Category Archives: Aussie

Community of Authors Shine

THIS anthology follows on from the critically acclaimed debut volume The Writing on the Wall.

Writers from the Moreton Bay Region of Australia present 24 short stories, each one illustrated by an accomplished artist in Can you believe it…

This is the middle volume of a three-year Arts Alliance Pine Rivers project to showcase the writing and artistic talents of a local community.
This second anthology add a smattering of poetry, ranging from the comic through parodies to the lyrical.
In both words and illustrations, contributors range from people who earn or have earned a living from writing or art to those being published for the first time. The age range of the authors is from 16 to writers in their 80s. At least two of our authors do not have English as a first language. Two of the contributors are 16-year-olds, Sarah Hewitt-Howell and Maddi Mitchell.
Ken Armstrong digital art for Kay Curran’s Brilliant Colours about an artistic boy who learns about life from colours 
The stories range in style from humour to dark tales.
In this volume darker stories dominate, perhaps attesting to a bleak house at the centre of today’s world But even sombre stories have the power to uplift.
Michelle Caitens art for Maddi Mitchell’s
Too Late for Heroes 

Some of the illustrations are from award-winning international artists which is a huge bonus.
Elena Ventura illustration for Anne Ollson story 
Best Mates

This volume and its sequel Sweet and Sour combine for the perfect gidt for someone with a keen eye for a literary, albeit with some flaws, among the genres.
Buy Can you believe it… HERE 

Here is our celebratory video

Horseys painties and big bucksies

REMIND me not to bet on anything with fewer than four legs.
Aussie bookmaker  Tom Waterhouse was betting $1.90 Edvard Munch’s pastel painting The Scream would fetch more than $106.5M at an auction at Sotheby’s auction in New York.
My considered opinion was it would go for a mere pittance, less than, $80M. I was way off.
The Scream went for chump change under $120M.
The winning bid was taken by a Sotheby’s executive, and the bidder was not identified.
One of four versions by  Norwegian artist Munch, but the only one in private hands, The Scream easily topped the previous auction record held by Picasso’s Nude, green leaves and bust, which went for a piddling $106.5 million at Christie’s two years ago.
It is reported the sales room at Sotheby’s erupted in applause and cheering when the hammer came down. A few titters of laughter came from those who had read my estimation had paid 50% too much. I believe the laughter was directed at me rather than the buyer.
I could go on about some people having too much money and I will for a bit. Two resolute bidders drew away from the original field of seven to drive the price up by telephone.
Overall, the Sotheby fetched a record $330 million with Picasso’s Femme assise dans un fauteuil, selling  for $29.2M; Miro’s Tete humaine taking $14.86M out of someone’s purse and Dali’s  Printemps necrophilique, gathering  $16.3M in the dead of spring.
Talking of the dead, I made my money today on the annual Grand National Steeplechase at Warnambool, Victoria, here in Australia.
I say dead as the music for the unofficial Aussie national anthem Waltzing Matilda was supposedly the modification of a tune Christina Macpherson heard at this race meeting in 1894. I say dead also in remembrance of the horses and jockeys who have lost their lives during the atavistic sport of jumps racing.
I support the abolition of jumps racing while I will bet on them as long as they continue. You might call that horsey hypocrisy and it would be a good call. As I mentioned in my previous column, we Aussies will bet on two flies crawling up a wall.
Great Britain is the thorn in the side of a world-wide ban on jumps racing. Racetracks there have total programs with jumps racing. Many expensive racehorses run on both the flat and over jumps. The Grand National Steeplechase is an institution.
Banning jumps racehorses would create more reaction than recent attempts to stop the barbaric fox hunting. Oscar Wilde was awake to the essence of that sport  more than a century ago. He called it “the unspeakable in pursuit of the edible”.
Without presuming to improve in Wilde, he could have said the “ineffable in pursuit”. The prefix “in’’  can convey emphasis instead of negativity. Extreme ‘’effers” support fox hunting and jumps racing.
For more of my extreme pontifications see 7 Shouts at Google eBooks or  Amazon.

7 Aussie sayings in 7 Shouts

I THOUGHT everyone loved rhyming slang but I was wrong.
During a bout of immersion in Aussie slang through my weekly column 7 Shouts, a reader wrote in to protest.
She said Aussie rhyming slang and slang in general were provincial and uncouth.
I took mild offence to the observation and was about to offer to write a short but spirited defence of slang at the bottom of the reader’s published letter. Thinking about it some more, I decided I had my weekly column and I should leave the letter’s page to readers.
Rhyming slang originated in Cockney London but Australians long ago imported it and contributed to the lexicon with relish.
In the 1943 Hollywood rom-com Mr Lucky, Cary Grant used it to effect as something of plot mover. I am not sure whether Grant’s character says he picked it up in Australia or whether his butler picked it up in Oz. But it definitely came from Orstraytlya, as Grant pronounces our country.
Some of the expressions were “briny marlin” (darlin’) “bottles and stoppers” (coppers, police), “tit for tat” (hat) and “lady from Bristol” (pistol). A particularly amusing one to today’s ears, especially as it came from Hollywood is “heap of coke” (bloke, man).
In the film, Gary Grant plays a professional gambler and uses the slang in a coded interchange with leading lady Laraine Day to thwart the corrupt bottles and stoppers. This is in keeping with the popular academic theory rhyming slang was used by the criminal classes to exclude authorities from an understanding of the true meaning of the conversation.
There may be some truth in this but I prefer the simpler explanation rhyming slang was used because it was fun. Even the notion of slang excluding outsiders has overtones of an in-joke. Some very perceptive person, and I do not know who it was, coined the phrase “poetry of the streets’’ to describe slang.
I borrowed the term for my book of newspaper columns and potted observations on Australian and world culture, 7 Shouts.
I will now put the case for the defence which I eschewed on that letters’ page.
First, rhyming slang is somewhat sophisticated.  A working class purist would never use the full expression as the Grant character was forced to do to make it explicable to the viewer. Briny is a darlin’; bottles are coppers and a lady is a pistol. You can see the pattern which gets even better; titfa is a hat.
So here we go with the seven – some rhyming slang, some relatives – from 7 Shouts:
1.       Frog’nis a road as in frog ‘n’ toad. Let’s hit the frog’n on our trip down Slang Street.
2.      Khyber is arse or ass, in America. A ban on further spoon feeding precludes my saying what the second word is. But I will note that you can receive a kick up the Khyber or you can get the khyber (be fired from your job). When I say rhyming slang is sophisticated, I believe it can trigger imagery and associations. Frog’n reminds me of a dead toad on the road and I associate losing your job with having the “arse out of your pants”, an expressive metaphor.
Billies are kids and I will give a clue because not everyone will be familiar with boiling water in a tin on an open fire to make tea, or these days, coffee.  The billy, about the height of an electric jug, usually has a wire handle and a lid. I see that as an effective metaphor for a child.
3.      Rubbity is a pub, itself a contraction of public bar, the traditionally working-class section of a hotel. Rubbity comes from the English nursery rhyme rub-a-dub-dub. At their best, pubs can be places of child-like fun.
4.      Rissole is an RSL club, a gathering place for returned soldiers and their family. While not strictly following the template for rhyming slang, you can see the connection with a play on words or rather the sound of an acronym. A rissole is a round meat patty. As I have said one of the imaginative products of slang is the triggering of other loosely related expressions. When I hear rissole for RSL, it conjures up another expression, “see you round like a rissole’’. The picture of someone peering into an RSL club, reminds me of, “if I don’t see you the through the week, I’ll see you through the window.” It’s fun and it’s all good.
5.      Crab, on another tangent, is a nickname for a sponger. Like rhyming slang, it omits the second word, claw, in its reference to someone who puts the bite on you. I always think of the fearsome yet delicious Australian mudcrab which has been known to crack the bones in a finger of a careless handler.
6.      Chooks scratching around in the top paddock is an expression far removed from the basic rhyming slang but you can see it is clearly just an advanced metaphor in the poetry of the streets. Chooks are chickens perhaps changed to be an approximation of one of the sounds poultry make. Chickens constantly scratch the ground and the top paddock is the brain. In total, the picture is of someone lacking clear thought.
What is a clear thought is that slang is fun.
You can buy 7 Shouts HERE.