20 August 2010
A week of drug-addled existence is coming to an end – I hope. No nothing expensive or exciting, no choppin-up on a mirror or hugging on the dance floor not even laughing at patterns in the clouds or at some joke on Friends or even a drive home through the back streets to avoid the breathalyser. For me its prescription painkillers - two types of neuropathic painkillers one of which is an anti-depressive and one which makes you fat and suicidal plus a mix of oxy contin and oxy codone. This is to combat the after-effect - pain (having been poisoned by the medical profession and Kodak who administered and manufactured a contrast dye around thirty plus years ago). The short and curly of it is that I have lost days and week in a daze.
Tomorrow the farce that passes for democracy in
So the prediction is labour will lose up to 19 seats and therefore lose power but the strongest feeling appears to favour a hung parliament with the Greens holding power in the senate and three ex Country party members holding power in the lower house.
I will be there observing it at the
The labour party dropped its plan to combat climate warming because they could get no support in the parliament even though 65% of Australians wanted emission controls. Tony Abbott the leader of the Liberals said ‘climate change is crap’ before the elections but has since dropped the word crap while keeping the sentiment.
The taxpayers pay for all this crap with the details about who made private donations not being revealed until 2012 and then very little. The traditional big donators are mostly the usual suspect federally mining companies and Zionists while the state governments – especially Labour receive their biggest sums from Property Developers who get planning permission and Pubs who get pokie machines in return. There are many corporations who want their phone calls answered who give about the same to each party.
Julia Gillard, the Labour Brutessa, went ‘real’ after the focus groups showed voters felt she wasn’t and Tony Abbot dropped his ‘mad monk’ image for the suburban solicitor tri-athlete image, stayed awake for last 36 hours before the election because David Cameron did (and he won). The liberals, as usual the only ones who mention the arts, are talking loans for Australian films. Nobody has seriously discussed the economy, education, health, transport or anything they are supposed to be responsible for. The new go is to do 10-15 minute doorstop interviews that allow no time for questions to be answered or policies to be explained.
A photo finish is the most preferred prediction and this I will witness from a Labour club on Saturday night. I have had to promise my wife not to say whom I voted for and not to make anti-labour jokes or spend too much on the pokies. If it turns out a laugh next time I will join the Liberal party and go to their election nite party.
Meanwhile the sun is shining and the temperature is 20 plus. The girl in the posh grocery shop had her first swim today and the dollar is up. Coming up is the Bali Film Festival and my son has his first job ever as an assistant grip and runner on a n-budget film – probably because he is using our old 4wd.
Quinze aout used to be
chez Rolande from midi
to six, gifts on display
the pace ordained
Alcohol lubricating my French,
making words flow.
Twenty five people move to the shade
Everything prepared, perfected,
Rolande’s hair permed, pinny in place
we take our seats
The meal begins
comme toujours with
soup, then salad
course after course
the enormous fish that
Guy would have caught
canards reared by Rolande
beans, bien sur, obligatoire.
Each year she pulls off this gargantuan feast.
This eclectic bunch brought
together for lunch
the Dutchman who owns the nearby chateau
the Frenchwoman who owned it before,
her daughter Fanfan, a dancer in
the local artist there with his wife,
the married cousin
from across the road
who winter afar in
another cousin from another village
the only other non-French family
and the trusted friends
who were there at the end.
Now that era is over
and quinze aout is just
another summer day.
Tiny like Piaf,
the cancer was swift
the long procession
to the cemetery
was rained-on and sad
perhaps they wished they’d visited her
before she died.
Now Guy, sister-less, sits out his days
in a maison de retraite.
No more hunting nor fishing,
nor rotting plums for his eau de vie,
instead he waits, wondering if he’s dead,
trapped inside his own head.
Joselyn Duffy Morton ©
Without hesitation, repetition or deviation - the legendary host of Just a Minute is this month celebrating 10 years of taking his show, Nicholas Parsons' Happy Hour, to the Edinburgh Fringe. The show - a mix of his own stand-up and chats with invited guests - is always a sell-out. One reviewer recently described him as ‘an icon of Post Modern Cool’, and indeed he is. It's incredible to realise that he's has been entertaining the nation for over 60 years, and has clocked up 47 years as the inimitable host of Radio 4's popular panel game. On Tuesday this week, two Just A Minute (or JAM as we call it round here) shows were recorded at the Edinburgh Fringe in the largest of the Pleasance venues - The Grand. Well ahead of the doors opening, the audience queued round the venue in what seemed like an endless snake, patiently waiting to get in to see their favourite show, whilst a separate queue gathered and grew, anxiously waiting to see if there were any returned tickets. I was lucky enough to be able to squeeze into the show, and it really was well-worth the wait. Before the recording began, as usual, Nicholas did his warm-up, and so entertaining was he - it could easily have made a show in its own right. The panellists were veteran comic Paul Merton, Fred MacAulay (fresh from recording MacAulay and Co) Jenny Éclair (the first female stand-up to win the Perrier Award, 15 years ago) and making his JAM debut - award-winning stand-up, Steven K Amos. The show sparkled with wit as the panellists competed fiercely to beat that buzzer. You can hear the JAM
Mary Kalemkerian Head Of Programmes BBC Radio 7
Nicolas Parsons JAM
92 years later …
A bible found in the trenches in the 1st WW has been traced 92 years later to a NZ soldier.
After serving in the 1st WW, Herbert Hodgson (1893-1974) became the acclaimed printer of the rare 1926 edition of Lawrence of Arabia’s Seven Pillars of Wisdom. In his memoirs – entitled Impressions of War and just published by Martlet Books – Hodgson describes how he fell into a shell hole in April 1918 during an attack:
‘My hand grasped something in the mud. It was a book. I shoved it in my pocket, got up and carried on. A shell landed nearby and the blast knocked me out. I was picked up by a stretcher party and carried back to the line. When I came to I remembered the book. It was a Bible, encrusted with mud. There was no name inside it but the army service number 34816 had been written across the top outer edges of the pages.’
That Bible is currently in the possession of Bernard Hodgson, Herbert Hodgson’s second son. Ninety-two years later, the original owner of the Bible has been traced to Private Richard Cook of the Otago Regiment of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, who died aged 26 of wounds on 8 October 1917 and is buried in
This October, on the anniversary of Richard Cook’s death, relatives of both Richard Cook and Herbert Hodgson will carry out a commemorative ceremony at his grave in honour of the two great soldiers.
Herbert Hodgson’s family will generously donate the Bible to the
Major Ian Passingham, (author of Pillars of Fire: The
describes Impressions of War as ‘a must-read for anyone wishing to put the First World War into its proper perspective.’
Professor Peter Simkins, former Senior Historian of the
See http://www.martlet-books.co.uk/impressions-of-war.htm for details.
(Mary Kalemkerian is in the depths of the
14 August 2010
ferry lights is a new play by new playwright Claudia Ward. In Claudia’s family, drama and theatre were its bread and butter and as she is a delightful, insightful and very wise for her age, young woman – I’m sure this piece will raise a few eyebrows.
Not everyone has ventured south to Brixton but now Boris has got the Tories on bikes, all sorts of extraordinary places must suddenly seem very accessible.
It is only on for 3 nights, opening on Tuesday 24 August at 7.30pm. Do get yourself there and tell Claudia “Jos sent you”.
A beginning in Brixton, what could be better?
Dispiriting rows of empty seats could soon be a thing of the past at the Fringe, if Theatre Ninjas have anything to do with it. The fantastic initiative, set up by a group of theatre-makers all aged under 25, makes around 700 free tickets available every day via its website (theatreninjas.co.uk). If producers have spare seats to fill half-an-hour before curtain up, they can offer up to 10 free tickets online to whoever gets to the venue first and quotes the correct code. So there you have it, flyers for the iPhone generation.
What is recognised as the world's biggest annual arts festival began last Saturday in Edinburgh, with more shows than ever running over the 3 weeks - a record 2,453 this year.
The Fringe brochure is bursting with information on a myriad of entertaining, funny, challenging and moving shows performed throughout the city for those few heady weeks.
This can be an expensive time to visit
Following the radio industry Radio Amnesty which I mentioned back in May, 2,500 traded-in and reconditioned radios are being sent to South Africa. The radios are being donated to children in the wards at the Red Cross War Memorial Hospital in
Mary Kalemkerian,Head Of Programmes BBC Radio 7
6 August 2010
British Guy Denning now based in Breton, France, spoke to The Independent Online today ahead of his new show 'Behemoth,' which opens at The Crypt Gallery in London in September:
Sarah at Red Propeller has just invited us to the Opening but sadly we won’t be able to go because it would be great to see such stunning, politically controversial and meaningful work.
Vernissages continue apace, although not often with local French people, as around here, they tend to be agriculteurs. (Though the vivacious and highly-charged galeriste Mana is often in attendance in one capacity or another.)
In the nearby Charente town of
The second vernissage was an invitation from John Mitchell where he was showing at l’atelier au Bourg de Lusignac alongside peintures of Hans Smit. At the entrance was a roughly-hewn tree trunk. Inside were John’s polished, sophisticated and masterful wood sculptures. The finish is sublime – as elegant as silk and steel but made from wood. His latest pieces are more elaborate, painted in different colours with clever, intricate almost Aztec cutting and shaping. They are eye-catching and yet I still prefer his strong, smooth original pieces. Choices!
The exhibition runs until Saturday 22 August.
He called a meeting of ministers and police chiefs to review what he dubbed ‘the situation of travelling people and Roma and the problems that certain members of these communities pose to public order and safety.’
As happens too often in history, Gypsies are once more being made scapegoats by a ruling class tangled up in political and financial scandals," the Gypsy rights association UFAT said in a statement.
"If Nicolas Sarkozy must repeat his declaration of war, the Collective of Gypsy Associations will be prompted to take legal action for incitement to racial hatred," it added.
The group said it wanted Sarkozy to meet its representatives to begin a dialogue to try to find a solution for the 400,000 Gypsies and travelling people in
Authorities estimate meanwhile that in
There Socialist mayor Jacques Salvator runs an ‘insertion village’, a cluster of publicly-funded plastic cabins that are home to about 12 Roma families while they wait to be allocated public housing.
Salvator said that "50 projects like this one would be enough to solve the problem in the
"The state and
Those comments came after a weekend of violence in central France, when young men from a community of travelers, enraged at the July 16 shooting of one of their peers by a policeman, rioted through the sleepy village of Saint-Aignan, south of Blois. For two days after 22-year-old Luigi Duquenet was fatally shot while a car he was in charged a police roadblock and allegedly hit an officer, around 50 youths from Duquenet's encampment attacked the Saint-Aignan gendarme station with metal bars and axes and also destroyed small local businesses, burned cars and damaged public property. The situation had calmed by July 18, but many people in
That such prejudice endures is partly the fault of
Critics claim that Sarkozy's new hard-line focus seeks to play last week's unrest at Saint-Aignan for political gain. With his approval rating at a personal all-time low of 25%, his government dogged by spending scandals and his Labor Minister, Eric Woerth, ensnared in the intrigue surrounding the inheritance battle between L'OrÉal heiresses Liliane and Francoise Bettencourt, detractors say Sarkozy's latest law-and-order charge is simply an attempt to change the topic and score points at the expense of a population that few people are eager to defend.
"To better make people forget the scandal he's marred in himself, [Sarkozy] has invented a new diversion with a new category of scapegoat," Green Party legislator Noel Mamere declared on Wednesday night. "He serves up to the good folk of
Opposition pols aren't the only ones crying foul.
This time, the controversy that Sarkozy's new law-and-order pledge has created seems to have replaced the applause that his previous anticrime crusades have provoked. It could be that by targeting travelers - the eternal scapegoat - Sarkozy may find that his unbeatable trump card has finally lost its magic.
The Neighbour’s Pool
Swimming in the neighbour’s pool.
Listening to the Dark Side of the Moon
Vendoire chateau outlined against the sky
I want to twirl and twirl
instead I float weightless, mindless
Dave Gilmour’s voice reminding me of
things I once knew.
Now wet and content
the past well-spent
the mysterious future has no fears
the present so pleasant.
Joselyn Duffy Morton ©
BBC Radio 7
Hello again The role of the presenter is key to the smooth running of Radio 7. As a pre-recorded network, we require our presenters not only to introduce and guide you through our programmes, but to be able to research archive material, write linking scripts and to interview contributors. Most of our programmes are sourced from Radio 4, and are therefore timed to fit within that network's schedule, allowing for regular news bulletins and weather reports. As Radio 7 is ‘a no-news/weather/sport’ network, this does leave us with extra time to fill, and that's where our presenters come into their own. We know that some of you are interested in the ‘faces behind the voices’ and for that reason we have a Radio 7 presenters' page on our website. Up until recently the page was somewhat ad hoc, with very little consistency in style. Some of the photos were in colour and some were black and white (mostly taken with the office camera - not quite a box brownie but almost of that vintage). Thanks to one of our producers, Mik, who brought in his superior photographic equipment, and to Tim, one of our broadcast assistants who re-arranged the web page and edited the information, we now have an updated and freshened up presenter page with much better photographs and information plus introductions to some of the new presentation talent on Radio 7. So, if you'd like to admire the new photographs and ‘put a face to the names’ you can meet them all here: www.bbc.co.uk/radio7/presenters. The joke currently going around in the office is that they all have good faces for radio - and as far as we know, none of them have yet appeared in the Crimewatch Rogues' Gallery!
Mary Kalemkerian, Head of Programmes, BBC Radio 7
Cymbalta -the drug you don’t want take – has robbed me of nearly three weeks. During this time the disaster that is laughingly called, the federal election,has polluted our newspapers and airwaves.
Having disposed of their Prime Minister just three weeks before the election, the Labor party, going for its second term, has nothing to run on. As incumbent Gubments are supposed to run on their record but as that record belongs to the man they sacked what can Labor do.? The opposition offers only campaign promises, which they can’t afford, – so it’s a policy free zone this election.
The mad monk Abbot, dressed in a 1950’s wowser suit, white shirt and tie to replace the budgie smugglers and lycra that he is so famous for has dropped his aggressive mudslinging style and appears surprisingly normal while Prime Minister Gillard is dressed in pearls and pants suits that accentuate her large breasts and large bottom and hobbles along as if she has trouble walking on her high heels.
Mysterious leaks from Labor (not Labour interestingly) insiders have undermined Gillard’s credibility. She is supposed to have argued in Cabinet that it was a waste of time to increase money to pensioners and old people because they always voted for the Liberals. This was a hard one to explain away so she didn’t. Instead she promised that she would sack the leaker(s) when she found them. The result is that Labor dropped 4 points in a week giving the opposition a 52/48 lead in the polls.
The Greens are beside themselves at the possibility of controlling the upper house with an increase in their vote looming large. The Liberals are riding high having won the first two weeks hands down - with no policies and no one in the press questioning the cost of their promises.
Yesterday Julia Gillard struck back saying now we are going to see the real her. What was the ‘her’ we saw for the past two weeks. Gone are the pearls and the pants suits along with the high heels. Flatties and casual gear are now the go.
All the ‘weirdo’s’ have come out to stand for the senate as if indicating readiness for a show of ‘a pox on both their houses’ by the voters who are desperately searching for someone to vote for.
The Sex party, The shooters party, Families First are but a few.
The candidate I am going to vote for was once the leader of the Australian Democrats in the senate. She was seduced into changing to Labor and given a high position. Then shit bag Laurie Oatbag, head of the parliamentary press corps, announced she was having an affair with a married Labor minister - so she was thrown out at the next election. I like her though, she is a good sort with a friendly smile is our Cheryl Kernow.
Meantime the economy apparently on autopilot, rolls on with the good times and people crowd the parks to play touch footy and BBQ, in the warm winter sun. Coal ships line the horizon waiting their turn and the dollar is up for those of us heading north or east.
So a sunny coast line and a rising dollar keeping the plasmas and BmWs down in price encourages us all that ‘whatever’ the sun will shine and ‘its all good’.
(I read yesterday I think in the Independent that 14,000 people lived in the