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Byron Shire
May 16, 2021


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Bluesfest announces October dates for 2021 festival

After two disappointing cancelations of their event, Bluesfest has announced that they will hold the 2021 festival over the...

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Water outage in Ballina this Thursday

Residents on Crane and Owen Streets in Ballina are advised of a planned water outage this Thursday May 13.

School Strike for Climate next Friday

Next Friday from 10am Byron Shire students will be demanding political action on the climate emergency in what they and their supporters say is our present, future and reality. 

Interview with Bob Vegas

The glorious Bob Downe is back with a brand new show: Viva Bob Vegas! at the Brunswick Picture House. He gave Seven the Downe low…

Remembering Bentley

Saturday 15 May is the seventh anniversary of Victory Day at the historic Bentley Blockade, just west of Lismore.

Locavores out and about

The sun is out, the sky is blue, it’s beautiful, and so is the barbeque… or picnic, at this...

MAYDAY – MAYDAY – One hundred years ago today

One hundred years ago this week, around noon on Saturday 14 May 1921, the 2,000 tonne steamship Wollongbar ran aground on Belongil beach.

The opening sequences of Canadian François Girard’s film feel like a weird hybrid of 8 Mile and the wretched As It Is In Heaven.

Eleven-year-old Stet (Garrett Wareing) is a kid going bad. He has never known his dad and his mum is white trash alcoholic.

After she dies in a motor accident, the father (Josh Lucas), a happily married Manhattan millionaire, appears from nowhere to buy his son’s way into an exclusive college (as it’s done in Christopher Pyne’s heaven) that specialises in music education.

Unfortunately, Wareing is a bit of a pussycat who can’t do the tough boy like Eminem and as the recalcitrant urchin at a school of clean-cut nerds (they are real-life American Boychoir students), he is not in the same street as Mickey Rooney in Boys Town. In fact, he fits in rather too well to be an outsider.

Add that old ham Dustin Hoffman to the mix as Carvelle, the choirmaster, and you’d be excused for thinking that you’re heading prestissimo into a double-brie disaster.

But even though Girard never veers too far from a course set by comfy cliché, in focusing on the music – the spirituality of it, the beauty of it, the ability of it to transform lives – and allowing his characters to do what we all expect of them without too much fuss, the movie manages to take wings.

The location shots are lovely, too, with the masonry and stained glass of the school’s chapel creating a cloistered atmosphere that helps free the script of any banality that might threaten to overwhelm it.

Blond and bespectacled Devon (Joe West), a malevolent Malfoy-type, pulls the necessary stunt of bastardry that leads to Stet’s big moment and, though I found Wareing difficult to warm to, he won me over in the end.

The polish of Hoffman, and Kathy Bates as the school principal, is invaluable and it would be remiss of me to not mention Handel – if you can’t get off on his Messiah there’s something wrong with you.

~ John Campbell

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Power outage in Byron Shire

Power supply company Essential Energy says that approximately 1,780 homes and businesses were without supply this morning.

Filming of Byron Baes begins with no indigenous consultation

Filming of the Netflix series Byron Baes has reportedly commenced without any effort made by the show's production company – Eureka Productions – to consult with local indigenous groups or the local Council.

Byron Comedy Festival launched with a laugh

At a hilarious sold-out launch of the Byron Comedy Festival, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki had the entire Byron Bay Surf Club giggling last night

School Strike for Climate next Friday

Next Friday from 10am Byron Shire students will be demanding political action on the climate emergency in what they and their supporters say is our present, future and reality.