Farewell, we bid thee, piece of turf three metres by one, As thou travelleth up the Hume, the truck that transports thee, we cannot outrun. For as long as the sun has risen in the east, thou hast glistened with morning dew, Now, as thou truckest, may thou receive the care that is thy due. May thou be tended with waters and fertilisers, to ease thy weary load, And heaven help the driver should he fail to avoid any bump in the road. Oh turf, oh turf, our Melbourne soil, thou art so good, so great! The more for having tolerated imposter feet from interstate. And though the quest thou now pursueth be imbued with virtue and grace, Forsooth, to remind the northern people of their rightful place, Knowest as thou leavest, your departure is a killer, With holes in Melbourne hearts that cannot be fixed with poly filler, And though your holy house be made only of bricks and mortar, We worship thee, and it, forever as we oughta.
In his 1971 cult classic, ‘The Revolution will not be televised’, Gil Scott-Heron envisions the African-American uprising in a song that oozes power, rhythm and classic African-American cool. ‘You will not be able to stay home, brother,’ he sings in the call-to-arms refrain, ‘because the revolution will not be televised.’ Fifty years on, the revolution is being televised and it is being conducted almost entirely by progressive whites. People of colour may as well stay home and watch on tv.
How good is this break from football? I say that as someone who has followed the game since the age of three and who still thinks it is one of the best spectator sports in the world. But of all the incidental benefits that have stemmed from the coronavirus, is there any more valuable than this hiatus from football? Not for mine. I hope common sense prevails at the AFL and it lasts the whole year, although I know there is as much chance of that as there is of the Adelaide Crows being given an earnt home grand final at Adelaide Oval.
The lockdown has reminded us of a time when football was in its proper place. Anyone on the wrong side of fifty can remember it well. Life was more about neighbourhood. If you needed bread or milk or wanted to buy the paper you walked or rode to the deli. People worked five-and-a-half days a week to earn an honest keep, most often in a trade or profession that they stayed in for life, and football was a Saturday afternoon entertainment. The game was an important part of the week and was looked forward to, but the players too held Monday-to-Friday jobs, the kind that kept the wheels of the community turning. Continue reading “The clear sky of these football-free days”→
We are approaching a period in which four of the seven judges on the High Court will have to retire. Two reach the mandatory retirement age within the next twelve months, another in October 2022, then the Chief Justice herself in January 2024. Not since the latter half of the 1990’s has there been a period of such turnover. At that time it had been anticipated that John Doyle, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of South Australia, would be appointed. Doyle was widely considered to be one of the best legal minds the country has ever produced and was seen as a future Chief Justice, not simply a puisne, of the Court, but the five vacancies in those years went to three from New South Wales, one from Victoria and one from Queensland.
Now that the “shocking” new evidence in the Sky News documentary MH370: The Untold Story has been revealed, I write to report a disappearance. Of the various theories and leads that have been advanced since the tragedy on 8 March 2014, there is one that has gone missing, never sighted by any investigating team including, now, Sky News. I refer to an early lead offered by an Australian scientific exploration company which was presented in good faith but which, irrespective of its merits, fell prey to cancel culture.
In his new book, The Brothers York: An English Tragedy, Thomas Penn patches over an important detail relating to Edward IV, who reigned from 1461 to 1483. Penn describes Edward as having been the legitimate son of Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York, and his wife Lady Cecily Neville. However, Edward’s legitimacy was a point of contention even in his own time and evidence discovered in 2003 goes a long way to proving, firstly, that Edward could not have been fathered by Richard, and secondly, that if the monarchical line had followed its true genealogical path through Edward’s younger brother, George, it leads eventually to rural Australia. Continue reading “My kingdom for a horse in Australia”→
As a member of the School Council of the public primary school in suburban Melbourne attended by my two boys, I supported my fellow councillor’s motion to arrange for a sex education speaker to give a talk for parents on how to speak to their children about sex. The speaker in question came highly recommended and on the night itself I arrived early, introduced myself, helped her set up, and took a seat in the front row. Then as she began, eager for her to feel welcome, I gave little nods of encouragement whenever she glanced my way. Continue reading “School Council Diary”→
We all make mistakes. To quote the Augustan satirist Alexander Pope, “to err is humanistic”. But we also like to point out other people’s mistakes and in the written form we do this with ‘sic’, the term inserted into a sentence (in parentheses) to make it clear that the mistake is not ours. It is a word with Latin roots although its origins in the English language, as recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary, are mistaken. According to the OED the first known appearance of it was in an Anglo-Saxon Reader of 1887, but I have found an instance of it in the 1876 edition of the same book. The OED, therefore, needs to correct its “1887 (sic)” citation for ‘sic’.
At the time of writing, December 2020, the #newedition movement can be considered a true global phenomenon. As it sets about the work of re-writing world history in the manner it should always have been written, it represents the most significant mountain that our noble progressive movement has yet climbed. But the one thing that I hope is always remembered is that this movement owes its origins to a small group of people, including my son and myself, in Melbourne. Yes, it is a phenomenon we can proudly call Victorian. It all began in 2018 at the High School that my son attends.
Joint-winning entry in the ALIA (Australian Library and Information Association) flash fiction (200 words) competition to celebrate Valentines Day 2019…
A Lover of Alliteration
That never-ending book, There was Love to be Found in the Library, will hopefully find a place for the story of my friend Ally. She was a woman who always spoke with alliteration. When asked about the novel she was reading, for example, she described it as “a tepid and tedious tome that talks of tensions in today’s technological times”. I once heard someone say to her that her way of speaking was pompous. She replied, “what’s wrong, I wonder, with a widowed woman with a wonderful way with words?” Ally had embarked on this mode of speech in memory of her husband, Dudley Dirk den Delden, of Dutch descent. I was with her that day soon after he died when she found a book on alliteration in the basement of the library. “Ally”, I said, “you have found love in the library”. She corrected me, “I have located love, in the local library – lower level”. She reverted to her maiden name, Allwood. It was “a difficult decision that does not diminish my devotion to my dear departed Dudley”, but she wanted her great-grandchildren to be able to read aloud at her grave, “Ally Allwood, A Lover of Alliteration”.