I think there is a possibility Syd may be a spy

Greetings Stargazers,

As the Moon, Mars and Jupiter aligned in the night sky over the last few days, this week’s conundrum became apparent: to share or not to share secrets? For an undisclosed length of time I have been holding on to a Syd secret: I think there is a possibility Syd may be a spy, an undercover man, a just call me James, James La Faber – agent 006.75.



Rubbish! you say. Then, allow me please, to make my case:

Within the dark and dimmed halls of spydom I have always considered refrigerator repair men and retired art teachers to be the most likely cover stories for secret agents. Would you suspect your refrigerator repair man or indeed, a retired art teacher of being covert activity? I certainly would not. Syd = retired art teacher. I sense you are conceding my point here.

The Syd accent: which is now perfectly Aussie. Syd – educated in Singapore (the backstreets) then on to England and after blitzing the Art School (traditional recruiting ground for all English spy types) for many years Syd taught art in England. Posh accent required n’est ce pas? A necessity. For the sake of survival in the English Public school system it must be. So, after some time, post Kilby and Profumo and the whole damn thing, and for reasons not identified, Syd transports to WA without said posh English accent – he comes, he says, because of the weather. I ask you: what is wrong with English weather?



How did Syd convert so easily to the indistinguishable Aussie accent audible in today’s dulcet tones? I’ve googled: there are currently no courses overseas (in Britain anyway) specifically training people to speak English with an Aussie accent so don’t even think about what was happening back then! That England couldn’t, in those days, win a Test Series to save their lives is an insufficient reason for most people to abandon an English accent overnight. Conclusion: secretly, he was trained in aussie speak before he arrived on the shores of WA – it’s the only plausible explanation.

More about cricket later…..

60s – 70s: Petrov has been sent home – it is perceived by foreign powers that Australia needs new spies . Slam dunk! Syd is already here, in deepest cover, eager, trained and ready to take up covert agency.

Meanwhile, closer to home, SA is British atom bomb central with all sorts of politics and top secret things happening after the Brits blew up Maralinga and left – I watch the ABC shows so I understand this is true – and, on cue, Syd migrates to SA. To teach art. In public schools. Long hair and quasi trendy hippie clothes, he looks the perfect art-teacher-as-spy part (see the Persuaders: Roger Moore & Tony Curtis for the BBC). How easy is it to send coded messages encrypted within adolescent art pieces? Easy peasy pudding and pie I reckon.



More about cricket….he barracks for Australia against England and Singapore. Amazing! A perfect cover story if ever there was one. Now fluent in Aussie culture he could almost umpire an AFL match. I give you Syd La Faber:

The MAN from Mitcham: Multiple Incognito Transitions of Character Across Municipalities…– the man with the coloured pencils. I rest my case.



Listen to Syd’s interview with Sanya on this blog and see if you can pick it. I could!


Spring is close and SALA is over for 2020. There were a few sales which is heartening. Many, many thanks to all participants in these unusual times.

The Pop Up Shop is up and running: we will be there for all of September. Please visit and support your local Gallery community, make yourself happy and browse away. All purchases will assist local artists and Gallery One. When you visit we will ask you sign a visitors’ form and leave a contact number. COVID 19 regulations require us to do this. Your contact numbers will not be stored by Gallery One and will only be used as a trace mechanism if it is needed.



The Book Worm

Left Bank Waltz – The Australian Bookshop in Paris, by Elaine Lewis


Staying close to home this week I have been reading a lovely book loaned to me by Sanya, Left Bank Waltz – The Australian Bookshop in Paris, by Elaine Lewis. Autobiographical, it ever so gently tells the story of how Elaine Lewis dreamed of owning a book store in Paris featuring Australian writing. whimsical and full of good humour she recounts the trials and tribulations and all the joy she encountered along the way to realising her dream. Left Bank Waltz is a soft read, full of nostalgia, about people who became friends and of how two cultures can meet and appreciate each other’s differences in an unlikely yet heart-warming way.


Video of the Week

Syd La Faber


Play the video or watch in on YouTube


Photo Credits

Provided by Syd and https://www.pexels.com/@caleboquendo top secret

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