Visually Spectacular

Work is abuzz at the moment with the new twenty-four hour news channel, ABC News24 which, no doubt, you’ve read about or have seen advertised on television. And all the buzz is happening at my end of the big building. As I go up and down from my office on the second floor to the coffee shop downstairs, I’ve noticed there’s always a handful of people standing around watching as the news team go through their final rehearsals, ahead of next week’s launch.

It’s fascinating to stand and watch for a moment or two, as I’ve had only limited experience in television. My experience is pretty much limited to presenting, albeit briefly, a one minute spot “what’s on” spot which used to run on ABC TV just prior to the seven o’clock news called “Snapshot”. It was in the mid to late 90s, as I recall, and it had only a limited on-air life. It was a bit of a fore-runner to Sydney Weekender in its style and form, though obviously in a much shorter form. My strongest memory of doing the spot were having to record something over and over again once because a truck went past whereas in radio, we loved the sounds of trucks going past. I also remember being in a bar one night when a bloke came up to me and offered to buy me a drink because I was “the guy from the television just before the news”. I’ve still got the tapes somewhere…

As I left work this afternoon the darkening sky caught my attention. It was one of those beautiful clear night’s skies in one direction, and in another there were some amazing cloud patterns. Although many people in Sydney have complained about this winter being too cold, I think we’ve been extremely lucky with generally dry weather and clear skies. There have only been a couple of occasions, such as the other morning when we had the combination of cold, wet, and windy conditions, when I’ve complained. Generally, it’s been clear, rather spectacular winter weather.

I was on my way to grab a quick bite to eat – some pan friend dumplings at my favourite tiny Chinese restaurant in the Burlington Centre ($8 for a plate of 12 is such good value) – before heading of the 4A Gallery, the contemporary Asian art space opposite the Capitol Theatre.

My friend Kate and I have obviously become well known faces there. Well, Kate more than me, as I’m her “handbag” at most of the opening nights we’ve been there. “Catherine’s not with you?’, a woman I’ve met previously asked me. I told her Kate was in Beijing at the moment, but that I’d be visiting her in September.

The most visually stunning work they had tonight was in the main gallery space downstairs. It’s a stainless steel jeep which is bound to attract attention from passersby. A lot of people were stopping to look in the window, and many were inspired to go inside to take a closer look and to take a photograph. The main exhibition this time features a lot of video. There’s a piece featuring someone boxing with a cactus that hangs from the ceiling like a boxing bag, there’s a rather intriguing pieces which sees a city skyline transformed into a stage with lush red curtains, and there’s a rather disturbing piece called “The Flight”. I was most impressed, however, with the work of Shen Shaomin. In particular, there’s a work made out of an old piece of carpet which is folded and weaved into something completely new, and some wonderful “weaved mats” made from old newspapers. Amusingly, given the current fracas involving Hawke and Keating, the newspapers appear to date from when Keating was Prime Minister. Although I didn’t stay long, I enjoyed the exhibition very much. I’d highly recommend taking a loook.

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