I was recently in London and decided that in my last week I would attempt to visit places I had previously not made time for or completely forgotten ab I was recently in London and decided that in my last week I would attempt to visit places I had previously not made time for or completely forgotten about. And I had no idea when I would be back in London, although I wished it might be next year. But arriving home with, it was soon discovered, my lungs covered in blood clots, I had soon to consider just how much of my travelling days remained... whether I was in a fit condition to travel by air, or the impossibilities of travelling if you were six foot underground.
It amuses me now to realise that one of my First London Expeditions was to visit the home of a man who loved the thought of travel, although his ill health often prevented any such activity; and that one of his famous books was about a journey which was to be followed in quick succession by an annual journey for the next 5 years. He was 69 when he had to stop travelling and I was soon to find myself in exactly the same position and at the same age. His name was Doctor Samuel Johnson and one of his famous homes was the object of my first lengthy walk, the home where he laboured to compile his still famous Dictionary, aided by 6 copyists working in the garrett. The house of several stories is to be found at 17 Gough Square, tucked away in a small maze of back streets, but still unable to illude the bombs of Hitler's blitz . The charred beams of the garrett bear witness to a close shave. When I entered the ground floor I knew I would be spending the rest of the day there. But not that this was only the first of 3 visits.
A Big mind, Big personality, Big vision, Big Ego, Big man, Big voice !!! That he proclaimed himself 'a National Treasure' seems to sum him up in part.
T A Big mind, Big personality, Big vision, Big Ego, Big man, Big voice !!! That he proclaimed himself 'a National Treasure' seems to sum him up in part.
This was Gough Whitlam - our 21st Prime Minister from 1972 to 1975...the number of his innovative introductions are still trying to be dismantled by Liberal Party Governments, which far from being 'liberal' are conservative, elitist, racist...you get the drift; you may even be one,if so, best wishes on a short life!
Learned, witty and clever - he used it ALL in daily conversation and in his Social and Political life. He refused to be described as "funny", for he was no clown but a sharp and wise observer who took his contribution to his country very seriously. He is still lauded as the man who handed out Major Opportunities to Ordinary Australians - the indigenous,the foreign and the settled. These following spring to mind : bringing our troops back from Vietnam, offering free university education, recognising the Land Claims of our Indigenous Aborigines, universal health care, major grants to the arts, removing the White Australia Policy leading Australia into a world of Multiculturalism, and abolishing the death penalty. The Current Liberal Party, many of whose present members were able to take advantage of his educational gift, are seeing to it now that the poor can no longer get a free university education and undoing his works in health, the arts, aboriginal welfare,women's rights ETC !! although they praised him on his recent passing without believing in his message.
Gough is a Light in our present dark days of Opportunist Politicians.
There is TOO MUCH of this book of anecdotes... which is what makes it Ideal !! Divided into seven sections, it can be merely dipped into, taken a random chapter at a time, but ALWAYS enjoyed.
For instance: To a persistent heckler on the Campaign Trail wanting to know Gough Whitlam's stance on abortion:
"Let me make it quite clear that I am for abortion and, in your case, Sir, we should make it retrospective."
LOTS more and may I wish you a Gough in all Your Political Worlds.
This event became Australia's "Dreyfuss Affair". It caused immense divisions, heated discussions and smug and self-satisfied condemnations of the Chamb This event became Australia's "Dreyfuss Affair". It caused immense divisions, heated discussions and smug and self-satisfied condemnations of the Chamberlains especially the mother, Lindy. And then there was the string of Q&A Dingo Jokes which were funny and clever, but under the circumstances cruel, insensitive and tasteless. What was stunning was the complete surety and confidence with which people continually condemned Lindy Chamberlain, as if it was an almost personal grievance or vendetta.
The media played a major role in stirring up a witch hunt mentality, milking it for all it was worth especially when newspaper and magazine sales went through the roof. It also added zest,entertainment and gossip to many people's tired boring and limited lives, a sort of ready and reliable Side Show they could turn to to brighten up their pointless days. I soon learned that I really did not particularly warm to most of the Teaching Staff I'd landed among in 1981. Limited by their racism, homophobia, sexism...it was a sure bet where Lindy Chamberlain registered in their world. I soon grew tired of holding my tongue listening to their Lindy Hate Litanies. One day I suddenly heard my voice saying:"So, you were there, Sandy?" "Eh?" says Sandy, the opinionated, peroxided Year 6 teacher, her head jerking up. "You were there, at Ayers Rock...when Lindy did it, you know, killed the baby? You actually saw it." "Nahhhhh! But I know she did it..must have. You only have to see her shifty eyes." "So, you weren't there. But you know it happened. That she killed her own baby. You didn't actually see anything. You were in Sydney at the time?" The staff room had fallen silent. I was notching up a reputation and I couldn't have cared less. "Well, if you were in Sydney, how could you know what was happening at Ayers Rock!!!" Glares, nasty ones. I was settling in at last. ...more
Whilst reading this tough little book which continually delivers massive Wallops far exceeding the thinness of its size, I became absolutely fascinatedWhilst reading this tough little book which continually delivers massive Wallops far exceeding the thinness of its size, I became absolutely fascinated by Machiavelli's FACE, his portrait adorning its cover, particularly because it was not imagined, but painted by a contemporary, Santi di Tito. This man, in his spacious, almost billowing costume of vivid red and black, appears almost fragile with his slim and finely boned face which exhibits an obliging and inoffensive expression and an air of elegance enhanced by his reserved and almost timid Mona Lisa smile, but it is his alone. One would be inclined to trust him as he appears a competent and intelligent fellow.
But for me it certainly didn't seem to be the face that would belong to the writer of this pretty grim political treatise. I finally HAD to photocopy it and pin it up in an obvious place so that I could absorb it and begin to plumb the character of the author, because he was obviously much more than what he presented in looks. I'd once lived near his rustic home of exile in the Tuscan countryside for several weeks and found myself regretting very much never having gone out of my way to set foot there. The gods only know what effect such a visit would have had on me, but I suspect NONE. Just more ...confusion??
Reading "The Prince" I admired the fact that what Machiavelli set out to do was NOT to describe how ideally a Princely State should be run, but how it actually WAS run, a realistic exposee if ever...and he spoke from experience.This writer was nothing if not practical.
How did he gain this experience??? In 1494, Florence had become a Republic with the Medici Family, finally ousted after 35 years of unofficial rule. In 1498 a young Machiavelli was engaged as a diplomat and negotiator for the Florentine Republic so often came into contact with Princes, namely Cesare Borgia, illegitimate son of Pope Alexander VI and also the likes of the Warrior Pope,Julius II. The picture he paints of the Prince as Ruler is drawn from life and the advice he offers is not only unsettling...it is downright criminal, ruthless, merciless and bloody!!! The trouble when someone sets out such a schema for all and sundry to read is there are ALWAYS those who do practise what somebody else merely preaches. Napoleon and Mussolini are among many students of "The Prince"; and of course Adolph of the Hitler Family, a statesman not worthy of the name.(There's one family we all definitely wish practised Birth Control!)These are the types who flocked to learn.
But the Medici were also a Worthy Audience. That much Niccolo knew. They had returned to power in Florence in 1512 with a tyranny under Cardinal de Medici. Niccolo was sacked and exiled to his farm. Less admirable is the fact that Niccolo Machiavelli seemed desperately trying to suck up to the Medici's so that he could return to a world of politics, anything so he could get out of his exile in the countryside and back into the Fray. But he certainly knew what he was dealing with. In February 1513 Machiavelli was falsely implicated in a plot against the Medici Family. He was tortured, fined and imprisoned. He was released within a month but his chances of finding Government work were slim and nothing eventuated. This was when he decided to use his talent for writing and his interest in politics to advance himself. He would write a book of a type popular at the time: advice to a Prince. But his would be based on Fact and this he thought would appeal in its wisdom and originality to his Medici Rulers. But what are we to make of a work he had started long before any thought of a book such as "The Prince" would have entered his mind...perhaps?
Machiavelli had been writing initially about the Other Side of the Coin in "The Discourses" where he examined the world of Livy's ancient Roman Republicanism. No doubt he was also considering Florence's very recent experience of a Republican Government.He actually interrupted his writing of "The Discourses" in 1513 to complete "The Prince", obviously a much more practical and urgent piece of writing. He returned to "The Discourses in 1515, continuing to work on it from time to time until 1517.He obviously believed in it. He would die ten years later, never having achieved his wish to return to Public life. Perhaps it was a discarded dream by then and involved a ruling group he did not respect.
Machiavelli very probably was NOT Machiavellian at all. Although he has been stigmatised for centuries with his OWN NAME !!! As have many other far more Deserving Souls. Perhaps he was very much as he was captured in his portrait by Santi di Tito...perhaps just a bit too willing to oblige.
I spent months agonising over this review several years ago. I even read essays on Machiavelli and his poisonous little gem of a book by Isaiah Berlin whose complexity left me with a spinning brain, or what was left of it.I need to do far more study.I have not completed The Discourses.And have recently purchased a life of Machiavelli written in 2010 by an Italian writer, which looks VERY promising.
AND I do have an image of a Face - sensitive, intelligent and obliging. I put a lot of promise and hope in that face !! ...more
Two Modern extremes to survey and hopefully RELISH !!!!!! This published in 2013 and Sir Herbert Read's "The Meaning of Art"of 1931 - this one currently Two Modern extremes to survey and hopefully RELISH !!!!!! This published in 2013 and Sir Herbert Read's "The Meaning of Art"of 1931 - this one currently Modern and the latter by Read, Early Modern.
It will be fascinating to see what approaches they take, what is held in common and where they diverge.
When I think back to my First Major Error and at the same time Insight as an Art Critic I was about 5 or 6 years old. Our Art World was mainly confined to the annual religious calendar, the Columban Calendar,whose pictures were mainly from the Renaissance and after.Old calendars had their pictures cut out and embroidered round the edges with coloured wool by the local Nuns, our teachers,to be sold at School Fetes. It was always a thrill to look through the Year's New Calendar which usually arrived first at our Grandmother's - she smoked, had scored a 'hole in one' at golf, was a fantastic gardener, loved watching the wrestling, drove the nuns home from our school, St Brendan's, to the convent on the hill, St Felix every afternoon, held huge parties in her home to raise money for the Church and ran every society she joined.
It was there, hanging newly above her telephone, I found the new calendar one year and was knocked over by an amazing piece of Modern Religious Art. I had never seen figures elongated and with such beatific faces, fingers, hands, faces, bodies almost writhing in swirls of paint. I was seeing my First El Greco and being given an excellent lesson in Art History and the Meaning of Style.I was stunned when I read the years of his life.
I hope to be pleasantly mistaken and led in these readings. 'WHEN ?' is the ONLY problem that I can see !!!! ...more
I love the way DB has Special Themes he wants to pursue and weaves them in and out and often they will merge as life often does."What's this chapter dI love the way DB has Special Themes he wants to pursue and weaves them in and out and often they will merge as life often does."What's this chapter doing here ?" I'd query, but I'd soon find out. He was very averse to doing a Hollywood Style "My Life"; which is why he often fails to give even the name of the film he is working on, although he took his acting very seriously.
The main themes in this book are: * his decision to leave England and live in France and the long and interrupted process of it; *to give up his acting career which had since moved from English films to European directors and a differing attitude to films; *to care for his ageing parents, discovering more about them and the World of their Marriage ; *his fascinating analysis of his approach to acting which has no need of an audience compared to his mother's vital need of one; *his development of his writing skills due to an unexpected friendship which climaxes in the publishing of the first book in this autobiographical series. *his view of the changing face of the Movie Industry.
These are often bumpy journeys and filled with an array of interesting characters and events - puzzling, infuriating, sad, inspiring, intimate, absorbing, amusing and enlightening. It is not the usual "Star Tells All" book which can be absorbing at best but it is in many ways a secluded life, a full life, a GREAT read !!!
Yes he is a talented writer with Something to say and a Talent for saying it...despite a slow start in acquiring the abilities to take on the job because he did miserably at school as he just wasn't interested. But events led him to LOVE books ; and though he had appalling punctuation, using his own method of DOTS, (as Emil Dickinson had her dashes!) and was an Orfull speller, he wrote often to a woman in the USA who had lived in the house he then called his own. She sometimes corrected his letters and gave him advice about writing. When he left the house for one in France he decided to write about his childhood for her.
All of which had many consequences.
He was requested by the directors of Chatto and Windus to write about his life after they had heard him speaking very passionately on a TV interview about the Film Industry and admired his Gift of the gab. They of course had no idea about his lack of formal skills but they recognised a Grand Spirit, which was the essential ingredient.
I was never really aware of DB as an actor until I was older and realised that he was a natural, like Peter Finch...seemingly effortless. I found myself watching every film he was in when I got the chance knowing I would be rewarded with a talent. He still had more to offer and still does, acquiring fans although his pen has been laid to rest. ...more
This was a very varied and easy to read book. Each essay went from usually 4 pages, to often 5, a few 7's and one 10. No time to get bored here. But cert This was a very varied and easy to read book. Each essay went from usually 4 pages, to often 5, a few 7's and one 10. No time to get bored here. But certainly time to have your interest aroused and a strong likelihood of wanting to read further and wider.
An excellent series of very relevant photographs gave an often chilling authenticity to the texts.
Each writer was given a profile of their work and life experiences and were categorised from a Judge to a Prisoner... in between were : a Psychologist, a Professor, a Prosecutor, Authors, a Psychiatrist, an Advocate, a Forensic Psychologist, a Crime Historian, a Family, an Adult Industry (Pornography)Operator, an Academic, a Crime Reporter, Journalists, a Winner in A TV Game Show, a Justice Agent, a Policeman, a Victim, a Lawyer, a QC, a Criminologist, a Lobbyist, a Crime Writer, and Detectives. Some of these had served as Witnesses. An All Star Cast !!!!
Except...no Jurors...which was a shame. Recently I was chosen as a juror for a 3 week Murder Trial which lasted for over 2 months.However one of the above who had acted as a witness gave this view of barristers which I found to be spot on.
"Barristers have a rooted objection to asking questions in the normal way. They are not seeking answers to something they don't know, although often they don't; they use questions to try and get the witness to agree with them. "Indeed, there is an old rule in cross-examination - never ask a question if you don't know the answer.If this seems weird, it's because lawyers' questions are not designed to elicit answers; they are designed to challenge the opinions of the witness. Occasionally, however, even the wiliest old barrister will slip up."
As for a juror's profile, there is none. They are as varied as the human race is varied. Gender, age, experience, profession, nationality, bullies, humorists, control freaks, misogynists...the list goes on...and on...etc !!! We had a wide range but the majority had an easy going attitude but a determination and keen interest in our task. The judge was as impressed with us as we were with him. It was a fascinating and absorbing experience. (I learned not to say that I was 'enjoying' the experience.) I became fascinated in watching portrayals of juries in films and TV shows and used to write up dates and times on the white board for the other jurors. But we were all so glad when it was over.
I LOVED this book. I'm searching where to go next !!!!
PRE-READ: Goodreads does NOT allow you to do a "pre-read", but usually any journey whether it be an actual trip or reading a poem, article or book begin PRE-READ: Goodreads does NOT allow you to do a "pre-read", but usually any journey whether it be an actual trip or reading a poem, article or book begins with our preconceptions of what we are about to encounter. What follows can either be a shock of pleasure or disappointment, more than we expected or less.
With this book I am expecting less. It will surely be dated reflecting a world that was far less questioning of religion;
biased because Henryk Sienkiewicz's book would NEVER had been published in Catholic Poland if it hadn't been and he was no doubt a devout Catholic;
have many historical inaccuracies because we now know far more of Ancient Roman history and daily life eg.that Nero very probably had nothing to do with the burning of Rome, and much historical fiction often tampers deliberately and outrageously with Historical facts.
I hope to be disappointed in ALL of my predictions and get shocks of Real Pleasure, otherwise if my predictions come true I will very likely never complete my reading of a once famous book and most,no, very likely place it on my 'books-I-have-thrown-across-the-room' shelf....more