They billed it as "treasures" of the Musee d'Orsay but it was more like bits and bobs, imho. Underwhelmed? Just a touch. Sure enough, there were a couple of absoloute bona fide and universally acknowledged masterpieces in each room, but there were only six very small rooms, and the rest of it was filler, albeit grand filler and I quite liked the one of the back of the girl's head and the Sydney Long like wobbly trees one Himself went mad for a Mombassa-esque seaside view by some Belgian pointalist, and maybe it was just the cold talking, but I wasn't at all in raptures and moved to tears like others have been, even if they did feature several that were fave enough to be already fridge magnets on my fridge at home (it's always cool when I see a pic I've liked enough to have some facsimilie hanging about the place). So, glad I saw the M d'O in situ, then, afterall, even if it did seem like a post-impressionist death march at the time. Six rooms? Bah!
So glad I didn't queue up. Oh, here I will envince smugness and admit to demonstrable Teutonic heritage because I did get up early, but to be honest, it was far later than my usual time and we did have a lesisurely breakfast (for us) but I still managed to be first in line in a queue that stretched from the NGA, past the National Portrait Gallery and onwards to the National Library. That's a line that can me measured in kms/miles, folks. ::Smug::
So for a few seconds I had the piccies all to myself, which was kinda cool, and I'd not have felt so accomplished had I not been congratulated on my queue fu and escorted from the door to the actual start of the exhibition by chatty guards, who were there to make sure I wasn't overrun or lost my hard won place. Neat.
And yet, she sighs. And yet...(and himself said the Bris show I missed was way better, so sulk). Oh, and I found out Rome is have a super duper Caravaggio show and of course I can't afford to go. Sulky sulky pout pouts.
I'm sure it was just the flu talkin' 9and the fact that I was in the M d'O just six months ago. I'm sure at any other moment I'd be deeply moved. More moved than finally getting that dratted magazine, anyhoo.
And can I just say, when you've got thousands and thousands of folks lining up daily through several connecting parks, where were the loos and coffee/sandwich/ice cream stands? Sheesh? Anyone one with sense knows you don't throw an international blockbuster show without taking care of the tea and pee question. Any eejit knows that ice cream and coffee is where the money is. Harumph.
So, that was the big show, anyway. Wandered the rest of the NGA, which had Monet's etc that were perfectly fine and free but no one else was interested in those (sheep much?) and I fell in love, so much in love, I mean, rip it from the wall and shove it in my handbag lust with a Sydney Long painting of pink flamingos at sunset. But that's just me (Oh Neal, could you be a dear and ...).
Then we wandered off to the National Portrait Gallery, which had lost the pretty Joey piccie and now had grumpy, very grumpy middle aged Joe Banks in its place. Sigh. Nor was that drop dead gorgeous pic of Errol up (aye me), but I guess they need to constantly re-hang in such a (mercifully) small space. And fie on the lad who said it was all dead white guys. In no way, and has he never been to other portrait galleries (like, say, the mother ship)? I dare say we have the most ecclectic NPG on the planet, and did he not even see the paintings of Quong Tart or Elizabeth Macarthur in the very room in which he uttered his idiot comment? Harumph.
Then it was a wobbly march in the heat (by now the cold was really kicking in) to the National Library with a small exhibition on the Dunera Boys.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Friday we went down and headed straight to the Australian War Memorial which was great fun. Wrong, I know, but fun, with all the dioramas and the films and the planes and the a/v displays, especially the one that made you feel like you were bombing Berlin at night (the bomber interior shook and thumped and the bomb bay doors opened and there was b/w Berlin below, about to be blown to bits. I know the correct response is how awful, but at the time my inner eight year old was in charge and saying 'how cool' instead, and very much so. There was also a stirring film about Oz pilots in WWI narrated by Mr Neil that had me walking out of the place making dogfight noises (rrrrr ratatatatat!!!). Oh, and the Red Baron's boot. Can't forget that. We have the Red Baron's boot as a war trophy. Sweet.
That said, one should ponder on the numerous wars we've run off to when we've only ever been bombed or torpedoed (and that so called mini sub they sent into Sydney Harbour that sank those ships was huge!) and I saw all the exhibitions, from the Sudan to Iraq - not much in distance but great in years and loss of life). I thrilled to WWII bombers swooping over palm trees in the pacific, then read about the Japanese killing all those nurses and grew quite tetchy towards them (though I just broke my cranky 'no sushi' rule, tsk), and that was before I saw the wall of thousands of photos of young men killed on an actual death march in WWII. That was obscene. You know, walls with names are one thing, but photos, fucking hell. Then it was round to 'Nam and how unforgiving the protesters were (in their defence, they were seeing film of little kiddies in flames every night night on the news, bound to upset, that), and then off to the UN missions where it was like another country, another pile of skulls. People are shitty.
But they're also great. I loved some of the war time art, the cartoony signs over the officer's mess and the like, and the love and war exhibition (bonus points for including Patrick White and his Greek soldier amongst the couples) and I loved the photos and film of young Australian men, all with that self assured way they stand and that bold stare down the camera that Hollywood loves so much. It's there in South Africa and Gallipoli, France and Libya, New Guinea and Vietnam. Oh, boys.
You don't want to think about the loss, though you must, you just want to think about the courage, the independence, the candour and the cheekiness.
Strolled outside, where there were all the names on the wall, from the Sudan and China right up to Afghanistan (a mercifully small list). I wonder if it's because we're a small force out there or just really good, and both, I think, and certainly decisive battles in WWI, WWI and Vietnam would point to the bloody good part, and it makes me proud, just a bit, that we don't make too much of a hash of it.
A habit of it, well, that's something else. Nevertheless, I think I was moved this way and that from tears of utter devestation to wonder and amusement and back again so hopefully I was responding as I ought, at least some of the time. It's just too hard to be po faced all the time with all that delightful WWII propaganda about (especially the films, so plucky, eh, what?).
Then it was off up to the lookout (eventually, thanks for nothing, mr taxi driver) with a 60s shapeship atop it that now housed an allegedly posh but rather average restaurant but you were paying for the view and it was a mighty view and this was when the cold hit, hit fast and hit hard and by the time the sun set I was wretched and by the time desert came out I was miserable and I know no one will ever believe I went home early from the restaurant because I was turning into a flu pumpkin and catching White Collar on tv was merely a happy bonus, but it's true.
Oh yeah, the pretty pretty is back. Look at you Neal, all passive aggressive and betrayed and sulky. Does Peter mean that much to you? Really? So sweet. And yeah, there were cuts. Slivers here and there, but I noticed (can't be more accurate than that, I was watching it with flu goggles on by this stage).
So then there was Saturday, the afternoon and evening of which I spent mainly in the hotel (while himself went off exploring), aside from an excellent dinner at a little cafe we found in the Melbourne end of Canberra, watching bad tv and with a toilet roll beside the bed because I'd used up all the tissues. In other words, a typical holiday.
Sunday ditto except for brunch at the chocolate house, a rather slow trot around the very nice mall (I knew I was style crimping but I could not go any faster and Himself didn't even bother with any of the usual hisses or clicks to hurry me up either) and then, alas, our fave cafe was full so it was the Oirish pub round the corner, oh dear and oh well. Then taxi, airport, plane, airport, taxi, bed, do not unpack, do not pass go. I didn't even see the Dr Who finale.
Monday I rang in sick (like, duh), and discovered my recording of DW had gone awry, but I had two backups in place so I saw it anyway. "I don't want to go" he wibbles. Well, tough. I'd read such bad reviews, and, again, flu goggles, so I actually wasn't that annoyed, though the LOTR endings pushed my patience, just a bit. I didn't mind Timmy as Rasilon (and the Time Lords always were the worst sort of Tories so I've no idea anyone was surprised they were all douches) and the whole thing with the Master pretty much made it canon, imho (and the untold story sounded so much more interesting than the histrionics were were getting) and no episode with cactii can ever be good and, well, yeah. We survived it, and that's the main thing. At least RTD didn't completely trash the toy box as I feared he might, and I loved the cantina scene, but that's just me (so the Doc is Jack's pimp now?)
The rest of the day was spent working on the PC (why, I will never know, not even on fun stuff), watching bad tv (oh, Fox Classics, you tv crack dealer, you) and lying around hacking and wheezing.
Today, still rubbish and the quick and fruitless nip around the danger death shops (nearly got myself killed there the other day when a violent full on gang war went off while I was trying to do a pre-holiday shop) was a waste of precious energy but at least I'm at the branch office which meant a mere toddle of a half hour door to door commute and comfier clothes and sandals and it's not like going to work at all and now I'm off because no one is answering phone calls or emails and I cannae be bothered. Achoo!
Oh, and I didn't get to see The Prisoner this week, but I'd be remiss if I didn't mention this little "gem":
fuck yeah alexander skarsgard
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