The Invention of the Parachute

Monsieur and Madame Garnerin

Monsieur and Madame Garnerin – A love story for the ages

Before I jump out of a plane this weekend for the first (and hopefully only) time, I thought I’d do some research on those who had preceded me. This is what I found. While the invention of the frameless parachute is (almost) unanimously attributed to Andre-Jacques Garnerin, few knew how it really happened. Until now…

Andre, who had been chewing with his mouth open on a croissant, suddenly realised the conversation was still going on.

“Hrrmphfgght?” he spluttered.

“My wife was just saying, Monsieur Garnerin,” harrumphed an indignant Lacoste, “that the English have taken prisons to a whole new level, sending all of their nimble-fingered poverty-stricken to an island on the other side of the world.”

The elderly couple laughed derisively, and Garnerin was suddenly filled with an urge to kill them both. A holiday to the other side of the world would be nice – but this wasn’t England, this was FRANCE – where stealing a baguette was likely to end in you getting your head cut off in front of thousands of people and then kicked through the streets by children before being discarded and left to be consumed by ravenous pigeons and the homeless. How embarrassing. You’d never live it down.

“If only we could find somewhere to send our own poor people… I mean… criminals. Don’t you agree, Mr Garnerin?” asked Madame Lacoste. She raised her right eyebrow so high it climbed over her scalp, down her back and was never seen again. Continue reading

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ON FATHERHOOD #1 – What Goes In…

babies

None of these are my children

Those of you who read this blog regularly (all three of you) will know that halfway through last year I became a father. Surprisingly it’s taken nearly six months to write a blog about it, when I’ve been more than happy to rant about pricks on trains and the latest things I’ve seen on Netflix in the meantime. I guess I figured there were enough Dad Blogs out there already.

Henry (my son) and the entire act of parenting is a mind-blowing experience. I’ve learned a lot about life and myself, and in these semi-regular segments I’ll share some of these lessons (if you can call them that) with you in a (hopefully) more engaging way than the multitude of sites out there that think having ‘mum’ in the URL makes them a legitimate source of information (but more about them another time).

Let’s begin; Continue reading

Assholes on a Train IV: All Stations to Bastardville

train

How about YOU shoosh, lady

It seems like every trip I take on a train of late fills me with inspiration for these posts.

BOOKENDS

Allow me to set the scene – you’ve boarded your peak hour train in the morning or the afternoon, ready for a long day or just coming home from one. You meander up or down the steps of the carriage with the faint hope that maybe, just maybe, you’ll get a seat. From your spot on the second step of the staircase, lo and behold, you see one of the three-person seats, WITH ONLY TWO PEOPLE SITTING ON IT. Oh happy day!

You stroll on over and ask (sometimes without actually speaking, more pointing to the vacant spot and raising your eyebrows inquisitively) if you can join the party and help the seat reach its maximum capacity, letting it fulfil the purpose for which it was made. What you’re met with is a tense, resentment-filled and thinly-disguised eye-roll as the person on the end, instead of just sliding over, picks up their belongings and stands in the aisle so you can take the middle seat, giving you an air of “if you must” – YES I MUST – FUCK YOU!

Continue reading

REVIEW – Nick Offerman ‘Full Bush’, State Theatre, Sydney

bushI’m a big fan of Nick Offerman, who most people know as the indomitable Ron Swanson on TV’s Parks and Recreation. As well as his most famous character I’ve seen and enjoyed his roles of varying length in many films and shows, I’ve read his written material and I genuinely enjoy his outlook on life.

I was a little disappointed upon reading that his wife, Megan Mullally, had cancelled her appearance as one half of their double-billed ‘Summer of 69 – No Apostrophe’ show that was set to tour the country – but hey, Offerman is an established actor with theatre chops who’s toured a host of his own shows around the USA, so I was still keen.

Full Bush is an ode from Offerman to the many, bushy aspects of life that we all share ‑ from the hair in our nether regions to survivalism and the reckless approach to life of a former US President with the same name. While I don’t agree with some of this thoughts on pubic maintenance, and it was also hard to take from a man who is renowned for facial hair but stood before us without any, it’s still a great premise and served as a strong undercurrent to the performance. Continue reading