View from the First Floor

My electricity bill tells me I probably used my heater far too much this year. Though we enjoy fairly mild winters in Sydney, there’s usually two or three weeks where it gets quite chilly, and there’s fairly regular rain. I’m trying to do my bit for the environment by reducing my carbon imprint by wearing warmer clothes rather than sitting around the house in summer clothing and relying on the heater. This year, the electricity bill is a fair deal higher than last year, largely reflecting the fact I’ve been working from home since March, and my heater use.

The view from my apartment window in August.
The view from my apartment window only a few minutes ago.
Here in Surry Hils, the local economy remains depressed due to the pandemic. I think there’s also the factor of a changing economy, as we transition (outside of the pandemic) from regular shops to online purchases and centralisation.

It’s been a cold and wet weekend in Sydney. For the first time in a couple of weeks I’m wearing a pullover. A perfect weekend for indoor activities.

Catching up with friends yesterday at a nearby pub.

I’ve also caught up for lunch with some former and current colleagues.

One of the really great things of the last week has been catching up with workmates for the AWEI (Australian Workplace Equality Index) Awards for LGBTQI inclusion. We hadn’t seen each other for several months, and so it was great to catch-up, and to get dressed up. And have a drink or three afterwards.

And I’ve been to the movies a couple of times in the last week or so.

“Aren’t you worried about catching COVID-19?”, a number of people have asked, when I’ve mentined going to the cinema. “No, I’m often the only person in the room”, I’ve explained.

Though many people like going to the movies in the evenings, I’m more of a fan of screenings in the morning. Over the last year, as I’ve taken Wednesdays as rec leave, I’ve often gone to screenings at about 10am. Even on the weekends, it’s my preferred time.

Maybe it’s a throw back to Saturday mornings “at the pictures” at the Start Court Arcade in Lismore. At the risk of sounding like someone who is much older, I remember when you could go to a Saturday screening for as little as 20c (later 50c, and even later $1.20).

More likely, I really like the concentration headspace you have in the mornings, whereas in the afternoons or in the evenings, I can sometimes nod off. In the mornings, my brain (at least) is more engaged.

And that was certainly the case last Saturday when I went to see “I Am Greta”, the story of Greta Thunberg, the young woman from Sweden famous for her climate strikes. Amongst friends and family, I’ve been surpised to discover she’s been a polarising figure. Even though I have friends and family who are climate skeptics, it’s not only those who are “Greta Skeptics”.

“I know I shouldn’t say this, but she shits me”, a friend who feels passionately in favour of doing more about climate change told me. “There’s so many other young people doing their bit”, she told me when we caught up in the last couple of weeks. “In the film she acknowledges that”, I told her, adding there’s a moment when Greta reflects that she’s probably invited to speak “so people can be seen to be doing the right thing” (or words to that effect).

The film is a really interesting one. It starts with her first climate strike outside the Swedish parliament, and ends with her speech to the United Nations. The early footage of her in Sweden is fascinating to watch. Along the way, you see her experiences of going from that small-scale experience to achieving a much greater global impact.

Despite this global recognition, you also see that she’s a teenage girl who loves her dogs, and who is influenced by her family. You never get the sense she’s a mouthpiece for her parents. In fact, there are many moments where you see her parents seeking to moderate her, as other parents might. “Greta, you have to eat”, her father says to her at one point. By the way, he’s a rather famous Swedish actor, and her mother is a famous Swedish opera singer (who also represented Sweden at Eurovison). In the film, however, they’re just mum and dad.

The other film I’ve seen in the last couple of weeks was “Corpus Christi”. It’s a Polish film based on the true story of a young man with criminal convictions who wants to become a Catholic priest. Though his background would prevent him from doing that, circumstances allow it to occur. In a small community, he becomes an important figure allowing the community to begin the process of healing, following the tragic death of a number of people in a car crash.

“This is one of the best films I’ve seen in the last couple of years”, I said to my friend as we left the movie. She agreed heartily. The combination of the story, the acting, the emotion and the humour made it it highly enjoyable. “I wanted to go to the bathroom half way through”, I joked, “but I just couldn’t leave the cinema”. There’s one moment of extreme violence where we both had to look away, but aside from that, we both loved this film. I’d highly recommend it.