World Croggon Redux ~ theatre notes

Monday, July 23, 2007

World Croggon Redux

World Croggon is a little ott at the moment (for those not hip to the cyber-acronyms, it means over the top). While some of my beetle-browed brethren are glued to Harry Potter, and others are just crashed with the flu, Little Alison feels a little like Cadel Evans in last night's stage of Le Tour, going backwards despite his most dogged efforts as Alberto Contador and Michael Rasmussen fly past him on wings of steel. (Ok, I admit, my sleeping patterns are a little disrupted by an unseemly obsession with a bike race: but the metaphor still holds. I really felt for Evans last night).

Anyway, this is a hotchpotch post on some of the things that are taking up my time, and which might interest some of you.

First, Currency House has announced two free public discussion sessions on Lee Lewis's controversial paper on racial casting, one in Sydney and one in Melbourne, where Lee will be in conversation with me at the Malthouse on Wednesday August 15. Details are on Nicholas Pickard's blog. It promises to be a stimulating discussion, so grab the book, read it, form opinions and questions, and come and join in.

Second, I'm making a couple of rare poetical appearances in Melbourne in upcoming months. On Sunday July 26, I'm a guest at the Melbourne Writers Festival, for a session called Poets Against the War. I'll be reading a favourite poem (possibly Neruda's passionate protest against what happened to Lorca in the Spanish Civil War) as well as some of mine, and discussing poetry and war with Barry Hill and JS Harry.

Third, I'm also, to my delight, one of the 200 local artists who will be part of John Cage's Musicircus at the Melbourne Festival on Friday October 26. Look out for me: I'll be there somewhere, sometime, in the BMW Edge, possibly declaiming poems about mediaeval mystics.

Fourth, TN gets a brief mention in Sophie Cunningham's huge overview of blogging in Saturday's Age, which takes a whistle-stop tour through the world of writers' blogs, and which rehearses the debate around the value of blogging through writerly glasses. Worth a look.

Meanwhile, I've finally managed to finish a review for The Book Show of Iain Sinclair's gigantic book, London: City of Disappearances. A very late review. The staff at the ABC have been saintly in their patience. This book inspired lust in me when I saw it, and I don't regret volunteering to review it for one minute; but next time I plan to find one of those slim, lyrical, lucid masterpieces, like Alessandro Baricco's Silk, which you can read on the train because they're about 100 pages long...

Next on my to-do list is proofing an essay I've written for the anthology Navigating the Golden Compass, about Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, which is due to be published in the US next month. I daren't look further down. I think next week looks less squished, but it might just be an optical illusion.

Reviews on Thom Pain and The Eisteddfod up tomorrow. Promise.

9 comments:

Paul Martin said...

Poets Against the War is something that sounds dear to my heart so I have put this in my film calendar (you know I'm serious when it's in the film calendar). Until recent times, I had not been involved in anything political since the 1970's as a teenager.

It's a good two weeks after MIFF and I'll probably be all MIFF'd out, so it'll be good to go to something outside of a cinema.

Alison Croggon said...

You film people are crazy! I hope you survive; Matt says he's seeing 74 mmovies. (Brief pause to boggle). I can guarantee at least that a poetry reading isn't like a film...

Paul Martin said...

We're not all crazy. I'm expecting to see about 40, which is around 2 a day. I think 40 is too much cinema to digest in 19 days, but I'm flexible and will not necessarily go to everything I've booked. I rarely walk out of films but am prepared to to do this if they're not worth the effort. Matt told me 78 and I know of others who have booked 60-80. Between you and me, I think it's crazy too, but obviously the medium is different for others.

MIFF is screening nearly as many films as are released in Australian cinemas in a year. There is a real shortage of serious films during the year, so this is an intensive for the serious film-goer. I'm taking time off work and will take it pretty easy.

Poetry is not something I've attended before, so I'm interested to experience it in the context of anti-war. It sounds a little more political than what you express on TN. Twice in recent times I've toyed with politics on my blog and found it potentially explosive. One was in relation to The Age, another about a GetUp video clip of Louise Barry, a victim of the London bombings.

Alison Croggon said...

I try to keep more or less on topic here, so politics - as politics - turns up when it's applicable. As it is in the post above.

But underneath, this is a deeply political blog - in the sense that I think art is always political, and always, in one way or another, about freedom. And perhaps it's most political when it claims it isn't. I probably outlined my thoughts on this most clearly in a talk I gave at the Concert Hall (!!!) a few years ago called On the Imaginative Life and Social Responsibility of Writers (not my title) - online here if you're interested...

Paul Martin said...

I'm not specifically interested in politics, per se. My interest in the arts in general (and cinema in particular) is a concern with a sense of humanity that is conveyed by a medium. Speaking in generalities, the concern with politics begins when it invariably intrudes on the humanistic issues.

Casey B said...

Alison: how're you coping with the continuing crazy Tour shenanigans? Vinikourov booted, Rasmussen booted... it's like an Agatha Christie. Who will be left on their seats?

Alison Croggon said...

It's disappointing, no? There's Vinakourov, riding with such crazed courage, and then you discover that he tests positive. And it throws a shadow over the whole tour. If I were another rider (I mean, one who wasn't taking drugs - and to my amateur eye that seems like the majority) I'd be furious.

It also makes you cast your mind uneasily back over the reign of Armstrong. Somehow I'm watching even more compulsively, all the same.

alexf said...

i've been much too caught up in the tour to think about theatre for the last couple of weeks, and i've spent the last couple of days feeling absolutely gutted about the whole thing.

alison, have you discovered david millar's tour diary here:

http://www.bicycling.com/tourdefrance/0,6805,s1-7-0-0-0,00.html?location=_*topnav*

his piece on finding out about vinokourov (rest day 2: a fallen hero) is definitely worth a look.

Alison Croggon said...

Yes, I was more disappointed by Vinokourov than Rasmussen. There's one way of reading it, as Vino on his last chance to win, the hopes and pride of Kazakhstan on his shoulders, etc. (Us theatre people can't help thinking of the word "tragedy": and then you think about Pantani and what happened to him, and so it goes on - well, I guess it's part of that whole epic narrative that's so enthralling, the soap opera as well as the quest). The awful thing is that now those earlier victories are tainted; and of course you want to believe they weren't. But who knows?