Thursday, January 22, 2009


Boy am I exhausted mentally. There has been some pretty in depth discussion going on around in the office on what is Art. And it pretty much came down to the same as beauty...its all pretty much in the eye of the beholder, which I can see. The problem I still have is about such things as Installation Art of which the English artist Damien Hirst is probably the best known. The picture above is of his 'artwork' "The Physcial Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living" which is a dead tiger shark in a tank full of preserving fluid and sold for US$8 million back in 2004. To me this is just a dead animal in fluid and belongs more in a science lab or natural history museum rather than in the Metropolitian Museum of Art in New York. Besides I would be asking for refund as the original shark was replaced in 2006!

It aint art.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Licking Cate

Each year Australian Post release a set of stamps to celebrate Australia Day. This years set of stamps features our recent Academy Award winners....Geoffrey Rush, Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe (Apparently the Kiwis are a bit upset about Australia claiming Russell). There are a few people around who have had their noses pout out of joint by these four being honoured in such a way (especially seeing they are all getting 24 carat gold replica of the stamps.)
Personally I quite like the stamps but for me Cate Blanchett continues to do it for me no end. Back in December she got a star on the walk of fame in Hollywood and said "I thought I'd be outside the men's urinals like five miles from here, but I'm outside the Egyptian which is also incredible to me."
Now with the stamp she has quipped again ""I am utterly, deeply humbled and chuffed by the fact that I'm a stamp," Blanchett said in a statement.
"I'm going to be licked by millions of Australians and I can't wait.
Well I for one can't wait either Cate! Such a pity we dont have to lick our stamps anymore.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Unappreciated Humour.

My mother in law is currently in hospital. There is a problem with her blood and iron count so she has been receiving a number of transfusions. The wife and I were visiting her on Monday when the nurse came in to start a new bag of blood....

Nurse to my mother in law: "Well Mrs Webster the Doctor tells me that you have the heart of a thirty year old."

Me in an attempt to bring a bit of levity to the situation: "Thats funny. I have the body of a nineteen year old...(pause) Yeah its in the boot of the car. Dont want to give me a hand to bury it do you?"

Nurse fixing me with a cold gaze: "You are a sick man."

Monday, January 19, 2009

Exciting Times.

I was born the year Kennedy was assissinated and can only just remember the moon landings. I cried for joy when the Berlin Wall came down and cried with grief on September 11. But today they will be tears of hope as Obama is sworn is as the United States President. I pray that he can carry the burden and his Presidency bears the fruit that it promises.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Good Grief, Charlie Brown!

Well good grief, it's been seven months since I have written anything on my blog. So the chances of anyone reading this are pretty damn slim!

My writing has been pretty thin on the ground over the past few months as writers block continues to be a problem. Although it may not be writers block, it could just be my hypercritical analysis of my own work. Everything I write seems to be as trite and worthless as Snoopy's "It was a dark and stormy night..." Here are just some tasty "gems" for your enjoyment:

The bees droned above our heads. Flitting in and about the heavy, white, Wisteria flowers that hung like stalactites from my sister’s patio.

For a long time I ignored my neighbours. I did not attend building management committee meetings or engage in idle gossip in the elevators.

The neon beer sign was a garish red and white that drew Stone's dark face into a number of sharp angled features.

As my hero Snoopy says...Good writing is hard work. Well so is bad writing.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Reminising On The 7:31 From Armadale

Ever had one of those moments when a scent, song or sound suddenly propels you backwards into your past? To a long forgotten memory that is suddenly recrystalised into clear, precise images, sounds, tastes and aromas.

The scent had hints of vanilla and jasmine and although it wafted to me on the train on a particularly wet and cold winters morning, I found myself sitting on the lawn in a caravan park, near the beach at the height of summer in 1969. '69 the year the 747 made its first flight, Nixon took office and of course man landed on the moon (yes they did!) and the fifty first year the mighty Subiaco Lions Football Club went without a Premiership! I was six years old and sporting a very short crew cut that inspired my father to run his hand across it and dub me "Prickle Head", a sobriquet that survives to this day. A name that when Dad uses it I know he is being drawn back also to a place of good memories.

It was my Uncle's, Dad's brother, caravan that we were all seated outside of in a circle. There were ten or eleven of us, if memory serves me correctly, perhaps more. My sister, Joanne and I, Bruno and Graham, the sons of my "Auntie" Clara, the aboriginal boy Alistair she fostered each summer, the three Chadwick boys from up the road, Wayne, Stephen and Ashley and my cousins Peter, Gordon and Bruce. All of us in our swimsuits, no shirts, no hats, no sunscreen. They were the days when we lived dangerously! Most of us were driven to the beach in cars, with no seat belts, rode bikes at home without helmets, threw rocks, ate dirt. It's a wonder I made it to this age!

We had spent the morning swimming and skylarking around and had danced, barefoot across the burning bitumen road to the cool, tree dotted caravan park for lunch. Which I suspect had consisted mainly of chicken and salad sandwiches as they tended to be the staple summer lunch time fare in the Blackburn household over summer. There was nothing better than that, being out and about, riding my bike, playing with my mates or just mucking around with dear old "Duke" (our dog) and coming home to a cold drink (or hot during winter) and something to eat, while Mum listened patiently to the stories of great adventure.

Then my mother, dressed in a white pleated dress with flowers, hibisucs I think, placed a large plate of cut up watermelon in front of us. She lent between Joanne and I to place the plate down and I can remember the smell of her perfume. Clean, clear and fresh, vanilla with a hint of jasmine. A scent that lodged in my olfactory memory bank that was triggered some thirty-nine years later on the 7:31 from Armadale.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


Oprah Gail Winfrey drives me nuts!

Oh the heresy!

Well not so much Oprah (although I do find her whole style to be ingratiating and condescending) but more those people that hang on every word of the Great O! The thing that irks me most noticeably is what has become known as the Oprah Effect in publishing. On the word of the Great O a book will rush to the top of the best seller list, all because Oprah enjoyed it???

Come on people think for yourselves!

The list of books in themselves is not bad. Also anything that gets people reading is wonderful. I am concerned that if those people who simply rely on Oprah telling them to go out and read this or that book, have the nous to understand Anna Karenina or Love in the Time of Cholera. Is this purely endemic of our continuing fascination with celebrity and our willingness to devolve our thinking process to others who are "smarter" than us?

It also begets the bigger and slightly more frightening question; Could Oprah turn the election in Obama's favour just on her word?

The power of the O can be seen in the message boards on her Book Club Website. "A New Earth" by Eckhart Tolle is Oprah's latest offering, has 25,669 seperate discussions which have been viewed 4,596,900 times, being run on the web boards!

I have to admit that I am now loath to buy a book that carries Oprah's Book Club sticker, simply as my own private protest against this kind of celebrity endorsement.