I watch too much sport.
I used to be a sports editor so I once had an excuse, now it’s just an obsession that probably requires intense therapy.
Rugby union, rugby league, Australian football, cricket, soccer, Gaelic football, hurling, tennis, hockey, golf, boxing, swimming, track and field, basketball, netball – I watch squash and racquetball for God’s (Heather McKay’s) sake – and to make matters worse, I’ve lived in New York for about a million years so I’m now compelled to absorb and love baseball, American football and ice hockey. I am one of the few people in America who never misses a Major League Soccer game of minimal significance. I have been to Aqueduct Racetrack to be a spectator at the midweek gallops; there were maybe seven of us. I have found myself cheering at a pick-up game of lacrosse in the Bronx.
I loved Stig Can’t Clap.
I was in the band, but that’s somewhat beside the point – in fact, for the most part I liked them less with me in it.
Stig’s firm foundation, after a few folks had come and go, was as a three-piece with the brothers Ohlback, Neil (guitar & vocals) and Russell (drums), and Mark Jago, playing bass guitar and a conspicuous Type-A personality.
They were nice northern suburbs boys in Sydney, Jago emerging from the healthy mod scene and some weird private school while the Ohlbacks were the product of a handsomely talented musical family.
How sweet it is.
Through five generations and beyond, some scandal, the occasional battle.
Marriages, children — hordes of bloody children.
Religion and faith, one sometimes existing without the other, love and laughter linking us in the battling bush towns and the uppity cities.
There’s Paddy, all 300 pounds of him with hands like shovels, planting his size 14s in the dirt track from Hillston to Cobar. He fancied a walk and wandered into the rest of his life.
Deciding what to leave out is the hardest part of the writing process.
As anyone who reads my blog, articles, eulogies, business proposals, film treatments, keynote addresses, song lyrics or grocery lists can attest, I need work on this skill.
I tend to write 1000 words then start thinking about how long the piece is going to be. It’s baffling: as a former news agency journalist and newspaper section editor, I spent a good part of my career insisting 400 words were all you needed to tell a good story, but look at me now, I can’t shut up.