May 20, 2014

It’s a rare thing to see an inner-city ‘green’ space sprout so majestically from what was – literally and figuratively – a black hole, a dark, dangerous no-man’s land backing up to a major train terminus. Even more special, is to see the chic tongue-in-cheek that turns that ‘green’ space for the most part bright yellow and blue. Designed by Rachel Neeson with her late-husband Nick Murcutt (one of my design teachers at UNSW), the Prince Alfred park and pool glisten under Sydney summer (and winter!) skies. Landscaped by Sue Barnsley with lush lawn and native grasses, it’s now a playful public space, upbeat, positive. Reclaimed land, indeed! Massive yellow umbrellas are a fun solution to sun-control, in lieu of stock-standard fixed roofing, and it’s terrific watching swimmers do laps in that Hockney-esque pool. In fact, the whole Prince Alfred Park is like a Jeffrey Smart painting, sprung to life – and you can’t get much …

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May 1, 2014

The Four Winds Music Festival began in 1991, an initiative of the charming seaside town of Bermagui, not far from Bega on South Coast NSW. A biannual event, it went from strength to the point where today it’s safe to say it has come of age. I was down there last weekend, so decided to take a look. At the free, opening performance the audience of locals as well as visitors from Sydney and interstate gathered on the Fisheman’s Wharf of Bermagui port, while classical, indigenous, European and Asian dancers, singers and musicians performed on a boat. It set the international, interdenominational tone of the program, and immediately stamped it with a very special South Coast identity. Highlights of the weekend included Italian cellist Giovani Sollima’s rendition of his Concerto Rotondo, totally awe-inspring. Pianist Dejan Lazic’ Mozart Quintet for Piano and Winds, spine-tingling. And both men along with the Artistic Director of the Australian …

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