Saturday, February 19, 2011
Achtung! Wenn Sie auf diesen Zaun klettern, wirst du sterben. New Town Oval, New Town. February 2011.
Everywhere you go there is somebody ordering you about. STOP! WAIT! CAUTION! OBAY! DON’T! NO!
Never once do they say please. I’ve not seen a THANK YOU, WELL DONE or CONGRATULATIONS.
It’s not good enough.
It's Dark in Here, by Shel Silverstein
I am writing these poems
From inside a lion,
And it's rather dark in here.
So please excuse the handwriting
Which may not be too clear.
But this afternoon by the lion's cage
I'm afraid I got too near.
And I'm writing these lines
From inside a lion,
And it's rather dark in here.
Friday, February 18, 2011
Men do not differ much about what things they will call evils; they differ enormously about what evils they will call excusable.
How is it that ME – the one who is up early each day, out into the bitter and cruel world slaving away on the chain gang each day – is the one who has to get up early on the weekend to make pancakes for this bunch?
As fair art thou, my bonnie lass, So deep in luve am I: And I will luve thee still, my dear, Till a’ the seas gang dry. St Johns Park, New Town. February 2011.
I’m ahead of the pace to knock over 85 books this year. With 15 down, I’ve only another 70 to go!
This week, what a pearler to begin with!
Despite all the awards she one (including the Nobel), and all of the esteem that she’s held, I’ve only just read my first Toni Morrison novel. I figured that if I was going to explore her oeuvre – oohh err missus – I’d go right back to where it started…
The Bluest Eye is Toni Morrison's first novel. It covers a year in the life of a number of young black girls in against the backdrop of America's Midwest in the years following the Great Depression. Like a lot of stuff written in the late-1960s, the shifts about a number of characters, as well as a third-person, omniscient perspective. However, (unlike many novelists in the late-1960s) Morrison has the skill to pull it off effectively. In fact, her use is a great example of how such a device can aid in constructing a depth of characterisation rarely seen in such a challenging (in terms of subject matter) tale.
Without giving the game away, the novel explores ideas of ‘beauty’, particularly those that relate to racial characteristics, gender, race, deprivation, historical memory, the sexualisation of youth, and the determinants that shape individual’s character, choices and lives.
It’s a wonderful book, and one in which the author expertly (and seemingly effortlessly) recreates a world populated with rich characters so far from one’s own to a degree rarely seen. Even more so, she has avoided the clichéd exercise of the literary expression of ‘victim as martyr’ or ‘misery as entertainment’.
I could not possibly recommend it more highly.
So Long, See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell is a lovely, silent little novel. Telling a story from the American Midwest in the 1920s, it weaves a couple of interconnected stories in a wonderfully restrained and magically evocative meditation on the past.
It is a hard book to speak about without giving too much away, but I can heartily recommend it. The art of rendering a heartbreaking intimacy in such a subdued way has rarely been matched in my experience.
The third this week also comes with some pedigree, Ian McEwan’s Amsterdam winning the 1998 Booker Prize. A good old fashioned morality tale, filled with moral choices, moral responsibilities, the decisions that are made and the consequences we face.
A world inhabited by a group of egotistical men connected by a shared lover (the funeral at the beginning). A newspaper editor struggling with turning his broadsheet into a tabloid, an eminent composer faced with the task of writing a ‘millennium symphony’ (three years early), an odious Foreign Secretary (and would be Prime Ministerial challenger) and an aloof millionaire widow.
A fine read that should be enjoyed by misanthropes the world over.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
With all due respect to Machine Laundry Café – part coffee bar/part laundrette – the pancakes that I make are never left unfinished…
Revolutionaries do not make revolutions. The revolutionaries are those who know when power is lying in the street and then they can pick it up.
Dude looks like he's wearing a truss! Argyle Street, Hobart. February 2011.
Sometimes it seems to me that the world has been reduced to people wanting stuff, people getting stuff, people wanting more stuff, people getting more stuff, people getting rid of stuff, people complaining about stuff, people bragging about stuff, people needing stuff.
Were people always like this?
Was there always this much stuff?
Was there always such a focus on stuff?
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Like the British Constitution, she owes her success in practice to her inconsistencies in principle.
But this time before you run to her, leaving me alone and hurt. Think it over. St Johns Park, New Town. February 2011.
I'm aware of where you go, each time you leave my door. I watch you walk down the street knowing your other love you'll meet.
But, is her sweet expression worth more than my love and affection?
After all, I've been good to you. Think it over. After all, I've been sweet to you. St Johns Park, New Town. February 2011.
I've tried so hard, hard to be patient. Hoping you'd stop this infatuation. But each time you are together, I'm so afraid I'll be losing you forever!
I've known of your secluded nights. I've even seen her maybe once or twice… St Johns Park, New Town. February 2011.
What on Earth is going on here?
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
If I could bottle a wave… Opossum Bay, January 2011.
I sometimes wonder about people. For example, I know somebody who expends an awful lot of time and energy ‘pretending’ to do their job. They sweat at it. It seems to trouble them no end. Elaborate and exaggerated flourishes are performed to ensure that everybody around is aware that they’re ‘hard at work’.
It does seem like hard work. I think that it could well be bringing on an ulcer.
What I don’t understand is if such effort, such exertion is required, and it’s carried like a huge weight upon the shoulders, why not actually do the job?
It’s a novel thought, I know. Radical, even.
I wish that I could overcome the (mutual) embarrassment and suggest it. I suspect that truly ‘doing the job’ would be far easier than the task of ‘pretending’ to do the job.
Monday, February 14, 2011
We really need to get back there.
One day when it’s not so windy.
Or if it is, during a storm.
An electrical storm.
That’d make for some photos.
Get Henry in the water with a metal umbrella.
The process of galvanisation has proven useless against the harsh Hobartian weather. New Town, February 2011.
I am very tired.
Very very tired.
Sometimes I feel like that bit of tin atop the shed in the photograph.
Coffee isn’t doing it, and grapefruits are very expensive at the moment.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Oh the heady and happy days of Christmas morn!
It all seems so very long ago...
Will we ever know such bliss and joy again?
If you'd take your head home and boil it for a turnip it might be useful. I can't say. But it might.
Heavy cloud cover in the east. St Johns Park, New Town. February 2011.
Like the clouds hanging wearily over this tired old land, my year(s)-long commitment to drafting a Sunday Top Five looms over my head like the sword of Damocles.
What can I catalogue today? What unspoken five might possibly emerge from the gloom?
To fit the temper of the times, how about I share with you My Top Five Favourite Shades Of Blue?
- Cobalt blue
- Cornflower blue
- Prussian blue
- Duke blue
So go on then, what shade is your favourite?