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21 March 2017 |
Danny sang of farm labourers, poachers, mariners, union martyrs and miners. He did not simply perform the songs - that would be too much like exploiting them. His aim was to help preserve them. When he introduced a song it was clear that he had great respect for the tradition in which he fitted and that he had done extensive research into the song's provenance. The songs were important because of how they recorded aspects of working class life which mainstream histories might neglect.
19 March 2017 |
Martin Flanagan and David Adès
This hunger that gnaws endlessly in my guts will be the death of me, but is the life of me, because in braving yourself to the emptiness something is born, something happens. Watch and observe, tell the story well, make it an expression of your sanity, which is otherwise at risk from waves generated by the outside world and past regrets.
13 March 2017 |
When she fell, at last, out of this life, I caught him as intended, solid as belief ... eyes raised, palms turned to Mecca, his fixed magnetic pole. A Vienna bronze, perhaps 1920s, most likely a Jewish workshop - a fusion of metals and cultures, before Holocaust, West Bank or Gaza; a figure in robes, on a small carpet, its yellows and reds realistically creased, his sandals ... Aesthetics ranked high in her life - a second, earthly religion - all the style she could afford in the world her parents had fled to.
05 March 2017 |
Susil Pun and William Okello Kadima
Once upon a time it used to be a beautiful city. Suddenly it turned into a yard of sorrow and pity ... No matter which area, nobody ever suffers like people did in Syria.
28 February 2017 |
Notes that humans cannot hear include the sound of thylacines crying in a van diemen forest, a dodo's plaintive shuffle on a nearshore kiwi island, a mammoth's woolly orgasm on an ecstatic arctic tundra, an esperance dog weed's silent transpiration, the rumbles of a gastric brooding frog giving birth by burping - these things are far too late for caring. Things we need to see and taste include the surging milk of human kindness, the euphoric rainbow of random caring - these would make a nice day nicer.
23 February 2017 |
Squarely back into the school year, dinner conversations with our kids have included strategies for dealing with bullies. A 2016 survey of 20,000 Australians students found one in four respondents reported being bullied, and bullying 'was more common for year 5 students and year 8' - the grade levels of our boy and girl respectively. I'd love to be the 'parent nonpareil', with the right words and advice, but it's not that simple. The variables of personality and situation mean there is no easy, perfect answer.
19 February 2017 |
Observing the decades long incident is unbearable - although they have fallen beautifully time is not on their side, their ideals are consigned to fire. But do we care so little that when the fates convene and humans fail sumo-sized jelly fish and yellow crazy ants and ubiquitous spiders will be all that's left? Do we care so little and think we are free of all our debts? Did we think we were never so needy as to sell our dreams?
13 February 2017 |
A school mate of mine had a sister called Edith. I wondered why Edith didn't go to our school. 'Edith doesn't look like us,' I told my mother. 'No,' agreed mum, 'that's because she was born different from most people. But she's quite happy, and her family loves her. Babies bring their love with them.' Edith had Down syndrome. I know now my mother had a point: such children as I have observed in the long years since I knew Edith have been happy and loved. But it's not always the case.
12 February 2017 |
The chimneys of various shapes and sizes on the priest's houses next door, have not spumed since the winter, and in and around St Patrick's things like that might seem symbolic. Will fires ever be lit there again - lest the people speak - the ribbons spliced up and down the wrought iron railings, rattle in the brisk autumn breeze, telling stories of love, suffering and endless disharmony, broken trust, send messages to those in the passing traffic ... better the devil you don't know ...
05 February 2017 |
Narrow, pointed arch entrance, low vaulted ceiling, stone and wood panelling - here four murderers walked over 800 years ago to rid their king of a meddlesome priest. Amidst singing and candlelight at Vespers, Thomas Becket stood at the Cathedral altar, knowing the armoured knights were coming: 'Here I am, not a traitor of the King, but a priest. Why do you seek me?' After their clamouring and brandishing of hatchets and axe, he knew his fate, bent his head in submission.
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