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The End of an Era


Thought you'd escaped my evil clutches, didn't you? It's not that easy, my friends!

I've had a few people (read: none) say that they regretted the demise of the Travel Updates, so I thought I'd let you know what's going down in this little corner of the ar$e-end of the world.(1)

Welcome to my "Stationary (not Stationery) Updates"!

So. What have I been up to?

Well, Buffy killed Angel, thinking he was bad, but, just at the last minute, Willow's spell worked, so he was good, but he went to Hell anyway. He came back, though, and was immediately implicated in some killings, but then he killed the dude responsible. Cordelia made a bad wish and Sunnydale is as crazy as…

Hang on. That's what I've been watching on Foxtel!!

What else have I done?

Well, Bart and Lisa…


All right. Despite the previous references to my TV-related lifestyle, the big news is that I am unfortunately no longer a Man of LeisureTM (the trade mark belonging to Mr. Gavin Ryan). This week sees me back working for an honest living for the first time since…well…let's just say the first time. Oh, the pain.

I held out for a while, but then Centrelink insisted I actually LOOK for work to claim unemployment benefits. What's the point of that? You can't get unemployment benefits if you're employed! They failed to see my reasoning.

So I went through the newspaper looking for cool and interesting jobs. Here's a list of jobs I applied for:

· Executive Director of the Intellectual Property Institute at Melbourne University.
· National Park Ranger.
· Multicultural International Humanitarian Law Officer for the Australian Red Cross.
· Legislation Officer for the Department of Natural Resources and Environment.
· Singer in a cover band (with songs by the like of Ronan Keating, whoever he is).
· Federal Agent with the Federal Police (to be like Mulder)

One of the jobs I got an interview for was as a Project Officer for the Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association. A lot of people joked that I was over-qualified for the position. I had the interview and then they called me the next day.

I was over-qualified.

However, I am now back at the lovable NTAA - writing seminar notes for their tax seminars. I wanted to be a writer and, oh, how my dreams have crystallized into reality.

Tasha is back at her old work and loving it. She's currently in Brisvegas (soon to be known as Brisneyland) on work-related business, living up the jet-setting lifestyle and still loving that airline food.

Speaking of writing, one paragraph earlier, I've got a story which is less funny than sad, more annoying than entertaining. The gold ol' disaster story. Even though I'm not traveling, I've still got 'em! I've told a number of people about this crushing blow and now I want them to read it again. And you.

When I was Greece and Turkey, I read The Iliad and The Odyssey by Homer (the Greek writer, this time, not Simpson), as you do. While reading The Iliad, I thought: "This is an amazing story! I can't believe it hasn't been made into a movie before." I told Tasha about this and she agreed that, with the resurgence in popularity of the sword-and-sandal movies like Gladiator (and reputedly directors such as Martin Scorcese and Oliver Stone are now fighting over the rights to make a movie about Alexander the Great) this would make a perfect movie. And I could write it!

I wrote some ideas in the next few months and discussed it with such illustrious fellow writers as Duff, but decided not to write it until I got home.

I got back to Australia on a Monday in September and started researching on the internet on the Tuesday. I found out there was a movie called "Helen of Troy" made back in the 1960's, but that was OK.

Then I found an interview with a crime writer (cue foreboding music). At the end of the interview, which was conducted in August this year, he was asked what he was currently working on. The answer? An adaptation of the Iliad for a movie. Turns out he had thought that it was an amazing story and couldn't believe it hadn't been made into a movie before. He went into Warners, told them his idea and suggested that, with the resurgence in popularity of the sword-and-sandal movies like Gladiator, it would make a perfect movie. They agreed, gave him heaps of cash and asked him to write it.

Things did not look good (for me - they looked great for him).

Further searching revealed that Wolfgang Petersen had been nominated to direct a new film being commissioned by Warners based on The Iliad called simply "Troy". Since then, Brad Pitt and Eric Bana have both been announced as starring in the new film.

The film that I am not now writing. The film that I thought would be a great idea in April.

I'm sorry…I can't go on…


OK. Soon after this, I hit on another idea I had for a film a while ago, set in the Sudan at the end of the 19th century, but that looks set to be overshadowed by the new film "Four feathers" which is coming out soon, starring Heath Ledger.

Should I give up? Or should I write long e-mails?

All right, what else?

Went down to the beautiful Apollo Bay on the Great Ocean Road for a few days which was brilliant. Quite possibly my most favourite place in the world. Check out photos on (or on my forthcoming website…) and the photos that I've attaxed © ("Taxed and Attached").

I'd like to buy a place down there, but, of course, before I do, Steven Spielberg and all his mates will get there first, so why even bother?

All right.

The Spring Racing Carnival has been gone. For those of you who don't know, October/November is a time in Melbourne when the entire city, after months of soul-searching about the horrors, heartache and problems connected with gambling, just goes "Horse Racing?!? F*cken, yeah!! Chuck a hat on and wear boardshorts with tuxedo jackets!!!"

The Melbourne Cup is one of the longest horse races of its type in the world - a little over 3 kilometres. Which is why everyone in Melbourne puts a bet on that particular race every year, based on the name of the horse they like best. It's The Race That Stops A Nation! Some people overseas have a hard time believing that we have a holiday for a horse race. And then they wish that they had one, too.

I bet 5 bucks each-way on Melbourne Cup winner Media Puzzle and won a cool $42. I then went up to the girl at the counter and said I'd like to make my bet $100, actually, and that she should give me $840. She politely refused.

The other good thing about Melbourne Cup Day is Cup Day Kaos down at the Espy. There was something like twenty bands on that day, on three stages, and I remember about four of them. Excellent day.

Not so excellent next day.

Other cool thing I did recently was go on a bucks weekend for a good mate o' mine, which took us down to the Mornington Peninsula. Started off with a pack of Clints, with trendy "Clint" T-shirts, playing a game of soccer (soccer was the real winner, that day). Then to a café for some Bloody Mary's (and breakfast) and then into two mini-buses for the trek down to Sorrento (Sorrento in Australia - trekking to the other Sorrento would have required longer than a weekend and many more eskies)(2). Was busting for a slash (3) by the time we got there - probably due to the orange juice I drank that morning. That or the five stubbies (4) I polished off in the van…

Mr Patrick (hyphen) Maiden then took us out on a boat to fish at the heads of Port Phillip Bay. A gorgeous day, bright blue sky, waves crashing against the rocks at Portsea, Harold Holt's cold and lifeless body snagging our fishing lines. All highly enjoyable despite the lack of fish caught (by me) and the fact that I sat down on a piece of wood on the side of the boat that I was later moved from so that they could put the bait there, right where they always put it on that piece of wood where I was sitting, where the bait goes, on the wood…

Finished off at a pub in Sorrento before heading home to nurse my sore, sore head for the remainder of the week.

Enough about me.

How about you guys come and do something with me? I've already got tickets, along with a goodly number of other Melbournians, to go to the Meredith Music Festival on the 14th and 15th of December. Come along - it's always a blast. Or so I've been reliably informed after the event.

Speaking of festivals - who's interested in The Big Day Out? Jane's Addiction, baby!!!

Seeing Mick Thomas play this Sunday at the Greendale Hotel in Greendale. Greendale is a town just off the Western Highway that consists of the Greendale Hotel. Come one, come all.

Keep an eye out for The Bentley's playing anywhere.

And seeing Vomlette, starring the former drummer of my former band, play at the Pony Bar on Little Bourke Street (next to Captain Marko's residence, Bridie O'Reilly's), Saturday 23 November.

Speaking of former band, we're having discussions about "getting the band back together". If any of you are fans of Strangelove, nee ReeVe, nee Three Kinds of Woodpecker, nee Purple Monkey Trance, nee Tugbucket, please let me know. If I can get a big petition going, I'll get us a wicked-as comeback gig. Otherwise, I'll have to fabricate evidence.

Regarding e-mails I may or may not have been sent whilst away or since returning, I'm still going through my saved back issues to reply to all of you. I've also got photos to send to those of you we saw overseas and am still hoping to get a website up and running with all of our travel shenanigans. Be patient, my pretties.

Hope you're all most (or almost) excellent and take care of yourselves - it's a playground out there!

Love the rilestar and tasha

PS blah blah (see e-mail)


(1) For you non-Australians, I thought you should know that it was not Osama Bin Laden who coined this phrase - "ar$e-end of the world" - but it was in fact used by our former Prime Minister - Paul Keating - to describe Australia. He also called us a "Banana Republic". And he called everyone a "galah". I thought he was funny.
(2) "Esky" is Australian for "cool-box", "chilly-bin" or whatever other lame names there are for a receptacle designed for the carriage of beer and ice. Such as: "Ya putcha beerzinanesky!"
(3) Strongly desired to urinate.
(4) A 375ml bottle of beer - an alcoholic beverage produced by fermenting the sugars in hops, barley and malt (yeast is later added to aid carbonation).

Next exciting instalment...