All Is Quiet

Normally on NYE there would be two or three parties in my apartment block (of 32). But last night, as we’re in COVID-lockdown in Sydney, there was barely a peak from my neighbours. The only neighbourly noise I heard was from a group of people walking down the street at about 1.00am. They were on their way home.

Going home at 1.00am? Gosh, I remember going out with friends on NYE and arrving home on January 3rd. I was much younger then. These days I much prefer going to bed early. As I listened to ABC Radio (my job) and ABC TV’s coverage of NYE, I struggled to keep my eyes open. (That’s no reflection on the content, just that I was a little tired).

Even today, in the city, there weren’t many people around. I had to go into town to buy a replacement kettle. As I wandered around, I saw small groups of young people, but mostly it was fairly quiet. Even Oxford Street, which would normally be “party central” on New Year’s Day was quiet.

George Street, Sydney

I called in to my local pub, and spoke to the security guard. He’s a big boofy guy from the Pacific Islands who works hard (in a couple of jobs) to support his extended family. “I was in bed by 10.30”, he told me.

I spent a fair bit of the day asleep. It’s been raining on and off, and so the desire to stay in bed has been strong. In between I’ve been watching a few things on Youtube. In particular, I quite like languge podcasts.

“The Swedish Lad” (Martin) has a terrific piece about the new words officially recognised in Sweden this year. Though it’s mostly in Swedish, you’ll be able to follow it, as many of the words are definitely “of the times” and sound like the English language equivalent. It’s worth turning on the subtitles (CC), as you’ll also see descriptions of the words in English. Some of these are words or phrases I’ve never heard before in English. I sent the video to my Swedish teacher, as I thought she might enjoy it. Heaven knows what she’ll think of “kemsex”.
The other language podcast I regularly watch comes from a Canadian bloke who has hundreds of videos about languages. Normally, I really enjoy his work, but was a little disappointed with this one. It’s about 3 or 4 minutes before he acknowledges there was a history of Australia prior to 1788, and even then it’s a very brief mention of some of the MANY words from Indigenous languages that have been absorbed into Australian English. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of words where that’s happened, and I thought it would have been a more interesting path to pursue than to repeating 1950s/1960s cliches about “Barbies” “Chrissy” and “Arvos”.

And then the other thing I’ve been watching today is “I, Claudius”, the classic BBC drama from the 1970s/1980s. I fondly remember watching it during my high school years, and I remember reading the books by Robert Graves.

Although it’s forty years old, it stands up remarkably well. It’s very “theatrical” in style, in the sense it could have been a recording of a stage play, but the script and acting are very good.

The entire series is on Youtube.

Author: James O'Brien

Born / Currently : Lismore / Widjabul Wia-Bal - Bundjalung Live : Sydney / Gadigal - Eora Also : Brisbane, Bourke, Renmark, Wagga, Perth Pronouns : He/him/his.

2 thoughts

  1. I remember I Claudius as being written in an older language as I Clavdius, and that is how we used to pronounce when it was being shown. It was excellent and I am not surprised it has held up well.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.