May 2010


Colonoscopy needed

The Age has long played fast and loose with the noble colon in its headlines. Today, however, it displayed all its doubts about its use on one page.
First up we had Fake Vietnam vet pretty pathetic: judge.
Underneath this the sub-editors had an each-way bet over a colon’s placement with Brumby: investigate leaks.
And alongside that they capped it all off by indicating their complete confusion with Broadband: lines ‘not ugly’.
The correct use of a colon is to introduce a phrase, comment or self-contained statement related to the words used before the colon. Thus the Brumby headline gets the grammatical tick of approval. This means the first headline should have been reversed to read Judge: fake Vietnam vet pretty pathetic.
As for the third example, the colon leads us into believing that Broadband, like Brumby and the judge, was making a statement; which is simply not the case. It was Senator Conroy who defended broadband’s good looks. The colon was redundant and the headline would have made more sense without it.
Perhaps the Age needs a colonic irrigation.

… and an angel sang

    Angels Over Berlin @ Hamer Hall, May 21

Ute Lemper walked demurely on to the Hamer Hall stage promptly at the scheduled time and did not leave, nor stop performing until two hours later. No interval, no purely rest breaks – simply that incredible voice travelling up and down the octaves in an enthralling interpretation of songs across the genres, across the decades and across the continents. She does not cover the classics; she takes them firmly in hand and makes them her own, adding new meaning and throwing fresh light into the dark corners of works by Brecht, Brel, Piazzola and Hollaender.
Back in Melbourne after a break of seven years, she held the capacity audience from start to finish and had them standing and yelling for more. Her voice is unique: deep, dark and down in the depths one minute and soaring at full pitch into the highest range the next. The pace of her performance was relentless, energy-charged and never put a step wrong. From the wistful opening notes of Falling in Love Again through to the dulcet farewell of Ne Me Quitte Pas she took us on an emotional journey from Berlin to Argentina with detours to Paris and New York, switching in and out of languages and rarely stopping to rest.
We can only hope we don’t have to wait another seven years to see this true diva of song back here in Melbourne.

Footy wins again

A standing ovation please for Age columnist Michael Shmith for his column >http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/culture-in-eclipse-at-the-herald-sun-20100514-v4en.html< highlighting disastrous decisions at the Herald Sun. While Shmith, as commentator, and especially critic, can at times be somewhat too cosy with those he is paid to critique, there is no doubt he is right on the money with this commentary. Events at the Hun are yet one more step on the road to impoverishing this country. Sport, trivia and the mundane rule yet again. We are breeding and encouraging a culture that believes talent consists of feeble voices warbling into amplified devices stuck down one’s throat and that fame and fortune is an instant for the superficial and the mediocre. The true arts, where real talent lies, are being totally sidelined.

Wayward Wyatt

After heaping praise on Wyatt, Garry Disher’s latest crackingly good crime novel, it came as a disappointment find a slew of errors that could only have been caused by sloppy editing. It starts getting into strife on page 190 when crooked cop Rigby casts her eyes “around the kitchen” when the scene is set in her bedroom.
On the same page, Le Page plots his escape from Australia by flying to Fiji “and not leave Suva airport”. That will certainly throw them off the scene as Fiji’s airport is in Nadi.
Meanwhile, on page 194, Wyatt is causing havoc by shooting a former sidekick at a courthouse way out in the ‘burbs. He escapes by “dodging cars and a tram”. Eh? A tram? Out there, way beyond East Burwood and Vermont South? We’d like to see that.
Editing is not just about words and punctuation; it includes continuity and facts. But not in Wyatt, it seems.