05 September 2010
Yes, this weekend was the opening of the Brisbane Festival, which as near as I understand it is 4-ish weeks of music, dance, theatre etc. at various venues around the city. Since the 1st of the month we've had the Brisbane Writers' Festival going on, and today Paulie, Stephen, Phil & I went to hear Susan Maushart speak, which was my goal. She's a columnist in the Weekend Australian magazine and one of the only reasons I spend money on the paper (owned as it is by News Limited, i.e. Rupert Murdoch). (The other reason is Phillip Adams.) Imagine my sort-of surprise when she started speaking and I heard the pear-shaped tones of Long Island emanating from her mouth! I always had it in the back of my mind that she didn't write like an Australian, and it turns out that's because she's not an Australian! In person she is just as smart and funny as in her columns and I came home with two of her books, signed, and her gmail address. Sad for us here, she is leaving Oz in November to move back to the Gisland. Phil & I both talked to her at some length during a lull in the book signing and she appeared to be open to further contact either here or there. She is the sort of person I'd like to have living next door to me.
That was today, but last night was ... Riverfire. The pyrotechnic opening event of the Brisbane Festival and this year supposedly for the VERY LAST time - they said this last year too but turns out they were full of it - we were treated to the famous, or infamous, "dump and burn" courtesy of an aging RAAF F-111 jet. As bad environmentally and financially as it is, I have to say it's extremely cool to watch. Last year I went down to South Bank right next to where the fireworks display originates, but this year we just walked up to the reservoir where we have a great view of the city and watched from there. Not quite the same experience but nowhere near the crowds. The streak of light in the sky is burning fuel from the F-111, but the jet flies (and dumps and burns) all by itself, no simultaneous fireworks; this photo is a bit shopped. The link above has a video clip for a better idea of how it really looks.