Another hectic day here at DoctorDi HQ, but my story is coming together. Research, research, research. More on that in a moment. It’s also another perfect day, so I have had a quick run and a swim, and I’m pleased to report that the water temperature has increased by what feels like a solid couple of degrees. How does this happen overnight? I just don’t know.
So. Research. For this story and the past two in the series, my research is taking me right around Europe, and I am getting very, very hungry for some more Continental travel. I know, I know, I’m about to head to the ‘Hai, so even talking about it makes me horribly greedy, but I really do find myself poring over certain information pertaining to all these countries and thinking, “What I wouldn’t give…” – nothing whets one’s appetite for travel more than discovering where one most assuredly is not. I love Sydney, I love my home, but there’s a whole world out there. All that history, literature, art, music, architecture… all those people, all those lives. People unfairly think of Sydney in particular and Australia in general as a lifestyle mecca/cultural vacuum. It’s not true, but I can see why the label sticks. Most of the best of our architectural heritage was criminally destroyed, not by the ravages of war but the shortsightedness and poor taste of state politicians and developers. It’s sunny here, a fact some cultural elitists brandish at us with ill-disguised disdain, as though good weather were any sort of impediment to the creation of good art. Still, it’s true we don’t have a visible history of venerating our artists and intellectuals. Some suggest we all but drive them from our shores, but I don’t think that’s true either. I’ve met far too many vastly talented people throughout my life in Sydney to give that idea more credence than it deserves. I’d also suggest that particular hostility is rarely a one-sided thing. Some expatriates do a mighty fine job of coming over all sneery and patronising about Australia from the safety of their Manhattan lofts and London pied-a-terres. It’s like a kind of cultural peer pressure. Say it’s a vacuum, or you can’t join the Euro Club, say it’s a wasteland, go on, admit it, say it, say it, say it, damn you, infernal colonial! Kill the pig, cut his throat, spill his blood. You know the drill.
I don’t think there’s anything contradictory in my love of country and my insatiable lust for elsewhere. So there.