Letter from the Time Machine

Eudora Welty (1909 – 2001) was an American novelist and short story author. She stood atop of the absolute highest peaks in the world of fiction writing.

Her novel THE OPTIMIST’S DAUGHTER won the Pulitzer Prize in 1973. Welty was the first living author to have her works published in the prestigious Library of America series. Among a long, long list of accolades, she was also awarded the Rea Award for the Short Story for her lifetime contributions to the American short story.

Heavyweight writing territory to be sure. You or I may not have heard of her before, but mega-successful writers can’t all be Shakespeares, Hemmingways and Chopper Reads in the name recognition department, now can they?

If there was any doubt about Eudora Welty’s status as a literary icon, the house where she lived in Jackson, Mississippi is designated as a National Historic Landmark. Gadzooks, it’s even open to the public as a house museum for the literary tourists of this world.

But well before all that future success, there was naturally a time when Eudora Welty was just like any of the tens-of thousands of other aspiring, unknown writers. That meant the daily/weekly chore of sending out her material in the blind hope that someone, somewhere might show some interest.

In March 1933, in an attempt to secure some writing work, 23-year-old Eudora sent this impossibly charming letter to the offices of The New Yorker magazine and gently laid her cards on the table.

It’s difficult to imagine a more endearingly written introduction to one’s talents and for that reason it’s both a surprise and disappointment to learn that her perfectly formed plea fell on deaf ears, initially at least. Thankfully, The New Yorker later rectified their error and Welty went on to write numerous pieces for the publication.

Here is Ms Welty’s spankingly amusing and completely fetching query letter, written in March 1933 –

March 15, 1933

Gentlemen, I suppose you’d be more interested in even a sleight-o’-hand trick than you’d be in an application for a position with your magazine, but as usual you can’t have the thing you want most.

I am 23 years old, six weeks on the loose in N.Y. However, I was a New Yorker for a whole year in 1930-31 while attending advertising classes in Columbia’s School of Business. Actually I am a southerner, from Mississippi, the nation’s most backward state. Ramifications include Walter H. Page, who, unluckily for me, is no longer connected with Doubleday-Page, which is no longer Doubleday-Page, even. I have a B.A. (’29) from the University of Wisconsin, where I majored in English without a care in the world.

For the last eighteen months I was languishing in my own office in a radio station in Jackson, Miss., writing continuities, dramas, mule feed advertisements, Santa Claus talks, and life insurance playlets; now I have given that up.

As to what I might do for you — I have seen an untoward amount of picture galleries and 15¢ movies lately, and could review them with my old prosperous detachment, I think; in fact, I recently coined a general word for Matisse’s pictures after seeing his latest at the Marie Harriman: concubineapple. That shows you how my mind works — quick, and away from the point. I read simply voraciously, and can drum up an opinion afterwards.

Since I have bought an India print, and a large number of phonograph records from a Mr. Nussbaum who picks them up, and a Cezanne Bathers one inch long (that shows you I read e. e. cummings I hope), I am anxious to have an apartment, not to mention a small portable phonograph.

How I would like to work for you! A little paragraph each morning — a little paragraph each night, if you can’t hire me from daylight to dark, although I would work like a slave. I can also draw like Mr. Thurber, in case he goes off the deep end. I have studied flower painting.

There is no telling where I may apply, if you turn me down; I realize this will not phase you, but consider my other alternative: the U of N.C. offers for $12.00 to let me dance in Vachel Lindsay’s Congo. I congo on. I rest my case, repeating that I am a hard worker.

Truly yours,

Meanwhile, over in HAPPY DAYS land…

TRUE CRIME BUFFS ‘R US

True Crime and I go back.

Like, waaaaay back.

If I had to pinpoint the moment my fascination with all things murder (can I be that blunt?) started, I’d point to one windy and fateful day back in August 1980.

I say ‘fateful’ because the original plan for that day was to meet a mate at the train station for a trip to the Brisbane Ekka. With him a no-show, instead I took myself off to the nearby news agency and, like a kid in a candy shop, (used to visit a few of those as well!) spent every dollar I had in my wallet on comics, books, magazines and no-doubt whatever other readerly type paraphernalia caught my eye at the time.

Among the swag purchased that day, in what would turn out to be the most memorable impulse literary splurge of my life, was the true-crime classic HELTER SKELTER. To this day, it stands alone as the best – the very best – most entirely fascinating book I’ve ever read.

But if I really think back, Charlie Manson alone was probably not actually the ‘thing’ (pardon that expression) that kicked off my whole ‘life of true-crime’ fascination.

See, from about the age of 12, for reasons I still can’t completely fathom (and probably don’t wish to), I was a voracious, and I mean VORACIOUS reader of those old skool TRUE DETECTIVE type magazines – that these days can be routinely found on public libraries shelves.

So why exactly do some people – present company included – catch the true crime bug?

The head-peepers (psychologists) of this world would tell us those reasons include –

Because evil fascinates us.

Because we can’t look away from a “trainwreck.”

Because we’re glad we’re not the victim.

Because we’re glad we’re not the perpetrator.

Because we like playing armchair detective.

Because it gives us an adrenaline rush.

Because we like to be scared … in a controlled way.

Because the storytelling is good—and comforting (crime doesn’t pay)

American author and illustrator Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell is another person with a love of true crime. So much so she’s written a book about it.

MURDER BOOK was published late last year. It’s been written in graphic novel style, with comic illustrations on every page. For such a heavy topic, it’s quite the ‘fun’ read. Here’s a little sample –

The author cites 2017 as one of the real boom years for true crime shows. That was the year, according to her, when such programs began to exponentially expand at a rapid rate across tv screens and podcasts to reach the saturation point of today.

Her own pedigree for an interest in true crime appears pretty healthy

Campbell cites the 2007 David Fincher – directed movie ZODIAC as the starting point for her true crime odyssey.

In cartoon format, (loony toons’ if you will) the book discusses True Crime movies, television series and podcasts. Along the way some of the more renowned TC cases are unpacked or get a mention, including –

For the record, as a true crime kindred spirit, I will mention my three most recent Netflix watches –

And to complete the uncensored personal horror show, my three most recent TC reads –

For anyone interested in finding out more about the writer/illustrator Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell you can go HERE or HERE.

Well, that was all pretty heavy, wasn’t it? For something far, far lighter, go HERE.

Top Twenty Favorite Films of the 1980’s

When the swarm of literally tens of thousands of films nesting inside a dedicated movie buff’s head reaches critical mass and the buzz becomes too busy to ignore, there’s but one thing to do – compile a top 100 list.

This ‘hive’ will be organized according to time period – nominating ten loved films from each of the decades from the 1940’s through to the 2010’s. That will total eighty films. Twenty selections will be included each for the 1970’s and 80’s – ‘my‘ decades – rounding out the list to 100 titles.

Ladies of Broadway Celebrate Ladies of the 80s | Feinstein's/54 Below

The 1980’s saw major socioeconomic advancement and a worldwide move towards laissez-faire capitalism. The direction and what might be termed ‘ambitions’ of the decade became synonymous with a quote from the 1987 movie WALL STREET. Michael Douglas’s corporate banker character Gordon Gecko declares in a speech “Greed – for lack of a better word – is good”.

The 1980s was also an era of tremendous population growth around the world, surpassing even the 1970s and 1990s, thus arguably being the largest in human history. Political upheavals included the assassination deaths of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat (1981), Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi (1984) and Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme (1986).

Technology-wise, the first genetically modified crops (tobacco plants) were grown in China in 1988. After years of animal experimentation since 1985, the first genetic modification of 10 adult human beings – known as ‘gene tagging’ – took place in May 1989. And the first ‘designer babies‘, a pair of female twins, were created in a laboratory in late 1989 and born in July 1990.

Academy Award winners for Best Picture during this decade were –

And here are my twenty favorite films from this period –

Every frame of every one of these movies a feast!

P.s. Wanna see another person’s ‘Favorite Films of the 80’s’ list? Click HERE

Before the 80’s there was the 70’s. And in the 70’s there was HAPPY DAYS

I Like Traffic Lights… But Only When They’re Green!

Traffic was sprinkled upon the bitumen this day as if the roads were a playset that came with only a few cars.

“If a Covid lockdown has any plus points at all, this might just be one of them” I mantra-ed (tee-hee) to myself as I sat waiting at the lights for the signal to change and the non-existent cars to pass from the other direction.

This forced meditative state had me thinking. About traffic lights. Strange that. But no stranger than (new) normal.

There’s not a lot of glamour to your average traffic light. Let’s agree on that.

To give them their due, however, these never-fail-never-wrong-electronic sentries may be seen as no less than one of the very pillars helping maintain society’s sometimes shaky grip on order and function; a device akin to a road-side referee, ensuring things are fair and flowing; not to mention taking the argument entirely out of it about whose turn it is.

That ‘who goes next’ function is vital because… well, we do know, given half a chance, humans can be fond of using their brains to argue. It’s ok to admit it. We’ve all got some of the debate gene in us. Some more than others.

Automated salvation has been helping us avoid killing each other for at least the last 110 years. All-seeing, all-knowing, as-simple-as-a-fish-breathing-underwater traffic lights to the rescue!

Wanna know something? How’s about a couple of somethings?

The world’s first traffic light was a manually operated gas-lit signal installed in London in 1868. It exploded less than a month later, due to a leak in one of the gas lines underneath the pavement.

The policeman operating it at the time was injured. No doubt he would have had a couple of choice words to say on these ‘new fangled devices’ at the end of his shift that day.

 Melbourne was the first city in Australia to install traffic lights in 1928 on the intersection of Collins and Swanston Street.

This isn’t Melbourne. This isn’t 1928. This is Sydney, 1933. But most of you aren’t reading this fine print so, close enough, right?

The control of traffic lights made a big turn with the rise of computers in America in the 1950s.

Thanks to these electronic brains, the changing of lights made flow quicker courtesy of computerized detection. A pressure plate was placed at intersections so once a car was on the plate computers would know that a car was waiting at the red light.

The future? That’s all about the on-going tweaking and roll-out of ‘smart traffic lights’: systems that adapt to information received from a central computer about the position, speed and direction of vehicles. That spells reduced wait times for motorists. We can all raise a glass to that.

As to the age-old debate: Traffic Lights or RoundaboutsWhich is better? – study after study has shown roundabouts are the safer option.

That may surprise some people as there is more human judgement involved in navigating a roundabout. This is in contrast to traffic lights, which largely remove the human decision-making element.

In addition to improving traffic flow, roundabouts have been shown to achieve (if you can believe the figure) up to a 37% reduction in collisions – compared to traffic lights where many people will try to beata red light. Click HERE for more on that. Roundabouts are also cheaper to install and maintain.

Can you imagine life without traffic lights? How about life without traffic lights OR roundabouts? Don’t imagine. Just look

And for anyone in need of one last intelligent thought on the subject, there’s this –

And this…

And finally this…

You’ve got the green light HERE to head straight over to HAPPY DAYS.

The Haunting of Sharon Tate

Books, movies, documentaries, and pop-culture references by the hundred.

What more could possibly come to light or be said now about 1960’s hippie-cult leader Charles Manson and his wicked, wicked ways?

Tales of his evil influence and antics have pretty much contorted into a money-spinning cottage industry over the last five decades. 2019 was the 50th anniversary of the crimes the world would come to know as the Tate/LA Bianca murders. That year there was an outpouring of material offering various perspectives on Manson and the crazed, macabre events of August 1969.

The film THE HAUNTING OF SHARON TATE was part of that outpouring.

This movie poses the question “What if Sharon Tate and the other victims present at 10050 Cielo Drive on the night of August 9, 1969 had of fought back?” Not just fought back, but been completely able to turn the tables on their drug-crazed home-invaders. Completely. Unhesitatingly. Mercilessly. And kill them.

It’s a daring revisionist-history take on an already exhaustively told and re-told series of tragic, true events. The film’s director, Daniel Farrands (writer for HALLOWEEN: THE CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS) has gone on record as saying –

Another premise contained in the movie is the idea of Sharon Tate having a premonition of her own death. This was based on an interview Sharon gave to columnist Dick Kleiner (1921 -2002) a year before her murder. The interview was published in the May 1970 issue of FATE magazine – a publication that centered around psychic phenomena and the paranormal and which still exists today.

When Kleiner asked whether she’d ever experienced any psychic phenomena – a question he routinely asked to hundreds of celebrities for the syndicated column – Tate related details of a violent dream she’d had a year before. The nightmare contained specifics uncannily similar to the eventual terrible fate that would befall her.

Critics back in 2019 were particularly contemptuous and… dare it be said, cold-blooded, in their appraisal of the film.

Many of the barbs were directed at the supposed questionable judgement shown by the filmmakers; to dare to concoct a fictionalized story – intended to supply a form of ‘entertainment’ to audiences – from the ashes of a true-life horrific crime that destroyed REAL people’s lives and represented a new-low-point in senseless depravity for 20th century American society.

Here’s a sampling of some of those critics misgivings hostilities –

Plus a few more…

And since we’re on a roll, may as well throw these not-so-humble opinions into the ring as well…

But what do critics know? It’s the average punter’s opinion that really counts, right?

When the female character walking next to Sharon Tate (Hilary Duff) in this scene from the film says “IT’S PRETTY EXTREME” (at the 52 second mark), she could just have easily been talking about the degree of outrage and disdain this movie has sparked.

Haters gonna hate. And haters in this case also quite obviously gonna take the moral high ground as well. What does SCENIC WRITER’S SHACK think? As a film, THE HAUNTING OF SHARON TATE has got its flaws. But it’s nowhere near as bad as this type of internet vitriol would have you believe.

For the acid-tongued opinion-pushers quoted above, the movie was a swing and a huge miss. SWS, on the other hand, would rather think of it as simply a huge swing; one that didn’t completely come off but, gosh darn… a huge, brave, creative and yes… respectful – swing nonetheless.

As to the the cries of exploitation, that all comes down to how you want to see it. Because it’s based on real events, any type of ‘re-imagining’, in the minds of some people, is simply not allowed. However, SCENIC tends to align with the thoughts of the director when he says the intention of the film was a positive history re-write granting the victims the ability to take back their power and turn the tables on their attackers.

Of course turning the tables on your attackers in real life is an against-the-odds proposition at the best of times. A group of civilized society people relaxing at home coming suddenly face to face with a cutthroat gang of drug-fueled, brain-washed murder-bots dispatched on a mission by the master they worship, are never going to be able to instantly flick a switch and transform into the raw-animal version of themselves needed to mount any form of genuine resistance against that degree of fanatical, overwhelming force.

On the subject of ‘re-imaginings’, the speculative what-if I’d be curious to see in a movie based on these tragic events would center around the well-known story of what very nearly happened with Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980) on August 9th, 1969.

On the night of the murders, the Hollywood actor was due to dine at Cielo Drive, having accepted an invitation from Sharon Tate to join her and her small gathering of friends. The tough-guy action star was actually en-route to the residence on his motorcycle when, as fate would have it, he stopped to offer a ride to a female hitchhiker.

McQueen, being the notorious ladies man he was, altered his plans in that moment and spent the remainder of the night back at his newly found female companion’s place. For years after, that unplanned decision was known around Hollywood circles as Steve McQueen’s ‘GREAT ESCAPE’.

It is tempting to ponder how the course of events may have taken a possibly altered course that night with the addition of an extra potent, fighting-fit male at the residence.

For a COMPLETE change of pace, click HERE.

200 Big Ones!

Holy champagne corks and party streamers! Amazing you is reading SCENIC WRITER SHACK‘S 200th post!

Five and a bit years is how long it’s taken to notch up that double century. Time flies when you’re having pun.

The Queen, Prince Charles, and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison are among the dignitaries who have joined in congratulating Scenic Writer’s Shack in the past on various mini-milestones.

This time, it was the turn of no less a dignitary than Gene Simmons, the soon-to-be-Brisbane-bound bass guitarist of legendary rock group KISS.

The following bro-hug email from him landed in SWS‘s inbox early yesterday morning –

Dear Glen,

Forgive me but I am not my usual foul mood self this morning. The current tour is blasting with both barrels, our latest song ANYTHING WITH A PULSE isn’t for a change being totally ignored by radio land, partner-in-crime Paul Stanley has just decided on a new choice of lip gloss – so he’s happy – and I’ve just gotten wind of the news our good friends at SCENIC WRITER’S SHACK have notched their own bit of history.

200 big ones eh! Our first year as a band was 1974 – I know I don’t have to tell you that – so KISS knows a thing or two about longevity as well. Kudos to you, royal cousin, for holding stage for that long and in the spiffy way you’ve pulled it off. Guess you’ll be staging one of those masked ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ parties to celebrate, right? Well, that’s what me and the boys would have done – at least, back in the day… like, before we were married and all…).

Here’s to you and your continued success in the future.

Rock on, fare thee well and see you in ‘Brizzy’ (is that how you say it?) in September.

P.s. If you open the attachment, big fella, there’s a nice little surprise courtesy of the rock Gods’ waiting for you.

OH – MY – GOSH! Not just a super nice email from friendly, fire-breathing Gene but then going one step further and throwing in a couple of those backstage passes to boot! What can I say other than “It’s nice to have friends in high places”. SCENIC WRITER’S SHACK is so grateful.

Before we bring the curtain down on this whole joy-fest milestone, it’s customary, on occasions such as this, to look back and reflect; ‘smelling the roses’ as it were. Yay! I get to be my own historian.

Here’s a re-heated serving of a glorious blast-from-the-past post from each of the last five years –

The feel great story of that year. Want fries with that? We got a whole lot more. (HERE)

Ok, so this attempted prank on the upstanding folk at Oxley Golf Club didn’t go exactly according to plan. But that didn’t stop some right ‘ol shenanigans going down on the 13th hole anyway. (HERE)

Yep, him and I go way back. Like, waaaaay back. So why not write a blog post about it? (HERE)

How sweet it was! We’ve all had one. It was finally time to bring mine back to life. Thanks to author Stacey Bryan for giving this post numerous airings, including HERE.

I am fist pumping strenuously for the fact that the latest Maccas ad on Australian television features the song I WAS MADE FOR LOVIN’ YOU by my, what I can now confidently refer to as, ‘good mates’ from the one and only KISS. Here’s another ad that uses the same song…

Click HERE to get happy.

Mental Shenanigans

At the end of 2021 I nominated MY FRIEND FOX as the best book I’d read that year.

Part parable and part memoir, this book, written by Melbourne-based author and stand-up comedian Heidi Everett, documents her mental health battles – what she refers to as ‘mental shenanigans’ – and specifically her time spent in a psychiatric ward.

The words made an impression on me chiefly I think for the manner in which they’ve been written. Wise, deeply moving and utterly poetic are three descriptions that come close to capturing their essence. The experience of looking deep into the abyss is conveyed in a style equal parts soul-nourishing and heart-breaking.

I can’t think of any better way to convey a sense of the magic of this text than hand over some extracts.

Brace yourself. Here we go

“Socially, our family was an island on an island surrounded by moats of jagged rocks and raised drawbridges. Traps that were loaded and set in childhood went off with the slightest nudge in my adulthood because the psychological hunters knew their quarry was a long-term project and were prepared to wait.”

“My eyes splutter open with the energy of a rusty old tractor. My body has been stuck in an unsolved Rubik’s cube for so long. I’m lying on the floor of my unit, where I folded up some weeks ago. The blue carpet surrounds me like the giant Pacific Ocean. Desiccated tear-soaked tissues fleck the surface like frozen whitecaps.

My island is a pillow, beached on a shoreline of awkward blankets. The tv gurgles noise, no particular channel giving any hint of any particular climate in this godforsaken latitude. I can see the numbers on the wall clock so it must be daytime. A blackened banana sits on the coffee table.

“My only meaningful human interaction is with my mental health caseworkers. ‘How are you.’ Is the medication working.’ ‘Do you need a new script.’ Never with a question mark. ‘Okay’ I say to each not-question. I came into this place with all the energy of a meteor. I leave a diluted shadow.”

I decide there’s something about human faces that takes all my energy to process. It’s like looking directly into the sun and working out why you can’t see afterwards.

I’m scared of every thought, every idea, every internal commentary I have. I constantly assess if it’s a good thought, or a bad thought. Is this helpful? Or is this not helpful? But as time passes I start to lose my vigilance. My thoughts have become my enemies. I must not think.

Confronting, tender and beautiful, this is a book for anyone who would like to connect with a life lived deeply; and for anyone that has ever battled for peace themselves.

Dark shades? Check. Funny lines? Check. This is the author performing stand-up –

Click HERE to get happy.

3, 2, 1… Launch!

Glitz – glamour – ‘A’ list celebs – and the all important ‘goodie’ bag.

The gala launch YOU’RE invited to has none of these things.

Unless of course you count the ‘A’ in ‘A lister’ as meaning ‘ageing’. Then yes, this partay will be attended by more than a few genuine ‘A’ listers.

Back in 2018 I started a site dedicated to reliving my second most favorite tv series from childhood, LOST IN SPACE. After covering all 83 episodes and reaching the end of that journey, another nostalgia train is busily steaming it’s engines and getting ready to depart the platform.

What’s better than your second favorite show of all time? There’s only one answer to that question and in my case the answer is HAPPY DAYS.

The phenomena that was HAPPY DAYS originally ran for eleven seasons,. It kicked off in 1974 and finally drew to a close in 1984. The series presented an idealized vision of teenage and family life in the 1950s in Midwestern United States. By the time it’s amazing run ended it had amassed a total of 255 episodes.

And now the time has come to relive all the joy, sheer delight and laughs the series gave through the brand spanking new site HAPPY DAYS: THE FIRST FIVE SEASONS.

Why only the first five seasons? Those who remember the program won’t need to spend a lot of time figuring out the answer to that small mystery. For those new to HAPPY DAYS, lets just say quality-wise, anything after Season Five and you may as well be talking about a different show.

The HAPPY DAYS episode, infamous as it now is, that coined the term ‘Jump the Shark’ (meaning the point at which a tv series can be regarded creatively as a spent force and is considered from then on to be on a downward slide) – where Fonzie jumps over an actual shark while on waterskies – was, afterall, in Season Five.

Here now is the official call to action

This site needs followers. If I was was some kind of marketing type I would flip that like a (word) burger and offer up – followers need this site But that might be stretching things just a tad. So instead I’ll say I would love it – actually ‘love‘ is too weak a word in these launch-mode circumstances so how ’bout if I substitute ‘ache for’ instead – you to follow this new site.

If you’re feeling it, go clickety click HERE and get a little piece of HAPPY DAYS in your email inbox twice a month.

Overexplaining is something the Fonze would never approve of but…just to make it clear and easy, if you click on that link labelled HERE, at the bottom of the page it takes you to the magic Halloween-orange bar (pictured below) that is your sign-up ticket. Happy days!

Some Bright Spark

Sweet tea amazing!

Some bright spark – with time on their hands (I am so buoyantly glad, as it turns out, that whoever this dead-set creative genius is, HAD the time on their hands) has gone and created an Alfred Hitchcock mash-up video that truly must be seen to be believed.

Murder/death scenes from 36 of Alfred Hitchcock’s movies have been spliced together and synchronized to climax in unison. A little on the grisly side perhaps but full points for the breath-taking creativity and technical smarts it took to pull off a trick of these proportions.

LightsCamera Action – Mayhem!

For the film buffs, here’s the breakdown of the individual movies these scenes were taken from –

You mean, that’s all? A blog post devoted to just one three-minute video?

Almost doesn’t seem right, does it? And for that reason, here’s one more video to end things off on. Completely unrelated topic but huge in the creativity department as well. Hope you like it.

King of the Mountain

FOREST LAKE. It’s the place SCENIC WRITER’S SHACK calls home.

True to name, this suburb does feature a lake. And, if you can call collections of trees grouped together in grassy open areas a ‘forest’, then I guess, at a stretch, FOREST LAKE has one or two of those as well. What it definitely does not have is a mountain. Surrounding suburbs are likewise as flat as your hand.

Cyclists – an athletic-sounding term I’ve recently grown fond of attaching to myself in the company of folk who have maybe never met a legitimate one – crave mountains like a dentist longs for an open mouth (I experienced the adrenalin-rush of a prolonged wisdom tooth extraction recently so at a stab, I’d say that’s where that analogy sprang from). So what’s a two-wheeled ‘roadie’ to do?

If the mountain won’t come to Glen, then Glen must go to the mountain.

And that’s exactly what I do… early every Sunday morning, if by ‘every’ we can agree to mean the last nine Sundays in a row. Bike goes in the back of the car the night before and then in time for the hues of a new day, it’s a 22 km drive to the foot of Mt Cootha – elevation: 302 metres above sea level and the highest peak in the city of Brisbane.

Pedaling up is a hard slog form of torture that gives fresh meaning to the expression ‘breathtaking views’ (easy breaths being in pretty short supply on the merciless incline). Once you reach the summit however, a whole new feeling takes over. Cue old mate Rocky

Sidenote: That little bit of snow-capped inspiration came from the movie ROCKY 4,, which any one old enough to remember, would know came out in 1985. That just happens to be the same year when I last rode up Mt Cootha on a pushbike. Just sayin’!

Hurtling down the mountain, on the other hand, at bobsled-like speeds on impossibly thin racing bike tyres is a white-knuckle ride par almost none that has been known, on some occasions, to spontaneously flash into my mind the following cartoon –

Cheese-factor wise, I can confirm the rumours claiming that some weeks I play the song KING OF THE MOUNTAIN by Australian group Midnight Oil prior to my Sunday morning mountain treks, for a little bit of, you know…vibe and motivation… are completely, 100% true!

Wouldn’t say I’m a great fan of this video – although I note it has had in excess of 4 million views and attracted over a thousand comments – but the song? It’s a winner for me, and so very, very Australian.

Sidenote: KING OF THE MOUNTAIN was released in 1990 but this band is still together and about to embark on a four month national tour of Australia and New Zealand to promote a brand new album..

For anyone unfamiliar, the bald-headed larrikin you see doing his lead singer cavorting thing in this video used to be a member of the Australian Parliament for 10 years and a Government Minister (Environment: 2007 – 2010 & Education: 2010 – 2013) for seven. Interesting, huh?

Back on the topic of cycling, as important as safety should be to a cyclist, as they are rocketing down a steep slope or snailing up it, is what I’ll call the ‘look’. Cyclists know what I mean.

I used to mock those lycra-clad bicycle riders kitted out to look more like high-wire circus acrobats. That was back in the eighties. Now I’ve become one of them. Kind of.

An ex-mate of mine donated a couple of his used jerseys as well as a pair of padded bicycle pants a few years back; to get me up and on the road, so to speak. That kit’s been working well. But like a lot of things, once you’ve got your confidence up, next level comes calling soon enough.

Meet the next level

Looking at the price tag, I think you can see why I’m not in charge of finances at my place.

In the fair dinkum department, as attractive as that cycling jersey is, the posh-stink, gourmet price tag makes the decision not to buy an easy one. I don’t want it THAT badly.

So how bout something a quarter of that price and… funnier?

Cyclists can tend to take themselves a tad too seriously at times, but while wearing these designs, that might be made a little more difficult...

If I had to choose just one of those whacked out designs above, it could just as well be the WORLD’S OKAYEST CYCLIST ’cause, well… THAT IS ME!

And if none of those designs grabbed you, well I guess you can always just throw a good old fashioned hissy fit…

Before this topic cycles off into the sunset completely and before the guy above us gets any frothier, I will mention these –

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