Thomas the Tank Engine rescued from drug lab

June 10th, 2019

Thomas the Tank Engine is welcomed back to safety by Goulburn Council’s Julianne Salway, acting Local Area Commander Evan Quarmby, Mayor Geoff Kettle and Goulburn Police crime manager Detective Inspector Chad Gillies. Photo: The Goulburn Post The last sighting of Thomas during the 2010 December floods. Photo: The Goulburn Post
Nanjing Night Net

Goulburn’s missing Thomas the Tank Engine – washed away in floods almost three years ago – has been found by police during a search warrant of a suspected drug lab in the east of the city.

The popular kids’ play equipment used to sit at the Goulburn Historic Waterworks Museum on the banks of the Wollondilly River but was last seen floating down the river during the floods of December, 2010.

Goulburn detectives located the bright blue engine, measuring 1m by 3m, during a search warrant at a house in Eastgrove last week.

Police had executed the search warrant on suspicion the house was being used to manufacture drugs but they instead found Thomas in a carport.

NSW Police issued a statement saying Thomas was ‘‘currently assisting Goulburn police with their inquiries into his whereabouts for the past three years’’.

He was ‘‘expected to make a full recovery and will receive a fresh coat of paint by council staff at the depot before he rejoins his steam train friends at the local Waterworks in a couple of weeks’’.

Goulburn Acting Local Area Commander Superintendent Evan Quarmby said it was great Thomas could be returned to the local community and the case of “Where is Thomas?” resolved.“My officers did a great job executing the search warrant and inquiries are continuing into that case. As a bonus, we solved the three-year mystery surrounding Thomas,” Superintendent Quarmby said.

Goulburn-Mulwaree Council had conducted a ‘‘Where’s Wally?’’ style campaign to locate Thomas.

Mayor Geoff Kettle said Thomas, made by volunteers,  had originally been located in the town’s Belmore Park, and then relocated to the Waterworks Museum.

‘‘I was on my way to Sydney and I got a call from the local area commander who told me, ‘We’ve solved  Goulburn’s biggest mystery. We’ve found Thomas’,’’ Mr Kettle said.

‘‘And I said, ‘Where did you find him?’. And he said, ‘Well, you won’t believe this’.’’

Mr Kettle said Thomas was now safely located at the council’s depot and would soon be returned to the waterworks museum.

Superintendent Quarmby said enquiries were continuing into both about how Thomas ended up in the house and the suspected drug-related issues.

‘‘It’s a great win for the Goulburn community,’’ he said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Leishman to bring noise in Cup debut

May 9th, 2019

Tiger Woods said silencing the Royal Melbourne crowds in 2011 was one of the keys to winning the Presidents Cup on foreign soil.
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But Australian Marc Leishman is happy for the American fans to make as much noise as they like as he prepares to tee off for the Internationals for the first time.

The 29-year-old Presidents Cup rookie insists he won’t be intimidated by the fiery American galleries as he lines up beside fellow Australians Jason Day and Adam Scott in Ohio next month.

He said he would be fueled on by the crowds and use the intimidating atmosphere as motivation to prove he belongs among elite company after being selected as a captain’s pick by Nick Price.

“I’m sure the Americans will be passionate. They definitely won’t be barracking for us,” said Leishman, one of the major signings for the Australian PGA Championship on the Gold Coast in November.

“For me, I’m going to use that as motivation. I like to win those one-one-one contests, or any week really. I’m going to use the crowd as motivation and see how that goes for me.

“It’s the first time I’ve played in that sort of format with those sort of crowds. I’ve never played anything like this with thousands and thousands of people out there. We’ll wait and see how the crowds are.”

Leishman comes in to the event on the back of an impressive year on the PGA Tour, capped off with his fourth place in the Masters, famously won by Scott in the long-awaited Australian breakthrough at Augusta.

He was made to sweat for a day before finally taking a late call from Price, who gave him the green light to join the 12-man international squad. Zimbabwe’s Brendon de Jonge was the other captain’s selection.

Leishman partnered Scott in the final round of the Masters, featuring in some dramatic imagery as he pumped his fist in jubilation as Scott sank a putt on the 18th green.

He’d love to reprise that combination in the Presidents Cup, saying it would be ideal to play next to good mate Scott, although Price has yet to decide on the all-important combinations to be deployed on the Jack Nicklaus-designed Muirhead Village course from October 3.

“He’s an awesome player, awesome bloke. I’d definitely love that pairing. We get along well – there’s no reason why not,” Leishman said. “I don’t know what Nick’s thinking at the moment. I don’t know who the other guys want to play with yet but I’d love to play with Scotty.”

Leishman’s year will be remembered for his charge at Augusta, where he almost led all the way only to endure some late blemishes in the final round to drop back to fourth.

He finished the tour ranked 59th and banked almost $US1.5 million, highlighted by four top-10 finishes and eight top-25 finishes across 23 tournaments.

But he’s never attacked anything like the Presidents Cup as a professional and has been leaning on Scott for advice as he enters the lion’s den against an American team with Phil Mickelson and Woods at the vanguard.

“They said it’s a big week, almost like the back nine of a tournament on Sunday – every shot. It’s given me an idea what to expect, off the course as well. But they said it’s an awesome week.” Leishman said.

“Once you get on one team, they said you never want to miss one again. This is my first one but all the guys that have been on the team the past few years are hoping to get a win and play well.”

Leishman will return to Australia in late October to spend time at his native Warrnambool before heading to the Gold Coast to play the PGA at Royal Pines from November 7.

“The Gold Coast is one of my favourite places in the world. I’ve played Royal Pines before. I like the golf course – it’s going to be exciting for the crowd,” Leishman said.

“I’m guessing there will be a fair few birdies on offer. Unless they have changed the course a lot, there’s going to be birdies. But it’s in a great area of the country and the world.”

The PGA will be the only tournament Leishman plays in the Australian summer unless his schedule changes between now and November.

USA Tiger Woods, Brandt Snedeker, Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley, Steve Stricker, Bill Haas, Hunter Mahan, Zach Johnson, Webb Simpson, Jordan Spieth

Captain: Fred Couples

International Adam Scott (AUS), Jason Day (AUS), Charl Schwartzel (RSA), Ernie Els (RSA), Louis Oosthuizen (RSA), Hideki Matsuyama (JPN), Branden Grace (RSA), Graham DeLaet (CAN), Richard Sterne (RSA), Angel Cabrera (ARG), Marc Leishman (AUS), Brendon de Jonge (ZIM)

Captain: Nick Price (ZIM)

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Matthew Thompson runs with the Blood God: Kosovo reading

May 9th, 2019

Please enable Javascript to watch this video AUTHOR: Matthew Thompson
Nanjing Night Net

Matthew Thompson interview

Prologue reading

Epilogue reading

MATTHEW Thompson’s new book,Running With The Blood God, will not leave a footprint on your brain – it will leave a bootprint, indelibly inked in your subconscious.

Thompson, who holds a doctorate in creative arts, is a part-time firefighter in Dungog, where he lives with his wife Renae and daughter Avalon. He is also a guest lecturer at universities and writes freelance articles.

Five years ago he published his first book,My Colombian Death, an intense non-fiction account of his six-month journey to the exotic, drug-laden South American country full of characters and character.

Blood God, his second book, charts a course through even more dangerous territory.

He spends time in Iran, avoiding the ever-probing eyes of soldiers, police and shady operatives who are constantly arresting, harassing and torturing ordinary citizens who dare to disobey the strict Muslim covenants set by then leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

He journeys to the Philippines, secretly visiting guerillas in the jungles north-west of Manila.

He takes a jolting road trip from Serbia to Kosovo with hard-core Serbian nationalists.

And finally, a stop in Portland, Oregon, to hang out with counterculturists and Native Americans in one of the most alternative major cities in America.

The book is subtitled ‘‘down and dirty with freedom fighters, rebels and misfits’’ and Thompson certainly gives his subjects, who come from all walks of life but have common ground in fighting against governments they consider unjust, a fair chance to explain themselves.

‘‘It’s more of a literary work,’’ Thompson says, comparing it to his first book. ‘‘It’s still adventure, gritty, real things. But I decided to leave a fair bit up to the reader. T

“Too much interpretation is taken from the reader these days, too many opinions are pushed on people.

‘‘My book has more respect for the reader. People all around the world, in dictatorships, cracked-up states, lost countries .. A huge variety of people, they all have the urge to live freer than their societies will allow. It’s up to the reader to decide how they fit into that .. what’s life add up to in the end.’’

In between philosophical discussions about the purpose of government, the value of civil disobedience, the role of religion and the like, Thompson indulges in opium (in Iran and the US), marijuana and cocaine, drinks everything from Portland’s boutique beers, to Serbia’s home-made plum brandy to contraband vodka and wine in Iran, all with the locals, of course.

‘‘When in Rome … do as the Romans do,’’ Thompson says.

‘‘I go for a month [to each location] and I see them and we get trust. I don’t agree, but I’m listening, so they open up. That’s what it takes. … It takes time with people. There is something to respect about drinking with sources. It’s a respectable occupation. It may not suit people prone to alcoholism, but you train, get into the field and go hard.’’

There is constant personal danger in Iran, the fear of being detained. In Kosovo one of his travelling partners is seriously stabbed in a confrontation and Thompson steps in, surrounded by Albanian thugs (saving himself by yelling ‘‘Leave him! Get off him! I’m Australian! I’m f–––king Australian!’’)

For Thompson, it’s all about living life to the fullest.

‘‘I don’t take stupid risks. I take them a calculated way,’’ he says. ‘‘I don’t want to shy away from the world and its wildness.’’

He thinks everybody should pause to consider that concept.

‘‘Adventure is healthy. Sure, it’s injurious at times, put things under strain. So does long-term decline. The people I’m meeting, the spirit of the book: wake up and become who you are!’’

Therapeutic look at panic by teens

May 9th, 2019

IN 30 years as a theatre performer and educator, Erika Gelzinnis has observed many young people developing panic as they go through difficult periods of their lives.
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She has had her own low points and been lumbered with the stigma of being an outsider by social groups.

So Gelzinnis, who is the senior workshop facilitator at Newcastle’s Tantrum Theatre, decided to develop a theatre work that would bring together young people who had bordered on mental illness or had observed it in friends and relatives.

She believed such a work could help people young and old seeing the show understand that such experiences were part of life and didn’t warrant those going through them being rejected and ignored.

Gelzinnis, together with son Scott, an actor and musician, and Rachel Jackett, who was Tantrum’s associate director in 2011 and 2012 and worked this year as an actor with a touring company, drew together 20 young people aged 12 to 19 who had suffered panic at different levels because they thought their mental experiences were isolated, and began developing a stage work.

Their show, Panic, will be staged as a work-in-progress this weekend and as part of next week’s Crack Theatre Festival section of This is Not Art, with the hope of presenting a season of the fully developed production in Newcastle next year.

The Gelzinnis duo and Rachel Jackett have formed a collective, the Open Cage Ensemble, to put together the work.

The name comes from the concept that while cages can be protective, opening their doors can provide access to a big new world.

Panic will be performed at 48 Watt (the former St Philip’s Church in Newcastle’s Watt Street) tomorrow and Saturday at 6.30pm and in the same venue during the Crack Theatre Festival on Saturday, October 5, at 7pm, and Sunday, October 6, at 2pm.

Admission to the show, which runs about 40minutes, is free, though the collective is hopeful that donations will help the planned 2014 staging.

Panic is a cabaret-style production. Some performers say just a few words about their experiences, and others are revealed through newly written songs.

Gelzinnis said the show was quite physical.

‘‘And wonderful stories are emerging that people want to share,’’ she said.

Behind the bedsit door

May 9th, 2019

KELSIE Clarke often gets blank looks from people when she tells them she is directing a play called I Am a Camera. But they become excited when she tells them it was the basis of the musical Cabaret.
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As she notes, however, the two works are very different.

They share a central character, Sally Bowles, an Englishwoman who performs at cabarets in 1930 Berlin at the time the Nazi Party is taking over the government of Germany.

But while Bowles is seen singing and dancing in the musical, there are just references to her performances in I Am a Camera.

The setting is a Berlin bedsit occupied by a young British author, Christopher Isherwood, who is suffering writer’s block after having his first book published to poor reviews.

Bowles comes into his life through a friend and takes over the room, the penniless Isherwood moving into a smaller one across the corridor.

The play’s title refers to the writer’s declaration that his mind is taking pictures of all that is happening around him for future use in stories.

And the things he sees – the reactions of people to each other and to the changes that are occurring in Germany – make an engrossing and often very funny tale.

I Am a Camera is being staged by Newcastle Theatre Company at its Lambton venue for a three-week season opening on October 5.

Its cast is headed by Sam DeLyall as Isherwood and newcomer Brittany Angus as Bowles, with Judith Schofield as landlady Fraulein Schneider, Ellen McNeil as Natalia Landaeur, one of Isherwood’s English language students, Lindsay McDonald as Isherwood’s money-hungry friend Fritz who is attracted to Natalia, David Murray as wealthy playboy Clive Mortimer, and Tracey Gordon as Sally’s prim and proper English mother.

Playwright John Van Druten based I Am a Camera on stories by real-life author Isherwood, written while he was struggling in Berlin in the late 1920s and early 1930s.

Isherwood had no objections to his name being used in Van Druten’s play, but his character became a young American writer, Cliff Bradshaw, when I Am a Camera was transformed into Cabaret.

Kelsie Clarke is impressed by the way Van Druten shows what was happening in Berlin almost a decade before Germany’s invasion of neighbouring countries led to World War II.

‘‘The play gets audience members wondering what will happen to Natalia and Fritz,’’ she said.

Ellen McNeil shares Clarke’s appreciation of the playwright’s development of the characters.

‘‘Natalia is a Jew in a world that is turning to chaos,’’ she said.

‘‘But her father has brought her up to be strong, though she doesn’t show that until she is frightened.’’

As she notes, Natalia’s use of English gets warm laughter from audiences and smiles from the characters around her.

Lindsay McDonald said Fritz sees himself as a magnet for women.

‘‘He is confident about his sexual prowess, but is in a lot of trouble financially,’’ he said.

‘‘He sees Natalia as a prospect of financial support, but discovers he is not used to women like her, as she is very blunt in her treatment of him. But that helps him to fall in love with her.’’

I Am a Camera opens at Newcastle Theatre Company, 90 DeVitre Street, Lambton, on Saturday, October 5, at 8pm, followed by a 2pm matinee on Sunday, October 6. It then plays Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 8pm until October 19, plus a Saturday matinee on October 12 at 2pm. Tickets: $28, concession $22. Bookings: 49524958.

Elen McNeill as Natalia Landauer, Brittany Angus as Sally Bowles, and Sam De Lyall as Christopher Isherwood in I Am a Camera. Picture: Peter Stoop

Matthew Thompson runs with the Blood God: Prologue reading

May 9th, 2019

Please enable Javascript to watch this video AUTHOR: Matthew Thompson
Nanjing Night Net

Matthew Thompson interview

Kosovo reading

Epilogue reading

MATTHEW Thompson’s new book,Running With The Blood God, will not leave a footprint on your brain – it will leave a bootprint, indelibly inked in your subconscious.

Thompson, who holds a doctorate in creative arts, is a part-time firefighter in Dungog, where he lives with his wife Renae and daughter Avalon. He is also a guest lecturer at universities and writes freelance articles.

Five years ago he published his first book,My Colombian Death, an intense non-fiction account of his six-month journey to the exotic, drug-laden South American country full of characters and character.

Blood God, his second book, charts a course through even more dangerous territory.

He spends time in Iran, avoiding the ever-probing eyes of soldiers, police and shady operatives who are constantly arresting, harassing and torturing ordinary citizens who dare to disobey the strict Muslim covenants set by then leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

He journeys to the Philippines, secretly visiting guerillas in the jungles north-west of Manila.

He takes a jolting road trip from Serbia to Kosovo with hard-core Serbian nationalists.

And finally, a stop in Portland, Oregon, to hang out with counterculturists and Native Americans in one of the most alternative major cities in America.

The book is subtitled ‘‘down and dirty with freedom fighters, rebels and misfits’’ and Thompson certainly gives his subjects, who come from all walks of life but have common ground in fighting against governments they consider unjust, a fair chance to explain themselves.

‘‘It’s more of a literary work,’’ Thompson says, comparing it to his first book. ‘‘It’s still adventure, gritty, real things. But I decided to leave a fair bit up to the reader. T

“Too much interpretation is taken from the reader these days, too many opinions are pushed on people.

‘‘My book has more respect for the reader. People all around the world, in dictatorships, cracked-up states, lost countries .. A huge variety of people, they all have the urge to live freer than their societies will allow. It’s up to the reader to decide how they fit into that .. what’s life add up to in the end.’’

In between philosophical discussions about the purpose of government, the value of civil disobedience, the role of religion and the like, Thompson indulges in opium (in Iran and the US), marijuana and cocaine, drinks everything from Portland’s boutique beers, to Serbia’s home-made plum brandy to contraband vodka and wine in Iran, all with the locals, of course.

‘‘When in Rome … do as the Romans do,’’ Thompson says.

‘‘I go for a month [to each location] and I see them and we get trust. I don’t agree, but I’m listening, so they open up. That’s what it takes. … It takes time with people. There is something to respect about drinking with sources. It’s a respectable occupation. It may not suit people prone to alcoholism, but you train, get into the field and go hard.’’

There is constant personal danger in Iran, the fear of being detained. In Kosovo one of his travelling partners is seriously stabbed in a confrontation and Thompson steps in, surrounded by Albanian thugs (saving himself by yelling ‘‘Leave him! Get off him! I’m Australian! I’m f–––king Australian!’’)

For Thompson, it’s all about living life to the fullest.

‘‘I don’t take stupid risks. I take them a calculated way,’’ he says. ‘‘I don’t want to shy away from the world and its wildness.’’

He thinks everybody should pause to consider that concept.

‘‘Adventure is healthy. Sure, it’s injurious at times, put things under strain. So does long-term decline. The people I’m meeting, the spirit of the book: wake up and become who you are!’’

Birds on double date

April 10th, 2019

DUE to popular demand, Birds of Tokyo have announced an additional run of live shows for fans in November and December.
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As they make their way around Australia performing shows with Muse in capital cities, the band will also return to regional cities, including Newcastle on Saturday, December 14.

The band received rave reviews for their March Fires album tour, which saw them play sell-out shows across the country.

The album, the band’s fourth, debuted at No.1 on the National ARIA Albums Chart and is scheduled for release in North America early in 2014.

The album’s second single Lanterns exceeded triple-platinum sales and was the most played Australian song on radio for the first six months of this year.

Tickets for the show at Newcastle Panthers go on presale today at 9am and on general sale tomorrow at 9am through moshtix南京夜网.au or by phoning 1300438849.

The band will be the headline act for the Homebake Festival, performing on the closing night, Sunday, December 8.

Stillsons to play Wickham Park Hotel

MELBOURNE alt-country band The Stillsons are celebrating the release of their third album Never Go Your Way with a regional tour.

They will play free shows at The Wickham Park Hotel on Saturday, October 5, and at The Junkyard, Maitland, on Sunday, October 6.

Whalley heads forum at conservatorium

FRENZAL Rhomb frontman Jason Whalley leads the Newcastle Music Industry Forum today.

A partnership between MusicNSW and the University of Newcastle Conservatorium of Music, the forum features a free question-and-answer panel and networking drinks, focusing on recording and how aspiring musicians and arts workers can get heard.

Whalley will be joined by Dave Ruby Howe from triple j Unearthed, Paula Jones from Jones PR, Mark Dodds from record label Inertia and producer Lachlan Mitchell.

The forum kicks off at 6.30pm, at Newcastle Conservatorium. RSVP [email protected]

newcastle.edu.au. Recent workshops can be downloaded from musicnsw南京夜网/workshops.

Meanwhile, Whalley’s band has announced a show at the Cambridge on November 9.

Dragon in fine voice on acoustic tour

DRAGON will revisit their extensive back catalogue with their acoustic tour Sunshine to Rain Live, which will stop at Lizottes Newcastle tomorrow.

When Todd Hunter reformed 1970s rockers Dragon in 2006, the band was largely an acoustic proposition.

Dragon recorded Sunshine to Rain that same year, an acoustic album released through Liberation that dictated their touring for the next few years.

The line-up of bassist Todd Hunter, lead vocalist and guitarist Mark Williams, drummer Pete Drummond and electric guitarist Bruce Reid soon stepped into a full-band sound and performed more than 500 shows with their electric instruments.

Dragon are now ready to return to playing acoustically.

‘‘Playing our songs acoustically is an excuse to revisit these songs with a different musical mindset,’’ said Hunter.

‘‘It’s not about whipping up the crowd so much as it is about the interplay between instruments and giving the harmonies a chance to breathe. It means we can play songs like Show Danny Across the Water, Smoke and Same Old Blues – songs that there just isn’t room for in the rock set.

‘‘There will still be singing but I suspect it will be more choir-like than the rugby grand final vibe we normally go for.’’

Thundamentals hip-hop into town

BLUE Mountains via Newtown hip-hop trio Thundamentals – whose music video for their new single Smiles Don’t Lie was named Channel V’s Ripe Clip Of The Week – will perform in Newcastle next week.

The single is the first to be released from their upcoming, as-yet-untitled, third album.

Group member Jewson said the song was a way to express his respect, admiration and love for his partner.

‘‘I can imagine my partner driving to work and hearing this song come on the radio and seeing a big smile break out across her face, knowing that she is the inspiration behind my lyrics,’’ he said.

The band continues to redefine Australian hip-hop and recently won praise for their sophomore record Forevolution and their triple j Like A Version of Matt Corby’s Brother. Thundamentals will perform at the Small Ballroom, Islington, on Thursday, October 3.

McLeod joins Big Spring Jam line-up

LEAD singer of ARIA Award-winning band The Superjesus, Sarah McLeod, will perform at The Big Spring Jam at The Roundabout Inn, Gloucester.

McLeod has been performing with Rose Tattoo’s Angry Anderson and is about to release her new album. She will be joined at the festival by Central Coast songbird Sarah Humphreys, who recently released her album Hello through ABC Music.

Sydney-based Golden Guitar winner Karl Broadie rounds out the line-up.

Tickets are $30 and available from stickytickets南京夜网 or the venue.

The Big Spring Jam is on Saturday, October 19, from 3pm to 8pm.

Britt rolls out favourites at Cambridge

CATHERINE Britt will perform just one show in her home town as part of her tour The Hillbilly Pickin’ Ramblin’ Girl So Far…

Britt will perform a stripped-back, acoustic show based around the release of her new album package, a CD/DVD package of all singles and videos to be released before the end of the year.

Britt will perform at The Cambridge Hotel on November 8. Tickets from bigtix南京夜网.au.

Birds of Tokyo

Losing your illusion

April 10th, 2019

GRAND illusionist Cosentino has built a reputation on his spectacular stage magic, death-defying escapes and dangerous stunts, but he doesn’t always emerge unscathed.
Nanjing Night Net

‘‘I’ve got seven stitches on my forehead from my first escape, 12 across my chin, two cracked ribs, broken fingers and I’ve had a broken left ankle from an upside-down straightjacket escape,’’ the Melburnian said.

‘‘The escapes are real – they’re real locks, real chains, real water, real knives – but of course it’s a calculated risk, I know my timing, I know my practice.

‘‘The danger is real and when things go wrong it is scary to get back on the horse and do it again but the good thing about the really big escapes or stunts is you only do them once – if you get injured, you’re done and then we move on.’’

It’s been a remarkable journey for Cosentino, whose first name is Paul, from reading a book of magic at primary school and mastering a coin trick, to becoming the first Australian to be awarded by the International Magicians Society the prestigious international Merlin Award for Most Original Magician. The Merlins are to magic what the Oscars are to movies.

‘‘I was very shy and introverted and the magic book was where I first saw all these vaudevillian posters of Harry Houdini and all these great magicians, I was fascinated with that,’’ he said.

‘‘In the back of the book they had these tricks so my mum [school principal Rosemary] started reading them to me and I started learning them, but no one knew what I did.

‘‘As my reading began to improve I gained a skill that was very unique – magic – and my confidence increased and I would use it as a tool to talk to people.’’

Cosentino performed magic regularly to pay his way through the first year of a business degree, but in 2002 was offered a six-month contract to perform on a cruise ship travelling around the US and Canada, and started making a living out of the art.

After returning to Australia, he honed his craft touring with theatre groups and in 2008 had the second-largest touring show in the country.

But it was his breathtaking escapes – interspersed with Michael Jackson-inspired dance moves across the stage – on Australia’s Got Talent that had the country collectively catching their breath.

‘‘Since the beginning of time mankind has wanted to fly, mankind has wanted to walk through walls, mankind has wanted to be invisible and I’m tapping into that,’’ he said about his popularity on the show.

‘‘Even as an adult all those elements touch you, even for a minute, in that small way and you say ‘I remember when I was a kid and I wanted to…’

‘‘So you’re tapping into this very raw nerve that goes back to your childhood.

‘‘You’re doing things that are absolutely amazing, you’re seeing me disappear and reappear in audiences, you’re seeing me levitate someone through the air, you’re doing things that defy the laws of nature.

‘‘If you’re a good illusionist you wrap it in story and mystery and you’re basically sending the message to the audience that we don’t know all the secrets and that’s a good thing because mystery is wonderful, it makes you wonder ‘What else? What about this, and that?’.’’

Cosentino addresses his loyal fans as believers, but is aware that some visitors to his shows are likely to be sceptics.

‘‘People who say ‘But it’s not real’, I’m so confused by that, my answer is always ‘Yeah, I don’t disagree with you’,’’ he said.

‘‘I don’t even know how to answer that question.

‘‘When people say ‘It’s not real, it’s a trick’, well, I just told you it was a trick.

‘‘It is an illusion, it is smoke and mirrors, it is fantasy.

‘‘If you’re going to watch a movie like Avatar you know that those aliens don’t exist, you know those aliens aren’t real, but you suspend disbelief and you go with the story.’’

Cosentino is reluctant to go into too much detail about what Newcastle audiences can expect from his show, but said he will venture inside the belly of a scorpion closely followed by a 40-inch blade and, for the final act, will be shot at with arrows.

Cosentino will bring his The Magic, The Mystery, The Madness tour to Civic Theatre Newcastle on Wednesday, October 16. Tickets from livenation南京夜网.au.

Matthew Thompson runs with the Blood God:  Video, Readings

April 10th, 2019

Please enable Javascript to watch this video MATTHEW THOMPSON
Nanjing Night Net

RUNNING WITH THE BLOOD GOD

Prologue reading

Kosovo reading

Epilogue reading

MATTHEW Thompson’s new book, Running With The Blood God, will not leave a footprint on your brain – it will leave a bootprint, indelibly inked in your subconscious.

Thompson, who holds a doctorate in creative arts, is a part-time firefighter in Dungog, where he lives with his wife Renae and daughter Avalon. He is also a guest lecturer at universities and writes freelance articles.

Five years ago he published his first book, My Colombian Death, an intense non-fiction account of his six-month journey to the exotic, drug-laden South American country full of characters and character.

Blood God, his second book, charts a course through even more dangerous territory.

He spends time in Iran, avoiding the ever-probing eyes of soldiers, police and shady operatives who are constantly arresting, harassing and torturing ordinary citizens who dare to disobey the strict Muslim covenants set by then leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

He journeys to the Philippines, secretly visiting guerillas in the jungles north-west of Manila.

He takes a jolting road trip from Serbia to Kosovo with hard-core Serbian nationalists.

And finally, a stop in Portland, Oregon, to hang out with counterculturists and Native Americans in one of the most alternative major cities in America.

The book is subtitled ‘‘down and dirty with freedom fighters, rebels and misfits’’ and Thompson certainly gives his subjects, who come from all walks of life but have common ground in fighting against governments they consider unjust, a fair chance to explain themselves.

‘‘It’s more of a literary work,’’ Thompson says, comparing it to his first book. ‘‘It’s still adventure, gritty, real things. But I decided to leave a fair bit up to the reader. T

“Too much interpretation is taken from the reader these days, too many opinions are pushed on people.

‘‘My book has more respect for the reader. People all around the world, in dictatorships, cracked-up states, lost countries .. A huge variety of people, they all have the urge to live freer than their societies will allow. It’s up to the reader to decide how they fit into that .. what’s life add up to in the end.’’

In between philosophical discussions about the purpose of government, the value of civil disobedience, the role of religion and the like, Thompson indulges in opium (in Iran and the US), marijuana and cocaine, drinks everything from Portland’s boutique beers, to Serbia’s home-made plum brandy to contraband vodka and wine in Iran, all with the locals, of course.

‘‘When in Rome … do as the Romans do,’’ Thompson says.

‘‘I go for a month [to each location] and I see them and we get trust. I don’t agree, but I’m listening, so they open up. That’s what it takes. … It takes time with people. There is something to respect about drinking with sources. It’s a respectable occupation. It may not suit people prone to alcoholism, but you train, get into the field and go hard.’’

There is constant personal danger in Iran, the fear of being detained. In Kosovo one of his travelling partners is seriously stabbed in a confrontation and Thompson steps in, surrounded by Albanian thugs (saving himself by yelling ‘‘Leave him! Get off him! I’m Australian! I’m f–––king Australian!’’)

For Thompson, it’s all about living life to the fullest.

‘‘I don’t take stupid risks. I take them a calculated way,’’ he says. ‘‘I don’t want to shy away from the world and its wildness.’’

He thinks everybody should pause to consider that concept.

‘‘Adventure is healthy. Sure, it’s injurious at times, put things under strain. So does long-term decline. The people I’m meeting, the spirit of the book: wake up and become who you are!’’

Newcastle Council to cut six management roles

April 10th, 2019

A FIFTH of Newcastle City Council’s senior management team will go under a new structure confidentially approved by councillors on Tuesday night.
Nanjing Night Net

The major changes, which have drawn fire from some councillors who argue they were unable to review the proposal before the vote, will cut one director and five unit managers from the council to save $1 million a year.

That money will join $6.5 million saved through measures introduced in July, stemming the bleeding from the council’s ongoing deficit.

Under the changes, the existing four council groups will be reduced to three.

Planning, Corporate and Infrastructure groups will replace the City Assets, Liveable City, Future City and City Engagement departments.

Each of those departments will include five groups, bringing the existing tally of 20 down to 15.

Newcastle City Council general manager Ken Gouldthorp said the new structure would make the council more intuitive for ratepayers, offering greater transparency and accountability than previous attempts to alter the council.

‘‘Basically the whole approach is to simplify the structure,’’ Mr Gouldthorp said.

‘‘It’s reducing the number of levels and the number of people that a customer might have to talk to to get their question answered.’’

Mr Gouldthorp said he was hopeful most of the changes could be made by mid-2014 while ‘‘about 30 per cent’’ could be in place before January.

The changes have drawn criticism from some councillors who argue they were made in a process that left them in the dark until Tuesday’s vote.

Cr Nuatali Nelmes said she believed councillors should have had more information in the lead-up to entering the chamber on Tuesday.

Cr Nelmes said she had contacted the Department of Local Government about the process of selecting a new structure, saying it was ‘‘mildly insulting’’ councillors were unable to weigh options until they entered the chamber to decide.

‘‘I’ve been through this process before and it was a much more open and collaborative approach,’’ Cr Nelmes said.

‘‘It’s a very big decision and I take it very seriously.’’

Mr Gouldthorp said the Department of Local Government was aware of the council’s process and was content with the procedure.

Greens councillor Therese Doyle said she believed the discussion should have stayed in open council rather than being held confidentially.

She said she believed that, and the inability to prepare questions about the new structure, indicated a lack of transparency at the council.

‘‘I’m very concerned about the creeping process of closing democracy,’’ she said.

‘‘I think we are looking at a much more corporate and presidential style of operation in council and the role of councillors appears to be downgraded.’’

The new structure was put forward as part of a required review of the organisation within 12 months of a local government election.

The new roles will be advertised and filled in phases to minimise turmoil within the organisation.