Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Quote for the Day

A message for my friend Tom C, who loves his cannoli, and, on another level, advice to the world at large . . .


An alternative version . . .





Melbourne's Building With a Face


In 2015 Melbourne’s Portrait Building, a 32 storey residential apartment block, was completed and unveiled.

Some comments and information:
  • The building is called the Portrait Building because, in a world first, it has used the shadows created by white balcony facades to create a portrait indigenous activist Willaim Barak.
  • The building:



(Move back from your screen to get a better viewing).
  • William Barak:

  • A quick bio on William Barak
William Barak (1824 – 1903), was the last traditional ngurungaeta (elder) of the Wurundjeri-willam clan, first inhabitants of present-day Melbourne.  
Barak was said to have been present as a boy when John Batman met with the tribal elders to 'purchase' the Melbourne area in 1835. Before he died he described witnessing the signing of the treaty ceremony.

He joined the Native Mounted Police in 1844, he was given the name of William Barak. A skilled tracker, he was often engaged to track missing children and fugitives from the law, even years after he'd ceased being a police tracker. Barak was part of the force used to track Ned Kelly and his gang, who he found hiding in thick scrub. He refused his white superiors orders to approach them first.

In early 1863, Barak with about thirty others, moved to Coranderrk Station, a self-sufficient Aboriginal farming community. In 1875 he became the Ngurungaeta of the clan. A spokesperson for his people, he was highly regarded by both the indigenous people and the European settlers.

Often named 'King of the Yarra', he was a prominent leader, spokesperson, artist and diplomat and cultural ambassador for Aboriginal Australia. A noted and dedicated land rights' activist, he led a march to the then Parliament House in the late 1800’s, a time when indigenous Australians were subject to harsh treatment and oppression by colonial policy.

Barak led the movement to secure land rights at Coranderrk, being quoted in a bio:

We heard little about our land going to be taken from us[…] They ought to leave us alone and not take the land from us it is not much. We are dying away by degree. There is plenty more land around the country without troubling about Coranderrk […]

We got plenty of our own cattle and we want the run for them and if the White People take it away from us there will be no place to put them […] and also when we go into any of the White People’s paddock to hunt or fish they soon clear us out of their private premises very quick and yet they are craving for Coranderrk.


The Coranderrk land was eventually taken by the government and, under pressure from the local RSL was broken into lots to be offered to returned servicemen after WWII, although none of the Aboriginal ex-servicemen of the district acquired any portion of the land.

He died at Coranderrk in 1903 aged 85.
  • Which brings us back to the building, which has a direct line of site to the Shrine of Remembrance, nearly three kilometres away. 
  • According to Daniel Grollo, chief executive of the project's builder, Grocon: ''The Shrine is about honouring a great set of Australians who made a sacrifice to Australia, and this is also honouring a great set of Australians who made a sacrifice for Australia.''
  • It has not gone unnoticed, and has been the subject of criticism, that 530 luxury apartments have been used to create a portrait of one of the most famous, indigenous 19th century land rights’ activists. It has also been said that this juxtaposition between affluent white land ownership and the image of William Barak forms a fitting tribute to William Barak and what he strived for, although the tribute is not in the way intended. It has also been suggested that his image staring down the Shrine of Remembrance is an additional homage to the unequal tribute to the fallen
  • (On a different note, nearly every film and TV item showing images of deceased indigenous persons is preceded by a warning, usually as follows: WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that the following program may contain images and voices of deceased persons. The protocols and Codes of Practice for film makers, journalists etc in this respect can be viewed at: https://apps.indigenous.gov.au/cultural_protocol.htm So how is it okay to create a 32 storey portrait of a deceased aboriginal leader?)
Gallery:





One final note:

Is it just me or does anyone else get reminded of the image on the Shroud of Turin when they see William Barak on the side of the Portrait building? . . . 



Monday, June 26, 2017

Quote for the Day



Phillip Adams (1939 - ) is an Australian humanist, social commentator, broadcaster, public intellectual and farmer. He hosts an ABC Radio National program, Late Night Live, four nights a week, and writes a weekly column for The Australian.



Readers Write and Monday Miscellany

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An email from Jay M in respect of the Sgt Pepper cover posts:
Hi Otto, 
Have you seen the Ted talk referring to the 'Sgt Pepper's' album cover by Jann Haworth? 
Mistakes, Omissions, and Iconoclasts: From Sgt Pepper to Work in Progress | Jann Haworth |
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mm5kNNxbnZ4
cheers, 
Jay
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An email from Shirley G, in response to the post “Looking At . . . Places", which included the Sagano Bamboo Forest on the outskirts of Kyoto city (link at: http://bytesdaily.blogspot.com.au/2017/06/looking-at-places.html):
Good morning Otto 
On Sunday your Bytes showed several photographs of the bamboo walk in Kyoto Japan. A couple of years ago I was in Kyoto and had the joy of walking through the bamboo forest. At one point along the pathway there was a musician playing the pan flute – what magic it added to the occasion. Just wonderful. 
Once again Otto thanks for your daily bytes. 
With regards 
Shirley
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From Tobye P in the U S of A, in response to the post Looking Back: People, which featured photographs of famous people from years gone by (link at: http://bytesdaily.blogspot.com.au/2017/06/looking-back-people.html):
OMIGOSH-these are fabulous! 
Thanks so much-I love this kind of stuff-Churchill is thin! Hitchcock is-unrecognizable! Ghandi dances! And Queen E in the same brooch decades later-theirs is such a sweet story. Wonderful shots from the past-I am grateful that you shared these. Thank you Otto.

Sincerely, Tobye 
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Thanks to all those who take the time to write, it lets me know that people are out there reading Bytes.
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Tokyo's birds: 

Remember the Hitchcock movie The Birds, where all these thousands of birds gather and attack people? Birds everywhere (how did he do it???). Well, that is actually happening in Tokyo. For decades now birds of various species including crows, cormorants and owls have been winging it into the city and nesting, damaging, attacking and, of course, pooing. The increasing numbers of cormorants has also been damaging to the fishing industry and to flora and fauna. The cause of the increased numbers has been attributed to urban development encroaching on forests and breeding areas, plus the attraction of fresh garbage for food in a city of nearly 14 million people.

Interestingly the Oz musical group Birds of Tokyo (remember their hit Lanterns?) took their name from an article one member had read about the absence of birds in Tokyo's high-density central business district due to pollution and overcrowding. According to band member Ian Kenny "We thought that was interesting, no birds in Tokyo — we thought, we'll be the birds of Tokyo.”

Japanese photographer Yoshinori Mizutani has highlighted the issue of bird numbers with a photographic series he has called HANON, a reference to a French piano instruction book. You will understand why when you see some of his photographs below:





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The Hardy Tree:

London’s St. Pancras Old Church, considered to be one of England’s oldest places of Christian worship, Hs an adjoining cemetery. That cemetery is the location of the Hardy Tree, an ash tree surrounded by hundreds gravestones, layered practically on top of one another.

Back in the mid 1860’s Britain’s expanding rail network needed part of the church’s land for a new rail line. In the way was the church’s graveyard, requiring the bodies to be exhumed and relocated. The unpleasant task was delegated to a lowly placed labourer who was destined find future fame as the author of Far from the Madding Crowd and Tess of the D’Urbervilles, one Thomas Hardy.

Thomas Hardy

Hardy completed the task but was left with a final puzzle: what to do with the hundreds of gravestones that were remained. Hardy elected to place them in a circular pattern around an ash tree in the churchyard in a spot that would not be disturbed by the railway. The Ash tree has matured, the gravestones have weathered but all remain The tree has grown over some of the gravestones, a somewhat apt metaphor for death and return to the earth.





Some other notes on St Pancras Old Church:
  • The architect John Soane designed a tomb for his wife and himself in the churchyard, that tomb being the inspiration for the design by Giles Gilbert Scott of the British iconic red telephone boxes.
John Soane's tomb




  • The poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and the future Mary Shelley, planned their 1814 elopement over meetings at the grave of her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, originally buried in the cemetery.
  • Charles Dickens mentions it by name in his 1859 novel A Tale of Two Cities, making it the location of body snatching to provide corpses for dissection at medical schools.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Quote for the Day


- From Gulliver's Travels


So how much more applicable is this? . . .




Sgt Pepper Cover People continued: 5. Karlheinz Stockhausen (composer); 6. W.C. Fields (comedian)

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Karlheinz Stockhausen

  • Karlheinz Stockhausen (1928 – 2007) was a German composer, widely acknowledged to be among the most important German composers of the 20th century and was one of the earliest to use electronic music in a classical context.


  • Frank Zappa, The Who, Pink Floyd. Jefferson Airplane and Bjork have acknowledged him as an influence.
  • The Beatles were also influenced in their musical experimentation at the time of Sgt Pepper (1967) by his use of electronic music, most notably displayed in "A Day in the Life" (1967) and "Revolution 9" (1968).
  • They could have used a better pic of him on Sgt Pepper, if you ask me. The hand with the shadow makes him look like The Joker . . . 

  • Stockhausen’s music was not without its critics, most notably within the ranks of his own peers of classical composers. When Sir Thomas Beecham was asked "Have you heard any Stockhausen?", he is alleged to have replied, "No, but I believe I have trodden in some" 


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W C Fields

  • William Claude Dukenfield (1880[1] – 1946), better known as W. C. Fields, was an American comedian, actor, juggler and writer. Fields' comic persona was a lover of alcohol who disliked dogs and children. It was often said that his real life personality and character were no different.
  • Some W C Fieldisms . . .
"I was in love with a beautiful blonde once, dear. She drove me to drink. That's the one thing I am indebted to her for." 
(From the film Never Give a Sucker an Even Break)

"Once, on a trek through Afghanistan, we lost our corkscrew...and were forced to live on food and water for several days!" 
(From the film My Little Chickadee)

“Women are like elephants, to me: I like to look at 'em, but I wouldn't want to own one.”

The oft-repeated anecdote that Fields refused to drink water "because fish fuck in it" is unsubstantiated.
  • Between 1936 and 1939, ill-health and on-set temperamental episodes meant that he made no films in that period. Radio work led to his becoming part of the Edgar Bergen radio show. Bergen performed as a ventriloquist with his dummy Charlie McCarthy, with Fields taking part with weekly insult-comedy routines.  Fields would make fun of Charlie about his being made of wood, Charlie made fun of Fields’ drinking:
Fields: "Tell me, Charles, is it true your father was a gate-leg table?"
McCarthy: "If it is, your father was under it!"

McCarthy: "Is it true, Mr. Fields, that when you stood on the corner of Hollywood and Vine, 43 cars waited for your nose to change to green?"

Bergen: "Why, Bill, I thought you didn't like children."
Fields: "Oh, not at all, Edgar, I love children. I can remember when, with my own little unsteady legs, I toddled from room to room..."
McCarthy: "When was that, last night?


  • Fields was hostile to religion, so much so that his Will left small amounts for family members and friends with the $800,000 remainder of his estate being left to establish “The W. C. Fields College for White Orphan Boys and Girls Where No Religion of Any Kind is Ever to be Taught.”
  • The ‘whites only’ clause was completely out of character for a man who treated blacks as equals and stood up for racial equality long before it was popular. Even after his change to his Will as above he paid off a $4000 mortgage on the house of his black cook. He also once ordered from his premises a man who used the word “nigger” within earshot of his staff.
  • There is evidence that Fields’ Will had originally provided that the orphans gift was to be for white and coloured orphans but that Fields changed it either when he heard that the Pullman Porters Union had formally voted to exclude whites, and/or when he was the subject of insolence (or perceived insolence) from a black servant he employed.
  • The Will was successfully challenged by his ex-wife, family and mistress with all of them sharing in the estate. As regards the orphan provision, Judge McKay threw it out, stating “Mr. Fields, in his lifetime, could have discriminated against other races but he cannot in death call upon the state to undertake the administration of his affairs and supervise a corporation which overrides the constitutionality of equality of rights common to all races.”
  • When close to death he was visited by a friend who found him sitting in the garden with a matini, reading the Bible. Quizzed by the friend, who knew of Field’s anti-religion beliefs, Fields answered that he was “looking for loopholes.”
  • The ultimate irony about Fields is that he died on a day that he had always declared that he despised. He died on Christmas Day in 1946.