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Monthly Archives: August 2018

Malthouse plans not by the book

MICK Malthouse’s football and literary commitments are on a collision course, with the publishers of a soon-to-be-released memoir about the controversial coach left frustrated and concerned the book could struggle for relevance given his decision to return to a senior position with Carlton.
Nanjing Night Net

Malthouse: A Football Life, penned by Malthouse’s daughter Christi, is due for release next month but will not include any significant mention of the three-time premiership coach’s decision to end his one-year retirement, a source of disappointment to publisher Allen & Unwin, who paid the author a significant advance estimated at between $75,000 and $100,000.

And Allen & Unwin’s publisher, Foong Ling Kong, confirmed a proposed month-long promotional tour had been hastily rearranged to suit Malthouse’s new coaching commitments and the Blues’ high-altitude training camp in Arizona, which the coach insisted Carlton commit to before taking the job.

Allen & Unwin was forced to insert a one-page stop press in the memoir briefly outlining Malthouse’s decision to join Carlton, something both the coach and his daughter have insisted took place only after Brett Ratten was sacked. The Age understands the publisher has also been frustrated that continuing predictions Malthouse would take the job have been circulating for months and yet the book will have no mention of the fact except in the hastily arranged stop press.

”It’s untidy,” Kong said. ”There’s some parts of the book that are out of step with what has taken place, but I’m sure people will find it a fascinating story. The book is already printing, so all we could do was put in a one-page stop press with breaking news about Carlton.”

Publishing sources told The Age there were also commercial concerns given Malthouse’s fallout with Collingwood and his inflammatory comments in recent weeks regarding Carlton’s interest in Travis Cloke. Collingwood fans have bombarded social media, disenchanted with their former coach’s change of heart regarding his previous insistence he could not coach against his Magpie players. Given he has not yet been embraced by Carlton, he finds himself in limbo in terms of public interest towards the new book.

Malthouse: A Football Life was the second of a two-book deal with Allen & Unwin following last year’s The Ox is Slow but the Earth is Patient, written in conjunction with Malthouse’s former fitness lieutenant at Collingwood, David Buttifant.

With the new book scheduled to be launched on October 23, Malthouse will begin his promotional tour with Christi on October 24 but a lengthy series of engagements in Western Australia have been either cut or brought forward given the Blues’ Arizona trip.

Carlton had booked to return to train in the high altitude and heat of Qatar but changed that plan following talks with Malthouse, who had also previously stated his promotional book tour with his daughter was ”non-negotiable”.

Ratten commented in a radio interview three days ago that the Blues had suddenly found the significant extra money to fund Arizona, with the team departing along with the new coach on November 8.

Ratten also expressed on 3AW how disappointed he was at the club’s treatment of senior assistant Mark Riley, who has been offered a development role with the club after being a midfield assistant. Riley is understood to have taken sick leave while weighing up his future.

The club’s other midfield coach, Paul Williams, has been sacked.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Adoption support group’s boycott

ONE of the state’s leading adoption support groups will not be in Parliament House on Thursday when Premier Barry O’Farrell officially apologises for the state’s role in forced adoptions.
Nanjing Night Net

Origins NSW co-ordinator Lily Arthur said last night that too much remained undone for the group to accept the apology.

“They’re trying to rush it through because there’s a federal apology planned for early next year,” Mrs Arthur said.

“There’s no sincerity in this and they’ve had far too long to show contrition but instead they have left people languishing in a state of hell.”

Mrs Arthur said some Origins members would probably attend as individuals but she was not going and the organisation would not be represented.

Lynne Williamson, of North Lambton, said she would join the Origins boycott of the event after initially deciding to go on Thursday.

“I was adopted, and then in 1972, as a young unmarried mother, I was forced to give up my child and denied the ability to hold him as the nun ordered the midwife to ‘take it away, it’s for adoption’,” Mrs Williamson said. “Personally, I hope the apology will lead to concrete results, but I cannot go.

“Our advocate support group still has not received funding, as was recommended in the first inquiry into forced adoptions 12 years ago.”

Hamilton South adoption activist Therese Pearson said she, too, had mixed feelings about going but had decided to attend.

“It doesn’t mean anything to me yet because I think they should have done all of the things that they have promised to do before they think they can say sorry,” Ms Pearson said.

“But I do want to see what they are going to say.”

In the lead-up to Thursday’s apology, the government said it would waive the $135 fee parents and adopted children had previously paid to access their personal records.

The government has also indicated it would be guided by a recent Senate inquiry into forced adoptions.

Lynne Williamson, of North Lambton, holding a copy of a photograph of her brother who was put up for adoption. – Picture: Peter Stoop

Artist transformed by an immersion in Ash

ARTIST Becc Spiteri calls her experience an “immersion” in the landscape of Ash Island.
Nanjing Night Net

The hours of meditation and research she has devoted to the island has produced a new body of work that will be launched in Newcastle this week, as well as the discovery of the remarkable lives of two sisters, Helena and Harriet Scott.

The sisters were the daughters of Alexander Walker Scott and his wife, Harriet, who moved to the Hunter River estuary in 1846.

Over the years, the sisters illustrated the island’s flora and fauna, mainly moths and butterflies, and the works form a spectacular collection that is in the care of the Australian Museum.

The works are touring NSW but are not scheduled in the Hunter until the end of 2013, at Maitland Regional Art Gallery.

Ms Spiteri’s exhibition, Transformations: Reflections of Ash Island, opens officially on Thursday, but it can be seen from tomorrow.

“I was drawn to the place – sketching, meditating, journalling to see what would emerge,” Ms Spiteri said.

“Through my research I found the two Scott sisters.

“And my time was rewarded,” she said.

Ms Spiteri said she did not want to mimic the sisters’ work.

“Mine [works] are more about the form. My aim has been to pay homage to these extraordinary women, while remaining faithful to my own vision in interpreting this sublime landscape,” she said.

Australian Museum archivist Rose Docker describes the sisters as two of Australia’s most talented natural history artists.

One of the Scott family’s famous visitors was the explorer Ludwig Leichhardt.

This year the University of Newcastle’s Professor John Rostas, whose late wife Sue was a leading member of the Kooragang Wetland Rehabilitation Project, donated a book of the selected drawings of the sisters to a school named after Leichhardt in Germany.

The wetland group relied on the Scott family’s illustrations and diaries.

The Newcastle Herald has been told Newcastle Region Library could not host the travelling show because it did not have conservation measures, such as high-standard air-conditioning, available.

BECC SPITERI – Picture: Anita Jones

HELENA FORDE (nee Scott)

Artwork by Helena Scott. Image courtesy of the Australian Museum.

Boardwalk creator takes hard line as gangster builds his empire

Steve Buscemi is Boardwalk Empire’s gangster-made-bad Enoch ‘Nucky’ Thompson. Margaret (Kelly Macdonald) dreams of flying away at the start of Boardwalk Empire’s third season.
Nanjing Night Net

SPOILER ALERT: this feature contains spoilers about season two.

“There’ll be some changes made,” goes the old jazz classic as we swoop down to the now-familiar boardwalk empire of gangster-made-bad Enoch ‘Nucky’ Thompson. Starting a new season is always hard. But when the creators of HBO’s hit show sat around a table to plan season three, they were stumped.

“We all stared at each other, then [said] ‘let’s eat lunch’, ‘let’s take naps’,” says the creator of Boardwalk Empire, the Sopranos veteran Terence Winter.

Winter is a Brooklyn-raised motormouth with a greying beard, a friendly manner and a habit of turning thoughts into dialogue. He was clearly born to make TV. But that didn’t make it easy. His problem was the season two climax that had furious fans racing to Twitter, and critics in raptures.

Young, ambitious Jimmy Darmody – at the core of the show’s main story-line for the first two seasons – died in a gripping finale that lifted this prohibition drama to new heights, slain at the hand of father-figure Nucky (played to icy perfection by Steve Buscemi).

It was one of those moments that you watch TV for. So now what?

“Originally we talked about, ‘right, what if it’s the next day?'” says Winter. “And as we talked about that it became apparent to me that I felt like I know what happens.

“Nucky comes home and he finds out that Margaret [Nucky’s wife, played by Kelly Macdonald] gave away his land. They have a big fight and then people realise that Jimmy Darmody is missing, and he was dead, and I understood how that would all play out.

“But I thought if we go a year or so or more into the future, anything could happen.”

So series three misses all the predictable fallout. Instead we jump to New Year’s Eve 1922, a year-and-a-half forward in time, as the price of illicit booze soars and the stakes have risen for the gangsters of the east coast.

The characters have moved on, emotionally, physically, even geographically.

“I’m a philanthropist now,” Nucky says.

He’s not, of course. Episode one begins on familiar territory. Nucky delivers a deadpan lecture with a ruthless punchline while his new nemesis makes a bloody debut on a New Jersey beach. Margaret prepares for a New Year’s Eve party, while dreaming of (literally) flying away. And the Chicago boys are negotiating increasingly fierce turf wars.

But the echoes of Jimmy’s death are still there, in the story and also in the minds of the writers.

“He was terrific, he was always interesting and fun to write for,” admits Winter. “So to make the decision to take him out of the series, it was like playing chess, it’s like losing a very important piece, you think ‘wow we still have to play the game but without that piece’.

“But that wasn’t enough of a reason [to keep him in the show]. I always say to my writers ‘let’s make it more difficult on ourselves’ [rather] than easier. It would have been easier to keep Jimmy alive for us – OK, at the last minute Nucky says all is forgiven, he kills Manny and keeps Jimmy alive and they shake hands and he walks off and that would have been easy, because now we could just have Jimmy.

“It’s a lot more challenging to say ‘OK, we’re killing him. What do we do now, how do we fill that gap in the story and move forward?’. But it was the right decision.”

Winter says he tries to be true to his show, to keep the story growing “organically”, rather than be distracted by the reaction to his big decisions.

“It’s funny, when I was a kid we thought it would be great to be able to read each other’s minds. And now we can read each other’s minds, it’s called the internet, and it’s not so great, you know?

“You read all this shit people are thinking about everything, not just your show but any news story. You read the comments and you’re like ‘oh my God, is this what people think?’ So I try not to read that stuff.

“I like that people are invested and they care. I do question the sanity of people who are mourning the loss of a fictional character to the point that they are sending bouquets of flowers but I love that we have affected people, I made you feel something that you either didn’t want to feel or you are shocked by. That’s our job, to make you laugh, make you cry, anger you, all of those things.”

He compares season three to a delicious New York pizza. If you make it delicious enough, no one is going to think about yesterday’s cheeseburger.

Nucky himself – Steve Buscemi, that is – is just happy to play the cards he’s been dealt, even when it’s a tough hand.

“The last scene of season two was hard because I like Michael [Pitt, who played Jimmy] so much and I didn’t want to see him go and I didn’t want to do it, so there was a lot of me resisting what I had to do,” Buscemi says.

“So that was really, really hard. But then I always remember that it’s not real, it’s a job and this is what I’m required to do as the character.”

Buscemi in person is far from his ruthless alter ego – soft-voiced, quick to laugh and preferring quiet truths to showboating . Winter calls him a “gentle guy [who is] not into violence in any way”, and Buscemi worries that Boardwalk should not glorify the evil deeds of its characters.

“Some of the stuff is very upsetting to do on the show,” Buscemi says. Generally he is able to “just leave the work at work” but there is one scene from the new season – which he won’t reveal in detail – but he says it stayed with him long after they called “cut”.

But he is loving the show – he says it is one of the best jobs he has had.

“When I’m challenged by really good work it makes me want to step up and go even further,” he says. “If you feel like people aren’t really giving you that, or everybody’s not there, then I will tend to go ‘well I’m not going to do all the work here’. If they’re doing it [well] then I say ‘oh my God, I’d better step up’.”

But he knows Winter and the writers too well to assume that he’ll be doing Boardwalk for as long as he wants. He remembers keenly signing up for two seasons of The Sopranos, then dying after just one.

“It was hard, I really wanted to keep doing it,” he says. “But I’m not afraid to die – I’m used to it.”

Winter hopes to keep telling the story for years to come: he already has plans that stretch well beyond this season’s arc. It’s a joy to write a long series that can explore the birth of the world of gangsters, he says – one of the first lines of The Sopranos is “I feel like I came in at the end of something” – but with Boardwalk he’s gone back to the beginning.

“The prohibition era really hadn’t been depicted in American television since about 1960, in a show called The Untouchables about Eliot Ness and Al Capone,” Winter says. “That was 50 years ago, so this era was really wide open for exploration on TV. We can actually tell the story the real way and really dig deep into it.

“In terms of the fascination with the gangster genre and criminals, I think we are always interested in people who live outside the law or people who are at least presumably unlike we are, doing things that we wouldn’t do.

“It’s sort of a vicarious thrill, you get to experience that world without the consequences, you get to hang out with a bunch of gangsters but at the end of the day nobody’s going to be chasing you with a machine gun, you can just turn the channel and watch something else.”

Season Three of Boardwalk Empire starts Wednesday on Showcase. SBS will be showing season one from 29 September.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Malthouse plans not by the book

MICK Malthouse’s football and literary commitments are on a collision course, with the publishers of a soon-to-be-released memoir about the controversial coach left frustrated and concerned the book could struggle for relevance given his decision to return to a senior position with Carlton.
Nanjing Night Net

Malthouse: A Foot-ball Life, penned by Malthouse’s daughter Christi, is due for release next month but will not include any significant mention of the three-time premiership coach’s decision to end his one-year retirement, a source of disappointment to publisher Allen & Unwin, who paid the author a significant advance estimated at between $75,000 and $100,000.

And Allen & Unwin’s publisher, Foong Ling Kong, confirmed a proposed month-long promotional tour had been hastily rearranged to suit Malthouse’s new coaching commitments and the Blues’ high-altitude training camp in Arizona, which the coach insisted Carlton commit to before taking the job.

Allen & Unwin was forced to insert a one-page stop press in the memoir briefly outlining Malthouse’s decision to join Carlton, something both the coach and his daughter have insisted took place only after Brett Ratten was sacked. The Age understands the publisher has also been frustrated that continuing predictions Malthouse would take the job have been circulating for months and yet the book will have no mention of the fact except in the hastily arranged stop press.

“It’s untidy,” Kong said. “There’s some parts of the book that are out of step with what has taken place, but I’m sure people will find it a fascinating story. The book is already printing, so all we could do was put in a one-page stop press with breaking news about Carlton.”

Publishing sources told The Age there were also commercial concerns given Malthouse’s fallout with Collingwood and his inflammatory comments in recent weeks regarding Carlton’s interest in Travis Cloke. Collingwood fans have bombarded social media, disenchanted with their former coach’s change of heart regarding his previous insistence he could not coach against his Magpie players. Given he has not yet been embraced by Carlton, he finds himself in limbo in terms of public interest towards the new book.

Malthouse: A Foot-ball Life was the second of a two-book deal with Allen & Unwin following last year’s The Ox is Slow but the Earth is Patient, written in conjunction with Malthouse’s former fitness lieutenant at Collingwood, David Buttifant.

With the new book scheduled to be launched on October 23, Malthouse will begin his promotional tour with Christi on October2 4 but a lengthy series of engagements in Western Australia have been either cut or brought forward given the Blues’ Arizona trip.

Carlton had booked to return to train in the high altitude and heat of Qatar but changed that plan following talks with Malthouse, who had also previously stated his promotional book tour with his daughter was “non-negotiable”.

Ratten commented in a radio interview on the weekend that the Blues had suddenly found the significant extra money to fund Arizona, with the team departing along with the new coach on November 8.

Ratten also expressed on 3AW how disappointed he was at the club’s treatment of senior assistant Mark Riley, who has been offered a development role with the club after being a midfield assistant. Riley is understood to have taken sick leave while weighing up his future.

The club’s other midfield coach, Paul Williams, has been sacked.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.