Friday, 4 May 2007

Qantastic

Today is the first Friday in May, which means that a glistening new Qantas "The Australian Way" mag was tucked into in the back of seat pocket this morning on the way to work. Exciterment. There were several items in it which annoyed me, so it's a piece of amazing good luck that I have a blog.

  1. They are showing Becoming Jane in the inflight movies. First line of blurb: "A true story of true love."
  2. The regular round-up of what's on in Aust capital cities includes a write-up of a show of Barbara Hanrahan's prints, illustrated with a reproduction of a finely detailed 1960s linocut called The Moss Haired Girl. A brief study of said girl reveals that not only does she have impressively mossy hair, she is also in possession of a set of large and well-developed male genitalia protruding from under her corset, and furthermore, she is about to receive a blow job from a gleeful gentleman with a large, kidney-shaped beard. It is the inexorable conclusion that whoever put together the listing didn't
    even look at the picture which I was annoyed by, you understand, not the picture itself, which several thousand unaccompanied minors travelling about the country will no doubt find highly entertaining.
  3. The main story is about telecommunications - specifically, the fact that a lady who is a big wheel in whatever department of the ANZ handles operations in Bangalore believes that you are a dag, a "zero", if you hang about gate lounges brandishing a laptop and not a Blackberry.
  4. The ridiculous 50-word book review page carried a mention of a new Jim Crace novel* which I didn't know was coming, so that was marginally useful, I must grudgingly concede. However it doesn't devote any of those fifty precious words to giving the slightest indication of whether the book is any good (perfectly good novelists sometimes do drop clangers, after all) which is what I really need a book review to tell me. Fail. And then when I stopped at the airport bookshop on the way home, they didn't even have a copy**, so the Qantas magazine's invisible capitalist tentacles are malfunctioning as well - Double Fail.
There is a monstrous annual scout hall junk / produce / book sale going down in Eltham tomorrow morning. I am so there.


*Actually, my first thought when I read what this novel is about was that Crace must have seriously spewed when The Road appeared. I got a small taste of that awful, sick, someone-much-better-than-me has-beaten-me-to-it feeling last week when I read about the imminent publication of this book on adaptation. I'm over the angst now, mostly, and only have to figure out how I can get a copy for less than a hundred dollars.

**Although they did have four copies of Alias Grace, which is four more than the campus bookshop has, and one fewer than the number of copies my students are in urgent need of.

15 comments:

M-H said...

We're flying to HK late this month and back from Tokyo in early June, so you've inspired me to check the inflight movies for the next two months. And it looks like there will be a decent selection on both flights: Becoming Jane, The Queen, Notes on a Scandal.... Thanks for the heads up. Glad we've been neglecting our movie-going duties lately.

Neil said...

Bad move, m-h. Of the 5 international qantas flights I have done in the past 6 months, the entertainment system hasn't been working on 4 of them (in my seat; others have been okay). On one overnight flight to LA, neither the entertainment system or the overhead light worked, so I couldn't watch movies or read.

Tell me again about how it would be a bad thing if qantas was taken over by someone else?

Ariel said...

Nell, I travelled back from LA on Air New Zealand a month or so ago and the in-flight went kaput on me several times - very frustrating indeed - including one malfunction where everything was fine except that the characters all spoke in distorted (unintelligible)Chipmunks voices. My husband had the same problem on our previous flight - a US domestic flight. Maybe it's the entertainment systems that are dodgy?

Laura, I had the exact same thought when I read about the Crace book. Sounds very much like 'The Road' with (it appears) a slightly more optimistic view of human nature. (Not hard.)

Neil said...

Ariel, qantas is well ahead in the failure stakes:

http://tims-boot.blogspot.com/2007/03/qantas-in-flight-entertainment-stranger.html

http://tims-boot.blogspot.com/2007/01/qantas-entertainment-very-obvious.html

http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/qantas-staff-abused-as-entertainment-falls-flat/2007/01/27/1169788739705.html

Mindy said...

I have a copy of Alias Grace I could post off to you, as long as the student promises not to scribble in the margins.

Ariel said...

Neil: Happy to take your word for it (and the wider world's, by the look of it). You sound like a faaaaaaaaaaaaar more experienced flyer than me.

lucy tartan said...

That's really kind Mindy but I have lent my own books to students and they've come back written on or worse. I will actually buy some from the airport bookshop next week if they're still needed. But cheers.

Just Like A Woman said...

That awful Qantas magazine is exactly the reason I either: a)visit the newsagency (the one just before you go down the stairs after being "scanned") and purchase a mindless but highly glossy magazine with Drew or Cameron or Kate on the cover to flick through while I'm "up there" or b) bury my daggy, zero head in my *cringe* laptop.
Funnily enough, the glossy mag is putting a different perspective on being a 'zero'- something to aspire to so you can fit into teeny weeny clothes apparently.
Hell, I'm just grateful every time those wheels touch down on terra firma again.

Emily

Pavlov's Cat said...

I lerve Barbara Hanrahan's work (both the fiction and the visual art, which is sort of the equivalent of the fiction or possibly vice versa) and haven't had time to keep up with what's on around town, so thanks very much for the tip. I shall hie me down to Carrick Hill soonest. Excellent blog fodder.

lucy tartan said...

I didn't even know she was a visual artist as well as a writer.

It does look like a very good exhibition.

Ampersand Duck said...

I have about 5 BH prints, both large and small, and I treasure them. My favorite is one made whilst she was in the (long, drawn out) process of dying. She drew on the plate, her partner printed the plate, and then she hand-coloured the print with watercolour. It's the sunniest, happiest print I've ever seen of hers, with children frolicking under a rainbow-painted sun.

But the thing I like best about her work is exactly what you've mentioned here -- they look very cool and straightforward, but there's always a little (or sometimes very big) twist in there somewhere. Even in my favorite print, the sun is looking down at the marvellously frolicking children with a very wistful expression, as if it were to be the last time it would see them.

Anonymous said...

This is how the Adelaide paper (news.com) reports that Girl: 'The nature-girl/flowerchild mood of the coloured screen-print, Moss Haired Girl (1977), is both typical of the era and distinctively Hanrahan in her obsessively worked, detailed observation. The devil is in the detail, as a close look reveals her distinctly ambiguous sexuality.'

Anonymous said...

p.s
For the Moss Haired Girl in history, see:
http://www.sideshowworld.com/BL-History-CircassianB.html
priceless images - which inspired Hanrahan?

lucy tartan said...

Thanks very much for the link, anon - amazing stuff.

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