Saturday, June 25, 2016

Little Nightingale (said questionly in whispered voice)

It was 6.9C degrees when I arrived in Melbourne around 9.45 am this morning and as I've said before, almost too cold to be out in the weather, it was much better and tolerable when the sun finally peeped through the clouds.
Flinders Street Station 25/6/2016. Photo Julie Clarke, taken on my Windows Phone
I specifically went into the city to see the exhibition and 14 minute animation called The Nightingale and the Rose by Del Kathryn Barton at ACMI and it was worth being out in the cold. The exhibition has extensive, exquisitely drawn images for the animation and other associated artworks and was a real pleasure to view. You really must go and see this, its free, however a warning; it's quite sad. What is love, if not the feeling that your heart has been pierced by a thorn? Below are some stills from the animation, remember it' all hand drawn. Bye the way 'Happy Birthday Nan', you've been gone forty years but I always think of you on your birthday.
Stills from DKB animation by Julie Clarke

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Another long walk

I walked nearly four kilometers today, from my place in Richmond to Federation Square, around Melbourne and part of the way home. I met up with Leonie Osowski at 11am and we had coffee outside the Arts Centre, then we talked and had a long lunch of sushi in Capital Arcade. The sun was out briefly this morning, but it was very cold walking and so I stopped off to have a hot chocolate near Jolimont Station and then I walked through the Treasury Gardens, which looked absolutely beautiful. I enjoy walking and there were not many people around when I walked part of the way through the gardens. Of course, there was the usual tourist buses lined up outside Cook's cottage. It was a cold, but most enjoyable day. Leonie, if you are reading this, enjoy Tasmania. I'll see you on your return.

Fake Tradie

Everyone knows that most people who are negatively gearing a housing property have a win, win situation, for not only are they having their mortgage on the property paid off by renters who aren't in the financial position of being able to purchase their own property, but they are also able to offset any tax they are required to pay on their own wages by this negative gearing. A report by the Grattan institute reveals that the top ten percent of earners have 50% of negative gearing tax deductions, three quarters of taxed capital gains. Those on higher incomes receive the largest share of tax benefits from negative gearing.
Which brings me to the 'fake tradie' add currently being run by the coalition government. I can only assume that they have used the 'fake tradie' to appeal to workers out there perceived to be the 'salt of the earth', 'real aussies' who get their hands dirty, you know, those in the construction industries: carpenters, plumbers, brickies, plumbers, electricians, forklift drivers, blue collar workers, those who do manual labor, though I can't imagine any of them going to work wearing a gold bracelet, as this 'tradie' is shown to be doing. The tradie, presented as a battler, says he's just trying to get ahead, but hey mate, you are already ahead. There's evidence to suggest that blue collar workers are the 'new rich', for tradies and construction workers earn an average of $1229 per week, $144 more than those working behind a desk, coupled to a computer.
The appeal here is that 'we' traditionally associate these workers with a time long past when there was housing affordability and the dreams of Australians to walk into a job after leaving school was still a possibility. The advertisement is intended to evoke a nostalgia that comforts the population at a time when there is no comfort or security. A time when one woman per week is killed by her male partner or husband, a time in which women still earn only 80% of the wage of a man doing a similar job, where you can study at University and still not be guaranteed full time work and security. A time in which, on any given night in Australia one in 200 people are homeless and nearly 23,000 of them in Victoria. Where the waiting list for public housing is twelve long years. Oh yes! It's a 'very exciting time to be an Australian' (Malcolm Turnbull's words, not mine) as long as you are part of 'the mob' that wealthy people belong to.
And, talking about money and houses, why is the coalition proposing to hold a Plebiscite on marriage equality rather than (as Labor says they will do) introduce a bill to the house that by all accounts would pass without much fuss? A plebiscite will cause a debate in our society at the expense of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and intersex folk who just want to be able to marry those they love, it will also cost approximately $525 million and this amount of money could be used to fund 5,000 new pubic housing units and by doing so employ many tradies as well as mitigate the pressure on low income individuals and families currently paying high rentals.
Malcolm Turnbull called a double dissolution because the Senate failed to pass a bill to reinstate the Australian Building and Construction Commission, which was dissolved in 2012 and was responsible for monitoring and promoting workplace relations in the industry. So, I can only assume that the 'fake tradie' add is directed towards workers concerned with issues that surround trade unions, whilst making a grab for these workers away from the labor party that has strong links with the trade union movement. The coalition wants to bring back the ABCC to investigate trade unions, Labor wants big business and banks to be investigated. It's nine days until Polling Day and I know on which side of the desk I'm sitting and I also know that it's vitally important to maintain Independents in the Senate.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Films and Molly Meldrum

It's almost too cold to go out, so I put on four layers of clothing and stepped gently around the sticky wet leaves on the ground. The past few days of rain and the sudden winter chill has made outdoors an obstacle course not for the faint hearted. I saw a wonderful German film called Pheonix at ACMI on Saturday, interesting use of silence or rather, absences of dialogue throughout the film and a great plot that circulated around facial reconfiguration and identity (or lack of it) and today I saw The Wailing, a Korean film with references to The Exorcist and other horror movies you might have seen, except this film combined humor and horror and I wasn't sure how to feel given this unusual combination of bumbling police officers and strange, mutilated bodies, the Japanese other, Shamans and demonic possession. I've also just met Molly Meldrum. He was sitting in the Richmond Plaza with a friend and accompanied by his young, male carer. I told him I'd only ever seen him one other time in the two years I'd lived in Richmond and that he was recognisable as an Australian icon, to which he replied that he thought he was an 'Australian nuisance'. He had lost weight since the first time I'd seen him and looked really well. What a lovely, softly spoken man. It was interesting finally meeting him. I've fed the doves that are always hungry and I've looked at the hundreds of leaves that need sweeping up, but I'm not going to attempt to do that, because it will be almost impossible. So, I'm glad to be home with the heater one. Keep warm folks, I'm about to make a spinach, tomato and cheese quiche.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

VCA 50th Anniversary Film and Television school

The medial and lateral ligaments in my right knee are still troubling me after that long walk, however
I spent about an hour and a half today at the VCA 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Film and Television school, which began with the jazz/soul big band Deans of Soul.

I purchased a small film cannister from the VCA garage sale with the intent of doing something 'arty' with it, since I'd used a larger one before in an artwork I made in the earlier 90s and then I headed upstairs to watch some of the short films in the VCA Digital Archive. The half a dozen I saw were amazing and I particularly enjoyed the one, based on a true story about a boy who had to deliver a letter after his Timorese clan were being attacked by mercanaries and the film with the white haired young boy who rode in a shopping trolley down the main road, with various consequences. Unfortunately I can't remember the name of the film or the film-maker, however, the imagery was memorable and here's a shot of one of the frames.
After that, I ran into Martin and Maggie McCormick and spoke briefly, I had coffee at Chocolate Ganache in Collins Street (resisted having any chocolate), looked around the shops and came home. It's been  another cold day, but I guess all Melbourians know that.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Walking, walking in the rain

Yesterday I had intended to go to the beach, but the weather was bleak, so I got off at Clarendon Street, South Melbourne, looked in the op shop and ate my lunch at the fish and chip shop. It was extremely cold, about 11C degrees and it had begun to rain, but I was not going to be put off having a nice long walk, so I strolled along and looked at the shops, walked under all the bridges that make up City Link until I reached the Casino.

My coat, hat and gloves were wet so I took refuge in one of the foyers until I warmed up and then I headed off again to attempt to find Swanston Street. It's all a bit of a maze for a pedestrian at that end of the city and half way I must admit I really didn't recognise where I was but managed to make my way down behind the ABC where I ran into Jenny Powell (Riff Raiders - hard rock band) whose married to Marty, my son's cousin. We talked for a while and then I walked to the NGV and saw the glass mirror maze installed in the entrance.

After ten minutes or so I walked to Federation Square and took a photo of the large Theremin, which was emitting some wonderful sounds. On reflection, the cold was unpleasant but I loved, walking, walking in the rain.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Self portrait photo first for 2016

First photo I've taken of myself this year. Some of you who haven't seen me for a while may be a little shocked by the way I look, but I can assure you that the weight loss was intentional and I'm 21 kilos lighter than I was in 2014. I've maintained this weight for the past 14 months.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Update on Green Frog

At my son's request, I rang Wildlife Victoria and asked their advice as to what to do about the little green frog I've been keeping warm and providing with water. They informed me that many people had telephoned them of late and since the frogs, which come from Queensland are harboring various diseases we don't want transmitted to the frogs in Victoria, I should contact the Melbourne Zoo who are placing them in quarantee. I guess I'll ring them tomorrow if the cute, little darling is still alive