Monthly Archives: April, 2007

Mermaid madness

Cassiphone has started Mermaid Madness Month. In honour of that, I thought I would post my very first picture from the UK trip… this is from York. I took it for my friend Kate, who once wrote a story about mermaids with inflatable bosoms (how they manage to bob around on top of the sea, don’t you know), and with whom I saw a play that included a song with the words: “Mermaid fillets: kiss one end and eat the other/ Mermaid fillets: high in protein, low in blubber!”

… and then I wasn’t able to upload any pics. Will have to rectify that.

Have they not learnt?

Just caught a snippet of Hack, on Triple J. It was obviously about ANZAC Day, asking young people what they think of the day.

I don’t know what the actual question was, but the responses I heard were along the lines of ‘I don’t agree with it because it’s, like, glorifying war and stuff (?) (the ? is because of the upwards inflection at the end of the sentence…’.

I don’t much care what your opinion of ANZAC Day is – well, I do, but I respect your right to hold any opinion (with all the usual caveats of respectfulness), but truly – have you not learnt? Do you not understand? There are so many things wrong with that statement – how could commemorating ANZAC Day, initiated to mourn the dead, celebrate war? And I thought that the aftermath of the peace protests against the Vietnam War had taught people to divorce soldiers, doing their job, from war as a concept – it has become trite, listening to American protests, but it really is possible to support and sympathise with soldiers while still protesting the war they are fighting.

I was mad at the ignorance. Now I’m just sad.

BBC History March 2007

Good thing I finished this recently, since April just arrived!

Just a quick review of this issue, looking at some of the articles that I really enjoyed:

“Bomber Boys,” by Patrick Bishop, was fascinating – I had no idea that the bomber crews had got a rough ride after the war, but it does make sense (not that they should have, I mean, but the way it was done, or not done… does that itself make sense??). The sheer statistics of artillery and casualties and damage done, by and to both sides, was staggering. And the picture of Cologne in 1945 is … well. Devestating.

David Okuefuna looking at Albert Kahn and the photographers he patronised, in “Bringing Colour to a Pre-War World,” was brilliant. The pictures themselves are amazing, and the stories of the photographers just added poignancy to the stories of the subjects. I am a firm believer in the idea that knowing about the producer/author/artist can, indeed, add to your understanding of a piece of art – at least give it context, if not enrich it greatly.

I didn’t reliase that there was some ‘cash for peerages’ scandal surrounding Tony Blair. How interesting. The double-page spread looking at the precedents for that sort of thing was illuminating (bad, bad James I and Bill Gladstone!).

I loved the article about Mr Stanley. All I really knew about the man was his “Mr Livingstone, I presume?” – which he probably never actually said, surprise surprise. I had no idea he had been reviled as cruel and so on, although I am terribly surprised by that, either. And sometimes, I just love revisionist history.

Cannibals! And medicine! And Europeans! Never knew that powdered corpse had been used for medicinal purposes, But, with the idea of sympathetic magic – I mean, medicine – it’s no huge leap, I suppose.

I had never heard of the Hottentot Venus. Truly people did (do) weird and bizarre things when they thought (think) they were (are) superiod racially etc… I wonder if there is antything that ‘rational’, ‘moral’ beings do today that will be reviled in 200 years?

The booklet about the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade was brilliant – worth getting this issue just for it. The background to the law being passed, the stress of getting it passed, and the consequences… plus people reflecting on its ramifications, or lack thereof, and the legacy of slavery today, was riveting. I have to admit – and I apologise to Toyin Agbetu for this, and thank him for pointing it out – that I had been thoughtless of my terminology up to this point: it is very easy to keep referring to Africans who were enslaved as ‘slaves’, rather than ‘enslaved Africans’ – a small but, I think, vital difference.

And then there’s “‘I Defy Them All!'” – about 17th century women; particularly the Verney women. Illegit pregnancies, fiance-stealing, blackmail… they did the lot. I appreciated that at the end Adrian Tinniswood concedes that this may not have been the norm, since up to that point I wondered if that was what he was driving at… it is interesting to think about just how many, and how much, women at the time ‘broke the rules.’

Lots of reviews. Places to go, but too late since I won’t be going back for ever such a long time.

Good issue.

How to Know that You’ve had a Long Day

Number 1: you have make-from-the-box-fajitas for dinner. And beer. And maybe chocolate too.

Of course, this could also represent the end of a fairly good day. Never said it was foolproof.

Year of Reading Dangerously

So I’ve got together with three other people – Alisa Krasnostein, Ben Payne, and Tansy Rayner Roberts – to try and read all the Aussie short stories published in 2007 and most of the overseas ones as well. Woohoo! Go us.

Are we nuts or what?

Thanks to Ben, the community where we will be discussing the very best we will come across is called Not if you were the Last Short Story on Earth, which I’m quite fond of, myself. Come along for the ride! Read good and useful reviews! Watch us crack under the pressure!


Having just watched Paul M’s new show, I will be fascinated to see how long it lasts. There was a bit of swearing, which was amusing given the timeslot – which McDermott kept emphasising, like a little kid trying to push his parents’ buttons. Truly he is like a mischevious boy, who is so cute that no one is willing to tell him off.

I like Tripod – they are incredibly talented, and their song tonight I could relate to: honey I love you, but can we just wait until I’ve finished this level? I’m not a huge fan of the Kransky Sisters, and their story tonight – about one of them being punished by her mother – was really in poor taste. Flacco is always amusing, and Ed Byrne was hilarious…. The show will survive if, and only if, it continues to get guests of the same quality as this.

And if Paul occasionally sings, that will help a lot too. 🙂


I hate it when people use phrases such as “woman president.” The French woman would be a female president if she gets elected! It’s like calling someone a Germany athlete or a happiness husband.

Drives me nuts.

Bride and Prejudice

Of all ridiculous things… this movie!

J is out for the weekend, so I got some girls over to eat and catch up, which was great, and we ended up watching Bride and Prejudice. It was hilarious… I generally find musicals very uncomfortable, for whatever reason, and I did a bit this one too, but it’s just so over the top and ridiculous and beautiful to look at that you can’t help but laugh and enjoy it.

The Good and The Bad

Random Way to Make Yourself Feel Great Number One:
Be young, and buy a $10 (or higher) badge from an old coot selling ANZAC Day badges (in April; also works in November with poppies for Remembrance Day). They will be amazed at a young person caring. If you are old, either enlist a young person to do this for you and do it yourself and strike up a conversation (conversation starter: “these young people today don’t know how good they’ve got it…”).

Random Way to Make Yourself Feel Smaller than a Snail Number One:
Run out of petrol.

Mentioned in a thesis!

My dear friend AB finished her thesis and handed it in on Monday – hurrah! And I got a mention in the thanks section, which I think is rather nice – I helped with some proofreading. Not a whole lot, but I picked up some things, which I hope were useful. Anyway, based on the relief of handing in an Honours thesis (oh, such a long time ago…), I can imagine the joy of handing in a Masters.

Go AB!