Almanac Life: Ten Personal Favourites


Ten Personal Favourites


Favourite composer: Mozart. From the precocious compositions of his childhood, through to the Requiem left unfinished at his death at the age of thirty-five, his work is never less than wonderful, and indicative of someone worthy of the name of Amadeus, beloved of God.



Detail of portrait of Mozart by his brother-in-law, Joseph Lange, oil on canvas, 1782. Mozart Museum, Salzburg. [Source: Wikimedia Commons.]


Favourite English king: Henry VIII. In many ways, particularly before the latter part of his life, he was a highly impressive figure of the English Renaissance: author, poet, multi-linguist, musician and athlete. Severe injuries in a jousting match in January 1536 left him in ongoing pain and certainly contributed to considerable psychological distress, as well as physical and general personal decline.



Portrait of Henry VIII, after Hans Holbein the Younger, oil on canvas, after 1537. Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, England. [Source: Wikimedia Commons.]


Favourite songwriter: Paul McCartney, one of the greatest melodists who ever lived. Ever. Throw in Schubert, Mozart, whoever you like. Bob Dylan has said Paul is the only songwriter he is ‘in awe of’. (McCartney, incidentally, has said something similar about Dylan, too.)



Paul McCartney, 2018, with his signature Hofner bass guitar. [Source: Wikimedia Commons.]


Favourite novel: The Great Gatsby. To my way of thinking, a sublimely beautiful poem of a novel; in writing terms, not a false step is taken by F. Scott Fitzgerald. And anyone who says they have never had strong feelings for a beautiful, charismatic but fundamentally ‘unsuitable’ young woman like Daisy Buchanan is kidding themselves.



The Great Gatsby, cover of first edition, retouched. [Source: Wikimedia Commons.]


Favourite food: crayfish, virtually however it comes. You can dip it, cook it with garlic butter sauce, boil it then place it in the fridge, to be later put in white bread sandwiches … whatever the case, it remains glorious crayfish.



Cooked crayfish with dill. [Source: Wikimedia Commons.]


Favourite thoroughbred horse: Northerly, well-nicknamed the ‘The Fighting Tiger’ for his sheer guts, especially when digging deep in a close finish – but best horse on pure ability, the undefeated Black Caviar.



Northerly, with jockey Mark Flaherty, 2004 Turnbull Stakes. [Source: Wikimedia Commons.]


Favourite jockey: Melissa Julius – lean, likeable, and good-humoured, the epitome of a fine country woman and horseperson. Maybe I like Mel so much because she reminds me of some of my female cousins from Victoria’s Western District, where she does much of her riding.



Favourite pacer: Ride High, winner of sixteen out of eighteen starts, but it looks like injury has prematurely sent him to ongoing stud duties. Potentially, anyway, the fastest standardbred I’ve ever seen. In mid-2020, to provide one example, he broke the track record for the metric mile at Bendigo by two and three-quarters of a second, which is almost thirty metres – running 1 minute 49 seconds flat, unextended, after racing two or three wide for much of the trip.





Favourite red wine: Best’s Great Western Thomson Family Shiraz (obviously to some degree vintage dependent). The year of the one I drank, at the time, rated better than 47 of the 50 Penfolds Grange shirazes up to that stage, according to one of Australia’s best-known wine writers. (Plenty of other highly honourable mentions in this category, of course.)



Best’s Great Western Thomson Family Shiraz. [Source:]


Favourite white wine: Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough, NZ). This wine sings to me of beautiful New Zealand and its pristine natural world, though that may have something to do with the Cloudy Bay bottle’s highly stylish and iconic front label!



Cloudy Bay, Marlborough, New Zealand. [Source: Wikimedia Commons.]




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Kevin Densley is a graduate of both Deakin University and The University of Melbourne. He has taught writing and literature in numerous Victorian universities and TAFES. He is a poet and writer-in-general. His fifth book-length poetry collection, Please Feed the Macaws ... I'm Feeling Too Indolent, was published in late 2023 by Ginninderra Press. He is also the co-author of ten play collections for young people, as well as a multi Green Room Award nominated play, Last Chance Gas, which was published by Currency Press. Other writing includes screenplays for educational films.


  1. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says
  2. Kevin Densley says

    Hi Swish. Hope you’re going along well.

    I’m not sure what you’re getting at in your response (above), but I will say I particularly enjoyed writing that previous article about my favourite no-longer-available food item and reading the various responses to it. Today’s article is in quite another category, of course, in that it concerns a wide-ranging set of very different ‘favourites’. I hope you enjoyed reading it.

  3. Best’s. Always enjoyed their reds.

  4. Kevin Densley says

    Yep, JTH, I don’t think I’ve ever met a Best’s Great Western red that I didn’t like – and like the Thomson’s Family Shiraz, The Bin 0 Shiraz is an out-and-out Oz classic, as you’d know – maybe ever moreso as it’s more widely available.

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