I’ve always been interested in how literature reflects and affects society. Perhaps that’s why I am fascinated by the Lays of Ancient Rome. On the other hand, it could just be because they sound cool.
The Lays are a collection of poems by Thomas Babington Macaulay. They are Roman ballads, set in Ancient Rome about Roman heroes, yet were written in 1842 by a Victorian gentleman.
In primary school the music teacher showed us the musical ‘Cats’ by Arthur Lloyd Webber and Trever Nunn. I found it rather odd, to be honest, but some part of it must have stuck with me, because I ended up performing the ‘Macavity’ song as a poem at the school talent night with a friend.
It wasn’t until much later that I developed a love for the song ‘Memory’ – immortalised by Elaine Paige in the 1981 musical, and by many artists afterwards (perhaps most recently Susan Boyle).
The song is sung by Grizabella, a cat who is old, tired and broken, yet longs to begin a new life. It is the climax of the musical and is based on two of T. S. Elliot’s poems.
I read The Call of the Wild bit by bit during “reading time” in Year 4. It is a relatively short novel by Jack London, published in 1903, but set in the 1890s Canadian Gold Rush. It tells the story of a pet St. Bernard-Scotch Shepherd dog, stolen from his pampered home and put to work as a sleigh dog in a brutal world where the toughest survive and everyone else, whether man or animal, perishes.
It had such an impact on me when I first read it that I have been almost afraid to read it since, and so these reflections are 12 years old.
The Adventures of Sam was a 1997 animated Australian children’s television serial consisting of 13 consecutive episodes, featuring an escaped convict boy named Sam, his magpie Swoop, and his friend Bridie. Set in the 1850s, it follows his journey around the world to find his lost brother and obtain freedom. Along the way he makes friends, becomes entangled in several ‘historic’ moments and narrowly avoids capture by the Australian authorities. Each episode ends in a cliff-hanger, and the serials tagline was “From Sydney to Singapore and beyond!”
Gattaca is a 1997 film about a future where most babies are genetically engineered at birth. Born the natural way, Vincent is an ‘in-valid’, an outcast from society. In order to achieve his dream of becoming an astronaut, he takes the identity of a crippled ‘valid’ and sacrifices everything to infiltrate the space academy. Yet when the head of the space mission is murdered, he learns that he cannot escape his past forever…
This was my HSC text, and I’ve watched it too many times to count.
The Tin-Tin series by Belgium writer Herge (made into a cartoon series by the same name, and also a relatively recent film) was (and still is!) a love of mine. I distinctly remember reading them in the library at lunch time while the people next to me raced each other in “Where’s Wally?” and “I Spy” competitions.
They are a collection of 24 comic books about the adventures of Tin-Tin, a Belgium reporter and his dog Snowy. The history of their conception and publication is an intriguing read in itself, worth the google 😉
What I love
The characters! They are utterly hilarious. Captain Haddock with his “billions of blue blistering barnacles” and fiery temper always makes me laugh – as do Thomson and Thompson, the luckless and idiotic detectives, and oblivious Professor Calculus with his perchance for mis-hearing information.
This is just a fun look at what I actually keep in my car. To be honest, it surprised even me!
What I have in my car
When you live in two different places and work in another your car becomes practically an extra appendage.
And so, for fun, I decided to take a survey of what’s inside it. My dad is always complaining that it’s messy – but, I promise you, it’s all stuff I need!
… (and not the obvious ones)
I’ve been working full time for a year now. Lots of things have changed, and lots of things really haven’t. Some days are brilliant in a bright-sparkling way, and others are brilliant in a more contented-comfortable manner. Some days are hard in a tired-boring manner, and others are hard in a difficult-challenging way.
On a side note, I’ve discovered a curious phenomenon. Over all, when I’m at work I enjoy it, and it seems to expand to become my world. When I’m not at work, I enjoy it and life-besides-work grows to become my world instead. When I’m in one universe the other looks small and unfulfilling, until I get there, and realise the other world is the limited one.
Will I spend my life hopping back and forth between universes? Is this the same with every occupation – it becomes our world until we leave it? What consequences does this have? Is it right?
Another Friday, another thing I love.
I can’t sing, but I like singing.
I physically cannot keep a tune or even sing a recognizable song very often, but I enjoy singing songs. More so than listening to them. I enjoy singing in church, and the person I sit next to in the evening service has been blessed with a good voice. And so I sing loudly and only hear his in-tune voice. It’s great. I’d recommended it. Very enjoyable, and a bit of an ego booster too!
It’s Friday, which means sharing something I love. It isn’t easy to share this poem. You see, it’s not very ‘Christian’.
In fact, the narrator seems determined to defy God, refusing salvation and clinging to his own strength and fearlessness. It is a poem that praises humanity and the human condition, and exults it to a status far above any deity that may exist.
And yet, I like it.