Vale Hong Kong

July 22, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | POLITICS, TRAVEL, Ulalume |

In 1970 Hunter J. Thompson wrote a piece about the great French downhill skier, Jean-Claude Killy.  Trying to make a connection with the rather aloof and private champion, he asked where was the best place he knew. Killy nominated Hong Kong, and when asked why, replied: “Because a friend of mine is head of the police there…and when I go to Hong Kong I can do anything I want.” That is TVC‘s Hong Kong. Having been there at the handover to China in 1997 and visiting again in the early ‘noughties,’ we regret to say we’ve doubts now about ever…

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Tasmanian Art Gallery

November 11, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, AUSTRALIANIA, HISTORY, TRAVEL |

November 2019 If you’re still reeling from the inanities of MONA, why not check out Hobart’s more staid collection, on Davey Street (but enter on the landward side), a stone’s throw from the docks? The Gallery combines artistic works with natural history pieces of local significance: For instance the famous Thylacine, a carnivorous marsupial otherwise known as the Tasmanian Tiger, due to the stripes along its coat. Although last seen alive in 1933, we like to think the wily animal exists and flourishes somewhere in the wild western half of the island (there have been some unverified sightings in recent years)….

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H. L. Mencken and Crap Towns

September 12, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Non-Fiction, TRAVEL, WRITING & LITERATURE |

H. L. Mencken (12 September 1880) There’s a splendid English book called Crap Towns.  Lovingly referred to by ‘The Sunday Telegraph’ as “The Domesday book of misery” it celebrates awful urban constructs, from Luton to Hull to Bury St Edmonds.  TVC once thought to produce an Australian edition, covering such lively towns as Mt Druitt and Wilcannia, NSW, and Millicent, SA. But the great H.L. Mencken beat us all to it.  In his 1928 article, The Libido for the Ugly, Mencken canvasses the ugliest towns in the USA: “I have seen, I believe, all of the most unlovely towns of…

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Get Thee to Getty

May 2, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, TRAVEL |

J Paul Getty Center, Los Angeles, April 2018 – We mentioned this great pavilioned village above L.A. containing the eclectic cache of zillionaire J. Paul Getty, with reference to his classical statuary. But he, and his trustees after him, have amassed a goodly stock of other stuff: You may recall this Abraham Solomon painting, “Waiting for the Verdict” from the cover of the Penguin edition of Bleak House, then in the Tunbridge Wells Museum…it’s now at Getty. It was fascinating to see the influence of ancient Mughal painting on high Flemish painting, including Rembrandt:  Amid French empire parlours, and before works by Watteau, Tiepolo,…

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We Love Lucy’s

April 30, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | FOOD, Restaurants, TRAVEL |

Lucy’s El Adobe Café, Melrose Avenue, Hollywood We were stuffed. That is, exhausted and footsore. Having walked from Hollywood Blvd; having traversed the entire Hollywood Cemetery; having found that there’s no easy way from there to Paramount Studios except to walk another few miles, even though it is adjacent; having found that there’s virtually nowhere along Melrose to sit and eat, we chanced upon this place with the modest sign and modest exterior, just over the road from Paramount. Our luck was in. This was a great little Cantina, and the signed photos of stars all over the walls bore testimony…

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