Acting Writing

This isn’t (likely to be) happening

The late great Douglas Adams in his fabulously inventive ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” gave us “The Improbability Drive” as the motive power for nipping from interstellar points A or B to C, D, and beyond.


Now we have improbability politics. If you haven’t seen it already, I recommend Gail Collins’s op-ed today (August 23rd 2018) in The New York Times in which she responds to a prospective film treatment which clearly comes from an alternative universe.

When Bill Bryson first published his Yank’s-eye-view-of-Australia in 2000 titled “Down Under” – in subsequent editions changed to “In a Sunburnt Country” – he pointed out that during the late 1990s the mighty New York Times published numbers of articles on Australia commensurate with those on Peru and Albania and far fewer than that in its reporting of Cambodia and Korea.

Much has changed since then, although I can personally attest to this turn-of-the-millenium ranking of general US interest in matters Australian. When I arrived in New York in 1999 you’d have been hard pressed to find a bottle of Jacob’s Creek Shiraz. Today of course, Aussie plonk can be had in any supermarket in any state in the Union. It is still somewhat rare though, to find even a theatrical professional whose ear can reliably discern the difference between an Australian and a British accent. New York is different, the place has, since the turn of the millennium been flooded with Aussie professionals, and Aussie meat pies and flat white (coffee) can be found in parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan.


But today the New York Times has devoted part of its editorial page to current Australian political moves. Moves that leave improbability somewhere beyond the calculation of Pi (π). In brief, the current Aussie administration has abandoned previous modest efforts to take action on climate change. Notwithstanding that there is a State-wide drought in New South Wales, nor that the Great Barrier Reef is dying, nor that more sunshine falls on Australia than almost anywhere in the world…

By the way, I recommend Bryson’s book on Oz, in either title, not least because it contains about the funniest ever description of the game of cricket by one foreign to the game.


2 replies on “This isn’t (likely to be) happening”

Hello Colin I am in NY for a week had to say my pleasure in following the death throes of the Turnbull administration was dulled by today’s NYT piece Pity they didn’t say the incoming Labor government will have such a massive majority that the country will finally get serious about climate change amongst so many other outstanding issues. The only accents I am hearing this trip are Irish mums and dads touring around with their adult children who
Live here. Although surprised to hear young white kids saying “no worries” How did they latch on to that? Are you working and should I go see something spectacular? Recommendations? Caught the wonderful Donna Murphy as Dolly and diana Rigg hamming it up in MFL . I admit to being the fan whom your gracious wife met backstage iat Front Page Well I didn’t know she was your wife but please pass on my best wishes Chris

Hi Chris,

Good news then about the forthcoming Labour Govt – but I’ll believe it when I see it! I start on Seafarer in a few weeks, behind the scenes. London transfer opens )October 2nd. I’ll pass your wishes on to Trish who I’m sure sends them back!

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