30 September 2011

BBC, Radio 4 Extra

"What a great way to start the day" remarked journalist and broadcaster Eddie Mair after introducing and presenting a 3 hour special to mark the 20th anniversary of the landmark radio comedy series, On The Hour. In those distant days, before the advent of 24 hour rolling news networks, it brilliantly parodied our obsession with news. First broadcast on 9th August, 1991, On the Hour ran for only 12 episodes before transferring to television as The Day Today. With sharp jokes and sketches, Chris Morris was the anchor-man alongside an impressive group of writers and performers which included Armando Iannucci, Stewart Lee, Richard Herring. Steve Coogan, David Quantick Patrick Marber, Doon MacKichan and Rebecca Front. It was possibly the most influential comedy of the past 20 years, and it certainly had a great influence on Radio 4's PM presenter Eddie Mair, who, when asked if he would like to present this anniversary special for Radio 4 Extra, agreed immediately, with no hesitation whatsoever. On listening again to clips from the shows, Eddie and producer Sarah Wade, apparently laughed continuously in between recording the introductions in the studio,. You can hear the resulting 3-hour selection special this Saturday, and you can read all about how it was put together in Sarah's very entertaining blog which will be available this weekend.
We're also celebrating another programme anniversary this weekend (or I should say two programmes) It’s the 50th anniversary of two comedies which are still as popular and as funny as they were in 1961.
Written by the legendary writing duo, Ray Galton and Alan Simpson , the programmes are Hancock favourites, The Blood Donor, and The Radio Ham. They were originally broadcast in the 7th and the final Hancock television series in 1961, and in October that year they were re-recorded as audio and released by Pye records on a vinyl LP. How quaint that sounds now in these high-tech days of DVD releases and downloads! Galton and Simpson are frequently, and rightly, referred to as "The Fathers of Sitcom" and unsurprisingly, "The Blood Donor" is recognised as one of the best sit-com episodes ever to be broadcast in the UK We are fortunate that we are able to bring you these classic programmes for you to enjoy on this 50th anniversary
Mary Kalemkerian, Head of Programmes, BBC Radio 4 Extra

Cover caption

The hornets’ nest that we had professionally removed from the attic in August when the two precious young grandchildren were visiting. Photo Roger Morton

14 September 2011

Photography exhibition

The Charente village of Barro is on the N10 between Angouleme and Poitiers. This is the 12th year that they have hosted a photographic exhibition. They will show the work of 40 photographers, including Roger Morton. We visited last year and it was spectacular – huge photos hung outside on the walls, fences, barns, even mounted in the river. It was all the more captivating because many of the photos were taken in war-torn situations or orphanages or situations of worrying conflict. Roger submitted images that he had taken in Hong Kong during the Cultural Revolution in 1967 and 68. However once they had looked on his web-site, the images they wanted were of all the Rock and Roll musicians from the 70s.
The expo opens Saturday 17 September and runs until the 25th. L’invite d’honneur is Frederic Sautereau, one of the three photographers whose images from 9/11 the Independent newspaper featured last week. His other work is equally strong and troubled. Roger is very pleased to be in such fine company.
Joselyn Morton

Mel from Nepal

A sudden burst of energy has allowed me to finally write to me mates and share some of the latest from this side of the world, not nearly as dire as Syria or as charged as London, but dramatic none-the-less!
We are living in a country with a recent survey showing that 80% of women suffer from physical abuse and so our move into the new neighbourhood was a bit of an eye-opener. Gender inequality is an absolute fucking national shame and this country is doomed to fall very hard if it doesn't act pretty quickly. Men will certainly beat each other but women and young girls are subjected to all kinds of abuse from a young age. Many women actually believe a beating is deserved and is part of their tradition..hmmmm?
"My husband is God" is vehemently upheld and I have been having a real problem with that.
For one I am not religious, so that statement means bollocks to me. Secondly, I don't believe anyone should be living in fear of their own family anxious and paranoid of burning the bloody rice!
These women have been married (love/arranged) at 16ish (remember your first love?) with no education and no idea how to communicate ... basically just labour! Cook, clean and take care of the children ... there's the mistake! 
You forgot to educate her, and she is the most important teacher for your kids, for the village! A twisted combination of cultural beliefs and religious protocols is about the only education 'she' will receive. 
Okay, so there has been a big push for girls to go to school and the whole education system to meet international standards ...blah blah!
But same story as everywhere, the best schools are unaffordable and those privileged enough, seem to live in constant fear and paranoia of failing and receiving a beating ....other than the beating they will receive from their teacher! (Hence, our eldest has chosen to home study! The school of the two-youngest has a ‘no abuse’ policy!) Girls do extremely well at school and almost certainly find more reason to strive harder as their families have 'sacrificed' a lot to get them there. 
Then of course there is no employment for them and besides, she must marry and return to her domestic labour. 
I must say it has been a very vocal few weeks for me trying to navigate an acceptable path whilst we go about our daily routines. Mediating domestic disputes,  protesting  basic human rights violations, animal rights violations, tackling aggressive imbecile contractors, even a stare-down with a prison guard ...more on that later!
When not dealing with that I am stupidly going online (when available??) and discovering that the whole WORLD has gone into meltdown ....it is truly exhausting! 
I so despise and envy the hemp-clad hippy I see flitting from Goa to Kathmandu in a brilliant haze of dirty dreads and tar-stained teeth! They care only for peace and love and lots of hash....I think they are onto something!!
Why care? Just build the fence higher, get a vehicle with tinted windows and security to keep undesirables out! Try and snatch and grab as much as possible before death inevitably arrives and then...well???....
Sod that!...Ithink better to yell louder and love harder and care, care, care...and when someone asks "why are you doing that?", you can say" because we are completely doomed if we don't!".
I will do my little bit for this community and will listen and perhaps orchestrate a women’s Group teaching literacy and basic health, sex education?...less likely to get a beating if you suck his....(where did that come from?) anything that may benefit. Mostly to bring the local woman together as they seem to be very unsupportive of each other and will often be the catalyst behind dangerous gossip pushing other women to suicide. 
I am hoping to do some study next year when Mal and mum are here also and look at some Public Health and Social Policy papers. Have met some awesome people who are determined to pull this country out of the dark ages and begin afresh. One in particular who is currently doing a doco on the Indian/Neplese border where Indian farmers have forcibly taking land at a fatal cost to Nepali farmers. He is sponsoring all on his meagre income from his plant nursery...another who has made his home a drop in for homeless kids, walking 25 km each way to find money to feed them and many many more I can see doing something positive.
Anyways...a bit of a shite email...i won't edit it as will probably delete all as feel like I have just babbled on!...that’s what I wanted to get out, so thanks for your ears/eyes and besides, the views here are extraordinary and right on our doorstep, we are swimming in mountain streams and eating and drinking freshest of foods (fresh buffalo milk and curd delivered each day by lovely boy, I am happy/challenged/passionate and kids are blossoming with all the different experiences. T has become addicted to meringue dresses and jewellery and is a little dancing machine, performing creative expressive dances around the garden...M is full-on back into soccer and cycling, bringing eggs and bread each morn before school, needing some Dad-time though...and E has matured even more with his pup to care for and daily exercise and study routine...looking good but missing his soulmate Luca for sure! 
We are going to head to Thailand for a look-see and some beach time with Mal and I dare say a lot of World Cup viewing via cable tv and then home here to see some of Nepal as the trekking season begins. 
I miss you all so much and think of how things are back home. Hope you are all good and light and stress free. Much love always x Mel

Weekend in the Country
Holed up in the freezing cold, heaters fuelled by dirty coal and wood fire to keep us in touch with our roots struggle valiantly to warm us against the southerly that does not even hit the house. Out to the dark blue sea the coal ships chug on to the soon-to- be- closed-down steel mills and I return from the garage which sells the papers with Freddy in his eighties filling people’s tanks to give some meaning to the last years of his life (having refused Woolworth’s thirty pieces of silver) to the little wooden cottage under the lee of the hill.
Settling down with my second coffee of the day made in the Italian espresso machine now in its twenty-first year and on its second base the first one having gone the way of all Italian steel from the eastern block.
I turn to the arts story of the weekend.  It's a puff piece on Fred Schepisi's new film The Eye of The Storm based on a Patrick White novel and it stars Charlotte Rampling,  Judy Davis, and Geoffrey Rush. Evidently some of Patricks set have contributed up to a third of the budget to have their world up on the big screen or at least on their iPads. The late Patrick White was a goer in his last few years always ready to be interviewed about his feelings on how pathetic the govt was behaving and I for one miss his wise elder outburst which were nearly always filmed in the beautiful park across the road from the fabulous house in Martin Road one of the best places to live in Sydney.
Charlotte we have all grown up with me having dreamt of waking up with her hoping my kissing would have made up for my appalling love making surely much worse than Marcello Mastrioni or whoever I thought I should have been at the time. My girlfriends wondering why she had to be so slim as well as having those eyes and lips and all us wondering how come we could not age so beautifully. Charlotte also interviews so well like she is also a good person and not just a good person but a whole person. It wouldn’t surprise me that she writes Canadian novels under a pseudonym  just so we don't feel bad.
Judy well she is more flawed - great but flawed - like I saw her as Marilyn Monroe in  'Insignificance' at my favourite theatre The Royal Court in London and she was so good I could not believe her and then years later I am talking to this woman who has to interview her at her house and it goes like this.
The woman arrives at Judy and Colin's (Friels) house in Birchgrove, Sydney about 15 minutes before the appointed time and waits outside in her car. At 9am - the appointed time, a taxi comes screaming around the corner and Judy and Colin and pull up outside the house. Colin and Judy get out and rush inside. The woman waits five minutes then goes to the front door and rings the bell. After a long tome Judy opens the door in her nightdress yawning and apologizing for having slept in.
Well who knows but I think she is a great actress sorry actor and this story just shows that she is just a bit mad which is what we usually expect from great actresses. Charlotte Rampling is either an odd ball or I have a limited collection of actress sorry actor stories. (see attached picture of Roger and Charlotte ed read Stephen O’R’s email after Roger sent him this photo of him and Charlotte.)
Anyway throw in Geoffrey and Fred and this films a publicist's  dream. It's bound to get all those film-goers over 65 who still go out in the winter and who are not watching the world cup on their iPads, flocking to the cinemas that have not been turned into Supermarkets.
We are getting a new deck on our 170 year old cottage. It's hard to put new things on old houses so we bought some recycled boards sliced up out of old beams from bridges built in Queensland ages ago. They have managed to make them look just like all the new boards we did not want to buy because they looked new and they even have nice pencil round edges unlike the rough square ones in the show room. Still I am told they will look old in a year or six.
My son having had a year at film school and an internship at the big post production house at fox studios with an ongoing attachment to the writing team developing a new magic realism TV series has announced he is enrolling in University to study Social Sciences and become a Social Worker. I thought a throw-back to the sixties meant taking acid,growing your hair and driving a combi but no it seems it means taking on the work of changing society.
Where did I go wrong? - does this mean there will be intelligent workers in the nursing homes in twenty years?
Tomorrow we leave this wintry beauty and head for Canberra to see the Fred Williams Exhibition. I love the idea of  driving through the country to see his work because I see his paintings everywhere as I go. Meanwhile back to the world cup .
Sent from my iPad
Stephen O'R
>> In Rome during shooting of Night Porter, Roger

>That’s the kind of thing that makes me sick. I hope you are proud of
> yourself you jammy bastard.
> S.>
> ps and with that haircut!>


Almond eyes, straight black hair
round body curved to his mother’s breast
content after that mighty descent
peaceful after the ordeal, the squeeze,
the shove, the push through the gap,
through impenetrable flesh. Unfazed,
calm and tranquil. I want to ask
“What’s it like to be born?”
But birth and death keep their secrets
close to their chest. I gaze as
he curls tighter to his mother’s breast
mouth fastened firm
a unison of breathing, sucking
that you can’t divide 
or slide a blade between.
Joselyn Duffy Morton ©