Nicholas Quirke was seeing New South Wales from a train carriage window on 20 January as he travelled from Sydney to Canberra to see Drama Centre friend Tony Knight give a talk at the National Portrait Gallery on Australians in the Hollywood Film Industry. After Ollie drove him to Central station and the train sped him onto Australia’s Capital City, he enjoyed his vegan avocado croissant, read ‘Holding The Man’ and he watched the landscape change rapidly  from, wide open spaces, dense woodland, suburbs, valleys, a herd of Kangaroos. Lakes, stations and farmland till reaching his destination. He was surprised to see no tower blocks dominating the sky line and took a taxi straight to the National Portrait Gallery. He bought a ticket for the Starstruck exhibition and decided to see this straight away. It was a deeply engrossing look at Australian cinema and the film making process and he was delighted to see many of his ‘friends’ and people he had met on this trip represented, though he was disappointed not to see an image of Kim in her ground breaking film Mouth to Mouth. This excellent collection led him to the gallery’s permanent exhibition and he could not tear himself away from the from the video stories, including amazing footage of an 80 year former exotic dancer going through some of her moves. It was exquisite. He realised that time had run away from him an he needed to eat so he ordered a falafal wrap and a green tea. He became concerned about his digestion, when he realised he had eaten the paper wrapping the wrap was presented in.He really enjoyed Tony’s lecture and finding it engaging and enlightening. Nicholas had to wait for a short while as the groupies demanded Tony’s attention at the finish but once they had reconnected it was talking all the way and he surrendered happily to Tony’s Tour’s. With Tony’s boyfriend Ang, they embarked on a whirlwind and playful  tour of the National Art Gallery seeing Contemporary Aboriginal Art, David Hockney’s work, Jackson Pollack’s Blue Poles, Sidney Nolan’s Ned Kelly series. an exhibition of Indo-Chinese art, along with many examples of Dada and the surrealists, impressionists; it was a really great collection. In ebullient mood they took many photos of them at play in this impressive gallery. The tour finished with a walk round the sculpture park to find some Rodin and a mini version of the Angel of the North. As they finally left Canberra to head for Martin’s home, Austinmer, in southern NSW they took in the National War Memorial which was at the end of an avenue of memorials to the Boar War, Korean War and the Vietnam war. It was a beautiful drive to Martin’s, which took about 3 hours, giving Nicholas and Tony, plenty of time to catch up, reminisce and contemplate life and death. The views, as they descended the escarpment of the MacQuarie Pass; named after the first Governor of New South Wales, were simply breathtaking. Ang has a dog phobia so when they arrived at Martin’s beautiful home by the ocean, his new pet, Skipper had to be confined to the bedroom. A lovely meal, entertaining conversation and company bought another action packed day to a close.


1 Comment

  1. Sounds like you had so much fun but I have to ask myself how hungry were you to not even notice you’d eaten the paper that your lunch was wrapped in?! 🙈xx

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