Random Gallery Pieces

August 31, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, AUSTRALIANIA |

Canberra, August 2017 We have used our pleasant stay in Canberra, in visits to the National and National Portrait Galleries, to fulminate about the decline of portraiture and the absurdity of abstract expressionism. But while The Varnished Culture sauntered between the rooms, talking of Michelangelo, we did pipe a bunch of interesting stuff, familiar and new. Some good old and new: A nice moony Streeton     …in fine silver, gold and steel. Some fine Filippino figurines (above) and the well-known Magritte… A beautiful piece of blown glass, “Cobalt Blue Venetian No. 9” by Dale Chihuly (1989), the same artist who…

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The Peoples’ House

August 30, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Australian Politics, AUSTRALIANIA, POLITICS |

Federal Parliament, 17 August 2017 Through the paint-stripping wind walked The Varnished Culture, shoulders collectively set and teeth gritted. Up the hill went we from the National Portrait Gallery, past the tent city (which looked uncomfortable, brother) and the old Parliament House, looking clean, white and reassuringly, democratically modest in size and scope. Now the old place is a museum displaying certain politicos as they were in their prime (no animatronics); one feels regret at losing the core use of the building, as the relatively small capacity would perforce limit the number of elected representatives and their retinues. We reached the…

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National War Memorial

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

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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The Last Post

August 28, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | AUSTRALIANIA |

Glenelg v West Richmond Oval (26 August 2017) There’s a weird, dead-looking tree on the eastern side of dreary Richmond Oval (see main image and below) that struck The Varnished Culture (in attendance to see the Tigers win, or at least draw against the bottom-paced Bloods and so make the finals for the first time since 2009) as quite like a hanging tree. On match day, Westies had thoughtfully provided a bouncey-castle for the kiddies, which ran out of puff sometime in the 3rd quarter (see below).  These metaphors – these hanging, out-of-gas, images of failure, seemed a grim portent….

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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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