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visitors since May 12, 2002
March 31, 2002
Stuff I never knew about notebook protectors

Saturday morning with Stig O. Walsh, founder and honorary chair of the Walsh Prize. We went to the Paddo Market, primarily to have a long, involved conversation about the ideal thickness of leather notebook protectors.

The standard model is relatively thick leather, which Stig regards as less than ideal. In fact, Stig tends to regard the standard model as a kind of disgrace, if not actually a heinous blasphemy, or some kind of sinister, unpleasant joke being carefully aimed at him.

So he'd come to an agreement with the Paddo stallholder to have a Special Edition Walsh ModelTM made, which is exactly the same size and colour as the standard model, but a slightly thinner leather. Walsh, understandably, was delighted with his Special Edition Walsh ModelTM, which is very much in keeping with the nature of Walsh. But after hours of conversation about notebook protectors, I found myself wondering if, in fact, we were both going deranged.

In the end, though, I bought a standard model, as a souvenir of this completely ridiculous conversation. I put it into my jeans pocket, and forgot about it until some time later, when I sat down on it. At that moment, I realised why I should've listened to Stig. The Special Edition Walsh ModelTM is more expensive, but it is sleeker, and it is sexier. And, more to the point, it leaves much less of a bruise on the backside.

Also got to meet Stig O.'s son, Stigson, who's now five days old. He was feeding or sleeping for most of the time I was there, but when he looked up he seemed astonishingly alert and happy. He's looking like an early contender for this year's Walsh Prize, especially in the nepotism division. And Lindy looked serene and calm and gorgeous. Motherhood seems to agree with her, and possibly because it provides her with a convenient reason to opt out of marathon discussions with her husband about notebook protectors.


At some point today I found myself listening to Celtic FM, which was astoundingly amateurish. They had a special phone-in competition to mark the end of daylight saving tonight. All you had to do to win a not-very-valuable prize was ring up and tell them in what direction the clocks were moving.

"Hey," I thought, "that's the worst radio I've heard since listening to Ulladulla's local road and weather conditions yesterday." Unsurprisingly, it turned out to be an unpopular competition. After twenty minutes of trying to get someone, anyone, to ring up and win the prize, the DJ admitted that he'd only had two calls, and both guesses had been wrong. The DJ spoke in a strong Irish accent, not that that's relevant.

Afterwards, on the way to Geri and Houston's wedding, I turned the radio on again. Then I focussed on the draining task of driving an antique Kombi up and down steep hills on the way to South Head, which was surprisingly difficult to find. Only after getting there did I realise that I'd spent half an hour listening to two people converse in a language that I couldn't even recognise, and I hadn't noticed.

Resounding oath

One of many highlights of the wedding was an absolutely stunning speech from Julia Zemiro. Julia shared a house with Geri for six years, and spoke with great humour and vulnerability about that time. She revealed a great deal about Geri, but, even better, she was also very revealing about herself.

I've seen Julia perform improvised theatre dozens of times. She's a wonderful improviser: very fast, very flexible, very dazzling. She can speak gibberish better than anyone I've ever seen, and can do an enormous range of characters and accents. And the best thing I've ever seen her do was this speech. For the first time, she didn't hide behind a character. She stood before us and was completely honest about herself. It was spellbinding.

I spent a bit of time talking to Bernard Zuel, of The Sydney Morning Herald, and at some point there I realised that many of the people I know in Melbourne are intriguing failures, and that many of the people I know in Sydney are actually getting paid to do what they love. That seems like a huge difference.

But perhaps Sydney people are more aware of the need to, as it were, sell themselves. People here are much more conscious of the need to market themselves, whereas Melbourne people are simply at some other point on the space-time continuum. And, as a general rule, staying there.

Just before arriving at the wedding, the road swooped down towards South Head, and for the first time on this visit to Sydney, the harbour suddenly came into full view. And just at that moment the rain lifted and the sun came out, and I was hit by the full pyrotechnic beauty of a stunning harbour view. Melbourne, for all the fascination of its intriguing failures, doesn't have anything like that. Maybe I should move back here.

So. I drove 900 kilometres in an antique Kombi to be at the wedding, and it was well worth it. Geri was the first real friend I made in Sydney, and I was very proud to be at her big day. As a wonderful additional bonus, I also finally got to meet Houston. A while back I did some anagrams of "Geri and Houston," and the first one I came up with was "resounding oath," which seemed appropriate at the time, and even more appropriate today.

     Posted by Sean Hegarty at 12:55 AM in the People category | Comments (0)
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