According to wikipedia, and therefore, to be believed and quoted, 42 (forty-two) is the natural number immediately following 41 and directly preceding 43. Let’s just sit with that for a while and allow the profundity of it to settle.
I think that’s enough time. 42 also has the incredible property of being divisible by 6 and 7, which is great for me, given that these particular numbers allow me to demonstrate the broadness of my New Zealand accent in a very effective way.
42 was dragged into popular culture by Douglas Adams in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, as the number calculated by an enormous supercomputer as the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything. When pressed on how he came up with 42 as this weighty number, Adams is reported as saying casually that he just came up with the number at random as he was going to work one day.
Random or not, I’m hoping for a lot from 42.
Lenka, The Show (my soundtrack for now)
Docklands. A nice idea? A fabulous urban space in the making? Melbourne Docklands is touted as a world-class sustainable development. The grand plan is to extend the CBD by reclaiming former swamp and an extensive network of wharfs. The hope is that this area will be a successful mixed-use community for residents, office workers and visitors, that it will be vibrant area for entertainment, living, shopping, health, heritage and culture. So far, it’s not getting there. When I listened to the representative from Places Victoria, the Urban Renewal Authority, speaking in the Corporate Head Office, a heritage listed five star office, it’s easy to believe the dream. There is a lot of good being done in Docklands. There is thought behind the cranes and the waterfront vision. But down on the ground, it feels empty, un-human. The attempt at creating culture on a barren wasteland manifests itself in odd sculptures in random places. Do you hear sculpture exude its connection with art and humanity if there is no one to hear it? Walking around Docklands on a cold, raining day felt soulless. I can’t see how it will work. Not for a long time anyway.
The average age of people living in Docklands in 25-34. Narrow field. There are no schools. There are buildings and water and…well, there’s a Village Green…It’s a patch of grass they’ve sown. In amongst the buildings. And there’s an observation wheel that has never worked. Correction. It worked for a week before the design flaw revealed itself. The engineers did not count on the heat of the Victorian summer and the effect this would have on the metal structure. Brilliant.
If you build it, they will come.
But not always.
I wanted to like Docklands.
But I didn’t.
I remember going to Luna Park in Sydney. I must have been 13. In my memory it was cool. All bright colours, rollercoasters, crazy mirrors and the possibility of stomach-dropping sensations. I think you have to take children to places like Luna Park. It helps you see past the garish slap of paint and the rickety-looking scenic railroad to the infinite wonders of life. Luna Park is a metaphor for life. That’s taking it a bit far, you say? But it is tantalising. The feeling of optimism as you walk through a fairly disturbing looking man’s mouth into a veritable (well, veritable is probably pushing it) wonderland…anything could happen. Fun will surely be had. How can it not? There are flying elephants and ghost trains and fairy floss servings that are larger than a child’s head.
I went with my nephew and niece. A five year old and a three year old are slightly limited by their height. There are some rides they need to grow into. But the five year old can go on the ghost train. Half an hour in the queue, the anticipation building, ghoulish moans escaping to the outside world..two minute ride. Totally worth it. And the three year old can go on Binky Bill, or some equally alliterative and cutesie name, which is a train that moves at walking pace on a tour of the park and on which an auntie is also required. What does make it all worth while is the three year old’s utter delight at the carousel. If I could bottle her giggle as she stood in the line, waiting to get on the black horse, I’d have a winning cure for the grey days. Beautiful.
St. Kilda was the first of the five Australian Luna Parks to open back in 1912. That places like Luna Park still exist in this day and age with all the technology and state of the art amusement parks and computer stimulation, is testament to our desire for the carnival side of life. A sly side-step into another era, another dimension even.
Monet was the leading figure of the impressionist movement, a crazy new way of using paint on canvas to capture the moment, spontaneity, changing light. They worked quickly and created new techniques.
Obsessed with recording the sensations he experienced as the seasons and weather changed, Monet experimented with brushstroke and paint application.
Critical to Monet’s creative process were his acute powers of observation and his ability to capture in paint what he saw. One painting of a beach scene with two tiny figures in the corner and huge crashing waves has grains of sand in the layers of paint. The rush of exhilaration as the waves broke, the sand being blown in the wind, immortalised in his work.
Even as his eyesight failed and the cataracts that covered Monet’s eyes, changed the way he saw and then reproduced colour, he couldn’t help himself. He had to paint.
‘Everyday I discover more and more beautiful things. It’s enough to drive one mad. I have such a desire to do everything, my head is bursting with it.’
Claude Monet 1840-1926
Retain the first impression, which is the good one.
Eugene Boudin, Monet’s mentor.