D. H. Lawrence

September 11, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Fiction, WRITING & LITERATURE |

Born 11 September 1885 ‘There was very little about Lawrence that wasn’t irritating to someone.  Edmund Wilson…thought him “ill-bred and hysterical…One saw that he belonged to an inferior caste – some bred-down unripening race of the collieries. Against this inferiority – fundamental and physical-he must have had to fight all his life: his passionate spirit made up for it by exaggerated self-assertion.“‘* Lawrence’s books evoked similar reactions.  One critic lumped him in with novelists “who appear to have passed their prime long before reaching it.”*  (Note that your correspondent once wrote a high school essay asserting that there was no…

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Tiny Wheelwrights of the Dawn

September 8, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Modern Music, MUSIC, PETER'S WRITING |

1968-1974; 1995 As they became known to their legion of fans, “The Wrights” rode the high wave of prog rock in the late 1960s and early 1970s, re-surfacing briefly (and disastrously) in the Age of Grunge.  From the time of their second album, if not their first, they were unsurpassed for arty, ambitious, meticulously structured, and extremely long records, produced according to the principles obtaining from nature, such as the spinning of a spider’s web. As their putative leader, Rael Conan Doyle, declared to ‘Cacophony Magazine’, “we don’t want you to hum; we don’t want you to dance. Don’t tap…

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The Sentimental Bloke

September 7, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | AUSTRALIANIA, Poetry, WRITING & LITERATURE |

C.J. Dennis, born 7 September 1876 He lived in an age when you could get away with writing in dialect (like Robbie Burns or Walter Scott before him) and his most famous work, The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke makes one cringe nowadays. Although we love one of his titles; The Glugs of Gosh. The ‘Laureate of the Larrikin’ was born in Auburn in the Clare Valley of South Australia, and spent most of his life in Melbourne.  He’s buried in the cemetery at Box Hill. Here’s “At the Play” from Sentimental Bloke, where Doreen and Bill (the Bloke) take…

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Hal Ashby

September 2, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | FILM, LIFE |

Born 2 September 1929, Ashby was ultimately destroyed by the counterculture that fostered him.  Starting with impressive editing work in the 1960s, he had a run of really interesting films in the 1970s: Harold and Maude (1971) (Suicide sure is funny in this film, as is the family priest’s “talk” with Harold about his relationship with a virtual octogenarian…) The Last Detail (1973) Shampoo (1975) Bound for Glory (1976) Coming Home (1978) Being There (1979)

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Leonardo da Vinci

(by Walter Isaacson) (2017) We picked up this heavy tome in Washington DC and carried it all the way home. It’s well put-together, beautifully illustrated, and fairly well organised. Whilst Leonardo the Man remains opaque, this book manages to avoid drowning in the sea of speculation, as a disastrous recent work on Beethoven does not. Leonardo da Vinci lived and died 500 years ago, and left behind a tantalising body of mostly incomplete work, in particular, some startlingly radical and luminous paintings, fanatically detailed drawings, and thousands of pages from inspired commonplace books.  Although his siege engines and tanks and…

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