More from Down Under

This update comes to you from the comfy confines of University House on the grounds of Australian National University in Canberra, ACT (that’s Australian Capital Territory), where I’ve been treated royally.

I left you in Melbourne, from whence I headed to Sydney, bound for a talk at Hibernian House last Friday. Getting up to Hibernian House reminded me of my days on the road with Subs, wandering through venues more rock than I thought I had in me. The building, home to artist studios, coops and more, housed a room that hosted my talk and a short performance from Mr Wong who comes with a large collection of effects pedals and machinery, and warned us that it would be loud. It was. I spoke, people listened and sipped on Their Own, and we all had a great time.

I spent the weekend roaming Sydney’s streets, checking out the view of the harbour and of the iconic Opera House and taking in things, generally.

Next stop was the capital, Canberra.

This morning, a great group of China peoples gathered to hear me blather on about yaogun and what it all might mean. And when I say China peoples, well, I was in good company: ANU’s China Institute is the umbrella over which a whole lot of China study and research operates, including the Australia Centre on China in the World. A nice post-talk Chinese lunch in the company of some of the Institute’s finest, and a little education about Canberra and its Chinese community. Turns out that Jackie Chan has roots here: His folks ran a restaurant, living here for 46 years and are both buried here. Chan also funded a science centre (the Jackie Chan Science Centre) at ANU in the wake of his father’s funeral in 2008 (his mother passed away in 2002).

This afternoon I headed over to Asia Bookroom which, for anyone with even a remote interest in the region, is an absolute treasure trove and an amazing place, with bookshelves chock full of books new, old, vintage and ancient. An absolutely awesome spectacle much needed for someone like myself, overloaded with word of the demise of the printed word. A small but extremely interested crowd gathered and participated in a great discussion. Canberra is truly blessed to have a place like Asia Bookroom. If you’re anywhere near here and are reading this: Get thee to Asia Bookroom!

Alas, my Aussie time comes to a close. Next stop: Sydney, but next next stop: Hong Kong, where the departments of music and comparative literature at Hong Kong University are about to get yaogunned.

G’day Australia!