The night has a thousand eyes


No, not that old Bobby Vee song (though now the chorus is going round in my head like serious ear-worm material). Bobby Vee had trouble with his girlfriend going off and canoodling on the beach with Some Other Guy (I hope it wasn’t the chap in the video in the blue budgie-smugglers and gyrating hips; if so, Bobby’s done for). And someone saw her doing it!

Nowadays we all see everything. And then we photograph it. And upload it to Facebook, or Instragram, or Flickr, or Twitter, or …

The sunset on Monday night was indeed spectacular. Confronted with Nature in all its magnificence I did what anyone of my age and demographic in possession of a smart phone would do: I snapped it.


Not very well, because it’s a smart phone, not a camera, and because I’m not a good photographer.

The next day I find that half of Newcastle was pointing some kind of device towards the heavens; the Herald had an entire section of the sunset from a million different angles.

Why do I find this phenomenon of mass recording, of which I am a part, so perturbing? Is it because seeing all these images gathered together reminds me of what a herd animal I am? Of how unoriginal I am? Of what a rotten photographer I am?

And what will happen to all this recorded data in 2056 when the first-wave smart-phone-owning generation start to drop off the perch? Will their children lovingly scroll through their parents’ selfies and snaps of burritos by the beach and … sunsets?

There was a time when it was enough for me to tilt my head back and look at a sunset. I need to go back there.

Change is a comin’


Winter was wet, but not cold. We had one particularly chilly Thursday the other week when even I wasn’t shouting at the kids to turn that bloody heater off and put on a jumper, but other than that it’s been mild, mild, mild.

There’s still plenty of time for backwards steps and icy blasts but there are also signs that spring is just starting to uncoil herself. I heard figbirds in the trees in Richardson Park, though for one day only. Perhaps they’re the forward lines of the summer migrants and are now squabbling around in Sydney or Wollongong. Then there was a gorgeous Boreas Road sunset one evening.


There are more raptors in the gasworks – kites, falcons and hawks – so there must be more of the burrowing and creeping stuff that makes up the base of the food pyramid. Jambo has started scaring the bejesus out of the ducklings in the creek, and the wattles are blooming …


… and the fuchsias, the ones left over from the days when a manager lived on the grounds and kept a garden.


The bamboo grass in the gasworks is tall and bent and dry and needs a good fire through it, though I doubt the people at ELGAS would agree. There was a big fire up at Hexham the other night, which looked pretty speccy from where I was standing.


People are getting out and about too. More footprints and cycle tracks down the creek, holes reappearing in the chain-link fence around the gasworks, and even folk out for a Sunday promenade. These blokes had just read The Book and were making themselves acquainted with the lovely botanical gardens on their doorstep. 


Yes, a change is a comin’. Dig out your shorts and pluggers: it’ll be baking before you know it.