David Jones, artist and poet (1895-1974) begins his PREFACE TO THE ANATHEMATA :

'I have made a heap of all that I could find.' (1) So wrote Nennius, or whoever composed the introductory matter to Historia Brittonum. He speaks of an 'inward wound' which was caused by the fear that certain things dear to him 'should be like smoke dissipated'. Further, he says, 'not trusting my own learning, which is none at all, but partly from writings and monuments of the ancient inhabitants of Britain, partly from the annals of the Romans and the chronicles of the sacred fathers, Isidore, Hieronymous, Prosper, Eusebius and from the histories of the Scots and Saxons although our enemies . . . I have lispingly put together this . . . about past transactions, that [this material] might not be trodden under foot'. (2)

(1) The actual words are coacervavi omne quod inveni, and occur in Prologue 2 to the Historia.
(2) Quoted from the translation of Prologue 1. See The Works of Gildas and Nennius, J.A.Giles, London 1841.

21 October 2014


Being 21, in Australia in 1972...

Remembering still the zeitgeist thrill of hearing for the first time Gough Whitlam address the nation : not under the old imperial hierarchical ranking of "Your Majesty, Your Excellencies, Your Eminence, Your Honours, distinguished guests and so on down the ranks to ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls" but by that most simple egalitarian greeting : "Men and women of Australia". To which there was a mighty cheer.

Others will list the great vision and the many reforms of Whitlam and the Labor Party in that brief turbulent period. In coming days we will provide links to some of these.

Usually this blog focuses on aspects of the Arts, so we'll stick with that today. Gough's involvement in this area was as significant as it was in so many others. To his cost, he supported encouraged and actively advocated on behalf of James Mollison's proposal to purchase Jackson Pollock's Blue Poles for the collection of the (then) Australian National Gallery.

We still have our souvenir front page of the Melbourne Herald, the first they ever printed in colour, with the headline editorial addressed to each one us : Would you pay $1.3m. for this? 

The reactionary and yobbo media reckoned that Australians would think it stunk. Comedian Paul Hogan...

Our observation was that people were more open and interested than that.

Anyway, the public goading only encouraged Gough who responded with a Blues Poles Christmas Card for the comrades.
Being 22, in Australia in 1973...

Your correspondent gave two weeks notice at the old Abbotsford CUB brewery - where his job title was Beer Passer, true - on the day he received the news of a small grant in the first of Gough's new Australia Council Arts Grants. Enough to live for a while as an artist. Thanks Gough, for all you provided to so many. Vale.

On twitter from the National Gallery of Australia :
"Gough Whitlam will be remembered as a visionary of the arts in Australia", Allan Myers AO QC, Chairman, NGA Council

A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
someone looks at something ...