Ode for Elizabeth

September 10, 2022 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | HISTORY, LIFE, Poetry |

Queen Elizabeth II (21 April 1926 – 8 September 2022) The argument from merit Casts us all in a harsh light, Elevation arbitrary Tends to set things right. A young girl, out of Africa Came home to wear a crown, She asked for peoples’ prayers So she would never let them down. And while her Empire crumbled She refused to do the same, Lack of power her super-power, ‘De-Colonize’ her name. Her race is run and she will lie The wrong side of the turf; As certain as the sunrise –  Timeless as the Earth.

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Liberté! Egalité! Fraternité!

July 14, 2022 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | HISTORY, Non-Fiction |

July 14, 1789 We have spoken of the ‘glory’ of Bastille Day; let us instead hear more from Carlyle on how inglorious it really was: “…De Launay could not do it. Distracted, he hovers between two; hopes in the middle of despair; surrenders not his Fortress; declares that he will blow it up, seizes torches to blow it up, and does not blow it. Unhappy old De Launay, it is the death-agony of thy Bastille and thee! Jail, Jailoring and Jailor, all three, such as they may have been, must finish….For four hours now has the World-Bedlam roared: call it…

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The Shanghai Mimi Band

June 18, 2022 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | HISTORY, MUSIC, THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Adelaide Cabaret Festival, 17 June, 2022) Shanghai in the 1920s and 1930s was “The Paris of the East, the New York of the West,” at least in popular myth, and in old Hollywood films: where elegance rubbed shoulders with depravity but always in a well-dressed way: glittering gowns, elegant cheongsams, dinner suits and white mess jackets, accompanied by a range of recreational poisons. And the night clubs along the Bund (the Shanghai waterfront) provided the venue, salted with the haute and the louche, and sugared by the Chinese chanteuses and hot bands playing French torch songs and shidaiqu (時代曲), a…

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Six the Musical

(Her Majesty’s Theatre, 27 May 2022) Six the Musical, a pop music retelling of the story of the wives of Henry the Eighth of England was royally received in London, New York and Sydney.  We are pleased to say that the Adelaide audience loved it just as much as Henry VIII adored Anne Boleyn, and not just at the beginning of it all. The capacity crowd cheered when the six wives appeared in a London pea-souper of dry ice mist and they were on their feet dancing when the queens gloriously asserted their individuality and agency at the end of…

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The Dying Citizen

(By Victor Davis Hanson) (2021) This is a thought-provoking argument that the classical concept of citizenship (the essence of a democratic nation) as developed and refined from the Greeks, Romans, and ‘aristocratic’ revolutionaries, is becoming denuded of meaning or relevance, and that a new tribalism (subject to a new “balkanized spoils system“) is fast replacing it, per the convenience of the governing elites (on the divide-and-rule paradigm). The author ranges wide but without attenuation, contrasting citizens with peasants (we prefer the more colouful term ‘peons’), residents and tribes, and then showing how the very concept of American citizenship – necessary…

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