Category Archives: From the web

Dory Previn

Dory Previn died on Valentine’s Day.

It seems appropriate when writing about her to move into too-much-information mode, so let me say that I first heard her music after a sexual embarrassment. My companion got out of bed, turned on the light, put an LP on the stereo and played  ‘Don’t Put Him Down’ from Mary C. Brown and the Hollywood Sign.

I can’t say that it relieved my chagrin, but it did make me a fan.

There’s an obituary in today’s Sydney Morning Herald, truncated from the Guardian, and a much more comprehensive and better informed one in the New York Times. Both the Herald and the Times mention Joby Baker, her husband since 1986, but neither tell us anything she did since she married him. The full Guardian obituary does mention Planet Blue (a musical protest against the invasion of Iraq, which you can download from the link) and her two volumes of autobiography. Astonishingly, one of the bits that the Herald omitted was her collaboration with Andre Previn in 1996, surely something that gives shape to a story that otherwise is a parable about the dangers of psychiatric drugs.

She did a long interview with Bernadette Cahill in 2005, in which she comes across as a bit scattered, but very much alive. It’s in two parts here and here.

The Story of Stuff

This has been around for a while, but just in case you haven’t seen it, here it is for your instruction. Annie Leonard spent 10 years researching the materials economy and made this incredibly lucid video The Story of Stuff:

That was a while back. Just recently the Story of Stuff Project uploaded a new video, The Story of Broke:

‘So where is all that money going?’

I like the way she never mentions Marx – though she does seem to mean capitalism when she talks about the dinosaur economy.

Pretty as a picture

I love the way Blogger can display its blog in a number of ‘views’. In particular, I love the Mosaic view of my ‘Reading and Watching Diary’ blog, which exists mainly so I can have that list of books, movies and so on over in the right hand column of this blog.

The new Bond movie

The first Bond movie directed by a woman. Starring Daniel Craig and Judi Dench, directed by Sam (‘Nowhere Boy’) Taylor Woods, written by Jane (‘Kick Ass’) Goldman, it’s only 2 and a bit minutes long. Have a watch. And my belated wishes for a happy International Women’s Day.

I saw it on

Re-enchantment is live

Re-enchantment, an interactive website exploring the history and meanings of seven of the best known fairy tales that has been a very long time coming, was launched yesterday and is now live on the ABC, at I’ve had a quick look at the finished product, and though I have seen various beta versions, I was blown away. It’s gorgeous to look at, and the content is intriguing. Even the mechanics – working out which sparkly or moving images to click on and seeing where they take you – are great, allowing staid old folk like me a chance to share the thrill we’ve witnessed over young gamers’ shoulders. Some bits are slow to load on my computer, but that’s a minor irritation.

I’ve just programmed my TV to record the interstitial shorts being shown on the ABC over the next couple of weeks. In case you want to keep an eye out for them as well, and bearing in mind that the ABC may vary its schedule in response to teh next natural or political disaster, they’re:

Episode 1: Ever After (ABC1 Sunday 6 March, 4.30 pm)

Fairy tales, sometimes called wonder tales, have existed for thousands of years before they appeared as children’s stories. Why have they continued to appeal to adults across continents and across cultures?

Episode 2: If the Shoe Fits (ABC1 Sunday 6 March, 10.30 pm)

Cinderella is one of most popular fairy tales. Why has it survived for over a thousand years?

Episode 3: Wicked Stepmothers (ABC1 Friday 11 March, 10.55 pm)

Fairy tales are full of evil stepmothers and wicked witches. Why have these negative portrayals of women survived?

Episode 4: Princess Culture  (ABC1 Sunday 13 March,  2.55 pm)

Are fairy tales responsible for our fantasies about princes and princesses?

Episode 5: Into the Woods (ABC1 Sunday 13 March, 10.30 pm)

Why is it that so many fairy tales take us into the forest?

Episode 6: Dark Emotions (ABC1 Friday 18 March, 10.55 pm)

Is it the dark side of fairy tales that makes them so valuable psychologically?

Episode 7: Beastly Husbands (ABC1 Sunday 20 March, 4.55 pm)

Animal bridegroom stories where a woman marries an animal husband exist in most cultures. Why have these stories been so popular?

Episode 8: The Forbidden Room (ABC1 Sunday 20 March, 10.30 pm)

The mystery beyond the door is a very familiar motif to modern audiences. What is the meaning of the forbidden room?

Episode 9: Fairy Tale Sex (ABC1 Friday 25 March, 10.55 pm)

Romance, princes and princesses are all associated with fairy stories, but what do they say about sex?

Episode 10: Re-imaginings (ABC1 Sunday 27 March, 10.30 pm)

Fairy stories aren’t relics of the past. They are constantly being re-interpreted in new ways by visual artists and writers.

Re-enchantment coming soon

No time to blog. No time to catch up with emails. Moving house. All is well. Probably.

I’ve just sat down to my email for the first time in days, and found notice that my friend Sarah’s brilliant, interactive web site, Re-enchantment, is to be launched in March. There’s a three minute trailer on the ABC site. I can’t embed it, sorry, but do click on the link.

The official launch will be at the Adelaide Film Festival at the Palace Cinema on Wednesday 2 March at 5.00pm –  a free event open to the public. The website will go live on the ABC that same day.

The Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Melbourne will host a two-day Re-enchantment Symposium on Thursday 10 and Friday 11 March 2011, called Fairy Tales Re-imagined: From Werewolf to Forbidden Room.

There will be Sydney launch on the evening of Thursday 24 March at the Surry Hills Library.

‘We live together or we die together’

Have a look at this:

Thousands of Muslims honored a promise made by their leaders and showed up at Christmas Mass or at candlelight vigils outside Egyptian churches on Friday, offering their bodies as human shields against any acts of terrorists. The observances were tense, in view of the New Year’s Day bombing of a cathedral in Alexandria, which killed 21. The Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas on January 7. Among those Muslims making this statement was beloved comedian Adil Imam. Since the 1990s Imam has been active in combating radicalism, memorably in his film “Kebab and Terrorism” (Kebab wa Irhab).

Thanks to Patrick Nielsen Hayden.

Coming soon to ABC on the web

An exciting bookmark: Re-enchantment, coming soon to (the link isn’t dead, it’s just not live yet). It’s an interactive documentary about the hidden world of fairytales by Sarah Gibson. If you haven’t heard about it before, you heard about it first here.

Capitalism never solves its crisis problems …

… It moves them around geographically.

Have a look at this, a lecture by David Harvey rendered as an ‘Animate’ by RSA, for:

a) brilliant use of cartoon illustration

b) lucidity about the GFC

c) all round coolness.

RSA has similarly animated  lectures by, for example, Barbara Ehrenreich and Jeremy Rifkin, to brilliant effect.

Thanks to Felix Salmon, and before that Making Light’s particles.

From Freecycle

Freecycle is a wonderful system for giving away stuff without leaving it sitting on the nature strip exposed to the weather. Occasionally it’s exploited by secondhand dealers (which I realised after the same person had taken four large pieces of furniture off our hands – I will no longer respond to her emails), and people do post requests for things that may be hanging around unused in other people’s houses –baby clothes, car seats, etc. A Freecycle member named Chris seems to have had some kind of crisis induced by the optimism of some of these requests, and struck back today with this lovely bit of outrageousness. I especially like the opening sentence, a nice reference to the kinds of notes that often accompany requests and offers:

Subject: [freecycle_sc] Wanted :  Lamborghini preferably 2009 model

Only genuine offerers need reply to this email I really don’t want anyone to waste my time.

If you have one up on blocks in the backyard I would be very interested in re registering it and using it for sporadic trips to the nearest ALDI supermarket for the weekly shopping.

I know that this is a really long shot but if you also have roof racks to suit that would be great as I was hoping someone here in freecycle land has a spare jet ski in their garage that they also don’t use any more that I could place on said racks and transport it at breakneck speed to the nearest waterway when I have the urge to use it.

Thanks in advance and happy freecycling

PS . I don’t want to bug you all but some straps to tie down the jet ski would be awesome. and possibly a few dollars toward the first tank of fuel wouldn’t go astray.

This almost made up for Marion being kicked off Master Chef (though Aaron’s dismay at beating her was one of the sweetest things I’ve seen on the box for a long time).