news & views
05 Music Lang Lang’s long journey to stardom 08 Cover story Douglas Mawson knocked off his pedestal 11 Visual arts Indonesian showcase at GoMA’s APT7
12 Visual arts Christopher Allen meditates on Vermeer 16 Film David Stratton endures Feng Xiaogang’s Back to 1942
21 Books Bryce Courtenay signs off 28 Television Quick bites is your shortcut to the week’s best viewing LIKE life itself, art is full of coincidences. Having relished Peter Craven’s review of The Richard
Burton Diaries (‘‘Unspeakable Privacy’’, November 24-25) with its comprehensive reappraisal of the actor’s career, especially his filmic partnership with Elizabeth Taylor, many readers would have been delighted to have the opportunity to view the pair in Franco Zeffirelli’s
Taming of the Shrew on ABC TV the same weekend. The liveliness and bawdy good humour of the film, with its gorgeous colours, brought one of Shakespeare’s most joyful plays to a worldwide audience of besotted fans. The British theatrical establishment may have turned up its nose, but the movie survives and continues to give pleasure. Pamela Chippindall Woollahra, NSW IAN Cuthbertson ‘‘is not sure ancient historians will agree that a Brit called Flinders Petrie . . . could accurately be described as the man who discovered Egypt’’ (Quick bites, November 24-25). Flinders Petrie is the grandson of the great Matthew Flinders who circumnavigated and named New Holland ‘‘Australia’’. His superb charts were still being used when the Japanese attacked in 1942. He sailed for England in 1803, but was wrongfully detained by the French when putting into Mauritius for water. He reached England in 1810, broken in health. His bride of four months, married in 1801, saw him again only to nurse him through his last three years of life. Their daughter Anne was 40 years old in 1852 when the colonies of NSW and Victoria belatedly granted a pension of £100 each. By then Flinders’s widow had died but Anne accepted it gratefully, saying it would educate her son in a ‘‘manner worthy of the name he bears, Matthew Flinders Petrie’’. In
My Love Must Wait, the great Ernestine Hill describes William Matthew Flinders Petrie, for whom the chair of Egyptology at London University was named, as the greatest archeologist of the ages. Valerie Applegarth Coorparoo, Queensland I WAS surprised Graeme Blundell didn’t mention this irony in his excellent review of Hunted (‘‘Byzantine thrills’’, November 2425): Melissa George played Sidney Bristow’s nemesis in Alias some years back, earning the wrath of viewers when she stole Jennifer Garner’s lover by a trick. Now that she is playing a tougher, edgier version of Sidney Bristow in her role as the private spy Sam Hunter in
Hunted, I wonder if she is hoping to redeem herself with viewers. The program looks terrific and I for one am prepared to forgive her. Lyla Williams Virginia, Queensland PLEASE keep the poetry of Cate Kennedy, Sue Clennell, Jane Williams and John Tranter coming. Their clever, accessible and imaginative poems are wonderful comments on the human condition. I cut them out and file them in a little plastic sleeve that lives in my handbag. I can take one out any time I feel in need of a sane voice.
After Hours by Williams (July 10-11, 2010) is a favourite, reminding me that CWA ladies and the tattooed-pierced generation each have something to give the other. Alison Charlton Bungendore, NSW To be considered for publication, letters must contain an address and telephone number for verification. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.
05 Lang Lang