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A writer’s most embarrassing moment

Recently, I had perhaps my most embarrassing moment as a journalist. The Tribeca Film Festival in New York was premiering a film called The Fourth Dimension, made by three different writer-directors: a Pole, a Russian and an American. Yes, I’m sure that would be the beginnings of a terrific joke, but it’s actually three short […]

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First two days of Tribeca

As I write this, the Tribeca Film Festival in New York is winding down for another year. I’ve spent much of the past 10 days at this festival (which helps explain why I didn’t blog last week). A couple of weeks before each festival, I go through the list of films to work out which […]

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Challenging Tribeca

In a few days, the Tribeca Film Festival begins in New York. A decade after it was first held, this is already considered one of the world’s most important film festivals. But how much help is Tribeca for an up-and-coming filmmaker – especially if you make short films, or documentaries… or even short documentaries? I’ve […]

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Musical pilgrimages

Having visited to London on several occasions, I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to visit one of the most famous, most accessible, and cheapest (i.e. free) tourist attractions, even though it’s exactly the kind of place that you’d expect to be of interest to me. I’ve never visited the Tower of London […]

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What the World knows about Us

You might recall that, a few months ago, I mentioned a BBC Radio program called Sounds of the Century that I’d been listening to online, which gradually plays music, news reports, and excerpts from movies and TV shows, year by year, from the last 50 years of the last century. The last year it covered […]

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Starving in Paris

A common claim about French people is that they behave rudely and arrogantly to anyone who doesn’t speak French. Happily, this isn’t true of all French waiters and patisserie assistants; just most of them. Actually, not even most. They will smile and be polite to most English-speakers. As their English isn’t always superb, however, they […]

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Return to Stratford-Upon-Avon

It was high time I returned to Stratford-Upon-Avon, Shakespeare’s home town. The last time I visited was in 1997, and we’ve all changed a lot since then (apart from Shakespeare himself, who was already dead). At the time, it was part of one of those bus trips that are so handy when you don’t have […]

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Conversations with a rock music fan

Forget sex, politics and religion. The most heated discussion topic, I’m almost certain, is rock music. Liberal voters can mix pleasantly with the ALP faithful, Christians can talk to atheists, but rock music fans are not so forgiving of each other. Odd, because they’re supposed to be fans of the same thing. Their interrogation might […]

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Skiing in Tohoku

Somehow, despite all the infamous Canberra winters, I never learned to ski as a child. This isn’t really so surprising, as I tried to avoid any physical activity back then. I already did the required fitness training at school, and that was where I learned that I could really make people laugh. Unfortunately, that was […]

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Dumb Oscars Predictions

OK, it’s that time of year again. Just as people start buying newspapers again, thinking “You know, they’re actually rather useful,” they are suddenly filled with dopey speculation about who will win the Oscars. For years, comedians joked about how often the weatherman gets it wrong. Then it became clear that these guys were wizards […]

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