Daily Archives: January 5, 2008

Their 1968 and mine

Fascinating series of articles in the Magazine of The Weekend Australian today.

In 1968, the counter-cultural revolution finally hit home. Richard Guilliatt asks a group of Australians on the frontline to recall how their world was changed.

As 1968 dawned in Australia, the Liberal Party was about to enter its third decade of political power and Johnny Farnham’s chirrupy ode to domestic help, Sadie the Cleaning Lady was topping the pop charts. By the end of the year, Martin Luther King and Senator Robert Kennedy were dead, riots had torn apart Paris and Chicago, Russia had invaded Czechoslovakia and the Tet Offensive had devastated the US war effort in Vietnam,

For Australians, who absorbed these tumultuous events via the grainy, black-and-white TV images and crackling radio news bulletins, it was a year of confusion and contradictions. The hippie utopianism of the Summer of Love had barely taken root here in 1968; LSD was hard to come by outside Sydney, and the first psychedelic “happenings” were only just being staged. Conscription was beginning to galvanise the anti-war movement, and the jailing of draft resister John Zarb sparked street marches through Melbourne, but the massive Vietnam moratorium marches were still years away.

In a way that was quite distinct from Britain or the US, 1968 was the year the Sixties finally hit Australia, as the counter-culture’s most idealised hopes and worst fears came crashing through at the same time. Here seven Australians remember what those days were like…

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My, how times have changed!

Take Diana Simmonds on the letters of Noel Coward:

Coward could also be a chump and was also a frightful snob, an indefatigable social climber and able to come up with such pensees as the infamous diary entry: “Gandhi has been assassinated. In my humble opinion, a bloody good thing but far too late.” To offer some sort of (admittedly convoluted) context: Coward’s close friend and sister-in-the-closet was Lord Louis “Dickie” Mountbatten, last viceroy of India, who was cuckolded by his wife, Edwina, with India’s first post-independence prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. And Nehru was Gandhi’s very stylish protege. Six degrees of separation, perhaps, but Coward was an acid queen who could make Tina Turner look more Julie Andrews than hydrochloric.

Although Andrews appears to have been one of those rare thespians with whom Coward did not share correspondence, it’s worth noting that, even peripherally, she did not escape the Coward lash. When the movie Star was announced, with Andrews to play Coward’s long-time muse Gertrude Lawrence, he wrote: “Julie … is about as much like Gertie as I am Edna Ferber’s twin, but what can one do? I liked her athletic, careening, whilom nun in The Sound of Music. She is a bright, talented actress and quite attractive since she dealt with her monstrous English overbite. It will be … more interesting, I hope, than dear Gertie’s actual life.”

Hard to imagine that getting aired even thirty years ago, but probably no-one turns a hair now.

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Posted by on January 5, 2008 in Gay and Lesbian, gay issues, media watch, nostalgia


The wise know they do not know…

# Ray Grigg, The New Lao Tzu (Tuttle 1995) makes the Tao vibrant. This is my favourite religious text.

So I wrote in 2005; it is still one of my favourites. I found some extensive quotes from it on Church of the Churchless, a blog with quite a few good things on it.

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Posted by on January 5, 2008 in faith, inspiration, interfaith


Great test match, but really bad smell on the field… Or was there?

As reported in The Australian:

INDIA spinner Harbhajan Singh faces being banned for the remainder of the Test series against Australia after being reported for racially abusing Andrew Symonds at the Sydney Cricket Ground yesterday.

In a sensational development that has completely overshadowed a brilliant century from Sachin Tendulkar on the third day of the second Test in Sydney, Harbhajan allegedly revived the terrible crowd abuse Symonds suffered during the recent one-day tour of India.

During the tour Symonds, the only black player in the Australian side, was abused with monkey chants.

Ricky Ponting made a complaint after Harbhajan confronted Symonds while batting yesterday.

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Posted by on January 5, 2008 in Australia, Cricket, Indigenous Australians, racism



The Music of Buddy Holly And The Crickets — SBS last night

There was a particularly jaundiced review in the Sydney Morning Herald:

This is a trite doco-by-numbers about the 1950s rock’n’roll star who died in a plane crash with the Big Bopper and Richie Valens in 1959. The archival footage is limited, restricting the doco mainly to a series of still photos and wrinkled talking heads who all seem to start with “I first met Buddy Holly back in 1953 …”…

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Posted by on January 5, 2008 in Australia, memory, TV, USA


Happy M


M is off to Antarctica tomorrow aboard the above.


I checked out the MS Marco Polo. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on January 5, 2008 in M, M's trip, travel