Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Steve Bracks... Australia's Nelson Mandela?

"So," I says to the audience at Hume District library at Sunbury, the night before last, "I can't think of another politician other than Nelson Mandela who had the grace and humility to actually leave politics while he was ahead in the polls - without being forced to quit or voted out in shame."

"Steve Bracks," says a very nice chap in the audience.

I do love me a good political debate, Legion of Fans, and the man in the second row scored a nice point off Mr Blog on that one and reminded me that I am, indeed, in another state - Victoria - and that I should stick to what I know (which is African politicans rather than Australian politics - Steve Bracks, for the Africans and New South Welshmen among us - was a former Victorian Premier and apparently an all round good egg, just like Madiba).

The whistle stop tour of Australia (except South Australia) chugs along and one of the things I like about it (as well as talking about myself) is meeting the people who take the time to come and listen to me spruilk about me, Africa and my books (not necessarily, but usually, in that order).

I love meeting people who have read all my books (or even one of them), but I also really like meeting people who have never heard of me which is, let us face it, the majority of Australia's population. So I have a lot of people to meet.

In the former category, at Sunbury, was a young lady who I will call K, who informed me that she wanted to go to uni and study Zoology, travel to Africa, and, if possible, kill some poachers. Keep going like that, K, and you will end up the heroine in one of my books.

Seriously, though, folks, I've had a great couple of days in Melbourne, not only in Sunbury, but also tonight, at Newcomb, as well as meeting assorted pleasant booksellers, journalists, and bartenders. The room service drinks waiter at the stately Windsor Hotel in Melbourne and I have also struck up a strong friendship.

And Melbourne is growing on me, though I am still quite fearful of trams and right hand turns from the left lane (what is that all about - it's safer driving in Johannesburg); and I am still not sold 100 per cent (not even 10 per cent, in fact) on what I have dubbed the 'wonky' school of public art and architecture in this otherwise charming capital.

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to come out and meet me. I am as humbled as I am grateful (is that correct grammar? If not, you know what I mean).

1 comment :

Heidihi said...


It was great to meet you in Brisvegas. My husband and I found your talk really interesting and of course enjoyed the champagne. Please keep up the blog, very funny and entertaining.