March 4, 2018 | Posted by Guest Reviewer | TRAVEL |

By David Astin [Our thanks to David for this comprehensive article.  He is an ‘old Cuba hand’ and knows more about that fascinating island than any travel agent (or ‘Smart Traveller.’).  The Varnished Culture has had its reservations about Castro and his legacy, although there’s no denying that he had genuine passion and guts, but we still mean to go to Cuba, and David’s piece is an invaluable source for those who do.]   I am not going to go into the Cuban political situation, much as I disagree with it. That is not what this article is about. This…

Continue Reading →


February 5, 2018 | Posted by Guest Reviewer | FOOD, Restaurants, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

4 East Terrace, Adelaide, (8223 3885) February 2018 The Old Continent meets the Dark Continent in this funky, uber-trendy gourmet kitchen which is crowded, noisy, but full of interest, including pretty and witty decor. The staff shoot from the hip, but at least they are hip when they shoot, and they know (and love) the bill of fare. The trick is to sample the full flavour of the veldt without over-ordering. Over a dry champagne, we plumped for a starter of crispy eggplant with chilli and shallot sauce. This arrived under a duvet of what appeared to be dessicated coconut…

Continue Reading →

O Glorious Jeremiad

December 20, 2017 | Posted by Guest Reviewer | Modern Music, MUSIC |

"The Nightingale is Singing" by Mikhail Nesterov

The Varnished Culture’s collection of Sad Songs As Elton sang, ‘sad songs say so much,’ and they serve a number of purposes – soothing the soul, topping-up our empathy tanks, putting a spring in our step because we’re not expiring near a roll of chicken wire. “Sad” in this context can mean melancholy, mournful or even wryly funny. Our preferred lamentations, in alphabetical order (key performer only credited), are: All By Myself (Eric Carmen) [He never needed anyone before but he does now.] All of These Things (Ed Kuepper) Allentown (Billy Joel) [Ode to a dying town.] Alone Again (Naturally) (Gilbert…

Continue Reading →

Dumb Things

November 20, 2017 | Posted by Guest Reviewer | AUSTRALIANIA, Modern Music, MUSIC |

Photo of Paul Kelly by Andrew Braithwaite

Songs in Our Heart # 88 Dumb Things (by Paul Kelly) (written by Paul Kelly; released January 1989) [Pure pop by a lyricist with classical learning and sensibility. They just don’t write these anymore, more’s the pity. Kelly has written over 500 songs, and there are lots of great pieces in that portfolio, but none better than this.] “And I get all your good advice It doesn’t stop me from going through these things twice I see the knives out, I turn my back I hear the train coming, I stay right on that track In the middle, in the…

Continue Reading →

Brighton Rock

October 2, 2017 | Posted by Guest Reviewer | FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Rowan Joffe) (2010) Graham Greene’s late1930s razor gangster novel, suffused in Catholic guilt, became a successful stage play during the War and a good, gritty film (1947) with Richard Attenborough (the perfect actor for this kind of nasty, cowardly little thug), showing the barnacles under the boardwalk.  It’s a murder story that morphs into a domestic horror scene, and it doesn’t work too well in terms of cohesion, but nevertheless contains some starkly effective squalor. But why film it in 2010? Why film it predominantly not in Brighton? Why set it in the 1960s and drench it in pretty…

Continue Reading →

© Copyright 2014 The Varnished Culture All Rights Reserved. TVC Disclaimer. Site by KWD&D.