Row X

We stood at the back of the hall clutching our tickets for Row X dismayed that the rows stopped at Row V. There was no Row X. The group of us grew in numbers as we hailed the attention of an usher. Traipsing back out to the foyer we were reallocated tickets to the Balcony in Row OO.IMG_8860

This was our experience when we purchased tickets online for the Elvis Tribute Show with Jack Gatto at Melbourne Town Hall. As an information professional I know about the quick evaluation of reliable sources; and in my defense it was not me who found and selected the website. But I should have checked.

So an expensive and annoying lesson learned. But the show was good and Jack Gatto gave a great show with a powerful voice very like Elvis. The choir, backing singers, and big band were led by John St Peeters. Jack did the outfits justice and enthusiastically busted the moves. Not quite the decade for us, but you can’t deny those classic songs.


Earlier we had enjoyed beer and a meal at Il Pom Iltalian at Federation Square, while young football fans, dressed in blue and white and yellow and brown, played kick-to-kick under yellow fluoro lights in the ‘square’.

After the show we walked back to our car parked in the gardens. The cold winter night air shimmering rainbow fog against the colourful lights of the Melbourne cityscape.




Book Well

Book Well is “evocative”.

That is the conclusion that I have come to after being immersed in the Get Into Reading training sessions held at the State Library of Victoria last week.

There are so many other descriptions I could offer telling you what I think it is and what it is not. But even then you would be no closer to knowing the importance of this work and how it affects people.

It is a unique process that has profound impact on the well being of the individual. Research continues to try to identify how this reading aloud process affects the human brain.

It is surprising to feel the effects of listening to someone read great literature aloud. It sounds simple but it is not.

Aside from learning about the process, the other benefit of this week was the bonding of the group – real friendships blossomed immediately. There was a generosity of spirit that cocooned the whole experience. The experienced trainers from the UK set the tone for this I think.

We also shared a group task that took many of us well out of our comfort zones. We were to give a performance of Romeo and Juliet. Every one of us was to contribute in some way. And we were to use the text from the play; but could shape the play however we chose. It was to be 20 minutes long.

I, who has never performed before at all, was Mercutio. We performed a brief fight scene with Romeo, Tybalt, Benvolio and Mercutio. And of course, Mercutio and Tybalt both die.

Our performance was in the heritage listed Queens Hall of the State Library of Victoria to a small invitation-only audience. We had props, lighting, backdrops, music, costumes and a new script. This was all achieved in 4 days with only 1 hour at each end of the day for preparation. It was a lot of fun and a really positive experience.

Linking this task to the Get Into Reading program is difficult. I can only assume that by reading Shakespeare plays out loud in this way it gives us the confidence to read anything aloud to groups of people.

It is exciting to have shared this experience of Book Well with this group of amazing people and to be at the cusp of something new and exciting. I feel privileged to have been involved.

A little, aloud” edited by The Reader Organisation will be available later this year.

I like to move it

What an inspiration the Olympic performances are for us all to get out there and move our sluggish bodies! How thrilling is it to watch those toned perfect human physiques pushing themselves to their limits?


It can and does inspire many of us to get on a bike, or run, or swim or whatever. But let’s face it, one or two sessions is not going to do it. It needs to be regular, repetitive, focused and ongoing for all of our lives. It has to be a life style.


My recent trip around Europe involved too much sitting, beer, cheese and pasta and no exercise. I did sweat but that was only because it was so hot in Italy. It has taken me a little while to get back into my exercise routine but now I’m back at it.


I continue to move my body as it ages and it gets harder to keep hold of fitness and flexibility. I love moving my body. I know the feeling of mastery of a movement: having mastered a skill then pushing it to the next level. Having the confidence in your body to be able to accelerate: stretching out with your arm and pulling back with strength; leaning forward on your bike and pushing down hard with your legs; putting your weight into a lean or jump, or pull, or push, knowing your body will respond and reward you with a rush. But the full reward of that rush can only be realised after a foundation of work and effort has been built. It needs discipline, effort, practice, refinement and improvement.


We can’t all be as talented and focused or graceful as Olympic athletes or AFL footballers. We don’t need to be in order to feel that euphoria of achievement. This kind of movement is not a chore but a JOY.