Thorngrove Manor

January 21, 2021 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | AUSTRALIANIA, TRAVEL |

(January, 2021) Sometimes in this crazy epoch, you feel like heading for the hills.  Fortunately, if you live in or come to Adelaide, the hills are 10 minutes away. And you don’t have to sequester yourself in some hut like Ted Kaczynski’s cabin: instead, take the M1 Freeway from town to Thorngrove, between Stirling/Aldgate and Mt. Lofty and the townlet of Crafers. The Manor is a Gothic Revival dream – a kind of Strawberry Hill – but with its own bespoke design features that make guests feel they are King and Queen of the castle. The angels are in the…

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“Definitely a Vermeer”

January 18, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART |

(Johannes Vermeer, c. 31 October 1632 – c. 16 December 1675) The Master of the Domestic Interior Scene lit by a side window, akin to Trollope’s novels in their chronicling of ‘small beer,’ Jan Vermeer was the greatest Dutch painter along with Hieronymus Bosch, Pieter Brueghel the Elder, Rubens, Frans Hals, Rembrandt, Jan Steen and Vincent van Gogh. The purity of his forms, figures, objects and in particular, light – the peerless and meticulous precision with which he rendered quiet goings-on in modest Dutch dwellings – make his imitation of created nature (natura naturata) by a complete encapsulation of a…

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Black Angel

January 17, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Roy William Neill)(1946) *** This obscure Universal film noir is rather odd in an intriguing, almost surreal way. A blackmailer, Mavis Marlowe (Constance Dowling), ex-wife of part-time pianist/composer and full-time drunk, Martin Blair (Dan Duryea), turns up strangled in her apartment, one of Blair’s songs reverberating on the record player. Blair was on the spot earlier but the Doorman, under instructions, told him to go jump, whereupon he went on a bender of epic proportions. Meanwhile, Kirk Bennett, a poor sap who’s been having an affair with Mavis, visits, but finds her dead and busily incriminates himself by…

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A Different Anthem

January 11, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Australian Politics, AUSTRALIANIA, POLITICS |

[Thoughts toward a final reconciliation of, or reckoning with, the Australian peoples, written in dejection at the news Melbourne’s 2021 Australia Day parade has been cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns, whilst an “Invasion Day” dawn service will proceed, with the support of Melbourne City Council.] [We hope that the following thoughts do not fructify – Ed.] We have nominated our preferred date for Australia’s National Day of Celebration/Commiseration, and now consider possible alternatives to the current national anthem, recently adjusted by bureaucratic fiat to substitute “young and free” with “one and free” to suit the present generation’s designer mood. This…

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Cat’s Cradle

By Kurt Vonnegut (1963) *** Something of a succès d’estime in reverse, this book won admiration for its bleak humour, deadpan reportage and sci-fi elements, until the rot set in and everyone realised that it wasn’t hugely good, with its glib, jerky, episodic micro-chapters, cardboard characters and terrible snatches of verse. Vonnegut was not yet really a novelist; Cat’s Cradle is not really a novel. But here Kurt is an accumulator of ‘bits,’ an amasser of literary bitcoin, and some of his stock is quite brilliant.  His false religion, Bokononism, owes something to Spinoza, but with typical jokey authorial touches…

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