Fiona O’Loughlin – “Gap Year”

July 29, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | AUSTRALIANIA, THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

At the Arkaba Hotel, Friday 26 July 2019 **** One of Fiona O’Loughlin’s most famous (notorious) routines has her recounting a typical Friday afternoon, picking the kids up from school and then home, via a detour to the drive- through at Liquorland (“It’s Mummy’s time now.”) She spoke of leaving the youngest behind by mistake, and not returning to collect him (“how would that look?). The bit concluded with a wistful reference to sometimes seeing the little tacker at the wine emporium, complete with his specially-fitted Liquorland shirt. Several years on, and O’Loughlin’s act is not much changed – she…

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Crabb and Pyne In Conversation

June 14, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Australian Politics, AUSTRALIANIA, LIFE |

Old sparring partners

University of Adelaide, 13 June 2019 In the re-furbished Students’ Bar at Adelaide University, we gathered to hear a highly entertaining chat by University Alumni, namely former Commonwealth Minister Christopher Pyne, and Journalist / Presenter Annabel Crabb, with Anthony Durkin acting as Moderator. Katrina Bochner, a Judge of the South Australian Supreme Court, introduced the participants (skipping some of Pyne’s lengthy CV despite his enthusiastic prompting for more) and then a large crowd experienced the voyeuristic pleasure of eavesdropping on a relaxed, droll, indulgent and wide-ranging discussion of Law School life and beyond. Mr. Durkin, such an expert at this thing…

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We’re Over the Archibald

May 11, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, AUSTRALIANIA, Ulalume |

Comparisons are odious to the worthless - contrast Raphael's Portrait of Baldassare Castiglione with...

May 10, 2019 The Archibald prize, handed out by the Sydney-based Art Gallery of NSW, this year goes to Tony Costa, of Sydney (how convenient), for his portrait of Lindy Lee pretending to meditate. It has a vague similarity to a cartoon image from South Park. We’ve already weighed-in to this so-called competition and even given you the names of those responsible. TheVarnished Culture had hoped our pleas for decent fine art might be heeded, but in vain.  We expect to have had our last words on the subject.

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Les Murray

17 October 1938 – 29 April 2019 A canonical poet, Murray couldn’t be bothered either to hide his faults or his reactionary tendencies. As Peter Porter wrote of him: “A skewer of polemic runs through his work. His brilliant manipulation of language, his ability to turn words into installations of reality, is often forced to hang on an embarrassing moral sharpness. The parts we love – the Donne-like baroque – live side by side with sentiments we don’t: his increasingly automatic opposition to liberalism and intellectuality.” And in fact, his vast body of work is somewhat uneven and even, at…

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Intellectual Freedom

April 18, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | AUSTRALIANIA, LIFE, POLITICS, Ulalume |

From a recent judgment by Judge Vasta in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, Ridd v James Cook University [2019] FCCA 997 (16 April 2019): “Intellectual freedom is also known as academic freedom. It is a concept that underpins universities and institutions devoted to higher learning. Obviously such institutions must have administrators that care for the governance and proper direction of the institution. However, the mission of these institutions must undoubtedly be the search for knowledge which leads to a quest for truth. In reality, intellectual freedom is the cornerstone of this core mission of all institutions of higher learning. This is so…

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