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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Sunday, 30 March 2008
Fairtrade Cafe, Glebe Point Rd
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: culture

Opened in July 2006 the Fairtrade cafe in Glebe Point Rd is finally starting to hit its stride. Check it out some time, Saturday being a prime opportunity to also visit the groovy markets:

Yesterday we said hello to a customer Neil McIndoe sitting with friend formerly a Leichhardt councillor and made famous for a minor role in [pdf, 5 pages worth] Rats in the Ranks. Left ALP loyalist Neil came out of it pretty much with his integrity intact as far as his own principles, and also losing the chance as ALP mayor, which is pretty much standard politics at all levels. Then mayor Larry Hand famously quoted in the movie refers to "treachery" as the hallmark of the mayoral vote negotiations. Here's a Workers Online review.

Posted by editor at 11:26 AM NZT
Tuesday, 18 March 2008
St Patrick miracle needed to save Hill of Tara cultural heritage
Mood:  lucky
Topic: culture

Paul Sheehan did his bit for St Pat's day and quite likely his Irish heritage here (as we do too):

www.smh.com.au - More than luck to this canny boy

It's all about the expansion of the air travel market by Ryanair. 

But we've read a bit about the combined effect of the spiv real estate speculation in Eire with the greater access of European Union common currency and economic synthesis.


In the first category is this sad, sad fate for the wonderful cultural heritage of Hill of Tara:

Mairead writes, and see the postscript below that in particular about the real estate spivs and vandals:

Sent: Friday, March 14, 2008 9:33 PM
Subject: Tara update - and amazing SOS news

Hello again, friends,
On my way home this morning, after meetings in the city, including leafleting over 250 'high flying' people at the "official" Melbourne St. Patrick's Day breakfast with the Irish Transport Minister, I listened to John Faine on ABC Radio discussing, of all things, corruption in local councils –with enthusiastic talk-back-radio feedback proposing that developers should not be allowed to have business dealings within their council, if they want to be Councilors. –the talk back phones and instant messages ran hot!!

After more than two years of observation, I've come to  believe this is what happened at the Hill of TARA, in Ireland. The Transport Minister 'celebrates' the fact that he was the "youngest ever Chairman of the Meath County Council" - where the Hill of TARA is situated. You'd think he would have a good working knowledge of the secret goings on. The Irish gov. Flood/ Mahon tribunal report tells a terrible story of deep corruption (details on the website). Most interesting revelation is that the Chairman of the National Roads Authority owns the biggest Real Estate Development company in Co. Meath.

What hope is there!? ...well, for a very good start, "conflict of interest" laws should be strictly applied, especially at local government level, –from the ground up, so to speak– where it all begins. I think this would go a long way toward insuring accountability - and better later than never. :)

An SOS went out from the Hill of Tara, on the Rath Lugh site, yesterday.
Passionate young protestors have dug a 21st-century souterrain (cave or underground passages or storage spaces) at Rath Lugh, within the Hill of Tara precinct. They've dug a tunnel under the route of the M3 freeway construction site... they have sealed themselves inside indefinitely to prevent construction traffic from passing overhead. ... laying their very lives on the line to protect and preserve Tara's landscape from the destruction wrought by their own Government. There is an injunction going into court this morning at 10.30am. Read the details on the website...btw, there is someone in the tunnel!

The beat goes on: Sunday at 3pm, we'll gather for a brief photo-op for TARA, – byo SAVE TARA banners. We'll meet next to the James Joyce Chair in the State Library of Victoria sculpture garden, after which we will head over to the Normandy Hotel, in Queens Pde. Clifton Hill (for the best trad. music!). Please join us, and invite/tell your Melbourne friends!

Pauline Bleach, from Sydney, and I were interviewed by the Australian Irish Echo last week.  Pauline is organising an entry in the Sydney St. Pat's Day parade - more below, in the subsequent 2-page article:
Save Tara!
for the Anam Cara for Tara arts action campaign

The Australian Irish Echo, March 12 – 25, 2008 –

‘Tara Road’ opponents to launch Oz protests
–By Aaron Dunne–
GROUPS opposed to the construction of a motorway near the historic Hill of Tara in Co Meath are planning to picket a range of Irish events in Australia over St Patrick’s Day.

Save Tara campaigners have planned protests in Melbourne and Sydney to coincide with the arrival of a number of Meath County Council of?cials and Irish Transport Minister Noel Dempsey, who is also from Meath.

A group called globalartscollective.org is running a worldwide campaign for St Patrick’s Day in conjunction with the Save Tara campaign in Ireland. Convenor Mairéid Sullivan, who is based in Melbourne, has told the Irish Echo of the group’s plans to attend events in their bid to promote awareness of ongoing resistance to the planned routing of the M3 motorway through the historic site.

Sullivan, and Co Louth native Pauline Bleach, who runs the Tara Appreciation Society in Sydney, have plans to make their presence felt at a host of events that will be attended by the visiting
Irish politicians, including the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Sydney.

The Melbourne group will be targeting speci?c events in the city where the councillors and minister will be in attendance, while the Tara Appreciation Society has even entered a ?amp;#8218;oat into the Sydney St Patrick’s Day Parade to promote awareness about the Hill Of Tara and the Skryne Valley.

“We’re putting in a parade entry called Tara – 7,000 Years Of Irish History as part of the Tara Appreciation Society,” Bleach said.
“It’s a non-political event so we will be making no mention of the Save Tara campaign. We want to celebrate the history of this valley where so much of our history took place,” Bleach told the Irish Echo.

“We’re not rabble rousers,” Mairéid Sullivan said. “We just want to bring attention to this very important matter. We’ll be there at everything the politicians are at to get our point across. There’s still time to save Tara.”


Sent: Saturday, March 15, 2008 4:30 PM
Subject: .... re. Tara update - NRA Board members

> ....> I was asked for details of the NRA Board, and went to look at the
> article "Who's Who on the NRA" on my website, and discovered it was
> written in 2004.
> So, for fun, I did some checking.
> The fellow I referred to as being a big Auctioneer and Real Estate
> developer in Co. Meath, Raymond Potterton is still on the Board.
> But the current Chairman of the NRA is also Chairman of one of the
> biggest Real Estate Development company in the world.
Peter Malone, Chairman, National Roads Authority ...and Chairman of CB
> Richard Ellis, Ireland.

> Talk about vested interest & conflict of interest!
> Info. from their website:---------------------------
> CB Richard Ellis is the global leader in commercial real estate services.
> CB Richard Ellis is the world’s leading commercial real estate adviser.
> With 350 offices across 58 countries we have more consultants advising
> more customers than any other property firm.
> Estate Gazette Property Award Winner 2007!
> CB Richard Ellis Ireland are very proud to have been named the Estates

> Gazette "Property Advisor of the Year, Ireland 2007"


The Irish not least this writer's family have been suckers for punishment in the alcohol stakes and one imagines the disastrous Famine killing a million citizens in the 19C has something to do with it. And reading about the spivs demise of the Hill of Tara is enough to drive one to drink, though we will decline that option too:



Posted by editor at 10:17 AM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 18 March 2008 12:14 PM NZT
Wednesday, 12 March 2008
Early morning life in the burb
Mood:  lyrical
Topic: culture








Posted by editor at 10:40 AM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 12 March 2008 11:19 AM NZT
Sunday, 10 February 2008
Heath Ledger nailed the Skip role in Lords of Dog Town cultural docu-drama
Mood:  lyrical
Topic: culture

For those skeptics of the Heath Ledger career check out his pivotal role in this movie available at most DVD shops. As one wit on YouTube has pointed out, the whole movie was underpinned by his character role as Skip the flawed brilliant haughty entrepeneur of Zephyr skateboards 'based on a true story'. The first image below is a stand alone clip here.

The other images are a full trailer at the link to the collage. Not surprising his friends went to the ocean for his wake - which surely is a metaphor in our dreams and our life for the emotional journey we are all on in some way. We Australians blend in with the ocean, as one, knowing its huge and overwhelming, teaching respect. We have no doubt Heath Ledger was emblematic of coastal and therefore most Australians of his generation.


Posted by editor at 8:14 AM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 10 February 2008 8:56 AM EADT
Saturday, 26 January 2008
More Banksy found and lost in Enmore?
Mood:  lyrical
Topic: culture


Picture: echoes of a 2nd Banksy in Enmore now lost to a giant tagger and replacement door panel?  

We dropped in to the Auscrap folks in Enmore which is one of the last light industrial activities in that part of town. The macho cashier knows me from years of metal recycling now. $50 on the ABN thankyou very much. So I tell him about my previous article here featuring Banksy at Alfalfa House organic food co-op. How it could be worth alot of money too, 'not that I care about that' feigning disinterest.

Now this guy is no art critic and was quite apathetic, didn't really know of Banksy from a bar of soap. But he thinks he remembers him ...(!)

"He did one here too, about a year ago, came in and asked permission. But I think someone went over it. Out the gate and not the first roller door but the second one ... tall guy with long hair." Quite neutral attitude as my excitement and sense of melodrama begins to rise.

Okay, I say let's check it out. There is a suspicious trace of a lower half of "Banksy!!" signature obscured by a giant local tagger. "Yeah that's it" says the cashier.  Would Banksy write "Keep it fresh" or was it the later tagger? 

Who knows. It might or might not have been the dude. It might have been a pretend Banksy sign off?

But then you get to wonder from another stencil location that he's been around - look at this image on his official website,


 and then this smiley face photographed in Enmore two days ago right down to the side creases on the mouth and vertical ovoid eyes, and the cynical "who watches the watchmen". Who knows. Imitation is sincere flattery. Even the power plug is suggestive he's been lurking amongst us. Then again it could be the local fans from the School of Performing Arts in Newtown:

Here is the full panel of the roller door back of Auscrap which looks a real mess now:

"From the dark continent"? "One love" "peace out". Even the overflow up to the top left onto the brick work is a little suggestive.

Counting against this interpretation may well be the signatures of Banksey on the official website are block stencil style, not cursive but they do have the exclamation (one not two).

What makes us more convinced is he seems to like alternative business like the organic shop, and the metal recyclers, that is, a modern environmental theme. It's a cute mystery anyway.

Posted by editor at 6:49 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 26 January 2008 7:31 AM EADT
Friday, 25 January 2008
Banksy pearl diver before swine? Sydney council anti graffiti squad obviously not Banksy fans!
Mood:  mischievious
Topic: culture

The Sydney Morning Herald ran this story recently, which was quite amusing and fitting for the Sydney Festival season:

Details emerge of Banksy's Sydney visit - Arts - Entertainment ...

Famous pair … the painting in Melbourne, left, and Enmore Road.

SMH caption: Famous pair … the painting in Melbourne, left, and Enmore Road.

Naturally we went to check it out in person: And the story gets more interesting again since that went to print on January 17th 08.

Yesterday we saw what Stevie Bee, the information officer of Alfalfa House Food Co-op, notes was an unfortunate example of Marrickville Council workers dilligence in removing tag graffiti also scrubbing the now famous Banksy 'child-pearl diver helmet' figure. As you can see it's starting to fade, and the tag artists are still going at it too:


But we ought not be too harsh on the less than avante guard loving street cleaners. As will be seen there is other proud Australian stencilling that is preserved nearby, but further back from the main street. Are the council workers making a nationalistic point? Everyone's a critic?

Organiser at the great and good Alfalfa had more: The owner they rent from has agreed tentatively to a mural on that side of the building. The wall opposite has been painted over and avoided tag vandalism for a while now. He also amusingly suggested it raises the question whether Banksy is better than the local stuff and who gets to decide?

We took that with a grain of salt until we happened onto nearby stencils of variable merit with the apparent blessing of another wall owner, and see below too the intriguing concrete (!) remote control, making another obscure point about modern existence. Art with kicka*se social comment is far from washed up in Enmore:




Posted by editor at 6:58 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 25 January 2008 7:58 AM EADT
Thursday, 24 January 2008
The sad, sad death of Heath Ledger, Australian actor
Mood:  sad
Topic: culture

When we saw all the front pages similarly reflected on the web here and here about the death of Heath Ledger our initial reaction was 'What's wrong with society?' that such a talent could die at 28. My neighbour a South American guy and parent was chatting and also was shaking his head with 'People who can't handle life, so many poor people have got it much harder'. No doubt common reactions on the street everywhere and many more besides.

We got to pondering about that age bracket:

20ies are such a vulnerable time

This is quite an upsetting fate for this young artist. Sure it's small in the scheme of things but somehow emblematic too of how dysfunctional our world can be. Which is why the Big Media are on the money covering this to address their audience interest. It underlines too why all that lost money on the markets is not really the main game in life.

A big tragedy for a few, a small tragedy for millions, and totally irrelevant to most people in this world beyond Australia or the entertainment industry.

But I do think there is a strong message here. In our twenties we are very vulnerable to misadventure if my own experience is anything to go by. 

By that stage our minds are pretty much fully grown in terms of ability, our body is a blade and seemingly indestructible, with great powers of recovery, but our memory banks are a long way from fully uploaded with hard won experiences of danger and risk. We're like a sports car revving that doesn't know what the tyres are capable of at speed. My own misadventure was an abortive approach to Mt Cook, then malaria for a week in Lae a town on the north coast of PNG after a solo trek up the Kokoda Track. Alone and nearly broke with no plane ticket and help of precious uni friends the only way out when they wired me some dough. No fun at all. It could have turned out quite badly and it was a big teacher. On return and recovery we had a crayfish dinner in Black Mountain resturaunt (towers over the city like a giant hyperdermic) Canberra to celebrate and say thankyou over and above repaying the debt - my shout.

Most of us get to survive and some don't, like that Into the Wild guy Christopher McCandless, and maybe Heath Ledger here. Like the terrible demise of the 2 spray can artists last Sunday in the storm water drain

Some of the press are suggestive he was suffering bad sleep deprivation having gone deep into his role as The Joker, homicidal maniac character, and that his work had been inspired. That's high level acting - a frightening business of psychological maleability losing your id to the work. If I'm right it's a very dangerous business getting lost in an emotional whirlpool of your own mind to feed the entertainment and art monster ... and of course pay the bills, no doubt.

All being well in your thirties you get alot of perspective, learn alot about how to find help without losing your pride or dignity, some real wisdom and skills on sustainability, and in your forties if you avoid the drugs you can build up a profound rythym which can withstand quite a few hard knocks or disruptions a bit like a good cyclist at moderate speed whacked by the odd branch or pothole. 

I find it upsetting because my guess anyone in the 20ies will recognise a bit of themselves in Heath Ledger's death, and anyone who survived probably will too. Damn and blast. It makes it worse when the victim, like some artists, already has such sensitive instrumentation they are at greater risk of being derailed. He might have become more robust with time and contributed so much in a longer life. As Pomeranz on Sydney 702 radio has said what a waste.

Condolences to his family, mother of his child, and especially his child who will hardly know him direct. 

Then we contemplated the immediate specifics of his situation and herein is a strong line of inquiry (?). Indeed it reminds of last New Years Eve when I bunked off a neighbours happy soiree, people I wanted to know and impress but just didn't have the gumption for whatever reason, and the self awareness too. I went for a long walk instead (20km!).  I left them a friendly card next day which worked:

Not so much G'day as goodbye, and so it is

The Herald paper version today carries a headline suggesting he was contemplating his mortality in an interview for the Bob Dylan biopic, but that's what new parents do when they see their genetic function achieved. I think the headline on page 4 of the Herald is probably a bit misleading in this respect. [Also given the Dylan biography is very philosophical.]

I wonder what the social pressure of the G'day set piece tourism, high society function might have meant for him? The reports are that a pall of gloom descended on the event at the news of his sudden death. Clearly there was an emotional link of Heath Ledger to the crowd there - in both directions?

It's well known he reacted adversely to social conflict with the entertainment press, still growing that thick skin I would say, as you tend to do in politics as well.

Could the quandary of not attending the G'day event, and all the history of conflict here in Sydney with the paparazzi have raised big problems for him? Not their fault so much as the private hell of a compatriot?

Should he go, where ostensibly he belongs in the mileau of successful Aussies, yet knowing it would be hell to be in the crowd with the paparazzi insecure at how they might treat him? Or how he might behave?

There's nothing quite like a party that you can't face going to, with all those 'happy folks' already reported in the media, of his kind of people Aussie Americans, to cause emotional strife, worry, sleeping pills? The confusion of wanting/not wanting to go. Ashamed or fearful of his own unhappiness in the Brideshead Revisited sense?

Death by emotional anguish? An Australian Abroad who was taking water, who'd lost the ability to swim in a brewing sea, no one close by with the life belt and he wasn't even waving the arm for help? Damn and blast.


Postscript #1 25th January 2008

And so Heath Ledger 'got the chills' and goes 'ramblin on' as this great old song of folk bard Pete Seeger made famous, a song recalling the very tough 1930ies depression times of such as Woody Guthrie:


And by the same artist Pete Seeger captures the current situation with great acuity back in 1963 re the death of Marilyn Monroe, so very strong in the singing too, unfortunately not on YouTube:


Who killed Norma Jean?
I, said the City, as a civic duty,
I killed Norma Jean.

Who saw her die?
I, said the Night, and a bedroom light,
We saw her die.

Who'll catch her blood?
I, said the Fan, with my little pan,
I'll catch her blood.

Who'll make her shroud?
I, said the Lover, my guilt to cover,
I'll make her shroud.

Who'll dig her grave?
The tourist will come and join in the fun,
He'll dig her grave.

Who'll be chief mourners?
We who represent, and lose our ten percent.
We'll be the chief mourners.

Who'll bear the pall?
We, said the Press, in pain and distress,
We'll bear the pall.

Who'll toll the bell?
I, screamed the mother, locked in her tower,
I'll pull the bell.

Who'll soon forget?
I, said the Page, beginning to fade,
I'll be the first to forget.

Words by Norman Rosten
Music by Pete Seeger
TRO (c) 1963 (renewed) and 1964 (renewed) Ludlow Music, NY


Ledger was on Enough Rope in late March 2003, speaking out against the Iraq War soon after 250-500,000 marched against the war in Feb 2003 in downtown Sydney, perhaps emboldened to take the peace position into the public domain 'contra mundum' ie 'against the world', at least the big business world of 2003 who controlled his professional life out of the USA or News Ltd here.

The paparazzi are generally sub-contracted out like organised crime from the Big Media, doing stuff to get content the corporations would never openly authorise their retained staff to do, so they can sneakily buy in the often ill gotten images. The sneaking around windows, the photos over fences, the constant stalking. Pathetic stuff.

Nicole Kidman has been 'fair game' in much the same way with movies like The Interpreter boosting the stature of the United Nations at a sensitive time in geo politik in 2005 also against the Iraq War and effectively W Bush presidency.

The Interpreter film poster

This is why Ledger ended up using a similar tactic to what we like, carrying a camera and clicking the grubs doing the dirty stalking work indirectly for the Big Media, to meet their arrogant harrassment. We strongly suspect the sub text in Ledger's case was News Ltd green lighting harrassment for a political position in favour of the Iraq war. 

Certainly it's a whole new experience for the self aggrandising paparazzi wankers getting their picture taken. Money can't save them then. It's publicity discipline on PR thugs. Just as the journos don't really like their work being reported on sharply, without fear or favour. There's power in being behind the camera, and I know they don't like their picture taken, the same way I prefer to not be in the frame for my own privacy.

And so the battle of perception moves on. RIP Heath Ledger. 

Posted by editor at 12:05 PM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 27 January 2008 7:01 AM EADT
Sunday, 20 January 2008
Big Catholic world youth day in Sydney a threat to healthy spirituality?
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: culture

Picture: The Apology scene, episode 4 in the ground breaking 13 hour long Brideshead Revisited TV miniseries of 1981 (Granada Television) of the Evelyn Waugh book of the between the world war years of an aristocratic Catholic family in Britain. Broadcast here around that time.

Dypsomania/homosexuality in an intolerant society or systemic dishonest religious emotional sado-masochism? This is quite a quandary posed in the great Brideshead Revisited tv miniseries. And a useful exploration of why the English have held such an anxiety about the power mongering Roman Catholic church too, justifying quite the extra effort by actors and crew despite industry strikes and remaking of production norms. This was a work of great discipline and loyalty by television people to their craft.

As to the quandary, a close viewing will tell you it's the latter, not the former which explains the implosion of young Lord Sebastian Flight.

If only it were the relatively simple issue of the former the Catholic Church would have far less trouble in its heart.

It may have been young minister Joe Tripodi we saw skipping up the steps of St Peters in Rome in July 2002 taking his confession at the seat of Roman Catholicism, on a very hot summer day in his double breasted suit, flanked on either side. It was the tail end of our world trip away from years of hack political work in NSW.

It may even have been the pitch by very Catholic Joe for World Youth Day in Sydney later this year 15-20 July 2008. At St Mary's Cathedral in the CBD one can see an arch lit like a game show back set just across from Hyde Park, counting down the days, 180 or something to go:

Later this year Big Catholicism is going to get up on its hind legs and make the happy clappers at Hillsong, corporate christianity franchise central who dare not look at a camel too closely, look like a suburban McDonalds outlet. Predictions are of 1 million or more faithful at some $350 per head. A religious tourism bonanza for the local economy. A crushing of the brand of the splinter faiths. A proud flexing of muscular Catholicism by Cardinal George Pell gathering in the converts.


Caligula's 30 metre high obelisk in the middle of St Peters Square which is actually an oval, the seriously big Vatican City walls, and the shining gold memorabilia of ancient popes/saints in the Basilica itself, proves that the old dame does grandeur like no other Christian church might. It's the original and best. It's had 2000 years continuous practice. And they know their business which is to coral superstition and fear of death.

(A bit like micro news blogging here. You really have to be stupid to not get better at it with practice - 12 months now, running at 17,000 page views a month.)

So where is the risk to youth exactly from this hyper event in July? Certainly one ought not lightly disrespect the saintly heroes of Catholicism, like this fellow here, killed by Pinochet's neo Nazi thugs in Chile:

Or these other unrecognised folks referred to in this sharp article. Or recently the role of their church as a refugia for human rights in East Timor.

So where is the harm in an even bigger, perhaps more authentic Hillsong event to be held at Randwick Racecourse? The intensely crafted and subtle Brideshead Revisited carries the cautionary missive: Prosletizing Catholicism can be a fanatically ruthless power game corrosive of balanced healthy relationships at either familial or societal level.

We know this as we know our own 9 siblings and parents of a devout, pious Catholic drunken Irish family and wracked with neuroses. It must have been at 7 or 8 years of age as we took the sacraments of confession, holy communion etc that we also made a profound promise to ourselves to never end up like that. A precocious promise physical health superficially and in the last 3 years we kept the promise as middle age spread threatened - teatotal, totally lapsed, physically fit. But it was also deeper than a child's mind might conceive. To seek happiness, not Church endorsed misery by way of the (Irish) Catholic strictures. My parents taught me by contrary nagging loveless example.

In retrospect we fortified ourselves from the depradations of 'religous duty' so corrosive of human potential, and ironically, spirtual fulfillment. We took up the agnostic religion (!) in Victoria of Australian Rules Football (then known as VFL) and other sport in idolatory:

Brideshead Revisited was also broadcast at a pivotal time in the early 80ies as we prepared for endless years at University courtesy the tail end of Whitlam's free education policy. Not a sandstone but the new spread eagled campus of ANU Canberra, the alma mater of PM Kevin Rudd and now it seems the top uni in the country. Nice to have two degrees from there now.

At 14 we threw off the imperatives of the local priest for a life of independent thinking like we threw off the alter boy's red and white vestments. Not for us the hierarchical blatherings of an anti women, anti ecology institution, in love with its own exclusive history, perversely leading mankind to dangerous climate change not least via excessive population and bogus hierarchical sophistry about contraception. Disgusting arrogance to be sure.

Some writers comfort themselves the doomed Sebastian character in Brideshead Revisited was a fairy such that religious neurosis led him to alcoholism. But the thesis doesn't stack up and the Catholic church can't escape the devastating critique of the book so easily. Catholic Author Waugh also has the father Lord Marchmain who is undoubtedly straight being a drunkard until he runs away (which rings true). Shown above is his martyred wife played by Claire Bloom,  expressing with exquisite clarity the moment of shock recognising the mercurial absconding husband in her own son. History repeating. Both hating her oppressive annexation of their very life force to vicarious service. She only comprehends the sting of cruel disloyalty. Her mission is to prevent the second one escaping like the first.

Anthony Andrews who interprets the part above so effectively gives a commentary as a special extra on the DVD set of Brideshead along with vague ponderings by producer Derek Grainger. Andrews is so very perceptive and enthusiastic, albeit decades later, in his analysis essential to getting to Sebastian's character and this is quite moving in itself for the obvious commitment to his art. The actor tells of knowing two others in real life whose religion led them to drunkeness, one a Jesuit priest no less. He notes the 'terrifyingly manipulative steely' character of the matriarch, married into a rich family and who never stopped seeking more influence. Our gloss would be grieving for her magnificent brothers killed in the war, determined to avoid that searing pain again by keeping those she loves close by calculating willpower till their natural life energy is squeezed out of them. A controlling philosophy she cannot sustain long term because it drives off that which she most seeks to keep. So much for psychological motivations for power mongering. 

Andrews expresses great compassion for his character "at the height of his confusion" given the taboo of mater fear and loathing, shown above breaking down on the step. Just as the immensely bright Charles Ryder character (who sees all) warms to Van Gogh's flowers as early as the 1920ies evoking the real beauty of life, and by contrast sees through the mother's attempt to covertly "suborn" him to her will. Just as she in turn presumably was suborned by her church in time honoured hierarchical fashion, to a life of weary martyrdom in a failed marriage, and the priest had sought to suborn this writer as a child into ongoing service to the alter.

The whole Brideshead story is resplendant with social power-mongering under cover of piety, just as Big Catholicism is in Sydney.

Oppressive mindless religous dogma is surely a sickness of self denial leading to bodily dysfunction (in Lady Marchmain's case cancer, Sebastian's drunkeness, in others gluttony, obesity, exhaustion) through habitual self deception over decades: As if the example of Christ calls for constant suffering by his followers. The gospel says he suffered for us, not that we should suffer as His mimic. Man's conceited pretence at playing God?

Thus the perversion of the gospel takes it's course. We like St Paul here on personal suffering:

 If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have prophetic powers and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, enough to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions and hand over my body to be burnt but do not have love, I gain nothing. [bold added]: From St Pauls 1st letter to the Corinthians

We say it's not long suffering masochism that Christ exhorts but honest emotional life leavened with healthy discipline. We submit He didn't want or need a life of misery in symbolic aping of the crucifiction. What a horrendous idea. A real blashemy. Such pain was surely meant to be redundant.

We say the purpose of life is a society based on honesty spontaneous emotions free of calculation. In short a love of truth and innocence. Not the cynical reliance on the ever available confessional to conveniently wipe the slate clean week in week out not least conceited brutal power games because 'we have the superior Catholic brand' and the prosletising end justifies the means. As if such a truly good message in the Gospel needs such machination. No. It's only people's vanity that feels the need.

What these dogmatists don't imagine is that confession may bring God's forgivenes, but mainly allows forgiveness of oneself. If it becomes a cheap moral get out of gaol free card, a convenience, then its healing function is lost. A device to sanitise any vicious power game much as the highly Catholic NSW ALP Right in NSW practice as their daily bread, especially if it is rationalised as gloriffying the church itself. A power game 'cardinal' Gerry Gleeson was reputed to have played not least in the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority:

At the 11th hour, however, an unknown representative of the authority telephoned Rothschild signalling that a surprise late bid was on its way. IN HIS heyday as Wran's favoured mandarin, Gleeson elicited a mixture of fear and respect among both ministers and the public service. Today, just a fortnight before his 76th birthday, Gerald Gleeson still retains a legendary aura. Renowned for his rigorous Catholicism, commanding presence and steely demeanour, he once said he did not seek to get close to people: "I'm not looking for love. I'm looking for respect."

When Gleeson stepped down on June 10, 1988, after nearly 30 years of senior civil service, he spent the Liberal years collecting a swag of directorships on boards at the big end of town. Among them were Capital Investment Holdings, Catholic College of Education Australia, Commonwealth Bank, Grocon Developments, Amalgamated Holdings and briefly, Transfield.

He remains a director of the Australian Catholic University and is still active in the Catholic community.

In 1995, when Labor was returned to power, one of Bob Carr's first acts was to lure the uber-bureaucrat back to Macquarie Street. In the early years, he quietly acted as a significant Mr Fix-It for Carr, brokering several major deals, including the early forestry agreements and fixing the Olympic hotel bed tax issue.

Gleeson chaired the Statutory and Other Officers Remuneration Tribunal, which sets Senior Executive Service pay packets. And as chairman of the Darling Harbour Authority he oversaw the venue's final construction.

Then, in 1998, he began his increasingly controversial reign as chairman of the newly formed Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority. With one stroke of the cabinet room pen, great swathes of Sydney became his turf, including the Sydney Cove Authority, City West Development Corporation, Luna Park and even the Australian Technology Park in Redfern.

Since then the crisscrossing of his growing empire and board interests has become grist for the rumour mill.

Said a senior Government source: "Over the years, he has wanted more and more authority and, at one point, even came looking for Olympic Park." Last October, with the Sydney Entertainment Centre management rights tender fresh on everyone's mind, Gleeson sent a memo to the director-general of the Premier's Department, Col Gellatly.

in Going once, going twice by Paola Totaro May 29, 2004 Sydney Morning Herald

Indeed in terms of youth Big Catholicism is just about opposite to this very popular somewhat chaotic yet practical inspiration in youth friendly format:

It's a message youth can enjoy and embrace without travelling any distance at all from all over the world to Sydney for World Youth Day thanks to the beauty and perils of the internet.

And if that's not quite your taste then try this - and why does 'the devil' have the best music anyway?:



Posted by editor at 8:48 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 21 January 2008 4:11 PM EADT
Saturday, 19 January 2008
Local SH Ervin Gallery Sydney '72 pics reprise Led Zeppelin London 02 Arena reunion Dec 10 2007
Mood:  lyrical
Topic: culture

We were a teenager in 1980 when we discovered Led Zeppelin, which is quite behind the wave but you don't care at that age. Volume 4 was great, 4th highest selling album ever apparently. We even wrote a fan letter.

Back in December 07 we made a story (below), and trust the You Tube songs are still up there (with a later addition of Whole Lotta Love, given we couldn't find a quality version for a while). And don't miss this soul from 'old man' Plant with Alison Krause in Bob Dylan/Time Out of Mind mode, getting his spiritual second breath:

 Polly Come Home - Robert Plant & Alison Krauss

Today a gallery show in Sydney kicks off with similar charity aid for children vibe behind the 07 reunion show. Ain't that grand? Children in Brazil will be the beneficiaries. Gotta love that.

SH Irwin information follows:

19 January - 02 March 2008
The Led Zeppelin World Tour - an exhibition of photography and contemporary art

1978 - 2008 Celebrating 30 Years of Australian Art

National Trust S.H. Ervin Gallery

Watson Road (enter from Argyle Street), Observatory Hill, The Rocks, Sydney
Gallery Hours:           Tuesday–Sunday 11am-5pm.  (Closed Mondays)
Exhibition admission fees: $6/$4 National Trust members, seniors & concessions.
General information:   02 9258 0173
Media information: 02 9258 0150
Education officer:  02 9258 0122  group bookings & school tours welcome
Public ProgramSundays @ 3pm  (talks subject to speakers availability).
Exhibition introductory floor talk each Tuesday @ 12 noon.

Trust Café, Arts Book Shop & on-site parking.

S.H. Ervin Gallery will open on Australia Day Saturday 26 January 2008


...............................ABC Webpage entry follows:

In exhibiting this works, Harvey hopes to raise awareness for Rockphoto aid – helping to support children who live in extreme poverty in Brazil, a project he and his wife are committed to.
Led Zeppelin continue to be held in high regard for their artistic achievements, commercial success, and broad influence. The band have sold more than 300 million albums worldwide and recently played a reform concert in the UK.

The exhibition also presents responses from contemporary artists Adam Cullen, Nicholas Harding, Geoff Harvey, Euan Macleod, Lucille Martin, Alan Jones, Craig Waddell, Chris O’Doherty (aka Reg Mombassa), Danius Kesminas and Gareth Samson.

The photographs were first exhibited in an exhibition called 'One Night Stand' at the Lismore Regional Art Gallery.[More pics and story]

The exhibition opens January 19 to March 2, 2008 at the S.H. Ervin Gallery, National Trust of Australia.

Photographer Ted Harvey in front of one of his 100 iconic images of Led Zeppelin that were forgotten for more than 30 years

AudioRelated Images


Thursday, 13 December 2007
Led Zeppelin reunion concert on YouTube: Viewer numbers flying along
Mood:  special
Topic: world

The excited flush of the tv news announcers last night on most channels seemed to indicate it was a great show. And when you see the skyrocketing viewer numbers on YouTube and the quality of the soundtrack for these old guys, you just have to shake your head at their impressive command of the art form. And it was a charity show too apparently. Really beaut.

The setlist from their December 10th reunion show in London is as follows:

"Good Times Bad Times"
"Ramble On" (live debut)
"Black Dog"
"In My Time of Dying"
"For Your Life" (live debut)
"Trampled Under Foot"
"Nobody's Fault But Mine"
"No Quarter"
"Since I've Been Loving You"
"Dazed And Confused"
"Stairway To Heaven"
"The Song Remains The Same"
"Misty Mountain Hop"
"Whole Lotta Love"
"Rock And Roll"














Posted by editor at 8:05 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 1 February 2008 4:21 PM EADT
Monday, 14 January 2008
Spanish Harlem Orchestra salsa in the Domain Sat 12 Jan
Mood:  lyrical
Topic: culture

This was a cracker of a Sydney Festival event.

We didn't take pictures but these images and sound off YouTube of the same band at another outdoor event give a good flavour of the ambience:


Glebe was looking quiet at 9pm when we got our cheap Thai, the Indian cooks out front next door said there was something on 'at Hyde Park'.

'Might take a look'. But it wasn't at Hyde Park. It was as if the energy was so bright with the salsa band cranking that it sucked all the social oxygen into the Domain leaving a desert all around. The space at the heart of the action was jammed, literally from freeway fence to the stage at the far south of the grassy space. I guessed 200,000 people, I read 100K later on.

We witnessed 5 elevated stages for maybe 100 x 2 dancers all up and 3 big video screens reflecting the main stage. What impressed most was the obvious enjoyment of the beefy lead singer and veteran trumpet players, and yes drum solo of the Spanish Harlem Orchestra. They had their choreographed moves down pat. They shared the solo time. They reached a harmonious crescendo often which seemed to merge into the space time continuum itself. All drug free, which you couldn't say for the crowd with its share of alcohol after a long hot day.

The moving view of an old well dressed wiry couple dancing next to a crowded path embraced by the velvet night as if no one else was there; The swaying grandma with beaming hip daughter and son in law with wooden feet. The lascivious gleam of a drunken siren at her bemused man. It was all there. It was MAD.

The band had a BIG enthusiastic audience that did them justice and they reciprocated thrashing it out on their brass instruments. And that was just the last half hour of the show.

Walking back through the city it was a balmy summer night's dream. Quite surreal.

Posted by editor at 12:44 PM EADT
Updated: Monday, 14 January 2008 2:29 PM EADT

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