Sunday, 31 October 2010

It has been raining

View over Melbourne from Mount Dandenong
It is hard to catch rain drops and bubbles.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Mortality at the BMW Edge

Dr David Suzuki is a biologist and an environmental activist, he has an energy in him, that captivates the audience when he talks and holds us interested, no matter how uncomfortable the chairs. He has such a calming aura/feeling/presence. And is also good at using humour as a tool to get messages across.

He talked about how we are all connected to the world around us, the air we breathe, every breath we take, and the water we drink, and how the water and the air interacts with our body and disperses around the world due to entropy and the water cycle. And as a consequence polluting the world means polluting ourselves.

On a side note, the 'elements' fire, earth air and water have an understandable mysterious connection to the human being. I remember hearing about a study that even today many adults when asked what makes up an atom's electrons and protons will reply; fire, earth air and water.

Two questions were interesting in a weird way and so I though that I would try to answer them myself. Question 1, to paraphrase; is Dr Suzuki preaching to the converted? I am not an environmentalist activist, so in my personal case, no. No. It is so easy to forget, we need, well I need, some one to remind us to think about how we can help the world.

The second question was: how should we live our life. And at one stage I was also hoping that Dr Suzuki would tell me how to live my life, but he didn't, and I guess any choice I make is a choice in my head and in my heart, and would be more powerful than doing something that someone orders or suggests for me to do, would an audience go away and do things just because someone told us to?

I think the big thing is syntheses/application. What can I do? Think of water, waste and energy consumption. Having coffee outside with work, listening to my colleagues talk about buying air-conditioners, thinking why, I've never had one, is it needed. Installing solar panels, fruit and vegipatches, public transport, there are things to do. Cutting down on paper in my office - done, but can do more.

"Every breath you take, Every move you make, Every bond you break, Every step you take, I'll be watching you." - The Police.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Photo of the day

Memorial at Jindabyne. Photo by me.
The text says: This memorial is dedicated to the Irish men and women who worked on the construction of the Snowy Mountains Scheme.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Am I alone and unobserved

I saw Patience by Gilbert and Sullivan performed by an amateur company on Saturday. The stench of urea starts the performance with 'Twenty love-sick maidens wee'.
SFX: Phone rings. "What's that ... only one 'e' you say ... you sure ... if you insist ... well I guess it does make more sense... thank you."
That is, I mean, 'Twenty love-sick maidens we'.

There were good things in the performance and there were bad things in the performance. I particularly liked the colonel, the major and the duke.
SFX: Phone rings. "No I'm not being biased ... I know that I've met the colonel ... yes I have done shows with the major ... look they did a good job, ok?"
Ladies Angela, Saphir, Ella and Jane were also good.

But I don't understand having chorus members who don't sing. Give me feeling. Give me sound. And why aren't some of those lines sang fortissimo? I am sure the score calls for it. It is also very noticeable when on the first exit the last choir-member exits holding the tune beautifully, letting the final words and emotions cascade into the audience, when the next time the same choir-member is the fifth last to exit and the last four are not singing at all, so all you get is a muffled line of song off stage which does not convey the emotion or the story.

Costumes were nice. It is amazing how much good costumes can help, or perhaps it is amazing how distracting bad costumes can be. Saw a performance of something with horrible uniforms, it was really really distracting, especially when they were singing about pride in the uniform. And while I'm whingeing: Why do audiences in G&S shows, clap after each song? I can understand if it was a brilliant solo - but is it really needed after every song? And why are G&S lighting plots always white wash?
SFX: Phone rings. "No I don't want to buy any white king"

I feel that G&S needs military precision.
SFX: Phone rings again. "What's that ... yes I know that the saying is surgical precision ... military works better with my argument ... the male choruses are always policemen, in the navy, or dragoons ... look, can you please stop interrupting."
G&S needs military precision. Military precision with feeling. Tell the story. Let the audience hear the words, otherwise its just mush.

I like Patience, it might be one of my favorite G&S collaborations, and there were good moments in it, but unfortunately some horrid ones as well. Or perhaps I've just been spoilt, grown up with grandparents who would play an immaculate version on video when ever they could. Want to see the Mikado now.

The meaning doesn’t matter if it’s only idle chatter of a transcendental kind.
And ev’ry one will say,
As you walk your mystic way,
“If this young man expresses himself in terms too deep for me,
Why, what a very singularly deep young man this deep young man must be!”

Friday, 15 October 2010

Keating the Musical

This is not a political post. You can like Keating the Musical no matter what side of the fence you sit on, but I get a bit idealistic at the best of times…

Thanks to JR, I’ve just been exposed to ‘Keating the Musical’ which is a great story and picture of the Australian federal political scene in the ‘90s. There was great comedy with Kernot and Evan’s duet, great satire with Howard’s songs, but the part that touched me the most was Paul Keating singing ‘The Light on the Hill.’

They're counting up the votes across Australia
This time it seems the verdict is severe
Swan, McEwen, Fadden, Dickson,
Bass and Paterson and Kingston
But it's Oxley with the message, loud and clear

The Light on the Hill – From Keating the Musical

I remember watching the ’96 election, seeing 29 seats change hands from the red to blue, and hearing those words be put into Keating’s mouth, makes it so very poignant.

Also knowing where the eight electorates mentioned are and knowing the history of McEwen and Oxley, I think probably makes the song more moving for me than possibly others.

There are 150 seats in the lower house, I could name a fair few, and tell you where others are if you tell me the names, but I think that most Australians just do not know what their electorate is, yet alone the others around it.

But still I dream
That the stars will be aligning
As our fates are intertwining
Until every heart is shining with goodwill
Shining like the light on the hill,
Shining like the light on the hill.

I’ll dream of the day that 150 members can work together and not fight like spoilt children. I’ll dream of a day, when the political map of Australia is full of many colours, especially greens, reds, yellows, blues and greys. Until every heart is shining with goodwill.

You can sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow too.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

I've been to the theatre

The Melbourne Fringe Festival, is a time of acting, seeing, dancing, singing. A happy time, but a bittersweet time as well, as you can never see every performance that you want to.


The testimony of the minotaur, feels like a court case, with Matt Crosby as the minotaur pleading his case to us, the audience, as the jury. It is a story that waxes and wanes with sanity, passion, thought, feeling, hunger and pain. Matt was excellent, the ultimate story teller, swaying between these poles beautifully. Keeping us gripped the entire time. I loved the performance, would have liked to see it again, and want to see the next edition of Matt’s 101 stories.

Under Milk Wood

I had to see Under Milk Wood, as I fell in love with it when I acted in it a couple of years ago. Under Milk Wood is a play for voices, over sixty characters come alive through Dylan Thomas’s picturesque, exquisite words.

Hush, the babies are sleeping, the farmers, the fishers, the tradesmen and pensioners, cobbler, schoolteacher, postman and publican, the undertaker and the fancy woman, drunkard, dressmaker, preacher, policeman, the webfoot cocklewomen and the tidy wives.

It is a beautifully challenging piece with a cast of 17. But with a cast of one I would have thought impossible. But that is what Zoe Lodge has mastered at the Melbourne Fringe Festival. In a tiny room in the North Melbourne Town Hall we were transferred to Llareggub. It was amazing how all the characters were given their voice, easily distinguishable from each other, with conversations between multiple characters delivered superbly. It was hilarious, clever, thought provoking – I would love to see anything acted by Zoe.

And the suddenly wind-shaken wood springs awake for the second dark time this one Spring day.
- Dylan Thomas 'Under Milk Wood'

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Photo of the Day

Iron statute of bird on cow, at the Daylesford Convent - Artist unknown.
If any one knows the sculptor please let me know.
Photo taken by me.