The Aerodrome

February 17, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Fiction, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS, WRITING & LITERATURE |

(by Rex Warner) (1941) Prima facie, this is a poor book: clunkily written, slurpily edited, wildly uneven, as devoid of depth in characters or the forces moving them as any book can be. And yet, it has something; it tackles the great theme of the 20th Century, and beyond – totalitarian cohesion and ‘cleanliness’ vs the chaos and mud of ‘normal’ humanity.  And the dry, deadpan way in which high tragedy and low comedy are presented here seem in a screwy authentic way to mirror the keep-calm-and-carry-on fashion of the time in which it was written. Roy (i.e. Rex) is…

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Eurovision Australia 2019

February 11, 2019 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | AUSTRALIANIA, Modern Music, MUSIC, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

[Eurovision Australian Heats, February 9, 2019.] Since Australia’s first Eurovision entry in 2015 Guy Sebastian’s “Tonight Again’, we have cheered Dami Im (second in 2016 (she was robbed)) and have cringed at Jessica Mauboy, notably referred to by ‘The Spectator’ magazine as a ‘vast caterwauling aboriginal‘. Finally we antipodeans have had the opportunity to vote (as if it hasn’t all been decided beforehand) on our entrant. The final, from the appropriately kitsch Gold Coast, Queensland, was shown on SBS and hosted by a chipper Joel Creasy (“trilingual” in English, Millenial and Drag-Queen) and an uncomfortable Myf Warhurst in unflattering hot pink. Each of the…

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Bohemian Rhapsody (by Lesley-Ann Jones)

“Bohemian Rhapsody.  The Definitive Biography of Freddie Mercury” (by Lesley-Anne Jones) (1997; recently re-issued) This biography (not to be confused with the 2018 film Bohemian Rhapsody – click here for our review) is a sympathetic look at the life of the Queen front-man, from his lonely boyhood as Farrokh Bulsara, diligent Parsee schoolboy at an Indian boarding school, to his lonely death at age 46 as Freddie Mercury, adored British rock star. Some of those from his Zoroastrian background do not see this as an upward trajectory – his cousin Diana said, “He gave up his family name.  He did not…

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Seiobo There Below (Laszlo Krasznahorkai)

Rublev's 'Troika"

Whereas Krasznahorkai’s  The Melancholy of Resistance  is a profound and hilarious whole, Seiobo There Below is a profound and melancholic collection of vignettes.  Each of the 17 short fiction pieces (numbered on the Contents page according to the Fibonacci sequence*) captures the inexpressible numinosity of artistic creation, the quality that lies just beyond our ken.  Krasznahorkai contemplates the ineffable in a heron’s stillness, the impossibility of comprehending the Acropolis, the ritualistic carving of a theatre mask, the never-resting practise of Noh, the magnificence of the Venus de Milo. A man’s insanity becomes manifest upon a viewing of Rublev’s Troika (or is it…

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North by Northwest

January 5, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, FILM, THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

Staged at Adelaide Festival Theatre, 4 January 2019 (Directed by Simon Phillips) (1959 film directed by Alfred Hitchcock) Everybody knows the story: Manhattan Ad-man Roger O. Thornhill is mistaken for a (non-existent) government agent, kidnapped, framed and chased across the country by Cold War heavies. Hitchcock’s romantic thriller is a classic, featuring legendary scenes such as the interlude on the train to Chicago between Thornhill (Cary Grant) and Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint), the attack on Thornhill by a crop-duster, and the chase over the Mount Rushmore monument. And besides Grant and Saint, there were James Mason as a suave villain, Martin…

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