Monthly Archives: August 2012

SCHIPHOL AIRPORT–the art of being the best

IMG_4616If there’s a better airport than Schiphol for pre-flight culture anywhere in the world, I’d be very interested in seeing it.

At most of the world’s airports, time before or between flights is spent aimlessly browsing the duty free shops, converting currencies in your head and trying to calculate how much you could save by buying a bottle of whisky or an iPad case you don’t need.

The rule about using up local currency before you fly out is that whatever takes your fancy, be it a camera or a cup of coffee, it will always cost 5 cents more than the amount you still have jingling in your pocket. Continue reading

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Filed under Art, Holland

CHICAGO’S THEATRE SCENE – better than Broadway?

Chicago Shakespeare Theater – high arts in the bearpit.


Two young performers are on stage in Chicago’s comedy mecca The Second City. She’s white. He’s African American.

HE: I thought we were soul-mates, but now I find out you watch Fox News! (Laugh from audience)
SHE: There’s an election coming. We ought to be informed.
HE: I don’t have to be informed, I’m black. (Big laugh) I mean, I’m black, Obama’s black. The choice is obvious.
SHE: Oh? So why not vote Republican? Mitt Romney loves Jesus, black people love Jesus…
HE: That’s a totally different Jesus! (Huge laugh)

It’s edgy stuff, and to visitors like us it reveals the city’s zeitgeist. The performers are excellent, and we’re thinking, ‘I wonder if they’ll make it in film or TV some day?’ They may be thinking the same thing.

It can’t be easy being an artist in Chicago. No sooner do you get a start here than you’re tempted to move east or west. Continue reading

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Filed under Art, USA

SNOW ON MARS – another nice win

Rick Everett in Snow on Mars. Photo: Branco Gaica.


My apologies for my recent absence from cyberspace. I can explain, but it would take too long and be too painful for all. Let’s just say a combination of technical disasters, international flights and Children’s Book Week in Australia have come between me and my computer.


Anyway, normal service will be resumed shortly. I hope.

Mevrouw T and I received a terrific welcome home present at the Australian Writers’ Guild AWGIE awards last night. Snow on Mars, the play I was working on last year, was chosen as the nation’s Best Children’s Theatre for 2011.

It had already won Best Production for Children in the Sydney Theatre Awards, but this was an award for the script, so the writer could take a little bow. And make a little speech to those still sober enough to be following proceedings late in the evening.

Thanks to my collaborators Kim Carpenter and Gale Edwards for their tireless input into the script (‘Richard, I’m sorry, but this scene just doesn’t work yet. How about you try another draft?’) and for making it not just a good kids’ show, but a really good play, period. Thanks too to the terrific cast and creative team of Theatre of Image for mounting a spectacular production.

It was a show I was very proud to be part of.

For those who couldn’t get to it in Sydney, there’s a clip of the highlights on YouTube.

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Filed under Travel-Australia

DRENTHE – a last ride in the deep Dutch north

The long and windy road, and nothing else between Emmen and Roswinkel.

We arranged a final (for this year) farewell family gathering in a village in Drenthe, and my brother-in-law Hans suggested riding the bikes would be the best way to get there. That suited me fine. Drenthe is a super cycling destination.

Drenthe, in the north of the Netherlands on the German border, does not offer a lot of organised entertainment. They make some fuss about Kabouterland (‘Gnome Land’) though those of us over five find it a bit childish. It’s in the village of Exloo, which English speakers think is an amusing place name, but that’s where the fun ends.

Yet Drenthe is a very popular holiday destination for Dutch people. The main reason is that the cycling is brilliant – thousands of kilometres of quiet, flat, well-surfaced country roads and bike paths, through fields and forests, past thatched farmhouses and pretty villages. Continue reading

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Filed under Cycle touring, Holland

AMSTERDAM FOR MISERS – 10 tips for cheap fun

It costs nothing to look at one of the world’s most beautiful cities.



As a renowned scrooge, usually travelling on a tight budget (read: ‘my own money’), I’m regularly asked for advice about finding cheap fun in otherwise expensive cities.

Continue reading

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Filed under Budget travel, Holland

THE LAST MINUTE AMSTERDAM ‘TO DO’ LIST

We’re going to miss having the Vondelpark on our doorstep. Just time for a few more bike rides.


The day is rapidly approaching that Mevrouw T and I will be leaving Amsterdam to spend a few months in the southern hemisphere.

Along with the farewells to family and friends, the polishing of the kitchen benches and fixing the leaky sink ready for tenants to move into our spotless apartment, there are a few things we need to do before we leave town. Continue reading

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