Saturday, July 09, 2011
I suspect that no gardener lives here. King Street, Sandy Bay. July 2011.
James Wright is one of my favourite poets. I can't comment on whorehouses in Wheeling, West Virginia...
In Response to a Rumor That the Oldest Whorehouse in Wheeling, West Virginia Has Been Condemned, by James Wright
I will grieve alone,
As I strolled alone, years ago, down along
The Ohio shore.
I hid in the hobo jungle weeds
Upstream from the sewer main,
I saw, down river,
At Twenty-third and Water Streets
By the vinegar works,
The doors open in early evening.
Swinging their purses, the women
Poured down the long street to the river
And into the river.
I do not know how it was
They could drown every evening.
What time near dawn did they climb up the other shore,
Drying their wings?
For the river at Wheeling, West Virginia,
Has only two shores:
The one in hell, the other
In Bridgeport, Ohio.
And nobody would commit suicide, only
To find beyond death
Friday, July 08, 2011
Home (to the left and upstairs) from mid-1996 until early-2002. Sandy Bay Road, Sandy Bay. July 2011.
Two very different books this week.
First up, Aharon Appelfeld's Badenheim 1939 is an odd, dreamlike novel set in an imagined Austrian resort town at the beginning of the Second World War as groups of middle-class Jews arrive to spend another idyllic summer vacation at an annual arts festival.
There is a fair whiff of Kafka in Appelfeld's restrained prose, and the incongruity of the characters’ struggle to maintain (simulate?) normality against the intimations of the approaching catastrophe. Although the reader has no choice but factor in the impending Holocaust as both the historical backdrop as well as its imaginative focus, the author deftly does so from surreptitiously and achieves a subtlety that you would think impossible.
The awkward ignorance of what is to come for the vacationers dominates this book. Spring is in the air and summer is about to blossom as the vast range of characters spend their days strolling among gardens, lounging in cafés, courting, swimming, gossiping and bickering as much as any other vacationer. The mounting tension (indeed horror), that any reader of this sensitive and elegant book will realise, is magnified by the fact that it is a reality that the characters simply cannot, or simply refuse to, see.
Despite the subject matter, this is a picturesque and ‘calm’ tale, and one told with delicate imagery and understatement. The narrative alters in much the same way the seasons do, in minimal and moving increments. Similarly, subtly and with seeming resigned acceptance, the townsfolk’s rights and choices are reduced and constrained: shops are closed, town gates are sealed, the postal service ceases operation. The fact that WE know where this is going to end up really does make you want to stamp your feet and shout out aloud, quite an achievement for such a quiet novel.
This really is a fantastic piece of work, and something that I can heartily recommend to anyone.
Second up is Aiding and Abetting. Murial Spark was 80 (!) when this book was released, so she could be forgiven if her formidable prowess as an author were dawdling. Thankfully, no forgiveness is required as her ‘imagined reconstruction’ of the circumstances of Lord Lucan’s disappearance are explored and – ultimately – reconciled.
There is no requirement to be familiar with the Lucan tale, as the template is a familiar one: issues of class, debt, avarice, murder, disappearance etc. Spark utilises her keen eye for moral ambiguities to explore a complex web of chancers, cads and con artists very neatly. It is not the perfect book by any means – for example, the hasty ending is a little too contrived for my tastes – but there is enough substance (and black comedy) to keep the tale rollicking along and her simple, sharp writing style is a fantastic respite from the many overly ornamental and convoluted literary darlings that you find these days. Recommended.
Thursday, July 07, 2011
It's all about your perspective. Marieville Esplanade looking up Napoleon Street, the Sandy Bay/Battery Point border. July 2011.
I always think that if you find yourself out and about armed with a camera and don't come home with dirty knees, you haven't done all that you can do in pursuit of a halfway decent photograph. Granted, the older I get the more difficult it is to get back up without straining some muscle somewhere or dislocating a kneecap, but are we not supposed to suffer for our art?
Now I'm not talking about nailing one's old fellow to a two by four or self flagellation atop a canvas. I just mean get down in the dirt and check out those parallel lines. Tired of another photo of the clouds? Try it lying flat on your back. You might be surprised at what you see if you mix you angles up a bit.
Wednesday, July 06, 2011
Henry relaxed as we head due South towards the Tasman Bridge in the water taxi.
[For those inclined, that is long-time comments stalker Roddy's arm in shot...]
Lord won't you save me because I sure have sinned... St George's Anglican Battery Point, as seen from King Street Sandy Bay. July 2011.
When I first moved down to Hobart I used to live directly opposite this church. It was lit up with spotlights all through the night and would ring its bells religiously every Sunday morning. ALL morning.
Christ it was annoying.
Tuesday, July 05, 2011
The closest we'll come to having a dog... The living room, Geilston Bay. June 2011.
A pretty pound puppy living in a Duplo duplex being fed bricks with a plastic pitchfork? Very much the only dog I will be letting in our house! Even that one was a loaner from Henry's kindergarten...
I'm more a cat man than a dog person. Dogs are always whining and begging. I've already got enough of that around the joint thank you very much.
Monday, July 04, 2011
One of the bonuses of the new place of work is that this park is a mere two minutes away (on foot)!
As you can see, Henry now feels as if he owns the place.
Self portrait during a lunch break. Russell Street, Sandy Bay. July 2011.
I do a reasonable line in obscure self portraits. If it is not shadow, it is a reflection. If it is not a reflection, it is a foot. Sometimes it is feet AND a reflection!
A foot viewed from different angles is essentially a different foot. Sometimes it just IS a different foot.
Of course, no one shadow is the same as another. Shadows come in all shapes and sizes.
Just as a reflection and a reflection can be very different beasts.
Sometimes you just happen to be in the right place at the right time.
Self-portraits can be deliberate, incidental or just plain unique.
Sunday, July 03, 2011
Ezra walks tall. Cremorne Beach, Cremorne. June 2011.
Like sands through the hourglass, these are the days of our Sunday Top Five. Honestly, days are seemingly shorter, time increasingly constricted and I find myself hurtling towards oblivion at a rate of increasing knots. Alas, one cannot avoid one’s self-imposed commitments so let me turn yet again to an inimitable and meaningful top five...
In a revolutionary reflexive result, I’m giving you My All Time Top Five Top Fives (Up To This Point)!
- Five Reasons That It Might Take You Five Minutes To Walk From The Corner Of Davey Street To The GPO in Hobart!
- McCracken's Tasmanian Tigers All-Time Squad!
- My Top Five Reasons Why Melbourne Is Better Than Sydney!
- Top Five Things That Australia Leads the World In (beginning with the letter ‘S’’!
- My Top Five Ever Karaoke Performances!
Ez, Jen and Hen hunt for crabs. Cremorne Beach, Cremorne. June 2011.