Monday, June 30, 2014

monday walkin'

This is one of the current strays at the door of Lorraine. A small, very friendly kitten (not friendly to dogs however).
 Go home Ferdie you're drunk
 A huge park, but only one little patch is deserving of olfactory investigation.
I can't actually remember what they were looking at here - because it was either an incredibly well-behaved brown dog with its incredibly well-behaved owner, they both stopped so I could put these dogs on a lead, or it was a woman with a pram. Either way, the idea is to stand stock still and observe.
As per the above, where they're looking at ANOTHER woman with a pram.
 This for some reason got Ferdie all frisky and he started bothering Barry...
 who usually puts up with it.
Though it does get a bit full on at times. Ferdie doesn't know when to let up. He can't read visual cues in Barry's behaviour. That's not true, he can, they just make him more excited.

More sniff ops. I wonder how fox-ridden the reserve is (seen a couple over the years). I also wonder if fox piss is extra interesting because it's sort of a kind of dog like creature.

Go home Ferdie you're still drunk
 I mean really.

For some reason which I can't explain at this point the tables turned and Barry started harassing Ferdie with gusto. That doesn't happen often.

This last picture is Barry chasing Ferdie with a vengeance. The shadows are long aren't they. It was about 10:30 am.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

least funny cartoons ever

I mean these cartoons (all from the early months of the Bulletin, 1956) are so truly dreadful in two ways at least, that this is almost like one of those tv shows where you don't have to do anything except point and snicker (or make that fingers-down-the-throat gesture) and say 'Look! Look! What were they thinking?'. I must say, leafing through the bound volume of the Bulletin for 1956 I was almost - almost - impressed at the awfulness of the cartoons within. They were so universally and concertedly unfunny, I was compelled to start looking for a pattern, some kind of quirky underpinning that made it make a little more sense. Anyway before I say anything more, have a look at these shitty, racist cartoons if you haven't already:

(Yes, I know what you're thinking, the genitalia of the man on the left is obscured by an enormous rock somewhat reminiscent of an erect penis and there is a snake directly below it, but don't start pulling this apart, Sid Black clearly wasn't that complicated or interesting a person). 

(Update twelve hours after initial post: there is one pattern in these three at least: person on the right expounds to person on the left. I don't know what to make of this, if anything, except that it shows great laziness and stricture in terms of form). 

It's been a while since I read Donald Horne's very interesting memoirs so I'm just operating from memory here which is always dangerous but as I recall, when Horne became editor of the Bulletin (Wikipedia tells me this happened in 1961) he was taking on a rudderless, unpopular, conservative piece of trash that had washed up somehow in Frank Packer's stable for no good reason and which was either to be resuscitated under his aegis or shut down. I vaguely recall Horne talking about some of the ghostly presences on the Bulletin at this time who were going through the motions for lack of something better to do with their lives. Horne mercy-sacked quite a few of them I think and turned the magazine into something decent.

He notoriously ditched the 'Australia for the White Man' banner on its masthead (which I think was really anti-immigration, not anti-Aboriginal, but who knows) and I doubt that any of the material above would have run in the Bulletin under Horne, but of course it was just very different days, so who really knows. What interests me about these images is, firstly, the lie they put into that 'why weren't we told' story that even my own grandmothers were buying into (or propagating, I suppose) in the 90s when Australia's great shame of indigenous dispossession and genocide was being 'debated' (like you can debate something like that: it was and is what it was and is). But from what I can gather a cartoon like the three above ran in each issue of the Bulletin in 1956 and no doubt many other years either side. If you need it explained to you - at least as I understand it - the joke is that these primitive people are talking like ordinary white people, as though they were as good as or as smart as such people. There was also of course the chance for a bit of sneaky nudity, which is another bizarre and perverse aspect of the way many white Australians liked to see/perceive indigenous Australians.*

One thing I would also add though, which is not an observation intended to detract from the racism of these images, is the peculiar way the 'joke' of Aboriginal people talking like white people (the middle one's also about how ugly the woman being addressed is, but let's leave that aside as just one more element to a panoply of horrors) morphed into a joke about Australian white working class people talking as though they were as good as middle class people. John Clarke, a very talented and deservedly beloved comic has done this a lot (he did it in New Zealand, he did it here). The idea of Australians talking about intellectual things was one of the least hilarious moments amongst many unfunny bits of Monty Python. May I say this is all just one more piece of evidence in my many numerous pieces of evidence re: the preposterous transposing of racist rhetoric into the discussion of working class people. I wrote a book about it maybe you've read it (or read a review of it and think you've read it - that seems more common).**

I could go on about those ghastly cartoons above. I could also go on about the incredibly stolid and unwaveringly poor cartoons in the rest of the Bulletin that year. But I'll just include one more completely shit cartoon here, it's not racist it's just sexist and cringeingly unfunny.

Now 1956 was of course sixty years ago, and folks were different then. And there's no point in trying to pick something like this apart - whatever, someone thought it was worth publishing, they're all dead now presumably but even if they weren't they wouldn't be able to explain in a way that made sense to you or I.

And I am reminded of the Rik Mayall as Kevin Turvey joke about Margaret Thatcher: 'why does Margaret Thatcher wear barbed wire underpants? She doesn't, it's a joke.' By which I mean, start trying to pick apart something like this and it all falls to bits, but who looks more foolish, someone who is merely trying to paint a funny little scenario, or someone who is taking it all too seriously?

I started listing all the things that were stupid about this cartoon, but anyone can see those, why bother. I can't let the caption go, though (it would be a slightly better cartoon without any caption at all, of course; it really doesn't need one). Since there is no proof that the driver causing this catastrophe is a woman, what are we to make of the speaker on the right? We can't give him any credibility; he is not even giving his own supposition any weight. Surely we can only assume that the joke is, women are appallingly bad drivers and a danger to themselves and others to the degree that they will drive full-pelt at a drive-in screen (or at anything with the word 'Drive-in' above it, because they are so open to suggestion) and yet they are allowed behind a wheel. So... women do what they see on signs, with no regard for safety or sense? Or... women just drive too fast at things generally? Or... ???

It doesn't help that to make the greatest visceral impact in the nonsense joke, the cartoonist has had to put the drive-in cinema screen unfeasibly low to the ground, which would make it impossible for most people to see the film. But I guess that's poetic license.

Actually, to my perturbation the more I look at it, the more there is of interest in this ghastly cartoon, which tells us something about how times have changed. When was the last time in history, do you think, when two men could go to the drive-in together and it not be assumed they were more than friends? I reckon the early 70s, and even then, it would be in the eye of the beholder. It doesn't help that the bald speaker's companion seems to be a scoutmaster.

Anyway, sorry about these horrible cartoons. I feel dirty too.

*I note the three cartoons at the top are ostensibly by two different cartoonists, but I find it hard to believe they're not all from the same pen. Not just the addresser/addressee setup, but the hands, arms, composition, including the dropped horizon... was Sid Black so prolific that he had to submit cartoons (really, let's face it, the same cartoon) under different names? Little biographical detail is easily available on Sid Black but that's OK.  
**The exception that proves the rule was Joseph Furphy's Such is Life, which came half a century before these cartoons and does show a lot of apparently uneducated and stateless white Australian men talking like the finest intellectuals. That is a truly great book but it's such an anomaly it can't be factored into the above in my opinion. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

just before 4 am

Who was it who said, if you go to bed at 8:49 (nauseous or otherwise), you should not be surprised if you wake up at 2:37? So I am not surprised. I have a craving for this very nice maple muesli I bought a few weeks ago, this would be easily addressed, I also have a desire for french fries, this is unaddressable at the present time but that's probably for the best (actually I do have some kipflers I bought from the Fairfield Farmers Market yesterday morning, which might sub pretty well, but who's going to spend all that time? Only people who are awake before 4 am and have nothing to do but wait for the sun to come up...)

The Fairfield Farmers Market is pretty good. Purple cauliflower. Heritage carrots. Pretzels not as good as my father makes but still excellent. Near the entrance I overheard a woman say 'I am so hungry' with an intonation that struck me as so Fairfield, 2014, and while I know I can't put my finger on it right now why that was the case, it so was.

I dreamt I was in New York for three days. Keir Reeves had told me about a man he had just met and I had long vaguely known who was in town - perhaps staying with Keir who was also in town? (Is that an Australian thing to talk about even New York, the greatest city on earth reputedly, as 'town'?) This man was known as a poet but Keir was enthusing about his short stories. The place I was staying had a copy of these stories but it meant shuffling around in sleeping people's bedrooms to find it. I tried one and got no joy. Barry was there, and he really wanted to go for a walk. I was looking forward to taking him out along the waterfront where there was a very fine early 20th century flour mill building. I had a conversation with a New York woman who was impressed (as was I) at my extensive knowledge of the formative nexus between flour milling, the rollout of electricity networks, and property development in early 20th century New York.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

tuesday 7:15 am

A few weeks ago I felt I was about to descend into a cold and then I didn't. Today marks the third day I have felt the same... but it hasn't happened. So interesting. I haven't been to the gym since last week (surprise) but the main reason is that it's been raining so heavily in the morning; and, I don't want to court trouble with the catching-a-cold thing. See you later.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

heathcote (cameo from elmore)

The fence was being fixed at Lorraine so I took the beagles to Heathcote, where my father has a weekender, for the... weekend. It's really more Mt Camel than Heathcote but we tend to call it Heathcote. 

Graham and Tanya have two whippets Bess and Harvey Bess is the dominant one and wasn't taking any crap and only kind of liked having Barry and Ferdie around. Perhaps didn't like it at all, hard to tell, but whippets are such sweet natured creatures even when they're being shitty it's benign.
Above is Harvey sleeping on his very nice pillow set.

Barry and Ferdie were kind of a bit uncertain about being in a place with so much to surveil. They were eventually lulled by this window situation though when beds were put there and the sun streamed in.

This is Graham and Tanya putting a corrugated iron ring in place I think for a raised garden bed. 
Barry and Ferdie are usually totally blasé about me and pretend that their motto of sniff snack and snooze is the one to live by but any time they were left inside alone they were like 'where's daddy' which i have to say I had mixed feelings about.

After a long time in each other's presence the boy dogs started playing like this- the slamming of the front paws on the ground to each other. It's pretty macho stuff.

Then we went for a walk around the property this is Ferdie in the creek drinking brown water.
My father told me that when my sister Nicola was 9 she spent a whole day here making this monument. He also told me at one point he tried to set fire to it (now I'm writing this down it all seems much stranger than it did at the time). I think I'll write a poem about this instead of a photo caption.
Here is Bess interposing herself between the beagles.
This is my father Graham amongst his trees.
Horses on the adjoining property.
This is us going home. I opted to go via Elmore to visit Elizabeth Taylor at the house she has there. This is Barry and Ferdie listening to Red Crayola's Soldier Talk, my favourite album of all time.
The view out the windscreen. Started raining very soon afterwards.
Here is Elizabeth Taylor with Barry and Ferdie. The Elmore house is incredible.
Once again, B&F were freaked any time I left them unable to follow me close. In this instance I was just going to get something from the car.
Before it got dark we all went for a walk along the Campaspe River this is an ex-watertower.
This is Ferdie looking as regal as ever in the Elmore house.
And that was our journey. We got back around 9 I think. The dogs don't like travelling in the car but they slept most of the way back. I really enjoyed spending so much time with them. They are great company. Yes you heard it here first - I love my dogs.