Homage to Catullus

May 9, 2019 | Posted by Guest Reviewer | HISTORY, Poetry |

A rumination: Farts foreshadow faeces, Poppers presage poo; When they start, and carry on There’s little else to do But find yourself a toilet And sit yourself right down, Unless your suiting will assume A savage shade of brown.  

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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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“Who Owns the Past?”

April 16, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, HISTORY, LIFE, POLITICS |

John Bray Oration by Geoffrey Robertson QC, Adelaide University, April 2, 2019 In a very interesting, and only slightly windy, lecture, Robertson QC gave us a very entertaining and erudite exegesis on both South Australia’s Periclean Chief Justice of the 1970s, Dr John Jefferson Bray QC, and the vexed and more immediate question of title to ancient artefacts, a subject close to TVC‘s heart. This is a topic that evokes much chest-beating and arm-waving.  But take the Elgin (or Parthenon) Marbles, one of the more contentious works of art subject to a claim by the Government of Greece (it now…

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Amazing India

April 9, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | MUSIC, THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

Music and Dance provided by alumni of Kalalaya School of Performing Arts, 6 April 2019, Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Theatre The Varnished Culture has great admiration for Indian accomplishment (mixed with a fair bit of ignorance, but profound for all that). But we were not quite prepared* for the Amazing India experience, pretty much a Hindustani eisteddfod featuring all levels of students and tutors of the local Kalalaya School of Performing Arts.  From old-style classical dance forms such as Bharatnatyam and cadenced Kathak, to modern, salacious Bollywood numbers, an enthusiastic (at times, overly enthusiastic) audience were treated to 140 minutes of some 20…

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