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

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