Though I did make time for tv. First we watched back Unit One which seems to be getting stranger and stranger, and I don't know what I missed that meant Fischer and La Cour no longer speak, but at least Allan has a creepy new friend (there was a bit where they held hands and the Peanut Gallery piped up with "I don't know whether to be touched or slightly disturbed"). The plots seem all unresolved these days, which is a complete shift from the old Dragnet like endings as before and this latest hypno gay killer one is straight out of Wire in the Blood territory. But I still love it, and the weird Danish gallows humour does crack me up. I mean, you might have thought they were droll on Homicide: Life on the Streets, but that's nothing compared to this.
Also, lovely Scandanavian folk art on the train/crime scene. I liked.
Then I watched this art doco that got rave reviews but I didn't like. Maybe I'm just fuming at his constant references to the female forms being "grotesque" (which he repated several times in case you missed it the first time) and primtive, as opposed to his gushing over the wide shouldered, taunt and pertly buttocked Greek boy statues. Methinks the presenter might be betraying his subjective views. At least he demonstrated that we have the agrarian patriarchy to thank for the boyish Twiggy ideal of beauty. Grumble.
Well he might argue that men who like boobs have the primitive brains of seagulls, but the boobies sure worked their magic on the IT front yesterday. Actually, QED, I must allow.
Then it was the last episode of Burn Notice (to be screened here at any rate). Now I am bereft of Burn Notice as it wasn't IQ'd for me like everything else (I'd set the machine but as always a brownout put paid to that). So no more Burn Notice. Ack, withdrawal kicking in already. It's silly, but I like it. I like it lots. I like the spin they give to old chesnuts like a kidnapping plot. I love the way the show has its own style, its own logic and its own way of doing things. It's not all wishy washy "finding our voice" like some other shows. That and Our Hero is really cool, in an old school almost 80s bullet proof kinda way. No dark teatimes of the soul for Mike. Not big on the brooding. Pissed off about the whole burn notice thing, yes. Obessed with sorting it out - understandable. Endless Bryonic brooding? Not so much. Thank you. I prefer my American heroes to be sardonic chaps who've been burned, but still have good hearts, at their core (arise, Malcolm Reynolds).
It's just a nice change of pace from endless angst. Yes, you heard it here first, even an old angst whore like me has started to suffer angst overload. Really over the writing poems, in crayon, now. Well, mostly. In some shows a bit of angst wouldn't go astray, just to prove the bullet proof hero does indeed have human parts. I just think it has to be balanced, and Burn Notice, for all its silliness, gets it right for the character.
Speaking of shows that don't get the balance right, there's Robin Hood. There's hot and cold running Guy, but he's being squeezed between two oposing characters who are just messing with him, really, and using him to their own ends, so it's perhaps understandable that he swings from extreme cruelty to compassion and back again, but it's certainly not achievved in any realistic fashion, and the show is still suffering from the if it's 7pm it's panto time attitude that ruins the better, darker moments.
Unfortunately it's Robin himself who is the most badly drawn boy. The character has no internal logic, and we never really learn why he really went off to war (glory? atonement? excitement?) or why he's waging his little war now. Sure, he speechifies on occassion, but he comes across as exactly the sort of holier than thou student protester who so earestly avows every trendy cause, but who you just know will completely sell out and go all suburban stepford in his thirties and be equally evangelical about 4wds and the like.
I mean, he's all about the evil sheriff, yet so blindly believes in the King (whom, if history can be believed, was a bit of a rotter). In fact, Robin has this whole cargo cult thing going on with the whole "it'll be better when the King comes home." How? The King is a politician and not to be trusted. Surely Robin isn't that naieve. And it just proves that Robin hasn't thought things through, he has no long term strategies and lately it's all been about his personal power struggles and precious little about improving living conditions or social justice. He needs to be handing out more startup kits and less actual handouts. A little more act local than think global. But aside from that, he needs some proper, logical characterisation because, to be honest, the Hamlet like weather dependent moods are getting on my nerves. It's like which Robin is he today? Cheeky Robin? Homicidal Robin? Avenger Robin? No wonder poor Much is such a nervous wreck.
It wouldn't be so bad but Robin has no real background, no demonstrable character, he doesn't show his inner life, his thoughts, motivations. He tells, but he never shows, and it often rings hollow. He's inconsitent in his treatment of people (the qualities of his mercy, forgivemess and tolerance are extraordinarily finite) and the only clearly defined charater traits are pride, vanity and a nasty temper...not exactly endearing. There's also disloyalty (to Much and Marian most of all), a marked lack of empathy towards those who should be his nearest and dearest (Much has every right to complain, having so much merde, when he sees Robin giving it up for strangers), a short attention span and a dangerous belief in his own infalability and invunerability. He is, in short a sociopath, with no demostrable redeeming quirks, aside from being cute and charming (and the best serial killers manage cute and charming). Alas, Robin lacks the sort of depth, integrity and the necessary thousand yard stare that the role requires.
That said, I'm really loving series tw. I just wish they'd write Robin better. He needs to demonstrate why we should love him, not just take it as a given. A little less Xena and a little more Burn Notice wouldn't go astray.
Never mind, I remain surprised and delighted by the Allan arc. Not that it's especially surprising or delighting, though the black outfit works for me, but I'm surprised TPTB managed to come up with it (because they're demonstrably not the most creative thinkers on the box).
It's a damn shame, but no other shows screams committee as much as poor Robin Hood. They had a ready out of the box hero and instead of embellishing they'vejust ticked boxes in a cynical marketing exercise. And it shows.
Burn Notice might have been made by a souless committee of incompetents, designed to fill a marketing niche, but at least it has a strong character to hang the show off.
That's not to say I don't like Robin. He's quite cute, as I said (see pic here), but now Sir Guy has joined Five (hubba hubba squee), I'm not so sure the future is assured.
Meanwhile, one co-worker was wondering what to do as his wife said no eggies for chocolate day as she was on a diet. Buy choclates, I advised. Actually, it was more like waving my arms and crying NOOOO! very loudly at the very idea. Don't ever fall for the old "I'm on a diet" line. It's one of H's fave stories: the Xmas without Xmas. Way, way back in the Life on Mars days, my mother announced she wanted no chocs because she was on a diet. No chocs, she reapted. Not a one. So, good obedient creatures that we were, we didn't. So mother threw such a strop that she binned Xmas dinner and locked herself in her room for the rest of the day. Shall we say it's a lesson well learned: never, ever, ever fall for the diet lie.
Thursday: the Govt gazetted a half day today. That's like getting a half day off from the Sheriff of Nottingham, ie not to be sneezed at. But my boss wouldn't let me go. Harumph. But they've gone and had a catastrophic server failure so I can't do anything so I get my half day after all. Result! And no, that wasn't me in the ninja outfit in the wee hours, I swear.
Meanwhile, nothing bemuses me so much as a missive from the Peanut Gallery:
Malaria, Mountain climbing, German spies, feisty wildlife, cheery crowds of cannibals, Freudian mushrooms... It can only be a review of Ellis Rowan's latest exhibition (Sunday Times [Sydney], 7 March 1920):
I know from another clipping that the painting in this URL was the one described in the following review (proving that this work did in fact, despite protests from Australia's fine arts experts - read "men", make it into the national collection): http://nla.gov.au/nla.pic-vn3292159
And dig the casualness with which her brush with WWI espionage drama is dismissed!
Unique Collection of Paintings
Mrs. Ellis Rowan's Pictures show wonderful designs taken from Nature
It was her big ambitious soul in small frame that carried Mrs. Ellis Rowan successfully through endless adventures and rough passages in her quest for color in New Guinea. She has returned here worn out from work and malaria, but happy in the knowledge that her collection of pictures, her own handiwork, is a unique one.
Every wall in the Art Gallery at Anthony Horderns' is covered with her work, but there are many more pictures not shown, since this collection comprises over 600 Australian paintings, 300 New Guinea, and 300 American and West Indian ones.
The task must have been a stupendous one for a single pair of hands to perform, but then, as Mrs. Rowan, said, speaking in particular of the time spent in New Guinea, "I literally worked from daylight to dark."
Her interpretation of color, the natural appearance of bird, flower, or butterfly, is almost beyond description by mere words. One feels it is no mere semblance of reality, but it is the living actuality before one. Apropos of this it happened only last week that a well-known moth fancier on entering the gallery remarked to the exhibitor, "Don't you think it a shame to have the glass so close to the butterflies. It will crush them!" His astonishment on finding the frames contained only paintings was unbounded.
It was in New Guinea, from which she has not long since returned, that Mrs. Rowan painted the birds of paradise - the first time the birds have been painted actually from life. Though the birds were placed in cages, a closer vision was sometimes needed. For instance to see the color of their eyes, Mrs. Rowan found it necessary to wrap the bird in a towel and tuck it under her arm, meanwhile painting away vigorously, despite the pecking protests against the indignity offered.
Among the Cannibals
The natives brought the birds, and would travel fifty or sixty miles to get them for her, receiving a dole of tobacco as a reward. But before this could be done she had to be armed with a permit from both the Governor and the Government, for without the capture of these birds is forbidden.
There were no English people in the parts she frequented, for she went to Madang, in the German quarter, three days journey from Rabaul. There she went far ahead, her furthest outpost being under the Bismarck Range, which occasionally figures as a background in some of her pictures. At one time the Germans suspected her of being a spy, but that was only an adventure "en passant."
It was more exciting at Dampier Island, where she remained the only white person amidst a cheery crowd of cannibals, for two whole days. However, the missionary who left her there said all was well, since the natives locked on her as "tapu" (sacred).
Mushroom with a Veil
Though Mrs. Rowan's travels have been world-wide, she says the splendor of the scenery in the Islands is only equalled in the Himalayas, a very different scene. But what pleases Mrs Rowan most, is that she has discovered mushrooms new to the scientific world. These are to be seen among her paintings. They have a dainty colored veil falling from the dome just as lace-like as any veil worn by a fashionable woman.
The whole exhibition is an education and a delight in itself, and, during the three weeks it is open, it should become well-known. At the back of Mrs. Rowan's head is the hope that some philanthropic person will present it to the State, for now that art and industry are becoming part of the national life, here would be designs unlimited to draw upon for the weaving of carpets, patterns for wall papers or for architectural work. In America much of her previous work has been so used, and, weekly, she is receiving letters asking for still more of her work.
I just love the way they dismiss her as a quaint little wifey flower painter. Oh yeah. Male artists buy a train ticket to the last stop and think they've discovered the landscape, meanwhile Ellis is leaping over lagoons on a vine, crocodiles snapping at her ankles, native spears sailing past her ears, to land in a nest of vipers and face to face with a hissing cobra (cue stirring theme).
I love Ellis. She totally ddeserves her own action film. And why do they make Indy apologise for being an academic in the trailer? That was totally the thing back then, these suburban academic types going off and having Ripping Yarn adventures. I read just the other day the tale of Mawson, the great Antartic explorer, once giving a talk in full antartic gear, which he removed, piece by piece, to emerge in a dinner suit by the end. That's suave. That's so suave. And yet if you stuck it in a film today they'd feel the need to apologise for it. No way...it really was like that, read the old papers and see.
That said, how much squee was there when I saw the Raiders trailer. Oh, I know my heart will be broke, but just for the moment, I'm like a kid with a big shiny present under the tree. Could be socks, but it might be special. And I love Indy. He was my first, true love, and it's a love that's never dimmed, and I was so squee when the hat rolled into frame. I'm an Indy tragic, and I can't wait.
Sat: Well, I did get my half day, but it didn't go according to plan. I'd bought sticky hot cross buns for a slap up afternoon tea, but ended up burying bodies instead.
Yup, you read right. I'd not even got as far as putting my bag down when I heard a kerfuffle outside. Turns out one of the neighbourhood cats had got one of my magpies, and the poor thing had died before I could bundle it up or call WIRES. So instead of afternoon tea I was digging an admittedly shallow grave in the back garden in the ceramic drought hardened soil. Fun. Not. Poor birdie. (Worse, I've been having nightmares ever since).
So I've not really done much. I had planned to try and reclaim the back garden path from the jungle weeds, but it's rained since Friday. Even my intent to throw out old magazines has been more reading than chucking. Oh well.
And now my BBC4 play just cut out. Might as well call it quits for tonight. Not that I'll get any sleep, the possums above are restless - they don't like the rain. Ah, 9pm, I hear the fireworks from across the river.
Digital Collections - Pictures - Rowan, Ellis, 1848-1922. [Netted stinkhorn fungus, Dictyophora phalloidea or Dictyophora multicolour, Papua New Guinea, ca. 1916-1917, 3] [picture]
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