Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Atomic Memories: Antipodean History

"'The best thing for being sad,' replied Merlyn, beginning to puff and blow, 'is to learn something. That is the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then--to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting.'"
~~T.H. White, The Once and Future King

Owen Richardson on Robert Drewe’s Montebello: “…Drewe uncovers good material about the fate of the Australian soldiers and sailors who witnessed the tests, many of whom died young of cancer.” Living in the Shadow of Atomic Waste

Army chief David Morrison's speechwriter, Malcolm McGregor,has secured the support of the Defence Force to continue employment as Cate McGregor. The former journalist and political staffer to John Hewson and Bob Carr shocked the political establishment yesterday by choosing to publicly confirm the transition. During my days and times of my life as the Crown employee there were many characters who had a personalities made of “many bright, shining splinters.” Nothing quite cohered. They were strangelly brilliant disasters, elegant and obscure ... Parliamentary Officers on level 10

"At this time the thought of death was never far from Mozart's mind. A letter to his father says: 'I never lie down at night without reflecting that--young as I am--I may not live to see another day. Yet no one of my acquaintances could say that in company I am morose or disgruntled.' It is this mood that is reflected in in the C major Quintet. No music could be further removed from morose or disgruntled thoughts or feelings. But the happiness that shines through it is not the relaxed indifference of evasion: it is the result of having considered death to be 'the best and truest friend of mankind.'"
Benjamn Britten, program note for Mozart's C Major Quintet, K. 515 (1973)

Wade Davis just won the Samuel Johnson prize for his book Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest. I'll probably get around to reading it, because if people die in a remote location, or at least lose some bits of themselves to frost bite or exposure or gangrene, I am usually there. Just now getting around to reading The Lost City of Z, it is satisfying all of those needs right now. (Davis is also the author of The Serpent and the Rainbow, so you know he knows how to tell a motherfucking* good story about peril.) via Media Dragon book lover