1. My boss has eyebrows nicknamed ‘the slugs’. Though naturally we don’t use that nickname to her face – or eyebrows. Speaking of naturally, she has naturally pale blonde eyebrows which is presumably why she draws them on her forehead with thick dark grey or brown pencil. It is not a good look. Sometimes it is virtually impossible not to stare at them in meetings. Especially when they are ever so slightly wonky.
2. Why is it that when I am walking along a footpath, approaching an obstacle – a lamppost, say, or a wheelie bin – and there is someone coming towards me from the other direction, we ALWAYS meet just where the obstacle makes it impossible for us to cross without jiggery-pokery?
3. If you had a hacking cough which you were unable to contain, would you trot along to a classical music concert? No, moi non plus. Vaughan-Williams’ The Lark Ascending and Flos Campi on Friday night were enlivened by a medley of dry, hacking, chesty coughs which made me desperate to deliver resounding slaps to their thoughtless progenitors.
Still, the music was glorious, even if the setting was a little incongruous – the terribly English Britten, V-W and Elgar at the Sydney Opera House rather than the Royal Albert Hall. 🙂
4. The Festival of Dangerous Ideas? Ah well, I slept for 14 hours on Saturday so I missed Christopher Hitchens entirely. Can’t say I wholly regret it, either. I needed that kip.
Germaine Greer’s Sunday morning lecture ‘Freedom: The Most Dangerous Idea of All’, on the other hand, I would not have missed for all the kip in Rudyard. She was marvellous: clearly argued, witheringly funny, unpretentious and genuinely thought-provoking. Excellent.
5. Last night I saw a new Aussie film, ‘Van Diemen’s Land’, which I thoroughly enjoyed although it should be, and is, shocking.
The film tells the tale – a true story – of a gang of 8 convicts in the early 1820’s British penal colony of Tasmania, or Van Diemen’s Land as it was then, who escape their guard while on a timber-felling work detail and then find themselves forced to struggle through the untamed and unfamiliar forests and mountains of the interior in search of an unguarded stretch of coast and freedom.
They run out of food within a few of days and are then faced with the starkest of choices: kill and eat a ‘mate’ or starve to death.
Its a fascinating story, not least because once that choice is made, the rest is inevitable – especially when, even though the first man may have been killed because they were starving, the other murders were carried out when they were still laden with bags of human meat.
It became a classic kill-or-be-killed struggle, with cannibalism the gruesomely pragmatic cause and/or effect. Who could trust whom to carry the axe after all? And how does one sleep when numbers have dwindled down to just two?