Australian Classic Fiction

The Varnished Culture thinks some Australian novels are worthy of the whole world: An Imaginary Life (by David Malouf) The Book Thief (by Markus Zusak) Capricornia (by Xavier Herbert) The First Man in Rome (by Colleen McCullough) Gould’s Book of Fish (by Richard Flanagan) The Harp in the South (by Ruth Park) The Magic Pudding (by Norman Lindsay) The Man Who Loved Children (by Christina Stead) The Merry-go-round in the Sea (by Randolph Stow) My Brilliant Career (by Miles Franklin) My Brother Jack (by George Johnston) Oscar and Lucinda (by Peter Carey) Picnic at Hanging Rock (by Joan Lindsay) Power Without Glory…

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Patrick Melrose

January 16, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

"We've taken Aqaba."

(Directed by Edward Berger) (Showtime, 2018) Patrick Melrose is a poor little rich boy with issues.  Why does he abuse substances so spectacularly?  Why such a jaundiced eye towards Mummy and Daddy? Why the failed relationships, the ferocious anger, the lurch at self-destruction? Well, we do find out. Edward St. Aubyn’s five novel-trajectory of Patrick’s story is compressed into 5 hour-long episodes, starting with a catastrophic journey to New York to collect father’s corpse and get on the junk.  Benedict Cumberbatch has a lovely time as Patrick: he’s flip, witty, manic, and sad. As we whizz, so very briskly, through…

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The Art of Stalking

January 15, 2020 | Posted by Guest Reviewer | ART, FILM, MUSIC, WRITING & LITERATURE |

The New South Wales Police Force offers this regarding the crime of Stalking: Stalking is a crime…and…includes: ‘the following of a person about or the watching or frequenting of the vicinity of, or an approach to a person’s place of residence, business or work or any place that a person frequents for the purposes of any social or leisure activity’.  Stalking involves a persistent course of conduct or actions by a person which are intended to maintain contact with or exercise power and control over another person. These actions cause distress, loss of control, fear or harassment to another person and occur…

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John Wegner – Abschied

January 13, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | MUSIC, Opera, OPERA, WAGNER |

John Wegner AO (16 January 1950 – 17 November 2019) The great Australian Heldenbaritone, John was born in Germany and came to Australia at the tender age of 5.  He started working life as a teacher, but became involved in amateur musicals in his spare time. This led to a choral part in Meistersinger for Australian Opera, and he later joined the company (initially as a Bass) at the behest of Richard Bonynge. Eventually, he became a prominent Wagnerian, here and across Europe: inter alia, Klingsor in Parsifal,  Wotan in the 1998 Ring in Adelaide (and at Düsseldorf), Telramund in…

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Elegy for Miron

December 31, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | LIFE |

Miron (28 October 2000 to 14 December 2019) There was no corner of our house Not under his regal command; Of the dozens dead, no mouse Ever did escape as planned, He ravaged the rodent underworld And waged a ceaseless war on string But mostly spent his work-day curled And drowsy, disdained anything. A sullen cloud would billow in, Announcing the hour in which to dine; We would watch, all in a spin To hope he would declare as fine His meal, and after yawn and stretch He left the plate, drained of desire, And goose-step’d, claws unsheathed to fetch…

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