news & views
DEIRDRE Macken’s Forum column (Review, June 29-30) provides an accurate insight into free-to-air television. Now I would like to air some of my own frustrations. I too watch a complete TV series when it’s released on DVD. The binge watching habit is being forced on to consumers in two main ways: the hot and cold programming in ratings and nonratings periods and the TV shutdown during the Christmas holiday period when viewers are forced to watch repeats and rubbish for a full month. Why is it called free to air when the viewer is forced to watch millions of advertisements? It is the advertisers that pay for the programming and, indirectly, the viewer purchasing the product. Lance Brady Wilston, Queensland I ENJOYED John Marsden’s review of Nan Chauncy’s classic children’s book
They Found a Cave (‘‘Leave to flee bad parents’’, May 25-26), recently republished by Text. Readers may be interested to know Chauncy and her husband converted their isolated bush farm at Bagdad, not far from Hobart, into an unpretentious animal sanctuary, with free entry to the public for picnics. I recall the roaming peacocks, the emu, a porcupine, and the wombats found along the walk beside the creek bed. The Tasmanian devils were penned up. Overlooking the area was a rock wall with a cleft, half-hidden by bush, that may well have inspired the Cave. ‘‘Chauncy Vale’’, as it was called, was visited infrequently but lovingly cared for: it is evoked in a memorial poem by Vivian Smith: For Nan
Chauncy 1900-1970. The cast of the film (1962), winner of the best children’s film at the Venice Film Festival, included Peter Conrad, a student at Hobart High. James McAuley, poet and professor of English at the University of Tasmania, used to invite Chauncy to gatherings at his home to meet visiting writers such as John Betjeman and Robert Graves. An English migrant who wrote memorable books, her story would make an interesting biography. Laurie Hergenhan St Lucia, Queensland MICHAELA Boland’s article about the Wagnerian singers who will return to Australia to perform in The Ring (‘‘The master singers’’, May 18-19) was thoroughly enjoyable. The price of seats is prohibitive, however, denying classical music lovers the opportunity to witness what promises to be a truly wonderful experience. Has thought been given to the performances being recorded by the ABC for subsequent DVD sale? There would be a financial benefit as well as a social one, being inclusive of the wider music-loving community. The Metropolitan Opera does this for many of its performances, which are subsequently shown around the world. David Craig Buderim, Queensland To be considered for publication, letters must contain an address and telephone number for verification. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.