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…

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At the Carbine Club

March 1, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | AUSTRALIANIA, LIFE |

Adelaide Convention Centre, 28 February 2018 The Club was started by some fellows after a long lunch in Melbourne in the 1960s, made up of men distinguished in the playing, and or administration, of sport.  ‘Carbine’ was a famous racehorse from a long time back, (Melbourne Cup, 1890) but men in any type of popular sport are welcome.  (Only men, mind – it’s an old fashioned, very Melburnian club. They still have a ‘loyal toast’ to Her Majesty and the people of Australia, and though this is a tad ‘quaint,’ it is at least a refreshing change from the soulless,…

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Venetian Voices

Photo by Jörg Bittner (Unna)

(by Christine V. Courtney) (2017) Venice is of a set, in that it is a Great City, but it is also sui generis, a brilliant bauble set amid a swamp, a rococo castle in the air, an ornate pagoda floating on water. Venice and its inhabitants, whether citizens or arrivistes, spell romance on a myriad levels, and pose a historical jigsaw of massive scope and complexity, so it makes sense to wander its narrow streets and sail its intricate waterways clutching some sort of evocative Baedeker.  Our favourite Venetian history is the massive Folio tome (merging two volumes) by John Julius Norwich…

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February 25, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | MUSIC, Opera, OPERA |

Enrico Caruso born 25 February 1873 (died 2 August 1921) The great operatic Napolitano was one of the first tenors to ‘cut a disc’ and it made him world famous. Even now you can divine his strong, clear voice and range on scratchy phonograph records (see below).  Although primarily based at the Met in New York, he sang all over and had a big repertoire (including Lohengrin in Buenos Aires). Melba wrote of him: “As a voice – pure and simple – his was the most wonderful tenor I ever heard.” Toscanini, it is said, said of him: “If this Neapolitan keeps singing…

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Will be Damned

February 22, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | METAPHYSICS, PETER'S WRITING, RELIGION, WAGNER |

Portrait by Ludwig Sigismund Ruhl (1815)

Arthur Schopenhauer (born 22 February 1788) “Rather do we freely acknowledge that what remains after the entire abolition of will is for all those who are still full of will certainly nothing; but, conversely, to those in whom the will has turned and has denied itself, this our world, which is so real, with all its suns and milky ways – is nothing.” Arthur lived in shadowlands; His hated mother washed her hands Of him, and his suicidal Dad’s Echo – so he read Upanishads And Kant, forming a new world-view As bleak as stout, and yet he grew Into determined…

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