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Appreciating flowers - and life 賞花的隨想

Heading towards the end of autumn, May in Melbourne is not only the time for red and golden autumn leaves but, somewhat expectedly, for blooming flowers too. It may be hard to get one's head around this for those from Europe or Hong Kong, and even for me despite having lived in Melbourne for so many years - somehow I have been rather oblivious to this natural phenomenon! 五月深秋在墨爾本,除了通紅和金黃的樹葉,還有花可以觀賞,對在歐洲和香港生活過的我來說,是頗新奇的景象——雖然我在澳洲生活也有多年,我卻一直忽略了。 The roses have definitely taken me by surprise, as I have always expected them to flower only in spring and summer. They put on another good show in autumn that can rival the earlier seasons! 尤其是玫瑰,我一直以為只會在春夏綻放,但原來踏入深秋仍不欺場,更可和春天盛開的景況媲美,令人喜出望外! Thankfully I managed to capture the best moment for this bush, because a bout of overnight rain and wind reduced many flowers to petals, leaving the bush in a rather desolate state the next day. Good times don't always last, but I also didn't expect it to be so whimsical
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A golden Saturday away 留一天與太太喘息

April is a good time for the great outdoors. My wife and I were keen to explore somewhere new and thus visited Warrandyte on the fringes of Melbourne, for the State Park and a winery there. 4月是郊遊的好時光,我和太太趁機發掘新去處。9日那天我們到市區邊陲、開始帶點郊外氣息的Warrandyte區的州立公園和一家酒莊一遊。 There are actually four parts to Warrandyte State Park. We went to the part which was a gold mine in the 19th century and was the first site of gold discovery in Victoria, although it did not end up with the same level of fame as the other gold rush towns of Ballarat and Bendigo. The park has preserved some relics from the mining days, including the Geraghty's Tunnel whose entrance is still open for a small section. Warrandyte State Park州立公園其實分四部份,我們郊遊的部份,前身是金礦場,而且是維多利亞州首個發現金礦之地,雖然沒有後來的淘金城鎮巴拉瑞特Ballarat和本迪戈Bendigo那麼有名,但也算在維州淘金史中佔一席位。公園保留了些採礦的遺跡,包括一個仍開放一小段的Geraghty's Tunnel礦洞,鑽進去再出來時不期然令我想起鏡仔Ian新歌《留一天與你喘息》的 MV 在 馬鞍山礦場 的片段,所以後來太太撿石頭留念時,我也打趣學MV中女主角的開場白說「石頭係有生命嘅」(石頭是有生命的)。 Geraghty's Tunnel

Sumptuous meals with pleasant views 佳餚配美景

Last month we thanked the state government's generous dining enticement (25% rebate for spending of A$40 or more) by dining out at a couple of places in Melbourne CBD. We have cut down on dining-in and switched to take-away since the start of the Covid pandemic unless the venue offers outdoor seating. The venues that we visited did not only have outdoor areas but boast of some of the best views in the city section of the Yarra river. 上個月,託維州政府的福,逢星期一至四在市區用膳滿澳幣40元可申請退回25%消費,所以趁機出外試菜了。疫情以來,外出用膳減少了很多,除非有室外座席,不然一般只敢買外賣。我們試菜的兩個地方,不只是戶外,更臨市區雅拉河畔,地點和景色堪稱一流。 Our first outing was on 16 March for the new Yarra Botanica floating restaurant, on its first day of business. It is a barge berthed at a fixed pier at Southbank, with an upper deck and a lower deck that lies very close to the water surface. My wife and I found a spot away from other customers on the lower deck to enjoy our meal. 第一次是3月16日,新河上餐廳Yarra Botanica開張之日。餐廳其實是艘舫,固定地停泊在河的南岸Southbank,舫分兩層,下層貼近水面,我和太太就在面對河中心和市區的一側找個遠離其他顧客的地方坐下用餐。

姜月

如果去年是鏡年,新一年正月說是「姜月」也許不會太過份吧——雖然同月Edan的曝光率亦很高(賀歲片宣傳+接二連三廣告),Frankie亦因《IT狗》中Never此角色開始走紅。 月初姜濤推出新派台歌《鏡中鏡》,其MV和拍攝背景(動機和心路歷程)頓成城中熱話,我自問無高見就不再延續這個討論也不再覆述之前的評論,只想說,《鏡中鏡》的討論已提升至一個文學層次,姜濤本人在IG也出過限時動態「宣傳」及感謝著名文學人 董啟章 對該首歌及MV的評析。流行曲受社會關注並不出奇,流行曲也是藝術的一種,但單一首歌能受藝術的另一界別注視,並作為文學分析的題材就難得一見,可算是一種藝術成就!(當然能奪下流行曲排行榜第一位就錦上添花了。) 另外能成為新聞的,就是受醫療事故影響的小孩天瑜,其父上載片段謂天瑜聽到《蒙着嘴說愛你》後有 出乎意料的反應 ,感到激動。究竟天瑜對《蒙》歌的反應是巧合,還是《蒙》歌真有如此治療功效,大概可以做一做研究的,不過如果播一首歌能這樣造福聽眾,歌手也應該像天瑜父般欣慰,也再證明姜濤及其作品在社會的影響力。 姜濤在接受 鄭裕玲訪問 時說過,作為藝人的價值,不在於在這行業留下什麼,而是離開行業後(給大家)留下了些什麼,但就此看來,他出道三年多,已在行業外、為大眾開始留下點點legacy,以其年資來說,殊不簡單。 * * * 我一直甚少完完全全聽明星的訪問,姜濤一個月內接受同一電台三次訪問,我都足本收聽,鄭裕玲那個訪問,有兩點勾起我對學術研究的聯想。 一就是姜濤說的「真正對音樂有追求的artists都會想脫離流量」,學界中人又可嘗沒此想法和感慨,如果不用為追逐撥款或知名度而趕着不停發表論文,增加「流量」,甚至犧牲研究質素乃至弄虛作假,大家專注做好研究不好麼?然而,學界升遷、撥款和評審,都越來越重視研究量(卻不一定是質)、論文引用量、期刊影響因子(impact factor)、研究員本身的研究指數(例如H-index)等一堆冰冷又和「流量」掛鈎的數字,想對這些數字置之不理,不但不可能,而且不現實,所以研究課題也得遷就,追求這些數字中的高指標。 另一個就是「不在於在這行業留下什麼,而是離開行業後留下了些什麼」,做學術研究的,能廣為人知並傳誦的少之又少(尤其是現代研究講求團隊,每個研究員的貢獻不免因此攤薄,很難再指明說某某發明了些什麼),要麼能留下以自己命名的理論、學說、公式或

Beach stops 海邊不停蹄

There is a region of countryside south of Melbourne called the Mornington Peninsula which hills, seaside and farms make for pleasant day trips especially in summer. 墨爾本以南有一帶叫莫寧頓半島(Mornington Peninsula),還保留了一片郊野和農莊,而且有山有水,夏天作一日遊還是不錯的。 There are plenty of places for enjoying sceneries with the sea and even a dip in the water. Cape Schanck at the southernmost tip of the peninsula offers one of the best views in the region. There is a functioning lighthouse atop one of the cliffs, connecting to a rocky beach at the foot of the cliffs via a trail and boardwalk. A cool breeze provided a welcome relief from the afternoon heat on the day of visit. The dominant colour of the beach is the charcoal black stretching from the cliff faces to the rocks by the sea. The beach at Cape Schanck faces Bushrangers Bay, which is connected to Cape Schanck by a walking track on top of the cliffs lining the sea there.  想看海甚至下水消暑的,地點多的是,半島最南端Cape Schanck海角的風景要算數一數二。海角的崖上豎立一所仍在運作的燈塔,有小徑連接木梯和板道通往崖下的石灘,一邊走一邊有海風不斷迎面

照遍香港的鏡

如果仍有香港2021年度漢字這類選舉,「鏡」字當選或許不會令人意外。 這個鏡當然是指照遍全港的MIRROR團隊。 鏡團為何 走紅 ,坊間已有大量 分析 了,我也湊熱鬧,談談個人認為這股熱潮獨特之處和前景。 第一是這股熱潮無孔不入,不計舖天蓋地的廣告和奪目的應援,當個別成員的肖像可以成為 學生功課的題材 ,而《蒙着嘴說愛你》可以成為 幼稚園畢業歌 和被立法會主席 引用歌詞 ,足見團員和其歌曲如何深入民心。 第二是一眾鏡仔的「真實感」,究竟有多少是為了形象需要、多少是真性情,也許只有他們和經理人知道,但起碼大眾都容易看到他們的性情和(沒這麼多修飾的較真實)面目,由AK因獎項落空而「 黑面 」、姜濤的 迷惘 乃至Edan的嚷着媽媽要 水餃 ,都會令觀眾感受到他們平常人的一面,有着平常人的情緒和喜怒哀樂,是平常人的一種反映和一面鏡——試問誰人生中沒類似的經歷? 第三就是MIRROR的經營模式,有人 分析 過,鏡團既有全團發展,又有個人甚至個別配搭發展,潛力可以是無窮的。筆者對樂壇認識畢竟有限,但一個樂隊及其個別成員能同時走紅,不論在香港或世界各地,都實屬得來不易。鏡團隊員的全方位發展,出道才三年多便涉足歌、影、視,既符合香港的速食文化,在最短的時間做最多的事,同時也是鍛煉團員和提升其曝光率的最快途徑。 MIRROR在兩三年內持續走紅基本上沒懸念,不過並非沒有挑戰的。個別已能獨當一面的成員固然要努力鞏固自己的實力和地位,而後進者要如何扶持,令全隊均勻發展,是須認真考慮的問題,這些後進者,要面對的競爭,來自隊內外皆有,而且只會日漸劇烈,隨着新人不斷湧現及水平的提升(例如比較《全民造星》第四季和第一季的冠軍晉身路),後進者想出頭就必須付出更多努力和心思。 至於姜濤豪言有信心香港樂壇會再次成為 亞洲第一 ,相信會為很多港人樂見。香港近兩年的急速褪色,已令不少人對這個地方失望和絕望,樂壇似是香港僅餘仍可發圍及有作為的環節,香港音樂也是僅餘少數能凝聚人心的工具及代表香港的標誌,廣東歌之所以去年興起,不只是純粹一股純追星熱,背後是還有社會因素的。任何文化和藝術發展,需要給創作人空間,但在新的政治環境和氣氛下會否再收緊會是一個隱憂。 另外,如果衝出香港做亞一甚至世一,音樂人少不免都要用世界「霸權」語言英文或全球華人共通的華語發表作品,防彈少年團BTS事業更上一層樓,在外國有更多人認識和追捧

Yarra River, from downstream to upstream 上游下游,雅拉河全面遊

The Yarra River traverses through Melbourne and is a major landmark of this city. Even tourists will be familiar with the downstream sections of the river as many would take a stroll on its banks in the city or travel on a boat cruise to take in the city views. 雅拉河貫穿墨爾本,是墨市的一大地標,就算是遊客,大多都會曾經沿河漫步甚至坐觀光船欣賞雅拉河下游市區的河景。 This Christmas break, my wife and I tried a relatively new alternative of touring the city section of the river, namely on an electric boat. 這個聖誕假期,我和太太用一個較新穎的方式遊市區段的雅拉河——開電動艇。 The operation of the electric boat was not too complicated, via a tiller to control both the speed and the direction. But with a consistently strong breeze and current the boat needed constant steering every 10 to 30 seconds. I was hoping for a relaxing sailing and looking forward to a pause in a scenic spot, but within a minute the boat drifted from the middle of the water to one of the banks, and with the wind blowing the food over it was a challenging juggle between controlling the boat and finishin