Monday, 11 April 2011

If masonry could talk.

I’ve always had a soft spot for old things; be they traditions, language, heirlooms, artworks or otherwise. It was in point of fact these feelings, combined with my recent habit of listening to audiobook recordings of the literary works of bygone centuries (see a previous entry about Librivox), and love of the James Russell Lowell quotation above that first put me in the mind to start this blog.

On this topic, I'd like to share a thought I came up with a few months ago, after an afternoon walk through the streets of Brisbane:

“Old buildings marked established 1913 and the like still fill me with the same bright-eyed wonder today they did when I first beheld them as a child. You'd be surprised how often I wish to myself that masonry could talk.”

I have recently acquired a new camera on the advice of a friend - one Jayne Wong (of fame) - and have been latterly taking to the streets of Brisbane with it in hand to take photos of various things that strike me as impressive. I am however, still unfortunately a rank amateur in its usage, as I fear that the below photos will attest.


I often find myself daydreaming idly as I walk passed these buildings on a daily basis. They seem to me to have a grandeur and majesty that modern architectural constructions wholly lack. Take for example, Brisbane City Hall. City Hall has a number of magnificent features; an auditorium based on the design of the Pantheon in Rome, a 4600-pipe organ built in 1892, and bronze lion sculptures outside modelled after those in Trafalgar Square, London. There is also the wonderful clock tower surmounting the building, playing a rendition of the Westminster Quarters, able to be heard many blocks away on a good day. 

I bring up City Hall specifically as it has in recent times been in the news in Queensland for suffering from a number of structural problems, subsidence and the like. I received a phone call from a research company running a survey of various things in Brisbane City on Sunday, and one of the questions was to do with being aware of the Brisbane City Hall restoration project, currently under way. The next was to gauge my opinion on if I believed that City Hall deserved to be saved and restored - to which I replied yes in the strongest terms.

External Links:

Brisbane City Hall Restoration Project - -
Brisbane City Hall -
Westminster Quarters -

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Audiobooks, oh my!

I thought I would start this small corner of the internet off by mentioning an online community I've been visiting frequently of late - this being Librivox. (

I first encountered the Librivox site shortly after first discovering the works of H.P. Lovecraft, and looking for more information on the Cthulhu Mythos stories for which he is renowned. At the outset I was simply delighted to find a collection of multiple hours worth of his works recorded into mp3 format and ready to go. (Link) It just so happened that I was searching for something to occupy myself during the interminable twice-daily bus trips to which I was at the time accustomed, so this discovery on my part was welcome indeed.

So I proceeded to download this collection, and copied it to my iPhone to enjoy on my trips to and from work. Thoroughly enjoying the efforts of the volunteers, as I realised they were from the disclaimer inserted at the beginning of each recording, I resolved to visit the site myself and understand more about how this community.

The members of this community have taken upon themselves an ambitious goal. If I may quote their stated objective: "To make all books in the public domain available, for free, in audio format on the internet." I have always been passionate about reading, and so I read about exactly how they expected to undertake this task. I quickly found myself in concert with their stated mission of being an independent, not-for-profit volunteer group, whose members have recorded many works of fiction, poetry, etc. in a significant number of languages.

Since this first experience with Librivox, I personally have enjoyed a number of their recordings. As mentioned, I swiftly devoured the collected PD works of H. P. Lovecraft, and have latterly moved on to those singularly excellent works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - The various stories featuring none other than Sherlock Holmes. I have also recently purchased a new pair of headphones, such that I might personally contribute in some small way to this community with which I find myself so enamoured.