Category Archives: Writing

The Boy Who Never Turned Up

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I wrote and drew ‘The Boy Who Never Turned Up’ last year.

It’s a short comic story exploring childhood imagination, school days and myth-making. It’s available to read on Issuu.

Publication in LiteLitOne

I’m  pleased to hear that I have a poem published in issue 4 of the journal LiteLitOne.
‘Different Lingo’ appears alongside an excellent selection of poetry and fiction writing.

You can find Issue 4 of LiteLitOne here. https://www.litelitone.com/issue-4

Final Poem ‘Blinded’

My submission to the call for final poems by  Enclave at Entropy Mag is up at the following link:

#finalpoem from Robert W. Monk

‘Blinded’ is a response to: “If the world were to end next week, what is the final poem you write, the final poem you give away generously, treacherously, genuinely, fearfully, necessarily, beautifully?”

 

 

 

Attic Attack

The dust of ages lies spread about over diaries of another life, muddled exercise books and dog-eared photo albums. I feel a chill from the storm brewing up outside as I unpack memories while re-boxing keep-sakes. This place is loftier than my present mind, which stays at ground-level; content to create non-physical reminders of relative prosperity. I put away the tired broom and put on my coat.

Old Father Time

“Old Father Time is what they called him. I know… well, ‘cos he was a watchmaker and a clock mechanic and had lived and worked in his repair shop for nigh on thirty years. And he definitely looked the part, silvery grey hair falling wild all over his head. Sometimes he’d cover them up with a wide-brimmed hat. A tidily drawn beard had been etched onto his face for as long as anyone could remember. The overall impression he gave off was one of quiet authority and patient calm. Underneath that peaceful exterior however, not all was so tranquil…”

Creative updates…

…Hallo Hallo…

I realise I’ve left this blog somewhat lonely for a time. Anyway without further ado (is it ever with further ado? Perhaps there are times when a further ado is precisely what is required…) here is an update of my various activities.

I have been writing more over the last year or so. More poetry/lyrics/songs etc. Some of this output has found its way into the lyrics and vocal recordings as part of my work with the electronic collaborations Echo Rescue and Points of Convergence. More material to come from both projects, including video work as soon as I work out how to use my iPhone properly…

Apart from that I am writing short stories.

I have also been trying my hand at some extra (extra as in background extra for film and TV, not just additional) work. As a way to earn a little extra cash and explore parts of Sydney I wouldn’t normally visit, being part of a ‘background’ cast is good fun. I have done a few small/student works to try out a bit of actual acting as well, and hope to do some more.

So, that’s what I’ve been doing. Back to work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Happy Prince – Oscar Wilde’s last days…

My review of The Happy Prince – a dramatisation of Oscar Wilde’s last few years from Rupert Everett is at Filmink and below. . .

Rupert Everett takes centre stage in a role he was born to play, in this lustrous dramatisation of the last days of Oscar Wilde. Everett scripted and stars in his directorial debut, and clearly has much invested in it. He’s certainly had preparation for the role, having played the poet and playwright in the 2012 British play, The Judas Kiss. Happily for him, and the audience, The Happy Prince doesn’t disappoint.

The film focuses on Wilde’s exiled life in France and Italy after serving a prison term for ‘gross indecency’; a charge brought about by the Marquess of Queensberry, the father of Wilde’s paramour Lord Alfred ‘Bosie’ Douglas (Colin Morgan). Wilde never fully recovered from his time in prison, either physically or emotionally; his poem The Ballad of Reading Gaol, written after his release, calls attention to the grim sights witnessed and heard of, while incarcerated.

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Capturing a dream-like state of memories and regrets, the film begins with the words of the titular Happy Prince, a fable Wilde wrote for children, and in Everett’s film displays the contradictions and unjustness of late 19th Century European life.

Wilde reads from the tale to his two young sons, later kept apart from him by estranged wife Constance (played with a sorrowful, almost ghostly, distance by Emily Watson), and we see a hazy and melancholy vision of London’s street life. The line, “there is no mystery so great as suffering”, serves as an introduction to both the film and the creator’s tormented state of mind.

Wilde, using the alias Sebastian Melmoth, taken from the lead character of Melmoth the Wanderer, a novel by his great-uncle Charles Maturin, wanders through a squalid hand-to-mouth, or drink and drugs to mouth, existence in Paris and Naples. Everett brilliantly displays the pain that Wilde suffered, with constantly animated features shifting from radiant smile to anguished grimace.

The pain is only added to by the mysteries of love. Still besotted with Bosie, despite his dependence on the father who betrayed him to the prehistoric laws of Victorian England, the two spend time together in Naples. It all ends abruptly when Bosie’s family, as well as Constance, who had been sending Wilde a little money, threaten to stop the allowance if the relationship continues.

At the crux of the film is the trio of Wilde, Bosie, and Robert Ross (Edwin Thomas), a friend and lover, and later the agent who cared for Wilde’s literary estate. The jealousies and rivalries between the dashing, vain and ultimately unforgiving Bosie and the loyal and kind Ross are dramatically brought out, particularly at a chaotic dinner drinks meeting between the three in France.

An imagining of Wilde’s dying dreams are the real point of reference at work; the film is literally an account of his last three years, so the events that are factually accurate are entwined with the personal moods and feelings that he may have thought of on his death bed in Paris. This darkly romantic vision is a world away from the entertaining storyteller of a thousand legends, but it is one that it is inextricably linked. Everett does justice to both man and story.

 

Woman at War review

The fantastic Icelandic film Woman at War is over at Filmink and below. . .

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A joyous and warm-hearted comedy drama taking on essential contemporary issues such as ecological activism, modern motherhood and community identities, Woman at War is a captivating examination of a bruised world in need of repair. Somehow managing to find optimism and positivity in a script focusing on climate change and societal chaos, the film has a fairy tale like quality about it; an effect only enhanced by a Nordic absurdity and surreal camera play.

Halla (Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir), a woman in her forties, has declared war on the aluminium industry at work near her home town. An eco-warrior hell-bent on shutting down power supplies, she employs military style tactics and a steely determination. Putting everything at risk to curtail the damage being done to her Icelandic homeland and the world at large, she wages a one woman war to put a stop to the unrestricted threat of big business and manufacturing.

Halla’s endeavours lead to her fellow townsfolk wondering just who is behind the shocking power outages. Known only by her alias of ‘The Woman of the Mountain’, she goes from stealthy saboteur moves by night, to teaching local choir classes by day. Her cover is complete, and no one suspects a thing.

Aided by remote farmer Sveinbjörn (Jóhann Sigurðarson) – who may or may not be her cousin – she takes to the remote country, watching out for drones, helicopters and all the powers of the state as they focus their attention on what they believe to be an overseas terrorist threat.

But just as she is about to launch her biggest operation yet, a surprise letter arrives informing her that her four-year-old application to adopt an impoverished child has been successful.

Effectively forcing her to choose between her fight against unfettered capitalism and a lost little girl in need, Halla must show all of her courage to conquer a crisis on all fronts. She also needs to win the trust of her twin sister Asa, a yoga instructor (also played by Geirharðsdóttir) with her sights set on a meditative retreat in India.

Featuring a superb lead performance from Geirharðsdóttir, Woman at War is a startlingly original piece, mixing up Icelandic humour and weirdness with grave dilemmas currently being faced all over the world.

Erlingsson creates an attractive picture cinematically, showcasing the striking sights of Iceland’s countryside in a fashion that certainly won’t do their tourism industry any harm. He also decides on using a whimsical take for the film’s score by bringing the brass band and trio of traditional singers onto the screen, occasionally sharing a knowing glance or nod with Halla as she goes about her own personal business of saving the world. A strange and beautiful film, this is an Icelandic delight to savour.

 

Feral(2018)Review – Sarasota Film Festival

My review of the haunting micro-budget indie Feral is over at FM and below…

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An eye-opening study of a side of New York rarely shown on screen, Andrew Wonder’s Feral is a haunting story that forces a confrontation with the realities of homelessness.

With a subterranean, underworld setting echoing themes in films as diverse as  feature documentary Dark Days (2o00) and recent Jordan Peele hit Us (2019),  Feral is an examination of stark loneliness and the masks everyone wears to deal with reality. Bringing a focused gaze towards the dangers homeless people face every day, the film is at once unsettling and impossible to ignore.

These dangers are not limited to being out on the streets. Serious problems in the entire infrastructure of aiming to help homeless people are addressed with a fixed eye. The additional abuse problems that homeless women contend with – even when off the street – are displayed too. Whether as part of government bodies or religious charitable organisations, for homeless women there are always sexual predators looking to take advantage of the most vulnerable.

The film tells the story of Yazmine (powerfully played by Annapurna Sriram), a young woman living in the vast network of tunnels underneath Manhattan. Left on her own from the age of 16, following her mother’s deportation, Yazmine exists from day to day. Navigating her way through the underground tunnels of Manhattan, she emerges to attempt to find food and sustenance wherever and however she can.

The film never backs away from the harsh truths of what surviving on the streets means. For Yazmine, it sometimes involves picking up guys in order to get away from the freezing New York winter nights. A complex and moving scene shows her meeting up with a sensitive musician (Kevin Hoffman), and enjoying a drunkenly romantic evening as young New Yorkers. However, the great distance between their two internal worlds can’t be bridged.

Other encounters show how the kindness of strangers can be misguided. This is the case with the elderly lady who invites Yazmine into her home and offers her food and drink and talks to her about her past in the city. The two dance together in a beautifully realised capturing of movement and feeling. The outcome of the lady’s best intentions is far less uplifting.

Ultimately Yazmine’s journey is a mysterious and lonely one. She is able to don different guises and play various roles as a key to survival; we are left with the impression that after performing for so long, surviving is the defining  factor in who she is. It’s an incredible showcase for Annapurna Sriram, an actor bound to gain a lot of attention from this role.

Feral covers a complicated and serious issue. It’s clear that with a strong creative vision and a talented cast,  films on a micro-budget can make a memorable impression.

 

At War (En Guerre)

Playing as part of the French Film Festival here in Australia, At War (En Guerre) is reviewed by moi over at Filmink.

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