Daily Archives: July 12, 2010

The Painted Veil

“Lift not the painted veil which those who live
Call Life: though unreal shapes be pictured there,
And it but mimic all we would believe
With colours idly spread,—behind, lurk Fear
And Hope, twin Destinies; who ever weave
Their shadows, o’er the chasm, sightless and drear.”
— P B Shelley

W. Somerset Maugham used ‘Lift not the painted veil which those who live Call Life’ as inspiration for his novel ‘The Painted Veil’ which was set in China.

I saw the film adaptation a couple of years ago.

It was a  film which I liked even though it was just a love story. One trailer says: “The greatest journey is the distance between two people.” I wonder who thinks up these catchy phrases.

The Painted Veil starred the Australian actor, Naomi Watts, who was so good in the strange and quirky thiller, Mulholland Drive.

Here is a synopsis which I found on the web:

The Painted Veil is a love story set in the 1920s that tells the story of a young English couple, Walter, a middle class doctor and Kitty, an upper-class woman, who get married for the wrong reasons and relocate to Shanghai, where she falls in love with someone else.

When he uncovers her infidelity, in an act of vengeance, he accepts a job in a remote village in China ravaged by a deadly epidemic, and takes her along.

Their journey brings meaning to their relationship and gives them purpose in one of the most remote and beautiful places on earth.

The film trailer says “Sometimes the greatest journey is the distance between two people”

Now there’s a job for the alienated worker — writing pithy captions for film trailers in Hollywood (sic).

Kooi plays Wed 21 July at the Troubadour

Peter at the Troubadour in the Valley, I’m playing guitar and singing my songs of a jazz, reggae and african meld with Tom Hinchliffe on bass and singing harmonies. We’ll possibly have the input of other friends’ rhythm and melody as well.


the troubadour gig with myself and Jeunae has been postponed to next wed, july 21.  Mis-communications at the troubadour has led to renovations taking place there tomorrow night.

same time 8pm, $5 entry.

Please spread the word

Before us playing ukelele and guitar is singer-songwriter Jeunae (pronounced with a ‘sh’ sound blended with the ‘j’), She sings of a gypsy, jazzy, folky vein and is a member of ‘Stop it I love it.’, the captivating all-women dance and song collective. She’ll be joined by a few friends, probably myself included. I asked her on Saturday wether she could play and I’m glad she was keen. She just happened to be down from her home at Black Mountain, inland from the Sunny Coast. I’m looking forward to hearing her.

It’s a bit of a last minute thing as my friend from Melbourne who organised the show for himself to play at could not make it. But it’s going to be a good night of music anyway in the warm sound and scene of the troubadour.

so come if you please. Show starts at 8. $5 entry. the Troubadour, 2/322 Brunswick st mall, Fortitude Valley


Leftside: wavin’ on the breeze

wavin' on the breeze - mua here to stay may day 1998

'wavin' on the breeze' by jim sharp - mua here to stay!: May Day 1998

Book Launch of jim sharp’s book of poems, ‘leftside’

Saturday 31st Jul at 3:00- 5:00pm
TLC Building 16 Peel St., South Brisbane.

talks by Humphrey McQueen and Craig Buckley (meatworkers union) music by Jumping Fences and poetry reading Ross Clark
See you then!

Whetting his expressiveness on the everyday, as in “the waitress”, Jim recognises a significance in what appears to be little more than alienated labour. His own translation from illiteracy into art speaks to his trust that all of life might be transformed through the self-emancipation of his class.’ – Humphrey McQueen
Read more….
He’s made a pen of his boning knife and set about eviscerating cant and claptrap. All that accumulated experience, learning, reflecting, sizing up is the muscle behind that blade filleting the body politic, hauling its carcass up on his butcher’s hook; ‘upside down power! wi trickle down-sizin’/and a billion starving people”.’ – Ray Hearne
Read more…

Jim Sharp …:
Thru poetry, I have tried to express my thoughts on me roots in rotherham, my journey to australia, my involvement in the meat industry & the workers’ struggle, the peace, disarmament, indigenous rights, and women’s movement, and the general struggle for socialism.  They also help me to express my feelings and experiences about life and people – friends, lovers, comrades, & family.
Read more.

Purchase this book online:
published by
Ginninderra Press
PO Box 3461
Port Adelaide 5015

Some photos:


Three Poems from Leftside

principles & particulars
there’s alus two sides to every question
and recognisin’ the principles be easy
whilst understandin’ particular particulars
and takin’ the appropriate steps
calls for much collective wisdom.


come! … uncle jim
come here … come here!
and i’ll show you how i dance.

and  wildly she spins
in her girlish excitement
one uninhibited life force
of dance & music within her soul.

handheld tools
…….[man makes the tool & the tool makes the man?]
i remember yesteryear when our hands were tools
where as a bairn earning pocket monies i’d be seen
striding across a farmers spring-prepared field
a seed basket slung over me shoulders
and ever mindful of the strength of the breeze
whilst sowing me hands full of new life
which fell in-waiting for a shower of rain
i remember yesterday’s meatworkers handheld steel tools
and the mechanical chain a monster timed to the second
and the boners’ 48-inches of elbow room work space
where only a well honed knife & our own learnt proficiency
eased away those daily aches & pains, but not
the mind numbing “shit on the liver” complaint!

nevertheless we all aspired to be a gun-boner’sboner
with the ability to grind remake & hone a fine knife’s edge &
steel the steel like a maestro violinist making his stradivarius sing
coz only then can a gun boner make every cut a winner
as well as winning the generous smiles of everyday boners

nowadays in me fag end days my machine driven tool
be my handheld oxford electronic dictionary & thesaurus
on which me fingers dance ever so lightly across the keys
while calling upon what little rudiments one got from schooling
i’m learning to read real deadly stuff & write poetry & all that
‘tis fun not wage labour living to work making words work
whilst rising as a social being studying kinder late
marx’s labour theory of value & all that!

coz after fifty years of wage slavery earning nought but
enuff bread for me & the family
it was our union’s daily democratic tradition which larded
my autodidactic motor mouth with words for occasions
and yet! it’ll take more than my class instincts
for the social continuum to mature
and shud one spruik about that then without class unity
the sack & blacklisting wud be your lot for sure

meanwhile from conception to consumption
farmers sow & reap the matured seeds
truckies truck to feed-lots & then to the abattoirs
where slaughtermen process the cattle &
boners bone & slicers cut the beef into piece meats
followed by the packers doing quality control
packing individual pieces into cryovac bags
thereafter supermarket chains sell to the multitudes
nature & the social means of production


Stradbroke Island is sacred Aboriginal land colonised by the British in the 19th century, the land is called Minjerribah. For over 50 years sand miners have had their way with Minjerribah – Stradbroke Island (Straddie). Once in a while there … Continue reading