Tuesday, 29 September 2009


I'm having a series of a personal moral questioning moments today.

Roman Polanski is one of my favourite filmmakers. I've seen many of his films from his student shorts (thanks to SBS TV) and own DVDs of Macbeth, Repulsion, Frantic & The Tenant.
This week, as most people who listen to the news know, he's been arrested in Switzerland at the request of the USA authorities in order to be extradited to the USA for a 1977 offence, which he pleaded guilty of (of a lesser offence) but was not formally charged as he took off as soon as he was able - no formal charge = no statute of limitations.
In the last few years, there have been many priests of various religious denominations that are being charged with old crimes of rape and abuse and the general public is applauding that - "doesn’t matter how the bastard is, lock him up!" The people abused by these clergy are able to resolve some of how they feel and have ended up due to the horror of their childhood.

This is a comparison I've chosen but it's an uneasy comparison - many of the guilty clergy were systematic in their abuse & Polanski, although photographed talking to a couple of (very) young women in Europe around the same time (I recall the photo - he has a bicycle & is in white shorts talking to the girls - but it's in the open folks and everyone has their clothes on), is guilty of one crime at one time.

But what a crime! He talks the mother of a 13yr old into letting the child come unaccompanied to another man's house to photograph her, which he does but he does he drugs her and rapes her, including anally - the kid is 13. I mean, fucken hell, that's appalling.

So where is this girl's Mother? She lets her 13 year old go with him unaccompanied. I mean, does she trust this guy because he's a director? Hasn't she seen his films? In his films there's allsorts including in some; rape, descent into complete madness as well as murder... fabulous films, wonderful films but who lets their 13 year old be taken out of sight to be photographed?

I think when a parent breaches their duty of care with their child, that child is no longer theirs. The Mother had a duty of care, Mother blew that one, didn't she. Wonder why? The sparkle of a big star in her eyes? Her kid gets to be a movie star? This is reminding me of those child pageant fanatics.

Being highly creative and drug-fucked is often the excuse or reason in some cases for dreadful behaviour (John Phillips of The Mamas and The Papas is claimed to have raped his daughter on the eve of her wedding while both under the influence of masses of drugs) but there are plenty of other people who have not behaved this way under the influence and his pre-meditation is obvious when he asked to take photos...

Dreadful things have happen in Roman Polanski's life - he was separated from his parents as a little kid early in WW2 and survived the Krakow Ghetto in WW2 but his mother died in the Auschwitz concentration camp (his Father survived Mauthausen-Gusen).

Then, as we all know, his wife and their child in utero were brutally murdered by one of Charles Manson's followers.

Again, it's difficult to reason his raping a girl with his own sorrow and horror - can you imagine all Holocaust survivors and people whose partners have been murdered going around raping children? - then world comes crumbling down.

Having blog-bleated about all this, I need to mention the most notable argument for releasing RP is the survivor of the rape does not want this to go any further. She said no then and meant it and she's saying no again* and again, no one is listening - well the US authorities aren't - and they are the ones that surely should be.

(*now known as Mrs Geimer, the survivor has filed a legal declaration in Los Angeles formally requesting that the outstanding charges against Polanski be withdrawn and she also sued RP & was monetary compensated - so some of his due is "paid" )

The next point is the same as everyone is asking, why now? The clergy cases were not known of and have only come to light now. The Polanski case is 32 years old and the American authorities have no excuse, really.

Maybe the USA is just one big ego trip - and the ego does not want to be seen as being mocked by a foreigner who did a runner.

My last point is the guy is getting older, has made worthwhile contributions to society (- without art there is no society, I reckon -) and has not re-offended since.

The Swiss, who don't ever seem to offend anyone, are really setting themselves up to being immensely disliked.

The Scottish just let the Libyan, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi (say that 3 times fast!) go home because he's old and crook - he responsible (with others never caught) of killing 270 people (the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 that went down in Lockerbie, Scotland).

Scales of Justice? getting a bit wobbly at the moment I reckon.

I don't know where my soap box is today - it usually begins to crumple sometime but I am perplexed today. I don't think I'm even sitting on it.

How can a strong feminist - me - stick up for a rapist?
I'm not.

My dilemma is reconciling how much I really enjoy respect Roman Polanski's films with what he did. Is he sorry? Has he remorse? His victim, the survivor, has forgiven him but has he asked for forgiveness? To say he does not think about his crime is ridiculous and he surely does feel remorse. If I have any respect for his works, which I do, I have to believe this - just wish I could find his statements about all of this

I'm not reading any of the articles and opinions since I got 1/2 way through an article that parallels what Nazi war criminals did... mmm. Do I smell a celebrity lynching gathering momentum?
I have no respect for the American authorities and I think they blew this one - best you let him go, bow your heads and be humble for once otherwise you may have to explain why you didn't bother for all these years when the opportunity has always been there? He's never been in hiding.

Just when I was going to steer off and mention the USA authorities locking up Australian Greenpeace protesters in hand and feet chains... ummm, and how they treated an innocent man, Australian, Mamdouh Habib in Guantanamo "detainment camp"... oh yeah, Guantanamo...

...there it goes, my soap box just found, has now crumpled.

Postscript 2 October 2009 - It occured to me while discussing this over dinner with friends that none of us know what happened to Roman Polanski when he was alone, 'relying on the kindness of others' as a young child... Again, it's hard to comprehend any of this.
Also, I forgot to reference my information - it comes from all over the place - partly my memory & Wikipedia & various online newspapers - Australian, British, USA

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

picture this

One a wet day this winter (we did have a couple as I recall) - the only image maker I had on me was the old mobile phone but I had this image printed 48x39cm and it looks fab. 
 Paddington, Sydney Australia 2009

Friday, 18 September 2009

Mary Travers - if the cancer don't get you, the chemo will

Mary Travers - November 9, 1936 – September 16, 2009

How sad that Mary from Peter, Paul and Mary has died from the chemotherapy that was supposed to kill the cancer she had - guess it did but it killed her too.

Peter, Paul & Mary played a role in my growing up. When I was little we had limited choices of music to listen to - consisting solely on my Mum's records for many years. Of the few I remember Julie Felix (we played the Old Grey Goose (is dead) a lot), Glen Campbell (bit too boring to a kid although I know the songs - scary!), Harry Seacombe - the goon sang but it was too operatic for us kids.

The record we did play and played and played was the double live 1964 album, Peter, Paul and Mary in Concert. Not only was there some beautiful harmonised singing, it was funny too - Paul Stookey was also a stand up comedian (I still mimic "here they come, there they are, don't look at them!" about teeny girls 'not' talking to boys).
This record made such an impression, I bought myself a second hand copy of the LP as an adult and my Mum tells me that another of my sisters has done the same. I think there's a few of us who have this record (Mum had 7 kids).

PP&M sang folk with political & spiritual themes. Some of the music is early English folk - Oh Waly Waly (called "There is a Ship" on the album) & The Three Ravens - 15th Century songs performed more recently by Counter-Tenor Superstar, Andreas Scholl (sound bites of his versions can be found here ) and it's these folk ballad about loss and death I enjoy most. Even the more religious type spiritual songs of theirs move me... but the roudy folky all together now... well that will do for the moment...(let's not get too carried away)

- I was writing this blog this morning as I waited for the vet to come & have a look at my near 20yr old moggie to confirm the inevitable - that the cat would have to be put down.
 I telephoned my partner to come home from work & the deed was done.

I already had the PPM record on the turntable so I sat the needle to play 500 Miles while my very sweet little animal died.

Compostt - a sweet animal - and really fun company 1989-2009

Thursday, 17 September 2009

From my collection - One a Penny Two a Penny Hot Cross Buns

One a penny... (photographer unknown) circa WWII

I have a couple of World War 2 photographs in my small photography collection that I can only make guesses about. 
This one is a real favourite of mine and I've just scanned it larger (it's a standard 3x4 inch shot) & have begun to clean it up.

This image has such a story - Airmen between jobs resting - but where? I thought it was a classroom but the chairs tell me different.  The old English Hot Cross Buns rhyme on the blackboard could possibly give away the time of year (originally thought to be Polytheist or Pagan, Hot Cross Buns is also used by Christians & is thought to have first been mentioned in the early 1700s & the 4 squares represent the 4 phases of the moon) - the cursive writing next to the hotxbuns is not in focus.  The clock looks like it's just after 4.30.  The Airmen are reading & resting - the one on the far left looks like he is reading a letter or he could be flipping through photos taken by the person taking this shot. 
I especially like the boot in the window - do you think it's smelly & getting an airing or was it wet...
The hats suggest (and I'm pretty sure here) these are Australians.
It's printed on Velox paper (a standard Kodak paper of the time) but there is nothing written on the photo - I have no names, or providence except I acquired this one in South Australia over 20 years ago.

Friday, 11 September 2009

"stop buying things online and come for a walk" - so I find a camera to buy

AH got me out of the house the other day - we had a look at some outdoor markets where I scored an excellent Ricoh rangefinder camera, complete with case & box, circa 1960.  I got the guy down to $40.00 (that's AUD) - a good price for a mint camera.  And it looks good too:

mmm, so shiny

So I put a roll of film in it and wound off a few.  The camera doesn't have a light meter so I have to wing it or cart around my rather clunky spot meter - I chose to travel light.

Oh, this little camera is my new good friend (Camperdown Cemetery Sept 2009)

Friday, 4 September 2009

Here comes Mother

My Mother-out-law is visiting Sydney next week. Partner, AH has booked accommodation.

We considered Bates Motel but found something better.

Folks gave up a few years ago in thinking it's OK to stay with us.
Seems I'm really grumpy with visitors in our little house... works for me.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

City South End

(Sydney Australia October 2008)
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