Friday, June 30, 2006

Aussie Rules footie and Go Cats

from Wendy
There's only one proper way to play football, though some people call it aerial pingpong, and there's only one Aussie Rules footie team, the Cats! Or so say most of my local friends, though one barracks for the Dogs - Western Bulldogs.

It's a game that started in the suburbs of Melbourne but now has gone national. And now it's big business. Peceli though used to play rugby and there's a fair bit of rugby watching going on in this household. Soccer? Only two weeks in years.

My kids all played Aussie rules footie - in the Minnies in Hopetoun, a small country town, then in Geelong. I'm really more interested in giving local lads a chance to play than the great spectator stadiums where thousands of people watch. Unfortunately the money goes to the spectacular clubs rather than the local kids.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Changing a pic of Eastern Beach

from Wendy
An artist kindly gave us his pic of an art nouveau kind of fountain and steps at Eastern Beach, Geelong, for the cover of a book and advertising flyers for the Geelong Writers. The designer got carried away with a photocopier and a simple computer program and changed his pic somewhat! He was not pleased. That book designer shall remain unnamed!

Monday, June 26, 2006

The snow danced a tarantelle

from Wendy
One train journey I was amazed that the land from Woodend to Castlemaine was covered with snow. It happens about once every ten years. I have only seen snow once in Geelong, a few inches banking up beside the church - a few days after a lass from Labasa arrived for a holiday, wearing a summer dress and flip-flops!

The Geelong Art gallery has a current exhibition of snow landscape photographs, so I did some sketches there and also found sketches I did on the train that day. I used photo-edit stamp to change the sketch to make it very like the view I had on that train journey.

The poem was written in response to seeing a couple at the Melbourne station and I wondered 'what if' they were parting...

Two Journeys

I watch the Macedon landscape from the train,
A burnt hillside and atonal Heysens,
Until passengers stir and buzz, interrupt my pain.

The whitened land is webbed in black meanders,
Corel-draw, photo negatives with textured dots
As snow covers the world with a magic glissando.

But now, I crawl through embers that have gone
Cold, rejection hisses an errant flame. I softly
Weep for that which might have been,

A look, a gesture, a ‘come on’, but on the way
The bliss has gradually dissolved to sludge.
No matter, let Pachelbel’s Canon ungently play.

Again the land is blurred, depressed like me,
No longer a silken creped euphoria;
A straggly blonde unkempt and tired land.

I too lack sparkle, stare in silence, ‘You pine
For love, but it’s ephemeral,’ they day. I write
Bleak letters and wonder why the grey line

Is no longer feverish, touching. There’s no gain
To write but say, I loved. Yet, I remember the day
The snow danced a tarantella at Castlemaine.

What a tangled web we weave

These pictures have been around many years but they are revealing. Article with four pics then 1. on caffeine 2. on hashish 3. a good spider! 4. on mescaline 5. on LSD 6. on benzedrine.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

after seeing Gauguin

from Wendy
I made this scratchboard pic to go with a short story I wrote after looking through a book on Gauguin's paintings.

The title of the short story is 'Through a Waterfall Darkly', set on a South Pacific Island, and is about a female tourist who rides into the hills with a guide, finds a waterfall and a cave and is curious to explore further.

I crawl through again, ignoring the skulls, and reach an opening to a ledge above a circular plateau. The dilemma is how to get down. Then I see a tiny scratched JFK in soft stone, a marker of sorts, and plank steps lead downwards. I sense a presence in the snapping of twigs, a flash of a moving shadow. Curiosity drives me on as in a half-waking dream. I find a village of sorts and beside a large house there's a wooden statue, straight as a bollard, placed on a square stone platform. The face is definitely John F Kennedy! Oh, sure.

I walk boldly across the village green. This is tourist territory where islanders smile, welcome foreigners. I remember my gym friend's words - 'The people are trustworthy, friendly, laugh a lot.'

But she's so very wrong. Two men, with ash-blackened faces, dash from a house, grab me as they shout in a language incomprehensible to me. They fast-trot me up the rough-cut wooden steps of the largest house and throw me inside onto a pile of pandanus mats with a thump!

In the dimness all I can make out are three people, one sitting on floor in front of a kind of cane-ware throne. A middleaged man rests his head on a woman's lap as she massages his back. He is wearing torn jeans and no shirt. I lean closer and notice that he is fair-skinned, has blonde spiky hair, a nose-ring.

'Hey! What's going on?' I am red-faced, without dignity.

'You asked for it.' He speaks English with an American accent. 'This village is taboo to outsiders. ' He is a lean man of about forty, long-legged, unattractive.

'Who are you?' I demand as I stand up.

The women move quickly towards me, restrain my arms, and force me to sit down. When a man mutters to them in some dialect, they let go.

'What's with the John F. Kennedy out there?' I ask.

'He's their new god,' he says wearily. He has strange albino eyes. 'He'll bring fortune to my people here.'

'My people! Surely you haven't conned the people into some New Age myth! Are you Andre, the guy who was supposed to have drowned?'

He looks so pasty, sickly, as if he never sees the sunlight. 'So that's what you think…'

And it goes on and on. The narrator is rescued by her original guide in a landrover, goes back to the resort and eventually realizes the whole adventure, from beginning to end, has been a con.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

At a Garage Sale

from Wendy
Here's a poem and a small story that I wrote:

Opal Days and a Garage Sale

Peering into boxes I notice
a collection of discarded jewellery,
earring from the Fifties,
an Om gracelet from the Global Village,
then I pick up an opal brooch,
stare into its blueness,
remember the gift you once gave.
Irridescent kingfisher days at Sorrento,
lovemaking on summer nights.
‘Look at that sea,’ you’d said.
‘Such clarity.’
When your vision darkened - Vietnam
The artist’s flame blew out,
The embrace perfunctory,
and far-away eyes chilled me.
I pack the tiny brooch
into the plain cardboard box,
four dollars a neighbour is asking,
but I walk away elated
by the clarity of memory.

Garage Sale

Mervyn Proud asked me to go with him to a few garage sales as he was trying to set up his flat after the awful marriage break-up where the Ex had taken just about everything - and kept the house. I'd seen Merv's flat. It was bare, so bland. He'd left almost everything behind, he said. The books, the tapes, the paintings, the desk where he wrote his poems.

We'd met in a class at the Gordon. I wasn't his 'new flame' - just a concerned new friend. He'd torn out a section of the Geelong Advertiser, circled three advertisements. There wasn't anything worthwhile in the three sales we browsed through; he only bought a few pots and pans and cushions. Then I noticed another garage sale in the next suburb. He was reluctant, said to call it a day, but I persisted.

The drive in front of the nice Californian Bungalow was like an op shop, with splashes of hectic colour, succulants in pots, household linen, a bit of everything. Another person trying to tidy up a life no doubt. Merv stood at the gate. He just wasn’t interested at all as I browsed.

I picked about the junk but only wanted some recordings by the Seekers. I paid $2 for each of them. The sour-faced woman holding onto a biscuit tin full of coins sat behind a table. I noticed a small box full of jewellery in front of her and asked, 'May I have a look?'

A lovely ring and matching earrings drew my attention and I knew I must have them. There was a price sticker, $40, which was a lot for a Saturday morning browse, but I offered her $15 and she took it. Lucky me!

A border collie dog in the back yard kept barking loudly and the woman scowled and yelled at it to shut up, but it was smart enough to try to undo the gate latch.

A large oak desk was sitting on the verandah behind the woman and I thought that would be exactly what Merv might want. Just as I was about to call his attention to it, the black and white border collie dog, escaping from the back yard, lunged towards us. A fine-looking dog, over fed, but with intelligence in her eyes.

Even as I warned, 'Careful! Don't pat other people's dogs, Merv!' he was patting the dog and putting his arms around the slobbering creature.

'Hullo, Bonnie. Do you miss me?' he said.

When I'm sixty-four continued

from Wendy
Some feminist friends - nearing sixty-four - are renewing themselves, not as recycled teenagers but as passionate wolf-like women. I wrote a poem about this kind of woman - and it's not me!

An unposted letter

Ferally ferally will I live now
without a tea-cup under the bough.
I’m tired of life as Monopoly,
making club sandwiches without crusts,
taking care of latte words.
I want to suck straight from the bottle,
dance to whirling Dervishes,
cause a traffic jam by my textured clothes
that include an underwear overlay.
Let me eat lashings of mudcake
stuffed with macadamia nuts,
let the dribbles go down my chin.
I will sing agitato,
drowning out the church choir,
raise my arms joyfully
energised by the Gaia spirit.
Let them be astonished by the change
from suburban Susan to feral Felicia,
as a compliant sheep melds into
a she-wolf with bright teeth.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

When I'm Sixty-four and the Baby-boomers

from Wendy
Help, it just seems like Yesterday, when we sang I want to hold your hand and All you need is Love. I liked Penny Lane and Eleanor Rigby but never went to Strawberry Fields and couldn’t hack that Yellow Submarine. Anyway, Let it Be When I’m Sixty-Four. Mull of Kintyre though still tugs at the heart.

When I'm Sixty-Four

When I get older losing my hair many years from now
Will you still be sending me a valentine,
Birthday greetings, bottle of wine?
If I'd been out til quarter to three would you lock the door?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm sixty-four?

Oh, you'll be older too - Ah
And if you say the word, I could stay with you

I could be handy mending a fuse when your lights have gone
You can knit a sweater by the fireside,
Sunday mornings, go for a ride
Doing the garden, digging the weeds, who could ask for more?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm sixty-four?

Every summer we could rent a cottage in the Isle of White,
If it's not too dear
We shall scrimp and save, grandchildren at your knees,
Vera, Chuck, and Dave

Send me a postcard, drop me a line stating point of view
Indicate precisely what you mean to say,
Yours sincerely, wasting away
Give me an answer, fill in a form, mine forevermore
Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm sixty-four?

Liverpool-born McCartney recorded When I'm Sixty-Four as a tribute to his father, Jim, who turned 64 in 1966. He wrote the song as a teenager but it was not released until the Beatles' legendary album 'Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' came out in 1967.

Somehow I don't think the baby-boomers will sit around when they are sixty-four.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Celtic Festival Fire and Two Faces

from Wendy Last week the Celtic Festival was held near Geelong and has been a great festival for many years. I wrote a poem about the bonfire.

from Peceli - I had a go at drawing portraits.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Export quality grapes

Recently we were given a box of huge purple grapes and mandarins from the Murray River area. We shared them out with friends and tney are now almost finished. The best of the fruits produced in Australia apparently are sent overseas as export quality so in our local shops we always are given 2nd rate fruit. Previously we've been given oranges and peaches from these farms and they are so different to the ones we see in our supermarkets and greengrocers.

Monday, June 12, 2006

sketches at movie location

from Wendy
Occasionally Peceli is an Extra at a movie location. One was in 'Stiff' where David Wenham starred. Peceli was a visiting politician from Fiji in it! Another time he was the Fiji Commissioner for Police in a Taiwanese film starring David Morse.
I went along for a stickybeak for both and took my sketch pad. The location of 'Stiff' was Federation Square in Melbourne, a strange set of buildings mainly using triangular shapes, a rather second-best to the Sydney Opera House.

The other pics are sketches of Smorgies Restaurant on the end of a pier that used to be used for cargo ships, the other of a bridge over the Barwon River.

$150 million or a view of Corio Bay?

from Wendy
There's a huge argument going on in Geelong at present. The main streets of the city area lead directly to Corio Bay and an impressive waterfront. However a supermarket management team wants to spend $150 million on a major revamp which includes a large bridge across Yarra Street thus blocking out our view of the sea. The decision is yet to be made, but the supermarket guys say they will pull out the whole development if the bridge idea is blocked. There are already numerous supermarkets in the Geelong area, but the emphasis seems to be that this is the way of the world these days. I doubt if the bridge and area will look as pretty as that artist's picture!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

church banners using a bushfire motif

from Wendy
At St Lukes Uniting Church in Geelong colourful banners are made for the church seasons of the year by Lorrane Phelan with input from Hilary Clarke. They are banners in progress as each week a banner grows with an additional symbol. An example is one for Pentecost using the memory of bushfires in our area early in the year. I like the third stage best, rather than the final one with hands added.

The second pic shows a variety of banners made for St. Lukes.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

'View of Geelong' for $3 million!

from Wendy
View of Geelong painting for sale $3 million!
Considered the most significant painter of Australia's colonial period, the Austrian-born Eugene von Guérard painted several landscapes in the Geelong region during the period of the Victorian gold rush – in the middle of the 19th century. View of Geelong was described as 'the finest of its kind that has yet been produced in Australia'.

Somehow the composer of Cats and Phantom of the Opera, Andrew Lloyd Webber purchased it in 1996 for nearly $2 million, as an investment. His agents are now asking for over $3 for Australians to buy it back!

The Geelong Gallery folk and the local Council now want to purchase it for us in Geelong! They are asking the public to donate generously to add to a government promise of about $800,000.

Well, I don’t think any painting is worth all of that! It is historical of course, pretty, and by an esteemed painter of landscapes from that period. But… what about some living artists who only get $400 for their views of the same piece of land – and include houses, streets, lights, boats, wheat silos, a refinery! I am sure than Mr von Guerard didn’t get much for his sketches, lithographs and paintings in his day!

A nice print of View of Geelong would be enough to keep the local happy for their nostalgia for the ‘good old days’.

Friday, June 02, 2006

When you google your own name

Okay, it's an egocentric thing to do, but I was just curious. Well, this one came up - a letter I had sent to the Age newspaper in response to the purchase of a painting was used in a Year 12 Art examination!

QUESTION 3 - Practice 1 (Allow about 1 page for your answer)

Do you think the National Gallery of Victoria should have bought this painting? Give reasons for your point of view.

In your response refer to the artwork itself and to at least two of the commentaries provided below.

Commentary 1:
'the price (less than $1 million) was a bargain considering that the artist is regarded, with David Hockney and Lucian Freud, as one of the finest living British painters…[It would] attract visitors because it was one of a handful of works defining a key phase in the artist's career…..the artist had worked on it for three yeas, including painting the frame ….at least one other international gallery wanted to buy it but the artist was keen that it come to Melbourne.' (R. Usher The Age 6.9.2001)
Extract from an interview with the Gallery's Director, Dr. Gerard Vaughan

Commentary 2:
'Same old cultural cringe, 'Night and Day' Splish, splosh, what tosh, three years' work, Night and Day! This purchase is an example of cultural cringe once again. I'm not a philistine who loves chocolate boxes but - methinks the emperor has no clothes, as usual.'
Letter to Editor by Wendy …………………. (The Age 7.9.2001)

Commentary 3:
'When my young children colour in, they stay within the lines and complete the work in half an hour. Perhaps that is why their masterpiece appeal is limited to the family rather than gaining the adulation they clearly warrant when viewed beside our gallery's latest acquisition. Their works are also available for less than $1 million'.
Extract from a Letter to the Editor by David White of Camberwell (The Age

9 marks
SECTION A - Question 3

The myth of return

from Wendy
Though we live in Geelong, there is the constant dreaming of Fiji and the idea of return. We do, periodically, go back - Peceli once a year around the Methodist Conference time, me less often.
Here are three pics - one free style by Peceli drawn in Namadi Heights suburb of Suva, the others line drawings one of seasea dancers, the other from a cultural event at Naduri village.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Two artists: Peter Lyssiotis and John Wolseley

from Wendy
Earlier this year I went to Melbourne to see an exhibition at the State Library Gallery. Both Peter Lyssiotis and John Wolseley had wonderful works on display. Wolseley is one of my favourite Australian artists. He is a geographer who journeys to remote locations to investigate the world whether miniscule or widescape. His latest work was based on research in the Mallee region of Victoria.

I decided not to put pictures here because of copyright warnings but here are two websites you may wish to look up.
Lyssiotis - and look at the Online Artist's Book.
Wolseley - and look up the Wallace Line and other links.