Stories from inside life's big top.

Posts from the “People” Category

On Nodding Terms

Posted on February 4, 2018

High-res version

Guess what?!


My podcast, Auspicious Plastic, has been selected as a finalist in the Frankie “Good Stuff” Awards!


I submitted an excerpt from “Episode 10“, featuring a conversation with dedicated diarist and digital publisher, Carrie King. Now it’s in the running for the ‘Writing + Podcast’ category.


And – The People’s Choice Award!



Hence an invitation: if you like what you hear, and you feel like supporting my wee podcast – and recognising the folk who’ve kindly shared their lovely stories with me over the past year – please click on this link to cast your vote for Auspicious Plastic.



Bobbing around out there on that roiling sea of podcasts, sometimes it can feel as if you’re in the boat alone, rendered invisible by thick fog and heavy swells. So it’s very nice to receive some acknowledgement. And an oar back to shore…


I’m really chuffed (and genuinely surprised!) to be selected as one of six finalists in the category.


And very grateful to everyone I’ve interviewed for the series so far, Cooperblack for the theme music and Studio Ink for the lovely logo design. And to my late Mum Margaret who inspired it all.


And of course, to everyone and anyone who’s listened to the series, and been touched it.


Congratulations and good luck to all the other finalists : )

POST UPDATED: Thank you to everyone who listened to – and voted for – Auspicious Plastic in the “People’s Choice” category, in the Frankie “Good Stuff” Awards! Voting closed on Feb 15 and the winners will be announced on April 5. Auspicious Plastic is one of six finalists in the ‘Writing + Podcasts’ category. Read more about the podcast (and the awards) on the Frankie website.

Mashville: Yun-hua Chen

Posted on January 2, 2018

“Jazz has endured because it doesn’t have a beginning or an ending. It’s a moment.”            – Robert Altman.   Some of my favorite films are ‘mosaics’. A fistful of the best include Nashville (1975), MASH (1970), The Player (1992) and Short Cuts (1993). Made by American movie pioneer, Robert Altman (1925 – 2006), they’re shining examples of supremely satisfying, subversive cinematic storytelling, as intricately constructed as a Mesopotamian temple.   And so it goes: the paths of a multitude of seemingly discreet characters intersect and intertwine, eventually moving together as one towards a powerful denouement. Sounds like jazz to me.   Paul Thomas Anderson’s epic, sprawling tragedy Magnolia (1999) is another tapestry with a baker’s dozen worth of characters…

Fairground Attraction: Mark Ogge

Posted on December 15, 2017

It’s amazing who you meet in Berlin…   Artists are drawn to the city as if it were a kind of mythic, spiritual ‘big top’, seeking artistic inspiration, like-minded community and creative challenge. Something I’ve written about time and time again here at Circus Folk!   Mark Ogge is one such ‘pilgrim’. Hailing from Melbourne, Australia – and the brother of one of my dearest friends – Mark’s an “internationally renowned” mid-career artist with a passion for making images inspired by “the rich history of fairground and theatrical art”, the circus, vaudeville and Commedia dell’Arte.   Having studied all of the above, in 2001 he painted the Famous Spiegeltent Facade under which thousands have sat during Melbourne festivals (and elsewhere around the world). Also…

Satellite Of Love: Massimo Maio

Posted on December 9, 2017

Massimo Maio moved to Berlin “for love”.   Migrating from a “small and cosy” village in southwest Germany, he says that “friends, radio and art” also had a lot to do with him pulling up stumps for the German capital.   Like me, Massimo has BIG LOVE for radio. It’s a fundamental part of his life and has been since he was a child. He’s also been working in the medium for many years, both as a producer and presenter, starting in the days of analogue, later embracing digital with its creative freedoms and disruptive potential.   Snap! We’re also died-in-the-wool public broadcasters.   Massimo and I first met in 2015 just after I moved to Berlin from Australia. I was co-teaching a two-day…

Where The Heart Is: Hana & Sarah

Posted on November 24, 2017

Recently I got lucky.   My husband Oliver and I  were coming to the end of our time in Berlin. About to move back to Australia, we managed to find someone who wanted to buy all our furniture and take on the new lease of our apartment. The only hitch being we’d need to leave a month early and find another place to live temporarily. Not easy in a city with a rental crisis.   A good friend helped us out, renting us his extra room. Not only did we have a sweet-as apartment to stay in (and a laid-back, lovely-as wine-and-cheese-fan of a housemate), we were about to relocate to one of the most exciting and talked about neighbourhoods of Berlin: Neukölln. And…

Before Hollywood: Kriv Stenders

Posted on October 1, 2017

Watching Kriv Stenders’ film about The Go-Betweens made me homesick.   Hearing ‘Cattle and Cane’ killed me. It’d been a while. Only music can do that. Bang! That forlorn bass-line wrapped itself around my heart and squeezed out a river of tears. From the depths. From a lifetime ago.   Nostalgia had come calling. Sometimes it’s nice to be reminded of where you’re from, especially if you’ve given over swathes of your life to leaving it behind. I’ve come to know that a sense of ‘home’ is necessary. Especially when you’re living oceans apart.   Viewing the film in Berlin, Germany – my home for not much longer now – it also stirred a deep sense of yearning. For the lush tropics of northern…

When Tomorrow Comes: Christian Vance

Posted on August 2, 2017

Berlin is no stranger to ‘cross-cultural exchange’. An historical “hub” between Eastern and Western Europe, immigrants have been steadily arriving for over 800 years.   You could say the city was built on it.   Something former mayor Klaus Wowereit was supremely aware of when in 2003 he proudly proclaimed the German capital “poor but sexy” to the entire world.   Perhaps ‘crass’ in the eyes of some, “Wowi” was not only hoping to encourage economic immigrants (ie big business, tech start ups and the eventual “roamer workforce”) to set up shop and part with their cash in his “impoverished” city. Simultaneously he renewed and acknowledged Berlin’s longstanding historic commitment to welcoming cultural and creative migrants as well.   Artists, performers, thinkers, writers, poets,…

Requiem for Hugh

Posted on June 21, 2017

I’ve been putting off writing this. Since last Friday. The day Hugh Waller left our world for another.   Hugh Walter John Waller. Born October 23, 1959. Died June 16, 2017.   Hugh was a friend from Bendigo, the regional centre in Australia where I lived before coming to Berlin.   I’d not long been in town. I’d seen Hugh around at art shows but we first ‘properly’ met at a group exhibition at Dudley House, a fundraiser Hugh had organised for the catastrophic floods that had recently swept through the region. (I soon learned such generosity was typical of his nature.)   We took to each other straight away, the professional turning social pretty quick – with Oliver too, my husband. Not long…

Raised On the Road: Hamish Davidson

Posted on June 11, 2017

Amazing who you meet on the Calder…   On the other side of Melbourne’s infamous Calder Park Raceway – in what looks like the middle of nowhere – are a pair of BP petrol stations, “Calder 1” and “Calder 2”.   Parallel to each other on the M79, one services the “outbound” traffic heading north towards the Great Dividing Range. The other is for “inbound” travelling ‘down the Calder’ to the big smoke.   Twin sprawling icons of petroleum industries, these lurid green prefab structures house fast food outlets, caffeine franchises, convenience stores, a dozen petrol pumps, flanked by enormous concrete carparks, truck bays and drive thru Golden Arches. The only hints you might be at the gateway to the countryside are the unassuming…

A Podcast about Precious Objects

Posted on May 15, 2017

“Objects should not ‘touch’ [us] because they are not alive. You use them, put them back in place, you live among them: they are useful, nothing more. But they touch me, it is unbearable. I am afraid of being in contact with them as though they were living beasts.” – Jean-Paul Sartre Auspicious Plastic is a monthly podcast about ‘things’ that bring meaning to our lives, and even make us happy.   When using my Mum’s old Tupperware containers as “grief therapy” after she passed away, I discovered how such simple ‘pieces of plastic’ could hold so much meaning – and emotion. And how these objects touched me so profoundly, as if animated by something deeply mystical…   I wondered how my use of…