Daily Archives: December 16, 2009

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Took this on the way to Dr C’s this morning. (Just my monthly checkup and all seems well…)

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Posted by on December 16, 2009 in personal, photography, Surry Hills


Blogging the Noughties: 1 – 2000

Yes, believe it or not, I have been blogging for the whole decade! This begins a series with one post for each year.

Saturday, December 16, 2000

Still reading The Penguin Book of Gay Stories, an excellent collection. How true this is:

If I had been twenty years older, perhaps, I could have explained that nothing is quite as bad as that, that at the end of what is called "the sexual life" the only love which has lasted is the love that has accepted everything, every disappointment, every failure and every betrayal, which has accepted even the sad fact that in the end there is no desire so deep as the simple desire for companionship.

Those words from Graham Greene’s "May We Borrow Your Husband?" speak to me right now. For years now I have one way or another been blessed with that need being fulfilled. Time fast approaches when this will not be as it was, and accepting that fact is the only way any kind of love or friendship will last. I am infinitely better off, it should be said, than I was at the beginning of the process, and no matter how reduced my circumstances might become I have to remind myself of that. Compared to so many I know, gay and straight, I have had good fortune, and much of my problem is best approached by blaming, if anyone, the guy I see in the mirror.

If blame is relevant. Change is inevitable after all.

Back to The Penguin Book…: so far the ones that stand out in memory are the justly famous "Sally Bowles" by Christopher Isherwood, "The Teacher of American Business English" by James Kirkup (whose knowledge of Japanese culture is very strong), and William Trevor’s "Torridge", recommended by a friend recently–and dynamite in its final pages! E M Forster wrote better things than "Arthur Snatchfield"; the Noel Coward is surprising and interesting in its way; John Cheever’s "Falconer" is a finely crafted piece, as one might expect. There are many more to go.

Sunday, 17 December, 2000

Yum Cha–the last one of the millennium–and James’ birthday. The food at The Golden Harbour was fresh and plentiful. PK (whose handover of the goods collected by the Gifting Tree takes place tonight), the Dowager Empress, James, Sirdan, and myself. A nice break.

Two days of school to go. The HSC results and UAI (University Admissions Index) results come out Monday and Tuesday and I am very interested to hear certain ones 🙂 The hopes, fears and aspirations of some involved in this I have got quite involved in–some I have known now for quite a few years, and others I have known more recently. I was reminded particularly of the events of the past year/months when I got a message from Shanghai Bob, who has been in Melbourne being interviewed for medical school, and saw the current note on R’s ICQ information.

Then the Annual Unemployment, and, a thought I am still facing up to, the inevitable move. Prior to where I am now, the longest I have lived in one place was my place of birth–seven and a half years. I have exceeded that record here in this little apartment in Surry Hills, but it very much looks as if that is over, with only the details and legalities to be arranged. That’s how things stood last time it was discussed anyway. A dream has died too, or rather the dreams of others have long since moved on, and no-one is to blame. Send positive vibes nonetheless please. Christmas I will probably spend with the Dowager Empress.

10 pm: Just back from the Carols Service/ Gifting Tree handover at Taylor Square, the major intersection in Sydney’s gay district. The Gay and Lesbian Choir were great (a colleague up in the back row), Vanessa Wagner (the master/mistress of ceremonies) very witty, the Mayor wonderful, and PK spoke very well. A lovely night. Fireworks at the end, the "Hallelujah Chorus", and quite a crowd of gays, lesbians, and mums, dads and children. It was a night to remember with pleasure.


Earlier I had a bit of a hug and cry with Sirdan which helped no end. 🙂

Monday, December 18, 2000

Thanks for the positive vibes (emailed) SH! Old friends are good. And so are newer ones–another message I got today 🙂 Guess we will talk soon anyway! Hmmm…after the weekend, things have simmered down and change (while necessary and ongoing anyway) is not so immediate in its effects as of tonight, compared with Friday night. They say a week is a long time in politics; seems so in domestic settings sometimes too.

And the HSC was good–well done everyone! The people you may have met through these pages did well — very well in some cases. 50% of those I was working with for ESL got top 10% of state in English! Shanghai Bob hit his target spot-on! One very hard-working person who really improved over the year (only speaking English a short time) did not quite get to his target, but all his other subjects were really good — so I hope he gets into his chosen course anyway. Delenio got what he wanted, I noticed. And R would have to be happy 🙂

The lovely Atakan messaged this from Turkey:

Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire,
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don’t know something
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.


1. Being in Sydney for the Olympic Games. Although I only saw a few things "live" it was just great being in this city at that time. I apologise again to Ian Thorpe for allowing my little infatuation with that Dutchman to divert my support from Ian–and then Ian lost that race!

2. M’s return from overseas–even with the ups and downs since.

3. Yum Cha Sundays–especially one that led to the Chinese Gardens and all that has followed–a truly precious friendship. Thanks especially to the Dowager Empress, who inspired this regular event. Quote: "What’s Cantonese for sixteen screaming queens sitting in the corner?" (Note: We rarely screamed, and quite often there were non-queens present: but always there was at least one Empress.)

4. Doing a few useful things at work, summed up in a card I just received: "If you only know how much your support is valued, if you could still see how grateful I am, then you could feel the warmth of my ‘thanks’. Thank you for being such a great teacher! Your student Xiang. 19. 12. 00." 🙂

5. The fact that the movement for reconciliation between Aboriginal Australians and the rest of us has gathered such momentum that even the Prime Minister has moved forward (a little).

6. Surviving the year more or less in one piece.

7. The success of PK’s "Gifting Tree" which generated much interest and a very satisfying quantity of food for the Luncheon Club Larder, a Sydney HIV/AIDS charity–especially in the context of PK’s own difficulties. He has been a good friend for many years. [Sadly, PK was unable to continue the Gifting Tree in 2001 and 2002.]

8. Making friends on the Internet–especially Johnny Wu (the first one!), Atakan Ali, and various others through ICQ and chat.

9. Starting and developing this website. Thanks to G. who made it possible in the first place, to Mitchell and others for their encouragement, and to the many people all over the world who have visited–especially those who have left comments on my guestbook or by email.

10. The privilege of continuing to live in Surry Hills, thereby breaking my record for being in one place. 🙂

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Posted by on December 16, 2009 in blogging, decade


Pause for a pic


Waterloo NSW. Do visit my photoblogs: Neil’s Sydney photo blog and Neil’s Sydney on Blogspot. Guaranteed rant-free! 🙂

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Posted by on December 16, 2009 in Australia, local, photography