Terry and his Lists
Since retirement my brain has become somewhat befudged – befudged being a good way to describe it. Befuddled seems a tad extreme although, after I’ve said something completely obvious, stupid, random or provided a poor segue, the way Leigh looks at me I may have to revise the descriptive term for the harsher one.
So, along with my befudgement, lists have become essential to me. Top 10 lists have always been a part of my life – I love compiling them and comparing with others. I list books read, tele shows and movies watched; as well as what I send in the mail to my dear friends – otherwise I’d drive them mad with repetition. Probably do in any case. But a comprehensive shopping list, as with Terry Durack (see his column following), is new – a result of these times we’re living in.
Gone is my daily romp into Claremont Village to pick up The Age and as a sideline, whatever I may need for that evening’s meal if it’s my turn to play chef. Now it’s a more complicated process of both Leigh and I compiling our own grocery requirements for our once only weekly excursion to the supermarket. I consult recipe books to assist. Leigh is more free range. Before we head off Leigh does a check to ensure we haven’t doubled up and Bob’s your uncle. We’ve taken to doing the necessary at Woolies in the Village early on a Monday morn. That place has so impressed with their commitment to social distancing, hygiene and big heartfelt smiles that it becomes a wholly pleasant experience.
There’s something, I don’t know, reassuring about a long grocery list. It’s quietly comforting to have it clutched in your hand as you perambulate the various aisles, after which checking it off to make sure all items are in the trolley. Them there’s the checkout – a longer process these days with disinfectant, followed by the only part that got me flustered, the self packing – now a thing of the past as we emerge out the other side of what for us wasn’t a pan- but more, in comparison to the chaos caused overseas, a mini-demic. It could have been so much worse without all our precautions. But more time allows for more communication with the guys and gals doing the scanning and that is another small joy in days that do have a habit of becoming very routine.
I’m wondering, as it becomes more certain that we have indeed got the plurry thing beaten, if Leigh and I will revert to our more ad hoc ways. We’re certainly spending far less time in supermarkets, but, dear me, how we have come to appreciate them so much more.
Now and again ‘Australian Story’ (ABCiView) produces a tale that both amazes and touches the heart. This one is how a largely previously unheralded group of mostly bearded Mullumbimby gentlemen have warmed the frosticles off the denizens of the Land of Putin – a country that, despite what its leader and cronies may proclaim, is doing it hard with the CV. The episode examines how this winning of Russian hearts came about. The choir they formed, specialising in traditional tunes of the motherland, were, as a result, invited to the biggest May Day parade in the world. Coronavirus spoilt that, but they still got to perform digitally for that country’s major television network. And the locals lapped it up, along with their tanks and missiles. Amazing and well worth a gander. Go Dustyesky.
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – Music for these Times
‘Reunions’ is lovely, lovely stuff from the reformed Alabama crooner. He’s turned his life around and is now producing the best music of his career.
Paula and Billy
If you’re a fan of the financial machinations of ‘Billions’ (Stan) then I have a great treat for you. It can be found on SBSonDemand, can that star attraction’s German equivalent, ‘Bad Banks’. There’s the same heartless, scheming, suited money-grabbing grubs to be found, dealing daily in squillions and the ruination of the lives of others. This time, though, it’s two women to the fore, including the youthful Jana, played with intensity by Paula Beer. It’s difficult to discern if this career driven young lady does indeed have the pumping organ in her body as she uses all her feminine wiles, tears and street smarts to get the deals done, no matter the cost. And she’s not above betrayal either. Ms Beer is certainly entrancing and I’m hooked, ripe for the second season.
But sadly I’ll have to unhook myself from Billy Campbell. In Season 4 of the Canadian production, ‘Cardinal’, he appears even more grizzled and woebegone than before as he steels himself to come to terms with some particularly gruesome murders in the snow in this North American take on scandi-noir. All seasons have been addictive and bingeworthy. There has been his younger female sidekick as a possible love interest throughout, but will they get it together before this last season’s episodes run out? I won’t let the cat out of the bag, but in the final stanza there is room for hope that his world could become a little less dour. ‘Cardinal’ is highly recommended by this fan on the same platform as above.
A Tome to Re-emerge With
Dervla McTiernan’s ‘The Good Turn’ is a rip-snorter of a whodunnit. Her third novel is set in Ireland and I’ll be chasing up the Australian author’s other two. Read my review of it in the Blue Room.
David and the Angel
Daughter – ‘Mummy, what’s that smell.’
Mother – ‘It’s nature, darling.’
Daughter – ‘It’s like all the birds are wearing perfume.’
The smells of our forests, here on my island, are remarkable, unforgettable. You hanker for them if you’re away for a while. I imagine, as our wild places open up again as we reboot, many kids, long cooped up, would be asking similar questions about the majestic trees and creatures of the bush. No more so than those embarking on reacquainting themselves with the forests surrounding Tassie’s capital city, within eyesight of everyone in town, but for months forbidden.
In his long, but thoroughly readable and all-encompassing essay on the state of the forests, published in The Age’s Good Weekend magazine recently, journalist David Leser asks, ‘Exactly how loudly does she (Mother Nature) have to scream?’ And scream she did over this past summer. And then:-
Trump and Co – ‘There is no way we can shut everything down in order to lower emissions, slow climate change and protect the environment.’
Mother Nature – ‘Here’s a virus. Practise.’
We did and it worked. But, already, with our tentative re-emergence, the signs are not promising that we have learnt from the experience. We just have to.
Lesser’s report, entitled ‘Trunk Call’ (type author and title into Google), takes us from Victoria’s national parks to the Styx and the Weld locally. He explains how the world’s first nations were miles ahead of modern humankind in their husbandry of the vital asset; how the great fungal lines aid trees in ‘communication’ and he takes us on journeys with writers and activists trying to alert the planet as to how urgent action is. They, I suspect, but hope otherwise, will continue to struggle to be heard above the noise of the digital age. Unless we heed their advocacy, Mother Nature will give up on us and deliver a final cataclysmic blow. We have been warned.
Despite its length there’s plenty more food for thought with Leser’s writings here. And, to be fair, I know most of the world’s leaders are on to it – but they’ll need the same sort of help most have been giving to bring us through the pandemic. Trump, of course, is beyond help.
The author also re-introduces us to the Angel of the Weld, Allana Beltran, who bought the attention of the planet to the situation within Tasmania’s old growth forests. What made us all sit up and take notice was attained by her positioning herself on a tripod, wreathed in feathers, at the entrance to the Weld. Back in 2007 the visual artist took her stand to ‘…pray for the forests and for people to realise what they are doing. I was ready to stand up for these ancient forests.’ In no uncertain terms she did.
It’s simple. If we can’t save the forests we can’t save the planet. The bastard virus has given us and Mother Nature some breathing space, but, by all indications the pause will not last much longer. In many parts of the world, though, wild places are breathing again. ‘Nature is speaking to us very loudly now. We’d do well to listen.’
So please seek out his article on line. Read it and ponder.
Australian Story Dustyesky = https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-25/australian-fake-russian-choir-dustyesky-goes-viral-mullumbimby/12270670
Jason Isbell’s website = https://www.jasonisbell.com/
‘Bad Banks’ = https://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/program/bad-banks
David Leser’s essay on the forests =https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/environment/climate-change/call-of-the-wild-listen-up-people-time-is-running-out-20200424-p54mzq.html