Look Who’s Coming to Dinner

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I got a new dinner set recently. I’ve never really had a best dinner set before and my mother started me on this one with two pieces for Christmas. I loved it and we managed to get the rest of it in the after-Christmas sales.

It’s strange but having it makes me feel more grown up somehow. A formal dinner set is something I’ve always wanted and I guess now I have it, it feels like my home is starting to come together a little more.

While unpacking it the other day it made me think about that old game, ‘Guess who’s coming to dinner?’, the one where you’d make a list of people from throughout history who you’d invite to dinner if you could. I used to love doing that when I was younger and so I thought it’d be fun to do it again now as a post, but with a bit of a twist – a list of fictional characters instead.

After giving it some thought, this is my list of ten characters. It took me a long while to put it together; there are so many interesting characters from books and film etc that it’s really hard to choose.

But in the end these are the ones I think would be a lot of fun. They’re not necessarily my favourite characters but I think they’d all be interesting and more importantly I think their conversations would be interesting too.

I chose ten because I think twelve people is a good number for a dinner party as it’s not too many people to cook for and they can talk in pairs or in groups. The other two people would be you, dear reader, and myself of course.

As far as the food goes I’d do an apple and pecan salad for the entree, spaghetti with prawns and rocket for the main, and an Eton mess for dessert. I think they’d complement each other well and I could manage most of them (the dessert would take some practice).

So who would you invite for dinner? 😉

Sherlock Holmes
I’ve loved Sherlock Holmes since reading The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes as a child. His stories and intellect would be fascinating around a dinner table.

Victor Frankenstein
Shelley’s Frankenstein is one of my favourite novels and one of the first books that made me want to write. Frankenstein is such a tragic character and it would be fascinating to pick his mind and justifications.

Gandalf the Grey
Gandalf is probably my favourite character of all time. He’d be a lot of fun to have at the table and he’d have some pretty interesting conversations with some of the other guests as well.

Hermione Granger
I think Hermione is the real hero of Harry Potter; her intelligence and skill save them over and over again and she’d be much better company at a dinner party than Harry or Ron. I’d love to see her pick Gandalf’s brain.

Scheherazade
The Arabian Nights (the original version) is another of the books that had a big influence on me growing up and I’ve always liked Scheherazade. Her insights into her time would be interesting and she could definitely tell a good story or two which would be great too.

Mister Spock
If Gandalf is my favourite fictional character Spock wouldn’t be far behind. He’d be fascinating (sorry) to talk to and one of the few people who could keep up with Holmes.

Long John Silver
Has there ever been a villain more fun than Long John Silver? Equally devious and charming, he’d be a lot of fun around the table, particularly if Spock and Holmes tried to see through his lies.

Mary Poppins
I loved Mary Poppins growing up and must have watched the film version a hundred times or more. Mary would be the perfect guest, entertaining and fun and capable of keeping some of the other guests in line if needed as well.

Willy Wonka
I have a soft spot for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; it’s just pure imagination and with his humour and charm, Wonka would be a great guest. It’d be great to pick his brain for recipe ideas too.

Morgan le Fay
I love the legend of King Arthur and I’ve always been particularly interested in Morgan. She often tends to be depicted quite badly, either as the evil sorceress or a conniving seductress (or both), but her story is really quite tragic. It would be be interesting hearing her perspective and she’d have a lot to talk about with Gandalf and Hermione too.

Photo © CJ Levinson 2016

Old Cairo

Red Sunrise

See the soldiers on the warpath
See the people fall like stones
See the leaders stand in silence
See the bodies and broken bones

Hear the daily call to prayer
Hear the crowds’ angry cries
Hear the bullets roar like thunder
Hear the propaganda and bloody lies

There’s got to be another way
There’s got to be another way
There’s got to be another way
There’s got to be another way

We read about it in the papers
We see it on our screens
We watch it from a distance
We turn away from the screams

They’re bleeding in the streets
They’re dying all alone
They’re calling out to God
They’re all on their own

There’s got to be another way
There’s got to be another way
There’s got to be another way
There’s got to be another way

Now the streets are quiet
Now they mourn the dead
Now the world holds its breath
Now the flames are fed

Soon the bodies are falling
Soon there is only pain
Soon another child is orphaned
Soon it starts all over again

There’s got to be another way
There’s got to be another way
There’s got to be another way
There’s got to be another way

How long does it go on?
How long do the tears flow?
How long do we sit in silence?
How long do we watch the show?

America sits in judgment
Israel reaps what it sows
There’s no oil to plunder
Just death in old Cairo

There’s got to be another way
There’s got to be another way
There’s got to be another way
There’s got to be another way
There’s got to be another way
There’s got to be another way
There’s got to be another way
There’s got to be another way


I wrote this song over the last couple of weeks, after watching scenes of the violent crackdown in Egypt. I was becoming increasingly annoyed with the media coverage, which seemed very distant and impersonal, and the attitudes of the leaders around the world, who seemed intent on condemning the violence only in the lightest of terms.

The photo is a shot I took last week from my grandparents’ balcony of the sun rising over the ocean. The photo reminded me of a bloody sunrise and I thought it suited the song quite well.


Photo: Red Sunrise © CJ Levinson 2013
Text licenced under Creative Commons

Looking Down Union Lane

Down Union Lane

A thousand pictures
Across two walls,
Telling the stories
Of our lives

This is another photo I took while in Melbourne last month. It’s of Union Lane, a small lane off Bourke Street Mall in Melbourne. The location is well known for its street art and graffiti murals, the main bulk of which was approved by the City of Melbourne in 2010 and consists of art by dozens of artists painted over 5 months. You need a legal permit to officially paint here but unfortunately it’s also a prime target for unauthorised graffiti, as you can see in the photo.

Standing at one end and looking down these long walls of graffiti is quite a sight, a feeling I was trying to recreate with the photo. I didn’t get a chance to see Hosier Lane, which is even more well known for its street art, but hopefully will get to do that the next time I’m in Melbourne.

Photo and haiqua © CJ Levinson 2012

Union Lane 2

Update: A version I edited in black and white as well.

Christmas in Randwick

Randwick Town Hall, decorated for Christmas

As it’s Christmas Eve I thought I’d post some of the Christmas photos I’ve taken near where I live. Randwick comes alive at this time of year, with lots of houses and businesses putting up decorations and it’s a lot of fun walking around and seeing what’s new. These are some of my favourites from this year.

Most of the houses are from Frederick Street, which is known for its Christmas displays and has won awards in the past; there are a few photos from Bondi Junction as well which I took while shopping. There are about 20 photos so I’ve split them after the jump; you can click on any of them to see larger versions as well.

I’m just finishing my annual Christmas song now as well… will have it posted sometime tomorrow. This year’s is an Aussie version of “Deck the Halls”. Should be fun! 🙂

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Blue Motorcycle

Blue Motorcycle

Dirty Streets
Whisper my name
Fill me with longing
To find my way home

I took this photo last week. I saw the motorcycle out of the corner of my eye and took a quick photo without really thinking about it at the time but looking at it now, I find the contrast interesting, the shiny bike propped up against the run-down garage and street.

What you can’t see in the photo is that the entire street was in a similar state; most of the houses looked slightly rundown, with paint peeling and tiles missing and overgrown gardens – but they all had expensive cars in their driveways and satellite TV. I guess having a car and staying connected is more important for many people these days than if a house needs new paint, particularly in the current economy.

I thought it seemed like an apt analogy for the world at the moment. I wonder how many other streets and houses are like this around the world… probably too many to really comprehend, sadly.

Photo and haiku © CJ Levinson 2011