Comments Off on Boot

Old walking boot (taken in my bedroom with a desklamp—part of a series).

Brampton Island

Comments Off on Brampton Island

Carol on Turtle Beach, Brampton Island, Australia.

Film review: Capote

Comments Off on Film review: Capote


Philip Seymour Hoffman—what a bit of acting he does in this movie. Truman Capote was a man of memorable affectations, and an actor could have easily fallen into parody in portraying him, but Hoffman walks the finest of lines like an acrobat, bringing complexity and reality to his performance. Befitting a story that lies deep in life’s complex grey areas, he shows us a man that cannot be summed up in a sentence, even one as expressive as the man himself could write.

Capote focuses on his research for his last finished novel, the stunning In Cold Blood. If you haven’t got around to reading it, do so now; it’s one of the seminal books of the 20th century. Were the events of this time responsible for Capote never finishing another novel, descending into alcoholism and eventually to an early death at 60? We’ll never know, but the film makes a strong case for it. Like In Cold Blood, it also concentrates on the killers in the case of the murder of a family in Halcomb, Kansas in 1959; the murdered people have no voice. But the film is about Capote after all. It’s about his relationship with Perry Smith, a sensitive man who Capote developed a connection. And it’s about the Faustian path Capote found himself on when finishing his greatest work.

Capote doesn’t lead us by the hand towards pat solutions. It moves slowly and steadily through the events, yet without ever dragging or losing its way. It looks beautiful, grey and cold and desaturated; even the light on the Costa Brava, where Capote escapes with Jack Dunphy (Bruce Greenwood), seems overcast and heavy. Catherine Keener puts in a quiet but strong performance as Capote’s friend Harper Lee. Bennett Miller’s direction is confident and quietly stylish. Perhaps Clifton Collins Jr. as Perry Smith is not quite as good, but then there’s a vacancy about the character which seems strangely appropriate.

I was mesmerised by the film from start to finish. Four and a half wide grey skies.

Indiana Giff


Sorry things have been so quiet around here, it’s been a busy month. Now that March is finally over my girl and I can breath a sigh of relief that we made it out the other side intact.

We moved into our first house at the end of last month; I got was sick with a virus for two weeks; both my parents visited from overseas; it seemed every bill imaginable—especially the raft of them that appear when you buy a house—was due in March and I finally got around to holding my 40th birthday party, which I was determined to have even though the actual birthday date was back in December.

It was quite a bash, and I feel like the occasion has been well and truly marked, and our new house has proved to be very able to hold a successful party. In a nice bit of synchronicity, some forty guests came, most in costume for the night’s theme, Indiana Giff in the Raiders of the Lost Youth. To ensure that people would dress up a created a small site with costume ideas. There’s a link there to photos from the night if you’re interested.

There was some mammoth preparation involved; I created a pretty big ancient temple entrance out of foam pillars, complete with gold idol surrounded by snakes. As you entered the house a stone ball surrounded by vines and featuring a big rubber snake loomed over you. I like to get people in the mood.

Oh, and by the way, please don’t send the lawyers Steven, George—it was only a one off and it was purely a not-for-profit event (though I did get some excellent presents …)

Now, it’s time to pick up the pace here a little at Headless Hollow, dear reader.

To CrossCity Motorway Pty Ltd, Sydney

1 comment

Cross City Ripoff

Dear Sir/Madam,

Please find enclosed my payment for $13.56, being the toll amount of $3.56 and your additional administration charge of $10.00.

Allow me to suggest you enjoy this payment, as it will be the last time I use the Cross City Tunnel, which I will be making a point of avoiding in future. I used it on this occasion solely because it was so badly signposted by your company on the Eastern side that I stumbled into it by mistake.

Personally, I refuse to get an Electronic Tag account purely because of the the fact that your company gives me no choice not to, and I refuse to submit to the blatant extortion, Government inefficiency and corporate greed that I believe the Tunnel stands for.

I hope you find this frank and honest customer feedback informative.

Yours sincerely,
etc etc



The office is set up, the bookcases are filled (is there anything more satisfying than getting all your books out of those imprisoning cardboard boxes and back on the shelf again?), the blinds put up, and despite the back room still pretty much being full of unpacked things, we’re here in our very own house and getting back to normal. Symbolically, they removed the ‘Sold’ sign from the front this morning.

I can’t describe what a relief it is to have that whole house buying experience behind us. Having a place I could call my own is something I was beginning to think wasn’t going to happen—well, not a house in Sydney, at any rate. I’ve been renting for twenty-one years. Let’s not think about how much money has gone into other people’s pockets in that period. But my girl and I somehow managed to finally do it. House prices finally came down a little from the ‘you-have-got-to-be-kidding’ range into the ‘just-affordable’ range, and six months later here we are.

It’s a great spot too. There’s a large shopping centre around the corner; close enough to walk to but far away enough to be out of sight and hearing. There’s a nice big park around the corner. We have rear lane access and a decent-sized back courtyard. And wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles, we’re in a cul-de-sac, so no passing car traffic. What a difference that makes.

Now, I can finally stop worrying about whether we might have to move again in six months, or whether I can save enough for a house deposit. All I have to do is make sure there’s enough money in that bank account every two weeks to pay my mortgage. And, at last, I don’t have to wait for real estate agents to fix things that are broken. Every time I fix or improve something here I feel like I’m doing it for us; improving the place we live, and increasing the value of our home.

God, I sound like an ad for a bank. Anyway, if you’re wondering if it’s worth buying a house, I recommend it. The runaround with solicitors and real estate agents and banks is an absolute nightmare (I’ve never felt so at the mercy of luck in my life—buyers have very few rights and caveat emptor is the excuse for every kind of slackness on the part of the seller), but once you come out the other side it’s a great feeling.

Oh, and that’s the floor of our living room in the picture above.

Sorry for the Silence …


Still here folks, just moved into our new house/studio, unpacking boxes, getting the ADSL up and running, shifting large heavy objects … back soon!

The owner needs a licence too


I may ruffle some feathers here, but I think it is far too easy these days for people to own a dog. There seems to be no restrictions on the kind of person who can walk into a shop and buy one. A potential dog owner should have to undergo a series of rigorous checks.

Let me explain. I live in a pretty crowded inner city area, where houses butt up against each other, or are divided into terraces, and most have pretty small yards. I’m continually amazed at the number of dogs in the area, and even more amazed about how unhappy many of them are. Since I work from home, I hear them barking all day, cooped up in tiny yards, when their owners are at work. Sometimes there’s so many going at once I feel like I’ve been suddenly transported to a corner of Doggy Hell.

There’s a little white lapdog a few houses up that I have even gone to check on, since his barking has been driving me nuts. When I found the house and looked over the back fence, I saw him sitting up against the back glass door of the house, where he yaps at his missing owners all day. I left a polite note in their postbox informing them that their dog seemed very unhappy while they are away, but nothing’s changed.

Next door, there’s an old guy whose tiny square of outdoor space faces our tiny square of outdoor space—but in his, a Jack Russell—a dog specially bred to run and work, mind you—is trapped. In seven months I have never seen this dog taken for a walk, and not only does it bark, but recently it has begun crying and whimpering for hours and hours at a time. This disturbing sound woke me up at 4.15am this morning.

Today I finally got the courage up to talk to its owner (who I might add seems imprisoned himself—he listens to talk-back radio and watches TV all day every day, though I’ve seen him walking about the neighbourhood). He confirmed that it never gets to go for a walk, but that ‘he’s an active little guy’. I pleaded as politely as I could for him to take the dog for a walk, noting he really should do so once a day. He looked at me somewhat nonplussed, as though I was telling him what colour shirts he should wear from now on.

My point is, when you get a dog, no one comes to check how big your yard is, whether you will walk the dog every day, whether it will get enough attention and affection—damn it, whether you will be considerate of your neighbours—nothing. You just slap your money down, register it, and take it home to whatever fate awaits the poor powerless animal.

Doesn’t seem fair. Not on the dog, and not on the non-dog-owning neighbours who have to put up with its yapping all day.

All right, I fully expect a barrage from dog owners here. Go for it.

Film review: Brokeback Mountain


Brokeback Mountain

Despite some flaws, I found myself unable to stop thinking about this slow, sad and beautiful film long into the evening after emerging from the cinema. Ang Lee, back in Ice Storm form after the confused Hulk, has crafted a deeply affecting tale out of a short story by E. Annie Proulx, and I’m sure she’s relieved to see one of her tales brought so sensitively to life after The Shipping News, which so effectively ignored the poetical prose of the novel.

The big surprise here is Heath Ledger, who is completely convincing as Ennis, the hunched, tight-lipped cowboy who spends the summer of 1963 tending sheep on Brokeback Mountain with Jack (Jake Gyllenhaal) and thus begins a forbidden love affair that is to last 20 years. It’s the first half of the film that is the strongest; the harsh beauty of the Wyoming mountainside, dark clouds gathering on the green slopes, the slow burning bond that develops between the two men, utterly believable despite their very different personalities.

It’s after the two men get married—Ennis to the sweet Alma (Michelle Williams) and Jack to the rich girl Lureen (Anne Hathaway), then after a four year separation meet again to find their love as strong as ever and begin years of regular ‘fishing trips’ together, that the film loses a bit of the initial magic. We start a fast-forward through twenty years which is sometimes a little confusing as the characters don’t age very convincingly, and we leave behind the slow, luxuriant pace of the first half. It’s no coincidence that this is the area where the screenplay elaborated most on the Proulx short story, and it shows.

However, these minor points aside, the film is a long overdue and deeply sensitive exploration of a previously—if not forbidden, then rarely explored more then superficially—love. It’s a testiment to the director and the actors that you pretty much forget that this is a film about gay love—it’s a film about love, pure and simple, and a love that has to face more insurmountable challenges than most. It’s also nice, for a change, to see male love portrayed as something more than a lifestyle of drugs, raves and leather harnesses a la Queer as Folk. Actually, the leather harnesses are here—this is a film about cowboys after all.

Four electric carving knives out of five.

A new year, a new Universal Head


Universal Head

January is a-wastin’, but happy new year to you all out there. I’ve been putting off my first entry of the year as I wanted to start with a bang—I’ve finally got around to totally revamping my design business website: Universal Head. If you’re at all interested in graphic design, I do invite you to go and have a look around.

I’ve been in business for myself for nigh on twelve years now, and it was high time I made a site as clear and easy to use as this one. My last one was good for its time, but it relied too heavily on the bells and whistles of Flash animation. So for a while now I’ve been a little embarrassed to preach to my clients about ‘fast-loading’ and ‘easy-to-navigate’ and ‘standards-compatible’ websites, and then direct them to a business site that was anything but. That’s all been fixed. And I must admit, now that I get all of that work out in such a coherent format, I’m quite chuffed with the variety and quality of work on display (and this is only a small selection of many, many jobs over more than the past decade).

The object of this site is to present some of the best of that body of work in a clear, fast and easy to navigate format, and I think I’ve succeeded.

So anyway, let’s kick off this 2006 business shall we?

« Older Entries Newer Entries »