Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Volcanos versus airlines

Volcanic ash has returned to Australia after the second round around the world. All flights cancelled at main airports.

Remember the British Airways Boeing 747 that lost all four engines and scratched its windscreens flying through an ash cloud spewing out of the Indonesian Mount Galungung in June 1982.
Miraculously, the pilots were able to restart the engines and land safely at an alternate airport.

This present volcano is located in Chile.

Australian airlines, especially Qantas, who have outsourced some of its maintenance work abroad to its pilots’ and engineers' dismay, may be more concerned about the maintenance costs of their jet fleet than mayhem caused to its passengers. Maybe.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Curators and souls

Great museums portray their stolen, empty artefacts – naturally without people, but, if curated with care, are able to tell intact and interested stories of civilisations from vague beginnings to ends.

Art museums curate their art collection to tell stories of development and context of art in society, or of individual artists from their naive but promising beginnings till the bitter ends of creativity.

One’s own life, too, is recalled as a chain of sketched pictures. The internal narrative, our self-curator, the soul, is kept together by something in one’s inside – will to live, perhaps, or quest for immortality, who knows – a story somehow unbroken from the first vague picture with sketched context, ‘me’, to just now when ‘I’ stopped watching Lucien Freud as seen by Hector Obalk.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Criticism of criticism

D.H. Lawrence in his essay about John Galsworthy (February 1927):

"Literary criticism can be no more than a reasoned account of the feeling produced upon the critic...The touchstone is emotion, not reason...All the critical twiddle-twaddle about style and form...is mere impertinence and mostly dull jargon..."


Thursday, June 16, 2011

The pianists

Lang Lang is in Melbourne without actually performing to the public. What a pity.

He, of course, is as famous for his bodily performances while playing as for his inspired playing. Sort of a Chinese version of Olli Mustonen then, the Finnish pianist, in whose performances, too, the audience is totally mesmerised by the interestingly flamboyant gesticulations. Below Olli plays about six minutes of Sergei Rachmaninov's Piano Sonata No. 1, Op. 28.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Suspicious cynics

An online ad promises Apple iPads for $23.71?!

Yeah, right!

How is it, that one always suspects that if an offer on internet ad looks too good to be true, it actually is so?

Over aeons of human history the originally social member of primate pack has turned into a suspicious cynic, a doubter of beautiful opportunities offered by friendly, good-doing internet entrepreneurs.

I wonder why is that?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Saw an intense movie called Incendies by Canadian scriptwriter/director Denis Villeneuve based on Lebanese-born Wajdi Mouawad's play Scorched.

This is one of those movies where it is obligatory that whoever writes about it does not reveal too much of the content.

Briefly, the film is about a woman’s fate in a war-torn country called Fuad (Lebanon) where Christians and Muslims kill each other in a tit for tat cycle of violence. The woman, Nawal Marwan (portrayed by Belgian Lubna Azabal), is Christian, persecuted by the Muslims, who goes through an ordeal, moves to Canada and dies. With her last will, she surprises her teenage twins, sister and brother, and sends them on a mission to Fuad in search for their father and brother.

Due to minor problems of some dates of things within the narrative (perhaps those could've been clarified either by dialogue or texts), the movie-goer will have to be extremely vigilant from the very beginning till the end, and perhaps an appearance of some of the characters is a bit confusing at the end, which tries the watcher's 'willing suspense of disbelieve' close to the limit, this is really a great, enjoyable movie that holds its grip throughout. Highly recommended.

Words in Australian

Words: There are two neat new-speak words to portray modern Australian culture: ‘bogan’ and ‘fandom’.

In the past, football clubs were supported largely by bad-behaving working class men, ‘bogans’ in vernacular, as an alternative for national pride and religion. ‘Fandom’ was named by middle class wankers who nicked the clubs for themselves and needed an urbane name for their new kingdom of well-educated bogans.

Social stigmas

People feel bad about having a social stigma; that’s why many of us, and more by passing day, stop smoking so easily.

Shaming big carbon footprints may eventually work for saving the environment, too. Problem is that bad carbon behaviour does not happen in front of other people (except while driving one's car) so it can be kept concealed.

Exhibit 1: Al Gore’s nightly fully-lit mansion shamed lightless by investigative media. Spectacular.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Lumet: Network

Isn’t Sidney Lumet’s Network with William Holden and Faye Dunaway (1976, 4 Oscars) a totally enjoyable piece of cinematic artistry? Remember the line by the main character, Howard Beale (tv anchorman turned prophet in the film, played by Peter Finch)?
“...Right now. I want you to go to the window, open it, and stick your head out and yell. I want you to yell: ‘I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this any more!’...”
Thirty odd years have not taken anything away from the movie.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Lord of the Rings fans

Lord of the Rings: the Fellowship of Bad Dress-Sense and Cure for Insomniacs

Entirely without proof and purely through the unkindness of heart, I suspect there are two kinds of Lord of the Rings fans: those who only fall asleep while reading the books and those who also do it while watching the movies.

I tend to fall towards the latter with considerable fervour. Although, although...

Something somewhere inside my weather-toughened torso sometimes kindles and glows tenderly and makes me love the sagas nonetheless.

Friday, June 10, 2011

In Australia, asylum seekers sung Matilda, tugged in bed

Aussie Labour government disappoints: previous PM Kevin Rudd was full of pure hot air; present PM Julia Gillard has no obvious convictions and creates distrust among voters.

ALP has now fallen into conservative opposition's trap re asylum seekers: there are only a few thousands each year compared to hundreds of thousands of official immigrants. The government is planning to send those assylum seekers arriving by boats to Malaysia for processing.

Malaysia is no a signatory to the UN convention on asylum seekers and the government cannot guarantee that they would be treated within the international norms applied in Australia. For instance, the asylum seekers in Malaysia are caned for misbehaviour, which obviously is not the Australia way where they are kept in holiday camps, sung Matilda and tugged in bed with a soft toy (perhaps one of the reasons why the boats keep coming).

Anyway, Gillard should think of human values and not send vulnerable people to dreadful future in a foreign landland – not even Tony Abbott, the scaremongering opposition leader, although he is a truly Australian Wally and sees a carrot of an election win flashed in front of him, by an always-unreliable Mrs Fortuna, as an incentive to become the badly behaving politician of this parliament..