Posted by: jkirkby8712 | December 19, 2011

Sunday, 18 December 2011 – ‘mother’ nature causes more havoc and death, while refugees suffer again!!

The weather has caused havoc in the southern Philippines this weekend, with hundreds of lives lost, and no doubt thousands of others affected and suffering from severe storms, mud slides and floods – ‘mother’ nature seems to care little for the human race in many parts of the world, as we have seen particularly over the past twelve months. I’ve had numerous ‘online’ friends from that part of the world over the years, hoping they have not been affected by this latest disaster. Meranwhile, the sinking of another overcrowded refugee boat, off Java, is another tragic consequence of the ‘lifestyles and political environment of countries like Iran and Afghanistan, which constantly forces their peoples to flee their homelands in search of security and peace elsewhere. Initial reports indicated that a heavily overloaded boat packed with about 250 Iranians and Afghans seeking new lives in Australia sank off Indonesia, with bad weather and high seas hampering rescue effort The vessel was following a well-worn, and occasionally disastrous, route from the southern coast of Java to the remote Australian territory of Christmas Island when it sank on Saturday, officials say.  The vessel was following a well-worn, and occasionally disastrous, route from the southern coast of Java to the remote Australian territory of Christmas Island when it sank on Saturday, officials said. I think the numbers of the boat are possibly much higher than that initial figure. I won’t comment any further, but in tomorrow’s contribution, intend to include the Editorial from Monday’s Australian newspaper on this matter.

Well, for a while overnight, I was unsure whether I would be in a fit state to get up to the radio station this  morning\ for my Sunday program, but a bit of sleep overnight, despite the discomfort of a painful ankle, and a slight improvement in it’s condition this morning – at least I could take a few painful and slow steps on it – encouraged me to be out and on my way, and able to start a little earlier, at 6.15am. Mind you, that was all I would do of a physical walking nature all day, as certainly, by the time I left the radio at 9am,, the foot had deteriorated a little again, so decided the only way to solve the problem was by resting it for the rest of the day!! Nevertheless, I was glad I’d been able to get out this morning – today’s program was planned as my pre-Christmas show of classical ‘Christmas orientated’ music, and one that I really needed to go ahead with. It included the second part of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, which I’d begun last Sunday.

One thing I did complete was a book of ‘light’ readings, called ‘The Turning’.  The Turning is a collection of short stories by acclaimed Australian author Tim Winton. It was published in April 2005 by Picador.  Many of the 17 short stories included interweave in their respective narratives, creating an intriguing and twisting central plot-line that generally centers around protagonist Vic Lang. Several recurring themes characterise the book, including sentimentality, regret, companionship and drugs. The collection was adapted into a play, The Turning, for the 2008 Perth International Arts Festival.    I liked a review comment by the Sydney Morning Herald when the book was published, in 2004  –  “Each of these 17 stories is a self-contained whole – as all good short stories should be – yet the sequence reveals striking connections among seemingly disparate lives and experiences. The result is at times mysterious, moving and occasionally deeply unsettling”. As that review put it, ‘Most of the stories are set in a place Winton calls Angelus, a small, wind-swept coastal community, formerly a whaling station, in the south-west of Western Australia. Some of his characters have never left the town; others make their way back there to try to make sense of their lives or to let wounds heal.   Almost every one of them, those that stayed behind as much as those that left, find disappointment only, or confirmation that they will never escape, no matter how far their lives seem to have taken them from Angelus. For that reason, most of these stories deal with the painful experiences of childhood and adolescence’.  I have to agree with the comment that Winton’s book depicts what is .  ‘not a pretty world. Winton’s characters are unremarkable men, women and children. Their lives are nasty, brutish and, for more than one of them, short. In the hands of a less accomplished writer, such concentration on disappointment and frustration could have led to tedium and also to a sense of condescension or sentimentality’.  In fact, I found many of the stories quite depressing, and were it not for the later inter-connecting of one story to another, would have finished the book totally dissatisfied with the manner in which I considered most of the stories ended – without solution, incomplete, unanswered questions  – and yet, perhaps this is a true indication of life for many people, who live out their lives with unresolved issues, and regrets!!! Certainly, that is what comes across in this book.  Perhaps it’s me, but I can’t find the ‘beauty’ referred by the UK Literary Review comment that ‘A raw and urgent book, brimming with danger…But there is nevertheless plenty of beauty in these haunting, finely written tales’!! Perhaps the Observer explains it better  –  “Captivating….The beauty of Winton’s work lies not in the hope to which some characters awaken [just some mind you], but in his skill at making grief palpable to readers who may be unscathed by the agonies that his characters suffer…His stories artfully clarify life’s abrupt turns…….”

TheTurningWinton.jpg
Anyway, that was a part of my ‘relaxation’ today, resting that dammed ankle! – watched as bit of TV –  including a televised version of Puccini’s opera ‘La Boheme’  – perhaps I’m a little prejudice, but I find the story lines of many of these traditional operas to be somewhat ‘far fetched, almost childlike in the way they are presented – no questions about the brilliance of the singing and the music, but the story itself, is what turns me off a little – Don Giovanni, the other night, had a similar affect. Anyway, glad I watched that this afternoon  –  will continue to enjoy the music from La Boheme, but won’t bother to spend any money going to see a live performance!!   Briefly, the story deals with a group of Bohemians, a carefree band of friends fighting for survival in the Latin quarter, and gaudy twilight of 1920s Berlin. When cabaret star Musetta sings, she is the most beautiful woman in the world. When the idealistic writer, Rodolfo meets the innocent seamstress, Mimi, the passion blazes in their hearts. But for all involved, love alone won’t pay the rent. I think this afternoon, I gained the most emotional affect was watching the audience, and the performers, doing the lengthy curtain calls, at the end of the opera. Obviously, it took place in Europe, where opera is more of a ‘national passion’ than a place like Australia, and the ‘adoration’ displayed by the audience was truely remarkable  –  I did not recognise the names of any of the performers, but they were almost being treated likes Gods up there on the stage!!  In fact, the lead female role [who, as with most traditional operas, dies at the end] almost appeared as though she was still totally engrossed in the role she had just finished, almost appeared to be emotionally affected by ‘her own tragic’ circumstances just performed on stage!! One or two others gave a similar impression, indicative no doubt of the quality and passion of their performances.    Later tonight, I also watched a final episode of ‘Upstairs, Downstairs’ I’d never watched that program previously, but was now beginning to wish I’d shown an interest in it, in earlier years. Quite enjoyed tonight’s episode, set during the time that the King of England abdicated his throne for ‘Mrs Simpson’!  Interesting1

Susan went out early this afternoon, did not return until late this evening. I’d been hoping she would return earlier, ass intended to get her to bring home some dinner for us both, as there was not really a great deal of choice in the fridge, as I’d stayed away from the shops today!!  Alas, soon realised she’d eaten elsewhere, so I made do with a meal of vegetables [which I prefer these days anyway, just hadn’t felt in the food for preparing anything]…………………………

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