Grand Years with Frank Morris

Searching for posts in the month of: August 2018

Number of blogs returned: 1 to 5 records of 5

NOW, WE ARE SIXTY: Now is the time to have fun!

PITH, WIT AND PLEASURE! EACH MUST BE TEMPERED WITH THE MEREST TOUCH OF MELANCHOLIA, SAYS THE AUTHOR.

CHRISTOPHER MATTHEW

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

HOW WOULD A DOG FEEL?:  HAVING JUST TURNED SIXTY, I WONDER WHAT IT WOULD BE LIKE TO BE AS OLD AS MY PARENTS. WHO WAS I KIDDING. I’LL GO ON AND IMPERSONATE THE DOG! SKETCHES BY DAVID ECCLES.

The film actor Tony Curtis was once asked by the host of an American TV chat show how he would sum up his life.
‘When I was a very young man,’ Curtis said, ‘I arrived in Hollywood without any money, checked into a cheap motel, showered, shaved and then I came here to talk to you.’

Having recently turned sixty, I know just how he feels. One minute I was looking at my parents and their friends and wondering what it would be like to be as old as them; the next thing I knew, I was.

Mind you, in their day sixty-year olds were old. Elderly, certainly, and resigned to a slow, slippered twilight. I, on the other hand, am nothing if not a product of my age, and thus do not feel a second older than I did ten years ago – or even twenty.

Who am I kidding, though? Another ten years and my Biblical quota will be up. Like it or not I have joined the ranks of the zimmer brigade. This collection is by way of marking, if not celebrating, my new-found status.

THE BEST OF THE POEMS

I could have waited for a year or two to ensure a first-hand account of the pleasures and pains of being an oldie, but decided I’d better crack on while the going is good and before someone asks me to show my bus pass.

How best, though, to run the unfamiliar gamut of geriatricity? A vade mecum for the elderly, however liberally laced with jokes, could all too easily decline into a catalogue of whinge and woe.

Pith, wit and pleasure are more the order of the day – tempered with the merest touch of melancholia.

And then it suddenly occurred to me. Here I am, even more baffled by life than when I was a small boy.

I had already purloined A.A.Milne’s title and twisted it to my purpose, so why not pick the best of the poems he wrote for six-year olds and re-write them for sixty-year olds?

So I have.

<< Adapted from the book Now We Are Sixty, first published by John Murray in 1999.

NEXT: MAEVE BINCHY -- ONE OF THE GREAT IRISH WRITERS.


NEW MEN’S CLINIC: Offers the “silent way” to solve his problems

After much carping from doctors and other men’s health professionals over the past thirty years, the problems have started to turn for the best. A new hospital, Waratah Private in Hurstville, NSW, has launched a men’s clinic “as part of its many services”.

“Research shows 86 per cent of men aged older than 65 have a chronic disease,” said the hospital. “One in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer.”

The hospital said it “focuses on identifying men’s health problems and they can be treated under the same roof.”

Thirty years ago, Mr X was over 50. He was just one of hundreds of men nationally who remain the “silent” types.

FEAR, SUFFERING

Many men used to go to the bathroom at least three times at night. Without access to a toilet for men with prostate disease it became a nightmare. Literally!

In 1993, the American Medical Association released a report from the Gallup Organisation which showed that men over 50 “often try to tough” their way through fear and suffering without telling their doctors about ‘unmentionable’ medical problems …”

An Australian Men’s Health researcher said this is a “dangerous attitude” and may be equally prevalent in this country where ‘being tough is strongly promoted in men.

For men, these were vexing times. But ahead are the good times; things have changed.–FM


BITS & PIECES

Phar Lap’s career as a four-year-old was even more noteworthy for his age when he won 14 races straight. One of these was the Melbourne Cup in 1930 … The jockey who rode Phar Lap, Jim Pike’s contribution to racing still lingers, a legacy that he passed on through the ages. He was the complete rider. A great hand-and-heel rider, Pike pulled the whip to prove to one and all the horse was beaten. (In a radio interview, jockey Darren Beadman, reveals the “secrets” of Jim Pike) … Phar Lap’s “mystery” death, not long after he won the Aqua Caliente Handicap, to this day, even though there have been a number of inquiries, is still unsolved. – FM.


 

LES MISERABLES:  The characters -- were they real or not?

THE INSURRECTION OF THE 5th AND 6th OF JUNE BRINGS A CLIMAX TO THE MANY THEMES OF LES MISERABLES. 

FRANK MORRIS

LES MISERABLES: THE TYPE OF PEOPLE MENTIONED AS PARTICIPATING IN THE INSURRECTION ARE RECOGNISABLE AS LES MISERABLES CHARACTERS. Below: THE NATIONAL GUARD, SHOWN WITH RIFLES, CAME TO THE INSURGENT’S AID. Below: THE BESIEGERS: THE INSURGENTS BEGAN TO WORRY AS THE BARRICADE WOBBLES DUE TO THE CONSTANT FIRING OF THE ARTILLERY.

Les Miserables, the musical Newsweek claims had audiences overseas leaping to their feet “cheering, applauding and often weeping with emotion”, is soon for Australia, and has not been only the musical sensation of the decade … but of a lifetime.

“Cameron MacKintosh, Les Mis’s London producer and probably the greatest impresario of our time, realised it was the stuff dreams are made as soon as he heard a French recording of the show. Said MacKintosh: “I heard the opening bars and thought: God, this is wonderful.” – A couple of weeks before the show opened in Australia in 1988.

....

The musical production of Les Mirerables closely follows Victor Hugo’s novel. It covers the life of the saintly yet worldly Jean Valjean for over 30 years. Pursued by the law as well as by villains for his wealth; but, nevertheless, he maintains continued assistance to those in need.

He pays in cash for the adoption of little Cosette from her scurrilous guardians, the Thenardiers. And, when years, later Cosette falls in love, he saves her man, Marius, from death. Marius was struck down in a Paris street and lies wounded.

The insurrection of the 5th and 6th of June brings to a climax the many themes of Les Miserables. The people rise against their King and his government; they fight bravely against the troops at the barricades.

The Paris of 1832 is the Paris of Delacroix and Ingres, Balzac and Chateaubriand, Dumas and Berllioz; the year of the birth of Manet and Eiffel.

THE SLAVE TRADE

In 1832, Paris was the Paris of poverty, hunger, suppression and injustice, according to story of Les Miserables. However, each of Victor Hugo’s characters, in spite of such conditions, eventually finds a contentment of his own; even the despised Thenardier, who invested his new wealth in the (growing) slave trade.

Les Miserables follows history closely, particularly so for the events of the people concerned with the insurrection. Next week, you will read brief extracts from the scholarly text of Louis Blanc’s History of Ten Years, written in 1845 and well before Victor Hugo published Les Miserables in 1862.

The types of people mentioned as participating in the insurrection are recognisable as being eventual Les Misearbles characters. The Louis Blanc text also reveals how closely associated with the insurrection was Le National, the Paris newspaper around which this publication is based.

Louis Blanc became a prominent member of the new government, which forced the abdication of Louis Philippe and proclaimed the Second Republic, in 1848.          

<< Rewritten from Cullen Publications Pty Ltd, Edgecliff 2027, Sydney, Australia.

NEXT: Excerpts from History of Ten Years by Louis Blanc dealing with the insurrection of 5th and 6th of June.


PRISON: The last resort …

“The oppression is constant and extreme. Word is passed around to all the prison officers,” said a prisoner.

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 30 August 18

HOW FIT ARE YOU?: Spring is in the air – how about enjoying the outdoors!

COMING OF AGE – CELEBRATE BEING HEALTHY. EXERCISE, EXERCISE, EXERCISE. IT’S EASIER THAN YOU THINK.

FRANK MORRIS and the Retirement Pack Group*

ALL IN A ROW: THIS IS THE PERFECT EXERCISE TO KEEP THE BODY FLOWING. Below: DO A SPOT OF SLOW RUNNING OVER SHORT DISTANCES. Below: FOR THAT CONSTANT CRICK IN THE BACK YOU CAN EXERCISE OR SEE A DOCTOR.

Work to maintain your posture and stability, and to safeguard you against falls. Those are your exercise aims for the over 60s!

Why?

There is a growing body of evidence that physical activity can play an important part in your life. It can help prevent stroke, osteoporosis and arthritis. Decline in levels of physical activity with age is not inevitable.

In many South-East Asian countries daily group routines such as Tai Chi (already in Australia), which focus on principles fostering natural postural alignments, and to reinforce proper body mechanics, are the cultural norm.

If Tai Chi is not for you, a simple selection of balance exercises, with emphasis a standing on one leg at a time for 10, 15 and 30 seconds, can be highly beneficial. Focus on flexibility and exercises that “open” the chest, by retracting the shoulders and stretch the hips and the muscle at the front of the thigh, will give aid to the pain.

WHAT AN AGE …

This is a good age to start using momentum to get up out of low chairs and sofas. Get into the habit of always using your leg muscles, so you maintain their strength. If you suffer from arthritis, rest during severe flare-ups, but avoid prolonged inactivity. This leads to weak muscles, stiff joints, reduced range of motion and decreased energy and vitality.

This is a good age to stop exercising in water that is too warm; the heat can aggravate some of arthritis and muscle inflammation. If possible, seek out cooler swimming pools.

Don’t think it’s all over. Physical activity can help improve your emotional and mental wellbring, as well as being effective in treating depression and enhancing mood.

It really is never too late to start exercising.

<< Best Years newsletter; and the Retirement Pack Group, London.

COMING: As we get older, it becomes more and more important to take regular exercise. COMING: Exercises and diagrams to give you stretch your limbs, stand upright, stretch out your arms, and much more, especially if you are incapacitated. COMING: Safe bushwalking – it’s fun for any age, including persons over 60.

NEXT: MAEVE BINCHY: HER TIMES ON THE IRISH TIMES AND HER LIFE AS AN IRISH WRITER.


LES MISERABLES: Final. Inside of a furnace; to watch young soldiers go through red haze

IT WAS THE VEDA WHO CALLED IT “THE FOREST OF SWORDS.”

VICTOR HUGO      Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

DEFENDING THE BARRICADE: A SUPREME ASSUALT WAS LAUNCHED BY THE MILITARY AND THIS TIME SUCCEEDED. Below: THE DEATH AT THE FALL OF THE BARRICADES; THE INSURGENTS HAD LITTLE CHANCE. 

The form an idea of that conflict one must imagine a terrible pyre of courage set on fire and oneself watching the blaze. It was not a battle but the inside of a furnace; mouths breathed out fumes; faces were extraordinary.

It was awe-inspiring to watch those salamanders of battle move to and fro in the red haze.

We shall NOT seek to depict the successive stages of the slaughter. Only an epic is entitled to fill twelve thousand lines with an account of battle. It might have been that Hell of Brahmanism, the most awful of the seventeen abysses, which the Veda calls “the forest of swords”.

They fought body to body, hand to hand, with pistol-shots, sabre-thrusts, bare fists, from above and below, from all quarters, the roof of the house, the windows of the tavern, the vent-holes of the cellars … they were one against sixty.

The façade of Corinth, half pounded to rubble, was made hideous. The window, peppered with grapeshot, had lost both glass and frameworks, and was nothing but a shapeless hole hastily blocked with paving stones.

Bossuet, Feuilly, Courfeyrac, Joly – all were killed. Combeferre, pieced by three bayonet thrusts, had only time to look up to the sky before he died.

Marius, still fighting, was covered with wounds, particularly on the head; that his face was smothered with blood as though he had a red scarf tied round it. Enjoiras, alone, was unscathed. When he was weaponless, he reached to right or left, and a blade of sorts was placed by a fellow rebel in his hand.

THE TIME WAS OVER …

Of four swords, one more than Francois I had had at Marignano, he had only the stump of one left.

When only two of the leaders were left alive, Marius and Enjoiras at either end of the barricade, the centre, which for so long had been sustained the other five men, gave away. The cannon-fire, without making an effective breach in the wall, had sufficiently damaged it.

The top had been shot away, falling on either side, so that the debris formed two inclines, one within the stronghold and the other outside it. The one outside (was) providing a ramp for the attackers.

A supreme assault was launched and this time it succeeded. The mass of soldiery, bristling with bayonets and advancing at the double, was irresistible, and the dense front line of the attacking force appeared amid the smoke on top of barricade.

This time it was over.

<< Cullen Publications Pty Ltd, Edgecliff, Sydney, 2027.

LES MISERABLES: Victor Hugo yet again stirred the world’s passions

PARIS, 1862

BY A STAFF WRITER

A man who had almost become a legend in his lifetime due to the omnipotence of his genius and the strength of his beliefs, Victor Hugo had once again stirred the world’s passions. Les Miserables has run for three editions in less than a month; it has been translated into all the languages of Europe.

We shall review it as soon as the tenth and last volume is published and reveals the final purpose of the poet.

In the meantime, whoever you may be, you may welcome or, on the contrary, reject the reformer of our literature, but you must bow before the genius, the relentless worker, the strangest and most powerful writer of this century.

Victor Hugo is the Michelangelo of French literature.

<< Cullen Publications Pty Ltd; Edgecliff, Sydney, 2027, Australia.


BIT’S & PIECES: A trip from Sydney to Brisbane cost $14 and took 5 hours. I recall that amount when I was going to Brisbane to cover the 18 foot Championships in 1958 … The new Parliament House was constructed on Bushrangers Hill … Retirement village or hostel: Stay in your home? Or move into a new residence? … Medications – Don’t take any medicines that were not prescribed for you. It could make you very sick indeed.  – FM.


QUEEN ELIZABETH AT 95: The wind are changing at the Royals constabulary

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

THE EARLY YEARS: ELIZABETH, CUDDLED BY HER MOTHER, SEEMS TO BE HAVING A CONVERSATION WITH HER FATHER, THE FUTURE KING.

Princess Elizabeth was born on April 21, 1926. The little princess came into a world still reeling from World War 1. When she was then third in line for the throne, Elizabeth’s parents never expected that, one day, their ‘Lilibet’ would become queen.

Described by her grandmother, Queen Mary, as “a little darling with a lovely complexion”.

Elizabeth was born at 2.40 am at the Mayfair house of her maternal grandmother the Duchess of York, youngest daughter of the Scottish Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, and the Duke of York, second son King George V.

Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, baptised in the private chapel of Buckingham Palace, was named after her mother, Elizabeth and great-grandmother, Alexandra; it was she who died six months earlier and her grandmother, Queen Mary.

<< The Women’s Weekly 85 years Celebrating the Royals, Souvenir Edition, Bauer Media Limited, Sydney.


FOODFROLICO:  Pomegranate has more antioxidants going for it than red wine

THE SUPER JUICE

Pomegranate juice’s excellent antioxidant properties have about three times more antioxidants than red wine and green tea; they helps to lower both cholesterol and blood pressure. Many people also enjoy its rich taste, making it a welcome beverage. The Pomegranate Salad, another favourite, is explained below.

HOW TO EAT THEM

Many grocery stores and green grocers sell pre-packaged pomegranate seeds; but if you start with the full fruit, cut it in half and spoons the seeds into a bowl to munch or add to salads. SALADS Your next green salad can be a nutritional superfood! Start with base of raw spinach leaves and arugula and add pomegranates and walnuts. Drizzle a little on lemon juice on top and every single part of this salad is a superfood. Another delicious and healthy option: finish your salads with a vinaigrette. CUCUMBERS For a family, Cucumbers are low in calories. Mix with several handfuls of pomegranate seeds. FOODFROLICO will cover other pomegranate delights later on.

NEXT: A true Pork Pie, 1940s style. Have something different for dinner. – FM.

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 23 August 18

LES MISERABLES: The insurrection and the barricades

FEARS OF WATER POISONING SPREAD THROUGH THE CROWDED QUARTERS.

Adapted by FRANY MORRIS

ACTION!: THE AREA (OPEN STAR) SHOWING LES MISERABLES BARRICADES AT RUE DE LA CHANVRERIE, PARIS.

It was Tuesday, June 5 …

Paris is in a feverish state. The devastating effects on the poor suffering from unemployment, cholera, and rumours of plots and counter-plots from Bonapartists, legitimists, republicans and police provocateurs, it was not a healthy state of affairs.

Royalists, who supported the grandson of Charles X, Henry V, were stirring up rebellion in the west and south. Fears of food and water poisoning sent panic through the crowded quarters.

These condition have … caused thousands of students, workers, soldiers and foreigners to come out to honour the memory of General Lamarque, a strong supporter of the poor, who had been a leader of the opposition to Louis Philippe.

He had described Louis Philippe and his government as a “halt in the mud.”

A horseman carrying a red flag and a cap of liberty, the symbols of 1792, mysteriously appeared at the ceremony. Shots rang out. Troops clashed with the crowd. Barricades, like an electric current, spread through the greater part of the city; and there were many fierce and heroic clashes between the insurgents and the troops.

This was, indeed, a tragedy. Frenchman again Frenchman. Many are wounded, many are dying. The next few hours will affect the future of the nation.

Smashing the printing plates. The newspaper, The Tribune, was seized before it was brought out.

LES MISERABLES: Stop Press – Support failed, absence of leaders

THE WAR ENDED WITH A BLOODY REPRESSION.

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

DEATH: THE FALL OF THE BARRICADES GAVE THE INSURGENTS LITTLE CHANCE OF COMING OUT ALIVE. THE OUTCOME WAS INFLUENCED BY ARTILLERY FIRE AT CLOSE RANGE.

The insurgents were eventually defeated by the repeated infantry charges and close range artillery fire. The uprising failed, not for lack of support, but for the absence of leaders.

Neither the young editor of Le National newspaper, Armand Carrel, nor the ailing General Lafayette, both admirers of the American republic, were ready to take the chance and lead the insurrection.

The insurrection is not well-known as a historical revolution. It was an important spontaneous event expressing the feeling of the populace, rather than being well prepared and led by dedicated men.

It ended on June 6 with the bloody repression on the rue St Mery.

RENEWED VIGOUR

Although beseeched by the opposition, the King blamed the troubles on conspirators and refused to alter his policies. There were later 80 attempts on his life. Martial law was declared in four departments.

There were many arrests, but jurors acquitted all but a handful of those brought to trial. Rather than discouraging the republicans, the events filled them with a renewed determination to continue and to educate and organise the people in obtaining better conditions; like, civil liberties and a democratic government.

Repressed again in 1834, they triumphed in the revolution of February, 1848, which inaugurated the Second Republic.

<< Background from Cullen Publications Pty Ltd, Sydney.

Will it hurt? Soldier has a dressing.

LES MISERABLES: Victor Hugo and the common people in Les Miserables

PEOPLE, THINGS: THE MICHELANGELO OF FRENCH LITERATURE, VICTOR HUGO, SAID THE SINGLE, FATEFUL WORD – LES MISERABLES. THEY’RE THE OUTCASTS, THE UNDERDOGS. WHO IS TO BLAME?

The author, wrote the classic, Les Miserables, around the barricades events. The musical production also follows his novel accurately. It contains striking scenes at the barricades. Victor Hugo describes part of the fighting:

VICTOR HUGO

The ground within the barricades was so covered with used cartridge-cases that it might have been a snowstorm. The attackers had the advantage of numbers; the rebels had the advantage of position. They were defending a wall whence they shot down at point-blank range the soldiers staggering amid their dead and wounded; or enmeshed in the barricade itself.

The barricade, constructed as it was and admirably buttressed, did indeed present one of those positions where a handful of men could defy a legion.

Nevertheless, being constantly reinforced and expanding under the hail of bullets, the attacking column inexorably moved forward; with certainly, the army was compressing the barricade like the screw of a winepress.

THE ASSAULTS CONTINUED

There ensued, on that heap of paving-stones in the Rue de la Chanvrerie, a struggle (that would have been) worthy of the ruins of Troy.

That handful of haggard, ragged, and exhausted men, who had not eaten for twenty-four hours, who had not slept, who had only a few shots left to fire, so that they searched their empty pockets for cartridges.

Nearly (all) were wounded, with head or arm swathed in rough, blackening bandages; having holes in their clothing through which the blood flowed; ill armed with sufficient muskets and old, worn sabres, became Titans.

The barricade was ten times assailed and climbed, but still it did not fall. Adapted by FRANK MORRIS.

Next: Victor Hugo -- striking scenes at the barricades.

Defending the barricades. The outcasts and soldiers fight tooth and claw.


NEXT WEEK: Queen Elizabeth ll at 95 – the winds of change. Meanwhile …

AT AGE 90, THE QUEEN REMEMBER THE POMP AND PAGENTRY OF HER MARRIGE.

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

WEDDING DAY: NOVEMBER 20, 1947 WAS THE GRANDEST DAY IN THE QUEEN’S 90 GLORIOUS YEARS WHEN SHE WAS TO MARRY PHILIP, THE DUKE OF EDINBURGH. ON THE MORNING OF HER WEDDING DAY, SHE TOLD CRAWFIE HER GOVENESS. “I CAN’T REALLY BELIEVE IT IS HAPPENING.”

A fairy-tale wedding. On July 9, 1947, three months after Princess Elizabeth’s 21st birthday, the world learned her very thrilling secret: she was officially engaged to dashing Philip Mountbatten who was the love of her life.

In accordance with royal protocol, he was created His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh shortly before the wedding.

The wedding reception was at Buckingham Palace and in honour of the happy couple the dinner included Fillets de Sole Mountbatten to start and Bombe Glace Princess Elizabeth as dessert. They honeymooned in the UK at Broadlands, the home of Philip’s uncle, Lord Louis Mountbatten.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the bride close to take her favourite corgi Susan with them.

END OF A LIFE

The young naval couple lived first at Windlesham Moor near Windsor Castle and then in Clarence House in London. But Philip was still a serving naval officer, the second in command of the destroyer HMS Chequers, which was based at Malta.

She spent her stays there at Villa Guardamangia, another home owned by Lord Mountbatten.

Almost a year to the day after her wedding, the Queen gave birth to Charles on November 14, 1948, at Buckingham Palace. Princess Anne was born on August 15, 1950, at Clarence House.

Life was cut short for George VI. He was becoming frailer so Elizabeth was increasingly involved as a stand-in at royal events. In 1952, she and Prince Philip were on their way to Australia and New Zealand … when news was received on February 6 that lung cancer had ended the King’s life.

His health undoubtedly suffering from the strain of being a dutiful king through the difficult war years.

<< 90 Glorious years, a YOURS Souvenir Edition; Bauer Media Pty Limited, Sydney.

lIIustration: The King and I: George VI and Princess Elizabeth share a few words.

COMING: Bushranger – Ned Kelly meets his doom; Historic Pubs – A farmer builds a pub.


QUEEN VICTORIA BUILDING: 120 glorious years for this icon of Sydney!

THE POPULATION HAS WITNESSED SOME ENORMOUS CHANGES TO THE FACE OF ITS CAPITAL CITY.

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

PICTURE: THE DOMED SHAPES OF THE QUEEN VICTORIA BUILDING FILLS THE SKY WITH WONDERMENT THAT PEOPLE HAVE NEVER SEEN BEFORE. 

The Queen Victoria Building, built 120 years ago, first captured the public’s imagination in 1898. The building, in all this time, has remained an edifice unparalleled in Australia. For its scale and architectural air of distinction, the level of detail and craftsmanship, was second to none.

Over the past century, this majestic Romanesque arcade has become a symbol of a flourishing city and one true constant in a world moving at a modern pace.

Described as “this iconic jewel” in the heart of Sydney, it has been witness to enormous change, and, at one time, faced a real threat of being torn down. Yet it seemed that survival was always in her sights and it continues to thrive. Is it rare that a Victorian-era building so resiliently stands the test of time as our beloved QVB?

It will inspire generations with her enduring beauty and grace.

MYSTERY, INTRIGUE

A touch of local heritage is also part and parcel of the grand, ‘young’ building. By unlocking the secrets, for instance, you’ll discover the little-known details of Australia’s largest and grandest Victorian arcade. As befits this building, which has amassed a 120 year-old history, wants to share her mystery and intrigue.

For instance, the ghost of a former tenant wandering thought the arcades at night; and the extraordinary tale of how the long-abandoned Queen Victoria statue found its way to Sydney. There’s more to this majestic building that you might think.

Question: In the building’s inaugural years, a Chinese-merchant opened the Elite Hall tea house, which went on to be one of the most popular restaurants of the Victorian era. His spectre was reportedly seen walking the arcades at night?

Who was it?

<< Background to this story from Celebrating an Icon; to mark its 120 years of history.

TO EXPERIENCE THE GRANDEUR OF THE QUEEN VICTORIA BUILDING, BOOK A GUIDED TOUR WITH THE CONCIERGE OR CALL 02 9264 9209.


SHOP WINDOW: Heritage Places -- A gift of a nation 

FRANK MORRIS

Collingrove in the Barossa Valley, SA. In a magnificent section of the Barossa Valley, complete with English country garden, is a homestead called Collingrove. The Angus family, which built it 1856, Collingrove stands as a rare specimen of how our pioneers attempted to recreate the ‘Old Country’ atmosphere of their origins. The homestead is the perfect place to step back in time. It’s ideal for accommodation, homestead tours and weddings.

The first school in Alice Springs. The school was established in temporary accommodation on the Old Hartley Street site. This took place shortly after the railway reached the township in 1929. The school underwent some restoration since 1980; and it was opened for the Bicentennial program in l988.

<< Backgrounds for the two articles came from a Gift to the Nation, Historic Australia, No 4. 1987.

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 17 August 18

VIVE LES MISERABLES: It was the greatest musical of a lifetime!

FRANK MORRIS

BREAKING INTO SONG: WHEN THE LEAD SINGER REACHED A HIGH NOTE, WHICH ALMOST TORE MY EAR DRUMS APART, I WANTED TO JUMP FROM MY SEAT TO JOIN THE FRAY. Below: I FIGHT, DREAM, HOPE AND LOVE, SAID THE LES MISERABLES FIGURE.

The musical in Melbourne, 1988 …

The spectacular and powerful production of Les Miserables more than lives up to its pre-publicity as “not only the greatest musical sensation of the decade, or the century, but of a lifetime.”

Forget the hype, Les Miserables is a stirring, emotion-charged event that will make your palms sweat and bring tears to your eyes.

FLAWLESS THEATRE

In fact, I’m not too ashamed to admit that the famous barricades were so overwhelming that I wanted to jump from my seat and join the fray, even though it turned into a bloodbath.

Les Miserables is flawless theatre!

Over the next twelve months you – along with thousands more – will want see it several times. The cast, like the production, is impressive. It would be unfair to praise but a few names.

All I will say is, “Take a bow Normie Rowe”.


LES MISERABLES: Insurrection in 1832 -- the fighting, the barricades

WERE THEIR ACTIONS JUSTIFIED?

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

To l832 …

It is now forty-three years after the outbreak of the French Revolution and seventeen years after the battle of Waterloo, and the air was still unpleasant, dank. In Britain, the Prime Minister, Earl Grey, has just overcome the resistance of the House of Lords to the third Reform Bill enfranchising the middle classes.

On the continent, the spirit of liberalism and nationalism continues to challenge aristocratic and monarchical rule again in France, Spain, Belgium, Italy, Germany and Poland.

In the United States of America, Andrew Jackson, a frontiersman and friend of the common people, is running for President … again.

In Paris …

The funeral of the popular Napoleonic hero and government member, General Lamarque, took place; and he was laid to rest on June 5, l832. Parisians are still taking to the barricades in an uprising to overthrow the July Monarchy of Louis Philippe.

What is the fury or passion that is driving these working men and students behind the barricades to resist repeated infantry charges and cannon fire? Are sedition and rebellion bred in the bones of these Parisians who rise up from the gutter at the slightest sign of provocation? Or are there actions justified?

These insurgents are the offspring of the Revolution of 1789 and Republic of 1792. They had sought to bring democracy and social justice to the common people. They are also the admirers of Napoleon Bonaparte who had aimed at liberating the peoples of Europe from hereditary kings and aristocrats.

These are the same insurgents who had fought at the barricades during the “three glorious days” of July 1830 when another king by divine right and his regime were overthrown.

But Louis Philippe, the new constitutional monarch selected from the Orleanist branch of the royal family, felt like an enemy; in the minds of many of these people, he had betrayed their struggle for liberty and social justice.

He answers their petitions and strikes for jobs, living wages and lower taxes with troops and arrests; their pleas for France to aid insurgent Belgians, Italians, Germans and Poles with a do-nothing policy; their demands for liberty of the press with the trial of republicans who attempted to revive the memory of 1792.

PICTURE: The burial ground of popular Napoleonic hero, Gereral Lamarque.
Next: Les Miserables – the killing begins.


The Guillotine and the Thenardier family under review

Adaption by FRANK MORRIS

WORK TO BE DONE: CONSTRUCTING THE BARRICADES. 

La Guillotine, or the guillotine, was the brain-child of Joseph Ignace Guillotin in 1789.

Guillotin, a Paris deputy, suggested that all those convicted of capital offences should have the right to be decapitated, like a privilege that was reserved for nobles.

The decapitation should be quick and painless.

Such ‘beheading machines’ were already known in Germany, Scotland and Yorkshire, England.

“Avec la machine je vous fais sauter la tete”, said Guillotin.

The guillotine had a life-span of nearly 200 years.

President Mitterand abolished the death penalty in 1981.

FATEFUL WORD

On another note, Victor Hugo describes the Thenardier family as les miserable – “the outcasts, the under-dogs … the rejected of society and the rebels against society.”

Hugo wrote: “Certainly they appeared utterly depraved, correct, vile and odious; but it is rare for those who have sunk so low not to be degraded in the process.

“And there comes a point, moreover, where the unfortunate and infamous are grouped together, merged in a single, fateful word. They are les miserables.

“They are outcasts, and under-dogs. And who is to blame? Is it not the most fallen who have most need of charity?”

<< Les Miserables is adapted from Cullen Publication Pty Ltd, Edgecliff, Sydney.

PICTURE: M. Thenbardier… an outclass citizen’s, the reject of society.

COMMENT: All newspaper engravings and line illustration are product of the various newspaper that covered the following 1832 French insurrection. Read all it.


CLASSIC REPEAT: Memory, epilepsy can have an impact on one’s life

IF YOU’VE EXPERIENCED A CHANGE WITH YOUR MEMORY, BEHAVIOR OR PERSONALITY, THEN CONSULT YOU DOCTOR. DON’T WASTE ANY TIME.

FRANK MORRIS

The racing fraternity had been stunned since champion jockey Nathan Berry passed away from Norse syndrome, an acute form of epilepsy.

Dr Rubina Alpitsis, Senior Neuropsychologist, in Melbourne, said some people with epilepsy will “experience changes to memory, thinking, behaviour and personality.” Dr Alpitsis said “epilepsy can disrupt the normal activity of the brain – a complex and sophisticated organ.”

She said “different abilities can affected, depending on the type of seizure a person has and where it occurs in the brain.”

“But the most common complaints concern the effect of epilepsy on memory and understanding these effects can help us identify strategies for remembering.”

What do we look for?

The ability to “solve complex problems” occurs in the front part of the brain, or the frontal lobe. “While the area that impacts memory – our ability to learn, consolidate and store new information – is in the middle, or medial temporal lobe.”

STRENGTH THROUGH SHARING: What is it like living with epilepsy?

Alpitsis said that changes in memory and thinking can occur before, during or after seizures and can be temporary or long term. “A number of additional factors can contribute to changes. You have your medications but also frustration, depression or anxiety.”

Anne and Graeme Woods support each other. They even went to an Epilepsy Action forum together and both said it was a pleasant feeling. “It was just good to unload your feelings, how to cope with your epilepsy,” says Anne.

As a child, Anne began having absence seizures but wasn’t diagnosed with epilepsy until her 20s. “I used to get into trouble at school for daydreaming.”

I DON'T DWELL ON MY CONDITION

Now in her early 40s, Anne, had three tonic clonic seizures in her sleep. Graeme, a horticulturalist with the local council, said “we’re both very supportive.” For Graeme, those times have been all too frequent.

He had his first tonic clonic seizures hit when he got encephalitis as a result of measles at age four. Being assaulted with complex partial seizures like that had him bundled into a police paddy wagon on suspicion of drug and alcohol intoxication.

Then, in 1997, five years after temporal lobectomy surgery successfully treated his epilepsy, a fever contacted from mosquito bites, led to his nocturnal seizures. Despite all this, Graeme continues to focus on a positive outlook on life. “I don’t dwell on my condition.”

The couple donate support services for people with epilepsy. “The more the public are aware, the more it breaks down the stigma,” says Anne.

<< From Epilepsy 360 magazine.

Pictures: Deadly. Not many people know the epilepsy part of the disease can be fatal.


HONOURED: Just Rewards – another double jackpot for Len!           

BUT THE COMPANY WAS NEVER TO REST ON ITS LAURELS.

FRANK MORRIS

STANDING PROUD: TWO OF THE THOUSANDS OF MACHINES TO WHOM AINSWORTH WAS ESPECIALLY ATTACHED. Below: LEN AINSWORTH, NOW CHAIRMAN EMERITUS. Below: AINSWORTH ‘S LATEST MACHINES IN ONE OF THE CASINOS.

Aristocrat has been on the scene for the past 60 odd years, making it one of the oldest established and most respected names in the coin gaming industry.

The manufacturer, Ainsworth Consolidated Industries, notched up many history-making ‘firsts’ in the early years. The company is a successful exporter of gaming products to over 40 countries.

“Our expertise is working for Australia,” a company spokesperson said. “And this means more jobs and vital export dollars for the country”. But the company was never one to rest on its laurels.

When the company released its Clubman machines in the early 1950s, it introduced the first front opening cabinet, first self-lubricating reel assembly bearings and the first ‘free play’ lock. Needless to say, the machines took the market by storm.

In 1956, the year poker machines were legalised by Cahill Labor Government, the company unveiled its superior Clubmaster series which featured multiline and scattered pays. A few years later, Ainsworth hit another jackpot: the first fully lit reels and scorecard.

FAMOUS MICROSTAR

In 1979, the company led the gaming world with the release of the ‘first’ electronic microprocessor machine and the ‘first’ electronic credit meter. In the early 1980s, came the now-famous Microstar series.

“There machines incorporated most of the latest gaming technology still in use” the spokesperson said.

The company’s Research and Development Centre in the eastern suburbs of Sydney, NSW, is one of the largest in the southern hemisphere. Both across Australia and internationally.

The “irrepressible” Len Ainsworth, 72, contracted cancer in 1994. Doctors had warned him that he could “be dead within the year.” Ainsworth took the gaming company which he founded, Aristocrat Leisure, and gave it to wife, ex-wife and seven sons.

RIGOROUS PACE

In 1995, Ainsworth established Ainsworth Gaming Technology and it employed about 25 people (today 500), and one of his the first tasks was to apply to the NSW Licensing Court for a poker machine dealer’s licence.

Recently, Ainsworth, at 94, sold his majority stake to an Austrian company, Novomatic. Ainsworth is now Chairman Emeritus and he continues life at a rigorous pace.

Ainsworth is delighted to be recognised as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours list. He told Club Life magazine that “his appointment to the Order of Australia is an honour.

“And I am privileged not only to be involved with philanthropic efforts that have included multi-million dollar donations to charities including Sydney Children’s Hospital and St Vincent’s Private Hospital and to recognised for the development of Australia’s gaming industry and export market”,  he says.

<< Player’s Guide to Poker Machines; Frank Morris; National Publication, Homebush West, Sydney.

COMING: Have I got a problem with gambling?


IT’LL BE WORTH IT: Have a cuppa with Buddy Williams

FRANK MORRIS

BUDDY WILLIAMS, ALWAYS SMILING, LAYING HAND-PRINTS AT THE INAUGURAL CEREMONY IN 1977. WITH HIM ARE TEX MORTON AND SMOKY DAWSON.

In 1977, legendary country music star, Buddy Williams, was inducted to the Hands of Fame at Tamworth and with him were Tex Morton and Smoky Dawson. This was an inaugural ceremony. Buddy’s handprints in the Australasian Country Music Hall of Fame cornerstone are there to stay. Since then, dozens upon dozens have been invited to add their name to the handprints. There is a celebration to commemorate his 100th birthday. He was born in 1918. It will be held at Dorrigo Showground on Saturday, September 8. There will be a number of country music entertainers busking; on Sunday a dedication plaque will be unveiled at the Museum on Cudgery Street; country music will continue on Sunday with Trevor Tolton, performing at the Dorrigo RSL Club, NSW.

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 10 August 18

THE GREAT WAR: Rupert Brooke’s War – “I saw what was a truer Hell

BROOKE WAS A POET OF THE WAR. FROM HIM, AUSTRALIA LEARNT A GREAT DEAL ABOUT THE BLOODY FIGHTING THAT WAS YET TO COME.

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

I WOULD TO LIKE TO GO: RUPERT BROOKE, THE SOLDIER-POET OF THE WAR. SAID RUPERT: “I WOULD LIKE TO SEE THIS ADVERTURE THROUGH WITH MY OWN MEN.” Below: HIS FIRST GRAVE AT THE FRONT. Below: RUPERT BROOKE, SOLDIER-POET. Below: THE SOLDIER BOWS OUT.

Rupert Brooke joined his battalion, and camped of the coast of Kent, on Sunday, September 24, 1914. They marched to Dover a week later and embarked to defend Antwerp from the German advance.

In the next five days, Antwerp fell. Brooke and his company had to march twenty-five miles in the retreat; through a landscape wasted by shelling and pools of burning petrol from a bombed fuel depot.

Round them the carcasses of horses and cattle sizzled, and wagons of dead people, the wounded and refugees filled the road. Brooke wrote:

“… I saw what was a truer Hell. Thousands of refugees, their goods on barrows and hand-carts and perambulators and wagons, moving with infinite slowness out into the night; two unending lines of them, the old men mostly weeping; the women with hard drawn faces, the children playing or crying or sleeping.… The eyes grow clearer, and the heart. But it’s a bloody thing, half the youth of Europe, blown through pain to nothingness in the incessant mechanical slaughter of these in modern battles”.

By October 8, they had reached the troop train, which carried them to Bruges. All the company’s luggage, and several of Brooke’s manuscripts, had been destroyed. The next day, they arrived back at Dover.

SEA-SICK

The company was re-equipped at Chatham.

Brooke arranges to stay with friends so he moved to the Hood Battalion. The next three months training was interrupted only by influenza, by respiratory complaints arising from the use of coke stoves, and drunkenness.

Brooke spent much of February ill in bed in London at 10 Downing Street, the home of his friends the Asquiths.

On Saturday, February 27, 1915, his ship departed from Avonmouth Docks for the Dardanelles. Two days later, on March 1, they were in open sea off the Bay of Biscay, and he was sea-sick. Early on Monday, March 8, they put into Malta, where Brooke dined and went to the opera to see Tosca.

The next day the ship set out for Lemnos and the Eastern Mediterranean, arriving three days later.

Brooke’s ship sailed for Turkish waters a few days later. Early the next day, on March 19, they entered the Dardanelles. But after several hours of inactivity, they were withdrawn, due to losses from mines in the coastal bombardment on the previous day.

The landing, they surmised, was impractical so they returned to Lemnos.

They left Lemnos for Egypt on Wednesday, March 24, sailing via Patmos and Rhodes and arriving in Port Said on Sunday, March 28. Brooke and two friends spent two days in Cairo, visiting the Pyramids and the Sphinx; and touring the moonlit streets by donkey.

After a series of exercises and route marches, Brooke was ill with sunstroke and dysentery. He spent the next week in the Casino Palace hotel with a fellow officer who had been similarly afflicted.

However, by Thursday, April 8, orders came to sail for Lemnos. By this time, Brooke’s potential as a poet, politician and academic was becoming recognised and many did not want England to lose him.

THOUGHT ABOUT DEATH

Brooke’s Colonel suggested he spend more time recovering in Egypt; and Brooke’s Commander in Chief further suggested he take a staff job. Brooke refused both of these offers. The Commander in Chief said: Rupert Brooke very naturally would like to see this adventure through with his own men … I should have answered the same in his case …”

Brooke said, “Well, if Armageddon’s on I suppose one should be there”.

According to Margaret Lavington, who wrote Rupert Brooke: Biographical Notes, Brooke “had a presentiment of his death, but he went, as so many others have gone”. Brooke never reached the Dardanelles.

The sunstroke and dysentery he got over. But he died from blood-poisoning on board a French hospital ship at Skyros on Friday, April 23. A few days later, the news of his death was published in The Times. In part, Winton Spencer Churchill wrote:

“Rupert Brooke is dead … The voice has been swiftly stilled. Only the echoes and the memory remain; but they will linger. He expected to die; he was willing to die for the dear England whose beauty and majesty he knew.”

<< Adapted from Rupert Brooke’s War and Rupert Brooke: Biographical Notes.

MOMORIES:  Mud – a sinister, vile, murderous slime it pays no heed to soldiers!

“FOR MOST OF US THESE DAYS, MUD IS A MINOR INCONVENIENCE. THIS WAS NOT JUST WET SOIL … THE STENCH OF DEATH WAS EVERYWHERE,” Steve Waterson, Editor of the Australian. Australian troops on their way to the front line in October, 1917. They trudge through the mud along the track -- from Bellewaarde Lake and Chateauwood to Westhoek – surrounded by the debris of wagons and trees shattered by the relentless shellfire. The Great War, The Darkest Day, 2017.


CLASSIC REPEAT: OZ Spot: The lady in the pale house on the hill

THE AUTHOR, SUSAN DUNCAN, SAID TARRANGAUA IS AN ABORIGINAL WORD WHICH MEANS HIGH ROUGH HILL.

FRANK MORRIS

One of Australia’s most famous poets, Dorothea Mackeller, who died in 1968 at the age of 83, is credited with writing the two most quoted lines of Australian literature – “I love a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains …” which come from her poem, My Country.

Tarrangaua, the home of Miss Mackellar, built on the shores of Lovett Bay, is dated from 1925. Dorothea was, said Susan Duncan in her biography, “wealthy, single, forty years old and already involved in a love affair with the brandy bottle.”

Duncan said: “I cannot ask how the name came about. Perhaps she sat around the dinner table with a group of guests and … they played a game to invent the best title. The name is certainly grand, and so was she.”

Only by boat can you make contact with Lovett Bay … “or walk along … the escarpment the … down into the valleys of the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park … and take about an hour and half … with steep rocky tracks where you can easily lose your footing … In contrast, the boat trip trip is five minutes …”

LONELY CHILD

Explained Susan Duncan, “Tarrangaua, the pale yellow house with the corridor of columns and the long veranda,” was perched “on the high, rough hill.”

Australian author Di Morrissey, “who grew up in a house just beyond Frog Hollow”, was invited to open an art exhibition in a boatshed built by a friend. That day, Di talked the about time she crossed paths with Dorothea Mackellar. Di was nine years old and a “lonely child”.

It was an evocative speech. Here is a part it.

“Dorothea, or Miss Mackellar – she was only ever known as Miss Mackellar – asked me what I was doing,” Di explained, standing in the long, beamed sitting room in a misty pink suit, her bright blonde hair piled high on her head. “I told her I was looking for fairies.”

I WANT TO WRITE

Dorothea asked Di: “Have you found any? May I help you?”

”And so we set off looking for fairies together,” Di continues. Dorothea asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. ‘”I want to be a writer,” I told her, wide-eyed and innocent of her fame. “” Do you?” she replied. “Well, I write a little, too. Would you like me to recite a poem I’ve written?”

“Oh yes, please,” I said.

Dorothea, spoke with a Scottish burr, recited every verse of her iconic poem, My Country.

“After her speech to open the art exhibition ended, I asked Di what Dorothea Mackellar wore that day she met her.”
“A long, dark dress and a hat, I think. Yes, that was it. A rather dull coloured dress, navy and black, in a heavy fabric. The hat was quite big. Straw, I think.”

“I wish Barbara, who was writing in life about Dorothea Mackeller, had been able to hear Di’s words.” Barbara occupied Tarrangaua before I did.

<< The House at Salvation Creek by Susan Duncan; Penguin Books; 2012.

May: Towards the end of Barbara’s document on the life of Dorothea Mackellar, she touched on the history of Tarrangaua.

Dorothea or Miss Mackellar? Dorothea, circa 1926, photograph at home, Tarrangaua. Di. “What you want to be?” Said Di, “I want to be a writer!”


Queen Victoria Building: A major facelift, and Queen Victoria reigns again!

DURING 1984 AND FOR THE NEXT TWO YEARS, THE QVB UNDERWENT AN INTENSIVE SERIES OF MODERNISATION, RESTORING IT TO ITS FORMER ELEGANCE AND GRANDEUR!

FRANCIS ROLLEY

DOORS OPENED: THE QUEEN VICTORIA , RESTORED TO IT’S FORMER ELEGANCE AND GRANDEUR, REIGNS. Below: THE RESTORED STAINED GLASS WINDOWS. Below: ORNATE COLUMNS, DOMES AND FIGUREHEADS, WHICH GAVE THE AURA OF A BYZANTINE PALACE.

In the business heart of Sydney recently, a massive sandstone edifice covering the entire city block and rising two levels above traffic-snarled streets, opened its elegant solid timber doors to the shoppers.

The grand Queen Victoria Building, first opened in 1898 to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the then reigning British Monarch, had been reborn. After an illustrious history which, in recent years before its refurbishment, had seen it fall a state of disrepair.

It was originally built in five years at a cost of 261,000 pounds to resemble a Byzantine Palace with exteriors of finely dressed Waverley sandstone and a spacious interior of superb arches, vast intricate tile patterns and miles of stained glass.

At the turn of the century, the stately building was incongruously used as the city’s produce markets; the upper two gallery levels contained shops and cafes.

PARTLY EMPTY

The impressive roof took the form of a half barrel made of glass and gave rise to the comment at the time that the gallery walks were “streets within streets flooded with natural light”. The building remained the Sydney City Markets until 1910.

They moved to the Haymarket, and the magnificent Queen Victoria edifice began a period of neglect; interspersed regularly by the authorities to upgrade it.

In 1917, the City Council altered and refurnished the interior of the partly empty building in an attempt to make it economically successful. In the 1930s, it was transformed to house the Sydney City Library.

During this “modernisation” much of the ornate plasterwork, stained glass windows, grand columns, sweeping arches, were stripped from the building and its ground floor and galleries were converted in to a rabbit-warren of offices.

For 50 years, the once elegant Queen Victoria Building, sank to its lowest depths, thanks to the lack of maintenance and damage. The building assumed the appearance of a sleazy, aging, dirty stone monolith in the centre of the city.

BEST IN THE WORLD

Then from March 1984 to November 1986, the QVB – as it had become known – underwent a major facelift which restored it to its former elegance and grandeur. The cost? $75 million.

The Queen Victoria Building is what now can be described as an up-market shopping centre. It houses over 200 shops, cafes and restaurants; and an underground entrance to QVB from Town Hall station. But the outstanding feature of the new shops in the proliferation of fashion boutiques which boast the best in fashion from head to toe, from both Australia and overseas.

The building is linked to both Town Hall Railway Station and Grace Brothers by arcades designed in the original Victoria era character. There is parking for over 720 cars. It is open seven days a week for visitors to stroll through the building, window-shopping.

It’s an experience unparalleled in a building that people like Pierre Cardin have called it as “the most beautiful shopping centre in the world”. Adapted by Frank Morris.

<< Expressions Magazine. Vol 1, No 1, 1987.

COMING: QVB – Celebrating 120 glorious years. Also, dates to remember.


LET’S LAUGH! It’s moments like these you need Minties!

From Sun Books, Melbourne. Artist: Syd Nicholls. He was associated with Minties since cartoons began being used behind the nation’s catch-cry in 1927.

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 02 August 18

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