Wednesday, February 6, 2013


My apologies. I didn't intend to drift away like that. It just happened and the longer it went the longer it went. A bit rude really; sorry.

The end of the working year was hectic, and when holidays finally came I slid into a kind of torpor.  Doing the least became the pleasure, and we spent languid times together idling through the season - swimming (Sydney is really the most glorious water city), napping on hot afternoons under the ceiling fan, and then retreats to the country where the summer was fierce but manageable.

Against that background -

K's birthday party was wonderful.

Locals will remember the Aunty Jack Show in the early days of Australian television.

On keyboard in that clip is the irrepressible Thin Arthur, an escapee from the old dart with all that ebullient inherent panto style. There he was and here he is:

It all became a gorgeous balmy night blur.

Christmas happily came and went, New Year exploded as usual in the ritual that still manages to dazzle, and January slid past as the hottest month on record. Finally the rains came.

The boat ramp by the pool shining in the morning light:

The Angophoras in the gardens by the pool glowing in the late afternoon light:

A glorious day at Mackerel Beach with the birthday boy (now all has been exposed, though a layer or two down, some discretion retained) in the water taxi back to Palm Beach, Lion Island behind:

Francis Bacon is explored in a five decade retro at the Art Gallery. We have had little exposure down here to Bacon, Irish born of an Australian race horse trainer, whose transition from interior designer to painter of the disconnected and depraved was in the company of Roy de Maistre, later also lover to Patrick White who would arrive in London some years later. Recently I read that Marianne Faithful had declared herself to be have been born depraved, or something close to that, by which I think they both mean that they are not fooled by the superficiality of temporary beauty, the things of time and space, and have come to the realisation that the/their way to the truth is to confront the ego in all its ugliness. Bacon had no time for beauty. His paintings were reality as he saw it - "a concentration of reality and a shorthand of sensation". It was suggested he could live in Switzerland and avoid tax - an idea he rejected because of "all those fucking views".

Kubrick's 2001 A Space Odyssey was screened in the Concert Hall with the SSO and choir in great form - Ligetti, Strauss and Strauss fully alive and fully thrilling in a still remarkable and remarkably beautiful film. If he got anything wrong, it was the hostess's clothing, though I do love the velcro stick -on shoes, and that computers would get smaller, not bigger. We still watch it from time to time, at least once a year, and it has never looked or sounded so fabulous. The next most beautiful film to look at has to be Mulholland Drive - every frame a perfection of construction and light. We just watched it twice in as many weeks.

In the country things got bad. Sydney had a day of 46 C and while it was degrees cooler in the highlands, it was the smell of the dryness and heat, something almost approaching ignition point in the air, that prevailed. And there were no birds or animals. Nothing. Just heat.

I installed a fire safety bunker a year ago. The road out of this place, on the edge of a National Park, is a death trap, a photo on the front page of the next day's newspaper - a burnt out car in a charred smoldering landscape. The bunker is an earth covered underground concrete box and it feels like getting into a space shuttle when one climbs down and closes the hatch.

In the country, the night temperatures have dropped and there's soil moisture again. The King Parrots are never far away

and a lyrebird has been singing wildly just off the bedroom verandah.


Anonymous said...


David said...

Well, glad I checked the latent zone. What a panorama of all the enthusiasms you've presented to the world so far. Would that we could just drift away from our winter cares here for a week or two, though truth to tell it's been a very lively (possibly overstimulating) time.

I was surprised and delighted when we got 2001 with orchestra (the Philharmonia) for the first time. What tickled me was conductor Andre de Ridder having to impersonate Karajan at his most leisurely-lush, as that Blue Danube has to last as long as its sequence in the film does...

Must revisit Mulholland Drive for the lights.

Susan Scheid said...

So nice to see you there! I love Bacon's curmudgeonly comment about Switzerland. And it does seem that you've been having a grand time of it, despite the spate of heat Thought of you as I checked my calendar, as the next opera I'll be seeing is Parsifal, end of this month.

wanderer said...

Dear Ones, how lovely to hear your voices and as soon as this week gets dealt with I'll be up in the Nrthn Hemi quick smart. David, I've been keeping up enough to be with very much with you in spirit, and Susan, I've been thinking of you especially now I've discovered Molly Peacock and Mrs Delany for the first time.

Susan Scheid said...

Oh, Molly P. & Mrs. ,D--how delightful to be able to share this discovery with you! Amazing--and wouldn't it be wonderful to see those collages one day.

wanderer said...

I just knew it! We could meet at the Museum and discover their depths together, one day. Perhaps starting at the Magnolia grandiflora. And that big-name(s) Parsifal is one MET HD I will definitely be at (not till mid April down here).

David said...

Just been exploring Auntie Jack - what was all THAT about? Your pal at the party has HUGE charm: wish we could carry off these sorts of things with the Ozzie lack of self-consciousness.

Still, we'll have to try for our 25th later this year: English country dancing at Cecil Sharp House, donchaknow.

wanderer said...

"What was THAT all about?" is a very good question! Irreverence mainly, taking the piss, and fun, lots of fun. It was early TV days, black and white to colour. Jesus Christ Superstar days. There has been, I'm afraid, a loss of innocence. Something honest has been lost. Rory (thin Arthur) was/is fabulous, a natural, oozing charm yes.

We've been watching ourselves just now - the choir in the lift routine, the origami elephant, the beach rescue, the mouth organ courtship ...I'll put links up on the weekend (squeesed between two busy works days atm) if you'd like.

25 - how wonderful. (24 here donchaknow). CSH sent me googling. Happy Days David. Happy Days.