Personality by Andrew O’Hagan (pb 2004). “O’Hagan takes as his theme the cult of celebrity, which he shows to be a modern malaise grounded in insincerity and manipulation.” Not entirely irrelevant to my thoughts on Andrew Johns yesterday.
This is a remarkable exercise in ventriloquism. Set mainly in Scotland and England, the novel traces the career of a child star, Maria Tambini, gradually revealing layers of past experience through three generations back to World War II, internment, and the fascisti. The mechanism of celebrity and its effects are explored compassionately. Only the ending I found just a bit melodramatic. There is even an Australian connection in that the Dunera rates a mention. In my Best Reads of 2007 for sure!
My Brother Jack — ABC (2001) — “…it very much differs from usual Australian top-movies among which recent Ten Canoes is a welcome sound exemption, where stupidity and sexuality rule…” This loving recreation of George Johnston’s autobiographical novel was originally made for Channel 10. I didn’t see it. Now I have, and I am glad I have. Younger Australians would learn much from it. Me, I just felt nostalgic…
Buried Alive (DVD). “Produced and directed by Jack Egan, Buried Alive tells the story of the first five years of the European settlement of Australia, of how a collection of petty criminals, the outcasts of an old society, were sent to establish a new society, on someone else’s land, on a strange, unexplored continent, on the other side of the world. The story is told by the people who were there, through their journals, diaries and letters home, and illustrated by some of the 800 sketches, drawings and watercolours dating from the first few years of the settlement.” Far more detailed than the sketchy and rather bloodless history I learned at school, but not the whole “Black Armband” trip either. Thoroughly researched if unexciting — as TV — but exciting as History. At least to me. I am going to watch it again.
To Legal Eagle: her fascinating post From the sublime to the ridiculous appears on WordPress’s top list at the moment. There’s some truly bizarre stuff there.