Friday, October 4, 2013


I am now back in the big smoke for a few days where if nothing else the dog gets to meet old friends twice a day in Centennial Park, our only significant big green oasis and which like most other parks just can't be left alone. I don't mean maintenance and the like. I mean chipping away at the most unspoiled areas, once were wild places, of creeks and fallen trees and refuges from human interference.

The grassy belvedere, built up fairly recently on the top of the hill overlooking Federation Valley

(January 1, 1901, Federation Valley)

on what used to be a tumble down unspoiled corner of the park, is now being rased and the terraces under the pine trees which are leased to a major movie distributor for summer film nights are undergoing considerable redevelopment. It is all part of the leasing of public space to keep the revenue flowing in the face of dwindling Government funding about which others have strong feelings, too. By the way, the pine trees have gone.

So what a joy and skip of the heart there was to find in the late afternoon light in the woodlands not far away something beautifully simple and simply beautiful. Peace and tranquility indeed.

The elements are rocks and pine cones decorated with floral parts from the coral trees and tufts of white flowers from a wild shrub scrambling along a nearby creek.

I was immediately reminded of Derek Jarman's "Paradise haunts gardens" and his rock circles.


Susan Scheid said...

Ah, yes. "Paradise haunts gardens, and it haunts mine."

Anonymous said...

The increased commercialisation of public parks is dispiriting, to say the least. Same also applies to the Sydney Opera House's costant pimping of its public spaces and the renting out of Martin Place to any comers.

I know it all comes down to money.

"You can't just lock up this public asset as green space," says Mr Boundy, the Botanical Gardens and Domain Trust chairman.

Hullo? I thought that was exactly what you were supposed to do - at least so far as they are to be "locked up" in the sense that the availability to all of the green space is the point of the exercise.

Mr Boundy went on, commenting about the sidelining of Professor Maberley as director, condescendingly acknowledged by Mr Boundy as "one of the world's best botanists in his specialist fields." Professor Maberley and the Trust, said Boundy, were "moving apart."

"We found there were mutual discussions about our needs and his needs....Our needs are more about running a business."

As opposed to his about, I suppose, running a botanical garden. (Though there seems to be an attempt here to imply that Maberley's needs spring from academic vanity and self interest.)

Ah - Australia - open for business!

wanderer said...

Derek Jarman is worth quoting here Sue:

"The word paradise is derived from the ancient Persian - 'a green place'.

Paradise haunts gardens, and some gardens are paradises. Mine is one of them."

He goes on to name and shame some gardens that deny paradise, and gives praise for shaggy. "If a garden isn't shaggy, forget it."

One of David's best recommendations, that book (along with Alone in Berlin, if you're reading this David).

wanderer said...

Well sourced M. Also today comes this bombshell - the resignation of Jan Gehl from Barangaroo. Curse that Casino. Can anyone tell me one good thing, just one, that a casino has given humanity? K's mother says the Packers were always bullies, still are.

Wasn't Gehl the consultant Clover Moore brought in years ago to advise on Sydney with the major recommendation being making George St the spine of the CBD with light rail, pedestrians etc. That it is happening at all is another Clover victory though the tories will claim it as theirs but they're not fooling me, nor history I hope.

David said...

Alas, the fragility of public spaces. I mean, neither of us has to face what the valiant people of Istanbul refuse to tolerate near Taksim Square, but we too have our problems: Hyde Park constantly commandeered for money-making gigs, closing off my usual route for weeks on end, and now the private company which manages it (who knew?) wants to charge for sports use. One of many petitions against which I've signed.

Is that your pic of Derek's garden? I can't remember you telling me you'd visited. If not, it's an expedition we must all make in June or July, one I love so much (tho' I can't get J on a bike around the Romney Marshes, so you won't be subjected to that...)

wanderer said...

David, it's a pic I saved at the time we were talking about DJ before my copy of the book arrived and now for the life of me can't find from where it came - naughty, no source, mi scusi.

Bile riding days are fading into the dust of the past, more's the pity.

We've been to a big gig in Hyde Park (Peter Gabriel - he used to be K's first UK distributor!) and the heavens opened. The state of the arts in the USA (if you've been following) is dire as like green paradise places, there is no money for such heavenly pursuits.

Susan Scheid said...

How well I remember. The source for my quote is John Metcalf, here. It's through his piece, Paradise Haunts, that I became aware of Derek Jarman's garden. In the wonderful way these circles of communication work, I think I mentioned the piece at some point, David noted the book, and you rushed out to buy it! I'd love to see that garden sometime.

Susan Scheid said...

And now I've found the post on which the conversation I've noted occurred Not 100% as I remembered it, but pretty close.

Susan Scheid said...

Whoops: Neglected to put the link in code. It's here. (It's worth revisiting; many hilarious detours on the way to the garden . . .)

Susan Scheid said...

Me again, this time on your "state of the art in USA" comment, which, am I right in assuming refers at least in part to the NYC Opera bankruptcy filing and the year-long lock-out at the Minnesota Orchestra, which has resulted in Vanka's resignation? Both are tragic, and at least the latter seemed as if it should have been avoidable, though hard to tell through the scrim of reporting. There is plenty of money out there that could be put toward the arts, but we all know how that works. Such a shame. (One of the particularly bizarre stories about the NYC Opera is here on the "Anna Nicole" effect . . .

David said...

Bile riding? We all have to keep trying to keep on top of the spleen...

Let's all meet up and go to Derek's garden, pardners and all, next summer! If only you two (four) could coincide.

I think I commented on a rather disgusting piece by the usually temperate Ivan Hewett in the Telegraph writing that American orchestral musicians were overpaid so the Minnesotans were just being greedy not to take a whopping pay cut.

It's very sad what's happened there - though as you know I am no Vanska fan - and to NYCO which has done so many interesting things. Now to see what the 'Anna Nicole' effect is. I gathered that, like the musical play Enron, it met with American anger at Brits spoofing their lifestyle.

wanderer said...

Thanks for the back story Sue, where it all began, and maybe still be running, yet. I well remember.

For all the 'style' of his garden, he helped me regain the garden as a place of peace, not a suck hole of work, which is the despair I fall into sometimes when faced with the entropy of it all (Entropy Park here, and all is a lot of all, like acres of all), to be embraced and thanked. Thank you Garden.

Another insightful look at NYCO here. Brilliant.

wanderer said...

David, actually I enjoy Vanska, completely idiomatic the few times I've heard him live, but he is my go-to-man for Sibelius (except perhaps the Violin Concerto). Anyway, It's not about him, but about the Wotans and their gold. See link comment above to Sue about NYCO.

The final Walse Triste is very sad.

We are looking at next year. There's a meeting in Stockholm first week in June I'd like to get to, but still much uncertainty about going at all, let alone when and where. K is a Scot to his blue striped cheeks (K C Wallace R no less) and quite perked up at the mention.

David said...

Yep, I know it wasn't about Vanska, but still I say he's my go-from man as far as Sibelius is concerned (inorganic, jumpy and hits the climaxes in the wrong places).

Not quite sure about the K as Scot reference - did you mean he'd like the idea of Stockholm as a northern man? It first occurred to me that you might think Dungeness is in Scotland, but you wouldn't, of course...

wanderer said...

Well your initial thought was correct! Oh we are so attuned to the phonetics of things down here not to mention ignorant.* It just sounded like it was, or should be in Scotland, and of course the distance is but a blink to we who drive for days for a good cup of tea. Quite disappointed now.

* This reminds me that I read this morning Mark Twain's comment that God invented war so Americans would learn geography, with apologies to travelled Americans from one who doesn't know Kent from Findhorn.

David said...

But that means it's only an hour or two away from US, so we would be much more likely to join you. The South of England, and not just its 'garden' Kent, is a wondrous place...

And while my knowledge of Australian geography isn't too bad - ie I know where all the major towns and cities are - much of American between east and west coasts is a mystery to me. Reading Steinbeck's Travels with Charley was a good education, but there should have been a map in there.