Saturday, 18 October 2008

the wife of my bosom looked from the verandah at the front garden in dissatisfaction, and said, with the gravitas normally reserved for philosophical profundity, "I went out for pencil pines and came back with dwarf conifers."


Friday, 17 October 2008

this is the best analysis of what a blog is and what it does and how it works that i have read:
Why I Blog by Andrew Sullivan
NOVEMBER 2008- ATLANTIC magazine
the key to understanding a blog is to realize that it’s a broadcast, not a publication. If it stops moving, it dies. If it stops paddling, it sinks.

But the superficiality masked considerable depth—greater depth, from one perspective, than the traditional media could offer. The reason was a single technological innovation: the hyperlink… a blogger’s chosen pull quote, unlike a columnist’s, can be effortlessly checked against the original. Now this innovation, pre-dating blogs but popularized by them, is increasingly central to mainstream journalism.

The blogger can get away with less and afford fewer pretensions of authority. He is—more than any writer of the past—a node among other nodes, connected but unfinished without the links and the comments and the track-backs that make the blogosphere, at its best, a conversation, rather than a production.

a blogger is… similar… to the host of a dinner party. He can provoke discussion or take a position, even passionately, but he also must create an atmosphere in which others want to participate.

You can’t have blogger’s block. You have to express yourself now,

People have a voice for radio and a face for television. For blogging, they have a sensibility"

Thursday, 16 October 2008

i only looked at this because wee Cal took a notion to dress up as the Ledger Joker for a party and I'm trying to tell the wife of my bosom that the purple tailed suit is not worn by this incarnation of the character. It's a four page preview of a one-off book by Azarello and Bermejo. It looks all very overdrawn and hideous; the wine is made from the same substance as the shrimps and there's a nauseous quality to it all which I suspect is not so much intentional as the artist's normal view of the world. Note that the Joker's coat folds right over left in the universal manner of women's coats instead of that of menswear, left over right. I apologise for picking on this artist, but I see the same problem all over the place. It can happen because the artist is looking in a mirror, but the overwhelming reason in the last twenty years is that comic book artists generally speaking, though there are a few fashion plates to give exception to the rule, are the worst dressed people in the world who mostly get around in t-shirts and draw people in leotards. Editors too, otherwise somebody would have picked up the mistake. The only other explanation is that it's intentional, in which case I'm full of baloney*. But if I arrived at the pub with a coat like that, somebody would have ridiculed me, probably Evans. Everybody else in the room has their coat open, and if I had done it intentionally I'd have made sure the reader knew it by showing all the others folding the opposite way.

The earliest example of the mistake that I own is contained in a double album of Duke Ellington's 1944 Carnegie Hall concert, released in 1977. Some hippy guy in the design department thought sports coats are symmetrical and flipped the image, putting the Duke's breast pocket on the right side. We can only imagine that the great man, who has strutted the world's stages in top hat and tails, was mortified, and I say guy because I have not yet met a woman who is unfamiliar with the niceties of dress differentiation, and have met at least one who wanted to make a political issue of it:

*after all, the Ledger Joker did look sweet in the nurse's uniform, an option I somewhat mischievously suggested to Callum.

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Wednesday, 15 October 2008

we had a great night out at the Powerhouse last night seeing Brisbane band the Doch Gypsy Orchestra in their fifth annual appearance there. Here's a glimpse of them from Youtube, I think from last year, though this must be a different venue, as it seems to be on the verge of turning into a roman orgy and I don't recall that happening anywhere I've been, though the wife of my bosom says that my presence automatically puts a damper on that kind of thing:

There was less hi-jinx in the string section this year, which i noticed because I look out for it. Doch always gets in a roundup of extra musicians for the Powerhouse big-band version of their thing, such as local master of the show-off violin, Shenzo (Shenton Gregory), seen in this clip from last year, or the year before, playing a three minute cadenza:

Here's Shenzo with his own band, the Electric Stunt Orchestra, backing the weather forecast for the TODAY program. Paganini never played the James Bond theme hanging upside down from a concrete flyover

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Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Grandad's portrait.

it's that time of year and the jacarandas are in bloom again. Those mauve trees are so good that if they didn't exist we'd have to invent one. A print of this one is mounted on our wall:

The original was painted in 1903 by R. Godfrey Rivers, a significant figure in the history of painting locally, and is in the Queensland art gallery. This one is across our street:

Apparently it's descended from the one in the picture, because "ALL of the jacarandas carpeting Brisbane come from a single tree planted in the City Botanic Gardens by superintendent Walter Hill in 1864." ( article last year in the Courier Mail). "It is considered to be the first jacaranda planted in Australia and is featured in perhaps Queensland's most famous painting..."

The jacaranda is not indigenous to Australia, so how did the one in the painting get here?
"Wheat was exported to Argentina, Brazil and Chile in those days and the ships would come back empty except for gneiss ballast rocks," gardens curator Mr McKinnon said. "Hill got the rocks for the gardens and also got a jacaranda seed from a ship's captain. The rocks are still used widely around the gardens."

The tree alas was blown over in a storm in 1980. Mr. McKinnon keeps a slab cut from its bough in his office.

For many years, now-retired John Massey, the gallery's canny senior education officer, would have baskets of blossoms picked up from the park and deposited on the floor in front of the painting, as though they had fallen from it overnight. He would show school children around, exciting them with the mystery of the spring blooms.


Monday, 13 October 2008

OUR TV ADVENTURE, so far-part 6

more about the photo-shoot that produced the image I showed in part 4. The original plan was to photograph Campbell walking the dog in a variation of the photo that appears at the end of Fate of the Artist except that they are being harassed by the Snooter. To this end I drew three different versions of the Snooter, which I showed here exactly a year ago (1, 2) ( The project has indeed been going on that long!). After a couple dozen shots we decided that Monty wasn't controllable and we would be wasting a lot of time. Here's a photo of Monty taking directions:

So we switched to the new idea of Campbell with his bags of groceries (linked above). After making the composite image I was sitting waiting for the producer to come and pick up the disc. I sifted through the out-takes. One hundred and fifty photos had been taken but I wondered if we had ditched the Monty version too early. So I started to compose a second image using one of the other Snooter drawings and photos of Campbell and Monty. I think it's still too complicated for our purpose and include it here as an interesting but rejected alternate take. It also has another one of those ridiculous comic book faces you won't be seeing again any time soon.

After raising the development funding we went into an endless series of brainstorming sessions to figure out the plots and details of all the episodes, plus the ages of the characters since the source material covers a decade, with everything being constantly rejected and restarted. The wife of my bosom, who has developed a healthily skeptical attitude to Campbellian schemes over many years, made a quotable comment. I'm not sure whether it was born of sarcasm or if she just wasn't completely paying attention, but it nevertheless demands to be dressed up as a Honeybee cartoon:

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