1984: the Play

May 24, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |
1984-new-900x600

(Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide, May 2017) (Based on an adaptation from George Orwell by Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan) THANK YOU NOTE: First, The Varnished Culture thanks the folks at Her Majesty’s for their courtesy. TVC had bought tickets for a Saturday show, foolishly overlooking it was a matinee and missed the show. After some phone calls, full of contrition and abashment, TVC was allowed to present at the box office, and, with a little grovelling, to exchange redundant tickets for a Monday night performance. It wound-up with better seats! Again, thank you guys! It is greatly appreciated. And what a…

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Balzac & the Human Comedy

May 20, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Books, WRITING & LITERATURE |
Balzac by Rodin

Balzac by Rodin

Honoré de Balzac (20 March 1799 to 18 August 1850) Though he could at times play the gadabout, Balzac actually was akin to a Stakhanovite, regularly working all night and sometimes all day, fuelled by repeat pots of industrial-strength coffee. That led to work which could be rough and ready, and melodramatic in the extreme, but his colourful realism, vitality and fine feel for humanity informed that monumental, chaotic matrix of romantic novels and fragments (over 100) that make-up his collection, La Comédie Humaine. Lytton Strachey wrote: “Balzac’s style is bad; in spite of the electric vigour that runs through his writing, it is…

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The Crying Game

May 19, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Modern Music, MUSIC |
the-crying-game

The Crying Game (Boy George version) (written by Geoff Stephens; released August 1992) [The Varnished Culture, upon hearing Boy George’s 1982 musical question, “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?,” answered with a resounding “Yes!” Yet a decade later, post-Culture Club, this 1960s lost-love song, a lush throw-back, superbly produced by the Pet Shop Boys, is a perfect vehicle for the Boy – his crisp, clean, almost-falsetto pop tenor voice delivering a lovely, torch-sad lyric, assuming the role of a player so used to losing at love he’s now an expert at the game: “Someday soon I’m gonna tell the moon About…

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BDS on Wagner

May 16, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | HISTORY, MUSIC, POLITICS, Ulalume, WAGNER |
AHbayreuth

Forget the picket at Max Brenner’s, the Jewish chocolatiers!  There’s a Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Movement against the playing of Wagner‘s works in Israel.  We learn from an interesting piece in ‘The Australian’ of 13 May 2017, by Vic Alhadeff, the chief executive of the New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies, that there is a longstanding unofficial ban, despite recent attempts to overcome it by such luminaries as Daniel Barenboim. Mr Alhadeff refers, as part of his case, to the repulsive pamphlet, “Jewry in Music” which is certainly strident and virulent, but might more properly be seen as a reflection of Wagner’s…

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Eurovision 2017

May 15, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Annabel Lee, Modern Music, MUSIC, POLITICS |
The Boy with the Ice Cream Face...Isaiah Firebrace - A Song for Australia and Europe

The Boy with the Ice Cream Face...Isaiah Firebrace - A Song for Australia and Europe

Kiev, May 14, 2017 The Varnished Culture can’t reveal the results of our unique Eurovision drinking games, but we can report upon our patented ‘Euro-Points’ results. You’ll recall that Euro points are given for: 1. Dry ice 2. Contortionists 3. Bad Dancing 4. Any item of Clothing being Torn Away 5. Dwarves 6. Angel Wings or Mock Flying 7. Clowns 8. Piano as Furniture 9. Bearded Ladies 10. Puffs of Smoke This year was marked by really bad dancing (Norway even had a cavorting gimp), poor retro fashions, the odd dopey prop (Belarus perched on a fake hovercraft; a chap from Moldova pretended…

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