National War Memorial

August 29, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Australian History, AUSTRALIANIA, HISTORY, TRAVEL, WW2 |
WMwalk

Canberra, August 2017         Big planes, subs, tanks…dioramas of the most prodigious quality…enough military paraphernalia to convert the most conscientious objector into a club bore…the Australian War Memorial, a short cab ride up the hill on the other side of Lake Burley Griffin, directly aligned with the walk up the hill to Parliament on the other side of that lake, is well worth a visit, and it is free (gold coin donation encouraged).  An eternal flame flickers (see main image) in order to remind us that our forebears died for us, whether we appreciate it or not….

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Alt-Citizens

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The Australian Federal Parliament is in a tizz because a raft of Senators and Members of the House of Representatives have discovered they have, or may hold, dual citizenship. This disqualifies one from office, and already there have been resignations and stand-downs whilst ‘clarification’ is sought. The problem is section 44 of the Commonwealth Constitution, a document promulgated in 1901, when the optics of the world and his wife were slightly different. Any person who: is under any acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights…

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National Portrait Gallery

Quentin

(Canberra, August 2017) Having breasted the paint-stripping wind blowing down the mountain and off Lake Burley Griffin, we wondered if this monument would rise to emblematise a great reference of images, or just amount to a pantheon of nonentities crowding Our Island Story? Actually, the galleries are small, but occasionally choice, and sometimes a laugh riot.  Little hordes of schoolchildren swept through on the hour (Canberra’s array of free stuff means almost every week there’s opportunity for a teaching free day or two) and little lessons were delivered by earnest folks who knew not what they were saying. Fortunately, P was…

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Playing With Fire – Staging “The Ring”

July 12, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Australian History, HISTORY, MUSIC, Opera, OPERA, WAGNER |
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[This article originally appeared in the Newsletter of the Richard Wagner Society of SA, # 282, July 2017] “When Art Meets Politics.” This was the essence of Dr. Peter Bassett’s text in a thoroughly entertaining and salutary talk to the Richard Wagner Society of South Australia on 18 June, entitled ‘Playing with Fire – the pursuit of a Wagner performance tradition in Adelaide 1995 – 2005’. President Geoffrey Siedel introduced Dr Bassett, who was uniquely placed to cover this topic, having completed a PhD on it, as well as being closely involved with the productions that comprised Adelaide’s Wagner Decade…

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In a League of Its Own / Straight Through the Middle

July 1, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Australian History, AUSTRALIANIA, LIFE |
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An exhibition celebrating 140 years of the South Australian National Football League and SA Football (State Library, June – August 2017) The Varnished Culture staff set aside partisanship and went to these twin homages to local footy. An interesting congregation of photos, video, medallions, badges, guernseys, books, scrapbooks, committee minute-books and other memorabilia, we could have done with a bit more, but it was a piquant taste nonetheless. SA clubs at every level, several long defunct, featured in rich and diverse parade. In this winter of discontent, a little unbalanced reporting suffused with weary, wistful nostalgia for the Glenelg Tigers glory (or at least,…

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