Friday Afternoon at Coogee

So it’s Friday afternoon, you’re sitting at home in a t-shirt and shorts, and a friend texts you to say “I need a drink”. A tough week at work, apparently. So you agree to meet for a bite to eat, and can’t decide where to go. “Let’s go to the beach somewhere”, we decided, agreeing quickly on Coogee. “Of all the Eastern suburbs beaches, it’s my favourite, I declared”. “Besides the people on the 372 bus are much nicer than those on the 393 or the 395″, I added. “They stand up for old people, they don’t think their shopping bag is entitled to a paying seat of its own, and they don’t ignore you because they’re so engrossed in their mobile phone”, I said. Ten minutes later we were at Coogee and exploring the options. Quickly we settled on fish and chips at the outdoor cafe near where the buses stop. The food was good, though not great. Later, a walk along the beach, and we both concluded that “oh so necessary drink” wasn’t needed after all. Ice cream, on the other hand :)

Worth the wait: Chinatown Noodle Restaurant on Quay Street

For many years I’ve been a fan of the two dumpling/noodle restaurants in the Burlington Centre in Sydney’s Chinatown. There’s the “popular one” (the one on the left) which always has a queue, and there’s the “less popular one” (on the right) where you can usually get a table fairly quickly. Both sell reasonably cheap, good quality dumplings and noodles. There are countless other restaurants and cafes in Chinatown where you can purchase steamed or pan-fried dumplings, in both Northern and Southern Chinese styles, but these two seem to be the most popular in the part of Chinatown close to where I work.

But even closer, around the corner, there’s far better offering in my opinion at the Chinatown Noodle House on Quay Street. Unlike many other restaurants who pre-prepare and often freeze their noodles and dumplings, these guys appear to make them for you “on demand”. You have to wait a bit longer, but they’re definitely worth the wait. They also have a really fantastic eggplant dish. Highly recommended.

Actions for Tomorrow from Yangjiang Group at 4A

“You always have great exhibitions, but this is the best in a good while”, I told Aaron Seeto, the curator at Sydney’s 4A Gallery. Their current exhibition, “Actions for Tomorrow” is the first solo exhibition in Australia of Yangjiang Group and it’s fantastic.

At the heart of the exhibition is the work of three artists, each with their own speciality who work collaboratively. My own personal favourite is the artist who works with wax, dripping wax over clothing. As you enter the gallery’s ground floor, it’s almost as if you’re entering a clothing store. The surprise is the clothing is covered in candle wax. Here are some photographs from today’s exhibition launch.

Sydney Summer

For the last few days I’ve been needing an “excuse” to try out my new camera. For the first couple of days the sky has been a little grey. But even then, as the weather improved, and with good intentions, I was waylaid on another by colleagues to have a drink at a funky inner city bar. But today I was determined, and so sharing with you a couple of photographs taken at what’s probably one of the most photographed spots in the world: Bennelong Point.

A beautiful day for a walk around the harbour, and pretty happy with the new camera: Nikon AW1.


Imagine, if you would, half a dozen people aged from 25 to 70 all seated around a couple of tables at an inner-city bar in Sydney. On the tables in front of us were a couple of packs of dominoes. Without hesitation, under the influence of a couple of happy hour priced beers, the packets were opened and the dominoes were being distributed. Very suddenly, however, we all realised it was so long since any of us had played the game none of us could really remember the rules. We stumbled along as best we could and played by our own rules.

In the group of people I work most closely with, we don’t often go out for drinks after work. The “drinking culture” of the media seems to have “softened”, as people have partnered off, gained children and so on. In the midst of that change, it was really lovely to catch up with some colleagues, including some I haven’t really seen that much of lately, and to play, somewhat badly, a game of dominoes as we chatted.

Spice I Am for Lunch

“This is the best Larb I’ve ever had in my life”, a colleague said straight-faced as we sat and enjoyed lunch at Spice I Am today.

It was one of the rare occasions (sadly) where we made it out of the office together for lunch, and we ended up at Spice I am because the other place we had planned to visit was actually closed. I’ve been to Spice I Am on quite a few occasions before this, and so recommended it as a “second choice” being just around the corner from where we planned.

I had a pork dish, and as you can see, another colleague had a rather delicious prawn dish. “The prawns are very fresh”, she told us.

Every other time I’ve been to Spice I Am we’ve always had to wait in a queue. But being lunchtime instead of dinner, the restaurant was reasonably empty. Popular still, but not bursting at the seams, and so we ended up with a nice table. The service was friendly, but the meals came out slightly delayed. We COULD have shared, but were more interest in having our own individual meals today. Overall, a good experience.

Concerned Citizen of Newtown

Earlier today I wrote a letter to my local member of the NSW Parliament, the Member for Sydney, Alex Greenwich, telling him…

Hi Alex
I just want to put on the record my concerns about the boundaries for the new seat of Newtown, which I discovered this week I’ll be voting in at the forthcoming election.

I was overseas for a number of months in 2013 during the consultation period, and so missed an opportunity to raise my concerns. Until I received the letter from the SEC I wasn’t even aware the changes had been proposed and gazetted.

The rationale for the boundaries for the new seat are confusing. I’m now part of a seat which contains suburbs I have absolutely no connection with such as Petersham and I’m now disconnected with suburbs like Moore Park, and Darlinghurst which are within walking distance, and which I think represent a more natural community of interest. Those who drew the boundaries seem to have used rather blunt tools to accommodate the need for a new seat to reflect the growing inner city population.

Anyway, it’s done, and I’m sad, because I’ll be losing you as a local member, and even though I’m sure we’ll end up with a fabulous new member (Greens, ALP likely), I suspect they’ll have a tough job trying to represent the views of quite different suburbs with few natural connections to each other.

A few hours later, I received this reply

Dear James

Alex has asked me to respond to your message about the boundary changes. Thanks for your comment about losing him as your MP – sadly there are lot of people in Alex’s network who soon won’t be his constituents.

Alex opposed the division of Surry Hills into two electorates and made submissions to the Boundaries Commission about their proposal.

Unfortunately inner city population growth continues to mean that the central city electorates will have to keep being made smaller.

We hope that there is a strong and progressive MP for the Newtown electorate after 28 March. Please make sure that your voice is heard in the process and you keep whoever it is accountable over the next four years.

Roy Bishop JP
Electorate Officer for Alex Greenwich MP

I should declare I quite like Alex. Followed on from Clover Moore. Independent. Openly gay. He sent me a hand-written Christmas card this year. Yaddah yaddah.

Irrespective of that, I’m somewhat dumbfounded I’ve ended up in this new electorate which Antony Green descibes as “very higgledy-piggledy” and which is notionally Green.


Concerned Citizen of Newtown