Vale Bill Collins OAM

We lost Bill Collins, 84 years of age, during the week. 

I grew up with Collins who fronted the Golden Years of Hollywood on TV every Friday and Saturday night. For ten minutes before the evening movie he would chat about the program providing information that was so bizarre it was fascinating. Information about the costume and set designs, who was sleeping with whom, tidbits about the Director, and most importantly, where the concept for the movie originated.

It was Bill Collins who encouraged my collection of books that were the basis for favourite movies. I was not even in my teens when Collins took us through his home Library which absolutely had me gobsmacked. He used to move every few years to accomodate his growing collection. Boy, did I want that Library!

My introduction to Lust.

He also introduced me to a wonderful store under Town Hall Station in Sydney in the late 70’s. Ava And Susan’s specialised in movie and theatre books and LPs. I was 18, earning $63 a week, and I would buy something once a fortnight as a treat, and at the shop next door : a chicken specialty shop. My father was disgusted that a Teenager would bring home 8 quails for tea or half a dozen spatchcock.

Memories of my mother are limited but she did sit transfixed watching Bill in full flight. Everyone else’s mothers did too. It was bad news when he started introducing the mid day movie.

Collins gave so many people a great deal of pleasure. He was an eccentric but his joy was simply infectious. He will be missed.

Note : As is often the case you don’t know what you had until it is gone. When I downsized two years ago I tossed out boxes of VHS tapes with Collins introducing his favourite movies. He was a Flynn fanatic – of course.

Some Bookish Things

The high school that my daughters attended, in conjunction with local service organisations such as Rotary and Lions, have put a call out for children’s books. Both fiction and non-fiction books are required to establish libraries in Vanuatu.

They did this last year and it was a huge success. “ We collected enough books to fill 11 libraries in schools that had never had libraries before, with 26 shelves per library.” Way to go or what!

Another local Rotary Club holds an annual fundraiser selling preloved books donated mainly by the State Library of Queensland. I’ve already started collecting my $2 coins in a jar.

All monies raised will be donated to The Sycamore School, “a Primary School (Prep to Year 6) for young people living with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The school provides a safe and inclusive educational environment with programs supported by allied health, aimed at achieving academic, social, emotional and behavioural goals”.

This school, also just up the road, was created by a couple with a child on the spectrum, and though only a few years old is gaining huge inroads in ensuring these kiddies find their place.

My local Library also held an Author talk recently. Charlotte Nash, a Redlands lass, writes romantic fiction which has achieved international success. Romance is not my thing, but I went along to hear her speak and she was phenomenal. I still don’t need to read her books though her command of language was so fluid, so easy, I could listen to her all day long.

And my recent find at the weekend markets : a box set of C S Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia books for the princely sum of $2. Bargain.

I loved Prince Caspian at Primary School where I had an older, male teacher who encouraged his charges to read outside of the curriculum and to sing Bob Dylan and Joan Baez songs. Will get through them quickly so they can join the boat trip to Vanuatu.

Isn’t it just marvellous that books can bring so much joy to so many people in so many different places?

Library Lovers’ Day in Oz.

February 14th is renowned for being the day for lovers: Valentines Day.

Florists take enough money to keep the business afloat for the next six months, more chocolate and champagne is consumed than at Christmas, and you need to reserve a table at your favourite restaurant two weeks in advance if you don’t want to be resorting to takeaway fish and chips.

Valentines Day is not on my radar. You see, February 14th is also Library Lovers’ Day, an annual event organised by the Australian Library and Information Association. This years theme is “Library Love Stories”. The theme highlights all the love that can be found in the library and the ways your library can celebrate.

Libraries across Australia will be marking this event in many different ways, from presentations from local authors to displays of romance novels.

Do you know my favourite event that I’ve heard about to celebrate Library Lovers’ Day? Bribie Island Library, north of Brisbane and hugging the coast south of Caloundra on the southern tail of the Sunshine Coast, is presenting Date Night At The Library. 

Commencing at 5:30pm you can catch the classic romantic comedy, His Girl Friday, starring Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell. Originally released in 1940, and Directed by Howard Hawks, “when hard-charging New York newspaper editor Walter Burns (Cary Grant) discovers that his ex-wife, investigative reporter Hildy Johnson (Rosalind Russell), has gotten engaged to milquetoast insurance agent Bruce Baldwin (Ralph Bellamy), he unsuccessfully tries to lure her away from tame domestic life with a story about the impending execution of convicted murderer Earl Williams. But when Hildy discovers Williams may be innocent, her reporter instincts take over.” – Wikipeadia.

This is a FREE Event though Bookings are essential. The movie finishes at 7.30pm, and the Library will remain open till 8.00pm allowing you to find , da dah, the book of your dreams.

Now that’s a date!

PS Not too much grief please. I learnt a long time ago that “you’re a long time dead” so chocky and bubbles are always close at hand.

Note for fellow Aussies:

Some of you may be interested to learn that ALIA is running a 200 word flash fiction story competition you can enter.  It starts with the story prompt ‘there was love to be found in the library’.

For more details and other ideas visit the ALIA website, where there is information about hashtags, avatars and God knows what else.