LJ, March 1 2011.
Monday, February 28, 2011
Just back from Danny Boyle's 127 Hours (I wept at various stages of the film. I'm not sure I've ever put such emotional investment into a cinematic character)... Aron Rolston was interview on 2BL recently and said, pretty much, that he was euphoric when he cut his arm off... listening to fresh, semi-intriguing Moby ep... watching the frocks on the Oscars as I type (what the hell is Cate Blanchett wearing? Go Shaun Tan, go! how cool is Javier?)... questioning how God communicates his/her methodology/grand schemes when I feel sick and angry re. recent reports of burnt children, in Australian media (4 yr old twins in western suburbs of Melbourne badly injured when a garage exploded; 5 yr old horribly damaged when gas canister blew up on camping trip a day or so ago)... teaching my Yr 12s the Gothic-Romantic powerhouse that is Frankenstein (talk about well-drawn characters)... wondering how Liberal Australia still is... it seems a bloke with a Southern Cross tattoo isn't far away... just leave the Southern Cross in the Milky Way... knocked out that the original line up of Big Audio Dynamite have reformed (let's hope they tour here)... confused re. how Alice Springs' indigenous population can recover their dignity and intrinsic worth in the face of relentless alcohol-dependency, dope and crime (an insightful and sobering report by Nicolas Rothwell in The Australian got to me)... aghast some trendy spot in London is selling breast milk ice cream (who the hell would buy it?)... asking myself if Libya, Yemen, Jordan, Bahrain etc. will really move towards some fresh democratic angle or if dictators and their unthinking minions will always prevail... stoked, surprised and bemused that I've been interviewed twice of late for local publications re. finding 110 species of birds in my home town of Bundanoon (that's 13% of Australia's mainland and Tasmanian birds)... chuffed I have old poems coming out with Islet and Meanjin soon (I will give details in a future post)... crossing my fingers re. the Judith Wright Poetry Prize judged by Peter Minter... trying to sort out the plot for a short story (set on Stewart Island in NZ) that I'm writing for Country Style's $5000 prize judged by Cate Kennedy... tramping Morton National Park regularly in case of bedazzlement... thanking God and the greater world for finding myself in a rewarding place right now... I could be so many desperate people on the other side of the world... count your blessings, sew them to you heart.
LJ, February 28 2011.
Friday, February 11, 2011
Blade Runner is the film that means the most to me. I adore it. Vangelis' score, Jordan Cronenweth's cinematography, Rutger Hauer's iciness, Sean Young's great beauty, all the incidental sounds/noises, that caracal-and-rabbit chase at the end, Harrison Ford drinking alone ninety-seven floors up whilst watching the blue-grey cityscape... heaven!
I first watched it in Sydney cinemas back in 1982 when I was 10 yrs of age (I distinctly recall my mother blocking my eyes during Tyrell's death, literally at the hands of Batty) and it absolutely thrilled me, lifted me. It moved me more than any other sci-fi film. I bought the comic, the sketchbook, the video, any magazines I could find on it. I have the 2007 box set now and I've watched every version of the film that has been released.
Now, I'm teaching The Final Cut for the first time - to a Yr 12 Advaned English class in south-west Sydney. What a blessing. I'm floating. What's wonderful is finding the devil (and all gods) in the detail. Another colleague (who also adores the picture) and I are completely pulling it apart and making links to Frankenstein, the companion text for this HSC study. Most of the kids are into it.
This is what we're picking up and pointing out to the kids (for any of you BR geeks out there)... some of this stuff I've never picked up before, even after many screenings... a dead African buffalo and a hunter on the lampshade on Bryant's desk, stacked mannequins in the lobby of JF's apartment, all the grog bottles in Deckard's apartment, what appears to be a sarcophagus over Deckard's shoulder when he buys alcohol from the seller with the eyepatch, the replicants' sanctuary (the Yukon building), fans and more fans, the matchstick man with an erection, the movement of shadows in Rachel's bogus mother/daughter photo, the story of the baby spiders eating their mother, the black and white appearances of Tyrell and Batty in Tyrell's bedroom (how they reflect each other; symbiosis), a unicorn in JF's apartment etc.
All these points have lead to expansions/metaphors and discussions on humanity, the frontier, wilderness, loneliness, yearning, American might, imperialism etc. We've also peppered our discussion with observations from Ridley Scott, courtesy of interviews, and commentary from The Final Cut. The students are in safe hands!
I could watch BR every day of my life and not be bored.
LJ, February 11 2011.
Over Summer, a swag of rare/vagrant bird species have turned up within Australia's territory, many of them from the extremities (Christmas and Cocos-Keeling Islands). A handful have been seen on the mainland and in Tasmania. I'm not a twitcher (a hard-core birder who drops everything to dash for the next flight out of wherever they are so as to pursue a rare bird) but a lot of me wishes I could've captured in my binoculars several of the outstanding rarities/vagrants that birders have recently unearthed.
From the outlying Australian islands we've had, during December and January... Chinese and Japanese Sparrowhawk, Watercock, Malayan Night and Javan Pond Heron, Yellow and Cinnamon Bittern, Red-collared Dove, European Roller, as well as both Hodgson's and Large Hawk-cuckoo. A White Wagtail turned up on Bruny Island in Tasmania. An Eyebrowed Thrush (a first for Australia) is in North Queensland at the moment. A Uniformed Swiftlet was also seen up that way recently. Perhaps cyclonic conditions have had an impact on the movement of these unexpected birds.
LJ, February 11 2011.