First Great Leadership Test

Putin Versus Abbott
Report from The First Great Leadership Test,  St Petersburg
by Quentin Cockburn, Sports Reporter

It has often been claimed that politicians are removed from the reality of contemporary life, they live in a bubble, are complacent and self interested. Not So! In this, the first of our gripping correspondents reports we give you the proceedings of the First Great Leadership Test. On the right, defending democracy and western values, our contender, the Rt Hon Tony Abbott. On the left, representing the forces of inscrutable orientalism, none other than the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin. We now cross live to Dimitri Katzenyammer and Grigori Walankoff at the ‘Peoples Make Fun  SportsPalast’ in St Petersburg.

Grigori: Good evening Dimitri. Good evening listeners from around the world.  We have much sense of anticipation for event, and today we see two equally matched contestants go head to head on field.  The crowd is hush, and there, I can see him, in the corner emerges the defender of the west, The Rt Hon Tony Abbott.

Dimitri: And what a fine figure he is, flanked on either side by a colourfully garbed retinue of aides.  What are they, Grigori’?.

Grigori: Could be military, police? (picks up binoculars) No they are carrying hoses, they are  firemen!

Dimitri:  Yes firemen, a brilliant tactical move, the siren is wailing now, the firemen are all prone, on the ground, what could this meaning?  (pauses) Wait, there is activity within the glow of the cabin, the door is opening. (sound of thunderous applause) It is Mr Abbott.  He emerges, and will uncoil the fire hose.  He is running now.  He stops.  He smiles for the cameras, nice shot that, and will now run through the hoop of real fire.  The crowd is standing to their feet.  But he is not finished, what could this mean Grigori’?

Abbott SmugglersGrigori: I am puzzled Dimitri, he mysterious leader.  He disrobing, in full view, this is audacious display of real leadership.  He is twisting, yes he is making physical jerks, and now, he emerges, in bathing costume, in speedo, my notes tell me, and is running across the peoples sportspalast to adjacent swimming pool.  He dives, he swims, count the laps, one, five, ten, fifteen, his stamina is endless.  He leap from pool.  He perform triple jump.  Incredible!  Mounts rostrum, stands to the Australian Anthem.  Holds flag it has letters I can just read, say ‘D L P’. What is DLP Dimitri’?  Superb performance!  Judge give him 5.5 , 7 and 5.5.  Worthy performance, but is it leadership performance?

Dimitri: We must wait for that Grigori.

Putin on HorseGrigori:   Yes Dimitri, for here, (the stand shakes with violent applause),  the hero of the East Vladimir himself, leaps from horse, wrestling with bear.  Taking jacket off, what fine leadership torso. Kills bear bare handed.  Leaps back on truck, picks up kalashnikov.  Shoots cat.  Silence.  Sprays machine pistol bullets onto target, making words, I cannot read.

Dimitri:   Grigori, I see with field glasses, words in bullet say, (breaks out into rapturous laughter, and wipes tears from eyes), Pussy Riot!  Crowd go wild, and then, what is this Grigori?  Hero leaps off truck onto oil rig, lassoos Greenpeace protester, turns to admiring crowd, another photo opportunity.  Well done!  Well done!  And now, what is this?  assembled journalists, walking past.  Putin huntingHero glaring at them.  Hero picks up umbrella, stabs journalist.  Journalist dead.  And what this?  Giving coffee to other journalist, hair fall out, ha! Ha! Grigori, Old Polonium trick!  Ha Ha, Hero have style, and jump to podium.

Great photo!  Great leadership!  Score, 6.5.7 and 8 he wins!

Thunderous applause.

Grigori: Mr Abbott will meet tomorrow for APEC shirt wearing event.  New shirt, handshake and Indian wrestle.  We barely wait!  Such even matched contestant, skill, leadership and physical presence.  Hmm… Dimitri, Bushfire must be very lucky to have him in Australia.

No Grog, No Porn, No Respect

16 No DignityA day or two later, after Annie’s outburst, Lekisha arrived at the school when I was trying to work and demanded I get my camera and come with her.  We drove up the highway where the new signs announcing the new blanket restrictions on Aboriginal Land were going up.  Michael had already told me they were absolutely huge.  They were costed at over ten thousand dollars each.  the waste of money was enough to make a person cry.  If I just did the sums in our area it was about two hundred thousand dollars and it was intended every prescribed community should have one.

When we hit the southern boundary of Red Bore I could understand why she was so mad.   The sign was police blue.  Clearly it had been created by a graphic designer going for the graffiti look.  The symbol was clear enough.  A bottle with a cross through it.  A ban on all pornography.Big Blue Sign

The sign was so large it took mew a while to frame the photograph.  Lekisha, mistaking my lack of skill for hesitation, was not impressed. ‘Take it,’ she demanded.  I snapped a few of the sign and a couple of her angry face.

‘Why do you want a picture of it?’ I asked, as I showed them to her on the little screen.  It was so offensive.  So rude and unnecessary.

‘Record,’ she said.  ‘Show the kids.  Keep it for Rosia and the little ones so they can see what was done.  Aboriginal history.’

I let my breath out slowly.  There was nothing I could say in comfort.

At Promised Land boundary we passed the holes they’d dug for our signs.  Any day now we’d be labelled drunk pornography loving deviants, along with everyone else living on aboriginal land.”
from ‘From Alice with Love’, Jo Dutton 2013, Allen and Unwin, Crows Nest, NSW. Australia. 

Intervention Sign


Beauty Profaned II

Beauty Profaned II
by Quentin Cockburn

beauty profaned 2.1Pat and Owen live at the old Golf Links Estate in Croydon, in Melbourne’s Eastern Suburbs.  It’s in the foothills of the Dandenong’s.  They moved there in the 1940’s to indulge their passion, the cultivation of plants and the establishment of a garden, their own, and with it their fascination for Rhododendrons.  When they moved there, they were amongst kindred spirits.  They all loved gardening, they were consumed by the endless possibilities, artistic, floristic and atavistic and it gave them profound pleasure.

There were no curbs and channelling, no footpaths.  The blue hills of the Dandenong Ranges were clearly visible over the adjacent golf course, and the residents chose as ‘enshrined principle’ to keep the established gum trees.  Within the mosaic of natives they inserted the deciduous and exotic, to temper the grey greens with a vivid contrast of seasonal colour.  In this they were enjoined by my father.

As boys their knowledge of plants and natural history had been encouraged by their school’s proximity to the Melbourne Botanical Gardens.   There under the tutelage of the then Director of the herbarium, the late J.H.Willis, they became captivated by the mystery to be found in living things.  (Credit must also be given to Edna Walling as progenitor, for inspiring this new adventure in the spirit of the Australian Landscape Movement.)

Patrick, a classicist, called his garden Trebizond, after the Byzantine Black Sea port city, the juncture in ancient history between the East and the West.  Trebizond, the garden, blended Hornbeam, with Beech, Aleppo Pine with Stone Pine, and between it all in a profusion of cascading garden beds, and greenery he built an Amphitheater.  To one side a concrete cast, the Discopolous, rescued from the wrecker, stood a poignant reminder of deep cultural linkages.

Patrick’s brother, Owen, (the geologist) concentrated on developing plants within the fossil record, Gingkoes, the Metasequoia, the Davidea, Aurucarias, and within it an array of Liquidamba, Rhododendrons, and Camellias.  Their design was intuitive, no crunchy gravel and anesthetized hedges, it grew as one in a profusion of umbrageous ecstasy, a wonder to behold, and for children a delight to explore and get lost in.

beauty profaned 2.2Recently, the Golf Course itself was sold off for a housing subdivision.  All that gardenesque stuff would be ‘corrected’ via the certainty of ‘cutting edge’ design.  From Council there were promises made and planning amendments discussed to ensure that the New Links development, an aggregation of housing in very small lots, would not impact upon Walling’s’ more gardenesque neighbourhood.  The integrity of her vision would remain.

Then Owen died, his house, like Mawson’s Hut, established itself as a relic frozen in time.  It was purchased by a good samaritan, who promised to retain the garden (which Owen had called Rissingholm).  So with Trebizond, (they shared multiple blocks) the unity and spirit of the garden would prevail.

Then on a Sunday morning, the neighbours were awoken to the sound of a bulldozer, chainsaws, and men.  Organising a swift vigil the neighbours were told to ‘get off private property’!  Patrick watched powerless as his brothers lifework was reduced to a clayey hardstand.  That afternoon a chain mesh fence was erected, the site quarantined, the space, of garden, house and steps an empty profaned 2.3

The Council may look into it, Patrick told me though tears.  He handed me a note, which in typical Council speak declared, ‘pursuant to vehicle safety etc.etc . . .  the dangerous verges on the road must be cleared for public safety to accommodate increased vehicle usage as a consequence of the expanded Golf Links Estate.

Patrick looked up, “You see,” he said, indicating the row of Stone Pines above the amphitheater, “All this is to go, no one can stop it.”  At the bottom of the letter, the typeface proclaimed, ‘Chief Executive Officer’.  A promise had been broken, faith betrayed, and a legacy bequeathed by a leader amongst us trampled.

Poetry Sunday 27 October 2013

Big ‘N’ Riddle
by Mr Lionel Fogarty

The end
when will it mend
the sended
when will it spend
our lending, will we end it
poor poor door never open
will we never end
cause I’m getting to the end
Lionel sitting in a hen
Looking extra saiding
so word got wooded
close to the end
meet a end
and there won’t be an end
Make it here and the end in near
hear a ear that seen a eye
then your end is read
toes and rows will not short a load
by the low no’s.
Wish they grass real
and not meals
cause dumps are your people someing
to get her near the ending
the end, the end is never
the end . .  .

If this poem is difficult for you, a white person, then read some background here.

MDFF 26 October 2013

Lionel FogartyThis Musical Dispatch is from
Mr Lionel Fogarty, Poet.  This is the introduction to his 1995 work ‘New and Selected Poems, Munaldjali, Mutuerjaraera’ published by Hyland House, Melbourne.

I want to give everybody my understanding so that they can understand what the reality is in my community; the dreaming and the need for a revival of my language and connection to the land.

When people read my poetry I want them to feel the spirit that is in me and in the people of my community.

You have to understand all the poetry I write in order to get the message.  It’s a performance in literary oral tradition, of even using their English against the English.  The way they write and talk is ungrammatical, because it doesn’t have any meanings in their spirit.  More so, the cultural symbols that belong to my people are more significant to my people than the A, B, and C.  What i want to achieve in my writing one day is to put Aboriginal designs of art inside the lettering to bring a broader understanding to the meanings of the text.

This will break down the sophistication of black intellectual authors.  My writing is to give a direction to Aboriginal people coming up in the future, to stay away from European colonialist ways of writing, and the disease of stupidity in their language.  I want to use a method encouraging readers to accept that the solidarity Aborigines write to give spiritual and political understanding of the conventional social structure of their community.

I must say I think it is going to be difficult to divide the layout of my brain to you, but I have done it quite successfully in giving verses of text in foreign tongue.  I believe in the pride and heritage of an indigenous, ancestral past and future where the technicalities of written words can be broken down.  I see words beyond any acceptable meaning, this is how I express my dreaming.

To Aboriginal people in my country, listening and hearing is more important than reading materials.  The whole magical way of song and dance is difficult to write down very well, because poetry is emotion.  Only and black writer can produce the authenticity in it.  I don’t believe that white writers can catch the intelligence or the meanness of the black guerrilla fighters (Jantamarra, Mulbaggarra, Dundalee and Pemulway, for example).  Only we can bring out on paper what our fighters back then fought to produce, the raising of people’s consciousness about what really happened back then.

In my writing I don’t believe in compromise at all.  I don’t want to be a reconciliation writer or a reformist writer.  I like to hit psychological minds and cross boundaries.  It doesn’t matter if it is in correct grammar or their style of writing, because the white man will always criticise written pieces of paper.

White man will never fully interpret what a black man is thinking when he is writing.  Maybe in the generations to come this may change.

There are many contradictions in European written material, but don’t get confused with my negating the reality of literary white Australia.  I know how white Australians write and I know how they talk.  They’ll never come near the fourth world. White man will never know – and the only way they will know is through Aboriginal tongues that dominate in our lingo.  Aboriginal writers are the best writers to edit themselves and encapsulate the spirit of anger, to transform a good spirit.

The book is dedicated in part to Bart Willoughby (the most original indigenous muso)

So here is Bart Willoughby playing “We have survived”

And tomorrow another of Lionel Fogarty’s poems.
And next week in MDFF we have “Guerrilla Poetry: Lionel Fogarty’s response to Language Genocide”

Beauty Profaned 1

Beauty Profaned 1
by Quentin Cockburn

In the Victorian country town of Castlemaine (pop 7,500) there is a little path that winds up the hill from Urquhart Street to the ridge-line on which the Burke and Wills Memorial stands.  It offers panoramic views of the town below.  The little path makes its ascent between crumbling rock, weeds, the overgrown terraces of stone, where once was garden.  Now it’s a residue of ancient gnarled fruit trees, wild roses and, in summer the humming of insects and butterflies.  Castlemaine is like this.  It’s all about the inconsequential things.  The leftovers, the cracks and the stonework remind you that other people have lived, and each in their own way have left a message in stone, in crumbling walls and long rusted sheets of corrugated iron or in fruit and ornamental trees.

Castlemaine is more than a town; it is a living entity, in which by general acceptance everyone understands a sort of unified principle of being.  And in built form it’s a sort of shared intuition without the didactic eye of the Heritage Architect.  From the Burke and Wills Memorial you see the town stretched below.  It’s a Victorian town, there are no large buildings, just a mosaic of individual shapes, almost Cubist.  And between the filigree of trees, and roadways, the railway line embraces all in a curve of stone and steel; worn stone, and burnished steel.

In Castlemaine this acceptance of time and of memory of the intrinsic are universally understood.  The new buildings are small-ish, compartmentalised and follow the landform.  There’s a sympathetic association between the hills and the structures built upon them.  It’s akin to the delightful pastiche of colour and texture captured in time bequeathed to us by Sali Herman of the Rocks, and the lost traces of Sydney.  Its the pattern of sun faded pickets bequeathed to us by Percy Lindsay that captures the song of Creswick as an archetypal goldfields town.  Topography does that, and in the Australian sense it captures something of the soul of a place, a gold mining town in which the improvised, the accidental and the humanistic are deeply tied to personal stories and local materials.

darth vader 1 Half way up the hillside, a little house stood perched on the edge of rock.  We always admired it as, like others, it had very small windows and was a composite of brick, granite and timber.  It wore its age proudly.  These days it would be inconceivable to have a house on a hill with little windows.  One side of the house would be all window.  But that’s why we liked it, because it sat just like that and all around it the gnarled fruit trees and stone wall, cascading across the rubble and weed, spoke of the love that generations had devoted to the task of gardening, harvesting, and sharing within a community.  On our walks we’d always smile at the family who lived there, the front door, porch and garden consumed by bicycles, bits of wheel, evidence of many children and clothing.  They were our kind of people.  They knew how to live

One day the little house was demolished.  The next day a security fence was erected across the entire site.  The next day an excavator arrived and began gouging.  After several months, the slope had been rendered flat.  Over the next few months a building arose.  It consumed the entire block.  It was a box.  darth vader 2An agressive angular box.  It was the clad, some part of it in black, others in brilliant white.  We nick named it Darth Vader.  We felt sorry for the people adjacent who had restored their little victorian cottage.  Darth Vader was uncompromising.  He had to have his way.  Local talk had it that two architects had bought the old house site.  They were designing a ‘Signature Building’.  The building would proclaim their integrity as new architects in an old town.  The building, the agressive slab, is really large.  You could probably see it from the moon.  We wondered, all that space for two people?  They wore black, drove matching black cars, and had inserted a double garage on one side, so that the blackness could be immersed in uber blackness.  We never see the architects, they’re important designers and that’s part of their integrity I suppose.  The house just sits there and at night between the steel and timber slits a inner glow may be detected.  Star trek’s sinister apotheosis, “It’s life Jim, but not as we know it”


Man as Machine XI

Man as Machine XI

man as machine frame 1The idea of democracy had been around for a long time but thinkers had virtually despaired of making it work.  Government by every single person in the country?  How on earth can that work?  There seemed no sensible answer to this until Thomas Paine came along.  Paine, an Englishman in America, produced a hugely popular periodical entitled ‘The Crisis’ in which he outlined his ideas on how democracy might operate.  Simply put, Paine suggested that all people are born equal, with natural rights, derived from God.  The first business of government should be the conversion of these ‘natural’ rights into civil rights so that every law, every statute, every principle might only be drawn up having first ensured the law did not impinge, in any way, on our ‘natural’, and now ‘civil’ rights.  This was glorious, heady stuff and the New World rebels took to Paine’s ideas like ducks to water.

Paine solved the seemingly chaotic problem of ‘government by everybody’ by suggesting that people of like mind in the new democracy would simply choose one of their number to represent their viewpoint in the Parliament.This would truly be government by ‘all of the people’, but through representation.  Writ large across the whole country the major points of view, needs, worries etc. would all have a representative voice in Parliament.  This was blissful stuff.  Paine’s ideas were taken up virtually wholesale so that he eventually became so well regarded that in time he was offered the post of Foreign Affairs in the new Congress.

man as machine frame 2In 1787 Thomas Paine arrived back in England.  Paine had lost his post as American Foreign Secretary through hot-headedness and the almost inevitable ‘indiscretions’.  Nevertheless his reputation had preceded him and he was welcomed with open arms by both England and France.  For years, as we know, through Wilkes and others, there had been huge agitation in England for the reform of Parliament.  Paine’s presence seemed just the ticket to advance the cause.  Barely two years after Paine’s arrival, the King of France, Louis XVI was made to sign the French ‘Declaration of the Rights of Man’.  Unfortunately this was not enough to stop the storming of the Bastille, Madame la Guillotine and the Terror.

The over enthusiastic use of the guillotine horrified the statesman Edmund Burke who wrote ‘Reflections on the Revolution in France’ (1790) a no holds barred attack on what he considered to be French savagery.  In the same year Paine produced a defence of the French action, a pamphlet entitled ‘Rights of Man’ in which he famously said of Burke that ‘he pitied the plumage, and not the dying bird’.

Part of Paine’s ‘Rights of Man’ proposals included the abolition of sinecures (jobs for the boys), to levy duties on estates, to abolish the Poor Law, to bring in pensions, maternity allowances, educational systems, allowances for children, in fact most of the services and facilities we nowadays take for granted.

The French loved Paine and elected him to their version of Congress (The Convention).  Societies were set up all over England to propagate his ideas.  Paine produced his ‘Rights of Man’ in book form and sold at least 200,000 copies.

The English aristocracy, initially enthusiastic, began to waver, especially as they saw their Gallic counterparts having their heads chopped off.  Deciding their own heads were safe, providing they were deep enough in the sand, they issued a special proclamation against seditious publications.  A prosecution was immediately begun against Paine, and an order for his arrest was issued.  Paine didn’t take the order seriously, but William Blake the poet did.  Virtually seizing Paine by the scruff of the neck he frog marched him down to Dover and forced him onto a ship.  Paine escaped arrest for sedition by a whisker.  Sedition could easily carry the death penalty, especially in time of war and Britain had been at war with France since 1793.  Obviously Blake considered Paine’s life too precious to lose.
man as machine 3


Man as Machine X

man as machine bannerMan as Machine X

The King’s power was nevertheless undermined considerably by news of big military defeats in America.  Important aristos, people who could see the way the wind was blowing, began to desert the King.  In 1780 the House of Commons resolved that the powers of the King should be reduced.  He was getting altogether too big for his boots.  And then, almost fortuitously, the Wilkes movement was torn asunder by the Gordon Riots.

Simply put, Lord George Gordon, a not very bright and rabid Protestant, presented a petition in the House Of Commons against a recent Catholic Relief Act.  He brought with him a stirred up and angry mob, who had, without consultation, adopted the Wilkes colours.  The mob set about the Honourable Members.  The Members fled and the mob, eventually persuaded to leave, proceeded to vandalise every Catholic church they came across.  This all happened on Friday, 2nd June, 1780.  On Sunday, the entire (Catholic) district of Moorfields was burned to the ground.  It got worse on Monday and spread to Wapping and Smithfield.  A huge part of London’s East End was burning, and the burning had become much less selective.  By Tuesday, Newgate, and most other prisons, were on fire.  The authorities were terrified and had no idea what to do.  Wilkes, sick of the inaction, demanded of the quaking Lord Mayor (a White Hart Association man) that he summon the troops.  Volunteer groups were formed and the rioters confronted.  Called on to stop, they ignored the request and were fired on.  Before the riots were quelled, the dead and wounded littered the streets.  Wilkes himself took prisoners of people he had formerly regarded as allies, people he recognised.  The riots were finally brought under control and peace restored by the 14th of June.  After this, considering the deaths and the appalling, widespread destruction, nobody wanted to be associated with the rioters’ colours, particularly as some of Wilkes’ more aristocratic associates were being charged with complicity.  Both hoi polloi and influential sides of Wilkes’ movement simply faded away.

I have introduced Wilkes’ story here to demonstrate how the common people, in the 18th century had absolutely no say whatever in how a country might be governed.  They were regarded less as people and more as implements, tools to get the job done.  You will, of course have noted how few people voted in the Middlesex elections.  To qualify as a voter you had to be a landowner.  There were at most 3,000 voters in the whole county, but thousands of non-voters, people upon whom the 3,000 voters were absolutely dependent, for simply everything.  Despite this they were driven from their homes like animals, their land stolen from beneath their feet.  When they rioted in protest, they were shot, imprisoned or transported.  This shameful, high-handed disregard for a people who were essentially the backbone of the country would not be tolerated forever.


Man as Machine IX

Man as Machine IX

Whilst Wilkes was in jail, the plot thickened.  Political meetings were held (in Wilkes’ cell!) out of which Wilkes became an alderman of the City of London.  He also published a true account of the Massacre of St. George’s Fields.  This so incensed the King that he compelled the government and the House of Commons to expel Wilkes from the House.

A new election in Middlesex was held.  Crazily, Wilkes was the only candidate, and was elected unopposed.

The House of Commons expelled Wilkes again, and ordered yet another election.  They actually had the sense this time to put up their own candidate.  Wilkes trounced him.

They expelled him again.  The City could not believe it’s ears and was in almost constant uproar.  Grave injustices were being done, and were seen to be done.

Well this was all too much, even for the King’s men.  What little democracy there was was being trampled on, and if Old George could get away with it this time, who knew where it might lead?  Dangerous precedents and all that…

A Society of Supporters of the Bill of Rights was formed and large amounts of influential money rolled in.  In the mean time, and in support of their hero, shopkeepers, tradesmen of every hue, coalheavers, sailors etc went on strike under the banner ‘Wilkes and Liberty’ which brought the City to a halt.

Instead of bowing to the inevitable and reinstating Wilkes, the Commons arranged yet another, fourth election, and put up yet another candidate.  Again Wilkes won hands down, gaining about four times more votes than his opponent.

Well, this was positively the last straw as far as the House of Commons was concerned.  They not only expelled poor old Wilkes for the fourth time, they gave it as their belief that the defeated candidate ‘should have won’, and ignoring reality, formally installed the losing candidate as MP for Middlesex!!

Vast public meetings were called, as news of these injustices spread, at first mainly around London, then the Home Counties, and then finally to all of England.  Petitions of 50 to 60 thousand signatures were gathered, mainly calling for the Middlesex decision to be reversed.  Other demands were added as time went by, particularly that Parliament should reflect more fairly the wishes of the people.

In 1770 Wilkes was released from prison and moved quickly in the City of London to have people loyal to the King removed from positions of power and a ‘Wilkite’ put in their place.

The House of Commons had been in the habit of prosecuting printers if they reported parliamentary proceedings and debates.  Wilkes was able to put a stop to these prosecutions and by so doing laid the groundwork for the precious freedom of the press that exists today.

Wilkes made London prisons more humane, cleaned up markets, stopped press gangs, stopped outside unauthorised merchants ‘poaching’ work from accredited guilds and very importantly, increased the size of the standard loaf of bread; the ‘penny’ loaf.

Still, despite his power, Wilkes was no match for the King, and when he introduced his Reform Bill, it was ridiculed.  This was about as powerful as Wilkes ever got because besides everything else, the War in America had started (1775) and loyalty to King and Country in wartime was paramount.  Wilkes, though very bright, was considered to be not only overly frivolous, but also inclined to arrogance.  His most able people became slowly alienated from him, and the White Hart Association was formed in London by big contractors on the King’s side, to deny employment to anyone expressing ‘democratic’ views.


Weekly Wrap 21 October 2013

No quote from Errol this week, he has been far too busy keeping up his image.

THIS PAST WEEK in Passive Complicity

santa's little helper 1Santa’s Little Helper made his debut on Passive Complicity.  We trust you learn from his example.


And yes it was a week of introductions for we, at great cost, were able to bring you the first of many writings of the renown social commentator and spy Ms Elizabeth Peter.  elizabeth peter portraitShe presented us with a wonderful description of the doings of her feline family, Mick, Mick, and Seamus and Passionate Mick.  We hope that the sale of film rights will defray some of the cost of bringing these important stories to you.

man as machine bannerFriday saw the return of Tarquin O’Flaherty with the next instalment in the saga of Man as Machine.  He began by suggesting:
“Should you be seized with the desire to abandon urban hedonism in favour of the bucolic form, I would  commend to you William Cobbett’s ‘Cottage Economy’.

Saturday’s MDFF brought the second half of
“…and there’ll be NO dancing” .
Our dispatchee writes –
“Peter Garrett’s unique dancing style both intrigued and amused us.  When musician Peter Garrett became a politician, he no longer danced. He couldn’t because his bed was burning.”

Poetry Sunday saw Wilfred Owen’s Dulce Et Decorum Est
This extraordinary poem of Chemical Weapon (poison gas) attack in the First World War has relevance in what is going on today in the Middle East.  (See the posts here and here for more on the use of chemical weapons)

And, dear reader, please feel free to add comments about this and any of our postings.

Cecil Poole