I was in the Blessed Sacrament chapel at St Stephen’s a couple of days ago, listening distractedly to the sermon echoing in the body of the cathedral behind me, as I drifted off sleepily. The almost indecipherable words commanding attention from some unseen source reminded me of another sensation. I suddenly realised that one of the defining characteristics of the state of drifting into sleep is a similar loss of precision in things heard.
As you slip over the edge, some sounds retain a grip on the attention longer than the rest; familiar voices, for example. It’s not that these foreground sounds echo—indeed they seem to become sharper—but that the auditory background becomes blurred, so that the voice that arrests your melting attention becomes detached, and drifts off above the blurring and echoing sounds below. It was a sensation frequently noticed and immediately forgotten, brought back by this auditory accident before the tabernacle.
I don’t enjoy aspirin the way I used to. Aspirin used to be a taste sensation for me. I would always chew the tablets, for that shrapnel burst of salicylate, almost as mouth-curdling in its own way as lemon, and it seemed to me that the analgesic effect was kick-started with the absorption of that distinctive taste. I don’t think that the generic aspirin I buy tastes any different, but it has lost most of its interest; a consequence—another consequence—of the breakdown of discipline and morale in the body’s engineering corps that comes with advancing years. Continue reading “Night Vision”
Jen’s been doing it hard. In order to let me get another 7 months’ work at the Labs in Bristol, she resigned from her beloved Intensive Care Unit back in the middle of 2006. She could only take 12 months leave without pay, and time was up. By the time we came back, a little less than a year later, that rule had changed to allow 3 years leave, but it was too late for Jen. Continue reading “A divorce you don’t want”
We had a day for it, all right. It was, I think, the 3rd of August, a Friday, in what we would always have considered the depths of winter. It’s a Brisbane winter we’re talking about, and it can be cold and windy on Moreton Bay, but that Friday was, as you can see, balmy—blue sky, green-blue water, and a light wind. The water-taxi took us from Redland Bay out between Macleay and Coochiemudlo Islands, then up to Peel Island. Once we rounded Peel, we were looking across the broad expanse of the bay, with the port just visible to the west, Moreton Island to the north-east, and northern-most part of North Stradbroke to the east. Continue reading “Ashes”
It’s a movie about the singer in a band, and it hangs on the music. The music is pretty good. The singer -songwriter is Ian Curtis, and the band is Joy Division. Joy Division, which transmuted into New Order after Curtis’ death, were after my time, and I was not familiar with any of their music. Bowie tunes in on the soundtrack early on; there’s a touch of Kraftwerk, Iggy Pop, The Buzzcocks and Various Artists of the period. Joy Division feature, not unexpectedly, and New Order provides a track or two, plus incidentals. Some of it illustrates the unreasonableness of showing this movie in any venue without a dance floor. The actor-musicians—or musician-actors—roll their own in all scenes of the band playing, and a fine fist they make of it. I could be persuaded that the development of New Order‘s music influenced the covers on-screen, especially in the drive of the drumming. Continue reading “Joy. Division.”
Peter and I went to the movies last Tuesday to see The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.
We came out pretty much shell-shocked, so to speak. Neither of us had any problem with the length of the movie, although Peter started to wonder how things would develop while the first scene—in the forest on the afternoon before the train robbery— was being played out. With nightfall, the movie wrapped itself around our attention and didn’t let go until the credits were rolling. Continue reading “Jesse and Bob”
More accurately, a coining jar. This is our hi-tech, financially savvy way of investing for one important element of our future—the next trip.
There’s been much brouhaha about the pulling of Channel 9’s coverage of the Howard-Rudd debate because 9 insisted on showing the “uncommitted voters” responses to the debate in the form of the “worm”, a continuously updated graph of said responses, overlaid on the bottom of the image. This despite Howard’s setting it as a condition of the debate that the “worm” not be used. Continue reading “The Turn of the Worm”
I’ve started going to Mass again, although I am not in communion, and I don’t know that I will be able to take that step. I feel the pull of it again though, and I feel a great deal calmer than I have for some time. The pressure of existence, especially the pressure of time, is not now so unrelenting. The wreckage of the past is not now so intolerably present. These benefits are, for the moment, associated with being present at Mass. They are a mild form of the consolation of prayer. Continue reading “Tell me why”
T came home one day, very pleased with herself. She had attended one of those day-long seminars that sweep through organizations, both private and public, at regular intervals in order to leach some of the spare cash out of the system. She was particularly chuffed about a game they had played. In the exercise, members of a team collectively negotiated a response to a situation of some kind, and then individually passed on their response. No one in the team knew the individual decisions until they had all been made. The catch was that the points garnered to each member of the team varied with the number who chose a particular response. If all members chose response A, each received, say 40 points. If, however, one person chose response B, while everyone else chose A, that person gained 100 points, while everyone else gained only 10. If everyone chose B, however, each person got only 5 points. As T explained it, the aim of the exercise was for individual members to maximise their points. It was more elaborate than that, with points schedules for every possible result, but you get the picture, I hope. Continue reading “Shame”