Vale Gillian Alcock

Gillian Alcock was a prefect and dux of Narrogin High School in 1967. She went on to become an expert maker of hammered dulcimers and related instruments. She died 2 November 2018, probably as a result of having had MS for many years.

She is the second former student of mine of whose death I have heard. The first was that of architect Murray Etherington, who died of brain cancer in 2016.

Canine overpopulation

Because I live between a coffee shop and a park where people walk their dogs (in other words, take them to their toilet), I observe that the typical family these days has a man and a woman who either has two children or is pregnant with the first or second one – and … the dog – or two. And one of the humans is typically carrying a takeaway coffee cup – and often a phone.

From these observations, I conclude that from this (meaninglessly small sample) that human population growth is not a problem, but that dog population growth might be (because twenty years ago many fewer people had a dog) and also that pollution from the needless use of non-reusable artefacts continues to increase.

Mary Magdalene

Joaquin Phoenix as Jesus

One of the reasons I wanted to see this is to get some idea of what Judaea might have been like back then – so, for historical reasons. And the opening scenes encouraged me to think that I might learn something – Greig Fraser’s photography is very good, and the landscape looked suitably unhospitable.

The only work that seems to be going on is herding and fishing, and Mary M seems to be a fisherman’s daughter. Everyone seems to be living in hand-to-mouth abject poverty. But as soon as ‘the Healer’ appears on the scene, everybody stops working. Mary literally drops the tool she’s using to mend a net and goes to join the merry band of disciples. Well, at least one of them seems to be inappropriately merry, as Jesus himself seems to be pretty miserable, and probably a bit deranged.

Joaquin Bottom (his birth name) is 43, but looks older – and much older than the 30-33 Jesus is supposed to have been, and not nearly as turn-the-other-cheek as the guy in the Bible. In fact, he does look quite like a rebellious insurgent – what we would now call a ‘terrorist’.

My main gripe about the film – as it was about Lion, Davis’s only other film – is that he clearly cannot direct actors, and has no global concept of the artwork (the film) as a whole (yes, I realise I can’t claim to know that – let’s say I intuit it). Phoenix is all over the place emotionally, and it’s hard to see that he has a lived-in core idea of what his version of Jesus is like.

Joaquin’s partner IRL is … Rooney Mara. It was probably contractual that if she took a role, so did he – or the other way around. Do they have sex in the film? … How dare I mention it! Of course they couldn’t. It would be something like sacrilege.

Bateleur Appears

I’ve started to compile cryptic crosswords again – like those in the Times and the Guardian – having acquired Crossword Compiler and a way to run it in a virtual box on this iMac.

My new setter name is Bateleur – after this guy  from the Marseille Tarot >

Voicemail?

Dealing with an answering service seems to me to be a bit like part of a contest for control.

I call you when I feel like chatting, but you make yourself unavailable.

And you call back, if you do, at a time when you feel like chatting.

It’s not conducive to a feeling of being in contact. More a feeling of a being the loser (or winner).  I don’t have an answering service turned on. If you ring me, you get me. Sadly, you don’t (ring me).

As you can see, I don’t even know what it’s called now. Voicemail, maybe.

PRS no more

I find I’m quite sad after the departure of Malcolm Turnbull. I would never have voted for him, but I still thought he was a good bloke.

I seem to want not to occupy a position on not only politics, but also religion – and why not throw in spelling?

Most people are going to go on in the infantile state of believing in some kind of god, and also seem to be incapable of learning the difference between its and it’s.

While I am in no doubt about those two trivial matters – they seem to me to be of equivalent difficulty – I find that I have nfi about the conduct of politics.

So I have decided that as from today, I won’t comment publicly or privately on anyone’s PRS – politics, religion, or spelling.

I’ll do what Voltaire advises through his character Candide: cultiver son jardin. I’ll simply look after my own metaphorical garden. And that’s all.

PM/President

I haven’t seen this comparison anywhere else, so I’ll present it here. We may have had a frequent change of leaders in this country, but there is at least one other country with a leader who is incompetent, perhaps criminal, maybe even insane, and there’s no legal way he can be taken down.

I’d rather be a citizen of this country.

Richard Thompson Live at Rockpalast

This has just been released in 2017 tho it was recorded in 1983 and 1984: RT Live at Rockpalast, as two DVDs and three CDs – of two performances, one in Hamburg and the other in Cannes. After the Hamburg gig, there’s an opportunity on DVD1 to watch a brief interview between RT and the German Rockpalast guy. This was after both performances, I now think, because Thompson is asked about his reception, and he mentions that whistling means different things in different countries. When I watched that, I wondered why he said that – because he was well received in the Hamburg Markthalle.  But now I’ve watched the Cannes gig, where a couple of slower numbers, particularly Night Comes In, seem to be badly received, with a great deal of whistling. If I’ve understood the audience behaviour correctly, I don’t know why the French weren’t expecting what they got.

The Hamburgers were insistent that they got more, bringing the band back to the stage twice for another six more songs than Cannes got – as either the French didn’t ask RT back, or he wouldn’t go. One result of that is that the first disk is a DVD9, but the second needs only to be a DVD5 🙂 Maybe he should have included Ça plane pour moi, which he does in perfect French, at great speed.

Redskin superhero?

There’s a bit of fuss atm about Black Panther (Ryan Coogler, 2018) the film which has given the American world its first Marvel Comic African-American superhero.

So that’s all good and fine, and as it should be. The descendants of former slaves are now proudly free and reclaiming their African-ness.

But what about the first people? Why is there no superhero arising out of the culture of the people who were there first?