Posted by: jkirkby8712 | April 23, 2011

Saturday, 23rd April 2011

The next few days, over the Easter break promise us good weather [says the Weather Bureau!!], though this morning doesn’t seem to be a promising start – a little coolish in town earlier this morning, and currently rather overcast. But we shall remain optimistic that the day will improve – maybe not too much however, have a trip planned to the football this evening, and it no doubt will be quite cool by then anyway, I’d like to see the stadium roof closed!

Not a good night’s sleep overnight – woke a number of times, wondering if Susie had returned from a friend’s place [to where she had walked], and then later, wondering when she was going to switch off the light that seemed to have found it’s way under my door. When all of that settled down, Bill couldn’t get to sleep anywaym – got up and made a cup of tea, around 5am I think, and eventually drifted off some time later, with the music of ABC Classic FM quietly playing away in the background.  Despite all that, I was glad to see Susie getting out with other friends when she could – yesterday, she was in the city at an exhibition with a friend, and last night spent a few hours across the local park, at another friend’s house – I guess her return [although I wasn’t conscious of it] was one of those times that I awoke in my night of broken sleeps!

Late last year, it was my intention to go and see an opera this year. In 2010, was my first visit to the ballet – the Nutcracker, with Jodie, Susie & Shirley, so I felt that before I retired, and could afford to do so, I must get to the opera. In fact, at one stage had considered subscribing to the whole series of Australia Opera performances during their 2011 series. However, financial sensibility soon persuaded me against that idea, so the number down a little, until at this point, I’ve actually made no plans, though still intend to get to one of the better known operas. When that happens, readers of these pages will no doubt hear about it! With all that in mind, I was interested to read a little article in one of the papers the other day headed ‘Opera out of tune with audiences’. Basically it was saying that Opera Australia’s audiences shrank by 16% last year, leaving the company $600,000 in the red, and rethinking it’s future. Now the reason is not simply because, as most non-opera fans would be quick to suggest, that nobody is interested. Apart from the global financial crisis, and a corresponding decline in tourists, there appears to be an unwillingness by patrons to pay the high cost of tickets – the principal reason why I have not yet got there! But the ‘cost of tickets’ doesn’t seem to be the major point in the comments by Opera Australia’s CEO [Adrian Collette] who suggests that two year’s losses in a row means the company ‘needed to broaden and deepen it’s appeal to audiences……Two operation deficits in succession make a compelling argument for change’.  Well I don’t know, I would have thought that the traditional, and the newer productions such as ‘Bliss’ last year, were still appealing to those audiences who en joy opera, and to suggest that the challenge was to merely think of a more inventive program, is missing the point. Apart from the ‘rich set’ of enthusiasts who would probably find the money to pay ‘anything for anything’, I’m sure there are thousands of music enthusiasts out them who would love the same opportunity, but at a minimum ticket price of $80 for entertainment which has a minority of support in terms of overall music genres in Australia, the price of attending is simply beyond them, or such attendance has to be at the sacrifice of some more necessary expense in their lives! Anyway, it will be interesting to see just what Opera Australia ‘comes up with’.

Meanwhile, the May edition of ‘Limelight’ [yes, I am getting ahead of myself, it still only the 23 April], there is further comment on ‘that’ iPod which Prime Minister Julia Gillard, presented to US President, Barak Obama, when she visited him a few weeks ago. That action certainly triggered a backlash of protest from the Australian classical community, and I included myself in that group, through my blog entry at that time. Outrage was expressed at the Government’s ‘perceived lack of interest in the nation’s classical music traditions’.  The ‘diplomatic’ gift, presented to Obama of an iPod loaded with Australian music contained plenty of rock and folk music [most of it deserving such recognition] but not a single track of classical music! As pianist Gerard Willems said “It is a sad state of affairs that we….are recognised around the world for our achievements, but not acknowledged in our own country by our leaders”.  In response to all this outrage, local musicians have compiled two iPod’s worth of Australian classical music to be sent to both the Prime Minister, and the US President, and hopefully, including a bit of a rebuke to the PM! The playlist ranges from Peter Dawson’s ‘Waltzing Matilda’ and Joan Sutherland’s ‘Lucia’ to Peter Sculthorpe’s evocations of the landscape, and also contains works by up-to-the-minute composers such as Elena-Kats-Chernin and Brett Dean. I think at the time, that I included a copy of the full listing of the original i-Pod, so must seek out this alternative version, and list the contents on these pages also. Will be interesting to see just what has been included – Australian non-classical enthusiasts might just be surprised at just how much thery recognise as having heard previously!

Well, most of this Easter Saturday, saw your ‘personal essayist’ feeling a bit poorly, a genuine excuse, after a busy morning, to collapse in front of the TV this afternoon, and watch the Sydney Cup race meeting from Randwick.. Like last Saturday, it was a miserable looking wet race course, although presumably not the same degree of coldness, that such all day rain in Melbourne would create, judging by some of the fashion outfits that the women in particular were [or weren’t] wearing.  Incidentally, the Australian Girls Choir sang the National Anthem again – they have been quite busy at various events of that nature over recent weeks, and today’s rendition of the anthem was particularly inspiring. It reminded me as always, of those 5 or 6 years, that daughter Susan spent as a member of the Essendon branch of the Australian Girls Choir. While it was a rather expensive and time consuming venture, it did open many opportunities to her, and gave her family various wonderful concerts and performances to enjoy. I was a little disappointed when she decided to give it away in her mid teens, although also, silently pleased that all of those long drives to rehearsals, etc, had come to an end.

As for the Sydney Cup, which is run over the same distance of the 3,200 metres Melbourne Cup [in November], the winner there was a bit of an outsider, which had actually been the emergency for the race – Stand To Gain- heard someone describe it as the best wet track racehorse in Australia!!  Well, when it lines up in the Melbourne Cup later this year, I must keep that in mind, particularly if the first Tuesday in November this year happens to be a wet one!! Meanwhilem, the Group One race prior to the Cup, was the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, which in very appropriate fashion was won by a horse that should be very used to wet conditions – a horse named My Kingdom of Fife, which was formerly owned by Queen Elizabeth herself. Very apt result indeed!!

Anyway, in my present ‘frame of health’ I was beginning to regret my decision to go and watch the football in the city tonight, but the cdecision had been made, and it was going to be one of those rare occasions –  I’m sure from memory, the first time that three of my children [all adults now of course] had joined me at a Carlton football match. So whatever I was feeling like, there was no way I was going to allow that opportunity to pass by.  So joining me tonight, down at the Telstra Dome in the city [I decided to drive, good move, rather than catch the train] was Jodie [who gets to a few Carlton matches throughout the seasons], Susan [whom I couldn’t recall ever going before, but apparently she had been previously], and of course, James [ the most vocal current suppolrter in the family, who met us at our seats, as he was staying in the city for the weekend]. The missing ‘child’ was Adam, the only one of my family to stray away and decide to barrack for another team!!! I think I mentioned that fact last week, when Carlton played Essendon.

So, to our Carlton Football [Blues] update for Round 5 of the 2011 AFL Season, Carlton Blues versus the Adelaide Crows.  On paper, it should be a relatively easy win for Carlton, but I had mentioned to my family, that I have become a bit of a jinx, when it comes to watching the Blues play at Telstra Dome over recent years – they don’t win when I am there!!  As the sporting headlines would scream afterwards ‘Wayward Blues survive scare’  – a great start in the first quarter, as my boys got away to a strong start, and the match had images of becoming a very one-sided game. However, Adelaide had other ideas, and aided by atrocious kicking for goal by the Carlton players,  began to make the game as very low scoring and tight battle, so that as things went along, it began to look more and more likely that my jinx would continue. At least for Susie’s sake [who probably would have initially preferred to have been somewhere else] she was getting a close and exciting game of football.  After leading by 27 points late in the first quarter, my Blues found themselves behind by 11 points halfway into the last quarter, and suddenly we were headed for a shock loss! My head was in my hands by now, I couldn’t believe the ineffectual manner in which many of our players seemed to be performing. But, in the closing minutes, the Blues managed to ‘get out of jail’  through a combination of desperate persistence, and a couple of costly errors by the opposition in those last minutes of the match. And like all Carlton supporters, the majority of the Telstra Dome crowd, we breathed a big sigh of relief, getting away with a narrow win.  Quarter by quarter scores revealed that:

Carlton Blues:     5.5.35     6.12.48     8.17.65    Final:  11.19.85

Adelaide Crows:   1.2.8       6.2.38       9.4.58     Final: 12.7.79

The usual long and crowded walk back to the car, and an equally long [and for the driver] tiring return trip to Sunbury, but at least with the knowledge of having ventured to Telstra Dome for a positive result for a change. Incidentally, in a real turn up of results, the new AFL team, the Gold Goast Suns collected theiur first ever win today, defeating the luckless Port Adelaide team by just 3 points! Plenty of excitement up north tonight!

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