Sally Baxter, Girl Reporter is a fictional character whose persona I adopted when I had the bright idea five years ago of starting a blog. My name is Maria Spackman and it’s time to come out from behind the curtain and say g’day.
Your humble Girl Reporter created the blog with no greater intention than to have a go. I wondered how far I could take it on a budget of no money and minimal time [Answer: Quite far, actually].
The online persona was all the rage in 2012 and the question of my identity irrelevant. So off I went, setting up a free blog and associated Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.
Content was the key, of course, and a need to come up with some was the reason I turned down Memory Lane a few months into my blogging journey and unearthed a funny little story about my dad, Jack Spackman. Continue reading
The kitchen at our flat in Macdonnell Road in Hong Kong backed on to a dank, rat-infested space, a convenient landing spot for rubbish hurled from the windows above.
Mr Chan, the building manager, was a regular visitor and would organise workers to come and clean up the waste, set traps and write letters to the residents reminding them to use the bins.
On one of his visits, he called it a courtyard, which made it sound like something you could visit or stroll through, but we only ever called it ‘Out the Back’. I only ever went through it at a run and would have avoided the place altogether except for one very tantalising attraction. That’s where my father Jack Spackman had set up his darkroom. Continue reading
…The Bolshoi theatre serving whole meals in the foyer at interval… the Arts Theatre, home of Stanislavski, where I saw a play in Russian… the woman sitting next to me trying to translate it for me… the mechanical perfection of the circus… crowds lined up at Lenin’s tomb in Red Square… convoys of tanks moving at midnight to Red Square from different directions, rehearsing for the October revolution celebrations… the greyness and uniformity of the residential buildings outside the central area… dancing with Georgian dancers in a nightclub after a show… catching up with Australian travellers in kangaroo skin coats and being glad to hear that accent again… the telephone ringing in the hotel bedroom… and nobody there… a reminder that it was probably bugged….
These are my Aunty Joan Byrne’s impressions of Moscow in November 1969 when she arrived after seven days on the Trans-Siberian railway. She’d had plenty of time on the journey to ponder the realities of life on the other side of the Iron Curtain.