Posts Tagged ‘Paris’

Your order; 1×10 ISBNs have been purchased.

April 10, 2016

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The autumn is almost mid-way and the shadows are getting longer. Long shadows are so much better than none. The summers close to the equator are often harshly baked and shadowless, something that tourists ought to be informed about when contemplating a trip to the tropics or semi tropical regions. The waving stalky palms don’t offer shade as an ageing nodding oak would in milder climes.

Both of us have been re-planting things at the front of our home together with spreading cow manure and hardwood mulch. It looks better already. One sometimes wonders if gardening is not a better occupation than getting a book off the ground. In the past books could be used as door-stops or even hurled around when locked in a frustrating temper or to emphasize an argument knowing full well, we were wrong.

With e-books on Kindle or Amazon, even that little benefit might be harder to achieve. I remember and wrote previous about using a public toilet in Paris, realising too late it was sans toilet paper. In desperation I used a couple of travel cheques, noting first down the numbers for a reclaim. What was I to do; use a sock or my cotton hanky?

It took a while to understand the complexities of getting something published and thought that a friendly edit with the occasional inclusions or deletions of a couple of commas here and there would be about the worst of it.

In any case, at least with the 10 ISBN’s in possession, I feel it is at least getting there. The next move will be to push it towards a self-publish e-format that can be done through the service of the ASA ( Australia Society of Authors) which will also then suitably format it. I’ll be so pleased to actually find the book ‘Almost There,’ after searching it on the internet. I might even consider buying a couple of copies to kick it along. 😉

The published hard-print version by Austin Macauley is also still bubbling along even though, in case of a refusal or worse , the option of ‘print on demand’ by CreatSpace will be followed. The next book will be better, and having the benefit of hind-sight with better knowledge of Micro-soft Word 2013, it will be a cinch. At least a taller and larger shadow might be cast when asked; what is your occupation? ‘Oh, I am an author.’ This response has to be practised carefully and ought to be given without a slipping or sliding of dodgy eye movements. A nonchalant manner needs to be acquired, not an easy task.

In the previous picture painting days, the answer used to vary from house- painter to bank accountant, building contractor, renovator, share trader-dealer, art teacher, but rarely artist. Why was that so? I did answer ‘artist’ at the Dutch Government employment agency soon after our arrival back to Holland in 1973 with our three children. To my utter surprise a job was provided as an artist within a few days. It involved painting Dutch scenes on clock dials used in the manufacture of ‘antique’ Grandfather clocks. The following months I painted hundreds of those kind of scenes with windmills and lots of seagulls. The manager of this clock factory was very happy with them. For years I still look at shops selling those upright clocks but not once did I find an original Oosterman.

Normal is back again.

January 1, 2016

This chair.

Already the second of January, 2016. It all went rather smoothly. There were no great dramas or upheavals. The threat of terrorism raised its head but only to turn out as false alarms. People in Munich wanting to catch a train were inconvenienced. A fire in Dubai with no-one seriously injured. A heavily armed anti- terrorist man carrying a fearsome gun in Paris was filmed yawning. The news was mainly about what had not happened.

Our large porker leg of double smoked ham I wrote about previously, has now been reduced enough for Milo to gnaw on to bare bone level.  Yesterday, I fried up the last of the ham  together with  pine-apple slices and some mushrooms. It was nice, but the wet towel in which I had wrapped the ham in, started to smell a bit sour. We are now ready to tackle the coming year, full of ham and resolve. Resolve of what? Get a book  ready and in print.

I have now got most of my pieces in some sort of order on M/soft Office Word, ready for a good re-read.  I have some doubts if it is in a fluid enough form . I wasn’t aware of this Office Word capability till a friend suggested I down-load the program. It is magic and allows me to insert pictures as well as correct spelling and make good other English language injustices. I also wonder at the size of the coming book. What is a normal book? Is a seventy thousand worded book reasonable? I suppose it is not really about the number of words but more about in what order the words have been written and…the quality of those words. They have to make sense and be uplifting to the reader in the sense he or she wants to continue on reading the words. It is such a huge task and it mustn’t be boring. There is nothing worse than boring the reader. It is criminal to bore a reader and an insult to well-meaning words. It is never their fault!

We went for an early walk yesterday. Being the first day of the New Year, we thought that the streets of Bowral would be awash with people celebrating this event. It was disappointing. The shops were mainly closed. The super-markets were open and some shoppers were seen to park their cars and stock up again on food. The coffee lounges and cafes were all locked up. Perhaps, the owners were hung-over and stayed in bed. We were disappointed that ‘Dinner for One’ wasn’t shown this year. It is the one thing I look forward to on New Year’s Eve. SBS Channel must have cut this comedy loose. A great pity. I watched it next morning. A blogger had put it on her post. It still makes me laugh. A great comedy.

I could be wrong, but New Year’s Day back in Holland was a day of exuberance and joy. People were out on the streets with the pavements crowded. Christmas Eve was always celebrated with dancing in the street at the local square. Can you imagine, people dancing in the streets?

Perhaps my memories are always rather colourful of yesteryears in Holland but Bowral on its first day was rather solemn and serious. Some coughed politely and held their hands in front of their mouths. Another made way for Milo to pass. Sedate and peaceful the day passed. I noticed a well-dressed man on a bench adjacent to the little river running at the back of the town. He was eating a sausage roll. Now, there was normal for you! We walked home somewhat reassured that things were alright…

Today is the second day and I expect ‘normal’ to have returned fully.

 

 

The Venice adventure looming.

September 10, 2014

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We thought it wise to continue our travelling. The seventies are marching on and one just never knows. We still have all our limbs and can walk unaided. But for how long? Our intestinal organs are floridly in good health and have kept us away from any precarious situations so far. Lately though, I have found myself scanning available public toilets. Just in case! I would hate to be running through Venice and over a steep bridge, in search of one. I remember vividly and was desperate for one in Paris. No paper, no water and just my cheque book slips for use while squatting above a very odoriferous and gloomy hole. I had trouble contemplating over the beauty of gay Paris. It took a train trip to the Château de Versailles and gazing at chandeliers to get over that one. I even had a full plate of ‘Raw Steak Tartare avec un raw egg’ after that.

From our last trip to Bali and the lack of food and water, we will be sorely tempted to fly a plane whereby the passengers will be kept alive as much as possible. The worst aspects are the miles and miles of walking through the acreages of getting through customs,, the ignominy of taking belts and shoes off, the padding up, down, and across, then, to the gates and again be padded down before traipsing inside to the plane. The hoisting of bags over-head and selfish knees protruding in such limited spaces. Duty free emporiums, and the hopping about in socks and dropping trousers before even getting on the plane. Why can’t the duty free be separate from the airports for those keen on buying yet another watch or pearl earring? Do people travel now in order to do the same as at home, ‘shopping’?

Soon there will be airports where people can mow a lawn or put out the garbage, pay the rates and go to Aldi.

Venice is beckoning as never before and am already speaking per favore et grazie to our postman who comes from Messina. We are prepared.
We can’t wait!

The Foot-rest Car deal.

September 16, 2013

untitledI never knew this, but cars have wells. A foot-well; and it is where your feet are when driving. (Another definition is an example of sentences with their pronunciation, according to Mr Oxford dictionary). Let’s stick with the car foot-well for the sake of this piece of writing.

This is going to be a boys’ piece, so be warned ladies!

For a couple of years we have been driving a car without a foot rest. Unbelievably as it sound and just at the age where many have gout stools, we have a car without a foot rest at the bottom of the foot well. It means your left foot is kind of hanging at half-mast with the toe part pointing upwards. After a couple of hours driving it feels as if your foot has given up the will to go on any further.

This was one reason we thought of getting another car with a foot rest. Without compromise on foot comfort we went straight to a dealer of cars and looked for a model with foot-rests. I know that many people would have car priorities in different areas of requirements but believe me, we wanted just a good foot-rest. If the car had four wheels and an engine as well, so much the better.

”Could you show us a car with foot rests, please’’, we asked the salesman who already observed us from the moment we stepped into the Peugeot/ Volvo/Skoda dealership yard. ’All cars have foot-rests’, he smiled. ‘’Not our Holden Cruze,’ we answered with expert car nous. (We didn’t want to come across as elderly car ignoramuses.) ‘’ Ah, well, you are talking just Holden,’’ he quipped but still friendly. ‘’Perhaps you are after European comfort with a smooth overall superior technical suspension,’’ it sounded as if out of a Peugeot prayer book delivered from the pulpit of the Notre Dame.

‘’Yes, but also with good foot rests, can you show us some,’’ we demanded firmly. ‘’We have several with similar outputs as your Cruze but with far more comfort and good stabilizer controls.’’ The French know a thing or two about comfort and style,’’ he added while looking at Helvi, smelling a sale. He went even further; ‘’you know how good the French are in designing good comfortable yet stylish shoes?’’ ‘’Oh, yes, so much better than here,’’ she answered him. The salesman was on the home run now having observed Helvi’s very Paris looking shoes and fashionable colourful silk scarf. ‘’You are wearing lovely matching ear-rings,’’ he smoothed on.

‘’Just show me the Peugeot with the footrests, please,’’ I curtly stated, not to be left out totally and hoping to gain back the upper foot and my authority in the coming deal. He obliged by opening a few car doors here and there. My foot honed in on the foot-rests on the left of the foot-well. The Peugeot had by far the widest and most comfortable foot rest.
After a ‘free’ coffee, compliments of the yard dealer across the road in an antiques cum old wares cum books cum coffee shop we mulled over the trade-in of our foot-rest-less Cruze and agreed to get the Peugeot 407, 2009 model with low kilometres and great foot-rest.

We are picking it up today.

Our feet deserved it.

Holiday Planning

August 30, 2013

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Holiday planning.

Lately we have got an urge to visit foreign shores again. It has been years since we last packed our bags, checked the passport and counted the travel cheques. Things have changed though. We have had more birthdays and things aren’t the same as they used to. For a start, I have reached the age where I need to be geographically acquainted to the nearest available toilet at all times. Is there a mobile App for that and does it work in Turkey?

I still remember that they have some strange public facilities/toilets elsewhere and even though the saying urges tourists; “do in Rome like the Romans,” I still have trepidations of unknown public bowel& bladder facilities and habits in foreign places. I believe there are places in some tropical paradises where one is advised to avoid the right hand of strangers. Perhaps it was the left hand? I have forgotten! I remember squatting really low down in gay Paris, keen as mustard for paper, any paper, and in howling desperation used unsigned travel cheques.

There is something very reassuring to the idea of combining both, to visit foreign shores and to always be within a couple of meters or shouting distance of a toilet. The answer, ‘the world cruise’. Can you just imagine the joy of peering over the QE 2 railing watching the African coast glide by, dream of Dr David Livingstone and at the first intestinal rumble be seated on gleaming lavender scented porcelain within seconds? Can you imagine?

Helvi is more circumspect about world cruising and even though she danced with the ship’s captain on a previous trip from Italy to Australia in 1966, ( our honeymoon) she suggested that one could be locked into spending weeks sailing around the world with some dreadfully boring people. Food for thought, she added. Can you imagine sitting around some couple at the dining table who keep going on talking about their superannuation or Camellias? 😉

People might think the same of us, I suggested. Speak for yourself was her quick and needle sharp retort. Have I been boring you, I asked her with my guilt on post-war automatic? Well, sometimes you can be, (never to let an opportunity like that one to get past), she answers with brutish honesty, but with a smile I know so well and love. Anyway, most of those cruises are by old fogeys and probably have intestinal problems like yours, she added.

What makes you think you are the sole owner of QE2 toilets? There is most likely a flurry of elderly people toing and froing to the toilets 24 hours each day and night, probably even queues, she added.

Remember that cruise boat laying idle mid-ocean a few weeks ago? All the generators had died, no power to flush the toilets with passengers laid out on the decks in heat of 40C with nappies and all sorts of other medical emergencies. After a few days they were towed into a harbour and met by ambulances. A nightmare.

Yes, but of the hundreds of thousands on cruises, that was just an exception. Come darling, let me decide on this holiday. There are gyms, libraries, swimming pools and lots of shops on board. We will probably meet new friends, like-minded and fascinating people who like Woody Allan, Kant and Chomsky. We could escape next winter, visit Finland and Venice, Dubrovnik and Messina, New York. That sound nice Gerard, why don’t you get some brochures?

Oh, I have downloaded them already darling. Here are just some.

Here is Milo, the incorrigable Jack Russell..

August 15, 2013

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I give you ‘Milo’, the incorrigible Jack Russell.

Our pet dog is named Milo and someone asked me to give him his turn in my next piece. Milo celebrated his 8th birthday on the 1st of August. We have recently been thinking of a trip to somewhere, preferably France or back again to Bali. Even though we have nice neighbours willing to care for Milo we thought of upgrading his credentials with the necessary injections at the vet in case of a stay in a kennel.

However, it brings a cold sweat to my armpits thinking of bringing Milo to a kennel. His beseeching eyes after dropping him off will haunt me forever. On the other hand he is skilled in manipulating things to his advantage, knowing full well my guilt gets into automatic very easily. He generally now runs the family and it is him who decides the events of the day and in what order.

Most evenings he now wonders in and out at his will. He either stands in front of the back-yard door or in front of the entrance door. Often he does both within a few minutes. His reason is the possums. He can smell them each evening. In early spring even possums’ thoughts turn to love and are busy plucking flowers from our garden which they garnish with Italian parsley, rosemary and cos lettuce before having an all out orgy with lots of grunting and leaping about. All this enrages Milo, who has decided now to sleep outside.

Before going to bed, usually around mid-night, I check on Milo who just sits under our Manchurian pear tree in which a couple of the possums have managed to climb into. I can see their beady eyes glinting with love/ lust and sex, in that order. So does Milo and he just quickly casts a look at me as if to say; don’t worry, I’ll keep an eye on them, just go inside boss. The problem is that there are so many of them that despite Milo running about, they slip by and climb from tree to tree. They know Milo can’t climb.

Milo is unperturbed by his lack of being able to climb trees or flying and does practice as much as he can. He leaps up surprisingly high for his size but inevitably returns to earth. At best, he seems to levitate for just a split second and that gives him hope which I am loath to take away. I usually look away when he leaps up so bravely and determinedly, not wishing to be witness when he lands back . I told him we are sure one day he will fly. He quickly looked away as if he somehow knew we were bullshitting. Milo is clever.

Even so, a stay at the kennel might teach him he can’t always have it his way. He will have to behave. I wonder if we will phone him from Paris to find out his welfare. My sister and husband looked after a house whose owners went to the US for 5 weeks. They had two French Bull dogs and the owners phoned up daily to find out about their dogs.

There is hope for Milo.

The Map of Love

June 29, 2012

The map of love

277 Comments

Gerard Oosterman

The most awe inspiring part of a woman is her brain.

The multi-tasking capabilities of the female are well known. Many professors are spending their entire lives studying this phenomenon, trying to figure it out. Are there genetic codes or markers there?

The male on the other hand has trouble just doing a single task, and of course always expects great admiration and respect to follow.

The question is how this multi-tasking of females came about. Is it learned or gene related. Mothers with one on breast and another on hip (babies, not husband) can do cooking, cleaning, talking and write a thesis on 17th century Latvian ceramics…all at the same time.

The female does multi-task. The male with prompting can do serial tasking at best. He does one thing at a time. He changes his underwear one day; next day puts it on top of laundry basket and with luck on the third day or week after, might put his underwear actually into the basket.

During the long and bitter winters here in the Southern Highlands, well above 800 metres, one of the many single tasks that falls on my shoulders is the lighting of just one cube of fire lighter. Most nights our two fires are still alive next morning and just need topping up with wood. If lingering in the warm bed takes long, the risk is that a fire has to be started from scratch with the fire lighter starter.

This takes a male’s full concentration, and stillness is required now, no talking or interruption. The striking of the match first, then slowly approach the cube which is carefully underneath some kindling. Will the match die out or stay alive? The success of a positive day is now in the balance. If the fire starts, all is fine, if not, it might require an accusation to others that it is just not possible to do so many things at once. It will pale the morning.

In Norway, the proven multi-tasking capabilities of women is cleverly exploited and by 2010 40 per cent of company management must be women. If this is not done, companies will be closed down and all men sacked.

There is one thing that man is superior in. Map reading.

Not even Norwegian women can read maps. I suspect that maps are hieroglyphics to most women. Even the concept of North and South are mysterious entities, steeped with bearded explorers and arctic frosts. What is the genetic marker for that failure?

The male map reading genetic marker has been bedded down. This is a man’s speciality and the one thing standing between male self esteem and total annihilation. Keep this in mind fellows. Use it. It is not much, but hey, it is better than standing on a Norwegian street corner during winter after being kicked out of the warm office by a rampaging multi-tasking female work force.

Years ago, I converted a VW Kombi into a sleeper/camper with the audacious use of self tappers and window curtains together with short wooden legs hinged to chip board for a three-quarter bed. We decided to go to France and headed first for Paris.

After visits to Seine bridges, and Musee Du Louvre with Mona Lisa, Left Bank and Montmartre, we ended up at the Champs D’elysees and right in the middle of this wide Avenue we decided to set up camp on the ‘troittoir’. We thought it strange that no one else was parked there but next morning, much to our relief, there were many others busy with putting on trousers and blouses. No doubt, many wrapping up the fruits of true love as well.

We planned to have a breakfast of croissants and coffee after which a tour of the Loire Valley with Chateaux was in mind. This is where the inferior map reading by females became obvious.

Ecouter svp!

Getting out of Paris is almost impossible. This is why many give up and remain there forever. We ended up at a huge round-about with a bronzed statue of a large man on a large horse in the middle. We circled round and round this horse statue like a shark around a cadaver.

Finally, we stopped to ask a ‘gendarme’ how to get away from this endless round-about with the big horse. He not only kindly directed us but gave a special map on how to get off this round-about and towards the Loire Valley with its promise of vin blanc and chateaux.

We did manage to get away, but it was only temporarily, a huge detour, and back on the same round- about circle, no escape; we seemed destined to just keep on rounding and rounding. We were starting to wonder if all roads in Paris always ended up at this same round-about. Was it a fiendish plot to get at English speaking tourists and McDonalds and future Starbucks?

I was getting frustrated but decided to stop and ask police again for directions. Would you believe it, the same policeman? This time he pencilled directions on the map. Again, stoically we drove off. Another 50km, and through banlieues and Algeria, the horse statue again. I was sobbing now, close to being catatonic and pleading with my female partner to direct me from map. Half an hour, looked out and saw this fu###ng horse and the same policeman. He was laughing and pointing at my Kombi.

I then glanced sideways. The map was held upside down.

Remember now, men. We are good at map reading.

Travel adventures behind the Computer.

April 15, 2012

It’s almost two years since our departure from our lovely farm. We have nestled down very nicely. The books have found their place on the shelves, knives and forks in the right trays and chairs’ restless rotating around different spots have calmed as well.

It is strange how with age one seems to find domestic permanency a much more pressing need than when young. Moving around comes with youth. I was looking at the travel section of the Herald yesterday. “Fancy fourteen days on a Rhine cruise” I asked H? “I don’t know”, “depends on the company that we might have to share the dining table with”, answered H.

Too right, just imagine the horrors of some pro-Hanson or anti boat people sharing the lasagna with, or, leaning over the railing surveying yet another Castle perched on a rocky outcrop at Karlsruhe, a remark “ I wonder how Mavis is going with her divorce from that bastard Jason at Wollongong?”

We have perused many travel options and all seem to have lost the appeal of exploration or sight-seeing. I am and was never one to visit ‘sights’ and the Niagara Falls or Machu Picchu will have to forget the Oostermans ever visiting them. The ‘Mother Temple’ in Bali might have to be included as well. We never managed to go there despite having visited that island of magic many times. Walt Disney’s fun parks, oh no never. Never even been a fan of comic strips except ‘Eric the Norseman’,  which my dear old Aunt Agnes would cut out of her Amsterdam newspaper and sent it by post to me in The Hague. I remember one episode whereby a man’s head was chopped off by a large and evil man lifting his sword. I dwelled on that for months. I read yesterday, that children are naturally drawn to stories that include much sadness. Chopping a head off is a sad thing, very permanently sad.

The one travel option we are still dwelling over is the possibility of going to France or Italy and just rent an apartment and live a bit like the locals, observe all the going ons of a ‘normal life’ but set in a different country with different language and cultural habits. I’ll just have to Google all the available apartments in Rome or Paris.

I’ll put on the coffee now, can’t wait to go and travel around on the Internet.

The Bicycle as a Mode for Transport and Romantic Interludes

January 26, 2012

The simple bicycle has been around for hundreds of years. It is surely one of the world’s most amazing inventions. Name just one invention, whereby with less effort and input, more output is produced. The bicycle seems to defy the Einstein theory whereby for every action there is an equally weighted opposite action. The Dutch seemed to have taken the ‘more for less’ with gusto. Every morning and afternoon millions jump on the bike, going to and fro work, going shopping or taking kids to school. There are more bicycles than people. Especially with romance, the bike in Holland has always been an essential extension for meeting mates. First dates are usually conducted on bikes. If the bike ride blossoms into romance, both bikes might be seen lying between the reeds along a dyke or canal with the couple hidden from sight, perhaps getting acquainted away from the harsh metal embrace with a more softer more tactile manner.   Not that riding bicycles in the Netherlands precludes having physical contact while cycling. Far from it, often the young and therefore more agile will be seen holding hands AND riding their bikes. I have often felt that the rhythmic moving up and down of thighs might well incur a hastening of passion, whereby the couple’s surging hormones might finally over rule and make for casting all cautions to the wind, hence those bikes hurriedly thrown amongst the reeds.

I was told by my mother that I was possibly conceived by this typical Dutch bicycle passion as well, not amongst the reeds but in the lee of a terrible storm. They had sought shelter from a really ferocious westerly behind a dyke and once out of the wind, one thing led to another, and nine months later… there, but for the grace of two Raleigh bikes, came I. Another very favorite form of couples getting together was the female getting a ride by boyfriend sitting akimbo on the metal brace between the handle bars and bike seat. A cunning and experienced male bike-rider would of course  not be too obviously rubbing his thighs against the girl’s on one side and her buttocks on the other side. He would just occasionally, perhaps while rounding a sharp corner, massage the girl’s thighs with his. It was called the ‘coffee grinding method’ of wooing while riding. I am not sure what coffee had to do with it. I would have thought ‘potato peeling’ would have been a better and much more suitable Dutch description.

It seems sad that bike riding here in Australia hasn’t taken a leaf out of the experienced and romantic Dutch bike riding phenomenon. The whole show has been hi-jacked by a kind of Tour De France obsession. I have yet to see couples lovingly and sensually riding bicycles. It is all far too serious, almost manically. Why on earth all this uniform wearing?   Who thought up wearing those sweaty Lycra tight fitting pants which according to medical experts kills sperms. Why on earth make wearing helmets law?  Could you imagine, the ultimate of femininity and elegance, a Parisian woman  on her way home from the Boulangerie with baguette in her basket, riding a bike with a helmet on? Non. Non.

Here bike riding is a sport not a mode of transport or encouragement for wild uninhibited sex. They, the riders, are hell- bent over their handle bars, hands gloved, heads sheathed, feet shod in expensive riding Nikes strapped into pedals… One hundred kilometers today-two hundred tomorrow! The wheels are so thin; there is hardly any surface area that touches the road. The slightest pebble or loose surface and arse over head it all becomes. This type of racing bike cycling becomes perilously close to being a very dangerous method of transport. Those bikes are lethal except on the velodromes. No wonder helmets are introduced. Still, it is encouraging more people are taken to the bike and many shires are now introducing bike lanes.

However, I am not sure that riding bicycles in Australia will ever reach the level of transport or romance (with wild abandonment of those racing bikes amongst the lemon scented Australian gum trees) that the Dutch seemed to have infused and combined in their culture.

Slap and Midnight in Paris

October 29, 2011

“The Slap” and “Midnight in Paris.”
Over the last few weeks I watched short segments of the TV series The Slap. They were short bits that I watched, so don’t take my observations as too factual or writ in cement, more like cast in yoghurt. Take what you like and chuck the rest.
Yesterday, with all the turmoil on the Inebriates and their Bleached Bones etc, Helvi and I went to see Woody Allen’s ‘Midnight in Paris’ here in Bowral. The difference between the two films could not be starker. I don’t know about you but I find watching The Slap almost unbearable. The negativity is just seeping out from almost every sequence. One can’t fault the acting, the filming and the expert casting, or indeed the story which is based on the book by Christos Tsiolkas… I am usual the first one to admit that the ‘art of things’ is what matters almost more than the technique or even the story. If it works it works, is my motto. The Slap works in the sense of a well made series, well acted but the unrelenting emptiness of the couples lives just spoils it for me. Too depressing!
The main character, the slapper, the son of Greek parents, is just about the pits. He seems to go through life between short bursts of ejaculating around the place and walks to the fridge grabbing a beer. All is enjoyed with the minimum of care or pleasure. He cuts an apple with utter contempt. He chucks his mobile phone about. He struts around his pool and house which would have to be the ultimate in hideous empty totally impersonal architecture. He runs a business whereby his only involvement seems to be the money. His son, a sad boy, whereby at one segment is seen to watch with his brutal father some segment of music with gyrating hip swinging female hopping dancers. Before that he watched his mother being brutalised by his father.
The only people who seemed to have some humanity about are the Greek parents and to some extent, the breast feeding mother of the slapped kid and her partner. (I even saw some books in their poor little house.) I remember the ABC making good TV, especially comedy. What with that silly Julia series and now the Slap. What’s cooking next?

Compare this with Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. Well, there is no comparison. We walked out jubilant. What a lovely story. The wife of the French president, Carla Bruni, is stunning as a tourist guide doing the rounds through Le Louvre or was it The Jardin the Versailles? The main character is forced to face the shortcomings of his shopping addicted American wife and their divergent aims. No matter how Woody Allen faces the cynicisms of the world he lives, his rather disappointing and glum view of so much of the culture he was born into, he dresses them up in artistry and above all humour. He gave us (and still is giving) wonderful films. I liked his “ not only do I not believe in a God, but try and get a plumber on a Sunday!.