The Merry-go-Round in the Sea

(by Randolph Stow) The great Australian family-at-war yarn. The scene of Rick and Jane on the beach is the literary high watermark of dates gone wrong.

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The Last Confession

Karol Józef Wojtyła was born on May 18 (1920) and we take the opportunity to remember The Last Confession, a papal election drama that suggests mere mortals can somehow connive their way to the right result… (by Roger Crane) (Australia, 2014) The Pope is dead.  Long live the Pope.  And his election shall be the wish of God, even if the processes seem all-too awful and human. This is a fascinating account of the serpentine path to that puff of white smoke which signals the supposed will of God.  These Cardinals are wily, sly, two-faced and yet somehow, they seem to genuinely…

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Annabel Lee, Miranda & Stevie

Annabel Lee, Miranda, Stevie, and Lesley (image by Stephen Reid)

Greetings and a warm welcome to  Lesley’s blog,  the part of The Varnished Culture which is girly, crafty and sort of ethereal.  Our muses are Stevie Nicks, Joyce Carol Oates  and Lily Cole.  Our poem is “Annabel Lee”  –  a poem by Edgar Allen Poe – Stevie  does an otherwordly,

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Bluesfest

(2014) Touted as Australia’s premier blues and roots festival, Bluesfest is really an eclectic gathering of the available great and good. The Varnished Culture only made Monday’s gig and a list of acts enjoyed will give you an inkling of the variety: Joss Stone, Michael Franti & Spearhead, War, KC & the Sunshine Band, Booker T Jones, the Beards, Chain and climactically, Elvis Costello & the Imposters. When Booker T recalled how young he was in 1962 when he wrote ‘Green Onions’, it occurred to the V.C. that he was not only older than most of the crowd but most…

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Vale Gough Whitlam

Gough Whitlam

Vale Edward Gough Whitlam (11 June 1916 – 21 October 2014) After the Australian Labor Party failed to win the cliffhanger federal election of 1961, in which it won no seats in Victoria, the leader, Arthur Calwell, failed to quell the left’s hatred of aid to non-government schools that lost it a stack of votes among working class Catholics. Eventually, on 8 February 1967, having not held the reins of power for the better part of a generation, federal caucus turned to Whitlam, who stared down the Victorian State Conference in June of that year (saying of their electoral death…

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