IN THIS ISSUE FEATURES
Books and Writing
Books Death in the Sea of Grass KSP News Poetry Broomhill-Billys Musical Youth Owed to a Gallup Poll The Ghost Gambit The Idler Thieving Thackeray’s Toffee Turmoil
55 33 2 6 54 32
Business Card Board Finance with Steve Networking
57 50 51
Front Page Photograph: Holiday Reading Photograph courtesy of 123Rf
POETRY OWED TO A GALLUP POLL
PAGE 3 23 4
Footnote People in History 56 Open Letter from a Traffic Policeman 60 SAFE 58 Southern Bluefin Recovers 21 SVRN Level Crossings Upgraded 53 New Physical Activity Grants 52 Pearce Receives Funding 53
Places of Pride The Compassionate Friends Thinking Green Returns What’s On World’s First Seismic Experiment
52 59 21 18 20
Douglas Wineries & Dineries
A Midnight Visit at Fringe 34 Film and TV Tear in Review 36 La Soirée Returns to Fringe 35 Reviews 44 Aquaman 44 Mary Poppins Returns 45 The Children Act 47 The Favourite 46 TV with Chris 42 Leisure
House and Garden Chinese Lantern Plants Escorted Tours Kicking Off
DISCLAIMER The information in this publication is of a general nature. The articles contained herein are not intended to provide a complete discussion on each subject and or issues canvassed. Swan Magazine does not accept any liability for any statements or any opinion, or for any errors or omissions contained herein.
‘There are approximately 1.9 cats per household in the United States’ –historic Gallup poll
he survey says in every home One and nine-tenths cats do roam. There’s just one thing I want to know— Where did the other one-tenth go? Does it perch upon a rafter In some feline Ever-after, Or does it float upon the air, Materialising here and there Should quorum cat have need of spare? Perhaps among the worlds of when The not-quite-cat is whole again— Meanwhile we homeowners are sure That missing tenth is made of fur, And while the one and nine-tenths sleep They shed the tenth for us to sweep.
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BOOKS AND WRITING TALKING BOOKS JUST OUT Title: Ghost Knight Author: Publisher: I.S.B.N:
immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers, attorneys representing Immigration Equality, clients and volunteers of First Friends, Eat Offbeat clients, and the network of mine from the United Nations department of NGOs.
Jack and the Lloyd Raycraft Swinburn Press 1 875372 63 6
About the Author: At twenty-seven years Edafe Okporo has experienced more than most people twice his age. Born in Warri, Nigeria, Edafe grew up with one brother and two sisters, lived with his mother after she survived a devastated treatment with his father in an environment ridden with poverty, surrounded by people who were abusive, leaving him displaced. Award winning human right activist Edafe gained refugee status in America after arriving in New York a week before the presidential election of President Trump, in an unpredictable time of political turmoil. He experienced hardship in detention center and is now a free man advocating for the rights of minorities. ~oOo~
Land the Ghost Knight, is a loyd’s first book, Jack
fantasy set in a world of Lloyd’s imagination. Join Jack, keeper of the Crystal of Zora, and his white, spotty dog, James in his travels with Jibb the Goblin Shark over the Artika Mountains and West East Landia saving and helping those in trouble. Copies of Jack and The Ghost Knight may be purchased from the author (firstname.lastname@example.org) or on line at Amazon.com.
Title: Author: Publisher: I.S.B.N: Reviewer:
About the Author: Lloyd A. Raycraft is a ten year old boy living in Australia. He loves telling stories about his fantasy friends when he isn’t inventing or performing an exciting science experiment. ~oOo~ Title: Author: Publisher: I.S.B.N:
Long Bones Karen R Treanor Quenda Books 978-0-9871205-1-9 Jim Rogers
Kplease anyone who has pets, grown children, culinary aren Treanor’s new mystery, Long Bones, is sure to
Bed 26 Edafe Okporo Xlibris Books 9781984511003
talent and a wonderful lover. It is also sure to entrance anyone with a slightly shady past, is victimized by mysterious visitors, is a crackerjack marksman, has a tendency to stumble across corpses and is less-thanblessed by a truly nasty ex-lover. Ms. Treanor succeeds in striking an amusing balance between the ultra-normal township of Byford, Massachusetts (which comes across as a character in itself) and sinister forces that, for the most part, remain unseen—and hence all the more ominous. In many domestic-centered whodunits, evil lurks behind the deceptions of everyday life. But in Byford, what you see is what you get: perfect normalcy. While Miss Marple’s villains are likely as not your sweet-faced next door neighbours, Geneva Bradford’s nemesis comes from the past, and is strictly an outsider. I got an overwhelming sense of a community binding together to protect its oddly normal-yet-quirky routine. There is no shortage of common sense advice on everything from managing chickens to how to handle a gun after discharging it (count those bullets, folks!). There is food a-plenty, and even instructions on how to block a sweater. All of this adds to the sense of being in an alternate universe, where Evil falls flat on its face and Good Triumphant is described as “Just a bit of tidying up.” The writing is up to Ms. Treanor’s usual high standards, and eminently quotable--my favorite being a reference to the Aztec practice of cutting out hearts. A truly enjoyable read.
Mhas taken me from one y life, as you will read,
place to another. Bed 26 is the story of how I fought my way out of constant persecution and reclaimed my freedom. It is my hope that by sharing my experience and my pain, you will begin to understand why people are forced to immigrate. This is a revealing memoir and empowering manifesto, with contributions from other asylees, refugees, and Nigerians. Nong Richie was born in one country and came of age in another more visible place—Nigeria. In a strange world where he was continually persecuted, living soon became a personal nightmare of constant mob attacks and deaths of his friends to HIV. Nong escaped into the world of his mind from the expository details of the war he suffered as a child and highprofile attacks against gay Nigerians. Every detail of his personal life became public, and the realities of an inherently unlawful society emerged with every script of this book. The detention center packaged his trauma as a bombshell, hijacking his image and identity and making profit from every night he spent in it. Bed 26 is his raw, honest, and poignant account—a no-holds-barred, pull-no-punches account for the persecution of him and his community. He was a fearless activist and an unstoppable force for change who was determined to expose the truth. The target demographics of this book are clients of Immigration Equality, 3
BOOKS AND WRITING KSP WRITERS’ CENTRE COMPETITION SHANNON COYLE
he KSP Foundation and Wild Weeds Press are pleased to be partnering on an anthology competition in 2019 to commemorate the 50th anniversary since Greenmount author Katharine Susannah Prichard passed away. This competition for Australian residents and citizens is open to works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Submitted works must either be set in the KSP property at 11 Old York Road, Greenmount, Western Australia, in the past, present, or future; or contain a specific reference to Katharine and/or her published work; or contain an interaction with the 'ghosts' of Katharine and/or her husband Hugo Throssell VC, which must be respectful to their memory. The fiction and non-fiction sections will be judged by Nathan Hobby. Nathan’s novel The Fur won the T.A.G. Hungerford Award and was published by Fremantle Press. Nathan has a Master of Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Western Australia. He has been working on the biography of Katharine Susannah
Prichard for his PhD thesis since 2014, and contributes a monthly column on Katharine for the KSP Writers' Centre newsletter. The poetry section will be judged by Shey Marque. Shey is the author of Keeper of the Ritual, shortlisted for 2017 Noel Rowe Poetry Award for an unpublished manuscript, forthcoming with UWA Publishing in 2019, and a chapbook Aporiac published with Finishing Line Press (USA) in 2016. She was the inaugural recipient of the Queensland Poetry Festival’s Emerging Older Poet Mentorship Award in 2018. Her poetry appears in Award-Winning Australian Writing, Cordite Poetry Review, Meanjin, Overland, Southerly and Westerly. Cash awards and residencies are on offer for the winners, and the full shortlist of writers will have their work published
in the anthology. A selection of winners will be published in the anthology, launched as part of a special KSP Commemoration Day event on 6 October 2019. For entry details and to submit, visit the KSP Writers’ Centre website.
HOUSE AND GARDEN CHINESE LANTERN PLANTS
placement will prevent wilting during the hottest parts of the day. Flowering maples may be used as a container patio plant during warm months and then brought in to overwinter as a houseplant. A fast grower in warm climates, the Abutilon flowering maple is generally hardy. These plants have a tendency to become leggy and without regular pruning they can grow into a scraggly shrub. To maintain a dense, compact form they need to be pinched regularly. This will also promote more blooms as they only flower on new wood. Pinching, pruning and keeping a plant slightly root bound will help control its size. Major pruning should be done in early spring or late fall. Cut back branches selectively to shape the plant, making the cuts just above a node or on a strong, vigorous shoot near the plantâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s base. Keep evenly moist during the growing season, but reduce watering indoors in the winter but avoid letting the plant dry out completely. Fertilise regularly starting in late winter when growth resumes and stop in autumn. Some people recommend monthly fertilisation, while others suggest every other week with half strength solution. As far as any flowering maple problems go, they have pretty much the usual culprits or issues that afflict other houseplants. Moving the plant flowering maple to another location may contribute to leaf drop, as it is sensitive to temperature fluxes.
hese popular house and pot plants are known by a variety of names as well as Chinese Lanterns, Flowering Maples, Chinese Bellflower, Mallows, Parlour Maples and even the correct name Abutilon. The common name refers to the leaves which are similarly shaped to the maple tree. However, Abutilon striatum is not actually related to the maple tree family. Flowering maple belongs to the mallow family (Malvaceae), which includes mallows, hollyhocks, cotton, hibiscus, okra and Rose of Sharon. This plant is indigenous to southern Brazil and also commonly found throughout the South and Central Americas. Shrub-like in appearance, the flowering maple houseplant also has blooms similar in shape to hibiscus flowers. The flowering maple is striking enough to make a lovely specimen plant in the garden or in a container and will bloom from throughout summer. As mentioned, the leaves of the houseplant resemble those of the maple and are either light green or often stippled with gold hues. This variegation is the result of a virus first noticed in 1868. All the rage in the 19th century, Abutilon flowering maple is considered to be a bit of an old-fashioned houseplant. Still with its lovely bell-shaped leaves of salmon, red, white or yellow, it makes for an interesting houseplant. So, the question is how to care for Abutilon. Abutilon requirements indoors are as follows: Flowering maple houseplants should be placed in areas of full sun to very light shade in moist well-draining soil medium. Light shade
FICTION THE GHOST GAMBIT A CELINE DAVIES MYSTERY JAMES FORTE
“Investigate?” “Dad’s vanished. Inspector Baird says he’s been killed.” “Baird?” she asked. “Does he know you’re seeing me?” A pause. “Should he?” Celine smiled. “Probably not. We’ve met. I went to school in the Avon Valley.” “You solved the murder of some schoolgirls too.” “My name was kept out of the papers. And…” she leaned forward using the sternest voice a petite teenage girl could muster, “…there are excellent reasons why certain aeronautical mysteries should remain unsolved.” “Right.” He conceded. “Arthur didn’t give me details. Just said you were totally awesome.” She felt her face changing colour and escaped into: “So tell me about the murder”. She sat back and sipped some tea. “Two murders. Last week. My folk’s place in Brookton and another house in Northam. Both locked and barricaded from the inside. Blood on the walls and floor. But no bodies.” “That’s interesting. You’re saying the bodies were taken – then the houses were sealed from the inside. Somehow.” Ray nodded. “Why would anyone do that?” “So. How d’you know they were killed?” “There are movies… of the deaths. The killers must have filmed what they were doing.” Ray scratched his head and repeated: “Why would anyone do that?” “Maybe prove they were dead. To someone who had contracted to have them…” Celine had been about to say ‘eliminated’, but this was Ray’s Dad they were talking about. She started again - “We mustn’t jump to conclusions. Any suspects?” “Baird knows who did it. Their names were written on the walls. The Morstard brothers. Just out of prison. Only problem is… They’ve an alibi. They were reporting to the cops down south at the time.” Celine could imagine the inspector’s frustration. Systematically she started coaxing Ray on all that was known about the two murders. After half an hour, she had decided that this was a puzzle she could enjoy. If it were some form of gothichorror trap to catch Celine, Ray added the final morsel of cheese with his next remark. “The two men. They’re dead. But that’s not why I’m here. Not the weird bit.” He hesitated. “Last night I saw their ghosts playing chess.” ~oOo~
The claws of steel slid out the dark and took Her body tight. As Alice screamed and shook, They dragged her to the half-lit square, where stood A knight with sword, red eyes beneath his hood.
he small, slim girl with the ponytail and a faded Duckmanton sweater shuddered and tried to suppress her guilty pleasure of gothic horror. She closed The Looking Glass and nursed her second-hand iPad into displaying her assignment. The battery life was a fraction of what it should have been and the web browser displayed a ‘no longer supported’ message. Celine was sitting at her favourite table on the top floor of the Reid Library. Its surface had been scarred by a thousand previous students, but its window looked out over the Great Court towards Winthrop Hall. Soon she was absorbed in the solution of a differential equation with what the Prof insisted were particularly interesting boundary conditions. She was quite unaware of being observed from the stairwell. Until the man approached and loomed over her work. “You’re the girl who solved the case of the invisible pilot.” She kept her head down. It gave her a second to ensure that her face was expressionless before she looked up. A stranger – no sword nor hood. A policeman? Could she determine his character, using Sherlockian powers of observation and deduction? She ought to be able to say: ‘I see you’ve spent some time in Antarctica and have just come to the University on a number 97 bus.’ But no. He appeared to be totally average. Mid to late twenties, medium height, not fat nor thin, short hair, tanned face, shortsleeved white shirt, jeans, trainers. All clean and presentable. So she kept quiet and raised her eyebrows a fraction in query. “You Celine Davies?” She stared at him. “Arthur told me.” She stayed non-committal. “Arthur?” She had not seen him in months. And he was smart enough to keep his mouth zipped. So there had to be a good reason why this guy was so well informed. The stranger had a deep clear voice which he kept low – at a level acceptable for conversation in a library. “I’m Ray Parker. From Esperance. Arthur said you were doing maths. Told me what you looked like… After the lecture, you had friends ’round you.” Celine tried to act sophisticated; a girl of few words. “And?” she asked. “I’ve got a weird puzzle.” She came to a decision, gave a highly audible sigh, typed a note into the decrepit tablet before closing it and grabbing her bag. “I’m starving. You can buy me something downstairs.” Five minutes later they were sitting on the cafe terrace with a pot of tea and two vanilla slices. They watched a family of ducks on the library moat in the autumn sunshine. Ray launched into his story. “I know Arthur from way back. He lives near my mum and dad – they’re in Brookton – so I stayed with him when I came up to investigate.”
Of the five towns along the Avon Valley to the east of Perth, Northam is the largest, Toodyay the prettiest and York the most historic. Brookton and Beverley are still fine places and a number of people escaping city life have bought small areas of land in the district. Three weeks before Ray’s visit to Celine, there had been some relevant departures from the Valley. Carol Anderson was twenty-eight, single and stressed. For the six months since her mother had died, she had taken care of her father, Brian. He was obsessed with tidiness and model airplanes. She needed a holiday. She had been fare-welled at Fremantle. She was off on a month-long cruise to the Pacific. Brian braced himself for thirty frozen dinners as he drove back to the small and rather lonely house near Northam airfield. 6
In Brookton, Ray’s parents were having another of their vitriolic arguments. Angela Parker was leaving to attend an advanced course on orchard management at a retreat on the Blackwood River. But before she went she was determined to have the last word on a number of issues. More than anything in the world, Gerald wanted to wish her farewell. The avalanche of a lecture was only halted by the car horn of the friend picking her up. At Woorooloo, just to the west of Toodyay, the Morstard brothers were being farewelled from the low-security prison. Jarr was twenty-five and Stan – usually known as Stab – was a year younger. They were sadistic thugs, plain and simple. Both had had frequent suspensions for bullying at school. They had then moved on to a life of protection rackets and stand-over tactics. Now they had long criminal records for violent crime. When they could not find any one weaker than themselves they tortured pet animals. As a part of their post-prison life, they would be required to report to a police station daily. ~oOo~
Then she decided to call Ray. He worked for the Esperance Shire. Ray’s mother had died long ago and his father, Tom, had some severe form of long-term dementia so that visiting him in the nursing home was a traumatic experience. So Ray had been raised by his only relatives, an aunt and uncle. Angela and Gerald were childless and had adopted him as a substitute. At about two that afternoon, Ray turned up after the long drive. He had also done some checks of places he thought they might be. There were no replies. Myra and Ray decided to perform an experiment. They walked around the house while calling the Parkers’ mobile phones. Yes, they could hear one ringing in the lounge room. The police were informed again. This time they visited the property and, despite the thorn bushes, had a good look through all the windows. Was that really blood? The senior constable agreed that it was suspicious. Ray gave permission to break in. A locksmith was called – and found that the doors were bolted as well as deadlocked. So they had to jemmy a window and brave the thorns from the bushes. The house was quite secure and quite empty. A quick search discovered Gerald’s wallet with credit cards in place. His passport, keys and mobile phone were there too. The house was sealed as a crime scene. ~oOo~
On the northern edge of Brookton there are two modern brick houses with metal roofs standing in small paddocks about a hundred metres apart. The Parkers lived in one. The other belonged to a retired physiotherapist, Myra Putnam. It was Myra who first decided that something was wrong. There had been none of the usual activity around the Parker house for several days; no lights at night and the van had gone. Usually if they went away, they arranged for Myra to collect the mail, put out the rubbish bins and feed the cat. She phoned to offer Angela a morning coffee. There was no answer. The next day was 25th April, ANZAC Day. The public holiday when Australians pause to commemorate their military history and remember the fallen. Early that morning, Myra took a walk around the house. The doors were locked. Beneath each window was a large Bougainvillea bush – the ultimate deterrent to burglars. She raised the flap of the pet door and called for Mayhem, but no starving cat emerged. Peering through a window at the back, she thought she could see blood on the floor. She phoned a number of mutual friends, but no one had heard from the Parkers. She checked their social media pages but there was nothing there either. She called the police ‘just to let them know’. They thanked her politely and made an entry in a log.
Inspector Baird was middle-aged, tall and rather gaunt. His approach to solving crimes could best be described as slow and methodical. He considered the Case of the Two Sealed Houses his fastest on record. That holiday, the senior detective in the Avon Valley had settled down to watch the footy on TV with a cold beer in its stubby holder and plenty more in the fridge. Then the text message had come through: a possible major crime at a Northam house only a short walk away. At 2.15pm, his car was met in the driveway by the senior constable. The house was owned by Brian and Carol Anderson. There was no sign of either. The place was locked and barricaded shut with planks of wood screwed over doors and windows. The police had had to apply substantial force to break in. In the lounge room were the remains of a large wooden model aircraft, which had been systematically smashed. There were also handcuffs and torn clothing. Most striking was the name MORSTARD daubed, in what looked like blood, on the wall. At 2.25pm, the Morstards had turned up for their daily report at the Northam police station and been detained. The case had lasted ten minutes. Tops. Now all Baird had to do was extract a confession - as to how those two gits had killed the Andersons, disposed of the bodies, not bothered to steal anything except their car. All while leaving the house sealed from the inside. At 2.30pm there was a call from the Perth police. A Volkswagen van containing bloodstained clothing had been abandoned in Guildford, a riverside suburb. The van was registered to Gerald and Angela Parker living in Brookton. Phone calls to the Parkers had not been answered. At 2.35pm Baird was in contact with the Brookton police. They had just broken into the Parker house and found blood on the floor. There were no signs of the occupants. They believed it was a major crime scene. “I don’t suppose there was a name daubed in 7
blood on the wall?” Baird enquired sarcastically. There was a pause. “How did you know, sir?” the Brookton cop replied. “It’s not in blood. Ink. It’s about two brothers called Jar and Stab. That’s the Morstards isn’t it?” Baird’s jaw dropped. This was all quite overwhelming. Two pairs of people, from sealed houses, abducted and killed on the same day? And he already had the offenders behind bars! Leaving a Northam sergeant to collect evidence and start a search for bodies, Inspector Baird headed off for the hour’s drive south along the river. Later that day, the police put out a short press release. Two couples from Northam and Brookton were missing, believed the victims of foul play. The descriptions of Carol and Brian Anderson and Angela and Gerald Parker were given. Would anyone sighting or having knowledge of the movements of these people over the last week please contact the police? The Anderson’s Honda Civic and the Parker’s Volkswagen campervan were also described and the registration numbers supplied. Two men were assisting the police with their enquiries. There was no mention of names on walls nor locked houses. ~oOo~
enthusiasts. Each Tuesday night, they met at a Northam hotel to play chess and discuss their models. They had last seen him on April 10th when he had been quite optimistic about completing a model of a Messerschmitt Gigant - now that he had the house to himself. He had failed to appear on the following Tuesday and they had phoned his number with no answer. They drove past his house and noted that his car was gone. They thought he might be in Perth shopping for radio-control parts. The next week, on the 24th, he was again a no show. The next morning they checked his house. All the doors and windows were locked, the curtains were drawn and they could hear the television. They spoke to the postman. The letterbox had not been emptied for a while. They decided to call the police. The report noted that Craig and Walter had been shown photos of the Morstard brothers and were fairly sure they remembered seeing them at the next table in the hotel. The report of the senior constable was rather more serious. The house had been locked, bolted and barricaded shut with planks screwed over the doors and windows. In the lounge room, he had found the wooden model smashed to small pieces, handcuffs dangling from a wall lamp and a torn shirt and singlet in a corner. Socks and shoes had been thrown across the room. Daubed in blood, low on the wall beneath the light, was the single word - MORSTARD. The remainder of the house was tidy and the bed was made. It had not been slept in for some time. Brian’s phone and wallet with credit cards were found. The house keys were gone – as was the car. There was no sign of Brian, dead or alive. Next was an e-mail from the Margaret River police. It stated that the Morstard brothers had been there from the night of April 10th until Tuesday 24th when they had returned to Northam by bus. They had reported daily. This alibi was sufficiently important for Baird to spend some time on the phone, to the police station and their hotel, confirming it. Baird turned to something even more worrying. Brian’s phone had been found in the kitchen. After much footage of model aircraft, it contained three short but macabre films. The first, taken at 9.30pm on Tuesday April 10th, showed Brian Anderson hanging by his handcuffed wrists from the light-fitting. He was cursing and crying as a gloved hand systematically smashed up his model Gigant. The camera had continued recording as the hand ripped off his shirt and singlet and carved a Nazi swastika into his chest. The television had been turned on to cover the screaming. Then came the removal of his shoes and socks. He had jerked and swung as a lit match was applied to his feet. Finally he could be heard pleading – that there would be no one to release him for the next month – he would starve to death. The date/time was consistent with the television programme. Halfway through, an aircraft landing at the airport could be heard. A check with airport records showed the Flying Doctor arriving at that time. The second, taken at 6.05am on Friday April 20th, showed the same scene. Again, the date/time could be verified from the TV news. However, the lifeless body of Brian Anderson - with a week’s growth of beard - was now hanging from the wall light. The blood from the swastika had flowed down his legs and pooled on the carpet. Daubed on the wall, presumably done with his feet, was the name MORSTARD. The third, very short, film was recorded an hour later. It showed the body, with a clear view of the face and the swastika, lying in a shallow grave. Location unknown. Baird knew that Brian’s daughter would have to be informed of the videos, but that every effort should be made to spare her the distressing scenes.
It was the habit for the editor of the weekly The Avon Messenger to have morning coffee with his chief reporter in the Jacaranda Tearooms. Douglas Cromarty looked every inch an influential country squire - with a caring eye for his readers. That was when he was in his light-grey suit, reviewing the menus of local restaurants. Now he was in rolled up shirtsleeves writing his editorial. Jessica Smith was a tall, serious woman who had grown up in the valley and knew every inch of it. Competent and hard working, she supplied the paper with all the key information – be it the doings of the local social scene or the market prices of livestock and grain. Douglas glanced at the police material. “Not much here. Baird looked pretty smug this morning. Four people missing. Two men in custody.” “I heard from Janine at the post office. It’s the Morstards,” Jessica confided. “Not again. Don’t they ever learn?” “D’you think Celine would be interested?” “Doubt it. Not much mystery about the Morstards. Could you write something short? Go with the names and pictures?” ~oOo~ That Thursday afternoon, as the weekly edition of The Avon Messenger was going to press, Inspector Baird was sitting in his office at Northam Police Station, reviewing progress in the Case of the Two Sealed Houses. Slowly he sifted through the documents on his computer screen. First two pieces of good news. Carol Anderson was not missing. Her itinerary had been found – cruising the Pacific – and she had been notified that there were concerns for her father. She was leaving the ship, which had just reached Samoa, and was flying home. Nor was Angela Parker. She had been at a course on the Blackwood River – out of mobile range. Another attendee had heard her name on the radio. She was now getting a lift back to Brookton where she would stay with the neighbour, Myra Putnam. However, things did not look too good for the missing men. Baird opened the first report. Craig Montague (50) and Walter Clark (54) had reported Brian Anderson (67, retired) missing. They had known him for many years. All three were radio-controlled model aircraft 8
He drew a notepad towards him and started listing some questions: • Where was Brian’s body? • Where was Brian’s car? The Morstards must have dumped it. But where and when? • What was the motive for the murder? Brian’s wallet and phone had not been taken. • Who had filmed the crime and then left the phone for the police to find? • The brothers claimed a cast-iron alibi. So who had removed the body and then left the house locked, bolted and barricaded from the inside? With a sigh, Baird moved on to the report on the house at Brookton. Gerald Parker (52, semi-retired software consultant) and his wife Angela (51, orchardist) had last been seen by their neighbour Myra Putnam (43, physiotherapist) on Saturday 21st April. She claimed to have seen lights on in the VW Campervan in their driveway that night. By Monday it was gone. Early on Wednesday morning, she had called Ray Parker (27) the nephew and adopted son. He lived in Esperance. It was a long drive but he arrived just after lunchtime. After using a crowbar on a window, the police found the house empty but with blood splashed around. After the telephone prompt from Baird, the walls had been examined and a message written with a felt-tip had been found in a cupboard where apparently Gerald Parker had been kept prisoner. The message read: BROTHERS - STAB & JAR. GOING TO KILL ME. An unfinished meal on the table, clothes in the washer and unmade beds suggested a sudden home invasion. Gerald’s computer was examined and found to have had all its data files securely deleted. Finally, the house had been checked with great care and all external doors and windows appeared to have been locked and bolted from the inside. Baird had wondered if he could strike lucky twice. He had examined Gerald’s phone and was horrified to find a video datestamped Sunday evening. On camera Brian had been dragged from the cupboard by a gloved hand carrying a carving knife. His hands and feet had been bound and he was gagged. There was much muffled screaming. Needing two hands, the killer had put the phone down - facing away but continuing to record the sound - while Gerald was stabbed repeatedly. After one thrust, blood had sprayed onto the wall in front of the camera. When the phone had been picked up again, Gerald was lying dead, covered in blood and with the knife handle sticking out of his chest. There had been a last few spasmodic jerks of his legs and then everything was still. Next was the report from the Perth police of a VW Campervan abandoned near the city. When the police checked they found the van, which was registered to Gerald Parker, contained a bloodstained shirt and trousers. Urgent calls to banks and telephone companies revealed no use of Brian’s accounts, credit cards or phone in the last fortnight. Similarly Gerald’s accounts had not been accessed since the previous week. Clearly Brian and Gerald had been the victims of foul play. It was also certain that the Morstard brothers were involved. Baird added to his list of questions: • Where was Gerald’s body? • Who had filmed the killing and then left the phone for the police to find? • The Parkers’ computer disk files had been wiped clean. Was this the motive for the home invasion? Wallet, phone and passports had not been taken. • Who had dumped Gerald’s van in Perth?
• The Morstard brothers claimed a cast-iron alibi. So who had taken Gerald from the house and then left it locked and bolted on the inside? Finally: • Why had those two particular houses been targeted? What was the connection? After watching the video footage, Baird had not felt himself constrained by any scruples in his interrogations of the Morstard brothers. To little effect. The brothers were experienced criminals. They screamed for their lawyers. They denied everything. They claimed that they were in Margaret River the whole time. And they could prove it – they had reported daily to the police there. They had witnesses galore. They had their bus tickets from Margaret River back to Northam on the 24th. They were being framed. The magistrate knew the Morstards well and had little sympathy. With their criminal record and this being a murder investigation – backed up by their names on walls in the two houses – he had them remanded in custody. Baird requested updated reports from the forensic teams in the two houses. Airline, bus and train bookings were also being checked. The CCTV footage of service stations around Northam, Brookton and Margaret River was being scanned for sightings of Brian’s Honda. Finally e-mails and social media pages were being analysed. Tomorrow he would interview Ray Parker again. And Carol Anderson and Angela Parker would be back. And he would give a press conference with another appeal for information. ~oOo~ Friday brought Inspector Baird more information but no answers to his questions. Priority lab reports had arrived confirming the blood in the Northam house as being from Brian Anderson and that at Brookton and in the campervan as from Gerald Parker. Police divers were looking for bodies in the river near the Guildford parking area where the van had been found. Nothing so far. Carol had flown in late Thursday night and been met by police at Perth airport. Baird broke the news as gently as possible as they were driven to the Northam house. She confirmed that her home was much as she left it. Only the car was missing. She was shocked by the destruction of her father’s aircraft and the name on the wall. She was told of – but not shown - the videos of the death of her father. She was terrified to remain in Northam and was driven to the house of an old school friend in York. Melinda Baxter and Carol had been at Duckmanton College together. Baird had shown Ray and Angela the clothing recovered from the VW Campervan. Both were certain it belonged to Gerald. He described but did not show the video footage from Gerald’s phone. He insisted it be kept for police eyes only. Reluctantly they concluded that he was dead. Neither was able to throw light on the contents of the erased computer files. Ray had asked about the Northam case and Baird gave him an overview. They discussed the similarities and differences between the two mysteries. Baird frowned. “They’re connected. It’s obvious. Just wish I could see how.” “Apart from the chess,” Ray mused. Baird’s head jerked up. “What?” “Dad and Brian. They used to play chess. I watched them. Lots of times.” “You knew Brian Anderson?” Ray nodded. “They worked for a software company. In Perth. Intelli-Gents. Years ago.” Baird thought a moment. “Could they both have had secret computer files?” “Wouldn’t have thought so. Doubt they’ve seen each other 9
in ages. More than ten years.” Baird picked up a phone and dispatched a constable to collect any computers in the Anderson house. This was the breakthrough. He was sure of it. On Monday he would visit the company and interview anyone who had known them. He spent the next hour following up on all the checks from the previous day. No sightings. Nothing. Late that afternoon he was scheduled to give a press conference. Somehow he did not feel ready to tell the world about locked houses, video recordings or computer files. Jessica Smith sat at the back of the briefing room. At the end of the session she shut off her recorder with a snort. Apart from Brian knowing Gerald and the re-appearances of Carol and Angela, there was nothing to add for next week’s edition. ~oOo~
Ray would stay one more night at his friend Arthur’s house in Beverley and drive back to Esperance the next day. Ray had inherited a fanatical love of chess from his Dad. They had sporadically played online through a web-based App on their phones. That afternoon he had nothing to do and switched on the chess App. He would challenge someone, perhaps on the other side of the world, to a match. There were dozens of games in progress. One caught his eye - the code names of the two players were so similar to his own. They were NorthPark and SouthPark. Both Brian and Gerald had played outlandishly wild chess with highly distinctive styles. As a boy Ray had watched them playing many times. They were pretty evenly matched although each used to think that they were the better. Because of this they used to secretly give themselves a small handicap. Brian would always try to promote a pawn to a bishop so that he would have two bishops on the same colour – which led to interestingly different games. Gerald would ferociously push a pawn forward to the sixth rank where it was isolated and unsupported and then try and defend it against all odds. This led to exciting contests. With a shock Ray realized that NorthPark and SouthPark were playing the Brian and Gerald variations. This was too much of a coincidence. They were both supposed to be dead. He sent a message through the App’s chat panel to SouthPark: ‘dad – is that u – this is Ray’ The game stopped immediately – abandoned. Ray sent off another message: ‘dad – thought u were dead’ Neither message was answered. That evening, Ray told Arthur. What the hell was going on? Arthur was of no doubt that they needed the services of Celine Davies. She was brilliant at solving strange mysteries – like locked rooms. He told Ray that she had solved the Mystery of the Invisible Pilot, although he refused to provide any further information. Arthur did not have her number but he could describe her and tell Ray how to find her – at the university. ~oOo~
On Monday morning, Inspector Baird visited Intelli-Gents. The staff of the company were interviewed but no useful links found. Brian and Gerald had been part of a team working on some minor scientific projects and had left at about the same time, some ten years earlier. One senior manager remembered them often playing chess at lunchtimes. Sometimes, in the school holidays, their kids would be watching. Analysis of e-mails and telephone records showed no sign of any communication between Brian and Gerald in at least five years. Angela and Carol confirmed that they had not even exchanged Christmas cards. There was a report on the handcuffs. They were a cheap model, probably mail-ordered from overseas. They had been wiped clean of any fingerprints. No DNA match with either of the Morstards could be found. The videos were examined and found to be genuine. There were no prints of the Morstards on either mobile phone. The external doors and windows of both houses were checked with great care. All could only have been sealed from the inside. The house at Northam had had planks of wood nailed and screwed over every door and window. Clearly Brian had been terrified of someone getting in. Was Gerald expecting to be attacked? How had the killers entered? The Morstard brothers were interviewed again at some length. They screamed that they had never been to Brookton. Baird was certain that they were involved but knew that without further evidence the Magistrate would probably release them on bail - despite their records. Baird might have been slow and methodical but he was also honest. He forced himself to evaluate what the brothers claimed. That they had been framed. They had never heard of the two families. The sadistic torture of Brian Anderson fitted their known personalities. But there was no evidence to connect them to the crimes. Anyone could have scrawled the names on the walls of the Northam and Brookton houses. The Morstards had alibis for the period of Brian’s death - and for the burial of the body - and the Sunday or Monday disappearance of Gerald. ~oOo~
On the library terrace, Celine’s mind was overloaded with questions. She pulled out her iPad and started making notes while Ray watched smiling. “Do you think we could have more tea, please?” “Sure.” Ray went off to the counter and came back with an extra vanilla slice. Celine leaned forward. “What d’you think? They had burglars? Who didn’t burgle? And the police? What do they think?” Ray did not seem to have much faith in them. “Baird keeps jumping all over the place. One minute he’s certain it’s the Morstards. Then he’s certain they’re being framed.” Celine switched to the houses. “How were they sealed?” “I’ve not seen the Northam house. Baird said it was like a strongbox. The doors and windows weren’t just locked and bolted. They were screwed shut from the inside. Brian must have been terrified of the Morstards… or whoever attacked him. But they got in, tortured him, left him to die. Later, they got in again and took the body away. Leaving it still sealed from the inside.” Celine nodded. “And your place at Brookton? Where you grew up?” “I grew up in Perth. Where Dad was working. We moved to Brookton ten years ago. After I finished school. Four years ago I got a job at Esperance. With the shire.” “But you knew the house there? How was it locked?” “Sure. It wasn’t like Northam. Nothing was screwed shut.
At lunch on Tuesday, with no sightings of the two victims nor of the Honda, Baird had admitted to himself that the Case of the Two Sealed Houses was totally bogged down. In considering the possibility that the Morstards were innocent, all sorts of wild possibilities came up. Could Gerald have killed Brian and then been stabbed by someone in revenge? Could Ray have been involved? Could Angela and Carol have decided to take out murder contracts on the men and then gone away to give themselves alibis? Ray Parker had taken emergency leave from his work and was still around. Baird told him he might as well go home. 10
Just deadlocked and bolted. It was hell getting in. We had to smash a window. And Dad had planted Bougainvillea under every window.” “Tell me about the door bolts. Going into holes in the floor and the top of the door frame?” “Only at the bottom – going into the floor.” “Were their heads still pointing out or pushed flat against the door?” Ray thought a moment. “Turned flat against the door.” Celine looked delighted. “Interesting. So let me summarise. Your father and his old friend are filmed being killed inside their locked houses and their bodies vanish. And last night you saw an on-line chess game which could only have been played by them?” “I’m certain it was them.” “Maybe.” Celine watched him closely. “Or you’re making this up.” Ray glared at her. “Here look!” He opened his phone and tapped an icon looking like a chess knight. Then he held it up. A diagram of a chessboard in mid game with an isolated white pawn on the sixth rank being attacked by two black bishops. Celine was not cowed. “Or… there’s someone, who knows how Brian and Gerald used to play, who is playing for them.” ~oOo~ Celine phoned The Avon Messenger and talked to Douglas. Did he know anything about the murders? Not much. He had put a small item and a photo in last week’s edition. Celine was sure she had a story; could she borrow Jessica? Douglas considered the other times he had encountered Celine and muttered something inaudible. Then he said ‘yes’. An hour later, Celine was in her worn-out Peugeot 306 chasing Ray’s big Ford up the hill at Kelmscott and out along the Brookton highway. Jessica was taking photographs of the Parker house and trying to interview Myra when they pulled up. Apparently Angela and Mayhem did not wish to talk to the press. Myra asserted that the Parkers were perfect neighbours. Quiet. Helpful. But Ray contradicted her. They had a love-hate relationship. They were a very close couple but they fought all the time. “Dad was a romantic, mum a realist. She was a pacifist, he a revolutionary. Dad loved chess, but she hated games. Mum wanted a pet. Dad didn’t. She wanted a cat, he liked dogs.” A few weeks later a kitten, which Angela called Mayhem, was acquired. Ray confided that he loved them very much but that growing up with them had been a stormy experience. “Did they have much income?” Jessica asked. Ray shook his head. “Didn’t seem to need much. Mum looked after all the olive and fruit trees out the back. Dad worked from home on computer stuff. Building web pages and userinterfaces for people. He had a ton of gear in his study but the cops took all the computers away for analysis.” They all turned to the house. The yellow and black striped police tapes fluttered in the breeze. Celine walked slowly around the house, the garden shed and the fruit trees. She stood back to look at the roof. Myra and Ray confirmed that the police had gone over it looking for possible exit points. All the iron sheets were in place, held down by screws which had not been disturbed in years. The walls were solid brick, the windows deadlocked. The one that had been forced open had been replaced. The doors locked but no longer bolted. Celine spent a long time looking at the backdoor, particularly the doorframe. She seized the handle and rattled it hard. Then she shrugged and walked around to the front. She gave the door there the same minute scrutiny. The house had a long hall across the front, screened by
ivy and hibiscus. At one end was the door for humans, at the other the equivalent for cats. She examined the room through the window. The only furniture was a table and a large mirror hanging between doors leading into the lounge and Gerald’s office. She then got down on her hands and knees and examined the cat-flap. She pushed it open and peered inside. It was too small for even an average dog to get through, let alone a person. Behind the house was a large avocado tree. Celine briefly considered the problem of picking the fruit at the top of trees. Next to it was a garden shed. This was open and Celine fossicked around among the tools for a while. Jessica ventured the idea of a tunnel. Everyone laughed. Ray confirmed that the police had checked for trapdoors. Celine thought for a moment and then turned to him. “You have a key don’t you?” Ray started. “How d’you know?” Before she could reply, he burst out: “I can’t let you in. It’s a crime scene. Baird would have my… head on a pike.” Speak of the devil and he appears. A patrol car roared up and the Inspector jumped out. He marched up to Jessica and thrusting his face forward told her: “I’m giving a press conference tomorrow afternoon. Wait ’till then.” Then he noticed Celine. “Oh! You!” “Hello Inspector,” she said in her most innocent, most respectful voice. “What’re you doing here?” “Would it be possible to see inside? I could wear those plastic shoes you have. And I promise not to touch anything. You could walk behind me.” She gave her friendliest smile. “Absolutely not! That your car?” He was pointing at the Peugeot with the probationary plates. “Go home - before I declare it un-roadworthy.” The small girl took his arm and drew him away from the group. He looked as if he was about to slap her, really hard, but not in front of a reporter with a camera. They spoke in whispers for a moment and then, to the astonishment of Myra and Ray, he marched over to his car and produced two pairs of blue plastic overshoes. Jessica had seen Celine in action before; she just grinned. The pair walked up to the front door and propped themselves against the wall before slipping the overshoes on. Then the Inspector politely unlocked the door and ushered her in. The others retreated to the shade of a lemon-scented gum and waited. After half an hour the two emerged, apparently on the friendliest of terms. The policeman locked up, got in his car and sped off. Celine kept the overshoes as a souvenir. To their many questions, she simply said: “Tell you in a minute.” An invitation from Myra, for tea and ANZAC biscuits, was gladly accepted. Jessica sat writing notes while Ray pulled out cups and saucers. Angela had appeared and sat in an easy chair with Mayhem in her lap. She appeared determined to hear everything and say nothing. But Ray could not control his curiosity. “What did you say to him? D’you tell him about the chess game?” “What chess game?” Jessica asked – and was ignored. Celine shook her head. “You should do that. Tomorrow.” “So how did you get him to let you in?” Myra asked. “Offered information. Something he desperately wanted to know. How a body may be removed from a sealed house.” “How?” everyone chorused. “The easiest is not to remove it. Read Edgar Allan Poe. Hide the body behind a wall. Or under the floorboards. Or in the roof cavity.” There was a general muttering of “The cops aren’t that dumb!” 11
“Right. Baird told me it was the first thing they checked. So I had to fall back on plan B. The door bolts were simply worked from the outside after everyone had left.” She paused for dramatic effect. “In some detective stories, the bolts are moved by magnets. Not here. In one of the Jonathan Creek episodes, there is a piece of string that goes through the keyhole, down around a nail to the bolt. The string has been soaked in kero. After it’s used to pull the bolt into place the string is burnt.” “Neat,” said Ray. Myra just shook her head. “I don’t believe it.” “Quite right,” Celine confirmed. “There would have been scorch marks and burnt residue. Another method is to slip the loop of a shoelace under the door and over the head of the bolt. After closing the door, you pull the bolt home then let go of one end of the lace and pull it out by the other.” “Clever,” said Jessica and made a note. “It made Inspector Baird happy.” Celine was watching Ray’s face. “But that’s not how it was done. It leaves the head of the bolt sticking out – but you told me it was turned flat against the door. And in Northam the doors were screwed shut.” Myra was gaining respect for the teenager with every second. “So how then?” “Tell me about the chess game,” Jessica asked again. The doorbell rang. It was Arthur. Big, blond and weatherbeaten. He had been passing and recognized the cars. He waved to Jessica. Celine suddenly looked very confused. She tried to offer to shake hands, but he grabbed her in a bear hug and, bending low, kissed her on the forehead. Arthur turned to everyone. “Has she solved the mystery yet?” Ray broke the silence. “Maybe. She’s got the police licking sugar from her hand.”
Arthur laughed. “Told you she was good.” “Good at scoffing biscuits,” Myra declared. “We still don’t know what happened to Gerald.” “And what about the chess game?” Jessica demanded for the third time. Ray turned to her. “I saw a chess game… on the web… being played by Dad and Brian… or their ghosts.” He turned to Angela. “Don’t want to get your hopes up, Mum. Somebody called SouthPark. Could be anybody, anywhere. I’ll see Baird tomorrow - show him the game.” “No replies to your messages?” Celine asked. Ray pulled out his phone and checked. “No.” “Could we send another message to them?” Celine wondered. “Guess so.” “How about: ‘we know all about you – check your e-mails’. Could you send that?” Angela went pale. “Is that true?” she asked. Ray shook his head. “Might get a reaction.” He typed the text into the chess App. Celine sat down next to Angela. “Did you ever watch Gerald and Brian playing?” “Hate games,” Angela confessed. “Can’t tell a castle from a cannon.” “I think they only have cannons in Chinese chess.” “Really? Gerald would have loved cannons. I think he once considered joining the French Foreign Legion.” Celine gave the cat a stroke. “How is Mayhem?” “He’s fine.” “Bet he was starving after Gerald… vanished.” Angela shook her head. “He just turned up. When I got back. Looking fat. Not hungry. There was only a dried up milk saucer in the kitchen.” Arthur came over to Celine. “Can you solve it?” “I’ve some ideas… These videos of the killings. But no bodies. Someone wants us to think they’re dead. And now this chess game. Someone wants us to think they’re alive.” She suddenly felt brave. “Could I see you tomorrow? At the press conference?” “Of course.” He gave her shoulder the sort of squeeze boys give to their little sisters. The party broke up. There was some discussion as to where Celine was staying. Myra’s spare bed had been given to Angela. Celine tingled with the hope that Arthur might offer, but he was already accommodating Ray. She firmly stated that she would be able to get a room at Duckmanton College. A four car convoy headed North along the valley. Ray and Arthur stopped at Beverley. Jessica and Celine drove on. They arranged to meet in the Jacaranda Tearoom in the morning. ~oOo~
It was bitterly cold in the valley. Jessica and Douglas arrived at the Tearoom to find Celine closely studying the breakfast menu. “You’re going to get fat,” was Jessica’s greeting. “I have the appetite of a very small wren,” Celine giggled. She smiled a ‘good morning’ at Douglas and then demanded: “Are you paying?” “Apparently.” “Please could I have the Eggs Benedict with mushrooms followed by crêpes with sugar and cinnamon. And a fresh apple juice and a pot of tea.” Douglas shook his head in horror. Jessica explained. “I know Duckmanton. No girl who survived their food passes up the chance of a good meal.” She and Douglas settled for black coffee. “Jessica tells me you’ve some ideas.” “There are loads of possible solutions.” Celine paused. “Any
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The Jacarandah Tearoom - watercolour by noted Sydney artist Chris Haldane (Her other work can be seen on Instagram @chris_haldane) Reproduced with her kind permission more press releases?” “No.” Jessica sipped her coffee. “But the media conference – this afternoon – Baird is going to be asked the hard questions this time.” Celine was skeptical. “Ray is going to see him first thing. Tell him about the chess game – it suggests Brian and Gerald are alive. And he’ll also have a solution to the bolted front door to crow over. He’ll be a sensation.” Douglas was fond of intimidating academic mannerisms. He lowered his glasses to the end of his nose and glared over them at Celine. “Could Ray be lying about everything… cooked up this ghostly chess game… to get attention? Hmmm? Hmmm?” Celine thought of Douglas as a large cuddly bear. She would not be intimidated. “But if it’s true then…” “…they’re alive,” Jessica completed. “Not prisoners. Free to use computers. They’re in hiding somewhere. So where do we go from here?” Celine put down her fork. “I’m sure Ray has a secret – but I think he was honest with me. There’s something that he doesn’t know. Baird and I had a long conversation in the house. I told him my ideas. He told me all the Parkers’ computer storage had been wiped clean. Except for one file someone had missed. It was about potential targets for terrorists.”
Douglas suddenly looked concerned. “Well at last we have a motive.” “Some other things. Baird hadn’t thought about the cat.” Jessica stared at Celine. “Mayhem? What about him?” “When I had a look in the house, there was no food put out for the cat. There was a half eaten meal for one person. Angela was away. Gerald hated cats. The Morstards tortured them. Myra couldn’t find it. Two days later, it turned up all fat and contented.” Douglas and Jessica stared at her. Celine looked worried. “I’ve been reading gothic horror. Cats can survive by eating dead bodies.” Douglas nearly choked on his coffee. For the first time in her life, Jessica felt faint. “Kidding! When I was walking around the orchard, I found a load of cat biscuits, a large tin of tuna and a bowl of water. Gerald’s killer liked cats.” “But who?” Celine shrugged. “Another thing. This morning I called on Melinda Baxter and talked to Carol Anderson. I wanted to know about Brian’s model aircraft. They were big and radiocontrolled. But Brian Anderson was good at artificial intelligence. They could be thought of as drones. You know. Planes that can fly themselves.” 13
Douglas’ journalism instincts went on to red alert. “Terrorists love drones. But Baird said the model was destroyed. Sadistically. Sounds more like the Morstards. They’re not terrorists.” Celine continued. “While Brian hung by the wrists from a light fitting for ten days and starved to death. Nothing taken apart from house and car keys. The body was missing but his shirt and shoes were left. I asked Carol about the shoes.” Douglas realized what she was getting at. “Look in the wardrobe. It’s hard to spot if a shirt or a pair of socks are missing. But most men only have a few pairs of shoes.” Celine nodded. “She remembers his trainers weren’t there. Didn’t think it worth mentioning to Baird. Everything in the bedroom was so neat and tidy.” Jessica pulled out her notebook. “You’re certain Brian is alive, eh?” “There are five people who know about those crazy chess tactics. Brian, Gerald, Ray, Carol, Angela. Any one of them could be simulating the game on that App.” “So you don’t think the chess game proves they’re alive?” Celine finished her juice. “Baird is working on the assumption that they’re dead. He’s seen the videos. Someone
wants him to change his mind. And here’s another idea. Brian or Gerald could have left the country.” Jessica thought not. “Their passports were at their houses. And the police checked for them going through Australian airports.” “I want to have a look in Brian’s house.” “Will Baird let us in?” Jessica asked. “Carol gave me permission this morning. And I’ve more info to trade with him.” The crêpes had arrived and Celine took up her fork and spoon with delight. “With luck we’ll get a few more answers this morning.” She turned to the editor. “Jessica and I can follow up a couple more ideas. If you can give us a bit more time, I think we might have a big story for you.” Douglas declared that the deadline for the next Messenger was tomorrow. The Peugeot was left in front of the newspaper offices and Celine jumped into Jessica’s Camry. “I know you. You have a solution don’t you?” Jessica said. “Not yet. A rather vague hypothesis. We need more data.” “OK. To Northam?” Jessica started the car. Celine was exploring the car’s heater controls. “Please. Then the press conference. Mainly I want to try MLA and put myself in Brian Anderson’s LOCAL MEMBER FOR SWAN HILLS shoes.” ~oOo~
@JessicaShawMLA Jessica.Shaw@mp.wa.gov.au 9296 7688
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Standing up for Swan Hills Authorised by Jessica Shaw, 8/31 Egerton Drive, Aveley, WA 6069
When they reached the Northam police station, they were just in time to see Ray driving off in his Ford. Baird had listened to the story of the ghosts playing chess and was skeptical. The two men were dead. The police were focused on trying to break the Morstard’s alibi. They had definitely been in Northam on the 10th and in Margaret River the next day. Ample time to torture Brian, steal his car and drive down to the southwest. The problem was that they had not returned until the 24th – after Brian and Gerald had died. Celine asked to see Brian’s house. Before Baird could say ‘no’, she slid a piece of paper over the desk to him. “Could you check any recent travel movements for that person please? Also… I think I can show you how the body was removed from the house here. It’s different from Brookton.” 14
Suddenly Baird was sympathetic. Yes, she could view the house. He looked forward to hearing how it could be screwed shut after Brian’s burial. Celine wanted to see the video footage of the two murders. Baird scowled. Ray and Angela Parker and Carol Anderson had been told about the videos in strict confidence. No. At this stage it was for police eyes only. Baird was also rather old-fashioned; he considered it far too violent for viewing by young ladies. Celine did not push the point. “Could you just give me the broad details?” Baird handed her a sheet of paper summarizing the videos. “All dates and times have been verified.” Celine had some questions. “In the Brookton video, do you actually see Gerald being stabbed?” Baird became defensive. “No. The killer put the phone down so that he could use both hands. It was facing the wall. But you can clearly hear the stabbing. And blood splashes on the wall. And we see the body afterwards. There are spasms and the knife is sticking out of his chest.” “Where there any other noises?” “Apart from the gagged screaming?” “Perhaps a metallic click?” Baird looked up. “There was a metal sound. Probably the knife scraping on a button or a belt buckle.” “Also there is still no sign of the grave where Brian was buried?” “We’re still looking.” Celine thanked him. “Just one final question. In the first video, did Brian tell the killer that no one would be coming to free him? Not until Carol returned. A month away?” “Yes. He pleads with them to call someone.” Jessica would have quite happily shot the Morstards at that point. “You mean he knew he was going to die alone? A lingering death from thirst and hunger?” Celine thought of Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado. Baird nodded. “I’ll get constable Bates to show you the house.” ~oOo~ After a quick tour of the house and a close examination of the doors and windows, Celine and Jessica stood looking over the lounge room. The pieces of the model aircraft lay in one corner. Brian’s bloodstained clothing and shoes were in another. The television was in the third and by way of contrast in the fourth corner, looking peaceful and civilized, was an upright piano with stool ready for playing. Bates pointed out the wall light.
Beneath it was a brown patch of carpet and low down on the wall, the word MORSTARD was still visible. Celine spent some time examining the carpet. The bloodstain seemed to be corrugated into stripes. She stood beneath the wall light and pretended to hang by her wrists - but could not reach it. Bates demonstrated how Brian was seen in the video, suspended from the handcuffs looped over the light fitting. His feet would have just touched the carpet. Pointing at the piano, she asked: “Does that look strange to you?” Jessica looked around. “Why?” “Brian Anderson was overly tidy. The piano’s at an odd angle. It’s turned away from the lights so you’d have trouble reading the music.” “Maybe the Morstards pushed it around,” Bates speculated. “Could it have been used as a stand for the phone camera?” Bates shook his head. “Different angle. Facing Brian and the telly.” Finally Celine had a good look at Brian’s workshop – particularly checking (Bates insisted on no touching) the electrical, mechanical and computer components. Each screwdriver was closely inspected. Jessica checked and confirmed that Brian’s trainer shoes were nowhere to be found. As they left, Bates showed them where the police had had to unscrew brackets sealing the door. Then as he locked up, a Cessna passed low overhead making its final approach to the airport runway. Neither Jessica nor Celine usually drank at lunchtime. This day they made an exception. Over a ploughman’s lunch at the nearest hotel, Jessica had a middy while Celine sipped her way through a glass of Riesling. Jessica tried to draft an article and list the questions she ought to ask at that afternoon’s press conference. Celine was silent, doodling names along a timeline. Then she pulled out her phone and called Carol. “Did Brian play the piano?” There was a long reply before Celine said “Thanks” and rang off. The hotel had free WiFi. Celine pulled out her battered iPad and opened the chess App. She checked it for messages from a ghost. Nothing. A frown. Next she looked at her e-mails and worked her way through several pertaining to differential equations. A sigh. There was one from Inspector Baird. A smile. Finally there was one which made her face light up.
As they walked back to the police station, Jessica asked: “Did you get your data?” Celine laughed. “Yep. I know what happened.” ~oOo~ Reporters were assembling outside the police station. Jessica and Celine found Myra at the edge of the crowd. Apparently Angela and Carol were inside being privately briefed by the Inspector. Then Celine spotted Arthur and Ray under a tree in the park opposite and strolled over to them. Jessica and Myra followed. She wasted no time on greetings but turned immediately to Ray. “We need to talk about the bolting of the doors.” Ray shrugged. “What’s to say?” “You told me the heads of the bolts were turned flat against the door. Not sticking out.” “They were.” “So they could not have been shot home with the shoelace trick – like Baird thinks.” Ray shrugged again. Myra was first to speak. “So how was the house sealed up?” Celine watched Ray as she explained. “Simple. Everyone had left. The last person out closes up. The door at the back is bolted and all the windows and doors deadlocked. The front door is slammed shut. Then that someone gets a long pole from the shed. There’s one with parrot-beak shears for picking avocados. It’s inserted through the cat door and used to move the front door bolt. Down and sideways. I couldn’t do it – my wrists aren’t strong enough to hold a long pole
sideways. But a man could.” Ray looked up. “No, he couldn’t. He wouldn’t be able to see what he was doing.” Celine bluffed: “It was you wasn’t it? You know the way I’ve described would be impossible – because you tried it.” “No.” “Then you had a great idea. The mirror in the centre between the doors. You unlocked the door and went back in. Shifted the mirror by taping a wedge of paper behind it. Now you could look through the cat-flap and see the bolt in the mirror when you used the pole.” Jessica turned to Ray. “Bolt pushed home. Pole withdrawn. Now, no one can get in. Is that what you did?” Celine continued: “When the police broke in through the window, you went into the hall and removed the paper wedge and the tape. But you left some sticky tape behind. It’s still there.” Clearly Ray wanted to say that he had not left any sticky tape behind. He had made quite sure that he got it all and that the mirror was repositioned as normal. Equally clearly, he realized that saying so would also confirm his guilt. He flapped his hands like a penguin. “When you drove up from Esperance, you had a look at the house before seeing Myra. The doors weren’t bolted. Just locked as normal when someone goes down the shops. You had a key – you went in. Your Mum and Dad had been missing three days. You might have expected to see something horrible. You did find some blood. And it would now look as if you were implicated. So you decided to make
it look as if you couldn’t get in. You bolted the doors.” Ray nodded. “I didn’t touch anything.” Celine pressed on. “No? So why did you go in? You knew you would have to call the police. Let them find any bodies. You could have said that you didn’t have a key.” Ray looked desperate. Jessica was making notes. Celine paused. “There was some secret in the house. Something you didn’t want the police to find. Something from when you lived there? Something in computer files?” All Ray’s defenses had fallen. The damn girl was irresistible. “When I was a student, I was pretty revolutionary. Dad was bolshie too. We wrote anonymous stuff. Advocating the overthrow of government institutions. Quite extreme. Quite violent. If Esperance council heard about it, I’d be out of a job. So I deleted the files on the old computer.” Arthur laughed. “Baird should arrest you for messing up his crime scene.” Ray was penitent. “Didn’t think it was a crime scene when I went in. Might have been busted for wasting police time – setting up locked room mysteries.” Suddenly everyone had something to say. From Jessica: “Or you could have driven up the previous weekend, killed your Dad, removed his body, deleted the files, sealed the house, taken the van.” From Myra: “Then set up the chess game to make it look like your Dad was still alive.” But Arthur was standing by his mate: “That’s all crap. It doesn’t explain the murder of Brian Anderson. Why would Ray kill either of them?” Celine grinned at Arthur. “Too right!” She turned to Ray. “You can’t be accused of killing your Dad. He’s alive.” She paused. “And Brian’s house was sealed in a quite different way.” Ray just stood there shaking his head. “How?” “The Morstards were just out of prison. They hadn’t tortured anyone in ages. That Tuesday in the hotel they overhear talk about model airplanes. One of the old men is living alone. Wouldn’t it be fun to smash his model in front of him? “They follow him home, push their way in, handcuff him to a light fitting. Turn on the TV to drown any noise. One of them has the bright idea of filming the screaming as the aircraft is demolished. They can do it on his mobile so he can watch it over and over. By this time, they’re on a high. It was a German aircraft
with a swastika on the tail. If he liked Nazis, perhaps they should carve a swastika on his chest? They do. “Next it’s applying lit matches to his feet. Finally they take his keys for some joyriding in his car. He begs them to release him – or call someone. They laugh. This just keeps getting better and better.” Jessica had her recorder on. “So the Morstards took a drive to Margaret River. What then?” “I don’t know what happened to the car. Dumped somewhere down south. But I know what happened to Brian. First he uses blood to daub ‘MORSTARD’ on the wall with a big toe. “Second he has to free himself. He can grasp the carpet between his feet. It probably took him many hours but he manages to drag the whole carpet towards him. The stain of blood was furrowed where it had all bunched up. With the carpet comes the piano stool. He climbs onto it and unhooks his handcuffs from the light fitting. He is alive and free.” Jessica interrupted. “That won’t work. You can’t move the carpet. It’s too heavy with the piano on it. And the stool was off the carpet by the wall.” Celine pretended to be wrong, whacking the side of her head. Jessica went red. “Whoops. The piano was by the wall and the stool was on the carpet. Someone shifted them later.” Celine resumed. “Third, he gets himself some food and drink. Fourth, he makes a key in his workshop to unlock the cuffs. But he is terrified the Morstards, who have the house-keys, will come back for some more fun. He considers calling the police but doesn’t. Instead he bolts and screws wooden planks over all the windows and doors. “Arthur was puzzled. “Why not call the police?” “He wanted revenge. There’d been no attempt by the brothers to call anyone to come and free him. They’d left him to die. They intended that he should starve to death.” Celine paused to emphasise the next sentence. “It was the intent that mattered. They had failed to kill him but they had intended to. They wanted him to die slowly. Calling the police would get them charged with assault. He wanted them tried for murder. He suspected that the law would need to see a body – so he planned to supply one. Then he would have to disappear.” Myra queried: “What about his daughter? Carol?” “My guess is he would have contacted her secretly – when she got back. His main need is to have the police believe he’s ADVERTISEMENT dead. The house – particularly the kitchen and bathroom – must be kept exactly in the state it had WESTERN AUSTRALIA been in when he went to the pub. All packaging and scraps from meals would have been put in a plastic bag. He has loads of time to plan everything.” Jessica smiled. “The piano.” jp mlc “I asked Carol. He doesn’t Member for East Metropolitan Region play but it had been moved. Shadow Minister for Education; Onto the carpet. He made the Training; Women’s Interests carpet unshiftable and the stool ungettable. He didn’t want anyone to think he could have escaped. He waits ten days and then Ground Floor, 108 Swan Street Guildford 6055 hangs himself from the wall light again. This time with the key in his 9379 0840 | Faragher.email@example.com clenched fist. He sticks the phone Authorised by D.Faragher, 108 Swan Street, Guildford WA 6055. to something and uses the timer to
FARAGHER Here to help!
make a second video - when the TV is showing the news - to confirm the date. Then out to the garden for another video of him lying in a grave.” Celine paused but there was only silence. “Now all he had to do was disappear. He showered and changed into clean clothes and his trainers. His bloody trousers went into the bag with the kitchen rubbish. He didn’t want anyone disturbing his murder scene. He climbed out of the window of his tool-room. Then used a little radio-controlled robot he’d made during the week. It screwed the plank back over the window. Then it crawled back into a pile of spare parts on the bench.” “Better than my way,” Ray grinned. “Brian had to find someone who could hide him. How about his old chess mate, Gerald? He buried the rubbish somewhere in the bush around the airport and caught the bus to Brookton. Angela was away at a conference and Gerald let him bunk down in the van.” Arthur glanced at Ray. “Good ain’t she? Bet she can prove it all too!” In answer, Celine waved to a sinister figure who had been loitering nearby. He had a hood obscuring his face. If he had red eyes, his dark glasses covered them. “Well, you’ve grown,” the figure said to Ray. Ray’s jaw dropped. “Brian Anderson!” Arthur was the first to recover his power of speech. “Bloody Hell.” Jessica followed with: “So what happed at Brookton?” Celine looked at Brian, who took a step back. “I wouldn’t want to spoil your fun.” “Gerald had had another of his frequent arguments with Angela. He had been preparing a grand melodramatic gesture for ages. He would start a new life with a new identity in a new country. Something like the romance of joining the French Foreign Legion. Leave the house and orchard and everything to Angela.” Ray nodded. “He was always talking about starting over.” Celine continued. “He’d applied for a passport in his brother’s name. He had a birth certificate and everything you needed to know. Just supplied his own photo. Maybe forged a couple of signatures. Then he used it to open bank accounts and so on. This morning I asked Baird to check on Tom Parker. Gerald’s in Tahiti.” “Playing chess I suppose,” Myra added. “Brian arrival in Brookton triggered it. Why not have them both disappear? His old identity would have to die so that no one would bother looking for him. But Brian thought they might be able to further implicate the Morstards. Gerald agreed. So he wrote the message on the wall in the cupboard naming Jar and Stab – before being tied up. On camera he was dragged out - with the sound effects of being stabbed to death. A few small cuts would have provided enough blood. I wanted to listen to the recording but Baird wouldn’t let me. I think there’s a click as the blade is broken off the knife - so they could leave the handle sticking out of his chest.” “He wasn’t to know the Morstards would have an alibi.” Arthur added. “And Mayhem?” Myra asked. “Leaving a ton of food in the house for him would look all wrong. They couldn’t ask you to feed him, Myra. I don’t think Gerald cared. But Brian hid biscuits and tuna and water in the orchard. Then they left, leaving keys and phone and wallet and slamming the front door behind them. Brian dropped him at the airport. Then the van was abandoned and Brian took a bus or train to somewhere.” Brian nodded. “Mandurah. Gerald knew of an empty beach shack.” “Brian became NorthPark and Gerald was SouthPark and
they could play chess and communicate over the online App. They never thought anyone would spot their games.” At that point, Baird appeared and invited all the journalists in for the press conference. He was wearing the biggest grin anyone had ever seen. Jessica and Brian headed for the back row of seats just to hear what he had to say. Brian would give Jessica an exclusive interview and apologize to Carol somewhere private afterwards. Everyone had to get back to work. Ray and Myra would be driving through York and offered Celine a lift. They were overwhelming with their thanks. Arthur looked like he wanted to hug her to death. Instead he shook her hand. ~oOo~ Two hours later, back at the Jacaranda Tearoom, Celine gave the full story to Douglas. “It was weird. One lot of evidence was showing them to be dead. Another lot showing them to be alive. I was lucky. Baird was assuming they were dead and getting nowhere. I assumed they were alive.” “That was good thinking – not luck.” “There were no bodies. The only reason for the videos was to make someone who was alive look like they were dead. The chess game was tricky. Any one of five people could have been simulating their playing style. Angela doesn’t play. Carol was off the Internet in the middle of the Pacific. And if it was Ray, why show me?” Douglas had had his own theory. “Gerald might have killed Brian – or vice versa.” “The timeline doesn’t work. I felt sure they were both alive. The game being abandoned, when Ray sent his messages, supported it. So the next thing was to ask why they were pretending to be dead. They wanted to disappear. And where were they hiding? I had to put myself in their shoes. Brian wanted the Morstards convicted of murder. Gerald wanted a new life. A magnificent romantic gesture.” “So how did you find Brian?” “Gerald’s e-mail address was at his house and Carol had Brian’s. I sent them e-mails with my ideas. Gerald is keeping quiet but Brian couldn’t take the strain any longer. He promised to come back to Northam. Said he’d see me at the press conference.” Douglas sat back, dreaming of that weekend’s edition with its exclusive interview. ‘Headline: VICTIMS FOUND ALIVE, subheading: THE INSIDE STORY.’ “They were both dead. But as ghosts they could still play chess with each other.” ~oOo~ All the way back to Perth, Celine couldn’t stop grinning. She kept glancing at the cardboard box sitting on the passenger seat. It contained a brand new iPad. The triumph was complete when she switched the radio to the ABC station. It was a book reading. The claws of steel slid out the dark and took Her body tight. As Alice screamed and shook, They dragged her to the half-lit square, where stood A knight with sword, red eyes beneath his hood. The End
WHAT’S ON IF YOU WOULD LIKE AN EVENT LISTED IN THIS COLUMN RING our office on 0418 934 850 Entries for non-profit entities are free. MORRIS DANCING
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS - Glen Forrest Group Every Monday evening We meet at 7.00pm at the Glen Forrest Uniting Church, Mc Glew Rd, Glen Forrest. Call Dermot 0488 905 211 or John 0448 074 536 or the Perth Office (all hours) 9325 3566.
All welcome. It’s like bush dancing, with sticks and bells. It’s aerobic exercise and great fun! Tuesdays 7-9pm practice, Guildford Town Hall, cnr James St and Meadow St, Guildford. And drinks later at the Woodbridge Hotel with live Irish music For more information please contact: Christine Hogan: 9279 8778 Email: madtattersmorris@iinet.Net.Au Website: madtattersmorris.myclub.org.au
AUSTRALIAN BREASTFEEDING ASSOC. Discussion groups, guest speakers, morning tea. Free breastfeeding counselling. Expectant mothers, mothers, babies and children welcome. National Breastfeeding Helpline 1800 686 2686 is a 24 hour 7 days a week service.
SWAN WOODTURNERS GROUP
The group meets in the rear hall of The Senior Citizens’ Centre, The Avenue, Midland, at 1-00pm. on 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 5th. Tuesday, and at 7-00pm. on 2nd Tuesday of each month. A demonstration and cuppa are the norm. Men and Women are welcome. Enquiries to Ted 9295 4438.
Swan/Mundaring Group meets every Monday, 9:30-11:30am at the Gumnuts Family Centre, 8 Mudalla Way, Koongamia. A qualified ABA counsellor is present at each meeting to give confidential information and support on breastfeeding issues. Contact Natalie 9572 4971.
SWAN VALLEY COMMUNITY CENTRE
Monday Mornings The Art Group meets at Baskerville Hall from 9am – 12pm for just $5.00 per session. Group leader Gilly can help and advise with most media. Feel free to come and have a look and meet our local artists – they are a very friendly lot, new members welcome! For more information call 9296 1976 or firstname.lastname@example.org www.swanvalleycommunitycentre.com
Kalamunda Group meets fortnighly on a Thursday, 9:3011:30am at the Maida Vale Baptist Church, Edney Road, High Wycombe. Contact Jenny 9252 1996. Northam Group meets each second Tuesday of the month at the Bridgeley Community Centre, Wellington Street, Northam 10am to Noon. Fourth Tuesday each month at Toodyay Playgroup, Stirling Terrace, Toodyay. Noon to 2pm. Please phone Louisa 9574 0229.
EASTERN DISTRICTS MACHINE KNITTERS
THE HILLS CHOIR
Friday - second and fourth We meet from 9:00am to noon at 10 Brockman Road, Midland. Feel welcome to join us for morning tea and see how easy it is to make your own garments. For more information contact Pat 9309 3260; Liz 9572 7074 or Pat 9295 2793.
Monday Evenings Do you enjoy singing and joining with others to make beautiful music? Come and join the Hills Choir. We meet from 7.30 to 9.30pm at the Uniting Church on Stoneville Road, Mundaring. Contact Margie on 9295 6103 for further information.
SWAN HARMONY SINGERS
ELLENBROOK COMMUNITY WEIGHT LOSS CLUB
Wednesdays Come and sing with us! Swan Harmony Singers is a community choir that meets, 7-9pm, to sing music ranging from jazz to pop, plus the occasional classic. No auditions. Join us
Every Tuesday evening We meet from 6.45pm to 8.00pm at the Woodlake Community Hall, Meeting room 1 Highpoint Blvd, Ellenbrook. Friendly support group at low cost. Male and females of all ages welcome. Contact Shirley 9276 7938 email@example.com.
HILLS CHRONIC PAIN SUPPORT GROUP
1st Wednesday of each month Hilltop Grove Estate, 1645 Jacoby Street, Mahogany Creek. Morning tea provided, between 10.30 - 12.00 noon. Enquiries Terina 9572 1655.
WHAT’S ON at the Salvation Army Church Hall, 371 Morrison Rd, (opposite Swan View Primary School), Swan View. Enquiries: call Anna on 9299 7249, or Chris on 9298 9529 or 0435 062 728.
ELLENBROOK AND DISTRICT MENS SHED INC.
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday We are open at 4 Transit Way Ellenbrook from 10.00am to 3.00pm. Potential members can turn up on those days and there will be someone to explain what we do and give membership details. Annual fees are low and members can do their own thing, participate in projects for the community or simply just come in for a chat and a cuppa. We are considering extending our days to include Saturdays or evenings if there is enough interest.
MUSTARD SEED - DISCOVERING COMPUTERS
Mustard Seed is a fifteen year old non-profit organisation and teaches all aspects of everyday computing. Ability levels from beginners onwards. Want help with Windows 10? In need of instruction with your Mac computer? Have an iPad or Android tablet and don’t know what it will do? We can help. Cost is $3 per session. Classes are heldat 56 McGlew Road, Glen Forrest. To gain a place enrol now. Phone 9299 7236 or 0478 604 163 or E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: noodlebytes.com
Wednesday evenings 6:00pm The WA Horse Council equestrian radio program is now in its
seventh year. The programme is broadcast on the Community Radio Station 91.3 SportFM. To ensure that your club, event, breed or business gets coverage, call Diane Bennit 0409 083 617.
SWAN VALLEY COMMUNITY CENTRE SWAN VALLEY HOMESCHOOL FAMILY PLAYGROUP
Thursday mornings 9:15am to 11:15am Older siblings welcome to join playgroup in a rural setting in the Swan Valley. Normal playgroup guidelines apply for children zero to five years old. Baskerville Hall, 129 Memorial Drive, Baskerville. For more information ring 0419 922 792 or email enquiries@ swanvalleycommunitycentre.com
MIDLAND MEN’S SHED
Every Tuesday morning We meet socially every Tuesday morning from 9.30am to 11.30am in the Bellevue Baptist Church Hall and our usual attendance is around fifty-five. At least once a month we have a guest speaker on a range of topics. We also go on excursions to various places of interest (e.g. HMAS Stirling, Aviation Museum, Fremantle Ports, ALCOA, etc.). Our workshop with wood working and metal working is in Midvale and for the opening hours and further details please contact Rob Cutter on 0419 967 873. Also in operation is our music group – the Rockin’ Shedders which is going from strength to strength and their repertoire of songs increases each week. For more information on the Shed please contact Kevin Buckland on 0417 961 971 or email: email@example.com.
MUNCHKINSMUZIC A BRAND NEW MUSIC PROGRAM FOR 2-4 YEAR OLDS AND THEIR CAREGIVERS IN THE SWAN VALLEY Grubb Run by Margaret ialist ec Primary Music Sp
$100 Per Term 9.30am -10.10am or 10.30-11.10am Thursday
Email now to secure you r place
129 Memorial Drive Baskerville www.swanvalleycommunitycentre.com firstname.lastname@example.org 9296 1976 (leave a message) 19
COMMUNITY WORLD FIRST SEISMIC SOUND EXPERIMENT
he Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) has conducted the first real-world seismic experiment to determine the effects of marine noise on fish and pearl oysters. The experiment, using the geological survey vessel the BGP Explorer, surveyed two sites off the northwest of Western Australia over ten days. The experiment, which has taken the collaborative efforts of more than a hundred people a year to design and co-ordinate, could help clarify some of the questions around marine noise. AIMS research scientist and the project’s science lead Dr Mark Meekan said the experiment was unique. “It is the first time anyone has had a dedicated seismic vessel to look at the effects of seismic energy on pearl oysters and on fish,” Dr Meekan said. “This is an enormous piece of research, the answers are not going to apply just to Australia, they’ll be important internationally.” Seismic surveys are used to produce images of the various geological layers and their location beneath the earth’s surface. The seismic vessel tows an array of air guns that use compressed air to produce acoustic energy. Sound waves penetrate the seabed and, depending on the depth and characteristics of the geological layers, are reflected back at different time intervals and intensity. The reflected sounds are captured by a series of very sensitive hydrophones (underwater microphones) towed behind the seismic vessel. Analysing the time of arrival and characteristics of the reflected sound waves provides valuable
information about the geological layers. The study is looking specifically at Pearl oysters (Pinctada maxima) and red emperor, which are a commercially important indicator species for other demersal fish. The researchers tagged 390 red emperor and are tracking the fish via an array of 96 acoustic receivers as well as using BRUVS© (Baited Remote Underwater Video Systems) to document their movements before, during and after exposure to the seismic sound. WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development acting regional manager Ellen Smith said looking into the effect of seismic activities on demersal fish was important because their abundance and biodiversity is an indicator of the health of an ecosystem. “We want to find out if fish change their behaviour and leave the area, stop spawning, hide or return to normal,” Ms Smith said. “If we know how demersal fish react we can manage our fisheries appropriately to ensure long-term sustainability.” With the support of the Pearl Producers Association and the Paspaley Pearl Company the AIMS study also set out more than 10,000 pearl oysters in groups of about 1200 at different distances of up to 6 kilometres from the seismic vessel operation. “This experiment is important because we need to understand the nature of the risks associated with seismic testing and pearl oysters at Eighty Mile Beach,” Pearl Producers Association chief executive Aaron Irving said.
COMMUNITY SOUTHERN BLUEFIN TUNA RECOVERY THINKING GREEN RETURNS JESSICA MCINERNEY
he City of Swan is welcoming 2019 with its sixth Thinking Green series, including a jam-packed program of sustainable living workshops. There are a number of brand new workshops in this year’s program, including three Solar Battery Storage events on January 19 (Bullsbrook Library), January 23 (Baskerville Hall) and January 30 (Beechboro Library). The three sessions will inform participants about how solar power and battery storage can drastically reduce their carbon footprint and power bills, and offer free tailored energy assessments for households. Also new to Thinking Green in 2019 are Cleaning with Chemistry, The Waste-free Kitchen, Butterfly Gardening, Drawing on Nature and Integrated Pest Management (natural pest control). Workshops Jan/Feb 2019 Solar Battery Storage Bullsbrook Public Library Saturday January 19 11am - 12pm Solar Battery Storage Baskerville Hall Wednesday, January 23 6.30pm - 7.30pm Solar Battery Storage Beechboro Public Library Wednesday, January 30 10am - 11am Cleaning with Chemistry Midland Public Library Wednesday, February 6 5.30pm - 7pm Cleaning with Chemistry Ellenbrook Community Library Saturday, February 9 9.30am - 11am The Waste-free Kitchen Ballajura Public Library Saturday, February 9 3.30pm - 5pm The Waste-free Kitchen Ellenbrook Community Library Saturday, February 23 9.30am - 11am The Waste-free Kitchen Guildford Mechanics Hall Thursday, February 28 6pm - 7.30pm City of Swan Mayor David Lucas said every Thinking Green event is free and open to all community members from the City of Swan and beyond. “We want to help our community become more informed about how they can minimise their environmental footprint, and that is the premise behind our Thinking Green series,” he said. “We aim to inspire our community to live a more sustainable lifestyle, and improve the environment and their own wellbeing in the process. “With such a diverse array of sustainability workshops being held all over the City, there really is something for everyone; so please come along and learn something new.” Pearce Ward Councillor Kevin Bailey said along with Thinking Green, the City is continuing other important sustainability initiatives in 2019. “The Switch Your Thinking program is another local government sustainability initiative that City is involved in, and our residents are the ones who benefit from this fantastic program,” he said. “We have partnered with local suppliers to offer discounts on solar panels and batteries, rainwater tanks, pool blankets, energy and water audits, compost bins and more. “Simply visit the Switch Your Thinking website for discounts on dozens of products and services.” Bookings are essential for all Thinking Green workshops as places are limited. For more information, visit www.swan.wa.gov.au/ thinkgreen
eafood Industry Australia (SIA), the national peakbody representing the Australian seafood industry, has congratulated the CSIRO’s Southern Bluefin Tuna (SBT) research team for their award winning work to halt the decline of this iconic fish species. “The team were awarded the CSIRO Impact from Science award and the Sir Ian McLennan Achievement for Industry award at the 2018 CSIRO Awards ceremony in November,” SIA CEO Jane Lovell said. “The awards recognise the game-changing science the team has produced for the assessment and management of the international SBT fishery. Their efforts have made it possible to arrest the decline of SBT stock, resulting in a steady rebuilding of fish stocks.
“The achievements of the team are international firsts which is really exciting on its own, but also because the technology is transferable to other fish and wildlife species and can be used for conservation management globally. “The team developed a method to monitor the adult population of SBT, called close-kin mark recapture, which uses DNA sequencing. Along with the SBT gene-tagging program which has been developed to monitor the numbers of juvenile fish in the population each year. “The Stehr Group, an SIA member, is involved with this groundbreaking program, by helping tag wild SBT. “This is an example of science produced by the Australian seafood industry that will have a impact on the health of global fisheries. “The SBT fishery was once in decline, however thanks to Australia’s strict fisheries management techniques coupled with the CSIRO’s team research efforts this decline has halted and the fishery is steadily rebuilding. “Australia is now leading the way forward globally for the management of SBT fisheries and setting the benchmark for international management techniques.” 21
DOUGLASâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; WINERIES AND DINERIES
These are the restaurants and eateries, casual and formal, and wineries that I personally reccommend and eat at for pleasure.
The hidden gem of a bar in Bassendean 77 Old Perth Road
OPEN Wednesday - Thursday 5-10ish Friday 5 - 10:30ish Saturday - Sunday 12 - 10:30ish HAVING A FUNCTION? - FULLY CATERED & NO HIRE FEE
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FICTION DEATH IN THE SEA OF GRASS KAREN R W TREANOR
edmond Trevelyan’s soothing smoke was abruptly interrupted by a great gout of water leaping from the tiny waterfall and splashing into the pipe, wetting him in the process. “What the—” he roared, leaping up. Several boulders spewed out of the crevice and tumbled to his feet. The water stopped for a second or two, then resumed. Out of the icy torrent projected first one, then another, human leg. “God almighty! Tousay, tousay!” The DC grabbed the projecting limbs and tried to pull them free, shouting for help all the time. Two of the rangers ran up, rifles at the ready. “She’s stuck! Help me!” he cried, trying to wriggle the trapped body out of the crevice. Hi hands found the waist and the rope around it. “Knife! Quickly!” he ordered. A knife handle was slapped in his hand and the two men took over the job of holding up the dangling body. Trevelyan thrust his hands into the rushing water and tried to slip the knifepoint, blade side out, under the rope. Something was keeping pressure on the rope; there was no slack. At last he felt the knot, and began slashing at it. The body under his hands leaped convulsively as the blade slipped and the water ran red for a moment. Cursing, Trevelyan kept sawing. Suddenly the rope parted and the body of a woman, in a dreadful parody of birth, slid out onto the ground, limp and livid. The rangers were no novices to emergencies; almost before Rivka hit the ground they had grabbed her body and thrown it face down over a rock. Trevelyan quickly checked that her tongue wasn’t blocking her windpipe, then began a steady pressure on her back, pushing in, then pulling the arms forward, pushing in, pulling the arms. For a long horrible minute he thought it was hopeless; then, with a gush of water and a spasm of coughing, Rivka took a breath. Trevelyan couldn’t recall when he had last felt so relieved, uplifted, excited, triumphant— what was the word for what he was feeling? He pushed a lock of sodden hair from the pale face and said, “You’ll do.” Rivka rolled away and brought up everything in her stomach, which included so much water, she didn’t think she’d ever be thirsty again. After another coughing fit, she was finally able to sit up. “Hello, Redmond.” “Why didn’t you wait? We were finding a way to come and get you! What sort of hare-brained scheme is this? Don’t you know you could have been killed?” Anger had replaced relief, and the DC positively sputtered the words. “I didn’t do it on purpose!” Rivka’s face crumpled and she burst into tears, which amazed both of them. Trevelyan wrapped his arms around the dripping body and said, “There, there,” which banal phrase caused Rivka to cry all the harder. “I was so scared!” One of the rangers trotted up, carrying a blanket from the back of the DC’s Land Rover. “She will be chilled, sir,” he said, thrusting the blanket into Trevelyan’s hands. “Quite right. We must get her into something dry. Look in my duffel bag, Thulo, see what you can find.” Wrapping the blanket around Rivka, Trevelyan said, “I just got back from upcountry. The clothes will be dirty but dry.” “They’ll be wonderful, I’m sure,” said Rivka, thinking that was a ridiculous thing to have said but not caring.
“Then we’ll get you home.” “No, I can’t leave. I might be able to help here. I can tell you the layout of the cave and where the camp is inside it.” “We found your little boat and then there you were, like a cork in a bottle. Can you tell me what happened?” Rivka shuddered and clutched the blanket closer around her body. “Claire and Puli and I had gone to the place where the water disappeared, reasoning that if the water got out, so could we. “There was a sort of whirlpool with rocks at the bottom. I was lying on a ledge, poking a big stick into the blockage, and next thing, I was rushing down a tunnel in the water. Claire had tied a rope to me so she could rescue me if I fell in. As I whooshed down the tunnel, I wondered if the rope would be long enough. It wasn’t. I was brought up with a horrific jerk and then I felt someone trying to pull me. I couldn’t open my mouth to say I was tied to a rope, but then you found it and cut it. “Thank you very much for saving me, Redmond. I’d have died very unpleasantly.” “Speaking of the rope, I slashed you when I was trying to cut it. Let me see how bad it is.” He pulled away the blanket and tugged at her wet shirt. A gash about three inches long scored the skin over the lower ribs. Trevelyan looked at it perhaps a trifle longer than medical examination would have required. “It’s a shame to have damaged such lovely skin, but it doesn’t look serious,” he said, then flushing and stepping back quickly. What on earth is the
have more supplies in the big bag.” “There’s food and hot tea on the way. Dr. Patel says the Queen has ordered up the equivalent of a camp kitchen to feed the rescuers and the rescued both, optimist that she is.” “Sometimes that’s what these occasions require; someone who by force of will keeps things going. Tell me, Redmond, is there really a chance you will be able to get them out quickly?” And alive, she thought. “Now we know that we’re working to free the living, not just to recover bodies, the work will go better. The Queen will send the men from Bhunya around here to investigate this exit. It may be possible to open it further. If you with just a stick were able to shift some of the rocks, a group of men with proper tools might be able to do better.” Rivka shivered. Trevelyan put his arm around her. “Are you all right?” “Yes, thank you, just a bit cold still. I cannot help thinking what would have happened if you had not got me out.” “But I did get you out. You’re safe now.” They sat there, he thinking how well she fitted against him, and she for the first time in months feeling secure and protected. With a sigh, he got up and said, “If you’ll be all right, I had better get to work. There may be another way into that cave, and we hadn’t finished our search when we found you.” Rivka mustered a tremulous smile. “I’m fine. I’ll make boats while I wait for my clothes to dry.” When Thulo brought her supplies, Rivka set about constructing more paper boats in several sizes, all bearing the message, “Rivka is safe, we are working to get you out. Stay away from the whirlpool; we may try to open it further.” As she completed each boat, a runner took it back around the hill and up to where the re-routed stream flowed into the collapsed small cave. All anyone could do now was hope that the skills of the men from the mine and the brawn of the men from Enkalovu would find a way to free the prisoners. ~oOo~
matter with me? I don’t say things like that. He fumbled his tobacco pouch from his pocket and knocked out the plug of soggy tobacco from his beloved briar. “May I?” “Of course. I wish I smoked myself, I’m sure it would calm me,” said Rivka. “Oh, that reminds me—while we were looking for clues, I mean looking for Elspeth, Claire found a plug of pipe ash. What is the name for it? Pottle?” “Almost. It’s dottle. No idea where the word comes from.” “Anyway,” Rivka continued, “we thoughtbmaybe it was left by whoever has been pokingbaround up here. There was a tobacco tin as well,bwith a notebook in it, which Claire thinks might have been hidden by Thabo Khonzi. She gave it to the Queen to translate.” “I’m not sure what one could learn from the dottle, but it does indicate a foreigner was here. Most Batshani don’t smoke pipes; they roll the tobacco up in maize leaves like a primitive cigar. “Or Bible paper—they prize that. It distresses the Bristol Bible Society to find potential churchgoers smoking the Good Book; for years they thought they were going to get a lot of converts,” Trevelyan said. “Here’s Thulo with dry clothes. If I hold up the blanket, it will make a sort of screen for you.” Acutely aware of a briefly naked woman on the other side of the blanket, Trevelyan puffed furiously on his pipe and tried to think of England. “All right, I’m decent,” Rivka said, stepping away from the makeshift screen. “You’re such a big man; this is almost like a dress on me.” Trevelyan thought he’d never seen such a fetching figure in his life, and tried not to stare at the long white legs which were displayed under a crumpled and dusty bush jacket. “Put your clothes on the bushes, they’ll dry soon,” he said gruffly. “I’m afraid I’ll get blood on your jacket,” Rivka said. “Not to worry, it’s had worse. I fell in a pile of fresh rhinoceros dung once,” said Trevelyan, trying to make her feel comfortable and then thinking what a stupid thing he had said. Why on God’s green earth was he babbling like this? Dr. Patel arrived, escorted by the other ranger, who had taken it on himself to report the events to the workers on the other side of the hill and to find a doctor. “Well, well: one rescued; only three to find now,” Dr. Patel said, as if he’d been keeping score. “Come here, young lady, let us see what injuries you have taken. Commissioner, you and your minions may go away for a moment while I conduct my examination.” Patel examined and bandaged the cut. “Just a very deep scratch, really, and beautifully clean thanks to the cold water. You should not be having any problems with it. Mmm, some nice bruises are forming, but they will fade in a week or so. No pain anywhere? Good, good. Well, I think I can be telling you, if you were not already aware of the fact, that you are a very lucky lady. You have taken no permanent damage. I will be sending my bill for this house call in due course. A little joke, my dear lady, a little joke.” Wrapping and tapping all the while, Patel stood up and said, “There, almost as good as new.” Rivka buttoned up the huge shirt again and went to bestow her wet wash on several bushes nearby, putting the underwear as far out of sight as she could. She felt very exposed, but knew she couldn’t very well sit about in wet clothing all day. With luck the silk undies would be dry in half an hour. She found a warm rock and sat down to see what would happen next. Trevelyan came to sit beside her. “I thought we could send another little boat into the cave, in hopes those inside would see it and know you were safe and we were working to save them.” “That’s a good idea. If someone can bring my big art satchel from where I left it, I can make some more boats. All I had in the cave was a small box of pastels and a pocket sketchpad, but I
Inside the cave, hope was at low ebb. Claire and Puli sat in the dark on the ledge, he crying and saying, “I am sorry. I did not mean to drop the light,” and she comforting him while she tried to bandage her cut hand with her pockethandkerchief. Whoever writes those adventure stories about people making bandages in the wilderness clearly never tried to tear a hanky into strips, Claire thought, trying to bite through the handstitched hem with her teeth. Perhaps they have cheaper hankies. Or better teeth. At last she was able to rip a strip from the side, and fumbling in the dark, used it to tie the wadded up remains of the hanky around her palm. That’s one problem surmounted. Now, how to get back to the camp in total darkness? “Puli, I will slide down into the water, then you come down beside me. We know it’s only about eight feet across the water to solid land. We should be able to get over if we hold on to each other. The water is fast, but it is not that deep. You must hold my belt and not let go. Together we will weigh too much to be swept away.” I certainly hope I’m right, she thought. She eased herself back into the icy water, a job made more difficult by the now aching hand. “Now you come down.” Puli slipped down the rock to her side, his grasp on her belt as tight as possible. “The water doesn’t seem as deep now, but it’s just as cold as ever. I’ll take one step, then you take a step, and we will go across as if we were a four legged person, all right?” Puli giggled at this idea. Claire took a step, Puli took a step, Claire took another step and stumbled, righted herself, and said, “There are some loose rocks. We have to be more careful.” After what seemed an hour but was probably three minutes, they came ashore again on the opposite bank. “Okay, now we know what we have to do.—take a few steps 24
until we feel the sand, then turn right. We should be able to feel our way into the tunnel and get back on the other side of the big boulder.” “I should go first.; I can tell you when the roof goes down,” Puli offered. “If you bang your head and fall down, what would happen to me?” “That’s a practical suggestion. But be careful,” Claire said. Inch by inch they made their way, with only a few scraped knuckles and one stubbed toe. At last they crawled out of the tight passage and stood up again. “Look, there is the fire,” Puli yelled. The dim light was no actual help, but had enormous psychological benefit. Trotting off in the dark against orders, Puli tripped and sprawled full length, but bounced back with hardly a complaint. “Elspeth, we’re coming!” Claire called. In a few minutes two cold and bedraggled figures stood by the campfire, teeth chattering. “You have had trouble. Where is the woman who draws pictures?” Elspeth said, throwing more wood on the fire. “She fell into the water and went down the whirlpool. We think she must have gotten outside,” Claire explained, refusing to think of the alternative. In the short time they had shared housing, Claire had become very fond of Rivka. The thought that she was dead was bitter. Claire felt her grasp on reason slipping as the hope of rescue flickered and dimmed. When I get out of here I will find the man responsible for our troubles and I will personally feed him to Shaka and Sindi, digit by digit, she thought. “Sit down and eat,” Elspeth commanded, with some semblance of her former character. Claire came to herself with a shock—she’d been pacing back and forth and not been aware of it. Elspeth had cut up the rest of the cheese and was now slicing bread with Claire’s bone saw. “The bananas must be eaten now, and the litchis. The apples will keep for some time,” she said, handing Claire a sandwich and half a banana. The food tasted of dust, but Claire knew she had to eat it. There was no telling what further exertions might be required of her and she needed to be strong. It will just take longer to starve to death if you eat now, said a dark little voice somewhere in the back of her mind. Pushing it back with an almost physical effort, she said, “What good luck that Rivka made us move in here. She had a feeling something was going to happen. At first I thought it was silly.” “Sometimes the ancestors come to you in a dream and give you good advice,” said Elspeth. “Only foolish people would ignore that.” “Most Europeans don’t believe that. They only trust what they can measure or feel or see.” “Then they are very foolish people. They can make machines that fly in the air, but they cannot believe in their own ancestors, who are as real as the sunrise,” Elspeth said, secure in her beliefs, and pitying of unbelieving foreigners. “Well, whatever caused it, we were saved by coming in here. And it’s only a matter of time before they dig us out. Rivka is probably telling them all about what happened and planning how to find us.” Claire believed this about as much as she believed in Aunt Tovah’s second sight, but it sounded bright and brave. For a while they all sat watching the fire, each wondering how close rescue might be. Puli went to the stream to fill the water bottle, and gave a cry. “Quick, quick, here is something coming!” Snatching up the one remaining lamp, Claire ran to his side. “What is it?” “Something on the water, I saw it,” Puli said, scampering into the icy flood for the third time that day. “Be careful!” Claire ordered, thinking that she was beginning to sound like Puli’s governess. With scant caution, he ran down the stream, and Claire paralleled him along the bank.
With a cry of triumph he pounced, and came up holding something yellow. “Bring it to the fire,” Elspeth said. “It will be wet and you may damage it.” With a sudden spring of hope, Claire realised the yellow thing was another of Rivka’s little boats. Reverently, Puli laid it on a rock at the fireside. “It was almost sinking when I saw it.” “You have very sharp eyes. You will be a great hunter!” Claire said, thinking how easily the little boat could have slipped past in the darkness. Elspeth looked at the sodden paper. “If we leave it to dry, it will be better. But I would very much like to know what it says.” “So would I. Perhaps…” Claire very gently picked up the boat and, trying to remember how Rivka had folded hers, pulled tentatively at one corner. “No, it’s too soggy. Well, we know one thing just by seeing the boat: Rivka got outside alive, thank God. She was able to get back to where the water enters the cave, so she cannot be injured badly. Probably she has met up with the people trying to rescue us, because if there were no one outside, she would have gone away in the car at once to find someone. How’s that for detective work?” “Very good,” Elspeth said with a smile; a sufficient rarity for Claire to think that perhaps the haphazard surgery had been successful and a complete recovery could be expected. “I should check your wound again, maThemba,” she said. “I think it would be better for me to check yours. You must go and wash that very well, then we will use the bandage Puli washed.” Elspeth nodded at Claire’s gory hand, which had everything but a signpost hung out saying, “Germs welcome here”. “You are right, as always.” Claire knew better than to argue. Crouched at the stream, she moaned with pain as the icy water sluiced the cut palm. Going back to the fireside, she said, “If you pour a bit of iodine in here, I will scream, but it will kill the germs.” Holding her hand out and clutching her wrist tightly with 25
the other hand she looked away as Elspeth dispensed iodine lavishly. Claire resorted to the small child’s sting cure and blew frantically on the wound. “S-s-sugar! That’s awful!” she hissed. “It is well for the inyanga to drink his own brews now and then,” Elspeth said, almost chuckling. “Bring it closer to the light.” With great finesse, the stand-in medic had the hand bound up neatly in short order. Finishing off with a halfbow, she said, “Duchess Mahopeloa is not the only nurse in Tshaniland, eh? Now, try to keep it clean and dry.” “Thank you. Now perhaps you will look at Puli’s toe, for I think he needs the iodine also,” Claire said, overriding the small boy’s protests. “Come on, Puli. God knows what awful things may live in the dirt in this cave. Let your grandmother clean the toe.” Out-numbered, Puli offered up the injured member with a martyred sigh. He bore the application of iodine with greater fortitude than Claire had, and gave her a cheeky grin to show he was well aware of this. “Let’s try unfolding the boat again,” she said. The paper was still damp, but it didn’t turn to mush as Claire worked on it. She got it laid out flat on the stone and said, “It’s what we expected: Rivka got out alive and there are lots of people working to free us. We must keep away from the whirlpool—they may try to get through there, she says. Well, all we can do is wait.” With a loud cry, Puli suddenly leapt to his feet, grabbed a rock and threw it into the darkness, all in one smooth motion. A sharp squeak and a sort of scrabbling noise followed. Before Claire could ask what he was doing, Puli had snatched up the lamp and run toward the noise. There was a dull thud, and he returned carrying something. “It is dinner!” he said, the triumph unmistakable. He, Puli, had just put meat on the table, and he was rather proud of
himself. “I said you would be a mighty hunter, didn’t I? And so you are!” exclaimed Claire, looking at the body of a large rock hyrax as it twitched its last at her feet. “So, mighty hunter, will you be able to prepare this creature? It should be bled quickly,” Elspeth said, not about to compound the fulsome praise for so small a prey as a dassie. Puli said something in Sitshana, then asked Claire for one of her scalpels. She handed it over and said, “Perhaps take it further away from the sleeping area to clean it. Take the lamp so you can see what you are doing.” Chest out, Puli went off with the knife, lamp and potential dinner. “Well, that was a bit of good luck. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten dassie. Is it nice?” Claire asked Elspeth. “Have you ever had the meat pie at Kosi’s restaurant?” “Yes, many times.” “Then you have probably eaten dassie. Kosi puts all sorts of things in her pies. She is a very good manager—she does not waste food.” Claire gulped. She tried not to think of the bright-eyed little beast made into a pie, but a parody of Four and Twenty Blackbirds came instantly to mind. “Eating dassie is not so very different from eating sheep. And today we do not seem to have a sheep,” said Elspeth, ever practical. After a while, Puli came back with something that one could, with a lot of imagination, believe to be a very small lamb ready for roasting. Finding a slender branch in the woodpile, he spitted the corpse and gave it to his grandmother. “I will find something to make a cooking rack.” A bit more rummaging in the dwindling wood store produced two Y-shaped pieces, which Puli rammed into the sandy soil beside the fire. Taking the spitted dassie, he set it across the supports. “There! We must turn it many times, but it will be good.” Claire had a sudden thought and pulled the last food basket into the firelight. Sure enough, at the bottom was a little screw-top jar containing something white. “Salt!” she said, putting a damp finger in it. “It came to me that if they sent us sausage, perhaps there was salt in the basket, and here it is!” “That will make the dassie better to eat,” said Elspeth. Claire hoped so. They sat and watched the little animal cooking, Puli turning it every five minutes. At last he said, “I think it is ready.” Claire, who had retrieved her scalpel and scoured it in the stream with sand in lieu of soap, said, “Shall I perform the surgery?” This got a small laugh from the other two. “I would let it sit for a few minutes,” Elspeth said. “The juice will not run out so fast if the meat is rested.” They all watched the resting dassie until Claire said, “I can’t stand it, ready or not, let’s cut it! Using a piece of flat stone as a plate, Claire jointed the roasted animal and then separated the two “saddles”, as she supposed they might be called. “Dinner is served!” she said, picking up a hind leg joint. Sprinkled with the salt, the freshly roasted meat tasted better than Claire had expected. Her grandmother had kept rabbits, and this didn’t taste that much different. Most importantly, it was protein. With no end of their imprisonment 26
in sight, any free meal was welcome. “This is pretty good, Puli,” Claire said. “It’s lucky that dassies aren’t forbidden food to any of us.” “They are to the Mahopeloas, so it is a good thing that Duchess is not trapped in here with us. She would be very hungry. But she is a big woman; it would take her a long time to starve,” Elspeth observed. “I wonder how she is coping with the patients at my office. I suppose she will send them to the hospital. Oh, this is awful, being stuck in here! There must be something we could do!” “We will need more firewood—that would be something to do.” “I meant something that would get us out of here, but you’re right, we don’t want to run out of wood. There is more, but most of it is quite large and it will be difficult to bring across the stream.” “You could use the little saw, perhaps,” Puli suggested. Claire’s heart sank, foreseeing damage to her one and only bone saw. It had been a gift from her uncle, an orthopaedic surgeon who was her role model. Well, needs must when the devil drives, she thought. I can probably get the blade replaced, because for sure sawing wood will ruin it. “That’s a good idea, Puli. We’ll go now, and your grandmother can watch the stream to see if there is another message.” Outside, Rivka had reclaimed and put on her underwear, but her borrowed slacks were still damp. She turned them wrong side out and spread them on the top of a small acacia. Her own shirt was nearly dry, but she could hardly wear it without the slacks. Busy people came and went all around the waterfall from which she had been expelled, but so far there was more talk than action. Someone had brought her a sandwich and a bottle of lemonade, but she had not enjoyed the meal, eating only to keep up her strength. At one point there was a shout and one of the men brought something to Trevelyan, who came over to Rivka’s rock perch and said, “It’s one of your boats, so at least we know it made the complete trip.” “That’s fine, but the whole idea was to have them see and stop the boat,” she said, feeling rather low at the idea of Claire sitting there in the dark and cold with dwindling food supplies and a seriously injured patient to worry about. “Well, there’s still hope they’ll see one of the other ones— we released them at intervals.” “What’s being done to get Claire and the others out?” “At the moment, nothing at this end, although the rockclearing is still going on around the other side. They have sent for some equipment from the mine, some sort of drilling rig that runs on petrol. They can’t get anything large in here, but there’s a
portable unit Mr. Winstanley thinks can be brought in. We know Claire and the others are alive, have plenty of water and some food, so there’s no point in acting precipitately. Why don’t you let me have you taken home?” “No, not yet. I’d just pace a hole in the floorboards back there.” “Well, pull out your pencils and do some drawings. When this is written up in the newspaper, they might like a visual record of the events. I’ll be back later.” He started to leave, then returned. “When this is over, we are definitely having that dinner in Sibuya, with or without Claire.” “That would be lovely. I will look forward to it.” Rivka hoped the colour she could feel in her cheeks was sunburn, not blushing. Only schoolgirls blushed in these enlightened times. “I’ll send a hat for you from the car; I have a spare one. Like the clothes, dusty and worn, but still able to provide cover.” Touching his own hat-brim, the big man strode away. Rivka watched him out of sight, sighed, and picked up her sketchpad. She had been working steadily for ten minutes when a shadow fell on the paper. “I brought some coffee—thought you might like some,” said a voice. “Mind if I sit down?” Alan Harcourt eased himself onto the rock, Claire’s cane still helping him get around. “What’s the progress, or is there any? I brought my men along when I heard what had happened; they might help. Figured I’d better keep out from under foot myself, though— probably be useless.” Unscrewing the cap of a Thermos and drawing the cork, Harcourt passed a cup of steaming coffee to Rivka. “Oh, thank you, this is wonderful!” she exclaimed. It seemed like forever since she’d had a cup of coffee or shared with Claire a pot of her powerful Kenya blend. “What’s the matter, too much sugar?” Harcourt asked, seeing the pang of memory on Rivka’s face.. “No, it just reminds me so much of Claire. She makes the best coffee of anyone I know. It’s amazing, she’s such a haphazard cook, but her coffee is really good.” “So there’s no word? I was rather hoping they would have got her out by now. I’d hate to have to find a new doctor.” “Look, do you work at saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, or is it just a natural gift? I’m worried to death about her, and there’s no progress so far. As of three hours ago, she was alive, but for all I know she fell in the whirlpool and is dead in that bloody cave, and all you can do is make feeble jokes!” “I’m sorry, truly I am; it’s just my blasted mouth, it goes wandering off without my brain some days. Forgive me. I’m worried about her too. Despite her prickly ways, I rather like her. I was hoping I could do something to help, but all I could think of was to bring the men from the survey along. I’m sure a few more strong arms won’t go amiss.” “I’m sure you’re right. You’re forgiven, but please, please, try to think before you speak. I feel like running around in circles, screaming at the top of my lungs. If I ever catch the man who blew up the cave, I will cover him in arsenic oxide and make a collage of him.” “Sounds painful, but possibly decorative. More coffee?” Harcourt held out the Thermos. “Maybe later; I have to check my slacks. I’m embarrassed sitting around here half-dressed in someone else’s shirt.” Rivka got up and went to the improvised clothes dryer. “Close enough. Excuse me for a moment.” Ducking deep into the thicket, 27
she pulled on the wrinkled slacks and exchanged Redmond’s shirt for her own, not without a passing pang. The dusty bush jacket had given her more than just protection for her modesty. She gave it a brief hug, then looked around, fearing someone had seen her sentimental gesture. “There, that’s better,” she said, returning to Harcourt. “Now that you’re comfortable, do you mind telling me what happened? Mobo came galloping into my house at some ungodly hour and said the hill near the Cave of the Winds had been struck by lightning, and the white doctor and her friend and several other people were trapped inside, probably dead. Now you tell me a man blew up the cave. What man? And why?” “I cannot go into details. I don’t know them all, and some of what I do know is private. Queen’s business. Claire and I were here looking for—for Elspeth Masilani. Her son and Sipo were looking for her, too. We found a shred of yarn near a very narrow crevice. We wormed ourselves inside, found Elspeth yet further inside, injured, and then we got stuck. “Elspeth couldn’t be moved. I would not leave Claire alone, and Puli, the little boy, would not leave his grandmother. So Claire operated to remove pressure on Elspeth’s brain, with Puli and me assisting. Everything seemed to be going well, then I got the…what do you call them? Shivery feelings that something was wrong?” “The willies. Or the heebie-jeebies, as Americans say. Go on.” “Anyway, we moved most of the supplies into the big cave and Claire was watching over Elspeth when she heard something. She jumped up, grabbed Elspeth, and was halfway down the tunnel between the two caves when the small cave blew up. After that, the little stream that runs down the valley started running through the ruined small cave, which was
frightening at first, but then it was good because we had a water supply. “And then I tried to poke a branch into the whirlpool where the water ran away and next thing, boom, I was stuck and drowning. Mr. Trevelyan rescued me. But now I’m outside and Claire’s inside, and no closer to being rescued than before. They don’t have much food, and I don’t know what will happen when the lamp oil runs out.” “Wow, that’s a lot of adventure to pack into one short day!” Harcourt looked impressed. “Closer to two days, but except for almost drowning, it wasn’t that exciting. Sitting in the near dark, that’s very boring. Time drags.” “I can imagine. What were you doing when I interrupted you?” “Just some sketches,” said Rivka, who was always rather shy about anyone seeing her preliminary work. “May I see?” Harcourt seemed genuinely interested, so she handed over the sketchpad. He looked at what she’d been doing, then, without asking, flipped back through the other pages. “Wow, this is powerful! It would make a good illustration for your autobiography one day, showing the evolution of the artist through her experiences.” He pointed to the sketch she had done in the cave, showing the four prisoners crouched around the tiny fire as all around the rocks loomed like prehistoric monsters. “You’re making fun of me,” she said, grabbing for the pad. “No, of course not! I meant what I said. It’s very good.” He flipped back through the pages and stopped at the one of Claire asleep on one of the rickety veranda couches, with Wellington sprawled on her lap. “And so is this. You’ve made her look so innocent and young.” “I don’t make my subjects look like anything; I just draw what I see. And Claire is innocent and young. It amazes me sometimes how unsophisticated and trusting she is. Even with this madman apparently trying to kill her, she always puts the best interpretation on things. Oh, I wish they’d get her out of there! I don’t know what I’d do if anything happened to her.” Rivka’s voice trembled, and she forced a cough to cover it. “There, there, it’s going to work out. All those people working on the problem are bound to find a way to solve it.” Harcourt patted Rivka on the shoulder. “Sorry, didn’t mean to interrupt. I came to see if you needed anything.” Trevelyan’s gruff voice broke in on the scene. “Oh, no, thank you. Professor Harcourt brought coffee. And my clothes are dry. Let me take your jacket home with me when we leave here and I’ll wash it for you,” Rivka said. “It’s the least I can do.” “No need,” Trevelyan said, taking the jacket and balling it up untidily under his arm. “Well, since you seem to be in good
to Swan Magazine Readers! If you’re enjoying Death in the Sea of Grass you can have a hard-print copy of the same author’s best selling contemporary mystery Long Bones for $22 including postage. Enquiries and orders to email@example.com
KAREN R TREANOR KAREN Treanor has been writing since the age of six. Discovering bandicoots in her backyard, and learning that nobody was writing about these engaging little beasts, she started Quenda Books, which publishes the Scoot, Scoot, Bandicoot® series, in 2003. For many years she was a frequent visitor at Western Australian schools and libraries, talking about bandicoots and book publishing. Karen worked for Swan Publishing for several years, and her book reviews, poems and short stories have appeared often in the Swan Magazine. She lived in Mundaring with many visiting bandicoots, possums, bobtail lizards, and magpies; plus some resident chickens, cats and a very tolerant husband until 2014, when she packed up the cats and husband, and moved to Tasmania where she spends her time wallaby wrangling, making sourdough bread, and writing. 28
hands, I’d better get back to work.” “Is there anything I can do, Commissioner? I brought my men along; figured you could use a few more hands, but if there’s anything I can do, just say.” Harcourt struggled to his feet, feeling at a disadvantage. He staggered a bit as the cane slipped on a pebble. “No, I don’t think so. Perhaps keep an eye on the pool, see if anything else comes through from the cave. I suppose you could do that with your, er, disability,” Trevelyan said. He strode off thinking that no Englishman would let a wrenched ankle keep him perched on a rock like a basking lizard. He stopped at his Land Rover and put the bush jacket carefully on the passenger seat, shaking out its wrinkles and catching a passing whiff of something floral. He was instantly swept back to his grandmother’s porch in Cornwall. Geraniums, that was the scent: Rivka smelled of geranium blossoms. On the other side of the hill a council of war was being conducted, which is to say Malaila was on the warpath and everyone else was keeping their own counsel. “You’ve had nearly two days to figure this out, now what are you going to do?” she stormed at Winstanley, who was chewing on a cold pipe. “We think the best chance would be to try and blow the tunnel where the water comes out. We’ll leave men here to continue moving rocks by hand, but a controlled explosion on the other side may just shift enough of whatever’s blocking the tunnel to let all the water out. Then, with luck, we’ll have an open shaft that we can bring the trapped people through. I’ve had a look at it, and by and large the bed rock is basalt, so the cave itself is probably stable.” “That’s too many ‘possibles’ and ‘maybes.’ ” “What would Your Majesty suggest, then?” Winstanley unconsciously drew his shoulders up around his ears, preparatory to receiving a blast. “I wish my majesty had a suggestion, but it looks as if your idea is the only practical way to get them out within a short time. There’s no telling how many days it will take to clear the rocks up here, is there?” “No. A week would be my very rough guess. If Mrs. Masilani is injured, it is unlikely she would survive a week without food. We could try floating apples into the cave, of course, but—” “Go back to the other side and do one more thorough survey. And while you are forming your plans, remember, whatever you do must not bring any damage to the Cave of the Winds. That must be the primary consideration.” Winstanley left the plateau, trying to factor in the further complication of the Queen’s last order. He found himself in the invidious position of one charged with extracting people from a cave in at St. Paul’s Tube Station, but not allowed to do anything that might injure the great dome. Tricky, very tricky. He passed Trevelyan on the path and raised his eyebrows and made a gesture indicating that one should guard one’s throat. Trevelyan nodded slightly, took a deep breath, and approached the Queen. “Ah, Commissioner, how is my artist? Quite recovered from her adventures?” The Queen’s friendly inquiry did not quite mask her growing unease about this whole situation. Her agents had already begun bringing word to her of what people were saying in the countryside around Enkalovu. Some, choosing not to believe there had been an explosion, were theorising about which of the long dead ancestors had expressed her displeasure by sending lightning to strike so close to the sacred place, the Cave of the Winds. Malaila knew that her throne was secure only so long as her people believed she had the support of those who had gone before. Her push for modernisation had been criticised in many quarters, and this disaster would only add fuel to her enemies’ bonfire of slander. “She is recovering. Your tame anthropologist is keeping her company, his sore foot not allowing him to be of any practical use.”
Malaila heard the bitterness under the innocuous words and gave a little smile. “He will amuse her and take her mind off her narrow escape. But I do not think she is a woman to be satisfied for long with simple amusements.” This was a very shrewd young woman, Trevelyan thought, taking a bit of comfort from her words. “Perhaps we might walk and talk a little, Your Majesty,” he suggested. All right. Follow me.” The Queen stepped lightly up the path that led around the back of the hill and settled herself on a smooth rock, away from the activity below. “Sit down.” “Your Majesty honours me,” Trevelyan said, finding a slightly smaller rock to perch on. “I have always liked your finely-judged appreciation for the need for formality, Commissioner. You are quite different from your predecessor.” “I was for many years in the army, Your Majesty. There everything is hedged around with procedures and ceremonies and chains of command. An army without such things would be a mere rabble.” “Now, what have you to say to me? It must be something of substance to take you from the task that occupies the efforts of so many.” “I have been thinking about the bigger picture. What if this is just one more in a chain of incidents? What if that explosion is part of a much larger plot, perhaps nothing to do with the diamonds at all? We have been focussing on the mystery of how Khonzi came to have the diamond inside him, and theorized a plot of simple theft. But all of the things that have happened could be interpreted differently.” “Go on.” “The attempts on Claire’s life could be to silence her, so she cannot continue with the investigation with which you have charged her. But her death would also have the result of 29
handcrafted artisan produce
removing a true friend and supporter to Your Majesty. The attack on Mrs. Masilani would have, had she died, removed yet another staunch ally. Her death would have required Themba to return to the family home for the year’s mourning observance, and that’s one of your senior guardsmen gone.” “I see.” The Queen’s handsome face seemed to darken and age in one flicker of emotion. “You have been busy with your thoughts.” “It was Rivka, Miss Lerner, who started me thinking. I’ve been turning over in my mind her story about Franz Felsbach. If she is correct, and we have no reason to doubt her, he may have been involved in an assassination in Vienna. What is a man like that doing out here, rusticating on a farm? Had his superiors wanted him to lay low for a while, there are many closer places where that could have been accomplished.” “Indeed. Taking your thoughts further, there would need to be an ally, or probably several, if the man Felsbach is plotting something in Tshaniland. It’s all a bit odd. We Batshani may believe our land is the centre of the world, but somehow I do not think a German would share that belief. What would be the point of causing trouble here? To depose me? Then what?” “The usual thing that happens after a coup d’etat is that someone else is installed as nominal head of government, usually a puppet of those who stage the plot. As for why they would do it, this would make a fine staging post for a much bigger plot against South Africa. Look where you are: you have Mozambique, a Portuguese colony, on your eastern flank, and I’m sure any amount of men and matériel could be brought in through there without any trouble at all, probably without anyone being aware of what was going on. “Who’d suspect a truck full of farm workers was really a truck full of mercenaries? Certainly not some sleepy border guard who could be suborned for a bottle of cheap brandy or a ten shilling note.” “The puppet you posit would need to be someone acceptable to the people, which mean you are
accusing one of my sisters.” “I accuse no one. But I would certainly investigate whether or not one of your sisters has been made up to, flattered, by Felsbach. Or perhaps one of your cousins, a close blood relation who is not a sister, might be acceptable. She could be manipulated without her knowledge. May I give you some advice?” “Yes. I am sure it will be practical.” The Queen was rummaging in the goatskin bag at her waist and had pulled out a crumpled package of cigarettes. Trevelyan held a match for her, and when she had taken a deep drag and exhaled as if breathing out the cares of the world, he lit his pipe and settled back on his rock and blew a smoke ring. “One day you must show me how to do that. Now, tell me your idea.” The Queen seemed a bit less tense, but still very alert. “I would send out all the people you can spare, back to their home villages and farms, with the true story of what has happened. Make a big thing of it: some criminal has tried to steal the country’s birthright, the Tears of Alilo, and has tried to cover his wicked acts by blowing up this hill, burning the doctor’s house, and so on. Get the best storytellers to pass it around— everyone enjoys a good story. Get the people mobilised to watch out for strangers. In this way you will do two things: make it much harder for the criminal to operate freely, and get the people behind you by making it personal: someone is trying to rob the nation.” “But do not mention the possible plot to overthrow the crown?” Malaila stubbed out her cigarette. “No, that would give away too much to the plotters. Better they don’t know you have any suspicions. And I stress that so far, that’s all we have: suspicions.” Trevelyan stood up. “I must get back to work and see what Mr. Winstanley may need me or my men to do. Be of good cheer, Your Majesty, I’m sure it’s only a matter of time.” With a little bow, the Commissioner departed, leaving the Queen deep in thought. Back at the pool, Rivka continued her drawing while Alan Harcourt limped around the edge of the water every so often, checking for anything that might have come from the cave. He had to stay clear of the workface, where Winstanley and several other men from the mine were discussing fracture lines, BTUs and other arcane matters to do with blowing things up. He’d about given up spotting anything when something dark and matted floating in the water caught his eye. With a stick, he drew it back to shore. He was crouching over it, trying to spread it out with the stick, when one of the rangers noticed what he was doing. Scorning the use of tools, the tall man took the sodden thing over to the nearest rock and spread it out with his hands. “Hau, hau! Very good, they have had food!” he exclaimed, galloping off to tell Trevelyan about the find. “What is it, and why is he so happy?” Harcourt asked Obed, who had come back from the rock fall to check on his employer. “It is the skin of a rock rabbit, and it has been removed with a knife. It cannot have been here very long; there is still some blood showing. It must have come out with the water. The doctor or perhaps the little boy has killed the animal, and that means they have something to eat. That is a good sign.”
Death in the Sea of Grass With Karen Treanor’s kind permission, Swan Magazine will be serialising Death in the Sea of Grass over the coming year - but if you can’t wait to find out who dunnit or why they didit, you can buy the whole book as a downloadable ebook from Fido Publishing for the bargain price of only $4.99 from their website on www.fidopublishing.com. While there you might like to browse her other books which are all available through Barnes and Noble (www. barnesandnoble.com.) or Amazon on www.amazon.com. 31
Harcourt went back to Rivka. “Apparently Claire is a woman of more talents than we knew. Obed says she has killed a rock rabbit and they are probably eating it.” Rivka looked slightly green. “Well, I suppose it is not much different from an ordinary field rabbit. Food is food. I’m sure that will please Mr. Trevelyan.” “Does he have—I mean, do he and Claire— er…” Harcourt sputtered into silence. “Forget it.” Rivka, deciding it would do him no harm to think Claire had an admirer, said, “They have always worked closely and I know he thinks very highly of her. She’s said some nice things about him, too. He’s got a lot of funny stories about his adventures in the bush.” Harcourt digested this. “He didn’t seem to like me very much. Made me feel like a lounge lizard for sitting here when everyone else is working or searching.” Rivka took pity. “You can hardly be expected to clamber around rocks with a sprained ankle. How is it, anyway?” “Nearly normal. In fact, good enough for me to do a little searching too. If I take it easy, I might find something.” “Don’t be silly, what could you find that trained rangers haven’t?” Rivka’s flash of pity had quickly evaporated at the sound of this harebrained idea. That verbal slap was all Harcourt needed. Taking his cane, he stood up and said, “It can’t hurt to look,” and limped off. Rivka shrugged. Let him make a fool of himself if he wanted. Claire would tear strips off him if he re-injured the ankle after all her careful strapping. She picked up her pencils and returned to her drawing. Already feeling like a fool, Harcourt forced himself to carry on. He found a small path that led away from the small pond and wound its way eastwards, rising slowly as it went. He thought it might be a rock-rabbit trail. If Claire had managed to catch a rock rabbit, then the animals must have a way into and out of the cave. Perhaps he could find it. Gritting his teeth, he made himself go on. Above and to the left there was a sudden high-pitched noise. A bird? Harcourt rifled his memory. He recalled that the indigenous rodents of the Rocky Mountains had a piercing whistle; perhaps dassies did too. Finding a place to sit, he rested his ankle and waited to see what might appear. The sun was still hot, although it was long past noon. Harcourt half-shut his eyes, and was about to doze off when a quick movement further up the hill made him suddenly alert. Turning his head a fraction, very slowly, he stared until tears came to his unblinking eyes. Just as he thought he must have imagined it, another movement showed a twitching nose and two bright eyes poking out from under a rock. “Gotcha!” he thought, fixing the location in relation to a small euphorbia tree so he wouldn’t lose it once he stood up. “So, Miss Lerner, what could I find that the rangers didn’t? Hah!” he said half aloud. The rock behind which the animal had retreated was substantial, but with the aid of the cane, he thought he could shift it. Digging away the gravel and smaller stones, he enlarged the hole the dassies had made. Above the rock was a sort of turf shelf made by years of tussock grass growing and dying. If he leaned against that, wedged the cane down behind the edge of the rock, and pulled back, it should be possible to lever the rock away. Then, with luck, he could yell into the hole and tell Claire help was on the way. He straddled the rock, wedged the cane in the space between it and the tussock, and with all his strength, pulled back. For the second time that day, the laws of physics proved themselves immutable. The rock rolled aside, the cane flew up, Harcourt pitched forward, and the intended yell to say help was on the way changed abruptly to one of surprise and fear. And then all was quiet. Chapter eight next month ...
FICTION THEIVING THACKERAY’S TOFFEE TURMOIL CHRIS MCRAE
hieving Thackeray was an indescribably naughty boy. You see, Thackeray was a thief. Lolly shops, grocery stores, you name it, he would nick it. He even nicked Mrs Thickers' knickers right off her clothes line as she was pouring her cup of tea. He would stuff stolen apples under his bed, balls in his closet and even thistles from Mr Grey's garden in a jar next to his bed. One day, Thackeray’s father came up with a plan to teach him a lesson. You see Thackeray’s weakness was toffee. There were days when he would loiter outside the corner lolly shop, wait for the elderly Mr Sweet to fall asleep and make his move. He would stuff his pockets with lollipops, gobstoppers and most of all, sticky sweet toffee. He would then scoff it so quickly, his teeth would be glued shut. On the first day of the summer holidays, Thackeray’s father awoke, even before their pet rooster had crowed. The house was quiet and he tiptoed to the top of the stairs. He dropped some sweets onto each step, making a trail downstairs. It snaked out the front door, across the garden and into the street where he unwrapped (with great difficultly I might add) the sticky toffee. He proceeded to smear the toffee onto the side of the road. As the sun peaked through the trees and he rushed back inside, Thackeray tumbled out of bed, wading through his thicket of stolen goods towards his bedroom door. Now Thackeray wasn’t particularly clever and his stomach was grumbling with hunger. He soon noticed the sweets at the top of the stairs. Thackeray’s eyes lit up like a Christmas tree as he clapped eyes on the trail of sweets. He made his way downstairs, stuffing the lollies into his pyjamas. Out the front door, across the garden and into the street. With his pyjamas stuffed to the brim, he turned to return to his trophy room of stolen treasure. But his feet were stuck! There he was, in his pyjamas, glued to the spot by toffee. Thackeray began to cry. “I’m stuck, get me out”. Thomas heard the cries and smiled. As the day went on, many locals passed by, but everyone in the town knew about thieving Thackeray. Soon the media turned up and Thackeray became front page news. Eventually, the sun melted the toffee away and Thackeray became unstuck. He ran to his father and cried. “I’ll never thieve again”. Thackeray learnt his lesson and was true to his word. As for his favourite sticky toffee? Well, he never ate any again. ~oOo~ The above short story won the 2018 Underground Writers Flash Fiction Competition. The story was turned into a visual projection for the Bedtime Stories Project as part of the 2018 Kaleidoscope Festival in Joondalup, produced in association with Channel 7 and read by Angela Tsun. The projection can be viewed at www.youtu.be/OuziJdTTQd0
POETRY MUSICAL YOUTH KELLY VAN NELSON
no silver spoon in this boy’s mouth just a radio humming in the background my folks were the backing singers in my life neither taking the lead joined the school band played classic guitar solo until the popular kids made me go solo in the playground tossed in the towel on the private lessons caused a rift with the tutor too many riffs to master prefer to scale up creativity time instead calloused fingers defiant colourful plucks strewn on every surface discarded so the steel strings can form grooves on my skin clamp the capo on a precise fret shortening the strings lifting the sound to a higher pitch to distract me from the mental fret over and over I strum the chords until a chord strikes in my head this is my only outlet music is my saviour find a new tutor a suburb away move to the electric plug in the amp far enough away nobody hears the notes
master Metallica no sheet music just me in the moment nothing else matters talent competition in senior year sick of getting grief for hair being too long jot my name on the registration legit reason for letting my hair down stage bright with spotlights take a spot in the middle unleash the pent-up anger rewarded with a standing ovation onslaught of hassle to join the school band since blowing them away with the electric solo don’t cave to peer pressure from the popular kids me and my guitar are going someplace else one-way ticket to the big smoke busk the streets by day sleep the streets by night not having to commute is the ultimate work perk move from outside to inside smoky clubs and backstreet bars upload a tune online thumbs up made the big time everyone remembers my name see my folks in the front row and smile took me a long time to remember who bought me my first guitar
About the author Van Nelson is a Geordie fiction author and poet who likes Kelly to pack a punch in her words and toss away genre boundaries along with adverbs. She was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and lived in London, Edinburgh, and Cape Town, before immigrating to Australia. Her writing successes include poetry and short stories published in the UK (Short Story Society, United Press, Between These Shores Books), USA (Fiction War Magazine, Wolvesburrow Productions), and Australia (KSP Writefree Women’s Group Anthology, and Serenity Press). Her full-length contemporary poetry collection, titled Graffiti Lane, is due for release in March 2019 by Karen Mc Dermott Publisher. The Pinstripe Prisoner, her first novel, placed third in the Yeovil Literary Prize, shortlisted in the Wales PENfro first chapter competition, and longlisted in the Exeter Novel Prize. In December 2018 she was awarded a First Edition Fellowship through KSP Writers’ Centre in Greenmont. The fellowship is part of an emerging writer pilot program, supported by the Western Australian Department of Local Government of Sports and Cultural Industries. She is represented by The Newman Agency and her website is www.kellyvannelson.com.
ENTERTAINMENT A MIDNIGHT VISIT AT FRINGE
art choose-your-own-adventure, part theatre, part film-set, part playground; the smash-hit performance A Midnight Visit will takeover Girls School for the 2019 Fringe World Festival. The historic and castle-like Girls School in East Perth will be transformed into an incredible thirty-four room performance space for the not-to-be missed show, heading to Perth direct from a stellar and extended twelve week Sydney season. Using the works and worlds of the macabre master Edgar Allan Poe as inspiration, the show takes audiences on an adventure like nothing seen in Perth, where no two visits are the same. Inspired by experiences like the famed Meow Wolf in Santa Fe, NYC’s Sleep No More and escape rooms across the globe, Fringe World Director Amber Hasler said that the Festival was excited to be partnering with Broad Encounters Hannah Raven as Ligeia (Photograph by Tim Da-Rin) Productions to bring this fantasy-world experience to Perth. “A Midnight Visit is an absolute next level experience “The experience is set inside the dream of a schoolgirl in a historic Perth building. Since Fringe World activated the obsessed with Poe, not that you need to know anything about building for Girls School Cinema in winter, audiences have the man. Just like a dream things spin into all kinds of directions been craving the opportunity to explore and engage with this sometimes silly, sometimes sexy, sometimes wistful, and yes, incredible art-deco building, but instead of classrooms, you sometimes a bit scary,”A Midnight Visit Co-Creator and Director won’t believe what you’ll find! A Midnight Visit is a thrilling Danielle Harvey said. experience and a must-see highlight of the 2019 Festival”, Ms “We are big fans of experiences that immerse audiences Hasler said. in a fantastical world that uses all the senses. We know that This innovative use of space for A Midnight Visit melds the audiences are craving an opportunity to explore freely, talents of artists from different genres, including sound design engage their curiosity and creativity, to get amongst it and be and composition from video game makers Kpow, and joined by transported and be inspired and excited by something totally a cast of popular Sydney and Perth performers. The enchanting unique and completely extraordinary,” said Kirsten Siddle, Codream world is brought to life across multiple rooms at Girls Creator and Creative Producer. School and includes an on-site bar, The Raven’s Rest. The fantasy world created by A Midnight Visit draws from steam-punk, David Lynch, Stanley Kubrick and contemporary classics like Stranger Things. Visitors will receive hints at what’s in store in emails from the Girls School’s ‘Headmistress’ after booking. As they say, fortune favours the bold! Girls School in East Perth was Perth’s first Girls School for thirty years, then a Police HQ for fifty years and now this historic building will be home to this epic performance work for Fringe World 2019. The historic 1930s Old Perth Girls School building is iconic in its ‘Egyptian Art-Deco’ grandeur. The castle-like building operated as a school for thirty years and then a Police centre for fifty years. Some remember going to school there. Others remember going there for traffic branch business. A few remember going there to visit major crime and the dog squad. Some of them are still in prison. Fringe World activated the venue in winter for Girls School Cinema and now this historic building will be home to A Midnight Visit, an epic immersive theatre work coming direct from a sensational sell-out debut in Sydney. These activations are the first stages in FRINGE WORLD’s longer-term activation plans for a thriving creative precinct at Girls School. A Midnight Visit at Fringe World Festival 2019 Where: Girls School, 2 Wellington Street East Perth 6004 When: Season run 24 January to 3 March 2019. Preview performances from 22 January Cost: From $46 to $82 For tickets and information visit www.fringeworld.com.au For information visit www.amidnightvisit.com 34
ENTERTAINMENT LA SOIRÉE RETURNS TO FRINGE DOUGLAS SUTHERLAND-BRUCE
irect from London's West End, the awardwinning smash hit from Fringe World 2015 through 2017, La Soirée is back! Fringe World Festival Director Amber Hasler said that the opportunity to bring back the Fringe favourite was too good to pass up. “What a wonderful New Year’s present to get another serving of all the razzle dazzle in La Soirée. This show is pure Fringe fare; it’s joyous, celebratory, hilarious, cheeky, irreverent and at times quite saucy and slightly twisted,” Ms Hasler said. La Soirée replaces Club Swizzle at Fringe World, which due to unforeseen cirumstances is no longer in the Festival. La Soirée returns – reimagined, bigger and bolder than ever! The trailblazing, multi-awardwinning show that broke all the rules, captured the world’s imagination and redefined contemporary cabaret takes up residence this summer at the iconic Ice Cream Factory from January 17. Joyous, celebratory, jaw-dropping and downright unmissable, La Soirée 2019 features a roll call of international artists in an astonishing and wildly entertaining line-up. Cabaret Décadanse from Montreal is a sassy, sexy and hilarious puppet feast for adults in which the puppeteers André-Anne Leblanc and Colin StCyr-Duhamel are as mesmerising as the puppets themselves. Straight from the streets of Mumbai, be astounded by the unparalleled strength and spectacular skill of Mallakhamb India on Indian Pole with duo Rajesh Amrale and Aakash Pilwalkar (pictured above). Performing seriously dangerous tricks in front of live audiences is par for the course for Fratelli Rossi, acrobatic brothers Alejandro and Ricardo Rossi. Lucky Hell is one of the most revered sword swallowers of our time, a combination of high glamour and unbelievable skill. The wickedly sultry Carla Lippis brings her fierce brand of rock ’n’ roll swagger to the stage. There will be acrobatic mayhem in store with an incredible powerhouse trio: Ben Lewis exhibits his dazzling display of strength in a sexy strap routine; the dynamic and
daring Will Meager on the astonishing Cyr Wheel; and the powerful and fearless Will Underwood on Chinese pole. And there’s more to come! After three sell-out seasons at Fringe World, the La Soirée 2019 season is guaranteed to be the most spectacular one yet.
Cabaret Décadanse’s Slinky at La Soirée (Photograph by Viktor Walliström) 35
ENTERTAINMENT FILM AND TV YEAR IN REVIEW CHRIS MCRAE
mesmerising as the rising star coached by alcoholic musician Bradley Cooper, who shines, both in his directorial debut and leading role. Add to that an unforgettable soundtrack, all performed live, and you have the perfect combination for an unmissable classic, heartwarming and heartarenching at the same time.
018 was a year of change on both the big and small screens. We saw more equality and equity than ever before, more variety in genre and filmmaking approaches and the small screen entertainment landscape evolved and changed due to streaming giants. I love quality entertainment and it is time to take a look back at my top ten films and television series’ from 2018. Also included are perspectives from film fans around the world courtesy of members of the Empire Magazine Facebook Group!
FIRST MAN Director: Damien Chazelle Starring: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy and Kyle Chandler Departing from the musical worlds of Whiplash and La La Land, Oscar winning director Damien Chazelle creates another intimate portrait masterpiece, trading drumsticks and tap shoes for a astronaut suit in this biopic about American space icon Neil Armstrong. The take off sequences are breathtaking and the cinematography provided during Armstrong’s moon walk provides arguably the scene of the year. However, it is Gosling and Foy’s tour-de-force performances that give this film a truly personal touch and Chazelle’s attention to detail is second to none. A stunning achievement!
A STAR IS BORN Director: Bradley Cooper Starring: Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga and Sam Elliott Emotional, stirring, unexpected and heart wrenching are just a few words to describe the film of the year. Bradley Cooper directs and acts with the utmost style and Lady Gaga is a revelation in her first acting role. This remake of the classic musical drama soars to new heights with emotionally driven performances (both acting and musical) as well as hard hitting subject matter and phenomenal songwriting. Cooper and Gaga embody their lovestruck personas. This was truly a special experience and worthy of top spot in 2018!
Guest Review: Paul O’Loughlin (Ireland) First Man told the story of one of the most famous events in history. And it did it with massive respect and immense skill. Gosling gave his best performance as the quiet and subdued Neil Armstrong, making me really feel like he had the weight of the world on his shoulders. The moon sequences were outstanding, I felt like I was right there with him and it even had my heart pounding in spots. Overall, a fantastic achievement of a film, and highly entertaining.
Guest Review: Lorna Slorach (Gibraltar) A Star Is Born is destined for Oscar glory. Lady Gaga is
FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD Director: David Yates Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law and Johnny Depp Despite the whirlwind of controversy and lacklustre reviews surrounding the latest from the Wizarding World franchise, this fantasy spectacular is a rollercoaster cinematic event. The opening sequence featuring Grindelwald’s (Depp) daring escape is nothing short of breathtaking and what follows is every wizarding fan’s dream! For older audiences who have grown up with the world of Potter and hold the characters close to their hearts (like myself) it is an absolute treat. The effects are out of this world, Redmayne is endearing as ever as Newt Scamander, Law makes a terriffic and stylish young Dumbledore and Depp is at his menacing best as the series villain. A thrill ride for the true fans! Guest Review: Jordan King (Wales) Though subject to critical scrutiny and fan backlash in some quarters, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald was, to this humble critic’s mind, a bold and frequently brilliant sequel to the 2016 revival of the Wizarding World franchise. Along the way there were revelations and explorations galore, all tied together with a novelistic intricacy and by a staggering sense of scale and tangibility. All in all, a beast no doubt to grapple with, but a fantastic one nevertheless. 36
Local hero Simon Baker returns to familiar territory and the result is one that is beautiful to look at and naturalistic in every way. Not trained actors but rather skilled local surfers, Coulter and Spence bring a remarkable sense of believability to their characters of Pikelet and Loony who, under the wing of Baker’s Sando, learn to love the majesty of the ocean and learn life lessons along the way. This coming of age drama possesses some wonderful cinematography and a stellar supporting cast including Elizabeth Debicki, Richard Roxburgh and Rachel Blake. The ocean acts as a character in itself as Winton’s metaphors leap off the page in this challenging, captivating and ultimately inspiring story. Guest Review: Maya Sundararajan (India) Breath was breath-takingly beautiful. It may sound cliché and much quoted but there is no other word for it. The movie managed to captivate and the storyline was simple The movie particularly portrayed the wildness of the great Australian landscape in its full glory, be it the murky waters of the river where the boys frolic, the towering native trees surrounding Sando’s shack or the mighty ocean in all its majesty.
BREATH Director: Simon Baker Starring: Samson Coulter, Ben Spence and Simon Baker Filmed in the picturesque coastal town of Denmark right here in Western Australia, Tim Winton’s poetic and vivid story about two young surfers and their rugged mentor comes to life in stunning fashion.
AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR Directors: Anthony and Joe Russo Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemswort and Chris Evans Arguably one of the cinema events of the year in terms of scale, this action extravaganza not only dazzles and engages every sense possible, it also tugs on the heartstrings and provides some excellent moments of comedy alongside awe inspiring action. It is clear that the characters we have come to know and love are coming to their final battle and this penultimate entry in the Avengers juggernaut possesses a sense of nostalgia as favourites such as Iron Man (Downey Jr), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Captain America (Chris Evans) prepare to make their final stand against the all powerful Thanos (Josh Brolin), who is seeking control of all reality by collecting the six infinity stones. Dazzling and leaves you hanging on a cliff’s edge waiting desperately for the final chapter! Guest Review: Ante Lundberg (Norway) This, the third Avengers film, was no doubt lined up to be the
from start to finish with brilliant execution and bone chilling sequences embellished by silence. Guest Review: David Muzzall (Australia) Not since the movie 'The Road' have I watched a film with such little dialogue yet so much depth and story progression. A sci fi thriller during which you can sit down and enjoy the ride! DARKEST HOUR Director: Joe Wright Starring: Gary Oldman, Lily James and Ben Mendelsohn An unrecognisable Gary Oldman in the powerhouse performance of his career is compelling in this gripping drama chronicling the early leadership days of Winston Churchill, one of Britain’s most influential leaders. At the height of Hitler’s reign, Churchill and his advisors must choose to fight the Nazi regime or negotiate peace with a seemingly unstoppable force. The biggest decision and fight in the history of the nation is put on the shoulders of one man and the result is a film with teriffic power driven by the performance of a lifetime! Guest Review: Paul Fleming (Scotland) The Oscars love a historical drama so it was no surprise when one of the United Kingdom’s most technically proficient filmmakers, Joe Wright, tackled the days of Winston Churchill’s leadership during World War 2 that it was lauded with Oscar nominations. Darkest Hour’s success lies with Gary Oldman, giving him rousing moments that allow his talents to shine through his prosthetics and landed him a much deserved Best Actor Oscar.
Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill
biggest event of the year. Directors Joe and Anthony Russo do what should be impossible - uniting pretty much all of Marvel’s heroes in the same film. A punch in the gut might seem bad, but it’s not. It’s beautiful, raw, and incredibly emotional. It’s the magic of cinema, and shows how much we’ve invested in this universe over the years. But rest assured going into the new year knowing it’s still not finished! The second part of the ultimate battle continues when Avengers: Endgame hits theatres in April 2019. I, for one, cannot wait!
MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: FALLOUT Director: Christopher McQuarrie Starring: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill and Simon Pegg Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his team race against time to retrieve plutonium cores from dangerous organisation after a mission gone wrong in this latest thrill ride in the Mission Impossible franchise. The action steps up to another level as Cruise is joined by Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg and Rebecca Ferguson in this gripping, action packed race against the clock. If the classic theme isn’t enough to get your heart racing, the slick nature of this highly entertaining spectacular sure will!
GAME NIGHT Directors: John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein Starring: Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams and Kyle Chandler One of the cleverest comedies of recent years, Game Night sees thirty-something couple Max (Bateman) and Annie (McAdams) perfectly content in their social life which consists of game nights with fellow couples and friends. When Max’s shady brother Brooks (Chandler) returns to town and offers to host game night, things step up a notch as real life crime seeps into their social evenings and reality blurs with the game itself. A simple premise has moments of slick comedy, rollicking action and some very humerous sequences including one where the squeamish Annie has to attempt to take a bullet from the arm of an even more squeamish Max. The cast gels beautifully and this is definitely one of the most fun films of the year!
DEADPOOL II Director: David Leitch Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin and Julian Dennison After the runaway success of the first Deadpool film, the sequel is bigger, badder and bolder than ever as the wisecracking Wade Wilson aka Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) returns. This time, the foul mouthed mercenary assembles a team of mutants from the X-Mansion (Marvel linking up the X-Men frenchise) whilst recovering from an attack. The purpose? To protect the young and powerful mutant Russell aka Firefist (Julian Dennison), from the ruthless Cyborg, Cable (Josh Brolin). This second in the series is just outright fun. The action is thrilling, the jokes come thick and fast and Reynolds paired with New Zealand breakout star Dennison is a match made in comic book heaven. Flat out, fanny packin fun!
A QUIET PLACE Director: John Krasinski Starring: John Krasinski, Emily Blunt and Millicent Simmonds One of the most unique entries of the year saw 2018’s dream team of husband and wife John Krasinski and Emily Blunt shine in this chilling horror/thriller. The pair played a married couple living in a post-apocalyptic world infested by blind, sound sensitive creatures. The atmosphere is terrifyingly tense and the use of silence is both artistic and highly effective. Highly unique, largely dialogue free and keeps you on the edge of your seat
Also Highly Recommended Lady Bird, Peter Rabbit, The Guernsey Literary and Potato 38
Peel Pie Society, Ant Man and the Wasp, Ocean’s Eight, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, The Death of Stalin and Black Panther.
and her Tardis Team of Graham, Ryan and Yaz provide some wonderful moments along the way. Doctor Who is back, fresh and funky and I’m loving it!
2018 Film MVP’s Bradley Cooper: Directed, acted in, produced, composed for and sung in the year’s best film, A Star Is Born as well as lending his voice talents to Rocket in Avengers Infinity War and playing opposite Clint Eastwood in The Mule.
RISE Season 1 Network: Stan Starring: Josh Radnor, Auli’i Cravalho, Damon J. Gillespie and Marley Shelton Sadly cancelled after this sole season, this tale of a high school drama teacher taking his students on a controversial journey through Spring Awakening as the school musical will make you want to get up and sing. It’s essentially Glee meets Friday Night Lights as Lou Mazzuchelli (Josh Radnor) shakes up the theatre program by tackling a show with controversial themes in order to teach his students about modern topics and issues. Lou hits every possible speed bump and the students rise up to heights he would have never imagined. With such a fantastic message about the imporatance of the Arts in our schools and creativity being just as important as academic ability or sporting prowess, this short lived series is well worth the watch and has the ability to inspire and delight.
Season 11 Network: ABC Starring: Jodie Whittaker, Bradley Walsh, Mandip Gil and Tosin Cole There has been few seasons of modern Doctor Who with as much anticipation and build up as the entrance of Jodie Whittaker, the first female to take control of the Tardis. Along with her team or ‘fam’, the energetic Thirteenth Doctor takes on intergalactic retail giants, ancient species’ and period figures as well as venturing into historical times and tackling some of the big issues. Many have labelled the season as too political but it is a breath of fresh air in my opinion with relevant topics and hard hitting subject matter combined with the wit, charm and humour that makes Doctor Who so entertaining. Whittaker has a childlike sense of wonder and energy
A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS Season 2 Network: Netflix Starring: Neil Patrick Harris, Malina Weissman and Louis Hynes With the delightfully wicked Season 1 premiere in 2017 and Season 3 newly released on January 1st, the second season of Lemony Snicket’s gleefully gothic A Series of Unfortunate Events tracks the further turmoils of the Baudelaire Orphans Violet (Malina Weissman), Klaus (Louis Hynes) and Sunny (Presley Smith) as they attempt to evade the relentless Count Olaf (Neil Patrick Harris). Season 2 follows books 4-8 of the wildly popular series as the children must endure life at a horrendous boarding school, a not so fashionable high rise, a queer bird loving village, a terrifying hospital and a creepy carnival.
John Krasinski and Emily Blunt: The power couple of 2018 with Krasinski directing and starring in A Quiet Place which also saw a stunning turn from Blunt. This year also saw Krasinski land the lead in the new ‘Jack Ryan’ series and Blunt is soon to be seen as the iconic Mary Poppins in Mary Poppins Returns. Stan Lee: 2018 saw the sad passing of the comic world’s greatest hero. A staple of the Marvel universe, creator Stan Lee will be missed but his legacy will carry on in arguably the biggest film franchise and company of all time. Avengers 4 in 2019 is set to be a tear-jerker. DOCTOR WHO
Patrick Harris again relishes the capers and disguises of the deliriously evily Olaf and the hijinks step up even further. Further development of what is one of the best childen’s adaptations of recent years! GET SHORTY Season 2 Network: Stan Starring: Chris O’Dowd, Ray Romano, Lidia Porto and Carolyn Dodd The comic talents of Chris O’Dowd and Ray Romano reunite for this buddy comedy set against the bright lights of the Hollywood film industry. Mobster turned film producer Miles Daley (O’Dowd) is left in a dark place after his family life begins to unravel. Rick Moreweather (Romano) is caught inbetween the film world and the wrong side of the law as his relationship with mob boss Amara (Lidia Porto) puts him in more danger every day. With dark comedy, twisiting plot lines and some scintillating action scenes, this modern interpretation of the classic mob tale is pitched perfectly and provides some great entertainment. FULLER HOUSE Season 4 Network: Netflix Starring: Candace Cameron Bure, Jodie Sweetin, Andrea Barber and Scott Weinger The gang is all back as is the nostalgia in spades. DJ (Bure), Stephanie (Sweetin) and Kimmy (Barber) return with Kimmy now pregnant as a surrogate for Stephanie and Jimmy (Adam Hagen buch). The fun, frivolity and challenges of this full house is bigger than ever with a colourful Christmas episode to kick things off, a nostalic prom, a cruise which turns into an episode of Charlie’s Angels and the welcome guest appearances of franchise favourites Danny (Bob Saget), Joey (Dave Coulier), Jesse (John Stamos) and Beccy (Lori Loughlin) thrown in for good measure. It is a continuation of one of the most fun nostalgia-driven reboots of recent years and oh-my-lanta it will put a smile on your face!
Kiernan Shipka is Sabrina in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina it hits the nail on the head with an excellent contemporary feel, moments of dark magic and a rocking soundtrack. Sabrina is back and darker than ever! YOU Season 1 Network: Netflix Starring: Penn Badgley, Elizabeth Lail and John Stamos The eerily psychological story of young bookstore manager Joe (Badgley) who develops an obsession for up and coming writer Beck (Lail) is riveting from start to finish. The first season of this gripping thriller has you questioning just how far someone will go for love and keeps you guessing at every turn. Intense, suspenseful and utterly gripping.
THE RANCH Part 6 Network: Netflix Starring: Ashton Kutcher, Sam Elliott, Elisha Cuthbert and Dax Shepherd Despite the controversial dropping of series favourite Danny Masterson due to sexual assault charges, the Colardoset comedy is still as quick witted as ever with Ashton Kutcher’s Colt and Elisha Cuthbert’s Abby preparing for the birth of their baby. New to the scene is Beau’s (Sam Elliott) nephew Luke (Dax Shepherd) who is welcomed as family by Beau but met with hostility by Colt. Plenty of poignant and at times tear jerking moments, the show is maturing and still reamains a great watch!
THE WORST WITCH Season 2 Network: Netflix Starring: Bella Ramsey, Jenny Richardson, Clare Higgins and Raquel Cassidy With all the magic of the original 1990’s series recaptured in Season 1, Season 2 of The Worst Witch sees Mildred Hubble (Bella Ramsey) return to Cackles Academy for her second year. Friendships are strengthened and rivalries reforged. It doesn’t take long until Mildred finds herself in the thick of the action and in trouble once again. Essentially Harry Potter for a new generation, Season 2 is perfectly placed for young audiences and the young at heart like myself who grew up with the original series. Magical mayhem and very entertaining!
THE CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA Season 1 Network: Netflix Starring: Kiernan Shipka, Miranda Otto, Lucy Davis and Ross Lynch From the creators of Riverdale and based on the characters from the Archie comics, this dark and twisted take on Sabrina is gleefully gothic. It could have very easily played it safe with the ‘dark’ tag but what The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina does so well is combine moments of comic book character with sequences of absolute terror. Fans of the original family friendly comedy will be in for a surprise with the dark and often intense nature of this reboot but
Mini Series - Starring: 40
MANIAC Network: Netflix Emma Stone, Jonah Hill, Justin Theroux and Sally Field
From the creative mind behind the critically acclaimed True Detective and Beasts of No Nation comes the latest from Cary Joji Kukanaga. Maniac, which possesses the star power of Emma Stone and Jonah Hill is a limited series unlike anything streaming platforms have seen before. The two are drawn into a mysterious pharmaceutical trial and what follows is an incredible and fantastical ride into the world of the mind. Maniac is highly unique, scintillatingly original, incredibly acted and one of the most fascinating series’ of the year. Also Highly Recommended Jack Whitehall: Travels With My Father, Ordeal By Innocence, The Good Place, The Good Doctor, Disenchantment, Champions, Safe, Young Sheldon, The Alienist and Greenhouse Academy. 2018 Television MVP’s Jodie Whittaker: Coming off the popular Broadchurch, Whittaker became a hero and a role model for girls around the world by being the first female incarnation of the iconic time lord (now lady) in Doctor Who. The time was right and what a fantastic job she has done thus far!
(Bruce Willis) as he uses his supernatural abilities to locate Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy) a man with twenty-four separate personalities and a high level of disturbance. Samuel L. Jackson returns and Sarah Paulson also appears in what is sure to be a unique thrill ride from the master of suspense. MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS (17th January) Hollywood and award season favourites Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie go head to head in this hotly anticipated historical period drama. Ronan is Mary Queen of Scots and the film chronicles her attempt to overthrow her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I (Robbie) in a power struggle that would go down in history. Beautifully detailed and set to be an acting masterclass, this is one to watch for period drama lovers. Also Watch For: How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World and King of Thieves.
Netflix: Again dominating the small screen and with highly unique original films and series’ being produced monthly, Netflix continues to lead the charge in home entertainment. Bella Ramsey: One of the busiest and most promising young actresses working at the moment, fourteen year old Ramsey has been not only playing the lead role of Mildred Hubble in the modern reboot of The Worst Witch, but has also been filming the epic conclusion of Game of Thrones in the role of the utterly terrifying Lyanna Mormant. She has also been lending her voice talents to animated Netflix series Hilda as well as appearing in the mini series Requiem and the Will Ferrell driven Holmes and Watson . You go girl!
BLOCKBUSTERS COMING UP JANUARY GLASS (17th January) The third in M. Night Shyamalan’s trilogy after Unbreakable (2000) and Spilt (2016), Glass follows security guard David Dunn
Margo Robbie as Elizabeth I in Mary, Queen of Scots 41
TV WITH CHRIS This may be the most anticipated final season of any television series in history as Daenerys (Emila Clarke) and Jon (Kit Harington) join forces and the fate of the seven realms hangs in the balance. Expect bloodshed, high level drama and battle sequences like nothing ever seen on TV before. There is a lot riding on this eight episode finale and, if anything like past seasons it will be nothing short of incredible.
WHAT’S HOT ON THE BOX IN 2019
Season 3 (Netflix- Late 2019) The raging success of the 1980’s set, pop culture inspired Stranger Things saw Seasons 2 and 3 confirmed shortly after the show’s premiere in 2016. Get ready to travel back to Hawkins, Indiana, the town where strange things go down and re-join the gang who must battle supernatural forces in their own backyard. With an intriguing promo focusing on the Starcourt Mall and the final episode entitled The Battle of Starcourt, expect some mall-set capers and plenty of supernatural action, all held together by the 80’s retro aesthetic viewers have come to know and love.
ith 2018 in the rear-view mirror, it is time to look ahead and look forward to 2019 on the small screen. Some returning favourites and television events will be unfolding as home entertainment takes one giant step for viewers. Netflix and Stan will once again dominate the big releases but HBO will also be coming to the party with the release of arguably the most anticipated final season premiere in modern television history. Gear up. It’s going to be a wild 2019.
A Series of Unfortunate Events
Season 3 (Netflix- January 2019) The theme song may encourage you to look away, but really, don’t. With two incredibly creative and highly watchable seasons leading up to the Baudelaire orphans’ final showdowns with Count Olaf, this third season of Lemony Snicket’s incredibly popular gothic-inspired children’s book series is set to come to a spectacular and dastardly end. Following the final four books in the series (The Slippery Slope, The Grim Grotto, The Penultimate Peril and The End), Neil Patrick Harris is set to be as deliriously bent as ever on capturing the orphans as he aims to steal their enormous fortune whilst the children race to solve the mysteries of their family secrets and the enigmatic VFD. Set to be an amazing conclusion to a worthy adaptation.
Season 3 (Netflix- TBC 2019) With Claire Foy and Matt Smith’s reign as Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip at an end, Season 3 of the stunning series The Crown will see Olivia Coleman and Tobias Menzies take over the
Season 3 (Netflix- TBC 2019) A fan favourite, the ever graceful Victoria is set to return for Season 3 in 2019 with Jenna Coleman and Tom Hughes reprising their roles of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert respectively. A historic heroine, Season 3 will chronicle the next chapter of the life and career of the illustrious Queen and will further develop her incredible ability to juggle marriage, children and prioritising the needs of the monarchy. The series is well executed and highly popular so expect more charm, drama and romance as Victoria graces our screens once more.
Game of Thrones
Season 8 (HBO/Foxtel- April 2019) Quite possibly the biggest series ever to hit television screens, Game of Thrones’ hotly anticipated eighth and final season is set to storm onto screens eighteen months after the conclusion of Season 7 which saw the fate of the realm under question in a spectacular and breathtaking finale.
Jenna Coleman as Victoria 42
Olivia Coleman and HMQ in The Crown
pivotal roles and Helena Bonham Carter introduced as Princess Margaret. Set to focus less on the private life of the Queen herself as in the first two seasons, Season 3 will see Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip in their 50’s and shift focus to Prince Charles (Josh O’Connor) who was created Prince of Wales in 1969. With a stellar cast and some gripping historical drama to work with from the 1960’s and 70’s including the Aberfan tragedy of 1966, the series is looking to be just as gripping and entertaining as what has come before.
Season 1 (Amazon Prime Video- TBC 2019) Based on the 1990 Terry Pratchett/Neil Gaiman novel Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, Prime Video’s Good Omens will see Michael Sheen and David Tennant team up as good and evil, literally. The series focuses on an angel Aziraphale (Sheen) and demon Crowley (Tennant) as they must form an unconventional partnership in order to prevent the apocalypse. With a highly talented supporting cast including Jon Hamm, Jack Whitehall, Miranda Richardson and Nick Offerman, expect all hell to break loose in what is shaping up to be one of the hits of 2019.
the Stussy Twins and David Thewlis as V.M Farga providing recent highlights. Stay tuned for more details of this crime caper as they become available.
The Worst Witch
Season 3 (Netflix- April 2019) With Mildred Hubble (Bella Ramsey) once again saving Cackle’s Academy from disaster at the end of Season 2, she may no longer be considered the worst witch at the Academy. But it doesn’t take long before she is in hot water again. Season 3 will see her mother Julie (Nicola Richardson) take a job at the school and the arrival of some new faces including the surprisingly non-magical teacher Marvin Pringle and Mildred’s inept cousin Indigo Moon. Expect plenty more magical shenanigans as the series gets more and more spellbinding every year! Also Look Out For: The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Part 2, 13 Reasons Why Season 3, Big Little Lies Season 2, Taboo Season 2 and Rick and Morty Season 4.
Season 4 (FX/Foxtel- TBC 2019) With details still largely under wraps and a long break behind it, Fargo Season 4 will arrive with plenty of critical acclaim to its name. The varying storylines which deal with deception, intrigue, murder and crime are fascinating to watch and the acting in the series is top notch with Ewan McGregor as DISCLAIMER The information in this publication is of a general nature. The articles contained herein are not intended to provide a complete discussion on each subject and/or issues canvassed. Swan Magazine does not accept any liability for any statements or any opinion, or for any errors or omissions contained herein. 43
ENTERTAINMENT REVIEWS Film: Director: Starring: Reviewer:
acceptance, Momoa’s delivery of witty one-liners. As so many critics have said before me, Momoa was born to play the part of Aquaman. He looks the part, he talks the part, and he has the gritty bad-boy persona down pat. All vital elements for this interpretation of Arthur Curry. If anything, Momoa didn’t act in Aquaman, he just turned up and read the lines. That is no criticism of the actor, more kudos to the casting director. Just as Robert Downy Jr slipped into Tony Stark’s skin to bring the character to life, so has Momoa slipped into Aquaman’s piscine coating. The character has been written well, he’s so very real, almost touchable while watching on screen, and yet, his actions and situations are very fantasy. It was true and pure entertainment watching Jason Momoa unleashed lightly directed by James Wan. Not being a horror fan, I was wary of what elements Wan might be going to bring to the table as his twist and flavour of the superhero genre. DC is widely known for trying to be overly gritty and dark, adding in an experienced thriller/horror director could lead further down that path. Nothing could be farther from the actual experience. The cinematography and art that horror needs to be unsettling and effective translated wonderfully to the portraying the cold and often unknown depths of the ocean. His style for the long cuts between camera changes worked in the movie’s favour by delivering build up and suspense to fight sequences, or delighted learning for a young boy learning of his underwater gifts for the first time. The fight scenes of today’s action movies tend to cut rapidly between the character’s faces, then their moves and blows to create chaos and confusion to heighten the tension level of the scene. Wan instead uses the long flowing
Aquaman James Wan Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe Jessi Sutherland-Bruce
n the world of movies, DC has left a lot of fans wanting. From the swath of Superman and Batman films that have been constantly criticised, the underwhelming female empowering of Wonder Woman, and the Marvel-esque team ups of Suicide Squad and Justice League, DC has failed to hit the mark. Their aim of the ideal of making the audience relate to, and feel real emotion for their on screen characters has been sadly inaccurate and have fought this war against Marvel in the Superhero Movies category, which Marvel gets right, over and over again. So, when I heard that DC was making Aquaman, I didn’t get my hopes up. But Aquaman has this hint of difference to the traditional DC brand of dark. And that difference is a combination of actor Jason Momoa and director James Wan. Overall, the movie is a wholehearted romp through the action and adventure genre. From nods to the unknown depths of H.P. Lovecraft, to actively paying homage to the popular fantasy action movies of the 80s and 90s, such as The Mummy and Tomb Raider and earlier with the links to The Journey to the Centre of the Earth. Each scene and storytelling moment were slotted together with precision direction and humour, bought out by Arthur Curry’s (Jason Momoa) incredulous belief and resistance to fact he is the sudden hero, and following his
takes from old Kung fu movies and the art of lengthy full fight choreography. In the first major fight scene, Arthur Curry must fight his half-brother, King Orm, as a challenge of power. One assumes this scene would call for one long, CGI’ed to the max, choreographed take. Instead, Wan use short, choppy scenes to create confusion and chaos and the 360 degree of view point. With gravity not being an issue in the water, Wan takes advantage of a lack of constraint in choregraphing and filming these combat scenes from every angle. Wan used the element of silence within the movie to contrast with the traditionally loudness of the action genre movie. One scene in particular cuts from Arthur Curry and love interest, Mera (Amber Heard), descending to a harrowing section of the ocean, the camera cut between the screaming action of a piranha-feeding-frenzy haste of the decent, to the total silence of the utter depths of the ocean, watching from a distance, with just a light descending to the ocean floor. The contrast, as the scene flicks between these two points of view, makes for a very heart racing, holding your breath in, anticipation moment. The majority of the movie is set underwater, the CGI was definitely heavy handed and pushed the suspension of disbelief. I was both impressed at the CGI quality, and then at the time, was left wanting for some realism of the underwater world, but there were no glaring errors such as Superman’s CGI’d upperlip in Justice League. Maybe this is a new leaf in the DC world? I am optimistically hopeful. Recommended. Film: Mary Poppins Returns Director: Rob Marshall Starring: Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Wishaw, Emily Mortimer, Julie Walters, Colin Firth, Meryl Streep (Special Guests - Dick van Dyke, Angela Lansbury) Reviewer: Douglas Sutherland-Bruce A sequel fifty years in the making
o notoriously difficult were Walt Disney’s dealings with Pamela L Travers over the rights for Mary Poppins that they made a movie about it (Saving Mr Banks).
Getting the rights took over twenty years and the huge success of Mary Poppins the musical prompted Disney to seek a sequel immediately - Travers, who hated the movie, despite the fact that it made her a very wealthy woman (she got 5% of the gross of a film that has taken in more than a hundred million in 1964 dollars), ruled out any possible collaboration. And so it remained until 1996 when Travers died aged 96, having been born with the century, and the rights passed to her estate. The successful 1913 film Saving Mr Banks, love it or hate it, may have been partially the trigger for another attempt. In 2015 Disney gained the rights and started planning the second act - Mary Poppins Returns. The production crew was assembled - Rob Marshall as director, David Magee to write the script, John DeLuca, and Marc E. Platt to produce and the music by Marc Shaiman, with song lyrics written by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. Disney has assembled a dream cast - the role of Mary herself being the first to be filled by, on the face of it, an odd choice - Emily Blunt (Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, My Summer of Love, The Devil Wears Prada, A Quiet Place) followed by Lin-Manuel Miranda as Jack the (ahem) Cockney lamplighter. Miranda is primarily a composer (Moana, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Hamilton, for which he wrote, the book, lyrics and songs). And so to the movie - let me say at once that I thoroughly enjoyed it but that like the Curate’s Egg it has parts that are excellent and parts that are, if not bad, not good. The film is set in 1935, twenty-five years after the original. Firstly and foremostly, Emily Blunt in the titular role, is magnificent - who knew she could sing and dance so expertly with such flair and charm? Without her this would not be anywhere near as good a film. Her reading of Mary Poppin’s character is very much more in keeping with the Poppins of the books than the earlier slightly sugary version in Mary Poppins. When the director was offering cameos to stars of the first Mary Poppins (of which more later), Julie Andrews was the first, but declined saying ‘It should be Emily’s movie’ which says all you need to know about Dame Julie’s generosity and courtesy. Lin-Manuel Miranda plays Jack, a lamplighter and Bert the sweep’s (Dick van Dyke) nephew - we know they’re related since they both have similar accents, although Miranda’s is nowhere
near as rough as van Dyke’s, for which he formally apologised to BAFTA many years later at an awards ceremony. The rest of the cast were beautifully chosen, from a suitably villainous Colin Firth as a banker to Meryl Streep’s crazy cousin Topsy and Dame Angela Lansbury at the Balloon Woman still singing up a storm at 93. Talking of still active in their nineties Dick van Dyke, also at 93, sings and dances in the movie - not cgi, the actual flesh and blood hoofer. The cameos I mentioned above were Dick van Dyke, as Mr Dawes Jr (having been Mr Dawes Sr in the first) and a brief appearance by Karen Dotrice as an elegant lady (she played Jane Banks in Mary Poppins). Jane Banks in Mary Poppins Returns is played by Emily Mortimer, daughter of Rumpole creator John Mortimer and a serious actor (Newsroom and Doll and Em - which she conceived and co-wrote). Her role in this as a Labour organiser in tweed pants as Jack’s love interest is minimal and unchallenging, but she brings a degree of realism not often found in musicals where the acting is often pretty much phoned in. That is absolutely not the case in Mary Poppins Returns the acting is of another level entirely - top class actors at the top of their game. So, what’s bad? Well not bad exactly, but Mr Shaiman is not the Sherman Brothers. Mind you, few people are. But songs like Chim-chim-cher-ee, A Spoonful of Sugar and It’s a Jolly Holiday, not to mention Supercalifragilistic are known and loved even by the musically illiterate like myself, who know all the words. I do not think any of the songs in Mary Poppins Returns are likely to win an Oscar, like Chim-chim-cher-ee did. And while some are pretty and catchy I doubt their longevity. Having said that, The Place Where Lost Things Go is quite lovely. So briefly, the music’s not quite as good, but the acting is far superior. The plot has been described as ‘derivative of the first film’ by a few critics, a comment on the face of it ridiculous for a sequel. I would rather describe it as comfortably familiar. The use of conventional pen and ink animation instead of cgi is inspired and gives the film and old-fashioned, Saturday morning cartoons feel. Well worth a viewing or two, especially if you enjoyed Mary Poppins. Very Highly Recommended Indeed.
Film: The Favourite Director: Yorgos Lanthimos Starring: Olivia Coleman, Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone Reviewer: James Forte Sarah Churchill versus the rest
here are certain directors who – right from the start of their career – tend to polarize opinions. You either love them or hate them. New Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster is his best-known previous work) is such a person. Either way, one to be watched. The Favourite won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2018 Venice festival and has been nominated for five Golden Globes – including ‘Best Picture’. A British costume drama set in the early 18th century. Made at Hatfield House (with a few scenes at Hampton Court) and loaded with uncomfortable clothes and powdered wigs, this film is a visual feast. It also enjoys poking fun at the decadence of the idle rich (watch out for the duck racing and the live-bird target practice). The seventeen rabbits representing the queen’s children are cute too. This is a film with feminist sympathies. All three central characters are female with strong personalities and there is some emphasis given to lesbian leanings. And didn’t the ladies ride side-saddle in those days? The men are mostly rogues and idiots. In other words, politicians trying to control the Queen. What is outstanding is the acting. Olivia Colman (The Crown, Broadchurch and a hundred British comedy shows) plays an aging Queen Anne suffering from gout and a deteriorating mental condition. Rachel Weisz (The Mercy) is Sarah Churchill, the powerful Duchess of Marlborough. Emma Stone (La La Land) is Sarah’s scheming cousin Abigail Hill. It is a neck and neck race for the acting honours with Colman winning by half a length. The story is compelling. It starts with the Duke of Marlborough away at the wars. He has given the French a good thrashing at Blenheim and the Palace of the same name is under construction. At home, Queen Anne is on the throne. The Duke’s wife, Sarah Churchill is the queen’s favourite and chief advisor - effectively running the country. That is until the arrival of her cousin Abigail - whose family has fallen on hard times. Abigail is put to work in the kitchens but soon works her
Film: The Children Act Director: Richard Eyre Starring: Emma Thompson, Reviewer: James Forte The Law is not an Ass
way up to ladies maid and the queen’s favourite. Much of the historic detail is taken from Winston Churchill’s biography of his ancestor, the Duke. At two hours, I found it over long – possibly some cutting of Deborah Davis’ screenplay would have been worthwhile (it is her first and was revised by Tony McNamara). Of the three women, I didn’t really care who won and I found the ending rather inconclusive. The film has idiosyncratic direction and a rather obtrusive sound track of cello and drum. Am I out of step with this current style of film making? Overall this is a rowdy, witty, dark film to immerse oneself in. Three and a half stars. The Favourite is still showing at Luna Palace cinemas (Leederville, Windsor and Essex).
ourtroom dramas have long held a fascination for cinemagoers. The clash of moral principles versus legal. Rights weighed in the balance. Is justice really blind? If the proceedings can be intertwined with a medical emergency, so that we have time pressure and impending doom, so much the better. And that is what we have, by the bucket-load, in this film. What makes The Children Act such a superior piece of soap-opera is the gifted work of the writer (Ian McEwan – Atonement), director (Richard Eyre) and cast. The problems of High Court judge Fiona Maye (Emma Thompson) and her responses are so believable, we readily lend her our support and sympathy. When she has a bad start to the day, her court feels the heat. And that’s OK by me. The story is relatively straight forward and the issues are outlined in the first few minutes of the film. Adam (Fionn Whitehead) is a teenage boy in hospital, desperately needing a blood-transfusion – which both he and his parents forbid on religious grounds. The doctors apply to the law in order to provide the only course of action that will save his life. Fiona is bound by the Children Act. There is only one decision she can give – the Act is explicit - the welfare of the child is paramount. Nothing new so far. However, Fiona changes the rules. Instead of staying dispassionate and outside the boundaries of the conflict (in order to be seen to be objective), she schedules a visit to the boy in hospital. A relationship is formed. It is now personal. A minor blemish – possibly covered in the novel if not the film – why no psychological counseling for Adam? Its absence was not enough to shake my belief in the story. Fiona is highly intelligent and musically gifted. However she has a husband Jack (Stanley Tucci) who feels he is playing second fiddle to her career and has started looking elsewhere. Tucci and Thompson are perfect together and these performances must be considered among their best. This film is a reassurance that authors can still find great stories to tell (with not a mythological beast, zombie or boy-wizard in sight). Four stars. The Children Act is currently showing at Luna Palace cinemas (Leederville, Windsor and Essex).
SYNCHRONOUS SUBJECTS Film: The Hatton Garden Job Director: Ronnie Thompson Reviewer: James Forte First, a short addendum to last month’s review of King of Thieves.
egular readers will remember this film was based on a true story. It was directed by James Marsh and starred Michael Caine. To relieve his loneliness and boredom, Caine puts together a gang of old-agepensioners to rob the diamond merchants’ safe deposit vault in London’s Hatton Garden. The 2015 robbery was the biggest in British criminal history. Concluded on page 60...
KSP 2019 Commemoration Anthology Competition
Katharine Susannah Prichard 1969-2019 The KSP Foundation is pleased to present this special anthology competition in 2019 to commemorate the 50th anniversary since author Katharine Susannah Prichard passed away. Winners will receive prizes and publication in the commemoration anthology by Wild Weeds Press.
DEADLINE TO SUBMIT: 22 FEBRUARY 2019 For criteria and entry form visit www.kspwriterscentre.com KSP is supported by the Shire of Mundaring 48
SPORT AND LEISURE ESCORTED TOURS KICKING OFF CHRIS MCRAE
he allure of bigtime sports in North America has always been a drawcard for Australian sports fans and tourists alike. Affectionately known as the Big 4, the codes of Ice Hockey (NHL), Football (NFL), Baseball (MLB) and Basketball (NBA) are some of the most popular in the world and currently boast names such as Alex Ovechkin (Washington Capitals- NHL), Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins- NHL), Tom Brady (New England Patriots- NFL), Lebron James (LA Lakers- NBA), Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors- NBA) and Bryce Harper (Washington NationalsMLB). The names are big, the stadiums are big and one Perth based company is now specialising in getting Australians to experience the thrill of American Sport. Shane Morup runs Escorted Sports Tours, based out of Perth and servicing the travel needs of Australian sports fans. A travel agent and now running a regional airport, Shane has travelled extensively throughout the US and decided to combine his passions of travel and sport to give Australian’s packaged access to some of the world’s biggest experiences. “The aim of the company is to provide inspiration and education through sports and travel” he said. The company runs tours themed around the US major sports codes and has dubbed their trips ‘Quarterback Tour’, ‘Slapshot Tour’, ‘Slam Dunk Tour’ and ‘Home Run Tour’. Most recently in October 2018, a tour group participated in the Eastern Quarterback Tour, a nine day football themed trip encompassing the cities of Philadelphia, New York and Boston. Tour participants were able to take in games at the homes of three of the NFL’s biggest teams in the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants and New England Patriots as well as experiencing segway and City Brew tours of Philadelphia, the what’s what of NYC (Empire State Building, Central Park and Times Square) as well as the sights and sounds of Boston. The tours run by Escorted Sports Tours not only allow first hand game day experiences but also give participants the chance to go behind the scenes and marvel at the magnitude of the stadiums, the history of memorabilia and the atmosphere of the locker rooms. These experiences are what make this tour company utterly unique. Recently the company has made contact with a sporting club closer to home in the Melbourne Ice (part of the Australian Ice Hockey League) and are currently on tour on the west coast of the United Coast on their ‘Western Slapshot Tour’. The bright lights of some of the biggest cities in the US will be the focus
for this tour with the team exploring Los Angeles, Anaheim, Las Vegas, San Jose and San Francisco over 12 days this month. With Ice Hockey on the agenda, the company will hit up the home rinks of the Anaheim Ducks, the Vegas Golden Knights, the San Jose Sharks and the Los Angeles Kings as well as experiencing bucket list activities such as Disneyland, the Grand Canyon, Fisherman’s Wharf and Universal Studios. Next up on the whirlwhind schedule for Shane and the Escorted Sports Tours team is every basketball and ice hockey fan’s dream with the February combined Slamdunk and Slapshot Tour. Again taking on the East Coast, the tour will travel through New York, Philadelphia and Washingdon DC with three games of both basketball and ice hockey as well as toursim attractions along the way. With Escorted Sports Tours making it more accessible than ever for Australian sports fans to experience the thrill of live North American sport, there has never been a better time to pull out the bucket list. With catered experiences for fans of all types and codes along with affordable travel rates, Escorted Sports Tours will make your sporting trip an experience you will never forget. For more information regarding the company and tour packages, contact Shane at: Escorted Sports Tours Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.escortedsportstours.com.au Facebook: www.facebook.com/ESportsTours/
FINANCE MONOPOLY CAPITALISM STEVE BLIZARD
ibrant competition is essential for a capitalist economic system to function effectively. However, we are witnessing the death of competition in industry after industry as global corporations increasingly gobble up their competitors. John D. Rockefeller, one of America’s first oligopolists, famously said “competition is a sin”. Within an oligopoly market structure, limited competition exists in which a market is shared by a small number of producers or sellers – an excellent definition of the current state of affairs in many major industries. In early American economic history, corporations were greatly limited in scope, and in most cases they existed for short periods. But today the largest corporations are so large that they literally dominate the global economy, something that can work against consumers. I’ve just finished reading the introduction of Jonathon Tepper’s and Denise Hearn’s recently released book – The Myth of Capitalism: Monopolies and the Death of Competition, available free online. Chosen as one of the Best Economic Books of 2018 by The Financial Times, they outline how America has moved from being an open, competitive marketplace to an economy where a small number of very powerful companies dominating key industries. Economists describe this state of affairs as being a concentrated market. The Myth of Capitalism provides numerous present-day examples of where market are “squeezed”, with the result being emergence of a small number of oligopoly players who then boost consumer costs and fees. Monopolies like Google, Facebook and Amazon act as gatekeepers to the digital world, with the latter have captured the lion’s share of the global online retail sector. Consumers are left with the illusion of choice, but they are confronted with only one or two companies, when it comes to purchasing high speed internet, health insurance, social networks, Internet searches, or even consumer products like toothpaste. Here are some excerpts from the book: America’s second wealthiest man, Warren Buffet, is an iconic figure for Americans and capitalists in other lands. For decades, his annual letters have instructed
Americans about the virtues of investing. In many ways, he’s come to be viewed as the embodiment of American capitalism. He’s called the annual meetings of his investment firm Berkshire Hathaway, a “Celebration of Capitalism”, and refers to his home town of Omaha as the “cradle of capitalism.” Yet Buffett is the antithesis of capitalism. For decades, he has recommended buying businesses with what he’s dubbed as strong “moats” and little competition. The results have shown how correct he is. Buffet gained control of Berkshire for around $32 per share when it was a fading textile company, and turned it into a conglomerate that now owns businesses that face little competition. The stock is now worth about $300,000 per share, making the entire company worth more than $495 billion. Buffett has said at his investment meetings, “The nature of capitalism is that if you’ve got a good business, someone is always wanting to take it away from you and improve on It.” In his annual reports, he has approvingly quoted Peter Lynch’s adage, “Competition may prove hazardous to human wealth.” How true that is. What is good for the monopolist is not good for capitalism. Buffett and his business partner Charlie Munger always tried to acquired companies that have monopoly-like status. At one of his legendary annual meetings he claimed that his ideal business was that possessed “high pricing power, a monopoly.” The message is clear: if you’re acquiring in a business that faces a competitive market, you’re making a mistake. *** If Warren Buffett is the embodiment of American capitalism, then billionaire Peter Thiel is the Godfather of California’s Silicon Valley. These two could not be more different. Buffett is a hardnosed committed Democrat, while Thiel, a libertarian has acquired a New Zealand passport so he can promptly flee when the “peasants with pitchforks” come after Silicon Valley monopolists. Buffett and Thiel have nothing in common, but they can both agree on one thing: operating in a competitive market is for losers. Thiel founded PayPal and has funded a legendary roster of businesses like LinkedIn and Facebook, which now have a monopoly on the key social networks and has a duopoly with Google on online advertising. He dislikes competition and redefines capitalism by turning it on its head, “Americans mythologize competition and credit it with saving us from socialist bread lines. Concluded on page 60... 50
BUSINESS - NETWORKING BUT IS IT REALLY FREE? SHARRON ATTWOOD
Free coffee chat – free discovery session – free training - free networking event – free lunch?
s there such a thing? I’ve mused previously about the need to consider the value of your time – and whilst this line of thought is similar – it also goes towards our expectations of ROI and what we understand our investment to actually be. You see, I have spoken with many of my colleagues and peers who do not have an expected ROI for the time they invest participating in events or meetings – be they free or otherwise. They are also not clear on what the ‘I’ is for them. It’s easy to think that if the event if free or a ‘buy your own coffee’ type of thing you haven’t really invested anything. But you have. You have invested your time and the opportunity cost of having that event or meeting taking you away from your business or in fact any other task that can add value to your business and /or your life. You have also invested whatever it is that you give of yourself – your energy, your brand, the value you bring to a conversation. This is a good thing –you need to give something of yourself – it just needs to be in context. I’ve written before about the need to research an event before attending – to make sure it is something you can add value to and get value from, attending. I have found though, that most people’s need to undertake any research decreases in direct proportion to the monetary cost of the event, the distance from their office, and the length of time it runs for. As such – a free event down the road that runs for an hour seems to command very little, if any, research as to it’s value or our potential to add value. Most of us grew up with the adage ‘There’s no such thing as a free lunch’ and as such treat these invitations with suspicion.
The higher the proposed value – the more suspicion. You know they will try to get something from you, or sell you something. It’s an entry point to their sales funnel. If it’s of interest to you – rock on and go. If you can trust yourself to make a rational decision at the end – enjoy the event. But not everyone can do that when faced with a sophisticated closing process. By now we’ve all been to those free events that by the end have people rushing to the back of the room to sign up to the next step. I love dissecting the process. It intrigues me no end – though that’s probably a tale for another month. If you want and need the product – you run over the fallen to secure your place! But just don’t be surprised they made an offer. On the flip side – if I really enjoy hearing from someone and they don’t offer me the next step I find it annoying. It’s a very complex marketing thing I know – but illustrates my point about there being no free lunch. It also illustrates my point about doing the research – as you can very often discover ahead of time what the agenda is. I’ve written recently about why I believe the coffee chat is not dead. It just needs to have purpose and a sense of equality. I also believe that having a face-to-face conversation is a skill worth developing. Some of the most valuable connections I have were born from a follow up coffee chat. So back to your ‘I’ for investment. I’m really just a fan of awareness. Value your time, your input and your brand even if there’s no cash being exchanged. Very often these things are worth more. It can be a benefit to the organisers to have you in the room. Your valuable Personal Brand in attendance – or planning to attend – can see others assuming the event has value. How often have you gone to something just because you see someone you trust is going? Consider your brand when promoting that you are attending something. Think of it as collaboration. You are giving gravitas to the event. Is it worthy? Sounds a bit like you have tickets on yourself perhaps – but as your brand develops you need to consider it as you get to the point where you are asked to attend paid events for free. Except that you’re not. You may not be paying in cash – but you are paying with something of value! If you have the time – and really have the time to spare – not just a desire to feel busy – you may like to take a risk on an event that does not quite measure up. This time of year it can help get your mojo back on line to be around other business owners or your peers. Then again, that’s the ROI. Going to every free thing is not a strategy and can be harmful to your brand. Being out an about makes you feel busy – but is it productive at all? My ultimate advice? You need to prepare for a free event or meeting in the exact same way as if it cost a thousand dollars, was an hour’s drive away and took up half a day. This will ensure you are ready to give and receive value! Is it really free? Of course not – but you kind of already had your suspicions didn’t you? 51
SWAN VALLEY AND REGIONAL NETWORK PLACES OF PRIDE NEW PHYSICAL ACTIVITY GRANTS MATTHEW HUNT
“They gave their shining youth and built thereby Valour’s own monument that shall not die.” C.E.W. Bean, inscription at Tamworth war memorial
ederal Member for Hasluck, Ken Wyatt MP, is calling on sport and physical activity providers in the Hasluck to apply for funding for a national $28.9 million program aimed at encouraging Australians to get more active. The Liberal Nationals Sport Participation Grants program was launched recently by Federal Sports Minister Bridget McKenzie, enabling national sporting organisations, national sporting organisations for people with a disability, plus nongovernment and local government organisations, to apply for grants that will make a genuine impact on the level of activity of everyday Australians in the community. Mr Wyatt urged sporting groups and local government organisations to create or enhance programs that would help attract people across a wide range of age, ability and location to participate in physical activity and sport. “We know just how important sport and physical activity is to helping both children and adults lead a happy, healthy life,” Mr Wyatt said. “Our goal is to get more Australians more active more often.
efore the Australian War Memorial was established as Australia’s national memorial during the Second World War, before it had been envisaged by Charles Bean during the First World War, memorials had been established by communities across Australia. With the advent of the First World War, honour boards were fixed to walls across the country, scoreboards of commitment encouraging others to follow those named; living artefacts, with names and dates added as the war continued. As survivors began to return, they and their dead comrades were honoured by obelisks, halls, carillons, trees, sculptures, statues, and more; community-driven memorials that bore living witness to service and sacrifice. These memorials became places where communities could come to mourn the loss of loved ones fallen in foreign fields far from home, and to honour the service of those who had returned. Today, memorials across Australia bear testament to the costs of war, and reveal deep community connections to conflicts and peacekeeping operations from the Boer War to Afghanistan. Places of Pride, the National Register of War Memorials, is an Australian War Memorial initiative to record the location and gather images of every publicly accessible memorial in Australia. RSL sub-branches, community organisations, schools, and individuals are encouraged to record and upload their local memorials to the website. Collecting these contributions, Places of Pride allows users to explore the memorials of Australia, including an interactive map and search facilities via postcode, suburb, and town – connecting individuals with community memorials, and commemorating those who have served our country. The project will be the basis of a new display at the Australian War Memorial, reminding us that the history on display at the Memorial heralds from communities from every corner of the country. The function of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra is to develop and maintain a national memorial for all Australians sited in Canberra, the nation's capital. The Memorial does not maintain or fund memorials around Australia. The custodianship of and responsibility for local memorials in Australia varies greatly across the different state and territories. As a guide for this project, a war memorial is any physical object, building or area that commemorates Australian military service in conflict and at times of peace. There are many types of war memorials listed on Places of Pride, including monuments such as; Sculpture, Gate, Stone, Fountain, Honour Board, Roll of Honour, Memorial Tree, Avenue of Honour, Memorial Garden etc. Please can we ask that if you are aware of any Memorials in your local community, please can you send through the details for collation and submission to www.placesofpride.awm.gov.au/ about.
“I encourage eligible organisations to consider impactful ways to innovate with new programs, or enhance existing physical activity initiatives that will improve the lives of all Aussies across the area. We need help get adults to “Find their 30” minutes of exercise a day, and children to reach the sixty minutes per day recommended by the Department of Health.” The program will be managed by Sport Australia, the Australian Government’s leading agency for sport and physical activity. The Sports Participation Grants follow the recent announcements of the Better Ageing grants and the Community Sport Infrastructure Grants. Applications will close on 18th of February 2019 with more information on the Move It Aus – Participation Grants at: www.sportaus.gov.au/participationgrants 52
SWAN VALLEY AND REGIONAL NETWORK PEARCE RECEIVES FUNDING
n allocation of over $24 million in funding has been provided to eight councils in the electorate of Pearce under the Liberal Government’s Roads to Recovery Program. The Roads to Recovery Program supports the maintenance of the nation’s local roads, ensuring greater community connectivity, improved road safety, and local economic growth. Federal Member for Pearce, Christian Porter MP, said that these allocations represent a win for the electorate of Pearce. “The funding provides councils with the ability to invest in upgrading local roads which, in turn, enhance connectivity, improve road safety, stimulate local economic growth, and achieve greater social outcomes. “The Program will provide $2 billion to local government bodies across Australia from 2019-20 to 2023-24. “The Liberal Government is investing $400 million each and every year following an extension of the Program in the 2016 Budget to deliver a further $50 million per annum from 2019-20 onwards.”
Under the Roads to Recovery Program, direct funding to local councils is distributed according to a formula based on population and road length set by the Local Government Grants Commissions in each state and the Northern Territory. Each council’s Roads to Recovery allocation is fixed for the life of the Program. Untied grants for local roads are part of annual financial assistance grants to councils. Councils in the electorate of Pearce will receive the following amounts over the 2019-20 to 2023-24 period: The Shire of Beverley, $1,214,606; The Shire of Chittering, $1,183,168; The Shire of Gingin, $2,181,182; The Shire of Northam, $2,018,356; The City of Swan, $6,738,257; The Shire of Toodyay, $1,447,510; The City of Wanneroo, $7,744,925; and The Shire of York, $1,587,472.
LEVEL CROSSINGS UPGRADED
n $18 million project to upgrade existing pedestrian level crossings on the Armadale, Midland and Fremantle lines has begun last month, improving access and safety for the local community. The upgrades will improve the safety and accessibility of the crossings and make them compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act. The works will include improvements to lighting, pathways, maneuvering and passing areas, and tactile paving. The Public Transport Authority will be upgrading the crossings in stages, with work due to start this month. An initial twenty-two crossing upgrades will be completed by late 2019. The subsequent upgrades are expected to be rolled out between 2019 and 2022. Some of the first crossings to be upgraded include: · Kelmscott Station North (Armadale Line); · Guildford Station (Midland Line); · Welshpool Station North (Armadale Line); · Mosman Park Station (Fremantle Line); and · Salvado Street (Fremantle Line). For more information, visit the Public Transport Authority's
website: www.pta.wa.gov.au/projects/current-projects/pedestrianlevel-crossing-upgrade-program Transport Minister Rita Saffioti: "Last financial year we saw train patronage rise for the first time in three years so I am pleased to announce the upgrade to these pedestrian level crossings, which will improve access to train stations. "In addition to creating transformative new public transport infrastructure through the McGowan Government's METRONET plan, it is vital we don't overlook our existing network and continually strive for improvement. "Anything that makes our network safer and more accessible for Transperth passengers and local residents is a great thing." Disability Services Minister Stephen Dawson: "This investment supports the McGowan Government's commitment to inclusion for our whole community and is an important step in fostering further independence of people with disability. "Being able to move around freely on public transport will ensure we have a more inclusive community."
THE IDLER The Idle Thoughts of an Idle Mind And then there was the Thai Wild Bores cave rescue that captivated the world for eighteen days. Eighteen days during which the young boys, coach, and parents must have all reconsidered their decision to go on the trip, and into the cave. No doubt the rescuers, including Australians Dr Richard Harris and Craig Challen also had many moments of indecision until the soul-stirring outcome. But perhaps the most enthralling international about face was, and continues to be, Brexit, which seems to be entering its second, third and fourth volte-faces. Meanwhile back in Australia. We’ve almost forgotten those dark days, or should that be day, of the total removal of plastic shopping bags. With no Instagram or Facebook evidence can we be sure this actually happened? The supermarkets also gave us the heart-warming sight of consumers risking their own lives to support local strawberry growers. A myriad of thoughts went through our heads as we played Russian Roulette with needle laden strawberries. Away from the shops and after years of waiting, we had to concede that new oval was a good development, even if there continues to be indecision about the name. Where else in the world does a stadium change its name depending on the event being held? We also had to concede that the Matagarup Bridge was a good addition to Perth’s skyline, particularly its kaleidoscope of colours. Politically we had Mark Lathan reconsidering his allegiances, again, this time joining Pauline Hanson, we think. Deputy Barnaby Joyce reviewed his “error of judgement” then, perhaps urged on by his “error of judgment”, appeared on television and wrote a book to ensure we didn’t forget. Amidst this, the then PM Malcolm Turnball asked his colleagues to rethink their work sexual proclivities, while they rethought his position as Prime Minister. Clearly someone missed the “no shafting” memo. Entertainment-wise Boy George had to rethink his comments when Perths’ own loop artist Sam Perry took out The Voice. Married At First Sight villain Dean showed he was capable of more backflips than an Olympic gymnast when he rethought his commitment to his new bride within weeks. Meanwhile, The Bachelor Nick Cummings had us all second guessing ourselves when he went off script to pick mates and me time over marriage. Thankfully 62-year-old Shane Gould saved the reality day by winning Australian Survivor, and in the process made us rethink the meaning of a “senior moment”. Later on in the year, Sandgropers redefined loyalty when we flocked to Langley Park to cheer home our majestic Eagles after winning the AFL premiership. Later still, we watched on as drug mule Renae Lawrence was released to freedom, only to find she faced other charges. But the doozey of all local second thoughts must go to Nova DJ and ex Dockers player Shane McManus, who moments after throwing away his wife’s winning Melbourne Cup ticket, realised what he’d done. Oh yes, and let’s not forget there was a royal baby born in 2018, Prince Louis Arthur Charles. No doubt, like all new parents, sleep deprivation may’ve seen
2018 THE YEAR OF SECOND THOUGHTS GLENNYS MARSDON
s I sit staring at this blank page considering the year that was, the overriding feeling that lingers is that 2018 was the Year of Second Thoughts. Internationally there were a couple of memorable rethinks in the sporting arena. Such as Usain Bolt’s sidestep into soccer, which was over almost as quickly as one of his famous dashes up the straight. Or Serena Williams’s “I’m a mother” outburst at the US open after being accused of receiving coaching during the match. At the same tournament Aussie John Milliman had us eating our words as he beat Roger Federer. However, the top sporting backflip must go to the Australian Cricket team for the ball tampering, and ‘failure of leadership’ fiasco. The world of entertainment provided more examples. First up there was Rosanne Barr’s racist tweet which saw the star axed and the show taken off air. More significant was the continuation of the #MeToo phenomenon into a worldwide movement, which left even the most honourable of men questioning their actions. Politically, we watched on as Trump’s relationship with Kim Jong-un seesawed until they both “fell in love”, apparently. All this against a zeitgeist of Americans reconsidering their initial ticking of the Trump box. For me though, the worst international “in hindsight” moments continued to be the deaths of 72 innocent residents, and another 70 injured, in the horrific Grenfell Tower fire. While the fire broke out in June 2017 the repercussions were still being felt in 2018 when an injury and commemorative hearings took place. As a result, Councils around the world reconsidered the materials employed. On a more positive international note, the Invictus Games had us all reconsidering what people with disabilities can achieve.
’m a cross between a shearer, and a Catholic, And, fair dinkum, I was Christened in the pub. Only planned child out of eight, and that’s including
Yep! We sure had competition, for our grub. The Broomehill District back then, had the usual mix of kids. There were Greens and Blacks and Whites and Browns and us. A fertile breeding ground for kids, (and dugites), I might say. A circus, in an orange Bedford Bus. Our mob came to school, from out the Tieline, to the east. The other bus (the Austin), came in west. Half of us belonged to Green, the other half to Gold. And at the Faction Sports, we’d all see who was best. Our family was different. We were not from town, or farm. A feral bunch of snotty, grotty rats. From one mile out of town, near the turn off to the dump. Kicking footys, pushing carts, and swinging bats. The Guvvy Dam, a mile north, was a local ratbag haunt. So in summer’s heat, it was just the place to play. We’d skylark out by Holland’s Track, just off the railway line, where we’d swim and splash, and muck about all day. Another Broomehill-Billy game was hidey, at the Bins. Up in the wheat where we would lay, no one would know. Near the roof, behind the posts, lying doggo, in the dark. If you got caught by “IT”, then it’s your go. Us Broomehill “baby-boomers”, led a carefree sort of life. I suppose that made us ‘Joeys’ in a sense. We’d hop from place to place .We knew who’s fruit was ripe to pick. And we knew the safest place, to hop a fence. The bush around the rifle range and dump, was great for kids. There was no such thing as danger, in those days. We’d find exciting things to make, or invent another game. We’d play, then fight, and go our separate ways. Change is just a part of life. Nostalgia filters well. But I look back now, and long for the old Broomehill. If I could do it all again, and know what I know now, In terms of learning values, today wouldn’t fit the bill. We taught ourselves a lot, by trial and error way back then.
William and Kate have momentary second thoughts. But the biggest second thoughts moment for 2018 must go to Harry and Meghan. As the tradition-defying young couple sat in St George’s Chapel and knowing the world was tuning into their special moment, you can’t tell me they didn’t have second thoughts when Bishop Michael Curry took an eternity to remind us that “love is the way”. After all, 1.9 million viewers surely did. For me the standout moment of 2018 was the two Invictus wheelchair tennis players. Realising a low flying helicopter had triggered UK competitor Paul Guest’s post traumatic stress, Netherlands competitor Edwin Vermetten threw his racket to the ground and stopped the game. Foreheads pressed together they ignored the world and sang Frozen’s Let it go, until he did. No second thoughts there. Thank you for reading my scribbles for another year. Wishing you all a happy, healthy, safe holiday period.
Among the lessons learned, I learned real quick, that until you’ve had the birthday cake, that tells the world you’re three, Church bullants match a two-year old, with stick. All the willpower in the world, does not make up for feathers. Though from our wash house roof, birds flew so free, the lesson that had impact, in the stinging nettle patch, Was that hope and bravery, would not work for me. One thing I learned with a BANG, and the burning of my flesh, Was, that crackers go off LOUD, inside your shirt. When fireworks season came around, and cracker wars were fought. The big fat penny bombs, could really HURT. We’d scrounge for cool drink bottles, to cash at Ewarts’ shop, to build our ammo up, for Guy Fawkes Night. When the ever-growing bonfire, would be lit behind the pub. It was our own Broomehill Skyshow. Pure delight! The Katanning Show was another thing, we’d save for real hard. To be sixpence short of a ride, could break a heart. So that improved arithmetic, in a fundamental way. And our plea for an extra go, was a polished art. Our spelling was impeckubull. Peanuts, chips and drinks, were lip read through the Hotel glass, by Dad. Fathers learned to heed our whims, on weekend afternoons. But if we disrupted darts, then they’d get mad. We were pretty good hitch-hikers, catching cars and trucks and trains, to anywhere, we just felt like going. We trusted everybody, and someone would always stop. Well, Broomehill-Billys always were all-knowing. We didn’t care, if no one came. We’d walk and run for miles. Our bare feet, never let us down at all. Time was of no consequence. We lived on Broomehill time. Why watch a clock, when we could clock a ball? It didn’t matter either, when they knocked our old school down. It was opened, back in eighteen ninety four. We watched from our new school, as our grand old pine was felled. Our Faraway Tree went bush. Gone for evermore. It was hard to teach the teachers things, they didn’t want to know. We weren’t to blame, despite us being caught. We’d try to teach them better ways, of spelling stupid words. So often, all three “Rs” were sixpence short. On the fourteenth of February, in nineteen sixty six, a bloke called Dollar Bill, rode into town.. He proved that twelve was ten; that three was also two. And that no one could keep Broomehill-Billys down. There are many things I’d like to say, but time does not permit. So many friends, that I’ve not seen for years. But we shaped one another, in the way our town shaped us. A spirit irrepressible, regardless of our fears. Our parents grew in depression, and theirs had gone through war. Then ours were thrown back into war again.. That strength of character and bond, that they passed on to us, I pray, in Broomehill-Billys, forever will remain.. 55
FOOTNOTE PEOPLE IN HISTORY
THE DAME OF SARK
ark is one of the Channel Islands off the coast of both France and Great Britain, along with Jersery, Alderney and Guernsey. The island is tiny—only three miles long and one and a half miles wide—but has so many nooks and crannies that it boasts forty-two miles of coastline. For the past 400 years, the Channel Isle of Sark has been ruled by a Seigneur or Dame, who pledges allegiance to, and rents the island from, the Sovereign of England. The Seigneur holds the island in perpetual fief,and rents out forty parcels of land to forty different residents called tenants, who can rent pieces of each parcel to other islanders. For centuries, these forty landowners made up the island’s parliament, called Chief Pleas, with the Seigneur or Dame presiding as a quasi-dictator. Dame Sibyl Hathaway (Dame of Sark from 1927 until she died, aged ninety in 1974) once defended the institution of feudalism by saying, “What is good enough for William the Conqueror is good enough for us.” After Britain declared war on Germany in September 1939 not much changed in the Channel Islands, several men went to Britain to join up, but the even life of the Islands went on much as before until the fall of France in June 1940. The War Cabinet decided, much against Winston Churchill’s inclinations, that the Channel islands were indefensible, and resolved to let Germany take them over. On the 16th June, 1940 all military personnel were withdrawn and in an atmosphere of total confusion and misunderstanding, no conscious decision was made about civilian evacuation. In just one week, approximately 17,000 people would evacuate Guernsey alone including 80% of school age children. Alderney was almost entirely evacuated and roughly 15% of Jersey’s population of 50,000 left. On Sark, Dame Sybil worried that Sark could crumble if too many people evacuated the island. The gist of feudalism, after all, is that it’s self-sufficient: If everybody on Sark stuck together, the Dame reasoned, life could go on. She called a meeting and told the inhabitants that she had decided to stay—and asked the islanders to remain as well. The Dame understood that not everybody might sign on and promised to arrange for anybody’s departure, if they so wished. Of those born on Sark, not one person left recommended that the islanders stay. In 1940 many of the descendants of the original forty settlers still lived on Sark. Heirs to more than four centuries of feudal rule, they had no intention of abandoning their island or their way of life. Despite the de-militarization of the Islands, Germany attacked on the 28th June, with a bombing raid over Guernsey and Jersey, in which forty-four civilians were killed. The islands’ governments had a legal and moral requirement to do their best for the population of the islands. This meant preserving life until the islands were liberated. The view of the majority of islanders about active resistance to German rule was probably expressed by John Lewis, a medical doctor in Jersey. “Any sort of sabotage was not only risky but completely counterproductive. More important still, there would be instant repercussions on the civilian population who were very vulnerable to all sorts of reprisals.” However Dame Sibyl Hathaway protected her people with the unlikeliest of weapons: Feudal etiquette, old-world manners, and a dollop of classic snobbery. On July 3, 1940, a lifeboat arrived at Sark’s main harbour. The Germans had arrived—and the Dame made her first move in
Dame Sybil Hathaway, Dame of Sark (1884 - 1974) a subtle game of political one-upmanship. Dame Sibyl resolved that she would not go to meet the Germans; they would come to her. As the Nazi officers hiked up to the royal residence, La Seigneurie Dame Sibyl and her husband, Bob waited. They placed two chairs behind a desk at the far end of the drawing room, which would force the officers to walk the whole length of the room. It was a small power move, but they needed every trick they could muster. The Dame advised her maid to announce the Germans as if they were any other villager. When the Germans arrived, the officers wiped their boots on the doormat outside. Dame Sibyl glanced at her husband with relief. Just from the sound of their feet, she could tell that the men about to enter her house were aristocrats—the way they wiped their boots was a sign of respect. As luck would have it, the Channel Islands attracted a disproportionate number of Germany’s uniformed aristocrats. The islands were a relatively safe spot for Germany’s most privileged soldiers, who were naturally attracted to staying in a bygone place where inheritance still equaled influence. The Dame’s complete control over the happenings in Sark wasn’t her only power over the Germans. Her name was in the Almanach de Gotha, a Continental directory that listed all of Europe’s most important royals and nobility—a who’s who of the continent’s aristocrats. From her opening interaction, Dame Sibyl immediately realized that any fantasies about armed insurrection would be useless. Rather, her greatest weapon would be decorum. All of Sark’s radios would eventually be confiscated, leaving most residents clueless as to what was happening off the island. Dame Sibyl, for instance, had a hazy idea that the Luftwaffe were bombing London, but she didn’t know about the bombings in Bristol, Birmingham, or Belfast. She also didn’t know that her eldest son, Buster, was long 56
dead—killed during the blitz of Liverpool. overhead and the thundering of heavy guns off the French coast. By summer 1941, as more enemy troops moved onto Later that morning the island’s German doctor visited and, in the Channel Islands, the Germans started hoarding a hushed tones, told her that the Allies had invaded Normandy. disproportionate amount of the island’s produce. Sark's Indeed, by winter, even the Germans were feeling pinched. islanders began to suffer. The Sarkese began making “tobacco” Chickens, pigs, cats, and dogs started disappearing. The from dried clover and fruit leaves; “tea” with dried peapods Germans demanded that all of Sark’s stored grain, plus 90% of steeped in hot water; “coffee” with grated barley, dried sugar all potatoes. beet, and parsnips. Every meal included lobster. For the Dame, this crossed a line. Instead of complying, “When lobster is the main dish day after day, month in she helped launch a clandestine operation to steal back what month out, let me assure you that you become heartily sick of the was, according to feudal law, rightfully hers. One evening, as sight of it,” Dame Sibyl wrote. the Germans were preoccupied with their dinner, the Dame The Dame fought these restrictions with a healthy dose of and a crew of conspirators stole a half-ton of wheat from the do-you-know-who-I-am? To get what she wanted, she chatted village hall, which they hid in her barn. Meanwhile, they secretly with the aristocratic officers: Colonel Graf von Schmettow, hoarded potatoes under a trap door in her drawing room. The Commander-in-Chief of the Channel Islands; Freiherr von loot was secretly distributed in to residents in rations. Aufsess, the Chief of Civil Administration, who was indirectly Hitler finally killed himself and on May 8, 1945, Dame Sibyl connected to the Dame through a marriage of cousins; Prince flew the British and American flags from her tower and joined Oettingen, the Kommandant of Civil Administration, who shared the islanders as they lit a bonfire in celebration. mutual friends with the Dame back in Germany. Whenever By this point, there were 275 German soldiers stationed troops on Sark gave Dame Sibyl gruff, she simply went over their on Sark, but after the arrival—and departure—of the British heads to these “friends.” liberation team, Dame Sibyl became their commander. As she She was able to end a handful of disputes by simply asking: began giving orders, a British officer observed that she acted, Who is your superior? "more forceful than any army officer and more than equal to any “Because the social conventions were so strong, she was German Kommandant." treated with much more deference than we would get treated First, the Dame demanded they establish a telephone with now,” Seigneur Michael Beaumont, Dame Sybil’s grandson, line connecting her house to Guernsey. Then she ordered the said. Germans to return all the confiscated wireless radios and to Some policies, however, were beyond Dame Sibyl’s control. remove all 13,500 landmines. She insisted that each prisoner Natural factors limit the number of people who can live on Sark, repeat her commands and relished hearing the soldiers say: “Zu with a 1000 people, the island could start running out of water. Befehl, Geduldige Frau”—"At your command, madam." In October 1941, 300 German soldiers were sent to the island, Over the coming months, German POWs completed a series putting a significant strain on the island's resources. of construction projects, building a protected concrete path over Things got worse as the war heated up. The following year, a narrow isthmus connecting the southern half of the island; British commandos raided Sark, killing two German officers and repairing and redecorating the homes they had occupied; and taking one prisoner. The Germans retaliated, placing barbed resurfacing the island’s roads. They also removed rusty rollwire around Sark’s perimeter and laying more than 13,000 bombs dangling from wires over Sark’s harbors. landmines, which made it impossible for the islanders to launch For much of the war, Sark’s people resented Dame Sibyl for their fishing boats, collect the gorse they needed for fuel, or asking them to stay. That changed when they learned about the gather seaweed they used for fertilizing fields. neighbouring island of Alderney. Soon, rabbits discovered that Similar to Sark in size and the minefields were a great place culture, Alderney was completely to breed—and the island's crops evacuated days after the bombing were decimated by the ensuing of Guernsey—and the Nazis went infestation. on to destroy it. They dismantled Then Germany decided Alderney’s homes for firewood. to deport all of Sark’s British They constructed ugly concrete citizens. Dame Sibyl convinced fortifications, bunkers, air raid the Germans that most of Sark’s shelters, and gun emplacements people were, in fact, not British, and built two work camps and two but Channel Islanders. This little concentration camps. They killed game of semantics appears to have the last Alderney cow, rendering the worked: Of the 400 islanders, the unique breed—which only lived on list of deportees was reduced to just the island—extinct. The occupation eleven people. had a similar effect on the island’s In February 1943, a unique dialect, Auregnais: The more indiscriminate round of displacement of Alderney’s people deportations was ordered by the killed the language. Nazi brass in Berlin. Two additional Whatever charm Sark has roundups targeted fifty people, retained, much of it is owed to Dame including Dame Sibyl’s husband Sibyl. Every deported islander would Bob, an American citizen, who survive the war, and nearly all of was sent to Laufen prison camp in them would return to Sark, where France. the Dame's steadfast leadership In the early morning hours of brought the island back to its old La Seignurie in 2004 June 6, 1944, Dame Sibyl awoke routines. (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons) to the rumble of bombers flying 57
PHOTOGRAPH: REVERIE PHOTOGRAPHY
Trip is a charmer, full of joy with the perfect smile! He’s a 17 month old purebred Australian Koolie. Trip is a loving couch potato at the end of an active day. His ideal family will be an energetic single, couple, or a family with older children, who have owned working dogs before. They’ll enjoy walking with Trip twice a day, doing training with him and providing interesting types of play and puzzles. In return, they’ll be rewarded with the special bond that comes from having a devoted dog who’s full of personality.
At this stage, he’s still a big pup in a grown-up body. Trip loves young children and other dogs but needs supervision to perfect his manners. Trip’s adoption fee of $410 covers the cost of his desexing, microchipping, and up to date vaccination. To enjoy the companionship of this beautiful boy, apply to adopt by emailing email@example.com.
SAFE Inc. is Western Australia’s largest volunteer-based animal rescue organisation using the foster care model. Founded in 2003, we currently have 12 branches state-wide and have successfully rehomed more than 23,000 homeless animals. More than 80% of money donated goes directly to animal care. We are aligned with a wide network of Australia’s most respected welfare organisations and are the Western Australian arm of Animal Welfare League Australia (AWLA). SAFE Inc is also the 2018 national winner in the category Outstanding Rescue Group in the Jetpets Companion Animal Rescue Awards. FOSTER CARE keeps animals out of cages and is the key difference between SAFE and other organisations that utilise shelters. Fostering ensures animals are socialised with other pets and children (where appropriate) and greatly improves an animal’s chance of adoption. To become a foster carer, the first step is to contact either our SAFE Avon Valley branch on 0409 000 259 or our Perth-based branch, SAFE Metro on 0475 346 545 or 0448 893 033. VOLUNTEER: https://safe.org.au/volunteer/
DONATE: https://safe.org.au/donate 58
COMMUNITY he Compassionate Friends of Western Australia Tregardless strives to support families who have lost a child, of that child’s age throughout WA.
We are a non-profit, non-government funded charity that provide peer call support, group meetings, a drop in centre, sending out quarterly newsletters, Anniversary Cards, we hold Walk of remembrance and a candlelight service (non-religious) at Christmas. We are run by volunteers and bereaved parents that are further along in their grief and wish to help others who have suffered this tragedy. Although everybody’s grief is different it helps to talk to someone who has actually had this tragedy happen to them. They WON”T say “I know how you feel” as no one can, but they will say “I don’t know exactly what you are feeling but this is how I felt when my child died”.
WALK OF REMEMBRANCE HELD IN MARCH EACH YEAR Events like these above give the bereaved some hope of a life after the death of their child. They connect with others that have been through the same tragic experience. In doing so its helps them to feel that they are not alone in their grief, that there is a worldwide connection to other suffering the same. DONATIONS Donations allow us to purchase stamps so we can send our booklets and other information to the newly bereaved, community groups, doctors surgeries and hospital throughout Western Australia. They help us cover advertising cost in newspapers throughout Western Australia, pay for our office and utilities allowing us to have Peer Support Workers come in and contact to bereaved that wish to have contact. The Compassionate Friends of WA Inc. receives no Government funding in any way.
We raise funds by holding events, charity drives and donation from our members and outside bodies. Although this is fantastic, we still struggle with the cost of keeping our doors open so any suggestion on fundraising or donations are gratefully accepted. VOLUNTEERS NEEDED We are always looking for volunteers to help man Sausage Sizzles, Charity Shopping Centre Drives and other events along with peer support volunteers (bereaved parents) for telephone support and group meeting facilitation.
54 Simpson Street, Ardross 6107 6257
Concluded from page 47... How much was taken will never be known but it was well over 200 million pounds. On a recent long-haul flight, flipping through the entertainment system, I found a mysterious item – The Hatton Garden Job (also known as One Last Heist) directed by Ronnie Thompson. A little research revealed it was just one of three other films made recently and covering the same crime. For style and pace (and accuracy – it has a smart, young, heroic leader and some weird subplots to shift it into the ‘caper’ genre) it fails to come close to the Caine pic. The British papers gave it pretty ordinary reviews and, as far as I know, it has not had a cinema release in Australia. Three stars. For those who enjoy comparisons, another movie on the same subject is Hatton Garden – The Heist directed by Terry Lee Coker. I have not seen this one, but other reviewers suggest it is truly dreadful. There is also a four-part TV mini-series called Hatton Garden coming out in 2019. It stars Timothy Spall and should be worth checking. The subject is epic. It is not surprising it has generated synchronous productions.
COMMUNITY OPEN LETTER FROM A TRAFFIC POLICEMAN To the 18 year old kid I stopped on the highway: You’re welcome. I’d like to believe that you were minutes away from creating an unspeakable Christmas tragedy when I stopped you. If not only killing yourself, you were well on your way to killing some innocent person who was minding their own business doing nothing else wrong but being in front of you. You said you didn’t realise how fast you were going. That’s a lie. You may not realise when you’re doing 60 in a 50 but you are fully aware of every kilometre per hour at 160. You realise it with every bump you hit. You realise it as you pass cars so fast the wind moves your car. You realise it every time you drift over the line and when you move the wheel the car reacts a lot quicker than you’re used to. You absolutely realised it. You were scared when I stopped you. You were visibly shaking and breathing hard. Unfortunately, you were scared one minute too late and for the wrong reason. You should have been scared that you were trying to kill yourself. I know you’re invincible. I know that you can’t even fathom your own death. I can tell you dozens of stories of dead and broken eighteen year old bodies that I’ve pulled from cars. Broken bodies that I’ve found in front yards after crashes. Unrecognisable bodies. They thought they were invincible too. They weren’t. They were gone so they missed the part where I had to tell their parents that they were dead. Part of your soul disappears every time you have to tell parents that their kid is dead. I don’t KNOW your parents, but I know them. I know that when you leave every day they say “Be careful. Drive safe.” Those aren’t just words. That is the very last act of them pleading with you to come home safe. When they get a knock on the door, it’s not “Good afternoon ma’am. Your 18 year old son just had a massive heart attack.” It’s “Can we sit down? Your son has been involved in a very serious crash. I’m so sorry. He’s died.” When you leave the house they know that, far and away, the best chance you have of dying that day is in that car. Sometimes you’re the innocent person hit by someone with no regard for anyone else and sometimes you’re the one with no regard for anyone else. Today you were the latter. You seemed like a really nice kid who made a bad decision. I don’t feel bad about this ticket at all. In fact, I’m proud of it. I hope you’re paying it off for months and with every payment you think about how it wasn’t worth it. I hope you slow down. I hope that when your mum tells you to “drive safe” you make a promise to her, and yourself, that you will. I hope you can envision me sitting in your kitchen telling your screaming mother that you have been killed. Slow down. Please. You are not invincible. I promise.
Concluded from oage 50.... Actually, capitalism and competition are opposites.” In Thiel’s view without fat profits, you can’t fund innovation and ongoing improvements. Competition is thus a dirty word, whether you’re in Omaha, Silicon Valley, or, for that matter, Australia. Anti-competitive forces in Australia Similar anti-competitive forces also exist in the Australian default employer superannuation market. While big falls in some super fund administration fees have occurred since the Banking Royal Commission, there were new calls by the construction and transport unions at last month’s ALP National Conference to "turf banks out of superannuation". A careful study of Industry Super Funds reveals strong resistance to competition. They make no secret of the fact that their long game is to drive their competitors out of the business, one way or another. Like a fox in the hen house, if that should ever occur.
Hearn and Tepper present several ideas and solutions in the book. For example, “vote with your dollars and buy local”, Hearn says. “One of the things we say in the book is capitalism is like an election and you vote with your dollars.” The founding fathers of the USA were suspicious of concentrations of both political and market power. That’s why they created a federal political order with constitutional based checks and balances. And that is also why they imposed substantial restrictions on corporations. The solution is to unwind this new concentration of power, as most of the rewards from such markets tend to flow to those at the very top of the pyramid - which is precisely what we’ve been witnessing in recent years.
DISCLAIMER The information in this publication is of a general nature. The articles contained herein are not intended to provide a complete discussion on each subject and/or issues canvassed. Swan Magazine does not accept any liability for any statements or any opinion, or for any errors or omissions contained herein. 60
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