Adam Naming the Beasts by William Blake,
pen and tempera on fine linen, dated 1810.
The original is located at Pollok House in
Glasgow, a property owned by the National
Trust for Scotland.
'The antipodes' is another way to refer to Australia and New Zealand; "anti" meaning opposite and "pode" meaning foot. So it is a label that hinges on geography, and highlights the physical remoteness of the region relative to Europe, whence it was colonised in the late 18th century. But I think that while these two southern countries are both old democracies and belong to the developed world, their people are different from Westerners elsewhere. Indeed, their people are different from each other. But I use the label "antipodean" because I live in Australia and was born here, although I have lived elsewhere for an extended period as well.

The blog was launched in January 2006 at about the same time I enrolled to do a postgraduate journalism degree at the University of Sydney, where I was an alumnus having completed there an undergraduate arts degree (what some people call a "humanities" degree) some 20 years earlier. I had just moved into my own apartment after having shared a house for some years. I had a Woolfian room of my own in which to contemplate things. The blog has remained multifaceted and anarchic since its inception.


Book and movie reviews were an early staple for the blog and because books remain a point of fascination for me the reviews have continued on and off. I also review TV programs and exhibitions held in galleries (either commercial ones or public ones). There is also the occasional theatre review. For reviews the date shown is the date of first release (movies) or publication (books) or, for translations, the date of first publication in English. I read more books than I ever finish and I usually declare how much of a book I read before reviewing it.

When I started, posts on the blog were composed in the Johnsonian way, all in a rush, and each one took me about an hour to complete; there was very little time given to reviewing posts once they were published. The good doctor was said to compose his journal columns in twenty-minute flurries. But in the middle of 2017 I started to use a word processing program to write posts, a step which allows me to slow down the process, take breaks, and come back to do more work later on. This change in the production process has resulted in a much better product.

Mascara Literary Review

In December 2018 an editor of this publication contacted me on Facebook after asking to be my friend there, an event that led me to accepting her approach. We had known each other in the 1980s as a result of my involvement with a publication named 'Neos: Young Writers'. I had become involved with it because I was friends with a bookshop owner name Paul Feain who had his store on Glebe Point Road (it's not in business now). Neil Whitfield, who was working with some young people on the magazine and who was a teacher, asked me, on a day we were both in the store, to get involved, so I did.

Glebe was a kind of turning point for me in many ways. I had spent 1981 living in a residential college at university but had found the culture there contrary to my own tastes. Too much alcohol and too many practical jokes that weren't really funny. So I moved to a place with one room, a bathroom, and a kitchen across the road from a printery behind what was then the Grace Bros carpark. Oddly enough the printery was owned by a man named Bob Green who was dad's fiercest rival sailing Hobie Cats on Watsons Bay, where I grew up. Bob boasted to dad that he didn't have a book in the house.  From time to time, to make a point, dad would comment acidly on this to us boys (my brother is two years older than me). Living in Glebe, literature was everything to me.

Michelle was also involved in 'Neos' at that time and had started Mascara in the 2000s. We met up at a cafe in the Sydney CBD and talked, and then on 31 January 2019 she asked me to write a review of a novel by an Australian author. Once the first review had been published, on 13 April I received from Michelle another, similar, request. And so on.


Some of what appears here is original journalism, although I stopped writing stories for other publications on commission in the middle of 2012. The decision in the middle of 2017 to use a WP program to do my writing not only allowed me to do better book reviews, it has allowed me to do other things, such as the "dream journals" and the "shopping lists", which are both new series of posts started in 2018. And the election chronicles would be impossible to do without a WP program because of the amount of time they take to produce.

Among the original journalism produced for this blog are comment pieces on such things as social media and the media industry. But there are also some unusual things:
  • "Collages" (started on 17 May 2017)
  • "Meditations" (started on 5 January 2018)
  • "Conversations with taxi drivers" (started 6 June 2018)
  • "Dream journals" (started 13 November 2018)
  • "Shopping lists" (started in December 2018)
  • "Train trips" (started 27 July 2019).
These pieces are actualities, narratives that capture ephemeral things, things that for the most part we ignore or overlook. The "meditations" are probably the most conventional of this type of article. This category includes single-themed accounts, such as an account of an outing made with a friend, or of buying socks at the department store. There are precedents for this category of piece, but the other types of article are more unconventional.


I have removed two posts from this blog after they had been published. One was about a man who had been arrested in a foreign country due to a minor matter and who had asked me to help him wipe the slate clean. Another post was about a journalist who had suicided. I had made some suppositions about the cause of this and the post had been very popular but I decided in the end that the speculation was useless and even damaging for family members.

How the blog looks

There is information about traffic on the main page of this blog but there is no information there about the blog's changing appearance over the years. In real life I am a person who cares about my appearance if it enables me to be inconspicuous on the street but I have put some thought into how this blog looks to readers in the wider online world.

Most blogs were fairly plain and use of images was rare when this blog was established on 22 January 2006 with a very simple design.

Just after graduating a 2nd time from Sydney University, on 22 May 2008 I changed the blog's appearance. I made the stationery green, changed the font from Verdana to Calibri, and I also changed the subtitle and description. I changed the subtitle again on 20 December 2008 and on 29 June 2009.

After relocating my household from Sydney to southeast Queensland in June 2009, I reached the milestone of 1000 posts on 21 August 2009 and on 23 September I took the plunge and changed the name used on the blog to my real name; this was the day my first feature story appeared in a magazine.

The next 18 months saw a few minor changes. On 5 October 2009 I again changed the subtitle, and again on 2 November and also the next year on 26 April 2010. (This latter was a quote from Leon Battista Alberti, 1404 - 1472, the famous Genoese Uomo universale: "A man can do all things if he will.") Then on 16 July 2010 I deployed a new visual design that included switching the font from Calibri to Ariel. This is the design you see today.

On 5 February 2011 I stumbled and suspended posts because I had been posting daily over the previous year and had found that time taken up blogging was too much; I thought I needed to focus my energies on publishing stories. But on 15 May I resumed posting, though less frequently than I had previously.

The blog saw the first use of headlines on posts, a practice that I have continued, on 8 August 2011. I noticed a significant uptick in page views immediately after this change.

There had been a number of maps on the blog's main page, added over the years one by one, but I removed these out of concern for the blog's neatness on 1 January 2012. Blogger 'Pages' were added to the blog on 3 July 2012, including this page, because I wanted to say more about the blog but I didn't want to crowd the main page with too much detail.

On 28 September 2012 I changed the subtitle again, and again on 18 October 2012.

I put the 'Followers' widget on the blog's main page on 19 March 2013 and I added the quote from Gandhi to the blog's main page on 23 March 2013; I don't know where this quote comes from and there seem to be many different versions of it online, but I keep noticing it and because I think there is something in it I decided to add it to the blog.

On 4 May 2013 I added the 'Themes' page to the blog in an effort to better define and highlight the material it contains; this step was part of my attempt to understand and communicate what the blog stands for, and what it might mean to people in the community. I did this because I am always interested in finding ways to improve the blog's performance and attracting readers to it. On 5 May I changed the subtitle once again, and then again on 6 May (this time to my name; a branding tactic).

On 10 December 2018 I put labels on the posts, creating a tag cloud, to make it easier for friends and strangers to find blogposts from the past. This process could have carried over to the next day. The interface kept giving errors periodically while I was labelling posts, and when this happened it would refuse to function. After waiting for a period of 10 minutes or so things would right themselves again and I could continue. Labelling posts is not difficult but it is time-consuming because you have to open each post and put in the labels, then save it.

The 'Donate' button

I had my website developer add the PayPal 'Donate' button to the blog on 21 May 2013. On the same day, I removed the blogroll (the list of links to favourite sites), finding it difficult to keep it up-to-date there being no way to verify links other than to individually test them for currency.

Because the 'Donate' button was remarkably unsuccessful I decided to take a big step and on 10 October 2013 posted on the blog my intention to make blogposts paid-for in future. In addition, the plan was for the blog to no longer be hosted on Blogger but move, instead, to my private website at Work toward this migration took place but on 23 May 2018 I halted work because I had decided not to do more journalism and the website was to host new journalism as well as the blog.

The reason for the change of heart was that I had started writing a novel and had also gone back to writing poetry. The poetry has stopped after my mother died (which happened on 1 July 2016). On 23 May 2018 I also took down the donate button from the blog, and removed the so-called Gandhi quote.

Visitor stats

On 3 June 2013 the blog exceeded 1000 pageviews in a single day for the first time. September 2013 saw the blog exceeding 20,000 pageviews in a single calendar month for the first time.

On or around 29 August 2018 I reached the 1.3-million pageview mark, at which time the blog was getting about 10,000 pageviews each month.


On 12 February 2013 I gave the National Library of Australia permission to archive the blog in perpetuity, at their request, which involves them scraping it once a year, cataloguing it, and making its contents available to the public on the NLA website.


Anonymous said...

Hello there M.D. Here is a voice from your past!
As Mr Clarke said in one of you're English reports, and I para-phrase, " Mathew, You'll do okay and be one of the silvertails..."
You have certainly provided some vicarious pleasures to this old cranbrookian (yecchhh) with your online friendship by cyber proxy. Hope your mum bears up ok. I always thought she was the nice one out of your parents. Send us a hello when you get time, Roger.

roger of bangalow said...

Another attempt to say hello.....

roger of bangalow said...

I feel like a sailor lost at sea on a foggy night - one of these messages will get through, no doubt ( I'm sure messenger pidgeon was more effective ). Anyways, say hello M.D, when you get a free moment . Regards, Roger


I love the drawing you did of Henry Miller. Yup that's him all right. You are talented portrait artist. How about in future one of Leonard Cohen and one of Margaret Atwood I can make sure Dr Atwood will see it. Friend of mine .