Black Mischief

Reflections on the Rainbow Nation, South Africa ‘You know,’ he added reflectively, ‘we’ve got a much easier job now than we should have had fifty years ago. If we’d had to modernize a country then it would have meant constitutional monarchy, bi-cameral legislature, proportional representation, women’s suffrage, independent judicature, freedom of the Press, referendums . . .’ ‘What is all that?’ asked the Emperor. ‘Just a few ideas that have ceased to be modern.’  (Evelyn Waugh, Black Mischief, (1932), p. 128). South Africa’s once diamondiferous soil was always leavened with blood, running down the anthill to the lowest point of Kimberley’s…

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The Guns of August Revisited

July 31, 2023 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | HISTORY, LIFE, POLITICS, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(By Barbara W. Tuchman, 1962) Tuchman’s classic history of the stirrings of WWI deserves a fresh look, when one compares some of the events leading to and culminating in August 1914 with some of the events leading to and maybe culminating in August 2023: 1910: Edward VII dies / 2022: Elizabeth II dies. A comet appears in both years (“When beggars die there are no comets seen; the heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes” – “Julius Caesar”) “All the old buoys which have marked the channel of our lives seem to have been swept away.” (Lord Esher, 1910)….

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And Justice For Some

June 24, 2023 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | LIFE, POLITICS, Ulalume |

When one does a crime We expect one will do time: But today it all depends On who are your true friends. A lass who thought that Pell Belonged in deepest Hell Tried to justify this thought All the way to the High Court. The judges boxed her ears And conviction disappears, But confronted with bent cops She did not pull out the stops. In the Land of the Free, It clearly pays to be A member of the Club Who won’t even have to scrub A charge from his good name; There’s none to lay the blame. You can…

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Back to the Future

May 16, 2023 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | AUSTRALIANIA, LIFE |

Glenelg v North Adelaide, 13 May 2023 (John Sandland Cup) It was a very pleasant autumn afternoon, starting with a 104 point win to the Tigers Reserves, and then, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of The Greatest Game Ever Played, surviving members (or next of kin) of the 1973 Premiership Team paraded on to the ground, led by Captain Peter Marker. The Sacred Heart School Drummers gave all of them a fine volley of percussion. It was a lovely trip down Amnesia Lane to catch up with the Greats from that Greatest of Great Days, including Neville Caldwell, Peter…

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Write, Don’t Talk

(Random thoughts regarding Adelaide Writers’ Week, 2023 – a verse dialogue) (With apologies to Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Thomas Stearns Eliot) READER A lovely form there sate beside my bed, And such a feeding calm its presence shed, A tone so pure, far from earthly leaven, A message reassuring, newly down from heaven. ‘Twas some comfort – A fact drawn from bone; “We read to know that we are not alone.” AUTHOR And yet here it shrinks back, as if mistook! That weary, wandering, disavowing look! ‘Twas all another feature, look and frame, And still, methought, I knew, it was…

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