocrisy and cant, dishonesty, laziness, politicians and that stuff. So, I’m going away from them as far as I can. I don’t know if that answers your question.
PETER THOMPSON: Perfectly well. It’s been great talking to you.
Not too shabby, our ABC…