One Giant

When I was a boy, my bedroom wall sported a large poster of Buzz Aldrin standing on the moon with photographer Neil Armstrong reflected in his visor. My parents bought it when I was one or two, not long after the moonwalk itself, and it stayed on the back of my bedroom door for a decade. It seemed to me then that Armstrong, Aldrin and Michael Collins were the most famous people in the world.

Now the most famous of them is no longer in the world, and in my mind I’m back in that room, gazing at that poster day after day.

But this image of Armstrong from today’s flurry of obituaries, taken by Aldrin inside the lander shortly after their moonwalk, is even better.

26 August 2012

Taken Aback

I was 12 when Azaria Chamberlain went missing, and in my family there was never any doubt of her parents’ account of what had happened. We’d camped at that same site only the year before, and had seen just how brazen the local dingoes had become after years of getting used to visitors. But I also remember what a deeply unpopular view this was in dingo-free urban Australia, as the first few seeds of public skepticism grew into rampant weeds of outright disbelief.

I especially remember the books in the local newsagent. This was when A Hundred and One Uses of a Dead Cat first appeared. Before long there were knock-offs by opportunistic local cartoonists along similar lines, featuring dingoes and, yes, babies. I don’t think any were actually called 101 Uses of a Dead Baby, but they got close. This was one of them.

Seeing that at the age of 13 was an excellent primer in just how crap the adult world could be.

12 June 2012

The AFOL Truth

I was never the Lego kid in my family; that was my brother. Over the years, my handful of Lego sets were subsumed into his, leaving me with only one. When it came to toys, my focus was on Matchbox cars and action figures, but I knew the sight and sound of Lego all too well. G. kept it in a divided wooden caddy our Dad had made him, and throughout the summer holidays it would be spread out in the lounge-room somewhere, waiting for someone in bare feet to tread on it.

So there’s some irony in being father to a Lego kid of the 2010s. I’m reliving part of my childhood vicariously through him, but it’s a part that was vicarious in the first place.

Read More · 14 May 2012 · x1

Half a world away and more than half a lifetime ago...

My Dad once asked me to make a sign for the gate next to his workshop, one of those wide metal gates that spans a car-width, to say something like “Please Close the Gate” or “Close the Gate Behind You” or “Please Keep Closed” so that the sheep wouldn’t get out. He left the exact wording up to my seventeen-year-old discretion.

Which is how he ended up with a sign that read DO NOT OPEN.

4 May 2012

Memory in 2003