Feature Week 33: Media focus II
We are privileged to have the support of many ambassadors from across the spectrum of media operations. In week 33 of the National Year of Reading, we continue our media focus and shine the spotlight on ABC TV's Peter Gee.Brigita Ozolins, The Reading Room, 2012, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery
Peter recently took part in 'The Reading Room', an art project by noted Tasmanian artist Brigita Ozolins. The instillation at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery in Hobart involved dozens of Tasmanians from all walks of life reading a passage from a book which was important to them. These readings were projected on the gallery wall, the other three of which were stacked with thousands of books which visitors were free to chose from and spend as long as they liked reading.
If you want to know more about the installation, take a look at Brigita's website:
Since 1998, Peter Gee has presented the week night 7pm news on ABC TV. He also contributes to radio bulletins on 936 ABC Hobart and ABC Northern Tasmania.
Peter began his broadcasting career in commercial radio in country Victoria before joining the ABC in the sports department in Hobart then Melbourne. In his role at the ABC, Peter worked as a commentator, interviewer and presenter on many national sports programs. He has had the good fortune to commentate at a number of international events including Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, World Cup Soccer, and Basketball and Athletics World Championships.
A keen sportsman, Peter enjoys playing cricket and golf and long distance running. His interests are not confined to sports, and include a love of music that has enabled him to take part in ABC Local Radio programs.
Taken back in 1971, the Sunday school prize picture shows Peter with his sister, brother and cousin after a Sunday school ceremony. Peter is holding his prize, a book called "The lion gate" by Leonard Cottrell. It's the story of the archaeological excavation at Mycenae. He still has the book and hopes to visit Mycenae one day.
The beach photo was taken on the beach at Sitges near Barcelona in the days leading up to the 1992 Olympic Games and shows Peter boning up on a bit of local history thanks to Robert Hughes.
Peter's thoughts on reading and the National Year of Reading
I've read to people every working day of my life. This year has enabled me to read to people I can actually see without the intermediary of a microphone or camera. In reading to school groups I hope to have engendered the sort of love for words and how they can be combined to create a story which so engaged me as a young boy.
Being a National Year of Reading ambassador has also given me a connection with people who can actually write stories, people of whom I'm very jealous.
Peter's reading habits
- Are you a constant reader or are there times when you don't read at all? I read in fits and starts. There are times when I'll finish one book and immediately start another and there are other times when I won't open a book for a month. These periods of reading inactivity usually coincide with major sporting events on television like the Olympics or Tour de France.
- Do you have a favourite genre?
My favourite genre is music biography. I devoured Mark Wilkerson's biography of Pete Townshend, 'The life of Pete Townshend', and it's 644 pages long. I usually wouldn't even start a book which was that big! If I was capable of putting into words what I feel about music then I would have written '31 songs', not Nick Hornby.
- What's the book you've read most often?
The book I've re-read the most is Albert Camus' 'The outsider' (only 120 pages) and I've only re-read it once. There are too many good books I haven't read at all to spend time on ones I have. Plus I'm afraid I'll spoil the magic I remember from that first time round.
- Which book is by your bedside right now?
I always have at least two books on the go at once and my bedside table is particularly weighed down at the moment with; 'Peter Pan and Wendy' by J.M Barrie, 'A luminous future', an autobiography by a neighbour of mine Teodor Flonta, 'The Shakespeare Code' by Brenda James (it's been there for a year) and 'Cyclopedia' by William Fotheringham.
- What's your perfect holiday read?
My perfect holiday read is usually a book about someone else's holiday or life in a foreign country; so as I happen to be on holiday while you're reading this (Sept 2012) I'll be reading 'The accidental renovator: a Paris story', by Barbara Biggs.
- What was the last book you borrowed from your public library?
The last book I borrowed from The Hobart Public Library (LINC) was a biography of Matthew Webb. It's by Kathy Watson and is called 'The crossing: the glorious tragedy of the first man to swim the English Channel'.
- Do you skim the boring bits or read every word?
I've never understood how people can skim through books or jump ahead to find out how it ends. I have to read every word in order - hence there are a lot of books I've never been able to finish, for example, James Joyce's 'Ulysses'.
- What's the first book you can remember reading or having read to you?
I particularly remember being read Kenneth Grahame's 'The wind in the willows', by my grade one teacher Mr. Brown. The whole school - I went to a rural primary school with a maximum of about 15 kids - was gathered around the wood heater on a dark winter's day and it was as if we were in Badger's house, deep in the Wild Wood.
- Do you have a favourite book from your childhood?
My favourite book from childhood is Alistair MacLean's 'Where eagles dare'. MacLean's stories or war time derring-do really awakened my love of reading.
- Estimate the number of books you own. I estimate I own 750 books plus the ones I've leant to people and will never get back. I weep for those every day.
Peter's favourite reads
'The outsider' by Albert Camus
I'd never read anything like it before and probably wouldn't have if not for it being a required HSC study text. Camus gets you inside the skin of this rather nondescript character and with words manages to make you feel like you too would be left with no other option but to pull the trigger.
'Illywhacker' by Peter Carey
I grew up just outside Geelong where much of this novel is set so feel a natural affinity for the landscape. As I remember it some of the passages in the book are simply breathtaking. I can't check as my copy was stolen on a bus in Collingwood in the late 80's - luckily I'd just finished it.
'Waterlog: a swimmer's journey through Britain' by Roger Deakin
This is a classic of a genre of just one. Swimming has taken on a whole different meaning for me since reading this book.
Want to know more?
- If you are interested in finding out more about Peter and his program, go to the ABC website:
- If you want to find out about all the National Year of Reading ambassadors, go to our ambassadors page:
- Other featured ambassadors can be found on the ambassador feature week listing: