Friday, 25 September 2009
I have a problem. Recently a couple of readers have tried to contact me via the comment channel on this blog but I can't get back to you unless I have an email address. Could you please send your addresses via the comment function. Since I moderate comments I can make a note of addresses without putting them up on the blog, thus ensuring your own privacy. Then I can write to you backchannel.
Friday, 18 September 2009
Ken Bolton has always been modest about his work outside of the writing of poems. It took years before he would exhibit any of his drawings or designs, though, as anyone who has been published by him knows, his skills in these areas are considerable. Ken has also been a fine art writer for a long time. He belongs, I think, to the great tradition of poets who write about art. So it’s timely that the Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia should have chosen to publish a collection of his critical work on local artists. I think Ken takes his brief seriously. He is dealing with the work of visual artists we may or may not be aware of and he seeks to stimulate our interest in them. His approach is one that without aid of reproduction (which, in the case of many, might not be altogether reliable within the limits of art journals with limited sponsorship) attempts to enlist its readers in a field of interest (i.e. if this reads well to you, perhaps you should hunt for these works). I am aware of the work of a few of the artists Ken talks about but by no means the majority of them. He makes me feel that I ought to chase these other presences up. Sometimes he does this through vivid description, sometimes through faux interviews where the artist is presented as a tough guy (male or female) who doesn’t want to ‘let on’. Whatever, Ken’s writing intrigues and demands (on our part) an effort to see the works themselves.
Thursday, 17 September 2009
Tuesday, 15 September 2009
Saturday, 5 September 2009
It's that time of year again. One striking difference: the large number of women Morris Dancing, many of them in women-only groups. Over the last couple of years it may have seemed as though this activity was restricted to grey-bearded gentlemen of some girth with a fondness for wearing dresses. Not so any longer apparently.
Tuesday, 1 September 2009
What could be more natural than this image of three adolescent boys goofing off in a wrecked car. The photo was taken by my mother with my Box Brownie camera in the early 1960s and the three boys are myself (middle) with Lindsay Peterson (right), and Greg Smith (left), two neighbourhood friends in the then nascent southeastern Melbourne suburb of Clayton. Greg’s mother, Olwyn Schoenheimer, was a good friend of my own mother. She was a lively Jewish woman whose many male partners inevitably failed to live up to their promise. Greg had passed through several surnames, Smith presumably that of his biological father. Like myself he was an only child, though he was a good two or so years older than me. His mother worked as an occupational therapist at Sunbury psychiatric hospital on the far side of Melbourne. We visited Olwyn at work, a situation that must have been strange for my mother since she had visited her own father (who was also Jewish) in a psychiatric institution through the 1930s. I was unaware of this uncomfortable element of the past at the time and took in the scene at the institution much as I had taken in the scene of an abattoirs I had visited a few years before (a family friend worked there). Greg and I grew apart as we grew older. I went to university. He became a journalist. He changed his name then to Shackleton (it sounded ‘solid’ to him). In October 1975, along with Malcolm Rennie, Brian Peters, Gary Cunningham and Tony Stewart, he was killed by the Indonesian army at Balibo in East Timor. The journalists were poised to report on an imminent invasion of what was then still known as Portuguese Timor. The Australian Labor government turned a blind eye to this occurrence, unwilling to criticise the Indonesian government; interested more in the possibility of dividing up the oil resources of the Timor Sea.