Various lockdown hacks and escapes — 16 — good Facebook day

I refer there to yesterday, which was quite productive in my Facebook world of real-life friends, relations and ex-students, as well as what in pre-internet days we might have called pen-pals. The next entry of two will catch up on more of that.

But first the good news: my toothache seems to have gone.

And then the bad news: NSW (Greater Sydney in particular) is far from out of the woods when it comes to the Delta strain.

And in The Gong:

Finally, a photo of Sydney in 1901 from the National Library Archives was posted in the Old Sydney Album on Facebook. “George Street, near the corner of Market Street, Sydney 1901. Federation Celebrations.” I gave it a modest colouring:

My note on that:

I remember around 1953-1955 my grandfather Roy Christison telling me about being in the city during these 1901 celebrations, when the country Australia formally came into being. Indeed I think he was in Centennial Park for the great proclamation.

To me then that seemed SO long ago — but now I reflect that 1970 is back in time from now a similar distance — or the election of Gough Whitlam, for example! Yes, I am my own grandpa!

Indeed indeed!

And this was back in 1971 — not that I was in this place, but the vibe I recall from FIFTY years ago. Went to a folk concert at the Jamberoo pub sometime around then though.

Various lockdown hacks and escapes — 15 — some follow-ups

And followings, you could say. But this series is looking like it could go on forever here in The Gong, and Greater Sydney of course. And I have had toothache and am contemplating what to do about it, given the circumstances. Meanwhile parts of Sydney are to see the ADF (our military) on the streets, as indeed happened during last year’s lockdown. A rare event in our country — well, since convict days anyway… Oh, and the Eureka Stockade…

The military will join NSW police in the areas worst hit by Sydney’s COVID-19 outbreak to ensure two million residents are complying with tough NSW government lockdown restrictions.

But people shouldn’t be intimidated by the presence of 300 Australian Defence Force personnel in the streets of western and southwest Sydney, Defence Minister Peter Dutton says.

“I want it to be a message of reassurance that they are helping NSW Police,” he told Sydney radio 2GB on Friday.

“We can get ourselves through COVID even more quickly if we’ve got the defence force personnel there helping.”

As NSW braces for new case numbers to top Thursday’s high-water mark of 239, police will begin knocking on doors looking for people in homes other than their own in eight local government areas in the west.

Meanwhile, let’s pause for some fun, thanks to two things I have shared lately here and on Facebook. First that amazing Marsh family in England and their COVID lockdown song parodies. This one I just saw for the first time. I love it!

Then there is that pianist, who happens to be younger than my blogging habit — being born in 2001! He is also on Facebook and Instagram of course. Michael Andreas Haeringer was born on September 26, 2001 in Barcelona. From an early age he developed a great in interest in music. So not yet 20. His parents are German originally, and he is indeed descended from the great Franz Liszt.

In June 2014 he won the first prize of the music competition in Braunschweig, Jugendmusiziert Bundeswettbewerb. He also won the special prize; Europa prize!! and the first prize of piano competition of the Conservatory of Barcelona with receiving the honorary prize on June 27. Michael managed to finish the six year Conservatory course in only four years. In 2016 he received the “Young Virtuoso Award” at the Manhattan Music Competition. In 2018 Michael was the finalist of Got Talent Spain, with his own compositions of soundtracks. Michael has won the Silver Medal at the Berliner International Music Competition 2018, being the youngest pianist of this edition “at the Manhattan Music Competition”. In 2018 Michael was the finalist of Got Talent Spain, with his own movie soundtracks. Michael has won the Silver Medal at the Berliner International Music Competition 2018, being the youngest pianist of this edition.

He’s on OK pianist too!

Franz Liszt’s transcription of Saint Saens Dance Macabre.

And here something completely different!

He also posts his own compositions under the name DJ MAH. This one is from January 2021: “I made Not Really Livin ‘ in lockdown. I dedicate my new song to everyone affected by the Coronavirus.”

It would, finally, be remiss of me not to share this one which he posted on Facebook.

Various lockdown hacks and escapes — 14 — a funny side?

You’ve got to laugh, or at least smile. Well, perhaps so — whatever, that is the emphasis today. Again pretty much things I have floated/shared on Facebook.

I had on FB just now a video “suggested” on how I should join a “freedom rally” ASAP — as in Sydney last Saturday. This of course is the last thing any sane person would want, and I noted the video was made by/came from the Bonkers Twit Lizard itself, David Sicko. (I am sure you will guess.) I promptly reported the video to Facebook for its false health information and blocked further “suggestions” from Sicko. He has the right to free speech, as long as he confines it to his own shower or toilet.

This is the best retort.

On vaccine hesitancy, or anti-vaxxers, Andy Borowitz nails it:

Millions of Americans Hesitant About Having Brakes Installed In Car

On Monday I introduced you not only to the beautiful young pianist I shared more of yesterday, but to the most amazing English family you will ever see, who have been chronicling COVID lockdown — and lately its easing — from their home. They are so clever, the relationships in the family are so genuine and warm, and they all, from the youngest up through the constantly growing teenage son to the parents, know exactly what they are are doing.

I see they have even made the New York Times! But I will share this from the Watford Football Club, 10 May 2020.

Professional football might be suspended due to the ongoing national lockdown, but the exploits of one family of Hornets supporters meant more than 10 million people still turned on their screens to see the yellow flash of a Watford shirt last month….

The Marsh family live in Kent, with Ben and Danielle both working at Kent University, meaning it’s quite the round trip for the four season-ticket holders in the household. But their deep-rooted connection to the club stems from Ben’s father, who used to go to even greater lengths to watch the team under Graham Taylor….

Ben’s parents are also the reason for the family’s music connection, and this wasn’t the first production they’ve recorded together in the household.

“My Mum and Dad are both music teachers so on my side of the family there has always been loads of music around,” Ben explained. “We’ve never done anything professional, we’ve never had training, but there’s always been plenty of music in our lives because of my family background, so the kids have probably got more confidence than they would have had, but they’ve never been to stage school or anything like that.

“We’ve recorded videos for two or three years, since Tess was able to sing or play an instrument, and we’ve tended to do things for Christmas or the grandparents’ birthdays. We definitely try to use the music to try to keep them occupied, keep them going and keep everyone smiling as a family. We always try to pick songs the kids know and like, because there’s no point trying to make them do something they’re not interested in. It didn’t feel like there was any pressure at all, and we could just have a laugh with it and make fools of ourselves, not realising that 10 million people were about to see it!”….

I see Ben Marsh is a historian, specialising in American History.

The family’s YouTube Channel has this note:

In response to the overwhelming messages we received after our “One Day More” parody going viral (03/2020), we stuck up some of the family antics and music videos we made on this channel, charting our musical journey through the pandemic, here in Kent, in the UK.

From our original song, any revenue or appearance fees we donated to the W.H.O. COVID-19 Solidarity Fund. In February 2021, we supported Save the Children, with huge thanks to those who were able to chip in. In March 2021, we supported the wonderful efforts of Comic Relief and Red Nose Day, with thanks to those who contributed to our JustGiving page total which (with gift aid) generated more than £15,000, contributing to the national campaign’s incredible £55m.

Thanks for your lovely comments in recent weeks and months, and we’re really glad that we seem to be bringing a smile to quite a few people who need it.”Wishing you all a safe path through the pandemic, and speedy recoveries on the other side.

The Marsh Family

As an Australian I was particularly struck by their version of Gotye’s wonderful “Someone That I Used To Know.” Remember it?

Here is what the Marsh family did with it on 6 June 2021t:

Their latest is about the current easing of lockdown in Britain.

Check their channel!

And finally on vaccines:

Various lockdown hacks and escapes — 13 — what can I say?

Changed the masthead on Facebook this morning.

Gladys will be announcing the details at 11am. Will The Gong still be under lockdown, or separated from Greater Sydney? I think yes to the first, no to the second… UPDATE: Which turned out to be spot on!

Meanwhile on Facebook recently…

If indeed The Gong is also under a further 4 weeks of lockdown, then, given there are 25 rounds, it is fair to say the Collegians/Illawarra Leagues Tipping Comp is cactus…

And something completely different, and beautiful — as memories, but also present comfort. I happened on this from 2016, having been unaware until now that it had happened. But first just one past blog entry among many I might have chosen:

Trinity Sunday in South Sydney Uniting Church — 3 June 2007

Dorothy McRae-McMahon’s blessing for Malcolm came back home today and sat on the communion table throughout the service. Dorothy had, as you may remember, visited Malcolm on a number of occasions and the visits and the blessing were much appreciated. Today his own life summary was read at the start of the service. While Malcolm was not himself especially religious, he knew of and welcomed the interest from the people of South Sydney, which also had its practical side. For example, the South Sydney Herald, the church paper, stood ready to go into bat if necessary when Housing were being problematic, though that did not have to come to pass thanks to this blog, Clover Moore, and Jim Belshaw and, of course, others in the NSW Housing Department.

Malcolm enjoyed Dorothy’s profile of Bob Gould in the May 2007 edition too.

I was given a card and a plant today, which I very much appreciate. It has helped to have the church folk behind me in the past year.

I added: Privileged to have known Dorothy! See the comment for just one instance, but a powerful one, from 2007. It is very likely one of the most beautiful things you will ever read, and full of the spirit of Dorothy. See this item from the 21 July 2021 Launceston Examiner. This is what I referenced in the comment section, the service Dorothy wrote and conducted for Malcolm’s Memorial Service at St Vincent’s Hospital 29 June 2007. An extract, showing the spirit of both:

Dorothy McRae-McMahon

I only met Malcolm Gleeson three times in the days towards the end of his life. It says something about him that those three visits are ones which I will never forget. It was not that we talked much, although we did have some conversation on living and dying and how I perceived that.

There was something about this man which told me that I was in the presence of a special human being. I can’t even describe what it was. I loved his beautiful face and told him that – even when it had lost its normal fullness which I saw later in an early photograph, it was still beautiful. I like his quirky sense of humour and his directness – an extraordinary mixture of unusual strength and yet vulnerability.

As I tried to get some insight into what had formed his life, I could see that to soar into the skies or spread your life across the oceans was part of him. Still I puzzled about sensing something much more in this person – an indefinable depth of being.

Last Sunday, his friend Neil gave me a loan of a little notebook in which there were a few pages of quotations which were precious to Malcolm. He had written them in tiny handwriting, some of them in other languages. He noted that the black pen quotes were about love “following Williams’ precedent”.

There were quotes from Dante, Hegel, Kant, Karl Marx, Kierkegaard, Wordsworth, Nietzsche, Foucault, Freud and others whom I didn’t even recognise. Many of the quotes were so profound that it took me some time to reflect on what they might mean. I have photocopied them all so that I can go more deeply into them with my philosopher daughter.

A couple I liked and understood were both by Kierkegaard:

“At first sight, I perceived that he was a poet – if for no other reason I saw it in the fact that a situation that would have been taken easily in stride by a lesser mortal expanded into a world event for him”

“I know that what I have hitherto understood is very little, so there will always be enough left behind, hiding in the shadows of the soul’s vaguer intimations”

His last entry was by John Barth:

“Things must be wept for.”

Yes, they must, Malcolm and we weep for you.

The quotes which I read helped me to understand the instinct which I had about Malcolm – that the fragile body I saw before me was holding a deep and complex person. It also explains why I immediately wanted to write a blessing for him, which he framed and kept beside him.

Taken 29 April 2007 in Sacred Heart Hospice Darlinghurst: Malcolm, Neil W, Danny Nel.

As beautiful now as it was at the time — and let it be noted that Malcolm was taken by the late stage of another pandemic, one that motivates the pronouncements on the present one by one of the heroes of that struggle, Bill Bowtell.

But back to Dorothy: I commented further:

Dorothy! And South Sydney Uniting Church… Such a positive, amazing person, and so humble in the right way. What you see is what you get with Dorothy. I knew her late partner too, though not as well. She was a photographer, and once accompanied me on one of my junior reporter gigs for the South Sydney Herald.

Now a recent example of fandom, innocent of course. I do find myself rather attracted by the talents of that young pianist I introduced you to the day before yesterday. Now why should that be? Let is look into it further:

I like the informality, don’t you? It turns out he is possibly the great-great-grandson of Franz Liszt! I think great-great-great grandson is more likely.

I commented: I do like a grand piano — and someone who looks — sorry! — plays like this!

Sydney’s shame

Our shame has been broadcast around the world. Here from France is just one instance. Quite a balanced report, actually.

Yes, I can understand there is a diversity of views — which in a democracy of course can be expressed but preferably in measured and responsible ways — and there are those being hurt or at the least inconvenienced by the current lockdown in our part of the world, escape from which has just been made LESS likely by the actions of yesterday’s unlovely, angry and undisciplined mob.

But possibly not unorganised.

There is a world-wide movement out there, and here is one of their posts: Freedom March London: LIVE. Look at the fools behind it! The Great Alien Lizard Dude being one name that struck me immediately, described in the post as a “champion of freedom” no less! What utter hogwash! Champion of insanity more like.

Our South Coast Labour Council Secretary Arthur Rorris has it right when he says on Facebook: They are liberating themselves from their … brains.

On Twitter our increasingly attractive alternative Prime Minister, Anthony Alabanese, posted:

The irresponsible and shocking actions of those who engaged in acts of violence today against police officers doing their job have no place in society and should face the full force of the law – our police deserve respect and have taken risks to keep us safe during COVID-19.

Poet Beth Spencer shared a very apt comment, adding: “So sorry, Sydney. So sorry Australia.”

Among my replies I said: How many on the streets of Sydney today thought of this?

“Doctors were immediately concerned as Logan’s organs started to fail, his skin blistered and he developed heart murmurs…” I was referring to this item: Mother’s warning after dangerous COVID side-effect.

I also said:

Here is one of the geniuses at the Sydney lockdown “protest” — that is, the self-destructive mass hysterical self-centred hissy fit. There are not enough synonyms for “drongo” in Roget to adequately describe them.I fully support concrete and real help — Bill Crews for example — for those personally and economically suffering. But unlike these protesters I am not in favour of increasing infection, pain and death as the solution. I am a pensioner living alone in lockdown. The protesters in my book are selfish scum.

Thanks to Van Badham for the meme.

Crazy, mad as a cut snake, certifiable! On the other hand a highly respectable journalist, Channel 10’s Hugh Riminton, noted: A lot of people have been dismissing the #sydneyprotest mob as unwashed, toothless losers. More disturbingly, they looked like anyone you’d see on a train. Which is not to defend the lunacy.

He has a point, and that IS disturbing.

Behind such people are the loudmouths, the motormouths, the People’s Tribunes, the Alan Jones’s of Sky IS The Dark: if you want to know about Alan Jones, view this. When he is not endorsing — often with a clever and mealy-mouthed get out of jail free card to save his arse though — the Great Election Fraud view of Donald Trump, or having the pathetic pollie Craig Kelly on his show as an expert opinion, then he is in the business of white-anting not only obvious targets like Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews but also embattled NSW Premier Gladys Berejilkian. Here he is on that one: Berejiklian ‘should resign’ if she thinks the virus can be eliminated: Alan Jones.

So thanks to a variety of loons, has-beens, alt-right dingbats and comparatively innocent fellow-travellers who may be reacting to genuine difficulties, the mob has disgraced and shamed us in the eyes of the world by organising the greatest super-spreader event imaginable! There must be a lot of very happy Delta Variants out there this morning! Except of course viruses don’t give a shit about politics, religion, freedom or whatever. They are mindless little machines intent on one thing only — spreading and replicating.

Anticipating a predictable retort to such an idea, Hugh Riminton has also tweeted: For comparison, here was the mask wearing during last year’s Sydney #BLM March.

Just to lighten up a tad! I rather like this, which comes from England — which is undergoing an interesting if very probably tragic experiment in political sleight-of-hand at the moment.

Updates — already noted on Facebook

  1. Possibly Australia’s most egregious boofhead, mate of Alan Jones, who regularly infests Sky Is In the Dark, the soon to be former Member for Hughes, that furniture salesman extraordinaire, shows his true colours by rooting for chaos in these ill-conceived “freedom” (aka irresponsibility) rallies.Shame on him! No, let me be old-fashioned — a pox on him! Here is a sample of the sh*t Kelly has posted, annotated by the good people of Hughes, his long-suffering electorate. Vote the bastard out!

2. The Illawarra Mercury reports that “up to” 250 protesters took to the streets of Wollongong. The population of Wollongong is 307,000 plus. I call that a success!