Category Archives: Storytellers

Storytellers – Coach Charm and Marty Filipowski

We welcomed Coach Charm to talk about some of the travels and challenges that swimming has brought her. Charm needed little introduction, a former BBC Club Captain, former Storyteller, famed for her initiative ‘the Charm’s 500’ which has attracted a growing following and most recently appointed joint BBC Club Member of the Year!

Balmoral training

Charm was joined by Marty Filipowski who earlier this year became the 100th swimmer to successfully swim the Cook Strait. Marty and Charm have teamed up previously for Marty’s other swims namely the English Channel, Catalina and Manhattan. We were also joined by Marty’s partner Sonny who provided an insight into being involved in such endurance swims without actually participating.

Storytellers Sonny, Marty and Charm

Before we gave the floor to Charm, Marty and Sonny we began with a little bit of audience participation as we sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to regular attendee Alan Gill, who had recently turned 80. Mention was also made of Hilarie Lindsay, sister of Dallas, and daughter of Arthur Dyson, one of the original Smugglers, the founders of the BBC. Hilarie who turned 95 on the day of our meeting for once was an apology. Certainly a rare occurrence indeed for Hilarie to miss a Storytellers meeting! Continue reading

Storytellers – Charles Maclurcan ‘Wound Up the Cat and Put the Clock Out’

Charles Maclurcan

Many of those present at the March meeting were brought up listening to the radio. In England popular broadcasts like The Archers, Mrs Dale’s Diary, and those wonderful comedy shows such as Kenneth Horne, The Goons and my favourite Tony Hancock’s ‘Hancock’s Half Hour’ ( … who of course had that wonderful episode THE RADIO HAM) were remembered fondly. Radio was the common factor and our Storyteller for the night was the grandson of one of the real radio pioneers Charles D Maclurcan, engineer, businessman, hotelier and a pioneer in the development of wireless radio in Australia from his grandson, John Maclurcan.

Storyteller supporter Judith Pearson kindly recommended John as a speaker describing him as ‘an interesting character and never lost for words’. To say John is ‘an interesting character’ is an example of English understatement. John possesses a great knowledge of Mosman, vintage cars and is the brains behind the current handicap system for all yachts in Australia and much more.
John is also an historian and has written some significant books on his unique family and found in his spare time to have write books on the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron where he is the youngest ever Life Member.

John was joined by Jane Arakawa, a producer and presenter on Northside radio 99.3, who had produced a radio documentary on Charles Maclurcan.

For those members and guests that braved the foul weather it was a most entertaining and educational evening to see how far Radio has come. We were treated to a well prepared tale delivered by John without any notes, though accompanied by a selection of photos and audios which included a 12 minute radio interview with Charles Maclurcan in 1944. Everyone marvelled at Charles’s beautiful diction. We also listened to a famous stage celebrity of the day Josie Melville who had broadcast for Charles to a lot of fanfare – we had a little sing along to “look for the silver lining’. Continue reading

Storytellers – “Miss” Gwyn Perkins

“Miss” Gwyn was our guest storyteller for the first meeting of 2017.

We spent a most entertaining evening hearing about Gwyn’s successful career as an animator, cartoonist, illustrator before moving to an island north of Sydney to enjoy a slower pace where he also added, gardener, dishwasher and soon to be author to his CV. He can now boast he’s a storyteller too!

Gwyn was born in Melbourne and came to Sydney after winning a cartoon competition in
Go Set magazine. He won one guinea, a box of paints and had his name printed as Miss Gwyn Perkins. He left school after completing year 11. He is a self-taught artist whose career of over 30 years as an Animator won him FACTS Best Animator of the Year Award three times and an International Award for Animation. His work includes animated commercials for every product from finance to sheep dip. Continue reading

Storytellers – Today’s Film Industry and the Golden Years of Australian Swimming

The last meeting of the year had a jam-packed agenda and top room with 100+ attendees. Lucas Webb, son of Chris and Helen, began proceedings with a lively and most entertaining presentation about how he began in the film industry.

Lucas Webb

Lucas left for LA when 20 after a stint at Sydney Uni then Canberra Uni doing communications. They had 2 x United States placements, Boulder, Colorado and Pepperdine, Malibu. As a son of a surfer and family of beach lovers naturally he chose Malibu. After graduating he set about getting his first job in the film industry. Eventually Lucas met the Head of HR at Endeavour. She asked why she should select Lucas as against all the Ivy League graduates. “I am a hard-working Aussie kid who needs a break”. She said “Lucky you … I’m engaged to an Australian … you got the job”.

After a year his Visa ran out and despite the offer of a sponsorship, Lucas wanted to expand his horizons and to see more of the World so he moved to London. Further good fortune as he met a Disney executive. They had created a London production unit to make modestly budgeted English language movies to emulate Working Title comedies like Four Weddings, Notting Hill and Bridget Jones. It was a good time and Miramax, Disney’s prestige label founded by the Weinstein Brothers was bringing Oscar winners from Pulp Fiction, The Crying Game to the English Patient. Eventually there was a restructure. The man who ran Disney UK moved to New York and promoted Lucas in London to become the UK executive, and the eyes and ears of the local scene.

Lucas shared several anecdotes about the film industry including a one about Steven Hawkins with his first viewing of The Theory of Everything. “Sentimental but largely accurate”. He then whetted our appetite with an insight into future movies such as Churchill. Oliver, The Famous Five, Nell Gwynn and Johnny English 3.

It was great start to a big night and Lucas was the most entertaining of speakers.

Julie Goodsir, Jon and Bonnie Henricks

To set the scene for our next speaker Olympian Jon Henricks, some video footage was shown of the 1997 Balmoral Baths Centenary race which involved the BBC and several other teams racing a star studded Olympic Champions team, followed by some short footage of the British Empire Games, Vancouver 1954. Continue reading

Storytellers – 15th November

The last meeting for the year on 15th November promises to be memorable and most entertaining one.

Film Producer Lucas Webb (son of Chris Webb) will talk about the film industry today, particularly in Britain where he is based. Lucas has worked in the Industry for
fifteen years in U.S. and England and is currently V.P. Development, Working Title Films.

Past BBC member Jon Henricks will then speak about his part in the golden age of Australian swimming (not sure it has ever stopped). Jon was the first male Australian 100 m Olympic Gold medalist ,1956 Olympics Melbourne, and member of Australia’s finest Olympic swim team in the last century, 100 m record holder 1953 to 1956, triple gold medalist Commonwealth Games 1954 and proud member of the Balmoral Beach club 1973.

Just turn up (friends most welcome), sit back if you’re early enough to get a chair, and be entertained.