Life Right Now

Some of the best views to be found in Sydney are at train stations.

View from the station at Circular Quay in Sydney.
View from Milson’s Point Station, Sydney

I’d forgotten how wonderful it is to cross the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and to get on and off at Milson’s Point Station. There’s a terrific restaurant located underneath the Sydney Harbour Bridge called, La Capannina.

About once a year a former colleague and I, and some others catch up there for lunch. Over some excellent food and wine, lunch tends to start around 12.30pm, and will often go through until 5.00pm (or later). The owner and staff are wonderful, and if you’re ever looking for a nice place to have lunch, I’d highly recommend it.

The view from La Capannina Restaurant in Milsons Point, Sydney.
The view from La Capannina Restaurant in Milsons Point, Sydney.

I’ve had a few catch-ups for lunch and dinner lately. In the last couple of weeks, the weather has changed. It’s much warmer, and it has prompted a lot of outdoor dining. Aside from a few restrictions, life seems to have returned to “normal” in Sydney, with restaurants often fully packed.

“Do you think this is COVID-safe?, a friend said over dinner at a local restaurant last night. The consensus was that it probably wasn’t, but no one seemed to mind, even though a number of the group were in their 60s and 70s, and therefore at risk.

“I hope we don’t all go crazy over the next few months”, I told the group, adding that I’d been told by a fairly reliable source, the Australian Government is expecting a “third wave” of the pandemic in March. “It’ll be much worse than what we’ve had so far”, I was told.

In contrast, the cinemas remain fairly empty, though I wonder how much this has to do with COVID, and how much this has to do with cinema generally. I’ve been to the movies a few times lately, and I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen.

When I first heard about the Australian movie, “Rams” I was slightly apprehensive. I’d seen the original Icelandic film a few years ago, and I loved it very much. Even now, a few years later, I remember going to see it at the cinema and being blown away. As I wrote at the time.

The film is set in a small farming community in Iceland, and focuses on the relationship of two estranged brothers, Gummi and Kiddi who live side by side, tending their individual sheep, but who haven’t spoken in decades.

However, they’re forced to interact when a rare sheep disease is discovered, meaning the entire sheep population of the area has to be destroyed. For everyone in the area, there’s a direct economic impact. For these two brothers, there’s a strong emotional element, too, due to their joint history wrapped up in the blood-stock.

The premise for the Australian film is the same, except (obviously) the landscape differs. There’s also a lot of uniquely Australian humour.

In the end credits, I noted the creators of the Icelandic film were listed as Executive Producers of the Australian film. Hopefully they were happy with the translation to English and to Australia?

I enjoyed the film very much. The story was very believable. And even though it was Icelandic in its origin, the characters in this film were also very Australian. Sam Neill and Michael Caton were very good in the lead roles, and were supported with a strong ensemble.

The other film I went to see yesterday, “Steelers”, was about a gay rugby union club participating in the Bingham Cup. The documentary tells the back story of a number of players and their coach.

The back stories are interesting, and the narrative of the film tells the story of how their involvement in the club affirmed their lives.

5 responses to “Life Right Now”

  1. Rod McAdam Avatar
    Rod McAdam

    Hello James,
    Have to agree with you about the view from Circular Quay station. It always takes my breath away whenever I’m on the train and it pulls into the station. The sparkling water, the bridge, opera house and sometimes one of those huge cruise ships, although it might be some time before one of those visits the harbour again. Circular Quay is always the last place I linger before catching the flight back to Geelong. I hope to visit again soon.

    Cinemas have reopened in Victoria with a maximum of 20 patrons per screening. I haven’t been to the movies since March. I’m a bit hesitant about going again but there isn’t a lot on that interests me at the moment. Rams sounds good and I always enjoy Sam Neill. Not sure about Steelers. The GLBTI+ angle interests me but not the rugby. That leaves me cold. There is a ‘gay’ film screening in Geelong at the moment. Monsoon, have you heard of it? From the UK about a British Vietnamese man who returns to Vietnam for the first time after fleeing as a child during the war. Has Henry Golding in it. He was in Crazy Rich Asians. It sounds OK so I might see that. I enjoy watching some of the GLBTI+ films on SBS OnDemand.

    Hope you are well.

    1. James O'Brien Avatar

      I’m booked to see Monsoon tomorrow.

      1. Rod McAdam Avatar
        Rod McAdam

        I hope you enjoyed it James. I’ve not been to see it as yet, although I did take myself along to see Rams on Tuesday morning on your recommendation. I thought it was very good. I went at that time because I was having my car serviced and it was a way to fill the time. I haven’t been to the movies during the middle of the day for years and years. I usually prefer to go in the evening because there are other things to do in the daylight hours. How strange it was to walk out into the sunshine instead of darkness. There were only seven others at the screening. I had time afterwards for a tasty light lunch at a cafe in town before collecting the car.
        Enjoy your week.

        1. James O'Brien Avatar

          Glad you enjoyed it. I can recommend Monsoon also. I was the only one in the cinema for that.

  2. James O'Brien Avatar

    Hi Rod, yes I have heard about Monsoon. I think it screened a few weeks ago, but never quite got around to it. Thanks for the reminder!! And yeah, I know what you mean about the rugby part of Steelers. Nonetheless I’d still recommend it. It must be so good to have the borders lifted, and life begin to return to normal. I have colleagues in Melbourne who I speak to on video conferences several times a week, and the stress on their faces has been all too obvious. So glad the pain has been worth it. Cheers, James

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