Mountains of memory

Posting some time ago from Tyalgum, in the shade of Mount Warning, led me to think of the mountains that figured in my life. Herewith a list:

  • Ashby Hill
  • Black Mountain/Galambary
  • Clarence Peak
  • Mount Diablo
  • Glass House Mountains
  • Montju├»c
  • The Kopje
  • Mount Kosciuszko
  • Mount Lindsay
  • Mount Nardi
  • Mount Nyangani
  • Montparnasse
  • Mount Rainier
  • Soracte
  • Khan Tengri
  • Mount Tibrogargan
  • Mont Valerian
  • Mount Warning

Concert Halls

Herewith a list of concert halls in which I have been fortunate to experience concerts and musical performances.

  • The Barbican Concert Hall, London
  • Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
  • Casino Civic Hall, Casino, NSW
  • City Recital Hall, Sydney
  • Sir John Clancy Auditorium, University of New South Wales, Sydney
  • Salle Gaveau, Paris
  • Hamburgische Staatsoper, Hamburg
  • Hamer Concert Hall, Melbourne
  • Ipswich Civic Hall, Ipswich, QLD
  • Chapel, King’s College London, London
  • King’s Place, London
  • Leggate Theatre, University of Liverpool, Liverpool
  • City Hall, Lismore, NSW
  • Llewellyn Hall, Canberra School of Music, Canberra, ACT
  • LSO St Luke’s, London
  • Auditorium, Maison de la Radio et de la Musique, Paris
  • Melba Hall, Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, Melbourne
  • Milton Court Concert Hall, Guildhall School of Music, London
  • Purcell Room, South Bank Centre, London
  • Duke’s Hall, Royal Academy of Music, London
  • Royal Albert Hall, London
  • Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool
  • Concert Hall, Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester
  • Golden Concert Room, St George’s Hall, Liverpool
  • Seymour Centre, University of Sydney, Sydney
  • Concert Hall, South Bank Centre, London
  • Sydney Opera House Concert Hall
  • Sydney Opera House Opera Theatre
  • Tanglewood, MA
  • Sydney Town Hall, Sydney
  • Tyalgum Literary Institute Hall, Tyalgum, NSW
  • Verbrugghen Hall, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Sydney
  • Wigmore Hall, London

Ambulant cemeteries

They are the ambulant cemeteries of their murdered friends; they carry their shrouds as their banner.”

Words of Manes Sperber from Et le Buisson devint Cendre (Paris, 1949), cited by Arthur Koestler in his essay in The God That Failed (Hamish Hamilton, London, 1950), page 64.

Recent Reading 19

The latest in a sequence of lists of recently-read books, listed in reverse chronological order.

  • Philip Augar and Keely Winstone [2022]: Agent Twister: The True Story Behind the Scandal that Gripped the Nation. Simon and Schuster.
  • Anthony Kenny [1997]: A Life in Oxford. John Murray. This is a very interesting account by a philosopher about his life in Oxford, where he spent most of his career. The narrative is interesting, although often poorly written or edited. For example, Kenny he talks about and names people without telling us who they are, as in paragraph three of Chapter 11, where he mentions someone called Zdena. From later references, this is most likely Zdena Tomin, but Kenny fails to tell us that. He also occasionally misconstrues tense. When text concerning events at a specific period of time (eg, in November 1979, on pages 131-132), is immediately followed (on page 132) by, “In December of 1980, I had paid my first visit to Norway since Arthur Prior’s death . . .), the author has forgotten where he left the reader. The word “had” may be appropriate for the time when the text was written, but is not appropriate for an action in December 1980 when the reader is at November 1979. Perhaps a deleted paragraph once stood between these two pieces of text. For a philosopher who believes (erroneously) that all human thinking is through and by language to mis-understand tense in his native language must be quite embarrassing.
  • Anthony Kenny [2018]: Brief Encounters: Notes from a Philosopher’s Diary. SPCK Publishing.
  • Ryan Dohoney [2022]: Morton Feldman: Friendship and Mourning in the New York Avant-Garde. Bloomsbury Academic. The single most important insight of 20th Century Mathematics arose from Felix Klein’s Erlangen Programme of 1872, that a mathematical object could be understood by studying the transformations of or operations on that object that leave it unchanged. Category theory is the formalization of this insight. A similar notion has occurred in recent years in biography: one can study the life of a person by looking at their interactions with their friends and associates. Dohoney has done this for Morton Feldman.

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Julia Gillard vs Tony Abbott 2012

I was reminded of this newspaper article by Charles Waterstreet on Julia Gillard’s powerful speech against misogyny in the Australian House of Representatives in October 2012. An excerpt:

Some men have been in too many scrums, too many boxing matches, have beaten their heads against too many walls. Of all the words in the whole wide world, Tony Abbott chose – deliberately, it would seem – to use the word ”shame” in his speech on the motion to sack Peter Slipper as speaker. Shame, with all the connotations Alan Jones wrapped around it clumsily weeks earlier, when referring to the Prime Minister’s dead father. Abbott’s use of ”shame” made Slipper’s description of women’s private parts look positively eloquent.

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Friends Best

The streaming series Young Royals, produced by Netflix Sverige, is a coming-of-age story about teenagers with the unusual feature that the main actors are themselves only teenagers. (Most series aimed at teenagers seem to employ actors in their twenties.) Because of this focus, the reviews of the series I have seen are aimed at parents deciding whether or not they should allow their teenage children to watch it.

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Recent Reading 18: Copeland Family Edition

The latest in a sequence of lists of recently-read books, listed in reverse chronological order. In this edition, the books include several written by Miles Copeland II and his sons, Miles III, Ian and Stewart Copeland, or about them.

  • Ian Copeland [1999]: Wild Thing: The Backstage – on the Road -in the Studio – Off the Charts: Memoirs of Ian Copeland. Simon and Schuster.
  • Miles Copeland II [1989]: The Game Player: Confessions of the CIA’s Original Political Operative. Aurum Press. A well-written and fascinating, but often unreliable, account of Miles Copeland’s life. I admire the great intellectual heft and subtlety of political analysis Copeland demonstrates, something he shared with his contemporaries among the founders of CIA. These features stands in great contrast to the simple-minded nature of many of the attacks on intelligence, both from the State Department and the Pentagon in the 1950s, and from the left in the years since.It is interesting that a book published in 1989, in a chapter about his work in the US intelligence community in the late 1940s, argues that the main thrust of Soviet aggression towards the West was expected even then by Copeland and some of his intelligence community colleagues to be disinformation campaigns (dezinformatzia) directed against the West (page 74). It was unexpected but very heartening to see how much he despised the Moral Re-Armament (MRA) movement.
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Recent Reading 17

The latest in a sequence of lists of recently-read books, listed in reverse chronological order.

  • Gautam Raghavan (Editor) (2018): West Wingers: Stories from the Dream Chasers, Change Makers, and Hope Creators Inside the Obama White. Penguin. Fascinating accounts from a very diverse group of people who worked in the Obama White House, diverse in terms of ethnicity, religion, background, and role.
  • Geoffrey Elliott and Harold Shukman (2013): Secret Classrooms: An Untold Story of the Cold War. Faber and Faber. A fascinating account of the British Government’s Joint Services School for Linguists (JSSL) which trained selected national servicemen (conscripts) in Russian and a few other languages between 1951 and 1960. Many graduates went on to illustrious careers across society, including the two authors. I have met several graduates of the US military’s similar school in Monterey, CA, which started with teaching Japanese in November 1941, and they were all very bright people. How short-sighted that the UK Government does not continue with such training.
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Recent Reading 16

The latest in a sequence of lists of recently-read books, listed in reverse chronological order.

  • Leo McKinstry [2019]:  Attlee and Churchill: Allies in War, Adversaries in Peace.
  • Isidor F Stone [1947, this edition 2015]:  Underground to Palestine: And Other Writing on Israel, Palestine, and the Middle East (Editor: Mark Crispin Miller).  A superb first-hand account of the Bricha (or Bericha) Movement, the Jewish underground railroad in Europe immediately following WW II, spiriting Jews from the USSR and Eastern Europe, particularly Poland, Hungary and Slovakia, to the Middle East.  For most people this was illegal, and was completed against a British blockade of Palestine.  In Stone’s account, Czechoslovakia was the most friendly of the EE governments towards Jewish citizens and displaced persons in transit. (HT: JG)
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Clive James RIP

Clive James (1939-2019) has just died. He was a poet, novelist, writer, TV critic and TV showman famous as a wit and a humorist, although I never found him to be very funny. Strangely, not actually being funny is apparently not a barrier to acquiring a reputation as a comic writer, as the careers of Howard Jacobson and Saul Bellow demonstrate. Jacobson, an Honorary Life Member of the UK branch of the Expatriate Australian Mutual Admiration Society, praises his fellow Society member in today’s Grauniad.

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