Monday, April 24, 2017

What a load of rubbish, Yarra Council

A verbal altercation broke out this morning on the steps of the Richmond Town Hall between local residents and Yarra Council staff members. Staff were upset that a large poster was affixed to the outside wall and local residents were upset that Council intends to impose a Bin Tax to raise funds to cover a longstanding debt. I listened and took a couple of photographs. I also made the suggestion that perhaps rate payers could dump their rubbish in street bins or come up with some other creative solution to the problem. Local residents appeared particularly incensed that Council, whilst saying it was involved in community consultation, revealed that the manner in which this would be undertaken was via submissions made by individuals on line. Too bad if you don't have an internet connection. Apparently they had also advised residents in an article in the Yarra News, but if you didn't receive that particular edition in your letter box then you would not be aware of the impending tax or avenues for protesting about it. So, I'm wondering what Yarra Council is going to do if people choose not to have a rubbish bin and just dump their rubbish on the side of the street? Anyway, the poster was removed from the wall and placed on the steps of the Town Hall.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017


I've had influenza for the past four weeks and I can tell you I've been the sickest I've been for about fifteen years. The persistent high temperature (38.8) and body pain was just terrible. Plodding on was not the way to go and yet that is what I did. I think sometimes I'm my own worst enemy. During this sickness and just prior to me having the 2017 influenza vaccine (which made me feel absolutely dreadful for two days) my doctor detected a heart murmur, so off I went for an Echocardiogram and then waited anxiously throughout Easter wondering what all of this meant. I found out yesterday that the murmur is benign, meaning that it was not caused by the flu virus and it is not exerting any influence on my heart. It's also considered trivial, which was such a relief. I still don't feel one hundred percent, but imagine this will be my state of being since the cold weather is beginning to set in and I never really feel well in Winter. My birthday is on Saturday and I'm grateful that my high temperature, which I had four days in a row is finally back to normal. I have a few hours tutoring before the end of the week, but for the moment I'm going back outside to enjoy the sunshine.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Stargazing - The Moon

I'm currently watching Stargazing Live on ABC television and remembered that at around 7pm tonight I took a photograph of the moon. I've taken dozens over the years with my Panasonic Lumix (hand held I might add), but I guess this one is special because many people will be watching the night sky tonight.
Lunar magic. Photo: Julie Clarke (c) 2017

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Mobile phones Ugh!

I can't remember where I took this. Any ideas?
I had a conversation with a man sitting next to me in a tram last week. We were discussing the fact that a number of people were talking on their mobile phones. Their voices became louder and louder as they attempted to speak over one another. The woman behind and to the side of me in a standing position, was discussing the ill health of her friend. I didn't want to listen, I didn't want to know all the details of his stay in hospital, the conversation was being imposed upon me as it was on others sharing the tram. I heard the words 'pancreatic cancer' and I turned my head away from her voice and concentrated on the conversation I was having with the man. We agreed that it would most certainly be very loud and chaotic if everyone on the tram was talking on their phones. We lamented a time in which people behaved well in public; keeping their voices low and trying to maintain a sense of intimacy with each other in their vocal exchanges rather than broadcasting private information in a public sphere. I don't believe for a moment that my attitude has anything to do with my age, I do however think that it is a moral issue and one that should be addressed before it gets totally out of hand. Some shops have signs saying 'no mobile phone calls permitted and there are protocols in place in public libraries. I would like to suggest that Yarra Trams and other vehicles in the public transport system should be out of bounds for mobile phone calls. Is it really too much to ask that people only answer their phone or make calls if it is all together necessary and they make personal calls when they are at home. I'm not a Luddite. I do believe that some aspects of technology have been beneficial for our society, but I also think that the overuse of mobile phones is encouraging selfish behavior. I'm also thoroughly sick (& I'm sure I'm not the only one) of having to step out of the way from someone who is looking at their phone rather than looking where they are going. Is the world really going to end if they don't make that text message NOW and will their entire existence shatter if they don't tick 'like' for everything in their Facebook feed? OK enough. Talking about Facebook maybe I should begin a campaign to introduce rules around mobile phones in public. Oh, this is an afterthought. The man I was talking to on the tram asked why I felt the need to write a diary. I don't see blogging as making a diary or a journal entry. I believe that my blog is too diverse to fit into these categories. You may or may not agree?

Friday, March 24, 2017

Brief message because I'm sick

I'll keep this brief. 
I've seen the Bill Henson photographs twice, they're amazing. I particularly loved his landscapes. The sky in one of them looked on fire.
Walking across Princes Bridge yesterday I noticed Red Symonds, I think I pointed to him mischievously in order to indicate I'd recognized him. He smiled and waved.
I've been rather sick the past few days. Ran a temperature of 39C degrees for 48 hours and no amount of paracetamol made it reduce. I couldn't sleep because of body pain and have been trying to help my students, when I'm essentially running on empty.
I wrote this poem a few months ago - cheerful little number it is, but it seems to sum things up because I still feel rather ill.

All of life
we avoid this
unfathomable hole
only to be
eventually swallowed by it. 
The long boredom
stretching ad infinitum
no longer affected or
determined by our own will
remains a voracious
gaping mouth
without boundaries.

Saturday, March 18, 2017


I haven't written anything for a while, but I promise to get back to it as soon as I am able. I struggled through that really hot week, but have been enjoying the golden sunsets and mauve sunrise skies.I had an amazingly hyper real colorful dream last night of fireworks, spirals, swirling letters, numbers and shapes. I felt like I was half awake and whilst all of this was occurring I did wonder whether I was experiencing a migraine aura in my sleep. I guess I'll never know. Sorry, I hope to have something a little more interesting in my next post.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Crazy, crazy week

It's been a bit of a crazy week. I began casual/on-call tutoring at Melbourne University and had to reorient myself to walking through the frenzied city crowds and catching trams full of students. Luckily, many kind people offered me their seats. I'm reading a wonderful book called Josef Stalin: Man of Steel by David W. Cole, Rich and Cowen Ltd., London (1942). Nothing at all to do with my tutoring, I'm just interested in the history of such people. The book is a first edition, but I'm underlining important passages in it anyway. What can I say? I'm looking forward to Autumn and cooler weather. I don't do well on hot days. Oh, 91 people have viewed the Naomi Bishop post, which is encouraging.

Sunday, February 26, 2017


Aristophanes at Studio 28, VCA: Photo: Julie Clarke (c) 2017
Still from a video by Dadang Christanto. Photo: Julie Clarke (c) 2017

It was interesting to hear Aristophanes in conversation on Wednesday afternoon at Studio 28, the Victorian College of the Arts, part of the AsiaTopa Festival.

Aristophanes, a Taipei-based hip-hop artist, who fuses poetry, electronica and jazz, spoke of her attempts to negotiate the male dominated area in which she has chosen to perform her craft. Amidst a myriad of diverse voices (Chinese as well as Western Rap artists) she continually strives to discover her identity closely linked with her own culture.
It was not surprising that she had struggled with sexual harassment and other difficulties associated with being female as well as being a performance artist. She spoke of an ideal, that of being able to see more females working in the industry. When asked whether singing in Mandarin might alienate English speaking listeners, especially her feminism and political stance evidenced in her lyrics, she explained that music transcends language.

Prior to this event I saw videos and amazing still photographs that documented the work of performance artists in Southeast Asia. Political Acts is at the Arts Center until 21 May and the most compelling image for me was from Dadang Christanto's Tooth Brushing (2017). With his coughing up or spewing forth of crimson matter from his mouth he references the bloody anti-Communist purges in Indonesia during 1965-1966. I was reminded in part by performances by the Australian artist Mike Parr, particularly his 'The Emetics' 1977 and 'Cathartic Action' 1977.