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Inner bastard

My mind, that inner bastard, is never satisfied. During periods of low productivity, it rages, hypercritical. Yet when I labor solidly, and words blossom, that internal ingrate lashes me: “why do you slave away, why can’t you be contented, why not relax like everyone else?”

An old man stumbling

Who is that bent figure lurching along a path? It’s me and I’m doing a Parkrun, only 5 kilometers, and I’ve slowed down to a shuffle and even so I end up halting and walk-running to the end at an overall pace that shames me. That was a fortnight ago. All my running goals for Darwin, vague as they were, have floundered. I thought being away from pandemic and home hassles would let me move, over a…

Commuting in the build-up

Do you thrive on routine like I do? Nearing the end of our time in Darwin, I reflect on the commute of my workdays (which is almost every day). By the time I leave, I’ll have travelled over fifty times to Lucky Bat Cafe and back home by bike, a short but hot six-kilometers on a mixture of bike paths and roads. I always need an hour for the sweat to dry up. Anyone who has lived in Darwin’s build…

All fine but…

Working well in Coronavirus-free Darwin. Levels of anxiety linger. What will Melbourne, hopefully also almost clean, be like in a fortnight’s time? What about the rest of the world, reeling from unfurling virus penetration? Existential anxiety seems rife globally.

Pretending to be in New York

Many’s the year I’ve thought of flying to New York just to attend the annual New Yorker Festival, that hotbed of intelligent discussion. But of course I never have. This year, I’ve bought a very reasonably priced season ticket to the first virtual New Yorker Festival. It runs from October 5 to 11, with the ability to catch up with recorded sessions until October 13. The program is brilliant. Some…

Working … Covid-normal

it’s only when you end up in a city that has been spared the Coronavirus, a sanctuary without masks, that you appreciate how this Covid-19 pandemic is affecting us. How many places in the world are there where a modern city has locked itself away from the world and emerged unscathed? The Northern Territory, with 33 cases and zero deaths, is an oasis. Outside its borders, the globe remains gripped…

Rain and a swim

Day 9 at Howard Springs. The Prime Minister talked about the place the day before, it seems returning Australians from overseas might be mass-quarantined here in the 2,000 rooms left of the 3,000. For the first time it rained overnight and our “street” momentarily lost its internment camp look. And in the afternoon, fifteen from our block were permitted to walk, single file, to the large swimming…

Quarantine sunset

Sunset in Darwin is nothing like sunset in Melbourne. Sunset here blooms bolder, higher, starker. Somehow more elemental. I’m still not rising as early as I’d like but today, after a sapping jog (88% humidity) and grandchildren interactions, I’ve sat at desk conscientiously enough. But for some reason the world is serving up slabs of existentially upsetting news and I’m compelled to read and…

11 days inside a 600-meter perimeter

Melbourne remains locked down and there’s little chance of us escaping our five-kilometer radius before the end of October, so we’ve decamped to Darwin. The Northern Territory must be a state/province unrivalled globally in terms of shuttering and escaping the pandemic, and it has a simple, smart system for welcoming (or not, depending on your viewpoint) visitors. From the airport, you’re bussed…

7 in 7 weeks: The catch-up challenge

Our Melbourne pandemic lockdown will continue through September, and then in a relaxed form through October, so I’m looking for a few hardy souls to help me tackle my cultural catch-up from 2019. Four books and three films that I should have read or watched, but for various reasons didn’t. We’re talking about award winners, we’re talking accolade-heavy, we’re…

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