Early days in Torino

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Everyone’s an art director in Italy

Overseas, nothing is where you think it oughta be. Light switches disappear. Bench heights rise and fall. Window latches are weird. You look left, and a car skids in from the right. You’re always in the way; slightly off-kilter.

This is why you travel. To be shocked out of the regular. All of a sudden you hate your routine and conclude that everything in Melbourne is horrific and gauche.

Europe is a reminder of all the things we’ve left behind. Reading paperbacks in public. Taking your time. Second hand bookstores instead of phone retailers. Buying one individual thing from one individual shop. Cobblestones. Tiny, classy billboards. Going home for lunch. Dogs with balls. Bread and fruit that goes off within ½ a day. Cold drinking water flowing from bull’s head fountains. No TV, just music. Continue reading

Bad habits in fencing

speed-of-fencingEveryone in my squad has their own bad habits in fencing. I don’t mean that we’re a team of nose-pickers and zit-squeezers (although, who knows?). I mean that despite all the time we spend in training, there’s a bunch of tired fencing clichés we revert to when we’re going hell-for-leather.

One person has an aversion to stepping forward, while another never does a flèche (which means ‘arrow’). Others don’t like going the end of the piste, and as for me, I don’t parry six in the heat of battle. When I do manage to close the distance I will sometimes freeze, while my flèche, (which should look like the dynamic figure above) looks less like a glorious Art Deco figure and more like a sack of old spuds falling off the back of a ute. Continue reading

The clash of steel and the cries of the vanquished

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Put your masks back on ladies!!

Once you pick up a sword, it never leaves you. Fencing is said to get into the blood – only returning when you’ve a heavy weapon in your hand and can stare down your opponent through a thick mask and a curtain of sweat.

While Olympic fencing is related to Renaissance-era duelling, it only really took off in these parts after WWII. Hungarians were fleeing the horrors of Soviet occupation and immigrating to our shores in their thousands, and brought with them to Melbourne not only delicious smallgoods and cheeses but also a talent for the blade the likes of which had not yet been seen in this country.

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