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me-&-scotch-teddy
Originally published at www.catsparks.net. You can comment here or there.

Dad’s been sorting through his drawings and Mum pulled this one out of the pile and gave it to me yesterday. Three-year-old me with a favourite toy, Scotch Teddy, who was pale blue with tartan pants. The expression on Ted’s face as drawn by Dad is exactly as I remember it. As you can see, I haven’t changed a bit.

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Originally published at www.catsparks.net. Please leave any comments there.


8 June 1970 – 5 March 2012

Never forget you, buddy. Love always, CXX

Current Mood:
sad sad
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Originally published at www.catsparks.net. You can comment here or there.


The plastic doll is a Solar Queen – when light strikes the cell on her handbag, she waves. The card at her feet says STOP TALKING, a souvenir from Margaret Atwood’s class.

Anyone who doesn’t know a Moomin when they see one shouldn’t be reading this blog.

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Originally published at www.catsparks.net. Please leave any comments there.

The Germans in the B&B have gone, replaced by Japanese. Across the road a hen and her brood of chickens wanders down the sidewalk. Apparently free roaming chickens are protected here. The rooster who’s been crowing since day one is still hard at it.

The Key West Literary Seminar is held annually at the San Carlos Institute, a large solid establishment on Duval street that looks like a relic from the motherland transplanted. The stage is fringed with red velvet curtains, the curve of a white balcony above my head. Walls proudly displaying glossy photo banners featuring sentimental sepia-tinged images of the motherland: Oriente, Camaguey, Las Villas, La Habana.  Enough spotlights to stage a rock show. Set design I’d describe as steampunk packing crate.  I overheard three women discussing their last trip to Cuba. “I’m not going back until he dies,” said one. I presume she meant Castro, not her husband.

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Originally published at www.catsparks.net. You can comment here or there.


Greetings from the porch of the Duval Gardens B&B, a twee establishment crawling with German tourists. My room contains a quilted 4-poster bed, white wicker furniture and not much else. Wifi but no kettle. I guess you can’t have everything. Believe it or not, I was woken by a rooster crowing this morning! Chickens wander about the streets, despite this being a modern American town.

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Originally published at www.catsparks.net. You can comment here or there.

The alternator on the car blew just as we reached my parent’s place for Christmas lunch. Perfect timing, really. The NRMA sorted the problem by the time we were ready to leave. Hope you all had a stress-free day.

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Originally published at www.catsparks.net. You can comment here or there.

The less said about Patong the better. Just another shitty stretch of road with vendors hassling to sell you all sorts of crap. Overhead electrical wiring even more imaginative than inland. I was bored with it after twenty minutes. Not because I’m kidding myself I’m anything other than farang, but because all such strips are identical the world over in the same way every Hilton lobby is the same. If you don’t want Louis Vuitton knock off handbags, lurid Buddha velvet paintings or crocodile paw purses, live fish pedicures, massage, beer and taxis then what the fuck are you doing in Patong at all? Or Kuta, Cancun or Australia’s Gold Coast? Apparently the place comes alive at night and you can buy a host of other things. We didn’t stick around to find out what.

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I haven't posted anything here for ages. Haven't been reading other blogs much either. The culprit , I believe, is Twitter and it's a problem that warrants some consideration. More raw data might be streaming past my face with Twitter, but am I actually learning as much as I used to learn from reading great slabs of text?

Things are quiet here. I'm beavering away at a couple of writing projects, keeping on top of Cosmos slush, still waiting for news on the novel publication front. Applying for various grants. Getting my new Wordpress site up and running. I won't post a link because it's all over the shop at the moment. I've been scanning old photos and cleaning them up in Photoshop, finding interesting images I never knew I had. Remembering places I'd forgotten I'd been. The quiet, homey sorts of things you do in winter rather than actually leave the house.
Current Mood:
calm calm
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In photography, the selection process is a big part of the art itself. Back in the day, on a roll of 36 frames I'd be lucky if 4 of them turned out to be worth printing. Thousands upon thousands of captured moments never saw the light of an enlarger. But now, in the future, with all the wonders of digital technology I'm slowly working my way through the process of getting old negatives scanned. I expect I'll find a few gems amongst the dross. Here's one, taken at a sci fi convention, possibly in Brisbane. I didn't consider it printworthy at the time but now I really dig it. What do you think?

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In 1995 Pope John Paul II visited Australia. I was working as a political photographer at the time and I was asked to go to Sydney airport and take some photos of the pontiff getting off the plane. I had the foresight to take a milk crate with me, even though my pass gave me access to the press pool where I'd be able to get as good a view as anywhere. So I'm standing on my milk crate waiting for the action to start. The place is swamped with enthusiastic Catholics waving signs and cheering. As I stand, I hear a lone voice atop the rest of the crowd. In a sort of surreal sequence, I turn around and see this guy waving a carved wooden 666 in the air. Nobody is paying any attention to him.
I think now is as good a time as any to share my photograph.
Current Mood:
chipper chipper
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