Miss April Advises: Wendy Ngo, Public Art Confusion.

Dear Miss April,

I almost crashed the Cayenne the other day. I was careening down Victoria Parade with the kids Ipading in the back and nilly had a conniption.

Theres a huge pile of Lavender steel holding up a gold George Jensen neck brace, two cartoon gunners in Lavender and a flock of olympic or gay coloured ufos. Really I dont care just choose youre side ladies, Putin/ Hair you choose. I found out later they were coolie hats. I had Jacinta google it on her Iphone5. The city of Yarra web site is very proud of these shallow cultural strereotypes. I pride my self on only being shallow for myself. I find it horrid in others.

OMG, its OMG awful. You seem to be able to explain public art. You cleared up the swarofski thing at the cultural centre. I was excited by the bling power but you are right it was a bit not shiny enough for any of us. Can you tell me that this thing is? Its like a vomit meets a car crash meets a thai restaurant interior. Can you tell me why its there? Can you tell me why it cost $3million [ jacnitas iphone, I was driving] and the electric cables are still showing. I have nice looking electrician if they need one.

Oh and whats with the tigers, this things not even in richmond, well one is, but really?

Hope you can help, i hate googling , it hurts the nails.

Your bestie

Wanda Gno.
East Melbourne

Hoddle Street Gateway by Avant Garde artist collaborative group "the community, the local business association, & the 3 tiers of government ". Think Girls on Speed combined with Pussy Riot, with fervent Richmond football club supporters and committed literal interpretation devotees.

Hoddle Street Gateway by Avant Garde artist collaborative group “the community, the local business association, & the 3 tiers of government “. Think Girls on Speed combined with Pussy Riot, with fervent Richmond football club supporters and committed literal interpretation devotees.

Dear Wendy Ngo

How delightful you (and your little brood) sound. I am so very honoured to be the recipient of your lyrical prose worthy to be presented as a gift to the gods, most assuredly. I have sashayed down Victoria Street many a time during the past annus mirabilis under my parasol, waving to the opium traders, stepping over the tracksuit wearers, admiring the beards imbibing in the open-windowed bars, and satisfying my delicate lady appetite with fragrant banquets of 6-8 mouth-watering dishes. I must admit I have been so confounded by the Leviathan and its many hats and accompaniments that they don’t seem to register in my long-term memory. Accordingly, I am as equally perplexed with every venture to the precinct of which I am so fond. Your correspondence therefore has provided me an opportunity of reflection and repose. I must know myself as I relate to the discombobulation that is known to be The Victoria Street Gateway Project.

My first revelation Mrs Ngo is that you are quite mistaken to view it as public art, as much as one assumes that giant sculptural and pictorial representations placed on public land is often assumed to be such. I also made a similar misassumption , and was at first keenly eager to discover who was behind this Avant Garde artist collaborative calling themselves ‘The Three Tiers of Government’ who had worked so closely with the other band of creative bohemians the ‘Richmond Asian Business Association’ and ‘Community’. Oh, my heart was all a flutter at the thought of discovering the identities of these foreword thinkers, cultural philosophers, and creative chieftans. Alas, I was shocked to discover that they were quite literally their namesakes and no professional artists were involved in this process at all. Ah, now that makes a tad more sense. Now that we gaze upon the Gateway with this tidbit, of course, NO ARTIST INVOLVEMENT AT ALL, and…the penny drops.

For what need do we have for the mind of the artiste when we have a successful architectural firm capable of designing award-winning buildings? The true creative here my demure Wendy is in fact Gregory Burgess Architects, who has proven themselves to be extraordinarily talented designers of celebrated buildings. Herein lies the quandary – their most literal approach, which must have served them well for architecture, does not perform well in translating culture into inspiring art. In fact, nowhere does The Victoria Street Gateway Project ever refer to itself as public art. So it appears it is suffering from a terrible crisis of identity. It is a construction, a gaumless literal creature.

You see, the gateway represents a boat (well, you know Vietnamese refugees, boat people arrivals, you know..). Then of course, we have traditional Vietnamese hats represented by, well.. big hats…suspended above. We are also presented with a light box panel of green bars (bamboo) with two “welcoming” tigers. Now this is a departure, as there are very few to no tigers left in Vietnam, so what is the deeper meaning here? Conservation? Species extinction? Oh, wait, football – oh how I laugh, so quaint. Thank goodness it only cost 2 million. Discretely I wonder on the ‘inclusive’ properties of declaring one’s sports tribe on a broad community gateway, but who am I to question such things, as the representative of the Richmond Asian Business Association declares: “Everyone has to support Richmond. If you support Collingwood that’s a different story. People boo us.” Ahh, welcome brothers and sisters, see how we represent you so. Halt Wendy, do not complain, for God help us they will probably stick a Magpie up there as recompense and that would just be too much to bear.

Then we also have aluminium panels fixed to the railway abutment walls, get this, you’ll never see this coming – another boat ! Plus, a traditional Vietnamese drum. Golly, I haven’t seen such dedication to literalism since Marcel Marceau. I am only surprised they restrained themselves from buying massive amounts of take-away rice paper rolls and just nailing them directly to the wall. Or perhaps suspended neon spring rolls could be a later addition, and let’s go crazy by putting up some sticks to represent chopsticks.

Do not misunderstand me, I celebrate the oeuvre of literal interpretation, some of my best friends are Westboro Baptists, and of course, I am a fervent practitioner of Literal Interpretative Dance, a most powerfully creative physical expression of the musical lyric.

Sunshine = widespread fingers, both hands move outward from a centre point.
Rain = wiggle fingers while moving hands from a raised position to a lower position in front of body.
Happy = beaming smile with open hands framing the chin, keep fingers wide.

Do not avow my dry descriptions here best exemplified by interpretive dance extraordinaire Johann Lippowitz.

But I digress.

The Victoria Street Gateway Project is a noble goal conducted with honourable intention (I assume). It is most definitely public, but sadly does not reach it’s potential as art. Do not lament though Mrs Ngo, we must all learn that potential is often nary fulfilled, and tragically beautiful opportunities can be lost forever such as a drop falls into the tranquil stream of lament. However, the three tiers and business posse are sure to be happy, and the gapeseeds will no doubt reinforce their predetermined vision. There is naught to be done. Acceptance can be a powerful mindset.

Do take care of those darling children,
Yours,
Miss April

rice-paper-rolls-large

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RESIGNATION.

I am lucky enough to have in my personal library a book entitled ‘The Mourner’s Friend or Sighs of Sympathy For Those Who Sorrow’. It is a collection of prose and verse compiled to give comfort to the grieving. Edited by J.B. Syme, published in 1852 by S.A. Howland in Worcester, Mass, USA; its contents are by American and European authors including some surprisingly famous names. My copy of the book has some water damage, ageing paper, and precarious binding, so before it deteriorates my project to preserve the words of the authors will find its way here on the MOLAM blog. 

RESIGNATION.

RESIGNATION is a virtue, the need of which is felt alike by all ; there is some period in the history of each individual, when the crushed and fainting spirit requires its sustaining strength. No condition of life is exempt from this necessity ; the monarch in his gilded palace, and the peasant in his lonely hut, alike experience the hour, when resignation alone can soothe the anguish of a wounded heart. There is none whose stream of life flows so smoothly, that its placid surface is not sometimes troubled by the storms of sorrow ; there is none, whose sky is always so bright that it is not sometimes overcast by clouds of adversity, from whose dark bosom are shot the thunderbolts that crush the fondest hopes, and the lightnings that blast the fairest idols of the heart. Man’s inheritance of earthly joys, is like an enchanted island in the midst of a rushing stream ; at firs, it expands before the eye, in beauty, – wide in extent, and all blooming with flowers and verdure ; but, continually washed away by the impetuous tide, he beholds it diminishing year after year ; ever is he called to mourn some favorite flower, some cherished plant, borne away upon the bosom of the stream, never to return ; until he stands alone on but a fragment of that once fair domain ; and at last yields himself to the fatal torrent, which bears him on to the ocean of eternity. The pathway of life is strown with the wrecks of time, – with blighted hopes, with shattered fortunes, and disappointed and crushed affections, – with the ruins of all that the heart has prized on earth !
It is not the philosophy of the stoic, that can impart to the soul that calm submission under the ills of life which it requires. It can only teach to conceal, not alleviate the anguish that preys within ; like the Indian hero, when lashed to the martyr-stake, the victim of unheard-of tortures ; to preserve a countenance of inflexible repose, while every nerve is wrung with agony. Not the affected indifference of the stoic, is the resignation which Christianity inspires ; nor, like that, is it the result of human pride, and a sullen and indomitable will, – it is the offspring of trust in God. It is the result of a calm conviction, that there is a God of mercy and goodness who reigns above ; and in his infinite benevolence controls all the events of earth and time ; that the rod that smites is that of a parent, and not of a ruthless tyrant ; that the “Destiny which shapes our ends,” shapes them wisely and benevolently.
Inspired by this lofty faith, the humblest child of God bears meekly, and with a cheerful and hopeful spirit, all the dispensations, however afflictive, of an all-wise and gracious Providence. Amid the darkest night of sorrow, he descries, on the horizon’s verge, the gilded dawn of a happier day ; to his view, through the blackest cloud of adversity, glances the sunlight of divine favor ; and on their portentous gloom ever smiles the rainbow of hope.

Caspar David Friedrich, Wanderer above the Sea of Fog, 1818, Kunsthalle Hamburg, Germany.

Caspar David Friedrich, Wanderer above the Sea of Fog, 1818, Kunsthalle Hamburg, Germany.

We Are Resolved to have a Happy New Year!

Dearest Revellers, here we find ourselves again bidding farewell to one year and ringing in the new! Thank you for your warm visits and we hope you enjoy our authors’ annual compilation of deepest profound resolutions.

1. Abide by Miss April’s advice, at times mordacious but stubbornly right on the button.
2. Revive the art of and re-popularise the billet-doux.
3. Never, ever compromise one’s true worth for the sake of lust nor money.
4. Refuse to consume anything proclaimed to be ‘Fat-Free'; insist on your right to full-cream, full-fat wholesome deliciousness.
5. Know Thyself (or at least for your sake and others do your damnedest to try).
6. Science.
7. There is a time and a place for procrastination, and that time is not now.
8. One’s Winter gloves must not succumb to the pedestrian. Style, Style, Style!
9. Pursue a most beautiful and sincere vocabulary in order to touch the hearts of others, influence those to treasure nature and life, and to share unselfish truths.
10. Always remember that Love takes time where Infatuation rushes in, much like Fools.

NYVintage

Amongst the bonhomie and bubbles, the memories and loss, always remember – be kind to find happiness! Happy New Year!

DEATH AND SLEEP. By Krummacher.

I am lucky enough to have in my personal library a book entitled ‘The Mourner’s Friend or Sighs of Sympathy For Those Who Sorrow’. It is a collection of prose and verse compiled to give comfort to the grieving. Edited by J.B. Syme, published in 1852 by S.A. Howland in Worcester, Mass, USA; its contents are by American and European authors including some surprisingly famous names. My copy of the book has some water damage, ageing paper, and precarious binding, so before it deteriorates my project to preserve the words of the authors will find its way here on the MOLAM blog. 

 Friedrich Adolf Krummacher (1767 – 1845) was a German theologian and writer. His son Friedrich Wilhelm Krummacher and Emil Wilhelm Krummacher were also clergymen. This particular piece is fascinating in its philosophical pairing of the personifications of Sleep and Death; going so far as creating empathy for the Angel of Death. One way of finding solace in the permanent sleep.

DEATH AND SLEEP. By Krumacher.

IN brotherly embrace walked the Angel of Sleep and the Angel of Death upon the earth. It was evening. They laid themselves down upon a hill not far from the duelling of men. A melancholy silence prevailed around, and the chimes of the evening bell, in the distant hamlet, ceased. Still and silent, as was their custom, sat these two beneficent genii of the human race, their arms entwined with cordial familiarity, and soon the shades of night gathered around them. Then arose the Angel of Sleep from his moss-grown couch, and strewed with a gentle hand the invisible grains of slumber. The evening breeze wafted them to the quiet dwelling of the tired husbandman, enfolding in sweet sleep the inmates of the rural cottage, from the old man upon the staff, down to the infant in the cradle. The sick forgot their pain ; the mourners their grief ; the poor their care. All eyes closed. his task accomplished, the benevolent Angel of sleep laid himself again by the side of his grave brother. “When Aurora awakes,’ exclaimed he, with innocent joy, ” men praise me as their friend and benefactor. Oh, what happiness, unseen and secretly, to confer such benefits ! How blessed are we to be the invisible messengers of the Good Spirit ! How beautiful is our silent calling ! ” So spake the friendly Angel of Slumber. The Angel of Death sat with still deeper melancholy on his brow, and a tear, such as mortals shed, appeared in his large dark eyes. ” Alas ! ” said he, “I may not, like thee, rejoice in the cheerful thanks of mankind ‘ they call me, upon the earth, their enemy and joy-killer.” “Oh, my brother,” replied the gentle Angel of Slumber, “and will not the good man, at his awakening, recognise in thee his friend an benefactor, and gratefully bless thee in his joy ? Are we not brothers, and ministers of one Father ? ” As he spake, the eyes of the Death Angel beamed with pleasure, and again did the two friendly genii cordially embrace each other.

FriedrichAdolfKrummacher

THE DYING WIDOW’S LAMENT. By Thomas Miller.

I am lucky enough to have in my personal library a book entitled ‘The Mourner’s Friend or Sighs of Sympathy For Those Who Sorrow’. It is a collection of prose and verse compiled to give comfort to the grieving. Edited by J.B. Syme, published in 1852 by S.A. Howland in Worcester, Mass, USA; its contents are by American and European authors including some surprisingly famous names. My copy of the book has some water damage, ageing paper, and precarious binding, so before it deteriorates my project to preserve the words of the authors will find its way here on the MOLAM blog. 

 I found this poem earlier published in the Cambridge Chronicle on the 4th January, 1849. The author was acknowledged as Thomas Miller – Basket Maker; and the introduction to the poem reads: “As an extraordinary specimen of this author’s power, we give “The Dying Widow”, which has a homely vigor and pathos that remind us of the few lyrical productions of Crabbe. We do not prefer such subjects, and are half disposed to resent having our critical dignity moved to tears by a ballad : nevertheless, we cannot deny the talent of the artist. – Foreign Eclectic Review. ”

Thomas Miller (1807 – 1874, England) came from an impoverished background and may have been a basket maker at one time, but went on to become a prolific author. He did actually have a son named Henry. Note the paragraph referencing the sentimental miniatures that husband and wife had of each other, which would be of particular interest to the jewellery collectors amongst our readership.

THE DYING WIDOW’S LAMENT. By Thomas Miller.

THOSE cold white curtain-folds displace,-
That form I would no longer see ;
They have assumed my husband’s face,
And all night long it looked at me.
I wished it not to go away,
Yet trembled while it did remain ;
I closed my eyes, and tried to pray,-
Alas ! I tried in vain.

I know my child is very weak,
O’ve seen what fancy can create ;
I long have felt too low to speak,-
Oh ! I have thought too much of late,-
I have a few requests to make :
Just wipe these blinding tears away ;
I know your love, and for my sake
You will them all obey.

My child has scarce a month been dead ;
My husband has been dead but five ;
What dreary hours since then have fled !
I wonder I am yet alive.
my child ! through him death aimed the blow,
And from that hour I did decline :
His coffin, when my head lies low,
I would have placed on mine.

Those letters which my husband sent
before he perished in the deep :
What hours i reading them I’ve spent,
Whole nights, in which I could not sleep ;
O ! they are worn with many a tear,
Scarce fit for other eyes to see ;
But oft when sad they did me cheer,-
Pray, bury them with me.

This little cap my Henry wore
The very day before he died ;
And I shall never kiss it more,-
When dead, you’ll place it by my side ;
I know these thoughts are weak, but oh !
What will a vacant heart not crave ?
And as none else can love them so,
I’ll bear them to my grave.

The miniature that still I wear,
When dead, I would not have removed ;
‘T is on my heart, – oh leave it there
To find its way to where I loved ;
My husband threw it round my neck,
Long, long before he called me bride ;
And I was told that, ‘midst the wreck,
He kissed mine, ere he died.

There’s little that I care for now,
Except this simple wedding ring ;
I faithfully have kept my vow,
And feel not an accusing sting ;
i never yet have laid it by
A moment since my bridal day ;
Where he first placed it, let it lie ;
Oh ! take it not away !

Now wrap me in my wedding gown,
you scarce can think how cold I feel ;
And smooth my ruffled pillow down ;
Oh ! how my clouded sense reel !
Great God ! support me to the last,
Oh, let more air into the room :
The struggle now is nearly past,-
Husband and child ! I come !

Miss April Advises: Fracking Frequent Fornicator

Dear Miss April,

My problem is manifold. I have terrible gas & I cant find anyone to frack me.
Who should i look to for relief?

Yours {or maybe not}

Frequent Fornicator

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Dear Frequent Fornicator

Have we not met before? Have I not been graced by your gaumless wit in years gone by? Did I not advise you well by wuthering you off to a life of fornicator’s delight? Wellaway, did this not unfold as you expected? My mirth should not be interpreted as hideous vice, lets just accept merriment is in the air.

Flatulence is no laughing matter and can cause significant distress when trying to locate suitable fracking partners. Well, we are all just searching for love aren’t we FF? Herein I toss my mirth aside and offer you my genuine counsel. For a high pressure lad such as yourself, ready to burst out onto the scene like a larrikin debutante, I would look no further than your next singles night at the super sexy Australian Petroleum and Production Exploration club. I hear they like their dikes big and their veins throbbing. They are salt of the earth people, looking out for their fellow man, and no doubt will only have eyes for you as soon as you and your uncontrollable gas come sashaying through the doors. Don’t fall too deeply in love though, you will feel the earth move, but whatever you do don’t swallow; I hear the water’s contaminated.

Yours in relief.
Ew, I feel dirty,
Miss April

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Miss April Advises: Friends With (Too Much) Trouble

Dear Miss April

Its not exactly heart breaking, but it just wont get off my mind and i thought i need some advice im certain i will follow :-)

im friends with this guy for a few months now and he recently got married, we both felt attracted to each other kissed once but never dated.

he never told me he was getting married when they where about to get married his girlfriend “now his wife” knew about me and asked me to stay away from her husband or she would quit this wedding and asked me not to tell him she spoke to me. i did what i learned from you, treat her the way i expect to be treated in a situation like that. I didnt think we could actually stay together so i kept my distance and never mentioned anything to him.

they got married and now he is back, he figured things out about his wife calling me and apologised for his wifes behaviour, explaining to me they where not supposed to get married, it was a last minute decision and a very complicated one.

since then things have been strange, our relationship changed its not like how it was before, i miss talking to him everyday, i miss going out with him and hugg him when ever i feel like.

He still insists on seeing me but i always come up with an excuse because i know its not easy for him to have a friend like me and i dont want to do something we regret later on.
but i honestly cant say away from him. I feel this urgent need to make him jealous with any guy friend i have and to get his attention at all times, i feel lonely and sad maybe because i am not dating anyone at the moment.

I think we can continue being friends like old times but its not going to be easy because:

– His wife is very manipulative and will do anything to keep us away from each other, like telling him i said wrong things that i never actually said, and so far he preety much got a wrong idea about how i dealt with her, and i never had a chance to explain to him what exacty happened between me and his wife.
– we both feel attracted to each other, that calls for problems.
– its not a friendly honest relationship and it hurts more than i thought it would.

he says he is not happy yet they have been together for 6 years, part of this unhappiness i am guessing is because of me. as he once told me after meeting me, he fell in love with me and things changed with them.

he was very dishonest to me and her and so was i because i didnt tell him about his wife speaking to me, i was afraid it would make things worst but friends should be honest with each other. i guess i forgive him for not telling me about how serious it was and later on his marriage, because i know deep down he did what a guy in love would do. he knew as soon as i found out things would change and they did.

we never actually dated, kissed once but always been friends i feel like he was the one who put an end through things by getting married. I know i'm not the victim in this story and all the while aware he had a girlfriend fooling myself by believing we are just friends. after all he was in love with me, i wasnt and he had to move on.

but why do i feel like i was dumped? Oh miss april, should i be friends with him or move on even though i’m not ready for that? if i have to move on any advice in how i should do it without hurting anyone?

looking forward to hear from you

yours,

Friendswithtrouble :-(

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My Dearest Friendswithtrouble

I do feel a special bond with you, particularly after our last conversation. I believe my initial advice to you was “other people’s fiances do not make good boyfriends”. Let me expand on that further by stating: other people’s husbands do not make good boyfriends.

Quite frankly this young man sounds like an utter scoundrel. Do not pity his emotional dilemma, that is not your burden to bear. My advice to you is – run for the hills!

You say that you can’t stay away from him. Well, my dear, to put it plainly, yes you can; and that is exactly what you will choose to do if you have a skerrick of instinct left for self-preservation. Do not worry about hurting your gentleman friend, for he has been no gentleman nor no friend. He has behaved in a manner according to the worst kind of bad egg. Is he in love with you, is he trapped by a manipulative new heartbroken bride, is he….stuff and nonsense. Quite frankly it doesn’t matter as it bears no consequence to your outcome. You have been treated poorly, and you do not need to empathise with his situation. You need to leave it.

There is no escaping your heartache. You will feel it, but know that eventually it will pass. Do not try to avoid this necessary pain by making short term decisions that can have even worst long term ramifications. Character is everything, and the only way to judge character in our friends and lovers is through their behaviours. This character is not what you want nor deserve. Be strong enough to accept that and you will come through this pain to find yourself in a far better place to choose a much more worthy suitor.

Thinking of you in this time of need.
Yours,
Miss April

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