Monday, April 4, 2016


Tony Windsor and David Marr

Sunday began at The Playhouse with Tony Windsor and David Marr. What a great way to start the day with a packed audience eager to here from the gentleman of politics.

Tony was everything you expected him to be, kind, considerate, honest, forthright and also funny. David Marr was perfect and affable, quick witted and intelligent. What a pair. So much information flew back and forth it is difficult to remember it all, suffice to say Tony had everyone eating out of the palm of his hand. He spoke about many politicians and always with considered kindness, but the one he spoke of with the most fondness with Julia Gillard, which was heartening to know. He thought she the most calm politician he has ever come across and that she was also genuinely friendly.

He felt people like Abbott and Turnbull were more interested in being PM than actually why they were there and what they wanted to do, which is not a good thing. 

Climate change is the reason he is back. He feels his constituents deserve better and he is hopeful he can assist them and the country.

We lined up to get our books signed after the session, and he was kind and took time with everyone to say hello and chat. What a sheer pleasure and how nice is it to know there are politicians with integrity out there.

We'll Always Have Paris

This was a delightful session with writers, Jean Kent, Patti Miller, and Marion Halligan and hosted by Caroline Baum.

All the writers have lived in and written about Paris so they had many wonderful tales to tell. Caroline is half Parisian and also knew they city well. They spoke about many things such as homelessness, food, tourism, and the whole appeal of the city.

They spoke about the fact that most people arrive in Paris with a preconceived notion of the city, from film, books, posters, history. It is the one city that you feel you can know and love without ever having visited. I know I felt that way before I visited Paris. They spoke about how even so, the city will still exceed expectations, which is so very true.

Some who have been going there for years have noticed a change in the city with tourism, others not so much. They spoke about the little villages within the arrondissements, their love of the chemists that are everywhere (this is true, you cannot walk a few block without seeing the neon green cross that marks a chemist in Paris).

They spoke about living in small apartments as part of writers workshops, and making the apartments their own, finding the perfect Boulangeries in their area, or the right food at the supermarket or market. Patti told a lovely story of how she joined a choir in Paris, despite not knowing much French or even being able to sing that well.

The whole session was a delight that took me back to my time in Paris, which is always a great thing.

The Story of a Painting: Nigel Milsom and Charles Waterstreet

After catching up with friends for lunch I headed to the Art Gallery for this sold out event. There was much anticipation in the room as the guest sat down.

After some hilarious back and forth, Nigel told the shocking story of how the painting almost missed being entered in the competition. He had finished it the night before entry and had laid it down to lacquer it and leave it overnight. But woke to the sound of dripping in his shed and the rain had entered a leak in the roof and there was the portrait with a large puddle of water in the middle.

His initial response was that is that, his chance was gone, but he knew he would disappoint Charlie, so he wiped it off, got out his hair dryer, and re-laquered it. The truck picked it up later that afternoon and it arrived at the NSW Art Gallery with 2 minutes to spare!

Charles obviously didn't know this story and was shocked to hear it, but pleased it turned out ok.

The dynamics between the two very good friends was obvious, a deep mutual love in the very best of a bromance. Their story of intertwine goes back to their childhoods with Nigel's Dad catching fish for Charles' Dad's pub. Nigel is very quiet and introspective while Charles is uniquely out there, loud and a huge ego that even he will attest to.

Nigel said Charles was an unusual creature, why wouldn't you want to paint him, but we all knew it went deeper than that. Charles said it was an honour at all times to represent Nigel, who had had a terrible run with the justice system and it was a gift and his duty to see Nigel through.

Nigel spoke about how he has to paint, painting is his holiday, he shocked almost everyone when he said he wasn't entering the Archibald this year. 

Nigel also spoke about why the hands were so distinctive on the painting, because he used them in court, throwing things around and such.

Charles was over the top and wild, whilst Nigel was softly spoken and quietish, yet they were like the perfect duo. It was an extreme pleasure to be in the company.

The best examples of their personalities and friendship came after the painting won the Archibald and Charles suggested they run off a few hundred lithographs and charge heaps. Nigel's response of horror was that he was not Ken Done!


Making Your Writing Pop

This was the final session of the day with Jessie Ansons, Maree Gallop, Anna Lundmark, and Diana Threlfo. The form part of a writing group who meet fortnightly to help each other with their work.

They had many great ideas from what not to do, to tips and tricks. They approached the session with a lovely mix of humour and discipline!

And it left us all keen to get home and start writing from all the inspiration we had taken in all weekend.

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