Tim Burstall, the celebrated director of Stork, Alvin Purple and numerous other definitive ‘ocker’ comedies, is credited with shaking the moribund Australian film industry out of its torpor. But long before that, in the early 1950s, he began keeping a diary to record the world of the group of ‘arties’ and ‘intellectuals’ he was living among in Eltham, then a rural area outside Melbourne, where cheap land was available for mudbrick houses and studios, and where suburban rigidities could be mercilessly flouted. Burstall was in his mid-twenties, with two young sons and an open marriage with his wife, Betty. Eager to become a writer, to go against the grain, he kept a record almost daily-of the parties and the talk in pubs and studios, about art and politics and sex, of Communist Party branch meetings and film societies, of political rallies and the first Herald Outdoor Art Show. Somehow, while holding down a public relations job in the Antarctic Division and juggling his love affairs and obsession with the beautiful, brainy Fay, he wrote 500 words almost every day. Betty, according to the diaries, kept the show on the road, feeding friends after the pub, milking goats and working in her pottery making bowls and mugs, which Tim sometimes decorated at weekends. These Memoirs of a Young Bastard, as Burstall dubbed himself and them, are among the most evocative Australian diaries of modern times. Burstall can write. He has an eye for the telling detail, an unerring ear for cant and pomposity and, most endearingly, an ability to mock himself-always from the perspective of a bloke of his generation.