Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Shane goes off... to France, metaphorically

G’day again, petals.
Who says research was fun?   
Well, I will.
Y’see, I always thought of Thomas a’ Becket as a rather short, swarthy, dark visaged ascetic….( Richard Burton in the film “Becket” with Peter o’ Toole as Henry II).
Not true, possums…turns out that Thomas  "….. was very tall and slim with dark hair, (got the the dark hair bit right …) finely chiselled features, an aquiline nose and rather effeminate tapering hands.
He was a good conversationalist, despite a slight stutter, and had great charm of manner.
Like Henry, he was a man of enormous energy and versatile talent whose chief pleasures were hunting, hawking and chess although unlike Henry, having taken a vow of chastity as a youthful deacon, he avoided encounters with women…. 
...was witty, generous, vain, ambitious... 
And thrived when chancellor “in throwing off the deacon” … loved extravagant clothes and living.….but took things to extremes, being wilful, obstinate, manipulative and uncompromising…
..a consummate actor able to play the martyr….  The perfect courtier! 

 (Alison Weir, Eleanor of Aquitaine: Vintage)

I rather suspect Possums that his descendent now works in PR for a large commercial art gallery specialising in photography .   And that rather than hawking, he and his coterie write anonymous critiques of the baristas of Brunswick  St. for  the Melbourne Times!
I have also discovered that the present mayor of the little town of Montaillou, (Languedoc-Roussillon) is probably a descendant from the family of the priest who was burned as a Cathar heretic C 1320.  (Montaillou, The Promised Land of Error. Le Roy Ladurie: Braziller)
Hmmm…. Perhaps the Cathars’ were correct in their predestination theories…. which might also explain why Catholics like Tony Abbot, Christopher Pyne, and that excuse for an immigration spokesman for the Liarbils are soooo  un-christian in their sentiments and relentlessly bang-on about having the “will”, the  “Kill-Factor” “…always going for the jugular”..  It really seems that, what goes around, comes around.

I found the books, the reading ones, not the picture (arty) ones after looking at  maps and discovered in them something I think the French call “terroir”: a sense or taste of place, (something of which the muddy trail-bike bogans have absolutely no ken)  and which I think might be essential to begin feeling affinity with a “place” visited. Otherwise there’s no point in visiting, is there? 
The state I am trying to describe was expressed many years ago when as a callow art student our class had been assigned by Lou Kuppers, (the sculpture lecturer), a project of modelling in clay, in a day,  a small figurative sculpture “in-the-style-of”... from a variety of periods of art.

It was Classical Greece’s turn;  and I had spent many hours researching and reading about (Kitto: "The Greeks", was brilliant). 

After an absorbing few hours modelling, Kuppers went around the class, individually discussing with the students their interpretations of 6th BCE sculpture. 
Arriving at my stand he slowly turned the work around, around and around, and around once more finally looked at me and said,” You speak Greek!”

I know I will be just anotherbloodytourist but I hope that I will have opened up enough to absorb much of what France is and more importantly, why France is, through its past and present culture. 
It would only be polite.

And then there are the google maps and walks...brilliant stuff for the perfect Kath & Kel holiday, 

particularly if you enjoy being four metres tall!    


Monday, 14 February 2011

Shane goes off... to France!

well we've had a think, a long think and consulted the "good books". Art books that is and have come to the conclusion that if you're going away, go a long way away.

As the Romanesque is 800 - 1000 years away perhaps we should go there... to France. Why France? Well they've still got around 450 buildings dating from the C11th - C13th and then some!

It was a period of wonderful productivity and artistic invention (perhaps re-invention) intermixed with atrocious violence and hypocrisy; relgious as well as civil.
I'd really like to get a handle on this Bernard of Clairvaux character..... did a family take-over of the Cistercian monastries set up by a rather gentle Englishman, Stephen Harding (which was probably the last time the French saw anything gentle in the English), which became (for the so-called "Middle -Ages") a prototype multi-national organisation, calls up the Crusades, castigates Richard the Lionheart's mum for being a little fiesty (and too fun loving) and then he helped set up the Templars who were a multi-national business before Phillip IV tried a terminal take-over of his own a few years down the track.

But where do you start?
Let's go google and start in the capital..

too small...........


Aaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.......................... bliss.

See'ya later petals...

...there's some serious research to be done!


Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Home is where the bogans are

......nice isn't it?
Well it could be except for this.....

... and the fact that you'll probably find twenty or more trail-bikers butchering the environment both physically and aurally on weekends.  

Unfortunately many locals join in too and when asked why they moved here they say they love the bush!
Yep, they love it to death. They buy their chilren little noisy motorised toys and they then proceed to run up and down, parallel to the main road. This has made a track which has gone from a wheel width to now something averaging about two metres wide. Running for eight kilometres they have in the space of 5 years completly denuded the equivalent of almost 2 hectare or 8 acres!  It will take over twenty years of no use for the vegetation to return. 
Seems to me an exercise of monumental nihilistic egotism.
Much of this bogan activity has been promoted by biking magazines who in extolling the pristine virtues of the Wombat Forest are ensuring its destruction.

It's probably time to go somewhere else.