Thursday, May 26, 2011

Bill Hunter finds a new pub in heaven

Before coming to Australia I didn't really know much about its films or actors. There were some I was acquainted with due to the simple fact that I was a bit of a film buff, and I don't mean the obvious films like Mad Max and Crocodile Dundee, but like Malcom or Strictly Ballroom. Ballroom was first a put off for me, because I thought it was going to be yet another dance movie, still riding on the coattails of Dirty Dancing, but a good friend recommended it so highly that I had to watch it just to get her off my back. I'm glad that I did, because I fell in love with the movie and the Aussie accent.

The story was very tongue and cheek and borderline bizarre, but I adored it. All the actors were very much over the top in their acting (except the 'Romeo and Juliet' couple), but the actor who stood out for me was Bill Hunter. He was loud, crass, manipulative, fat and wore a very bad rug. His 'extreme personality' emblazoned itself permanently in my memory.

I began seeing him everywhere after that first 'encounter'. I loved to hate him in Muriel's Wedding. I found a soft spot for him after experiencing Priscilla Queen of the Desert, and hardly recognized him in Finding Nemo (he was the dentist).

When I moved to Melbourne I began to immerse myself into the Arts scene due to my job at ArtsHub, and always secretly hoped that I'd run into Bill Hunter along the way somewhere... at a movie premiere or theater function... or at a pub, since he frequented them quite fondly. I didn't have this luck, but... at least I was living in the same city as he... until...

Actor Bill Hunter passed away last weekend the 21st of May, due to cancer
. He will be remembered fondly by so many who knew him personally, and by such like myself who only knew him through his acting. He was the stereotypical 'Aussie bloke', and loved because of this no-nonsense sort of demeanor and earthiness about him. RIP

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Finally kangaroos in the wild.

You would think that after almost three years (YES 3) in the 'sunburnt country' I would have seen kangaroos and koalas in the wild... well I haven't. Until this past weekend.

While trekking through the Victorian countryside, getting lost at every turn, but enjoying the fresh eucalyptus laden air, I saw out of the corner of my eye what appeared to be a deer leaping across the road. With a quick stomp on my brakes, I stopped my vehicle and felt the adrenaline rush through me. I then realized that the deer was actually a big kangaroo, which by now had jumped over the wire fence edging the road, into the grassy field.

I had to squint a bit to make her out, as she had blended well in the beige dry grass, and stood very still... staring at me. My kids could not see her at first, but when they did, they let out a squeal of excitement... then I did too. We were so overjoyed to finally see a real-life roo, in its natural habitat. To the right were two more, playing and bouncing around. We could have stayed in the middle of the dirt road forever, watching them, watching us... but after they had enough of the staring match, the odd little guys disappeared into the bushes.

We recanted the story to a local we met in a restaurant, who was amused by our bewilderment. She told us that kangaroos come onto her property all the time, and she has to shoo them away almost like pests. There you go... proof that the grass is always greener on the other side. We are tickled pink by the encounter with a roo, the locals are more miffed by them.