And speaking of The Proposition, the Guardian travel section had a good interview with the director, John Hillcoat.
I think the final paragraph says most of what you need to know about Australia:
“Flight time: London-Brisbane 22
Last night I read Kinky Friedman‘s Blast From The Past. It’s always a joy reading Kinky.
Tim Berners-Lee on Web 2.0 (and other topics): “Mash-ups are called Web 2.0, but they are data integrations – taking a piece of display technology like a map application and doing a handcrafted data integration. I’ve yet to see a mash-up that uses semantic Web data and crafts it – the fact that everyone has their own mash-up tells the story. What I’ve always wanted to do is take an arbitrary thing, a data file, and if it’s got something that can be mapped, drop it into a map and see what occurs without programming.” (BCS)
And he has a blog!
While I’m in review mode, last week I read Playing the Moldovans at Tennis by Tony Hawks, who it turns out wrote the Beastie Boys parody, Stutter Rap (No Sleep ‘Til Bedtime). It was a good light read, and now I’ll know to carry a torch when trying to negotiate the streets of Moldova after dark.
I saw The Proposition tonight. It was a lot gorier than films I’d normally see but overall I liked it. I don’t know if it was the cinematography or the impact of the countryside itself but I was almost surprised to remember that I’d see Islington, not the outback, when I left the cinema.
The English garden and fine china were almost over-played but I think it’s impossible to really express how alien the country must have seemed to people who’ve grown up with it. I used to be irritated by the way European settlers named towns and features after places back in Europe, but now I see it as an act of hope and desperation, as if they hoped they could tame and make green a wild brown country by naming it for a settled verdant one.
The flies almost deserved a credit line. I think it’s the first film I’ve seen that captured the small but unignorable, inexorable presence of flies in such visceral detail.
David Wenham reminded me of Richard Roxburgh as the Duke of Worcester in Moulin Rouge!, which was a bit unfortunate.
The script was less about the proposition itself than the past and future choices faced by Charlie, the outlaw, and Stanley, the British trooper. It was a lot more subtle than the plot outline suggests but it was written by Nick Cave, so that shouldn’t be a surprise. Each character has moral choices, and the results can be hard to bear. My description doesn’t really do it justice, so go see it for yourself.
The weather report might say it’s going to be -2C tonight but spring has definitely arrived. The daffodils are well and truly up, and on my walk to work this morning I saw two (male) mallards mating in the canal.
It’s kinda nice noticing the tiny signs that show that spring is on the way in a way that I wouldn’t have in Australia, but I could have done without the cold. I thought it was because I’d gotten used to going somewhere warm in March but it turns out it’s the coldest March in years, and for the first time ever it’s been colder than December, January and February.
“Goths tend to be the weirdo intellectual kids who have started to view the world differently.” (Guardian)
And now they rule the world!
“Virtually all indicators of the likely future for the diversity of life on Earth are heading in the wrong direction, a major new report says.” (BBC)
Government orders spoof site shut
“A spoof John Howard website that featured a soul searching “apology” speech for the Iraq war has been shut down under orders from the Australian Government.
Richard Neville, an Australian futurist and social commentator was “mystified” to discover his satirical website johnhowardpm.org had been blocked on Tuesday with no explanation from either his web hosting company, Yahoo or the domain name registrar, Melbourne IT.
He said that after two days of silence, a customer service representative from Melbourne IT today informed him by telephone that the site had “been closed on the advice from the Australian Government”.
Mr Neville’s satirical “apology” speech ran on a mocked-up version of a spoof website that resembled Mr Howard’s own, and after going live on Monday, received 10,500 visits within 24 hours.
Mr Neville describes the parody as an act of satire and culture jamming, and is now running a link to a PDF copy of the speech on his website.” (The Age)
Ridiculous. Even the US lets the parody site whitehouse.org co-exist with the official whitehouse.gov.
It prompted me to look into what rights Australians have to freedom of speech.
According to this research note on Free Speech and the Constitution from the Parliamentary Library of the Parliament of Australia, “Members of the Commonwealth Parliament reaffirmed the principles of the [Universal Declaration of Human Rights] during a sitting on 10 December 1998 to mark the 50th anniversary of the UDHR and pledged to give wholehearted support to the principles enshrined in the Declaration.”
Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
However, “The Australian Constitution does not have any express provision relating to freedom of speech.”